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Easy Self Care Tips for Teachers

Let’s level here: October was difficult for me. I am not entirely sure what it was, but it just felt like a struggle every. Single. Day. That doesn’t mean that every day was bad, but it means I had to be super intentional about getting things done and having the right mindset. I had to be really intentional about my self care. And there were still some day where it just wasn’t happening.

Yup, Becca, who always advocates that morning routine slept in multiple times in October.

But you know what? I have faith that November will be better. Not just because we have Thanksgiving break soon, but because I learned a lot about my self care needs while going through the ridiculousness of October.

Side note, did anyone else think that it dragged on forever?

Here are some super simple ideas for self care that you can implement immediately. I’m not suggesting anything crazy. Seriously, super simple. Try them. Then let us know in the comments if they were helpful for you!

Also, if you are interested in getting access to exclusive free resources, sign up for my resource library! I send out two email a month– usually talking about some of the free resources available. Once you get access, you can download as many things as you– and more resources are added every few weeks. Sign up here!

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Leave School at School

First thing is first—leave school at school. Now, I’m not saying you have to leave as soon as the bell rings. I’m saying, don’t bring home a ton of work.

What that says is: you will never escape the work.

And what happens 90% of the time? You bring it home with the intention to work on grading papers while you watch TV. But then you realize at home you have 50 other things to do, so that doesn’t happen. You take the papers back to school tomorrow feeling guilty and ashamed.

A better alternative? Stay a few minutes extra and then leave it at school. I talk about grading hacks in this video if you need some ideas how when to get them done.

But seriously—when you go home, GO HOME.

Now, I will admit, I do often make resources at home. But that is mostly because I am putting them into my TPT shop, so I don’t want to work on them at school, even if they are for school as well.

 

TAKE YOUR LUNCH BREAK

This is one of the best pieces of advice about self care that I can give you. It’s also one of the things I am the WORST at.

Take your lunch break.

I’ll say it again and let it sink in: take your lunch break.

I know you have 50 thousand things to do. I do too. And every day at lunch I start thinking, I need to do this and this and this.

And then I stop myself and say: take your lunch break.

It really does help. When I take a break at lunch, I feel refreshed and ready to go rather then frustrated and annoyed.

Legistically, how do I accomplish this without shirking my responsibilities?

Normally, I will check my email (I don’t even respond during lunch—just look and see what is in there). If something is urgent I’ll respond, otherwise I leave them unread. Then I look at my to do list and make sure there is nothing that needs to be done prior to my next class (copies or setting out instruments). If I need to call a parent, I will. Otherwise, I leave everything for my planning or after school.

It feels weird. I used to work through lunch every single day. But I promise, it makes a difference. Even if you only take half of your lunch as a break, do it.

Also read: Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Have an activity to get your mind off of school

So once you have left school at school, now what? Do you get home frustrated and annoyed? Still thinking about testing and study guides?

As soon as you get home—or on your way home—find a way to get your mind off of school. Sit down, because you have not sat down all day, and just chill out for a few minutes.

For me, this has been reading. When I get home, I make myself some tea and a snack, and I read. My goal is 30 minutes, but sometimes it’s only 10 or 15, and that’s ok. The point really isn’t the reading. The point is to calm down, sit down, and think about things that are not school.

Admitedly, sometimes the books are school related, but still.

 

Take a bath

This is probably my favorite one—take a bath. Or a hot shower. But seriously—try a bath. Get some Epson salts and bubble bath (you cannot go wrong with my personal favorites right here! They are made for relaxing!) and soak for a little bit. This really does help your body to feel better and help your mind.

Bonus points if you read a book in there.

Which leads me to my next point…



Read a book

You tell your students to read, but when is the last time you read a book that was not education related? When is the last time that you read for fun?

I have been really intentional about getting my reading in (see above for when that happens), and it has made a huge difference. I am learning more and I know even if my day is crappy, I have 15 minutes where I get to read before I have to clean or make dinner or any of that mess. It’s great.

Need a new book? Here are a ton of book recommendations!

A few that I just finished and would highly recommend include The Alchemist, The Odyssey, and I am currently reading Circe, and it is really great so far. I cannot put it down.

 

Play some music

Upon reflection, that looks like you should put on Pandora. Now, that is actually a good idea, but not what I am meaning.

Pick up an instrument.

If you are a music teacher, when is the last time that you played music? I know that seems like a crazy concept.

I had a thought halfway through last year that went along the lines of this: I used to sing for about 2 hours a day. Then I would play piano and cello. And I haven’t practiced anything for months.

That realization was truly eye opening.

Now I plan to practice at least 2-3 times a week. Technically, I have it written down for every day but that doesn’t always happen. After reading, I turn on my keyboard, warm myself up, and flip to the next book in my Gabriel Faure songbook (because who doesn’t love a good French art song?).

It has been really great for me to get back to learning music that wasn’t pentatonic. Not that there is anything wrong with that—I enjoy it, which is why I teach elementary music. But I also enjoy learning difficult arias and art songs. It may take me two months to learn a song I could have previously learned in two weeks, but at least I’m still doing it.

I read a quote on Instagram lately that was something along the lines of, “How can we inspire students to read when we don’t enjoy reading anymore?” I really think the same thing is true for music teachers—we can’t inspire students to love music if we are not actively trying to improve out musicality.

So there are a few easy ways to incorporate some self care into your routine! I’ve get ideas for school and outside of school.

 

Also read: Elementary Music Classroom Tour

You know what else is great self care? Signing up for access to my free resource library so that you can download things instead of making them! There are different resources available, including a music interest survey and a steady beat chart (in 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4). Once you get access to the exclusive content, you can keep coming back and downloading more! I add new resources every few weeks! Sign up here!

Now I’m curious, what do you do for self care? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!



Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



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Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas

Ah, Christmas. So many songs, so little time. Every year I feel like I cannot narrow down how many songs I want to do. How do you get to them all? Anyway, my fourth and fifth graders are in the middle of a huge recorder unit, and I did not want to put that on pause to do a bunch of Christmas music (we’re doing the Link Up curriculum, and we are on a deadline!). So I only picked a few songs for my 4-5 graders, and the 12 Days of Christmas was our main song.

This song is so much fun, and so easy because it is cumulative.

There are about a million things that you can do with this song, but I narrowed it down to a few. I used a PDF version of a PowerPoint that I made, which you can check out on TPT here.

It is also part of my music lessons bundle, which has 6 different Christmas lessons at a discounted price, which you can get here.

You can also check out my free Oh Christmas Tree Music Game (with free lyric sheet and coloring sheet) here.

Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



 

12 Days of Christmas

  • First, go over the words to the song the 12 Days of Christmas. It is super easy, so we just read through the words and then I started singing the first verse and by the second verse, they had figured it out.
  • Next, have the students sing through the song. You can play it on the piano or use a YouTube video to sing along with.
  • Pick one student to create movements for each gift. So one student will pick and lead movements for a partridge in a pear tree. One will do it for two turtledoves, etc.
  • Sing through the song and have the students follow the movements that the leaders for each gift choose. Again, you can accompany on the piano or ukulele or you can play a recorder version.
  • Then, you can create a new version of the 12 Days of Christmas. I project the page from my 12 Days of Christmas product that has the first half of each line and then write the students’ answers on the board. Let the kids pick what they get on each day.
  • Sing through the song with your kids’ version of the song. This will need to be done a cappella or with the piano or ukulele or guitar. You can’t sing it with the recording because the words will be different.
  • Have students create individual versions of the 12 Days of Christmas if you need to include more writing in your curriculum!
  • Last, you can have students color pictures or their 12 Days of Christmas or the original version. There are coloring sheets in my product, if you get that.

Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



 

So there you go! Movement, writing, singing, and fun. My kids enjoyed this immensely! They thought it was so much fun. And I enjoyed it too!

Also check out my free Oh Christmas Tree music lesson/game for what I am doing with my second and third graders. Or you can get the Christmas in the Music Room Bundle and get enough lessons for the rest of the year!

And check out the decorations and books I got for my classroom in my YouTube video.

Want to get access to exclusive content? Sign up to join my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY. Once you sign up, you can download and use any of the content in the library. New things are being added every few weeks, so make sure you check back for more FREE stuff! Sign up here.

How do you teach 12 Days of Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!



Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



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Morning Routines for Teachers

We all know that our students need routines. We spend the first few weeks of school going over routines—how to line up, how to get supplies, how to turn in work, etc. (You can read about some routines in my classroom here) But sometimes we forget that we need routines in our own lives. I think this is especially true in the mornings—if we start our morning off with a good morning routine, it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

It is important to remain consistent, especially as we are wrapping up the school year. I know all too well how easy it is to continually hit the snooze alarm, throw on some clothes, and make coffee at school.

Resist the urge. I am talking to myself—Becca, resist the urge.

We are at the post-spring break, testing, and crazy part of the year. Maybe it is different for you, but for me, it is getting harder and harder to get up and start my day well. But I will say, the days that I give in and sleep late and don’t take care of myself tend to be the days that don’t go so well.

So I am practicing having better control over myself and my habits. This morning routine has been the same for me all year. I adjusted a little bit since last year to allow me to get to school earlier (I prefer to get to school early rather than stay late).

Of course, you may have totally different needs that I do. I don’t have any kids. I do have two dogs to take care of in the morning, but I do not have to worry about people other than my husband.

So this is my routine, with a few suggestions for you: Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

5:30 Wake up, wash face

I would really suggest waking up early. It is so much better to have time in the morning to geet everything done. You don’t have to wake up at the same time as I do, but adjust the time based on when you need to leave.

As soon as I get up, I go the bathroom and wash my face. I read recently that you really don’t need to wash your face every morning, but I honestly just love the way it feels to have a clean face in the morning. Then I put on face lotion.

I use these (click on the pictures to see better):

Morning Routine Tip #1: If you are not used to getting up early, do it gradually. One week, try waking up ten minutes earlier. Next week, ten minutes earlier than that until you get to where you want to be.

5:45 Walk the dogs

So… I have to walk my dogs in the morning. This is obviously not something that everyone has to do, but I do. But in 48 days, we are moving, and we will have a fenced in yard. I will just open the door and set them free! I cannot wait.

5:55 Yoga or hair

So this alternates. Once every four days, I curl my hair. After that, I just pin my hair up when I am showering. Yes, you may think that’s gross, but it is truly the best for my hair. I use a Aussie hair insurance to smooth and protect my hair, and a wand to curl my hair (check it out here), and it takes of 15 minutes. And I have a lot of hair. And stays for four days.

On the other days, I do yoga. This makes my body feel ready for the day, and helps me feel mentally ready for the day.

Morning Routine #2: Do something for you. We spend the whole day worrying about our students, and it is vitally important to have some time for yourself. Whether that is reading, spending five minutes sipping on coffee in silence, petting your dog, whatever. Take a few minutes for yourself before you spend the whole day worrying about other people.

6:15 Read Bible

This is for obvious reasons, but the same kind of thing. Take a few minutes to take care of yourself. Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

6:30 Breakfast and lunch

At this point, I get mine and my husband’s breakfasts and lunches ready. I try to keep them really simple. He generally takes salads (we buy the salad kits) and something like crackers. I take fruit and yogurt or pretzels. All things we can just throw in a bag and go. For breakfast, I eat oatmeal and he eats a smoothie. And of course, I drink coffee. Morning Tip #3: Keep your breakfast easy.

6:45 Actually getting ready

After all of that, I spend all of fifteen minutes getting ready. I do my makeup (usually a little over 5 minutes. By the way, if you want to keep your make up looking good all day, I would suggest this primer. And using this on your eyebrows is a game changer—it is a super easy and quick thing to do and makes all of the difference.) Then I get my clothes on.

I find the best way to do this is to pick my outfits for the week the week before—I just pick out five things on Thursday or Friday and just put them together in my closet. This eliminates all of the I-don’t-know-what-to-wear issues.

It used to take me forever to pick out clothes, and now I do not. It takes all of five minutes each week and saves my tons of time. And although I curl my hair first, I don’t actually do my hair until after I put my clothes on because it never fails that it will pull all of my bobby pins out of my hair. And I eat my breakfast while I do these things.

7:00 Drive to work

I leave at seven and I drink my coffee on the way to work.

So there you have it—my morning routine and my 3 best tips for your morning routine. Remember, if your morning routine isn’t working, then change it. And keep changing until you get it where you would like.

Also read: Music Lesson Ideas: Jazz

What is your morning routine like? How do you use your morning routine to get ready for your students? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

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Children's Church, Uncategorized

The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Children’s Church

Becca's Music Room

If you have been going to a church for more than a few months, then you are probably familiar with the phrase “voluntold”. As in, no one would volunteer and I missed the meeting, so I got voluntold to do whatever.

If you were voluntold to teach the Children’s Church or Sunday School, don’t fear. It is not the end of the world.

So what do you do? Here are some steps to help you out. It is certainly not everything, but it is a start.

1. Find some help

My first piece of advice? Find some people to help you. You do not have to do this alone.

That may be that you get a teenager to physically help you while you are teaching. It may mean that you get your friend to team teach with you, or teach on weeks you do not teach. It may mean you ask around until you find someone who teaches Sunday School or Children’s Church at another church who can give you some ideas and be a sort of mentor.

But the most difficult times I have had is when I didn’t have anyone to help me out. Don’t do that to yourself.

2. Find something to teach

It doesn’t have to be fancy. My favorite way to find topics to teach? Open you Bible! I will literally pick a character or a book and just go through all of the stories until we get to a stopping point. I did this in a series called “Journey through Genesis” and again between Christmas and Easter (we started with the Christmas story and went through Jesus’ life until he rose again the week after Easter).

Or just think, what is my favorite Bible story? What did I enjoy when I was a kid?

When in doubt, go to the internet! I get a ton of my lessons off of Pinterest. There is no judgement in that. Some of my favorite websites for lessons are ministry-to-children.com (this one is literally the bomb) and DLTK-Bible.

I also will sometimes cover the same story in two different series. For example, we did a series of King David. During that, we did the story about how David cut a piece of Saul’s robe off but spared his life. About two months later, we were talking about the Beautitudes and we covered the same story when we talked about being merciful.

I don’t teach the same thing every day, but I don’t shy away from repeats when it happens that way. It reinforces to students that it is important, and also that the same story has many different parts to it.

Also, the repetition helps them remember.

Becca's Music Room

3. Find Something Else to Do

You can’t just talk and talk and talk. They will not have fun, not pay attention, and not listen to a word you say. Find some activities to do with the kids. Games, songs, videos, and crafts. You don’t need all, but one or two.

I try not to do the same thing for longer than 20 minutes. They do not have attention spans large enough. Think: if you have one hour to teach, try 20 minutes of lesson, 20 minutes or crafts, and 20 minutes of games. It doesn’t always have to be the same, just don’t talk for an hour straight.

Extra tip: pick something fun to do at the end. That way during the lesson you can say, “If you do a good job, then we can play a game at the end!”

4. Don’t forget to pray

Jesus is why you are there, right? Pray for your kids. Pray for with your kids. Ask them to pray with you.

 

Need more help? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

 



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