Monday, May 18, 2015

End-of-Year Ideas, Tips, and Freebies!

The countdown to the end-of-the-year is on! Maybe you're less than a week away from summer bliss, or maybe you go until the end of June {yes, that happens. yes, it stinks}, maybe you're somewhere in between.  No matter where we fall in the countdown, we're all always looking for ideas to fill our last days. And so, I've compiled a few of my favorites in this here post :)

1} Record Memories

I'm a mama now, and I've become obsessed with recording anything and everything for Ella to read one day. I just feel like she'll be dying to know when she took her very first bite of broccoli or the date she first helped me blow bubbles ;)

There are quite a few ways to have our students record their memories. I just added one to my TpT store. I love it because it pulls double-duty: it makes an EASY and ADORABLE bulletin board display, and it makes the perfect memory keeper for my kiddos.

Click HERE to grab it from TpT

I also created a Timeline Banner last year. This is another double-duty product: a great display and the perfect memory keeper. Next school-year, I plan on using it throughout the year with my students to review each month's learning and activities, as opposed to just at the end of the year. 

Click here to read more about it. Click here to add it to your cart!

There are also a plethora of Memory Books on Teachers Pay Teachers. Rachel Lamb has one of my favorites: Hashtag Memories.

2} Have a Countdown

We pop balloons for our last 10 days. I like this type of countdown for a few reasons. To me, 10 days is the perfect length for a countdown. It's juts long enough to pack in a lot of fun activities, but it's not so long that it drags on and the kids lose interest.

I also love that it gives me something to hold over my kiddos' heads. Let's be honest, sometimes that's all we have to hold on to at the end.

Click the picture for a free list of what I put inside my balloons.

I make sure to have a RACK day in my countdown, where we write letters and give sweet treats to our specials' teachers and buddies we have throughout the school. I also make sure to throw a movie day in there because Movie Day=Get Stuff Done Day!

Mostly though, the balloons are filled with theme days. Every year "Bubble Day" {using Abby's Busy Bodies packet} is a HUGE hit!

Last year we also had airplane contests, art day {included sidewalk chalk}, and photo booth day.

3} Write Letters

I always have my current students write letters to my future students. The writing of the letters serves many purposes. 1} Friendly Letter writing review 2} I can see what my current students think is important information that needs to be relayed {hello opportunity for reflection!} 3} The letters serve as a great discussion starter for my new kiddos. And I also get a peek at my struggling readers!

Click the picture below to grab letter paper for FREE. There is a boy and girl version.

4} Get Ready for the Next Year

I always have my students help me get ready for the next year. We have to box everything up, so I have my more reliable students box up my books basket by basket and label them. That way, I only have to pull them during the summer and add them to a basket. I don't have to spend valuable time resorting them.

Any decorations I take down go right into my September bins. I have bins for each month that house crafts, printables, books, and {mostly} decorations for each month. I don't have a picture, but I use the labels from one of my favorites, Ashley at That's So Elementary. They're adorable and a STEAL at $1.50

Auction off items you no longer want to your students. You could do a fancy auction and give your students classroom money to bid on items. But hey, it's the end of the year...that's too much work for me. 

Instead, I take down anchor charts I won't be reusing, old holiday pencils and erasers, math games that have been a little over-loved {read: damaged}, leftover prize box toys {I use coupons instead now}, notepads, I'm telling you ... ANYTHING: a post-it pad with only 3 sheets left...a student will want it! Then, I just start pulling popsicle sticks with student numbers. If they want it, they take it, if they don't, I pull a new stick. It's such an easy way to get rid of stuff I no longer need/want, and I get to make a student's day!

5} Take a Class Picture

I'm a fan of the pictures where each student gets to hold a sign that spells out a word. Print enough copies for your students and you have an end-of-the-year gift they're sure to love!

I hope I was able to give you a few ideas to wrap up your school-year! What do you do during the last week or two?


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Contraction Kings & Queens

I'm pretty excited about my newest unit for TpT: Contraction Kings & Queens :)

It's such a fun, engaging, and interactive unit you can use to introduce or reinforce contractions. And come on, what kid doesn't want to be the king or queen of anything and everything?

Posters are provided for common contractions. To cut down on printing, I display them on my projector, but they would also be great as part of a contraction bulletin board.

There are also a variety of printables to use with your students.

A big thing for me in my classroom is making the most of every minute. How can I attack multiple skills at once? These printables do just that!

There are sheets for contraction practice, but there are also printables that work on sentence writing and reading comprehension, while still addressing contractions. Win. Win. Win!

And every king and queen needs a crown, right? Different variations of crowns are included for your students to wear. But they have to work for that crown first...

Different versions of king and queen crowns are included. Use them as you progress through the unit, or use them to differentiate among your students.

The last element of Contraction Kings and Queens {and perhaps the most fun} is a "Royal Mission" Hallway Hunt! Your students are on a mission for the King and Queen of Contraction Land! If they complete it correctly, they get added to the Royal Knight & Dame Scroll! Your kiddos will love it!

You can grab this unit for 25% off through tomorrow {April 13th} by clicking the picture below!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Five for Friday//February 13, 2015

It's Friday! It's the day before Valentine's Day! I'm participating in 5 for Friday for the first time in a loooooong time! It's a good day!

This little lady is 5 months old today! I would like to reinforce every single cliche that is out there: time is flying, babies don't keep, I'm exhausted but it's worth it, being a mom is a really super-amazing blessing.

Ella is sitting up {when I put her in a sitting position...she's not that advanced ;)}, reaching for things {especially the cat's tail}, and putting every.single.thing in her mouth! Things she is not doing: napping for more than 40 minutes and being predictable. Sigh.

My beautiful, amazing, wonderful mom turned 60 this past weekend!

We surprised her with a trip to the Poconos for the weekend. We had such a fun time playing games, snow tubing, eating, and hanging out in the local bar. With a baby.

My mom is seriously one of the most amazing people I know. I found this quote by Jodi Picoult, who is a favorite author of both of ours, and it sums up how I feel about my mom, PERFECTLY. I am so lucky to have her.

I am hard at work on my March Sentence Scrambles and Main Idea unit. Creating a monthly resource can be a bit of a bear at times but I have heard so much positive feedback about how they're working in your keeps me motivated!

You can purchase the February editions by clicking the pictures below:

How big do you do Valentine's Day? My husband and I don't do too much {read: I prefer small gestures from time to time as opposed to big holiday hoopla}, but now that we have Ella, holidays mean something entirely different!

My dad always got my sister and I something for Valentine's Day. My mom did too but Valentine's Day was the only holiday when my Dad did something specifically from him only. Dave is going to start this tradition with Ella as well. I hope she'll look back on this Daddy/Daughter tradition as fondly as I do.

I started a tradition of getting her a book every holiday. I am in love with these two books that I am giving her for Valentine's Day.

Also pictured: The Biggest Kiss

"Hug Time" is literally the sweetest book I have ever come across. And the illustrations... I melt!

PS: I will be giving Dave one of these cards ;)

I am so excited to share that I am heading to Atlanta next weekend to participate in the EdMarket Expo. I get to walk around the expo with tons of other fabulous bloggers and play around with manipulatives, games, teacher supplies, etc. and choose my favorite items for your classroom . Then, I get to blog all about it so you can go grab my favorite fabulous items {or tell your principal to buy them for you}! I am really looking forward to it!!

Now it's your turn to go link up with Doodlebugs! Happy Friday!