Christmas Sensory Bin Ideas

Looking for a festive way to occupy an energetic toddler? We’ve all been there! With colder weather, we tend to spend the majority of our time indoors with little to occupy the time. Look no further than a Christmas Sensory Bin. Little ones can play for hours in these bins of fun. And the best part is, you already have the materials needed lying around.  So fun, but also so inexpensive. Sensory bins support a wide range of learning skills. Toddlers can strengthen their language development, sort objects, create patterns, identify colors, and shapes all through PLAY.

What you’ll need to create a sensory bin? 

There are many options when creating your own sensory bin. Collect an assortment of (fake) small gifts, jingle bells, garland, tinsel, miniature Christmas trees, reindeer, snow, etc. The possibilities are truly endless. Have fun, be creative, and make it your own. Most importantly, create a bin best suited for your student or child. The objective is to allow children to learn through play. Find a box, tote, or bin to house your materials. Gather a lid to prevent it from spilling and use it over and over again!

Plus, look how adorable!

Activity One: Create Patterns with a Sensory Bin 

Create a fun game where children can create patterns. Discuss what a pattern is and show them with an example from the bin. Work with your student or child to create new patterns. This is a great way to expose young children to new shapes, colors, sizes, and textures.  Use play as an experience for them to learn new things.

Little ones can sort and create patterns based on:

·   Size (Which is bigger?)

·  Texture (Which feels smooth and feels bumpy?)

·  Shape (Can we sort the circles from the squares?)

·   Color (What colors do we see? Can we sort them?)

Use this as an opportunity to interact with your child/student through play and discussion.  Children learn best during engaging, hands-on activities.

Activity Two: Play a Game with the Sensory Bin 

Allow the sensory bin to become a way of communication for your toddler or student. Play a game of I Spy. They will LOVE it! Model how to play the game and use it as a time for the child to express what he/she has learned. Guide and direct open-ended questions!

·  What do you see?

·  What color is it?

·  Do you think it’s soft and smooth or is it bumpy and hard?

If learning is made fun, it will never feel like learning, only play!

Activity Three: Play Math Games with the Sensory Bin 

Last, of all, use the sensory bin as a way to explore basic math skills. Create a counting or addition game. Use Santa, the Reindeer, or other objects you have included practicing basic addition.

For example:

·  Count how many Santa’s are in the bin, snowmen, reindeer? etc.

·  Hide objects such as dominos or counter cubes in the bin. Little ones can explore the bin and find the hidden item. Count the number of cubes or number of dots on the domino!

·  Children can count how many green objects are in the bin, how many red, etc.

Sensory bins are great indoor options to keep wiggly toddlers busy during the winter months! Customize them however you wish for endless play all season long. How do you use sensory bins in your classroom or with your toddler at home? 

4 Stages of Instagram Engagement

You have an Instagram for your business, now what? Learning how to be successful on Instagram isn’t just about the number of followers. Instead, success comes from engaging your audience and making great content marketed to the right people! It might seem overwhelming but with careful planning an Instagram marketing strategy you can be successful.  

Whether you are just starting out on Instagram or have hundreds of thousands of followers, it’s important to learn the different fundamental stages of Instagram growth and how to get to each stage is crucial to the longevity of taking your business to the next level! I am excited to share my stages of Instagram success with you! 

Stage 1: Visibility 

On Instagram, you need to prioritize quality over quantity. For some sellers, in the beginning, it’s important to post every day or even twice a day. You will learn what types of posts work best for your audience and make strategic decisions based on your teaching niche! 

Make each post about something new, repeat what works best, and take suggestions and feedback from your audience. This method of A/B testing is the right way to find the perfect strategy that can help you frame future posts and market to your targeted audience. Some new sellers make the mistake trying to get the most amount of views but not enough time making the posts good enough to get real followers.

Content Strategy 

You need to develop a content strategy to become a leading expert in your niche. First, research the best posts in your field and find competitors. You don’t want to copy other accounts, but it can help guide you on what works and doesn’t work. Start building a plethora of content about a theme or idea in your particular niche. You will get better results and the audience following will see you as an expert in a particular area. Adjust your social media calendar to ensure each post has a consistent vibe, theme, and optimal posting time.  

Stage 2: Engagement 

You want engagement with your posts to turn your audience into followers then into loyal members of your teaching community! One of the factors that affect how your Instagram post performs in the algorithm is “time spent on post.” So one of the easiest ways of improving your Instagram engagement is simply writing longer captions. You could write in full sentences instead of just a few emojis, which could help you increase Instagram engagement. There are a lot of ways to do that:

  • Use emojis
  • Share related images
  • Reply with a funny GIF 
  • Ask a follow-up question

Instagram Stories 

Over 500 million Instagram accounts use Instagram Stories every day, and that number is only set to grow in 2021! Instagram Stories stickers are a wonderful way to encourage your followers to chat, share opinions, and experiences with you, which will help to create a loyal group of teachers that feels connected to your brand. 

Ask me Anything! 

Nothing sparks conversation more than a good Ask Me Anything on Instagram Stories. You can use the Instagram Stories question sticker to get to know your followers more. It’s a great opportunity for your followers to get to know your brand better, or get more information about your products and services!  You can DM potential buyers coupons, exclusive offers, and automatic upgrades. This will help you chat and engage your audience and market your resources to the right teachers. 

Instagram Video

2020 was a big year for Instagram video — especially with the introduction of Instagram Reels — and it shows no sign of slowing down. You can incorporate more videos into your content strategy, you’re are guaranteed to increase your engagement and followers. Videos do not need to be a daunting task- it is easy to make. To learn more about video creation services, click here

Stage 3: Lead Generation 

Once you have a solid marketing strategy and you are engaging your audience, you can then start to think about lead generation. Now it’s time to get into specific steps to generate more sales and leads on Instagram. 

Instagram is a wonderful way to get traffic to your website or blog. Create clever Instagram posts that lead to amazing content or products on your website to keep traffic moving! You could have a landing page set up to greet your Instagram traffic and get them on a waiting list for the new and latest products! This can create a personalized experience that gets those leads to turn into buyers.  

Call to Action 

Always include a call to action that drives your lead to be a subscriber for your email list or sales pitch. In addition to the “link in bio” comments, you can get your followers to tag a friend, join a contest, or offer a free product or service in exchange for their contact information. 

Create a Poll 

Creating a poll is a wonderful way to gauge interesting insights about your audience. You can post a poll about a new lesson or a choice between two products. This is one way to make your audience aware of the new product, rather than buy it now option. You can then follow up with a link to the product depending on how they answered the question. There are many creative ways to use Instagram Polls. How you use them depends on your business goals. Have you started using Instagram Polls? How do you use them? 

Stage 4: Closing Sales 

Once you have a clear Instagram marketing strategy in place and have an engaged audience actually making the sale takes more strategy. Be thoughtful in your messaging to make the audience feel welcomed and make sure you include the best possible products for sale. 

Instagram is the perfect place to promote a sale, launch a new product, or offer a discount code exclusively to your followers. You can either add your promo information in a caption, through DM, or in Instagram Stories, encouraging users to click the link in your bio to take advantage of the offer. Your audience will love the reward and feel appreciated. Make your pitch very clear and be specific to the benefits of subscribing, joining, or buying. Show them the instant benefit of being a follower and clicking the link! 

Learning how to sell on Instagram offers businesses of all sizes incredible opportunities to reach their target audiences and drive sales to your store. Use these 4 stages to generate a more engaged and loyal audience who love your products as much as you do! If you haven’t already started optimizing your Instagram for sales, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity. 

What stage are you in? I would love to know! 

Interested in learning more, click here to join my exclusive club for the latest tips, tricks, and marketing strategies to lead to more sales! 

Want to be a marketing ambassador for me? 

You’ll get exclusive prizes, free videos, and more for promoting my video services! Applications are due by December 15th! Sign up here

SEO for Teacher Authors

SEO we hear it all the time as teacher authors, but do we actually know how to use it effectively? SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, what other teachers are searching for when planning lessons. Now let’s go over how to use these SEO words on three different platforms, Google, Pinterest, and Instagram.


The Importance of Classroom Decor

Something that most teachers love to do is decorate their classroom at the beginning of each year! Many teachers decide on a theme for the year, and decorate accordingly. While not necessary, this is a great way to show the students what you, as a teacher, are interested in. This can help establish a bond and connection with some students! However, there are several other reasons why classroom decor is important. 


Finding the Right Teacher Planner

As teachers, we all know the importance of staying organized! Organization is imperative so that you can accomplish everything you need to accomplish in order for your students to learn effectively. A great planner like this can help you stay organized, and keep your information in one place for easy access! An editable planner is essential, because as we all know, things change quickly in a classroom! A snow day, a fire drill, or a new student all can cause you to have to shift your paperwork, and editable planners make it easy! 


A Different Way to Grade Homework

Photo of a woman grading papers

In my class I encourage all students to learn and grow one was through homework policy. Growing up, I was the perfectionist. I was so discouraged every time I saw an 87% or 96% instead of a 100%. I never had a chance to change that 87% into a 100% and I know I am not the only person who saw homework that way. When I became a teacher, I made everything different and it works.


Accommodations in the Classroom

Accommodations are easy to implement in the classroom. There are several simple things you can do to accommodate for your student’s needs. Just a reminder accommodation means giving your students the tools they may need to be successful. For example, if a student struggles with reading you may provide them with a recording of the reading. But here are a few extra ways to make accommodations in your classroom.


Summer Learning is Important

The summer months may seem short, but statistics show that students lose about 30% of their knowledge from the previous school year during the summer. Now I do think summer is a great break but there are several things you can do to prevent that 30% decrease and ways to keep learning over summer.


Reasons to Differentiate Morning Work

Imagine every morning students are working hard, already learning, and the teacher is finishing last minute prep work for the day. However, in reality it most students are asking a zillion questions will the teacher is trying to prep these last few activities for the day. Does this sound like your morning? This was mine until I started differentiating their morning work.


Fresh Pins for Pinterest

Have you heard about this Pinterest update and all this talk about “fresh” pins? I am sure you have! It might seem a bit overwhelming right now but it is so important so you don’t get marked as a spam account and get suspended. Keep reading to learn how to prevent this!


Follower Growth for Instagram

Imagine an evening where you finally get to lay down to relax. You start scrolling through your phone and suddenly realize an hour has already gone by. You ask yourself: “What did I accomplish?” This is the reality for many people as social media provides an endless outlet to help reduce stress and help people relax. However, with Crafty Curriculum, people will be scrolling through and instantly be drawn into the pins and videos on your page! 

Utiziling Instagram as a TPT Seller 

There is a huge opportunity to draw in Teacher Pay Teacher buyers through Instagram. While people are spending time scrolling through Instagram posts, they have the opportunity to see engaging information and videos about products. However, there are so many Instagram posts and so much to buy on TPT, so creating the perfect videos and posts are key. With the right assistance, your posts can draw in so many buyers! 

Narrowing in the Focus

Are some of your posts about your personal life while others are about the products you are selling? This may actually be causing a decrease in selling your products or services because the focus is too vague. Crafty Curriculum will work with you to narrow in the focus of the posts on your account. You want people to know why they are following you, so they have expectations on what they will see in your posts. For example, do you sell TPT products? Second-hand clothing? Make-up tutorials? By having a focus, followers will look forward to your posts and have a general idea on what to expect. 

Crafty Curriculum will help focus on the purpose of your posts through the wide range of services offered. There are four videos and four digital preview packages in addition to many add-ons! The created items will be visually appealing in order to draw the focus of your audience in while making your posts stand out among all the rest!

Holding your Followers

Some may say getting followers is much easier than holding on to them. People can click the checkmark to follow you but if they do not like your posts, it is very easy to unfollow. Crafty Curriculum will help ensure your posts hold your follower’s attention! 

There will be a focus on putting a face behind the posts in order to help your followers relate to you. For example, maybe you host Q & A sessions, short videos where you talk to your followers, or emails to help send followers alerts for upcoming posts. 

With everything else going on in life, Instagram management may seem overwhelming. This is exactly why Crafty Curriculum can do this for you! There are 3 different packages in order to ensure you are captivating your followers. Captions will be thoughtfully put together in addition to hashtag research. Lastly, the posts will be scheduled for you, which means you will have time to focus on your work and followers versus putting the actual post together! 

Video Services 

In addition to everything else going on in your life, putting together videos for your products may be placed on the back burner. However, Crafty Curriculum is here to help! Videos are key because they draw in the attention of your followers in an engaging format. Your product will transform from a digital copy to a video that will be sure to showcase your work while holding the attention of your followers. 

Crafty Curriculum is here to help increase your social media following in a high-quality format! Between the different packages and add-ons, everything can be customized to what you are looking for and what will be best for your followers! 

Click here to get the latest tips for selling and marketing with Teachers Pay Teachers! 

Tips for Back to School Set Up for Teachers

The back to school season is a daunting task! You may be moving to a new room, or have a vastly different number of students from year to year. It’s always hard to strike a balance between limited setup time and making your classroom a great-looking place to be. Setting up your classroom for a new school year can be a great opportunity to reflect on what worked well and what needed improvement in the previous year. Was your room messy or organized? Did you have good systems in place for turning in work and making transitions? Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks for your setup so that your classroom continues to run smoothly all year!