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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Bunny Craft Freebies!

I am digging through the way back files again and found the pattern for this cute bunny craft. I love this because you use plastic spoons to make the eyes and teeth. The kids loved making them, and no two were alike.

We started with a lesson on how characters change throughout a story.  I read the story The Grumpy Easter Bunny.  We talked about how the main character, Hopper, changes throughout the story and how he learns a lesson about sharing.  The students wrote a response on the loopy square paper that we attached to the backs of our bunnies. I left this blank so you could use this for any Easter book and writing assignment.

To make the bunnies, I traced the patterns onto tagboard and gave each table a pattern. The kids traced and cut the bunny heads. We cut the slits by folding the bunnies slightly and then snipping on the fold. We added a pompom nose and some paper whiskers.  They turned out SO cute!

The patterns and directions are available as a freebie in my TPT store. Go grab it!
Also, I found this little cutie in my files too.  We would make them for our 6th grade buddy class.  It is just a paper sack that is stapled at the top in the corners.  We would decorate the faces with simple construction paper designs, but big wiggle eyes and pompom noses would be really cute here too.

I hope everyone has a HOPPY Easter!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kids at Work- Using a Job Wheel Bright Idea

Woo Hoo!  It is another Bright Ideas Link-A-Roo! 

I have blogged a bit about my job wheel a few years ago, but I thought it was worth another share.  I LOVE my job wheel!  I got this idea from my mentor teacher a mere 21 years ago during my student teaching.  I have had this one for at LEAST 16 years.  It has just evolved and changed through my various grade levels and needs.  

Let me just say... I STINK at changing things. Flipping cards is not for me.  I like easy and no fuss.  I also think it is essential for kids to have responsibility in the classroom.  I like to put them to work to keep things running smoothly. They take their jobs very seriously!!   I have recently added a calendar person and a homework checker. My kiddos this year are super responsible and wanted more jobs to do.  They are so great! 

The design is simple.  2 large poster board circles... the larger about 1-1/2 inches bigger than the inside.  It is divided into equal parts. Mine has 30 slices.  The outside section is numbered 1-30 to correspond to the student's classroom numbers.  (See no cards!)  The jobs are written in with an overhead marker AFTER the circles are laminated.  This has saved me a bunch of times when I need to add/change a job.  I have colored in every other slice with yellow.  That is how I alternate weeks.  The "ODDS" have jobs one week, the "EVENS" have jobs the next week.  Takes me two seconds to change, because the last thing I want to do on Friday is fiddle with my job chart. I love it!  I have had years where every kid had a job, and that worked great too, but now that I am with the littles, alternating weeks has worked well for me. 

Years when I have had more than 30 kids in my classroom, I just added a little post-it note with the kid's number to the outside circle.  So whatever job  #1 would have, #31 would share the responsibility.

This wheel is about 16 years old... NO JOKE!  Maybe it is time for an update... I'll have to add that to my list of things to do this summer, but if it isn't broke... well you know what they say! 

What kind of jobs do you have your kiddos do to help in your classroom? 

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook for more great ideas. 
Don't forget to check out the AWESOME Bright Ideas Pinterest board, too! 

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up 
below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


Awesome End of the Year Gifts!

We just finished our state testing and woo-hoo does it feel GREAT!  With only 30 teaching days left, I am starting to make a list of all of the things I need to get done. YIKES! This is one of my FAVORITE end of the year gifts. It is a neat kit chock full of fun science experiments to keep kiddos busy during the summer.  It has a little book of tried and true science experiments and a little science journal. The items in the kit are super cheap and easy to find. I made a whole class set for under $8!  The kids LOVE them!

Copy the covers on colored paper to make them pop! 


All the printables, instructions, shopping lists, and several bag toppers are included in my Send Home Science! product. Check it out in my TPT store and give UNIQUE end of the year gifts this year!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Picture Perfect Read Aloud!

Last week we had our class pictures. I love class pictures and proudly have 21 of them saved from over the years.  My school does a great job of organizing things and we are in and out pretty quickly. PLUS.... I get to read one of my 
favorite read aloud stories. I don't say that lightly, friends.
  Have you ever heard the story BED HEAD by Margie Palatini?
It is a great story about a boy named Oliver who wakes up with a terrible case of bed head.  No matter what, Oliver can't tame his poor hair. What makes things worse for poor Oliver it that it turns out to be picture day at school and his crazy bed head takes over. 

The reason this story is so much fun is that I vary my speed and volume when I am reading it aloud. There are points of excitement that I will read really fast, then slow down using my "matter of fact" voice.
 It offers me a great opportunity to model using different voices and reading with expression.
 The illustrations are really fun, too. 

Even the "big" kids L-O-V-E and can relate to this story.
Hope all of your class pictures turn out great!  Smile, and say cheese!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Duct Tape DIY- Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

I'm so honored to be a part of the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

I thought I'd share some of the funky, yet practical, ways I have been using duct tape in my classroom. Colored duct tape has been gaining popularity over the past year or so, and it is EVERYWHERE!! I just love it!

Spirit Pencils - I made these fun pencils using school colors.  I double-over a 6" strip of tape, leaving a 1/2" tab still sticky. I cut the strip into small fringe pieces. I use the sticky edge to wrap the tape around the end of the pencil, alternating colors. Super fun!

Duct Tape Doorstop - This is a plain ol' brick that I covered in pretty tape. It is so fun!
Binder Clips - Give plain binder clips some punch by covering them with the duct tape. Mine are color coded by subject and grade. This helps me organize my grading and my work for the next day. Color coding the clips can be used to organize differentiated work, making it easier to distribute.  I just keep them in a little basket ready to go.

Notebook Tabs - This is my FAVORITE use for tape. Colored tape makes the best tabs for interactive notebooks.  I tried using post-its and paper, but the tape is so much better! It is flexible and durable... and fun! I teach-lifted this idea from my daughter's amazing teacher last year, and never looked back!!
Snazzy Clipboards - I bought some cheap clipboards and covered them with tape. I love carrying them around, and everyone knows which clipboards are mine!

Covering Pencil Containers -  This is a baby formula can.  They are perfect for holding markers and pencils, and they are super durable!  Most of my cans are 5+ years old, I just gave them a makeover with the tape!

Thanks for hopping by! Please continue on and visit Sally at Elementary Matters. I had the chance to meet Sally last summer and she is such a sweet, genuine lady who is so passionate about teaching.


    An InLinkz Link-up


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pin the Egg on the Ham!

I know Read Across America week is about to begin, and I just wanted to share a little freebie from my "way back" days! When I was a librarian, we would have an actual birthday party for Dr. Seuss complete with cake, goody bags, and games. One of the favorites was "Pin the Egg on the Ham" and it is so fun to play. Just like pin the tail on the donkey, you pin the green egg on the silly ham.
They love it!! Click on the picture to download your freebie!

Happy Reading!!! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Make George Washington's Wig for President's Day!

I think anytime you can add a prop or a treasure to a lesson, it makes it so much more concrete for your students. This is one of my "oldie but goody" favorites I dug out from my "archives."  (Also known as the thirty some tubs of teaching materials I have stacked in my garage!!!)

Cheap and easy, this one starts with a white paper bag.  These I got for FREE from a local restaurant.
It is bigger than a regular lunch sack, about 6" wide 4-1/2" deep.

You start by tracing a simple curved hairline along the front. Mine is about 3 inches from the top.

Next, pop it open and continue the hairline around to the sides, dipping down a bit in the back. Cut out your hairline, leaving the back side full.

Cut the back into fringe-like pieces. This will be the back side of your hair. I add a black or navy ribbon,
'cuz that is how George would have rocked it. Shape the wig by poking in the corners and rounding off the top.

Finally, using the excess scraps make some "curls" by rolling up some of the paper into tubes. Attach to sides.  Voila!  Now you have a powered wig fit for the Constitutional Convention!

Happy President's Day!

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