Easy Christmas Card Display

Hang your Christmas cards in a high traffic place in the house- the pantry- so you can enjoy holiday wishes from family and friends throughout the Christmas season.
Recently, a friend and I were talking about the best (aka easiest) way to display Christmas cards. Over the years, I’ve tried wreaths and trees purchased from the store, but they are bulky, and do not hold many cards. I’ve also tried channeling my crafty Pinterest self and using ribbon and clips. It was always a lot of work and not as cute as Pinterest. For the last few years, I’ve simplified my Christmas card display and absolutely love it.
Super simple and adorable way to display Christmas cards that won't cost you a dime!
I asked myself…what’s the most high traffic area in the house? Where is a place where these beautiful cards will be seen throughout the day?
THE PANTRY, of course!
Cute and easy way to display Christmas holiday cards!
I hang the cards on the pantry door using blue painter’s tape. It comes off easily, and I can create a fun collage in a place where we will see all of our friends and family throughout the day. I put the kiddos’ friends at their eye level. The only real downside of this display method is that you can only see one side of the card. My friend texted me a picture of her Christmas card collage last night. SO CUTE!
Great idea for displaying Christmas cards
The same friend and I were talking about what to do with the Christmas cards after the holiday season. We KNOW how much time, energy, and money went into creating the perfect holiday card. It’s a shame to throw them in the trash come January, but what are you going to do with all those cards?
What to do with Christmas cards after Christmas

Here’s my solution. Use your iPhone to take a picture of the main picture on the card. Then use this photo in the person’s contact information. I love having pictures of all of my people, and I love seeing their darling family photo when they call. It’s a special way to treasure the photos on the cards without having to save all of the cards.

Letter Stockings: A Twist on the Letter Bag

A twist on the traditional Letter Bag...the Letter Stocking! Perfect for December & the week before Christmas!
Most primary teachers have heard of "The Letter Bag." The teacher sends home the letter bag with a student. The child's job is to fill the letter bag with items from his or her home that begin with the letter on the bag... usually the letter of the week. One little rule: The items must fit in the bag. When the kids start looking, they find so many toys and household items that begin with the letter. It's a mix of a scavenger hunt and a show and tell activity. What's not to love? 
For the month of December, use a Christmas stocking for your letter bag. Check out all the fun things my preschoolers found for letter S.
Fun alphabet/phonics activity for the month of December- The Letter Stocking
This activity could also work for classes working on digraphs or consonant blends.
Activity for teaching digraphs and free printable
/ch/ was a yummy digraph to search for... Cheese, Cheez-Its, Chair, Chocolate Chip cookie, Chicken, Cheetos. If you need a letter to send home to parents to explain the activity, head on over to my TpT store and download it for FREE!
Fun alphabet and phonics activity for the month of December for preschool and Kindergarten and 1st grade
 Letter Stockings are also a fun activity for homeschoolers or for parents who want to engage their little learners on a cold, December day! My boys are 3 and 4.5, and they thought this was the best scavenger hunt ever. #momforthewin
December Letter Stocking Alphabet Letter/Sound Activity

Christmas Math Activity

Christmas math activity for 1st grade
December is a crazy, busy time. We need centers and activities that are FUN, engaging, and EASY to set up. It won't take you long to get this one ready.
Math Facts and Fact Fluency with an easy activity
Here is what you need to make a fun & easy math center for Christmas:
1. Mini stockings (I found these at Walgreens, but I've seen them at Party City, Dollar Tree, & on Amazon.)
2. Red & green craft sticks/popsicle sticks (Dollar Tree)
3. Sharpie
4. Stickers or labels
I happened to have these snowflake stickers laying around so I wrote the numbers on the stickers and stuck them to the stockings. If you don't have any stickers that would work, you could hot glue or staple a piece of paper to the little stockings.
Christmas counting activity for preschool and Kindergarten
Preschoolers can use this idea too. Let students wear a Santa hat and deliver the right number of presents to each stocking by simply counting out the sticks and putting them in the stockings.
Christmas math activity for students
To differentiate and make the activity more challenging, mix subtraction facts in with addition facts and division facts in with multiplication facts. Have fun & Merry Christmas from TheHappyTeacher!
Fun-filled and engaging learning activities for December
Need another math center activity for December? Check these out...
Christmas math center for Kindergarten and 1st grade 

Christmas Math & Literacy NO PREP Printables

Fun learning activities for preschool December
I've been busy working on math and literacy printables for PreK and Kindergarten, and I finally got them posted. These are perfect for the month of December for morning work, math centers, literacy stations, homework, or for a substitute. They are also great to send home with students during the 2-3 week winter break. My preschoolers have been asking for more Christmas "homework." Jack especially loved painting ornaments on the Christmas tree with a Q-Tip. It was great for fine motor skills, counting, and number recognition.
Kindergarten Christmas printables and activities
Check out the full preview on TpT. Merry Christmas!
Preschool and Kindergarten math and literacy activities for Christmas

Letter to Santa FREE Printable

Letters to Santa: FREE printable writing template for December
My boys and I just finished up our Letters to Santa. They were very excited to tell Santa what they wanted. You can download this template for FREE in my TpT store. It's a great writing activity for Kindergarten & 1st graders, and a great chance for shared writing with younger kiddos. I added a picture of my kids so I could put it in their memory books, but kiddos could also draw a self-portrait in the space.
Letter to Santa writing activity
 I've included the Letter to Santa template in color and black/white.
December writing center: Letters to Santa
Letter to Santa FREE printable template: December writing activity

Christmas Tree STEM Activities

December Christmas tree sight word activity
Last week, I posted some pictures on Instagram of my kiddos stacking and building Christmas trees with green plastic cups ("Solo" cups). They had so much fun trying to create the tallest tree, the widest tree, a circular tree, measuring their height next to the tree, and crashing the tree towers down. Ha.
Preschool fine motor skills for December and Christmas
 Not only is this STEM activity great for fine motor skills, it's super cheap too! I found a pack of 84 off-brand cups at the grocery store for $3.99. I also bought some name brand cups, but they were a bit more expensive and not as many came in the pack. Sight words and fluency with math facts are two important concepts that need to be reviewed constantly. This Christmas Tree building activity is perfect for reviewing sight words and/or math facts in centers or the week before Christmas break. The kids will love it, and it's easy to prep.
Christmas STEM Activity with plastic cups
Once you find your plastic cups, you can use a Sharpie to write directly on the cups. Another option is to print the sight words or math facts you want students to practice on Avery labels. I happened to have some of these circular 2.5" labels leftover from another project, but if you don't have round labels, standard mailing labels will work great too.
Christmas tree sight word activity
Fun and easy multiplication practice
December Christmas math activity for third grade
As students build the tower, they will have repeated exposure to the sight words and math facts they are reviewing. You can have students read them aloud, or for some added accountability, have them write the math facts in their journal.
Math Christmas tree activity- the perfect center or math station activity for December
Merry Christmas, friends!
Still need to write letters to Santa? Download FREE template here

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

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.

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.

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!
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