Saturday, January 30, 2016

100th Day of School Fun Activities

We just celebrated our 100th day of school in kindergarten! We had so many fun things to do, we are going to extend it to an extra day!

One thing, to be honest, I was slightly dreading the start of the day. I envisioned their growing excitement to explode as they busted into the room from our morning Flag Salute out front, so.....I gave them something to ground them a bit.

I put these sheets on the desks with a bunch of Bingo daubers from the Dollar Store. With as much liquid as the daubers hold, I was happily surprised to see that none of it went through the paper! If they finished this paper, they got to go to their first station.

I bought 200 of these Hefty brand easy-grip cups from our local grocery store. I put 100 of them in the front of the room and 100 in the back of the room. Students chose which area to go work in. They worked together to build anyway they wanted to. I didn't find 200 cups in one color, so I purchased a combination of 3 different colors. It was interesting to see them build with patterns or simply by color as well. These cups were very sturdy and the square bottoms seemed to make the cups stay in place really well. Students made sure I placed exactly 100 in place. They first started counting them by 1's and then said their eyes were getting dizzy by counting the stacked cups, so they broke them into groups of 10's. Teacher happiness!

After completing these two activities, the students went to P.E. class. I worked it out with the teacher there and she had them performing all types of actions 100 times. 

When they returned to class, we began the next activity. We made hats. A little fair warning, doing them the way that we did them takes quite some time. 

Students wrote their name on the back of a strip of paper and took them to a station at the desks. They then used their glue sticks to glue ten items onto that strip of paper. Each strip of paper was taken to a new station. Once the strip of paper was completed, they placed it on their assigned carpet square to dry. Some items we glued onto the strips were: sequins, jewels, die-cut stars and hearts, two types of stickers, mini pom-poms, googly eyes, bingo dauber dots, and foam shapes.

It did take quite a bit of time to staple each strip to each child's hat base, so while they went out to their Library time to hear stories written about the 100th day of school, I went around and looped each strip and stapled them in place. When the students returned, I fit their hat to their head. As each student finished, they were encouraged to pick up 100 items that magically fell to the floor while working.

Once they helped pick up the room, they were free to build in the cupstacking area while I finished fitting hats to heads. The paws in this picture are SitSpots.

Here are a few pics of the hats.

As the day ended, another activity we did was to have children bring in 100 items that they'd like to share with others. Some items brought in were: little toys from the party store, glow sticks, yo-yo's, pennies, pencils, erasers, strips of cut paper, crayons, candies, fruit snacks, rocks, stickers, beads, etc. Most of the items brought in were similar to those you'd see fly out of a pinata. I bought gift bags from the Dollar Store and let the students hand out their goodies. They sat at their carpet squares and took turns, 5 at a time, handing out their items. On the board, I showed them 100 dots. Since we have 20 students in my classroom, I circled 5 groups of 20 so they could see how many of each item they would receive. Just as an FYI, there was no requirement on what to bring, so anything went. In this picture, this little one was checking out her goodies.

We had so much fun, we did not have enough time to complete our 100 Fruit Loop necklace, so on Monday, when students come in, they will have a 100 chart and a bowl of Fruit Loops. They will be encouraged to lay 1 Fruit Loop on each square. It is made up of ten rows by ten rows. They will be encouraged to create the necklace using patterns of colors. Once all 100 Fruit Loops are placed on the chart, the students will begin with number 1 and string their Fruit Loops until they get to number 100. I will then help them tie the strings into a necklace!

For those of you who are celebrating the 100th day of school, I hope you have seen some things here that you'd like to incorporate into your fun. If you have something fun planned for your day, I'd love to hear about it here. 


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Show and Tell Tuesday

Hello! I am linking up with Forever in 5th grade for Show and Tell Tuesday! It is a fun read to see what other teachers are interested in right now.

I LOVE where I work. The staff are really great sports in so many ways. I have to say, our Superintendent is a really great one. He dresses up like a turkey at Thanksgiving and lets my kindergarten students run him down and pluck his feathers. He brings reindeer to school right before Christmas. When the students participated in the Scholastic Book Fair and had the opportunity to donate extra money to raise money for others, he gave them two options. On the front of one jar was a picture of a costume he would wear if that jar was filled the most. On the front of the other jar was a picture of slime. He agreed to be "slimed" if that jar filled the most. Guess which one won? He will be slimed later this month at a student pep rally. When a class graduates, he lets them toilet paper the trees in the front of the school. At our Field Day, he lets the student body use our Super Duper Sling Shot Water Balloon Launcher to try to soak him. Doesn't he seem like a really fun sport? He is.

One of our annual traditions in kindergarten is our "Ice Skating" party. In December, we begin to collect shoe boxes. Finding creative places to store them until January is sometimes an issue, but we make it work. We also collect the empty rectangular Kleenex boxes. In our auditorium, our awesome maintenance crew clears out the middle chairs. We were super blessed to have our Resource Room Specialist take over this party for us. She taped out an "ice rink" on the carpet, created special decorations, covered tables, and bought us fluffy pom-poms for our "snowball fight" after the skating was finished. She even made us these amazing treats and hot chocolate! We let one half of our kindergarten "skate" around the auditorium in the shoe boxes while the other half colors winter pictures and enjoys snacks. When the music stops, the groups switch places. The children do this for about an hour. We let them wear gloves, mittens, scarves, etc. and they really enjoy looking the part! Our Superintendent also shows up each year to skate with the children.

My son has a really fun photography hobby! His love for the art has gotten us off our duffs a lot and out into the beautiful California scenery. Recently, he has learned how to work with setting up backgrounds and using lighting for still photography inside. At times, it involves a need for an extra set of hands, so I am usually his "go-to" helper to the tune of, "Moooooooo-ooom?" He started off using his cell phone flashlight as a light and we set him up with a real option. He has also gotten really good with Photoshop. In needing to set up pictures for my blog or items that I create as a classroom teacher, I have found the value in picture editing for blogging and social media myself. My all-time FAVORITE photo editing options for my cell phone are Picsart and Snapseed. I find it a fun challenge to take a photo, edit it on my phone, download it to my computer, size it up on Powerpoint, then crop out the background in Paint and save it as an easy-to-use png file. Do you have any easy to use editing options you do for your blogging?
p.s. Our cute, little model did not have to balance those Beats headphones on her little head. It is cropped out because as he set up and took the photo, I was holding the headphones for the picture (while putting the light wherever the boss told me to). When he took the photo, I noticed his silhouette on the wall next to us, so I took that and colorized and put texture to the wall behind him.
This year, I am teaching kindergarten, tutoring students after school for dyslexia, and working as a BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support Assessment) support provider for two fellow co-workers. Sometimes, I really feel like doing something that does not involve print, so I crochet! I made this scarf for my other son's girlfriend. She has beautiful red hair, so this color looked nice on her. The picture doesn't show, but the yarn has some sheen and sparkle to it. I took care of an elderly neighbor for years until he passed away. He had no family to speak of. When I went through the few items he had left, I found his wife's sewing kit. It had a crochet needle in it. I decided to teach myself how to use it, so I bought the book called "Crocheting for Dummies" and began to watch Youtube videos. One of the best instructors I came across was a woman who goes by the name of The Knit Witch. She has the easiest to understand videos and uses really great backgrounds so that you easily see each stitch she is working with. I am currently working on an afghan that has starburst squares in five different blue hues. Changing that yarn out gets crazy, but I enjoy it!

Finally, I am participating in the Teachers Pay Teachers "Start the Year Off Inspired" sale. Use the code START16 to receive 28% off any product in my store. click on the graphic below to visit my store.

Graphic created by Jillian Starr of Starr Spangled Banner

If you'd like to take a gander at what other teachers are interested in right now, check out the other blogs by clicking on Forever in 5th Grade's button.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

No Time to Decorate Your Classroom for Christmas?

9 DAYS??? Can there really only be nine teaching days left before we break for the Christmas break? Here, in California, it doesn't feel quite like "Christmas" yet. The weather has been beautiful.

I took both of these photos just this week on my street.

And, Thanksgiving WAS just over a week ago. We are having a Christmas party in 9 days and my classroom looked like THIS the other day. Honestly, I don't know about you, but when class ended right before Thanksgiving, I WASN'T worried at that point about making sure the class came back to a room ready for Christmas. I love my class, they are a really kind and sweet group.....but they are 5 and have non-stop energy! So much so, that I love joking that working with them can be compared to what it might look like if one were to try to change the laundry right in the middle of the spin cycle. When we came back after the Thanksgiving break, my classroom still looked like this...


Immediately upon returning, only 3 days later, we hosted an Open House for prospective new parents to come check out the school. We were told we didn't have to create new projects for this, but I felt that with it now being December, I shouldn't have up all my Thanksgiving decorations, so what to do in such a short time?

I took a break from the academics in the middle of the day on Monday and Tuesday and got the kids all excited by telling them we were going to work like little elves to create some beautiful Christmas decorations for the room. They LOVED that.

We created the penguins from Deep Space Sparkle's website. You can see some painting their stripes in the foreground while others were creating their "anything goes" penguins with cut paper, glue, jewels, buttons, cotton balls, and any other scraps we have in the classroom. I love how each one of them turned out differently. After the students created their penguin iceberg with oil pastels, I had them glue their penguin to it and then both of those to their painted stripes background. You can not tell from the photo, but some of the paint was sparkle paint. I cut wavy lines around their creation and matted those against black paper to make the colors pop more.

We also made these cute Rudolphs in only one day. I did a directed instruction drawing lesson. They drew their reindeer with crayons and colored it in. They later painted a background with either blue or green watercolor paint. I added bottled, silver watercolor paint to each color so that the final product has a sheen to it (that you can't see in the picture).

I obviously need to talk to Santa about a drying rack. I made due with letting the masterpieces dry on our playdoh mats. We were literally working on these in any spare moments we had in between our academics. Thankfully, they dried fairly quickly, so I just ran my scissors around them in a wavy cut and matted them on red paper to bring out Rudolph's nose.

We also had a visit from our 4th grade buddies, so we worked together to make these angels. I have purple doors in my classroom, so these looked pretty nice on the back of our doors (which we do have to keep closed during the day for fire safety regulations).

The angels are a pattern cut-out from our Bible curriculum, but can be made easily by cutting out the 5 pieces from construction paper. The students decorated the lines on the angel gowns with glitter glue in colors of their choice and used star stickers in any design they wanted around their angel.

Some other touches I added: hung silver snowflakes on a wire across the room, silver garland and red and white lights above the whiteboard, a life-sized light up snowman, and numerous light-up snowmen around the room.

I didn't take the best pictures to highlight the decorations, but in only two days, they were able to make projects that transformed the room from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I do have one with my co-worker who teaches across the hall. We did Open House together in my room.

After the room was set, we put out "stations" for the parents to visit.



We also had a PHONICS and READING table too. The handwritten title placards were obviously an after-thought, so for our next one in a few weeks, we will print them. 

With so little space to display, I'd love to hear what you all do for Open House. 

I'd also love to hear about the ideas you have for your students to decorate your classroom in the next few days that you have together.

Finally, I'd like to thank Megan Favre at A Bird in Hand Designs for my new blog design. She put a lot of time into making it look so much better. Check out her site if you are interested in redesigning your blog.

A Bird in Hand Designs


Monday, September 7, 2015

LaborLESS Learning, Work Smarter, Not Harder

Hello everyone!

Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!
All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!
I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families.

So here I go!


Some of you have not yet ventured back into the classroom yet. For some of us, we are already beginning our fourth week of teaching this year. In the spirit of Labor Day in which the country honors the American labor movement and contributions made by workers to this country, a number of your fellow teachers are bringing the LaborLESS Blog Hop to you! We've done most of the work so you you have LESS to do if you like our ideas.

Each of us is sharing a way for you to work smarter, not harder while teaching this year.

I have an amazing new co-worker named Eddie Moral this year. He has taught kinder like me for years and I am really excited about learning some new tricks of the trade from him. Most of the ideas I am sharing here have come from him. We do our lesson planning together midweek and can decide what we would like to put up on our boards.

One idea he brought is to have a "highlight" board for just about anything we teach in the classroom. Initially, it "may" be a little more work, but in the long run, everything can be saved for the next year. 

First, create borders for each board. I used my favorite KG Font and printed them this way and pasted them onto black paper to make them pop a bit more when I put them onto my boards. I chose colors that would go well with all the paper I put on my boards.

When school began, I didn't have anything hanging. As we learned, I had the students help us to think about the vocabulary and topics we we were learning about. I wrote each vocab word on a sentence strip and let the students share the word and tell what they knew about the word. If they could give me an example using the word, we went with that too.
Just add vocab words and anything else that can be a visual for what you are learning about.

Eddie's Math board

Eddie's Science board

my Science board

We then added those words to our learning boards. We added posters and anything we were working with that could be a good visual to remind us about what we were learning about for that day/week. 

Eddie's Phonics board

Two really neat things came out of doing our boards like this. 
One, as the students are leaving for the day, one of the last things we can quickly do is review the vocab that is on each board. That, coupled with the visuals, help the students to be able to remember what they learned. Hopefully, when they get into the car and someone asks them what they learned, they will be able to remember.
The other great thing that happened as a result of doing out boards like this is that now, when parents come into the classroom, they can SEE what their child is learning about in each subject.

Now, every week, when we change what we are doing, we can take down the sentence strip vocab words, examples of work we hung up, and anything worth saving like poster pieces and place them in a file for next year. Your new students can still generate vocab, but chances are, a lot of it will be the same and you'll already have some of it written.


I tend to get home REALLY late. I tutor after school most days. It doesn't leave much time for unwinding. At this time of the year, the clouds that never seem to drop any water on us in California put on a beautiful display, so I like to sit out front and check out the sunset at the end of my court.

On the weekends, I love to unwind by spending time with my family out in nature. My youngest loves to go places to shoot photos with his camera around the San Francisco Bay Area. He takes beautiful shots. These ones were only taken with my cell phone.


Now for some REAL LaborLESS work for you. I have created a number of items that we use in our classroom that I'd like to share with you for FREE!

This is a 22 page vocabulary development packet. It includes 5 pages of short vowel words to read, write, and draw. It also includes 5 pages of long vowel words to read, write, and draw. It includes 5 pages of short vowel words in a word bank that are used by the student to write a creative sentence and space is given to draw a depiction of that sentence. 5 more pages are included to do the same with long vowel words. 1 page includes all 50 vocabulary words used in the packet.

This is a five page compound word activity sheet. There are 3 sets of words on the first four pages. The last sheet has space for the student to come up with three of their own compound words. Each page has a word to read, a space to write the word, and a space to draw the word. The blank page can also be used to program compound words you may want to introduce or work with.

This is a 16 page journal style packet. It has a cover and 16 pages of writing prompts to be finished and space to draw a depiction of each prompt on each page. This would be a great book to keep for the end of the year Open House!

Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT


2 $25 gift cards to TpT

1 $10 gift card to TpT

Thank you for reading! And now don't be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop on over to these other blogs. These teachers have all shared LaborLESS ideas to make this your most LaborLESS school year yet!

When you visit their blogs, enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win these amazing prizes!


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