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How about a handprint fingerprint calendar for your parent Christmas gifts?!?

I have always LOVED how my handprint calendars turned out. I have made so many over the years!! They are so adorable, parents can use them for an entire year and then they become a wonderful keepsake. But, let’s face it…they take sooooo long!!!!

So, last year, with a HUGE class of 30 Kinders and no aide, I decided I needed a new idea. I wanted it to be just as cute, useful and meaningful as my handprint calendar. But, something that took A LOT less time. Something that I wouldn’t kill myself trying to make with that many five-year-olds!

So, that’s when I got to work on the FINGERPRINT calendar!! You guys!!! They turned out so absolutely ADORABLE!!!! And, they didn’t take much time AT ALL!!!!

Check out what I came up with!

So, you might be asking….how does this save so much time? Well, we can do at least one, if not two pages a day and still get all of our academics in! (This is hard to do with Kinders!! LOL! A project can take hours longer than you planned.)

All I do is copy these pages out on cardstock. As you know, giving a 5-year-old a coloring page that has small graphics can be overwhelming to some. So, you end up with a page that they used one color on and scribbled all over. We color together. I give them colored pencils so that they can stay in the lines and do their best coloring. Then, we talk about what colors would make sense for EACH PART of the picture. We color ONE item at a time. It doesn’t take long because the pictures really aren’t that big and there’s not a whole lot to them.

After we have colored, it’s time to paint. Now, with handprint calendars, I would have to paint ONE child’s hand (or hands depending on the print) at a time. Then, we would do the print and  clean their hands off (we don’t have a sink in our room.) This took FOREVER!!!! With fingerprints, I do them ALL AT ONCE!!!!!

I just put a small dot of paint on a paper plate and put it in the middle of the table. NO ONE can touch the paint. First (Yes, EVERY TIME) we talk about which finger can touch the paint. And, how this is the ONLY finger that is allowed to touch the paint.

Next, we talk about what a fingerprint should look like. We are NOT painting…we are using our finger more like a stamp. Practice what it looks like to make a fingerprint. (There is a practice page included that has all different prints to practice (big, small, vertical, horizontal, etc.)

Talk about how when you make a fingerprint, you put it on the paper and lift it straight back up. There is no smearing or painting. Only ONE print goes in each circle or oval.

If you take the time to talk about it, they will turn out fabulously!!! So cute!

The numbers on the calendar pages are  completely editable!! So, you can download this once. Save the original and use it year after year!! It’s super easy to edit and comes with detailed direction so even the most Non-techy teacher can use it with ease!

It even comes with a poem page that you can personalize and use for the cover! Just click on the box to add a picture and make it personalized for each kiddo!

If you’d like to check out this fingerprint calendar, one of my most favorite projects ever!!!! Just click on the image below!!!

Merry Christmas! 

The post Fingerprint Calendar for Parent Christmas Gifts appeared first on Little Warriors.

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We are so excited to announce that it is time to open registration for the 2018 Spring Teacher Retreat at the beautiful French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana! 
As you may know, this is the 5th year for this amazing event, and we know this
will be the MOST INCREDIBLE RETREAT YET! Are you ready to feel appreciated for
all of the work you do in your classroom every day?  Need a weekend away
with your teaching besties to relax and rejuvenate? Want to be uplifted by
other passionate educators and fall in love with teaching all over again? If
you answered yes to any of these questions, the 2018 Spring Teacher Retreat is for YOU!

We have an AMAZING weekend planned for you this year!

On Friday night, an optional pre-registration social event will be held to welcome all of those teachers checking in early. (More details will be announced soon!)

Next, we will start off the Saturday festivities bright and early as we
register attendees and offer breakfast treats and beverages to kick off the
day! Additionally, the morning will be filled with an inspiring keynote from our INCREDIBLE
keynote speakers! As a matter of fact, Hope and Wade King will be our speakers who are educators at the world renowned Ron Clark Academy, authors of the soon-to-be-released The Wild Card book, and co-founders of the high-energy Get Your Teach On conference!  In addition, a wide variety of other professional
development sessions and mini-sessions will be offered to fill the remainder of
the afternoon! We have an amazing line-up of the most inspiring presenters, educators, administrators, TPT authors and teacher-bloggers coming to join us for this special event! (A lunch break will be provided between sessions. Lunch will be on your own, but we will provide many options for you to choose from!)
Last, but certainly not least, we will join back together in the evening for our annual Saturday
night social event! This year, we are traveling back in time to the roaring 20’s for a Mayhem & Mystery party like none other! Come dressed in 20’s attire and join us as we socialize, snack, collect
clues, interview suspects and figure out “WHODUNIT!” It will be an
evening filled with flappers, fun, gangsters and games! This is an engaging experience that no educator will want to miss! Oh! And did we mention the incredible giveaways??? With the help of
our amazing event sponsors, we are going to spoil you with incredible teacher swag! 
As can be seen, we’ve designed this weekend for you to be able to CONNECT with other
amazing educators, be INSPIRED, learn ways to ENGAGE your students at
the highest levels, and leave energized to return to your classrooms and TEACH with renewed
passion and energy!  Not to mention, the absolute BEST PART? You will have SO MUCH FUN! Ultimately, it will be an unforgettable weekend…and YOU DESERVE IT!

Click HERE to visit our event website and get registered for the retreat for just $80!

For more information about the event, visit our website at www.springteacherretreat.com.  You will find details about all of the events for the
weekend, information about the resort, hotel reservation information, t-shirt
ordering links, and more!  Be sure to follow us on Instagram @springteacherretreat for all of the
latest updates!

We can’t wait to see you there!

The post Spring Teacher Retreat Registration Is Open For 2018! appeared first on Little Warriors.

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We are ready to roll out the red carpet
and announce that we are opening registration for the Spring Teacher/Blogger Retreat!
First and foremost, you WILL NOT want to miss what we
have planned for you this year!
Are you ready to be treated like the
red carpet star that you are?
Need a weekend of pampering to escape
from the “work” of teaching?
Need to be re-energized and fall in
love with teaching all over again?
Ready to shine and be recognized for
the teaching-star that you are?
Then, come walk the red carpet with us
at French Lick Resort for this Retreat!
French Lick is an incredible resort is
located in southern Indiana, but it is within 3 hours of Cincinnati, Nashville,
Indianapolis, and St. Louis!

And let me tell you…they are ready to pamper us again!  
Without further ado, here are the details…
are invited!
WHAT:  Spring
Blogger/Follower Retreat!
WHEN: March
17, 18 & 19, 2017
WHERE:  French
Lick Resort & Casino – French Lick, IN
To meet new friends, share blogging & TPT tricks & tips, 
just have fun! {LOTS and LOTS of FUN!}

So, please join us for the whole weekend, or just a day!
Here is
a peek at some of the things we have planned…

March 17th

OPTIONAL:  Many attendees gather and socialize at the
beautiful West Baden Hotel.  Come early
and join us! 
March 18th


BloggerMeet-Up Luncheon: 
Get-to-know-you luncheon, teacher product
giveaways, and “Teacher Tool” gift swap game
None other than PRINCIPAL GERRY will be there
to uplift, inspire, and create a room full of laughter
Teaching, TPT, Blogging Round-table and Workshop Sessions:  
We will send out a survey asking for topics of interest and we invite you to submit around-table proposal as well. 
DinnerReservations at Resort Restaurants: 
(OPTIONAL) Meet up for dinner at one of the
resort’s casual, but classy restaurants.
So, since everyone who is a teacher knows they
went into this profession for the fame and fortune (yeah, right!!)……We will be
rolling out the red carpet for you as we invite you to dress up as your
favorite star, pose for the paparazzi, and fabulous fun with friends! 
(Heavy hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholicbeverages, photo booth pictures and party favors included. 
There will also be a cash bar.)
March 19th

9:30 am – Sunday
  (OPTIONAL) Meet at the resort’s famous
breakfast buffet for our last gathering of good food, good conversation, and
Last, the cost for attending this Retreat is $75, which includes your lunch and beverages, a
portion of the room fees and our Saturday night social event
(including foodand non-alcoholic drinks). 
This is the ONLY required fee for the entire weekend!  The rest of the event (hotel
fees, if you choose to stay on site, and the remainder of the meal fees will be
on your own, based on your choices!).  If you live close, you may choose
to drive in for the day.  Please note, this fee needs to be paid by Feb.12 to guarantee
your registration.  Also, due to the increasing popularity of
this event, registration may have to be limited due to size.  (More
details for payment will be posted on our private FB meet-up/retreat group

So, are you wondering
if this retreat is something you might be interested in?  Check out what
some of last year’s attendees have to say…

Hannah F. “Last year was my
first year at French Lick Retreat and I was so nervous! I remember driving up there and
imagining all the things that could go wrong! (of course) But, when I arrived I
was overwhelmed with the kindness of every single person there. Everyone felt
like they belonged and they did! The whole weekend was full of fun activities
that helped me grow as a teacher and as a person. I made so many brand new
friendships that I will carry with me forever. I remember driving away feeling
refreshed and so ready to get back into my classroom! This weekend will refresh
your love for teaching from the very instant you step into the hotel! “
Heidi N. “It was so refreshing to be
surrounded by like minded teachers!  I left the weekend with new
perspective, new ideas, and a lot of new friends!”
Maja A. “Last year’s meet up inspired me
to do so many new things, I finished out the school year strong with the things
I learned from the other teacher/bloggers there!  I am so excited for this
years meet up!”
Are you ready to sign up for a star-studded
weekend of fun?  Simply click HERE to register for the Retreat.
Feel free to contact us at teacherbloggerretreat@gmail.com

The post Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat 2017 — Red Carpet Style! appeared first on Little Warriors.

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As promised, in this post, I will share a little tutorial on how to “Elf Yourself” and your students!!

I have been doing this fun little project since my first year of teaching Kindergarten 13 years ago. It’s always a parent favorite. But, I’ve gotten a little bit better and faster at it over the years. And, my elf pattern has gotten a little cuter Ha!!

Here is a picture of an elf that I made during my very first year of teaching. It’s hard to believe, the elf boy in this picture is a Senior in High School and is the person who has been doing all of my videos for me!!! (You may have seen him in my classroom reveal video It’s the most amazing thing to watch your students grow and see who they become!!! So, so proud of this one!!

You can find my new and improved elf pattern along with some other fun elf activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just click on the picture below!!

Aditionally, in the pack above, you will get printable ears that you can copy on multicultural construction paper. Then, you would glue them to your little elves’ heads. Going that route, is a little bit easier and less time consuming than the more “techie” version that you will see below. You can see a picture of an elf with the paper ears in the picture above of the front cover of the pack.

UPDATE: If you own this pack, you can now download it again to get the newly updated version. It comes with bulletin board graphics and title to print. Also included, is the slightly larger teacher/head elf pattern. (Now includes 49 pages)

But, the way I prefer to do it is to take head-shots of my kiddos and use THEIR OWN ears. So, I simply just stretch them out and make them bigger on my computer….like this…Hahahahaha!!!

Finally, Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do this on your PC using software that most everyone has. All I use is PowerPoint (I have the 2016 version) and Paint.

Elf Yourself Tutorial - YouTube

The post Elf Yourself Tutorial: A Christmas Craft and Keepsake appeared first on Little Warriors.

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Excellent classroom management is KEY to a productive and safe learning environment. When choosing your behavior management systems, it’s important to have more than one system in place.

I like to have a behavior system to hold individuals accountable, small groups, tables and whole class. The whole class behavior system works beautifully in situations where I expect the whole class to be on their best behavior. When another adult pops in my room to talk to me, my students are quiet as a mouse!! You can hear a pin drop! That’s because they know that they will be rewarded for making these awesome choices as a class. It’s so hard for 26 5-year-olds to ALL sit quietly and patiently while I talk to another adult for 3 WHOLE minutes!! But, my kiddos almost NEVER let me down!!!

Here is the whole class behavior management system that I use in my classroom. This system was inspired my Katie Knight from Teacher to The Core. Click HERE to see Katie’s post. I just LOVED the giant Google Eyes and tweaked it to fit my own classroom needs! Here’s what I came up with:

I found 2 giant googly eyes for my display and made a big Ten Frame. Every time I see my WHOLE CLASS displaying positive behavior…sitting quietly, transitioning perfectly, working together, etc. Then, they get a big google eye added to their ten frame. (I just put velcro dots on the ten frame and the backs of the eyes to attach them) When they reach their goal of 10 google eyes, then we get a whole class reward!

You can grab some GIANT  google eyes along with the large sized google eyes for the ten frame, in the party supply section at Target RIGHT NOW!!! They come in a pack like this and are only $2.99!!

If you’d like the ten frame and words to make your own display, you can download it HERE!

So, that’s a fun little system that I use for whole class behavior management, but there are lots of other fun ways that you can implement a behavior system in your class!!

How about Behavior Bingo?!

How fun is that?? Each time your whole class is on task or doing what they are supposed to do, pull a number and cover it on your Bingo board!!! When they get a bingo, the whole class gets a reward! I LOVE this bingo display from The Teacher Thief!

Next up, Flipping for Good Behavior!!

This option, from One Sharp Bunch, is great because the class reward is built right in!!! Each time the class is doing what you expect of them, you can flip over another letter. When the whole message is flipped over, the class wins whatever the message is that was revealed!!

How cute is this “Brownie Points” system from Sarah at First Grader at Last?!

Give students a Brownie on their cookie sheet when the whole class earns it and when they fill up their tray, the class earns a reward!!!!

And, last but not least, you may have seen this adorable idea of building a potato head from Second Grade Rocks!

LOVE!!! You can read about how she does this HERE.

So, once your kiddos earn a Whole Class reward, what do they win???

I put together a little pack with 40 different Whole Class rewards! Most of them are super easy and FREE and your kids will LOVE them!!!

Now, the incentive that I use to get my kids SUPER excited about these rewards is a spinner. OMGOODNESS!!! The spinner is sooooo, soooo exciting!!!! Here’s what it looks like. First, bought this lazy susan from IKEA (if you have an IKEA near you, you can snag one for like 5 bucks). Then, I just sectioned it off and spray painted it. After that, I put nails in each corner and attached it to a little easel. Then, I attached a big zip tie to the bottom as the clicker/pointer. This is what it looks like:

We have been in school for 50 days now and my class has now won 2 whole class rewards.

Our first reward was “Wear a costume to school”.

I had sooooo many parents tell me how excited their kiddos were to do this. They were so, so proud!! Here was our dress up day:

Here’s how our spinner works:

IMG 5596 - YouTube

You don’t have to make a spinner for this to work!!! There are lots of ways to use these little reward cards!! It can be as simple as pulling one from a bag!

If you have THESE magnetic spinners, you can draw a little spinner on the board. Just tape the choices up or put magnets on the backs of them!

You can also use this awesome magnetic spinner from Educational insights!! Just tape or velcro the choices on!!

Every single whole class reward comes with a letter to send home to parents! This is just to let them know that the class has earned a reward and/or to ask them to bring what is needed that day! If it’s something as simple as “Free Choice”, the note is just to let the parents know so that they can share in their child’s excitement.  Or, if it’s something like “Bring a drink” it tells the parents what day they will need to bring a drink to school. All of the notes come in an editable version.

We have our new reward note ready to go home this week!!! The kids are so excited about our special day that’s coming up!!

If you’d like to snag this little Class Rewards pack, you can check it out HERE!!!

The post Behavior Management & Rewards for your Whole Class appeared first on Little Warriors.

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I have found that teaching Kinders handwriting, how to write and form letters correctly, can be a very difficult task. I’ve been teaching Kindergarten for 13 years now….whoa! That makes me sound old! Over the years, I have discovered what works and what doesn’t. I have found a few simple tips that you can implement from the very beginning of the year that will make this task so much easier.

Many times, handwriting is only skimmed over or seen as “less important” than digging in to the curriculum and teaching letters and sounds and moving on to reading and writing. But, handwriting is an important part of a child’s literacy development. Research shows that children benefit from explicit instruction in writing letters. After all, how can we expect children to write words and sentences before being TAUGHT how to form the letters? It seems like common sense, right?  That you would see more productive work as children learn how to write correctly and it becomes more natural for them. But with the academic demands being placed on Kindergarten teachers, this doesn’t always happen. Please take the time from the very beginning of the year to TEACH this important skill to your students.

1.  Use concrete terms when teaching handwriting.

Kindergarten kids are very concrete learners and need you to use very concrete terminologies when teaching. If you’re teaching them how to write a capital “A” for example, telling them to start “at the top and draw a diagonal line to the bottom” doesn’t really mean much to them. If you tell them to “put their pencil in the sky and slide down to the ground”, it is much more concrete and meaningful and helps them understand it much better. This brings me to tip #2.

2. Use Color coding when teaching handwriting.

Use color coding to make those terms even more concrete. I always use handwriting lines at the beginning of the year that are color coded. Using a blue line at the top represents the sky and a green line at the bottom represents the ground.

Here’s an example of the alphabet line that I have hanging in my room. You can see all of my alphabet lines HERE.

When using copied practice sheets, the lines are obviously black. But, for any students that are still struggling, I take a blue crayon and trace the top line to show them where to start, a red one for the middle and trace the bottom one with a green. Not only does this color code the lines, but the crayon marks make the lines raised just enough that they can actually feel when their pencil hits it and it helps them become more aware of where those lines are.

3. Use visuals when teaching handwriting.

Let me first explain that my students had earned a dress up day for good behavior on this day! LOL! That is why I’m dressed up like the GoNoodle character, Freckles. Bahahaha!

This is a resource that I created that has visuals and detailed descriptions of how to write each letter. It’s hard to see the different visuals on the slides, but there is a sun at the top, a fencein the middle, stop and go signs at the beginning and end of each line and playground slides to give them a visual of what a diagonal line looks like. Here’s an example:

4. Model, Model, Model

Modeling and talking through what to do and what not to do when writing each letter is crucial! If you look at this ridiculous picture of me dressed up like Freckles again (LOL!) you can see that there is a color coded line down at the bottom that I left for modeling. Be sure to position your body to the side so that your writing hand is visible to the students.

Now, all I do is project this little resource up on the whiteboard. So, I have the concrete terms and descriptions mapped out for me, the color coded lines, the concrete visuals and lines to be able to model how to write the letter for my students. Perfect!

Then, it’s time to give them the handwriting practice that they need. Be sure to monitor this closely so that you can see who needs help. Walk around, constantly, giving the help, support and guidance that each student needs to write their letters correctly and efficiently.

5. Keep an Open Mind!!

Remember, this is Kindergarten!!! Some students haven’t developed the fine motor skills that they need yet to have “the perfect handwriting”. It’s O.K.!!! Really!!! Some kids may have to do strengthening exercises, some may have to be referred to OT and some may have to use a special pencil grip. Some may just not be ready to master that pencil grip or have the strength they need to be able to form their letters perfectly. Understand that. Except that. It’s O.K. The important thing is, you’re taking the time to address those needs. You’re doing your best to TEACH them the correct way to form their letters and numbers and you’re getting them the help that they need. Doing this from day one will save so many headaches and frustration for you and your students later on, down the road.

I LOVE to track my students’ progress! I do this in our Kindergarten Portfolio and Memory Book. Look at the progress made in just the first month of school! Man, I love Kindergarten!!

If you liked the resources from this post, you can check them out HERE in my How to Write Letters pack!

The post 5 Tips for Teaching Handwriting in Kindergarten appeared first on Little Warriors.

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