Read Across America Day Treats

I love Read Across America Day! One of my favorite parts of the day is the special treats that I make for my own kid and for my students. Check out some of our yummy snacks and treats to celebrate one of the greats.
Here is Jackson's Read Across America Breakfast from last year. Truffula tree (yeah, yeah, it looks like the the coconut tree from another beloved book), pink yink ink (strawberry milk), Cat in the Hat hat, and of course, Green Eggs.
And here is his special Read Across America Day lunch from last year. It features Green Eggs and Ham (with a PB&J train), Cat in the Hat cheese, a Cat in the Hat hat made of strawberries and bananas, and candy melt-covered strawberries (Thing 1 and Thing 2.) A little "Pink Yink Ink" to wash it down and we were golden.
At school, we feasted on Green Eggs and Ham and Pink Yink Ink. I used to make Green Eggs and Ham like this every year, by hard-boiling eggs and then sort of pickling them in a food-coloring and vinegar solution.
Only the bravest of my students would partake. So last year I wised up and made these!
You just need pretzel squares, white candy melts, and green M&M's for the center (I had green candy melts last year so that's what I used in the picture. Just put the candy melts on top of the pretzels and place in a 200 degree oven for about 4 minutes (until the white melts start to soften) and then pull them out of the oven and press the M&M's into the white. Easy Peasy, and everyone wants to enjoy them!

Do you make special treats for Read Across America Day? Please share!


St. Patrick's Day Classroom Activities and Freebie

St. Patrick's Day will be here before we know it! Check out some of our St. Patrick's Day festivities, and then snag a freebie for your classroom!

You know that I am hooked on directed drawings. We do one every month and I think that it is time well spent. We draw it together and they color or paint them with a parent volunteer or even during indoor recess if they choose to. The skills they've learned from their directed drawings have transferred over to their stories and I love it! This one was a freebie from First Grade Blue Skies.
We made these adorable shamrocks to decorate our classroom. You could use cut paper or have your students rip the paper and call it a fine motor activity. :)
My sensory bin scavenger hunts are a favorite in my classroom! Just adding new theme words adds a ton of excitement, but I like to change up the filler too. This year, I added rainbow-colored rice. They love hunting for the words and just feeling the rice!
Here is a sample of my Easy Peasy Printables for St. Patrick's Day. I love the option of having some no-prep activities that I can use for fast finishers and independent practice.
St. Patrick's Day Write the Room is in full swing. I love to grab little glasses from the Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot for the students to wear when they do write the room. It automatically makes it 10 times cooler! 
Now, for the freebies! Do you have a pocket chart station in your classroom, or are you looking for an independent activity your students can do during literacy stations? This pocket chart sentences freebie is great. Students order the sentences (which are color-coded) and then they use the recording sheet to write and build the sentence. Click HERE to grab it!
Now, for a math freebie! My students love this little math station. They roll the cube, and use play doh to make that amount of gold coins on the left. Then, they roll again and make them on the right. The students will then add them together and write the total. 
Click on the picture to snag it!



We're teachers--we love our jobs! But everyone knows that teachers have their share of challenges. So I compiled ten #teacherproblems that resonated with me. If you teach elementary school, they might speak to you too. Because if you are a teacher, then you'd better have a sense of humor!
Source: Instruct and Inspire

Been there? The struggle is all too real. But I bet you wouldn't trade it for anything!


10 Ideas for Indoor Recess

It's winter. It's cold outside. We're stuck inside for recess and my students are climbing. the. walls. It was time to overhaul the indoor recess routine (I guess giving them free reign of the classroom wasn't working anymore). So I took to Facebook and Instagram to ask you about your favorite indoor recess activities, and I compiled your responses with some of my own to give you this list!
1. GoNoodle
If you don't know about GoNoodle yet, go visit them right now! This is a free website that is filled with interactive songs, games, and workouts to get your students moving. It's also great for brain breaks and has quiet activities like Yoga for when you want to wind down. The indoor recess megamixes are my favorite!
2. Cardboard Boxes
Seriously. Do not ever throw away another cardboard box. Give your students markers, masking tape, and paper and you will be so impressed with what they come up with! This is best done in smaller groups, so you will need several boxes.
The book Christina Katerina and the Box is the perfect book to read with your students to get their creativity flowing.
3. Easy board games
Easy board games are great. My favorite are the 5.00 pop-up games you can get at Five Below and other stores. Connect Four, Guess Who, and Candy Land (the new version uses a spinner and no cards) are great too. 
4. Cleaning the Classroom
I'm not kidding. Any time I pull out my broom I automatically have five kids bombarding me asking to help. I quickly realized I can use this to my advantage during indoor recess. Run to the dollar tree and invest in some spray bottles, cleaning cloths, and buckets. All you need to do is put water in the spray bottles! It teaches them real-world skills and they love it. 
5. Magformers
These are great for building all sorts of amazing structures. Boys and girls alike will beg you to pull these out. They are expensive, but if you build up a collection over time or hunt for yard sales, they are well worth the money.
6. Play Doh
Play doh is my favorite thing in the world. I use it as a math manipulative, for alphabet practice, word work, and science. We even use it to make maps in social studies. But the thing students want to do most with play doh is PLAY! Whether you make it or buy it, play doh is the ultimate educator's tool. 
7. Adventure to Fitness
Adventure to fitness is another great site to project to keep your students moving. It's free and it even comes with common-core aligned teacher guides!
8. Bring-From- Home Bags
One Facebook reader has her students bring a bag from home of their own toys to play with on rainy days. Think stuffed animals, Barbie Dolls, action figures, etc. Oriental Trading has inexpensive tote bags that you could use for this, or do it BYOB (Bring-Your-Own-Bag!)
9. Coloring Books
Does your class love to color? Dollar store coloring books are a huge hit for the younger grades during indoor recess. But now that adult coloring books are all the rage, why not pick up a couple for your older students? They average around 5.00!
10. Get Crafty
Save those toilet paper tubes, old CD's, and egg cartons. Students will love the opportunity to be creative. Or provide yarn and tube-shaped noodles that your students can make necklaces with. 
I hope some of these ideas will work in your classroom. Did I miss something great? Tell me your favorite indoor recess activities below!


Mardi Gras Classroom Activities

Looking for some fun Mardi Gras activities for your classroom? I've got some great ideas to share right here!

All you need for this is some dried rigatoni or any other tube-shaped pasta. Use food coloring and a little rubbing alcohol to dye the pasta. Then your students can string them and you've got a perfect mardi gras necklace!

What better way to get your students excited about Mardi Gras than to have a delicious king cake snack! Check out this recipe from All Recicpes. Bonus points if you stick a little plastic baby in it!

Of course, it's not a mardi gras celebration until you have the masks! You can create your own out of cardboard and have your students jazz it up using stick-on jems, feathers, and glitter! My Mardi Gras pack on TpT has printable masks and hats that your students could simply color, or really jazz up using the materials I just mentioned.
Do you have Pandora access in your classroom? Try streaming some Jazz! I personally like to YouTube "Mardi Gras Music for Kids" and play through some of the various videos uploaded there. The kids really get into it, and it makes great background music for while they are decorating their masks!

My Mardi Gras Activities Pack is on Teachers Pay Teachers, and it has lots more activities that you can incorporate into your classroom festivities. It includes puzzles, an emergent reader,  puppet templates, write-the-room, and more!

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