Getting to the Core

write_a_class_bookBy now your students have a nice handle on some basic writing skills.  If they are wee-ones, you can brain storm some ideas during Circle Time and write sentences on the board for them to copy.

 Have students TRACE the sentences and then complete the rest of the sentence by WRITING in their thoughts on the lines and then drawing and coloring the page to match it.

 I've designed 3 booklets for you to choose from, or make it a week-long writing activity and do one every other day.

Laminate the pages and then bind the books.

 They make a wonderful keepsake for your new students to read year after year.

 Make the class books even more personal and special by running off a copy on the photo setting of your printer of your class composite and have each student glue their school picture to their page as well as sign it.

Click on the links to view/print a copy of each one of the end-of-the-year class books.  These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things... Class Book,   In The Summer I Like To...Class Book, Whew! It's HOT! Class Book or if you like them all, print with one click June Class Books.

You may also want to check out the FREE Easy Reader for this month entitled: My Summer Senses. It's a great way to review your study of the 5 senses.

If you're looking for another Easy Reader fill-in check out: The Colors Of Summer.

It's a nice review of the color words and includes flashcards, skill sheets, and a certificate of praise. When my students are done, we read the booklets as a whole group to reinforce concepts of print.

I take the children outside and read their class books under a shady tree while they slurp on a well-deserved popsicle. 

Happy writing, sharing and reading!

summer_stripThe year is winding down, students have nailed the standards, temperatures are getting warmer (finally!) and vacation is just around the corner, so I wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

One of my readers e-mailed me this wonderful Beach Party idea and gave permission to share her name and ideas on the blog.  I thought they were so cute; perfect timing too, incase any of you want to throw a luau or beach party. Here's what she had to say:

Hi Diane I enjoy reading your blog and thought I would pass along some ideas I use for my classroom at the end of the school year that are a hit with my kindergarten students in Den Haag [The Netherlands]
We celebrate the end of the school year and beginning of summer by having a "beach party."


- I decorate the classroom with beach things, most of which I have either in the classroom or at home, and the rest can be purchased at a Dollar Store.
- Use beach towels as tablecloths or to sit on during reading time/circle. etc.

- beach party at school, end of the year fun activitiesWash Frisbees, flip over and use as plates for snack.
- Have inflatable beach balls, sand, water and seashells in a texture table
- Lei's (from The Dollar Store) for prizes
- I have a CD of whale songs and we go "whale watching" at the beach.


- Make blue Jell-O with gummy fish mixed in. (Use clear plastic cups so that you can see the fish:)
- We also have "Seaside cupcakes." Frost each cupcake with vanilla/white icing.
- Sprinkle yellow sugar on one half to create the “beach” and blue sugar on the other half to create the “ocean.” (Or use blue icing to make the ocean)
- Open and insert a parasol into each “beach.”
- Attach a gummy bear with a dab of icing onto a life saver “raft” and place onto the blue “ocean.”
- Eat snack outside (weather permitting) and sit on our beach towels

goodnight_moonAt the end of the school year I read Goodbye House and Goodnight Moon.  The children are encouraged to draw things they would like to say goodbye to, and then during circle time we talk about what each child drew, and that it's okay to be sad and miss all of the things we did during the school year.  

Just thought I would share. Danku for all of your ideas. I hope you continue throughout the summer as we get ready for the fall.  Katja Zeldenthuis

Thank YOU Katja for this wonderful idea, and I WILL be continuing to design things through out the summer. 

salute, Happy Memorial Day I'm working on all sorts of fun science things, The solar system and outer space, weather, more things on seasons, nocturnal animals, insects, some more mini offices, + some geography things to name just a few. 

These were all requested by more than one person so they are a top priority.  Then there's a house to clean, all the usual teaching stuff to organize and sort, gardening, a new puppy, family and grandchildren to enjoy and love, well you know...and the summer is gone before you can say Happy Memorial Day weekend!  Stay Safe.

Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, Sweet Summer Dreamin' Pillowcases

Another fun project I like to do with my students at the end of the year I call "Sweet Summer Dreamin' Pillowcases."

Just about every month we have practiced the art of stamping something with a foam stamp. 

I have collected them through out the years to use for our science units.  They make fun art projects and are great for math extensions as well. 

My Y5's self-esteem is also built, because the process is quite easy and the results are simply smashing.  They pat paint on a foam stamp and then press it onto paper and a lovely print of something is left. 

They make beautiful collages, paintings and patterns and are quiet proud of their projects. They have become quite skilled at this technique. 

Instead of doing an autograph book, I thought it would be fun for my students to autograph a pillowcase that they have stamped with all of the various foam stamps, depicting everything they have studied throughout the year.  This  makes a wonderful keepsake for them. 

I send a letter home to parents asking them to send in a plain, light-colored pillowcase and ask if they would be able to volunteer to help. 

I've found that having 4 helpers makes the process go faster and stay organized, but I've done it with only one daddy as well. 

One year I asked several 5th graders if they could come and help during their study hour when I was short on parents and they worked well with the little ones too. 

They all had been my Y5 students so that made it extra fun as they even remembered doing the project when they were little! 

I do this project on the floor in our entry hall atrium so that the children can spread out.  Lay plastic down in case of spills.  There are very few, but The Dollar Store plastic tablecloths make clean up a breeze.  I put 5 children in a row and make a large square. 

painted pillowcases, autograph art, end of the year projects, Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, keepsake artInsert a piece of tag board (I recycle them each year) inside of their pillow case so that the paint does not bleed through.  I write their name in large print on the edge of their pillowcase. 

Painted pillowcase, autograph art, end of the year projects, Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, may artI buy primary and pastel colors of the acrylic permanent paints that are only .59 cents at a hobby/craft store and spill a dollop of one color on a paper plate.

That paper plate, a foam brush and a stamp is given to a helper who pats the paint on the stamp and hands it to a child, they press that stamp anywhere on their pillowcase and then wait for the next stamp. 

We rotate all of the stamps in this assembly line fashion until everyone has done every stamp and every color. 

This takes about 45 minutes if I have help.  Afterwards, the children go wash up and they go outside for recess. 

When they come back in the paint is dry.  We flip the pillowcases over and everyone is given a permanent marker. 

I have 10 different colors. I remind them that they cannot rest the markers on the pillowcase as they will start to bleed into the material and run. 

I also tell them that it is hard to write on fabric so that they need to hold the fabric taught.  I demonstrate this as I "autograph" a pillowcase. 

Everyone signs their own pillowcase first, then they stand up when they are done so that I can see when everyone is finished; when everyone is standing, they move to the next pillowcase and sign their name; when they are done, they stand up again. 

We do this until they are back to their own pillowcase and have signed everyone's.  Make sure you remind them that they are writing THEIR name and "autographing" eachother's pillowcases. 

I had one little guy who was trying to write each person's name on the pillowcases instead of his own! 

end of the year ideas, activities for the end of the year, ideas for the last week of school, activities for the last week of school, In the beginning I had the children sign the fronts of the pillowcases where the stamps were, then a mom thought it would look nicer, since the children wrote so big, to sign the backs!  I've done it that way ever since. 

I don't paint the backs of the pillowcases, because the paint is scratchy when it dries. 

I type up a little note about washing directions which reads: When your child brings their pillowcase home, turn it inside out and toss in the dryer on high .  This will set the paint.  Wash in cold water on gentle cycle for years of wear.  Sleep on the side that is not painted.  I hope you enjoy your sweet summer dreamin' pillowcase and that it helps you to remember all of the fun we had learning and making these wonderful friends!

I've gotten lots of positive feedback about this project, and my students absolutely love making these pillowcases.

back to school bulletin board, apple bulletin board, august bulletin board, bulletin board ideas for back to schoolbulletin board ideas, bulletin board ideas for back to school, dinosaur bulletin board, bulletin board ideas for August, September bulletin board ideas,Bulletin Boards For Back-To-School

This time of year is a little more relaxed for me.  My students know the standards and we've come a long way. 

We're winding down, and many of you, like me, might even be counting down the days with your students.

I do this via a paper chain that's been hanging up in our classroom all year and is changed each month.  Click on the link to view/print one. Monthly paper chain.

Some of you may be looking for a few fun things to plug in.  One thing that my students enjoy is making two of my in-class bulletin boards for my new students. 

Let's face it, summer zips by and before you know it, we're all back in the classroom.  My list of "to do" things is miles long. 

Although I really enjoy decorating my room and starting fresh, it's often extremely hot in August so if I don't have to put up a few bulletin boards that's a wonderful time saver.

We study apples and dinosaurs for our science units in September, so those are the themes of the two bulletin boards. Even if you don't study apples & dinosaurs these make nice "Welcome" boards for you to put up for the first week. 

The dinosaur bulletin board's caption is: Have A Dino-mite Year! Each dinosaur egg says: "I'm wishing you a dino-mite year in Young Fives!"  The template simply says: "I'm wishing you a dino-mite year!"

For the Back-To-School Apple bulletin board I cut out a large red heart and put a large yellow apple in the center with the words: "Can you find your new kindergarten friend in the cafeteria?"  I've made templates for you that say: Can you find your new preschool/kindergarten/first grade friend?

When I take down the bulletin boards, I give each of my new students an apple or dinosaur.  My Y5's have the same lunch and recess times as the kindergarten students do; once I make sure that these students still go to our school, the cafeteria helpers and I help them find their "new older friend". 

Last year's students have signed their name, and their photo is also on the apple or dinosaur.  

The K's enjoy talking with the "little one's" about Y5's and feel special and "mature", the Y5's have a blast hanging onto their apple or dinosaur and looking for the matching kindergartner who made it for them. 

It's an adventure and a nice win-win for everyone, especially me who didn't have to spend a day dreaming up, making and putting up two more bulletin boards in my hot classroom!

If you can't close your blinds over the summer, or if someone else is using your room, make sure you cover your boards with paper so they don't fade or get messed up. 

If you'll be moving, simply keep all your pieces in a manila envelope so they're ready to staple them on the board and you're all set! You'll be glad you took the time now and thanking yourself when summer's over and you're in "hurricane-mode" trying to get everything done!

Click on the link to view/print the masters. Dinosaur-Apple Back-to-School Bulletin Boards.

pet parade, end of the year activities

End-Of-The-Year Fun

One of the extra-fun things I like to plan for my students at the end of the year is a pet parade.

I’m allergic to animals so having them bring them in for Show and Tell Time was something I couldn’t do.

However, I realize the importance of a pet in a child’s life and wanted to allow them to share this important family member with their classmates, so I dreamed up the end-of-the-year Pet Parade.

Because the weather is wonderful in Michigan at this time of year, it’s the perfect time for an outdoor event and then the animal’s dander, fur, feathers and fluff don’t  bother me. 

Here's How I Plan My Pet Parade:

  • pet paradeIncase of rain, the parade is moved to the next day and if we’re rained out again, it’s simply cancelled.  It hasn’t happened yet!

  • In advance, send a note home to parents telling them about the event and inviting younger siblings and family members.  Click on the link to view/print the Pet Parade Letter Home.

  • I also invite the preschool and kindergarten classes to come make a line down the parade route and join the fun.   Click on the link to view/print the Pet Parade invitation.
  • It lasts about 7 minutes from start to finish, with time afterwards for children to sit with their pet and have students walk by to pet the animals and ask questions.

  • You can videotape or take photographs and then add it to a PowerPoint presentation for your Open House the following fall.
  • If a child does not have a pet, or if their pet is unable to attend, I send home a red construction paper heart.

  • They can draw or cut pictures out of a pet they would like to have, or glue photographs of their pet that could not come.  Click on the link to view/print the pet hearts.
  • They carry the hearts in the parade so no one feels left out.  I alternate the heart-carrying children with the real pets walking in the parade.

  • I also keep cats away from dogs etc.  Everyone is reminded to bring things to keep their pets under control and clean up after them.
  • In the past we have had wonderful participation and very interesting pets.  Everything from a pony and goat to a goose, mouse, lizard and chicken!

  • I plan our parade for the last thing in our day, so that after the parade parents may take their child home.  I’m usually left with only half an hour left in my day and 1 to 4 children.
  • Click on the link to view/download the entire Pet Parade Packet.

  • arthurs_pet_business, pet paradearthurs_puppy, pet paradeThe children are extremely excited before the parade, so to calm them down, I turn off the lights and show the video Arthur’s Pet Business.  Click on the link to view it on YouTube.
  • Arthur's New Puppy  is also on You Tube.  This link has both part one and two on it.  We do other pet-related things that day as well.
  • We graph if you have a pet or not, and what kind of pet students have.  Click on the link to view/print the pet graphs.

  • I read several stories about pets as well.  My Y5's enjoy the Biscuit and Clifford series.  Biscuit Wants to Play is a great "I Can Read" book that involves this adorable brown puppy making friends with two kittens who'd rather chase a butterfly.  They get caught up a tree and Biscuit rescues them. 
  • Clifford's Kitten and Clifford's Family are also great follow up books.  Oh The Pets You Can Get, by Tish Rabe, as well as Caring for Your Pets, by Ann Owen are also nice "pet" reads.  

  • I also give certificates of participation to everyone.  Click on the link to view/print  the Pet Parade certificates.

standard poodle puppy, pet parade, end of the year activitiesblack standard poodle puppy, pet parade, end of the year activitiesDreams Come True:

As I stated earlier I’ve been allergic to animals all of my life. Wanting a pet has been a life-long desire.

Only recently, did I discover through my daughter Kelli, that I was not allergic to Poodles!  She has a Standard Poodle named Sadie.

We watched Sadie for several weeks while my daughter was on vacation and I just fell in love with her.

My husband felt it was time I became a pet owner at long last, so we now have a sweet little puppy named Chloe.  She's tucked into my daughter's jacket on the right photo. 

pet activities, pet parade, ideas for pets, end of the year activities, ideas for the end of the year, ideas for the last week of school, activities for the last week of school,In celebration of her, I wrote the easy reader Puppy Love.  As with all of my "easy readers", it includes flashcards and a certificate of praise.

Click on the link to view/print it.

I’ve also included a cute little ditty about dogs that someone sent me.  The author is unknown and I revamped it a bit, now that I’m learning all about being the wonderful recipient of “puppy love.”

I wish you many wonderful end-of-the-year “winding-down” moments filled with special times like Pet Parades and of course lots of L-O-V-E!

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