End of the Year

The end of the year is very near!  We only have four days left and one of those days is a half day.

There is a linky party going on right now over at the Clutter-Free Classroom all about the end of the year.  

You can choose to answer any of these questions:

  • Share your tips for wrapping up the school year.

  • What is your favorite end of the year activity?

  • What is it about summer vacation that you are most looking forward to?

1. To wrap up the school year I try to remember to keep things as consistent as possible.  I notice that whenver I slack on my management, or my routine, the kids act differently because nothing is predictable or normal.  Kids love consistency and I have to stay on top of that.  Another biggie is making sure that I praise good behavior as much as possible.  Things can get very negative real quick if I'm looking for the negative behaviors.  Using my clip chart helps to promote the positives.  

2.  I usually do a quick end of the year activity on the last day of school, but I wanted to change it up and try to add something that gave the kids a chance to reflect on our memories of the year.  So we completed two end of the year activities that my kids have loved.  The first is this "Owlways Remember" activity.  The students got to share their memories of the year and everyone got a little teary eyed.  The owls they made were so cute too!

We are also making a memory book about our super year using Linda's "What's Your Super Power?".  So many great activities in this one!  I will be posting about this as soon as my kids are done with the books.

3.  I am most looking forward to resting this summer.  This year has been so busy and I miss having down time for myself.  Once I'm done lounging, I would like to take some time to clean and organize my house.  We purchased a new home back in October and I really never put things where they belonged!  I need to get on that soon.  Planning for next year is also on the top of the list :)

So now head over to the Clutter Free Classroom and join this party!

Tomie dePaola Study

I have a lot of favorite children's books authors, but my all time favorite has got to be Tomie dePaola.  He is such an amazing story teller.  He manages to make his books funny, interesting, and full of heart. One of my dreams is to meet him one day.  Unfortunately, he lives on the east coast and only travels around there and I live all the way in Arizona.  My husband says we can go to see him one day so we will see :)

Linda from Around the Kampfire is hosting a linky for all the ways we teach about this incredible author, so make sure to check out all the ideas being shared!

Tomie dePaola is our author of the month for April.  He is suppose to just take one month, but he kind of spills into May (We also read a couple of his Irish folktale stories in March).  Below you will find our Author of the Month wall with some of the titles we read in class.  To make the board, I just photo copied the covers of some of his books and laminated them.  I bundle them together in my files under the corresponding month so that I can pull them out quickly and set up my display each year.  The kids love looking at the books that we will be reading.  They like to keep track of the books that we have read and even use the covers to write new stories during writer's workshop.
This year we also used Linda's Tomie Unit.  I purchased it at the end of last year and it was too late to use it so I was so excited to be able to use it this year!  It was a huge hit!

Here are some portraits that they made with their favorite characters.  I love Big Anthony's face in the first one!
We wrote post cards from Strega Nona! The kids giggled when they found out they were going to pretend they were Strega Nona.  I love the center image. Do you see her belly as she floats in the ocean?  Also, please note the frog spawn on the lower right of the picture (We just did our frog study a few weeks ago.)
We were reviewing cause and effect in our anthology and this activity was perfect for it! I love it when the kids don't know that they are practicing a skill.  They just think they are having fun!
You can find all these activities in Linda's unit right here:

For those of you who are nuts about Tomie, did you know that you can get autographed books from him?  The Morgan Hill Bookstore is in his local town and they sell his books and he can autograph them for you.  I got these a few years ago when he was able to personalize them.  Last I checked, he has been having health problems and isn't able to personalize them anymore, but he will still autograph them for you!  This is all at NO extra charge, you just purchase the books over the phone and pay with your credit card.  The books are sold at their retail price, so if you are going to purchase them anyway, why not get them signed?? 
I did spend a small fortune on these books because I repurchase many titles that I already owned, but when would I get this chance again? I had to do it :D 

These books are some of my most treasured possessions!  I let the kids hold them and I remind them that they are touching something that Tomie once touched!  Talk about feeling special :)

I hope to one day purchase a page from one of his books.  You can purchase that through an art dealer that you can contact via his website.  The Strega pages cost between $600-$4,000 but there are other pieces that are far less expensive.

So who are your favorite authors?  Do you also love Tomie?  If so, make sure to link up with Linda for her Tomie dePaola Linky!


Top 5 Projects - A Linky Party!

I was looking through the projects that we have made this year and it brought up some great memories!  I then thought about how I would like to see everyone's favorite projects for the year to get some inspiration for next year, so I thought of creating a linky of all our great projects of 2012-2013.

So please link up your post with your top 5 favorite projects :)
My favorite projects for school year 2012-2013 
(It was nearly impossible to bring it down to 5!)
1. Mother's Day Mason Jars
We most recently made these Mother's Day Mason Jars.  I found this craft online and it looked perfect for us.  The original idea is to paint the inside of the jar, but I didn't have enough paint on hand, so we tissue papered the inside and created a bouquet for our moms.  They turned out incredible and the moms loved their flowers

2. Owl-ways Remember
I created this project to recap our memories of the year.  We had so much fun discussing everything we had learned and what we had done throughout the year.  These owls made such a cute display too!

3. Leprechauns/Pots of Gold
Mrs. Cupcake made these CUTE leprechauns and my kids had so much fun making them. Everytime I looked at them, I just had to smile.  The pots of gold from The Teacher Wife were a perfect addition to this craft.  The things the kids wrote were so sweet!

4. 100 Year Old Portraits
I saw these portraits via Pinterest and I was in love! We had to make them!  After some tracking down I found that they were created by Deanna Jump.  These are too cute for words.

5. Parts of a Friendly Letter Foldable
This wasn't exactly a project but it was one of the most useful reference tools we made all year.  My students write letters each week in one of their centers and we write letters for our Donors Choose grants often and my kids always pull out this foldable to help them write their letters.  I never knew a foldable could be so helpful! You can find it in the Friendly Letter Unit from The Teacher's Clubhouse also known as Teaching Maddeness.

Please link up below :)


Owl Birthday Buttons

It's Monday made it time!  

I made some birthday buttons earlier in the year and they were kind of a mess. They were big and bulky and fell off while the kids played during recess.  So I set out to make sturdier ones and came up with these cuties! 
 The buttons are from Hobby Lobby and they cost about $5 for a package of 12.  I used a 40% off coupon and got them real cheap.
The kids love wearing their buttons at school and are amazed when someone stops and asks them how old they are or tells them happy birthday!  So cute!!
Pick them up for free HERE.

I am also a scrapbooker and made a couple of thank you cards for some extra helpful parents.  I hope they like them.

Make sure to link up with Tara for Monday Made It


Mother's Day Crafts

We were working hard on our Mother's Day gifts this week!
1. We made these Mason jar vases.  To make them I had the kids glue tissue squares all along the inside of the jars.  I painted the kids' hands with white acrylic paint and had them put their hand gently against the jar.  The results were amazing!  We also created some flowers to put in our vases.
 2. We created these adorable cards from Teacher to the Core!  How cute are these??? The kids wrote all about why they think their mom is Wonder Woman!  I love these googly eyes :)
 3.  We read our Scholastic Readers and wrote about otters.  You can find the pattern for this cute craft over at Miss Kindergarten's TPT store!

4. One of my kids from a couple of years ago never fails to make my day.  She comes and visits me every single holiday and she dropped this off today.  Look at this rose!  Just perfect!
5. I had so much fun shopping for resources during the TPT sale. Did you?? I ended up getting close to $300 worth of resources but...it was a Donors Choose grant so that doesn't count as spending :) 
Gotta love Donors Choose!! 

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  Make sure to visit and link up your week's happenings.

Teacher Appreciation Sale Linky!

Don't you love a good sale?? Especially on resources?
Well the Teachers Pay Teachers appreciation day sale is almost here.  It runs from May 7 through the 8th.  This is the last sale for this school year so make sure to pick up those goodies that you have saved up on your wish list!

Feel free to use my graphic below and link up your store or a post with some of your products!

Here are some of my products you may be interested in:

Make sure to link up below:

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