St Patrick’s Day Activities: St Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate at school! There are SO many fun activities to do with your class. I am going to share my top 5 favorites!
1. Leprechaun Directed Drawing
My first directed drawing I ever shared and it’s a freebie! Included are simple, child-friendly directions AND a video. You can find the directed drawing freebie on TpT.
2. Leprechaun Craft
This is a craft that takes a bit of prep, but is worth it! The leprechauns are so stinkin’ cute and kids love them! You can find these cuties in my St Patrick’s Day pack on TpT.
3. Silly McGilly
I bet if you asked my former students what their favorite activity for St Patrick’s Day was, they’d say Silly McGilly! It’s a super cute story that comes with a doll that magically comes alive. Each year, when we go to lunch I have office staff come down to my room and add some leprechaun silliness! Last year, there were sticky notes on our door, green and orange streamers spread around the room, gold coins at each table, and pennies on the floor! It’s prime, so you could get it in plenty of time and use it over and over for years to come!
4. Torn Paper Rainbow
This is a fabulous activity from Kindergarten Smiles from her weather unit, but I feel like it would be perfect for this week! My students love torn paper activities.
5. Hat Headbands and beards
The beards are optional, but the hats are always a hit! Cut them out of green paper and staple to a sentence strip, easy and quick! You can find the hat and beard freebie on Google Docs.
My favorite read alouds for St Patrick’s Day (click on the pictures to find them on Amazon affiliate links): . . .
100th Day of School Ideas, you can never have too many! Our 100th Day of School is January 31st. I can’t believe how time flies and how every year my kids think school’s out after 100 days. I keep trying to tell them we have 80 more days to go after those 100! One of my favorite bulletin boards is the one below. I use the 100th Day bags from Really Good Stuff to send home with a letter asking parents to fill it with 100 items.
I also send home a letter to parents asking for donations. Wile they are at PE, I take handfuls of each snack and place them into baggies, all mixed up. Kids work during our special snack to fill a 100’s chart. Once filled, they put the snacks back into the baggy and feast! No, this is NOT the only way you can enjoy your 100th Day snack, it’s just the way I do it =) . If you would like a copy of the letter, it’s your lucky day! Find it HERE.
Happy New Year Writing Activities FREEBIE: New Year FREEBIE that I totally revised and updated. The pack has added additional writing activities, including a cute New Year hat and WORD for 2018 page. I plan to use these pages when we return to work Wednesday.
Cut out the hat and attach to a sentence strip. The hat can then be worn as a headband! Isn’t she cute? She chose “horses” as her word (yes, she wants a horse.)
I love a writing activity simple enough for kindergarten and this is perfect for independent work! Even kids can pick a WORD for 2018! Kinders can draw themselves in 2018 and choose their “word.”
Directed Drawings for Science: Almost a year ago I was presenting in New Hampshire with the sweetest girl around, Miss DeCarbo (if you don’t follow her, you’re really missing out!). Anyway, we were sitting around in the airport brainstorming ideas. She suggested I should create a pack of directed drawings for science and/or social studies. I decided to give it a try. Directed drawing packs are a labor of love, emphasis on the labor. The pack focuses on four universal main themes: Simple Machines, Living Things, Weather, and Landforms. Each drawing includes a step by step direction page. Also included is a video tutorial for each drawing.
For Living Things I included: seed parts, plant life cycle, flower parts, what plants need, what animals need, frog life cycle, and butterfly life cycle.
For simple machines (and more) I included: inclined plane, pulley, wheel and axle, wedge, screw, lever, push, and pull.
For weather: water cycle, tools to measure weather, and types of clouds.
For Landforms (and more) I included: mountains, hills, valleys, plateau, and layers of soil.
I recently tried the frog life cycle with my kinders at school and this is an example:
Story Retell Hands: I’m teaming up this week with ASTROBRIGHTS® Papers for an awesome activity for story retell! Kids love puppets. Retell is a common standard found in classrooms. Students use the hands to identify characters, setting, and plot. I included a variety of sizes and types, depending on the level and need of your classroom.
Astrobrights Paper stands out amongst all the same old white paper we use each day! Studies show that color improves retention as much as 18%! The “Happy” 5-Color Assortment, pictured below, includes Cosmic Orange, Solar Yellow, Terra Green, Venus Violet and Fireball Fuchsia. #ABBrightminds #colorizeyourclassroom
Thank you to ASTROBRIGHTS® Papers for partnering with me on this blog post. I received payment, trade, and or products from Astrobrights in exchange for promoting. However, all opinions stated are my own and I only promote brands and products that we use and love. This post also contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog.
Veteran’s Day Directed Drawing: I know it’s a bit of a last minute freebie on my part, but there’s still time! Friday we are out for Veteran’s Day and I always have to explain to my kinders what a “veteran” is and why we honor them.
I never know how well my kids will do on a new directed drawing. My students blew me away! Their drawings were amazing! The Veteran’s Day drawing has a lot of details and they followed along with my step by step.
Why do I love directed drawings so much? One reason is my students learn to follow directions. Another reason is this:
My student drew this the next day! And only in Alabama is the Veteran and Auburn fan:
Name Writing Practice: Name Writing Practice for kids who struggle with the order of the letters in their name. Have you ever had a child in your class that no matter how many opportunities you give them to order their name with cards, magnets, play-doh, tiles, etc…they STILL struggle!
There are some great ways out there to give your students the hands-on practice they need, just look on Pinterest! But at some point, they have to get some real writing experience. I have one particular student this year that would (after much practice) write the letters in his name, but with little regard as to their order. I found myself drawing lines down the back of his paper and writing the letters of his name across the top. Then I’d have him write them letters under each one. It occurred to me that it would so super useful to have a table pre-made so that all I would have to do is write the name across the top. I created this pack of printables to make my life easier…and I’m hopeful that it will help you, too!
You can find this Name Writing Practice pack on Teachers Pay Teachers HERE. Another idea is to place the page inside a plastic sleeve and use with a dry erase marker to save paper =) Of course, I printed some of them on my favorite Astrobrights paper to add a bit of excitement to the name writing routine!
Positive Notes for Students and Parents: I’m teaming up this week with ASTROBRIGHTS® Papers for a great way to communicate with parents and students in a positive way! No news is good news, right? Sometimes that is the case, but when it comes to your child going to school…maybe not so much! As a parent, I struggle to be involved with my kids’ classrooms and teachers without being a helicopter parent. As a teacher, I struggle giving parents feedback without always focusing on what their child did “wrong.” I decided a few years ago that I wanted to give my students’ parents feedback and truly “accentuate the positive!”
The first thing I did was create Facebook page for my class. It is private and only for parents! I post pictures mainly and it really does help build a relationship with my kids’ parents. They get to see what we do during the day and it provides a line of communication for them with their children. Instead of saying, “What did you do today?” they can ask, “Hey, I saw you guys went on a leaf hunt today, tell me all about it!”
In addition to the group, I try to call parents occasionally to give them an update on what their child is doing “right.” Your child is a super writer or a great listener. Or I might tell them (as I did the other day) that their son counted to 104! Of course, I can’t call parents weekly or even monthly, but what I can do is send home positive notes to parents and my students. To help you focus on the positive, I created these Positive Notes for Students and Parents. They are perfect to put on desks or in take home folders.
Why print them on color paper?
Of course, the fact that I print mine on Astrobrights Paper helps them stand out amongst all the same old daily papers that are in folders each day! Nothing catches your attention more as a parent than a brightly colored paper! Studies show that color enhances readership by as much as 40%! The “Happy” 5-Color Assortment, pictured below, includes Cosmic Orange, Solar Yellow, Terra Green, Venus Violet and Fireball Fuchsia. #ABBrightminds #colorizeyourclassroom
This is a sponsored post. First and Kinder Blue SKies has received payment, trade and/or products from Astrobrights in exchange for promoting, however all opinions stated are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog.
Name Handwriting for Back to School: As a kindergarten teacher, I know the importance of handwriting for children. At the beginning of the year, my class explores letters, sounds, and numbers. We devote a lot of time to their formation and writing. Did you know the first letter that children learn best is the first letter of their first name? I love to bring novelty to their handwriting with a variety of markers and pencils, but their favorite? Mr. Sketch Smelly markers!
Did you know there are Mr. Sketch Scented Gel Crayons? My kids had the best time using them with their first letter name pages! These pages are perfect for the beginning of the year, Pre-K to First Grade. You can find them on Teachers Pay Teachers. Have kids find the page that matches the first letter of their name and let them outline the letters, using Mr Sketch Scented Markers or Gel Crayons! In addition to the handwriting practice, I joined the Go Teach! Handwriting Community on Facebook. The group shares a wealth of ideas for educators and is an amazing community!
I also have a full name freebie for name writing HERE.
Thank you Go teach! Handwriting for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
Sub Tub Idea: A new school year means we are all excited to meet and get to know our new class of kiddos. But no matter how dedicated we are to our job, there will be a time when we have to be out. It’s been my experience that you can never have too many ideas for your sub tub and plans! This is my favorite activity for my sub to do with my class!
First I have them read the book Miss Nelson is Missing!
Next they discuss where in the world do they think I could be?? After brainstorming, they either dictate to the substitute where they think I am or they write it themselves. The answers never cease to amaze me at their creativity!
McDonald’s, really? Panera, maybe…but not McDonald’s on my day out!