Monday, February 2, 2015

EX-STRAW Special Valentine's Day tag {FREEBIE}

Happy Monday!

We happen to be off today on YET ANOTHER snow day.  I'm looking out my windows right now and it is just a winter wonderland out there!  Lots of snow, very cold.....I'm happy to be snuggled under my blanket right now.

AND....I was happy that this morning I could take a few minutes to finish up my students' valentines.

I did some looking a few weeks ago for cute ideas that didn't include candy.  There is plenty of that already on V-Day, and I wanted to do something different this year.  I came across lots of cute sayings to use with fun twisty straws.  I've never met a kid who didn't LOVE a twisty straw, so I loved this idea!
This saying was my favorite...
You all know I'm a sap.  I've said this a million times before and I'll probably say it a million more times, but far above anything else my students learn this year, I want them to know without a doubt that they are amazing and talented and awesome and irreplaceable.  I want to build this into them every single day.  And so of course I loved that this cute valentine saying was just one more reminder to them that their teacher thinks they are EX-STRAW SPECIAL.  It's true.  I do.

I made this tag and printed six to a sheet onto cardstock.

It didn't take me long to cut them out by hand.  I did that on Friday night while I was watching Shark Tank because my Friday nights are THAT cool.  I was hoping to punch holes in the top AND bottom to help them stay on the straws better, but the straws I ended up getting were SO twisty and fun that it didn't work that way.  No biggie!  One hole at the top will do.  My students will rip them off right away anyway, right??!?

I'd love to share them with you if you want to use them for your students!  Just CLICK HERE to grab them from Google Drive.

Here's the link to the straws I ordered.  Amazon Prime is one of my favorite things in the world.  I can think of something, press a few buttons, and BAM!...it's at my doorstep.  Love. :)

Happy Valentine's Day prep, my friends!!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Penguin Addition {FREEBIE!}


We are knee-deep in a penguin study in my classroom.  We've studied arctic animals in the winter before, but never penguins.  This year, I wanted to try something new, and.....I mean, penguins.

They are so cute.  So sweet.  So lovable!

My students are officially in love and obsessed.  My heart pitter-patters when I hear them use the words rookery, predator, or even regurgitate (that one's a favorite!) in conversation with their friends.

They talk about the different types of penguins like they are family!  Emperor, Adelie, Macaroni, Crested, Rockhopper, Little Blue.... so cute and so fun!

I wanted an addition practice page for my students, and I knew that if I included penguins they would be suddenly motivated.  And goldfish crackers?  Done deal.
Students rolled two dice and used goldfish crackers to build the groups.  Then, they recorded their addition sentences on the recording sheet.  Simple, but fun!  My class loved it today!
 These cutie pie penguins came from Deanna Jump's Penguin pack.  I laminated them with my new at-home laminator of course because I am in.love.with.it.
 If you'd like to use this page with your students, CLICK HERE to grab it from Google Drive!

Happy weekend, friends!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hump Day Highlight :: Good Friends Class Book

Hi there!

I'm liking this Hump Day Highlight linky with Mrs. Stanford's class!  It's nice to check in mid-week.  Click the image to hop over and see what other teachers are up to this week!

The book we are focusing on this week in our reading curriculum is Farfallina and Marcel.  I love this sweet story about friendship.  

You know I'll take any chance I can to create a class book. :) We had a great discussion about friendship and it led right into this prompted writing activity that will make a super sweet class book.

 Isn't this just about the sweetest thing you've ever seen???  
So much wisdom from this precious 5-year-old.  Totally made my heart pause and think YES!  Exactly!  Never forget this!

Sometimes I think Kindergarteners should rule the world.

OR....maybe not......
Ha!

Good friends SHARE THEIR WEAPONS.

Too much.  So funny.  I love my job.

And P.S. -- look out for this one some day. ;)

Just kidding.  He's sweet as can be.  It's a bow and arrow.  Just so funny that THAT is what he thought of.


The rest were just sweet...
 ...and touching...
 ...and funny too.  
This one is serious about his candy! Ha!

And the speech bubbles.  "Do you want gum?"  "Yes."  "Thank you."  Hee hee!

CLICK HERE to grab this page from Google Drive if you'd like to use it with your class.  It would be a great one to save and use close to Valentine's Day too when we're all feeling the love!!

Hope you're having an awesome week!!  Happy hump day!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

GoNoodle Sanity Savers Linky!


Do you GoNoodle???

The term "GoNoodle" is part of my classroom vocabulary this year.  My students talk about it every single day.  They LOVE GoNoodle brain breaks....and so do I!  I jump around, dance, and sing right along with my Kindies.  It's a favorite time of day for all of us!

At the beginning of the school year, we chose our GoNoodle mascot.  My students are crazy for Squatchy Berger!  He started out as a little baby Berger and now he is big and buff!  They love watching him grow!

I always try to make time for GoNoodle at the end of our morning, right before lunch.  It's great for my littles to get some energy out right before we head down to the lunchroom.

I'm linking up with Elizabeth today for a fun linky party inspired by GoNoodle!

Here are some of my sanity savers....

FAVORITE BRAIN BREAK:  My students' current favorite GoNoodle brain break is Koo Koo Kangaroo's Roller Coaster.  We ALL love this one!!

HAPPY PLACE:  If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE the beach!!  I am so fortunate to live near the shores of Lake Michigan, so we can visit the beach often in the summer.  We vacationed on Ft. Myers Beach over Christmas, and that was incredible.  I LOVE my beach time!!
Holland, Michigan

Ft. Myers Beach, Florida

Nothing better than a beach sunset!!


GUILTY PLEASURE: Reality TV makes me happy.  Some of my favorites are...
and 


KEEP CALM AND:  SMILE!!
The quote "A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear" is so true!!  There is always, always a reason to smile!! 

Head on over to Kickin' it in Kindergarten to check out some other fun bloggers who linked up with their sanity savers!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Snowmen at Night" extension craftivity

The snow has returned to Michigan!  And, just in time to make morning commutes to school nice and tricky. :)  BUT....it sure is GORGEOUS to see those big flakes falling outside, and it puts me in the mood to get adorable snowmen all over my classroom!  

This is one of my favorite books to read in January.  I'm sure you've heard of it and read it too.  The illustrations are beautiful and the story is so fun and really gets kids thinking creatively!
I decided to pair a snowman directed drawing with a super-short writing assignment to create a fun extension craftivity for this awesome book.
I wish wish wish that I could remember where I found this directed drawing, but I can't trace it back to it's original home right now!  If you know, please share in the comments!  
 If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE doing directed drawings with my students.  They are always so amazed what they can draw when it's broken down one step at a time.  
We completed the drawings on Monday, and then yesterday during Literacy Stations, I pulled students independently to complete the sentence to add to their work.  I assisted those students who needed some help stretching their words, but many students are able to do it on their own this time of year!  So crazy how quickly they become independent!  Blows me away every year when I stop to think about it!
Their responses were so creative and all different!  

I've attached a link to this page so that you can use it with your students if you'd like.

CLICK HERE to download it from Google Drive.


Happy snowy January!!  Hope you are enjoying this week back at school with your students!

I'm linking up with Jessica for her new weekly linky!
Head on over and see what some other great teachers are up to on this first week back!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year, New Class Book

As I'm preparing for being back at school next week, I've been thinking of how I can incorporate some goal-setting with my littles.  The start of a new year is always a good time for hopeful anticipation of what the year will hold, so we're going to stretch our Kindergarten minds next week and try to think BIG PICTURE.

Big picture can be very hard for Kindergarten minds.  Two hours from now feels like big picture.  Sometimes five minutes from now feels like big picture.  

But.....we'll discuss and brainstorm, and then we'll make a class book.

Because you know I LOVE making class books!!


I am going to use this page (and you can too.  CLICK HERE.)  and encourage my students to think of one goal for school and one goal for home.  

What new things do they want to learn this year?
What might they want to try for the first time?
Where might they want to visit?
What new habits could they form?

I'll ask them to narrow their ideas down and choose ONE goal for home and ONE for school.  They will draw and label.  Or they will draw and I will label.  And then I'll laminate the pages, bind them into a class book, and they will be part of each students' memory book at the end of the year.

And of course I'll show you when we're done.

Will you be setting goals with your students next week???

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Wrapping up December

Happy 2015!

Our plane got in around 9:30 last night, so I got to ring in the new year by waiting for an airport shuttle and then walking to our car in 20 degree weather.  In TOMS and a lightweight cardigan.  Not cool, Michigan!!  So thankful for some time away, but also thankful to be back home.  Today will be laundry, grocery shopping, taking down the Christmas tree, putting UP the Christmas cards that came while we were away, and more laundry.  And then more laundry after that.  Ahhhh...post-vacay joys. :)

Anyhow, I can't shift my thinking to this new year quite yet.  I first have to wrap up December!  I know this post is overdue, but better late than never!

1. Once again this year, we made handprint reindeer ornaments for parent gifts.  I love the way these turn out every year.  They are easy and cute as can be.  Those wiggle eyes and red pom poms just transform these plain brown handprints into Christmas adorable-ness!  And the jingle bell is just icing on the cake.  I love these.  Little handprints are precious!
I just have each student decorate a small paper bag (this year I provided some Christmas shape cut-outs which was fun) and we staple them inside.  Easy peasy!  A keeper gift, for sure!

 2. We looooved spending the month of December completing our RAKs at school.  Every single student and staff member got loved on!  Jingle Joy was a hit - the love for him was really one of cutest things I've seen in my 12 years of teaching!  I hope that it is something my students will remember for a very long time!
Each morning, the students came in looking for Jingle Joy.  They knew that they couldn't touch him when they found him because that would ruin the fun for everyone else.  This day was a favorite.  The whole class laughed and laughed when they found him!!  
He always had a note to the class tucked into his scarf and we had so much fun reading them every morning.  He would always reveal our top-secret mission for the day, and give the class a bit of a "pep talk" -- kindness, giving, and joy were themes of the month!

I asked parents to provide items for our RAKs, and I have a talented mom this year who sent in the cutest bags ever that she fancied up with glitter.  Each one was different.  They were beautiful!
The filled bags looked like this.  A pencil for every student.  A Sharpie for the teacher, a note, and lots of Hershey's kisses on the bottom.
All those sharpened pencils meant that I spent a LOT of time with THIS during December.
And every time I was dreaming of THIS...
Ha!  This may have to become part of my classroom before next December! :)

Those little notes we tucked inside looked like this... 

Each day, I randomly selected two students to complete our special delivery.  Everyone got a chance to help once.  One friend was in charge of the bag, and the other friend was in charge of Jingle Joy.  They knew the routine.  They did their best to be discrete in the hallway, then they set the bag down by the classroom door, did a little knockknockknock and RAN AWAY!!!  The ONLY time it's okay to run in school! Ha!
When they returned to the classroom they gave a little delivery report before we put Jingle Joy down for his afternoon nap.  Such a highlight of each day!!

Not every day was a delivery day.  Some days we completed other acts of kindness.  Like making thank-you cards for moms and dads.
I just know that my students will come back to school next week wishing Jingle Joy was still there.  He was a wonderful addition to our month of December!

3. We had our classroom Christmas celebration (which really just involves a special snack and book exchange) on the Thursday before break.  I love getting the craziness out of the way so that Friday can be calm, quiet, and relaxed.

Our special Christmas snack this year was a big hit!  The kids loved decorating their Christmas trees with sweets!  A rare treat at school!

4. We did a school-wide Holiday Cheer Week the week before break.  Friday was PJ Day and Hat Day.  Two of my kidlets wore antlers like me!  We had to get a pic of the "Antler Club". Ha!
 5. We also took some time that day to open my gift to the class.  I hadn't done this before, but this year I bought a class gift.  24 new things to use during Choice Time.  We sat in a circle and everyone got a rip of wrapping paper.  Then, we passed the open box around and everyone pulled one thing out.  This was really fun!

December is always a busy month, but I just love the feelings of excitement, love, and joy that fill the classroom!  

Whew!  Now that December is wrapped up, I'm ready to press on into this new year!
I was tagged on Instagram to share some resolutions for 2015.  The longer I teach, the more I realize that getting a front-row seat to watch children learn and grow is just MAGIC.  Don't you agree??  
New Year's Day always makes me sappy!  Ha!

Thanks for hanging out with me here, and inspiring me to keep learning and growing myself!  Welcome, 2015!