Silhouette Gifts

I think I found my all time favorite Christmas ornament to make for my students' families!
One of my favorite things to do is to use my student's pictures in projects.  A few years ago I started using my students silhouettes in projects too and they have been a HUGE hit with parents.  Do you already own the file below?  If so, you can now use that same Photoshop tutorial to make some silhouette ornaments!

Click here to check out this resource: Silhouette Autobiographies

After using the tutorial from that file, you can then follow the tutorial below to cut your silhouettes on vinyl using a die cut machine (I use a Cricut).

Click on the video above to learn how to cut the silhouettes. 

{An alternate route is to take pictures of your students and cut them out by hand.  You can then use those cut outs to trace them around vinyl. }

This is what you will do:
I picked up the vinyl from Amazon, the transparencies are from Office Depot, and the ornaments are from Hobby Lobby.  (Try to get the plastic ones if possible.)

Don't have transparency sheets or vinyl?  You could make the cut outs using a die cutter or cutting by hand on paper.  Then laminate the paper.  You can then follow the rest of the steps to create your ornaments :-) 

Once it unrolls {you may need some tweezers to help you get the cut out positioned}, it will look like this:
Just add some ribbon and you are done!

I cut the silhouettes out at 2.18 inches, but I'm thinking of cutting them out at about 1.8 inches to leave room for some snow at the bottom of the ornament. 

Update May 2017:
I created these mugs a couple of years ago using mugs from the Dollar Tree and they were the perfect Christmas gifts! This year I am making them for Mother's Day.

In order to make them, you will cut your vinyl the exact same way as the video you saw above, but you will need to adjust how tall the silhouettes are depending on the size of your mugs. I went to the Dollar Tree again this year and found lots more mugs that will work perfectly. The larger the mug, the better so that the silhouette will show more detail.

Some helpful tips:
  • 1. make sure to get mugs that have "straight" walls. If the sides curve in at the bottom, you will have a difficult time getting the vinyl to adhere. 
  • 2. Use permanent vinyl. I recommend the Silhouette brand. Click on the image below for a direct link:

My kids and their families loved this gift! I definitely will be making them from now on! 

Holiday Traditions

I'm joining Angie and Ashley for #2getherwearebetter to share some holiday traditions from my classroom. 

My favorite tradition is having our elf join us!  One of the reasons is because we have never changed his name.  I got him three years ago and we picked the name Jack.  Ever since then I have just introduced him as our elf Jack.  What's awesome about him keeping his identify year to year is that the older siblings remember Jack really well and they tell their siblings all sorts of stories about him!  So they share this connection throughout the family with our elf.   Parents come in and keep asking "Who is Jack?" and they giggle a bit when they see him :-) 

Our elf always writes these teeny tiny letters too!  I bought a punch on Amazon that makes these tiny envelopes and I write letters with the smallest size font I can find.  I then hide them in our day's read aloud and act shocked when the letter falls out of the book.  The kids eat it up!

 He sends us little goodies like these gingerbread cookies.  I made them myself and they weren't very good, but the kids really loved them.  This year Jack will be buying them instead :-)

 And then we have our Christmas gifts.  One of the gifts I like to make are these ornaments.  Totally not my idea! I found this idea online a few years ago.  It originally said to use transparency sheets but the kids were hard to see so I went with regular copy paper and it worked really well. I also bought some fake snow to put in the ornament.

So what are some holiday traditions you share with your students?  Please share below!


Progress Reports and a New Bundle

Are you required to send home progress reports?  In my district we aren't mandated to do so, but we do like to send them home so that parents are fully aware of their child's progress between conferences.

With progress report, I don't like to dwell on what is going wrong.  This is a time to focus on what is working and what we need to do to keep improving. 

We are provided with a template to use at school, but it doesn't focus on the areas like I would prefer.  So I created one to fit these needs.  You can see an example below:

I think the two most important parts of this progress report are the Showing Progress and Something to Work On sections. 

The focus isn't on the grades exactly, it's meant to celebrate something as well as make a recommendation that will help the progress continue.  I could go on and on about what needs to improve, but I find it a better use of everyone's effort if we focus in on one or two things that parents can do at home that will pay off in the classroom.

I also left an area for my general comments and an area for parents to comment back to me.  The student signature is something I am excited about because it will encourage parents to look over the report with their children. 

I received requests for this template on Instagram, so I put it in my shop.  I made the text editable so you can use these as progress reports, or report cards.  You can also change what it says in each heading as well. Click HERE to check it out.

I decided to make a Parent Conference bundle that includes these helpful resources:

I absolutely love using these parent conference reminders!  I copy them back to back in English and Spanish and they are so quick to fill out!  I keep a few on hand for parents that need an extra copy.

I also like to pass out these flip books at conference and progress report time to students that need extra support at home.  They were originally created for curriculum night, but I'm finding them so useful when I need to give a parent suggestions about what they can do at home.  They can lift up the tab and find lots of tips and strategies that they can use at home right away!  My parents have commented over and over again about how useful they have been.  This flip book is also editable :-)

Interested in the bundle?  Click HERE to pick it up. 
Like these ideas?  You can also find me on:

Five for Friday (November 28th, 2015)

It's time for a little recap. So yesterday was Thanksgiving and our whole family came over! We had an amazing time.  I can't say enough how thankful I am for everything. This little marquee from Target was perfect :-)
 I saw the kindergartners making handprint turkeys this week.  I absolutely love those! This comic below put a fun twist to that :-)
 We used The Creative Classrooms turkey bag freebie and one of my firsties drew an angel...gotta love first graders!
 I picked up some more Elf on the Shelf goodies.  My elf is going to be so stylish this year!

 We also had some fun counting by 2's.  We used Moffat Girls' watches for this one. The kids were obsessed with these!

Like these ideas?  You can also find me on:

Now make sure to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching to share your week!


Five for Friday {November 13, 2015}

It's Friday and that means it's time for a little recap of my week.  In my case, it was a week full of fun shopping ;-D

1. This week I put together some centers to use with my firsties that need some intervention.  I found these awesome resources from some seriously talented TpT authors!

2. I was casually looking through the Target Dollar Spot and ran into these headphones! They were only $3 each and they have microphones.  I tested them out and they are working really well so far.  I'm really hoping they last!

3.  I was strolling along the mall when I saw this...
Yeah, I'm pretty excited to have our elf join us this year! 

4. Some more fun purchases :-) I went in search of those Poppin' pens.  I LOVE Flairs, but when you need ballpoint pens, these are my go to's (until flair develops ballpoint pens that is.) While I was searching for them I found this AMAZING Post-it dispenser!  I love all things photography, so it was as if it were created for  me!  

5. And now for some educational goodies.  I got my hands on these three resources that I am so excited about.  I'm hopping to make some time to blog about how I'm using them with my students.  In the meantime, you can click on each picture to check them all out :-) 

Like these ideas?  You can also find me on:

Now make sure to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching to share your week!


Nurse and Health Aide Pass FREEBIE

Last year I created some passes for our school nurse, but they were made quickly and I was never happy with them.  I decided it was time to do something about it and recreated the new ones from scratch.  Our health aide LOVED them immediately and copied them for the entire school on the day I gave her the copy. 

TpT teacher confession: It makes my day when I see kids around my school walking around with my passes :-)  

Want to grab a copy for yourself? Please click HERE for your own copy and feel free to share with your entire school ;-) 
There are two versions included for those of you with a nurse, or with a health aide. 

Like this idea? Be the first to know about classroom ideas and freebies by following below :-)


Five For Friday {November 6, 2015}

Time to link up for one of my favorite linky parties!  Here is what I have been up to:

1. My life has changed ever since I started using these writing templates!  No more copying, cutting, or stapling rubrics onto my students' papers!  My grading time has been slashed!

2. I was thrilled to find these phonics bag books from The Creative Classroom!  My kids have been loving them!

 3.  Anyone out there have serious arachnophobia? I do! I can't even look at pictures of real life spiders.  I'm so jealous of those of you that can stomach handling pictures to show the kids.  I'm so thankful Gail Gibbons created this spider book.  Lots of detailed drawings and rich information.  This has made our spider study complete.

4. I almost forgot to make my November newsletter and calendar but remembered in the nick of time! My goal has been to get these done a week before the new month, but October flew right past me.

5.  In an effort to make note taking more engaging for myself, I created some stationary and busted out my flairs.  I swear, these colorful pens can make any situation a fun one :-)

Now make sure to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching to share your week!

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Time Saving Writing Templates with Embedded Rubrics!

Hello! I'm dropping by to share something I started doing that is saving me tons of time, not to mention paper!

I have been teaching for nine years, and something I have always dreaded was stapling rubrics onto my students' writing.  I was wasting so much time and paper copying these things and stapling them onto each child's writing.  But, this year I finally realized I could just embed my rubrics ONTO the actual writing paper!

How did I not have think of this before?  Now I can just pass these out and grade immediately.  Life savers!!

This is what they look like:

Are you interested in my templates? Please click on the picture below to check them out:
Did I mention that I made them editable? This way teachers can include what they need on the rubrics themselves.  Primary lined paper is included as well :-)

Now, I'm off to do some grading :-)

I have updated this file to include many more templates.  You will now find designs with larger picture areas, without any picture areas (for older students), and a whole EXTRA file that includes rubrics with three columns for grading areas that read: 
N= Never, S= Sometimes, A= Always
Check out the updated file below:

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