Wednesday, September 6, 2023


It is apple time!  I stopped in at the apple orchard today for some fresh apples and my kids favorite apple salsa! I also picked up a few for my students and some apple activities for the classroom!  Do you do apple activities in your classroom?  I have some of my favorite in this FREEBIE!

Head over and grab your copy today!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

5 Ways to Increase Your Students Learning using Desk Help Name Tags!

Have you ever stopped to think about how a name tag can unlock learning and discovery?

My students have gained independence and learning using desk help name tags for years! With everything from numbers and letters, colors and shapes, right and left, desk help name tags offer a wealth of advantages to help students with their learning every day. Here are 5 things that I included on my name tags to increase my students’ learning.

1. Name writing and recognition
Students come into kindergarten and first grade with varying abilities of reading and writing their names.  Being able to see the proper way to form their letters can help students master writing their names.  I include my first grade students’ last names to help them spell and write it as well! 
2. Mastering letters and sounds with Alphabet Strips
With a picture alphabet strip, you can see the magic of letter-sound relationships unfold right before your students’ eyes. Students will come across illustrations representing each letter as they associate the letter with its associated sound, helping them to reinforce their phonics instruction.
3. Number Lines and Hundreds Charts
Number lines and hundreds charts are fantastic tools for making math easy and fun. These visual aids are incredible for helping students understand and solve mathematical problems. With a number line, they can learn addition and subtraction by counting forward or backward. By using a hundreds chart, they can see patterns in numbers and improve their counting skills. Overall, these tools are invaluable resources that make learning math a breeze.

4. Colors and Shapes

Color words and shapes play a role in enhancing vocabulary and communication skills. These words help my young learners recognize and differentiate between different colors and shapes. By having color and shape words readily available, students can express themselves more accurately in their writing, describe objects.

5. Left and right

Navigating left and right may appear to be a minor task, but it is a critical skill for young learners to develop. Students will  never mess up directions using the  left and right reference materials. 

Desk help name tags are helpful tools that encourage students to seek answers on their own, allowing them to become independent learners. They also provide a student with a learning space of their own that they can proudly claim.

I have included my desk help name tags in my Teacher Pay Teacher, Classful and Teach Simple stores! I have a theme or color to match every classroom! You with can set your students up for independence and success with these name tags!

Do you prefer flexible seating?  The Pencil Box Name Tags are a perfect for students on the move! The Intermediate option is perfect for grades 2-5!

                                                                                                                               Happy Teaching!

Monday, April 24, 2023

5 Tips for Preventing the Summer Slide!


One year, I looped with my first grade students and had them again as second graders. As I was doing one of my beginning of the year testing, I noticed that one of my students was significantly lower than when I had tested her in May. I asked her "Did you read this summer?" She told me "No, I had fun this summer!" *sob*

The reason she had gone back so far was due to what educators call "Summer Slide." Summer slide refers to the learning loss that occurs during the summer break, where students can lose some of the academic progress they made during the school year.

There is no reason why a student cannot have fun while also avoiding summer learning loss! Here are five recommendations to help your student avoid the summer slide::

  1. Read daily: Throughout the summer, encourage students to read for pleasure. Library programs, book clubs, and reading challenges can help with this. Reading daily helps maintain and develop literacy skills. Studies show that students that read daily during the summer actually increase their reading level!

  2. Practice math: Summer slide can affect math skills as well. Students can maintain their skills by incorporating math into everyday activities like cooking, shopping, and even  when they travel.

  3. Enroll in summer programs: Many schools, community centers, and libraries offer summer programs in academics, sports, and the arts. Many of these programs are even free! Enrolling in these programs can help students in keeping up their reading and math knowledge, learning new skills, spending time with their friends, and keeping their routine.

  4. Use educational apps: Educational apps and games can provide fun ways for students to practice skills and stay engaged with learning during the summer months. Something as simple as an online journal (or handwritten) helps students to maintain everything they have learned!

  5. Encourage curiosity: Summer is a great time for students to explore their interests and hobbies. Encourage students to learn about topics of interest to them. If your student loves dinosaurs, go to the library and check out books about them! Look for museums that have exhibits about dinosaurs. Show them something new! Teach them how to grow a garden, or learn to hike or something fun outdoors. These kinds of activities can develop a love of learning that will last a lifetime!

I send home a pack to parents that would like something
to have their kids practice every day:

You can see them both here!

First Grade

Second Grade

The end of the school year is coming soon! Make the most of every minute!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

5 Steps to Personalize Centerpieces

Centerpieces are a great way to add your own personal touch to any of your get-togethers! Whether is it for a wedding, birthday party, anniversary, or another celebration; making your own is easier and more affordable than you might think!
  1. Choose a theme: The theme of your event can be determined by the event, the guest of honor, or even a color scheme that goes with the event. For a wedding, for example, you might want to choose a theme that reflects the couple's hobbies or interests.

  2. Choose your materials: Once you've decided on a theme, you can select the materials you'll need to make your centerpieces. Vases or jars, flowers, candles, ribbons, or other decorative items may be included. For my nieces wedding, we asked everyone important to her for extra unused vases for eclectic but sentimental centerpieces for her tables.

  3. Plan your design: Before you begin assembling your centerpieces, sketch out your design. You can create a mood board with pictures and inspiration or sketch out a rough idea of what you want your centerpieces to look like.

  4. Assemble your centerpieces: Once you've decided on your materials and design, begin assembling your centerpieces. Arranging flowers in vases or jars, tying ribbons around candles, or adding other decorative elements. Always have your centerpieces as complete as you can before the day of the event to avoid last minute stress! I always do a test run with pictures long before the big day so I have everything I need!

  5. Consider adding a personal touch, such as a photo or a message, to make your centerpieces truly personalized. Include a small picture of the person or people being honored, or make a tag with a special message or quote. We have used laser cut hearts, initials, and photos to help make our centerpieces special. For my wedding we used small pictures of us when we were children for a fun personal touch! 

Following these steps, you too can create beautiful, personalized centerpieces that will add a special touch to any occasion!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Personalized 50th Anniversary Budget Friendly Centerpieces


My parents' 50th anniversary celebration:

We wanted to have something beautiful, personal, with a sentimental nod to their wedding day. We asked our local florist for filler that would hold up during our drive from Illinois to Minnesota, as it's important to ensure that the centerpieces stay intact and look their best for the celebration. We added yellow roses to the centerpieces once we arrived at the venue. My brother cut the wood slices and sanded them and added a protective clear stain.

Gold Spray paint $7 (aff. link)

12 Ball canning jars $31  (aff. link)

Words and Letters (I found these at Hobby Lobby all $1 or less) $15

Roses $40

Greens from local florist $50

Hearts from Etsy $12

wood slices- free

12 center pieces  $155 or about $13 each 

I love how these turned out! They were the perfect centerpiece for a great party!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Planning a successful 50th Anniversary Party on a budget!

A few years ago we were so blessed to be able to plan a 50th wedding anniversary party for my parents! We had a small get together at a hotel since most of our guests were out of town. It was so much fun! A few pictures from the party!

We served appetizers and desserts. 

Cake and cupcakes are from Sam's Club! Under $50!!!

50 Years of Blessings!
Words and hearts are a collage of pics from the past 50 years!
There were always people around this chatting about the pics. 

My mom's dress, veil, and train.

We displayed my mom's dress and put her picture and all took pictures of
her granddaughters wearing the dress as well!

Instead of a guest book we had everyone write a favorite memory!
I scanned them into Shutterfly and added them into the
memory book I made for my parents afterwards!

The centerpieces from the tables. 

Want to celebrate this milestone without breaking the bank? 
Check out these fun ideas:
  1. Host a backyard BBQ or potluck: Invite your friends and family over for a casual BBQ or potluck. You can ask everyone to bring a dish to share and provide drinks and snacks. Decorate your yard with balloons, streamers, and photos of your life together!

  2. You can renew your vows in a simple ceremony in a park or in your own backyard. You can write your own vows or use the vows from your wedding ceremony for a sentimental touch.

  3. Pack a picnic basket full of your favorite foods, grab your kids and grandkids (maybe even great grand kids!) and head to a nearby park or beach. Bring a chairs to sit on,  games to play, and spend the day with your family.

  4. Make a slideshow of photos from your wedding day and throughout your marriage to take you down memory lane. Show off your slideshow to family and friends at a gathering at your home or a nearby church or community center.
  5. Create a memory book by asking family and friends to share their favorite memories and stories about the couple. Make a memory book out of them and give it to the couple as a gift.

  6. Go out for a special dinner: Look for local restaurants that offer senior discounts or early bird specials. Make a reservation and spend a special evening with your loved ones.

Remember that spending time together and celebrating your love and commitment to each other is the most important thing. The cost of the celebration isn't as important as the memories you make!