Thursday, October 12, 2017

You've been BOO-ed Halloween idea!

For the past three years, my boys and I have been "boo-ing" our neighbors! 
Ring the bell and run... That may be their favorite part. :)
It all started four years ago. We had only lived in our sweet neighborhood for a few months, and one of our neighbors surprised us with some yummy Halloween treats on our doorstep. We've continued this festive tradition with our neighbors ever since.
I found these adorable printables on Pinterest. You can download them for free from Amber over at Crazy Little Projects.
I found the "Boo" sparkly ghost decoration at Party City for $1.49. 
 I ran into Dollar Tree to get some wrapping paper this afternoon, and I stumbled upon these Halloween balloons. I thought they would be the perfect addition to our BOO goodies.
Spread Halloween cheer with this fun and festive idea
This would be so fun to do in school during the month of October. Our sunshine committee always did "Boo Buddies." Each teacher was paired up with another teacher, and we brought our Boo Buddy special treats and goodies the week before Halloween. I love "You've been Boo-ed" because you can get your students involved. Any teacher, principal, or member of the sunshine committee could start it. The class would put together a little bag or basket of goodies for another class and secretly deliver it. When the class receives it, they put the "We've been Booed" sign on their classroom door. Then it's their turn to "BOO" another class. 
Fun and festive Halloween ideas

What goes inside of the goodie bag? ANYTHING YOU WANT! 
Here are a few ideas: Halloween stickers, witch fingers, pumpkin pencils & erasers, caramel apple lollipops, pumpkin muffins, Halloween cookies, a Halloween game for the class to play, Halloween coloring pages, etc. The Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, Target, Oriental Trading, and Party City have tons of Halloween party favors if your school isn't allowed to give out candy or edible treats.
Hope you and your students have fun! 
Sunshine committee idea for the month of October

Monday, October 9, 2017

Preconference Form for Parent Teacher Conferences

After watching my video and reading my tips on Parent Teacher Conferences, one of my readers asked if I could share a sample of a preconference form to send home with parents. Ask and you shall receive. :)
Parent Teacher Conference free printable form
A preconference form allows parents to share any topics or questions they want covered during their meeting with you. By asking for this in advance, you will be better prepared and make the most of your time with parents. It's short and sweet, so hopefully all of your parents will fill it out and return it. This form would also be very beneficial for student-led conferences.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

5 Easy Activities for your October Sub Folder

Halloween Fall activities and printables for the classroom
October is crazy. We can all agree on that. When district trainings, assessments, and cold/flu season take you away from your classroom, you want to have easy, engaging, no prep activities ready for your substitute. Today, I'm sharing some ideas that would be perfect additions to your sub folder. 
1. Following Directions/Oral Listening "Quiz"
Following Directions activity and directions
This following directions activity is one of my all time faves, and it is perfect to leave with a sub. Some administrators may not see the importance of "coloring." However, listening, processing, and following directions are vital skills for students of all ages! It's definitely a skill that needs to be practiced.
Listening and following directions coloring activity
The teacher or substitute teacher reads each direction ONCE slowly. (I would probably read it twice for PreK and Kinder.) Kiddos will realize right away that they have to be REALLY listening to hear the statement, process it, and then complete it.
2. Writing Prompts
Spark inspiration with some festive Halloween writing prompts.
Writing prompts and story starters for Halloween
Writing prompts and story starters for the month of October
Use these writing prompts if you have a sub during the month of October
3. Use Halloween stickers to inspire students' writing.
Genius: Give students stickers to use in their illustrations and to inspire their writing.
Sometimes kiddos get stuck when they want to draw something but don't know how. Halloween stickers are cheap and would be great motivation for students. Instead of spending 15 minutes trying to draw Frankenstein, a mummy, and a werewolf, they can choose the stickers they need! They can add to the illustration and spend more time on actually writing! ;)
4. Making Words
Making Words worksheet for Halloween and October
Students can work individually or in pairs to create as many words as they can from the letters in "Halloween Pumpkin." Such a simple activity but so much word work happening here! Students get hands-on, meaningful practice with word families, spelling patterns, and phonological awareness. 
5. Fall Graphic Organizer
Have the substitute teacher work with students to create an anchor chart about fall. Using their five senses, students can explore what fall feels like, smells like, tastes like, and looks like. This is the perfect anchor chart to have hanging near the writing center from September through November!
Students will use their five senses to discover the season of fall.
The substitute can create it on chart paper with the whole group, or have students work in groups to complete the printable. 
Fall graphic organizer for writing
I hope these five ideas will help you get prepped for a sub in no time. If you want these printables and a bunch more, check out my Pumpkin, Fall, Halloween NO PREP Printables & Activities here. 
Need October math activities? Check these out...
Halloween math activity
Review and practice addition and subtraction using ten frames.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

End of the Year Memory Books

End of the Year Memory Books and keepsakes for Kindergarten
One of my favorite projects of the year is our End of the Year Memory Book. It's a special keepsake for students and parents that features photos, drawings, writing samples, and more. It's a project the class works on periodically throughout the year. I love it because it shows how much the kiddos change over the year. It gives parents a memento to remember the year by, rather than trying to save everything the child brings home. #guiltyofthat
My Kindergarten Memory Book, Preschool Memory Book, & First Grade Memory Book
This is Ellee. She was in my very first class. She just started 10th grade! Her Mom sent me these pictures of her looking back on her Kindergarten Memory Book before school started last month. It made me so happy to know that she was reliving all of the fun we had in Kinder. Crazy to think 10 years has come and gone! You can see in the photos that Word Art was all the rage back in 2007. LOL. I've made some updates to my Kinder Memory Book since 2007, and I've also created a Preschool and 1st grade version.
End of the year memory book with student photos, drawings, and writing samples
Kindergarten, Preschool, and 1st grade memory book
Easy to assemble memory books for PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st grade
I have some tips for creating these Memory Books that will make them manageable.
1. If you have active parent volunteers, find a parent that will head up this project. My first year in the classroom, I had 26 kids in my morning class and 25 in the afternoon. 51 memory books! Thank goodness I had an amazing aide and some super parents that helped out.
2. Two options for binding the memory books... You can copy all of the pages you need and bind them over the summer/at the beginning of the year. However, I think it's better to wait to bind them until the END of the year. To keep it all organized, I have a file folder for each student. As we complete a memory book page, I file the completed page away in the child's folder. Then at the end of the year, all the pages are in order and ready to be bound.
Easy End of the Year Memory Books for Kindergarten, Preschool, and first grade
3. Print extra copies for potential new students or for "Uh Oh" mistakes.
4. If you forget to take a photograph of a student for a certain page, they can draw a picture instead. The combination of photographs and illustrations will make it extra special.
5. You can send a page home for "homework" every now and then if you just don't have time to get to it in class. Be sure to tell your students how important these pages are so they come back in good condition. I would recommend sending them home in an envelope or file folder so they don't get ripped, folded, or destroyed on the way home. :) 
6. I've included extra pages at the end for photographs. Students can personalize it, color it, add stickers, get autographs from friends, etc. The teacher can write a special note to the child in the back of the book as well. 
These Memory Books will work great for Homeschool Kiddos and for the crafty Mamas out there. Just print and use the pages you need. I'm thrilled to be making one with my preschooler.
End of the Year Memory Books that are cute, simple, cheap, and easy to assemble!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Part Part Whole Math Strategy

Let students "play teacher" and create their own math worksheets. This is great for math centers, math workshop, independent practice, or homeschool. Students use manipulatives and create their own math problems and answers. If you have a student that needs a little more direction, you can give the student a baggie of dominoes to use when creating his or her problems. Dominoes are set up like parts of a whole, so it will guide the child in making up problems. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate conceptual understanding of addition and parts of a whole with this math activity. Read more tips and tricks for practicing addition and subtraction. Download the printable worksheets from TheHappyTeacher TpT store.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

October Math: Halloween Math Problems

Halloween math activities for First Grade and Second Grade
Today I'm sharing a new October math resource. October is CRAZY... Fair Day, Fall Festival, Parent Teacher Conferences, school pictures, field trips, and, of course, HALLOWEEN! I'm hoping this new math resource will make your life a little easier and give your kiddos some fun & engaging math practice. 
Halloween math activities for the month of October. These are perfect for Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade.
The Halloween math problems are set up as task cards so you only have to make one copy of the problems. Students work through the problems and record their work/answers on individual recording sheets. Depending on your kiddos, you may choose to do ONE problem a day for the entire month of October, or you may decide to do a couple a day the week leading up to Halloween. Another idea is to set up a classroom scavenger hunt. When students are out of the classroom for Specials, grab some tape, and hang the task cards around the room. When the class returns, each kiddo gets a clipboard and a recording sheet. They have so much fun hunting around the room and working through the problems. Just getting up and moving makes it more engaging!
Math activities and worksheets for October and Halloween
These would be ideal for Problem of the Day during morning meeting or for math journals. Your kiddos may need help reading the problems, so you may choose to work through them together and think aloud as you model how you solve the problem. Students can work on a dry erase board or solve the problem on their individual recording sheet. These would also be great for math centers or small groups. So many easy ways to make math fun in October!
Math activities for Halloween and October

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sight Word ROLL & WRITE Activity

Today I'm sharing a fun and easy sight word activity and {FREE} printable. 
Use dry erase dice or cubes for a fun and easy sight word activity. Easy to change out the words and personalize for the sight words your child is currently learning.
This game is perfect for a quick review of sight words. Teachers can use this activity in centers/stations or in small groups. Parents can also use this activity at home to practice the weekly sight words with their child. I found these dry erase foam blocks at the Dollar Tree! I've seen them at teacher supply stores over the years, but I'm always shocked at the price. I couldn't believe it when I found these at the Dollar Tree for a buck! 
Dry erase dice/cubes are perfect for sight word games and activities. Love these cheap foam ones from the Dollar Tree.
If you can't find them at your local Dollar Tree, you might be able to purchase them online.
Use dry erase markers to write the sight words on the cube. Record the same words on the bottom row of this FREE printable.
Fun sight word activity for Kindergarten and 1st grade. Perfect for centers or small groups.
Player one rolls the dice and writes the sight word in the appropriate column. Kiddos can also use markers, pens, or colored pencils to "rainbow write" the words.
Easy, simple, fun, and engaging sight word activity
For more sight word activities, ideas, and games, head over to this blog post. Check out this blog post for suggestions on organizing and storing sight word flash cards.
This is the perfect activity for Word Work stations or centers. It's also an easy activity for parents to do at home with their child to practice weekly sight words in Kindergarten and 1st grade.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How to Store and Organize Sight Word Flash Cards

Sight Words...We know they are important, and we know children need a lot of exposure, practice, and repetition to master sight words. There are 220 Dolch Sight Words broken down into five sets (Pre-Primer, Primer, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade). This breaks down to about 40-50 per list. That's a lot of cards to keep organized! Let me help you get a grip on those flash cards so you can spend more time playing sight word games and having fun with the words.
1. Organize words into three sections: 
"New Words," "Words I Can Read," & "Tricky Words"
-New Words: These are the new words that the child is currently learning. You might also store a stack of upcoming words here.
-Words I Can Read: After a child masters a sight word, move it to the section titled "Words I Can Read" so the child has a set of words he/she feels confident reading. It only takes a few seconds to flip through these words. It will make the child feel good about how many words he/she has learned.
-Tricky Words: It may be a word the child is currently working on or one from the past, but there are always a few "tricky words" that need special attention. Give those words the special attention they deserve. TRICKY WORDS. 😎
2. Organize flash cards in a Dollar Tree photo album
Hit up your local Dollar Tree and buy some photo albums/brag books. These are perfect for sight word cards. If you are a parent, you might buy a couple books. You could organize "New Words" in one book, "Words I Can Read" in a second photo album, and "Tricky Words" in a third. The best part is you can easily move the flash cards from one book/slot to another by sliding them out of the photo slots. If you are a classroom teacher or if your child is just starting with sight words, ONE album per child is plenty.
3. Recipe Card Box/Index Card Filing Box
Here's another cheap storage option... an index card filing box/ plastic recipe box. I would still suggest sorting the words into the three sections previously mentioned. You can paperclip them to keep the groups separated in the box.
4. Coupon Organizer/Accordion Pouch
Coupon organizers/accordion pouches are great because they are made with partitioned sections. It's an easy way to keep sight words stored AND organized. (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc. or September Words, October Words, November Words, etc.)
5. Target Pencil Clip
Target always has varieties of these cute "clips" in the Dollar Spot.
This works best for a parent or homeschooler. Clip the sight words into sections: New Words, Words I can Read, & Tricky Words. Take down the cards you want to practice or play a game with, and then simply clip them back in place. Perfect to hang near your child's bookshelf or desk at home!
Hope these ideas for organizing and storing sight words will help you in your classroom or homeschool. If you are a parent helping your child study and learn their sight words, HUGS to you for being so awesome!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sight Word Activities for PARENTS

Easy and fun sight word ideas
Last week, after a meeting at church, I chatted with a sweet friend. She asked me, "Liz- what in the world are SIGHT WORDS, and do you have any ideas for how my daughter and I can practice them at home?" (Her cutie had just started Kindergarten...) Before long, a few other Moms joined in on the conversation, and I knew right away I wanted to write a blog post sharing EASY and FUN sight word activities that parents can do at home with their kiddos.
Just as parents help their child study for a weekly spelling test, they can also help their child read and review their weekly sight words. This blog post is filled with ideas for PARENTS to help their children practice and review their sight words at home to compliment what the teacher is doing at school.
Sight word activities and ideas for K-2, homeschool, for parents
Sight word activities at home should be...
1. Tactile/Hands On
2. Games/FUN
3. Visual
You want your child to have an opportunity to build, touch, and experience the sight words so that his or her brain can make a connection between the letters and the word itself. It's all about exposure, repetition, and practice.
1. Glitter Sight Word Flip Books 
Tactile sight word book using glitter glue
(This video explains how to make them.) 
2. Whipped Cream/Shaving Cream Writing
Ideas for parents to practice sight words at home
Spray some whipped cream or shaving cream on the counter or table. Have your child spread it out and then practice writing his sight words. Provide a flashcard or list for reference. It's all about practice, repetition, and exposure to the words. Don't worry if your child needs to look at the word list.
3. Sand/Sugar letters
Fun idea for reviewing sight words and letters at home
Get a school supply box or cookie sheet with edges and fill it with play sand or granulated sugar. Have your child practice writing sight words in the sand with his or her finger. It's all about the touch! *Hint: You do not need very much sand!*
4. PlayDoh
A great way to practice and learn sight words at home or in the classroom
Flatten a piece of play doh and use a toothpick or skewer to write sight words in the PlayDoh. Kiddos can also form long snakes with the PlayDoh and then build the words with PlayDoh.
5. Build the Word
Build the word using magnetic letters, cut up pool noodle pieces, alphabet cereal, or with yummy items from the pantry!
Engaging sight word activities for teachers and parents
Brynn had a blast with this pool noodle sight word activity. Such a cutie. 
Use Twizzlers to build sight words. Fun and easy!
They are so easy to bend and shape. So much easier and less messy than PlayDoh. Delicious too! :)
Sight Word Ideas and Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade
Sight Word Snacks: Pull and Peel Twizzlers, pretzel sticks, raisins, chocolate chips, spaghetti noodles, Cheerios, Cheez-It letters, animal cracker letters, string cheese...
6. Go Fish
Make a set of playing cards with index cards using the words of the week or the words your child needs to review. (2-4 per word) Deal the same number of cards to each player and then leave a "Go Fish" pile in the middle.
7. Memory
Sight Word Game: This would be perfect for centers and small groups.
Make a set of playing cards using the words of the week. (Two per word) Place all of the cards upside down. Each player flips over two cards and reads the words aloud. If the words match, the player keeps the pair. The player with the most matches wins. *If you child has A LOT of words to learn, start with just a few and then add more to the memory game as they become more comfortable with the words. Your child will be extremely frustrated if they have 20 cards in the game and they can't read any of them, so start simple.*
8. Hopscotch
Great activity for preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade
Grab some chalk and make a hopscotch board in your driveway. Fill in the week's sight words, and have your child hop across while practicing the words. While you are outside enjoying the weather, let your child decorate the sidewalk or driveway with all of his or her sight words. 
9. Hide & Seek Sight Words
Write the weekly sight words on sticky notes. When your child is not looking, hide the words all over the house! After you hide the words, let your child loose to go find all of the hidden words. For extra practice, your child can write the words after he or she finds them. This game is so easy and endless fun! 
Great sight word activity for parents to try at home
Tip: Collect found words on a clipboard.
10. Printable Board Games
I love this editable game from Playdough to Plato. It's FREE! I love that you can type in the words that you want on the game board. So cute and fun for practicing new sight words. (If you don't have a TpT account, you will need to sign up to download the freebie.)
11. SWAT Game
Write all of the weekly sight words on index cards. Grab a fly swatter. Yes, a fly swatter. :) Call out one of the words. As quickly as possible, your child SWATS the word with the fly swatter. Silly fun! If your child is struggling with ALL of the words, just start with 2-3words. Add a few more words as they become more familiar with the words.
12. Sight Word Password
Sight Word Password printable
Kids love secret passwords. Use this love of passwords to help learn sight words. Pick the trickiest word of the week and make that the "password." Write it on a big piece of construction paper and post it somewhere in your house that gets a lot of traffic (i.e. the bathroom, the fridge, the pantry...). To enter the pantry, everyone in the family must read the password. Hearing Mom, Dad, and older sister say the "password," as well as looking at it and making a connection with it throughout the week will help your child remember it as well. Remember, it's about exposure, repetition, and practice.
Password Poster printable- for sight words
If you are a teacher, please feel free to share the link to this blog post with parents in a weekly e-mail, class newsletter, during Parent Teacher Conferences, etc. Please e-mail me at if you have any questions.
If you would like to download the sight word cards I used, visit my TpT store.
Dolch Sight Word Cards and lists by grade level
12+ Easy and Fun Sight Word Activities for Parents, Homeschoolers, and K-2 Teachers
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