Favorite EOY Activities

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The end of the year can sneak up on you and it can be a sad and yet exciting time for the kids as well as us teachers.  Here are some things I do to wrap up the year and send my kids off for the summer.

Countdown:
One of the first things I do to start winding down the year is start up an end of the year countdown.  I write it up on my board and I have a child change the count each day.  I've seen teachers that put balloons up somewhere in their room and pop one each day in the countdown.  Next year, I would like to give that a try, but Expo marker did the trick this year :)

EOY Meeting:
An EOY meeting is one of my favorite moments of the year.  This is a good time to reflect on everything that we learned and share exciting times we shared. Once we have completed this, I show our EOY slideshow.
This is a good time to capture our memories in writing!  This is when we complete our "Owl-ways Remember" writing and craft.  Crafting craft available HERE.
*I forgot to take pictures of this activity this year, so these pictures are from one of my past classes.*

End of the year gifts:
I always have given gifts and they've varied from a favorite book we read together, buckets filled with goodies/activities for the summer, sunglasses etc.  The past two years I gave my kids water bottles.  One of the things I felt sad about was the fact that I gave them away and never got to see my kids enjoy their gifts, so this year I passed them out on the Monday of the last week of school.  I used my Cricut to cut out my students' names with permanent vinyl.  Each child chose their bottle color and I quickly put their name on it while  they ate breakfast.  I've never seen such excited kids!  They wanted to take their bottles with them everywhere they went!  And I have never seen children drink so much water in my life!  This is definitely a gift I will have to recreate next year.  (These particular bottles can be found at the 99 cent store.)

Awards:
Every year I want to make EOY awards, but never get to it.  This year I was determined to create some and thank goodness I got my hands on Molly's Marvelous Medallions!  I was able to create a medallion for every single child.  They wore them proudly!
Diplomas:
On the very last day in the last hours I show our EOY slideshow again and then I wrap up the day by passing out "diplomas."  I take a sheet protector and fill it with their report card, reading log for the summer, an end of the year letter, and their first grade diploma on top and hand them out.   My first graders loved this!  This was a moment for them to celebrate what we did this year and they gleefully cheered for each other as they came up to get their diplomas.  Even though I had told them they had passed on to second grade, they still looked so thrilled to be told they were now second graders :-)  I loved their excitement! 

These are some things that I like to do to wrap up the year.  What special things do you do to end the year on a good note?  Please link up with us below and share  :-) 


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Freebie - Data/Evidence Binder Printable

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  To celebrate, I posted my most recent (and most used) printable as a freebie for you!

How often do you get asked about something that happened weeks or months ago about a child?  This happens all the time to me.  I decided it was time to do something about it and create a printable that would make it easy for me to document incidents for each child.  

The best thing about these is that they are easy to fill out.  Just write up what happened in the middle section, then check off your action taken on the right.  Like I said before, they can be used to record anything.  I like to document good things too and call home.  

Parents love getting positive phone calls :-)  

This one printable has saved my bacon this year!  I have a fun bunch this year, but let's just say that this class keeps me on my toes ;-)  I'm thankful that I decided to keep these logs the entire year.  I ended up needing them for some extremely important meetings for four different children.  There was no way I would have been able to remember all the details of all the incidents and the action I took to resolve the issue.  There was no worrying at all for me!  I had the date of the incident, a description, and the action I took, right on one sheet in chronological order!  If there was one form I would encourage anyone to use, it's this one right here.  

This one also came in handy when filling out child study paperwork to refer children for testing.  I needed exact dates of when I spoke with parents about their child being behind.  No worries, it was all on these sheets!  

Want a copy?  Pick up your copy by clicking the picture below:



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Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

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I'm dropping by to share my Teacher Appreciation gifts for my teammates.  I'm so happy with how they turned out!  I wish I would have made one for myself :-) LOL!

Do you want to make some for your teacher friends or Child's teacher?  You can find a detailed tutorial for making these over at The 36th Avenue's Blog.  It took me about two hours to make four of these from start to finish.  I filled them with M&M's because we NEED chocolate during this time of the year!
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All About Parent Communication

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I think all teachers can agree that a partnership needs to exist between parents and teachers in order to help children succeed.  One way to build that partnership is by communicating with parents and keeping them informed.

Each year I target an area I want to focus in on and improve on.  This year I chose parent communication.  I've always kept my parents informed and up to date, but this year I really wanted to step it up and bring it to a whole new level.  Therefore this month's topic for Together We Are Better is right up my alley :-)


In the process of keeping my parents informed, I created some easy to use printables that will help me accomplish this goal. 

One of the best ways to keep parents updated is to send out newsletters.  My school sends home multiple page newsletters and sadly, they don't get read.  There is just too much going on them.  I wanted to create something that was easy for me to type up, but easy for parents to read.  The simple streamlined design makes it easy to focus in on what's important.  Ever since I started sending them out, my parents have actually been reading them.  Many of them have stopped by to tell me how much they appreciate these newsletters. 

This is what they look like:
Here is an example of my February newsletter:

Next up are my letter templates.  On a typical teaching day, you don't have time to sit and make a great looking letter, so what I used to do was just type up some word document and send it home.  I then realized I needed to have a template ready to go so that I could just type up my letters and print.  Once I made one template, I couldn't stop, so I made multiple ones so I'm not sending home the same design home over and over again.  The kids love these letters! A great "side affect" was that my class thought they were so cute, they are actually showing the letters to their parents right away :-) It's so easy to make my letters now.  I just enter the subject on top and type up the letter.  I use these ALL THE TIME.


An these are my latest creations to keep my parents up to date:

After I sent out my updated Newsletters, I thought "wouldn't it be nice to include a calendar on the back of this so parents can hang it up on the fridge?" So that's how this set was born!  Now parents can read the newsletter and then hang up the calendar to stay up to date.
  
I'm also using these calendars to keep track of interventions I do with specific children.  This type of documentation is especially important during IEP meetings and parent conferences.  You can also use them as behavior charts, for long range planning, agendas etc. 

This is a sample of one of my March calendar:
I'm thrilled about these!  The best part is that they are predated, all I have to do is enter my text and print!  If you purchase these, you will have updates on this set for life.  This means that the dates will be updated for you every year.  

If you take a look at all of these resources you will notice that they all coordinate and match.  This is on purpose!  When parents see something with this type of design, they will know that it's from me, their chid's teacher.  Let's face it, parents see so much stuff come home in their child's backpack that things get pushed to the side.  If they see a document they recognize is from me, it's more likely to get read.  I love printing these on bright colored paper to make them stand out even more :) 

I also created one other item that is saving me time and helping me with my parents. 
These note templates are saving me some major time.  Many times I want to write up a quick note but once again, don't have the time to set up the design, look through clip art, size the notes as I want them etc... So I created these templates that are ready to go.  All I have to do is enter that text and hit print.  I'm using them as positive notes to parents, notes to coworkers, parent reminders, and my favorite; notes to students.  Someone left feedback on these notes saying that they kept a stack of these notes in their desk with the words "From the desk of_____" along the top.  These make the perfect stationary.  I love to praise my kids for good things that they do.  These are perfect for that!

If you like these templates, you can pick them up in my bundle. All of these files are in just one download :-)  You can also pick up individual ones that you are interested in.

You cannot underestimate the value of parent communication!  This year I began tracking every conversation I've had with parents.  Boy, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  This year I have a rambunctious and interesting class.  Lots of stuff is happening outside at recess and I've been communicating so much via phone with my parents.  We have had meetings where I needed specific dates of when I spoke with parents and admin.  On a typical year, I could have confirmed a general time frame and given some general info on what I remembered.  Well, not this year.  I have the exact date and TIME as well as notes of what our conversation was about.  Parents are impressed, admin is impressed, and I am NOT stressed out trying to remember all these details.  It's all on my log.  It takes a big load off my mind.  I will post about my Data/Evidence Binder later on and share this printable with you.  Make sure to come back for that!

Thank you for reading about ways that I keep my parents informed!  Now link up with my friends, Ashley and Angie, to share your tips for keeping your parents up to date.

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Currently - May

It's already May and I have less than three weeks left of school! How did that happen?

I'm linking up for Currently with Farley over at Oh' Boy it's 4th Grade!

Listening:  My husband went back to school and he is almost done with his junior year.  I don't know how he does it! He is busy typing away some essay that is due tonight.  Being in school was so much easier as a teenager!

Loving: My laminator!  I'm laminating some things I bought on TpT long ago.  Wish I had done it sooner. 

Thinking:  I have the perfect Mother's Day gift in mind this year.  I hope I can get them made this weekend!

Wanting: Some rest.  This week was CRAZY.  I just need to sleep :-)

Needing: Sadly, a new car.  My car is nine years old.  It feels like I just bought it, but it's starting to have problems. Not fun!

Summer yes: I'm heading to Vegas for the TpT conference.  Can't wait!
Hope: I hope to get a new car that will last a long time.
Dream: I'm searching for a new school and thank goodness I live in a state with lots of jobs.  The problem is, I'm having a very difficult time deciding where to work and which offer to accept.  I pray the place I choose is the right place for me.

So that is it for me, now make sure to link up for this month's Currently!


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