Spooky Door Decor!

I have a brand new door decor set just in time for your classroom Halloween decorations!  

I love doing decor that my students can help out with and they did such a great job with these cute little ghosts!

Grab a set for yourself here or click below!

Apple Tree Equations

I'm a little behind on life...pregnancy will do that to you, haha!  Last week we had "apple week" in first grade and did a whole multitude of fun apple-themed activities.  We did a fun directed drawing, a bunch of activities from my All About Apples packet, and as a big finale activity we made a batch of applesauce.  Yum!

My first graders are starting to learn about addition equations and I knew I wanted to tie that into our fun apple theme.  Here is what I came up with!

A cute little introduction to adding with three addends, using apple trees. The three different colors of apples helped us keep our addends straight.  This was a super simple, yet effective and fun, apple activity.  You just need a few colors of construction paper and some colored dot stickers (like these).

Are you interested in doing this activity with your students?  Click right here or on the link below to download this little packet!  Happy teaching!

Patriot Day + a FREEBIE

Patriot Day is a special day and I've made a tradition of using it to teach my first graders about national symbols, American heroes, and patriotism.  Here's a look at our day!  And don't forget to scroll all the way down for a  FREE download!

We started by reading as much non-fiction as we could find to help us learn about American symbols.  I just love this set of readers from Scholastic!

When then made our own American Symbols mini-books.  My kids were so excited to be able to take something home that would help them teach their families about these symbols.  I just love when they decide to be little teachers!

In the afternoon we made these simple, but fun tissue paper flags and discussed the meanings of the colors on the flag.  Click here for a link to this FREE template or keep scrolling to the bottom!

While we finished up our flags we had a little red, white, and blue snack.  When students ate a certain color I had them tell their neighbor what it stood for.

I had these American Heroes coloring pages available for a few of the fast finishers and it led to some wonderful class discussion about what defines a hero!

How do you honor Patriot Day in your classroom?

Alphabet Mats

It's been quite a while since I've written a blog post and I actually have a very good reason for that, haha!  Baby number two is well on his way!  Between morning sickness, chasing my toddler, and starting a new school year with a batch of new first graders, life has been crazy!  I'm super excited to share this new product though because I feel it is a powerful tool to help your cute kiddos get a better grasp on their knowledge of the alphabet!

These alphabet mats are available in both colored and black/white, ink-friendly versions.  You can print them out, laminate them if you like, and use them in so many different ways.  Here are a few ideas!

Use mini-erasers (the best ones come from the Target dollar spot!) to help students fill in the letters.  You could also laminate the pages and use a dry erase marker for repeated practice.

Break out the play dough and let students have a blast creating the letters or even making the objects pictured on the side of each mat!

Print out a black/white copy and let students use markers, stickers, etc. to decorate the mat, having so much fun while they add to their alphabet knowledge!

Honestly, the sky is the limit on fun manipulatives you can have children use!  I love these sparkly pom-poms!

Click HERE or on the image below to be taken to my Teachers Pay Teachers shop and grab this packet of alphabet mats for yourself!

Arctic Animals

We are in the midst of January and in my class that means that it is time for Arctic Animals!  We've been working on reading non-fiction texts and improving our informational writing skills.  To complement these ideas (and to generate some cold weather excitement), I created this arctic animals packet!  It is packed full of so many fabulous activities that you and your students will love.  Take a look!




One of my favorite features of this packet is that it has cross-curricular connections that put on arctic spin on the other content you may be working on!

Click here or on any of the images to grab your own arctic animals packet!

Happy Teaching!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I am so excited about having something of a fresh start, and about all that the new year of 2019 will bring.  I don't have to be back at school until Thursday (thank goodness for a few more days of yoga pants and messy buns!), but I have been prepping a few things to make my transition after winter break a little easier for myself and for my students (and maybe for you too!).  Here are a few of the resources I am going to be using:


I can hardly wait to do this low-prep craftivity with my students.  It is going to be the perfect thing for our first day back: easy for me, fun for my students!

Click HERE or below to grab it for yourself!

I am planning on drawing from a few of my older resources including this FREE winter break writing packet, and my January packet full of math and literacy activities.  Click on the pictures to get them too!



New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions frequently get a bad rap, which is somewhat understandable considering most people (including yours truly) tend to set impossible goals for themselves.  My philosophy is that small consistent efforts are what really help you accomplish these things.  And since we are on the heels of a relaxing break from school (and I'm feeling more refreshed and renewed than I have since June!), now is a perfect time to set a few small and simple (yet powerful) goals as teachers.

1. Be genuine, true to yourself, and avoid comparing your teaching to that of others.  It's been said before and I will say it again, that teachers are perfectionists.  We love for our lessons to be perfect, our classrooms to be spotless, our students to be angelic, not to mention our love of glowing feedback from administrators.  That's fine, but when you compare your everyday average teaching (which really is pretty good) to the all-star lessons you catch glimpses of on Pinterest and Instagram, it can be downright depressing.  Have realistic expectations of yourself and strive to be just a little bit better here and there.  It will add up!  And whatever you do, avoid that dumb comparison game.

2. Think of each of your students as a whole person with unique qualities, needs, and wonderful complexities.  Strive to make connections with them by simply listening to them and being empathetic.  Create some room in your schedule for them to be explorers, creatives, and collaborators.  Heck, let them play!  Read them stories without an objective other than enjoying a story together. Praise them for their strengths and contributions; let them know that they are needed.

3. Be gentle with yourself.  You have one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in the world.  While it is wonderful, it is not easy.  Remember to take care of your own needs.  Carve out a little time for yourself during the school day, even if it is just to take a few deep breaths.  Above all, remember that you are enough...simply because you are trying to be.  I don't want to get too sappy here, but you really are so important to your little people and to society as a whole.  Don't underestimate the effect that your efforts will have, in the present and in the future.  You got this, teacher!

Those are the things that I want to remember as I head into 2019.  I made myself a little printable that aligns with my resolutions and my plan is to display it on my desk.  Feel free to grab it for yourself (click here or on the image below). Hopefully it will help us remember that it is the small and consistent efforts each day that lead to great teaching. 

Happy New Year, teacher friends!
Oh, and if you are looking for a few resources to help you with the first few days of school after winter break, I've got some good stuff I'll be sharing soon...stay tuned!