Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentines for your Students

Do you know what profession receives the most Valentines? I'm sure you know, it is TEACHERS!! Each Valentine's Day teachers all over the country receive Valentines from their current students, former students, coworkers, administrators and any significant others they may have in their lives. It's so AWESOME! 

So, how about your students?  Do you give them a Valentine each year? Chances are if you are an Elementary grade teacher, you give your students a Valentine card and possibly a small gift on this day of love.

If this is what you do each year, I have a FREEBIE you might be interested in.

This packet contains free Valentines you can give your class. With three to choose from, you are sure to find one to fit your needs:

Quarter Page Size Card: This card can be printed on card stock and given to students.  You can even add a special treat such as a pencil, or lollipop if you want to. Just punch holes or use clear tape to attach.

Treat Bag Tag:  This card is sized so you can print on card stock, cut out and fold over a snack size zip lock bag.  Fill the bags with candy, Goldfish crackers, Teddy Grams or any other treat you would like.

Ruler Valentine: This last one is my favorite! I try to stock up on rulers in August when they are on sale at the beginning of school. Sometimes you can purchase them for as little as 50 cents each.  Then on Valentine's Day, you can use this card to give them to your students as a very special Valentine's gift. 

One year my daughter used these to give to her classmates cute colorful rulers as Valentines.  They loved it!

This packet also has a couple of fun Valentine Activities you can do with your students on Valentine's Day:  a Graphing Activity (for which you will need a small box of Conversation Hearts Candy for each student.) and a word scramble:

If you would like to download this Valentine's Freebie   all you have to do is click on the picture below.

I hope you and your students have a great Valentine's Day.  Stop by and visit me at:

Until Next Time........

Monday, January 2, 2017

Polar Bear Close Read

Friends~Do you LOVE close reads?  I sure do and so do my students.  Next week,  we will be studying the Polar Bear and I know they are going to be crazy about them!  They also love QR codes so I thought I would mix the two up.  I created a Polar Bear Close Read for our listening center.  
The Schroeder Page

The Schroeder PageThe Schroeder Page

It was so simple to do.  I printed out my FREE Polar Bear Close Read and then mounted it to a file folder upside down.  (I wanted the tab at the bottom.)  Now my students can open the folder and read the text or scan the code to have it read to them by me!  I also added my Close Reading Boomarks.  I really like when my students use the bookmarks because they help them pick apart the text.  Because I laminated the folder, my students can use expo markers to write on the text to help them pinpoint important information.  They can also answer the comprehension questions on the back.  

Watch this quick tutorial showing how I put this close read listening center together for my students. 
One wipe and they are clean for the next student to use!
Plus, it saves tons on copies!  
You can grab a FREE copy of the file by clicking the image below!  
The Schroeder Page

We will also be making life size models of polar bear paws!  Check them out! They are fascinating!
Click the image above to read more about our Polar Bear Study!


Sunday, January 1, 2017


The new science standards have been tough to maneuver this year.  One strand that kept coming up in each unit was a stem project.  Stem was very new to me but I decided, along with my 1st grade team to go for it.  In December we did a mini-unit on Nutcrackers.  We were taking the kids to go see the Nutcracker play and thought, why not do a lesson on nutcrackers.  But the best part of all was that the kids would be making a nutcracker at home with their families.  The results were amazing!  We told the that the nutcracker should be able to crack just a regular peanut or a gold fish (for those allergy classrooms).  The families went above and beyond.  We got some great responses back from our families.  

Here are some pictures!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Embracing the Elf Activities

Hi everyone, I hope you are surviving the last few weeks before Christmas break with your students.  It is a hectic time for teachers as we try to keep our students engaged during the day and then work to finish all of our Christmas home projects at night.  Even though it is a tiring time, I love teaching during the month of December.  If your students are anything like mine there is a lot of talk in our classroom about the Elf on the Shelf, his or her pet reindeer or pet dog.  I like to capitalize on my students' interests when teaching.  If they are engaged it makes my job so much easier.  Here are some ways I have embraced the "Elf"


I am currently teaching data management and pictographs.  To help keep my students interest I decided to put cards with a picture of a boy elf, a girl elf and a reindeer pet in a brown paper bag.  Students take turn drawing the cards out of the bag and using tally marks to record their results.  The students then use their data to make a pictograph.

There is something about using the Elf that suddenly causes all my students to want to see who is hiding in Santa's Bag.

If you think the "Elf" might help you teach pictographs, you can get it here

Language Arts

If you haven't ordered the book "Memoirs of an Elf" from Scholastic you should.  My students love the story and it is a great book to get students writing about Elves and their adventures.  
I love giving students hashtags and having them write about the "Elfie" they made.  Below are just some that I have used with my class.

If you own the book and would like this writing activity, you can get it here.

To help your students write about the Elf and answer that popular question "How do you spell?", you may want to download this FREEBIE.
Hang in there, only ten more days until a much needed break!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rethinking Writing Prompts! Spice up your writing block!

Hello all!  Thank you so much for stopping by!  It's Hilary From Primary Planet!
Today I want you to stop for a moment and re imagine Writing Prompts.
Usually when I think of writing prompts, I think of a narrow, specific task that the students need to address. 
What if I told you that Writing Prompts could be fun, scaffolded, and engaging?  What if I even told you that your kiddos would ask for them during Writer's Workshop or Writing Centers (even your most reluctant writers)?

Let me introduce: Pick a Prompts and Story Starter Cootie Catchers!

Super Silly Pick a Prompt

First up: Pick a Prompts!

These are writing prompts that give the kiddos choice over what elements they want to write about.  These are perfect for substitute teachers, fast finishers, or the "I don't know what to write about " gang.  They have pictures with short, easy to read captions that scaffold your students writing!  These are great for ELL students as well!
Super Silly Pick a Prompt 

Your students choose one "prompt" from each section, then use them to write their story!

When I use them in my classroom we have a discussion before we write.  We read all of the choices and if there is something that they don't understand we clarify.  
I make a list of "key words" on my whiteboard easel, then let the kiddos turn and talk to  a partner about their plans for writing.

Then, the kiddos go back to their spots, circle their choices and write, write, write!
Sometime the kiddos make some modifications to help the prompt better fit their needs:
Super Silly Pick a Prompt
I also often challenge the students to use all of the elements!  My kiddos LOVE these and often ask for them.

If you would like to give these a try, I have a freebie in my store HERE!

If you like these prompts, but are trying to go paperless, I have several digital versions in my store as well!  They work with Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive!  You can find them here:

Up Next:  Story Starter Cootie Catchers

I have to start with: My kiddos LOVE Cootie Catchers (or fortune tellers if you prefer). You would think that they were somehow magical that is how much my kiddos love them!
What a better way to get them writing but to use a cootie catcher for a writing prompt!
These are similar to the Pick a Prompts as it has choices for Settings, Characters, and Plots.
Throw in that they are on a cootie catcher and it is magical!

Let me first say that folding Cootie Catchers with second graders was a bit of a challenge the first time we did it.  Yes, I almost tore all of my hair out, but I had a student who knew how to fold them on her own, so she was a great big help.  Let me also say, it was worth it!  The kiddos were enamored with them all day!  They asked to take them home as well!
These would be great for putting in your Writing Center for Writer's Workshop, fast finishers, or as holiday gifts (yes, they really love them that much!)

First, we folded them.  It was painful the first time we did this, the second time went much smoother.  I only had to refold a few of them!  

Then, we take some time to explore them with our partners and tell stories!

Then, we go back to our writing spots and using the special paper, get drawing and writing!

My heavens!  These kiddos wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more!  They actually groaned when I told them that Writer's Workshop was over!  Even my kiddos who do everything they can to avoid writing!
If you would like to try these, I have a freebie (it is Halloween themed, but it would be fun to try out!) HERE

Now in my room when I say "Today we will be writing to a prompt" the kiddos all cheer!
Of course we still do some of the old, test style ones as well...
but you can probably guess which ones they prefer!

If you are looking to spice up your writing block, you can find these products by clicking on the pictures, or here in my TpT store:

These are the links to the bundle, but you can buy them separately as well!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

HOMEWORK! To Be or Not to Be? That is the Question!

"Homework remains one of the biggest challenges and concerns facing teachers today," author Nancy Paulu told Education World. "Many teachers say they have a hard time creating meaningful and appropriate homework assignments and getting students to complete the assignments successfully."

     The Great DEBATE!  To give Homework or NOT??  What about the idea that kids need some “down time” after spending all day in school?  What do some kids do when the homework is too hard…..or too easy?  It’s  always challenging to plan Homework that meets the needs of each student. 
      Here is an idea we created that helps connect families with school. What’s great about these assignments is that they build classroom community while also increasing oral and written language!  A Win-Win!

How does Write and Share work?
   Each student writes their homework and brings it in to share with their class. Through sharing, they get practice in speaking aloud, other students get practice in asking questions about what they wrote, and everyone learns a little bit more about each other!  That’s why it’s called WRITE & SHARE.

   WRITE & SHARE was created to replace that old familiar Show & Tell. As first grade teachers, we knew our students enjoyed sharing about their own things. But after a few months (ACCK!), we noticed that the items they selected began to look a little ragged and torn. It seemed they had quickly just rooted around in their closet and pulled out any old thing to bring!

      We weren’t seeing any real connection to our curriculum either. Yes, they were sharing but this concept REALLY needed to be expanded to include some family involvement and some academic skills. So.....we put our heads together and developed a year-long homework program....and called it WRITE & SHARE. There is a wide variety of topics that children write and share about....seasonal, holidays, math, science, etc. 

     Parents tell us they look forward to the varied assignments that they do with their child. Teachers tell us how valuable this is for their students. Others liked it and wanted it in their Kindergarten or 2nd Grade classrooms so we expanded it to both those grades also....adapting them to fit the skill levels of those grades and standards. So now there are 3 levels of WRITE and SHARE! The world is a happy place!  

Check out what one of our customers had to say about Write and Share!
"One of my better purchases last year! I loved using it for homework and then letting my students have time on Fridays to share from the Author’s chair. Even my most reluctant writers were sharing by year’s end!"

Here’s a few FREE samples for you to try.  Click {HERE} to link to the free sample at our JK Curriculum Connection website. (P.S. There are some other fun freebies there also!) 

Click {HERE} for the Kindergarten product at our TeachersPayTeachers store.
Click {HERE} for the 1st Grade Write and Share!
Click {HERE} for the 2nd Grade Homework Write and Share!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Postive Notes AND a Giveaway!

Hey everyone!  
I'm Amy from Cahill's Creations

I'm here to share my ideas on how to become even more positive in the classroom.  This year, we decided to be EVEN MORE positive than last year!  So, we finally decided to say goodbye to the clip chart.  We realized that it really wasn't helping the negative behaviors.  By the end of the year, we were JUST using the chart for positive choices and behaviors.  

We've turned the clip chart wall into a bucket filling wall!  We've been in school for 3 weeks now and we're seeing great success so far!  We're hearing kids talk about other kids in a more positive way.  They are recognizing their friends as being bucket fillers and we love hearing them!  Our ultimate goal is for the class to build a community of caring kids working collaboratively together.  We are spending more time talking about positive behaviors and building friendships than ever before.  We are also talking more about how we can celebrate our differences in a positive way.

Sending daily notes home is something we love to do.  This year, our goal is to be more SPECIFIC with the notes and with the kids.  We want to let the kids know exactly what they're getting a warm fuzzy for.  We want to build positive behaviors by using very specific language.  In turn, the kids will start using the same language and be able to articulate that with their parents.  When that happens, we feel it is a success!

"You can put a warm fuzzy in your bucket for cooperating with your group today!"
I even created stickers too!  You can use AVERY 5160 labels for printing.  I was so excited when I found Astrobright labels on Amazon Prime!

Enter a Giveaway for a chance to win a $10 gift card to TPT.  Did I mention there is a ONE DAY SALE on Monday, August 22nd????  
a Rafflecopter giveaway