Friday, December 22, 2017

Rainbow Christmas Tree

  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Scissors
  • White paper
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil
  • Ruler 

What You Do:

  1. Have your child place the construction paper, one sheet of each color, in a horizontal, or landscape position.
  2. Then, set one sheet of white paper to the side in a vertical position.
  3. Ask him to cut strips of paper from the bottom to the top of each sheet of paper. The strips should be about 1" wide.
  4. Have him cut one small square for the base of the tree, about 2.5" x 2.5", and glue it to the bottom of the white paper.
  5. Encourage him to draw and cut out a star for the top of his tree. Set it aside for now.
  6. Ask him to lay out the strips of colored paper on the white paper, overlapping them to create the basic shape of the Christmas tree. Don't worry if the paper extends over the edges of the tree, it'll be cut down later.
  7. Encourage him to play with changing up the colors and various ways of slanting the rectangles, overlapping them to create his tree. When the rectangles of paper are in their final positions, have him use the ruler to lightly draw a straight line (not a diagonal) where the paper should be cut.
  8. Have him carefully lift up each edge of paper and cut it along his drawn line, then glue it in place.
  9. Continue cutting and gluing until all rectangles are adhered in position from top to bottom, small to large.
  10. Complete the Christmas tree by having him glue the star at the very top of the tree.
My kindergartners had a blast making these Christmas trees this year!  To adapt it, I pre-cut all the strips of paper and they arranged them in order from shortest to longest.  It was a fantastic way to end our measurement unit.  You can check out my Merry Measurement Unit here.  

This engaging and educational Christmas craftivity comes from  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

First Day Fun with Playdough!

Good Morning!

We all know the first day of school can be hectic for most teachers. 

At many of the schools I've worked at, we've had a “Meet the Teacher/Bring Your Supplies Day” before school officially begins.  However, there were a couple years when we didn't have those days and students brought all their supplies and met their teacher on the first day of school!  When the first day comes, with all the supplies to put away, it does get very hectic!  Instead of expecting children to settle down with a worksheet, I placed a Ziploc bag filled with play dough and some work mats on each desk.  This is a highly engaging activity that requires no teacher guidance - allowing time to collect and assemble supplies. In addition, it also provides the children with a fun activity to calm their back to school jitters!

When I used this activity in my classroom, I had each child practice making numbers and their name with the play dough. Then I had them make something to represent their favorite summer activity.  This became one of our first “getting to know you” activities.  Each child shared about what they made.

Click here or on either picture above to download the recipe and some fun work mats!  Use these work mats or create your own for your students.  Be sure to laminate them or cover with wax paper.  :) 

Some additional ideas for how to work the play dough into an educational/getting to know you activity:
-use the dough to represent a favorite hobby or food
-use the dough to mold elements from a favorite book or story, etc.
-use the dough to create letters or build their name

What ideas do you have for incorporating play dough fun with the first day of school? 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Best Year Ever!

Have you heard the news???  
Monday and Tuesday is the big Teachers Pay Teachers SALE!!  

Teachers Pay Teachers is full of wonderful resources to help make this school year the Best Year Ever!  In order to help you get started during the sale, I'm giving away a $10 TpT Gift Card to use in any store!  

You can enter the giveaway at the end of this post.  
I'll contact the winner tomorrow, so you can take advantage of the big sale!  

While you're waiting, don't forget to leave feedback on all your previously purchased products.  
You can earn TpT Credits to use during the sale for EVEN MORE savings!  

Good Luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Call me crazy, because I'm teaching Kindergarten this year!  

I'm super excited for this change, but scared out of my mind!  ;)   With only two weeks until I meet my littles, I've been busy prepping for the new year!  

First thing on my list was my Welcome to School Postcards.  I have loved sending postcards to my future students before school starts each year.  It's a wonderful way to start the year off on a positive note and to start building up that rapport.  My students talk about their postcards all year long!  It's so special to them!  

I originally saw this postcard over at The Teacher Wife, but it is no longer available.  I thought it was the perfect postcard for Kindergarten, so I had no choice but to recreate it.  And how cute is that font from Abby?!?  I am in love with her new fonts and have been using them all over my classroom.  :)

While you can certainly print these postcards on your own, I sent mine to Vistaprint.  The quality and price are excellent.  They always seem to have a coupon code for an even better discount.  If you would like to use this postcard to welcome your students back to school, click on the images above.  They fit perfectly on the standard postcard size.  

Happy Back to School!

Monday, October 5, 2015


Today I'm sharing one of my favorite classroom games over on Cassandra's blog.  Check it out!

I learned about this game two years ago, and it has quickly become a class favorite!  I love it because it can be used for ANY subject and ANY grade level.  It keeps everyone engaged, focused, and quiet.  ;)  

The Set Up:

Buy some foam pieces and glue magnets on the back.  I bought my set from Hobby Lobby.  Write a variety of numbers on the back of each piece.  Use whatever numbers work best for your class to do mental math with.  When I was in 2nd Grade, we used 2-digit numbers, mostly multiples of 10, with a few ending in 5.  This year, I have mostly 2-digit and a few 3-digit, ending with a 0 or 5.  My co-worker in 5th grade used more 3-digit numbers.  Whatever works for you!  Write an X and ZONK on a couple of them.  

The Game:

I like to play this as a review before a math assessment, but it can be used for any subject!  Prepare questions for your students to answer using worksheets, task cards, and/or whiteboards.  I play boys VS girls, and keep score on the board.  Put all the foam pieces on the board.  Display your first question.  EVERY student answers it.  I set a timer to ensure we get through the questions.  When the time is up, choose a boy or girl to answer.  If they answer correctly, they come to the board to choose up to three foam pieces, and record the score.  If they answer incorrectly, the other team gets a chance to steal the points.  If the second team answers incorrectly, I explain the answer and move on to the next question.    

The Rules:

A student can choose up to three pieces.  They can stop at any time.  If they choose an X, their turn ends, but can keep the points they have already chosen.  If they choose a ZONK, they loose all the points for that round.  If a student talks out, they lose 10 points for their team.  You can add points to a team if they are cheering for the opposite team.  Silent cheers, of course!  ;)

It really is our favorite game!  
So easy, engaging, and exciting!  
I hope you have a blast playing it with your kiddos!  :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shades of FALL

We've had fun this week working on shades of meaning!  This can be a difficult concept for many 2nd and 3rd graders, but I've created some fun, fall-themed activities to support distinguishing shades of meaning among related verbs and adjectives.  You can find my Shades of Fall packet here.

This week we started with identifying pairs of synonyms, and then decided which word was strong and which word was weak.  I gave each child a pumpkin card with one word on it.  Then, when I said go, they had to find their partner.  My class absolutely loves these types of activities, so we played a few times.  :)

Once everyone found their partner, we sorted the words into two groups - weak and strong.  

Finally, students completed an independent activity page.  This boy thought he was being so funny with his sentence...  How could I be mad when he did such an excellent job???  HA!  

On Friday, we did the candy corn activities from my packet.  We started by assembling candy corn puzzles.  Each candy corn was made up of three words that have similar meanings.  I cut them apart ahead of time, and then the groups had to assemble each puzzle.  

When they finished assembling the puzzles, they recorded their answers on the recording sheet.  

Finally, they chose one of the candy corn puzzles to create their own candy corn for.  They had to write a sentence for each word, showing the differences in their meanings.  

On Monday, I'll hang the completed candy corn craftivities up for an educational and festive display!  

You can find these activities and more in my Shades of Fall packet.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall In Love With Teaching

Since making the move from 2nd Grade up to 3rd Grade this year, I've been fortunate enough to meet some incredible 3rd Grade Teachers.  They have been so patient and helpful as I ask a million questions on a regular basis!  I am thrilled to be part of a wonderful fall blog hop with some of these amazing 3rd Grade Teachers!  I can't wait to hop along and learn more from these fabulous teachers.

I'm a summer girl by heart, but I absolutely LOVE fall in Arizona.  It's about 80 degrees and absolutely heavenly!  I do miss the beautiful colors of fall and the sound of the crunchy leaves, so I still like to pretend it's fall with plenty of fall themed activities.  

When I was in 2nd Grade, I made Shades of Spring - a packet to help teach the standard distinguishing shades of meaning among closely related adjectives and verbs.  I thought it was a tricky standard to teach, with minimal resources available.  But since using this packet, it quickly became one of my favorite units to teach.  I love all the possibilities and crafts and hands-on activities it provides.  And, of course, anything involving paint chips is my favorite!  :)

This year, I decided to combine my love for fall and my love for shades of meaning and create a brand new product!


This packet is packed FULL of fall-themed activities to help teach this 2nd and 3rd Grade standard.  I've come up with centers, worksheets, craftivities, bulletin board displays, and assessments for all the fun fall themes!  I've included apples, leaves, pumpkins, and candy corn.  

One of my favorite things about teaching shades of meaning is all the opportunities for students to practice working in groups and using non-fiction text features.  For most of the activities students work in groups to use a thesaurus to look up synonyms.  Once they compile a list of words, they write them in order of their intensity on paint chips, or other fun craftivities!  I don't have enough time in my day to do art projects just for fun, so I try to incorporate our curriculum into our bulletin board displays.  I've learned pretty much anything can be turned into a cute display!  ;)  

Tell me this isn't the cutest candy corn you've ever seen???  
I just love this little craftivity!  
This is just one example of all the fun you'll find in my Shades of Fall packet.  

I'm giving away this 80 page packet to one lucky reader!  
Just enter the Rafflecopter below.  

Or, if you'd rather buy the packet, it's on sale through the weekend!  :)

Now hop on over to Pam at Hedgehog Reader and see what Fall fun she has in store for you!  

In addition to our own giveaways, we have a GRAND PRIZE for you!!  We are giving away TWO gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers!  This giveaway will run from September 26 - 30, so make sure you enter!  Good luck!  :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How To Keep Parent Volunteers Organized

Today I posted over on Hello Sunshine about how I keep parent volunteers organized in my classroom!  Parent Volunteers can literally save your classroom.  I have had years with no parent volunteers, and years with more than I could possibly find a use for.  It really just helps the classroom stay organized and run smoothly if you know how to utilize them properly.  Last year I had so many that I just didn't even know what to do, so I came up with these systems to help me keep me organized.  Click on the picture below to check it out!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Day Fun with Play Dough!

Today I posted over on Hello Sunshine about one of my favorite first day activities!  This is a highly engaging activity that requires no teacher guidance - allowing time to collect and assemble supplies.  Click on the picture below to check it out!  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DIY Chair Pockets

Happy Summer everyone!

In the spirit of getting reading for Back to School, I'm throwing it back to this post from almost exactly four years ago!  I was preparing for my new year and about to order a set of expensive chair pockets online, when my dear mother volunteered to make me some!  She's an excellent seamstress, and they turned out great!  I washed them every year and they lasted about three years.  I could have kept using them, but moved to a school/grade where I didn't use chair pockets any more and was ready for something different anyway.  Enjoy this tutorial!  :)

It’s been a long time since I've posted. I'm enjoying my summer up in Canada visiting my family. I have a few school projects I want to work on, but for the most part I am enjoying my vacation! My mom and I finished my first summer project: chair pockets. I have to give a shout out to Mrs. Merchant for introducing me to these. She made a few sets for the first grade to use the last few years. I have LOVED them. They help keep my class and kiddos clean and organized. My favorite. The ones I had started to get a little dingy and worn out (4 years and 85 kids later…) so I wanted to get new ones. Since I don’t sew AT ALL, I was just going to buy the ones from Really Good Stuff. I was going to save my summer money to pay the big $150 for a class set. Then my wonderful mother (who is an awesome seamstress) offered to help me make some. So long story short, for under $50 we have made some super cute chair pockets! If any of you are interested in making your own version, I tried to include a tutorial of how we did it for you. It’s hard to explain in words how to make something, so hopefully with the directions and pictures, you can figure it out. :)

First we bought 6 ½ yards of blue twill (54 inches wide), 1 yard of 8 gauge plastic (3/4 would have been plenty, but they were only sold by the yard), and matching thread.

We needed two sizes of the fabric – a small piece (10 inches tall 14 inches wide) and a large piece (21 inches tall 14 inches wide). This size fits perfectly over our little school chairs. I used the measurements of a Carson-Dellosa desk plate to decide how big to make the plastic name tag. We cut the plastic 10 inches by 4 inches. Once everything was cut, we taped the plastic pieces in the center of the small piece of fabric.

The plastic was the worst part. It moves around like crazy. We taped it down on all four sides, and then sewed around three sides using a zig zag stitch. A longer stitch seemed to help. It still wasn’t perfect.

Next, clean finish the top edge (the 14 inch side) however you want. We turned and zig zagged. Then, take the longer piece and clean finish the 14 inch end, as well.

Lay the shorter piece over the longer piece with the plastic on the inside. Line them up along the bottom, with the two finished edges face up (as in the second picture below).  Clean up the sides. 

Pull the longer piece down behind the shorter piece, about 3 ½ inches. Pin the sides.

Sew around the three open sides. Be careful not to sew over the folded side.

Miter the bottom two corners (or if you are a non sewer like me, basically cut them at an angle, but don’t cut over the sewn part).

Flip it right side out.

Iron the edges flat. Top stitch the final edges on the top sides.

Insert the super cute name tag of your choice, and voila!

Don't you love my homemade name tag and over sized chair?  :)  I don't have any of my school stuff here, but I'm going to order the frog ones I linked to at Carson-Dellosa above.  Just one more thing to add to my frog themed room...

*I ended up with 28 completed pockets and a few scrap pieces*

If you have any questions or comments about the pockets, let me know.  Good luck if you try them!