Halloween Party Time

Are you ready? You know it's coming....ready or not! My kiddos are getting so excited about Halloween. They've been writing and sharing all about their costumes. Their excitement is really becoming very evident with each passing day.

Does your school allow Halloween parties? My district not only allows Halloween parties but we get to parade all the students in their costumes through the neighborhood - how fun, right?! The boys and girls LOVE it! The best part is knowing that when the parade is over, they will walk back into the classroom, which has been magically transformed by our wonderful room parents, to enjoy their yearly Halloween party. If you're lucky enough to get volunteers to plan and execute your Halloween celebration - congratulations! Last year, however, I had to plan my own party.  Don't feel too sorry for me - I had plenty of volunteers who came in that day to help out with our stations so everything ran very smooth. 

I thought I'd share with you the activities I planned for my kiddos for their party. We had four stations which meant I had 5-6 kiddos at each station. The stations were 1) Pumpkin Slime (yep!) 2) Pumpkin Pie in a Cup 3) Frankenstein Bookmarks and 4) The Mystery Box.

Pumpkin Slime - yes, you read that right! This was a HUGE hit! Here is what you will need: small pumpkins (one per group), liquid starch, clear Elmer's glue, water, plastic tablecloths, and LOTS of clean-up wipes:)

In preparation of a huge mess, here is my big tip: layer one plastic tablecloth per group. So, I had four groups so I actually laid 4 plastic table clothes down, one on top of the other. I placed the supplies needed on a small table next to the 'work table'.  I gave the adult a laminated direction card that gave her clear directions. Since they were laminated, they wiped clean!

Here is how it works: the adult cuts the top off of the small pumpkin. Mix together 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of clear glue in a small bowl. The adult, with help from the students, use a wooden spoon or toothed spoon to 'scrape' the insides of the pumpkin to loosen up the pumpkin flesh.  The students now pour 1/2 cup liquid starch into the pumpkin followed by the water/glue mixture. Now the fun begins! Each student takes turns sticking their hand inside and giving it a little stir. In no time at all, they are able to pull out a nice big handful of slime. I've also seen clear glitter glue used for this to add a little 'bling'.

Here are my direction cards I provided my volunteers:

 If you would like to download a copy of my direction cards, click {here} or on the image above.

 You can see the slime was a hit!

After they are done, you can put their handful of slime into a ziploc bag to take home. I can promise you, they ALL took theirs home:)

Now for my earlier tip. Use lots of wipes ( I use baby wipes ) to clean/pull all of the slime from their hands. You can just drop the wipes right onto the messy table. Once this is done, you can peel up the top tablecloth. Roll up the used pumpkin, messy wipes, leftover slime, and anything else left on the table, right into the tablecloth and drop into the trash. Easy Peasy! Now, you have a fresh clean tablecloth ready for the next group. Genius, right!?!?

I can tell you that I will forever have Pumpkin Slime as a Halloween Party station. It was such a hit!

Onto Station 2: Pumpkin Pie in a Cup

Once again, I provided my volunteers with a laminated card that gave them clear directions. You will need: milk, vanilla instant pudding, gallon ziploc bags, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, graham crackers, can of whipped cream.

I divided each small group into two smaller groups. The first group completed the following task: Pour 1 1/3 cups milk and one package of vanilla pudding into a gallon-sized ziploc bag, the students take turns kneading the bag until well mixed.  Next, add 1/2 can of pumpkin and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to the mixture and continue to knead until well blended. 

The second group places one package of graham crackers into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and the students take turns crushing the crackers. You can provide all sorts of fun tools for this job:)

To finish, evenly distribute the crushed graham crackers into 5-6 cups (one per child). An adult cuts a small hole in the corner of the ziploc bag containing the pie mixture and squeezes the bag to evenly distribute the mixture into the same cups. Top with whipped cream if desired. Yum! Here are my direction cards for this station.

If you would like to download these direction cards, click {here} or on the image above.

You can see they were a crowd favorite!

Station Three: Frankenstein Bookmarks

I didn't need direction cards for this one. All they needed was a paint chip from the hardware store and their imagination! My volunteers did help them out with some of the more detailed cutting to speed things along. When they were finished, we hole-punched the top and tied a black ribbon through it. Sadly, I forgot to snap a picture of a finished product but I think you get the idea. Many students kept them at school to use and some chose to bring them home. Either way, they really enjoyed it.

Station Four: The Mystery Box

I don't have any pictures of this one. My teaching partner's daughter conducted this station out in the hallway. You know the one. They tell a story about something creepy and gross. Tell the students to feel inside the box and they are supposed to think it's brains, eyeballs, etc. Yeah, you get the idea. They loved this as well. This was a nice little break to get one group out of the classroom for a short period. With the pumpkin slime going on, we had quite a bit of excitement. If we had the screaming and screeching from feeling eyeballs and brains in our room as well,  I'm not so sure my volunteers would have stuck around, ha!

There you have it. My most epic Halloween party to date. Truly, many parents expressed how they thought this was the best classroom Halloween party they've been to. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, trust me. Thank goodness for the internet for ideas!  I think they enjoyed it so much because it was different than the regular party games but also well-thought out so it ran smoothly.  The morning went so fast, the party was over with in the blink of an eye!

We are so fortunate because our district schedules an early dismissal on Halloween - YES! So many parents take off of work to help out and this gives them the afternoon to spend with their child and get ready for trick-or-treating that evening. Teachers use this day as a plan day to prep for the upcoming Parent Teacher Conferences - and recover from the party!

I hope you were able to use some of these ideas to host an epic Halloween party of your own! Enjoy!

Where has the time gone?!

Hi friends! I just wanted to stop by here to let you know that I just blogged over at The Primary Punchbowl with a teacher hack

I hope you can go check it out - here's the link:)

Giveaway Time!

Hi friends! I feel like I need a big 'ol slap in the face these days. Not only has it been FOREVER since I've blogged but I have also been completely consumed with getting this new school started. Anybody else feeling this way? I sure hope I'm not alone.

Anyway, let's get to down to business. I'm here to help my friend Karen celebrate a milestone. She has got some phenomenal gifts for you. You can enter for a chance to win an amazing Origami Owl lanyard and $25 to your choice of TpT or Really Good Stuff. Four runner-ups will also win $25 to their choice of either TpT or Really Good Stuff. What a deal, am I right??!!

All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below before Sunday night at midnight. You don't want to miss this!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take Your Passion and Make It Happen! Teachers Take French Lick

Hey there! Is anyone else out there getting a serious case of Spring Fever? OH.MY.GOODNESS. The fever is getting high over here. I am enjoying my spring break long weekend over the Easter holiday. The weather is cooperating so far but I hear that we will be having a rainy Easter {boo}. 

I thought I would take a little time out today to share with you my weekend in French Lick, Indiana at the Teacher Blogger Retreat. 

Let me start by saying that I have been waiting for this retreat for over a year. I was registered and ready to go last year and then had something come up the Tuesday before the retreat and had to cancel. Bummer. I promised myself that I would make it happen this year and now I don't think I can stop at just one year. It was fabulous!  There were bloggers and blog-followers. It was wonderful to talk to teachers that have been blogging for years and some young women that are just starting their venture into the education world.

Holly Ehle and Brittany Banister did an excellent job planning everything. I know they had a lot of help and support but Holly and Brittany are definitely the.bomb.dot.com.  The day started with a fabulous lunch. Everything is better with delicious food, right? 

After lunch, we got right into a table ice breaker.  We were able to introduce ourselves to all of our table companions, share a little bit about ourselves and we then learned the theme of the weekend. Take Your Passion and Make it Happen.  Love this. Brilliant.

At my table there were experienced bloggers, blog-followers, even one young lady that is still finishing up her last year of school to be a teacher. It was fabulous to be able to spend so much time with other educators who have the same passion about teaching.

After the table ice breakers, we broke into grade level groups and had our Teacher Tool Swap. This was so fun! We passed around our gift bags while music was playing and when the music stopped, we opened the gift we had.  The variety and creativity of the gifts were amazing. I received a set of Frixion markers. These are awesome. If you haven't tried them yet, you really should.

The teacher tool swap was a huge success. So were the small group discussions that attended. I was able to spend time with Maria from KinderCraze, Katie Mense from Little Kinder Warriors, Dana Lester from Vinyl by Dana, and Mel D from Seusstastic.  I could have sat and talked with these ladies all day. The wealth of information they hold is unbelievable. Not only could I learn a lot about blogging and TpT from them but just life.  They are the sweetest.

The afternoon was filled with great discussion and a little inspiration from some amazing videos made by Chad at Male Kindergarten Teacher.  You can check out one of them out here

We cannot forget the unbelievable prizes that were offered as well. Sadly, I didn't come out a winner on any of the prizes that we bid on HOWEVER we ALL  walked away with some amazing swag. Check it out! Unbelievable.That is All.

After these activities, we all went our own ways to grab dinner and get ready for the Epic 80's Party that evening. I had dinner with my roommates and some additional new friends.  

These amazing ladies all blog and IG. Go check them out!  Erin is from The Red School Desk.  Lisa and Shannon are from It All Started with Flubber. Jessica is from Tales from a Countryside Teacher. You can find Tiffani at Time 4 Kindergarten.  Kristin blogs at A Traveling Teacher. Kristy and Misty are from Teaching Times Two

The wonderful gals from It All Started With Flubber also organized a scavenger hunt around the French Lick Resort. It was a blast. We didn't win a prize but had tons of fun roaming the resort looking for everything!

The party. The Epic 80's Party. Oh My! How fun!  We had food, drinks, music, a photo booth, and lots of fun!  It was a great time seeing everyone and their 80's attire.

The weekend wouldn't be complete without a few photos with bloggers that I love to follow on their blogs and IG {alright, TpT Amy was just a bonus!}.

Now, I wasn't a winner of any of the prizes I bid on, my team didn't win the scavenger hunt BUT I did win the.very.last.prize.of.the.weekend. A tutu from Vera at The Tutu Teacher! 

Oh my word. What a glorious weekend of rejuvenating. It was just the boost I needed to make it to summer break. I don't get many breaks in March/April except for a few days at Easter so I welcome any boosts of energy I can find!

I know Indiana may not be practical for all but if you can make it work, I highly suggest attending next year. There were attendees all the way from California and Canada to the east coast. I loved the opportunity to just sit around and chat about all things teaching, blogging, TpTing, and everything in between. 

Wanna read more about this weekend? Check out these fabulous posts!

February Currently

Wow! It was February 1st and I blinked! Here we are, halfway through the month already. If I blink a couple more times, it will be summer, right?

I'm here to link up with Farley at Oh Boy, Fourth Grade for her monthly Currently link up.  I'll keep it short and sweet. Here we go!

Listening - Netflix. A day off means lots of Netflix binging. Enough said.

Loving - this 3-day weekend. Everything seems so much more relaxing. Can we do this every week?

Thinking - About vacation. We just booked our family vacation for this July.  I.Cannot.Wait.

Wanting - A snow day! We've only had a ittle piddly snow here and there this year and I want some real snow! I want to be able to go four-wheelin, sledding, and just play! Please?!

Needing - 80's attire. I am going to the big French Lick Blogger Meet Up and I really need to get a game plan for the 80's party.  Amazon will be busy!

Swooning - I spent Saturday shopping with my daughter for her prom dress and we had tremendous luck! She actually fell in love with the SECOND dress she tried on.  The stars were aligned! It is gorgeous and looks so good on her.  I'm one happy momma!

That's it! I promised short and sweet, so short and sweet it is!  I will really try to be a little more timely next month:)

Happy Heart Day!

Hey there! I'm sure by now everyone has settled down from the craziness that is a classroom holiday party. Thankfully our district always schedules teacher PD for the afternoon of our Valentine's Day party.  This means that we get to 'sugar up' all the kiddos and send them home:)  This day always gives our parents a new appreciation of our day-to-day lives inside a second grade classroom.  

I thought I would give you a little glimpse of what we do during our three hours of school on Valentine's Day. We spend the first hour and a half, creating a little memory book.  The memory book is simply blank pages and the kiddos go around and write one sentence on everyone's page.  This sentence tells them one thing they like about them.  Just a positive affirmation if you will. They get to bring these home.  Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of any of them.

During this time, they also take turns passing out their valentines and treats.  We provide the kiddos with empty vegetable cans from our school cafeteria, cleaned out of course.  They get about a week to decorate the cans at home however they choose.  Some kiddos come back with the same cans and a few stickers added, some are spray painted and glittered up, and then some come back 'Pinterest perfect'.  Here are a couple of those from this year.

During the actual 'party' the students have 4 stations to rotate through.  During one station, they play Valentine's Day JINGO. I just use the game that can be purchased at teacher supply stores. They get to open up and read all of their valentines during another station. At the third station, they decorate a picture frame that they had previously painted white. The frames are made out of 4 large craft sticks that have been hot-glued together.  We also take their pictures ahead of time. Today, they glue their picture to the back and decorate the frame with foam hearts.

Last, but certainly not least, is the chocolate fountain! This is something they look so forward to! You can even see the excitement and longing on the faces of the first graders on the morning of the party as they walk by.  We set the chocolate fountain and all the fixins' in the hall.  All three second grade classes contribute and share the goodies. I wish I could say that I enjoy the fountain and goodies myself but the overwhelming smell of chocolate all morning somehow has a reverse effect on me.  It's probably better that way!

There you  have it! It is a quick three hours with the kiddos but so exhausting all at the same time.  I hope your celebrations went well and you are now enjoying a nice relaxing weekend!

January Currently

2016! Oh my! This past year has been awesome in so many ways but boy, oh boy, did it go by fast! 

Farley over at Oh Boy! Fourth Grade is on the ball this New Year's Day with her January Currently so I'm here to link up before the day gets away from me. You know. With things like Netflix, Hallmark movies, a lotta nothing:)  Oh well, it is Winter Break.  This seems to be the trend:)

 Listening ~ right now, there is a bunch of nothing going on in this house so for the first time in two weeks, I have some peace and quiet.  I am going to enjoy it!

Loving ~ Winter Break! I know I am not the only one who will have physical pain rushing through their body on Sunday night when we have to turn those alarms back on......bummer. How many days until Spring Break???

Thinking ~ There is so much to do before Sunday evening rolls around.  I {finally} wrote my Thank yous to my students for their sweet Christmas gifts.  One project down, many to go.  It appears as if taking down our Christmas decorations will not be a project that gets checked off the list before Sunday. Oh well.

Wanting ~ Someone to do my returns and exchanges.  Who else dreads this job?  I enjoy shopping for others immensely during the holiday season but I absolutely dread having to go anywhere near any shopping centers once the holidays are over.  Some years it has been April before I even drove by the mall...this year I need to get some exchanges done, pronto, drat.

Needing ~ to get some lesson plans done.  Believe it or not, I start Monday morning off in a meeting until noon, I have another meeting Thursday morning, and I am taking a personal day on Friday to attend a state cheer competition that my daughter is competing in. So.....I need to get these sub plans done, like yesterday.  I also need to be sure the following week is ready since I will be in and out so much this week.  Such a crazy way to go back after winter break. My kiddos will probably be just as crazy from this as they were right before break. Yikes.

One Little Word ~ Time is going to be a focus of mine this year in more ways than one. I need to use my time wisely and get out of school at a decent time, I need to better utilize my time at home so I have a little 'me' time. I need to spend more time with my husband.  You get the picture. Something is going to change, I just need to figure it out soon.

That's a wrap folks! I am going to spend these last precious days of break trying to get organized around here so this coming week goes as smoothly as possible, is that even possible?  We shall see! Happy New Year to all!