Valentines STEAM Centers

Hey, y'all! We survived the fall semester and holiday season! Give yourself a "Woop Woop!" 

Before you know it, it will be Valentines Day. Time to start planning! These Valentines STEAM Centers are perfect for keeping your littles engaged and learning during that crazy week.

On Monday, the whole class explores chemistry by blowing up balloons with Pop Rocks and soda.

Tuesday through Thursday, students go to different stations and explore science on their own.

They'll make a love bug with toilet paper rolls, a spinner, and a heart out of pattern blocks.

They'll graph conversation hearts.

They can also practice their fine motor skills by weaving a paper heart. 

Make airplanes in the classroom useful by sending airmail to the landing pad.

On Friday, complete the Ghost hearts experiment from earlier in the week and make a heart mobile.

This unit can also be broken up into individual activities if you'd rather do them whole group. This unit also pairs well with the Growing Ornaments (FREE) activity. Just shape your ornaments into hearts!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful week and stay tuned for more amazing STEAM centers coming soon.

Stay sweet,

Book Studies Made Simple

Hey y'all. As we start closing out one semester and start planning the next one, it's time to evaluate how things are working in our classrooms.

The longer I teach, the more simple I want to make things. I've been using this Any (Chapter) Book Book Study for my 2nd and 3rd graders for the last year and the simplicity of it is perfect for little readers.

This interactive notebook unit is packed full of resources for students to organize their thoughts and explain their thinking. There are pages to keep track of the book title, chapters assigned, and date the reading is due. 

There are also several options for sequencing events and/or completing chapter summaries. 

Several options for explaining story elements are included as well. Students can explain cause and effect, character traits, vocabulary words, problem and solution, and more. 

There are also pages for making connections to the text (think and connect).

This unit includes options for use in composition books or in spiral notebooks. For more information you can check out the whole unit here.

Stay tuned for more great resources and have a wonderful week!

Classroom Management for After The Break

Hey y'all. The countdown to vacation is on! As we're getting ready to head out for winter break, it's time to start prepping things for when we get back.

Each January, we review our classroom behavior expectations so we can start off the second semester right, and with the whole class on the same page.

We use this little book to write out and illustrate what the proper behavior looks like, feels like, and sounds like in our classroom. 

We can review these expectations at any time and each students' book stays in the classroom…just in case we need reminders.

We go over expectations for each of the situations we find ourselves in during the school day. There's even a blank page at the end of the book for any special situations specific to a particular school.

I've used this little booklet with kids from kindergarten to third grade and they've all enjoyed showing what they know by filling in the expectations in their own words. The kids are amazingly thorough, too! You can pick up your own copy of this little tool here.

How do you review behavior expectations in your classroom? If you have any exciting rituals, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderfully smooth start to the spring semester.

Stay sweet,

Science Notebook FREEBIE!

Hey y'all! I know you are just as excited about STEAM centers as I am! The kids are learning, they are gaining independence, they are following directions, and you are able to scaffold all of your little learners.

What would make it any better? TABS!

Teach organization skills and refer back to different units with ease by using these FREE tab dividers for each unit.

Make it even easier to locate units by printing each one on different colored card stock. Telling them to turn to "the green plants tab" is much easier than having them find the unit on their own.

You can grab this freebie by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more science resources coming soon!

Stay sweet,

The Holiday Gift Guide for Your Students

Happy Holidays! Last week I shared a gift guide for teachers, showcasing what teachers really want for Christmas. That crayon wreath on Pinterest is pretty cute, but teachers like other things, too. If you missed it, you can catch it here.

This week, I'm sharing a gift guide for students from their teachers. Many of the ideas below are inexpensive or even free. Most are experiences rather than things. During the holiday season, people tend to lose track of the reason for giving—to show someone you care—and get caught up in the "stuff" of holidays—presents, presents, presents.

Don't worry. Many of your students will get plenty of candy, fidget spinners, and video games this season. Show them you care and love them in other ways (besides feeding into the fidget spinner craze).

1. Books

Scholastic has a fantastic selection of books for your students. Many are only $1-2 and there are options for all reading levels and interests. When I taught 3rd grade last year, I picked out books for each one of my students based on their interests. This year, my 2nd grade class loves the Old Lady Who Swallowed a… books so much that I bought them each their own copy of There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow. Simple, easy, and, if you have enough points, pretty cheap (or free!).

2. Read-ins 

Fun days full of pajamas, slippers, feel-good books, and a roaring (youtube) fireplace can be and excellent way to show your students how much they are loved. Nothing says "you're special" like a feel good story.

3. Create classroom decorations together

During your holidays around the world unit, you could easily have each student create an ornament from each place and hang it in the room. It doesn't have to be on a tree. Hang it from the ceiling and make the room look like a holiday wonderland. Or create a display for each of the different cultures. Not sure how to begin? Ask your students. They're FULL of great ideas.

Want to take them back in time? Teach them how to string popcorn and hang it around the room. Just be sure to warn them about the pokey end of the sewing needle.

Just before winter break, have them help you un-decorate the room and send ornaments home with them to hang on their own trees.

4. Enjoy the first snowfall

If snow doesn't cancel school where you live, have a game plan ready for the first snow fall. Read a book about snow. Make snowflakes and hang them around the room. Have a "snowball fight" by writing questions on paper, crumpling them up into a ball, throwing them at each other, then opening them up and answering them. No snow where you live? Make your own by mixing flour and baby oil. The room will smell amazing and your students will love the "moon sand" like effect.

5. Have a hot chocolate day

Spend the day with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. Need to warm up the water? Bring in a coffee pot and pour the hot water and chocolate mix in the cups. No microwave or stove needed. Play games with a chocolate or wintery theme. Make marshmallow shooters to get the marshmallows in the cup (without the hot chocolate in them!).

6. Share words of encouragement

I am sure you already tell your students how amazing they are. But taking the time to write it down and giving each student a card telling them how special they are is an incredible gift. Younger students may or may not really appreciate this gesture, but your older students will. And they'll remember you forever for it, too.

7. Teach them how to give to others

One of the best gifts you can give a child is to teach them how to give themselves. In our classroom, we do the Twelve Days of Giving, right up to winter break. Everyday the kids are excited to see how they can give to others that day. It's an exciting, humbling, and empowering lesson for students of all ages to learn how they can be a part of the giving, and not just the receiving. A valuable lesson to learn at any age.

I hope you found some valuable ways to show your students you care about them. Children need so much more than toys and junk food this time of year. Teaching them that there are other ways to show love and how they can do it as well is a wonderful gift to give them.

Have a wonderful holiday and stay sweet.

The REAL Teacher Gift Guide

Teacher appreciation week is fast approaching. While teachers don't expect to get anything, it is nice to be thought of. 

Just as education has changed over the years, so have teachers. Our styles have moved away from the scenic sweater vests and jumpers from the 80's to a more trendy look and feel. With all the new trends in education, our personal preferences have changed as well. So to get your child's teacher something they really would love to have, keep on reading.

The ideas in this post are a guide for gift giving. Individual preferences will vary. The point of this post is not to promote specific brands or products, but to provide ways for showing appreciation. It is the spirit of the gift that counts, not the actual brand or product. 

1. Rae Dunn coffe mugs

Most teachers have excessive amounts of coffee mugs, many of which we politely thank the giver for then shove in the back of the cabinet. If you really want to give your child's teacher a coffee mug, get a Rae Dunn one.

2. Flair Pens

Teachers love pens. We can never have too many pens or too many color choices. They are cheap, pretty, and always a hit. Go for the Flair pens!

3. A Manicure or Pedicure

Teachers work hard. Sometimes we like to be pampered. I, myself, am not one to pay for manicures or pedicures for me because I usually end up spending my money on my own children and supplies for the children in my classroom. I know I am not alone in this and many teachers just want an excuse to pamper themselves. On the same lines, a spa treatment isn't a bad option either.

4. Bath and Body Works 

Anything that smells like home or from the Aromatherapy line is a great choice. Teachers are stressed. And after a long, busy day, a little comfort and joy goes a long way.

5. Alex and Ani, Nickel and Suede, or any other jewelry to let her know she's special

Teachers give so much of themselves. Let her know she's special by sending her a little love that's just for her. Alex and Ani has many bracelet and necklace options for all kinds of personalities. Nickel and Suede has amazing earrings and bracelets that are inexpensive but sophisticated.

And for male and female teachers…

6. Gift cards

Because, let's face it, teachers need caffeine. You can't go wrong with a Starbucks gift card. Even if he or she isn't a coffee drinker, they can find something they like at Starbucks.

Gamestop, Chili's, Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, Chick-fil-a, Target, Walmart, grocery stores, local eateries or shops…teachers never balk at gift cards to their favorite places. Even the smallest gestures are very much appreciated.

I hope you gained some ideas for you child's teacher. Save yourself time and stress and forget the crayon wreath from Pinterest. Use these ideas to really make your child's teacher feel special. She or he will really thank you for it.

Stay sweet,


Winter STEAM Centers

Hey y'all! I don't know about you, but my students are LOVING science centers. They get to be independent and I have almost NO students off task during stations. It's a teacher's dream.

I know many school districts don't allow holiday celebrations in December, so I put together a little non-holiday winter fun. This can also be used in January when we head back to school after winter break.

We start off on Monday making winter scene artwork. Tuesday through Thursday, students go to different centers to explore all things winter.

Students build an igloo out of marshmallows and read all about winter.

They learn about opacity by making a sun catcher and symmetry by making a snowflake.

They also learn about keeping warm in winter by examining the effects of warm clothing like mittens and animals' blubber (not pictured).

On Friday, we come together for a whole class science experiment on the effects of different substances in melting ice. Which will melt it the quickest, salt, sugar, or baking soda?

For more information, you can check out the whole unit here. Thank you for stopping by and be sure to follow me for the latest resources and freebies.