Postcard Exchange and States Study

Last summer, I saw this post on Facebook about a Postcard Exchange. I had never done one before, but was instantly intrigued by the idea of my kiddos getting a postcard from each state around the US. I quickly signed us up for Oregon and then started to worry about what I had gotten myself into! Am I the only one around here who acts first and thinks second?!

I was grateful that my school was willing to cover the cost of the postcards and postage, because I definitely didn’t think about the cost of those before hand. I found a great deal on sets of 20 postcards from Amazon and had my class brainstorm what they would wand to tell others about our school and our state.


This is what they came up with:

“We are a second and third grade class from Turner, Oregon. Turner is a small town. There are a lot of farms here, and each day we can see deer, birds, cows, chickens, pigs, horses, goats, frogs, sheep, dogs, and cats. We even have buffalo, llamas, camel, and a zebra in our town! We have 31 students in our class. Our school motto is “Preparing, Caring, and Daring”. This means that we are respectful, responsible, and safe. We always try to do the right thing, and we don’t have bullies at our school. Our two favorite Oregon college sports teams are the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers. We don’t argue about much, but we do argue about which team is better! We love living in Oregon because it is beautiful here. We have mountains that get snow in the winter, we have the coast, where we can play in the waves in the summer, and we have lots and lots of grass and flower that grow all around us. We believe that we have the best school in the world! We can’t wait to hear about your state and your school! Love, Mrs. Bates 2nd & 3rd grade class”

I was pretty proud of what all they thought to include. Our favorite postcards that we have received included more than just a few facts about the state, so I hope that other classes enjoy it too!

At first, I was just reading the postcards as they came, but felt like we could really amp up our learning and use these to create some authentic and awesome experiences. Once the idea came to mind, it was a pretty fast unit to throw together. It helps that I was really excited and motivated to bring it to life. 🙂

It started with this bulletin board. As postcards came in, we colored in the state they came from and pinned up the card for everyone to check out.


We discussed the facts on the postcards themselves, then did a quick webquest to search for a few more facts. Students glued these into their spiral interactive notebooks.    IMG_9905

I have this dream that they will also do a state report, but in full disclosure, we have not gotten to it yet. I have it all set up and ready for when we do though! I tried to include a lot of options, but when I have them do the report, I definitely will not have them do all the pages, and will scaffold who does how many as well. I actually think that I might leave this as a project for my substitute to do when I go on maternity leave towards the end of the school year.


There you have it! I took a simple postcard exchange and we have made it into meaningful, authentic, engaging lessons that my kids are excited for!

Want to check out the unit and see if it’s right for you? You can find it here:

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We all could use a little encouragement…

I’ve been in kindergarten at a private school the last 5 years. I’ve heard the horrors of standardized testing, but never really had to deal with it. It sucks. Big time. I have had more students cry in the last few weeks than in the entire year combined, and yes, there have been days where I shut my door at lunch and cry too. It just sucks.

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All I can do is tell the kids how proud I am that they are working their tails off to do the best that they can do. And encourage them to keep pressing on. In the last few weeks, I’ve spent far too much money and time trying to think of ways to encourage kids….



Lunch with me (I’ve given up so many lunches lately!).

Handwritten notes.

Anything to keep them encouraged to keep working hard!

I think that, really, I’ve been trying so hard to encourage others, because I need the encouragement myself. And sometimes, we can mend our own hurts by helping to heal others. (AmIRight?!)

So here is how this weeks encouragement notes have gone:

Day One: Pencils


Day Two: Smarties


Day Three: Butterflies

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Day 4: Chill Pills

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Day 5: Mustaches

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I know that this storm will pass. We will make it through testing (we have to, the school year is almost over!). We will have great memories from this year. But I may just move back to kindergarten so that I don’t have to deal with the ridiculousness of state testing again. 😉 I’m only kind of kidding…

If you are interested in these notes for your students, they are all included in my Encouragement Notes bundle (along with so many other fun notes to use throughout the year!). Click the picture below to check it out in my store!

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How do you encourage your students when they are doing something hard?

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Classroom Organization

I’m not about to pretend to be the most organized person on the planet (because trust me, I’m not even close!), but I am one of those people that needs my environment to be organized in order to feel like I have some semblance of control…especially in my classroom where my life too often feels like umm…kind of, semi-organized chaos (am I right?!).

If I’m being completely honest, sometimes my desk looks like this after a crazy day(s). YIKES! (Yes, I’m embarrassed by this photo, but it’s all for the sake of being real, because we need a little of that sometimes!


This year I moved classrooms……..grades……..schools, oh and did I mention it was only 6 days before school started? Because it was… And I was playing wedding planner at my cousins wedding only 2 days before school started. Oye. What was I thinking?! I might have temporarily lost my mind. It wasn’t pretty.

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But is my son not one of the cutest little ring bearers you have seen in your whole entire life?

But, to be honest, one of the few things that saved my rear, was the fact that I already had a pretty solid organization system already in tow. My library had already been sorted (another post on that soon) into bins, my supplies and centers were sorted into tubs, my seasonal supplies were sorted into large tubs, and I double my crates as extra storage, so many other miscellaneous supplies were sorted in those. While I searched and searched for pictures of my old classroom, I couldn’t find many, but I did find this:

FullSizeRender.jpgSee those tubs on the bookshelves and on top of the closets? That is how my entire closet is too. But also notice those boring little label on the boxes? Yeah, I wanted better, but hadn’t taken the time to actually create them, because, you know, I was busy trying to make it through my days with a little sanity still intact.

I moved out of my old classroom in about 8 hours and began unpacking stuff in my new classroom. I almost cried when I walked into my new classroom. It was literally filled with garbage. I couldn’t even walk in it. It had been used as a storage room for years. Graciously, my Principal called the entire staff in to help me clean (read-purge without looking) pretty much everything except the desks. Within 2 days, this is what I had created in my new room. IMG_1405.jpgI wish I had a before picture, because it makes the after even more impressive. That gave me about 3 days to learn TWO new grade levels (did I mention, I was now teaching a 3rd/4th blend?!) and a new curriculum before kids actually walked through my door! Yikes.

This spring, I finally made my labels the way that I wanted them. I cut, laminated, and cut again, and spent some time (that maybe I should have spent doing lesson planning, but psshh) getting these babies put into their new homes! IMG_4791

Now comes time for me to swoon! Check these beauts out! Ok, so I took the pictures with my phone in a weird lighting closet, but you get the idea. My stuff now is clearly labeled, with pictures (once a kindergarten teacher, always a kindergarten teacher, I suppose!)

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While I was making labels for my supply closet, I decided to also make them for my day to day stuff. I have tried several different organization methods of my day to day paper collection over the years (often resulting in paper stacks hiding somewhere in my room, a drawer, etc), but this time I am in love. I think I finally found THE ONE.

IMG_4940.jpgI feel like I have my whole teaching world organized and it feels so good! I had to call a sub last Monday after my son go sick, and it was so easy to say, “All of the papers you will need are in the Monday drawer. If you need more, feel free to dig into the Tuesday drawer.” Sub supplies will soon include emergency supplies. I had a parent come volunteer on Tuesday, and I just pulled stuff out of the “misc. to do” without even having to look around. Relief. Sweet, sweet organized relief!

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If you are interested in snagging these labels to use in your class, they can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking the picture above. Tell me, what are the ways you keep your classroom organized?


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I have been teaching kindergarten for the last five years, and every year my kids are so sad that they cannot learn cursive. It’s not that I want to be the mean ogre teacher, it’s just that we have to master print first to scaffold to cursive. (I used to teach D’Nealian to kinders, and it just didn’t work. They need ball and stick first, before moving to the fancy lines, but I digress).

This year; however, I’m teaching a 3rd/4th blend, and I get to teach cursive! I might actually be more excited than my students! Problem was, I did not have any cursive resources. At the school I was at before, we used Handwriting Without Tears (which I love!), but I just could not shell out $4.50 per workbook for 30 kids!

So {naturally}, I made my own curriculum. And this is what I came up with.

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Because I don’t want to be managing each worksheet as it comes in (seriously, ain’t got no time for that!), I designed it to become a workbook. As I finish constructing this week, my kids are already calling dibs on what color they want (and begging for when we can start!).

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I tried to include a variety of practice pages so that this book can be used throughout the school year. These include uppercase and lowercase letter practices, uppercase and lowercase word practice, paragraph writing practice, blank free-write papers, and some search and graph papers.

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Each section also has a divider which could easily have a sticky note attached for an easy search. FullSizeRender

When all is said and done, there are about 140 total pages ready to be assembled into book. I included both a boy an a girl cover option. I printed the cover on colored card stock and used the same color as a back to the book. This makes it a little more durable, and the kids love getting to pick out their color!


As always, these pages could also be used as stand-alone worksheets and not assembled into a book!Cursive Packet Preview.004

Do you still teach cursive at your school? What is your opinion on teaching cursive? Do you think it is valuable, or a thing of the past?

Thanks for reading!


How to Make an Animated TPT Quote Box

*This blog post was updated on 3.19.17. Now that I’ve learned a few more tips & tricks, I thought it could use a little refresh! 🙂

Oh friends, I can’t be the only one who noticed these animated header boxes popping up all over, can I? Well, I wanted one. Who wouldn’t?! Problem was, I didn’t have the slightest fancy how to make one! I tried to search for blog posts on how to make it, but the only ones I found were far too “tech savvy” for me. I don’t have Publisher, and my Photoshop skills are limited, at best.

I pulled bits and pieces from other tutorials and YouTube videos, spent way too much time in trial and error, and figured out my own way. When I originally published this post, I used PowerPoint for everything. These days, I use Keynote for everything (both of these programs are very similar). For now, I’m going to leave the directions in PowerPoint, but if you use Keynote, follow the same steps and set up your document as 450 x 150. This is what I came up with:


I’m not going to claim perfection, but I’m definitely pleased with how it turned out! So here is my step by step for how to make it!

1. Make your images in PowerPoint (or whatever program you love)

First, I made a new document and adjusted the page sizes to be 6 inch by 2 inches. I don’t know if there is a magical size, but a 3:1 ratio seemed about right, and when I tested it, it worked for me!

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Since the TPT background is slightly gray, I played with the preset grays to get one that was close. Luckily, the very lightest gray option was a perfect fit. Go to “Format Background”, choose the lightest gray option (background 1, 5%), and click apply to all.

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Then, I made each of my slides to say what I wanted them to say. I made this the same way I do a product for TPT. For the animation, I wanted a word to pop up every half second or so, so each slide had the new word added. My presentation looked something like this when I was done:

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Next, I saved my images as .png (it just seems to save at a little better quality than a .jpg by clicking “Save as”, then scrolling down for the PNG option. This creates a convenient folder with each image saved separately.

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After you save your images, open them up in preview and adjust the PIXELS. To do this, click on “Tools”, then “adjust size”.

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Once there, change the pixels to be 450×150. This will help it to fit in the TPT box with the correct size.

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2. Create Your GIF

If you don’t have Photoshop, I recommend searching “Free GIF maker” on Google. You will have a ton of options pop up. For most of these, you will just save your images to the website, hit “create GIF” and it does all the dirty work for you. Downfall to this is that sometimes they add their own watermark to your GIF and the quality can be diminished. But, I don’t think there is a way to turn your slides into a GIF in PowerPoint.

*Note, I have Photoshop CS5, if you have a different version, it may look different*

If you have Photoshop, create a new document. Then go to File<Scripts<Load Files Into Stack. Select all the images you want in your file and upload.

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Once you have all your files in Photoshop, you can start to put them together to make your GIF.

First, click Window<Animation. This will put a little bar at the bottom of your screen where you can see each image you included. Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.01.04 PM.png

Next, go to  Select < All Layers. This will highlight all of those images that you just put into your file. Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.01.29 PM

Then, click the little 3 lined button on the Animation tab.


From there, hit “Make Frames from Layers. This will add all your pictures to that animation screen.

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For whatever reason, mine like to load in backwards. It’s an easy fix, by clicking “Reverse frames.”

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Last, you just have to decide how long your want each image to stay up for. I chose .5 seconds.

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You are done! All you have to do is save your image and get ready to upload it. To save it as a GIF, you click File<“Save for Web & Device”. Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.16.18 PM

3. Save your GIF Online & Upload to TPT

Now that your GIF is made, head on over to Pinterest. Pick a board to upload your GIF to. I chose a private board, because really the only reason to upload it here is to be able to get a link for the next step. Click “Add Pin” and upload the GIF from your computer.
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After your pin is added. Click on it, then use the control button and click “Copy Image Location” (side note, I have a Mac, if you have something else, you need to maybe right click? I don’t know for sure the answer to that. I would guess right click).

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You will need your link to be smaller for the next step, so head on over to to make your link shorter. Save that link. I just left my window open for easy access later.

Now go to your TPT home page. Click “My TPT”. Then click “My Account”. From there, click “Store Profile” on the left and then the “edit” button on the bottom of the page.
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You will be changing the “Personal Quote” box for this step.

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If you want your quote box to link to a specific page, make a tiny url for that too. You will use both this URL and the URL you  made earlier from your GIF image to fill in your blanks on TpT. Use the following HTML code, substituting inside the ” ” with your codes from

<a href=”Link of whatever you want a click to take you to”><img src=”link from your GIF you made”</a>

When it is all filled in, just paste it in your personal quote box, click “edit”, and watch your animated magic appear! If it doesn’t work, retry the HTML code to make sure you don’t have spaces where you don’t need them.

I hope this tutorial was simple to follow and the pictures were helpful rather than overwhelming! I would love to hear about if this worked for you!

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Making Your Pinterest Board Covers Look Pretty (and Unified!)

Remember back when you had to be invited to have a Pinterest account? Yeah, I’ve had mine since back in the day. Which maybe is aging me to admit that? (I also remember in college having to get signatures collected to get our school granted access to Facebook. Yeah…those were that daaaays.) Now, everything is available to everyone, with just the click of a button.

So, all that to say, I’ve had Pinterst forever. And I have changed my cover photos on my boards numerous times, but I never thought about making my own covers. Lately, I have been seeing unified Pinterst boards popping up everywhere. So, I hopped on that bandwagon and made up some of my own. Doesn’t my board look so unified now?

How I made my Pinterest boards look unified. And these little guys, aren’t they puuuuurdy?!

spring fall Bible So just hoooow did I make them you ask? Well, I will admit that I make pretty much everything in Powerpoint. I am learning Photoshop and getting more confident in it, but it takes me f.o.r.e.v.e.r to make things still and this wasn’t something I wanted to invest that much time into. I also didn’t use an exact measurement. I just made sets on slides and saved them as .jpeg.

How to make your Pinterest Boards UnifiedAfter, I used my Preview program and cropped them into their own little rectangles (I did have to make 3 copies of each file first, but I just used my trusty Mac shortcut “command C” and then “command V” and it took me all of 1/2 second.) I found that about 340×220 was the best size to fit the Pinterest boards, but I mostly used the “eyeball it” method to crop, because well, it worked close enough for me and I don’t think that anyone is going to stare at my boards and criticize me if there is a millimeter off in one…or maybe they will? Please, don’t.

To add them to Pinterest, save each picture to your bord. You can do this by clicking on a board and hitting “Add a Pin” and upload straight from your computer.

How to make your own Pinterest board coversThen go to your Pinterest page and find the board you just added it to and click “edit”.

How to change your Pinterest board cover.From there, click “change” under Board Cover.

How to change your Pinterest board cover.Scroll though and find the picture you want as a cover (it should be your first picture).

Unified Pinterest BoardsThen hit save. Repeat for all your boards and vadabang, vadaboom, you are unified!

Hope that tutorial-ish made sense. I’m not as tech-savvy as I dream of being, so there may even be a better way, but that was my way.

And if your heart desires, maybe hit the little follow button and follow me on Pinterest too! 🙂



A is for Alphabet

My family spent last week at the lake. It was such a great time of relaxing and getting away…something we probably should do more often.

11751400_10207250891775808_3662215476399074799_nI had a few projects in mind that I wanted to do during lil’ mans nap times, and while I didn’t get them all done, I did get one done! It’s an letter recognition and practice unit. It has five different activities for each letter of the alphabet to help students recognize letters, as well as reinforce letter-sound relationships. Personally, I’m super jazzed to use it with my kids! I think that I will use some of the pages as morning work, some as “I’m finished” work, some as homework, some as intervention work, I could even staple them together and make a little “My Letter Book”…so many possibilities (and be prepared for a blog post in the fall about how I ended up using them in my class)! Here is a little preview of the activities put in the packet:

A is for Alphabet Packet. Includes five different activities for each letter of the alphabet to reinforce letter recognition and letter-sound relationships. A is for Alphabet Packet. Includes five different activities for each letter of the alphabet to reinforce letter recognition and letter-sound relationships. A is for Alphabet Packet. Includes five different activities for each letter of the alphabet to reinforce letter recognition and letter-sound relationships. I also want to give a huge thanks to Emily at and Erin at for helping me edit! I am so grateful for fresh eyes…because you know when you look at something for so long, you tend to miss a thing or two, or maybe that’s just me? Thanks, friends! I am grateful for you!

If you are interested in this unit for your class or little one, you can click this picture to head on over to my TpT store to grab it: A is for Alphabet Packet. Includes five different activities for each letter of the alphabet to reinforce letter recognition and letter-sound relationships. If you want to try it first, I put all of the letter A activities into a freebie. You can click on this picture to go snag your freebie:

A is for Alphabet Packet. Includes five different activities for each letter of the alphabet to reinforce letter recognition and letter-sound relationships. If you end up using this unit, I would LOVE to hear about how it worked in your classroom! Of if you have ideas to add to it, let me hear them! Enjoy your day!


How to Create a Silhouette

This post was updated on 7/3/17.

I’m a 30 something and my mom still has those gifts I made at school as a kid in a box. You better believe that my family Christmas tree is still decorated from school projects from my childhood (anyone else?!). Moms are sentimental people, ya’ll! So I know how important it is to have kids make something sweet for moms in school. But I have 30+ students, a limited budged, small children of my own, not a lot of time… Ya’ll, I need simple (and cheap) projects in my life!

Silhouettes are one of my all time favorite projects to do with students. I often do them for Mother’s Day gifts in the spring, but really you can do them with any holiday/theme/occasion. Most recently, I made a patriotic version for Veteran’s Day. They are virtually free and snapshot a moment in a kids life that can be looked back on decades later. And if you have a bigger budget (or smaller class) you can add in a Dollar Store frame and make them a true keepsake for moms (or grandmas, or aunts, or dads, or whoever fills the “mom” role!)


Getting Started

Before you even begin, you need to decide what will be the “theme” of the silhouette you are creating and give students directions to start their drawing. For Mother’s Day gifts, I like to have them draw big flowers as their background. For our patriotic silhouettes, I had them draw a flag. You could easily have them draw a summer image, a winter image, a pumpkin patch, outer space, etc.  Here are a few pieces of advice for the background:

  • *Have kids stick with 3-4 colors as a maximum, otherwise their picture becomes too busy and takes away from the silhouette you will add on later.
  • *Don’t have them draw too much detail in the picture, especially in the center. A large amount of it will be covered by their silhouette and you don’t want any tears about covering up the picture they just spend 2 hours drawing (I taught kindergarten for years…I learned this the hard way!)

And before you are saying you “ain’t got no time for art”, make this “academic”. If you need a common core standard to fill, find an artist to talk about and have them include a biography (Wassily Kandisky Eric Carle, or Georgia O’Keeffe come to the top of my head), talk about the history of an object or event you have them make. When we did our patriotic silhouettes, we talked about branches of the military, the history of Veteran’s Day, and recent wars that the US has been in. For the drawing, use crayons, paint, watercolor, chalk or oil pastels, sponges, marbles, whatever medium you want. Have fun and learn a lot as you go!

How to make those silhouettes:

I have my class work on their background drawing while I am taking the pictures for step one.

1. You are going to want to take a sideways profile of your student against a light colored background. I usually take mine against my whiteboard. Just use your cell phone and e-mail them to yourself. Or use a fancy camera…whatever you are most comfortable with! The pictures themselves don’t really need to be great quality.

I just took an embarrassing selfie for an example…Ignore my tired eyes. Ha! #MomLifeIMG_2105

Note: Steps 2-3 are completely optional. You could skip them, go straight to step 4 and still have beautiful silhouettes, but these steps make cutting it out easier and they take all of 15 seconds to do. 

2. Put that picture into PowerPoint.

3. In PowerPoint, click “Format Picture”. Under the Format Picture tab, there is one that says “Remove Background”. Click that. It should remove any distracting background that you have and make the final step easier.

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If you wanted to get really fancy, you could also adjust the color with a filter.

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What you are left with is a clear picture that is easy to cut around.

4. Print that pretty little picture you just made in black and white…no need to waste precious color ink. Print into whatever size you want. If you want it full page, just hit print. If you want it smaller, change it to have 2 slides to a page (see picture below).

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5. Now that you have your image printed, simply place it on top of a piece of black construction paper and trace the cuts around the face. You will be left with an adorable silhouette! (Side Note: You could really cut it on any color of construction paper. I am partial to the traditional back silhouette myself.)

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You are left with something like this: img_5139.jpg(PS-Make sure you label who the picture is of. Although I can usually tell pretty easily, it does take more time to sort them out if you forget this step…I wouldn’t know by experience or anything 😉

That’s the hard part! It usually takes me about 2 minutes per kid total to take pictures , upload, edit, print, and cut them out, but it could be a job that is easily done by any parent helper or aide that you may have in your class. I tried one year to have my 4th graders cut them out themselves, and I ended up having to re-do several of them that turned out to just be blobs of black.

6. When the backgrounds are completed and the silhouettes are cut out, simply have your students glue the silhouette onto the background. I have used stick glue, because it is what I have readily available and I don’t like the bubbles that liquid glue cause, but use whatever you want, my friends!Mother's Day Silhouettes

Your end game will look something like this:

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                       or this:

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Note: This year I got really fancy and typed the kids names on the paper before they started drawing…it’s a nice option if you want to add that!

I have done this project for years and have yet to have it disappoint! It’s the project I get the most feedback from parents about how much they love it! As a mom myself, I totally would be over the moon for something like this from my kids!

Think you want to try a silhouette with your class? I would love to hear if you tried this project and how it worked with your students! Leave me a comment below or tag me on Instagram!  

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A Community of Helpers

Week three of the TpT Seller Challenge is well under way. This week, our goal was to create our own masterpiece. I have been working on this Community Helpers unit throughout June. And I just kept making it bigger, and bigger, and bigger, because I don’t really like editing and was procrastinating on it (anyone able to empathize with me?!). Usually, I have a small editorial team consisting of: 1)My sweet co-teacher, but she just got married, AND 2) My hysterical kinders who get a kick out of finding my mistakes (we all love being smarter than the teacher). But, at the moment, my little editorial staff was out of commission.Community Helpers Unit

I’m going to be real with ya’ll…I just had the best of luck!  Randomly, I decided to ask on a Facebook group if anyone was interested in editing this unit for me, and I was blown.away. Not only by the response, but by the quality of people who offered their help! To me. A stranger! These ladies are awesome! I am so grateful!

Seriously, Ladies, you.are.awesome. Thank you, thank you!

Erin at Kindergarten Dragons

Deirdre at Mrs. Garcia’s Super Scholars

And Traci at The Bender Bunch

They were so kind in their encouragement to me and gave such great feedback! They caught some wording and formatting errors that I probably never would have caught. (You know how sometimes, things make sense in your head, but don’t really come across correctly to others? No, it’s just me who struggles with this? Probably.)

205+ pages of community helper themed activities!

205+ pages of community helper themed activities.

This is the first unit I have made and posted without first teaching it. But I will be teaching it in September and I’m so excited to already have it done and ready for back to school. (I will be working to prep it later this week and will update this post on how I use centers in my class them.) It always seems like the beginning of the year is so crazy, it will be really nice to not have to think about planning anything major for this unit. We will cap it off with a field trip to a bakery and a police officer visit to our classroom. It will be a fun beginning of the year!

As part of the Make your Masterpiece celebration, I have this unit in my store for 50% off for the first 24 hours. Go check it out by clicking the picture below or by clicking here.

Community Helpers

I also made a little freebie preview, because who doesn’t love freebies?! You can check it out by clicking the picture below or by clicking here.

Community Helpers Unit Sneak Peek freebie!Oh friends, I have so much more to say, but lil’ man just work up from his nap, and following my “no working while he is awake” summer rule, I’m off to play with him! Have a beautiful Thursday!


Silly Voices and Actions Fun Reading (AKA-Pure Classroom magic)

I am a huge believer in sight word memorization. When kids learn sight words, reading becomes (gasp!) easier. And let’s be real, if it’s not such a struggle, they are going to do it more. 🙂 There are so many ways to practice sight words, but I think that the practice should be focused and fun!

So…I’m going to let you know something a little embarrassing about myself. I sing to my kids. A lot. And I talk in the worst accents and voices. Why? Because they think it’s hilarious. And they focus way better when I do it! Seriously, if you ever feel like you are not being listened to, start talking like a pirate. People will listen! They might think you are off your rocker, but they will listen. Not only do my kids like listening to me talk like a fool, they like talking like fools! So I let them, but only when we are practicing reading. You see what I did there?…I let them do something they really want to do, but on my terms. We use these silly voice cards that I made up. Actually, they helped me make them.

Instead of just making them up as I go, I finally put them on paper. And printed them, and put them on ring for easy access. Brilliant? Why thank you, thank you. Just kidding. I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this, but hey, we can all use a little ego boost every once in a while.

Here are a few examples:

Silly Voices Fun Reading Task Cards
Silly Voices Fun Reading Task Cards

I have this snazzy, super technologically up to date document camera (hey, it’s not the best technology, but it makes my life waaaaay easier) and put up a long list of sight words. I use my light saber (because, I’m a cool teacher like that) and I pick a student who is doing an excellent job of setting an example pick the silly voice that we are going to read in. Let me tell you, friends, my most challenging kids will become angels during this selection time. It’s a miracle I tell you, a miracle! We read, and read, and read on repeat, and when I say it’s time to move on there are groans. GROANS. They love this stuff! My kids are having FUN learning! Cue the “Hallelujah” chorus now!

And if you want to bump it up a notch for those super active kiddos, I also have silly actions. I’m going to be real though, and tell you, I reserve silly actions for special occasions. Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with kids who can get out of control really fast, but that has happened. At least once. Maybe twice. Ok, fine, several times. But if you are feeling brave, those are bundled with the voices 🙂 Enjoy!

Silly Actions Fun Reading Task Card

In all seriousness, if you want a piece of my classroom magic, click the picture below and go check it out in my store.

Silly Voices and Actions-Fun Reading Task Cards

What is one way that you get your students excited about reading? Leave a comment below. I can’t wait to hear about them!