Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer has Begun! Some Activities for the End of the School Year

Friday was the last day of the school year for me.  It was bitter sweet.  I've had a great class and I'll be moving to a district instructional coach position next year, so I won't have a classroom of my own.  However, at the end of the year, the students start behaving like brothers and sisters and were fighting and tattling.  So, it was time for a break from each other.  Here are some of the fun things we did during the last week of school.  If you still have a few more days or weeks to go, maybe you'll find some of these ideas useful.  If you're done for the year, remember them for next year!
Field Day:  We have an amazing PTA at my school that planned and ran a school field day.  The theme was "Minute to Win It."  If you don't have a school wide field day already in place, you could easily do several of these activities with your class.  Even if you do have a similar day, these activities are a lot of fun.  You can find all the directions for do it yourself games on the NBC show's website here.  The Elephant Walk was one of my students' favorite.

Review Rotations:  Each teacher on our team took a topic in both reading and math to review with the students.  We came up with an activity or game that would last 30-45 minutes.  Each day we rotated classes.  We rotated for the reading activities in the morning and math in the afternoon.  For example on Monday morning I had Mrs. Smith's class for 30 minutes and then again in the afternoon for 30 minutes.  Then on Tuesday I had Mrs. Jones' students for the same times.  On the last day we taught our own classes.  I used the activities from my "Quiet as a Mouse" themed learning pack for my group.  We did the book Mouse Paint in the morning and the time activities in the afternoon.

Reading Celebration:  Our principal really supports student reading.  He has a program named "It Pays to Read" in place that is a lot of fun.  Students get to put tickets into a drawing for each week they meet their reading goal of at least 20 minutes per night.  At the end of each semester, he holds an assembly where students names are drawn and awarded prizes.  The secretaries also pull tickets before the assembly and attach to prizes so it doesn't last all day.  The grand prize is a bicycle.  It really pays to read when names are drawn to shoot baskets.  Each throwing line is worth anywhere from $1 to $5.  The student chooses staff members to throw from each line.  The student keeps the cumulative sum of money from all the shots that go in.  Other prizes range from books, to playground balls, to puzzles, crayons and even a few scooters.  It's a lot of fun.  Try your own classroom reading celebration each semester or even start with just the end of the year.  You can use prize box items, certificates for classroom privileges and freebie books from your scholastic orders.  If you have good parent/community support, you might even get a few donations.

Writing Celebration:  On the day before the last day of school, we had an Author's Celebration.  Our grade level wanted to celebrate all the hard work our students put into their writing, especially their 4 published works.  Parents were invited to attend this special event.  We performed reader's theater's for parents first.  We have a great little theater type area in our school so each class was able to take a time slot for a more intimate performance.  Then we moved to the classroom where I showed our end of year video slide show made using Smilebox.  Smilebox is a very slick way to make video slide shows.  I also sent a copy on DVD of the show home with each family.  We then enjoyed cookies and reading the stories we have published to our parents.

Special Lessons:  With the emphasis on testing and teaching specific standards, some of you may have been feeling like you have to let your favorite themed units go.  Well, I've found the last few weeks of school to be the perfect time to fit in those "favorites."  This is the time to teach your dinosaur or insect themed units.  We had fun watching our Fascinations AntWorks ant farm come to life while reading and learning about ants.

What are some of the things that you do at the end of the year?

Friday, May 18, 2012

BBQ Digital Clip Art (Bar-B-Que)

Brand new art just added to our Doodles collection, just in time for your summer festivities.  This clip art is perfect for those who may teach year round school or for your end of year activities.  Use it on school creations or for your personal summer memories.  These would also be great for back to school as you do some activities with summer memories.  To get you started, enjoy this hot dog freebie.  There's three total versions of the hot dog along with the outlines of each available in the pack.  You can view all the details and view the full contents of the clip art pack here.

Right click and choose "save as" to save the hot dog.  Be sure to view our Terms of Use before using this image.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Back to School Poem Pack

As the school year ends, many of us begin to look forward to the beginning of next school year.  As I posted a few end of year poems in the last few weeks, I thought it was time to start back at the beginning of the year to get you set for next school year.  Here's the latest in the free poem pack series, Back To School.  Remember that there's one a week and they all correlate right along with my Poetry Task Cards which are also free.  While you're downloading these from my store, be sure to look at some of my other items perfect for back to school including:

 the All About Me Posters, (several themes available)

Also be sure to get your set of the the Common Core Standard posters in "I" and "We" language. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Journaling and Open Writing Amidst Common Core

Jeannie over at Kindergarten Lifestyle has been gracious to let me be her guest today on her blog.  I shared a post about some of the tips I've learned about journaling in the classroom.  Along with my ideas, I shared a freebie to get you started.  Head over to Kindergarten Lifestyle to get some ideas brewing for next school year.  You can grab your freebie journal cover / divider pages here.  Over the next few weeks, look for more posts about fitting writing in your teaching day and teaching to meet the Common Core in Writing.  Check back on Thursday for the next poetry pack freebie here on Dilly Dabbles.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day Gifts

 We have our Mother's Day gifts ready to go.  We made these flower pens and notepads for Mom.  We had our district printing do these notebooks for us.  Each page of the notebook is the same.  Every student chose 1 sentence and the way they wanted it to be signed.  For example:  You are the best Mom ever!  Love, Pumpkin.  (Sorry, I didn't think to take a picture of the notebooks)  Many chose to sign using the nicknames their mom calls them.  If you can't do personalized notebooks, I'm sure you can find some cheap ones and have students personalize the cover.  Then students made the flower pens using flowers and florist tape from the dollar store and pens I still had from the fall penny sales at Staples.  (If we're really keeping track, I made about half of the pens)  I taped the flower to each pen started the floral tape on them, but I'm sure you already know the ones that will be at your side as soon as you've given the project to them.  Some of my fellow teachers put the pen making as their art center for the week so a few students a day worked on them throughout the week.  We put them together in these cute butterfly gift bags, also from the dollar store.  Each student wrote a note to his/her mom on the first page of the notebook.  We had a class full of cute Mother's Day gifts for just a few dollars.  What are you doing or have you done in the past to help your students celebrate their mothers?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mouse Poem of the Week Freebie

This week's Poem of the Week pack is actually a poem from my brand new pack: Quiet as a Mouse.  Toward the end of the year, we do some fun activities to celebrate and to get us to the end of the year.  One of these days is our "Quiet as a Mouse" day.  For one morning, students are silent.  I try to be silent too.  I plan things that students can do on their own, read and follow directions for, or that require few directions.  The incentive?  Cheetos.  For each time a student talks, a hole is punched in a card that lays on their desk throughout the silent time.  (My silent time usually lasts the morning.)  At the end of the morning, or whatever the time frame, students are given a snack bag of cheetos.  However, for each talking punch in the card, he/she loses a Cheeto.  I hand student their bag, open it and remove the number of Cheetos each "owes" me.  My new pack includes the punch cards and a plethora of mouse themed activities you can do on just a day or make a themed week of it.

You can get your free copy of the weekly free poem pack here.  It correlates with my free poetry task cards found here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Addition... Doodles! and We appreciate You!

Several artists have partnered up with us to offer you various styles of graphics for use in your classroom, your creations or at home.  They're available in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store or on our new website located here at  We're not quite ready to fully leave our current blogspot home, but we will be fully transitioning soon.  We've already begun to outgrow our current "classroom."  A lot of fun and exciting things going on around here!!

If you missed the sneak preview of the graphics that I posted on Wednesday, You can see the post here. Be sure to read our Terms of Use before using the images).  Here's an introduction to another one of our artists, Jessica Weiss.  Here's two freebies from her first collection Springtime Play.  You can view the full contents of this introductory pack here.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week and it's all about YOU!  In addition to the Jackpot Freebie Hop I announced Tuesday, I will be holding a sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store from Sunday, May 6 through the end of the day on Tuesday, May 8th.  Be sure to use the promo code TAD12 to get an additional 10% off the 15% I will be offering off all of my products.
Be sure to check out my newest pack: Quiet as a Mouse.  It's packed with activities, crafts, art connections, math and literacy practice all mouse themed.  Use the activities all on one day while your class practices being "Quiet as a Mouse" or use it throughout a week that perhaps culminates in such a day.

Be sure to start making your wish list now so you're ready of the big sale.  I hope you'll join us for the Jackpot Freebie Teacher Appreciation Hop and the Teacher Appreciation sale!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Introducing Dilly Dabbles Doodles - Digital Graphics

I'm so excited to introduce the latest additions to the Dilly Dabbles family...Dilly Dabbles Doodles! Here's a sneak preview of the graphics that we're launching (Right click each image and choose save as to grab these freebies.  Be sure to read our Terms of Use before using the images):

Each image comes as a png with a transparent background.  Most include the outline and at least one color version (many have several color versions)  Click on the links below to see the full contents of the first pack.

From artist Catherine Smith: A graphics pack all about Spring Time Fun
Get the cute family and border below for free from this pack (Please see the Terms of Use).  View the full contents of the Spring Time Fun Pack here.  You can purchase the full graphics pack here.

If you like what you see, be sure to check out the full graphics pack in our store located in our store here.  It's part of our new site we'll be fully launching soon.

Check back tomorrow for more doodles from artist Jessica Weiss.  

More artists will be joining us soon and we'll be adding new graphics packs on a regular basis.  Have an idea or request for a certain theme?  Feel free to comment below.  Need a special order?  Please use this form to contact us.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Jackpot!

It's finally here!  Sunday is the big Teacher Appreciation Jackpot from which you will receive hundred's of dollars worth of items set to be free just for one day, Sunday, May 6th at Teachers Pay Teachers.  
We wanted to show our appreciation for you in a BIG way, so we've all agreed to give away one of our TeachersPayTeachers products for free on that day! Each free gift will be valued at between $3 and $8, so the total jackpot amount is estimated to be over $500! 
You can find all the freebies by grade level bands.  The main pages for each are listed below.  You can find links to all of the PK-Grade 2 participants at the end of this post in a linky format.
Be sure to see the list and links below of all those that are participating in the PK-2 section.  You can click the links above to visit one of the other groups. 
Wondering what the freebie is from Dilly Dabbles?  It is my Adding 3 Numbers Pack.  Usually priced at $4, you can get for free Sunday only.  So be sure to grab this and all the freebies form the blogs listed below.  Also, be sure to peruse the store as all other items will be 20% off.  Enter the code TAD12 and get an additional 10% off!  This sale will be between May 6-8.  My newest item all about mice was just posted this week, be sure to take a look.  

Thanks so much for all you do! From one educator to another: We appreciate your commitment to your students and your dedication as an educator!

PS - If you like what you see, I'd love for you to follow or sign up for our monthly newsletter.


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