Executing a Fun Field Trip

A field trip is a fun and exciting experience for your students. For you teachers however, it is often more inducing of anxiety than excitement. A lot of planning and work goes into field trips, both before the trip is even announced and after the trip is over. If managing students can be difficult even in the classroom, it seems obvious that managing students on a field trip would be even more challenging.

The biggest advice we can give when it comes to field trips is to plan everything well in advance. First, never mention a trip to students before everything has been approved. Every school has different procedures when it comes to field trips. Make sure you have everything approved by the administration and set with the location of the field trip before taking additional steps. Visit the site of the trip ahead of time to scout out where students will have lunch, where bathrooms are, etc. Once that is all finished you should plan a schedule of events for the day. This itinerary should state when you will depart the school and return. It should also list what you will be doing at the site, where you will be eating lunch, meeting points, and more. This schedule should be reviewed with your students and chaperones before you leave.

Days before departing, be sure to discuss your expectations for your students with the class. Students need to understand that just because they’ve left the premises of the school that does not mean they are entitled to act however they want. In fact, it is the opposite. Students will be representing your school and that should be made very clear. Explain exactly what type of behavior you expect, and the consequences students will face if they do not obey your rules. A good consequence may be not allowing them to participate in the next field trip. Now is also a good time to split your students into their groups for the trip. Split up students that may cause trouble during your trip. It will make everything run much smoother.

Make sure you have good chaperones that understand their responsibilities. After all, you are entrusting a group of your students to them! They should know the schedule of the day, your expectations of the behavior of the students, and what to do in an emergency. Provide them with nametags for the chaperones and students, your phone number, a schedule of the day, rules for students, and something for chaperones to store student lunches in.

Of course, be sure students understand the learning objectives of the field trip. Field trips are fun but the objective of a field trip is still to teach students something. This is true even in younger grades! A trip to the zoo will teach students about animals. A trip to a pumpkin patch will teach students about fall. For older students field trips will often be even more educational. Integrate information into your lessons before the field trip so students will be thinking more critically during the trip itself.

Be prepared for things to go wrong. Have plans and backup plans. Watch your students have fun. Make it a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved!

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Advice for New Teachers

iStock_000000824122SmallYour first year of teaching will be both exciting and terrifying. There’s many things you should keep in mind as a new teacher, and there’s a lot of resources out there. These resources will give you tips about classroom management, how to set up your classroom, and incentives to offer students. The advice we want to give you today won’t cover topics such as that, but we will offer you practical advice that will be helpful not only now, but for years to come.

Tip 1: Set some firm boundaries between your work life and your home life. With grading papers and planning lesson plans it can be difficult, but it is essential. One good idea is to set aside certain blocks of time while you are home each week to do your planning and grading. If possible, try to always work within this time frame. You’re a teacher, but that’s not all you do. Take some time for yourself, significant other, friends, and family as well. Stress can be overwhelming and show in your work.

Tip 2: Accept that you are not perfect. You will do things wrong. You don’t have to be perfect to be a good teacher. You can’t expect everything to go smoothly, especially for your first year of teaching. Your time in the classroom will sometimes be uncomfortable, difficult, or downright disastrous. Once you acknowledge this, it will make things feel easier.

Tip 3: Be prepared for the parents. There will be parents who come in who are much too involved. There will be parents who do not trust you. There will be parents that want to prove you wrong, whether you are or not. Listen to each concern, and either stand up for yourself or admit when you’re wrong. It is essential that you have a relationship with the parents as well as the students.

Tip 4: Be open to constructive criticism. Remember how we already said you aren’t perfect? Since you aren’t perfect, there will be aspects of your teaching methods that others will think you can improve on. Take advice. Work on the areas that are criticized. Try not to overreact to negative feedback. Remember, you’re a newbie! You’re supposed to be taking all the advice you can get.

Tip 5: Enjoy teaching! You got into this career for a reason. Teaching is a lot of hard work and long hours, and the job doesn’t pay as much as we’d like it to. Whenever you get overwhelmed, remember why you started teaching in the first place. You want to make a difference in student’s lives. Let yourself love your students. Be proud of their accomplishments and watch fondly as they grow. Never forget why you joined the rest of the educators in the field.

If you’re looking for more advice or tips regarding subjects such as classroom management, check out our new teacher resources board on Pinterest!

Remember, your first year is the toughest. Each year you work as an educator you will learn new things and grow. Teaching is an extremely rewarding career path. We wish all the teachers out there, especially the first year teachers, good luck for the new school year and beyond.

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Our Fall Catalog

11949506_983975181622902_5925303759997587608_nHave you had time to take a look at our fall catalog yet? We create these quarterly digital catalogs to feature some of our best products and make it easier than ever for you to shop with us. We put out a catalog every fall, winter, spring, and summer. Each catalog features products that are relevant to either the season or the theme we come up with.

While the products we feature make up the majority of the catalog, there are other incentives to checking it out! In each issue we publish one article with helpful ideas and tips for teachers. When you read our catalog you will find articles such as tips for organizing your desk, creative class ideas, and more! In every issue you will find free printables to use with your class, as well as crafts you can create with your students. There’s tons of stuff to find in each issue. With that in mind, this week we’re going to give you a sample of the catalog by showing the type of categories and items we feature.


The first category we chose to feature in this issue of our quarterly catalog was music. Music is an important subject, whether you are teaching it at an elementary school level as a learning tool, or you are instructing high school students in a professional music group. We have a wide variety of music products for any occasion! You can browse books, instruments, and more. One of the items in our catalog in this section is our band in a box. Build your band with this great set! Includes 10 musical pieces – tambourine, 2 cymbals, triangle & bar, clapper, 2 maracas, & 2 wooden sticks. It all comes packed in a sturdy wooden storage crate.


Science is a highly important subject that leads to mler2145_lany advances in this country, making it an important subject to study in school. That is why we offer high quality science supplies, both for serious study and to get the youngest students interested! Browse test tubes and models as well as experiment kits and books. A great example of an item from this category is our weather tracker. Weather affects everyone, everyday! Introduce isobars, jet streams, wind chills, and more with this super-sized 44″W x 28″H weather map of the U.S. and Canada. Chart temperatures and cities using bar and line graphs. Teacher’s guide with weather terms, activities, vinyl cling weather symbols and student recording charts included.

Special Education:ke-845035_l

Teaching students with special needs is a unique challenge. For this reason, we carry special education items that can inform teachers and help students. Whether you personally need more education on the topic or you’re just looking for more effective teaching tools for special needs students, we’ve got you covered. One of our favorite items in this category is our photo conversation cards. This set comes with 90 full-color photo cards with social stories and practical ideas for helping children develop social and communication skills. Each card presents a social story to help children with asperser’s and autism learn the socially acceptable ways to interact with people. These cards are designed to make communication easier for children with special needs.

Creative Play:ale13_l

We firmly believe that it’s important to have both quality educational items as well as quality toy items. Our creative play supplies force young students to use their imagination. Play is an important part of development, and with the right toys, children can learn and grow. In our creative play section you will find items such as blocks, play money, play food, and much more! Our toys let children become chefs, build magnificent towers, and “work” as farmers. The item we really love is this wooden cook top. Stir up some fun in the kitchen with this quality hardwood play cook top that’s perfect for little chefs on the go. Designed for ages 3 and up, this cook top will offer children hours of make believe cooking fun!

Early Childhood: inpp8070_l

Of course we couldn’t forget about the youngest learners! You can use our early childhood items to get children learning from a young age. Our selection of toys are great for teaching words, sorting, and much more. One of our favorite toys that children can play with from this category is the honey bee tree. Don’t wake the bees, or the bees tumble out to your tray. Fun and entertaining for 2-4 players, ages 3+.


So what are you waiting for? You can check out the full catalog HERE. And keep an eye out in December for our annual winter quarterly catalog!

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Tips for Substitute Teachers

If you work as a substitute teacher, it can be extremely gratifying but also extremely difficult. Whether you’ve been working as a substitute teacher for a while or you’re new to the profession, any substitute could use some tips to make their day teaching run more smoothly. Keep reading for some of our top tips for managing a classroom when you are a substitute teacher.

  1. Establish control over the class right away. You need to come into the classroom prepared and confident, even if you are neither. Students often are prepared to goof off on days that substitutes are in. If you take control of the class right away however, this is much less likely to happen. Be kind but firm, give a brief outline of the day ahead, and don’t let it show if the pressure is getting to you. If you appear confident and in control, then you will control the class.
  2. Follow the lesson plan provided by the teacher. It’s important that you follow whatever is laid out by the teacher. Students are on a schedule, and if the regular teacher has left behind material you need to utilize it. If you have questions about the material, consult a teacher in the school who teaches the same grade level you are substituting for.
  3. Have something prepared if the teacher has left no lesson plans. This isn’t particularly common, but on occasion teachers won’t leave a lesson plan or any resources for you. In this case, you should have come with something else prepared. Some good options include trivia, word searches and crossword puzzles, writing prompts, working on homework in class, and riddles. Don’t just let students talk amongst themselves, as this can lead to a very disruptive class.
  4. Discipline students for misbehaving from the start. If you start off the day letting students interrupt, talk amongst themselves, etc, they will decide it is okay for them to do so all day. Make your expectations clear from the beginning to avoid major disruptions.
  5. Bring your own supplies. There’s no way of knowing what items the teachers you are substituting for have and do not have. It’s a good idea to bring in some basic supplies in case you need them. Some items you should bring with you when you sub include pencils, pens, dry erase markers, band-aids, chalk, paper, extra forms, and more. The longer you work as a substitute the more familiar you will get with items you should bring along.
  6. Grade any student work you can. This will make it much easier on the teacher when they return. If you are unsure about how to grade a particular assignment, leave it for the teacher but make sure it’s stacked neatly and labeled.
  7. Leave the room as you found it. Or, leave it better than you found it. The classroom should be clean and organized before you leave for the day.
  8. Write a report for the classroom teacher. In this report, include what you did, what you didn’t cover if you ran out of time, and student behavior. It’s usually best to put a positive spin on things, though if there were major student disruptions you need to let the classroom teacher know.

 There you have it! These tips are of course just a starting point, but they will hopefully make your days of substitute teaching a bit easier. If you’re still looking for substitute teacher tips, check out our Pinterest board! On it you will find tips for classroom teachers leaving behind help for substitute teachers, and advice for substitute teachers themselves!

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September Craft: Owl About Me Card

It’s September first, and if your school hasn’t started classes yet, it will be soon! Are you looking for a fun craft that your students will enjoy, but is still relevant to the start of the school year? Well look no further! This Owl About Me Card is a cute, fun way to get to know your new students.

As an educator, it is your job to not only teach your new students, but get to know them as well. Students are used to the usual back to school essay or note card. This craft makes that activity more fun and unique for students.

Some of the steps for this craft could be a bit tricky for younger students, and it may be wise to do them beforehand. Save time by completing step 9 by yourself. You can then make copies of the correctly sized paper for students to cut out for their own card. Interested? Read on for instructions!


Construction Paper (Brown, white)
Lined Paper
Markers (Black, orange)

We’ve put together a full set of instructions complete with pictures for your convenience. You can find those instructions HERE.


What you have students write inside the card is up to you. That’s why we recommend using plain, lined paper instead of a provided cut-out. This way, you can customize the craft to what is important to you and relevant for your classroom. In our example, we included name, hobbies, favorite subject, subject that needs to be worked on, and what the student is most looking forward to that year. Some other good options are age, grade, siblings, and favorite thing the student did over the summer. There’s plenty of subjects to cover, so get creative!

We hope you and your students enjoy the Owl About Me Card! Check back each week for tips for teachers, information about our latest sales, and more craft ideas.

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