End of the School Year Activities

Okay, so hopefully you have all that testing behind you now and are freed up to do some educational activities that are engaging for your students!  I always have an end of the year celebration with my student that is themed-based.  I also have an end of the year celebration where the parents are invited to share some special moments with their child before summer heats up!  Here are some theme ideas that I usually let my students choose from:

  1. HawaiianSPY DAY Themed Days - SPY Mystery Thermatic units
  2. Spy Day
  3. Beach or Ocean Day
  4. Pirate Day
  5. Circus
  6. Mad Scientist Day
  7. Craft Day
  8. Super Hero Day

We do activities with items I purchase from Oriental Trading Co. usually.  I also ask parents to donate items for the day.  Superhero Themed Activities - Superhero Themed Day - CentersWe make a t-shirt to go with the theme.  All the activities are educational, but they are theme-based. This is a do just for kids, but I do have a couple volunteers helping me with activities.

When I invite the parents to the room, we have a slideshow showing pictures taken throughout the school year.  Each year, (20 so far) I’ve made individual photo albums for all my students and present them to the parents as a parting gift.  Even though these cost me a lot, they proved to be priceless! Many students return years later with that album in hand. They tell me how meaningful the albums are to them.  One even said, “When I’m down, I can look at it, and it always cheers me up.”  I’m glad I invested in them.  Then, I have parents bring in a dish to share.  They can also bring in footballs to play outside with the kids after we all eat.  It’s a great day!  To make it really special, I also give every child a candy certificate as a keepsake.

Then end of the year is a busy time for teachers, but it also the best time to make memories that will last a lifetime with your students, build connections with the community, and celebrate the time you shared together as a class!End of the Year Awards Certificates EDITABLE - Candy Awards - Superlatives

 

 

Spring Teaching Ideas for Kindergarten and First Grade

Springtime is one of my favorite times of the year to teach! Flowers bloom, everything is new, sun shining, and engaging resources.  I use lots of spring themed lessons including Easter activities. My all time favorite thing to do, is to step away from the curriculum, just a little and teach poetry! Students really learn to love literature when they see how much fun they can have with words!

Spring also means new plants and flowers are in the process of growing.  Students have a blast learning all about plant parts, dissecting the plants, germinating their own seeds and more in this 3 week Plant Unit.

I also use Spring Worksheets with my kindergarten students that are themed in all subject areas!  This creates a connection across the curriculum areas.  The printables also meet most state standards in reading, writing, math, and science.

Of course celebrating springtime would not be the same without some fun spring and Easter activities in the classroom for our students! Students get creative with art supplies making butterfly glasses, bunny headbands, jellybean math, and life cycle books.  Whatever you do with your students, make sure you are having fun right a long with them! Happy SPRING!

 

How to Sell on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT)

Teacher friends are always asking me how to start selling on TpT.  I love helping others!  I look forward to helping the people who have already took the step to become a seller (Teacher Author), and helping others who want to create some time saving resources for teachers.  To be honest, it is not easy.  I started part-time, just working on the weekends.  Now, I resigned from teaching and work TpT full time.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE every minute of this job, but it is time-consuming.  Like anything, the more you focus on something, the more successful you will be at it.

How to be a TpT Author

 

First, let me have you ask yourself a couple questions to see if it is right for you.

  1. Do you have an educational background?
  2. Do you enjoy creating teaching material?
  3. Do you have a computer?
  4. Do you have time to spend creating materials?
  5. Have you worked in PowerPoint before?

If you answered yes, then there is a pretty good chance that you will enjoy working with TpT! Now, what do you need to do to get started?

 

Step 1: Join Teachers Pay Teachers.  You can use this Referral LINK to join as a seller for FREE. Once you get comfortable, and know it is the right fit for you, I highly suggest you upgrade to the premium account, so you get a better payout.  Think of a great name for your store.  You can use your own personal name like a lot of sellers, or you can create one that keeps your brand separated from your person.  Once you decide on a store name, check first to make sure no one else has your name by typing it in the TpT search bar.  This will be the way people remember you, so spend some time to really decide on something you will be happy with in the long run.

 

Step 2: Use PowerPoint to create your first resource.  The first one is a free resource, so make it nice so everyone knows what they can expect from you in future resources, but don’t go over 10 pages.  My first one was only 1 page, and it is really not a good representation of my type of products I offer now after all of my growth, but it makes me happy to see where I started.

TIPS FOR YOUR PRODUCT:

Create a Cover, Put a copyright on each page, Have a boarder around each page, Find images and fonts on TpT to use in your product, (there are some free ones who just want you to link them in the credits and you can use Pixabay for commercial use images for free),Don’t break copyright law by copying others, Make a great preview (maybe the product in action), Make sure the description is clear

 

Step 3: Once you are happy with your first product, upload it. Repeat this with another product and this time put a price on it! Now it gets exciting! TpT has resources for you to find how to properly price items.  Make sure you look around the web site to become familiar with all it has to offer.

Step 4: Download the TpT app to your phone, so you can hear the CHA CHING sound that plays when you get a sale.  It is motivating!

Feel free to visit my store Teacher’s Brain to look around to see how I write a description, make covers, and previews.  There is a lot more to learn, but this should get you started.  Do a search on YouTube for tips on how to make covers in PowerPoint.  That is how I got started.  After a few months, I  was able to create resources that I was really confident about making for teachers.  If you need a course that will really get you to focus, try The Focused Teacherpreneur Course with Shelly Rees.  It has been a game changer for me, and worth every penny.

 

Good Luck!

St. Patrick’s Day Classroom Ideas for Kids

I was recently asked what I do for St. Patrick’s Day with students.  I am a huge fan of  engaging students through various holidays! St. Patrick’s Day has always been an exciting day with the students joining me in looking for a little trickster leprechaun on campus!

weather unit rainbow

I made a small pair of pants out of green fabric.  I would mess up the room when the kids where at lunch, sprinkle some glitter around the room (even in the toilets), and hang the pants on a cracked open window.  The students would look for the trickster everywhere.  When they would find the pants, we would laugh about how there was a little leprechaun running around without pants.  He would always leave a gold coin on the desk for the students.  Now, how does this fun tie into education?  First, we would read a book about a tricky leprechaun.  I also have a fantastic activity called The Paper Leprechaun where the kids have to make their own paper leprechaun using fine motor skills after listening to a poem, and the pot of gold goes missing.  They write out a personality for the paper leprechaun and then write about how to catch one!  For a home project, the students would make leprechaun traps working on problem solving skills at home with their parents.  These would be shared with the class during the week.  I would sometimes display them in the media center.  During centers, students made rainbow art. Each student would get to make their own LUCKY Shamrock Hat to wear for the day.

paper leprechaun cover      Leprchaun cover

For math, we would sort, count, graph, and eat Lucky Charm cereal. Who doesn’t like a little snack while learning!Lucky Charms Math long

Play some Irish traditional music while the kids are working using Pandora, YouTube, or Amazon.

ST. Patricks day headband

Need some great books to share with your students? Look below…

Read Across America Ideas

Dr. Seuss is the perfect author to inspire students of all ages to read.  As teachers, we love to share his work during Read Across America Week and to celebrate his birthday with March activities.

Here are some great ideas to help you inspire your students with reading themed activities.

Red fish

One Fish , Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is a classic delightful book that helps students with colors and counting skills.  Have students make their own colored fish to display in the room.

Oh The Places

Read Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.  Then, have students make their own hot air balloon craft.  They can even write about where they would go.  I like to use tissue paper or wallpaper squares to decorate the balloon.

s7

Wacky Wednesday is a fun way to spend a Wednesday during Read Across America with Dr. Seuss.  While the students are at lunch or recess, make your classroom “wacky” by changing the clock, hanging things like shoes from the ceiling, putting socks inside the tissue box or turning a desk upside down.  Then, have students see how many “wacky” items they can find out of place.  They can play rhyming games this day or make a “wacky” animal using different animal body parts.

s6              s5

How about these cute Halloween printable glasses?  You can easily turn them into something creative during the week for students to wear during reading time.  Tell them that the glasses are magical and help them to focus on the story you are reading.

Invite a guest in who dresses up like one of the characters from Dr. Seuss’ books to read to the class. Make sure to have a CRAZY SOCK day also to go with the Fox in Socks books.  I also like to ask students to send in their favorite Seuss books to share with each other during reading time.  I have them find rhyming words in the books.   They love it!

s4         s2

Ask parents to send in a special treat for a day like these yummy Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes.  Make task cards with Seuss colors like this WHAT CAN I DO WHEN I’M DONE for Early Finishers.

s1

Of course, no Read Across America celebration would be complete without making Green Eggs and Ham with your students. (Check for allergies first.)  I had my students make these hats out of paper plates.  No matter what, have fun with your students this week.  This is a great week for students to explore new words, use their imaginations, and feel inspired to read a good book!

 

Sources for Printables: http://bit.ly/2HLe8s3

Valentine’s Teacher Giveaway

It’s time to show teachers a #LOTTALOVE with a giveaway!  We are giving away TWO $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Cards, and ONE $100 Amazon gift card to THREE lucky teachers.  I’ve have joined with a few other fantastic teacher authors to bring this giveaway to you.  You just have to be a teacher and enter the raffle for a chance to win!

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Winners will be announced on the 15th.

Click the image or the link below to enter! Good LUCK!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

100th Day of School Ideas

Here are some of my favorite ideas for the 100th Day of School that I use with K-1 students.  Let me know what fun activities you do for this day too!

1.Have student’s send in 100 items from home in zip lock bags to hang in your classroom.

2.Send a parent letter home encouraging students to wear t-shirts with 100 items glued, painted or pinned on the shirt.

3. Wear a t-shirt. Have students put 100 band aids on it, and have it say, “I survived 100th Day, and so did Mrs. ________.

4.Have students dress like they are 100 Years Old.

5. Use an app or web site to make the students look old.  Then let them do a self portrait from the app on drawing paper.

6. Use doughnut shaped cereal to make edible necklaces with yarn.  Have students group them by to using the included work mat.

7.Use Bulletin Board paper to have students design a 100th Day banner or mural to hang in the classroom.

8.Put 100 plastic cups out and let students  build  a building.

9.Put 100 Legos out and let students build a structure.  Then have them write about what they build.

10.Put out 5 different snacks (pretzels, cereal, mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, M&Ms) Have students count out 20 and make a trail mix using the included work mat and a zip lock to take home.

11.Using the printable, have student write 100 words in groups of 10.

12.Students can write about what they would do with 100 dollars.

13.Use the 100 chart to have students count out 100 sweet treats.

14.Use paint daubers to color 10 groups of gumballs using the printable.

15.Make 100th Day Glasses using the printable.

16.Have student count out 100 drops of water, make predictions and complete the printable.

17.Have students use the printable to make tally marks of 100 licks of a Tootsie Pop.  They can predict if they will get to the tootsie or not.

18.Incorporate fitness by having students do 100 exercises.


Create an Escape Room for the Classroom

We all dread seeing our students falling asleep or wanting to escape the classroom out of boredom while we pour our hearts out teaching. Why not spice up your lessons with creating an educational escape room for your little ones?  I’ve seen my own children coming home so excited about the escape rooms or break out boxes that their teachers have created in middle school.  So, I had to figure out how to create this excitement about learning and teamwork in the elementary classroom setting.  It took me some time to wrap my head around how to make it easy enough for a 6 year old, but rigorous enough to meet the benchmarks.  Once I figured it out, it was like magic!

Here is an example of how to set one up in your room.  First, think of the topic you want to cover.  Let’s just say this escape room will focus on sight words.  Then come up with two fun tasks you would like the kids to work on together in order to get a clue.  For example, plastic bags full of letters that will create sight words that are hidden around the room, or a mystery picture to color using sight words to code the color of the picture.  My daughter says that the best part of her escape room experiences (besides opening the box full of treats), was the video they watched as a “hook” that explained a crazy situation of someone capturing them or stealing an item.  (Click HERE for an example of a video hook.)  So, keeping that in mind you can create a little video, or just make up a story.  I like to separate my students into two groups. Each time the students complete a task, they get the next clue inside of an envelope that I read to the class.  In this case, the class would use the plastic bags letters to solve sight words.  The next clue would lead them to maybe a mystery picture to solve.  Then, they get the last clue which leads them to find a key (either paper or a real one to a box) by reading a riddle for them to solve.  This riddle could have a code to open a lock that you placed on the box.  They will each need their key or code to open the box, which also opens their classroom. They will have to use their imaginations a little.  We don’t want to actually lock them in the classroom.  Then, once they open the box, I let the students “free” to go to recess or to get a book from the library.  Students are encouraged to work together to help each other solve the problems.  You could even add QR Codes, black lights, and magnifying glasses to your escape room to change it around for different lessons.  Students go home talking about how they found sight words to escape their room.  Designing an escape room yourself takes some time, but the benefit is well-worth it!

Be that teacher every student remembers because their lesson plans were so engaging with this Escape Room for K-1 focusing on Sight Words.

Primary Teacher Challenge

Do you like free resources?  Do you love to see what other teachers are doing in their classroom, but can’t because you are busy teaching?  Well, I have something fun for you! Go check out my Facebook Page.  Pinned at the top is the video (same video as below) of me explaining how to win free resources by simply sharing one of your fantastic lessons with the rest of us by snapping a quick picture and adding it to comment section with a sentence.  Go check it out to discover the criteria I’m looking for, and hopefully see some other teacher’s lessons for inspiration.  I can’t wait to see what you all are doing with the kiddos!