Sunday, December 5, 2021

FREE Thumbprint Holiday Gift for Parents

Who doesn't love an EASY and FREE thumbprint craft that can be used for a holiday gift? I just updated it for 2021 and added 2022 as well.

When I had 22 students in my class, it took me less than 45 minutes from start to finish. I called individual students to the back table and they got to pick their colors. 

They dipped one finger in a color and then did 3-4 "lights" on the page. Then we repeated with a few more colors.

Have kids add the bottom part of the lights and sign it WHEN DRY.

That's it!

Sooooo easy! Parents loved it!  

You can use at your own family holiday party too.  Makes a nice memento/gift.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Welcome to My Classroom Part 1

A peek into my classroom during the first two days of school:

Don't all First Graders love dinosaurs?  Next week, kids will finish "I think First Grade will be Dino-Rific because..." and I'll add their writing under their names. While most kids will write their response, a few children will most likely choose to draw and color in their response. Choice is important.

Sharkey Mullarkey was a gift to me from my Second Grade class years ago when my first book (about the beach) came out. It used to be in my foyer, then used by our pool and now, I think it's found its forever home right ourside my classroom.

I'm going to shrink the odd/even posters that I got for free on TpT so I can fit a free Friends of Ten poster. Do you see those magnetic "dice" on the board? I work on having kids memorize the dice dots so they don't have to count them when we play games this year. Subitizing practice is always a must and dice dots should be included.

My brother and sister-in-law gave me a Target giftcard for my birthday so I bought this lightboard.
Not sure how I'll use it but for now, I love it!

You can see in the other pictures that I have books all over my classroom. If interested in learning HOW EASY it is to organize your library, watch THIS VIDEO.

If you need to get more books in your library, I can help you! Check out this video.

I'm in a new classroom ths year. It is at least 3 times the size of my old one. I cannot believe the storage. For first time, I have a large coat/cubby room, water fountain/sink in classroom, a HUGE bathroom with another sink, and a TON of storage. This is WAY more than I had in my other room and this is only about 1/3 of the storage in my current room that I'm showing you. My Affirmation Station is new. Do you say affirmations with your students? Lots of power in those words!

I love how I do my jobs. If interested to hear how I implement this EASY program, watch this video.

Magic Play Clay available for FREE in my store! Can do anytime of the year!

Although I had two great days with my students, it was EXHAUSTING! (I've been on medical leave the last 18 months.) I was glad for Saturday to roll around!

Hope your year got off to a super start!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Itty-Bitty Kitty Corn Picture Book Review (And a FREEBIE for Blog Readers!)

I found a fantastic picture book at Barnes & Noble back in April: Itty-Bitty Kitty Corn, written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham.  The second I saw it, I knew I had to have it.

It's such a fun book to read and has so many great themes: Finding one's identity, self-love, acceptance, confidence, kindness, empathy, friendship, seeing others and being seen for who you are. Whew! That's a lot! I'm sure there are even more!

Kitty is so confident. Brave. Bold. Spunky. I fell in love instantly!

There are always some naysayers in life, aren't there?  It's so hard to be put down or not believed or valued or accepted for who we know we are.  As a parent and teacher, I'm always looking for ways and words to use to instill this same confidence in my kids/students.

Yes, this is a fantastically adorable book BUT there is so much goodness-on-every-level going on here.

Your kids will take a deep breath and gulp here...

The beginning of a beatiful fiendship! Unicorn could make or break Kitty Corn here... I simply love the next few spreads that amplify acceptance. I wish I could show all of them but you'll have to buy or check out the book at the library.

"I see you" are such powerful words. Isn't that what life is all about?  Should be all about? Being seen...

This makes a terrific read aloud during the first few weeks of school.

In honor of Itty-Bitty Kitty Corn, who you just know must do daily affirmations, I'd like to offer my blog readers my Affirmation Station for free today and tomorrow ONLY. (September 7/8) Drop me your email below or email me and I'll send to you.

Happy reading!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Put a LIttle Magic In The New School Year (Freebies!)

Who couldn't use a little extra magic this year?  Our students have had a very long couple of years and for many of my First Graders, this year will be their first school experience.  I want to make it extra special and exciting for them and this Magic Play Doh is perfect for kicking off the year!  Grab the freebie by clicking on the pic.

I make these magic balls at home. Easy recipe included and you only need a few ingredients. Recipe in download.

After making the clay, I roll it into small balls and load them into a ziploc to bring to school. 

Once at school, usually on a prep, I add the food coloring to each one and then put in individual baggies for the kids.  (If you add food coloring too early, it dries up a bit and is harder to mix.) When they get back from their special, I pretend that someone left the basket of strange white balls and read the poem several times.  We figure out together that we're supposed to squish the balls and make a wish. So...we make a wish then we let the squishing begin!

Kids CANNOT take out the playdoh until I say it's okay (no clumpy food coloring left.)

Once fully mixed, we play with it. (Make shapes, initials, etc.) When finished, the clay goes back into a sealed baggie and I staple a mini poem on it . I send it home. The kids really love this activity.  Although I do it the first day of school, you can do it anytime of year.

I've included a SIMPLE class booklet as well.  Pick which sheet is best for your students. They love revisiting this book often.

This next product isn't mine but I love these mini posters so much and thought you would too. Click on them to get the freebie.

I also love this small watervolor sign. It also comes in green and blue. I hung one on my class door and in each cubby so the kids will see it while unpacking. I'll take a picture of them when I go to school this week. Again, click on pic to get the freebie.

And the last freebie I want to share is an easy, QUICK way to see progress. I end up sending both home the last day for the parents to see and treasure for years to come.

Here's hoping we ALL have a magical year!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Henry at Home Picture Book Review

Henry at Home is such a fantastic Back-to-School book. Truly a lovely, realistic story that will resonate with a lot of little ones. (I highly recommend for K-2.)

Henry, at first, has a hard time adjusting and is angry that Liza went on to Kindergarten without him. How will he swing with no one to push him? But he does manage to pump his feet and discovers his own independence.

I love how the author, Megan Maynor, keeps it real. After Henry adjusts to the change, he still misses Liza BUT also sometimes wishes she could go away and leave him alone.

The illustrations, by Alea Marley,  are adorable and they capture this sweet sibling relationship perfectly. It's a terrific read-aloud and perfect for not only Back-to-School, but for Family (transitions) and Friendship units.

This will be a must-read first day of school book for me.  I predict this is going to be a major player in the book world.  It should be! 

Can I share two fun products I just posted in my store?  I was so excited to make this Affirmation Station last week and hang it up in my classroom. 

I've used my Rock the Rug rules for years in my classroom.  Although we have our Responsive Classroom rules, I find carpet rules to be a must for my First Graders.  Take a peek!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Be Strong Picture Book Review

The picture book, BE STRONG, is another winner from Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen Hill! I'm going to be reading it to my students sometime during the first few weeks of school for sure.

It's a perfect read-aloud to support units on Kindness, Empathy, Grit and Perseverance, Family and all of C.A.R.E.S.

Our school theme this year is BETTER TOGETHER and this fits the bill...beautifully!

This is the same team who brought you

Read more about BE KIND here.   I am such a huge fan of the book!

To read other books I think are great for Back-to-School, click on links.

I'll be posting more tomorrow!

Happy reading!