Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back To School Bash!

I know some of you are already 'back to school' and some of us are starting soon!
The girls and guy of 'The Pack' have come together to bring you a hop filled with fabulous tips, awesome freebies and incredible giveaways!

How It Works!
Our hop is a 3…2…1… BACK TO SCHOOL BASH because each member of The Primary Pack will be giving you 3 teacher tips, 2 giveaways (one on each of our blogs and one BIG one on the Primary Pack), and 1 freebie!

To enter our BIG giveaway, you need to head over to THE PRIMARY PACK first! As you "hop" through each of our blogs, you will collect a letter from each of us… 28 total. Those letters spell out a secret code that you need to enter our BIG giveaway! You will use the secret code to enter the rafflecoptor on The Primary Pack at the end of the hop.
 You need to collect the letters from us IN ORDER, so please make sure that you start from the beginning of our hop. Click on the button below to head over to THE PRIMARY PACK and start our BACK TO SCHOOL BASH!!

If you have already visited the first 9 stops along the hop, you are ready for stop 10 from me!

One thing I do each year is type up all the kids names on address labels.
I print about 6-8 sets of the labels.
(You'll see there are duplicates- I do that to not waste labels!  The next page had duplicates of row 2 so it evens out!  I also leave some blank to fill in names of new students that are added to my roster last minute!)

They come in handy for:
1. Labeling folders/books/crayon boxes, etc. that come in unlabeled- just slap it on there as they take it out of their bags!
2. To label a child's work that cannot write their name yet.
3. Name tag for when going to a special area teacher.

I have also used them to stick on a paper for a child to copy for name writing and/or when using magnetic letters to build names!

I have also printed the list on regular paper (not labels) to use for check-offs for assessments, projects, etc.!

Use your 'scraps' for sensory bins/buckets!
If you use scrapbook paper to make things for your classroom (you can read how I use it to make 'backs' for my games here) and have scraps don't throw them away!
Instead, throw them through your shredder!

It makes a great mix that is perfect for sensory bins/buckets!

You can even use your junk mail shreds!

Throw some magnetic letters in there and have kids search for letters in their names!
Throw some manipulatives in there and have kids search for items of certain color or shape!
Throw some objects from around your room in there and have them search for items that begin with a particular letter!

You can see how I used these shreds here.

You can even make 'seasonal bins' by using particular color papers to make shreds!

The shreds can be stored in ziploc bags for use again next year or tossed into a recycling bin!

Make play dough with your students!
I use an EASY recipe I got from The Imagination Tree that is no-cook and lasts for 6 months!

We start our year with this magic play dough:
(you can download the tag for free here)

And each month we make another batch that we use in centers and they replace their play dough 'cups' with the new flavor of the month!  They get so excited to take the 'old' dough home too!
We have made:
Apple Pie Playdough
Candy Corn Playdough
Licorice Playdough
Pumpkin Pie Playdough
Peppermint Playdough
Gingerbread Playdough
Snow Dough
Sugar Cookie Playdough
Chocolate Playdough
Glow-In-The-Dark Playdough
Coconut Playdough
Watermelon Playdough

You can find many variations and ideas on The Imagination Tree too!

I usually ask parents for flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil donations throughout the year.
They are usually eager to donate after they see how excited their kids are for the different doughs they bring home!

In kindergarten we work on names for the first month (maybe longer)!

This summer I purchased letter beads to use in my classroom for names and sight word building!

After download, you just click in the text boxes to change the letters to the letters of your students' names!

Here are some pictures of my soon-to-be-kindergartner practicing it: 

I put the paper in a re-useable sleeve and used dry erase crayons, but it can be completed without the sleeve and other writing instruments!

If you don't have letter beads, so worries!
You can have students use magnetic letters, letter tiles, letter cubes, etc!
(You can even put the paper on a cookie tray so that the letters 'stick')

After we master our names, we will move onto building sight words

Now to the giveaways!

The 'packers' have collected funds to purchase a Silhouette Cameo to giveaway!
If you don't have will certainly WANT ONE!
And if you do have one, you could be someone's forever best friend and gift it to them for back to school!
I finally broke out my Silhouette Cameo last June and am wondering why I waited so long!
Here are just a few things I have done with it this summer to prep for back to school...
These are cut-outs from Dollar Tree!  I used the cameo to cut our letter and number 'stickers' to make center matching games! 

This is thanks to fellow 'packer' Kourtney Payton!
She made these templates and sent it to me so I could add it to my Dollar Tree garbage can! 

These images were freebies from Teaching in the Tongass stuck to Target Dollar Spot cans! 

And my most recent...a little 'Back To School' gift for my boys' teachers!
I still need to add the tag 'I am 'tickled pink' to be in your class this year!'
Target Dollar Spot can with some pink $1-ish goodies tucked inside! 

Here is the letter you need from my blog to complete the secret code:

But that is not it...

I am also giving away $10 toward items from my TpT Store!
I added a lot of sight word resources this summer you may want to check out!

So let's do a little check-list before you move on..

All set and ready to hop along?

Wishing you a wonderful 2015-2016 School Year!
Next time you visit my blog, don't be surprised if it looks a tad different!  
Alexis from Laugh Eat Learn has me next on her list for a new blog design!

Until next post,
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Day of School Coloring Page

The first few minutes in the classroom can be chaotic!
They all have supplies they can't wait to show you, you need to find papers for the office stuffed in their folders, figure out if they have lunch or need lunch and get everyone settled!

So I created a coloring page to keep little fingers busy while I get all my 'administrative jobs' done!

I posted this picture on my Instagram account and it got a lot of interaction! 

I had made something similar last year for my students...
which greeted them on the first day, but due to a computer crash last October, I lost all my files- including the cute coloring page!

I couldn't find all the same clip art so I did my best to replicate what I had!

Since so many were interested, I made it an editable template that you can download for FREE here!

I have templates for Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten, TK (Transitional Kindergarten) and First Grade!

All you need to do is download KG Primary Penmanship (if you want the font to match what I have) for FREE (for personal use) and then open up the file.

Click in the text boxes that I have all set to size and location for Date, School Name, Teacher Name and Room Number!

Fill in your information, save and print!

It makes a great keepsake for anxious Mommies and Daddies too!

If you are interested in the Magic Playdough you see in the picture, you can read about it here and download the tag for FREE too!

Enjoy...and be sure to stop by tomorrow for...
It runs from 8/30-9/4!
There will be tips, freebies and giveaways from each blogger in the hop, as well as a grand prize!
You will NOT want to miss it!

Wishing you a wonderful school year!
Until next post,
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Parent Pamphlet for Kindergarten!

In just one short week I begin year 16!
I have learned a few tricks over the years...and one is to inform parents right from the start!

So that is why I send home a parent pamphlet to help parents prepare for Day 1 of Kindergarten!

There are so many questions about that famous 'first day' and the pamphlet helps ease some anxieties and gives them a 'heads up' on what to expect!

Here is the front/back.
I found a poem similar to this one, but have tweaked it to fit me/my classroom a ton of times!

Here is an up-close of what I have in each 'section' of the pamphlet.  I have blocked out personal/contact information on the picture, but obviously it is there for parent's use.

To print them, I simply choose 2-sided (flip on the short edge):
and then they just need to be folded and are ready to mail!
(I do trim the sides a bit so that they neatly fold into each other, but that is the OCD in me!)

I posted the above picture on Instagram and got a request for it, so here is an editable version!
There are 2 versions- choose the one that will work best for you!
To edit, simply click in the text boxes I have put in!
You will need these 2 free (for personal use) fonts if you want it to match:
(if you download them before your download the templates, the fonts will open as I have set them!)

Get your FREE templates HERE!

In the envelope with this pamphlet will also be the Magic Confetti for my new students!
You can read all about it and get your free editable poem card here!

Before you go running to download and prep, be sure to check out the DOLLAR DEALS that are happening all day today!
Several sellers have teamed up to each bring you 3 $1 Deals!

From me you will find...

Be sure to check out all the deals before the day ends!
And don't forget to check my Facebook page tomorrow...there will be a contest to win a FREE product!

Hope the pamphlet makes things easier as you prep for back-to-school!
Until next post,
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Too Much Glue! Been There, Done That!

The boys and I recently checked out the 'School' section at the library as we prepare for Back to School!  
I found this GREAT book:

It is about a boy who L-O-V-E-S glue...the more glue the better!

BUT his art teacher warns him...

Do you think he listened?

(How often have you seen this expression...this mess...this double fisted glue-crazed kiddo?!)

Well after he makes this 'too much glue' creation, he decides to jump in and become a part of his masterpiece...only ends in 30 minutes and the glue won't dry in time!

Page after page classmates and school workers try everything in their power to free Matty from his glue-sterpiece, but nothing works!
They have to call in his Dad...another glue lover!

I don't want to spoil how the story ends, but kids are sure to enjoy this silly message about too much glue!

I always do a glue use lesson the first few weeks of school with the famous phrase:
'A dot, a dot, a dot of glue will do!'

We talk about 'glue goobers' and practice putting just dots of glue on the project we are working on that day.
I also use these in my classroom:
They are 'tap and glue' caps.
It only allows a 'dot' of glue out with each tap!
(I discovered them via a library program my boys attended back in 2011 and have been using them every since!  They don't clog and they can't squeeze them!)

Each year I take off the orange caps, replace with these red caps and we are good to go!
In June, I take the red caps off and throw them in a bottle basket in the dishwasher and they are all cleaned and ready for the following year!

But I do worry that when my kinders 'graduate' from my class and head to first grade they won't know how to use the famous orange tip glue bottle properly!

So this year I might break them out at some point and give them a try...I'll decide after I meet my new crew next week!

In any case, I came up with 2 activities to supplement the to 'teach' about glue use and one just for fun!
To make sure they worked as I envisioned, I had my two best 'test subjects' give them a try!
First we tried out the 'raindrops!'
For the 'raindrops' activity, simply have the kids put a dot of glue in each raindrop!

I put a few drops of blue food coloring into the glue bottle to make them the color of rain, but you can do it with plain white glue too!  You could even have them color the raindrops blue first and then put a dot of white glue on top so that when it dries it makes a 'shiny raindrop!'

(this one was completed by my very soon to be kindergartner!)

Make the colored glue and then put it in a center!  Students could practice dotting with all different colors!  You could use the mini glue bottles if you want a variety of colors and don't want to dye entire bottles of glue!

Next was the 'decorate the kid!'
First we filled in the shape with glue...

Until the whole space was full!

This Pampered Chef bowl worked great!  It helped hold everything we needed to decorate our shape!

We read the story and then got to work!

Here are our 'glue-sterpieces!' 

A few tips...
First I would print it on cardstock to make it a bit sturdier!
Either let them go glue crazy or you can spread the glue!
They can add in googly eyes, macaroni, string/yarn, scraps of paper/tissue paper, etc much like Matty did in the book!
Then lay them to dry and show students how long it takes for something with TONS of glue to dry! 

Another alternative is to slip the printable into a plastic sleeve (like we did above)!
Have students create their 'glue-sterpiece' the same as above and allow it to dry.

Once dry, peel it from the plastic (much like Matty's dad did to him in the story) and they can then take that home!
Punch a hole and add a string to make it a necklace/hanging project or put magnetic tape on the back (like Matty's dad did in the story) so that it can be hung on the fridge!

If you are nervous the kid activity will give them permission to be glue goobers, simply stick to the raindrop activity!

If you need more practice, I also found this cute idea about 'glue use' on Pinterest:

Be sure to download the FREE printables to go with Too Much Glue!

And before the end of the day, be sure to check out Today's Back-To-School Deal:

Purchase one of my best sellers, Sight Word Readers, and get my brand new Sight Word Mini Books FREE!

You can even try out each for FREE before you buy:

You can read about how I used the sight word books in my classroom on this post:

And read all about my new mini books here:

To Claim Your FREE product:
1. Purchase the Sight Word Readers on August 25, 2015
2. Contact me via a FB message with your TPT username and email by September 1, 2015
(If you do not have a FB account, simply leave me a blog post message here with your email and I will contact you or email me at
3. After I confirm purchase, I will email you the mini books!
(Please know that I will do my best to send you the product by the end of the day that you contact me, but I am heading back to school and my time will be limited.  Thank you for understanding!)


Be sure to check back tomorrow!
I have a post about my parent pamphlet with an editable version for you to download!
I will also be announcing the next set of deals for the Back To School WON'T want to miss this one!

Hope you stay glue and sticky free this year!
Until next post,
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