Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kindergarten Memory Book

Kindergarten is such a special year for children and their parents.  It's the first "official" year of school, and it's a year of friendship, learning, fun, and memories.  As a Kindergarten teacher, I wanted to create a Memory Book for my students and their families to remember this beautiful time.  This is a TREASURE that I guarantee parents will keep FOREVER!  Take a look at a few of the pages included in the ultimate Kindergarten Memory Book...

I think you will love this Memory Book for a few simple reasons...
1.  Printer Friendly- Blackline masters won't eat up your colored ink!
2.  There is space for photographs and for students to write, color, and draw.
3.  No prep!  Just print, copy, and bind.  

Kindergarten parents love to volunteer, so grab a couple of parents to help out with this project.  
If you'd like to win a FREE copy of the ultimate Kindergarten Memory Book, please leave a comment below (include your e-mail) and I'll choose a couple winners by the end of the week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Class Book: Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?

As a primary teacher, I've always loved creating class books with my students.  A class book is special to the students because they each contribute their own page to the book.  These books are undoubtedly the favorites in our classroom library.  Today, I'm going to share a book idea called "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?"  It's ideal for PreK, Kinder, and 1st grade students.

I was going through my box of goodies from my FIRST year of teaching, which was SEVEN whole years ago.  You are going to laugh when you see the pictures of this old book.  I mean...the fonts and graphics are so dated!  I've created a brand new template for the book, but for your entertainment, I'll show you the original version my teammates and I used "back in the day!"
Keep in mind, there was NOTHING wrong with this when we used it back in the day, but graphics have come a long way since 2007!  :)  Without further ado, here are some pictures of the newly redesigned "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?" class book!  
I've included three different templates so you can decide how much coloring you want your students to do (if any!).  Take a look...
I've also included suggestions for use and a note to send home with parents, asking for pictures in the TPT product.  To download "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?", head on over to my TPT store!  

I'd like to give away a few copies of this class book to a few loyal readers!  Leave a comment below (include your e-mail), and I'll pick some winners by the end of the week.  :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Have a BALL this summer!

 What says SUMMER more than a beach ball?  I love using beach balls in my classroom.  They are cheap, and they make the kids happy!  Today I'm going to share an idea for using beach balls in the classroom to master sight words and an easy end-of-the-year gift idea for your students.  

Sight Word Beach Ball Toss
Pick up a few inexpensive beach balls at Target or the Dollar Store.  Write sight words all over the balls.  Take kiddos outside or have them spread out around the room.  The kids can throw or volley the ball to their classmates.  When the student catches the ball, they have to read the sight words that their fingers are touching. 

This activity is great because you can easily differentiate.  Here a few ways:
1.  Break students into groups and write different words on each wall.  One group of kiddos may be ready to start practicing next year's words, while another group needs some remediation.  
2.  Have students use the words in a sentence.  Have students make up a QUESTION using the sight word.
3.  Have students read the sight words and then give a rhyming word.
4.  Have students read the word, then close their eyes and spell the word.  

Kids are sure to have fun because they will be up, moving, and PLAYING with a beach ball!  
This also makes a great end-of-year gift idea for students.  Provide a sight word list for each student, based on their individual needs.  Ask parents to help their child write the sight words on the beach ball at home with a Sharpie.  (If you have parent volunteers in your classroom, they could easily knock this out in an afternoon!)  Sending the kiddos home with a sight word beach ball will be a constant reminder for them to practice their sight words over the summer.  It also gives parents a fun and easy way to reinforce these words at home, without flashcards.  

I've created a little "card" to go with the beach balls, and you can download it for FREE here!   

Monday, May 5, 2014

Birthday Books & Currently May!

Birthday books are one of my favorite classroom traditions!  It's a super EASY, FREE, and SPECIAL way to make every child feel loved on their b-day.  About a week before a child's birthday, I send home a blank birthday book in the student's folder.  Then, the parents and child create a simple "scrapbook" to share with their classmates on their birthday.  I share my personal birthday book at the beginning of the year so that kiddos know what to expect.  They can use pictures, stickers, drawings, etc. in their books.  All of the birthday books go into a special basket in our classroom library.  These are CLASS FAVORITES.  The kids love to see their friends' pictures and read about themselves.  :)

Here is what my birthday book looks like:

The kids love seeing baby pictures, family pics, and "dress up" pictures of their teacher!  :)

How to make the birthday books...
During the summer, I laminate and cut out construction paper (about 30 pieces so I have some extras). Take the laminated piece of construction paper and staple it together with TWO pieces of white paper.  I always use two pieces of paper because once it is folded, we will have eight pages in the book (front and back), which is the perfect amount!  Creating all of the books before the year starts is key!  It takes all of 20 minutes to get these assembled, and it's worth every second.  Trust me...you and your kiddos will love this classroom tradition.

A few days late for Currently May with Farley, but what's new  :)
Listening: Laundry day is EVERY day at my house.
Loving: So many cute ideas all over Pinterest for end of the year fun!
Thinking:  We just found out the Baby #2 is going to be another BOY!  I always thought of myself as a "boy Mom" so I'm very excited.  I'm thinking navy, gray, and white NAUTICAL theme for the nursery...
Wanting: Can't wait to shop and get some good deals!
Needing: Messy desk.  Ugh.
Surprise:  You've gotta check out my friend's TPT store and blog: Primary Essentials.  Fran and I worked together as instructional coaches before I became a Mommy.  She has some amazing products that will get your kiddos up and moving around the classroom!  Here is a link to her Facebook page too! 
Before I go, here is a pic of baby Reed.  I still can't believe my baby is ONE!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Making Words & Word Work

I try and give my students the opportunity to "build words" in some capacity every single day.  One of the most fun and engaging ways I've found to do that is through a simple "Making Words" activity.    Each student receives one sheet of paper that has letters to cut out.  Students manipulate the letters to create real words, and they list them on their original sheet of paper.  I've created a pack of 31 Making Words printables that can be used throughout the year!
When to use Making Words activities...
1.  Morning Work/Bell Ringer
2.  ELA stations
3.  WORD WORK center
4.  Partner activity
5.  While the teacher sets up for the party or next activity  :)  
Students will work on a variety of skills as they are building words...Word families, phonics, phonological awareness, spelling, sight words, etc.   Before having students begin this activity, it is very important to DEMONSTRATE and MODEL how to build words.  Scaffold students' learning by thinking aloud and showing students your thought process while making words on your classroom Smart board or projector.  
{Please note...Answer keys are not included in this product because every child will create a different list of words.}  Here are a few examples:


1.  Give students a snack baggie to store their letters incase they do not finish the activity.
2.  Have students work individually or in teams of two.  
3.  If you have a competitive group, add a timer to the equation!  My students are always motivated to beat the clock.  Have older students compete to create the longest word, the most words, or even the most unique word...Something NOBODY else in the class thought of.  
4.  If your students sit at a table, print the Making Words activities on different colored paper so the kiddos' letters will not get mixed up.
5.  As time passes, give students a hint.  "Can you make a word that means..."  "Can you make a word from the word wall?"  "Can you make one of our weekly spelling words?"
6.  For older students, you can assign point values for different size words like in Boggle.  (3 letter word equals 3 points, 4 letter word equals 4 points, etc.)
7.  Use blank spaces for "wild" letters.
8.  When students get stumped, have them share a word with a friend or trade 3 of their letters with a friend so they can build and create even more words.  

I hope your students will love Making Words as much as my students always have!  Leave a comment below (AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS), and I'll send this Making Words Printable Pack to a few lucky winners.  :) 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hello, 2014!

Happy February!  I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her latest Currently link party.   Be sure to read to the bottom of my post because I've got some Brain Breaks for ya!  
Listening: Silence is truly golden.  :)
Loving: My hubby got me a MacBook for Christmas, and we got a beautiful, old desk from his Aunt. So now I have my very own office at home!  I've gotta be honest...I have no clue how to do most things on my Mac yet.  I feel so OLD and behind the times!!
Thinking: I love creating TPT freebies, and I love teaching in the spring.  Hope to post it later this week.
Wanting: With a 9 month old, sleep is still hard to come by, but isn't he precious!?!?

Needing: I celebrated my 29th birthday on Jan. 31st.  Yay!
2 Truths & a Fib: The first is TRUE.  I'm working from home while my little one is teeny tiny.  Then I'll be back in the classroom when he hits Pre-K.  I tutor and substitute on occasion, so I still consider myself a real teacher.  :)
The second is so FALSE.  I can't even remember what my resolutions were...
We moved to our new house about two weeks ago, and I'm the happiest lady around!  More space is exactly what we needed!  

One of my very first posts on TheHappyTeacher has become one of my most popular posts...BRAIN BREAKS!  
I've added some more ideas that you can instantly use in your classroom Brain Break repertoire.  There are 23 ideas listed on the post in all.  Have fun! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013


December really came quickly this year!  Maybe it was because we spent the past week in Florida celebrating Thanksgiving with my family!  :)  Baby Reed had such a fun time at Grandma's house!  
Most of these are self explanatory.  However, I must explain my favorite tradition.  Every year, I make cinnamon applesauce ornaments with my students.  They sound edible, but they are not.  They are sparkly, festive, and smell DELICIOUS.  I have so many on my tree at home!  I always let the kiddos wrap them up in tissue paper and Christmas wrapping paper to give as "gifts" to their parents.  It's a fun tradition that I plan to continue with my son at home! 
Find the recipe for Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments here!  

I must share a Pinterest success story!  You know how you always find super cute ideas on Pinterest?  Then when you try and recreate them, they go OH SO BAD!  Well, here is a TRUE success story!  I created these adorable Christmas light name strings with my kiddos.  They looked darling in the hallway.  So bright and festive!  

Note:  I took these pictures while the glitter was still drying so that's why there is no yarn stringing them together.  Hehe.  {Original Source}  I have a pattern for the light bulbs that I created.  It's nothing fancy, but if you'd like the blackline that I made, e-mail me at TheHappyTeacherTPT@gmail.com and I'd be glad to send it to you ASAP!  

If you're looking for a math FREEBIE to use during the holiday season, check out my Word Problem Task Cards.  They are perfect for "Problem of the Day" or math centers.  Best part is they are FREE!

Happy December from TheHappyTeacher and The Happy Baby!  :)
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