Life Skills for Kids – Quarter Plan for Chores


Quarter Plan
Each boy starts the month off with 1 quarter for each day of the month.  January has 31 days, so they received 31 quarters.  I poke my head in their rooms daily to see if they made their beds.  If they did they keep their quarter, if not, they bring one to me.  (it’s much more painful to bring the quarter to mom)

If at the end of the month they’ve kept all their quarters, they can trade it in for approximately $7.00 extra in cash each month.  Money talks for my kids, maybe your children would prefer points or pom poms.

We’ll refill quarters at the beginning of the next month and add a new task (probably the bathroom) in addition to making beds.  Make sense?

I know it seems like I’m taking very simple steps, but if we have 12 new tasks done and implemented by the end of the year it could be genius!

What would be on your to-do list?

*** This idea was taken from Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma.  She instituted a dollar plan, I’ve knocked it down to a quarter plan.

Help Your Child Become a Better Reader (free printable Hand-out)


Free PDF Printable hand-out: Help with Reading

Great For Parents and also great for teachers to hand out to parents at the beginning of the year.


Don’t Laugh At Me – Anti-Bullying Activity

Download and print activity and lyrics written in poem format from the Book “Don’t Laugh At Me.” dontlaughatmeformatted

Watch the Youtube Video: 


Red, Yellow, and Green Thoughts Visual (free printable)

Red, Yellow, and Green Thoughts Visual (free printable)


Download and Print here: RedYellowandGreenThoughtsVisual

This is the Text:


Things you can think but never say.

These are “weird” thoughts.

Example: “Your outfit is really ugly.”


Things you can think but only say to SOME people.

Example: “I had an accident.”


Things you can think and say to ANYONE!

Example: “It’s a beautiful day.”


How to Get Kids to Slow Down with Their Work: 25 Tips from Teachers

How to Get Kids to Slow Down with Their Work

Advice from Real Teachers

When it comes to encouraging kids to produce quality work, one of the biggest problems we face is getting kids to slow down and take their time. For some reason, students seem to feel there’s some sort of prize for the one who finishes first, or maybe it’s just that they want to rush through some assignments to get to other activities they think will be more fun. If this is something that you struggle with in your classroom, read on to learn 25 terrific tips from real teachers who have solved this problem.

Today’s Question

Today’s teacher question comes from Cassandra who asks, “Can anyone share strategies for getting kids to slow down in their work? I feel like a lot my kids wanted to get things done as fast as possible and I struggled to motivate them to have pride in their work and take their time.”

Top 25 Tips for Getting Kids to Slow Down with Their Work
Apparently many teachers have a similar problem, and lots of terrific strategies were shared. I eliminated duplicates and narrowed the list to what I felt were the top 25 responses.

  1. Gidget Greenlee – I always tell my students, “I would rather be the last A than the first F”.
  2. Casey McDaniel – 1) Explain how long you think the activity or assignment should take and why.  Emphasize quality of work and expectations. 2)  Have a turn-in tub “timer.”  Don’t “open” the tub until you think the appropriate amount of time has passed. 3)  Circulate around your classroom and keep an eye out for early finishers. Provide feedback and ask questions to help student dig deeper and put forth more effort. 4)  Do speed conferences. Review early finishers’ work quickly and provide quick feedback verbally or on sticky notes to help students improve their work. 5)  Always have follow-up tasks to assign to early finishers so they are never “done.”  This should eliminate some of the rush to complete assignments and place value on quality.
  3. Cathy VoglerI write them a “speeding ticket” and then put it in their planner for their parents to sign also. The student then has to do the work again during their free time at home and recess. I found the speeding tickets on TeachersPayTeachers.
  4. Emma FarrellSometimes if they know there is a fun activity at the end, they tend to rush. I like to use a star system that encourages students to work towards five star rated work. Come together as a class to decide on what that will be. Each criteria will be different for each lesson. Add things like, spelling, neatness, structure (for genre writing), tense etc.
  5. Lydia WoodHave them write the time they start and time they finish on their paper. Give an example of how long a good paper should take. If they get a bad grade, you have proof of how long it took them
  6. Julie LawsonI tell me first graders “it’s NOT a race ….(and they finish my sentence in unison ).. It’s a JOURNEY”.  Then I finish with “enjoy your journey.”
  7. Paula CullYou can set a timer and explain all you want, but they’re still going to rush through it.  If I see one of my middle schoolers rushing through something, I collect their assignment when it’s finished and then give them another copy of the assignment and tell them that they will keep doing it until they do it correctly.  It sounds harsh, but they need to realize that they need to do their assignments correctly.
  8. Trinity TracySet a timer and project it.  This shows them they still have plenty of time left.  It also has the added bonus of getting stragglers to speed up!
  9. Judy Harrison I have an under 70 % redo policy.  That slows the speeders down, they hate having to redo work.
  10. Melanie Dorrian – “I want your best work, not your fastest work.”  Say it like you mean it.
  11. Melanie KetchamShow them what an acceptable paper looks like and then show them what is not acceptable. Then stick to those standards and have rewards for those who follow your directions. (rewards could be to color, read, or play an academic game on the computer) The other students will soon follow your lead. They always want to please.
  12. Anita ErnestI tell my kids that I will not accept any “slop hoppin chop suey.” I make them redo anything that is not their best work. They have to make it up during their free time (recess, specials, lunch)
  13. Alex JavoianPost exemplar model pieces and a general rubric so they can “grade” their own work before turning it in.
  14. Virginia NollandI tell my kids to complete a section of work at a time then they must show me. If it’s not up to expectation, they have to complete that part again. As their work improves I stretch out the time they have to show me.
  15. Carie RosaThis is a method used to help students do a good job on their work with a picture analogy. What you can do is take some pictures of you baking a cupcake in steps. The steps represent work turned in complete and not so complete just as you are baking a cupcake. You can take a picture of a perfectly finished cupcake and then make a sloppy one to take a pic of. Just show the difference and reference that to nice neat work. This year I will take four pictures and reference them to neat work. For example a plain non frosted cupcake, a perfectly frosted cupcake, a sloppy one and a burnt one.
  16. Natalie Wheeler – I send best work to the principal for praise.
  17. Tiffani ReedWe talk about and model quality work. What is quality work? How do you know? Show examples. Have the kids tell you what makes it quality work. Then only accept quality work from your students.
  18. CM GoodrichPost a “Star” work poster displaying samples of great work, call it a club, and daily add new names as work improves.  Also might try no cost rewards for good work product like entering name in jar to draw for biweekly eating lunch in room with teacher, etc.
  19. Joli Isip ScolloConference and give positive feedback and next steps (how to improve). Send them back to their seats to work on those next steps.
  20. Shelley Rolston – As crazy as this sounds, the best strategy I had this year after sharing and promoting others work was a happy face in their agenda ( next year it will be Class Dojo) for effort and neat work. I spoke to the parents ahead of time and they worked out an incentive at home for the child’s goal. (Ex 4/5 happy faces) It worked  MIRACLES for the five or so 2nd graders I had. I suspect it could be adapted for older kids. They have to want to care. For the rest of the class, sharing their work aloud and peer editing is very effective. In both cases you’ll notice it is almost solely out of the teacher’s hands which is where it needs to be.
  21. Daniel OsborneAt the beginning of the year I make a big deal of being proud of your work. I show different examples of my own work from college or grad school and ask them to describe what they see. I also show them examples of work from some of previous students that are not acceptable. They go through them and give me reasons why they were not acceptable. I also say on a near daily basis, “Be proud of your work. Do not turn in slop.”  If I do get slop I make them redo it. Once they see I am serious I rarely have students redo work.
  22. Georgia BoethinI don’t let students get up to turn their work in when they are finished.  They are to keep working or read if they get finished until I give them a signal that they have about a minute or two left to complete work.  I then ask them to pass their work to the east or west and then north or south to a designated person. I teach them to place their paper face up with the top aligned as it should be on the next student’s desk.  That student passes both of them on to the next and so on.  All the papers are turned in at one time, and all of them are ready to just pick up and correct.  It keeps the classroom orderly, and it avoids that rush to be done when someone gets up to turn in a paper.  It’s very efficient.  I teach fifth grade, so I don’t know if it would work with younger students, but I would think that it would.
  23. Angela Boykin-Schoppe – I make a LOT of comments praising quality work. What worked great with one of my boys (2nd grade) was letting him choose one assignment each day and do his very best.  It was so beautiful that even his classmates noticed and complimented it on it. Before long–and it only took a week–the quality work was the norm. This probably wouldn’t work as well on older kids though.
  24. Laurel  Quinn – I make a big deal out of quality student examples and what parts are to be celebrated. They go up on a star board. Rubrics are needed, too. I try not to accept rushed work. Keep making them redo, giving them pieces to focus on,  and eventually after hundreds of eyeball rolls, they will hopefully try the first time.
  25. Sheila Quintana – I teach high school ELL. When my students tell me they’re finished, I just point to the “I’m finished” folder stapled to the wall. They can choose to check their work or grab an assignment out of the folder. 9 times out of 10 they choose to make their work better. Those that choose an extra assignment can have that assign

10 Table Manners for Kids

iMOM 10 Table Manners for Kids

Laminate – Post in the kitchen – Practice, Practice, Practice – it will be worth it come family gatherings, restaurants or even just at your kitchen table 🙂


11 Way to Raise a Grateful Child

11 Ways To Raise A Grateful Child

“Thank you for making dinner, Momma.”

“Thank you for my new toy.”

“Thank you for reading to me.”

“Bee, thanks for the balloon. Thanks for getting my favorite color.”

When I hear my boys say these things, unprompted by me, I feel…well…thankful. I am grateful that they are starting to appreciate what they have and what others do for them and to recognize that expressing their gratitude to others is kind and important. I’m grateful that something we’re doing must be paying off.

So, just how do parents raise grateful children? I’m not an expert on gratitude, but I am sure that appreciation is not taught with a single, mind-changing lesson. Rather, the lessons are in the every day. And it isn’t just about teaching appreciation for things. Appreciating experiences and other people are important too. Here are 11 ways to raise a grateful child.

1.  Tell him thank you. – Much like “give respect to be respected,” children learn to appreciate by being appreciated. Thank your child for clearing the table, for playing nicely with his little sister, for waiting patiently while you finish a phone call. Thank him for just being a downright awesome kid. Show him how it feels to be appreciated and have his effort recognized, what it gratitude sounds like, and how easily it can be a part of daily life.

2.  Let him hear you thank others. – Our children learn so much by watching us. We can tell our kids to be grateful, but showing them what that means is so much more powerful. Point out the kind thing a neighbor or even a stranger did, and express how much you appreciate it. Tell your spouse thank you, for making dinner, for helping with baths, for being a great parent. Let your kids hear you express appreciation for these things that are so easy to take for granted.

3.  Don’t give her everything she wants. – Is it cliche to say that kids who have everything will appreciate nothing? When Zip was a preschooler, I worried about him having a serious case of the gimmes. Maybe it was just his age, but I have to think that my tendency to bring home little gifts “just because” and indulge his every wish when we went shopping was part of the problem. We made a conscious effort to scale back – a lot – and I noticed a big improvement in his appreciation for the things we did give him.

4.  Give her the things she needs, and provide her with opportunities to earn the things she wants. – Earning can take many forms, like a reward for accomplishing a certain goal or an allowance for chores. Even if you don’t want to tie an allowance to chores, the simple expectation that kids use their own money buy “extras” helps them to understand that many experiences and things require someone’s hard work. (When my boys ask for something at the store, I often ask if they are willing to spend their own money. If the answer is no, my response is usually that if it isn’t something they want badly enough to spend their own money on, they shouldn’t expect me to spend my money on it.)

5.  Keep rewards reasonable. It doesn’t take much to make kids happy, but when they constantly receive big rewards we are setting them up to think big is a way of life. A 50 cent allowance for a kindergartner is enough. When kids are potty training, stickers or M&Ms do the trick. They don’t need a new toy every time they poop or $10 a week. Save the big stuff – video games, a trip to the amusement park – for special occasions or celebrating really big accomplishments, so that it holds its value.

6. Call her out when she is unappreciative. – This doesn’t mean lecture the poor kid about how ungrateful she is, of course, but gently let her know, “Hey, you’re really taking this for granted and it’s not okay.” We’ve run into this at dinnertime a lot. If the boys moan and groan about what we’ve served for dinner, our response is something along the lines of, “I think what you mean to say is ‘Thank you, Daddy, for taking the time to cook us dinner tonight.'” This usually stops them in their tracks. It lets them know they can appreciate the work that goes into making dinner, whether or not they like what’s on their plates!

7Give back. – There are so many ways to give back to our community and to those in need. Rather than doing this solo, involve the kids and talk about what you are doing. Together, select a toy for Toys for Tots. Volunteer to help your local food bank with gleaning. Make care packages for the local homeless shelter. Encourage your child to put a small part of her allowance in the Salvation Army kettles in December. Participate in a walk-for-a-cause.

8.  Help your child see the need around her. – Need can come in so many forms. No matter your family’s situation, you can likely find examples in your community of people in greater need. Talk about why the Toys for Tots boxes are placed around town at the holidays. Point out the food bank when you drive by and talk about why it exists. As you tuck your child in at night, talk about how some children are not so lucky to have warm beds and a fridge full of food. If those things are a struggle for your family, help your child appreciate being healthy and loved. Those things seem so basic, but they are worth appreciating!

9.  Teach your child about developing countries. Not in a “Woe are the poor people in those other countries” kind of way, but in a more specific way. Talk about how some countries do not have clean drinking water or medicines available. Find examples in the news or books to share with your kids. Sponsor a child through Food for the Hungry and have your child exchange letters with her, and talk about why your sponsorship is important. Help your child to recognize that there is a world beyond her own.

10.  Incorporate daily gratitudes into your family’s routine. Whether it is part of your dinnertime routine, bedtime, or some sort of gratitude journal, encourage your child to find things to be thankful for every day. Help him to notice the little things that we so often take for granted.

11. Write thank you notes. Good ol’ fashioned thank you notes. They are more than a polite formality. They can also help children to realize that the fact a person gave them a gift or came to their party or did something especially nice for them is worth being recognized and acknowledged.


“When is it Okay to Laugh?” Social Story/Social Narrative – Free download

The packet you can download for free contains the printable social story, worksheets to accompany it, and take home worksheets.

It’s a great way to get your kids to understand when it’s OK and not OK to laugh!


Download Social Narrative for FREE here: appropriatelaughingsocialstory

Here is How it starts:

The packet you can download for free contains the printable social story, worksheets to accompany it, and take home worksheets.

It’s a great way to get your kids to understand when it’s OK and not OK to laugh!