Teach With Me

teaching common core standards, common core standard upper and lower case letters, chicka boom activities, chicka boom ideas, chicka boom booklet, first day of school activities, back to school activities, first day of school ideas, back to school ideas,

Using Chicka Boom Boom To Help Teach A Common Core Standard

You might have noticed that any item in the shopping cart, that has to do with learning the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet,  now has Common Core RF:K.1d in the description.

I ran off a copy of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Kindergarten and First Grade and am going through each standard and then finding all of the items on my shopping cart that will help teach that standard and labeling it with that standard.

teaching common core standards, common core standard upper and lower case letters, chicka boom activities, chicka boom ideas, chicka boom booklet, first day of school activities, back to school activities, first day of school ideas, back to school ideas,Since I have so many items that help teach upper and lowercase letters, I thought I’d start there.

I hope teachers will find this helpful.  I also want to make positive affirmation cards for you, as well as take a crack at assessments and certificates when students pass the standard.

I plan to work on this each day throughout the summer.  I feel there is a real need out there for this information, as there are only a handful of states that haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and teachers don’t have enough time to prep all of this.

I hope to have the shopping cart cataloged by the end of summer.  It would be so helpful, if you are downloading an item, because you find it will be helpful for a specific CCSS, and you see that I don’t have it marked, if you would please take a moment to shoot me an e-mail and tell me what standard you are using it for.

If everyone would do that, who is using items for CCSS, I could get this job done so much faster, and everyone would benefit! diane@teachwithme.com

It’s a bit labor intensive for me, because there are no standards for Y5’s, so I never had to worry about them.

I’ve been spending lots of time doing research online learning about Common Core and picking my teacher friends’ brains.  Anyway….thanks in advance.

One of my hottest downloads that teach CCSS RF:K.1d is my Chicka Boom Activities packet.

This packet is great for the first week of school and a fun way to help your students learn about their classmates, as you include their photo on the coconuts and write their names in alphabetical order in your first class book!

I LOVE the Chicka Boom books; they were certainly a favorite read aloud for my students, and are perfect for back to school.

teaching common core standards, common core standard upper and lower case letters, chicka boom activities, chicka boom ideas, chicka boom booklet, first day of school activities, back to school activities, first day of school ideas, back to school ideas,Click on the link to view/download the Chicka Boom Activities packet.

Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything you think others may find helpful.

"Dear teacher.  I like to talk to everyone, so moving my seat won't help."

More Fun With CVC Words

As promised, here is another creative way to get CVC words into your students' heads! Play BINGO with them.  I’ve made up 9 sets of word cards with 20 different cards in each set, using 225 CVC words.CVC bingo cards, CVC word cards, CVC word list, CVC ideas, CVC activities, CVC lessons, CVC games, CVC certificates,

CVC bingo cards, CVC word cards, CVC word list, CVC games, CVC certificates, CVC words, CVC ideas, CVC lessons, CVC activities, teaching CVC words, Here’s what to do:

Run each set off on a DIFFERENT color of construction paper. This way you can tell that those color cards deal with a specific set of  25 words.

To give your cards more pizzazz, add a star or smilie sticker to the center “free” space.  The stickers you choose for each set could also vary.

Laminate and cut out the cards.

Make an extra white set to cut into pieces.

There are 25 words per set.  Because of the FREE space, there are only 24 words used on each card.

Glue the white pieces onto the matching color construction paper for each set of CVC Bingo cards.

These pieces will be the cards that you draw so that students can put their “markers” on their bingo cards.

Keep the pieces in Snack Baggies.

Put the matching Snack Baggie in a file folder with the matching set of CVC bingo cards.

Each week play with a different set of words.

Dried beans are an inexpensive “marker”.

CVC bingo cards, CVC word cards, CVC games, CVC word list, CVC certificates, CVC lessons, CVC activities, CVC flashcards, CVC ideas, teaching CVC wordsOther fun things to do with the cards:

Run off an individual page (two cards per page) to send home with each child so they can play at home with a parent.

Child can cut up one card and play with the other.  The object here is simply to look for the word and put a marker on it, filling up their entire card as a great review of those words.

Another fun game to use the cards with:

CVC bingo cards, CVC word list, CVC certificates, CVC lessons, CVC ideas, CVC letter tiles, CVC activities, CVC games, CVC word cards, teaching CVC wordsPlay “Cover & Match”. Run off a set of words on two different colors of copy paper.

CVC certificates, CVC word cards, CVC lessons, CVC activities, CVC games, CVC bingo cards, CVC ideas, CVC certificates, CVC word list, teaching CVC words, CVC word flashcards, Laminate the paper and cut out the words.

Put the set of colors in two different Snack Baggies.

Children choose a partner and take turns rolling a dice.

If they roll an even number they get to take a CVC word tile out of their bag, read it and find the matching word on their bingo card, which they cover with the tile.

If they roll an odd number they lose their turn.You could also play that if they roll an even number they get to place 2 CVC word tiles on their bingo card.  If they roll and odd number, they get to place 1 CVC word tile on their bingo card.

To make things even more interesting, you could add that if students roll a 6, they have to remove 1 of their CVC word tiles from their Bingo card.

Top it all off by awarding certificates.  I've included 2 kinds. CVC certificates, CVC bingo cards, CVC games, CVC lessons, CVC activities, CVC ideas, CVC word list, CVC word cards, CVC games

Take a few seconds and register, so you can print or download this 101-page FREEBIE. Afterwards...

click on the link to zoom to the shopping cart to view/print/or download.

If you're already registered, or a subscriber, simply login and click on the link CVC Bingo Bonanza

More CVC Stuff...

If you missed the previous blog article with 338 CVC word cards and more ideas, simply scroll down to check it out!

As always, if you have any ideas you'd like to share,  I'd enjoy hearing from you. diane@teachwithme.com

I design a lot of things around what my readers and subscribers need help with, that's why I went to work on CVC words, so if there is something you've been searching for, or need help with, feel free to contact me about that too!

Awesome October Fun!

Math Extensions:

apple_pumpkin_venn_diagram, october art activities, apple pumpkin graphs, Comparing & Contrasting apples and pumpkins via a graph and Venn diagram:

If you’re like me, one of your science units in September was probably apples.

I take my students to an apple orchard in October that also has a huge pumpkin patch.

My students enjoy a tractor-pulled hayride out to the fields to pick out our class pumpkin and we get a chance to review what we learned about apples as they pick 3 different kinds in the orchard.

I thought you’d enjoy comparing the two fruits with a Venn diagram and seeing which is your students’ favorite.

My Y5’s have already graphed which color apple (red, yellow or green) they liked best, as well as compared apple juice with apple cider.

To enjoy a pumpkin, I give them each a tiny square of pumpkin pie (some have never tried it!) as well as a taste of roasted pumpkin seeds.

Once they’ve sampled both kinds of fruit, I graph which one they liked the best.  Every year the apples have gotten the most votes.

apple and pumpkin posters, october activities, apple lessons, pumpkin lessons, apple graphs, pumpkin graphs, apple and pumpkin posters, apple lessons, pumpkin lessons, apple graphs, pumpkin graphs, comparing apples and pumpkins, apple and pumpkin Venn diagram, october art activities, It might be because they enjoy that fruit in a huge variety of other ways or because quite a few of my students do not like the pumpkin pie.   

Click on the link to view/print the apple-pumpkin graph and Venn diagram to see how your students do.

I do my initial Venn diagram on the floor with two hula-hoops, picture cards, and sentence strips, so I’ve made you an apple and pumpkin poster-card, if you want to try that fun Venn diagraming method with your students.


counting pumpkin, pumpkin lessons, apple lessons, apple graphs, pumpkin graphs, comparing apples and pumpkins, apple and pumpkin Venn diagram, skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's and 10's, counting booklets, skip counting booklets,


Jack-O-Lantern Counting:

Your students will have fun making this plump pumpkin, tracing and sequencing the various number cards and stapling the mini booklets to the appropriate pumpkin part. 

What a fun way to review a variety of math standards.

My Y5's have counting by 1's and 10's as a standard, but I've also included 2's 3's and 5's. 

Choose whatever is appropriate for your students, run the masters off on yellow and green copy paper, and you'll have a handy reference tool for your little "punkins"!

Click on the link to view/print the pumpkin patterns.


crow booklet, crow lessons, october lessons, pumpkin lessons, apple lessons, apple and pumpkin comparisons, apple and pumpkin Venn diagram, apple graphs, pumpkin graphs, crow lessons, crow booklet, october lessons, pumpkin lessons, apple lessons, apple graphs, pumpkin graphs, comparing apples and pumpkins, apple and pumpkin Venn diagram,Great Learning is something to CROW about!

So I designed a black crow where you can key in information your students are learning, on the wing-pages of the bird. 

You can also use my fast-bird-facts if you want.  I've also included skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's and 10's for a fun way to review that standard, or have students write down spelling words, word wall words, or math equations etc.

Buy a bag of black feathers at a craft-hobby store and add some extra pizzazz by stapling one to the outside of the wing. I used a glue dot and stuck a wiggle eye to my crow for that special 3-D look. 

You can staple the pages or attach then with a brass brad.

Click on the link to view/print the crow patterns.  If you'd like a fact sheet on crows and an answer as to what's the difference between crows, ravens and black birds, click on the link to view/print my crow fact sheet.

For your convenience I've put October Arts & Activities from 2010 right after this article so you can scroll down for even more ideas!

I also have other October FREEBIES available: 16-pages of Spider Stuff, 23-pages of Pumpkin Art & Activities in book I and 42-pages in book II, + Leaf Activities, and finally, Halloween Stuff.

Click on the links to check things out.

Looking for more?  I have entire units on pumpkins, leaves, bats, fire safety, acorns, candy corn, scarecrows and spiders! 

Why not become a subscriber and be able to download the entire shopping cart for an entire year at no additional cost.

I wish you a howling great time with your little ones!


October is the perfect time to collect “fingers”! Yes, fingers; the rubber or plastic kind that children or adults can put over their real fingers!

You can find a nice assortment during Halloween time: monster, Martian, witch and skeleton fingers are some of the most popular.


reading fingers, october reading ideas, reading ideas, reading tips, Why Fingers?

I keep a few sets on hand so that my students can slip one on their pointer finger, to make reading extra fun anytime, but especially during this magical month.

It’s an entertaining way for your students to “follow along” as children popcorn around the room, taking turns reading aloud.

They make pointing to the correct object, shape, equation etc. during assessments, less intimidating and more enjoyable as well.


witch fingers, reading tips, reading ideas for octoberWhere to Find Them:

I found a bag full of 24 glow-in-the-dark creepy fingers at Michaels Crafts for only $2.99.  Watch for their sales or print a coupon online.

reading fingers, reading tips, reading ideas for octoberMy Dollar Store carries plastic fingertips in blue or red all year long.  The nail polish is an added bonus and gets thrown in my prize box.

Martian fingers, reading tips, october reading ideasOriental Trading has some great Martian and monster fingers and the bony skeleton ones can be found at most party stores!


What To Do:

A goofy finger sitting on your students’ desk is a spooky surprise during this fun-filled month.  What a great way to introduce a reading lesson.

You could also reward your students after they have finished their Table Top lesson and let them choose one out of your pumpkin basket to keep, so they can practice at home.

I have a creepy bowl that’s fun to fill. A hand that is attached to the bowl, grabs down as it feels movement.  The bowl says “Thank you. Happy Halloween.”

I demonstrate what’s going to happen, so as not to freak out my Y5’s, but my older students enjoyed being “scared” and touched by the hand.

It’s just another exciting day in Mrs. Henderson’s haunted classroom.


Follow Along With These Booklets:

Why not have your students make some of these adorable October reading booklets. When everyone is done, don those fingers and read them aloud as a whole group!

The FREEBIE of the month is The Flame On My Candle, perfect for your Fire Safety studies. Also free is, Pumpkin on the Vine, which helps your students read and write, as they enjoy cutting and gluing the matching pictures to their booklet.

I have many booklets on spiders, pumpkins, scarecrows, bats, black cats, fire safety and Halloween.

ABC Haunted House, october reading, october booklets, october reading tips, reading tips, Simply click on the link and choose from a wonderful assortment to get your students excited about learning to read. October Booklets

One of my very favorites is ABC Haunted House

I hope you found this tip helpful.  If you have an idea you’d like to share, I’d enjoy hearing from you! diane@teachwithme.com

I wish you a fun-filled fall

leprechaun, behavior management for March, getting students to behave, St. Patrick's Day ideasLeprechaun Lessons As A Behavior Management Idea

As a fun writing-geography extension for March write a class letter to the leprechauns in Ireland.  The last few days of February as I’m tearing a paper chain off our calendar chain, I ask my Y5’s if anyone knows what a leprechaun is? 

Sometimes one or two do and I let them explain to the class about this mischievous creature and then show them a map of Ireland, their flag, a picture a house in Ireland and of course what a leprechaun might look like. Click on the link to view/print these things.

We discuss “real and pretend” and I ask them if they’d like to write a class letter and send it to the leprechauns, inviting a few of them to our state. We tell them a little bit about our state and ask them if they'd like to come visit our classroom and stay to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us. 

It’s always a unanimous yes.   Click on the link to read my letter and activity sheet to see if you’d like to follow that format, or guide your students and compose your own.

If you’re a subscription member and would like to follow up with a cut and glue activity sheet like this, e-mail me what state you’re from, and I’ll send you the clipart rectangles for your state so your students can do this too.  Because I’m from Michigan, this is already done.


The Leprechauns Write Back!

I let a day or 2 pass by and then I announce to the children that we’ve received a letter from the leprechauns! Click to view/print.  My students all know that we are just playing a game, but it’s amazing how excited and involved they get with the imaginative play!

On the 1st day of March, or their first day of school in March, (This year it falls on a Tuesday) my students arrive to find each of their chairs tipped over!  Could this be the work of those mischievous leprechauns?  Hmmm we look around the room and someone spies a little pile of gold glitter and a leprechaun card.

Buy a large jar of gold glitter to add to the fun.  I use this like Tinker Bell’s pixie dust and sprinkle a little bit where the leprechaun’s have left a mess, sort of as a signature of them being here.  I also leave their “calling card” like visitors did during the Victorian times.  My students think this is great fun.  Click on the link to view/print some leprechaun calling cards. I laminate these so that I can use them every year. You can write whatever message you'd like on them.

There is no leprechaun on the first day, but on the second day there is a challenge note on the board or you could put this in your morning message, daring the children to find him. I use the leprechaun much like the Elf On The Shelf for Christmas.  He’s in a different hiding place each day, or moving around during the day, if you want to fuss with it more often; keeping an eye on your students to see that they’re behaving.


leprechaun, behavior modification for March, how to make students behave, St. Patrick's Day ideasWhere's The Leprechaun?

We have 12 days of school this year, before St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th, so I write: Leprechaun’s G (12 letters) on the board after I read the leprechaun’s challenge note to us. This is the "secret message" that he's talking about.  (The G stands for gold. If I have more days than 12 I'll spell out gold.) He challenges us to work as a team to earn the letters. Decide with your class how this can be accomplished. i.e. great behavior, completing work, lining up quietly, etc. 

If your class can earn all of the letters above, he will share his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  We of course accept his challenge. You can have your students sign a contract, write back, or answer his challenge in their own letter.  Click on the link for samples.

Each day the leprechaun is sitting somewhere new. My students are excited to look for him.  They must quietly tip toe into the room so they do not scare him away and sit and look for him as they sit on our Circle of Friends carpet and wait for the announcements.

The first one to see the crafty little man gets a shamrock sticker, and tells us, using spatial direction words, if he’s above, behind, on, inside, beside etc. something.  They also look around the room to see what mischief the leprechaun has gotten into.   Sometimes this is obvious, sometimes less so; they really have to use their spying skills to figure out the nonsense.


leprechaun, March behavior modification tips, how to make your students behave, St. Patrick's Day ideasMischievous Leprechaun Ideas:

In case you need some ideas here’s a list of some of the things I have done in the past:

  • The computer is covered with a green pillowcase
  • All of the books on the shelf are piled in a huge tower.
  • Several posters are upside down.
  • I have a piece of clipart that I put in the center of my clock each month.  For March it is a shamrock.  One day the leprechaun takes the shamrock, replaces it with a leprechaun and puts a ridiculous time on the clock, like 5 O’clock!
  • He left us a message in green crayon on the bathroom mirror and took away the toilet paper.
  • He took all of the green crayons out of the crayon tubs on the desks and sprinkled them on the windowsill.
  • He took all of the dry erase markers and erasers out of the chalk sill, put them in a basket and left them on the reading rocker.
  • He took our laundry basket that holds our lunches and put it on our lunch table in the cafeteria.
  • He took our library book basket to the library on library day. (He was trying to be helpful!)
  • He left us a morning message in green marker.
  • He put a shamrock sticker on everyone’s name cards on their desks.
  • He left everyone a green M&M or Skittle on their desk.
  • He put all of their locker name tags upside down.
  • I have a shamrock number line that I put up on a thin rope with mini clothespins.  He has the numbers all mixed up each day.  I use it as a learning moment to have the children tell me using spatial direction words before and after, as well as ordinal numbers, first-second-third etc. to fix it.
  • He often steals a letter from our ABC border.
  • He took all the nametags out of the basket and replaced them with new shamrock nametags. (Not everything he does is naughty.)
  • One day I pretended that I couldn’t get the lights to go on.  I pretended to flip the switch.  I asked the children to please ask the leprechaun to behave himself and the lights went on.
  • One morning all of the garbage cans were upside down.
  • When the children came back from lunch we had green tissue paper covering the light squares on the ceiling.  This made for a cool lighting effect and nice decoration.
  • The children came in from recess when we have calendar time, and all of the numbers were upside down.
  • Their kitchen play area was moved to the opposite side of the room.
  • My rocker was behind my desk, and my desk chair was in the place of my rocker.
  • I have a lot of fun with this each night before I go home, or when my students are at exploratory, recess or lunch. I simply look around the room and think like a leprechaun!


leprechauns, March behavior modification, getting children to behaveleprechaun, March behavior modification, getting students to behave, St. Patrick's Day ideasSt. Patrick’s Day:

On St. Patrick’s Day nothing is out of order.  There is a green envelope taped to our white board with a shamrock sticker sealing it shut.  Inside is a note from the leprechaun congratulating us for our great behavior. Congratulations note. He lets us know that he’ll be leaving a rainbow trail that will lead us to his pot of gold.

While my students are at lunch-recess I attach one end of my variegated rainbow colored yarn to the entrance door that my students will walk in, and then unwind my big ball of yarn down the hall to my classroom. The other end is attached to the pot of gold that I place in the cafeteria.

My students tip toe behind me as we follow the rainbow yarn trail. I wind the yarn back onto my ball.  We by pass our room; go to our lockers and take off our coats and then follow the yarn to the cafeteria where we find two leprechauns sitting by their pot of gold.   Each student receives a gold coin.  Sometimes this is a plastic gold coin, sometimes it’s a bubble gum or chocolate gold coin.

I take it a step farther for a bit more fun.  There is a St. Patrick's Day card by the pot that we open.  A note inside explains that since they’ve been such good students they can continue to follow the trail to the end and collect some golden nuggets!  I pass out a large Styrofoam cup to the children and tell them that they must wait ‘til each child is in our classroom before they fill their cup with stones.   


rainbowFollow the Rainbow Trail to find golden nuggets:

In my classroom I sprinkle small rocks that you can buy at a Dollar, pet, craft or hobby store.  I sprinkle these on either side of the yarn.  I have spray painted 2 bags of pebbles gold and 2 bags I’ve left as regular stones.

To spray paint your rocks, put them in the lid of a large box and spray with gold spray paint.  Let dry in the sun and then flip them over to spray the opposite side.  Do this outside, as the fumes are toxic.  I also put the lid on some newspapers because the spray sometimes shoots past the box lid, especially if it’s a windy day.

I buy the 14K gold leaf spray paint as it covers well and really makes the rocks look like gold nuggets.  One can lasts a long time.  I use it for other projects as well.

Once everyone is assembled I say: “Ready-set-gold!” and the students go fill their cups.  Once they have filled their cup I have them sit on the carpet and sort their stones into two piles; one pile has golden nuggets in it, the other has plain stones.  Once they have done that, I let them choose 10 stones that they want to keep.  I give them a Snack Baggie to put them in and they write their name on the Baggie.

They help dump the stones into my Ziploc Baggies, we check to see that the room is cleaned up and they help me pack up the leprechaun, pot and the rest of the Rainbow Day Hunt materials.  As a counting review we count our 10 stones in English, Spanish, by 10’s to 100, and then backwards from 10-0 blasting off to take them to our backpacks in our lockers.  When they come back we discuss what their favorite thing about this activity was.



I bought the caldron pot 75% off after Halloween. The coins can be purchased at a party store and usually go on sale after Mardi Gras.  The green shred and leprechauns I bought after St. Patrick’s Day. You can also substitute Easter grass.  Oriental Trading also sells a lot of these items.

Even if you don’t choose to do all of the above, you may want to spray paint some rocks and use them for math extensions and games.  It’s one of my students’ favorite “memories” of the year. They often talk about this day.  The gold nuggets are a big hit with them and worth the extra effort.  It’s also a very inexpensive manipulative to make to have at hand for sorting and counting.

Whatever you do to add a bit o’ fun to your March activities

may Irish eyes be smiling!

What Can I Write About In January? 


January Writing PromptsJanuary is the Month of Resolutions.  Look that word up in the dictionary. Think of 2 or 3 resolutions that you will or won’t do this year and then explain why you will and won't do them.


January 1-7th is Celebration of Life Week.  Here are some ideas for that: Tell me in a paragraph why you are glad you are alive. Or… What do you hope to accomplish in your life that will make other people want to celebrate? Or… There used to be a show called “This is Your Life ______!” If you were on that show what would they say about your life thus far?


January writing promptsJanuary 2-8th is “Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week!”  Write about things that make you laugh, or an event or something that happened to you, that you and your friends are already laughing about.


January 8-14th is Universal Letter Writing Week.  Write a letter to anyone you want that is living or dead, famous or not, talking about something that is important to you.


January 9-15th is Home Office Safety & Security Week.  Since 9-11 things have really changed in our world. Do you feel safe at school?  Do you feel safe at home? Why or why not?  What things make you feel safe?  What things are being done to make you feel safe? What can you do personally to make yourself feel safer?


Janury 9-15th is International Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week. Have you ever ridden on or driven a snowmobile? Tell me about it.  If not, would you like to? Why or why not?   Or… What’s your favorite winter activity? Why?


January writing promptsJanuary 15-17th is Bald Eagle Appreciation Days.  This is our National Bird.  When our country was choosing one Benjamin Franklin argued that the turkey would be a better choice.  How would you have voted and why?  Or… The Bald Eagle was near extinction because of the use of DDT. Write about your thoughts on how so many species are endangered. What do you think can you as a student can do about this problem?


January 16th-22nd is International Printing Week: Do you read the newspaper? Why or why not? Do you think it’s important for young people to listen to the news and be informed?  Or…do you read magazines?  What are the names of them? Why do you read them?  Why are they your favorites? Or…Do you think printed “paper” material will eventually become nonexistent and everything will eventually be done on the computer online and we’ll become a virtually “paperless” society?  How do you feel about that?


January writing promptsJanuary 16-22nd is “Hunt for Happiness Week”.  Tell me about the things that make you happy and why. Or…write about the happiest day in your life.  Or…Plan an imaginary “Happy Day!” what would you include from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, filling it with all the things and people that bring you the most joy.


January 16th-21st is National Professionals' Week.  Tell me what you want to be when you grow up and why. Or…If you could have ANY job in the world what would it be and why? Or… If you could follow one professional person around for a week to learn from them, who would you shadow and why?


The Sundance Film Festival and the KidFilm Festival are the weeks of 20-30th and 22-25th. Tell me about your all-time favorite movie and why you like it so much.  Or…Who are your favorite actress and actor and why?  Or…if you could be a movie star, what kinds of films would you be in and why?  In the early days of Hollywood stars changed their real names. Would you change your name? Why or why not? What would it be if you did? Or...if you could be one of your favorite filmstars for a day who would you be and why and what would you do?


No Name Calling Week is January 24th-28th. Has anyone ever called you a name? Tell me about it? Have you ever called anyone a name? Do you think this is hurtful/harmful?  Do you think the nursery rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me!” is true or not? Why? Read the story Chrysanthemum. Tell me how you relate to that story or write a book review about it.


timeIt’s National Take Back Your Time Week January 25-29th.  If you had an instant replay button on your life, what days would you like to live over and why?  Or…Are you an organized person who manages their time wisely or do you procrastinate, wait to the last minute, and fly by the seat of your pants?  Are you happy with the way things are with your management of time, or does it stress you out?  How can you improve?  Do you want to?


soupIt’s Apple and Apricots Month as well as Artichoke and Asparagus Month. What are your favorite fruits and vegetables? Do you eat enough of them? What fruits and vegetables don’t you like?  Why don’t you like them?  What fruits and vegetables have you never tried?  Would you like to try them?


It’s National Soup Month! What’s your favorite mmm mmm good soup(s)? Why do you like it/them?  What soup(s) don’t you like?  What soup(s) haven’t you tried?  Would you like to try it/them?


Well it's January and we're smack in the middle of winter.  Do you like winter? Do you like the snow and chilly temperatures?  How do you feel about Daylight Saving's Time and it being dark when you get up?  Do you like winter sports and activities you can do outside in the winter better than other seasons?  Is this your favorite season?  Think about these questions and then write about how you feel about winter.  If you're not in a cold and snowy state, would you like to live in a place that has cold weather and lots of snow? Or perhaps you do live in a cold state, would you rather live in a warmer state that doesn't have snow?  Tell me your thoughts and....

 Happy Writing!

For more writing prompts, click on the link.  I've made a booklet that contains some for each month on a variety of topics!

Hi!  Welcome to my main BLOG!  I'm so glad you popped in!

If you look to the right you'll see some of the other categories to my BLOG!

  • Arts-Crafts & Activities offers several fun things to do with your children each month complete with patterns, directions and pictures.  
  • Books of the Month, lists a few of my all-time favorite childnren's seasonal-books and a newer realease with a lesson, activity, + how to jazz up your story time with this book. It also includes a few skill sheets, + a magic trick that I do! 
  • Hot Tips & Cool Solutions is just that, a bulleted check list of interesting information to help make your day run smoothly. The 1st three columns will start with September,  but I'll post in late August in time for BACK-TO-SCHOOL.
  •  Right now, Dishin' Up With Diane has a yummy recipe waiting for you to try. And...
  • Care To Share features a "Hot Topic" for discussion each month. August's is: How do you keep things organized? 
  • So don't forget to check out the TOP side-bar!

Also featured on the Main Blog's front page each month are:

  • Chuckles & Heartwarmers: Cute things my students have said. Hopefully they bring a smile to your day or warm your heart.  If you have a giggle from your classroom or home please take a moment to "grin & share it!" with us. Contact me at diane@teachwithme.com with the header: Chuckles. Thanks in advance. :-)
  • Quote: I used to write one on the board every day when I taught high school. The girls in my class often wrote them down in a special notebook. Often one of those quotes became the graduating classes' motto! Consider them the "Apple Seeds" on my site!
  • A Peek At Next Month: Give's you a sneak preview.  It's intent is to FYI you to get you excited about what's up-coming so you WANT to come back! I do this same thing with my Y5's. At the end of the day I tell them 1 or 2 wonderful things we'll be doing on their next day of school so they can't wait for another adventure in learning!
  • Freebie Of The Month: Your little ones will have fun tracing the basic shapes each month in this adorable booklet and then have a nice keepsake at the end of the year! This feature is simply my way of saying "Thanks for stopping! I appreciate you!" And thanks to my daughter Kelli who designed this sweet smilie button for me. Look for it in the shopping cart.
summer, teacher tips
I can't believe it's August!
Do you say that every summer too?

I hope you're having a super summer! I know many of you will be getting your classrooms ready for school in the next few weeks. I have some terrific tips to share in my September Stuff II where you can look at my handbooks and handouts and see how I do things with my Y5's. Hopefully this will give you some great ideas to add to your own, or be especially helpful if you've just landed a job.

You can also check out my decorating tips  and TWM 500 where a picture is worth a 1000 words. I like to keep things less cluttered by having my shelving units turned sideways and backwards. When someone enters the room things look nice and stream lined. They don't see lots of tubbies with "stuff" in them, but a slim side of a unit or the smooth back with a colorful poster on it! My tubbies are all the same size and only bright primary colors. This also makes things look neat and organized and less messy. Drawer units are nice to help little ones become perfect "picker-upper's"! Mine simply pull out a drawer or tub, dump it out, and when the timer rings, toss the things back inside. getting organized, open house, back to school

Some of you may even have your Open House in August like we do. I made mine extra fun by turning it into a Treasure Hunt! I send an invitation to my students to get them excited. They receive a list of 10 things to find like their locker with their name tag on it, their monkey on our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Welcome To Our Classroom bulletin board, and even me! When they find me they need to introduce themselves and their family. They get a strip of stickers to paste to their treasure map and when they've completed the list they can crawl through our wiggle worm tunnel, throw a coconut bowling ball at the pineapple pins, and go for a ride around the block on the school bus.

I have the "how to" including my letter home to parents, a cool countdown to class and my summer welcome letter to my students included at TWM 432. I hope it gives you lots of great ideas to get you and your children excited for this fall too! I've been doing The Open House Treasure Hunt for 10 years now with rave reviews from kids, parents, and other teachers.  Many of my fellow lower elementary teachers have also adopted it. It's an easy and fun way to generate excitement, dispel fears, and get children to find all the things they'd need to find on the hectic first day of school anyway.

After they've completed everything on their list they get their treasure, which is a treasure box filled with all kinds of goodies like school supplies, little McDonald toys that I've collected at garage sales all summer, stickers, candy, etc. including a crayon cake! What's a crayon cake? It's a great way to recycle broken crayons and makes a wonderful coloring or writing tool because when you use it, it makes things many colors! It's great for those fall leaf rubs!.Here's How:

  • To make some for your students, peel crayons and break them into small pieces.
  • Spray a large or small muffin tin with cooking spray like PAM so that the crayon cakes will easily slide out later.
  • Fill each hole to the top with multi-colors of the broken crayons.
  • Put on the bottom shelf of a pre-heated oven at 250 degrees.
  • Depending on your oven, bake for 15 minutes 'til the crayons are melted.
  • Let cool and then tip over. I leave my tins lying face down. Crayon cakes will plop out.
  • If they don't, run face down, so the tin is under warm water, but not hot or you will melt the crayons again. 
  • I've also put the pan in the freezer for a few minutes to pop them out that way too.
  • I used to use the big muffin pans, but later bought the mini ones because they take less crayons and are easier for my Y5's to hold.
  • I make an extra set to use in my classroom. My students think they are "Way  cool!"
  • So that I'm not spending hours peeling crayons during the summer, in June when things are winding down, I have my students help me with this project! They enjoy doing it, and it's a great fine motor skill for them.

     If you read the alphabet book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to your class and want some adorable ideas, visit one of my favorite sites at: www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/ChickaChickaBoomBoomPrintables.htm. My favorites are Build a coconut tree shape, and Make a paint stick flet board. Too cute! She also has a printable for 3 coconuts in the coconut tree using bingo dot markers which I use every day in my classroom for one-to-one correspondence. My Y5's LOVE them.

     For an easy Monkey Maze click here.  I tell my students that I found 4 ways to get to the banana. They only have to find 2. I just LOVE this site because it's interactive.. It's one of the places I send my Y5's on their Web Quests! (Find out more in September.) This site is Colormountain.com where your students can connect the dots and color right online. Great fine motor and computer skill practice for young children.

What’s Happenin’ ? Summer is for vacations! I hope you had a chance to take at least one, even if it was the now popular “stay-cation!” My husband’s brother got married in New York so we had a great excuse to extend our stay and see a bit of the east coast. I took some great pictures you may want to show your students if you study RAINBOWS (We went to Niagara Falls and saw a beautiful one!),Niagra_Falls_Rainbow Mayflower then journeyed on to see PLYMOUTH ROCK, and a replica of the MAYFLOWER and later PILGRIM’S PLANTATION where we also saw a WAMAPANOAG village. You may want to print off the pix, laminate them and make your own booklest or bulletin boards or use them  in a mini slide show. They'll be great for a November unit during Thanksgiving week. I'll repost then too!

Last summer we had a chance to see the Grand Canyon (A long time on my “bucket list” of things to do.) We stopped at a piece of property that advertised: “See real dinosaur footprints!” To get my Y5’s excited right at the start of school,  dinosaurs is my first science theme, so of course we had to check this out.  (Click on the green writing to see my fun dino stuff!)  Our guide armed with a milk jug of water took us around and poured the water on the prints. He didn’t tell us what kinds of dinosaurs left them, but they couldn’t have been too big, as they were about the size of a shoe box. I have only his word as to their authenticity; but it was fun and my students enjoyed seeing pictures of    dinosaur footprints. I hope yours do too! dinosaur footprint  In the meantime I hope you enjoy the site. If there's something you're looking for, and you didn't find it, drop me a line (diane@teachwithme.com) and I'll see what I can do!

Educationally Yours,

teacher tips        

          I hope you can REST, RELAX, and REJUVENATE for what's left of the....