Name Ornaments Keepsake Craft

1-2-3 Come Make A Name Ornament With Me

I'm not sure about your kiddos, but as the last day before vacation neared, I could sense the energy levels climbing.  To help them stay focused, I always tried to do a few hands-on "craftivities" that my students would really enjoy, but also wanted to include standards to keep the administration content as well.

With that in mind, I designed the Keepsake Name Ornament packet.  It's a quick, easy & fun Christmas ornament that helps reinforce your students' names, letter recognition, vowel identification, capitalization, graphing, counting and addition!  Woo hoo!

This would be a wonderful center on the last day before vacation, or a special "craftivity" to do for your Christmas party day.

I've included upper as well as lowercase letter tiles that your students trim and glue to a strip of construction paper.  I used red & green, but just one color looks nice too.

While children are at lunch or recess, laminate your students' completed projects and have a room helper cut them out, punch a hole at the top & add a yarn tie.

Gluing on a school photo makes them even more special, and even though the ornament spells their name, have them write their name and the date on the back.

For some math fun, I've included two point value charts, so your students can practice a bit of addition, by adding up the point value of their letters.

Use the chart with point values to 4, with younger students, and the chart with numbers to 26, for older students. Because their total will be large, have children figure out the place value of their name using this grand total.

There's an ornament worksheet to record their answer, along with other data, so that you can review consonants and vowels as well.  Students can color this ornament, or simply run off on a variety of colors of copy paper.

Vowels are also reviewed, with a graphing extension. There's a graph for the total number of letters in your students' names too.   As you can see, I've packed in all sorts of math extensions in this simple ornament "craftivity".

To add to the fun, I've included a "secret" coded Christmas message that you can challenge your students to solve.  Students refer to the point value poster to figure out what the sentence says.

Make it a "speed" game, and see who can decode the message first. To save you time, I put two on a page for quick printing, and included an answer key.  Click on the link to view/download the Keepsake Name Ornament activities.

Thanks for visiting today.  As always, my December days fly by.  I've got to get to the post office today or my family in Wisconsin, won't get their goodies in time for Christmas.  Wishing you a stress-free day.

"May voices join with the multitude of the heavenly host to proclaim His glory. May hearts be filled with His everlasting song of joy and peace this Christmas season."  -Unknown

So Long Summer; Hello School Year Writing Prompt Craftivity

1-2-3 Come Do Some Back To School Writing With Me

Here's a quick, easy and fun writing prompt for back to school.  Completed projects look awesome dangling from the ceiling, swirling and twirling as they wave so long to summer, and hello to a brand new school year.

Even if you've already started back, summer's not technically over 'til the first day of fall (September 23rd) so you can easily incorporate this craftivity into your writing block, or Daily 5 activities.

Give students a variety of construction paper-color choices, to trace their hand and arm on.  They trim and cut out.  Run off the writing prompt rectangles.  I've included templates for preschool through 8th grade.

Students color and complete the prompt, using words and phrases about things pertaining to their summer, as well as the new grade that they're in.

Younger students can do this with the help of their parents at Open House or Meet the Teacher Night.  If you don't have one, tuck the activity in their backpacks for a nice home-school connection.

Students glue the summer prompt to the front of their hand, and the school one, to the back.  For a bit more pizzazz, children can draw on polished fingernails and jewelry.  (I used a flat-backed rhinestone to make a ring.)

Be sure and make a sample of your own to help explain what you want your students to do.  This is also an interesting way for them to get to know you a little better.

I've included my writing samples, so that you can easily make an example if you don't have time to make one of your own.

After students share, punch a hole in a finger tip, add a yarn tie and suspend from the ceiling.  Your caption could be "High Fives For Wonderful Writing."

I didn't dangle these samples from my ceiling, but you can get an idea from the photo, of how colorful and really cool your students' completed projects will look.

Thanks for visiting today.  It's pouring outside my window, giving me a sleepy kind of feeling --the perfect day for doing all sorts of crafty things, or perhaps snuggling into a good book.  Wishing you a relaxing day.

"Believe you can and you’re halfway there!" -Unknown

End of the Year or Back to School Activity

1-2-3 Come Make A Butterfly Keepsake Frame With Me

As I stated yesterday, despite the fact that summer has yet to be officially launched, I am enjoying designing back-to-school stuff.  As long as I was putzing, I thought why not blog about these new items.  I figure even if some sane teachers are truly on vacation, they can catch up later and scroll to their heart's content, hopefully getting some new ideas that will get them excited to go back.

My grandsons' last day of school isn't 'til this Friday the 20th, so if you too, are still in school because of those dreaded snow day make ups, perhaps you can even use this activity now.

As a good educator, one should not have the proverbial "teacher's pet" but realistically, every year there are always a few adorable students who become favorites.  Even though you treat all of your kiddos equally, those children leave heartprints that become fond memories forever.

Sweet little Jenna is one of mine.  Thoughts of her, as I type, make me smile.  She was so quiet and shy, and bravely tried to fight those first-day of school tears.  I confided to her mom that she came to me a tiny caterpillar, and by the end of Y5's she had blossomed into a lovely butterfly.  Her mother agreed that Jenna had truly come out of her "crysalis" shell and wasn't afraid to fly!

She was my inspiration for this keepsake frame.  I hope you enjoy making them with your students and that they tug on a few heartstrings as mommies tuck them away.

The reason this is a back-to-school item, even tho' you'll be doing it at the end of the year, is because you need to make copies of your students' first day of school photographs.

It's something that most early elementary teachers do, especially if they make an end of the year memory book.  Simply make double prints to save for later, and do a photo shoot of some sort for a last week of school picture as well.

When I designed my sample, I didn't have any photographs to put in it, so I surfed the web and found "Ho ho" on Crystal's  Little Bit Funky site.  She was kind enough to give me permission to use her son's pictures in my butterfly frame.  Click on the link to check out her helpful blog.

To make a butterfly frame, run off my templates on a variety of colors of construction paper.  There are two on a page for easy printing.  Trim and fold them in half.  Students cut out the X-d sections and then glue their pictures behind the wings.  Mount on a complementary color of construction paper.

If you think that this type of cutting is too difficult for your kiddos, have a room helper cut the butterfly frames ahead of time.  Even young children should be OK to cut the leaf, caterpillar and flower out.  They glue these to their frame.  Students or a teacher can print the "First day of ________ ... last day!" portion on the wing sections.

For that finishing touch, I added a paper punch butterfly.  To make it 3D, I used two butterflies, gluing the thorax of the top one to the thorax of the bottom one, and then bent the wings up, so that the butterfly looks like it's flying.

Click on the link to view/download the Keepsake Butterfly Frame.  Thanks for visiting today.  Feel free to PIN away.  That's how I found adorable little Ho Ho!  Until next time, rest, relax, repeat!

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." -

"Tree-mendous" Year Writing Prompt Craft

6 pages.

This packet includes a writing prompt craftivity for your current students to make for your next year's students. "You'll have a 'tree-mendous' year in ____________" (Fill in your grade.) as well as a 3D keepsake tree that they help create by tracing their hand (to make branches) and their arm (to make the trunk).

Writing Prompts For Next Year's Students From Your Current Ones

1-2-3 Come Do Some Interesting "Craftivities" With Me

Congratulations!  You're heading down the home stretch.  The first and last month of school arrive quickly and seem to be the most hectic.

One of the things that helped me check a few more things off my "to do" list, was several "Welcome Back To School" activities and bulletin boards that my current students made for my next year's kiddos.

This served a dual purpose, as it gave my Y5's something to do when I was running out of ideas for make up snow days, plus accomplished decorating and making a few things, so I didn't have to do them by myself come August.

Here's a photo of my completed apple back to school bulletin board, with a close up of my sample.  I made sure that all of these children were still in our school before I passed out the apples to my kiddos.

Since Kindergarten and Y5's had the same lunch hour it was fun for them to look for their older new friend.  Simply use any apple dicut.  We ran ours through a crinkle machine.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to design several things that your current sweeties could make for your incoming kiddos, as well as a keepsake for themselves if you wanted to do the entire packet.

The "Tree-mendous" Year craftivies include the writing prompt: You're going to have a "tree-mendous" year in ______ grade, where   students cut and color a tree and then flip it up to reveal their message to the new student.  What a nice surprise for them to find on or in their desk, on the first day of school.

The packet also includes a tree that they help design by tracing their hand (fingers spread to make the branches) plus part of their arm (which becomes the trunk).

The caption here is: I had a "tree-mendous" year in __________ grade.

The treetop is 3D as students cut out two, fold them in half and then glue one side of them together.   Add some red circles (apples) to the flat side and have students write some of their very favorite things, people, and places that revolved around that grade.  Add a photo for the finishing touch.

Another option, with the same idea, is The "Bee-utiful" Year packet.  Students make a bumblebee out of a toilet paper tube using yellow construction paper, black electrical tape (stripes), cupcake liners (wings) and a pipe cleaner (antennae).

I've included a bee pattern with a face drawn in for them to color, or they can use the oval and design their own.  Add wiggle eyes for a bit more pizzazz.

Students complete the writing prompt page that says: I'm wishing you a bee-utiful year in __________.  Here's the buzz about what you'll learn and then roll it up and insert it inside the TP tube.

For an easier writing prompt, I've included 2 bookmark options that can also be rolled up and put inside the bumblebee, which say: "You'll have a great year bee-cause..."  or "My favorite things about 'bee-ing' a first grader:" (Fill in the blank with your grade level.)

Along the same lines, is the larger bee craftivity, where students make a big bee with wax paper wings and complete the writing prompt: "You're going to have a great year 'bee-cause'"... in a little apple booklet that they glue to the bee's tummy.

This makes a sweet back-to-school bulletin board as well.  A caption could be: What's the buzz about kindergarten?

When your own students have time to get some work done for their own bulletin board, take this one down and give everyone a bee.  Click on the link to view/download the "Bee-cause" packet.

Thanks for visiting today.  Feel free to PIN away.  If you'd like to see some more end-of-the year activities, click on the link to zip on over to June to grab even more FREEBIES.

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." -Muhammad Ali

Valentine Activities III

1-2-3 Come Do Some More Valentine Activities With Me

I had a special request from Iesha, in Michigan, for some 10-frame cards with hearts on them.  Since this was also on my "to do" list, I got right to it.

All of the new 10-frames packets include extra tiles, so that students can use them as manipulatives to make groups/sets to match the number on the cards, sort the tiles or pattern with them.  Click on the link to view/download the Valentine 10-Frames packet.

1-2-3 Count Valentines With Me compliments the cards, as this easy reader booklet is based on a 10-frame and covers all sorts of standards.

Students read, trace and write the numbers and number words, circle the number in the sequence, dot that many spots on the 10-frame, then cut and glue the appropriate picture showing a group of that many.

The new "Count With Me" booklets, also have students add end punctuation to the simple sentences.  Each packet also includes several worksheets. Click on the link to view/download the 1-2-3 Count Valentines With Me packet.

When I'm diddling around designing, an idea sometimes happens because of the adorable graphics done by really creative artists, like Laura Strickland (mycutegraphics) and DJ Inkers

Why Do I Like You?  Let Me Count The Ways... was one of those ideas. D.J. Inkers clip art of a  little boy and girl holding a huge heart, simply begged to be filled with something.

When I taught high school, my students enjoyed a variety of poetry that I shared with them.  How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a personal favorite.

I thought this would make an interesting writing prompt for students. Just incase you'd like to share the original poem, I've included it in the packet.

Instead of love, I substituted the word like.  Students can choose to complete the prompt for someone they are close to, or to promote friendship and build self-esteem within your class, have students choose a classmate.  Students write things they like about that person, or things that person does that they like etc.

To jumpstart your students' creative minds, make one about your best friend, sister, brother, husband or wife to share as an example.  I've also included a bookmark in color, that teachers can fill out for each student.  Write the child's name on the heart and then list a few things of why you enjoy having them in your class.  Click on the link to view/download the How Do I Like Thee? Valentine Writing Prompt packet

I didn't have much time to design more valentine crafts this year, but I did want to make a few valentines that your kiddos could make and take home to their families.

Moms especially LOVE the cute "paper love" keepsakes that their child makes at school.  With that in mind, I designed the "Blow A Kiss!" keepsake card.

The original idea came from "Life Is Sweet."  She painted her baby's hand and pressed it on some paper for grandma and grampa.  Here's my version:

Run off my template on white construction paper, or for more pizzazz, print it on regular copy paper and then have students trim and glue their card to their favorite color.

Students pick a partner and take turns tracing each other's hand.  For PK kids, have a room helper do the tracing and cutting.

Draw a little tab at the base of the palm, so that the hand has a "hinge" and then cut out.  Glue the hinge to the back, of the bottom of the card, so that it flips down, to reveal the sentiment.

I made a page of lip tiles (kisses), so that students can glue their "kiss" to the middle of their flopped over hand.  For that finishing touch, add a school photo and some glitter.  Click on the link to view/download the "Blow A Kiss" Keepsake Valentine Card.

Another quick valentine craft is a simple positive-negative reverse picture.  My Y5's were always amazed when they folded the half-heart template, cut on the solid line and then unfolded a whole heart!

Most of them didn't even realize that they were cutting a heart out, and I didn't spoil the "surprise."   I loved their excited exclamations over this scissor "magic."

Turn this into an interesting writing prompt for older students:  "Half of me enjoys _______ and half of me enjoys ____________."  I had a lot of fun writing a sample for you that will help to explain the lesson.

For more pizzazz, I cut my photo in half and arranged it on my "heartwork."

To get in some keyboard practice, have students write their rough draft, and then type up their final copy and mount it on construction paper.  Completed projects make an awesome February bulletin board.

Thanks for visiting.  Feel free to PIN away.  I hope you have a simply spectacular Valentine's Day

"The educated differ from the uneducated, as much as the living from the dead." -Aristotle