5 Tips for Conquering Stressful Days in the Classroom

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Tuesday! I'm back again today with another great giveaway and some tips to help keep you and your students stress free during the end of the year! Today I'm sharing 5 Tips for Conquering Stressful Days!

1. Give Students Extra Reading Time
Reading time is very precious time in our classroom. My students are so appreciative of any time they have to squeeze in extra reading! During testing or super busy days, I make sure to give them time to relax and enjoy a good book! They love getting comfortable when they read (hey, don't we all?!) so I let them spread out around the classroom in their favorite spots. 

2. Listen to Music
Music is a great way to add to the mood of your classroom environment! We almost always play music when students are working. We have a variety of music, from upbeat songs to relaxing music that we play during writing. Putumayo has great CDs from many cultures around the world! These are two of our favorites that we play all the time!


African Playground
European Playground

3. Display Positive Quotes
Having positive quotes around the classroom helps bring joy to the classroom! I created posters and printed off some of my favorite quotes at the beginning of the year that are in frames and up at the front of our classroom!


4. Be inspired by Kid President
My students love Kid President! He is full of so many great words of wisdom and he is hilarious too! We watch his YouTube videos when we need a "Pep Talk" and I was super excited to see that he even came out with his own book! This book has a lot more content than I thought it would! It is too much to read everything to my students, but we have been reading a few of his tips on being awesome every day! It includes some serious advice, but also some fun advice too!





5. Dance to GoNoodle
If you haven't heard of GoNoodle yet, you should definitely go check it out! They have lots of great, fun songs that get students out of their seats and dancing! They also have relaxing stretch routines and longer "mega mixes" for indoor recess or P.E.! My students absolutely love GoNoodle!

(Their favorite song is Pop See Ko!)



Now for the giveaway! 


For this giveaway I've teamed up with some fabulous 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade bloggers! There are 4 prizes and 4 winners! You only have to enter using the Rafflecopter once! To see the other prizes you are in the running for, simply click on the right arrow underneath the prize!


$100 Gift Card and TPT Product Giveaway!

Monday, April 20, 2015

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Hi friends!

I've been teaming up with some amazing teachers and we have a couple great giveaways coming your way this week!

For the first giveaway we're so excited to be able to give away two great prizes to our wonderful followers. The first prize is a $100 gift card to Target! The second prize is an incredible bundle of TPT products valued at over $40! Please see the list below of the TPT products that are included in the bundle!


Host

Co-Hosts

TPT Product Bundle Giveaway

The Colorful Genre Posters are one of my best sellers that can be used across many grade levels and I'm sure the winner will love these along with all the other amazing products in the TPT Bundle!

You can enter for both of these great prizes below! Good luck! 


Using Technology to Create Connections Beyond the Classroom

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Last weekend I attended the CUE annual conference in Palm Spring with some of my favorite teachers!
Kay from A Little Tech



We were only at the conference for two days, but we attended several fantastic sessions on technology integration in the classroom.

I always love going to conferences and learning many great ideas from other teachers! Several sessions addressed using technology to "break out of the classroom" and connect our students with classes and professionals around the world.

There are three ways we are doing this in my classroom:

CLASS TWITTER ACCOUNT: 
We have had a class Twitter account since the beginning of the year, but usually I am the only one who uploads pictures to it. This week we started having a "tweeter of the day" to post what we are doing in class on our class Twitter account! This helps me make sure that we are keeping our account updated because sometimes I would forget about tweeting but my students will definitely remember when they are the "tweeter of the day!" Also, it creates more excitement about out Twitter account and my students are more likely now to go home and make sure their parents are checking out what we are posting!

A photo posted by Molly (@lessonswithlaughter) on

KIDBLOG:
Kidblog is an amazing platform if you are interested in having your students blog. It is easy-to-use for both the teacher and students. I have been using Kidblog for the past 3 years with my students and they have blogged about everything from field trips to reading responses!

SKYPE/GOOGLE HANGOUTS:
The first time I used Skype in the classroom was a couple years ago when we Skyped with a friend's class and took turns reading the Pourquoi Tales that we had written. It was a wonderful experience and my students loved it, however we hadn't Skyped with another class since then! After attending this conference I was determined to start connecting with other classes and with other professionals through "mystery skypes." We did a mystery number Skype with Sandy's class on Friday and our students had a blast! We have a "mystery career" Skype set up for Monday which they are really excited for as well!

I'm working on more blog posts that go into our class twitter account, Kidblog, and Mystery Skype sessions in more detail, but hopefully this gets you inspired to check out these amazing resources for creating connections beyond your classroom!

Lucky You!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th!
Today I'm joining up with several other amazing upper grade bloggers to bring a little luck to this traditionally unlucky day! Join us on this blog hop to meet lots of great upper elementary teachers and get freebies at each blog!
I am lucky for so many reasons this year! I am so thankful to have chosen such a wonderful, rewarding profession that is surrounding by inspiring people and ideas!

Here are 3 things that I am feeling especially lucky for lately:


My students... I don't even know where to start. They bring me so much happiness and joy. They absolutely love learning and are excited about every little thing we do in class. They are appreciative and write me sweet notes thankful me for all the fun things we do. They are the most important and best part of my school day!


If you have been wondering where I've been lately, I've been busy with classes and writing papers! I am coming to the end of my 2 year administrative credential program and it has been such a wonderful journey! I've worked with some talented principals and met many inspirational teachers along the way!

I couldn't feel more lucky about having this little space on the internet to share bits and pieces of my classroom with you! You have all made me feel so special and I love sharing ideas, getting ideas, and seeing how things I've shared have become a part of classrooms around the world! Thanks so much for all your kind words and support and for taking the time to read my blog and comment on my posts. I truly miss updating this space more often, and I am definitely looking forward to it when I have more free time after my administrative credential program is over!
 Click here to get your FREEBIE: Printable bag-toppers for a special St. Patrick's Day gift for your students!



One of my new favorite bloggers, Kathie from Tried and True Teaching Tools is the next stop on the blog hop! She is a fabulous 4th grade teacher with so many great ideas! I could seriously spend hours reading her blog! Check out what freebie she has in store for you!

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Valentine's Day Treats (The Most Delicious Popcorn Mix Ever)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


This Friday we will be celebrating Valentine's Day with a class party and passing out valentines. 

Last year I put together possibly the easiest snack mix ever... it just involved mixing three different ingredients together:
A photo posted by Molly (@lessonswithlaughter) on

This year I was up to the task of making something that took a little more energy. I have been wanting to make this recipe from Bloom Designs for a while now. Not only that, but it didn't look like it would take too much time to make.

It turned out to be super simple!
I picked up ingredients similar to the ones Jenny suggested:
- Honey Nut Chex
- Pretzel Sticks
- Kettle Korn
- White Melting Wafers
- M&Ms (I had to buy the "fun size" packs because my store was out of the others)
- Sprinkles

1. Mix the Chex, popcorn, and pretzels in a bowl and then spread them out on cookie sheets covered in foil.

2. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the mix. 
3. Add fun holiday themed sprinkles

4. Let the chocolate harder
5. Add M&Ms


I told you, super simple and easy!
I used plastic baggies and the same tags as last year to put together the treats for my students.

You can get the tag for free here:


Check out my other Valentine's Day posts here for more holiday ideas to use in your classroom:
Valentine Mailboxes & Crayon Heart Valentines 
(The Crayon Heart Valentines are great if you can't bring in food!)

Do you have a Valentine's Day party with your class? I know my kids are going to love this popcorn mix and I'm pretty sure I will be eating it all month long!


End of the Day Clean up Game

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our classrooms are b.u.s.y during the day and what starts off as a clean and shiny classroom in the morning can quickly turn into a mess of paper scraps, dropped pencils, and who knows what. I try to get my students to take responsibility for keeping our classroom clean, and we play a fun little game at the end of each day to ensure we leave our classroom picked up for our sweet custodian.


 As everyone is packing up and coming to sit on the carpet, I look around the room and pick a few things (usually about 3) that need to be either picked up or straightened. I don't tell them what they are. Then we start the game! To play they have to walk around the classroom and try to pick up or straighten what I am thinking of (meaning as many things that they see out of place as possible!). I give them a couple minutes, then I start counting down from 5. When I get to one they all have to be seated on the carpet, and I announce what things I had picked and who got them! (Sometimes there are things that I pick out and no one gets to them... that's ok. You can bet that the next day during our clean up game that is one of the first things that gets done!)

The only rules are no talking and they have to walk. If they don't follow those rules they get disqualified and have to come back and sit on the carpet for the remainder of the game. 

Let me tell you, my students LOVE the clean up game! They beg to play it each day and are seriously sad if we don't get to do it! Plus, it makes me happy to see them helping clean up our classroom!

I usually give the students who pick up and straighten the things I was thinking of a little reward in the form of a Starburst. They get to choose which color they want from my Starburst jar. You definitely don't have to give anything out, or you could choose to give out a small, non-food item (like a sticker) instead.

GAME VARIATION:
Let students choose what needs to be cleaned! To keep the game interesting, sometimes I'll pick a few students (3 is a good number) who packed up quickly to help my secretly choose things to be picked up or straightened! Then they watch as the rest of the students play the game to see if their item was picked up!

I hope you can use this with your students to help get your classroom cleaned up at the end of the day!

Stitch Fix: Cold Weather Favorites

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My latest Stitch Fix boxes have been nothing short of amazing. I haven't shared all of them with you all yet, but I have plans to share more soon! For now, I'm showing you one of my latest fixes. This is already fix #10! I was going through my style cards the other day and I can't believe how many new outfits I have added to my closet since I started Stitch Fix! For those of you who don't know about Stitch Fix, it is a clothing delivery service where you fill out a style profile online and then a Stitch Fix stylist picks out clothing for you based on your profile and Pinterest style board. They pack up five pieces for you and ship them right to your door! You have three days to try on the clothes in the comfort of your home and with the pieces you already have in your closet! Then you simply ship back what you don't want!


It doesn't get too cold in Southern California, but I still love wearing sweaters and scarfs! For this fix my stylist sent me a couple great layering pieces that are perfect for the cooler weather.

The first item was the Meredith Chunky Knit Infinity Scarf. 
I mean, how beautiful is this scarf? I absolutely love the colors and it is super soft and warm! This was definitely a keeper! I can never have too many scarves!

The second piece was the Alli Cable Knit Cotton Sweater.
I love the red color and the fine details! I definitely got a lot of use out of this sweater during the holidays, and I know I will be wearing it a lot more in the cooler weather (+ Valentine's Day is coming up)!



The third item was the Teresa Colorblocked Short-Sleeve Blouse. This is a wonderful basic piece that I know will get a lot of wear! I love how I can add in different colors with a scarf, cardigan, or statement necklace.

The fourth piece was the Nat Embellished Neckline Blouse. Not only is this top a beautiful color, but it also has some sparkle to it, which of course I love!

 The details in this top are absolutely amazing. I love how the pleats down the front make this top really stand out. This is not only perfect for school, but also for a night out! The only thing about this top that I didn't love is that each sleeve is split so the material hangs down and shows more of your shoulder. I probably wouldn't wear this top alone, but it is perfect with a cardigan where you can't see the sleeves!

The last piece I received in my fix was this Desi Graphic Knit Cardigan. Although I had been wanting a waterfall cardigan, I wasn't really too fond of this color or pattern. I made sure to leave a note for my stylist in my feedback though saying that I like the style, just not the pattern. (Spoiler alert, she sent me the most perfect waterfall cardigan in my next fix!)
I know a common question people have is about the stylist. My stylist is Lindsey and she is amazing!! After skipping around to different stylists my first few fixes, I am so happy to have Lindsey now! She takes into account the information I filled out on my style profile and what I pin on my Style Pinterest board and she does an awesome job of sending me things that fit my style!

If you would like to try out Stitch Fix, I would love if you used my affiliate link! They give me a small commission when you sign up!
Do you use Stitch Fix?

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2014

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year! 
2014 was a great year and I am so excited for what 2015 has in store! As we are ending one year and beginning a new one, I wanted to wrap up 2014 by sharing with you the top 5 posts from the year thanks to all your views!


This summer I wrote about my Classroom Library Organization as part of a Reading in the Wild book study. I talked about how I organize my books and these amazing color-coded library labels that help keep my fiction books in alphabetical order!

My post on Chevron Name Tags for Student Chairs was also a huge hit as teachers were gearing up for the new year!

As another part of the Reading in the Wild book study, I laid out My Reading and Language Arts Schedule this summer to share and discuss with other teachers. 
I am always looking for new educational books to read and Ron Clark's are some of my favorite. After reading The Essential 55, I created these Ron Clark Expectations Posters to hang in my classroom and share with other teachers!
 Towards the end of the school year, I wanted to add a new Classroom Management twist to help some of my students keep "blurting" down and learning in full swing. The Blurt Chart using Post-It Notes did the trick and was a great tool to add to my classroom management repertoire. 

Thank you so much for all your love and support for Lessons with Laughter. I am so thankful for each and every one of you and for the wonderful friendships this blog has led to. I know there are so many amazing teacher sites out there and I really appreciate the time you spend reading about ideas that I use in my classroom! 

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