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Tips to Keep Cool in a Hot Classroom

Tips to Keep Cool in a Hot Classroom

As students and educators head back to school, an uninvited visitor is joining them: summer heat. Much of the country is experiencing a late summer heatwave, sending temperatures to possible record highs. Teaching students in hot, uncomfortable classrooms is difficult, and many schools don’t have adequate air conditioning.

Here are some ways to help keep everyone cool in the classroom:

  • Minimize using overhead lights (instead, turn off the lights and use lamps or Christmas lights)
  • Close shades to block intense sunlight
  • Take cool-down breaks between lessons
  • Avoid excess movement during the hottest part of the day
  • Utilize a climate-controlled computer lab
  • Switch off unused electronics that produce heat even in standby mode
  • Invest in fans to cool the room

It’s also important for you and your students to stay hydrated. The Centers for Disease Control and Environment advises avoiding sugary and calorie-laden sports and soft drinks when the temperature rises. Water is the best way to hydrate the body, and it helps with cooling. Make sure your students always have easy access to water.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also warns against students engaging in physical exercise in extreme heat because they can overheat quicker than adults. However, if your students engage in physical activity, it is crucial to know the symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting



  • High body temperature (above 103 degrees)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness


It’s important to note the key differences in treating each illness. Heat exhaustion can be treated by moving the victim to a cool location. Apply cool wet cloths and having them sip water. Heatstroke can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.


Educators can beat the heat with these cool lesson plans for hot days:

  • Study the buoyancy of various objects in the water
  • Learn about water displacement of various objects
  • Create various devices that will float in water
  • Determine the best methods of keeping an ice cube frozen
  • Study cold weather areas like Iceland or Antarctica


California Casualty can help fund your hot weather study materials with a $2,500 Academic Award. Enter for your chance to win by visiting


8 Simple Activities to Make Back to School Night Fun

8 Simple Activities to Make Back to School Night Fun

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

Back to School Night can be overwhelming and somewhat dry for teachers and families.

Teachers try to squeeze as much information as possible into a brief period of time, while trying to meet new students and answering parent questions. But you don’t have to focus on just school business during this time; instead, have some handouts and packets ready for parents to grab, carve out a short time for some Q&A, and then start having some fun with students and their families!

We’ve compiled a list of some ideas that will have you, your students, and their parents excited about the upcoming school year. Here are 8 Simple Activities to Make Back to School Night Fun!


1. Scavenger Hunt (Angela Watson – The Cornerstone for Teachers)

Families can complete this activity while they wait for you to begin the presentation, and/or afterward while they wait to talk to you. One parent sent me an email afterward saying how much she enjoyed it because she had a purpose in walking around the room and knew what she was looking at.  The scavenger hunt can end with the parent at the child’s desk, waiting for you to begin talking.


2. Guessing Games (

Guessing games add an entertaining twist while helping parents get to know the teacher and classroom better. A bulletin board display with pictures of teachers as babies or kids is a classic game option. The parents try to match the teacher with the childhood picture. If the open house happens after school starts, the kids can get involved in the game. Each child draws a self-portrait for display. Each parent tries to guess which self-portrait belongs to her child.


3. Parent Bingo (

Create a BINGO card with slots full of things parents have done relating to school and have them try to get BINGO by finding other parents in the classroom that can initial off each slot. For example, one slot on the card can have “Majored in business.”


4. Name Alliteration Game (

Go around the room and ask parents to say their name accompanied with an adjective using alliteration (i.e. Marvelous Miranda). After each person says his or her name, the next person has to recite every person prior to him or her and build to the chain of introductions.


5. Student/Parent Journal Entry (Angela Watson – The Cornerstone for Teachers)

The kids write on a topic such as “The Hardest Part/Best Part of Being a Kid”.  They then set up the page across from that page with the title, “The Hardest Part/Best Part of Being a Parent”.  The families complete the journal entry at Back-To-School night and children read them in the morning.  (Have another morning warm-up for kids whose parents did not come.)  This is a good activity if you use journals and workbooks a lot: it lets parents see how much work the child is doing in class, even though it may not all come home because it’s not on loose-leaf paper.

*Be aware that some parents may not feel comfortable with their own reading or writing skills or may be preoccupied with their young children or the papers you have handed them, and may not take part.  I have had moderate success with this activity in that regard, but the parents who did do the journal entry absolutely raved about it.*


6. Parent Quiz (

Create a small quiz relating to the designated class and have parents participate by testing their knowledge on the subject.  Make it extra fun by having the students grade it!


7. Academic Games (

An academic theme to the games allows the teacher to introduce some of the concepts she’ll teach in class. If estimation is on the schedule for math class, an estimation game with objects in a jar is an option. The parents use estimation skills to guess how many of the object are in the container. For a language game, parents might receive letter tiles to make as many different words as possible using only those letters. If the teacher uses games in the classroom to teach concepts to the kids, those games can go out during the back-to-school night for parents to play.


8. Significant Item (

Ask parents to look into their handbag or wallet and ask them to choose something significant to them. Then they have to share why that item is significant to them with others.


What are your tricks to get students and families feeling eager about the new school year?

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


Soft Skills To Teach in Your Classroom This Year

Soft Skills To Teach in Your Classroom This Year

Soft Skills are very important non-academic skills that kids need to learn to help them throughout their lives. There are many ways teachers can incorporate soft skills to teach in the classroom. This can range from problem solving exercises, practicing mindfulness, to group communication with other students. soft skills printable

Download our free Soft Skills printable below. Use it to hang up in your classroom to make sure your students are continuously working on their soft skills. Additionally, you could even develop activities around each skill and have students share examples of each soft skill they use with with friends, family, and even in the classroom!


soft skills

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

5 Classroom Design Tips for the New School Year

5 Classroom Design Tips for the New School Year

It’s August, which means it’s officially back to school season, and many teachers are working hard in their classroom to get it prepared for that first day! 

An organized classroom is an integral part of the learning process. Did you know that the way you structure you classroom design can actually boost learning in students, reduce disruptive behavior, and keep them on task? Behavioral problems in children have been linked back to poor color planning and lighting alone! So, keep these 5 classroom design tips in mind when you organize your space this year:

1. Color

White walls are under-stimulating, while too much color causes over-stimulation. The key to “coloring your classroom” is to find balance and make it comfortable. When using color you want something that is conductive to learning, while positively promoting mental and physical well-being.

For Young Children: Use brighter, warm, colors to draw in their focus on whats going on in the classroom instead of outside, like: yellow, red and orange.

For Older Children: Use calming colors that allow the teenagers to focus on their work, and not their surroundings, like: blue, purple, green, and gray.

If you are able to paint your classroom avoid picking colors that are too bright. Instead pick a more muted shade that will not be distracting. And when you have chosen a color palette do not paint the entire room, instead paint a wall or two and leave the rest neutral. If you’re school does not allow you to paint you could always follow the color scheme you like with your decor. Find posters and create bulletin boards around the color theme you like, and buy furniture for your classroom (like chairs, rugs, storage bins, shelves, etc.) that complement that theme.


2. Light

Harsh lighting can cause headaches and disruptive behavior in students, so it is important to find the proper lighting for your classroom. Research shows that with the right lighting student’s test scores even increase! The key is to use as much natural light as you can, or lights that imitate natural light (aka lights with blue undertones). When students are taking tests, the natural feel helps them relax and focus. If you don’t have enough natural light or you prefer to keep the lights off you can fill up your classroom with lamps, hanging lights, or Christmas lights. Just try and avoid yellow undertones because those tend to make students more fatigued.


3. Digital Spaces

Students today are not just learning in the classroom, they are learning in the digital dimension. It is important for teachers to create digital experiences that connect students and provide-user paced, student-centered lessons as a way to add another dimension to the physical space. Providing resources to students digitally helps teachers build relationships with them. So, to help students feel safe in this space teachers must introduce it, establish rules and norms, and visit it frequently.


  • Choose an online system that best suites you and your class
  • Create an account and add your students
  • Create activities and set aside a specific time for those activities
  • Never stop exploring what’s new 

Whether you have one online activity, or many, that you do with your students, you should have a spot in your classroom where online activity is represented. Consider a discussion board, or a table that you gather around to view. OR set aside time in the day/week that you do activities on a SMART board or computer together and create in-person activities that go along with them!


4. Layout

Classroom layout can result in a 45% increase in academic engagement. Desk arrangement all comes down to how much space you have, what you think would work best for your class, and how they learn. You could set your students in a:

  • Standard spaced out arrangement
  • Angled rows
  • Modified U or Horseshoe
  • Groups
  • Combination 

Or choose one layout and then mix it up every quarter!

Another option is flexible seating for students. Flexible seating is student-centered and ditches the idea of a regular desk. Instead it focuses on a variety of different seating options varying from stools, bean bags, rockers, stability balls, couches, padded storage bins, pillows, etc. Students love it because they are not just stuck in a regular desk. They will have more mobility and can be more comfortable. As long as your students are happy and it boosts learning, the possibilities are endless!


5. Walls

The walls in your classroom should be fun and conducive to learning! So when you are decorating them, ask yourself from the student’s perspective, “Is this overwhelming?” A great idea that you have in your head or  saw on Pinterest may have too much print or be too harshly colored for your students depending on their age. You should keep at least 20-50% of your walls clear to prevention over stimulation. However that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!

You can fill your walls with positive messages, student crafts, and learning materials, but it is also recommended to have at least one wall set aside for student engagement. Something the students can go to everyday and find resources, learn new words/facts, interact with each other, or turn in their work.

If you are having trouble finding ideas for your classroom walls we have created a list of Bulletin Board Ideas and more, click here.


So, what are waiting for?! Go get that organized classroom started! But first, be sure to download our 5 Classroom Design Tips below.

5 Classroom Design Tips 


For more information visit:

Classroom Bulletin Boards

Classroom Bulletin Boards

It’s almost back to school season and many teachers are already working in their classrooms organizing and decorating to make it look eye-catching and inviting to their new students; and what says, “Welcome, my classroom rocks!” more than a bright colored new bulletin board?

We have gathered a list of fun bulletin boards that teachers can use for ALL occasions; back to school, holidays, birthdays, mindset, and much more! Each creative bulletin board is linked to our Pinterest board, “Teachers- Bulletin Board Ideas”, which also has ideas for door decorations, student name tags, and other printables. Click here to view the board.


1. Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader

2. De-stress Corner

3. Spread Your Wings

4. Instagram- First Day Selfies

5. You Are an Important Piece of Our Class

6. Passport To…

7. Throw Kindness Like Confetti

8. Donut You Like…

9. Choose Kind

10. Photo Booth


11. No Prob Llama


12. Power In Your Fingertips


13. A Colorful Year


14. Interactive Question Boards


15. HERO


16. TRYangle


17. What Brings You JOY?


18. A “Minion” Reasons


19. TACO ‘Bout a Great School


20. Take What You Need

21. The Future of the World is in This Classroom


22. Rainbow of Possibilities


23. This is Your Year To…


24. Reading Makes You Sharp


25. Change the World


26. Reading Helps Your Mind Bloom


27. Bee-lieve You Can


Head over to our Pinterest for over 100 more bulletin board options! Don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new classroom idea we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sources by to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or

Can an Organized Classroom Make a Difference for Your Students?

Can an Organized Classroom Make a Difference for Your Students?

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

An organized classroom is an integral part of the learning process.  Your classroom should be an environment where quality learning occurs.  It should also be a safe, organized space that allows students to thrive socially, academically, behaviorally, and creatively.         

How Does An Organized Classroom Benefit Students?

Your classroom organization reflects the structure and management of your classroom.  The classroom is a constant reminder to students of classroom expectations and procedures: organized classroom = high teacher expectations.  Students also thrive in a predictable environment where they feel safe.    

“Everything Has a Home”

I once heard a colleague say: “Everything Has A Home.”  I love this line (and I use it at home with my own children).  All items, whether in the classroom or in your home, have a specific place where they belong.  Having specific, labeled locations for supplies, materials, and books makes for swift access and less time wasted.  

Classroom Materials and Supplies

Materials and supplies that are used frequently should be easy to access for the teacher and students.  Use baskets, storage bins, milk crates, and plastic drawers to help organize supplies.  Labels are a big help, too.  

Desk Arrangement

Preferences for how to arrange student desks varies greatly from teacher to teacher.  One thing to think about is how you instruct or how you want students to learn.  If you like students to work in groups, set up tables or clusters of desks.  If you prefer whole group discussion, a U-shape or circle works well.  Students working on self-paced learning may need learning stations.  Many teachers also arrange student desks so they can make eye contact with as many students as possible.  Students should also be able to see the instructor and the white board/projector.  Whatever your preference, make sure you can move easily throughout the classroom.      

Student Materials and Supplies

“Train” your students to be organized.  Ask students to have a folder or binder for your class.  If you require students to keep handouts, syllabi, and other paper materials with them, ask them to label a folder in which to keep said items.  In my elementary classroom, we have a folder for each subject, a homework folder, and a Friday folder.   

Why Should I Organize My Own Classroom?

In addition to benefiting students, classroom organization is also helpful to the teacher.  Having an organized classroom allows teachers to spend more time on the more “important” stuff, like planning meaningful lessons and building student relationships.  Creating and maintaining an organized classroom also causes less teacher stress, frustration, and fatigue.  It sounds cheesy, but having a tidy classroom makes you look good to administrators and parents; you look like you’ve “got it together.”  A neat and orderly classroom shows that you care about your students and your profession.      


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or


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