Seven Spooky Simple and Specific Halloween Hints

Seven Spooky Simple and Specific Halloween Hints


It is with mixed emotions that so many of us prepare for the silly, sticky, sugary, and scary festivities associated with Halloween, both at school and at home. It seems the interest in dressing up, taking on a different persona, and parading around to get treats only progresses and morphs as kids mature. It doesn’t seem to go away. Many adults still relish the chance to don their Halloween apparel and march out into the night as the crowds at the party stores confirm.

Halloween Teacher Pressures

For teachers, Halloween is often associated with a whole lot of work and extra pressure. Lesson plans still need to be completed, learning must take place even amid myriad different Halloween rituals that many schools, classes, and communities hold into—and insist take place. For a lot of teachers, Halloween day is a stressful, lost teaching day. Then there’s the issue of teacher participation. It’s hard enough to get students to focus. Trying to achieve this while dressed as Raggedy Ann or this year’s most popular princess only makes this more challenging for everyone.

Teachers Team Up!

Many teachers join forces to come up with simple, yet clever team costumes. A few that come to mind include dressing as crayons or all teachers wearing black with removable bumble bee headbands and wings that can be popped on just before the parade. These ideas allow teachers to divide up the upfront work, band together, and can make for a great photo for the faculty page, too! Teachers tend to be extremely clever and Halloween can be a wonderful time for genuine teacher ingenuity to come into play.

A Spooky Idea Sparker

Needing to decorate for an impromptu Halloween party for tonight, check out this quick solution. We quickly pulled what we could find in the hall closet. An orange jacket filled with three beach towels serves as the torso. A balloon sits inside a free tote bag with a
skull design that we saved from last year to make the head. (Good thing the jacket had a hood to hold it all together; it’s not the most stable skeleton, but it does make a great party host!) By draping some old spider webbing and wrapping this “guest” in an old superhero cape, the ensemble is complete. This entire decorating adventure took fewer then ten minutes and will be easy to disassemble, too!

Tricky Teacher Hints for a Happier Halloween

Whether you’re a teacher who looks forward to Halloween as much as your students or you’re a teacher who cannot get to November 1 fast enough, these Seven Spooky Simple and Specifics Hints for Halloween will come in handy.

  1. Have reasonable expectations of your kids, your plans for the day, and yourself.
  2. Strive to enjoy the kids; their excitement can be infectious.
  3. Look for photo opportunities. Like the first snow or holiday pageant, the costume parade is a great time to mark your students’ progression in an end-of-school-year montage or video. October’s missing teeth are a great reminder of progress when looking back in May.
  4. Choose ONLY a few favorite activities to make it feel like a Happy Halloween at school and at home. Apply your creativity and carve only a few pumpkins, make just ONE favorite recipe, or make only a portion of your costume. Taking on too much quickly takes its toll. The teacher in the top photo took the time to create a quick template to ensure there were not cutting errors, a total time saver.
  5. Keep your costume. Take the few extra minutes to carefully pack up and tuck away all costume pieces and parts for next year. By even saving the extra tattoos or handmade accessories, you’ll be ready in a flash next year. You’ll be glad you did! Remember, next year, your costume will be brand new to next year’s students.
  6. Give in to the festivities. It’s one hectic day, but as many teachers say, at least this is one day where you know what to expect. As a result, put a positive spin on the day and decide that very little will surprise or derail you.
  7. Remember the top priority: SAFETY Rules! Halloween is supposed to be a happy, enjoyable time, so it is imperative that all adults, including and especially teachers, keep safety at top of mind both at school and in the evening.

Whether you have scary big plans or simply want to curl up with a big bowl of candy corn, we hope these hints will help you to safely embark on this Halloween weekend and Monday’s celebrations in as stress-free a way as possible.

Have a Peachy Halloween!

Have an idea for a costume other teachers will want to try next year? Want to share your Halloween hints? Post a comment below.

PETicularly PURRfect and PETriotic Teacher Gifts

PETicularly PURRfect and PETriotic Teacher Gifts


As we settle into the fall season, we shift away from summertime habits, changing them to best accommodate fall’s brisk weather and the diminishing hours of daylight. That sun-filled 6AM run of just weeks ago is now shrouded in darkness, as is the early evening walk home from the train for many commuters. Our furry friends, however, don’t shift their schedules to embrace the season. Dogs still need to go for walks according to routines no matter how dark, windy, or cold it may be. Vet runs, litter boxes, and water bowls all need time and attention, too, as do the PETicular personalities of felines and canines, alike.

Tales About Favorite Teacher Tails!

These pet-centric demands are small when compared to the tradeoff of having a treasured pet, often treated as a true member of the family. In our many discussions with teachers, we’ve discovered that there are a whole lot of teachers who also happen to be avid pet lovers. Many times, this “real teacher’s pet” even serves as a classroom mascot, giving teachers the chance to share colorful adventures, provide glimpses of their lives outside of the classroom, and model storytelling at its finest! At our family dinner table, we heard all about the daily mishaps of Haggerty, a mischievous new puppy, on a very regular basis. We also saw many videos of the academically-interested Mr. Cat (not wearing a hat!), and much more over the years as our kids brought home their Tales About Favorite Teacher Tails!

Teachers are often instinctive nurturers, which may help explain why so many teachers embrace pets of all sorts. As we gathered more and more Tales About Favorite Teacher Tails, we also discovered that teachers tend to pamper their pets! That’s exactly how The Real Teacher’s Pet!™ products came to be. As the FALLIDAYS move into full swing, the entire collection of all products in The Real Teacher’s Pet!™ Collection is on sale through this Saturday at 25% off the regular price. This makes it easy for teachers to pamper their pets in style—and save!

Whether you’re taking your Black Lab to the polls with you on Election Day, are heading to a pre-Thanksgiving Dog Show, or simply want your feline to be fabulously attired at her next vet visit, there’s an accessory to suit such occasions.

Check out the products and gift sets below. Each product is also sold separately, so it’s easy to mix and match according to your Real Teacher’s Pet’s favorite preferences. To see a few of The Real Teacher’s Pets in action, click on this video.

Out and About in Style

The Real Teacher’s Pet™ 6-Foot Leash and Collar Set is on sale this week for $29.21. Every teacher’s pet will walk in PETicularly high style with this eye-catching and colorful 6-foot long leash and matching collar. This clever and functional leash and collar are both decorated with PAWSitively colorful paw-print graphics that read: The Real Teacher’s Pet™ and have a durable webbed backing.

Heavy-duty leash hardware keeps any teacher’s pet safely within walking distance. The leash is 1-inch wide and has a hand loop at one end. This collar is easily adjustable and comes in three different sizes. Checkout the collar product page for size specifics. This leash makes a great teacher gift any time. Paired with the matching woven collar, this duet completes the most PAWSible “pet-perfect look!”

The Real Teachers Pet™ Walking Accessories Set

If walking your pet is your preferred ritual, check out these snazzy walking accessories at this week’s sale price of $26.96, a 25% saving over the regular gift set price. For the PETriarch in every teacher’s family, this woven collar makes a great accessory. Everyone will know who the real teacher’s pet is with this colorful pet collar. Collar and both bright bandanas sport The Real Teacher’s Pet™ graphic. Collar is easily adjustable, has a webbed backing for durability and comfort, a side release buckle, a sliding adjuster, and a D-ring to clip on the matching leash (sold separately).

This duet of red and royal blue bandanas will make for spirited game-day entsembles, slipping over most collars to help them stay put. Bandanas come sized as SMALL and LARGE. (See bandana product page for sizing details.) SMALL sized set includes two small bandanas, one in red and the other in blue, with one small collar. LARGE sized set includes two large bandanas, one in red and the other in blue, with one large collar. Make your favorite teacher’s favorite pet the hit of the park with this PETriotic gift set!

The Real Teachers Pet™ Ceramic Cat and Dog Bowls

Dinner is served in high style with these “The Real Teacher’s Pet™” ceramic bowls that come in two sizes, one scaled for cats and smaller dogs and the other for bigger dogs. Either one is the PURRfect accessory for your favorite teacher’s favorite felines and canines! Even the fanciest of feasts will taste better in this colorful bowl. “The Real Teacher’s Pet™” logo comes in a colorful rainbow design to add a dash of color to any pet’s dining area. Its ceramic construction makes it easy to clean. These bowls make PURRposeful and clever additions to a teacher’s culinary accessories. On sale this week for $22.46, these bowls are a welcome treat under any pet-loving teacher’s holiday tree!

“Fleece Navy-Red!”

Ok, so perhaps not the best play on the popular holiday greeting, “Feliz Navidad”, this popular fleece hoodie is the best addition to your bestie’s wardrobe! This Real Teacher’s Pet™ Dog Hoodie is available in multiple sizes in red and navy.

This “The Real Teacher’s Pet™” fleece-lined hoodie is a snuggly and stylish way to keep any teacher’s furry friend warm on brisk morning walks! Complete with a decorative “PAWket” and leash outlet, this hoodie is both useful and entertaining with its bright white lettering on the back. Available in four different sizes: XS, S, M, L . Check the hoodie product page for sizing details. Made of polyester with cotton blend, knit cuffs and snap collar opening, this hoodie’s hood has a draw string adjustment, making it PAWSsibly the PURRfect ensemble. It’s on sale this week for $18.71.

Game Day-Any Day Jersey

In addition to the warm hoodie, this collection also includes The Real Teacher’s Pet™ Mesh Dog Jersey, available in a range of sizes in red and royal blue. This sporty mesh jersey makes it easy to let the world know who is really “Number 1” on the teacher’s list! This pet jersey helps any teacher’s pet stand out on school spirit days, Bring-Your-Pet-to-Work Day, or for a stylish walk to the dog park.

This lightweight pet-lover’s conversation piece is available in four different sizes: XS, S, M, L. Sizing details may be found on the jersey product page. Made of 100% mesh and polyester interlock, this adorable pet jersey is machine washable and is on sale this week for just $14.96.

On the Road Again. . .

Teachers on the go and their pets will love The Real Teacher’s Pet™ travel food and water bowls. They’ll make any pet outing PETicularly enjoyable for everyone. These foldable compact food and water bowls feature a hook-and-loop closure and a plastic clip to easily attach to a backpack or leash. Travel bowls hold up to 24 ounces of food or water, respectively, and measure 3 inches high and 6 inches in diameter when opened. Both bowls come in bright red or royal blue with white printing. When you buy the set, we’ll choose the colors for you. These are also sold individually for maximum flexibility. The polyester material makes it easy to wash and use time after time. Help your favorite teachers enjoy their time with their favorite furry friends—PETentially even more than they already do!

Not-So-Secret Santa Pet Gifts!


Have a story to share about your Tales About Favorite Teacher Tails? Share your tales below. Post a picture, too. Here’s one for inspiration!

Perfectly Picked Teacher Peach FALLIDAYS Drinkware

Perfectly Picked Teacher Peach FALLIDAYS Drinkware


The FALLIDAYS are rich with choice, plummy picks (well, technically peachy picks) that underscore the crunch, smell, and taste of the fall season. No longer craving cool iced teas and lemonades, tastes tend to shift to warmer coffees, teas, and broths. While salads may continue to be a staple for lunch, hearty fall soups and stews also make a welcome entrance at this season.

Just as children scout the entire pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin, so do many adults approach selecting a favorite fall beverage—and drinkware to contains it.  As Teacher Peach curated our perfect fall picks for this FALLIDAYS Sale, we focused first on beverage containers. The vast amount of coffee, tea, and soup our team consumed in the process inspired us!

Because teachers spend so much time IN their classrooms it’s tough to slip out to re-warm an early morning cup of jo; Teacher Peach’s beverage containers really have to work. These are teacher-tested and teacher-approved! Because teachers are organized and eager to get holiday shopping underway NOW, we put these popular Drinkware items on sale NOW! There’s a better chance teachers might receive them as holiday gifts, too.

FALLIDAYS Sale Drinkware “falls” into two basic categories: travel containers and ceramic mugs. The stainless steel travel bottles really do keep beverages warm for eight full hours, long enough to get from first period to last! These ceramics make wonderful teacher’s accessories, soothing amid the daily fray. Teachers tell us that just having these clever and civilized ceramics at hand helps them relax. They’re wonderful for cozy Sunday mornings in fuzzy socks, too.

This quick collection overview makes gift-giving, pre-holiday treats, and daily activities a breeze. Stock up now while these great gifts are 25% off! The FALLIDAYS Sale ends on October 29th!

Travel Bottles Run Hot and Cold

Because It’s All About the Kids™ Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Thermal Bottle is only $22.46 this week, 25% OFF the regular price. The message on this sleek matte finish grey thermal bottle says it all. This stainless steel bottle also reduces our carbon footprint, making this water bottle attractive—inside and out.

It’s easy to make environmental, healthful, and educational impacts with this water bottle. At 17 ounces, this double-wall thermal bottle has copper vacuum insulation, keeping beverages hot up to 8 hours or cold up to 16 hours.

The message on the bottle reads “Because it’s all about the kids. . .” in a flourished bright white script design. The bottle features a stainless steel-thread lid and measures 10.5 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter at the base. Explore other tote and journal products in the “Because it’s all about the kids. . .” product line for great gifts for teachers, pediatricians, counselors, principals, and more!

Take a Sweet Sip™ or Two!

Because of the success and popularity of the matte grey bottle, we added eight more amazing bottles! In two snazzy, compatible designs, Sweet Sips!™ Thermal Bottles come in four striking colors: neon orange, pink, and lime, as well as a deep, matte olive.

Both bottles are vacuum insulated and made of stainless steel. This first sleek Sweet Sips™ stainless steel thermal bottle reads, “DRINK it all IN.” in a bold and playful wrap-around design that’s sure to be a swell gift for anyone who loves to learn. The other Sweet Sips™ stainless steel thermal bottle reads, “I THIRST for knowledge.” in a similar design.

These bottles are getting great reviews, including these two from teachers.

According to Caitlin, a speech coach and dance instructor, “I received this water bottle as a gift and I love it! It keeps drinks cold or warm all day! I highly recommend it!”

Amy, a reading-language arts specialist shared, “This bottle is everything! It was given to me by a student and I have used it every day since. I love that it is practical, multi-functional, and has a trendy exterior!

This 17-ounce double-wall thermal bottle also has copper vacuum insulation that keeps beverages cold up to 16 hours or hot up to 8 hours. In four fantastic colors, these water bottles feature a threaded stainless steel lid and measure 10.5 inches tall with a 3-inch diameter at the base. Get one in every color and message to match moods and workout gear. Teachers, students, and athletes all want to quench their thirst for knowledge while drinking it all in! These bottles make a terrific gift, boxed in a slim ready-to-wrap box to slip easily into any holiday stocking! This week only these bottles are on sale for $22.46.

”My TEAch CUP” Says It All

This stainless steel travel tumbler mug is for teachers who love to TEAch! At a sale price of only $9.71 this week, the 25% OFF savings make this a terrific Secret Santa gift since many grab bag gifts have a $10 limit.

The screw-on, BPA-free, the plastic lid closes tight on this stainless steel tumbler. It fits most automobile cup holders, too. Makes a great—and economical—thank you gift for all tea-loving teachers. Holds 16 ounces of liquid, hot or cold. Give the TEAcher gift that brings warmth all year long—from playground and recess to before school and paper-grading time. My TEAch CUP pairs with your favorite teacher’s favorite blend of tea as a great teacher gift.

Sistema Soup Mugs

These two amazing soup and salad containers round out the drinkware collection. They’re so versatile and colorful, who can resist? These soup mugs literally go hot AND cold for everything from hot soup to a crisp cold salad. These are BPA-free and fit in a lunch bag. For lunchtime staples like chili, soup, or leftovers too good to waste, store it cold, heat it up, and enjoy. They’re even freezer safe! Just pop one in the microwave according to your heating directions. These 22-ounce mugs seal tightly, feature a steam vent and measure 5.6 inches tall x 4.5 inches wide and make fabulous teacher gifts. TEACH. It Changes Everything Sistema Soup Mug comes in bright red. These second design, Heat & Chill Sistema Soup Mug, comes in pink, blue, turquoise, teal, lime, and purple and reads “HEAT2EAT” on one side and “CHILL2FILL” on the other.


Ceramics Add a Touch of Class!

Teachers Totally Rock! Ceramic Mugs come in a deep red, stunning navy, and rich green. This oversized mug also makes a fantastic soup mug and at only $11.21 this week, it’s another terrific stocking stuffer and thank-you gift. Pair it with some dry soup mix or tea bags to tell all the teachers on your list that they DO totally rock!

This all-purpose, jumbo mug holds a hearty oatmeal breakfast, chili, or a quick caffeine lift. Pair it with a pound of coffee, tea bags, cereal, or soup as a wonderful gift for peers, too. Today’s teachers and students find the popular grunge-style font edgy and appealing in cream-colored ink. This design is also available on a matching teacher tote bag.

I Am a Teacher Ceramic Coffee Mug

Start the morning right with a pastel mug that proudly states “I Am a Teacher.” The reduced price of only $11.21 this week makes it a great time to stock up on all five colors, one for each day of the week or for the teacher’s lounge. Makes an ideal gift for any teaching team. Use color choices for easy color-coding at flue season, too.

The henna-inspired imprint wraps around the mug, made made of ceramic with a light pastel sheen on the exterior and a darker glossy finish on the inside. This mug comes in pink, yellow, green, blue and violet. The I Am a Teacher Ceramic Coffee Mug is the perfect gift alone, and also looks great with an I Am a Teacher Tote Bag in a companion color.

Saved a Fave for Last!

This sweet little Love to Teach Heart Handle Mug makes people smile, letting peers know that YOU love that they love to teach! This unique mug with its heart-shaped handle makes a great gift for any teacher. At its sale price of $9.71 this week, this makes a delightful stocking stuffer in its ready-to-wrap box. Weighing in at a light 12oz., this mug measures 3.75″ H x 3.25″, an ideal for coffee, tea or favorite wrapped candies.

As the FALLIDAYS Sale progresses, check out these drinkware options—and save 25% off the regular prices. My next post will be PETicularly PAWSitive as we focus on The Real Teacher’s Pet!™ products, also on sale this week. Like what you see? Ready to shop? Save 25% today and tell us about your favorite FALLIDAYS products by posting a comment below.

“Did you get the order, Honey Darling?”

“Did you get the order, Honey Darling?”


Today is a crisp, fall day and the sun is shining as only it can in late October. The sky is blue enough to rival a first warm day in March. I am running to catch the train so I’m only vaguely aware of the crunching leaves that swirl around my feet. It’s Friday—the day we are launching Teacher Peach’s FALLIDAYS SALE. I need to get to work. There is so much to do—so much I want to do. I make the train, just barely, and settle into my seat for the hopefully productive ride.

When I power up my computer, I see it: today’s date. I smile and slow down. Way down. It’s October 21st. Of course it is crisp and sunny out. He wouldn’t have had it any other way. The “he” is my grandfather and though he has been gone for almost 20 years, today is his birthday. October 21st was always a Red-Letter Day for our family. With a quick calculation I realize that Grampa (technically spelled wrong, but right for us) would have been 114 years old today. By his definition though, the moment he’d have turned 114, he’d be “going on 115.” Grampa Irving focused forward, no looking back for him.

We always stopped everything to celebrate his birthday. We’d plan for months, flying in for the weekend, everyone present and accounted for at his annual birthday dinner. He’d splurge and in a familiar stage whisper would say, “I’m breaking my diet tonight, Honey Darling. My Pal and I are both going to get the veal parmagiAHHNa.” As his only granddaughter, I was always known as Honey Darling. My brother, of course, was his “Pal.”

Grampa was engaged in everything we did—and it didn’t stop there. He paid close attention to the world around him, too. Were he alive today, he’d have been flipping between this week’s debate and the various baseball games, eager to see them all—with a definite point of view on each. (Provided, of course, he could have worked the remote; handy he was not.)

He also never drove a car, never flew in an airplane, and walked just about everywhere. His attitude about life kept him young, as they say. One bitterly cold day, I was walking home from high school, passing the main street near where he and my grandmother lived. There he was, walking with his cane, a fresh loaf of bread under his other arm. “Grampa, what are you doing out in this weather? It’s 20 below zero.” “Honey Darling, the sun is out, it isn’t snowing, and there’s no wind. It’s a beautiful day for a short walk.” And with him by my side as I steered him back toward their apartment, it certainly was.

He’d have completely loved Teacher Peach and all we stand for. My grandfather had enormous respect for education, educators, and the freedom to spend time learning, all traits he passed down on a regular basis. No matter how insignificant the school event, Grampa always attended, taking the 61C bus to get there and treating us to a rare bus ride home. He thought, and rightly so, that having the chance to receive an education was the highest form of privilege—a gift never to be wasted. You had to show up in all ways.

In 1919, Grampa was headed to college, a first for his family. He had been accepted to THE Wharton School of Business. (He always emphasized the word THE; as a result, we did too.) He never got to THE Wharton. His father died suddenly and he needed to run the family’s chicken and egg store. This explains why he taught us to value our education; he lost his chance—and his father—in one swift move. His eyes would sparkle wistfully when he retold the story, always ending with a strong reminder to treasure each chance to learn and to look for learning everywhere.

Grampa had a head for numbers and showed great interest in my first business, a publishing consulting company. We’d speak every Wednesday and Sunday night at precisely 11:02, when he was sure the long-distance rates had officially and dramatically dropped. When the 11:00 news would come on TV, he’d pick up the phone to dial the time. (Yes, it was a rotary phone.) Once convinced the phone company would agree that lower rates prevailed, he’d dial my number.

He knew I sold something, though he wasn’t sure exactly what it was. In those days, I sold creative services to publishers. It is only today that I sell easier-to-understand tangible products, but specifics never concerned him. A sale was a sale. In every call:

  1. He’d ask me what I had for dinner and tell me what he had for dinner. “They have me watching my salt, so all I had for dinner was a couple of hot dogs and a few pickles.” “Grampa! You’re not supposed to eat that!” “Don’t worry, Honey Darling. I didn’t put salt on any of it.” (Living to 94, he was right to tell me not to worry.)
  2. He’d review the plan for our next call. Though it was always the same days and time, we’d discuss it every time.
  3. Lastly, and most importantly, he’d always ask, “So, now it’s just Grampa asking, Honey Darling, and I don’t want to pry, but—did you get the order?” No matter what was going on and how major the pressures seemed, in that one question, he’d distill down everything to its simplest and most accurate state. Regardless of specifics about the complexity and creativity in our work, none of that mattered—unless or until we got the order.

This truth continues at Teacher Peach—today and every day. No matter how much we respect and support teachers, no matter how many great discounts we provide, and no matter how much people like the intent of the products, we “have to get the orders” to continue to make the differences that mean so much. It is through the orders that we’re able to donate 10% of the profits to Teacher Peach Seeds, our nonprofit fund. (Visit to learn more.) Teacher Peach Seeds funds grants for teacher-driven projects designed to GROW student confidence—and that is our true passion.

As I write this post, I realize all over again how much of my passion for education, teachers, and GROWing student confidence came from Grampa Irving. It’s been an ingrained part of me for as long as I remember. He was right about the priorities of any business. Reflecting confirms yet again that Teacher Peach is on the right track with its nonprofit fund. GROWing student confidence DOES matter to kids, teachers, and I genuinely believe to all of Teacher Peach’s customers. Spending hard-earned money to buy teacher gifts that teachers will love has much more meaning when giving GREAT GIFTS WILL ALSO DO GOOD. Grampa would have definitely understood this concept. “Always do the right things, right, Honey Darling. You know. I know you do.” I do.

In keeping with tradition and out of respect to one of my own dearest teachers, today’s post is ALL about Grampa Irving.

Happy Birthday, Grampa.


Honey Darling.


P.S. And don’t worry. We’re getting the orders—so we’re helping the teachers and their kids.

Share the first name and an antidote about one of your “greatest family teachers” and be entered to win a 3-month subscription to A Note from the Teacher, an amazing subscription box, just for teachers—of all kinds! Simply post your comment below to enter.

Goal Setting System—Macro to Micro Does the Trick!

Goal Setting System—Macro to Micro Does the Trick!


Now that you’ve worked with your students for approximately six weeks, you can begin to identify the deeper, executive functioning skills your students need. As you do so, it is an ideal time to turn your focus to setting your own big goals for the school year.

When you set your own goals, you can identify with and come up with strategies for your students when they attempt to tackle these same steps in their goal-setting activities. You’ll also be ready with your own first-hand experiences and examples with which your students can readily identify. Setting and meeting goals is tough stuff—for everyone. By modeling goal setting and using the same tools as your students, you can achieve two big results—making progress on your on goals and helping your students to move forward on theirs! A double win!

Start With Your Own Goals

Every class in every school in every year comes with its own special twists and needs. Refine your own goal-planning process by considering the unique challenges this school year presents. Set or revise your goals as you continue to get to know your students. Set milestone goals for the execution of your plan. This will help you to sketch a visual for the school year.

To achieve cohesive results by the end of the school year, begin with the end in mind. Start by setting three big goals you want to achieve by the end of the school year. Then, as you plan each month, set milestone targets and interim action steps to achieve each month. Each monthly step should lead you closer to achieving your goals for the entire school year.

A Monthly Macro Tool

As you set your own bigger goals, consider how you might use this process as a model for your students. Many student often struggle with breaking down a bigger, longer-term project or goal into manageable, sequential steps. This monthly planner comes in both a write-on/wipe-off format as well as a 25-sheet tear off tablet.

This monthly planner allows students to work backwards, keeping the end date and ultimate results in mind. It’s part of a macro-to-micro planning set that begins at the month level with bigger goals and objectives. By then moving to the week level, you can map out the actions you’ll need to tackle during this week, then wipe off those that are completed and continue this each week. Once your monthly goals are partitioned into the current week’s priorities, it’s a great time to move to the most micro step, that of listing out the actions in a To-Do List.

Executive Functioning Write on/Wipe off Boards     Executive Functioning Tablets

“Sticking” to Progress

Break down each goal into specific, measurable steps and map out your plan on self-stick notes. Jot down your target actions on the notes and put them on your monthly planner calendar or perhaps longer-term goals can be mapped out on a yearly calendar. Track your progress against your targets. Refine your outlook 
or timeline as needed. If you fall behind, look realistically 
at your situation. Consider updating your
 plan or teaming up with other 
teachers and brainstorming 
together about ways to get
 back on track.

These same strategies work for students, too. This set of sticky notes will help you to prompt your students to stay on track as the progress through their goals.

Executive Functioning Sticky Notes

Students often have trouble remembering the many “pieces and parts” of big assignments. This leads to “rolling over” of activities. “I forgot to bring my book from home, so I’ll have to do that piece tonight or tomorrow.” As a result, time slips away. These reminder sticky notes make it easy for teachers’ too. Because the most typical types of reminders are preprinted, many teachers leave these stickies in a consistent place in the classroom, and make it their students’ responsibility to pull the stickies that they’ll need for that day.

Other teachers have told us they love these Reminder Sticky Note Pad Set so much that they suggest that families also buy a set for their student to use from home, when getting organized for the next day.

Goal-Setting Steps

Follow these steps when mapping out your own goals and when coaching your students to parse tasks to meet their goals and complete bigger, loner-term assignments.

  • Make a long list of possible goals. Capture every idea you have. Don’t worry about the order. Just capture your thoughts. A great tool for this is the two pack of slim notepads, To-Do List and Project planners.

To-Do List and Project Planners

  • Review your list of goals. Cross off anything 
that looks like a task. Tasks are what you’ll do to achieve goals. Here’s a sample goal: By the end 
of the school year, every student will read at one grade level above his or her start-of-year baseline.
  • Once you have eliminated the tasks from your list, begin to group like ideas together. Chances are, similar or associated ideas will become part of one bigger goal when you group them together.
  • Edit your list down to three big goals. Three is enough if they are the right goals.
  • Write your three big goals for the year and put them in multiple locations (in your journal, on your desk, or even on the bathroom mirror). These also work well on the Project notepad.
  • Write each goal in an abbreviated form onto self-stick notes so you can edit and sequence them as needed.
  • Big goals are like cakes: you can only eat one slice at a time. Slice your big goals into action steps.
  • Use more self-stick notes and a different color pen to write each action step required to achieve your big goals. Review your action steps. Is anything missing? Can you combine any steps?
  • Calendarize your goals and action steps by sequencing your activities for each month. Work backward from the end of the year. Consider the amount of time each action step will take. Be honest and realistic about what you can accomplish.

Goal setting takes commitment and patience, external setbacks or other surprises are bound to come up. Most of all, remember that longer-term goals take time to achieve. This is very important for students, as well.

By moving from the macro monthly level, down to the weekly level, and then ultimately to an actionable to-do and/or project list, you and your students are likely to not only BE successful with your goals, you’ll also FEEL more successful!

Check out the entire Executive Functioning product line, including the most economical Executive Functioning Planning System that includes write-on/wipe-off board, notepads, action pads, and sticky notes. These system components are also sold separately.

Executive Functioning Planning System

Keep us posted on how you are doing with your goal-setting work for this school year. Let us know what other products we can create to help you along the way.