Teacher Ideas

Teacher Ideas

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Printables & Freebies
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Classroom Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Does Science

So how excited are your children that your Elf has come for a visit?  Ours are ecstatic!  Not only at home, but in the classroom too!  Of course this mean old teacher can't let Elf be all fun and games, some learning has to take place before our winter break!  


A Thanksgiving Table Just for the Kids

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house tomorrow?  Well I am, and I had more fun setting the kids' table than any other part of the hosting responsibilities.  The table is full of random assortments to keep our little pilgrim and Indians occupied and happy!

Elf on the shelf Classroom Activities and Ideas


Most teachers are winding down their Thanksgiving festivities and starting to plan for the few weeks of school before the winter holiday break. Let's face it students come back after Thanksgiving with Christmas on the brain and it's hard to regain their focus once the S word has been muttered....SANTA! Everywhere you look Christmas is already arriving, from Target to the Mall the halls have been decked and the toy shelves are stocked. So if you are looking for a fun way to keep your students on task and learning why not try introducing a little Santa's helper into your classroom. Whether he is store bought or handmade all you need is a little elf that can perch himself around your room. Each day he will report back to Santa whether your students have been naughty or nice, oh and of course he might cause a little mischief here and there in your classroom. We have found lots of fun ideas to keep your elf entertained while he visits your class, check out our Pinterest boards for some fun and creative ideas.

With our Activity kit students can write a daily report as part of their morning routine, creating a report that includes the date time and location where the incident occurred and documents your class elf's behavior while he visits. Students can also get creative and use the writing prompts to explore a little further. The kit also contains holiday word work and sentence activities where students will cut out letters and recreate holiday vocab words in the see, write, draw spell method.

Help the Elf on the shelf come to life with this cute kit. Keep track of your Class Elf with daily reports and journal activities. Keep students engaged and working during independent time with cute holiday word work or holiday sentence activities.
Click on the image below to visit our store for more info!
 We would love to hear how you use the elf in your classroom, chat with us on facebook!


Turkey Leg Anyone?

While the rest of the world already seems to be singing Fa La La La, I'm in  the midst of getting our home and my classroom ready for Thanksgiving.  We made these paper turkey legs today at home for the Thanksgiving kids' table, and I'm sure they will be a hit. 
Here's what you need to drum up some excitement with your little guests:
Brown paper lunch bags
White copy paper cut in 1 inch strips
White cardstock paper (for tags)
Twine (for tags)
Zipper top sandwich bags
Yummies to fill with: We used popcorn and candy corn (it's what I had in the pantry!)
Cut the bags about a 1/4 of the way down from the opening at the top.  Make some kind of yummy treat to put inside the bags.  We put our mixture into a zipper top sandwich bag first so that the popcorn grease wouldn't make our drumstick paper greasy.  Stuff treat inside open brown paper bag.  With your hands, crumple the brown bag to make it somewhat look like a drumstick.  Gather the open in and twist in closed.  Then glue the strips to the open on the bag and wrap around.  Use your scissors to cut slits in the white paper.  I used a pencil to roll the paper back a bit.  Make it real fancy  you know!
If you want to get real cute, print the tags below by right clicking on the image.  Copy and paste it into a Word document.  Print, cut, and tie! 
Now you just need some little turkeys to rip open their drumsticks and enjoy a fun treat! 
Turkey graphics by My Cute Graphics
Make this idea Simply Sprout in the classroom:  Type out a variety of different Thanksgiving themed words.  Cut into strips and drop 5-8 words in each drumstick.  When your students open their treat challenge them to write a Thanksgiving story using the words they found.


Setting Sail on the Mayflower

I apologize for the horrid phone pics, but I had to share this fun impromptu activity we did today in preparation for Turkey Day next week.  We've been on a LONG learning expedition about explorers over the past 5 weeks.  We've had a lot of fun with it, but a couple of weeks ago we had a pretty lengthy discussion/debate whether or not we felt that the pilgrims were explorers or not.  Some students argued that you are an explorer if you set off into the unknown to you, and others said you had to be the first to journey somewhere.  This was a perfect jumping off place to discuss the pilgrimage to the New World, the pilgrims themselves, and of course the Native Americans that they encountered once they reached Plymouth. 
So this morning we started off our day "packing our bags" for our 65 day journey across the Atlantic.  We wrapped our mock journey up in one day...I get sea sick easily!  We talked about what a pilgrim might have packed, what necessities are, and what luxuries are when it comes to possessions. 
Love that this student packed her stuffed dog, brother (I taught him too and he's worth packing!), shelter, water, food, a LOT of books, and of course Trader Joe's.

Our science activity for the day was a lesson in buoyancy.  Students were given a small piece of modeling clay, a straw, and an index card.  With no teacher direction they had to design a ship that would stay a float.  I loved seeing how their designs differed, and the creativity that they put into these three simple materials.  After a bit of brainstorming time, I set up a few "Atlantic Oceans" around the classroom.  From there they were given the chance to set sail.  Many of them had to go back to the drawing board to design a boat that floated.  A great lesson in science and engineering!
For a free copy of the Pack My Bags printable visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.


A Little Elf will soon be arriving to a shelf near you!

We're not ones to skip over holidays such as Thanksgiving, we're more inclined to milk holidays for all that they are worth around here.  However, with all this Christmas music on the radio already it got us daydreaming about our little Elf on the Shelf.  Whether it's in our classrooms or our homes, our elves make their debut right after Thanksgiving each year so that we can relish in all the holiday fun! So we thought we would help you out with a FREEBIE and a giveaway. It's never too early to start gathering those stocking stuffers and unique gifts, so be sure to go to the end of the post and enter into our Catching Fireflies gift certificate giveaway for a chance to win a $43 gift certificate.
 Be sure to leave us a comment letting us know your favorite product from Catching Fireflies.

We just love the tradition of The Elf on The Shelf, and each year we try to come up with new and fun ways to keep it fresh. We hope you will give our little cards a try with your elf, use the blank one to add your own text. Be sure to see our friends at Frugal Coupon Living to see this and more ideas to bring those elves to life!


Download  your copy HERE
To see these ideas and more please visit Frugal Coupon Living
or visit us on Pinterest

Does your little elf leave stocking stuffers behind?  Well if you're looking for the perfect one of a kind stocking stuffers for your family, Catching Fireflies specializes in creative gifts and whimsical goodies that are sure to be a crowd pleaser Christmas morning.
Enter below for the chance to win a $43 gift certificate to Catching Fireflies.

follow catchingfireflies.com on pinterest
follow simplysprout on pinterest

Simply Sprout Fans Get those stockings stuffed and enjoy 20% off  your purchase at
Catching Fireflies
use coupon code:SPROUT
for 20% off your purchase (expires December 15th, 2013)


Catching Fireflies Giveaway!

Does your little elf leave stocking stuffers behind?  Well if you're looking for the perfect one of a kind stocking stuffers for your family, Catching Fireflies specializes in creative gifts and whimsical goodies that are sure to be a crowd pleaser Christmas morning.
Enter below for the chance to win a $43 gift certificate to Catching Fireflies.

follow catchingfireflies.com on pinterest
follow simplysprout on pinterest

Simply Sprout Fans Get those stockings stuffed and enjoy 20% off  your purchase at
Catching Fireflies
use coupon code:SPROUT
for 20% off your purchase (expires December 15th, 2013)


Monster Mash Addition

Something about fall gets our creative juices flowing, and what a perfect time of year to incorporate this whimsical holiday into your classroom.  Whether it be through parties, centers, or instruction there are tons of great ideas brewing out there! We just love these monster cookies from Lil Luna. We created a math activity that incorporates this sweet treat. Combine this with the newly release movie Monsters University and you have an instant afternoon of Halloween fun for your students.

Monster Mash Cookies


  1. Beat butter, vanilla, egg and cream cheese until fluffy.
  2. Mix in cake mix. Divide batter into bowls for the amount of colors you want.
  3. Add food coloring to each individual bowl and mix until all combined ( I used Wilton gel coloring).
  4. Chill for 1 hour
  5. Roll into balls and dip in a bowl of powdered sugar.
  6. Place on greased cookie sheet and pat down a bit.
  7. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes
  8. After cooking, add candy eyeballs while cookies are still warm.
Recipe from: Lil Luna

 Take these yummy treats and turn them into an instant math lesson, review number words, color words and addition with our fun worksheet below. Just give students 4 cookies, have them draw their cookie then write down the color and number of eyes each one has. Using their cookies have them come up with 4 different addition problems and write them on their paper. When they are done have them create their own monster and then describe how many eyes it has as well as the color. 
Your students will love this yummy math lesson.

Click HERE to get your Free Copy of this activity

Check out MONSTERS UNIVERSITY out now on DVD.

Have students watch closely and try to tally how many monsters they see that are blue, pink, green, yellow etc.
Have students tally the number of eyes they see throughout the movie
Have students pick one monster and record adjectives to describe that monster

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween with tons of Monster fun!


Tree of Life

My first graders are in the thick of a unit on living and non-living things.  This Tree of Life project was a perfect break for my little arborists to take what they've learned about plants, trees, and more specifically tree rings and turn it into a little auto-biography project.  Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store for a free printable with directions for this fun science and writing project.


Pumpkin Time!

Fall is in full swing what better time to talk pumpkins. We have rounded up a few colorful and fun ways to incorporate pumpkins into your classroom this fall. Check out a few of our favorite ideas below. To see more be sure to follow us on Pinterest.

Growing Pumpkin seeds in a pumpkin, great way to learn about plants and what plants need. You can also incorporate a quick lesson on where we get our food from from farm to the table and everywhere in between. 

Have students make their own healthy pumpkin snack using celery and a clementine orange....yum!

Pumpkin printing with pool noodles, great for an independent art center or for little hands just learning to paint.

Who doesn't love a little glitter??? Well custodians probably...but little ones love it. Use a glue water mixture to cover a small pumpkin, have students sprinkle on their favorite color of glitter.

Use paper strips to make these adorable pumpkins, great for a 3D bulletin board display.

If you are looking for a little Halloween fun for reading check out our 5 little Pumpkins mini book. Review basic sights words, adjectives and number words with this cute holiday themed mini book. Ideal for small reading groups.


Five Little Pumpkins

One of our favorite Halloween books around our house is Five Little Pumpkins by Ben Mantle.  We read it often, and recite it throughout the day.  My little pumpkin who is three has a short attention span when it comes to Mommy and Me craft projects.  He is an active boy who wants to go, go, go.  He enjoys projects, but they need to be quick, gratifying, and something he can complete with lots of independence.
This pumpkin project made it through his checklist.  First, he painted his knuckles with orange paint.  He used his knuckles to represent the five pumpkins.  Then he dipped his fingertips in green and brown paint to make the stem and leaves of the pumpkins.  Finally, he made a fence for his pumpkins to perch on by using a Q-Tip to make vertical and horizontal lines. 
Quick Halloween project for him, long term keepsake for mama!  Win, win!


Up, Up, and Away...It's a Planes Party!


Recently we held a Wings Around the Globe Rally for my son's 3rd birthday.  We were paying tribute to his new favorite movie, Disney's Planes, and having some fun spinning around the globe.  The party was a mixture of food, play, and of course since he has a teacher as a mama...learning.

Decorations coordinated with the global feel of the movie, but also paid homage to some of the main characters.

The food table was so fun to create! I picked up maps and globes from my school that were out of date and about to be discarded.  The kid friendly food had a global touch too.  Frankfurts in a blanket from Germany, spring rolls from China, fish and chips from England, apple slices from the Big Apple, mini pizzas from New York too, and coconut curry popcorn from India.  These locations all represent stops in Dusty (the main character) flight around the world in the Wings Around the Globe Rally.

A local baker outdid herself when it came to the yummy cake!
The children had so much fun spinning the globes, and also finding our country, state, and city.


We headed to the backyard for a Wings Around the Globe obstacle course.  The countries were represented by different activities.
For our trip to England we had a teacup relay race.  Children on one side of the yard had to fill the teapots with water and run to the other side of the yard to fill someone's cup.  They continued for a few laps!

We had some parachute fun on our stop in Canada.  These are great for young children.  I borrowed this one from my school, but they also sell them at Target and other sites online.

Our stop in Mexico gave everyone a chance to take a swing at our Dusty pinata. 
An amazing local face painter came to paint different Planes characters on the children's faces. 
So fun!
Of course Magic by Marcy and all her creativity created the perfect invitation to send to our friends.

Mack sent his guests home with their own Dusty plane to fly high and remember their trip around the world.
These printables are great for your own Wings Around the World Rally!

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