I’m always encouraging my students to be kind to each other. We chant “Kindness is Cool!” as part of our morning meeting each day. My students and I wanted to do something to help other students in our school remember that “Kindness is Cool!”, so that they would keep being kind to others as well. We created the idea of kindness hearts. Each time we see someone doing a kind thing for another person, we give them a heart. These hearts are to help them remember how nice it felt to do a kind thing for another person. We also symbolically wound yarn around our hearts (kind of like a dream catcher), so that the kindness would get “stuck” in the heart and would help the recipient remember that feeling and encourage others to be kind as well.
We are currently working on making enough for the school, so that we can give some to each teacher to give out when they see a student or adult doing a kind thing for someone else. We will also make some extras so that there are plenty in the front office to be passed out by all!!
Click here to read more about how to make your own Kindness hearts!
You all know how near and dear to my heart teaching science to my Kindergarten students is! One of my favorite science concepts to share with my students is weather! If I weren’t a Kindergarten teacher, I would have been a meteorologist. I’ve always loved the weather and I’ve taken several classes in high school and college just for my own knowledge. It is neat to me to understand how weather works and how we can tell what the weather is going to be like just by understanding what the sky is telling us!
In Indiana (where I live!), we have a saying…”Wait 5 minutes and the weather will change!” It is SO true! So a few days ago, we were going about our day and when we looked out the window, the weather had gone from a wonderful sunny winter day, to snow!!
At the start of every winter, I get out my winter kit, so that when we get a snow happening while we are at school, we just pull it out and go! We do get outside to collect snowflakes on black paper, and then we come in and have some fun creating our own:
I got a class set of these fingerprint snowflake kits from Oriental Trading, just so we could talk about how each snowflake is unique, just like each and every one of us! We also created our own snowflakes out of pipe cleaners and beads, and we sorted some sparkly snowflakes! Click here to read more about our snowflake science fun!
Has this ever happened to you?
“Mom!! I just remembered I have a Science project due tomorrow at school!!”
Of course it’s a Sunday evening and it’s going on 9:00. 🙂
This happened a few weeks ago at my house and because I’m a teacher, I always have at least one sheet of poster board and a tri-fold display board on hand. So, we grabbed a tri-fold display board and the new Kwik Stix Thin Stix and got to work.
The thin size of the Kwik Stix Thin Stix made it SUPER easy for my son to trace over his penciled in words and made a great looking display board in under 10 minutes!!
For those of you who don’t know the wonders of Kwik Stix Thin Stix, here are some of the reasons my students and I love using them! Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint that dries in 90 seconds!! The Thin Stix allow you to paint with finer detail with no messy paint cups or brushes to clean up after. We use them in our Art center every day and because they last for a long time, my students can always find them ready to use!
Kwik Stix are AP certified, meaning that they are non-toxic and safe for young children. We’ve used them on paper, cardstock, wood, canvas, cardboard, and lots of other places too!! I took a 12 pack of Kwik Stix Thin Stix and some balsa wood picture frames to my 8 year old niece to decorate for her mommy while she was in the hospital recently, and she had a BLAST coloring away right in the hospital room! No water was needed, and she carefully colored the frames in one color and then layered other colors over the top to draw her scene!
We used the 12 pack of classic colors here, but Kwik Stix Thin Stix are also available in 6 packs of basic, neon, and metallic, and in a 24 pack which includes 12 assorted, 6 neon, and 6 metallic Stix. The 24 pack is a classroom favorite in my room!
Because Kwik Stix Thin Stix come in a variety of colors, it was easy to make an eye catching display in minutes!!
At the beginning of the school year, I introduced Ozobots to my students. We’ve been having fun exploring all the ways that we can use different colors to tell them what to do. I noticed that my students were losing interest in using them, so I decided to introduce an Ozobot community where the Ozobots could drive up and down the streets past different community buildings:
For extra fun, we put on our community helper vests so we could pretend to be a part of this community! 🙂 Click here to read more about how we made our community!
One skill that I think my students can always work on is to make shapes from other shapes and to explore using shapes in different ways. We used Giant Pattern Blocks (STILL a class favorite!!), Shape Bean Bags, Easy Stick Blocks, and Tangrams to explore making shapes form other shapes. My kiddos were and are such a fan of these activities!
Check out our shape building fun here!!
I just love when TPT throws a sale!! I have my cart all stocked up with clip art to help me create some new things for my students! We are easing ourselves into using a more Blended Learning approach in my classroom, so many of the clip art packs that I’m purchasing during this sale will help me create some cool BL things online for my kiddos.
Here’s the info you’ll need for the sale:
Here are a few of my most favorite December-ish products. 🙂
The brown Gingerbread Man unit that you see near the top on the right is my ABSOLUTE favorite!! We spend 2 weeks chasing the Gingerbread Man all over the world, learning about different celebrations in various countries. Almost everything you need to get started is included (you just need to provide a few consumables). We will start our chase tomorrow and keep hunting down that Gingerbread Man for the next 12 days. 🙂
Each year in my school, we create something that we can sell to other students in the building so that we can raise money to help families in our school. We pick something quick and easy that we can make in a day or two and that works on our fine motor skills!
Our students LOVE that they get to do something that helps others. In the past, we’ve used the money we made from our sales to help a student who needed glasses, provide a family with Christmas, and we’ve also helped to provide extra food and clothing to our school Community Closet.
You can read more about these quick and easy crafts here. 🙂
What are some ways that you encourage your students to help others?
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!
I 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. *
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!! My 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!! 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!!
Check out some other ways to use these costumes here and think ahead when you purchase your costumes this year for Halloween! 🙂
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!