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Our Favorite Mother's Day Ideas!

Today Blog Hoppin, and our talented authors, are happy to bring to you a fabulous list of great ideas you can use in your classroom to celebrate Mother's Day! These ideas range from super simple to pretty extravagant. If you're looking for Mother's Day ideas this is definitely the place to look! 

(Remember that all of these ideas can be easily modified to include all special women such as grandmothers, aunts, step/foster moms, etc - we don't want any students to feel bad if their family doesn't include a mom.)

For Mother's Day each year my kiddos make tile note holders for their moms or any other special lady they have in their lives. 

I created a new Mother's Day card for this year. It is VERY simple for little people to handle. Just a few cuts, some writing and some gluing and it's done. 

If you're looking for a fun and cute Mother's Day gift idea, this heart-shaped book is perfect! It's a great and easy way to let your students celebrate their moms. It makes the perfect Mother's Day Gift.

I wanted to give my Mommies and students something that REALLY meant something. Something that they would carry with them forever. My Mother's Day Spa Pack is a bundle of ideas, printables, decorations, recipes and ideas to make your Mommy Spa a HUGE success!!!

There are three gift ideas all with step by step instructions for you and your students.
Framed portrait of mom done by student, homemade lemon oil body scrub (easy, cheap, crowd pleaser!)student made tissue paper vases.

This cute project is based on Pablo Picasso's "Hand With Flowers." The children trace their hands onto skin colored construction paper and glue onto white paper. Then they make stems from green construction paper. They sponge paint their flowers above the stems.

Adorable and easy Mother's Day card craftivity. 
Students will personalize the heart, star, gift, and coupon for their mother and fit them inside the pocket on the front of the card.

This easy peasy Mother's Day book is the perfect gift! Just print out and have your little cuties draw and write about their mom.

This document includes everything you need to have a successful Mother's Day Tea. Included in this unit are: Invitations and RSVP's, Banner, Sign and Table Tents, Placemat idea and printable, Mother's Day Book and more!

I also have my students make this Mother's Day Handprint Card.  It is a combination of two handprint poems and is available for free in my TPT Store.

I usually always do a fill in the blank questionnaire. Here is a free download for the one I will be using this year.

This ditty also comes with a personalized writing element.  I wanted my kids to be able to draft a special message that came straight from their hearts.   

Hosting a special day for your students' mommies? Here are a few things to make it easier.
Invitations, nameplates, banner, and more!

Please share your own Mother's Day ideas below in the comments! We always love to see how other teachers celebrate the mothers and other special women in our lives!

Thanks for reading!


Hello faithful Hoppin' readers . . . It's Kelley Dolling from Teacher Idea Factory. I'm here today to talk to you about that special End of the Year Video.  (Did I really just type that?  I cannot believe that it is already time to put one of these sweet movies together.)

I know I posted about this last year, but I got some great ideas from the comments during the last go around and figured I'd see if I could draw more classroom movie goodness out of the woodwork.  Do you make a video for your babes?  If yes, I'd love for you to share your thoughts and tips below!  Keep reading to see my current classroom movie vision . . .   

Personally, I use iMovie.  I find it VERY user friendly for all types of movie makers.  You can slap one together or get ├╝ber precise (just call me Kelley Speilberg come early-May). You can pick from numerous themes/templates (I always go with the photo album version (but that's just me). I totally dig that you just drag and drop the pictures you want included into the project section.

You can have the computer dictate the length on each photo or you can easily adjust it.  Cropping and adding motion is easy too.  However, this is what takes the MOST time.  I probably spent roughly 10-12 hours on my video last year, but I am obsessed.  You could knock one out in a few hours . . . don't let my obscene numbers scare you off!

I always progress through the year rather than going by theme, so the parents can see their babies grow.  And, let's be honest . . . it's how I think.  

Last year's video is 22:20 minutes in length.  I know.  I know.  I ALWAYS GO WAY OVERBOARD.  I just can't help myself.  My goal is to get the kiddos in numerous times throughout the gig.  To ensure that everyone's screen time is pretty even, I preview sections of the video as I make them.  I print out a class list and tally every time I see one of my babes on screen.  This will mark my 8th year of making one of these and I still will catch about two poor kiddos who are kind of "left out."  By previewing as I go, I am able to slip additional photos of these little cuties into the mix before going public!   

I believe that music makes the whole gosh darn thing and I have a strategy that I implement each year.  You hook 'em in with a cute peppy tune.  Then you slow it down a bit.  Next, you transition into a dreamy misty-eyed song.  You must pick it back up and save the day with a happy song.  Depending how long you are, you may need another heartfelt song here with super deep meaning (I suggest that it's an upbeat track as well). Finally, go for the big finish . . . insert the song that can move mountains.  You know - that one perfect song that will bring 'em to their knees.

Now, I choose to take the music aspect a step further . . . but, then again, I'm a nut.  I actually add movement with the pictures to match the music.  Peppy songs have quicker transitions.  The slower ballad-type tunes get slower fluid movements.  I add fades to the beginning/end of each audio clip for dramatic effect.  I also trim songs to increase variety.  {Now that I've typed that, I can see the ridiculousness in my detail driven productions . . . but, it still makes me smile, and again, I just can't help myself.}

Speaking of music, below I listed out the song line up that made the final director's cut last year . . .

1) We Belong Together - Randy Newman (fun intro)
2) Rainbow Connection - Weezer w/ Hayley Williams (BEST version ever)
3) Happy - Pharrell Williams (perfect pick me up - I trimmed it down)
4) Perfect Gift - Natalie Hemby (aligns with Christmas photos in movie)
5) Somewhere Over the Rainbow - IZ (need I say more)
6) Forever Young - Bob Dylan (love the message - I trimmed this one too)
7) Never Grow Up - Alyssa Golden (grab your tissues).

I change up the order and song usage every year - I don't want siblings to get the same movie.  Here are some AMAZING songs that also fit into these movies so well . . . 

You've Got a Friend In Me - Randy Newman
Monsters Inc. Intro - Randy Newman
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
You Are My Sunshine - Ray Charles
In My Life - Beatles
Good Life - One Republic (get the clean version)
Bright Side of the Road - Van Morrison
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head - Burt Bacharach

**Count On Me (Bruno Mars) is definitely on my list this year!!!

There you have it. That's my theory for creating amazing movies each and every year (in a nutshell).  Oh, and just for the record, it ain't just the parents who tear up in my room every year.  By the time it's all said and done, I have probably seen the the video at least 12-15 times to help desensitize myself. However, I still loose it a little every time I watch it with the parents that first time (Open House).  I have to go to my "happy" spot.  What can I say?  I am a total sap.  And, they were my babies for an ENTIRE year . . . sigh.  

On a mildly related note, the first screening of this is shown at Open House. (Last year I was all done 1.5 week early.  Here's an insider secret -- I haven't started it this year . . . GULP.  I have until 5/21, but  starting this late makes my upper lip sweat just a little.)  Anyway, I digress.  On Open House, I set up the desks, get all dolled up, and tape a special sign to the TV.  It just adds a little extra "sizzle" to the movie premiere :)  

CLICK HERE to grab this sign :)
I do give copies to parents as my end of the year gift, but it is just too insane to get them all copied right now.  So, I wait to dish these out until the end of the year.  You can also milk an extra activity out of these disks.  Instead of me making a cover for the movie, the kids create their own.  I simply provide a piece of paper cut to the size of the DVD holder and let the kids fly.  They always take such pride in their work - slate a good 30 minutes for this activity. 

Alright, that's my low-down on how I roll with and EOY Class Movie.  Thanks for visiting my friends!  Again, if you have anything to add or share on how you create your flick or which music you are rollin' with this year, I'd love to hear it! Merry Saturday my friends . . . I'll see ya soon :)

Gettin' Buggy With It

Spring...a time of renewal, birth, pollen, and bugs...
It's Rachel from the tattooed teacher and I'm just sharing a few quick buggy freebies today!
Our meal worms and caterpillars just arrived yesterday! The kiddos are pretty curious since I haven't quite wrapped up the weather unit and I didn't tell them what's in those bins!
Now let's get onto those insect freebies!! This first one is a 3 page cut and paste life cycle diagram plus the writing piece I used last spring! I loved how they turned out! I had them paste both onto a piece of brown construction paper to display with our birth certificates for our little larvae! And one option doesn't say "mealworm" in case you want to use a different insect!

Next, crawl over to First Grade Parade and read about Cara's Hey Little Ant writing craftivity! Here's two from last year! I love those faces!

Need more on insects?
check my units out! 
Each of the bee organizers came from here! This is a great intro unit!

Mealworms! one of my best sellers!

And here are two lifecycle files!

Stay Buggy!

Easy and Reusable Class Books

Hi peeps! It's Traci from Dragonflies in First, here! It's also nearly the end of April!
Can you believe it?!
I cannot. I can.not. Time is FLYING!

For me that also means I'm neck deep into Open House activities. Here is SoCal we do an "Open House" near the end of the school year. This is when the kiddos bring their parents to school during the EVENING and show off all their wonderful work.

We make our classroom into an underwater wonderland. I kinda love it. There is fabulous writing accompanying adorable sea creature crafts all over the walls. Jellyfish hanging from the ceiling. And class books on the tables.

Do you make class books? I wanted to share with you a little trick I use to create QUICK and EASY REUSABLE class books. This is from a piece I originally posted on my blog awhile back.
These are a bunch of WONDERFUL papers the kids wrote about their good friend... an activity we do based on Rainbow Fish. It includes a little water color fish art with a glittery, shimmery scale.

With all the other ocean stuff we have going on, I simply have no room to put these up. So they are going in a class book that will be set out during Open House. I actually set a few class books out.

Here is how I make the books.

I use the same book every year (cover and comb) and just change the student work without having to hunt down that book binder, nor ruin the student work.

This is the cover

It's bound with a comb binder. I place 30 pieces of construction paper (1 for each student) cut to size between the front and back cover then I comb bound all of those sheets along with the covers.
This is now my permanent book. It is reused each year.

Each year I pull this out of the cabinet.  To assemble the book I simply run a glue stick across the length of each piece of construction (Use the crappy glue sticks for this part because you don't want the pages glued down permanently. You don't need a lot of glue.)
Then set the students' written work on it. Repeat 30 times or whatever amount you need for your class size. 

The papers peel off easily, so you can give the kids their work AND save your book for next year

You always cover up the construction in the book, so it's ok if there is a little glue left on the construction after removing the pages. No one but you will know it's there.
 I love that Alexis wrote that she has "nice conversations" with Emily. How sweet is that?
Easy, right?

Seriously peeps, I am all about saving time and energy. Since this is a topic I have the kids write about each year, it only makes sense to re-use the cover and binding. This is so easy, I have even have students put it together for me!

Enjoy the rest of your April!

Earth Day Fun & Freebie

 Hey Hoppers!! Earth Day is this coming up quick this Wednesday. We'll be spending the next few days completing activities from my  Earth Day {For The Common Core Classroom} mini unit!

There are lots of fun activities and new vocabulary to take us through each day this week!

Also, with six weeks of school left we've really been focusing on upping our close reading game. So I went ahead and included four different close read passages for us to dive into!

Two versions of each text passage are included for easy differentiation.

I also wanted to offer Blog Hoppin' followers this Freebie close read from the unit that you can only grab from this post, HERE!! This one is geared towards K-1 students. Enjoy!! :)

Small Group Literacy Activities

Hi there!  This is Deedee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.  Here is a little repost from a few weeks back.  Hopefully, you will find something you can use!

We only have about 6 weeks of school left, so now is not the time to coast to the end!

First off... I want my students to be a little more fearless when it comes to using context clues to identify unknown words in a sentence.

We want students to use context clues to figure out unknown words.  One strategy they can use is to skip the word and think about what makes sense.  These sentence strips can be used in a variety of ways.  
Students can simply skip the covered word and think about what makes sense, or if you want them to look through the word to “check their guess,” you may ask them to:  
1)  guess the word 
2) write the sounds they hear in that word
3) look through the word to see if their guess might be correct.
 Then we check!
I am not suggesting you conduct spelling tests, but we know the skill of reading a word is a bit easier than spelling the word without a model.  
  In this activity, I  prepared words and placed them in the basket.  I pulled one word out at a time and read it to the students. 
I made these cards editable, so you can add your own words.
 They are challenged to “picture the way the word looks” and spell it correctly.   
Then we check it!  They LOVED this!
I got a 4 pack of Meridian LED push lights at my local Wal-Mart for under $4.00… these are MAGICAL!!!!
Students push a button for each sound they hear.
 Then they write the sounds.
 They check to see if they were right!
For CVCe words, I took the batteries out of the light and wrote an “e” on the light with a dry erase marker.  This is to remind them that the e does not make a sound.
We worked on segmenting words into syllables.
Level 1:  Students push a light for each syllable they hear.
  Level 2:  Students push a light for each syllable they hear.  Teach your students that each syllable must have a vowel.
Although this may not lead to the traditional spelling, you will encourage your students to hear more sounds! 

We also played a fun version of bingo with rhyming words!
 and a little word family fun!  
This activity has so many levels of differentiation, my entire class benefits from it.
My students love ANYTHING that feels like a game.  They are alert and poised to new learning!  This makes my job 10 times easier.