Pencil Cookies

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sometimes teachers need a pick me up...admit it!  You'd probably never turn down a parent that shows up on a hot day with iced coffee or fresh banana bread or the never let you down piece of chocolate. Am I wrong?!?!
I came across a darling pencil cookie that was SUPER EASY PEASY to make so I wanted to share it with you.  It doesn't take long either and you don't have to turn the oven on...#winning When you live where it's hot ain't nobody want to turn on the oven for dinner or baking....AMEN!!?!

Aren't these the cutest!?!?!  This is all you need:
* vanilla wafer cookies
* white tube icing
* pink tube icing
*  mini chocolate morsels

I grabbed these at Walmart - you can get them at Target or your favorite grocery store.  
FIRST - Cut the cookies carefully into a point at one end.

NEXT - Place white frosting on that end and add one mini chocolate morsel as the tip.

THEN - Place pink frosting on the opposite end for the eraser top.

Your friends/ child's teacher/ staff will love these...almost too cute to eat!!!  Hope you've had a great start to your year! 

Back to School Teacher Gift

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Back to School, it brings excitement, dread, anxiousness and so much more to people.  I personally love Back to School time, don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my summers fo' sure!  But, I love me some back to school supplies, bulletin boards, new students, fresh start as well.
This year I changed schools...some of you think, no big deal.  BUT, I have been at my previous school for almost 19 years people!!!!  19 years!!!  They are my second family that I adore and they have my back and LOVE me.  I'm definitely one that is up for a change...I change grade levels more than most - I get bored.  So that part isn't surprising but to uproot myself  completely for not only a new school but an entire new job title and an did I mention the school is more than double in size.  There are approximately 1,035 students!!!!  My teeny tiny little school has about 455.  WOW!

Anywho, I wanted to share something with you that I created for my new staff.  Being realistic I know that I can't possibly meet all the peeps this week so I thought I could at least leave them with a little something so they felt like they knew me and hopefully  blessed them a bit in the process.

I mean all teachers can use extra school supplies right?!?!  So I have created tags to go with several supplies and the cute staff note as well.   If you are in  need of something for your child's teacher, school staff or teacher besties you can  grab it here FREE!!!  
Happy first week back friends!

Picture Books and the First Few Weeks of School

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Ahh picture books, one of the most un taped resources a teacher can use in his/her classroom.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to picture books for #allthereasons.  
Not only can picture books teach valuable lessons regarding behaviors you are desiring in your classroom BUT they can do so much more.  My friend Courtney : the author behind Ramona Recommends offers the best tips when it comes to using picture books in the classroom.  She has an amazing personal story that shows how she opened the magic as a child and how you and your students can too.
I wanted to offer you a list of Back to School picture books that I find valuable and have tips and ideas on how you can use them to teach procedures/ behavior/ growth mindset/  etc. in your classroom so you can set the stage for the environment you hope to achieve all year long.  
There are so many to choose from but here are some all time favorites of mine that have proven to be great time and time again.

back to school pictures book favorites

back to school read alouds

If you are wanting to teach on growth mindset:

This sweet story has #allthefeels  you will fall in love with Jabari and enjoy his journey of having to be brave.  It's perfect to get discussions going around courage and achieving your goals.

giraffes can't dance growth mindset activity pack

Gerald the giraffe is awesome!  He is fun loving and definitely shifts his mindset over the course of this story - a must read for sure to encourage your students to have the power of yet.

If you want to teach on acceptance and build your classroom community:

Elmer the Elephant craft and activity pack

Elmer is a loveable elephant that doesn't look like the rest of the elephants - he goes through a journey of insecurity and then decides to embrace who he is and what he looks like.  It's a great story to teach accepting others and celebrating differences. 

wonders picture book activities

Another great book to teach your students about empathy and acceptance.  Auggie shares feelings of wanting to belong and feel accepted.

Class rules, blurting out, expectations..

officer buckle craft, book extensions and activities

Officer Buckle is a great person to help you get a conversation started in your classroom about school/class rules.  This is a fun, easy read that will get the kids laughing and thinking.

my mouth is a volcano craft

This book is probably my favorite when it comes to teaching on class expectations and  NOT BLURTING OUT.  This book teaches kids strategies on how to control your tongue and thoughts instead of blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.  

rainbow fish activities

These books are great to get a discussion going about friendship. How to treat a friend, how to share and being mindful of how others around you are feeling.  

If you are looking for great back to school stories to teach alphabet/names,etc. these are wonderful:

chicka chicka boom boom activity pack

Chicka, Chicka, Boom,  Boom is an amazing story to read with your Preschoolers/TK/Kinders/Firsties if you want to have fun with the alphabet!!

chrysanthemum activity pack with name activities

This story is great to talk about names and how important they are, also to embrace all names and teach acceptance.

first day jitters activity pack

Another favorite among teachers and students is for sure:  First Day Jitters.  I think it's important to share that teachers have back to school nightmares and get a little nervous every year to meet their new students as well.  It makes you seem more real and eases their anxiety a bit as well.

swimmy activity pack

Also if you are planning on having your students collaborate often in small groups then Swimmy is the perfect story to teach how we are better when we work together.  It's a sweet story about how Swimmy solves a big problem with the help of his friends.

This is truly a very limited list of great BTS books that you can use for the first few weeks of school.  #therearesomanymore 
I hope it helped a little if you were looking for some quick ideas. 

Just be sure to read all your picture books with enthusiasm and really reinforce the lessons/generate discussions and share the love of reading with your students.
Happy back to school friends,

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Chicka chicka Boom Boom activities

One of my favorite back to school read alouds/picture books to introduce words/letters/the alphabet has got to be the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  It's great for kinder babies and firsties the first few days/weeks of school to get them talking about letters/sounds before you do any letter sound assessments on them.  It's a fun way to look at the alphabet and if you can get your hands on the Ray Charles song/rap either on you tube or an old school cd that is super fun for them too.

chicka chicka boom boom ideas
There are so many different ways you can incorporate this read aloud and tons of extension activities to do with it that are perfect for those first few weeks of school.  
Kids LOVE to talk about their names and while I'm on the subject let's talk about names.  KNOWING and LEARNING kids name is of upmost importance!  If you aren't sure how to pronounce it - ask them, tell them you want to say their name correctly so you don't 'butcher' their name every single time.  It's hurtful to your students if you don't learn their name and say it correctly.  I had a student a few years back in 3rd grade.  I could not pronounce his name correctly and it was frustrating.  I finally pulled him aside and told him how important it was for me to say his name correctly.  So I had him say it to me slowly and I phonetically wrote it on a sticky note in a way that I knew I could say.  He looked at the note and laughed saying that is NOT how you spell my name.   I told him I knew but I would  never mispronounce his name again.  Guess what!?!?!  I didn't mess it up ever again.  Last year I ran into his mom and she said her son still talks about how I made such an effort to say his name correctly.  He said he loved that about me and wished all his teachers tried that hard to learn his name.  WOW, you never know the impact a simple gesture has on kids. 

and now back to the original blog post...( #soapbox )

As I was saying Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has so many different possiblities:  snack ideas, alphabet ideas, crafts, letter recognition, name spelling, vowels/consonant activities and more.  

Here are some things I created to extend the learning from the story.

 chicka chicka boom boom craft

The types of sorts/letter worksheets you can do with this are endless:

chicka chicka boom boom worksheets

chicka chicka boom boom alphabet worksheets

and so many more in my pack as well.

chicka chicka boom boom math and STEM activities

You can also have them taste a coconut, I've included an idea for an anchor chart/graph you do whole class.  

chicka chicka boom boom snack ideas
Need fine motor skill practice?!?!  This is also included:

chicka chicka boom boom fine motor activities

This story is so great and as you can see there are so many ways to extend the book in your classroom.  You can even recreate the book on larger paper and make a class book assigning different pages to kids or table groups.  

*** I take no responsibility for the presence of allergies in your classroom for the snack ideas, always check your students health records to be sure it's safe to expose your students to these products. ***

If you want to grab these activities you can find them by clicking 
{ here

Parent Gift Ideas

Saturday, June 1, 2019
It's the end of the are #teachertired...but you still have #allthethings to finish.  Report cards, packing up, checking out, student gifts, parent helper gifts, etc.  
Well teacher friends...let me help you out.  I was just at Big Lots and my hubby found these really nice, potent candles for $4 each.  What a find!  I knew I had to grab them up and get them for my parent helpers.  

parent helper gift idea

I knew the perfect thing to put on the tag and...there you go!  Easy, Peasy, Cheap and your parents will love it.

end of the year parent helper gift idea

If you want to give these and need the tag you can grab it { here }
I hope this gives you one less thing to think about as your school year is coming to a close.  
Happy { almost } summer friends!  Enjoy those last few days with your precious students.

Dollar Store Spring Teacher Hacks

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Spring is all around us ~ it's beautiful out, my allergies are flaring up and there are tons of bunnies, insects, and flowery things at the Dollar Store.

dollar store teacher hacks

Here are some great finds that you can use in your primary or preschool classroom.

Dollar Store teacher hacks

Call me crazy but I find such inspiration at the Dollar Store or Dollar Spot at our favorite place ~ Target.  There's always something to spark my imagination and I think about how I can use it in my classroom or how YOU can use it in yours. 

So...I came across some eggs, some legos, a teeny, tiny jenga game, some pom poms, tweezers and tiny Etch - a - Sketch board.

My first thought when I saw the eggs was - how FUN would this be in Kindergarten or preschool?!?!  First you could write their names on all eggs. ( One letter per egg so it would take a while ) Maybe enlist parent help for this one.  BUT - then the kids could go on an egg hunt and only look for the letters in their name.  They would have to leave the other eggs alone.  Then they could come back to their own egg carton and 'build their name'. When I taught preschool my students would have loved this!

dollar store teacher hacks

Here is a sample, if you have time you can create a caterpillar out of an egg carton for them to have a spot to build their name.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

Another thing they would enjoy and it's great for both fine motor skills and counting/one to one correspondence would be the caterpillar counting activity.  Cover a toilet paper roll with bright green paper, add antennae and you have your caterpillar.  Give them die - either purchased or made and after they roll the die they have to count out that many pom poms and 'feed' their caterpillar.  You can even add the oversized tweezers to make it more of a fine motor activity for them as well.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

The teeny, tiny jenga game is PERFECT for little hands!  You can have them pull it and read the sight word.  Or if they are non readers have them identify the color or letter after they pull their wooden piece.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

Kids love anything hands on - when I saw the Play doh, Legos and tiny Etch -a - Sketch I knew I could turn it into something fun and engaging.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

One of my all time favorite games to play with my students to reinforce a skill or practice spelling words is TRASHKETBALL.  I space out points with tape and they choose where they stand - if they get it in and answer the question correctly they earn that many points for their team.  Read more about it { here }

Dollar Store teaching hacks

I hope these finds gave you inspiration as well and you have some fun new ideas to try out with your students, your own  child or your grandchild.  
Happy Spring!  Remember you can find me very active on my social media pages linked at the top of my blog.  Just click on the icons to find and follow me.


Math tips for all ages

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Making math engaging is one of my favorite things to do in the classroom.  If you were to ask me what I'm best at - I would for sure say guided reading and phonics.  However, teaching math and making it very hands on is one of my favorite things to do during my school day.  Making math come alive is so exciting and I love to see them grow their confidence.  

engaging math tips

I get so excited when I see my students 'get it' and work through things especially if they are using manipulatives or centers I have made for them.  

Here are some everyday dollar tree items that you can turn into math centers that won't break the bank.

99 ¢ flip flop plate = number bond fun!  Just add some pom poms and you are all set for some part/part/whole equations to work though.

Did you know you could use a bubble blower wand for math?  The petals make the perfect repeated addition problems to reinforce multiplications skills.  

engaging math tips

Another tip - Play doh... you can use it in like 1,000 ways!  Here I used a cookie cutter for numbers and then added dot touch points for math.  They can create equations, add the dot touch points into the play doh and use that strategy to add.  
**** NOTE: ****
Typically I only add the touch points to the smaller number and have them use the strategy of counting on to help them.  So they would say 5 and use the 3 touch points to count on.  That has been what's worked best for my students in the past.  

This is great for the little guys still struggling with one to one correspondence.  They will also be working on fine motor skills at the same time...what?!?!?!  How great is that!??!  They will pull a number from a bag and then use the tweezers to count out that many small pom poms to put on the egg die cuts.  

spring math centers

Kids don't need much to get excited...thank goodness!  These 99 ¢ carrot eggs are the perfect hands on manipulative to bring your centers alive and keep your students motivated.  You can work on basic counting skills OR addition skills.  This center is SUPER EASY to differentiate.  I found the small carrots at Michaels and added tiny pom poms for the addition one.  

math hacks

I found these plastic paint pallets at Hobby Lobby in the party section for a couple bucks and knew I could do something creative with them.  They are also perfect for repeated addition if you are introducing multiplication.  I added sixlets to them but you can also use tiny pom poms as well.  
As you can see the possibilities are endless when it comes to math and engagement.  Dollar Tree, Target Dollar Spot , Big Lots, Hobby Lobby and Michaels are your besties when it comes to this.  
Think outside the box and be creative when it comes to getting your students to work on skills that you are wanting to reinforce.  There are tons of options out there to help you!
You can find me on instagram and facebook for more fun ideas, just click the symbols at the top of my blog to visit my social media.
I hope these ideas inspire you to create some fun hands on activities for your students.  As always ~ happy teaching!