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Ideas for St. Patrick's Day in the Classroom

St. Patrick's Day can be fall of fun in the classroom. Here are some ideas for all things leprechaun and rainbow!
Here are some of my favorite activities that I completed in my classroom over the years!

To begin the fun, I have a fun Family Fun Project! For this project students are instructed to create a trap to catch a leprechaun. A letter is sent home to explain the project!

Students are able to write about how they will use their trap to catch their leprechaun and then bring in their traps on St. Patrick's Day to share with the class!

You can get this activity here!
I always love discussing why we are so lucky near St. Patrick's Day! With all the leprechaun and luck discussions, it's fun for kids to really think about the things in their lives that they are lucky to have and then we write about it! This little activity also makes an adorable bulletin board! 

To begin, we created a class anchor chart and brainstormed all different reasons we are lucky and things that we are lucky to have in our lives! 

Then, students wrote their own writing piece and I created a bulletin board for the hallway with a pennant banner! 

You can get this activity here!

Of course we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with all the leprechaun activities! This fun little leprechaun craft is the cutest! Your students can create their own leprechaun and then complete any of the activities that go along with it! 

You can grab the craft and activity here!

You can read this with any leprechaun book! Here are some of my favorites! Click here to see them in my Amazon store!
We celebrated the end of the day with Shamrock Shakes and my students LOVED them!! They were honestly so good that I made them with my own kids that night! Here's the recipe! 

One year my LOVED activities that incorporated food. If food was incorporated somehow, they were so much more engaged! That year instead of focusing on luck and leprechauns we had an entire Rainbow Day! Students were asked to wear rainbow shirts or solid color shirts! All the activities we did were rainbow themed- we learned about rainbows, wrote about the treasure at the end of the rainbow and we ended the day with a fun rainbow snack! 

For this snack, I asked for donations for our class. I chose foods that were colors of the rainbow! Then on Rainbow Day, I lined my table with butcher paper in different colors and placed the snacks on the specific color. 

Here are some ideas for food/snack options that you can use in your classroom!

I hope you got some fun ideas to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in your classroom! If you are interested in any of the Leprechaun activities, click here or the image below! 

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Easy Student Valentine Gifts from Teachers!

Every year Valentine's Day seemed to sneak up on me! I don't know what it was, but I was always scrambling last minute for a little gift for my students for Valentine's Day that didn't break the bank- especially after the LONG month of January!

These are some super simple and inexpensive gifts that you can use for your students! The Amazon links are linked to my Amazon store and if you purchase through my link I may receive a small commission! 

I found these scented pens on Amazon and knew right away they would make the perfect Valentine's gift! I remember using these type of pens as a kid and my own kids even got them for Christmas last year in their stocking and had so much fun with them!

A few years ago my students LOVED playing Bump during our math centers, so I knew that giving them their own Bump game to take home would be a great gift! All I had to do was print the game board and directions and attach a dice and some Valentine erasers as playing pieces to the game! SO easy and a great way for my students to practice their addition facts at home! You can grab this game for FREE here!

I love donuts. Like, LOVE donuts. You could easily bring some Valentine themed donuts for your students for Valentine's Day!

I also love any excuse that I can come up with to buy donut themed gifts, I'll take it! These cute little donut lollipops are absolutely ADORABLE and make the sweetest little gift! I also fell in love with these little donut keychains and donut notepads that would make a cute gift!

Pencils are one of the easiest gifts! They are so easy to find and usually come in pretty large packs for really cheap! I found these adorable pencils on Wal-Mart!

I haven't met many kids that don't enjoy playing with building blocks! When I found these adorable little Valentine themed sets on Amazon, I knew I had to get them! They are about $15 for 10 sets.

Another option is to purchase a large set of building blocks and separate them into little bags with a treat topper! You can easily get 1000 piece set on Amazon for around $20!

I also found these cute little sets from the Target Dollar Spot for only $1!

Bubbles are another super easy and SUPER cheap gift! I found these bubbles for $3 at Target for a pack of 16! 

Glasses are one of those things that don't really have a purpose, other than being fun! My own kids love to play with these glasses! They are easy to find! I found these one at Target for $3 a pack!

There are LOTS of other easy and cheap Valentine gifts you can give your students. Straws, candy, heart mazes are all great options that won't break the bank! 

As much as I love getting little gifts for my students, I also love treating my teammates and co-workers. In my opinion, this is one of the best gifts you can give to someone! Chips and salsa or chips and guacamole! SO easy, not expensive and who doesn't love chips and salsa!?

I hope you got some fun and easy ideas for Valentine's Day gifts for your students and co-workers! If you are interested in using any of these tags, they are available here! The chips and salsa tags are an added bonus to this pack!

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Writing Conferences Made Easy!

Once upon a time, I wasn't really a huge fan of writing conferences. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew that they were important and what part of my writing block to do them, but I really didn't know what to do! It's not like I had this amazing class in college that taught me how to confer with my students during Writer's Workshop.
Even though I'm still not a professional, I feel that over my ten years of teaching I definitely got better at conferring with my students about their writing! I actually fell in love with writing conferences and getting to watch my little writers grow throughout the year! Here are three tips to {hopefully} help make writing conferences a little bit easier for you!
One of the most beneficial tools for me for my writing conferences was my Writing Binder. It kept everything in one place-from my anecdotal notes, to my lesson plans, to writing rubrics.

My binder also had a separate section for each student. This really allowed me to keep up with
the habits and goals my students had throughout the entire year, and for each writing focus. It also made report card comments and parent-teacher conferences a lot easier!

Having a designated form to complete during my conferences helped keep all my notes accurate. I would try writing things on sticky notes or index cards, but it helped so much to have an actual form to keep in my binder. I kept extra forms in front of all my student dividers so they were easily accessible!

One of the hardest things for me at the beginning of my career was knowing exactly WHAT to help my students with during our conferences and HOW to make sure they knew not only what they were doing well, but what they needed to work on. I would write different things on their papers or in their notebooks. I tried using sticky notes, but they would end up getting lost in their notebooks. I also tried drawing little pictures for my littlest writers to really understand what they needed to work on. None of these things worked extremely well for me, so I was so excited to finally start using Conference Companions!

These writing strategies work best for students in Kindergarten through second grade. They can easily be printed on address labels, so you'll always have them at your fingertips! Each strategy features a visual and a statement for students to easily recognize their habits and goals. They can be used on a Habits and Goals sheet, your students writing notebooks, or their writing folder. And, the best part- they won't be falling out!

It really is that simple. Even if things don't go as planned, it's so important to have a plan. At least some type of plan for your students and/or groups. Whether it's WHAT students you are planning on working with each day, or what you want to focus on throughout the week, make a plan! I also kept these plans in my writing binder

In my classroom I usually completed drive-by conferences with my students. These conferences were ways that I could work with individual students and check-in with them on what they were working on. I tried to plan out who I would meet with each day so that I made sure to meet with ALL students throughout the week. I wouldn't necessarily be able to plan exactly what I was going to be working on with the students, but I knew who I wanted to work with each day. 

For me, it was easier to plan out my writing groups. I would use previous writing pieces to guide my writing groups and their focus. Writing everything down on a planning form helped keep me make sure I was meeting with all my students and focusing on what they needed! 

I hope these tips help your writing conferences become easier and help your writers flourish! 

If you are interested in the resources I use, click on the images below!

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