First Day of School Quick and Easy Things to Do Now

Heading out the door on the first day of school calls for a mix of excitement and nerves. To ensure a smooth transition from lazy summer mornings to busy school schedules, consider these quick and easy tips that will kickstart your child’s routine without the chaos.

1. Prepare the Night Before: Have your child pick out their clothes and pack their backpack with all necessary supplies, including that all-important first-day outfit and an emergency contact card.

2. Healthy Breakfast: Whip up something simple yet nutritious such as whole-grain toast with peanut butter or a yogurt parfait, which will provide the necessary fuel for your child’s day without taking up too much time.

3. Establish a Morning Routine: Create a checklist for your child to follow, which includes brushing teeth, washing face, getting dressed, and eating breakfast. This will help instill a sense of responsibility and time management.

4. Early Bedtime: Starting the week before school begins, gradually adjust bedtime to ensure your child is well-rested. Aim for a consistent bedtime routine.

5. School Visit: If possible, do a quick visit to the school to familiarize your child with the environment and reduce first-day jitters.

6. Positive Reinforcement: Offer words of encouragement. Remind them of past accomplishments and how they can handle new challenges just as competently.

7. Organize Transportation: Double-check bus schedules or plot out walking routes ahead of time to avoid any last-minute confusion about getting to school.

8. Communication with Teachers: Touch base with your child’s teachers to inform them of any special needs or concerns you or your child may have.

By focusing on these simple steps the night before and morning of the first day of school, you’re setting up your child—and yourself—for success throughout the school year. It keeps stress at bay and lets everyone face the new academic year with confidence and poise.

Fresh Classroom Theme Ideas for Teachers


As a teacher, it’s always exciting to start a new school year with a fresh classroom theme. A well-designed classroom theme can create a vibrant and engaging learning environment for students. In this article, we will explore some creative and fresh classroom theme ideas that can inspire teachers to transform their classrooms into captivating spaces.

1. Nature-Inspired Classroom Theme:

Bringing the outdoors inside the classroom can have a calming and refreshing effect on students. Consider decorating the walls with murals depicting scenic landscapes, setting up potted plants, and using natural colors such as greens and blues for classroom furniture and decor. Incorporate nature-related activities and materials into your lessons to align with the theme.

2. Space Exploration Classroom Theme:

Creating a classroom theme centered around space exploration can ignite students’ curiosity and love for science. Hang glow-in-the-dark stars and planets from the ceiling, display astronaut cutouts, and use black and silver colors for bulletin boards and displays. Encourage students to participate in space-themed projects and showcase their work on a dedicated wall.

3. Literature-Based Classroom Theme:

Choose a favorite children’s book or novel and base your classroom theme around it. Create a cozy reading nook with bean bags and bookshelves, decorate the walls with quotes and illustrations from the book, and incorporate related activities into the curriculum. This theme not only fosters a love for reading but also helps students make connections between literature and the world around them.

4. Global Perspective Classroom Theme:

Promote cultural awareness and diversity by creating a classroom theme that celebrates different countries and cultures. Hang flags from around the world, display maps, and incorporate multicultural literature into your classroom library. Have students share their cultural traditions, play global music during breaks, and organize cross-cultural learning activities.

5. STEM-Inspired Classroom Theme:

With the growing emphasis on STEM education, a classroom theme that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and math can be both educational and engaging. Use bright colors and science-themed decorations in your classroom, create a whiteboard dedicated to showcasing scientific experiments, and provide STEM kits and materials for hands-on learning activities.


Starting a new school year with a fresh classroom theme can ignite students’ enthusiasm for learning and create a positive and engaging environment. Consider the above theme ideas or come up with your own creative themes that align with your teaching style and curriculum. Remember that a well-designed classroom not only enhances the learning experience but also promotes a sense of belonging and inspiration among students.

17 Fabulous Fruit Salad Activities For Preschool


Fruit salad activities are a fun and engaging way for preschoolers to learn about various fruits, improve their motor skills, and practice healthy eating habits. In this article, we’ll explore 17 fabulous fruit salad activities that will make your preschool classroom a more exciting space for learning and interaction.

1. Fruit Sorting

Provide an assortment of plastic fruits and baskets or bowls for children to separate the fruits by type. This activity helps improve fine motor skills and teaches kids to recognize different fruits.

2. Fruit Match

Using fruit-themed flashcards, children can practice matching cards with the same fruit on them. This exercise enhances memory and recognition skills.

3. Fruit Salad Sensory Bin

Fill a large sensory bin with fruit-themed items such as toy fruits, shredded paper, scoops, and tongs. This tactile activity encourages fine motor development and exploration.

4. Create a Fruit Collage

Give each child a blank sheet of paper and provide them with cut-outs of different fruits. Children can create their own fruit salad collage using glue sticks to attach the cut-outs onto the paper.

5. Fruit Stamping Art

Provide sliced fruits such as apples, oranges, and melons along with washable paint for children to dip and stamp onto paper. This activity combines creativity with a lesson in unique patterns made by different fruits.

6. Counting Fruits

With plastic or toy fruits, children can practice counting and develop their early math skills while also learning about various types of fruit.

7. Tasting Activity

Bring in real fruits for children to sample (with parental permission). Discuss their taste preferences and how different fruits have unique flavors, colors, and textures.

8. Storytime: Fruit-themed Books

Share engaging stories featuring fruit characters or topics to spark language development and listening skills.

9. Alphabet Fruit Hunt

Create laminated cards featuring fruit images with corresponding letters of the alphabet. Hide the cards around the classroom and have children hunt for them while working on letter recognition.

10. Fruit Memory Game

Place fruit-themed cards face down and have children take turns flipping two cards over at a time to find matching pairs.

11. Colorful Fruit Patterns

Provide various fruit-shaped cutouts in different colors, and encourage children to create patterns with these vibrant pieces.

12. Sing-Along

Teach children fun fruit-themed songs that they can enjoy singing together. This can help develop language and social skills.

13. Fruit-themed Obstacle Course

Set up an obstacle course incorporating fruit items, like scooping plastic fruits into a basket while balancing on a balance beam.

14. Create a Fruit Garden

Using toy fruits or paper cutouts, kids can design their own fruit garden on a large sheet of paper by pasting or placing the fruits in rows or patterns.

15. Dress-up Time

Incorporate fruit-related props into dress-up time, such as straw hats adorned with plastic fruits or aprons featuring fruit designs.

16. Fruit Puzzle

Provide puzzles featuring images of various types of fruit to help children practice problem-solving and develop spatial awareness skills.

17. Cooking Class: Making Real Fruit Salad

As a special activity (with parental permission), have the children help prepare a real fruit salad using an assortment of fresh fruits. This activity reinforces healthy eating habits and helps kids become familiar with various types of fruit.


These 17 fabulous fruit salad activities will keep your preschooler entertained while also teaching them valuable lessons about fruits, healthy eating habits, and enhancing their cognitive skills. Incorporate these activities into your curriculum for an engaging, fruitful learning experience!

22 Memorable Back-to-School Night Ideas

1. Classroom Scavenger Hunt: Create a fun scavenger hunt for parents and students to complete together, finding various items and locations in the classroom.

2. Welcome Video: Film a short welcome video to introduce yourself and give an overview of what to expect for the school year.

3. Classcraft: Introduce parents to an online learning platform that gamifies classroom activities, encouraging student collaboration and building a positive classroom culture.

4. Escape Room Challenge: Set up an educational escape room activity where families must work together to solve puzzles related to the curriculum.

5. Potluck Dinner: Host a potluck dinner where everyone brings a dish to share, showcasing their family traditions and encouraging bonding between families.

6. Learning Stations: Set up different learning stations around the classroom, featuring activities related to various academic subjects and grade-level standards.

7. Photo Booth: Create a DIY photo booth with props and backdrops for families to capture memories of the night.

8. Craft Corner: Offer a simple, age-appropriate craft project for students and parents to create together as a keepsake from Back-to-School Night.

9. Classroom Wish List: Prepare a wish list of supplies and resources needed for the upcoming school year and let parents sign up to donate items or contribute funds.

10. All About Me Scrapbook Page: Provide materials for students and parents to create an “All About Me” scrapbook page, highlighting the student’s interests, hobbies, and goals for the year.

11. Volunteer Sign-Up Station: Have a station where parents can sign up to volunteer for various class events, field trips, or other activities throughout the year.

12. Curriculum Showcase: Display examples of student work from previous years, outlining the key elements of the curriculum for each subject area throughout the upcoming school year.

13. Art Gallery Walk: Display artwork created by students during previous years in a gallery-like setting, allowing parents to appreciate the talent and creativity of your students.

14. Parent-Teacher Conference Sign-Up: Provide a signup sheet for parents to schedule a parent-teacher conference during the first semester.

15. QR Code Classroom Tour: Create a self-guided tour of the classroom using QR codes linked to information about different areas in the room, learning tools, and resources.

16. Class Community Builder: Conduct an icebreaker activity where families break into small groups and work together to create a class motto or symbol representing their shared values.

17. Technology Showcase: Set up stations with various educational technologies used in the classroom, such as tablets or interactive whiteboards, allowing parents to experience these tools firsthand.

18. Buddy System: Pair up older and younger students for a “buddy” system, connecting them throughout the school year for mentorship and support in various activities.

19. Interactive Read-Aloud: Read aloud an engaging children’s book while encouraging participation from both parents and children with interactive elements like call-and-response or sound effects.

20. Classroom Contract: Collaboratively develop a classroom contract outlining expectations for behavior, participation, and communication between students, parents, and teachers.

21. Time Capsule Activity: Have each family contribute an item or note that represents their hopes and expectations for the school year and seal it in a time capsule to be opened at the end of the year.

22. Thank You Notes: Provide materials for students to write personalized thank you notes to their parents for attending Back-to-School Night and supporting their education.

You’ll Want To Steal This Teacher’s Adorable “Message in a Book” Idea

Every now and then, an idea comes along that changes the way we think about education, and this teacher’s “Message in a Book” idea is one you’ll definitely want to steal. Books have always been a primary tool for learning, but embracing a creative approach can make the act of reading an even more enriching experience.

The “Message in a Book” idea began as a simple concept: Encourage students to find positive notes hidden inside books, left there by teachers and other classmates. As this practice became more widespread, it evolved into a wonderful method to foster community spirit and nurture the love of reading among students.

So how does the “Message in a Book” work? It all starts with teachers selecting books from their classroom library or borrowing them from the school library. They carefully hide positive messages inside the books – in the form of sticky notes or bookmarks – that contain words of encouragement and praise for those who discover them.

These messages might include compliments on creativity, curiosity, or kindness; they could be uplifting quotes, snippets of song lyrics or even personalized life advice. The key is that each message should inspire and motivate students to continue reading, learning, and growing.

Once the messages are in place, teacher place these books back onto library shelves or distribute them among study spaces. Students are then encouraged to pick up any book that catches their eye, enjoying the possibility of discovering a hidden treasure as they explore worlds contained within those pages.

As young readers progress through their chosen texts, they are delighted by these surprises tucked within the leaves of books. The thrill of finding an unexpected note excites them even further about reading, promoting class discussion and boosting morale.

Beyond the excitement of discovery that motivates children to keep reading, there are several noteworthy benefits associated with the “Message in a Book” idea:

1. Social-Emotional Learning: Finding supportive, heartfelt messages in a book fosters empathy, self-awareness and positive self-esteem in students. It helps to create a compassionate classroom environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

2. Peer Bonding: Knowing that fellow classmates are responsible for some of these hidden messages creates a sense of shared joy between students. This practice encourages collaboration, connection, and camaraderie among classmates.

3. Teacher-Student Connection: Teachers can use this opportunity to share specific praise or advice to students, fostering a deeper connection between them that surpasses the academic level.

With its surprising simplicity and undeniable charm, it’s easy to see why the “Message in a Book” idea has resonated with so many educators and students alike. To implement this adorable strategy in your own classroom, embrace creativity and let the joy of discovery ignite a newfound love of reading in your students.

15 Times That School Signs Made Us LOL (Even When They Didn’t Mean To)


School signs are meant to inform, educate, and enforce rules. However, there have been instances where they’ve managed to turn heads and make us laugh out loud – without even trying! Here are 15 hilarious school sign mishaps that we just can’t get enough of.

1. The Irony Strikes:

A sign outside a school reads, “Fasion and Desighn Club.” It seems like this might be the perfect place for the students to learn about spelling!

2. Refer to Page 404:

A sign highlighting their new library technology boasts, “404 Computer Lab – Moving Education Forward,” only for us to associate it with the infamous ‘404 Error’ that’s encountered when a webpage is not found.

3. Seeing is Not Believing:

An optical illusion of a sign says, “Honk If You Love Jesus; Text While Driving If You Want To Meet Him.”

4. A Hygiene Reminder:

A restroom sign pokes fun at germaphobes with, “Hand Sanitizer: Now Less Effective Due to Overuse.”

5. Physics Meets Philosophy:

Outside a physics class, a sign muses in jest, “What if Schrodinger’s cat went to school? Would it study both inside and outside of its box?”

6. Eco-friendly Lunch Suggestions:

“Help Save the Earth,” suggests a cafeteria sign. “It’s the only planet with chocolate!”

7. No Pushing Allowed:

On entrance doors of a school that read ‘PULL’, someone cleverly placed stickers above each word stating “Do Not.”

8. A Spelling Lesson to Remember:

During an event promoting literacy awareness, the unfortunate sign spelled it as “Literacy Awarness.” Oops!

9. Proper Punctuation Matters:

An expressive notice regarding quiet hours during exams says: “QUIET!!! Please students’ are reading.”

10. Talk About Work-Life Balance:

A well-meaning school sign suggests, “Please turn off your phones – and enjoy your kids.”

11. Cafeteria Wisdom:

In a colorful display of culinary philosophy, one sign says, “You are what you eat. Don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.”

12. Food for Thought:

A clever quip graces the school’s lunch lines: “Vegetarian: Ancient tribal slang for the village idiot who can’t hunt, fish, or ride.”

13. Clear Communication:

“Drugs Will Turn You into a Slug,” warns a school sign with unusual metaphorical flair.

14. The Honest Report Card:

Capturing the dread of every student, a sign claims “Report cards will be sent out Monday to crush weekend plans.”

15. Words of Encouragement:

A creative bulletin board catches everyone’s attention with its uplifting message: “Make waffles, not war.”


While these school signs may not have all been intentionally funny, they certainly managed to spread some laughter and brighten our days! It’s always refreshing to encounter humor in unexpected places – even at school!

Why Are So Many Colleges in Danger of Closing?

According to a study by Vanderbilt University, an average of five non-profit colleges and universities closed every year between 2003 and 2013.

This is a disturbing trend and it is likely to continue and even accelerate over the next few years. But how could so many universities be closing when it’s the students who are drowning in debt?

According to Moody’s, it’s because one-third of all American higher education institutions are on a path of financial instability – and that path is not projected to be sustainable over time.

There’s no one reason that American school’s finances have reached this state. Rather, it’s a whole list of reasons and each impacts individual colleges differently.

Declining Enrolment

College enrolment is declining and this is impacting colleges across the board – both big and small.

Part of this is caused by the fact that high school graduation rates have flat-lined. But the lackluster graduation rate isn’t the only cause of enrolment woes.

Enrolment began declining during and after the 2008 crash, but it also hasn’t recovered in part because tuition and student loan debt have both grown at rates that create for wary prospective students.

Students are looking for a return on such a large investment and many of them aren’t seeing it in the marketplace.

While all colleges are affected by declining enrolment, it’s the smallest colleges that struggle the most with these figures, particularly if they don’t have trusts to rely on and must navigate their financial woes.

Smaller Market Shares

Small private colleges have traditionally held a unique place in the higher education landscape of the United States.

But that landscape is changing dramatically, and those colleges have failed to keep up with what students now want and need from colleges, particularly for the price demanded by these institutions.

New, online institutions and traditional universities deploying online programs are tuning in to what students want, and smaller colleges struggle to gather the finances to compete. Combined with dwindling college enrolment, small private colleges are struggling to maintain a piece of a shrinking market.

Will Small Colleges Go Extinct?

Small colleges may suffer financially over the next few years, but the idea of extinction remains alarmist.

First, the Moody’s report considers closures and mergers of small colleges to be the same thing, but they derive from very different natures. In fact, mergers can be positive for both parties because they drive what is most important – providing students what they want in a small setting.

Indeed, if one considers that small colleges are changing – not closing completely – the landscape looks slightly more positive.

The higher education landscape will continue to be challenged by new trends and just as in any sector, those institutions that fail to adapt risk failure. Learning lessons from the schools failing now will only make them stronger in the future.


Colleges Seek New Revenue Streams, As Students Push Back Over Tuition Increases

It’s been said that death and taxes are the only two guarantees in life, but there may be a third one: rising college tuition costs.

The rising cost of tuition has not exceeded annual inflation costs, but rates continue to rise. Colleges are being forced to seek new revenue streams, as students push back over tuition increases.

Universities are finding new sources of income from surprising and creative sources.

Generate more green with gardening

Universities seek unusual ways to supplement their endowments to stabilize tuition costs and prevent them from skyrocketing. That may mean franchising merchandise and finding other creative ways to generate more income.

Unity College in Maine, for example, sells produce from its greenhouses. They also sell gardening implements, outdoor decorations, and offer community workshops – for a fee.

Provide professional development services

Who better to turn to for corporate training than universities known for their outstanding executive education programs? Schools like Harvard University are marketing their services exclusively to multimillionaires, and other universities are finding local training opportunities of their own.

By offering professional development services that enhance and accelerate careers, colleges can generate new income streams.

Capitalize on what matters most to your fans

Fans take football and other athletic games seriously at some universities, and missing a game means missing out one the best plays. University of Texas-Austin fans will never have to miss another moment of important games because they can purchase an annual subscription that allows them to see the game, highlights, and press conferences.

The school launched a partnership with a cable company to provide the subscriptions, and the university collects revenue for each subscription.

Receptive to new ideas

University leaders are welcoming diverse opportunities that will help them secure new funding sources. Alternative sources of revenue may include:

  • Seniors’ marketing programs (weekend retreats, destination travel led by faculty members, retire communities)
  • Banking services (campus banks, loyalty programs, insurance and retirement programs)
  • Consulting and outsourcing services (education, nursing, technology, business, and marketing)

Also, universities are seeking ways to increase their brand by offering décor, license plates and designer labels on everything from clothing to wine.

Discount rates

 Universities are also hoping to lure bargain shoppers to their schools.

By offering discounted rates for tuition, universities have hoped to increase their enrollments. The idea is that more students will mean more revenue, even if these students aren’t paying full price for their degrees. In 2016-2017, discounted tuition rates reached 49.1%, the highest it’s ever been.

Generous financial aid packages may attract students, but will likely not be sustainable long-term.

Applying resets

Some colleges and universities have tried tuition resets, which is another way to discount the cost of a college education. They reset the price of tuition to what it had been several years ago, in the hopes that students will feel as though they are getting a good deal on tuition costs.

A reset gives an arbitrary picture of tuition costs. In reality, some students may be paying more for tuition after a reset because other students at the same school are given deep discounts that exceed the benefits of a reset. The actual cost of a degree at the same university can vary widely between students enrolled in the same program, leaving students who pay the reset price to pay a higher price in tuition.

Graduate school

Encouraging students to continue their studies may be one of the best revenue-generating strategies universities have in their financial war-chests. Tuition paid for graduate studies is filling the sinking coffers of undergraduate tuition costs. Online graduate degree programs, with their greater flexibility, are helping to generate revenue quickly.

Simmons College, for example, has doubled its tuition revenue as a result of increasing their graduate school programs and attracting more students to them.

Diversified income sources are becoming more common as nontraditional ways to generate revenue. As students continue to push back over tuition increases, universities will explore more strategies to keep their schools open.

What it Takes to Get into the Ivy League

Getting accepted at an elite Ivy League school is harder than ever.

Not only have the numbers of candidates for these coveted seats increased, but so have the entrance requirements. Ivy League colleges and universities accept only the best students.

Even if you’ve earned top grades in high school and on your college entrance exams, you still might not be Ivy League material.

Let’s look at what it takes to get into the Ivy League.

Set your sights early

If you’re thinking about going to an Ivy League school, your work begins long before your senior year. You’ll need to take higher level courses such as advanced mathematics in high school, and to make room for these classes, you may find yourself learning algebra in middle school.

You’ll need to make good grades in these subjects, and although you don’t need a perfect SAT/ACT score, you must show outstanding performance on your college entrance exams. Your grades and exam scores are predictors of college success.

Discover everything you can about the university

A commitment to getting a college degree is not something to be taken casually, Ivy League schools are most likely to accept students they think will be a good fit for their program. As a hopeful candidate, you have to do due diligence. Research every school to which you are applying.

Show your passion

For years everyone thought being well-rounded was the way to get into an Ivy League school. That meant getting good grades, lettering in sports, volunteering in the community, holding down a job and saving the world in your spare time. Applicants  were well-rounded but stretched thin. They had no focus and less passion.

The best way to get into an Ivy League school today is to show that you are passionate about what you do. You might only do one thing, but these schools want to see your passion for it. They also want to know that you are focused and ethical about your work.

Be yourself

Ivy League schools are looking for students who are authentic. Successful candidates who secure admission to one of these eight elite schools must be comfortable with being themselves.

Honesty goes a long way and so does being yourself. One of the best places to demonstrate both is in your application essay. Keep the tone formal, but write as though you are speaking to the decision-making committee. Avoid writing an exaggerated novel. Instead, approach the composition with honest answers that reveal who you are as a person.

It takes academic strength, knowledge about the school to which you are applying, deep passion, and personal integrity to get into the Ivy League. Your acceptance letter will recognize those characteristics, and your future Ivy League school will help you nurture them during your studies.

How Public Universities Are Failing the Public

The path to success has always been a standard progression: Go to school, get good grades. Go to college, get a good career. Get a good career, help your community.

The linchpin in the progression is the college degree.

Your bachelor’s degree verifies your ability to learn a subject deeply. It provides you with a common foundation steeped in history, philosophy, and psychology. Your degree says you can commit to achieving your goals over a several year period, and that you understand the importance of delaying gratification.

College degrees make it possible for graduates to improve their socio-economic status and take better care of themselves, their families and their communities. And yet, public universities are failing their only customer: the public. How is this possible?

Fail #1: Biased benefits 

Many students can to attend a university only because of financial aid. When wealthy students have access to the same subsidies, grants and other tuition discounts as poorer students, they gain a competitive edge in several ways.

First, they are able to spend someone else’s money rather than their own. More importantly, these students are taking money from students who need the financial aid far worse than they do.

If a lower-income student does not have access to enough financial aid, he or she will not be able to attend college and earn a degree. 

Fail #2: Budget cuts and tuition increases 

Public universities are supposed to be public centers of learning. These institutions are usually far more cost effective and affordable than their private counterparts. In short, a public school can put a college degree well within reach of most Americans.

Over the past several years, however, budget cuts have forced universities to turn  elsewhere for revenue streams. Some of the schools have looked to creative revenue streams, but most have resorted to tuition hikes to stem the budget hemorrhage.

By increasing tuition, public schools are turning their backs on the public who most need a college degree.

Fail #3: Limited awareness

Low-income students tend to avoid ambitious goals when applying to colleges. They under-match their skills and goals, applying at smaller, less well-known colleges. These students simply don’t realize they are capable of getting into more prestigious universities. Better schools are more likely to help larger percentages of their matriculated students graduate.

Universities should target students with awareness campaigns that show how graduating from a four-year institution of higher learning is the key to lifetime success.

If they do anything less, public universities are perpetuating the cycle of failure among the population needing college degrees the most.