Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made-It+ Flash Freebie!

Whew!  This has been a very busy week.   I am glad I had the chance to get so much stuff done since I go back to school on Monday (the kids come on the 19th)!  Unfortunately, most of the stuff I got done was things like running errands so I don't have much to show for Monday Made IT with 4th Grade Frolics! However, I did get a few cute things made this week.  Check them out below!

Name Sticks


I plan to use these name sticks to assign class jobs in my library pocket job chart.  You could also use name sticks like these for attendance sticks or choice sticks. 

To make these sticks, I just printed out the circles on a piece of card stock.  After I cut out the circle, I used hot glue to attach them to popsicle sticks.  Rather than writing student's names, you could also write or type student numbers on these sticks to make them reusable year after year.  Go here to print out the circle template and make your own name sticks.

Flash Freebie!

I also got a chance to make some new products for my TpT store this week. 

I finished these alphabet posters in chevron, stripes and polka dots.

And I finished these matching labels packs in chevron, stripes, and polka dots.   The best part is they are editable!

Flash Freebie!

And last but not least I put up these Word Wall Headers in polka dots and chevron (also included in the matching classroom labels packs).  The polka dot word wall headers will be free for the next 24 hours as a thank you for following my blog!  Please leave feedback on TpT.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Monday Made It- Paper Medallion Fan Table Signs

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made-It to share these fun table signs I made. I love the way these signs add color to my classroom. You can use them to label table groups, or centers areas. You can also just make these fans without labels to use a super cute decorations!

Here is what my fan looks like before I put the label on: It would be a super cute to just use it plain for decoration!

Here is how the signs look hanging in my classroom:
To make your own paper fan signs you will need:

 -5 sheets of 8.5x11 paper for each fan in a color of your choice
 -White glue or hot glue (both work fine but I prefer hot glue)
-A single hole punch
-String or yarn for hanging

1. First make accordian folds in each of the five pieces of paper. For a slightly larger fan fold the paper horizontally (this works best for using the fans as signs) for a slightly smaller fan fold the paper vertically. I fold mine horizontally so I have room for a bigger label in the center of my sign.

 2. Now, fold each of the folded pieces of paper in half. Add glue (either hot or white) to the middle of the fold and press the two sides together. Your paper should now look like "pie slice."

 The finished "pie slice:"

3. Next, glue the edges of your "pie slices" together to make a circle.  I found it easiest to glue the slices together when they are smashed together.

 Here is what my fan looked like when all of the "slices: are glued together before I glued the last edge to complete the circle:

 4. If you wish add a label to the middle of your paper fan. When hung from the ceiling these fans will spin, so I added a label to both sides of mine. Go here to print the table labels I used for free! Glue the label onto the center of the fan.  If you are labeling both sides of your fan make sure that the labels face the same way!

5. Punch a hole in the top of your fan and add string for hanging.

 That's it!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Blog Name!+Sale

You may have noticed my blog is no longer called Sweet Little Things.  I made the change from Sweet Little Things to Teaching in the Primary Grades because I felt the new title would make it easier for readers to understand what kind of content I offer.

To celebrate the new blog name I am having a 20% off sale for the next four days!  Everything in my TpT store is included in the sale!  Click the picture below to be taken to my TpT store.

Friday, July 19, 2013

New School Year's Resolution

The new school year is getting closer and closer!  I am excited for the new year to start but sad that my summer seems to be over so quickly.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about what things I want to focus on improving in the next school year (its a long list).  So, I am linking up with 3rd Grade Theatrics to share my resolution with the blogging world. 

I have lots of things I would like to improve in the coming school year but I decided to focus on two main resolutions so that I can focus on them and hopefully make a lot of progress towards them. 

My first resolution is to have increase the amount of positive notes I send home to parents.  I tried to send home as many positive emails as possible last year but when things got busy it fell to the bottom of my to-do list.  I am excited that my school is requiring me to send at least one positive parent email per month this year because it will help me make this a priority.  I hope to send home one positive email a month along with some less time consuming positive notes such as the ones below I found on Pinterest.
I especially love the behavior bracelets! I think they are so cute and the kids would be so proud to wear them.

My second resolution is to work to create a stronger community among my students and promote kindness in my classroom.  Next year I will be teaching a classroom of all girls so it will be especially important for me to ensure that all the students in my class feel safe and are able to learn.

I plan to accomplish this resolution a couple of ways.

First, I plan on reading Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud in the first week of school. This book tells students that everyone carries and imaginary bucket.  This bucket is our self esteem or how we feel about ourselves.  When people are kind to us, they help to fill our buckets.  When people are mean to us they "dip" from our bucket.

 I love this book because it really makes students think about how they feel when someone is mean to them.  It helps students to realize that their peers feel the same way as they do when unkind things are done to them.  Additionally, this book give students ideas of how they can "fill the buckets" of those around them by doing things such as smiling, including those who are left out and complimenting others.  I plan on referring back to this book frequently through out the year.


Second, I plan on assign a "Kindness Recorder" as one of my class jobs each week.  The job of the Kindness Recorder will to watch for acts of kindness among the students of our class.  When the Kindness Recorder spots an act of kindness they will talk to the student who completed the act and say: "I am adding a marble to the class bucket because you_____."  The Kindness Recorder will then put a marble in our class bucket.  We will have a special class activity when our class bucket is full. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Liebster Award

I just found out I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Rachel over at A Tall Drink of Water (I love her blog).  I have seen this award around and I am thrilled to be nominated. 

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, what is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

Here are the rules: 

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you

2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers

3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator

4. Share 11 random facts about yourself

5. Create 11 questions for your nominees

6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

My nominees are:
1. Randi at Teaching 5th-8th
2. Brittany at Excelling in Second
3. Jessica at Wild and Fun in Pre-K
4. Heather at Learning With Mrs. Langely
5. Courtney at Mrs. Mcbride's Kinder Cakes

11 Questions for my nominees:
1. Why did you decide to be a teacher?
2. What do you like to do to relax?
3. What is your favorite grade to teach?
4. What is your favorite thing about teaching at your school?
5. Where would you go on your dream vacation?
6. Why did you start blogging?
7. What is your favorite book?
8. What are your hobbies?
9. If you could meet anyone from history who would it be?
10. What is your best teaching tip for new teachers?
11. What is your funniest teaching memory?

Questions from Rachel at:   A Tall Drink of Water

1. How long have you been teaching and what grades have you taught? 

This upcoming school year will be my second year teaching.  Last year I was blessed to teach second grade and this year I am excited to teach first grade.

2. What was the best concert you attended?

Rush!  They are my favorite band and are definitely the best concert I have been to by far.   I am excited that I get to see them in concert again before the summer is out.
Image Source:
3. What is the one thing you must do before going to bed?
I always have to take some time to decompress or I won't be able to stop thinking about my latest project and actually get some sleep.  

4. What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I love all the great restaurants in my area.   I am especially a fan of several Brazilian restaurants that are near my home. 

5. Do you have any pets? If so, how many and what kind?
I have a husband does that count?

6. How did you think of your blog name?
I had a hard time coming up with a blog name.  I thought for a while and finally decided to try to think of a name that describes my students (the reason for teaching after all) and I came up with Sweet Little Things.

7. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Chocolate-in large quantities.
Health Benefits of Chocolate
Image Source:

8. Where was your favorite vacation?
I love traveling so its hard for me to choose a favorite vacation.  However, I will have to say that I loved getting to travel to the Caribbean.  I love the beautiful blue water and the chance to just hang out on the beach and swim in the ocean. 

9. Where did you go to college?
BYU-Brigham Young University
Image source:

10. What's the funniest thing a student has ever said to you?
Where to start?  My class last year cracked me up everyday.  One of my favorite quotes from last year was on the first day of school one of my students came up to me and said: "From far away you looked like a midget."  (I am only 5'3").  I thought it was so funny and laughed about it all day.

11. What is one thing you cannot live without?
My Family!  I love them all so much and I cant imagine life without them.

11 Random Facts
1. I will be teaching a class of all girls this year.
2. I love reading YA novels.
3. I have never broken a bone.
4. I want to learn to speak Portuguese.
5. I have two younger siblings.
6. I love making products to sell on TPT.
7. I could eat cereal and toast every day.
8. I love to try out recipes I find on Pinterest.
9. I love shopping for school supplies even when I don't need any.
10. When I was in elementary school my class was in an earth quake while we were on a field trip. Every time I take my class on a field trip it crosses my mind as  my worst field trip nightmare.
11. I hate seafood.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Made It- Deco Mesh Wreath + Check Out My Classroom

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It this week.  I am so excited to share one of my favorite things I have made for my classroom next year- a Deco Mesh Wreath.  I love the impact this wreath makes in my classroom and it was so easy to make.  I loved how the one in my classroom turned out so much, I decided to make another one for my sweet little cousin's sixth birthday.

To make your own wreath you will need:

  • 3-4 rolls of 21 inch wide Deco Mesh (also called Decorative Floral Mesh). I bought some of my mesh at Hobby Lobby, but they did not have all of the colors I wanted to I also bought some on Amazon here.Note: I only used 3 rolls of deco mesh for the wreath I made for my classroom and I had just enough to make it look full. 
  • 1 Wire wreath form (the one I used was 16 inches)
  • Chenille Stems (aka pipe cleaners)

1. First cut a strip of mesh about 10-12 inches long using the entire width of the mesh roll.  You don't need to measure just get a length close to 10-12 inches.  With the longest side of the mesh strip facing you, roll the mesh into a tight roll and pinch in the middle.
2. Roll 3 more rolls of mesh in various colors. I use a heavy object to hold down the mesh so it doesn't unroll while I cut and roll more mesh.

3. Gather a group of 4 rolls and pinch in the center.

4.  Using a chenille stem, wrap the rolls together tightly.  Leave the ends of the chenille stem free to attach the rolls to the wreath form.

5. Attach the bundle of rolls to the wreath form by twisting the ends of the chenille stem around the wires of the wreath form. Don't worry if you can see the chenille stem on the front of your wreath at this point.  After you have attached a couple of bundles to your wreath the chenille stems will no longer be visible from the front.

6. Continue adding bundles to your wreath until the entire wreath form is full. Once your wreath is complete you may want to tighten some of the rolls by rolling them around your finger.

I also spent a lot of time at my school this week working on getting my classroom set up for the next school year. I am nowhere near being done, but here are some pics of what I have done so far!  Everyone in my school is moving classrooms this summer.  As such, I didn't even have all of the furniture I needed in my room until Friday.  I finally got a teacher's desk and a kidney table moved in from elsewhere in the school. 

My cute hubby loves using his camera.  He used is panorama function to get this shot.  the walls are still so empty!

This is my new job board!  I still have to make sticks with the students names on them to go in the pockets.

Last but not least are my classroom rules!  I plan to post these as a freebies on TPT later this week.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mystery Student

Last year I recognized students as "Stars of the Week" by giving them posters to decorate and present their posters to the class along with a show and tell item from their home.  However, I frequently forgot the send the posters home (and the students even more frequently forgot to bring the posters back to school).

This year I decided to try a new idea I adapted from what one of my co-teachers did in her class last year  to recognize students in my classroom - having a weekly "Mystery Student."  Each week a student is secretly designated to be a mystery student.  The teacher emails the student's parents advance to  inform them that their child will be the Mystery Student and for help in generating 5 clues that will help the class learn about their child (look below for a sample questionnaire). Only the teacher and the parents know the identity of the Mystery Student.  I love this idea because it is a surprise to the student who is being recognized so it makes it that much more exciting!

Each day I will give a clue about the mystery student to the class.  The students are left to ponder the clue and who the mystery student might be for the rest of the day.  I start with the most generic clues (i.e. their favorite color is blue) so the clue applies to the most number of students.

After I read the third clue on Wednesday, I will allow 3 students to guess who the mystery student might be. If the students guess correctly, the mystery student is revealed.  If the class does not guess the correct mystery student, they must wait to guess again after the clue is read the next day.  If the class has still been unable to guess the mystery student by Friday, I reveal the Mystery Student to the class. The Mystery Student is offered the chance to bring an item for Show and Tell the following Monday.

Below is a sample of the questions I plan to send home to parents to help develop the clues about each week's Mystery Student.  I ask more than 5 questions so  I have some flexibility in the clues I use each week.

1. What is your child's favorite color?
2. What is your child's favorite food?
3. What is one of your child's special talents?
4. What does you child want to be when they grow up?
5. What is your child's favorite book?
6. What is your child like about school?
7. Is there anything else you want to share about your child?

Graphics in the post from: