Monday, May 26, 2014

Blank EOY Awards {freebie}

It's almost the end of the year!!!  I truly think teaching is the only profession where you are equally happy to begin as to end.  Am I right or am I right?!  :)

Since I end up doing something different every year for our graduation/celebration/call it what you will, I'm always on the hunt for the right thing.  I couldn't find quite what I was looking for in certificates this year {or the prices were more than I was willing to pay for them} and I figured I wasn't the only one.

If you're in the same boat as me, I hope you can use these free certificates!  There are 4 backgrounds to choose from as well as 8 different kids, of various ethnicities.  You can add your own award title at the top and be as creative as you like...there are loads of ideas out there if you search.

The more I thought about it, you could really use these awards for all kinds of things!  Student of the Week, parent volunteers, student teachers finishing up their placement, character ed recognition, etc. Click either picture to get them at my TeachersPayTeachers store for free!  :)

And if you're looking for some easy time fillers as you look back over your current year and look ahead to what's next, remember to check out my EOY packet for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders!

*Please note that I am not criticizing anyone for their listing prices, as I sell products on TpT myself.  Every purchase is a personal choice of weighing cost vs. what you're getting from your purchase.  I totally support all sellers and am happy for everyone who is able to make a little money with their creations.*

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Crazy Pants

This game caught my attention for 2 reasons.  1) It was created by an audiologist and mother of a deaf child - I have always had a sweet spot for the hard of hearing. 2) When my kids are being nutters in the classroom I can often be heard saying "Calm it down, crazy pants!" which my students, of course, think is hilarious.

Crazy Pants is being marketed as a Bingo style listening game but after playing it with my students I've found so many other benefits from using it!  Each student has a game board with laundry hanging on 3 lines.  The caller picks a card and tells the picture/word, like "sock" or "gloves."  If the students have the article of clothing on their board, they cover it with a chip.  The first person to get 3 in a row wins!

A few other ideas that came to me as I played the game with my 5 and 6 year olds:

{give clues}
Instead of reading the word on the card, give the kids a clue such as "these keep your fingers warm" or "this goes over your socks in the rain."  We played the game this way and it helped keep my students' brains engaged and kept them thinking while we played.  It would also enable the game to be played without an adult, because student reading level wouldn't matter.

{ESL practice}
The game says it is for ages 3 and up.  Toddlers would definitely benefit from learning colors, names for articles of clothes and body parts by playing the game and hearing common language being used.  How much more would it also help your ESL students?!  One thing I've really learned about teaching students who don't speak English is that our curriculums assume they've had experiences or know basic vocabulary that's common for most kids.  But often...they don't.  Playing this game would give those students practice in using basic language and building their English language.

{sentence structure}
One thing I have to remind myself every year is to S-L-O-W down my writing instruction.  Once the kids know letters & sounds I'm ready to have them start labeling.  And somehow I immediately start requiring perfect sentences and stories and get frustrated with the unending, no-period, spaceless fragments that I get.  This game would be great practice for teaching structure...without requiring the writing component.  ;)  Before your kids put a chip on their board you can have them tell you a full sentence like "I have a red shirt" or "These are overalls."  Practice practice practice.

And if that isn't enough to get you interested, take it from the experts:

"I like that you have to listen to the clues." - Avery, age 6
"It's so fun when you say BINGO." - Kobi, age 5
"It's good because I have to guess what you're thinking in your brain." - Matthew, age 6
"Because it's so cool!" - Luca, 5 1/2

If you're a pre-K or kindergarten teacher {or know someone who is!}, then the best news is for you...Chatterbox has agreed to give Crazy Pants to a giveaway winner!  Just be a follower of my blog & like Chatterbox on Facebook to enter.  Comment below when you've done both.  Easy peasy!

The giveaway has now ended. Congratulations Ms. Powell! I'll email you the details. ;)

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Let's Read Across America!!

It's one of my favorite weeks of the year.  It's time for Seuss Silliness!  :)  There are a thousand activities out there for you to choose from {great literacy activities, math games, etc} including my old tried & true Dr. Seuss activities.  But this year I'm going to choose one book to focus on each day that we can really have some kindergarten fun with.

{Cat in the Hat}
I usually make eyeliner noses & whiskers to turn all of my kids into the Cat in the Hat.  But this year I think I might be the cat...

...and let them be Thing 1 - Thing 20!!  How cute are these thing hats from Kinder Kapers?!

We'll be having yummy Thing Jell-O & Cool Whip snacks, too.  {Thanks Pinterest!}  These were a super huge hit last year.

{Horton Hears a Who}
I'll probably just print these on gray paper then let the kids cut them out & put them on sentence strips.  Hilarious.  I might even make a nose to hang down between their eyes...stay tuned.  ;)

I also have a bunch of "clovers" left over from my Horton themed baby shower so we'll probably create these crafts from TippyToe Crafts.  I'm going to have the kids write about what makes people special to hang with them as well.  :)

{Wacky Wednesday}
You know I love to dress up!  We always look for the wacky things in Wacky Wednesday {you can find the eBook here to use on your SmartBoard} but Lucky in Learning took it to the next level.  If we can get approval to have a dress-up day, I am totally going to do this.  I can easily make a few things in the room wacky then the kids would use their observation skills to find & write down what is wacky!

{Daisy Head Maisy}
I think this book is so cute!  A few years ago {way before the blog so I can't find my photographic evidence} I did a bulletin board where the kids wrote on flowers.  Then we took their pictures and hung them on the bulletin board so it looked like the flowers were growing out of their heads.  Kinder Kapers made flowers out of styrofoam plates.  I feel another sentence strip crown coming on!!!

{Fox in Socks}
I like Sloan's cute printable for rhyming socks!  Instead of having everyone make -ock socks this year, I think I'll give each kid a word family so we have some variety.  {Hello differentiation!!}  Plus maybe we'll wear crazy socks with our uniforms that day, too.  ;)

Use this poster {or create a similar one} to list all of the rhyming words you can think up!

Happy Reading!!  :)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

currently & the glam baby.

The 100th day of school is Friday!  We have so much to do between now and then!  Be sure to check out my 100th Day of School ideas {and some freebies} here

Now, heeeeere's Farley!  Well, her linky party, that is.  ;)

Listening, loving, snuggling, Marlee girl tops all of these lists right now.

Did you figure out my fib?!  It's that I hate Valentine's Day.  I know there are a lot of heart haters out there but I never was one of them - even when I was single.  Um, hello, what's not to love about stuffing yourself sick on sugar hearts or throwing pink glitter at people?!  Plus I think it's illegal to hate any holiday celebrations when you're a teacher.

Pretty sure I read that somewhere.

And because it was a truth, here's a little pic of the peanut.

She may be taking after Mommy in the glam department.  Ya think?!  ;)

Head on over to Farley's blog to find some new good reads!

Monday, February 03, 2014

stress-busting tips for teachers.

Is it just me or this the hardest time of the school year?  No major holidays to celebrate.  {which means no days off.}  Kids are comfortable enough with you & each other that they start to test the boundaries.  Assessments, assessments, assessments to track growth.  {not to mention the paperwork, paperwork, paperwork that goes with it.}

On top of it, there's the mound of changes that have been made in education in the past few years.  {yeah, that's a whole can of worms that I'm not opening today!}  Sometimes it feels like there's a new initiative, law or change of some sort every time we turn around.

I created this list of stress-busters for teachers.  So grab a cup of coffee, some hot chocolate or a glass of wine {hey, no judgement here}, take a deep breath and relax.  Then pin, print or put this list somewhere to refresh your mind & remind yourself how valuable you are on those long days.

Keep loving on those kiddos & rolling with the punches.  You can do this.  :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Christmas Helpers {winner}

Just a quick post tonight because Marlee's great-grandma is on her way to meet her. :) But I wanted to announce the winner of my Christmas unit giveaway!  And it is...

Breanne Simons!  {Leave me your email and I'll send it right over!}

Thanks to all who pinned the unit. I can't wait to get out my elf - I mean, Santa's helper - when I go back in  December! ;)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Christmas Unit {giveaway}

I have to admit, I am missing being at work just a bit.  I mean, I'm obviously loving sleeping until it's time to watch Kelly Ripa and hanging out with this beautiful girl all day {shameless bragging here} but I'm just the teensiest bit sad to be missing these months...fall into winter is my favorite time of the year!

{photo credit: The Beautiful Mess}

Because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I can't skip over it and go straight to Christmas.  So remember to download my Pilgrim & Native American unit for some fun this month and check out the other Thanksgiving freebies previously posted.

Ok, now that I've honored the pilgrims, we can move on.  ;)  I previously created a unit to go along with that tradition of Santa's elf coming down from the North Pole to know, the one that sits in a certain place that rhymes with elf and is all over Pinterest {if you get where I'm going here} but I was asked to take it down due to copyright infringement.  {Side note: It is a super bummer that so many children's book authors don't want us teachers to create related follow-up activities.  Um, helloooo...we're making your book more popular which will increase sales.  Who's losing in this deal?!}  Anyway, rant over.  Many of you have asked where "that unit" went and I happy to say that it has been tweaked, renamed & is back up!

If you would like to read a book about "Santa's Helpers" to your students, this is a fabulous follow-up unit.  There are enough journal pages to use it for writing for a few weeks leading up to your Christmas break or you can print single pages as you please and add them to your literacy or writing lessons.  Since this unit is not affiliated with any particular book, there is no additional work required to use the unit in your classroom or at home so it can be a stand alone activity without any other materials required.  Although a pencil, crayons, some Christmas spirit and Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You would all be nice additions.

Since I miss talking with all of you I'm giving the unit away.  All you have to do is pin the "Being Santa's Helper" unit on Pinterest & leave the link to your board in the comments!  You can pin it from here or my TeachersPayTeachers store, however you like to organize your pins.  :)  I'll pick a winner on Saturday, November 16th.

Until then, happy teaching & pinning my dears!  :)
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