Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#PrimaryProbs: A {Free} Shoe-Tying Solution!


Welcome to my first installment of #PrimaryProbs, a series of blog posts that will make you laugh, cry, and every other emotion under the sun as we explore some of our greatest classroom challenges. But first, let's get one thing straight: I am no Negative Nancy. In fact, I'd say I find 99% of #PrimaryProbs quite humorous. So this is not a whining session by any stretch of the imagination. Also. I'm a nice person. So not only will I bring a common problem to the forefront, but I will also come bearing a SOLUTION. Because who likes an empty-handed complainer? If you ask my students what I like to do best, they will most definitely say I am a problem-solver. It's true!

I'd also like to preface this post by saying I SUPER love my job and am fairly certain I am the luckiest lady on earth to have a job that brings me so much happiness. It's just not even fair to non-teachers how lucky we are.

HOWEVER. We all know that teaching is not always rainbows and butterflies. Sure, we have those toothy smiles, the endless supply of hugs, and a barrel of constant laughs. That's the stuff elementary classrooms are made of! But, truth be told, there is an ugly side to teaching. A germy, dirty, ugly side. I'm talking SHOES. Specifically, the tying of said shoes.


People. I'm half tempted to quit writing this post and get to work inventing a shoe-tying machine. But I won't! Instead, I am here with a solution to tide us over until a much smarter somebody else invents that machine. But I digress.

To put things nicely, let's just say I'm not a huge fan of tying shoes. Am I concerned for the safety of my untied friends? Of course! (I've seen the damage a rogue lace can cause!). Will I tie a shoe for one of my little friends? Yes! (except not after December)...Will I enjoy it? Probably not. But that's okay! It's nothing personal. My mind just can't help but wander as I tie those laces; Where have you been today, little laces? What have you seen? Touched? THE HORROR. I can imagine the journey of a first grade lace is a tad...messy.

OKAY but it's fine! Because you know what kind of people LOVE tying shoes? First graders who know how to tie shoes. That's who. Learning to tie shoes in elementary school is like crossing over into a sunshiney, flower-filled field. Life is grand when you can tie shoes. It's pretty much the coolest thing to happen to you in all of K-6.

As it turns out, these shoe-tying students are going to be your shoe saviors this year. Or, as we're going to call them: Shoe Specialists.

Once a student can tie shoes, they officially become a Shoe Specialist: Licensed to Lace. This means that they get this super colorful, official-looking tag on their desk:



Along with this GREAT POWER comes GREAT SHOE-TYING RESPONSIBILITY. Looking out for an official tag, my untied friends can simply locate the desk of a Shoe Specialist and---voila! Our shoelaces are happy, our friends are happy, the teacher is THRILLED.


I also like to present the newly-minted shoe-tyer with a fancy pair of laces. Because shoelaces are fun when you're 7!


This whole shoelace celebration produces a wonderful classroom system. Student A sees Student B get a fancy job and a set of laces. Student A wants to be like Student B. Student A learns to tie shoes too! Talk about a WIN-WIN. Try this out and let me know if you have a single untied lace left by the end of the year! (Spoiler alert--you probably won't!).

Click on any photo in this post to download your own {Free} Shoe Specialist stickers! Or, click here!

P.S. Dear People Who Thought This Post Was About How to Teach Shoe-Tying,
Sorry. It's not. Tips? Suggestions? Magic Spell? Please share in comments. Thanks!

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7 comments

  1. I love this idea! I have used the "find a friend" method for years, but the incentive is genius! Where do you buy your shoelaces?

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    1. Hi Lauren! Thanks so much! I love Amazon's prices for shoelaces (and it's easy to order!), but also have gotten some good ones at places like TJ Maxx, Five Below, etc. I always keep an eye out for good (and cute!) deals :)

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  2. Awesome! I of course love Amazon as well, but wondered if you had a secret! Haha! I will check around. Thanks again for sharing!
    Lauren
    Keep Calm and Love Kinder

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  3. This is an incredibly genius idea! We usually have a few second grade friends come down in each morning to work with the kiddos, but I love this idea of keeping it in the classroom! Thanks so much, Erin!

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  4. This is an incredibly genius idea! We usually have a few second grade friends come down in each morning to work with the kiddos, but I love this idea of keeping it in the classroom! Thanks so much, Erin!

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