End of the Year Ideas

Okay, I have to admit it... I am SUPER jealous of those of you who are all done or almost done with school.  We still have 19 days and I don't know who is more ready to be done... me or the kids!

I am trying to brainstorm a super fun but educational celebration for the last week of school.  At our school, we can't just have parties for the sake of a party.  They need to have an educational focus.  SO I am thinking that we will have a publishing party.  My kiddos have been working hard and I am super proud of all of the progress they have made this year.  About half of them came in not even being able to write their names, and now they can write whole stories with invented spelling, sight words, spacing and punctuation!  Woo hoo!  I am planning to collect their best work and make it into a published book that they can share with their families on our special party day.

I have also been collecting some fabulous ideas from some fabulous bloggers:

  • Mrs. Tabb had a summer send off that included a photo booth for the parents to take pictures of their kids. 
  • She also provided materials for kids and parents to make books so that the little ones can keep writing all summer long!
  • Mrs. Cooley had a Hollywood Ending themed party.  I LOVE this creative idea, and I would DIE to see the little ones decked out in their fanciest outfits!
  • I love this end of year gift idea from Little Miss Glamour goes to Kindergarten.  My kids will love this personalized writing book.  I am thinking of adding their photo to the cover to personalize it even more.  I will also add my own writing prompts.  I am also thinking of adding an incentive, like if they bring in their finished notebook in September, they can choose a prize from my treasure chest.  Thank you for this great idea!

Math Books

If you are anything like me, finding books to use for literacy lessons is a snap but finding books that go along with math lessons can be a little more difficult.  I just found this amazing list of children's math books organized by topic from love2learn2day... what an amazing resource!

Some of my personal favorites are:


Lindsey at The Teacher Wife is having a fabulous giveaway.  She is giving away $15 to HeidiSongs AND 3 free items from her TPT store.  Woo hoo!

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will win because I have been hearing nothing but raves about HeidiSongs, plus Lindsey makes the cutest things!

How Do I Link to my Blog?

Have you ever commented on a blog post and wondered how people link back to their blogs?

It took my awhile to figure this one out, so I thought I would share.  It's actually super easy!

All you have to do is copy and paste the text below.  Where the font is pink, insert your blog address.  Where the font is blue, type in the text you would like to display.
<a href="adventures-in-kindergarten.blogspot.com">Adventures in Kindergarten</a>



I'm sure that a lot of teachers have heard of this awesome website by now, but if you haven't, you should check it out immediately!  Sqworl lets you compile a list of websites and creates a thumbnail for each site.  You could make a Sqworl for kids, a Sqworl for favorite blogs or teaching sites.  You can pretty much do anything your little heart desires.

Here is the Sqworl that I created for my students.  Enjoy!

Money Saving Monday

Did you know that your health insurance company may reimburse you for going to the gym, a nutritionist or other health memberships?

I just received $150 from my health insurance company just for going to the gym!  I did not even have to submit any paperwork, it was all online.  Call your health insurance or look online to see if they offer a fitness reimbursement.  It will only take a few minutes and can be very worth your while.

Vegetable Soup

We have had a great week learning about vegetables in our Things That Grow unit.  We decided that making soup would be a great activity to extend our students' learning.  First, we sent home a letter asking families to contribute.  This was a great way to involve parents.  Unfortunately, we ended up huge piles of carrots and potatoes, and hardly any other vegetables.  Next year I might try to delegate so that this doesn't happen!
The kids took turns chopping veggies with butter knives.  They LOVED this, and it was a great way to sneak in a little fine motor.
While they were chopping, we heated up 3 bottles of water and a can of chicken broth in the crock pot.  Then, they slid their veggies into the pot.  
 It cooked for about 4 and a half hours, throwing in about 8 chicken bouillon cubes along the way to add a little flavor.  We served it up right before dismissal time and the kids loved it!  And I have to admit, it was a lot tastier than I thought it would be.

The kids were so inspired by our vegetable soup and vegetable books that they were spontaneously painting veggies at the easel.  Love it!

We also did some vegetable graphing during math time.  You can download this activity {HERE}.

Engagement Story

Okay, so I will be the first to admit it... this post has absolutely nothing to do with teaching whatsoever.  BUT, it is so freaking cute that I just had to share it.  It is the most precious engagement story that I have ever heard, and it totally brought a tear to my eye.  I think it's because I have had weddings on the brain ever since William & Kate got hitched!

Here is the link to the world's most precious engagement story.

Great Deal

I was checking all my blogs today when I stumbled upon a link to Teacher's Market through 1st Grade with Miss Snowden.  She writes about great deals for teachers, and yesterday's deal offers a bunch of coupons from Scotch, including a $1.00 off coupon for tape that is on sale for 99¢ at Staples.  AKA it is free!  I will definitely be heading over there this week for my free tape.

You can print the coupons {HERE}.

Management Tip

This is the simplest little trick that completely changed the way that I do guided reading and small group activities.  I found that the group I was working with was being constantly interrupted for super trivial things like "Can I get a tissue?" (of course!) or "I can't find a pencil" (they are where they ALWAYS are!).  I grabbed a Hawaiian lei out of the dramatic play area and it became my super-special, do-not-interrupt-me-unless-there-is-an-emergency necklace.  I taught the children that they could talk to me only for the two B's: bathroom and blood.  Gross, I know but they really got it.  It cut down on the amount of interruptions by about 90% and we got so much more done!  They became so well trained that if I forgot to take the necklace off after guided reading, the kids would not talk to me until I took it off.  I highly recommend this little trick.  It could be done with any bright necklace that the kids will notice right away.  Grab a little adhesive hook and hang it up behind your guided reading table.  Enjoy!


I need a little advice... This week I am planning to make vegetable soup with the kiddos.  We are using Growing Vegetable Soup and The Ugly Vegetables as mentor texts.  I plan to ask each child to bring one vegetable from home (washed and peeled) and having them chop them at school with child safe knives.  I will have to use my crock pot since we do not have access to a stove.

Does anyone have an easy peasy recipe for vegetable soup in the crockpot?  Also, do you have any fun activities to go along with making soup?

Thank you!

New Item Posted on TPT and a Center Idea

I have been busy working on some super fun vegetable themed games to play with the little ones this week during our literacy and math centers.  I made vegetable memory, vegetable bingo and a math graphing activity.  They are on sale for only $1.50 all week.  You can check them out {here}.

Also, when I was doing a little research for garden themed center ideas, I found this adorable idea.  I am hoping to turn our dramatic play area into a garden center!  I love how you can incorporate literacy ideas through a shopping list and labeling seeds, as well as math through adding a cash register and having children count money and seeds.
(Photo from Frugal Family Fun)

My Favorite Teacher Shortcuts

I have a few tricks that make my teaching life a little easier.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Super Strength Packing Tape
This is a quick and inexpensive tool that does about a billion things in my classroom.  We are in the basement and the walls seem constantly damp.  This is the only tape I have found that sticks up anchor charts, posters and bulletin board paper until I am ready to take them down, not until they decide they want to flop off of the wall.  I also use it to "laminate" small items like cards for a memory or math game.  I just unroll the tape, place the item in the middle and fold it up.  Be sure that you leave a small border to "seal" the item in.  You can use several strips of tape if necessary.  Just trim it up and you are ready to go in a few seconds.

I'm sure that any kindergarten teacher knows that moment when... ACHOO!  A little one sneezes all over a box of hundreds of tiny little math manipulatives.  Yuck!  After this happened a few too many times, I brought an old colander to school.  Dump the manipulatives (or any other small toys) into the colander and wash it with a bunch of soap and hot water.  Dump them out to dry on a table overnight and you are all set!

Heavyweight Page Protectors
This is another great secret for laminating in a pinch.  I have a bunch of games printed on 8.5 x 11" cardstock that I just slip into a page protector and seal with two small pieces of tape at the top so that the sheet doesn't fall out.  Then you can just pop them in a binder for storage.  So easy!  I also use page protectors to make books when I don't have time to laminate.  See an example of a page protector "book" {here}.

What are your favorite classroom shortcuts?

The Ugly Vegetables Extension Activity

This is a quick and easy activity that I whipped up to do with my Kindergartners last week.  They are loving The Ugly Vegetables, and are very intrigued by the part of the book where the mother labels the Chinsese vegetables she plants with her daughter with Chinese characters. If you look closely, you can see them in the lower right hand corner of the book cover.

 First, I printed off a bunch of photos from Google images to show how tools are used to write Chinese characters.

Then, I printed off a bunch of Chinese Character Cards and illustrated them so that the children could read them easily.  I slipped all of the pages into heavyweight page protectors, sealed the top with tape and put a binder ring through the top hole.  Voila!  A quick and easy book for the children to reference.

I put the book into our Art Center, along with black crayons, colored pencils, thin paint brushes and black paint.  The kids LOVED experimenting with characters.  It was definitely the most popular center of the week.

End of the Year Fun!

What's the Buzz in First is having a linky party about fun things to do at the end of the school year.  Here are a few traditions in my classroom.

Final Field Trip
We always take a field trip to the Boston Common to ride the swan boats and find the famous bronze ducklings from Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings.  We take a picnic lunch and eat together in the park.  This is a really fun and special memory for the little ones, and they always remember it for years to come. 

Movie Party
At my school, all of the items in every classroom has to be completely packed up in boxes, and all of the furniture pushed into one corner by the last day of school.  Of course, this is crazy and stressful for teachers to find the time to do all of this (especially in a kindergarten room that has thousands of manipulatives!).  The best solution that we have come up with is to have a movie party. I connect the projector to my laptop and play a movie on the wall, just like in a movie theater.  We give each child popcorn and a drink, and we all pretend that we are at the movies.  They love it, and it gives the teachers an opportunity to pack up and organize.  Of course, this works best on a rainy, yucky day!

Write the Room Free Download

My pre-kinders have really been blooming in writing lately, so I decided to bring back an activity that I used when I taught "regular" kindergarten.  Of course, I had to spice it up with a little cute clip art.  There is a second page with a picture of a boy, just to be fair!

The kids just put the paper on a clipboard, grab a pencil and write any environmental print that they see.  It could be a classroom label, a book title, a word from the word wall or calendar... anything their little hearts desire.  I have found that it is very engaging for the children and really helps to develop phonemic and print awareness. 

You can download it for FREE at my TPT Store.  Enjoy!

My Plants and Seeds Unit is FInally Finished!

I have been spending TONS of time perfecting my plants and seeds unit and am so happy to say that it is finally done!  You can see it on the TpT site {HERE}.

And because you, readers, are so fabulous, here are two free downloads for you!


Numeral recognition and following directions
In the Vegetable Garden

Have children color each row a different pattern

Flower Patterns

The fonts come out a little funny here, but I think if you download them they will go back to their original cuteness.  If not, please email me (just click the little envelope in the upper right) and I will send you a copy.  Enjoy!

And the Winner is....

Congratulations, Brenda!  Please contact me to receive your prize!


The giveaway ends in an hour and a half!!!  
Click {here}  to enter now

to win a copy of "The Ugly Vegetables"
my brand new Plants and Seeds Unit!