Not so scary Halloween ideas!

In my school, we try to stay off the topic of Halloween if we are able.  We are a very diverse school, so not everyone celebrates.  We do incorporate fall themed crafts and projects and I thought I would share what we’ve done so far!

1I got these bracelet loops from Oriental Trading Company and they were EASY for my young students to put together and to help practice their patterning skills!  I also purchased the “s” hooks from OTC so that we could just snap the first and last loops in and continue our patterns!


Next, (and also from OTC), I got these magic scratch off leaves!  We had SO much fun with these!  Some of my students decided to scratch all the black off the leaves, but as you can see, some were more artful with their designs.  We could have scratched lots more of these, so we will definitely need to get more for winter!!


We practiced our fine motor skills by tying these cool wrap bracelets!  First you tie the three cords together, string three beads on the orange cord, tie a knot, you then repeat that with the black and green cord.  Next, you repeat the stringing of the beads up to 5 times and then tie all the cords together.  The cords are super long, so you can cut them if needed and still have enough.  They are great for adults too!


Lastly, we got these ceramic leaves and used paint markers to paint fall designs on them.  We also tried regular markers and those worked great!  A crayon and water color paint resist would be fun to try on these as well. :)  Acrylic and tempera paints would help make these into fun fall gifts for families!


*Thanks so much to Oriental Trading Company for providing these amazing crafts for my students and I to try out this fall! All opinions expressed in this article are my own. *

Halloween Costumes for year round use!

I know sometimes I look at Halloween costumes and think that I will use them once, but I’ve thought ahead this year and our Halloween costumes will be getting several uses this year! We got all of our costumes from Oriental Trading Company!!  img_9648My husband and son had so much fun dressing up as Gingerbread people!  We will use these costumes for Halloween and then again during our winter musical about the Gingerbread Pirates (see below!).  They will get another use when our Kindergarten students put on their Gingerbread Play! I can’t wait!!


Next up are three different versions of Pirates that will also make an appearance in our Gingerbread Pirate play.  We have also already used these costumes to help promote our pirate themed school book fair this year!  Hilarious!! img_9652 I love that these costumes were so easy to put together!  A white shirt, some long cargo pants, the pirate hat, cutlass, and eye patch and our quick and easy pirate costumes are done!!img_9653

Check out some other ways to use these costumes here and think ahead when you purchase your costumes this year for Halloween!🙂


Graphing Activities Galore!

Raise your hand if you create graphs with your students! We do!! I try at least 2-3 times a week to create and collect some sort of data from my students so that we can talk about it and learn how to compare, contrast, and most importantly; make sense of the information we are looking at.

I got this AWESOME graphing pocket chart from Oriental Trading Company this summer and I’ve been using it every chance I get!


Our new math adoption includes a question as part of our daily routines and this pocket chart was perfect for capturing that data.  I love that I can take the number cards out if we need all the columns and that there are pre-printed cards included.  When one of those don’t work, I just turn one of the header cards over to the back and write my question there!  There are also 50 picture/word cards included so that you can ask all sorts of interesting questions.

Check out some more fun ways we used this pocket chart and how we incorporated our first science lesson and graphing!



Creating a Classroom Community

Setting up a classroom community is one of the SINGLE MOST important things you can do to ensure a smooth classroom year.

I spend the first 4-6 weeks getting those rules and procedures in place (before we get into the real meat of Kindergarten!), so that the rest of the year will be smooth sailing!

We love using simple getting to know you activities to make each of the children feel welcome and for them to have an easy way to share a little bit about themselves.

In addition, we have a special “Take a Break” space where students can go if they need to calm down, take a break, or reflect on a situation.  You can read more about what I do to set these up here and get these ideas going in your own classroom!




Sorry to be gone so much lately! :)  I’ve had big things going on that I wasn’t able to post publicly, but now that the trip is over and done with, I can talk it up!🙂

Last month, I found out I was chosen to represent Indiana as the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science award recipient. I was selected as a K-6 Science awardee.  I got to travel to DC to meet up with the 200+ other awardees!

Here are a few pictures from my adventures:

I LOVED being able to meet teachers from all across the country and the rest of the Indiana “delegation”.  We got to tour the White House and we were each presented with a citation from the President. :)  Its been keeping my BUSY planning for my family to come with me, and 4 days of sub plans!

Amazing Alphabet Ideas

One of the skills we practice constantly in Kindergarten is the recognition of letters.  During the beginning of the year, we practice naming and identifying letters and move towards putting a sound with each letter.  We eventually end up using those letters to make words and sentences.

When I introduce alphabet activities to my students, I try to make them as fun and as engaging as possible.  I also try to build in as many learning styles as I can so that my students will have a way to remember the letters in a way that makes the most sense to them.

Here are a few ways that I introduce letters to my students at the beginning of the year or anytime I see that a student needs to review the letters.


You can read more about these ideas here.🙂

I’ll be back soon to tell you why I’ve been so absent from blogging soon.🙂


Classroom Library Makeover

My classroom library was looking a little boring these days.  It didn’t quite fit in with the rest of my classroom, so with a little help from Oriental Trading Company, I fixed it up!  IMG_9430

Read more here about how I quickly got it looking new again and for some tips to make your classroom library cozy too!


Tpt Giftcard winner

Lori Raines you are the lucky winner!! E-mail me at to claim your $10 Tpt gift card!

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Tpt Back to School Sale & A Giveaway

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I’m throwing a SALE!! August 1st and 2nd, my entire Tpt Store is on-sale.  Stock up on all your back to school needs now while they are on sale!! Don’t forget to use the code “BESTYEAR” to get 28% off your purchases!


I also have a $10 Tpt Gift Card to giveaway to ONE lucky winner.  Click here to enter!!



Science Aprons

If you’ve been reading my blog for anytime at all, you know how much I like {ok–LOVE} science!! I was thrilled to be able to create some cute aprons for my students to wear when we “do” science experiments! They were super easy and quick to make and each one of my students will get to wear one each time we are investigating.

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Check them out here and be sure to check out the book, “What is a Scientist?” to use to introduce science to your students!




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