National Symbols

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It's another edition of...

I'm so glad you joined me this week.  I wanted to share some fun ideas for when you teach on National/American Symbols.
National Symbols are so much fun to teach!  With the elections upon us I thought it would be a good idea to share some ideas and art projects I've done in the past.  This pack is one of my top sellers and it's perfect for K/1.
When I taught first we did A LOT of art but we almost always paired it with writing which made it more meaningful for the kids.  So most of the projects I've included or that I'm sharing can be hung up with a writing page.  I like to have the kids research on Kiddle and brainstorm and then write about the monument.  It looks so nice hung by the art projects. This pack is pretty comprehensive.  I have interactive poems, close reading and lots of note taking pages all on American symbol topics.

American symbols poems and crafts, writing, mini book and more

Eagle art uses their foot print and hand prints - how fun is that!?!
The Statue of Liberty is done with layering paper, kids love this one!

american symbol pack, craftivities with american symbols, writing and more

You could even enlarge the statue of liberty just a bit for the above art project and take pictures of your students.  Then cut out the face and put it in the Statue of Liberty face.  It makes a darling display!

Teaching national symbols, american symbols for social studies

This is a fun, comprehensive, engaging unit on national symbols.  It's perfect for an Open House or hanging lots of displays and showing off your student's writing skills.  If you think this is something you can use you can grab it { here }
Happy Teaching! 


How to Survive Halloween Week

Sunday, October 23, 2016

First:  Get a sub all week!  Totally kidding
I am a fan of Halloween and love any excuse to get dressed up.  But Halloween on a Monday c'mon are you serious!?!?!  That just doesn't sound like the best way for a teacher to start his/her week.
So I have some fun, engaging activities and ideas that you can try out this week to hopefully make it flow much easier and make it more memorable for your students.
If you teach K or 1 maybe even 2 it's a great time to review rhyming words and word families.  I like to use my 

This includes a center too with several rhyming word cards.  It could even be used as a rotation at a Halloween Party so that you make it educational.

This freebie has lots of options that can easily be included during rotations during a classroom party or just at different times during the week, maybe seat work or math center time even. Get it here!

This is always a great visual for kids when working on adjectives.  Another idea ~ buy a pumpkin and write adjectives on it.  Have your students sit in a circle and touch it feel it etc., then you can write those adjectives on the pumpkin. Get it here!

Need behavior help this week...who doesn't?!?!  Here's a fun way to keep them focused!

Here's some ideas for math activities this week :  Free as well!  Grab it here!

Here are a few more Halloween packs that will make your week fun you can grab in my store here:

Grab the craftivity here  or the counting/color book here

Have your class make a Halloween bunting ( get it here )  to decorate the room!

Well good luck my teacher least there's not a full moon too.  I hope I've given you lots of options to make your week extra special with your sweet little monsters. xoxo,


Throw a Wild Rumpus Party this Halloween

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Happy Hump Day!  Welcome to Wait for it Wednesday!

With Halloween just around the corner I thought it would be fun to share one of my all time favorite days with you to help celebrate!  For years my first grade team would throw a Wild Rumpus!  It's a core lit in our state so it was the perfect way to fit it in.  We would spend about a week and a 1/2 on the story and culminate it with a Wild Rumpus Party.  Our district only allows us to have 3 formal parties a year:  Christmas/holiday, Valentines and end of the year.  So no Halloween Party for us!  But this always allowed us to 'get around that ' by hosting a Wild Rumpus.  Was it a party?  Um, yeah!! Did it count?  No ~ aren't we clever!?!

So what did we do and how did this work?  If you are a new follower this might sound new to you.  I have posted about this before though.  Our Wild Rumpus Parties have always been a blast!

I have always run classroom parties in first grade with rotations and parents helping me 'man' them.  It just keeps everything so organized and on schedule.  So:  here's how it looks if you want to throw one:  First, be sure they wear their pajamas to school that day so they are all like Max.

wild rumpus party ideas for where the wild things are
So first I would break the kids up into groups of 5 -6 ( usually by tables ).  Then I would set up the rotation and ring a bell to signal the switching.  I would set up the popcorn hand at the reading table, the crown making in the hallway, the sequence activity at their seats and the puzzles on the rug on the floor.

The popcorn hand:

Throw a wild rumpus party in your classroom to culminate the book Where the Wild Things Are

After a couple years of doing this I quickly realized how important it was to label their hands.  So I just used dot stickers and pre wrote their initials on them.  After they complete their hands they stick their initial sticker on it and it won't get lost.

Where the Wild Things are book study party ideas

This rotation gives a little more freedom, no real instructions.   After they make their crown we give them a scepter to use for the photo shoot.

Where the Wild Things are book study and party ideas

We just add a backdrop with a Wild Thing guy I drew a few years ago and some stars...adorable!

The kids get a chance to review the story and then to their seats to sequence it.

Where the Wild Things Are book study and party ideas

Where the Wild Things Are games and extension activities

The winner would receive a small toy from Party City for each round.

This day is always a big hit by both kids and parents and even admin.  One year we even had a visit from a Wild Thing:  That was memorable for sure!

Where the Wild Things Are book study and Wild Rumpus Class party

If you love this idea and want to give it a try I have a Where the Wild Things Are pack in my store that will give you more than enough ideas and printables to make this happen in your classroom.  You can grab it { here }

Here's what other teachers have to say about this day/pack:

Where the Wild Things Are activity pack with STEM, throw a wild rumpus party

I'd love to hear all about it if you have used this pack or give it a try this year.  Take care, happy teaching xoxo,


Parent Conference Tips

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Happy Hump Day friends!  I'm headed to North Carolina tomorrow.  So my work week is already over.   Welcome to my latest edition of : 

I knew this trip was coming up so I spread out my parent conferences over 2 weeks to get them all in...all 28 of them.

{ that's A LOT I know } I haven't had that many since 1995.
Anywho ~ I wanted to share some tried and true practices that have worked over the years with parent conferences.

First ~ Make an agenda and lay it out for them to see and follow it: 

I just typed this one up real quick but honestly I just used one I hand wrote this past week. 
You are in control of this conference not the parents.  If you don't have an agenda it can derail or go off topic quickly and then you are seeing a parent in the hallway waiting for your next slot and you haven't even gotten far with your current conference.  Raise your hand if you've done that before?!?  #rookiemistake
So this agenda helps a TON and gets you finished and ready for your next conference.

Next I use a self reflection worksheet for my third graders - you could even do this with the younger kids with step by step guidance and happy faces, etc.  The parents always get a kick out of this sheet - it's funny to see how the kids grade themselves.
I can't find the source of the one I used...but Good Enough Teacher has one in her store that's free and great for the younger grades.

I created a teacher reflection sheet that includes the child's strengths and weaknesses and grades that is helpful too.  You can grab it 
{ here } if you are interested. 

** Always start with the child's's puts the parents NOT on the defensive so they are more open to hear your input on their areas of improvement.

** Be very clear on your concerns and areas you'd like to see them improve with concrete examples.  That way they can't say to another year's teacher - "I've never heard that about my child... "

** Show them where their child needs to be at the end of the year so it puts things into perspective if their child is behind, it can be a very eye opening tool for them.

** Always have work samples ~ especially writing to show specifically what they are doing well and what they can be working on.

** If you need to ~ bring up the fact that you might need to call an SST or RTI and explain to them what that means.  Make sure you are clear that you want the best for their child and this is one step you can do to make them more successful.

Believe it or not we used to schedule Sibling Matches so the parents would have their conferences back to back for different grade leveled kids.  This is the first time we decided not to do was a lot of work meeting with all of your sibling match teachers and making schedules work so - - - this year we had them sign up through Sign up Genius.  If they didn't get a match up that was on them.  It really didn't take much work on my end to set it up.  
There's many more ideas but I'm packing my suitcase so that's all for today.  Maybe I'll do a parent conference part 2 someday.  Happy Teaching Friends! xo,