All About Rudolph!

Friday was Rudolph Day in kindergarten.  We spent the entire day focused on Rudolph and all things reindeer.



To start our day, we made these adorable reindeer glasses that we could wear throughout the day.  These cuties were from Oriental Trading.


I just can't get over how cute my little friends looked in these glasses.


After we looked like Rudolph, it was time to create a Rudolph craft.  We used this as our math lesson because it was all about SHAPES!  My students had to find the right shape to make each part of Rudolph.  These turned out super cute.


Next it was time to read some reindeer books. We read Olive, the Other Reindeer and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  We compared the main characters in the books.

After that we were getting pretty hungry so we made these cute and yummy reindeer snacks.


All you need is graham crackers, peanut butter, pretzels, chocolate chips, and red m&m's.  You could definitely use other items like raisins for the eyes.  I accidentally grabbed the wrong bag at the store so I used chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips.  We made it work (just like Tim Gunn would say).

At the end of the day, we watched the video of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer then compared the book to the movie to see if there were parts missing from either the book or the movie.  All in all, we had a fantastic day!
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Holiday Fun with Oriental Trading

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  I love this time of year and I love planning holiday activities and fun in my classroom.  Oriental Trading makes it easy to plan for all that in their Christmas Store.

I love having my students make ornaments to give their parents as Christmas gifts.  This year I decided to try something new with the ornaments.  I used clear ornaments and student pictures to make this easy gift.  

To make this, I snapped pictures of my students and printed them in black & white.  Then I cut them down in size to fit the picture in the ornament.  After that, all you need is some crinkle paper to put behind the picture.  The ribbon is already attached to the ornament!


How cute did these turn out?  And best of all, they were inexpensive and easy to make.  What teacher doesn't love that?

Do you give your students gifts for Christmas?  If so, Oriental Trading makes your life so much easier.  It is a one stop shop for student gifts.  I found all kinds of fun items in the Christmas Party Shop.

This year my students are receiving a goodie bag filled with these fun items:  rubber duckies, kazoos, finger puppets, and bell necklaces (perfect for a Polar Express theme day).



I know my students are going to LOVE getting this on the last day before Christmas break.

Looking for a deal at Oriental Trading?  Check out their coupon page for the latest sales!

*Disclaimer:  I was sent products of my choice in exchange for writing this post, but all opinions expressed are 100% my own!
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Managing Behavior in December

We all know that in December our little angels get Christmas on the brain and they get excited.  This excitement is sometimes hard to contain because, well, they are 5 and 6 years old and it's hard to contain your excitement for Christmas when you are 5 or 6.  (Let's be honest it's hard for adults to contain their holiday excitement too!)



How can you manage that behavior in your classroom and promote a positive learning environment for your students throughout December?  Well, let me show you what I do!

Every Friday in the month of December we have "fun friday."  

What is Fun Friday?
Fun Friday is a celebration where we combine learning, crafts, treats, and sometimes a video.  Each Fun Friday in December is a different theme:
  • Grinch Day
  • Rudolph Day
  • Polar Express Day
(You can choose any theme that works for you and your class.)

I ask my students to wear green on Grinch day, red on Rudolph day, and pajamas on Polar Express day.  Throughout the morning and early afternoon, we center all of our literacy, math, science, and social studies work around our theme.  Then at the end of the day we make a craft, read the book, and watch the video. 

How does this help manage behavior?
Now you might be thinking how does this help behavior?  Wouldn’t it make the students more excited and wound up?  Well, it could do that, but my students know that in order to participate in the video and snack at the end of the day they must have an 80% or higher on their Class Dojo for the week.  You can set whatever parameters work best for you and your class. 

If a student doesn’t meet the behavior goal, they still participate in all the learning activities throughout the morning and early afternoon.  They will just miss some or all of the video (and possibly the treat).  I rarely have a student miss more than a portion of time during the first FUN FRIDAY.  Once they see what they are missing then they make sure to do whatever it takes to participate the following week. 

What else do I need to know to implement this into my classroom?
In order to make things a little more interesting and fun, I give my students a ticket to enter FUN FRIDAY.  The tickets create a little more buy in for the students.  They get beyond thrilled to earn that ticket.  You can click here to get some “FUN FRIDAY tickets” for your classroom.

Do you have a great way to manage behavior during the busy month of December?  I would love to hear all about it! 







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Halloween Party Fun with Oriental Trading


I don't know about you, but I love to celebrate Halloween.  I think it is just the fun of dressing up and being silly that makes this holiday near and dear to my heart.  I always like to try to do something fun with my class each year for Halloween.

Lucky for me, Oriental Trading had everything I needed AND MORE!

I decided to do a party with a game rotation this year.  Basically, my students are going to be in groups and rotate through 5 games/activities.

The first game they will get to play is Fall Bowling with these adorable candy corn bowling pins.  I mean seriously.....how cute are these??


The next stop will be a photo booth because who wouldn't want to have some fun taking some silly pictures?  I chose to get the Halloween Photo Stick Props.  We had some fun with the props as you can tell!


After taking pictures, my students will get to try to hit a bullseye on the Ghost Dartboard set.  This is great for little ones because it's velcro and they just throw the balls.  Nothing dangerous on it like darts just soft balls that won't break or hurt anyone or anything if someone's aim is off.  Perfect for a classroom party!


Their next stop will be Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin.  These game even comes with a blindfold.  It will be perfect for my students.  They will each take a turn trying to pin the nose.  I have a feeling that there will be lots of laughs at this station.




Last stop of the party will be the Halloween Spoon Game.  My students love a fun racing game and this will be a hit!



At the end of the party, I like to give my students a little goody bag.  Since I know they will be getting more than enough candy when they go trick-or-treating I like to give them something non-food.  I was so excited to see so many options from Oriental Trading.  I got my students Pumpkin & Ghost Glow Necklaces, Mini Halloween Icon Prisms, and Mini Jack O'Lantern Bubble Bottles.  There were so many other items I could have picked out too.

If you are looking for some fun items for your classroom for a fall party, check out all the fun things Oriental Trading has here.  And GUESS WHAT???  They also have costumes!  If we dressed up at our school, I would have totally been a Pink Lady because Grease is one of my favorite movies ever!  Check out their amazing selection of costumes here!

Looking for a deal at Oriental Trading?  Check out their coupon page for the latest sales!

How do you celebrate fall and/or Halloween in your classroom?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

*Disclaimer:  I was sent products of my choice in exchange for writing this post, but all opinions expressed are 100% my own!




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Math Activities from Oriental Trading

I am so excited to share with you some FUN math activities for your primary students.

Over the summer I always love to browse online and find new and exciting activities to incorporate into my classroom.  This summer I hit the jackpot while browsing Oriental Trading's Education Page.

They have some amazing things that I can't wait to use in my classroom this year.


First of all, how cute is this graph pocket chart?  I am excited to use this as part of our morning routine and morning meeting.  My students will come in the classroom and before heading to their seat, they will mark their answer to our "Question of the Day."  Then at our morning meeting, we will review the data from chart.  I love using graphs daily because it really helps my students understanding comparing.

Another product I fell in love with were these foam number math dice with numerals on them.  We will play lots of math games with these dice.


Right now I am teaching "Kindergarten Jumpstart" for two hours a day.  School will start fully next week.  Today at jumpstart, we used the dice for number recognition and counting.  The students rolled the dice and then had to count to that number.


We will also use these dice with counters.  The students will roll the dice and have to show that many counters.  Everything is more fun dice!

My last goodie I am sharing today are these awesome pocket dice that are completely customizable.  I am using them for tally marks here.  Instead of having numerals or dots, I used index cards and made tally marks for my students to practice.  They roll the dice and then write the numeral for the amount of tally marks they rolled.


I plan on using these dice ALL.  THE.  TIME.  I will be using them literacy centers, math centers, and science centers.  I love that I can easily switch out the picture on them without having to store tons of different kinds of dice.  It's a teacher's dream!

My students are going to LOVE all these fun math activities.  Oriental Trading has made shopping easy for teachers too.  I created a wishlist so I can keep track of all the items I still want/need.  I am able to share this with my family or even parents who are looking for a way to help purchase items for the classroom.  You need to hop on over there, check out all the great goodies and create your own classroom wishlist!

Looking for a deal at Oriental Trading?  Check out their coupon page for the latest sales!

*Disclaimer:  I was sent products of my choice in exchange for writing this post, but all opinions expressed are 100% my own!


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BEST YEAR EVER

If you have followed my blog for awhile, you probably know the story that happened to me last year.  If not, in a nutshell, two days before school started I was moved to a new building.  I was rushed to get my classroom up and going and it made me feel like my entire year was off.

This year I have had an amazing summer and spent some time really working on organization in my room (as I didn't have time to do this last year).  I have vowed that this will be the BEST YEAR EVER!


On my Instagram page yesterday, I asked my followers what they planned to do to make this the best year ever.  I wanted to share with you some of the things they said:


  • Be organized
  • Consistency in classroom management
  • Stay positive
  • Work with my team
  • Relationships (with students, other teachers, blogging friends, etc.)
  • Less stress
  • Focus on the students and not on all the other "stuff" that goes with teaching
  • Create a classroom community
I really loved the list and it made me think about how I plan to make this my best year ever.  Here is what I am planning on doing:

I am going to introduce alternative seating which I am so excited about.  I am excited about school and ready to try some new things like STEAM.  I plan to keep a positive attitude all year long and keep myself organized.  I am beyond excited to use ESGI to help me save time on my assessments.  I am going to continue to collaborate with my PLC and build strong relationships with my students.  Most of all, I want to engage my students in fun, rigorous lessons.  We love to have fun in my classroom and we love to LAUGH!  Isn't laughter the best medicine?

I would love to hear how you plan to make this the best year ever.  Sound off in the comments below!



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Nursery Rhyme Fun!

How many of my kindergarten teacher friends teach nursery rhymes?  It is amazing to me how many of my students come to kindergarten not knowing nursery rhymes.



Nursery Rhymes are so beneficeial to our students.  They are good for the brain!  They are great for fluency and rhyming.  Plus, let's be honest, they are just fun to say!

To supplement my nursery rhyme instruction, I created this Nursery Rhyme literacy unit.



Inside this unit, you will find activities for the following nursery rhymes:
~Humpty Dumpty
~Hey Diddle Diddle
~Itsy Bitsy Spider
~Jack & Jill
~Mary Had a Little Lamb
~Hickory Dickory Dock

I usually teach this unit early in my school year so I made some simple cut and paste sequencing activities.



There is also reading response sheets for each nursery rhyme.


Three simple and fun center activities are also included.  The all-time favorite in my classroom Read & Write the Room.


We work hard on beginning sounds at the beginning of the year (as well as fine motor skills) so Itsy Bitsy Beginning Sounds is perfect for both skills.


Since nursery rhymes have lots of rhyming, it is the perfect time to start to work on that skill with Nursery Rhyme Rhymes.  The students can play rhyming memory for this center.


Then they can record their work by completing a cut and paste activity.  I like to do a lot of cutting and pasting in the beginning of the year so my students can work on their fine motor skills.  Many of my students come in lacking scissor and gluing skills so this is great practice.


If you are interested in this low prep literacy unit, just click on the picture below to grab it from my TpT store!


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Pencil Grip Review & Giveaway

At the beginning of this school year, I noticed that the majority of my class had trouble with pencil grip.  I had never had so many students in one class with poor pencil grip.  I didn't know what to do so I asked our district literacy coach for some help.

She suggested I get pencil grips for my class.  After searching online for just the right ones, I found these pencil grips.


These amazing pencil grips are from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  You can find them here.  I bought a class set of the "Training" Crossover Grip.  Oh my goodness gracious......I couldn't believe the difference it made in just a few short days.  Once I put these pencil grips on my students' pencils and taught them how to properly hold the pencil (courtesy of the pencil grip user guide) their grip started improving.



After I felt my students started mastering their grip with the Crossover Grip pencil grips, I then started moving my students to the "Transition" Pinch Grip pencil grips.  I had them continue to use them until they were ready to move on to the "Graduation" Pencil Grip.

When my students would use crayons or markers and I would notice poor pencil grip, all I had to say was "Hold your crayon like you hold your pencil," and their grip immediately switched.  By the end of the year, most of my students no longer needed a pencil grip at all!


Now, you may be wondering about how to handle the pencil grips if you use community supplies like I do.  At first, I removed the pencil grips when a new pencil was needed and would show my students how to remove it as I was doing it.  Then after a couple weeks my students were able to take the pencil grip off and place it on a new pencil independently.  They were very protective over their pencil grips and thought they were the coolest things ever!  I thought so too because they were finally mastering their pencil grip!

Have you ever had a class that just had a hard time mastering pencil grip?  Would like to win your own Pencil Grip 3 Step Training Kit?  Then enter the rafflecopter below.  A winner will be chosen on Saturday!


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X-citing Surprise Day

How many of you do an ABC countdown at the end of the year?  Most of the teachers in my building do one.  This year our K-1 group decided to have an "x-citing surprise" for X day, but this could also be a fun reward day activity or even a last day of school activity.


Before school, I wrote out a few activities on strips of paper and then put them inside balloons.  I blew up the balloons and hung them on our front bulletin board with times underneath.


The best part about this was I could plan it out during times when it was a natural break in our day.

At the specified times, I popped the balloon and we found out what the activity for that time was.  My students thought this was SO MUCH FUN!  Just having the balloon being popped was probably surprise enough for them ;)

Here are a few ideas for activities you could put inside your balloons:

  • 10 minutes of GoNoodle
  • Extra Recess
  • Free draw time
  • Sit by a friend at the carpet
  • Use whiteboards
  • Read outside 
  • Use sidewalk chalk to practice sight words
  • Listen to Kidz Bop while you work
Really the possibilities are endless.  Do you have any other ideas that you would put in a balloon?  I would love for you to add to the list in the comments below!
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Spring Teacher Retreat Re-cap

Do you ever get to that point in the year when you are exhausted and feel uninspired?  I was there two weeks ago, but then I went to the Spring Teacher Retreat in French Lick with 200 of my closest teacher friends.  I left the retreat feeling inspired and re-energized for the rest of the school year.



First of all, when you are in the car for six hours and it seems like two because you are chatting so much with your blogging bestie, (Heidi from Flipping for First) you know the weekend is going to be amazing.


If you have not been to this meet up, then believe me when I say it is a MUST do!  My sweet friends Holly and Brittany put on an amazing event.


Our theme this year was “Take your passion and make it happen.”  It is amazing to be with 200 other people who are just as passionate about their job as you are about yours.  It just ignites that fire within you. 



I have to say that my biggest takeaway from this event was this quote from Kim Bearden:  "Build relationships that fuel your soul!"  That is what this weekend is all about.  We need to surround ourselves with people who lift us up not bring us down.  


During our daytime event, we had some very generous sponsors spoil us with some amazing swag.


I am beyond excited that I won a year subscription to ESGI!  I can’t wait to get started with that.  I know it will make doing assessments so much easier and less time consuming. 


In the evening, we had an EPIC 80’s party.  Where else can you see Madonna, Richard Simmons, Tom Cruise (times 2), Axel Rose, and Pee Wee Herman all in one room?



I think my favorite part of the 80’s party was the fact that we are able to pull off our flash mob successfully.  It was so much fun. 





My other favorite part was the amazing photo booth provided by GoNoodle.  I have all my pictures from that booth hanging by my computer at school so I can always just look at them and smile. 



On Sunday morning, we got together for one last picture and good-byes. 



I love these girls and I am so glad I got to spend so much time with them this weekend.




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