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Seasonal Ideas

Fun, Free, Halloween, Pumpkin Activity!

I just learned about this fun, free, Halloween, pumpkin activity this year!  The kids absolutely love it!  I used it with kindergarten and first graders.  All the teachers that have seen it love it too!  First stock up on some orange paper!  I used copy paper.

Read this Story.  A teacher friend gave it to me, but I changed out the witch and ghost for a mouse and a cricket. ( i don’t know who wrote this story, but if I knew I would give credit.

As you read the story the children will fold and cut as the directions in the story tell them to.

Once upon a time a very small mouse was walking in the woods. The cold wind was blowingthe dry leaves all around her. The little mouse was frantically searching for a house for the winter. She could not find one. Suddenly a piece of orange paper, blown by the wind landed at her feet. She picked it up. The little mouse looked closely at the paper and then she said, “I shall make myself a little house from this piece of orange paper.”

She folded the paper in half.

Then she took her scissors–she always carried a pair in her pocket.(Cut off the two corners to make a roof. Cut the construction paper as a story indicates.) 


This will do just fine, she said as she looked at her new house, but I will need a door. With her scissors she cut a door. She cut a special door for her pointy nose.(Cut a rectangle shape with one endpoint up more towards the bottom of the folded edge.)

The little mouse walked through the door into the little orange house it was very dark inside. She quickly hurried back out. I will need to make windows to let in the light in,”she said. The little mouse cut a front and back window (cut a square shape in the middle of the paper opposite end of the paper than the door. Cut through both sides of the paper. I have students fold the paper a bit to get their scissors in the paper.) 

Oh it was a very fine looking house. Her very own little house with a roof, a door, and windows was all finished. But just as the little mouse started to go inside for the winter, she saw a tiny cricket come down the wind- swept path. As the cricket came to a stop near the little house, the little mouse saw that the cricket was crying. Why are you crying asked the little mouse? The tiny cricket stopped crying and answered, “it is cold and windy. It is getting dark and I have no place to spend the winter.” “You may spend the winter with me in my new house,” said the little mouse. “Oh thank you!” the happy tiny cricket said as she peeked in through the window. “This is a very nice house!” “First,” said the mouse, “ I will need to make you a little door of your very own.” She took her scissors again and began to cut. She cut a very tiny door.(Cut a triangle on the fold of the paper between the big door and the window. Make a longer part of the triangle point up)

The two happy friends went inside. The tiny cricket went in the very little door, and a little mouse went in through her own special door. All winter long they lived happily together inside a little orange house. Do you want to see inside their little orange house?  Just open your piece of paper and surprise!


Before you open the paper, take predictions from the students to see if they can tell you what the inside of the house will look like.

What do you see? A pumpkin of course!

I hope your children enjoy this as much as mine did!

5 Fun Activities for Halloween

  1. Halloween Oronyms/MadGabs.  In case you don’t know oronyms are phrases that are that sound like another phrase.  These would be most appropriate for third, fourth or fifth graders.  My students absolutely LOVE these.  For example, COUNTER ACT YOU LAW = COUNT DRACULA.  Check these out by sawdust girl.
  2. Pumpkin Logic Puzzles with ordinal numbers:  Check out this fun logic puzzle by KinderIRick on Teachers Pay Teachers Pay Teachers.  This would be perfect for your kinder or first students!
  3. Don’t forget Super Teacher Worksheets!  You can find this fun crypto riddle for free! This would be great for K-2. 
  4. Halloween Hink Pinks.  Hink pInks are rhyming words that answer a riddle.  They are usually one syllable.  For example, ghost toast would be the answer to a Hink Pink riddle.  These would be most appropriate for third-fifth graders.

5.  Pumpkin Patch Math Investigations.  These are different activities to do if your class goes to the pumpkin patch and brings back pumpkins!  This is the only paid item on the list for $3.50.  These come from my own classroom of third graders several years ago–most appropriate for grades 3-5.


STOP! Don’t Throw Out the Markers!

Here’s what happens.  I’m in the middle of a lesson or art project.  You name it.  Then my Crayola, Sharpie or, Expo marker etc. stops working.  I declare, “This marker is going to marker heaven,” as I toss it into the metal trash can. BONG!  

As you can see above, I have a whole collection of markers that aren’t in the best shape.  I go through these every year to check for ones that don’t work so that they can be thrown away.  Now there is a better way!

Did you know Crayola recycles markers?  Not only do they recycle their own markers, but they will recycle other markers, too!  They will also recycle  other brands of washable markers, permanent markers, dry erase markers, and highlighters.  They will do this for any K-12 school in the contiguous 48 states.  The school has to have a contact person to register the school, though.  You can get more information by clicking here.  Now, no more marker heaver–just marker reincarnation.

Try this Fun Activity for Your Promoted Fifth Graders!

We always have a big ceremony for our 5th graders who are being promoted to 6th grade every year.  In fact it rivals many high school graduations in its attention to detail and classiness.  This year, I wanted to add little something to it, so at the prompting of my students, we made these cute profile images of their faces.  The students put quotes on them that meant something to them.  In some cases students made up their own quotes, and I let them.

I had students make up the rubric for what a good profile image would look like. Most of them agreed that a quality profile had to have no white spaces, at least two colors, and at least one quote.  They turned out SO well, and I’m so proud of them! 🙂  You will notice that some profiles look similar to others.  That is because when one student had a good idea, other students tended to copy the good ideas.

First you must know that I work next door to the art teacher (HOW convenient!).  The art teacher let me borrow these spotlights that make the perfect shadow on a large sheet of white construction paper.  I outlined the students’s shadow and had them trace their shadow in black Sharpie.  If you don’t do this first, it turns out disastrous because then students end up coloring over the pencil lines and then when they cut out their profile, their lips and nose look somewhat deformed. I had them make their colored design first, and then AT THE END they can cut out their profile.  I allowed students to be able to use oil pastels, water color, black Sharpie, and crayons to make their images.  I emphasized the fact that they must NOT use Sharpie over the top of oil pastels or crayons because the wax will ruin the Sharpie.  I had them use the oil pastels, crayons, or Sharpie first and THEN they could paint over it with water color.  The wax in the crayons and oil pastels will cause the water color to resist causing a nice effect.

Parents and students took much pride in these as they lined the hall after their “graduation ceremony”.

How You Can Inspire Thankfulness in Your Kids Part 2

Recently, I wrote a post about thankfulness and how to inspire it in your students.  You can see this post here.  I called this their “Thankfulness Project”.   Students were to write down three things they were thankful for each day.  After that they were to write down one act of kindness they did each day.  After about a month, I took up their journals and read what they had written.  This was not for a grade, but I rewarded the students who had done most or all of the work.  The parents were aware of the project as well.  One of the journals that I read really touched my  heart.  It is pictured below.  Make sure to read the very bottom sentence.

I pulled this child aside after I read her journal and asked her what she meant when she wrote, “This totally made me rethink my whole life”.  She explained, “Because I didn’t realize I had so much to be thankful for.”  WOW!  This  speaks volumes.

Need a Cheap and Easy Book Character Costume?

In case you are needing a quick costume for book character day or for Halloween, you can try this.  Now this is a bit of a stretch on the definition of “character” but everyone was impressed with the creativity.   All you need is:

*a few pipe cleaners

*purple balloons

*green pipe cleaners

*purple masking tape or hot glue if you don’t care about ruining your sweatshirt


Now, I could have filled up my sweatshirt with way more balloons, but the balloons make it a bit hard to maneuver, so I didn’t fill the sweatshirt up completely.  I put the sweatshirt on after I arrived at school so that I had a shirt underneath.  This way I could move during the rest of the day.  As you can imagine, the younger kids especially enjoyed touching the balloons as we had our school parade!   I hope this sparks an idea for your last minute costume! 🙂

How You Can Inspire Thankfulness in Your Students!

This year I wanted to spur my kids on to be more thankful, so I did this…  I really didn’t do this just because it was Thanksgiving time but because I wanted them to appreciate what they have all the time.

First, I read my students a true story about kids living in Africa who were orphaned and lived in a garbage dump.  They ran after a garbage truck to get scraps of food for survival.  One of the kids living in the dump had their baby sister killed by wild jackals.  They had no one to help them–no parents or guardians of any sort.  I read this story from a newsletter I receive from a Christian missionary.  You can read more about him if you click the link above.  I of course had to leave the Christian stuff out because I work in  a public school, but the story still is impactful for kids to appreciate what we have.

Second, I showed my students a video about a man who was about to die because he had ALS.  His mission was to spread as much kindness as he could before he died.  I really made them think about how they wanted to be remembered.  Did they want to be remembered for how kind they were or for how badly they treated others.  This video is here.  The video really touched the kids hearts.

After we discussed both of these things, I told them they would be getting a little journal.  For the next four weeks the kids mission was to write down things they were thankful for each day and one kind thing that they did each day.  The students were really excited to get their journals, but I made them wait one class period before I gave them the journals.  I also informed parents before they received them so that parents knew what was expected of their children.

I bought these journals for 88 cents in a 3 pack at Wal-mart which makes them about 29 cents each.  The notebooks are about 3 x 4 inches. You can also get some at the Dollar Tree for… guessed it!….  a dollar, which makes them about 33 cents each.  In my opinion the ones at Wal-Mart are better looking because they are solid colored.

So here are the rules I gave the kids:

  • You must write three things you are thankful for each day.
  • The items you are thankful for cannot repeat.
  • For example, if today you say I am thankful for my momma, my daddy, and my dog, on another day you can’t say I’m thankful for my momma, my bicycle, and my brother because momma repeats.
  • If you lose it, you buy yourself another one.  I will not replace your journal.
  • Underneath the line you are to write one kind thing you did that day.
  • This can be anything kind.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant.  Their act of kindness can be just picking up a scrap of trash or giving someone a compliment.
  • The act of kindness cannot repeat on a different day either.

Some kids ask what happens if they miss a day.  I tell them not to worry but that they can go back and add something if they miss a day.  They must continue with their thankfulness project (notebook) even on weekends and vacations.  There will be a little incentive for them if they complete the project–namely Dollar Tree Christmas prizes.

I hope this idea inspires you to instill thankfulness in your own students!  Happy Thanksgiving season!

Valentines Idea for Teachers!

Since I have a rather large affinity for Valentines Day, I wanted to do something special for the teachers I work with.  A teacher friend and I decided to make some homemade goodies, but probably not the kind you are thinking of…

We made every teacher a peppermint lip balm with a cute Valentine label.

These are easy to make, but it is quite a messy project.  To begin you need beeswax (I like pellets), coconut oil, shea butter, and Young Living peppermint essential oil.

1.Place equal parts shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax pellets in a glass jar.  I start with a tablespoon of each.

I like to use an old glass jar to melt the ingredients so that I don’t have to worry about cleaning wax off of my dishes.

2. I boil water in a  small pot, reduce the heat to low, and then place the glass jar in the water like a double boiler.

3. After all of the ingredients have been completely melted, I take the jar off of the heat and wait about a minute.

4.  Then I put peppermint oil in the mixture.  I use 15-20 drops of oil.  Mix the ingredients.  I just slosh the mixture around a bit in the jar to mix the oil.

5. Now, you must act fast.  Have your lip balm containers already standing upright with the lids off before your mixture is melted so that way you can just pour the mixture straight into the containers from the jar.

Now a list of where I purchased my ingredients:

beeswax pellets–

Shea butter–

Coconut oil–Kroger (Wal-Mart sells this too)

Peppermint essential oil–Young Living (I use Young Living because it is safe for internal use.) (My Young Living sponsor and enroller number are 2600343.)

By the way if you need to do any cleanup, realize that you will do better by using a dry towel to wipe off excess wax.  Water and the wax repel one another and do not help the cleaning process.  I go through many paper towels in the clean up process.

We also made everyone cute little homemade peppermint mints in a small tin (sorry no pictures).  I got the tins from Amazon.  These were easier to make than I expected.  I just bought a bag of xylitol from Whole Foods.  All you do is melt it down (no water at all).  You just put it in a small pot and stir on low temperature as it melts.  Then you take it off of the heat and let it cool down just a bit for a few minutes before it turns back to a solid.  Stir in the peppermint essential oil.  I used 15-20 drops for a cup of xylitol.  Then you place parchment paper on a baking sheet and pour the mixture onto the paper.  Let it dry overnight.  Then when it has hardened and is dry,  just break it with your fingers into small pieces.  I followed the recipe here.

Something Fun and Magical for Your Kinders at Christmas! (Giveaway)

This is too cute not to try!!!  I learned that peppermints grow from a very talented kindergarten teacher.  Every Christmas season, she has her students plant peppermints in a cup of dirt.  Students put glitter in the dirt for fertilizer and then just wait.  In a few days, a small candy cane has emerged “growing in the cup”.  In another few days, a candy cane of larger stature has “grown”.  Children are oh so excited that their peppermint grew to such a large stature!  Of course behind the scenes, their teacher is placing a small candy cane in the cup when the children have gone for the day, and then replacing the small candy cane with a larger candy cane.  This all for the amazement and wonder in children’s eyes that comes from the magic of Christmas.
Prize:  $75 Teachers pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher).
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter.  Giveaway ends 12/13/16 and is open worldwide.

And don’t forget to enter our weekly $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card giveaway as well!

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog?  Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

Happy Thanksgiving!





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