Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Which witch?

Aren't these just adorable??

I totally stole this cute craft idea from Ms. Leslie Ann over at Life in First Grade! Well, not totally. I bought some Halloween scrapbook paper from the dollar bin at Target. I cut each sheet in half and that's what we used for the dresses. She now offers patters, but we didn't use them. Also, Ms. Leslie Ann ended up tying this craft to a sequencing activity. I went another route and had my kiddos further experiment with descriptive writing. I asked them to write 3 or 4 sentences describing what their witches look like.

Then I displayed the witches and their writing on a bulletin board. (I made sure they wrote their names on the back of each item.) The small pink square on each witch is a number I added using post-its. When people walked by they could read the descriptions and try to find the matching witch. After noticing the number, they would fold up the bottom half of the description and check the number on back. If the number of the witch they thought of was the same as the number on the back of the description, it's a match! 

My sweet kids had SO much fun showing these off to the older students and making them guess which witch was theirs! If you want to give it a try, feel free to download the writing sheet. I did make a few design changes because well, that's what I do. Always perfecting... never satisfied... I'm sure next year it'll be something even different!

Best wishes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Please and thank you...

As you all know, I live in California (only for 10 more day... whooo hoooo). One MAJOR difference I noticed here vs. other parts of the country is this... We. Lack. Manners. Period. It's true! On any given day I can go about my business in the world and not here one "please" or "thank you." People are so consumed in what they're doing that they don't notice others. There's no holding the door open for the person behind you or, heaven forbid, letting someone go in front of you. It's sad.

Well, my mama raised me better than that! And I try to teach my students what I have been taught. At my school, in previous years we had a character education program that was taught by parent volunteers (allowing us teachers to get out and attend school wide staff meetings). As you can imagine, the kids got very excited when their parents came in. Most of the time was spent on classroom management and that didn't go over to well. Then the librarian tried to take over (bless her heart), but there's only one of her and tons of them. That, also, was an epic fail. The kids would come back to class afterwards with cute coloring pages, but wouldn't be able to tell me what they learned.

I decided that I needed something I could do myself, in the classroom, but wouldn't take a ton of time (because who has that). Behold... the Manner Planner!

It's a pack dedicated to teaching our little angels how to be little angels! I took 20 character traits and made them into kid-friendly posters. I added some cute little headers and buckets for bulletin boards. There's even a journal to collect their learning. See.....

Aren't those just the most darling graphics? I'm seriously in love with everything Nikki creates! Anywhooser, if you teach character education in your class, head on over to TpT or TN and pick this up. I'm positive you and your kiddos will love it! But wait, if you're one of the first 5 to comment, you'll get a copy for free! :) Just leave your email and a little mention of what you do to teach character education. Now go and enjoy your Hump Day!

Best wishes,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sad, Sad, Sad...

So if you follow my blog, you already know that the hubs and I are moving to Texas. Although there seems to be delay after delay, the house is coming along nicely! While moving to a new state may be one of the most exciting things I've prepared for, I can't help being a little bummed right now. And here's why... I seriously miss going back to school!! I miss shopping and decorating my classroom. I miss hitting up back-to-school sale after back-to-school sale and stalking the Target dollar bins. I miss planning the get to know you games and the tell me all about your summer stories. I miss the silly dreams and anticipation that always seemed to keep me up the last night of summer. And most of all, I SERIOUSLY MISS THE KIDS!! I am beyond blessed to have taught the past 7 years at a very small private school. The principal is welcoming me with open arms on the first day and I cannot wait for that visit!

Since I have no classroom to prep and no plans to write, I've got an abundance of time on my hands. And when I'm not creating goodies for my TpT store, I'm crafting up a storm! Our new house is going to be almost 1,000 square feet larger than our current one! That's a lot of empty corners and wall space to fill. Well have no fear, Pinterest to the rescue! And since I'm so nice, I'm going to be blogging and posting anything you may be able to use in the classroom. For starters...

Isn't this the most adorable Halloween banner you've ever seen?! ;) It was super simple to create! Simple enough for anyone to create, really. So, click here to print the pennants. Then cut, attach ribbon, hang, and enjoy! Well, maybe wait until it's October to hang, but you know what I mean! ;) Oh, and you may even think about laminating it for use over many, many years!

And for anyone interested, here's the progress on my little piece of heaven...

(I can't wait until they move the gigantic storage container!) Only a few more weeks to go!!

Best wishes,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy...

I am so happy TpT's annual Back to School sale is just around the corner! Can I get a whoooo hooo?!

For those of you who follow my store, you're already aware of the many new products I have put out this summer! If you're not a follower, what are you waiting for?! Go and check out some of my latest creations....

a chalkboard theme classroom pack (just add accents in your favorite color) which includes several editable pages

 a nautical theme classroom pack

adorable door decorations for any bee theme classroom

 some editable labels (in many themes)


parts of speech posters for primary or upper elementary

 and (this is what I have been working especially hard on) a common core collection for second grade ELA

And coming soon (by Sunday, of course)

Now I know you're excited to get purchasing, printing and laminating but WAIT! The sale doesn't begin until Sunday! So add everything your heart desires to your wishlist for now, jot down coupon code BTS13, and set your alarm... only 2 more days to go! Happy shopping!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There Was An Old Lady Who...

Don't your students just love these stories?! Mine get so excited every time they find an Old Lady book in our library. Feels like no matter how many things that woman swallows, it'll never get old for them! Well, I recently purchased There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books from our school book fair. I read it to the kids and they were (not surprisingly) just as entertained as ever. That's when it hit me... Why not have the students write their own Old Lady story?! I became even more convinced that this would be the perfect assignment once I realized how much non fiction writing we have been doing (thanks Common Core). I can't wait to get started on this tomorrow and see their imaginations run wild!


If you're interested, you can pick up a copy for yourself at my TpT store. Or you could be one of the first five to leave a comment. Be sure to let me know about your favorite Old Lady activity and you'll get one for free! Don't forget your email address!!

Looking forward to letting you all know how it turned out!

Best wishes,

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Turtles, manatees, sea stars and jellyfish... Oh my!

I can't tell you enough about how much inspiration you all out there in Bloggyland give me! A few months ago I was reminded of the amazing rain forest display Teacher Bits and Bobs does for their open house. I didn't want to copy it exactly (mostly because there's no way I could EVER duplicate something that awesome), but I wanted to do something similar. So, I decided to have a theme for my open house. I tossed a few ideas around and settled on an ocean theme.

Each week I would introduce a new ocean animal. Honestly, since there are sooooo many to choose from, I picked the animals that I had books on and the kids were interested in. For each week we would read a few books and do some research online. (I have a projector system in my class that comes in really handy!) We would take notes and complete a few worksheets to record our learning. At the end of the week we would complete an art project for that animal. Then I would display everything on our bulletin board. Actually, I kept the art projects hidden until open house. I think it turned out quite nice...


Each student wrote something they thought they knew about manatees on a post-it.

Our art projects...

Sea Stars 

I proposed three questions before we did any research. The students answered each question. Later, we reread the questions and decided on the correct answer.

We wrote the can, have, are on our worksheets and then on the pick sea stars you see at the bottom.

For the art project, I had the kids draw a star on paper and cut it out. Then we used pastina to add some texture to our stars. Warning, glue bottles may get clogged with pastina! 

 After drying for a few hours, I taped them to another piece of paper. This helped A LOT! The students were able to hold the larger paper which kept their star still while keeping the paint off of their desks. Next, I had everyone paint a first coat in any color they choose. Then I added a little black OR white to their bowl and mixed. Last, they used to the new color to add stripes or spots to their sea star. 


Here students wrote their schema on the tentacles. They thought that was hilarious BTW! The purple fish are the "cans," the pink fish are the "haves," and the green fish are the "ares."

Want to see the whole jellyfish board? Well then I hope you brought your time machine because someone forgot to take a picture of it!

We also spent a week learning about sea turtles. Check out my previous post!

For the art, they colored an outline and then cut it out. I stapled the shell together in a few strategic places (otherwise known as the labeled places) and viola!

Finally, I took all of this down and decorated for open house. Out with the worksheets and in with the art...

I had the students fold a large sheet of blue construction paper in half and draw an ocean scene. Then I asked each one to choose a title for their book. All of their research was stapled inside. The scuba divers just completed the theme!

See our jellyfish hanging from the ceiling?! We painted a bowl, let it dry and then added streamers. Simple and easy!

Perhaps their most favorite part... seaweed hanging in front of the door. They still won't let me take it down!!

So, what did you do for open house?

Best wishes,