July 2019 - Miss Clark's Spoonful

Pre-First Day of School Ways to Welcome Your Students to the Best Year Ever!

You know what they say, August is one reeeaaalllyyy long Sunday night for teachers.

Some of you are ready to go back to school soon, while some are still finishing up summer. We don't go back to school until September. If you're anything like me, you spend the tail-end of summer thinking about all things back to school.

While I'm getting my classroom ready, practicing self control at the Target Dollar Spot, and taking a peek at first week of school lesson plans, I love to reach out to my soon-to-be students and get to know their families.

Let's jump right into it! Here is how I introduce myself to my students, and welcome them to our classroom before the year begins:

meet the teacher letter

new student gift


Sending out a letter over the summer introducing yourselves to your students is a great way to make a positive first impression! Your students will love reading about you, and will look forward to seeing you when school starts. In my letter, I usually tell my students where I went to college, my hometown, a little bit about where I grew up, and include my favorite hobbies.

Ending your letter letting your students know you are looking forward to seeing them will make them feel welcomed, valued, and important!

If you'd like, you can attach a QR code at the bottom that links to an audio file of you reading the letter, or to a video! I like to include a link to a video of me reading the book Second Grade,Here I come! Your kiddos being able to hear and see you in addition to reading about you simply gives your letter an extra personal touch.
You can download this EDITABLE Meet the Teacher Letter in my TpT store, and choose to include a QR code or not! 

meet the teacher letter          meet the teacher letter


In the envelope with the Meet the Teacher letter is a special Ready Confetti poem.

These are easy-peasy to assemble. I simply print out the poem, place a pinch or so of confetti in a small jewelry baggie, and secure it inside the poem. I usually get confetti and jewelry bags on Amazon! A bonus: the jewelry bags come in a pack of 100, so you'll have 'em for years to come.

I also make sure that the poem can't be readily opened (a hole punch and a piece of ribbon will do the trick). Students should not open the poem until the night before school!

The idea is, that your students will read the poem together with their grown up the night before the first day of school. Everyone, EVERYONE has the jitters the night before the first day of school. Your students (and you) can feel reassured that they will have a fabulous first day, and sleep tight courtesy of the magic "ready confetti."

Download yours for FREE here!

ready confetti ready confetti

New Student/Meet the Teacher Day/Classroom Visit Goodies

If your school hosts a "meet the teacher" day before school begins, that would be a great time to give these "O-FISH-ALLY" (get it...?) notes out. If not, the first day of school works, too! 

All I do is print them on cardstock, and tape to a snack sized bag of fun goldfish crackers. I also put a dot of hot glue in the top corner, tie some ribbon into a bow, and stick it on. Boom, instant "welcome" gift!

This little note is kind of a catch-all! If you're not feeling using them at the beginning of the year, you can use them at any point throughout the year to celebrate different milestones. You could also use to celebrate students moving up to the next grade at the end of the year.

Regardless of how you choose to use them, you can download for FREE here!

o-fish-ally notes

I hope these pre-first day of school things help you while you're planning for the best school year ever! Feel free to check in using the comments below, or post to Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to see how you've used some of these ideas to welcome your new kiddos to your amazing classrooms!


5 Guaranteed Ways to Ditch the Sunday Scaries with Ease

Do you ever wish there was another day in between Saturday and Sunday? Because I do.

The anticipation of Monday can creep up super quickly and take over actually enjoying the second half of the weekend. Whether it's lesson planning, laundry, or anything in between, it's easy for an entire Sunday to be taken up by anything but fun.

If this sounds even a little bit like your current Sunday routine, here is a list of 5 productive, practical things you can do on a Sunday to make the week ahead more manageable. You'll even be able to keep Sunday fun!

For me, this is essential. That being said, it also isn't effortless. Remembering to do this is a constant effort. It's like we're programed to wake up and check our phones to read text messages/emails or mindlessly scroll through Instagram. I am super guilty of this. However, while doing this, I also get smacked in the face with all of the "to-dos" for Monday and the week ahead that have been stored in the back of my mind.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed seconds after waking up, it's super important to practice giving ourselves time, space, and quiet to start the day. The subtle action of Slowing down has been makes it possible for us to be more present in the moment. So, Enjoy that delicious cup of coffee. Soak in the stillness. Taking it slow before beginning to tackle all of my tasks for the day ahead allows me to turn inward for a little bit and to prepare myself for a calm, balanced day.
My friend Erin Waters has the BEST advice when it comes to to-do lists. She recommends arranging to-do lists from the least desirable task to the most desirable. So often, we're quick to check off easy, "fun" items off of our lists, and the tasks we take forever to accomplish are the ones we just really don't want to do. For me, I know to put folding laundry ahead of going to the grocery store.

Sometimes, my to-do list is just for Sunday. Sometimes, it includes a few things I can do ahead of time for Monday. Either way, I'm totally a pencil colorful Ink Joy pen and paper person. Make it as enjoyable as possible for yourself to write a list, and satisfyingly check things off!
This sounds trivial, but I swear it makes a difference. I'm not saying to have everything planned down to accessories for the week ahead. Rather, simply go to bed on Sunday night with clothes laid out and ready to go for Monday morning. Make it an outfit that you really love! It'll be one less thing to think about after you wake up. Your Monday morning self will thank your Sunday evening self.
Listen, you guys. Meal-prepping can mean a lot of different things to me. Yes, sometimes it involves a longer chunk of time to prepare lunches: teeny tiny individual containers filled with salad, or quinoa, or grilled chicken, or what have you. Other times, it involves preparing a few mason jars of overnight oats for breakfast, or cooking something really yummy for dinner knowing that you'll have enough to enjoy over the course of the entire week. This California Turkey Chili recipe from Giada De Laurentiis is one of my FAVORITES when it comes to dinner, and it keeps really well for the entire week. If I'm feeling really ambitious, meal-prepping means breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week are covered. It all depends on the Sunday!

The last thing anyone wants is to rush out of the house in the morning and scarf down a granola bar on the way to work, or to exhaustedly stop for takeout each day on the way home. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all of the above, prepping at least one meal for the week is super productive. Your tummy and your wallet will both be much happier!
I believe super strongly in treating yourself with care, and being as comfortable as possible on a Sunday evening. Develop a bedtime ritual! This can mean something as simple as getting ready for bed at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. Jump into your pajamas, wash your face, brush your teeth, and relax with a favorite calming activity. For me, it's mostly all about curling up on the couch with a cup of tea or a glass of red wine to watch Big Brother or Big Little Lies. Other times, a podcast or a bubble bath with relaxing music are in order. Ideally, sticking to a predictable, consistent bedtime routine will let your body know ahead of time that sleep is on the way.

So, how do you consciously decide to hit the hay early without laying there counting sheep or anxiously counting down the hours until you have to wake up?

The science of sound can have profound effects on our ability to relax and fall asleep. Enter, white noise! My dear friend Gina introduced me to the Sleep Fan app, and it seriously makes falling asleep SO much easier. Another app that I love is the Calm app. It includes lessons on meditation, Sleep stories, and guided breathing exercises to help you relax.

To help you get ahead with planning means for the week, download this FREE meal planning sheet!

Have a great week. I'd love to know tips and tricks you have for beating the Sunday scaries!