Wednesday, May 20, 2015

6 Best Kept Secrets in the Primary Classroom

As I wrap up yet another school year, I look back at the messy fun that has been my teaching career. Each year I try to have more fun, learn more and make the year more special for my adored students.  While preparing everything the last few weeks, I thought it would help others to see what I've done to make the end of the year fun, but not too stressful.  Here are some fun memory makers and takers. 

Memory Book

I have found many amazing free memory books on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I found I always had to cut and paste to make the book I liked best.  So I decided to make my own.  This memory book is unique in the fact that you print it at the beginning of the year and fill it out 3 different times during the year. By the end, you have a completed memory book that covers the whole school year with handprints and pictures included!  No scrambling at the last minute to find the pictures or samples of work throughout the year, just take a few minutes at the beginning, middle (100th day) and end of the year and you're set!  I can't wait to hear how it works in your room!
Click on the picture above to view the preview.

Thank you! Thank you!

Here is a Pinterest goodie!  I painted the letters for "Thank you! We love you!" each on an 8.5x11 piece of white paper.  I have each student hold a letter and take their picture.  They are then inserted into a power point with a cute background and a heart or two. VoilĂ ! Thank you notes that will be adored the whole year through.  Give them as Thank You's for gifts, volunteers and other staff members. I've even sent them to those in the military as a reminder we love them and they are remembered.  I've used the letters for years and they are still going strong!  A heartwarming thank you is always appreciated. 

Here is the original link I found on Pinterest.

Year Round certificates

Again, just trying to make my life easier (and cheaper), I made my own certificates that can be used year round for any occasion. There are even blank certificates on which you can write your own celebration.  They can be used at each quarter/report card or weekly to encourage your class to strive to be greater!  (click on the picture to view it in my store)

Scholastic $1 Books

I think most teachers are aware of the Scholastic Book Club.  I grab up several $1 books throughout the year and by Christmas or the end of the year, I have enough for gifts.  I write a little note in the cover and sign my name.  Presto! Easy gift they will cherish. I still have books my teachers gave me in elementary school.  If money is tight, I use up my bonus points and sometimes don't even have to pay anything for this really great gift!

Morning calendars

If there EVER was a primary resource to invest in, this is it! Ok, it's FREE now, but it was worth my investment.  For years, I struggled with calendar and morning work. This puts it altogether in easy monthly packs.  I print them up and the students are learning how to write the date, look for the weather, draw a picture and write a sentence all on one page! I also added these (free) calendars in the front for them to number.  We used some of our fundraiser money to invest in this and we haven't regretted it!  I think you'll feel the same.

Math Journals (Freebie)

Ok, can I just say a HUGE thank you to all the teachers out there that make amazing things and post them for FREE!!!  This has been an essential component to introduce our math each day.  These FREE math journals cover a large spectrum of benchmarks for kindergarten and maybe even first grade.  Each month can be downloaded for free and you have a mini lesson for math each day!  Have fun! (Did I mention how FREE they are?!)

Visit Ketchen's Kindergarten to download each month separately.

I hope at least one of these tips has been helpful to you.  I try to make my life as simple as I can while still having an enriching, fun time (before I go home and cuddle my three little ones).  Please leave me feedback as to how they help you! If you like what you see, check out my store, I am ready to unleash a TON of new resources this summer!  Happy trails and see you soon!

A special thank you to the following artists featured on this blog:


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