The End of the school year is here! That's right and some school district's are actually DONE for the year...and what a year it was and for some still is.  YOU'RE Tired...exhausted...ready for summer....can just about drag yourself out of bed in time to grab a cup of coffee before you head out to school...AND...you still have 3 weeks of school left...or more!
If your year was or is a bit...well...let's just say a bit of a challenge, then why not end the year with a BANG using a few of my all time favorite crafts and activities that will be fun for everyone?

ANNNNDDDDD...they will lessen the load for YOU since they are all ready to go!  NO THINKING required...no lost sleep trying to figure out what to do.  all integrate skills learned and MORE!

๐ŸŒž Think about the Amazing 2023 Summer

With a school year that has had more challenges that anyone realizes, the weather warming up and kids ready to play more than learn, let's encourage our kiddos to think about the end of the school year and SUMMER!

I am pretty sure that many children will be heading to a pool or the beach at some point this summer even if it is simply a above ground blow up pool in the backyard.   

So let's float into summer with this cute summer craft idea!


These can be used for an end of year celebration, bulletin board or just for fun.  Send them home with your students to hang in a room in their house to remind them of some of the activities they would like to accomplish over the summer.  There are many choices included and you can choose a writing activity or a mobile to hang! 

End of Year Summer Craft.           

☀️ ABC'S OF OUR YEAR TOGETHER





Feel like counting down the days with the alphabet?  Try this great idea to end the year and get your kiddos thinking about this school year using letters of the alphabet! 

Easy to use and fun for all. 

Brainstorm ideas with your class for each letter of the alphabet and do a letter a day or if you teach older students, give the the pages and let them come with their own ideas.  It is FUN and challenging for ALL ages...even you!

ABC's of our Year




๐ŸŒžSummer Charades

Looking for a great end of year game for Morning Meetings, Fun Fridays or just for fun...Summer Charades is a great activity to focus your students and get them thinking about SUMMER!                                                                                                                
     

☀️A Letter FROM MY Teacher 





Here are 2 great ideas from YOU , which can be added to a Memory Book or just give to each student  A Letter from YOU! Your students will LOVE receiving a personalized letter from you. Just simply add each name, change a few words and copy!  EASY PEASY!       





OR you may want to create an ABC's of our year together to give to each of your students or add to the back of a memory book that your students created!


This idea has always been cherished by students and teachers!
It is completely editable except for the clipart due to copyright issues.  You can choose black and white or color copies.  It is FREE and is yours to use!


 ๐ŸŒž Have your Students Write a Letter to Next Year's Class

Simply brainstorm some ideas of what the class loved about school this year and have each student write a letter to next year's class about all the fun they had during the 2020-21 school year!  SIMPLE and FUN!  In September you can share a few letters to give your new students a soft landing on the first day of school!

Another way to do this is to write a class letter on chart paper that you can have each student sign and then use it as your morning message for the first day of school.

Any way you choose is sure to be fun and exciting for your current students and your new students!

☀️ END OF YEAR FEELINGS STORY AND MINI BOOKS

The End of the year can be an emotional time for many students. They can be overwhelmed with the many feelings they experience when school is ending.

This end of year social emotional learning activity is a great way to address these feeling and enable conversations about how each child feels.

✅ This social story shows students that feelings come, and feelings go, and your feelings may be different than your peers and that is okay.

✅ This social emotional story addresses some feelings children may experience from excitement to sadness and even those unsure feelings.

✅ It reviews the feeling that students may have and gives them a strategy to think of positive activities that can happen next year, such as, learning new skills and meeting new friends and keeping old friends TXMM23

✅ The social story includes places to stop and give kids an opportunity to turn and talk about how they feel about the year ending.

✅ Allows students to discuss and share their feelings, lets them see firsthand that they are not alone, they can more effectively navigate relationships, calm down and understand that everyone has different feelings and experiences. 

๐ŸŒž  Last BUT NOT LEAST A GOOD OLE' MEMORY BOOK!



Memory books are always a great idea to get your students thinking about all they have learned during the school year and what they might to looking forward to next school year!




This one is BEST for Grades 1-through 4


And the one below is best for Kindergarten and First grade.



These 2 Memory books have been tried and true and a big hit with my students and a great way to think back on the year!  What I LOVE most is after the year is over and the books have gone home and maybe tucked away in the attic for a few years, your students will find them and read them with a totally different perspective and that's the wonderment of making memories and recording those memories to cherish from year to year!    






I HOPE THESE IDEAS BRING A BIT OF SUNSHINE YOUR WAY!

Have a Great Summer!  


If you are interested in receiving lots of great ideas, free resources and be notified of new resources, add your name to my list!





The Mother's Day gifts were completed this morning with my daughter's Kinders like 7years ago!  Yes you read that correctly...

I LOVE how they turned out then and looking back they are to darn cute not to share again! 

They were soooooo adorable. You should have seen how proud each child was when they completed the project. A few just kept walking up to the display with a huge toothless smile and could not stop staring at them. We had to place them on the windowsill for ALL to see! 

So, here are the details and directions on how to create the cutest Mother's Day Gift ever...Oh did I tell you how proud the kiddos were and how cute it is? #canthelpmyselftsodarncute!

I just had to update this post in order to share it with all of you!

It is quick and easy if you have all the materials ready to go. 

This cute heart thumbprint treasure can be used for any special occasion with your own children like Aunt Katie's birthday, or Great Aunt Mary's or maybe Mimi's #hinthint (If my daughters are reading this, did you get that last part???)


 So Here are some pictures of this amazing, dazzling, sweet, not too sparkly cutest Mother's Day Gift EVER!!!!!





Materials Needed:


1.  5X7 Thin Canvases or white/colored construction drawing paper.
2.  Various Colors of acrylic paints.
3. Heart stencil (I cut one from card stock)
4. Kiddos thumbprints
5. A poem for the back, which you can copy the one I wrote or make up your own.
6. Frames from the dollar store (optional).

Directions:


1.  Tape stencil onto the canvas/paper.


2.  Use paint and have each child dot their thumbprints inside the heart shape.


3.  It might look like this...PERFECT or not, but that is okay...it looks cute no matter what!


4. Take the stencil off and here is what you have!!!
5. Have the students, if they can, use a Sharpie of their choice and write Happy Mother's Day Across 
    the top and the year.  Write Love, at the bottom and then they can sign their name OR you can
    write the top and love at the bottom. and have them select a sharpie and write their name.
    This all depends on the OT needs of each child.


6.  Put the canvases/papers in a frame and glue the poem above to the back of the frame!

And there you have it...the cutest Mother's Day Gift EVER!!


You can pick up inexpensive frames at Hobby Lobby, Joanne's Fabrics and the Dollar Store or many other craft stores.

No...we are not done yet!


Here is another cute idea for Mother's Day...a little harder so it might be better for older students.  I am thinking 2nd grade or above!



This is also a treasure that can be framed and kept for years to come.  The hearts are on popscicle sticks that can be removed or kept in. for a 3-D effect!

All the directions and materials can be found right here!

Here is all that is included!   


IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO DO A CRAFT, Here is another easy peasy idea for Mother's Day!


Grab some pre-potted flowers. Have students decorate a small pot, decorate it with markers, add the potted flower and the poem included above and you are ready to celebrate Mother's Day in a flash!


Another craft idea you can create for mom, Mimi, Nana, Grandma, Aunt or whomever you want.

This can easily be mounted and turned into a card or booklet


There is also a brainstorming sheet to think of ideas to include.



I
f all else fails, here's the easiest one of all!
Just fill it out or have young students dictate their answers 
for the questions and an adult can scribe for them.  Easy and cute!






I have to admit...whatever you decide to create for Mother's Day, mom's will love it because it is from their child or children!

Happy Mother's Day...May this Mother's Day be the Best Ever!!!

Wait, did I just say 27 ways to celebrate Earth Day?  Yes I did and here they are:



1.  Go to a park, put some plastic gloves on and bring along some hand sanitizer and pick up that trash and put it where it belongs...in the trashcan.  


2.  If you are pseudo recycling, grab a few boxes and start separating plastic, paper, cans etc. Have your students or kiddos decorate the boxes/containers and start the process.

3.  Spend a day or to to initiate a habit of conserving water with all activities that use water.  Set a timer for brushing teeth, rinsing dishes, showering etc.  In fact, turn the water off whiles actually brushing your teeth to save some water.



4.  Spend a day in school without always using the lights. Have a quiet time where students work quietly without those bright lights...so calm.

5. Have a Flashlight Day where you work using flashlights all day! Read, write and complete math using flashlights.
6.  At home have a light monitor who is in charge of turning lights off in empty rooms.


7.  Walk to school with your family instead of driving...now if you live miles away, this might not work.  Try a bicycle if that idea works!

8.  Make a list of ways you can take care of the ocean and keep the beaches clean.  in fact if you live near the beach, take a walk and clean it up!  

9.  Make a list about ways we can take care of our neighborhood, school grounds, park, ball fields in our town etc.  Then do it!

10. Create slogans to celebrate Earth Day and make a poster to Display each one at home or at school.


Don't Cause a commotion and Pollute the Ocean!

 

If you look closely, you will notice that the paper cut letters are covered with recyclable materials: plastic, newspaper, plastic straws, cups and other recycle materials you might find strolling down the beach or floating in the ocean.





Be a Superhero and Take Care of the Earth!



Get Caught Up in Recycling!    

     

    9.  Use recycling items to make crafts or a bulletin board in your classroom to show how these items can be used in different ways.



10. Plant some flowers or a small tree in your yard or school yard.

11.  Make some paper and bring some old trash to life.  I did this with my class and then we used our paper to create Mother's Day cards.  Here's a link to a site that you can use to make some paper!


12. Use an egg carton and plant flower, herb and other seeds  that can be replanted or used for cooking.

13.  Make a compost pile to fertilize your garden!

14. Feed the animals. Leave seeds for birds, nuts for squirrels and research other foods local animals would love to eat.



15.  Make a bird feeder using pinecones, seeds, lard or suet and some twine or paint a wooden bird feeder and hang feeders on a tree in your yard or school grounds.

16.  Research and learn more about the earth and create an Earth journal.

17.  Use less paper. Use both sides of. paper when writing and drawing.

18.  Use some old newspaper and paint a beautiful picture right on the newspaper.

19.  Use scraps of paper, plastic, can tabs and any thin else you can find that is recyclable and create a collage to hang in your house or bedroom.

20.  Recycle your clothing. Give your items to green drop.

21. Create new styles from you old clothing by cutting long sleeves off to make short sleeve tops. Then use the parts of sleeves for patches and create a new T-shirt.




22.  Don't throw shoes in the trash, give them to charities or others who may need them. Landfills do not need clothing or shoes...Research why with your kids.

23.  Use reusable bags when shopping or storing items.  Stop using plastic and paper bags.

24.  In fact, make a cloth bag out of your old clothes!  Tee shirts are great for this!

25.  Encourage your students and children to explore nature. Take a nature walk and observe.  Discuss why it is important to have these resources in your 
neighborhood.
 26.  Collect some treasures from a walk in the woods and make a treasure box to hold jewelry or other  items.


27. Have students create a game using items from nature like our ancestors did!


I think I have given you enough ideas to get started and I am sure you can come up with tons of other ideas to teach your students and kiddos why we need to care care of the Earth and to have an Earth Mindset!




I would LOVE to hear your ideas too!  Please leave a comment about what you have done t home or in school to LOVE THE EARTH!

If you are interested, I have a few resources for Earth Day  you might want to take a look at to see if they might be fun for use with your students or kiddos. 


Happy Earth Day!










I know we are in the middle of April and your probably thinking why are you just getting around to writing this post NOW!


Well...I have perfectly good explanation:  I was on a 5 week vacay basking in the sun and was just simply too lazy to write...my bad!  

BUT, there are still 12 days left in April and you still have time to encourage your students to create poems and of course there is still time to use these perfect poetry frames during Poetry Month or any time!

April is Poetry Month...5 Reasons to Use Poetry Frames with Your Students 


๐ŸŒธ Teach your students to write poetry easily with poetry frames and graphic organizers to ensure success with writing different types of poems.


๐ŸŒธ Build confidence with poetry writing. There is not any guessing.  Frames guide your students through the poetry writing process with ease.


๐ŸŒธ Students do not have to continually think,"Wait, how many syllables does line one need? Let me check!" The frames have everything written under each space as a reminder of what each type of poem needs to be written in correct poetic form, which makes  poetry writing EASIER for your students.  The expectations are right there!


๐ŸŒธ When children feel confident, they are more willing to take risks and try new types of writing or really try pretty much any new concept.  So frames encourage your writers to take risks and if they are successful, they will want to write more and more and more...In my case, my students asked to write more poems during recess! 


๐ŸŒธ Frames encourage creativity. They know the expectations and are willing to think more creatively because the expectations for each poem are written under each space to guide them through the process. More time to allow creativity to flow and grow! 


There you have it...EASY PEASY...RIGHT?



Here are 2 SAMPLES of Cinquains written by first graders...YES!  FIRST GRADE.


Wondering where you can find some easy poetry frames for your students?


I have got you covered.


Take a look below and see if these will work for you and your students.  Happy April!











ANNNDDDD. DRUMROLL PLEASE...Here is a Freebie for you!  Free Poetry Posters







I remember years ago when my son and I would cuddle in a rocking chair and read books...lots of books.  Some of his most favorite books that we read over and over again were part of a series called Sweet Pickles by Richard Hefter.  I have to admit. I loved reading them over and over again.  


The ones we loved the most were Accusing Alligator, Very        Worried Walrus, Me Too Iguana, Who Can Trust You Kangaroo, Moody Moose Buttons, TurtleThrows a  Tantrum, Jackal Wants Everything and Yakety Yak Yak Yak.  You can make some great inferences and  predictions  by the titles.  

This was in 1977-78 and as a parent I wanted to be assured that my kids understood social interactions.

Little did I know that 12 Years later, I would soon be using these cute characters to decorate my reading station and reading many of this series to teach positive character traits and social skills to my kiddos!

Move forward to 2020...Covid came and Covid went.  Covid came and Covid went.  

Kids worked remotely, children worked at school and some experienced a hybrid schedule and many schools were shutdown completely for a good amount of time.  

I was happy I was retired and pretty much living at my daughters house to help her and her husband maneuver being a principal and teaching from home.  

I thought how will teachers and parents ever be able to do this, but because teachers will be teachers and parents will be parents, they finished with flying colors and I was so proud of all the teachers and parents I knew! 

It was confusing to say the least and as a former teacher and grandparent, I tutored on Zoom with some

neighborhood kids and my grandkids!  I really DO NOT want to relive the severe COVID days, but they had a huge impact on all of us.

Let's think about this..there was something missing during this time! What was it? Yes! Social interaction... with peers, teacher role models even parents as many of them were also working from home. 

So now our children or students are back to school full time and what I hear most from teachers and parents or even teachers who are parents is: 
My children/students missed at least a year of school, they are behind in not just academics, but also with character education development including social emotional skills.

So now teachers are faced with another job which is differentiating academic skills for various levels within each grade and teaching and supporting social emotional learning. This is not new to teachers but the levels within each classroom in these areas are more spread out and teachers need resources that can be differentiated for all learners! 

Now, you are probably wondering where I am going with this...well...many children (not all) can have difficulty with these social/emotional skills in normal situations. 

So my point is every child can use support with understanding positive character traits as well as social and emotional skills.

These skills are NOT just for students who are identified as having issues in this area of learning.



Children are tethered to their electronic devices and are connected to their friends in a different way than when we were young or our own children were younger.  

I have watched kids posing for Instagram, dancing on TikTok and constantly communicating electronically with friends and family.  I am not saying this needs to totally stop, but maybe we need pull back on the reins a bit.

Interpretation?  We need to spent some time at home and at school teaching and focussing on social skills....what's appropriate and what's not and there in itself is a problem.  YES that has changed too! 

I am the first to admit that I spend more time than I need to on social media.  It has been a trend and we have all jumped on the bandwagon and when we promise to jump off the wagon...we jump right back on.

Does this sound familiar?  YES?  Then you need what I am about to show you!  


Social Stories are a Great Way to Teach Young Children Positive Behaviors and to Recognize Negative Behaviors

Using Social Stories or activities gives children/students concrete examples of positive choices they can make when faced with everyday situations in school and at home.  

These teachings are NOT just for school use.  They can help every parent and teacher who have faced challenges with types of behaviors at home and at school.

A social story can be an effective way to teach students and children appropriate behaviors for different social situations.

Explicit social skill and character trait instruction by using social stories can give teachers a way to demonstrate expectations in a story format.  Once the social piece is in place, the students are more ready to learn academic skills.


I started creating Social Stories long before Covid.  Stories for my students to learn and understand expected behaviors as well as to suggest strategies to support behaviors that need to be regulated or reactions to triggers that are not as big a deal as the child perceives. 

Some of the lessons I have created are:


Because I believe so strongly that we can't assume that children have and understand these important skills, it is important to teach these skills and behaviors so that our children can be their best selves, have positive interactions and outcomes and be active members of their classroom community and family.

With that being said, if you would like to take a look at these social lessons and stories to see if they might work for your students or own children or grandchildren, click each title above and VOILA you will be able to check them out!