Cynthia C. Goes Overseas!

Meet a Winner in Writing, Cynthia C.


Teacher Peach is pleased to introduce the second winner of Teacher Peach’s “Granting Teacher Goals!” High 5 Initiative!  Cynthia C. engages her 6th grade students by “taking them overseas!” Her innovative High 5 Initiative blends authentic writing assignments with patriotism as her students “adopt” deployed US service personnel. Her educational project not only builds and sharpens the writing skills of her students, it also makes a powerful difference to the dedicated and brave individuals who go to incredible lengths to help keep us safe.

Our esteemed judge, LeeAndra Khan, explains why this project was a clear winner.  “This project helps to increase writing skills as well as gets students to become more globally minded. Students also learn about the locations where the service personnel are stationed. This activity helps students to develop empathy as well as understand and express their appreciation for patriotism and service.”

Cynthia Says . . .
We had the privilege of interviewing Cynthia about her experiences in education and goals for her project. Here’s what she had to say . . .

TP: Please, tell us a bit about you, how long you’ve been teaching, what grades, etc.
CC: I have been teaching since 1983, with maternity leaves, for a total of 21 years of actual time in the classroom. I have taught in several grade levels, from elementary through high school.

TP: What made you decide to become a teacher?
CC: I became a teacher because I love working with children and young adults. I achieve a personal “high” when I see them experience an “aha” moment, regardless of the content area.

TP: What have been the most inspiring aspects of teaching for you?
CC: The most inspiring aspects of teaching for me are watching my students mature in their personal, social, and academic skills. When they suddenly understand the power that they have as individuals and as a cohesive team to make change in their own lives, the school environment, and the larger community, it is a wonderful sight to see.

TP: How does (did) this project impact your students and what outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
CC: This pen pal project, sending letters and care packages to service personnel stationed overseas, has impacted my students by awakening in them a sense of patriotism; they begin to understand that the United States has a multi-faceted mission, one that protects US interests abroad, and also the interests of innocent people caught in hopeless and difficult situations caused by war. They realize that we are not only on military missions—we are also on humanitarian missions. I have been doing this project for the last nine years and this experience has impacted not only my current students, but their parents, and especially younger sibling and friends who ask, on their first day of school, “When do WE get to start the pen pal project?” That’s a powerful reach. With this additional financial support, we hope to reach even further.

TP: What advice would you have for other teachers?
CC: My advice to other teachers is to think big! Create projects that will impact your students AND a larger community. Reach out to forge partnerships in the community to enlarge the audience that becomes a part of your lesson. You’d be amazed at how community leaders are usually willing to participate; you just have to take a risk and ASK!

Inspired by Cynthia?

Cynthia’s lesson is certain to influence and inspire the lives of all of those involved—both today and long into the future. As Cynthia’s interview confirms, many of her former students and their families are already “veterans” of this activity and it has become a tradition that everyone is proud to continue. Teacher Peach is proud to help Cynthia to further enrich this project going forward. In addition to the $100 award, Teacher Peach is also sharing some awesome products with Cynthia and her students.

Check out these Teacher Peach products. Cynthia will use them to connect her students to soldiers and to keep her classroom organized all along the way!




What ideas does Cynthia’s project spark for you? How could you create or adapt a project like this for your students?

Magnificent Murals Winner!

Meet Our First Winner of the High 5 Initiative, Amanda T.
Art and Exceptional Education Teacher

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The big moment is here! Teacher Peach is pleased to introduce the first of five visionary and talented teachers whose engaging school projects are true winners! These teachers and their projects add incredible value to their school communities. The winners of this initiative are dedicated educators and we believe their work will inspire students and colleagues alike—that’s why they were selected by principal and thought leader, LeeAndrea Khan, to receive a $100 Teacher Peach award to fuel their educational project as part of Teacher Peach’s “Granting Teacher Goals!” High 5 Initiative!

Amanda Transforms Blank Spaces into Celebrations of Art—and Life!

Amanda T. encourages her students to look at blank walls, doors, and bulletin boards and envision the colorful and informative possibilities! This heartwarming High 5 Initiative includes the beautification of her Floridian middle school and improvement of the community image of the school. With this grant, her art class will now have the freedom to continue to paint beautiful, artistic murals around the school, helping to make their school environment even more inviting for the community. Amanda’s educational project goes beyond aesthetics, giving students a unique sense of pride when they see their original works publicly displayed. It also help students to connect visual expression to some very important life lessons that serve us all well to remember.

Our esteemed judge, LeeAndra Khan, explains why this project was a “picture” perfect choice as one of the winning entries. “Getting students to be part of keeping their own community beautiful only enhances their learning experiences. It is important for students to have voice and choice in their school. This increases engagement and ultimately impacts success. When they feel like they belong there, they act like it.”

Amanda Says . . .

We had the privilege of interviewing Amanda about her experiences in education and her goals for her project. Here’s what she had to say . . .

TP: How long have you been teaching?
AT: I have been teaching for 10 years.

TP: Why did you become a teacher?
AT: I became a teacher in the field of Special Education/Art to help students who learn differently become confident in their personal learning styles—and to keep learning in their own special ways. This applies to all students, of course.

TP: What are the most inspiring aspects of teaching for you?
AT: The most inspiring aspect of teaching is to watch students become interested in and eager to participate in the learning process, enough to want to show off what they know.

TP: How do you think this project will impact your students and what outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
AT: The “Beautify the Door” Contest involves my students in my art classes. The students use perspective in the literal way with drawing buildings and then they add a written component with sayings about how we look at life—learning and behaving, for example. They’re able to see the significance in how art can impact people in a variety of ways. (We’ve included a short video illustrating her “Beautify the Door” Contest below!)

TP: What advice would you have for other teachers?
AT: My best advice to other teachers, especially new teachers, is to stay on your toes and be creative! Also, be on the lookout for where your kids are and what they bring to the table. Students drive the lesson forward by what they bring with them from their own life experiences. What they have inside and are willing to share with us can teach us, as teachers, in the process. Then we can connect the lessons to their realities in ways we wouldn’t have imagined would be possible. Just by listening, we learn, too.

Sparked by Amanda?

Amanda’s colorful concept will have a BIG impact on both her students and the community as a whole. By creating an inviting and expressive academic environment, she is inviting her students to express themselves, enhance their environment, AND she’s also reminding her students that there are people who care for them, about them, and are willing to support their successes. Teacher Peach is proud to help Amanda create these vivid, fun, and creative displays that will spark students’ creativity and curiosity—and those of the school’s faculty, too. In addition to the $100 award, Teacher Peach is also sharing some awesome products with Amanda and her students.


Check out just a few of these Teacher Peach products Amanda will use to help her students beautify their learning space!

Keep It Together Portfolio Case

The Box! Totefolio

Take a Peek!
Amanda shared a quick video of some of the work her students have done so far. In under a minute, she’ll give you a fast tour of how these amazing students express themselves and make connections that will inspire all of us! Go, Amanda!


What ideas does Amanda’s project spark for you? How could you create or adapt a project like this for your students? What spaces surround your classroom that could be enlivened by the creativity of your kids?


Meet LeeAndra Khan


Teacher Peach’s “Granting Teacher Goals!” High 5 Initiative was a resounding success. The intent of this initiative was to create a platform to showcase and celebrate deserving teachers who strive to bring special projects to their students. This initiative is now fueling the dreams of 5 lucky educators, helping them bring some amazing educational projects to life! Our five big winners are in the process of completing the process of receiving their awards, and we are excited to share the next steps with you!

We’ll be creating multiple blog posts about this initiative over the coming weeks to share more about the winning teachers and their projects. In today’s post, we are delighted to introduce our esteemed judge for this robust competition, LeeAndra Khan, Principal at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in Oak Park, Illinois. LeeAndra is one busy principal and educational thought leader. She recently delivered a TEDx Talk on teacher voice and leadership beyond the classroom, where she tells a story about how a school culture transformed through more teacher influence.  

LeeAndra currently writes a blog on leadership titled “The Leading Lady” for Chicago Now.  Her blog focuses on leadership development and building strong teams—something every school climate needs in order to thrive. She has held workshops at the Illinois State Board of Education Conference, been the keynote speaker at Michigan University’s College of Education Convocation and has sat on numerous panels about education. Ms. Khan has always been a champion for success and enjoys sharing best practices.

We invited LeeAndra to apply her amazing leadership skills to make the selections for the winning projects. She read every submission and evaluated each one carefully. Based on the array of projects, we all agree there is incredible creativity going on in many classrooms today. As Teacher Peach knows first hand, teachers are always willing to go the extra mile to bring new and engaging learning approaches to their students. You’ll be able to read LeeAndra’s comments in upcoming posts as we put the Teacher Peach spotlight on each of the winners. Clearly the High 5 Initiative Judge is a winner, too!

We’re thrilled to have LeeAndra as a judge for the #High5Initiative contest and welcome you to connect with her on Twitter @leeandrakhan.

A Special Spelling Lesson

“How do you spell love?” —Piglet “You don’t spell it, you feel it.” —Pooh

Happy Valentine’s Day! For this special day, we once again turn to A. A. Milne and Winnie the Pooh for the last quotation in our Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™.

Share this poster with the important people in your life as a reminder of what is really important to our hearts and why on this Valentine’s Day, spelling love is definitely less important that feeling it.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™. What do you love about teaching?

Do you have a favorite quotation you’d like to see our PeachQuotes Studio™ designers turn into a poster? Let us know by posting the quotation and the author below! Be sure to share why this quotation is one of your faves, too!

And, of course, Happy Valentine’s Day to the amazing teachers in the Teacher Peach community, all of whom deserve our appreciation, respect, and thanks—every day of the year. Your work definitely sparks our hearts!


Eyes in the Back of Your Heart?

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. —H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! From hearts to candy and roses to handmade treats, this is a day for love and appreciation. For this second to last installment in our Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™, enjoy this meaningful quotation by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Our hearts have a heightened ability to “see” that which may not be obvious to the eye. Our hearts see deeply, detecting the unspoken and sensing the hand that has not yet been shown. Perhaps this is why teachers seem to have bigger hearts than others?

What has your heart seen and detected in a student or class that were not immediately within your line of vision?


Heart Bright, Heart Right!

No beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart. —Author Unknown

Warm your heart with this beauty of a motivational quotation from Teacher Peach’s Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™. We work so hard to teach students to be their best selves, to do the right things in the right ways, and to help others to do the same. In a world that often focuses on material items and external attributes, this deeper message about the power to shine from the inside out is all about leading with a good heart.

What shining moments will you share about teaching?


Teaching about Caring

The hardest thing to teach is how to care. —Unknown

Today, for the fourteenth installment in Teacher Peach’s Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™, we feature a little gem of a motivational quote that hits home for teachers. If it takes one to know one, then it definitely takes one to teach many. As a teacher who cares, you are best able to teach your students to care. This is a very tough life lesson and not one that comes with standards or objectives, other than your own highest of a personal nature. Teachers model even when it isn’t obvious.

What helps you teach your students to care?


Follow Your Heart

When you are not sure which way to go, it is always wise to follow your heart. —Author Unknown

Enjoy this lucky quote 13 in our Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™. Teachers have a “teacher’s instinct,” a gut-level awareness that often leads teachers to make subtle discoveries, deeper connections, or rightfully “see with eyes in the backs of their head!”

Yet even with this acknowledged heightened awareness, it is not always clear which path to chose, which decision to make, or which option to exercise when it comes to helping students help themselves. Teachers know that this particular rule of thumb is all about following your heart to find the right answers when the tests of the day come from life itself.

When did it serve you to follow your heart to help a student?


All in a Day’s Teaching

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart. —Unknown

Enjoy this charming motivational quotation from Teacher Peach’s Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™. We all know how busy teachers are and this quotation from an unknown source says it all. Even before a day’s first lesson plan begins, a teacher does so much. Taking a hand, opening a mind, and touching a heart? For many teachers, this all happened even before the first bell!

What did you do this morning before the first bell rang?


Teacher Hearts Are Bigger Than Ever!

Your heart is slightly bigger than the average human heart, but that’s because you’re a teacher. —Aaron Bacall

For quotation #11 in Teacher Peach’s Heartfelt Quotation Series by PeachQuotes Studio™, we feature a quote from famed cartoonist, Aaron Bacall.

This quotation resonated with everyone at PeachQuotes Studio™ for one simple reason—from where we sit, this is absolutely true! Teachers MUST have more than slightly-bigger-than-average-sized human hearts—because you are teachers.

If hearts grow because of the love they receive and the differences they make, of course, teacher hearts are oversized. In today’s world of jumbo this and extra-large that, at Teacher Peach, we know that teacher hearts are definitely super-sized—the perfect portion as far as we’re concerned. Thank you for your big hearts!

How has teaching helped your heart to grow?