Sunday, August 27, 2017

Cactus CRAZE and a FREEBIE!

Who else is swooning over all things cactus? I'm sure by now you've all seen the cactus classroom obsession. Isn't it just about the cutest thing EVER? I mean HEL-LO CUTENESS! 

One of the many things that I love to teach during the first few weeks of school is our classroom climate + kindness + how we are going to treat each other. This is such an important thing to establish right off the bat. Like SO important! There are so many amazing books out there to use when teaching this. Here are some great ones. 
With all the cactus craze going on right now, I thought it would be fun to use that same theme for a management system to implement kindness in the classroom throughout the year. 

When a student is showing kindness, they get to add a clothespin (the sharp spines) to the classroom cactus. As the teacher, you can set up a goal for the class....add 5 spines in a week, get 10 spines in a month....whatever is do-able for your classroom. You could even have a reward once the class meets their goal...extra recess, shoes off for the day, popsicles, etc. 

I used wrapping paper and these templates to create the cactus board. 

After reading one of the read alouds above, students can make these cacti and write about how they can show kindness in the classroom and to their friends.  Students can display their cactus around the large cactus bulletin board as a reminder of ways that they can add clothespins to the class cactus. 

Another fun way to display cacti in the classroom is for each student to celebrate their uniqueness and write about how they are "on point". 

Or celebrate how their classroom is "on point" with this flip book...

Or show off how their grade level is "on point".

All of these cacti templates are available here

Goodness gracious, I just can't get enough of the cactus cuteness. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My First Day was a Piece of Cake!

Hey y'all! Who is already prepping their first day of school?!? There is nothing better than the first day of school! So much excitement and butterflies!! 

I love to send my students home with something to show off our learning from the first day. As a Momma, I always ask my oldest..."how was your first day?!" I love hearing all about what they did! Over the past few years, one thing that my class always makes to show off their first day fun are these hats. 

I give my students the pieces to make the hats and the writing cards. We first make the hats and then add things that we have done throughout the day to the cards. We work on the hat throughout the day. 

Some years, we have made a book to show our learning from the first day but I gotta' say.....the hats are my favorite! 

These are so simple and fun for the first day. You can find this activity here. 

There are also templates for older grade levels so they can show off how their first day of school was a piece of cake! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sound Mazes!

I wanted to pop in and share with you all my newest resource...Sound Mazes! These are a life saver and I wish I would have had them available to use with my students sooner! 
 To complete the mazes, students work their way from Start to End by identifying the sounds in each picture. They connect the pictures that make the assigned sound. 

These are perfect for word work, independent practice, fast finishers, intervention, tutoring, or even homework. 

There are 2 different options included in each pack:
Mazes with boxes (where students can color in the boxes that make the assigned sound) 

....and mazes without boxes. Students draw a line connecting the pictures that make the assigned sound. Put the colored ones in a page protector and students can use an Expo marker to connect the pictures. Perfect for Word Work and it requires very little prep! 

My daughter has worked through a few of them this summer as a review and she loves them! 

Sound Mazes are available in the phonics sounds below: can download them all together in The Bundle!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Back to School Icebreakers plus a FREEBIE

Who's already prepping for their back to school week?!? One of my very favorite things about the first few weeks of school is getting to know my students,....and my students getting to know one another. I just love it! They are so eager and excited about their new classroom, teacher, and friends! 

I put together several fun and interactive icebreaker activities, as well as interactive team building activities and games to use during those first few weeks of school. Let's take a look at them :) 

There are 5 icebreaker activities that you can use all during the first back to school week, or you can spread them out over the first few weeks or so.

Students work in pairs to flip a coin and answer question cards to get to know one another. For example if a student flips over the card "dog or cat". They might respond by telling their partner, "I like dogs because they can do silly tricks." 

Next up is The Colors of Me. This is completed as a whole group. Students pass the bowl of Skittles around the circle. One student at a time will take a Skittle from the bowl, and complete the sentence stem that corresponds with the color of their Skittle. Afterwards, they can complete the follow up rainbow craftivity - they are adorable hanging in the hallway! 

Students fill out their individual Guess Who card. After each student has completed their card, the teacher mixes all the cards together in a bowl and students reach in the bowl and choose a card. If they get their own, they place it back in the bowl and choose again. Once all students have a card, students walk around the room and try to find who the card belongs to based on the clues that are written on the card. 
Students split into 2 groups - this could be girls vs. boys or however you choose to split them. The teacher reads aloud one of the questions from the question cards and if students answer "yes", then they jump over the line. 

Making Friends: 
We do this activity every year. Students mix and mingle around the room to find a friend that can sign a square on their scavenger hunt. 

Team building is SO important to establish during those first weeks. We take several weeks to discuss how to treat each other, what makes a good team, and what we are going to do to make sure that everyone is being a team player! I have included 3 team building activities that are engaging and meaningful for your students. Here's a look at those...

After reading the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud, we discuss ways that we can be a bucket filler within our classroom. One way to have your students practice using encouraging and helpful words, is to play Bucket Filler. I had my daughter and nephew demonstrate this game on my Instagram Story and they had so much fun. 

To play, students get into teams (4 or 5 teams). They line up behind the bowl of pompoms. The first student in line places their pom pom in the launcher (plastic cup with balloon), and try to launch the pom pom into the bucket. The students behind the student launching the pom pom encourage them and use kind, helpful words while they are trying to launch the pompom into the bucket. If they get the pom pom in the bucket, their team gets a point and the next student in their line goes. If they miss, they place their pompom back into the bowl and the next student in their line goes. Whichever team gets all of their pompoms into the bucket first, wins (if you choose to have a winning team). 

 Afterwards, students complete this bucket filler craftivity and write about how they can be a bucket filler. 

Students can also play Fill and Scoot by writing a kind word about their friend inside their friend's bucket. Students will each have a bucket page sitting on their table with their name on it. Students will write a kind word and SCOOT to the next student's bucket when the teacher calls "Scoot". This continues until all students have been to everyone's bucket. You can download this freebie here. 

Students, as a whole group, form a circle (facing out) with their eyes closed. One student starts by saying the number 1, the next student calls out the number 2, and so forth. The goal is for the class to count as high as they can without anyone being skipped. In order for students to know when it is their turn, they have to listen closely! This is SO much fun! Afterwards, students can complete this craftivity and write about how they can be a good listener in class. This is a great activity to do after creating an anchor chart of the characteristics of a good listener! 

Students work in table groups to draw as many shapes as they can by holding ONLY the string that is attached to their table's marker. You can also set a timer and challenge them to draw a certain amount of shapes within that time. This is a blast! The goal is for all the students in the table group to work together to create the shapes. 

Next up is a fun goal setting activity with Trashketball! Students line up in front of a trash can, state their learning goal and one thing they plan to do to help reach that goal, and then throw the ball (or crumbled paper) into the basket. 

Also included are a few character building activities

Each year, we make a Social Contract in my class. We talk about how we want our classroom to feel, how we want everyone to treat each other, what everyone needs to do to help in our classroom, how we want our classroom to run, etc. We tie this in to being a TEAM and how a team treats each other. We then create an anchor chart to display in our room. Every student, plus me, signs that chart...promising that we will do our very best to hold each other accountable for the things listed on the chart. Any visitors that come into our room also sign it. 

As a follow up to discussing being a team, students can complete this team pennant and write about being a team player. These can be displayed around the chart and stay up all year long! Any time someone is not being a team player, refer to the Social Contract. 

Another fun thing to do while discussing being a team, is to make these yummy team medals! 

All you need is Oreos and Fruit By the Foot Roll Ups. 

You can find all the activities above, in my Back to School Fun pack, here

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sprinkle Kindness FREEBIE

Who's out for summer?!?! We got out last week and lemme' just tell ya'....I was itching for a summer break! There is just nothing better than having an excuse to stay in your pajamas until noon...or later! 

I wanted to pop in real quick and show you a free read aloud activity that is perfect for back to school.  Have you read the book, The Jelly Donut Difference by Maria Dismondy

My babies and I have read it just about every single night for bedtime story this week. It is such a sweet story about showing kindness to others.  It is also perfect for back to school when discussing ways to treat classmates. After reading the story, students can write down (on small sticky notes) different ways to show kindness at school and stick them to an anchor chart. 

This anchor chart can stay up all year long as a reminder to students on how to treat friends. 

As a follow up activity, students can make a donut and record their own acts of kindness on their sprinkles - and then choose one act of kindness from their donut and give an example of a time they did that act. 

You can download this kindness freebie here

Pin for later!