Weekend Wonderings: What Are Your BIG Blue-Sky Resolutions?

As the first week back at school for most people winds to a close, it’s time to take a breath and reflect back on the first days of 2016. How are those resolutions coming along? Are you working on one resolution at a time or are you trying to tackle all your goals at once? No matter your approach, this time of year is a great time to check in and consider the things about which you want to be resolute.

Resolutions and Goals—Three Basic Types
There are three basic types of goals and resolutions:

  1. Things you want to START doing. (Do you want to start running, start sleeping more, start eating more healthfully, or start helping others? These are START goals.)
  2. Things you want to STOP doing. (Do you want to stop smoking, stop eating junk food, stop complaining or seeing your cup as half empty? These are STOP goals.)
  3. Things you want to KEEP doing. (Many people overlook this type of goal because it’s easy to forget that some things you are doing, past goals you have mastered, are still goals because you want to continue to do them. These goals take time, energy, and still count! Do you want to keep up your walking routine, keep saving money each month, or keep your closet organized? These are KEEP goals.)

BIG and Beyond the Basics
In addition to my own “get healthier” resolution that means I will STOP eating gluten, KEEP up my walking plan, and START getting more sleep, I also have one really BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016. Most people do. Many people segment this goal from the others because it feels BIG, really big. It may be a goal related to your family, your work, or your interests. For some people, a BIG blue-sky resolution is often connected to all of the BIG and important aspects of your life. These goals don’t stop, start, or keep going—instead, they are ONGOING.

My BIG Blue-Sky Resolution
To help you see what I mean, here’s my BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016: I will focus even more of my own time directly helping teachers help themselves and their students. My BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016 is to capture the Teacher Peach spark on a bigger national level so that teachers all over the country feel terrific about the important work they have chosen to do—and help me to create products that add even more value to them.

In 2016, I want to create even more products that will help teachers exhibit even deeper pride in the teaching profession. Does sporting one of our snazzy tote bags or using the motivating certificates and note cards we create for teachers really make a difference? We hope so. Teachers do tell us that our products do make a difference. I know that the more teachers are excited about our products and are willing to contribute by reviewing product ideas, making new product suggestions, critiquing our work in progress, and helping us shape the types of products we create, another part of my BIG 2016 goal, the more our products will help teachers. That’s why I’m determined to directly and personally ask, listen to, and connect with more teachers than ever before in 2016. (That’s also why I’m going on record here by sharing my goal with you now. Want to talk and connect? Comment below or email me at randi@teacherpeach.com!)

Stories That Matter About Products That Help
Knowing that Teacher Peach products matter to both teachers and their students is something we often discover in small, anecdotal ways. One story illustrates this better than many others—and it is a story that keeps me going.

You Made a Great Choice CardsI’d given a teacher two free samples of our “You made a great choice!” card, just to try it. All I asked of her in return was to tell me how she used them and if she thought they were valuable to her students. I didn’t hear from her for a long time. I thought she’d forgotten or perhaps hadn’t yet used the cards.

One day, months later, I got a note from her. She told me that right after we met, she had given one of the cards to a child in her class who had struggled with reading. He was really beginning to decode more complex words with less help and she was so pleased with his progress. She decided to tell him quietly, by giving him this card, reminding him to take the time to decode, and that she noticed his efforts to do this in small group.

Her note went on to say that the little boy had since left her class. He was sent to live with relatives in another city because his family had been living in a local shelter temporarily. When he came to say goodbye, she told him that he was a good reader and to remember to take each word apart, just as they’d been doing. “Like you said in the card?” At first, she didn’t know what he meant, but he reminded her about the “great choice” card she had given him months before.

As he was walking out of her classroom, he turned. He said he kept the card along with an old watch from his grandmother, in a red box that he kept wrapped up in his sweatshirt for safekeeping. He told her he looked at the card every day before school, that no one had ever given him anything like that before, and he was going to keep it forever.

The teacher apologized for not writing sooner and said she thought I might like to know that card certainly helped one little boy. As for the other copy of the card I had given her? She gave it right back: she used it to write her note to me. Needless to say, I then sent her several sets for her desk drawer. This is the kind of story that helps us figure out how to help teachers reach their students.

More Positives to Come!
Stories like this one and my BIG blue-sky resolution are behind our upcoming launch of more and more teacher products that are designed for teachers to give directly to students. Our new line of amazing Sticker Treats™ motivational stickers help teachers share positives and foster greater confidence in their students—easily, economically, and effectively.

In the coming weeks, I’ll introduce this series in a post or two so you can see how you might use these stickers in your classrooms. From 100 Days, Happy Birthday, Teamwork, Anti-Bullying, and more, you’ll find many Sticker Treats™ to help your students know that their good choices do matter—and they do, too. In the meantime, here’s a preview. (The images below are the proofs of the stickers. The stickers come 15 stickers to a sheet and each sticker is 1-1/2” in diameter.) 

Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Bully Free Zone Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Did My Best Teacher Peach Sticker Treats First 100 Days Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Happy Birthday Teacher Peach Sticker Treats I Care Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Last Day of School Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Wow Bravo Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Wow Great Team

My BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016 is to help teachers reach and positively impact more students as we support one another and continue to do challenging work with and for the most important people in our lives—our kids! Enjoy a great weekend. Let us know about your BIG blue-sky resolutions. If there’s a Teacher Peach product we can dream up to help you achieve your goals, we hope you’ll share that too!

6 Specific Tips to Take Teacher Gift Card Gifts Personally

Most teachers treasure receiving gifts of recognition from students and families at the holidays. Teachers, work long and hard to build positive connections, often without clear evidence that these efforts are working. Brief chats at conferences aren’t always filled with clues. It’s difficult for many teachers to know how families truly feel about their hard work to reach and teach their kids.

As described in Class Teacher Gifts: Teacher Gift Card Pros and Cons, our recent blog post, the holiday season and Teacher Appreciation Week in May are two times of year when families typically want to express their appreciation of teachers. One teacher gift-giving plan that’s popular today is that of giving teachers generic credit card gift cards at both the holidays and at the end of the school year. Sometimes, individual families choose to give gift cards. Other times, the class will get together and purchase one bigger gift card for the teacher.

Six Specific Tips Turn Gift Cards into Great Gifts
Gift card gifts are very popular because of their convenience and universality. Many teachers like getting a lump sum gift instead of umpteen $5.00 coffee cards, but still, gift cards can feel impersonal when compared to a gift that was chosen expressly for you as a teacher, based on your interests, shared class experiences, and the direct relationship the kids have with you, a key role model in their world. If you’re a teacher and you expect to or have received a gift card from your class this holiday season, there are lots of creative ways to make that paper certificate, little plastic card, or online string of numbers feel very personal.

Teachers can turn generic gift cards into great, personally meaningful gifts using these six specific tips:

  1. Commit to yourself that you will spend the gift card on something for yourself. If you can’t afford to do that with the entire amount, make this commitment for least part of it.
  2. Spend it on a specific part of a special event. If you’re planning a holiday vacation, choose one day and let that day or a particular meal/activity come from your class. How memorable would that parasailing excursion be for you and your class? Share photos with the kids after break.
  3. Add to a specific part of another purchase or enhance something existing. The card amount could pay for that upgraded vegetable drawer in a new refrigerator or for fancy drawer knobs to update a dresser.
  4. Save the card for a special day. Spend it on your birthday or your school anniversary. Set monthly phone reminders to add to a wish list of items/ideas. Put the card in a safe spot so you’ll find it on your special day.
  5. Spend the gift card on something you’ll use/see daily to remind you of your class. A tote bag, laptop case, or accessories for your desk at school keep your class’s appreciation gesture, front and center all year long. Check out teacherpeach.com for ideas.
  6. Spend the gift card on something memorable you wouldn’t otherwise do. Tickets to the hot new play, yoga class fees and a snazzy yoga mat, or reframing that print above the sofa are great examples.

Hide the Card till January
One plus to gift cards is you don’t have to spend them immediately. They’re good for a year or longer. One teacher shared an idea from her principal. Lots of other teachers embraced this, too.

“I used to run out and spend my class gift card on gifts for my family. Then my principal suggested I hide it away until January instead. I tried it that year, and have done so ever since. Now we have a tradition: I take my family out for our ‘class’ breakfast over break and pay with the gift card. Then, I go online and spend the rest on myself. I buy one special thing I can use for my job. I choose something that not only reminds me all year long that I’m doing good work with my school kids, I choose something I can also show to my class to share what I bought with their gift. Everybody wins!”

Thank You Notes for Every Student
As you get ready to thank your students and their families for gifts you receive this holiday season, consider using these teacher thank you notes from Teacher Peach. These notes are right sized for brief, meaningful expressions of thanks. Available in two designs—intermediate and primary—notecards come in packs of two sets of 10 with 10 envelopes each. When writing notes, even for generic gift cards, be specific. In the case of gift cards, tell your students what you purchased or plan to purchase with their gift.

Thank You Cards Teacher Peach Thank You Note Cards

Really Great Gifts for Really Great Teachers
If you’re a teacher who’s recognized with a generic gift card, check out the really great products for really great teachers from Teacher Peach. There are terrific teacher accessories from which to choose—tote bags, drinkware, lunch bags, desk accessories, and much more—just for teachers. Between now and December 31st, your gift card will go even further at Teacher Peach. You’ll save $15 on every order of $75 or more between now and the end of this year.

Teacher Peach Save $15

How do you spend your gift card gifts? Do you have ideas and thank-you note strategies to add to the ones in this post? We want to hear from you.


Day 4: 20% Off ALL Teacher Gift Sets!

Teacher Peach 12 Days Sale Day 4

The Day 4 Deal for the 12 Days of Peachy Teacher Holiday Gifts!
20% off ALL Teacher Gift Sets!

Teacher Peach Gift Set MCRDSKC5-2T Purple IT Set

Primarily Speaking  Clear Your Mind Gift Set Teachers Create Gift Set

Day 4: Teacher Gift Sets will “set” you up with great holiday gifts for all the teachers you know!
Teacher Peach continues our 12 Days of Peachy Teacher Holiday Gifts countdown with Day 4’s fabulous deal: 20% off our entire line of amazing Teacher Gift Sets! In fact, some of these gift sets make incredible gifts for more than the teachers on your list.

The many gift sets on sale include the items seen above, and so many more! To tempt you to hop over to teacherpeach.com to see the entire array of gift sets on sale, check out just three of these six gift sets. The Prepare-on-the-Go Gift Set, the Purple IT Bag Gift Set, and the Clear Your Mind Gift Set will give you a glimpse of the wide range of offerings that are on sale today. You’ll notice that the IT Bag Gift Set works beautifully from office to college campus, too. Remember, today’s deal is just starting here! Teacher Peach’s entire line of gift sets qualifies for this 20% savings!

Need even more motivation to shop? How about somewhere to jot down all your awesome ideas? Or even thinking ahead to summer (already)? Whatever the case, these gift sets have something for everyone. In addition to a wide array of accessories and products, each gift set has a message that’s sure to make you smile, fill teachers with pride, or just state the obvious in a graphically attractive manner.

Details about a Few Gift Sets
Here are just a few of the details about a couple of the gift sets showcased in this post. Go to teacherpeach.com for a closer look at the many different gift set options we offer.

Teacher Peach Gift Set

The Prepare-on-the-Go Gift Set includes:

  • The top selling “I Teach.” jumbo tote, made of black microfiber with gray and white trim.
  • “Quick Notes Home” tablets, which help teachers quickly and effectively communicate.
  • A lined version of “Quick Notes Home” for personal and specific messages.
  • The “Quick Notes Home Checklist” that allows teachers to quickly check a few boxes and send important messages home.
  • “My Own Note Home, Oops!” tablets save time for busy teachers because even new little writers can take responsibility for their forgotten items and write their own reminders for snow pants, library books, or forgotten snacks.
  • The popular best-selling 7-in-1 Travel Kit, featuring a stapler, staples, sticky notes, paper clips, rubber bands, a hole puncher, and a tape dispenser to keep all the tools at the fingertips of fast moving teachers.
  • 5 Sharpie® markers in red, orange, lime green, bright blue, and purple that read “Teachers Only” so kids are clear that the permanent markers are off limits.
  • “Every Teacher’s Pocket Journal” is perfect and portable for all those great ideas that can pop into mind anytime.

Purple IT Set

The Purple IT Bag Gift Set includes:

  • The “IT’s in the bag!” tote bag, brimming with many pockets, inside and out, for anything you need to keep track of.
  • Green Epic Earbuds are designed to fit the geometry of the ear, so that they really do help to “Tune IT out!”
  • A bright orange cell phone card case has a 3M backing that’s designed not to leave residue, so “IT’s all in hand!”
  • A set of 12 colorful Chat Bubble greeting cards, 2 of each clever design, with envelopes.
  • Colorful sticky notes that will help anyone “Stick to IT!”

Clear Your Mind Gift Set

The Clear Your Mind Gift Set includes:

  • A clear tote bag with red trim that reads, “Let me make this perfectly clear!”
  • Highlighters in four fluorescent inks: green, blue, orange, and pink.
  • Four-piece clip set helps keeps school papers together.
    • The yellow star reads: “Great Work!”
    • The red heart reads: “Love This!”
    • The green house reads: “Papers to Send Home!”
    • The purple light bulb reads: “New Big Ideas!”
  • A Fidget for Your Digits Tangle™ fidget to help relieve stress by transforming the tangle into countless shapes!
  • The “Clearly this is my stuff!” clear bag, roomy enough for tech gear, writing supplies, or cosmetics.
  • The “Quench” plastic, double wall to-go cup, complete with lid and matching straw.
  • A set of 10 Thank You Note Cards, that read “A very big Thanks from your teacher!” Envelopes included.
  • A metallic gold star shaped stress ball to inspire students, children, and friends alike.

While we’ve only given you a peek into a few of the gift sets, these details provide a clear sense of the range of options. Each one’s different so check these out at teacherpeach.com. There’s bound to be a gift set for most everyone on your list. Looking for a smaller gift and like pieces and parts of these gift sets? That’s easy to do. Just go to teacherpeach.com and you’ll find each item is individually.

As our 12 Days of Peachy Teacher Holiday Gifts continues on its “set” course of savings, we want to hear from you! Which sets did you purchase or add to your wish list and why? Send us pictures! Do you have an idea for a gift set you don’t yet see at Teacher Peach? Just tell us what you’re thinking about and we’ll quickly share it with our creative team. We’re actively planning our Teacher Appreciation products. Who better to tell us what you’d like to see?

It’s a Wrap!
Please understand that we pack all of our gift set items individually for maximum shipping safety. That’s why we do not pre-assemble or arrange the items as a gift set before shipping. We want every aspect of your gift set to be in top condition when it gets to you!

Here are a few tips for some clever, gift-y ways that you might want to organize these items to give to your favorite teacher or other gift set recipient—

  • Pop all the goodies exactly as you receive them in a big gift bag that’s billowing with tissue.
  • Unwrap and unzip the tote bag. Fill it with all the other goodies and tie a colorful bow on the tote handle.
  • Wrap each item individually and number the presents like a scavenger hunt, beginning or ending with the tote.

Teachers Create Red Set IMG_0870 (1)

Check out all of the amazing Teacher Peach products, savings, and expedited shipping options at our website, teacherpeach.com!

Want to receive your order before winter break and still take advantage of FREE SHIPPING? Place your order before 12/10! Just 3 days left!

To receive your order by 12/24, just place your order between now and 12/17 to take advantage of our FREE SHIPPING offer that continues through the holidays! Expedited shipping options are also available, of course.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 12.29.35 PM

Check back tomorrow for Day 5’s “sweet sip-sation” of a deal (hint hint) as the 12 Days of Peachy Teacher Holiday Gifts continues!


Student-led Conferences: A Different Approach to Parent–Teacher Conferences

For years, parent–teacher conferences* have operated in a fairly consistent way. Family members come to school. They sit down with the teacher. The teacher leads the meeting. Family members ask questions. A discussion ensues. And the process repeats with the next family.

It’s a process that’s not really broken. Therefore, schools have continued to use it without making many significant changes to the process. However, many schools have Continue reading “Student-led Conferences: A Different Approach to Parent–Teacher Conferences”

Positive Behavior Reinforcement and PBIS Programs

Each school year brings new students, along with new trends to help improve how we go about educating the students. Positive behavior reinforcement—and programs focusing on using positive behavior reinforcement to mold student behaviors—is one such trend that is gaining popularity in schools. Positive behavior reinforcement, simply defined, is giving a reward for a positive action or behavior to encourage the action or behavior to happen again. Positive reinforcement could Continue reading “Positive Behavior Reinforcement and PBIS Programs”

Five Winning Strategies for a Great Go-to-School Night

For many teachers, Go-to-School Night is stressful, exhausting, and nerve-wracking. While some veteran teachers know exactly how to craft an impeccable 90-minute experience for the important adults in the lives of their students, this one evening can be extremely draining for many new and seasoned teachers alike—and it’s on a school night! So, to help you get the best results from your Go-to-School Night, check out these Five Winning Strategies.

Strategy 1: First Impressions Work Both Ways
Most likely you will be meeting some families for the first time while others may be long-time families with whom you have a history from having taught an older sibling. To be sure you put your best foot forward, Continue reading “Five Winning Strategies for a Great Go-to-School Night”

Go-to-School Night—Strategies for Success

Preparing for Go-to-School Night
Go-to-School Night is one of the first and most powerful chances you have as a teacher to create a great first impression with the Ps & Gs* (parents and guardians) of your new class (or classes) of students. Often, this hectic, anxiety-filled night comes much earlier in the new school year than many teachers might like. Other teachers, however, are just happy to have this night in their rearview mirror as quickly as possible. Either way, it’s important to best use this night to kick off great relationships with these Ps & Gs for the year ahead.

To prepare for Go-to-School Night, consider these strategies for success: Continue reading “Go-to-School Night—Strategies for Success”

Teacher Peach Freebies: Team Collaboration Commitments

Collaboration Takes Commitment from All Team Members
A new school year means attending plenty of meetings. Meetings are effective when everyone has a clear understanding of the meeting’s goals and when all team members are committed to the collaboration. Whether your school has team meetings every week, every month, or every quarter, you’ll want to set the tone for those meetings early in the school year.

Ensure All Team Members Are Committed to the Cause
Establish meeting ground rules and get buy-in from all team members by using this Team Collaboration Commitments document. It features a list of best practices for team collaboration that can serve as your ground rules for your team meetings.

Read through each point on the document. Discuss what each point means and how the action might look in your particular meetings. Then have all group members cement their commitment to the team by signing the document. Keep the document accessible during your meetings throughout the year and refer back to it to make sure your meetings continue to be effective.

Be Sure Your Group Is Prepared to Participate
Help liven up your team meetings with these Teacher Peach supplies.

Help reinforce the collaborative process with “Write.” Mechanical Pencils and “Revise.” Eraser Sticks. Show your team that you’re willing to write ideas and try new things, but that you’re just as willing to erase and revise ideas when bigger and better ideas are introduced.

Teacher Peach's Write Mechanical Pencils Teacher Peach's Revise Eraser Sticks

After your team meetings, be sure to show your appreciation to your team members by giving them a Partner Thank You Card that has the perfect message thanking them for being your partner. Enhance the message by writing your own message inside the card.

Teacher Peach's Partner Thank You Cards

Need more ideas? Check out teacherpeach.com.

Back-to-School Ideas for Teachers to Involve Families, Part 2

Smart Teacher-Family Partnerships Make a Big Difference
The partnership between teachers and families is a critical and pivotal part of shaping a plan for success for your students. The families of the students in your class want a successful and positive school year for their student—as do you. In most school settings, three facts impact the teacher-family relationship:

  1. These families did not have the option to choose you as the person to teach their student this coming year.
  2. You did not have the option to choose the families or even the students in your class this year.
  3. You and these families—these extended networks of your classroom—are both deeply, albeit differently, vested in the successful development of one person: their student.

This common interest gives you both a powerful framework within which to build a smart, connected relationship. As the teacher, Continue reading “Back-to-School Ideas for Teachers to Involve Families, Part 2”

Back-to-School Ideas for Teachers to Involve Families, Part 1

Teacher-Family Partnerships Work
The partnership between teachers and families is critical to ensuring academic success for your students. It is also a significant factor in your own success as a teacher. The families of the students in your class can be your biggest champions and supporters. As a teacher, you have likely developed a well-honed ability to connect with your students. Leveraging this skill set to families can do wonders for your classroom—and students. When you consider the families of your students as an extended facet of your classroom community, you will be able to forge powerful partnerships.

This partnership, like any, could have its ups and downs. The back-to-school ideas listed below can help you involve families and create great partnerships will add value to your classroom all year long. Get your year off to a terrific start by reaching out to families in many different ways. Explore these options and see what works best for you. Continue reading “Back-to-School Ideas for Teachers to Involve Families, Part 1”