Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Home Sweet Classroom

HGTV is so popular because all of us secretly want to know what the inside of other people's homes look like.  One of my favorite things about visiting a friend's home for the first time is getting the "house tour" and soaking up their decor, storage, furniture, and homemaking.

Confession? Teachers l.o.v.e. doing the same thing in other teachers' classrooms.  Even when I stop in to my coworkers' rooms for something, I'm saying "uh huh, uh huh," all while looking around at their new art, posters, organization, desk arrangement, etc.  And visiting a new school?  I feel like a tourist craning my neck as I walk down the hall and peek inside rooms along the way.  (P.S. read my note at the bottom of the post- feel free to leave a link to pics of your classroom in the comments!)

So in the spirit of a tour, I thought I'd show you around my classroom all set up for the 2016-2017 school year!  (Note, these pictures were actually taken last week...students have since invaded and as you can imagine it is a little fuller and lot less neat.)

This is my 5th year in 5th grade, and my 5th year in the same classroom (alleluia!- At my last job I moved in and out of spaces four different times in three years!)  
If you are curious to see the progression of this room, you can check out these posts:
The "Before" and The "After" (Fall 2012)
Fall 2013
Fall 2014
and apparently I missed my 2015 post :)

This year I ditched the owl theme and started fresh with a colored pencil theme!  A little less cutesy, and I was ready for a change.

 I had already decided on the pencil theme when a teacher friend asked if I would like to take these giant pencils off her hands.  They were retail store props and she was ready to pass them on.  I super excitedly laid down the seats in my car and hauled them away- note that they were all the way in the back of my trunk and the tips touched the front windshield- they are giant!  And one of them is a Ticonderoga, which is only the absolute best pencil in the world.

My cozy little corner, complete with all the heavenly helpers who have my back throughout the day.

Our closets and word wall, which will be added to throughout the year.

Organization center- mailboxes, assignment board, objectives, and calendar.

Books, books, and more books.

I moved and rearranged our faith corner and I love it!  It is much more visible and I have room to display featured books for different Saints and seasons.

Our school wide Catholic Assignment Notebooks just happen to match my theme for the year!  (I was a little too excited about this.)

Cute new birthday chart!

And new privilege system chart.  It is laminated and is now labeled with privileges the kids have the opportunity to earn (or lose) throughout the day, like using the laptops, earning Saint cards, etc.

 Year five seemed to be the year a lot of posters fell apart, so I've got some fresh routine reminders up on the wall.

 Cute welcoming door.

The coveted 5th grade lockers with cute little pencil name magnets. :)

Jobs and responsibilities organized.

And St. Maximilian Kolbe watching over us all.

There you have it.  Teachers of all kinds, don't you love classroom tours?  If you have a blog or other social media platform, I'd love for you to share pictures of your school classrooms, CCD rooms, or homeschool spaces.  Feel free to leave your links in the comments below.  I can't wait to see them!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Resources for Teaching about St. Teresa of Calcutta

We are less than two weeks from the canonization of Mother Teresa! St. Teresa of Calcutta had a profound impact on the world during her life, and continues to inspire and influence us even now.  I've compiled some projects and posts to help you and the kids in your life celebrate and learn from this amazing woman.  Click on the images below to take you to a post or printable.

Mother Teresa Coloring Page:

Mother Teresa Quote Coloring Pages:

And more Mother Teresa Quote Coloring Pages:

Prayer cards about loving like Mother Teresa for students and teachers:

Check out this post with ideas for decorating a Mother Teresa theme:

Create a Mother Teresa theme in your classroom with these folder covers:

Welcome Back Postcards:

And room signs: (if you want to use these and need the name of the classroom edited, I'd be happy to help.  Send me an email at looktohimandberadiant (at)

Teach about things that were important to her, like the Corporal Works of Mercy:

And Spiritual Works of Mercy:

And time for prayer:

I love this beautiful video with audio of Mother Teresa about prayer and holiness:

Teach about the Canonization Process with this activity and printable:

Teach about heroic virtue using this coloring book and printable notes:

Watch The Letters- It is available  for purchase (affiliate link) and is also streaming on Netflix right now.  And find more videos about Sainthood on my YouTube playlist.

Check out my Mother Teresa Board on Pinterest:

St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

Monday, August 22, 2016

{More} Mother Teresa Quote Coloring Pages

After so much sweet feedback on my last set of Mother Teresa quote coloring pages, it was no hardship to be inspired to create a few more.  Thanks to some back-to-school-inservice-doodling-time (ahem), here are four new coloring pages just for you!

Click on any of the images below for the full sized printable coloring page:

"Prayer in action is love in action." (Plain background)

 "Prayer in action is love in action." (Striped background)

"Do small things with great love." (Swirl background)

"Do small things with great love." (Plain background)

(P.S. We're less than two weeks from Mother Teresa's canonization!  Make plans now to celebrate and teach about her wonderful life!)

(P.P.S. Like these?  There are four more Mother Teresa quote coloring pages here:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Teaching About Heroic Virtue

Mother Teresa's canonization next month gives us a perfect opportunity to talk about the universal call to holiness and the path to sanctity with the students we teach.

One of the hallmark qualities of a person who is canonized is his or her heroic virtue.  (An investigation into their life and work must reveal heroic virtue before they are named Venerable). Actually, all Christians are called to grow in virtue.  You can read more about the virtues in the CCC 1803-1845.  A virtue is simply to habit of doing good and giving the best of yourself, with the goal of being like God- sounds like a good lesson for kids, right?

I've collected some resources for teaching about virtue (you can read those posts here), but decided to get a little more organized for the coming school year.  Here are a few printables to help you lead your students in understanding the Cardinal and Theological Virtues.

Click in here for an informational coloring book about the seven Cardinal and Theological virtues:

Click here for a key to the virtue notes found on page 2 in the coloring book:

Click here for an eight page mini book with the Cardinal and Theological Virtues:

Click here for a mini book with the Act of Love, Act of Faith, and Act of Hope prayers:

Click here for a matching coloring page for the Theological Virtues:

 Want to practice the virtues with kids? Check out how we made weekly class and individual goals about growing in virtue here.

Want to study the virtues with a Bible Study or Youth Group?  Check out these study guides connecting the virtues and the Saints here and here.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Decorating for St. Mother Teresa Theme

Mother Teresa's canonization on September 4th inspired our CCD theme for the year.  I'm in the midst of back-to-school-paperwork-copies-and-mailings, but it is much more fun to work on the decorations and displays, so I thought I'd share how we are honoring this soon to be Saint.

Here's a few ideas for you!

I created a bulletin board modeled after the sari worn by the Missionaries of Charity using two widths of blue painters tape over white paper:

I added a crucifix like the one Mother Teresa wore, a construction paper pencil, the quote "I am a small pencil in God's hand," and a poster of her from Pauline Media.

I've also got a poster from the lovely work of Cassie Pease Designs:

I added a similar set of stripes and a pencil in the entry coming downstairs to our CCD classrooms:

And we already had a kid sized mural of Mother Teresa in our hallway:

But until I can find the matching wall paint, she gets a paper sign Saint upgrade:

Signs for classroom doors with student names:

Click here for the printable door signs (if you want to use these and need the name of the classroom edited, I'd be happy to help.  Send me an email at looktohimandberadiant (at)

And matching folder covers:

With Mother Teresa prayer cards inside.  (from here)

Click here to print the folder covers:

And welcome back post cards:

Click here to print the postcards:
And more Mother Teresa projects in the works!

How are you planning on celebrating her canonization?