November Craft: Turkey Napkin Holder

Thanksgiving is only a week away. Are you looking for a fun and easy craft to do with your students that doesn’t require many materials? Well we’ve come up with a fun craft that students and their families will love! This turkey napkin holder makes a great addition to any holiday table!

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on ourselves. It is a time to be thankful for what we have and reach out to those who are less fortunate than us. Remind your students of that in addition to the fun lessons you have planned.

Some younger students may struggle with several steps in this craft. It may be wise to complete the first three steps yoTGiving_finalimageurself in advanced.


Toilet Paper Tube
Orange Construction Paper
Wiggle Eyes

You can find a complete set of instructions, including pictures, HERE.

This craft gives your students a cute decoration to take home for the holiday. We hope they have as much fun making it as we did. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy the break from school!

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Teaching Thanksgiving Responsibly

he-9781432940775_lTraditionally, depictions of Thanksgiving are fraught with images of Native Americans in feathered headdresses, pilgrims in black hats, and a feast of turkey, potatoes, and corn. Unfortunately, all of these images are historically inaccurate. Many schools portray an incorrect image of Thanksgiving to their students. This not only fills their heads with inaccurate information, but also reinforces ignorant views on Native Americans. As educators it is important to present the holiday of Thanksgiving in an accurate way.

It does not help that performing a search on Thanksgiving will give you thousands of results perpetuating incorrect information. It would not be surprising for even educators to be incorrect of aspects of this holiday, considering the traditional education on the subject.

The first step to teaching students about Thanksgiving is to give background information on the people who partook in the festivities. The Pilgrims, for example, were very different than the Puritans. The Pilgrims came on the Mayflower and came for a myriad of reasons, such as religion, seeking new wealth, and more. The Puritans arrived a decade later, and it was strictly due to religion. Pilgrims did not wear buckles, and did not dress in only black and white. Similarly, the Native Americans (Wampanoag) did not live in teepees or have access to horses. It is important to emphasize that Native American’s are not a single set of traditions. Different tribes have different cultures. Focus on the culture of the Wampanoag instead of teaching generic “facts” about Native Americans.

As for the feast itself, the “first Thanksgiving” in 1621 certainly wasn’t the first of its kind, though it is the event that led to the holiday we know today. Feasts celebrating the harvest were common. In addition, there is still great controversy surrounding the meal itself. It is still in question if the Wampanoag were invited to the feast, or if they simply showed up. The Wampanoag did, however, contribute to the feast with deer, and potentially other items. While the Wampanoag and Pilgrims did feast together, the events around this 3-day event are still unclear.

The feast may be looked at fondly, as a time that the Pilgrims and Wampanoag dined together peacefully. However, relations between the two were not good, and within fifty years their relationship had completely deteriorated. As more colonists arrived, the Native Americans were forced farther west. The Wampanoag’s land began to be taken from them. The colonists brought new diseases that terrorized Native Americans. While this is not a happy fact traditional taught during this time of year, it is a very important one.

In your lessons, it may also be a good idea to teach about Native Americans in the USA today. Some students see Native American’s as being figures of the past, versus people who are still alive today. While teaching about the modern Thanksgiving, be sure to emphasize that students should be grateful for what they do have. Thanksgiving is a great time to teach children about those who are less fortunate. This time of year is a popular occasion to host food drives, clothing drives, and more.

By all means, you do not have to make your lesson on Thanksgiving a somber one. However, you do want to be sure you are accurate while you are teaching students. If you are looking for ideas, there are plenty of resources put there to help you teach students about Thanksgiving in an accurate but fun way!

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Encourage Student Writing

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November is National Novel Writing Month. This means that for the month of November, thousands of people will undertake a great task…writing 50,000 words in just thirty days. This event happens every year for a multitude of reasons, such as getting a story finished and as a way to get into the habit of writing on a daily basis. The same organization also hosts the Young Writers Program, which allows writers under 17 to choose a word count goal that isn’t necessarily 50,000 words.

Now, we certainly aren’t advocating that you should have your students write a 50,000 word novel this month. But NaNoWriMo provides you with an opportunity to get your students excited about writing. We’ve got some advice about how to get your students inspired this month, and beyond!

Give students a writing assignment that is not academic in nature. While it is important that students are able to write academic papers, students often find them to be boring and uninspiring. In honor of NaNoWriMo, give your students more freedom to try other forms of writing. This can be short stories, poems, journals, or even songs. In addition, don’t restrict your students to a specific topic. Present writing prompts, but also allow students to express their own creativity. After all, this is about getting students excited!

If you want a more structured assignment however, give students some freedom to choose it. For example, create a discussion topic and have students write a response to it. Have students write an article about a broad topic. Allow them to write a letter. Give an assignment that is broad enough that students can use their creativity.

Another good way to motivate students is to have some sort of contest. When creating a contest, stress that participation is voluntary. To help encourage students to enter, have a list of prizes for the winners! This could be a one-time contest, or an ongoing contest throughout the month with many different prizes. Have students submit their work to you at the end of the month. Judge the entries at your leisure before announcing the winners before winter break. Some great categories for winners include “longest story”, “best character”, and “most improved.”

Looking for another idea? Publish student work! No, we don’t mean that you should seek out a book deal. What we mean is you should place student work somewhere that others can read it. Select student work could be placed on the school website. You could create a class blog for student work that your students can share with friends and family. In your newsletters to family you can include a piece of student work. You can even create a newsletter comprised only of student work if you want! Students will love that their work is being seen by someone other than themselves and their teacher.

This is just a sample of some of the ways you can encourage students to write. We hope it helps!

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10% off Classroom Decorations

This week we’re going to feature a great sale that we’re sure all of our customers will love. Shop now, and you will get 10% off all classroom decorations! The promo code SALE10 will get you this deal, but only for a limited time. Shop by Halloween (10/31/15) to get this discount!

To give you an idea of what type of classroom decorations we carry, we’re going to feature some of our favorite subcategories below! Who knows, it might even give you some ideas when it comes to decorating your classroom!


Using accents in your classroom can really accentuate your classroom’s theme. These simple decorations can be used in a number of ways. Put them on a bulletin board. Use them as nametags. Decorate your walls or door with them. Use accents in conjunction with a class calendar. These versatile decorations are an economic option when it comes to decorating your classroom. You can find accents for all types of occasions, including holidays and seasons.

cd-144176_lBorder & Trimmer

Border and trimmer is often used to frame bulletin boards, but that’s not the only thing you can use it for! It also makes great framing for windows and charts. You may choose to place it along whiteboards and chalkboards. You can even use it to make your own frame to feature student work! Don’t limit yourself to just bulletin boards with this item.


Classroom calendars are very common in schools across the nation. Calendars offer you a great opportunity to bring some unique décor to your room. A calendar can be as simple as a month-by-month product, or a more complex item including weather, time, and more. It can have a generalized theme or change with the season. Customize your calendar to fit your specific needs!

eu-846012_lWindow Clings

Don’t limit yourself to decorating your door and walls! It is very likely that you also have windows to work with. Window clings are an easy way to add some decorations to your classroom. What’s even better is that often they will stick to surfaces other than windows. Try them on other laminated and glossy surfaces such as file cabinets, lockers, and more!


Banners are an excellent product to use to brighten up a classroom. These items are often used at the start of the school year to welcome students to the classroom. You can also use them for class parties, or even year round! We have a great selection to choose from on our site.


That’s just a sample of the great classroom decorations you can save on this week. Don’t wait, because as we said this sale won’t last forever! To stay updated about the latest sales, sign up for our email newsletter!

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Parent Teacher Conferences

It’s about that time of year for parent teacher conferences. That’s why we want to take some time to offer our advice to educators who may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process.

Before the conferences begin, you have to take time to prepare. The first step when it comes to preparation is to give parents plenty of notice. Parents have busy schedules, so you want them to have time to get off work, arrange babysitters, and whatever else they have to do to make it to your conference. Get the final schedule to the parents as soon as possible so they also have time to prepare.

Once you have the scheduling finished, it is time to prepare material for the conference itself. It’s a good idea to sit down and fill out some notes, whether on an official form or just for personal use, about each student. Make note about student progress, behavior, areas that need improvement, and whatever else you want to discuss. After you’ve done this for each of your students you should gather some examples of student work for each of your students. Present work that will show off the success of your students, as well as work that shows areas that could use some work.

The day of the conference, make sure to clean your classroom. All desks, including yours, should be neat and tidy. Make sure that nothing hanging on walls is askew or falling. The floor should be clear of scraps of paper and other garbage. After all, you are looking to make a good impression on the parents. It’s a good idea to set up chairs in the hallway, in case the conference with a different set of parents goes slightly over or the parents arrive early. You may also set out refreshments such as coffee, water, and snacks. This is also when you should prepare any items you plan to present to parents. If you want to hand out anything such as a newsletter or volunteer sheets, make copies and have them ready to go.

There’s plenty to keep in mind during the conference itself as well. Try your best to be on time during the entire conference. You’ve set up a schedule for parents, so respect their time and start each appointment on time. Parents could have multiple teachers to speak with in one night and you don’t want to be responsible for making them miss another appointment. A good way to approach a conference is to start with some positives about each student, then focus on what needs improvement, before ending with a positive. No parents want to hear nothing but negatives during a conference so be sure to highlight your student’s strengths. Another thing to note is that you must listen to the parents. Don’t get so focused on your notes that you don’t absorb what the parents have to say. And lastly, stay professional. Don’t allow yourself to become emotional when discussing students. Discuss progress in a rational manner.

Follow this advice and we’re sure it will make your upcoming conferences go more smoothly!

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