5 Tips for a Happy Playground


With a new school year comes new challenges on the playground. Recess is fun, but after a summer away, students and adults alike need to reset in order to manage the playground in a fun, safe, and inclusive way.

Here are five tips from our friends at Playworks for setting clear expectations on your playground and make recess a place for every kid to shine.

1. Create a common set of rules for safe and fair play. Every playground needs a few simple rules, such as be safe, be respectful, and have fun. Additionally, kids and adults can work together to teach a “Game of the Week” once a week and do a practice round to make sure everyone understands how to play by the same set of rules.

2. Provide several different games for kids to play. Provide equipment for a variety of different games. Teach students how to play those games to get more students involved. You can find rules to games, such as band-aid tag, jump rope, switch, foursquare, and three lines soccer. Check out the Playworks games library to learn more games.

3. Designate a place for each game. Be sure there’s a place for every kid to play. Create a map of the playground by designating areas for jump rope, basketball, and other games. No painted lines? Use chalk or cones. Make sure everyone, especially those who supervise recess, are familiar with the map.

4. Enable kids to solve their own conflicts. Teach kids to use rock-paper-scissors to settle disputes. Rock crushes scissors; scissors cut paper; paper covers rock. It’s simple, takes just a few seconds and it’s invaluable in keeping the games going during recess. It works well in the classroom too.

Playground tips

5. Join the kids in their play. Kids love adults who play! Playground supervisors — even parent volunteers — can join the games. There is no better way to engage kids who don’t usually participate and get kids positively engaged (not to mention prevent disciplinary issues). Have fun, be supportive, and win or lose graciously.

What are some strategies you’ve used to make sure playground time and recess are successful?

Monthly Book Activity – Apples and Pumpkins


Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell

Apples and Pumpkins – by Anne Rockwell

Story Summary

A young girl spends a beautiful fall day picking the reddest apples and looking for the perfect pumpkin with her family. The story goes on to talk about carving the pumpkin into a grinning Jack-o-Lantern and getting ready for Trick-or-Treating!

Recommended Ages –  Preschool – 1st grade

Activity 1charta pples

• Before reading Apples and Pumpkins, create a chart on Easel Paper for different ways of eating apples (apple slices, applesauce, and apple pie).
• Read the story Apples and Pumpkins to the children.
• Show the children the chart and explain that they will each get a turn to vote which way they like to eat their apples.
• As each child comes up to vote, write his/her name on a post-it note and have the child place his/her name on the chart.
• Make sure to start at the bottom and work up.
• Once everyone has voted read the names in each column, count the names and write the number at the top of each column.
• Ask the children which column has the most votes. Also point out how you can tell it has to most votes without counting because it is the tallest. Continue reading

Tax Credit for School Supplies May Still be Available


Great news for teachers and school administrators! A feeling of relief will certainly be found when they hear that a tax credit they relied on might still be available for school supply purchased. A recent article from Education World stated that although the $250 tax credit expired this January, House Republications just passed a bill to make the deduction permanent.

school supplies sale

The legislation will still need to gain approval in the full House, however it comes with benefits that the previous legislation did not offer. The ongoing tax credit did not adjust for inflation but this deduction would.

“’This tax deduction is timely, permanent, and will go a long way toward making sure educators continue to provide what students need to succeed,’ said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union,” according to The Washington Post.

Indeed, the average teacher spends just under $500 on school supplies throughout the school year in order to take care of his or her classes’ needs as budget issues restrict schools and districts from offering more help.
Read more from our friends at EdWorld here: http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/teachers-could-soon-be-eligible-permanent-tax-credit-purchasing-supplies-1519557975

Ideas Worth Sharing – STEM, Makerspace & Construction


We survey many of our customers and sometimes we ask them what they use the products they are buying for. We continue to be wowed by your creative, resourceful and genius ideas, so we want to share them for others to enjoy!

Joani  from the National Assoc. of Women in Construction (NAWIC) shares with us a special project she uses our Lego Bricks Set for.

“We hold a Block Kids Competition every year for 5th graders at a local Elementary School.  We give the kid’s 100 Lego’s, aluminum foil, piece of string and piece of poster board.  We ask them to build a project with these items only and the project must be construction related.  We use the Block Kids Program to introduce kid’s to the construction industry and to let them know there are careers available to them in the field of construction.”

lego bricks set



Fellow Educators – Are you Engaging?


My Substitute, “Dr. Health”

I’d like to introduce you to a character that I have developed, I call her “Dr. Health”.  The book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess inspired me to create this character, use a costume, and bring Dr. Health into my classroom.

Dr. Health begins her morning by greeting each student at the classroom door and introduce herself, “Good morning, I am Dr. Health and I am substitute teaching for Mrs. Gorwitz today.”

While in character, I ask each student what their names are and shake their hands, as if meeting each one for the first time. The students look at me and smile, they are curious, engaged, and humored as they tell me their names.  I have even had students choose to make up their own names as well, then I call them by that name for the entire class.

educators students

The engagement of my students during that lesson with Dr. Health is through the roof.  Dr. Health visits my classroom several times during the school year and the reaction of the students is Continue reading

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