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10/22/2015

A Totally Spooktacular Treat for Your Team!

I spent last night shoving candy into mason jars and topping them off with pretty little bows. It's almost embarassing how excited I get about simple little projects like these. I could spend all of my days planning parties and events and working on sweet little gifts for people. Lucky for me, it's the holidays and my husband is a business owner. He's charged me with the very important task of making sure his employees know how much we love and appreciation them. This year, I'll be bringing these bad boys to the company's annual Halloween party.


These were a bit time consuming with two needy children on hand, but incredibly simple to do. They turned out great, and who doesn't love mason jars? Or CANDY?


Just for you, I've made my VERY FIRST editable document. Woot! Go me! :) You can download these gift tags FOR FREE in my TPT store. Just click here. In order to use the same font I did to sign your name, you'll need to download KG All of Me. It's FREE for personal use. If you'd rather not download a font, I recommend using the font "Avenir Next Condensed Demi Bold" [which came with my Microsoft Word] in all caps.


The jars are pretty self-explanatory (shove candy & go), but I still thought I'd share a few notes & tips before you get started:

I used pint (16oz) wide mouth mason jars
18 jars took about 12 rolls of (3yd) ribbon
I cut my ribbon about 20 inches long
String the ribbon between the two pieces of the mason jar lid.


To add the tag: tie the ribbon once, add the tag to just one strand, then finish your knot.


I twisted all of the ribbon so the print side was face up


And voila! You've got yourself a totally adorable & sweet SPOOKtacular treat! What do you think? I'd love to hear what else you choose to use these tags for! Who's on your special team? Comment below!
10/20/2015

Too Sweet for Words Family Name Practice

This morning we decided to work on family names. I'm so in love with this activity.


It's sweet to see Beckett learning to pronounce the name of our family members. He gets excited about photos of family members he loves and recognizes.

Plus, working with these simple cards is jam packed with great literacy skills. I created this activity so Beckett could start learning to spell his name as well as Mom & Dad. I threw in the others for good measure. ;) During this activity we also get to work on:
Letter names & sounds
Beginning sounds
Family Name Pronuniations
Reading from left to right
Recognizing that Letters strung together form a Word
Using photos to identify words


For the first time, Beckett ran his finger under a word (Dad) and pronounced it accordingly. I could have died watching his cute chubby finger make progress in the simple skills that will one day lead to him reading independently.

Of course, he got confused too. At one point, he ran his car accross the mat, then read, "car" instead of Nana. I'm cool with that. It was a fun morning.


These cards were super easy to make. I made the boxes 1 inch wide by 1.25 inches high to specifically fit the letter beads we have on hand. Then, I used Canva.com to make the photo grids. To me, it's way easier than sizing them directly on the document.


What do you think? Have you tried a similar activity? What worked for you in learning to spell your kiddo's name? If you've got a great Tot School activity to share, please feel free to link up!


10/13/2015

Board Books We're Loving this Fall!

I'm OBSESSED with books. We have way way way too many, if that's a thing. Nonetheless, I continue to collect them! One of my new favorite ways to choose & buy books is from blogger friends sharing their favorites in posts like these! So, welcome to my first book list. :)


This month for Tot School, my son and I are reveling is some serious fall goodness. I've pulled all of our books that support the theme and vocabulary we're learning this month. ALL of the books on my list are available (or only provided) in board books.  I've also included Vocabulary We Love. When listing vocabulary, you should know I'm also referring to the illustrations. Here's a list of my favorites, in no particular order!

This story is simple & repetitive. The two adorable friends go on a search for a pumpkin.
Vocabulary We Love: pumpkin, acorn, leaf pile, log, apple tree

We love ALL of the Duck and Goose books! My son has gotten one for just about every holiday and milestone over the last year. Check out their others here!

Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex
This is a very creative parody of the classic Goodnight Moon. The rhythm & pattern is basically the same, but replaced with a spooky setting and characters. This book may be a bit scary for some littles. I think my son is still a bit young to recognize that he should be afraid, so he's pretty intrigued.
Vocabulary we love: bat, cat, hat, scary, ghost

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Stellaluna is a sweet baby bat who gets separated from her mother and must live with baby birds. During her stay, she learns the differences between herself and her new friends, but they all realize that they can love each other anyway!
This book is a little bit long for young toddlers, but my son (23 months) sat through most of it. He really enjoyed the illustrations.
Vocabulary we love: bat, wings, birds, nest, sad, happy

Fall by Roger Priddy
I love the Bright Baby Board Books! I just discovered them during my first Tot School unit when we found the Trucks book buried among other books on our shelves. We didn't even know we had it! After we spent so much time with that book, I knew I had to have this one for fall. The pages simply have one large illustration and the vocabulary word beneath it. Unlike the Trucks book, this book is Touch & Feel, which makes it even more engaging for my toddler!
Vocabulary we love: turkey, pumpkin, squirrel, walk

It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
Mouse [from If You Give A Mouse A Cookie] has a blast painting pumpkins in this book! He gives each pumpkin faces with different emotions, which could make for great conversation with your tot!
Vocabulary we love: pumpkin, mouse, leaf, happy, sad, scary.
This book is also great practice for counting to 7.

The friends compete to see who can put stack apples on their heads. In true Dr. Seuss form, the book has a fun rhythm and rhyme. My son tends to get bored before the end, but we do love counting the apples!
Vocabulary we love: apple, tree. This book is great for practicing counting to ten.

Boo by Leslis Patricelli
I've recently become fond of Leslie Patricelli's board books as well. (She has a cute Potty one we're using to help gear up for training!). This Boo book is really adorable and LOADED with great vocabulary. First, the main character picks and carves a pumpkin. There is a page with adorable illustrations modeling several facial expressions to choose from. Then he chooses a costume and the illustrator lays out a lot of options to discuss with your little. Finally, he goes trick or treating with his dad. The illustrations are great for discussing staying with a grown up, what happens when it gets dark, using manners, etc.
Vocabulary we love: leaves, pumpkin, scarecrow, corn, bat, spider, cat, candy, happy, angry, monkey, ghost, scary, thank you

10 Trick or Treaters by Janet Schulman
This is an adorable rhyming book that counts backward from 10. On each page, another trick or treater disappears. I like that the final page ends with "and then there were none." We talk about them being "all gone" and talk about zero. The last page shows all of the numbers, 10-0.
Vocabulary we love: bus, firefighter, spider, apples, fire, pumpkin, cat, moon, & numbers 0-10.

The vampire bat insists he's scarier than all of the other things in the castle. The book is repetitive and simple, with adorable illustrations. At the end of the book, the vampire bat decided he's actually the cutest thing in the castle. :)
Vocabulary we love: bat, star, scary, spider, web, ghost, dark

Ok, if I'm being real, I actually don't like this book at all. My son, on the other hand, LOVES it. The book features a mail carrier (Fox) who loses all of the letters he's carrying to the wind on the very first page. The rest of the book features opposite words on each page (up/down, wet/dry, left/right, etc). We're not quite ready for opposites and I think the concepts are too abstract for the illustrations to really do justice. HOWEVER, the leaves are embellished with a metallic, shiny paper material that is eye catching and fun. Beckett mostly flips through the books and feels the shiny material. If he's happy, then I'm happy. :)
Vocabulary we love: leaves, fox, duck, tree, squirrel

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
Throughout the book, different animals approach the busy spider asking him if he wants to play. The spider is always too busy building his web. I like that the story is repetitive, yet each animal asks to do an activity specific to their personality (the dog wants to chase a cat). 
Vocabulary we love: spider, web, various animals & their sounds, sleepy, night

Biscuit has a series of books. This is just a quick, simple story featuring Buiscit's trip to the pumpkin patch. They paint pumpkins and make some friends.
Vocabulary we love: pumpkin, wagon, apples, happy, sad

Ok, I don't love this book either, but my son is a fan of the shiny cover and the "mon" (monkey/George). This book is a compliation of poems describing different aspects of Halloween. The poems are fun to chant and are full of good vocabulary. I'm not sure that a young toddler is going to comprehend them, but they would be great for Kindergarten age. I generally read one page at a time and discuss the pictures before moving on to another book.
Vocabulary we Love: pumpkin, web, ghost, bat
10/12/2015

Teaming Up with 180 Days to Happy!

I'm really excited about today's post, guys. So listen up.

Throughout my [two years this month!] of bloggy adventures, I've run into some really incredible bloggers who have a heart for people and a desire to encourage & motivate. Among these is Rachael from 180 Days to Happy.


Today, I'm honored to be a part of one of Rachael's beautiful endeavors to share inspiration with teachers [among others] everywhere. I got to design October's free monthly download, which is designed to inspire & motivate you to set goals and go after them in the month of October! Check out Rachael's blog and grab the download here!



I'd also like to send a shout out to Krista from Creative Clipart. The design for this set is inspired by her use of bright colors on black, which I've fallen in love with! 

Make sure to let me know what you think!
10/01/2015

One on One: October!

I love these monthly dollar deals! Thanks so much to The First Grade Roundup for hosting! :) This month, I'm super excited to share my Halloween Literacy Center Bundle at 75% off!! This deal is good today and tomorrow only, so hurry on over!!

This Halloween Literacy Center Pack is Chock Full of Fun and ADORABLE items that your students will love this Halloween Season. Each item is most Common Core Aligned and Halloween themed! I have included Print & Go [blackline] options of each activity for easy centers with very little prep work. There is also a reusable version of each activity - full color and intended for laminating and using again next year! Each activity is also supplied with a matching 8.5x11 Common Core "I can" statement as well as suggestions to modify each activity to increase or decrease difficulty level! 

Here are just a couple of my favorite pieces from this pack in action:

In Roll & Write Students will roll for a random vocabulary word & then use the word in a sentence or story. {CCRA.L.6}


For easy differentiation, I've also included a page to simply copy down the word and illustrate a scene using that word.



In Mummy Match, students will read and categorize words into their appropriate word families.



To guide students who are not quite prepared to do this activity on their own, I simply circle the word family ending!



In Batty for Book, students will read Fall or Halloween themed books (not included) and then complete sequencing or plot graphic organizers. {RL.1.2 & RL.1.3} In this activity, you can either use words & sentences, or let the students illustrate their points like in these photos with sweet Henley. 



To see what other goodies are in this set, check it out here!

For other dollar goodies, head on over to The First Grade Roundup!