Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2 Things I Can't Live Without Next Year

I don’t know about you, but I can always use more classroom management tools!  This was my first year back teaching after 2 years off.  In some ways, I felt like I was starting over, and in some ways, I felt like a veteran teacher!  Anyways, after the year was over, I knew there were a couple of things that I could not live without (that I didn’t have this year).  One of them was a hand signal chart!  I already have my kids use these, but never had it displayed this year.  When I am doing guided reading or guided math, or even in the middle of a lesson, I want my students to be able to communicate with me non-verbally so that they do not interrupt.  This is a perfect solution!  When I am working with other kids, all the students have to do is show me the hand signal, and when I look up and see them, I will nod “yes” or give them a “just a second” finger signal!  This has worked wonders for me.  

All you need to do is print, cut, and laminate for durability.  I suggest using ribbon (7/8” or 1” grosgrain) to anchor all the pieces.  You can also attach them to the board with magnets! Click on the product below and check out my preview for an up-close look!  The best thing about them is that they are EDITABLE!!!


I also had a few kids this year that kept asking, “What do I do now?I’m done!”  Most of the time, I have a numbered list up on the board of what they will work on after they finished their test or assignment.  However, when I don’t or the kids have finished that, I needed more choices that I could display.  So, I came up with this “When I Am Done Sign”.  

This sign will be a fabulous way to redirect students who finish early. Just print, cut, and laminate for durability.  You can display these on your wall as well by attaching it to grosgrain ribbon.  You can even use a clip to display the options that the students have that day.  There are 54 different cards included, and this is EDITABLE too!!  So, personalize them to fit your classroom!  I am also willing to add any that you need, and I will update the file on TPT once I do so.

I will be displaying both of these in my classroom for SURE this year!  Hope you find them helpful as well!

PS...I am also working on finishing up my matching alphabet posters (among other things)!  So, be on the lookout!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

End of Year Learning Celebration...Hollywood Style!

Welcome back!  Hope your summer is going fabulous!  We are headed to visit my sister in California soon.  We will also be hitting Disneyland and Legoland and are SUPER excited for all of them!  I can’t wait go and post pictures when we get back!

It’s been a great school year for me!  It was my first year to teach at my current school.  It is a brand-spankin’ new school and is gorgeous!  My principals are amazing and my team is the best ever!  I have truly been blessed!  I was also blessed to have my fabulous second graders.  They are all so talented and so sweet.  We had our moments, but who doesn’t!  I was so excited to celebrate my kiddos and their supportive parents.  At our school, we do an end of the year Learning Celebration.  We decided to do a Hollywood theme.  At first, I wasn’t that hip on the idea.  I have always done “Satterwhite’s Surf Shack”, and was kind of scared to venture into something I have never done before!  Once I searched Pinterest for some ideas, I started to get excited.  This was going to be cute! 


First off, sorry about the tremendously long blog post, but I wanted to be detailed for any teachers that might consider doing this in the future!  All items listed here are available in my TPTstore as a set or individually! 

The first thing that I did was design our invites and RSVP handouts.  We gave these to the parents about 2-3 weeks before the event.  We needed a head count so that we would know how many chairs to have in our classroom for the parents.  The RSVP helped with this!  It was very important to us to have at least one guest for each student.  If a parent was not able to make it, we ask that a relative or older brother or sister (like in 4th or 5th grade) attend.


Next, we had the kids write thank you notes to their parents.  This was not only a celebration for the kids, but we wanted the parents to feel special too!  I had them write a rough draft, and after I approved the letter, they wrote it on my Hollywood themed paper.  I put all of the kid’s letters in a binder and then placed them on our table at the front of the room.  This worked PERFECT!  After they read their letter out loud to the parents, they flipped it to the next page and had it ready for the next person. 

Then, we had some parent volunteers cut out stars for us.  In art, the kids painted their handprints on the stars and wrote their name and the year.  These lined the hallway on the day of the celebration and it was SO cute!

We created a bulletin board out in the hallway (which I totally forgot to take a picture ofboo!!!). We took a picture of each student.  The girls wore a boa and a pair of sparkly star shaped glasses.  The boys wore a cute top hat and a little bow tie.  We purchased all of these at the nearby Party City.  Then, for the bulletin board, the kids wrote down why they were a “superstar” on a little piece of paper that was in the shape of a movie clip.  I pasted this on black scrapbook paper because I wanted it to last for the parent’s memory books!  They took this home with them after the celebration.

Next, I had the kids do a self-portrait.  I trimmed some white construction paper so that it would be slightly smaller than regular construction paper.  Then I had the kids pick out a piece of construction paper to glue on the back.  This is a picture of some of the ones that were on my cabinets.  These were lining the walls of my classroom.  It was perfect because I pulled everything else off the walls (since it was the end of the year), and with these all around the room, it didn’t seem bare.  They were so cute!  The kids really took their time, and they turned out so well!  They also created an index card with their name on it and colored it.  When their parents came in the room, they gave them the index card (with ticky-tack on the back) and they had to go find their child’s self-portrait!


After that, they created their VIP tagsThey created one for each guest they would have and one for themselves.  After they wrote their name on them, they cut them out and glued them back to back.  I had them laminated for durability and so that the parents could keep them for memories!  We punched a hole in them and I had the kids cut yarn to string through the badges.   


They also wrote their name on their “Reserved Seating” sign.  We taped these on the chairs so that the parents would know where to sit.  I made sure to have extra adult chairs delivered to my classroom the night before the event to accommodate everyone! 


A few weeks before the event, I ordered some things off Amazon to get ready.  These were so great!  I would recommend all of them.  The boas were a little thin, but I thought they were perfect for my second graders and held up well.  They didn’t shed feathers like most big boas do.  I also hot glued the sticks onto the props since I wanted to have them last for a long time!  I saved everything so that I could use it again next year.


A few days before the event, I packaged the mints.  These were for the parents.  I purchased a huge pack at Sam’s, a local store where they sell things in bulk.  They said, “You have “mint” a lot to me this year.”  The kids gave them to their parents after their thank you speech!  I used clear goody bags for these, but wish I had used the same size I used for the popcorn because I had to fold them, which was a bit of a pain, but worked!  


I also added the water bottle labels to my mini water bottles.  I did about 55, which was a lot, but I only had 10 left over.  


Two days before the event, I went ahead and popped the popcorn and packed them in zip lock baggies I purchased on Amazon.  These were a great size (5” X 7”) and the little popcorn bag labels fit perfectly over them!

The day before the event, I started setting up the Hollywood board, which served 2 purposes, a backdrop and a photo booth!  I just used yellow and black butcher paper.  For the red “curtain”, I used a plastic table cloth.  I purchased a 3 pack at Wal-Mart for cheap!  I actually cut them in half, so it wasn’t as “full”, but I was okay with that!  

I used our electronic di-cut machine to cut out “Hollywood” on the backdrop and our school name on the other photo booth that I had!  I also cut out the stars for the kids to sit on near the red carpet.  

I grabbed some red butcher paper for the red carpet.  I taped this and the yellow stars to the floor with clear packing tape.  The day before the event, I prepped the kids.  I told them that this would be set up in the morning and they would be working around the room.  I told them they could not step on the carpet at all so that it wouldn’t rip.  I would be “so sad” if the parents came in and it was torn!  They did amazing.  I had pushed all of the desks against the wall or bookshelves.  They sat at their desks (which were turned sideways, so they thought it was cool)!  I had a fun packet for them to work on and also gave them a new, fun pencil.  This way, they didn’t have to access anything in their desk all day!  Some teachers chose to set up the classroom with their kids there so that they could help, but I couldn’t handle that with my class this year!  I am sure you know how that is!  I liked having it all set up the day before so I wasn’t stressing out the day of the event.  We also watched a couple of short shows and had recess that morning, so it all worked out!

I also set up the photo booths and the concession stand areas.  I purchased some metal tins at Wal-Mart and the bigger ones came from a local Tractor Supply.  They are actually buckets for feeding large animals, but no one would ever know!  I tied ribbons on the edges and heat sealed them. I saved the ribbons for use again next year!  I didn’t mind purchasing the tins because I use them all the time at home for entertaining and for different events throughout the year. 

I had my husband purchase some star balloons at our local dollar store!  They were cheap and it added some detail to the room.  I put a black plastic table cloth on the snack table and decorated the doorway. 


The day of the event after the kids said their speech, I gave them a “Star Award” with a pack of Starbursts.  I purchased a big pack from Sam’s, and our whole grade level actually bought 6 packs and we split them between all 9 teachers.  When I gave them their award, I also included their mints for their parents and stuck their memory book on the bottom. That way at the end of the event, they could share it with their parents.  These turned out so cute! I bought it from another seller on TPT.  I laminated the front and back cover for durability.  I also included a little individualized note at the end! 

We practiced our speeches a few times before the real deal and I told the students what to expect. I showed them around the room and explained about the two photo booths.  I let them know to only get one bag of popcorn and one pack of M & M’s.  They also got one water bottle.  All guest could have one of each item too!

When the parents got there, the students greeted them at the door and said, “Welcome to Hollywood!”  They gave them their program, their VIP badge, and their little index card with their name on it (for the self-portrait).  They walked around the room with their parents looking for their picture and then stuck the card on there once they found it.  Next, they took a look at our “family quilt” that we created. This was part of one of my “A to Z Countdown to Summer” activities for "Q" (quilt day).  I made it into a poster (and gave it away at the end of the year).  Then the kids and their parents took selfies at the photo booths.  This was also the time to take pictures with me!

I called everyone to their seats and we started.  I welcomed parents and thanked them for coming.  The kids came up one at a time to do their speeches.  Next, I showed our Hollywood themed slideshow.  After that, I talked to the parents about how special our year was and thanked them and the students for all of their hard work.  Next, the kids and their guests got to look at their memory book and have snacks.  It was all so fabulous!  I heard the parents talking about how cool the room was and how nice everything went.  It was flawless and so fun!  I can’t wait to do it again next year.  I will probably incorporate a time to share some writings or work next year though to give it a little more meat! 

After the event, the few kids that were left (most parents took their kids home since our event was at the end of the day) helped me clean up the room.  I gave them a balloon for helping and the extra snacks so I didn’t have to take them home!  They loved that!  I saved everything that I could for next year so that I don’t have to purchase more things or remake them! 

My daughter and her Grammy and aunt at her 2nd grade Hollywood Celebration!

The event was a huge success and I hope that the parents and kids remember their 2nd Grade Red Carpet Event for years to come!  I sure will!