Crafts and Writing

Monday, November 22, 2021
Growing up in the 70's as an elementary school student there wasn't much accountability in grade school in comparison to what we face as teacher's today.
That's good and bad in some ways.  Although I do enjoy the PLC model  ( to a certain degree ) one aspect I love is that  our grade level teams are on the same page and collaborate and share their best practices with one another.

I can remember the very first time a principal said to our staff, " absolutely no art unless writing is tied to it " at first I was mad and speechless.

WHY can't kids just have fun, what does EVERYTHING have to be tied to a standard?!?!
😡😠  I made a snowy scene with a snowman without any writing attached and I turned out just fine. 😂
But times have certainly changed and with balance it's not all bad.

So....with all this in mind I wanted to find a solution for you when you just wanted to make a really cute art project....but had to include writing.

Introducing my BRAND new product line which has just been launched called 
My little pals!!  This product line includes the darling art projects with writing - some of them have the writing as part of the art, others have it attached as a separate paper.  But it's all together to make your life a little bit easier.  

The first 3 have been included in my store this past weekend and the rest are in the works.

Introducing My little Polar Bear

Polar Bear Craft and Writing

Polar  Bear craft and writing

Polar  Bear craft and writing

This little guy is sitting on a block of ice which of course is the writing part.  In this one I've included a brainstorm page, a couple writing options and pin art as well as all the pieces needed to complete the art project.

You can find it here.

Introducing My Little Penguin

Penguin craft and writing

This little guy is popping out of her egg which of course is the writing part.  In this one I've included a brainstorm page, a couple writing options and pin art as well as all the pieces needed to complete the art project.

Penguin craft and writing

You can grab it here.

YETI craft, writing and headband

YETI craft and writing

This adorable YETI is just hanging out over the paper they will be writing on or the headband they can wear.  This one can be used in January at the start of a NEW YEAR or at the beginning of the school year August/September.  In this one I've included a brainstorm page, a couple writing options and pin art as well as all the pieces needed to complete the art project as well as a headband to wear home AND bulletin board pieces to create a bulletin board.

You can find it here.

I will be adding to this series all the time, so if you don't find what you need message me and tell me what you are looking for but it may already be on my to do list as well.

Enjoy and happy teaching!

Social Emotional Learning Play Doh Mats

Thursday, November 11, 2021
Let's face it our kids need more emotional support than ever right pandemic kids have felt isolated, missed school and are relearning how to get along and work things out with their peers.

I've seen my students struggle in many areas with behavior and I knew these emotion/feeling mats would come in handy.

Basically you print out the mat that has the emotion on it that you are working on and the skin tone that would be appropriate for the child you are working with...
have playdoh available and let them build the face that matches how they are feeling.  While they are busy building you can use that time to talk to them about their emotions.  I have also included blank ones so you can create your own emotion.

SEL feeling playdoh mats

SEL playdoh feeling mats

SEL feeling playdoh mats

You can find the mats = here

As you can see there are a TON of options in these playdoh mats, some have words, others allow you to add words, some are bald - students can use playdoh to create their hairstyle.  Maybe they just want to create the emotion they are feeling and not the hair so I've also included hair options.
I hope these emotion SEL mats serve your students well and allow you to have an engaging, meaningful activity to do with them  as they are calming down or working through some tough emotions.

Let me know on Instagram how they work out for you.

Easy Phonemic Awareness Activities

Saturday, November 6, 2021
Phonemic Awareness Activities that are easy to implement!!

I wanted to share two ideas that you can implement right away that won't take too much prep on your end...yep!  👏🙌🥳

The first one are my segmenting sound mats ~ I've made them seasonal so you can use them all year long!  My literacy students are LOVING these and every month they can't wait to see what mat I'm bringing out to use and even more fun what manipulatives.

You can easily find mini erasers at the Target Dollar Spot, Oriental Trading Co , Dollar Tree or Amazon to use with these mats.
It's great fun and very engaging to have your students use these and even better they are formatted so they can use the encoding piece as well. 

 Have them segment the sounds they hear first by moving each manipulative up into the box and then have them say/write/spell the word making sound/symbol matching relationships.

  We all know how important this skill is for your young readers and writers!  Click the picture below to get a closer look.

Blending mats for segmenting

Here are some examples of how fun they are for your students:

segmenting and blending mats

blending segmenting mats


Another fun idea are vowel tents...have you heard of them???  I don't know if Orton Gillingham were the first to come up with them but I do know they endorse them.  
Vowel tents are just that - little vowel tents that you print out ( on sturdy cardstock ) and give to your students.  

You then say short vowel words and have your students hold up the correct vowel that goes with the word.  Short vowels are tricky for your young learners and being able to distinguish between the sounds is an important skill they need to master. Click the picture below to get a closer look.

vowel tents - short vowel work

I've included teacher directions in this pack to explain it to you as well.  Basically each child will have the 5 vowels tents in front of them ( done whole class or small groups ) and you say a word.  They can tap out the word and then hold up the correct tent that matches it.  You can easily and quickly see who is struggling with hearing the short vowel ( medial ) sounds in words.

I've also included a handy CVC word list for each vowel so you don't even have to come up with's all been done for you and ready to go for an engaging lesson for your students.

Are your students ready for more...
I also have vowel tents for long and short vowels available.  One side has a long vowel letter/picture and the other side has a short vowel one.  Be sure they are understanding long and short vowels with these fun tents.  Click the picture to learn more about it.

Long and Short vowel tents

Long and Short vowel tents

I know it's easy to get stuck in a rut with small groups.  These ideas will definitely make your small group time more engaging and meaningful.  I always say every minute counts in small groups - our time with them is targeted, explicit and done with urgency.

Use your time wisely and try these out, let me know what you think of them.

As always....happy teaching my friends!  

Popular Book Characters Pin Art

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Your students have come to love their favorite book character.  Children's books include beloved characters that your students can relate to and recognize.

I have combined their love of popular book characters with their love of pin art ( also squeezing in some fine motor skills ) as we all know quarantine DID NOT help in that area.  Many teachers are seeing a decline in students knowing how to hold a pencil correctly as well as reporting a reduction in fine motor skills overall.

This fun pack includes all many of your students beloved book's perfect for a FUN FRIDAY activity, birthday party, or class party. 

You can find find it here.

pin art book characters

If you don't follow my store be sure to as I will add more book character packs.

You can follow me here.

Teaching Open and Closed Syllables

Saturday, October 30, 2021
Teaching syllable types has been proven to be very beneficial to your young readers...I like to start with open and closed syllables because I feel they are easiest to master.  First I teach students that every syllable has a ( written ) vowel.  We can usually determine how many syllables there are based on the vowels.  Like everything else there are exceptions ~ vowel teams, dipthongs, silent e etc. 

Here is a definition of a syllable: 

a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; e.g., there are two syllables in water and three in inferno.

CVC words are a great place to start for closed syllables as they are not difficult to blend and can easily be tapped out.  


A closed syllable is a vowel followed by a consonant.  CVC words are great examples of this: pot, map, hut, up etc.  The vowel is 'closed in' 🚪 by a consonant.  The vowel usually says it's short sound in these words, and more than one consonant can be used to close in a syllable.  I have my students find the vowel first in words and then decide if it's closed in if so they put a fist under it and say it's short sound.


An open syllable ends with a vowel and it says it's long sound.  We refer to these as Ti ger words.  
 Here are some examples:  hi, be, we, me, so, go, she, ho

Here is a visual I like to use with my students:

open closed syllables

I grabbed this cute fairy door from Amazon and it's the perfect size and has just the right amount of novelty to make this lesson extra fun!

You can grab the cute door here
amazon affiliate link

I like to also fold over sentence strips to work on open and closed vowels:

Here are some examples of how easy these are to make to support your students on this:

open and closed syllable lesson ideas

The foundations of how you teach vowels to me is important.  I start by teaching my students that the vowels  are the stars of the alphabet.  This is a great foundation for them to remember the vowel stars.  I use that foundation to reinforce looking for the 'stars' in words for syllabication. 

If you are interested in my Stars of the Alphabet pack you can grab it here.

When teaching this lesson on open or closed syllables I use star coffee stirrers that I purchased from amazon:

You can grab those here.
amazon affiliate link

Since my students are so familiar with our reference to vowels being stars these work perfectly.  First I have them find the vowels in the word, then they can slide the long stick up to break up the words into syllables.

open and closed syllable lesson ideas

As you can see this would be engaging for your students, especially if they are already familiar with the vowels being the 'stars' of the alphabet. 

open and closed syllable lesson ideas

I also use the ideas from 95% phonics to teach open syllables with an open palm and closed syllables with a fist.  I've included  these hand visuals in my syllable pack as well.  

As you can see these hands on ideas can be great visuals and very helpful as a scaffold to your young readers on better understanding open and closed syllables.  The walking vowel icon you see in that photo is also included in this pack and I explain how and why I use that with open  syllables.

You can find out more by visiting my store ~ here is the link to this syllable pack if you are interested.  Here

open and closed syllable lesson ideas

I hope these ideas have been helpful as an introduction to open and closed syllables with your students.

Please email if you have any further questions,
as always...

Happy Teaching~


Alternative to Treasure Chest

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Let's talk treasure chests....rewards are great but can become a headache if not managed properly.  In my position I don't have a lot of time to devote to treasure chest Friday.  So, I came up with a quick, clever idea that has proven to be both effective and fun for my students.

Welcome to another edition of...

I have 30 minutes with each goes by way too fast as it is so I don't want to waste valuable time having kids dig through a treasure chest.  This time saver has come in clutch this year and my students have fallen in love with this new take on treasure chest Friday.

It's pretty simple....I give them three choices, that's it.  No more digging through a huge treasure chest and digging, and digging.  A large treasure chest can quickly become overwhelming to kids and when you are short on time ( hello, all of us ) can become more of a burden than a fun incentive.

So, what did I do you ask...I'm so glad you asked.  I purchased a little crate with 2 openings, laid velcro across the top and attached fabric with velcro to each opening.  I call it DOOR #1, DOOR #2 and a MYSTERY BAG.  There you have it 3 yep 3 choices.  Not overwhelming, no digging or spilling over - whew, so much easier!

I lift the flap of each 'door' so they can see those prizes and then show them the brown mystery bag ( without opening it ).  They decide which one they want and we move on ~ it's as simple as that!  You know what?!?  So far every child each Friday has chosen the MYSTERY BAG!!!!  How funny is that!?!? 
** If you are interested in grabbing these mini bags you can grab them here on amazon.... #affiliatelink

 If you have one class ( which I would guess would be most of you ) it will be very simple to refill the mystery bags or's little trickier for me since I have 8 groups and have to change it out before each group.  But guess what - it still saves me valuable TIME.  

I always say ~ reading groups create urgency - no time to waste, so I want to devote almost every minute of my 30 minutes to literacy.  This helps quite a bit on Fridays believe it or not.

Try it out and let me know how it goes, it has completely transformed my Friday Treasure Chest time.

As always ~~~ 

Happy Teaching my friends,


Book Study Packs for end of the year or Emergency Sub Plans

Monday, May 24, 2021
We've all had those moments....we need an emergency sub and we need something fast that is both meaningful and engaging OR we are end of the year teacher tired and need fun, engaging activities to keep them busy engrossed which then frees us to wrap up end of the year tasks or I right?!?!

End of the year or sub plans activities

Well, I've come to the rescue ~~~  The end of the year there's always SO MUCH to do...we have report cards, finishing up assessments, packing up our classroom, cum folders, etc. etc.

So - why not have fun, engaging activities for your students that go along with their favorite stories?!?!  I have tons of book study packs in my store that are perfect for this kind of thing:  some are meant to go along with a theme like growth mindset, or friendship, others go along with their core lit for the year and some are just for fun to go along with some of their all time favorite read alouds.

These activities are perfect for the end of the year or sub love read alouds and these packs will have them interacting with their favorite beloved characters from these books in deeper and more meaningful ways.

Here are some of my book study packs:

end of the year and sub plan activities

Click here to find out  more about the Rainbow Fish.

Click here to find out more about Swimmy.
if you give a mouse bundled

Click here to find out more about his bundled pack.

Jabari Jumps  The Giving tree

Click here to find out more about Jabari Jumps.

Click here to find out more about The Giving Tree.

Giraffes Can't Dance  Elmer the Elephant

Click here to find out more about Elmer the Elephant.

Click here to find out more about Giraffes Can't Dance.

Picture Book read aloud ideas

Find out more about The True Story of the Three Little Pigs here.  It's one of my most popular book packs!

Click here to find out more about Ira Sleeps Over.

I have several more book study packs in my store click here to get right to that category.

These always come in handy for either love read alouds and there's always great activities that can be done to supplement these fun stories.

Hang in there's almost June!

Happy Teaching xoxo,