Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Lanterns

Christmas lanterns are a fun and messy craft perfect for a project with a buddy class, or these lanterns would be great way for a class or the whole school to decorate for a Christmas concert or festive event. 

Tip: About a week before you are planning to make Christmas lanterns ask students to start collecting empty milk cartons. 

What you need: 
-1 milk carton per student 
-1 pipe cleaner per student 
-Newspaper ripped into strips

Prep Needed:
  1. Newspaper needs to be torn into strips. 
  2. The top of each milk carton needs to be cut off.
  3. Water and flour need to be mixed together. (One part flour and two parts water). 
  4. Paper mache is very messy. It might be a good idea to lay newspaper or a table cloth on the table. This will help with the clean up later! 


  1. Take your milk carton (with the top cut off) and your newspaper strips, begin dipping your newspaper strips into the flour and water mixture and covering your milk carton evenly with the paper mache. Make sure students are using enough of the flour/water mixture so that the newspaper is sticking to the milk carton.
  2. Let your christmas lanterns dry overnight.
  3. Next, students can paint their lanterns. 
  4. Once the paint is dry, the teacher or older students need to cut 2 small holes into the side each lantern. The 2 holes need to be cut near the top to attach the pipe cleaner handle. 
  5. Students can then cut out a shape in the centre of their lantern for the light to shine through. (Younger students may need help with this step). 
  6. Lastly, students can attach their pipe cleaner handle. 
Tip: You can purchase flameless LED tea light candles from Walmart, Michaels, and Target.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Christmas Resources and a Freebie Linky Party

With December around the corner, I thought it might be fun to share a Christmas freebie I added to my TPT store catalogue last year, and to invite other teacher bloggers to link up their fabulous Christmas and winter themed freebies. 

My Christmas freebie is directions on how to make a candy cane reindeer. This craft is a perfect extra to attach to a student made Christmas card, or is a great craft for Christmas craft stations. 

Also checkout these great Christmas and Winter themed resources from my TPT store! 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Oughta Know About... The Opinion Game

This game can be used as an ice breaker, cool down, or to fill an extra 10 minutes at the end of a class. The opinion game is easy to play, and can be easily modified to meet the needs of your classroom and curriculum. All you need is a strongly agree, agree, some what agree, disagree, and strongly disagree poster. (These posters can be modified to whatever you would like, to adapt to needs of your lesson). Before playing this game with the class you will need to hang the posters around the perimeter of classroom. 

To play this game you will need to ask the class questions. These questions can be about anything you would like, but they need to be open ended answer questions which are phrased in a way that students can answer with an I agree or I disagree. This would be a good way to review past lessons or to lead into a later discussion about an topic you will be learning about soon.  Students show their opinion by the placement of where they stand in the classroom. 

For example during my Nutrition and Healthy Living Unit I will ask the class questions such as: 
-I think healthy eating is important. 
-I consider myself a healthy eater. 
-I can state the benefits of eating healthy foods and the ways that healthy foods help my body. 
-I read nutritional labels.
-I know where my food comes from.

After each question students silently move around the room to stand next to the poster which shows their opinion to the question being asked. 

Before you play this game, stress with the class that this is a silent game, so there is no talking with their friends. Also stress that all students should show their true opinions about these topics and don't just follow your friends around the classroom. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Halloween Door Decorating Contest!

A fun way to celebrate Halloween as a school is to have a Halloween door decorating contest where each classroom and office in the school works together to decorate their room’s door. You can ask for parent volunteers or a members of your school’s administration to judge the contest. You can have prizes for the scariest door, funniest door, or most creative door. 

Below is the door that my class created together last year. To create this door, each student used a pencil to draw a big pumpkin on a white piece of paper. They then painted their pumpkins using orange and yellow paint. After the paintings had dried, the students then used a black felt marker to draw a face to make make their pumpkin a jack-o'-lantern. Then students  glued their jack-o’-lantern’s onto yellow and black construction paper. 

For other great Halloween ideas check out my Halloween Math and Language Arts Activities Package. This package contains 31 Halloween themed activities including: math games, writing activities, art activities, and riddles. 

Monday, August 11, 2014


This summer I participated in a gigantic blog hop with many other teacher/bloggers. To celebrate the conclusion of our blog hop we are having a huge giveaway! We are giving away some awesome prizes including: 
-$50 gift card to Amazon
-$100 gift card to Target
- 5 gift cards to Teacher Pay Teachers
-An organisation tote
-Thermal tote
- A Scotch laminator with 100 laminating pouches 
-Additionally each winner will also receive a bundle of products from all of the participating teacher/bloggers from the 'Diggin' Into Next Year Blog Hop'. Scroll Down to the bottom of the post to enter to win! 

 We could hardly wait to end our Diggin’ Series with the BEST giveaway of the season!


Just in case you didn't hear these are our awesome prizes:






Come and join us, as  this is our way to THANK YOU for all your support and friendship!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back to School Sale and How to Get TPT Credits Towards Future Purchases.

I just wanted to send out a reminder to all of my blog readers that the Teacher Pay Teacher annual Back to School Sale is taking place this year on August 4-5. Which is tomorrow, so stock up your wish lists!  My purchases are already in my shopping cart ready to go! My entire store is going to be 20% off, bundles included! Don't forget to use the code BTS14 during check out to get an additional 10% off your purchase! 

Did you know that you can get credits towards future TPT purchases by leaving feedback on purchased items? I've gotten quite a few free items this way. All you need to do is leave feedback on items you have purchased and you will get 1 credit for every dollar you spend on TPT. Every 100 credits is worth $5, and the good thing is you don't have to wait until you have 100 credits to use your credits towards your purchase. Very few of my buyers leave feedback so they must be missing out! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Exciting News and Directions on How to Make Art Folders

Watch out for this amazing giveaway:
I am sad that this is my very last blog post in the 'Diggin' Into Next Year' blog hop. For my final post I am blogging about how to make art folders, but before I do that I wanted to let everyone in on some very exciting news! All of the teacher bloggers involved in the 'Diggin Into Next Year' blog hop are having a huge giveaway!  This giveaway  is planned to run from August 11-17th!!! This giveaway is going to include lots and lots of products, Teacher Pay Teacher gift cards, and much more... So watch out for this amazing giveaway next week! 

Art Folder Directions: 
At the beginning of each school year I always take the time to make art folders with the class. Art folders are fun for students to make because they get to relax, draw, and colour on a huge piece of manila tag. These folders are functional because they are big enough  to store all of the art work that students create in class throughout the year without having to fold any of the art work. Art portfolios are easy to make, but they do require some prep from you. 

Art folders:
What you need: 
-2 big pieces of poster board for each student (or I use big sheets of  manila tag because they are already at my school, so I don't need to purchase them). 
-Felts, crayons, or pencil crayons
-Masking tape

1. Take 2 large pieces of manila tag or poster board. Place the two pieces of manila tag together so that the corners line up. 
2. Use masking tape to tape up 3 of the 4 sides of the folder, so that there is only one opening to put in and remove art from. 
3. Now you should have the folders ready to go and students can decorate. I allow my students to draw anything they want on their folders, but you can make the art more structured if you would like.

Make sure all names are written large and easy to see on each folder to make it easier later on when you're looking for student's folders. 

You might also like my Elements of Art Unit which includes a poster for each element of art and a art project for each of the 7 elements of art. Click on the image below to check out my elements of art unit. 

Make sure to check out all of the other blog posts by the other teacher bloggers participating in the 'Diggin Into Next Year' Blog Hop! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Celebrate Our Newest Products!

This summer, I have been working hard to add new products to my store. I added products that I hope others will want to use in their classrooms, and also products that I know will fill a void in my filing cabinet that I plan on using with my students next year. I thought it might be fun for me to share 3 of my summer creations, and also invite other Teacher Pay Teacher sellers to link up and share their newest TPT products.

I created this product last Spring while my grade 2 class was learning about animals. Our animal unit lasted for about a month, but this product took me forever to create because I created each activity and worksheet the evening before we needed it. My class's favourite activities from this package was the animal adaptation matching game and the adaptation collages.

This 91 page document contains a wide variety of activities that cater to all of the different multiple intelligences. This package contains activities about animal food chains, life cycles, habitats, adaptations, hibernation, endangered animals, and it has all of the information and templates for a student research project. This is a massive unit that includes everything you need to teach about animals! 

Learning about the 5 senses is important because it helps students gain a better understanding of the world around us, and learning about the senses also helps students become more aware of their bodies and how they process information.  This 5 senses unit contain 50 pages of activities, posters, worksheets, task cards, and ideas for having a end of unit 5 senses party! 

Canadians are BIG fans of hockey! I remember going to a Canucks game in Vancouver and being so excited! As a teacher, I have also come across some big hockey fans in the classroom. I created this unit with one boy in mind, this special needs student is a HUGE hockey fan and in the classroom I used this to my advantage! Any way that I could I tried to somehow tie hockey into his learning to attempt to keep his interest. This boy wrote his journal about hockey and when he wrote his weekly spelling quiz we used the spelling words in sentences that had to do with hockey. This unit was meant for him and I hope others will enjoy it too! This unit contains hockey themed games, activities, centres, posters, and worksheets. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading about 3 of my newest products! Please click on the links below and check out other terrific new products that other Teacher Pay Teacher sellers have created this summer too!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Story Maker: Diggin' into Next Year Blog Hop

Last year my school went from zero technology except for a few computers that were older than the dinosaurs to suddenly having smart boards, new computers, and 2 class sets of I Pads. It was overwhelming trying to incorporate all this new technology into my lessons. The I Pads, I found were easier to incorporate regularly into my lessons because I have a personal I Pad so I know how to use it. The smart board was a different story. I really would like to use it more and for other things besides what a regular computer can do. I mostly used the smart board for Youtube videos, Tumble Books, and viewing educational websites and images. One of my goals for the future is to learn how to use the smart board properly. 

One of the I Pad apps that we used the most last school year was the Super Duper StoryMaker App. This app was used regularly for a number of special education students. This app helped these students feel successful and become more independent during writing time.  

This app allows students to either create stories using the backgrounds and clipart provided or include their own photos. Students can also record their voices to tell their stories, and there is also an option to print or e-mail the story after it is finished. My students always printed their stories,  and students kept all of their work in a duo tang. Although technology is great and this app did help my students, especially with their confidence towards their writing, it is important to have a balance for all students of written work that students can be successful with as well. Below are a few examples of Story Maker stories my students have written. 

Click the picture below to check out other related blog post created by other terrific teacher bloggers as well. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Classroom Promise: A Back to School Idea

During the first week of school I always have my students work together to come up with a classroom promise. I do this by moving the class into groups of 3 or 4 students and then I give each group a piece of chart paper. On the chart paper students work together to write out all of the rules that they think we should have in our classroom.

A tip for group work: 
When I do this strategy where a group works together to list ideas I always give each group member a different colour felt marker. This ensures that everyone is held accountable to do their share of the work because you will see whose written what by looking at the colours on the paper. 

After each group has written a good list of classroom rules, (this takes about 10 minutes) I then have each group put a star in front of their 3 most important rules. After this, each group will present their 3 most important rules to the class, and I will write down each group's most important rules on a mind map on the white board. Next, we  work as a class to condense the most important rules into a short statement. (The class will come up with rules like: no hitting, no kicking, no bullying and we'll condense that to 'acting in a safe way at all times'). Afterward I then write out the class promise on a piece of chart paper and have each student sign the class promise with a hand print. Afterwards I use a sharpie marker to write each student's name next to their hand print. 

This class promise is a great way to establish a sense of classroom community, and have students take ownership of the classroom and the rules by working together to write the class rules.

Find other great back to school ideas in my Back to School: Bundled Package.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

You Oughta Know About... Assessment Flowers

I am very excited to announce that I am participating in the "You Oughta Know About.. Blog Hop!". This is a clever idea for a blog hop where bloggers were asked to come up with a teaching idea that they beleive other teachers should know about, and would benefit from using in their classrooms. I have chosen to share a formative assessment strategy called assessment flowers. Please enjoy my blog post and make sure to click on the links at the bottom of the page to visit other participating blogs and learn from other terrific blogger's teaching ideas too! 

You oughta know about assessment flowers. Assessment flowers are a terrific formative assessment strategy that I use with my students at the beginning of the school year and again with the same topics at the end of the school year. This lesson ties in nicely with goal setting and fits perfectly with student portfolios. Assessment flowers are easy to make and they only take about 20 minutes to complete. I have done this lesson with grade 2, grade 3, and grade 4 students. Assessment flowers are great at the beginning of the school year because you, as a teacher, will get to know your students better from these little flowers. Assessment flowers are also a terrific way for students to physically see their confidence in their abilities grow.

 How do you make assessment flowers? 

 Making assessment flowers are easy. Choose 3 subjects that you would like your students to focus their growth on, and 1 subject that you know will allow the students who have low self esteem in their academic abilities can shine in. I usually choose reading, writing, math, and P.E. (P.E. being the non academic subject that almost everyone in the primary grades can give themselves a big flower in). Next have students write these subjects along the bottom of a blank piece of white paper. After that, explain to students that they are going to draw a flower for each of these subjects. The flower that you draw is going to represent how you feel about your ability to do your work in that subject. 

 I usually do a demonstration on the white board by walking students through how I would make my own assessment flowers. I talk the class through my thinking about why my flowers are the size that they are. For example for my assessment flowers I would draw a big flower with colourful petals and lots of leaves for reading because I love to read, I read a lot, and I see the movie in my mind when I’m reading and thats how I know I’m a good reader. I am really honest with the class, and I will tell them my math flower is smaller because math has always been a struggle for me. I sometimes need extra practice and thats okay because I always do my best and ask for help when I need it. The main idea is if you are good at the subject you need to make a big and colourful flower with lots of details, or if you need improvement your flower is smaller with lots of room for growth. 

Why flowers?
The symbolism of the flowers is important because it shows that even though your math flower might be small now it can grow with a little extra time, patience, and practice. This also goes for other flowers that might be so big that it is meeting the top of the paper, there is still always room for more growth.

What do you do with the assessment flowers? 

 I like to keep the assessment flowers in the student’s portfolios with other student work samples and reflections. It is important to explain to students that we are creating these assessment flowers at the beginning of the year as a starting point, so that we can see how much growth we all have made throughout the school year.  After the class has completed their final assessment flowers at the end of the school year, they can then compare their beginning of the year flowers with their end of the year flowers and see the growth they have made throughout the school year.