Thursday, April 30, 2015

End of Year Gifts

Cassie here from Mrs. Thomas's Class
Wow. These last few weeks have been INSANE - to say the least. I don't know about you, but my teacher brain is counting down Mondays. We have 5 left! How many do you have?! 

I am a third grade ELAR teacher only. Our students rotate between me and my partner Stephanie who teaches Math and Science. After teaching kinder last year, I have realized my end of the year gifts are going to be a tad different. I only had 20 students last year, and this year I have 33 between both classes.

In deciding with my partner what we were going to do - we did another reading survey just last week. Here is an example of a students: 

If you notice the questions. The second to last is the biggest thing the both of us were looking at. This child has ZERO books at home. Talk about breaking my heart. I have sent home countless book orders too, and even given books for Christmas. We teach in a very low socioeconomic district, about 15 of our papers looked like this. With zero books at home. 

We have had some generous friends and family donate some money for us, but we are also going to spend about 100 of each of our money on books for these kids.

Scholastic May orders have a few $1 books right now. My plan is to order 17 of each of these and they get to choose two! OR you could order the $25 set and let the students pick whichever one they want! 

Then with our donations we are generously donating to the students ad their families books from Amazon, and the Scholastic Warehouse for the summer. We wouldn't have even thought some of the students who said they didn't have any, didn't. Eye opening. 

Check out here if a warehouse sale is coming soon to you!!! I know where I live it's coming from May 7-May 23!

I know this post isn't learning materials, but maybe it will inspire you, similar to the #IWishMyTeacherKnew post, to see what children's lives are really like behind closed doors. Also, to find out what materials they DON'T have at home.
PS Sorry my pictures are blurry - iPhone 6plus problems - going to get fixed this weekend!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Student Teacher Goodbye Gift

Hi Primary Pack friends!

Alisha from Missing Tooth Grins here today! I was blessed this year and was assigned a student teacher. Miss Keegan has been great and my students truly love her. Unfortunately, it's time for her to leave us! Friday is her last day and I truly wish Miss Keegan all the best as she goes into the fabulous world of teaching. I hope she learned a lot from my students and myself!

I wanted to share with you her farewell gift. I wanted to share it all with you just in case you're trying to think of some things to pick up for your student teacher, if you have one! It's nothing too fancy, but I know that she will like it! I went to Target (the best place on Earth!) and picked up a black tub to hold on these goodies in. I picked up all the best school supplies and put it in the basket. 

Supplies includes:

flair pens
neon sharpies
flip chart markers
dry erase markers
picture books (not pictured)

I also picked up a binder and included all the sweet letters from my students.

Each student wrote a sweet little letter to her and drew a picture on the back for her. I put each letter in a page protector in the binder so that it will be a keepsake forever. This last picture I find absolutely adorable. I mean seriously, how sweet is that?

I also included this poem in the very front:

You can pick up a template of this poem by clicking the picture below:

I apologize, but this is a total tease of a post! If you want more ideas, you'll have to check out my blog sometime this weekend! I have more up my sleeve, but won't be able to share it all until after Friday :) Here's to hoping my student teacher doesn't read this blog too! For more, check out my blog!

Shape Craftivity that looks PERFECT for Open House

We've had so much fun with our geometry unit this year.  My kiddos have loved all of the hands-on activities and this adorable craft!  I thought it would be fun for kiddos to put different shapes together to create their very own shape person.
easy teaching tools, the primary pack
If you follow me over at Easy Teaching Tools, you know I love cute things that are easy to prep.  I chose bright colors to give a POP of color to our room!  See how to create one here!

Monday, April 27, 2015


Hi all! Happy Monday! 
It's Amber from Mrs. Masters Kinder Love and I'm so happy to be sharing with you today! 

I can't believe that I'm already planning for the end of the school year! My head has been spinning with all the amazing ideas I see on blogs, Pinterest and instagram! Today I am sharing 5 ideas with you that I think are AMAZINGLY, AWESOME and they DO NOT break the bank!! Enjoy!!

Class Pic Collage
I love this idea from Jo's PhotoMojo! A lot of us have done this individually with students and sent it home for each child's family at the end of the school year. BUT this would be such a memorable piece for students to look back on when they are older and remember each of their classmates! 

If you are anything like me, you take a million pictures of your kids throughout the year, and then don't really know what to do with all of them at the end of the year. Then you end up with thousands of pics on your computer that are slightly (or majorly) unorganized and just a bit of a mess. By creating a slideshow, you pick out the most memorable pictures of the year. Then you don't have to feel bad about getting rid of the 500 that you probably don't need. This idea from The Littlest Scholars is a thoughtful gift for students and families! 

QR Code Gift Cards!
Can I just say GENIUS!! This idea from FlapJack is an easy twist on making video slideshows for your kids! You can create cards with QR codes to the videos that you've created throughout the school year! It's easier and much cheaper than buying cd's for every student in class! You can give each student a few cards to share with their families! 

Name Frames
I am absolutely in love with these name frames from Mrs. MeGown's 2nd Grade Safari! I love the process that she used by having her students write down a word to describe each person in the class! She even included it as a freebie! You can grab her freebie and read all about this gift here! You can find frames for a dollar a piece at the Dollar Tree! Such a meaningful gift that students will be able to enjoy for years to come! 

Beach Balls!
I've seen a couple different things you can do with beach balls for the end of the school year. The first is just using it as a fabulous/inexpensive summer gift! Check out Read Write Sing A Kindergarten Story  blog post and pick up the free tags!!

I have also seen this idea floating around Pinterest and think it's such a cute take on the memory book. Mrs. Patton's Patch explains it all here!!

Each student gets a beach ball. You can write "We had a ball in ____ grade!" in Sharpie. Students can sign their names to the beach balls! This idea goes perfect with the popular "Beach Party" theme on the last day! Here's the great can get 12 pack of beach balls for about $7.00 on Amazon!! 

I hope you were able to find a few fabulous ideas to get you thinking about the end of the year! 
Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thank You Wishes for Mentees and Retirees

Hello Friends!

It's Jennifer from Stories and Songs in Second here to share a special way to bid farewell to any mentees or retirees who are counting down the days until their experience is finished.

This year I have had the privilege of mentoring a young woman from a nearby college, and this week is her last one in my classroom.  She spent the first semester completing her methods placement with me, and has been our full-fledged student teacher since January.  "Miss G." is a born educator, and could take the keys to Room #2 out of my hands tomorrow and run successfully with them.  She is a natural, and will be dearly missed by 21 little people come next Monday, May 4th.

As I wandered through my local bookstore yesterday in search of the perfect picture book to tuck in the gift bag I'm making for her, I found this wonderful new one by the talented author/illustrator team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.  As I read it, the idea to create a class keepsake modeled after the story's  thoughtful "I wish you more __________________ than _________________." pattern came to me.

I've included the steps to putting it together, as well as the download link below,  
as a FREEBIE for you to use should you have a mentee or staff retiree that needs honoring!  

Excerpt from 
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld
Chronicle Books

I wish you more ups than downs. 
I wish you more give than take.
I wish you more tippy-toes than deep.
I wish you more we than me.

Click {HERE} to grab these templates!

Another idea I had was to take the adhesive student photos that I receive from Lifetouch
every fall and decorate plastic spinners with them to create a
"Thanks For Filling Our Bucket" bouquet
for Miss G.  

I found all of the supplies at the Target Dollar Spot!

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Know that we appreciate your continued support and readership as we work to make your teaching life more creative and colorful!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

GoNoodle with Whole Brain Teaching

Hello my excited teachers!! If you are like me I know you're excited for the summer countdown to begin. Although, this month will be tough because it is full of STRESS! The kids start to get crazy excited for the end of the year and then BAM chaos everywhere!!!

Anways, I wanted to share with you how I am using GoNoodle and Whole Brain Teaching to keep my kids ON-POINT until the end of the year!! I'm sure most of you have heard of or even use GoNoodle but if not click HERE ... it will change your life!

My class loves or maybe I could go as far as to say.... they are OBSESSED with GoNoodle. It really is the perfect way to start and end our day with several brain breaks in between. I decided to put on a quick mini-training for my schools professional development and was blown away by the amount of people who showed up! I showed everyone the intro video and then shared the handout below.

Of course I had the staff get up and participate in some Pop See Ko!! It was hilarious and every teacher had a smile on their face. This just shows how important FUN is in the classroom and in our lives!

Speaking of training's, I recently went to our districts 3 hour training on Whole Brain Teaching. I have been implementing a few of these strategies in my room already. Mostly I watched YouTube videos and went and tried it out. However, this training opened my eyes to so much MORE! If you want more information on this fabulous program you can go to the WBT website, search & watch a million YouTube videos or even check out this post from Gina!!

For starters... I kind of stopped using the scoreboard a couple years ago. I'm not sure how it happen but they do say if you don't use it within three days you forget it. The good news is I have started to use it again and I am so happy I did. My class loves the "competition" and it's so cute to hear them say "Oh Yeah" or "Aww Man"! There are a ton of amazing score boards out there and I fully intend to download, print and laminate....eventually. For now the whiteboard is working just fine! 

The best part of this scoreboard is my twist to it!! Every morning we have started to make a goal of how many points we want to get that day. This has helped my class with that annoying habit of always predicting 100 for everything! Then I found this adorable GoNoodle inspired ten frame from Little Warriors. She used the ten frame to count out how many more points her champs needed but I'm using mine for incentive!!

Basically each day the class wins on the scoreboard, they earn an end of the day brain break. In addition to the every day award I use the ten fame as a long term goal. Every day my class "beats" me on the they get a GoNoodle champ for the ten frame and then we fill out the number sentence. Once the ten frame is full we have a GONOODLE CELEBRATION a.k.a. 15 to 20 minutes of GoNoodle...FREE and I don't have to remember anything for the party!!!

I have seen amazing structure, engagement and focus from each one of my students and I am so proud, I will be using both of these resources for many years to come!!

Now in the words of my our yoga instructor, Maximo... Adios!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Special Ladies Deserve 'Dime-On' Necklaces and the Royal Treatment!

Hi Everyone!  It's Jenn from Crayons & Cuties In Kindergarten!
Today I am bringing you a simple, yet adorable, Mother's Day gift your students can make for the special lady in their lives...and for some Moms, it just might be their first 'dime-on' necklace!
But even if they are lucky enough to already own a 'diamond' necklace, I am sure this one will be one they will treasure in a way only a Mom's heart can hold!

I have been making these for years and each year they bring 'oohhhs' and 'ahhhs.'  My method has changed a few times- I started with tinted salt dough, then painted salt dough and now I use Crayola Model Magic and it is by far the easiest, cleanest and fastest way!

Last year I blogged with some step-by-step directions and pictures.  Here are some pictures from that post made into collage form so that you can easily pin it to your craft, school, project or gift boards!
If you are planning any type of Mother's Day event, I'd be honored if you took a look at what happens in my classroom each year! can find ALL the directions, pictures and the gift poem in this FREE download in my Teachers Pay Teachers store:

Here are pictures of the salt dough method (recipe included in the download):

Here is my new (and preferred way!) to make the necklaces:

We started making necklaces for this year's moms!
They are sitting and drying now (it takes about 3 days to be fully cured, although you can paint after 1 day if you are crunched for time!):

Once dry, it is time to make them original!
We use regular tempera paint to paint them...
and then 'seal' them with Model Magic Glaze in Gloss (it can be found in the same aisle as the Model Magic- I didn't even use 1/2 of the first bottle to seal all the necklaces last year).

It made them incredibly shiny and even caused a 'crackle' effect on one of them last year!

I write the kids names on the back, with the year, and then seal that too.

So how do we get these necklaces to Mom?
At our Mother's Day Tea!
This is my favorite event of the year!
I don't enlist any help from parents or class moms- I make this a day just for them!

Invitations go about about 2 weeks in advance (I just sent mine home this Tuesday)- Moms, Grandmas and Aunts are invited- either along with Mom or as her substitute!  (I have even had Dads and older siblings join!)

When they walk in they find our room transformed into a Tea Party:

Each mom has a reserved spot!

Our Tea and Treats table is overflowing!  I personally make all the cake pops and brownies (pre children I also made all the I leave that to the grocery store bakery!) 

The moms also find a slide show on our EnoBoard.  It is set to really gushy music that brings tears to their eyes, and has a sweet picture and message from each child!

The background for our 'stage' is our 'Guess The Mom' portraits!  The students draw pictures of their moms and then give clues so they can figure out who is who.  Under the clues is the reveal.  These always bring a chuckle! 
You can find the frame, writing activity and a foldable reader in this pack: 
(It is currently 50% off!)

We then put on a 'show' for about 10 minutes.  They sing songs and recite a few poems and then it is time to present mom with her gift (if a mom isn't there, they present to the substitute OR they can present it to me and then bring it home later).

I call a mom up one by one.  Their child presents them with the necklace, puts it on them and then gives a hug and a kiss.  There are few dry eyes at this point!

Once they have their gift, they head back to their seats where they find the lapbook their child made for them.  Last year was my first year making these and they were SUCH a big hit!

The kids sit with mom and read through the lapbook.   The kids are called over to the treats and tea table at this time and are to serve mom with some tea and treats!

The back of the lapbook has this adorable hand project/poem!

If you are interested in making a Mother's Day lapbook with your class you can find all you need in this download: 

Even if you are not planning on a Mother's Day event, you can still have the students wrap their necklaces (maybe decorate a white lunch bag) to 'present' to mom at home!

Wishing all the 'moms'- in whatever form you may be- a wonderful Mother's Day!
And no matter what piece of jewelry you wear this year, remember...

Until next post,