May 13, 2016

Best Ever Salt Play Dough

This recipe is adapted from one that a grandmother of a former student made when she came into my classroom to make with my students.  Her original recipe involved cooking the play dough, so I have modified it a little to be no-cook.  The modifications don't change the fact that this dough is AMAZING!  It is super soft, and stores for up to six months in a air tight container!  Another plus is that you can add your own colors, scents, or glitter to the dough.  The possibilities are endless!

I want you to have this amazing recipe!  Keep reading!

Dry Ingredients, ready to go!

Getting ready to add the wet ingredients!

What it all looks like before it's mixed together!

At first, the mixture will be really sticky and you will wonder if you did something wrong.  Don't worry!  It gets better as it cools!

I divided mine up into six nearly equal parts to color red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

My little helper, kneading the color in!

Just perfect for little hands!

All done!  So pretty!


May 10, 2016

Muffins with Mom

This year was the first year that I tried "Muffins with Mom" in my classroom.  I wanted to do something special for the parents of my students, because they contribute so much throughout the year.  Also, I knew it would mean a lot to my Kinder Darlings for them to be able to spend a special morning with their mothers.

Both of my personal children have invited me to a "Muffins with Mom" when they attended a local preschool.  I used my experience from that to create my TPT file, but I added a lot more!  I wanted to make this event really unique and make sure moms felt exceptionally appreciated and loved. 

We started preparing for this day a few weeks in advance, mostly because I am the antithesis of a procrastinator.  We made our Mother's Day gifts first, which the students would give to their moms at the event.  I used a commonly pinned idea from Pinterest, making "You are my Sunshine!" canvases for mothers.  I bought my canvases in bulk from Amazon

We painted the background first with tempera paint. After drying, I painted one of each Kinder's hands yellow with acrylic paint and placed them in a sun shape off to the side.  After the whole thing dried (about a day), I let the students copy the words "You are my sunshine!" onto the canvas with a fine point Sharpie.  I think they turned out adorable!

The next few days were spent filling out the Mom questionnaire,  making the mothers' crowns,  & doing the "If You Give a Mom a Muffin" activity (all from my TPT file).  If I had any grandmothers RSVP, I had students do the questionnaire and crowns for their grandmothers as well.  I made simple centerpieces for the table by cutting flower shapes with our Ellison die-cut machine and gluing student pictures to the center.  I then did finger print stamps around the picture and laminated the flowers.  I hot glued green pipe cleaners to the backs and put them in simple candle jars from Wal-Mart that were about $1 each.  I filled them with Easter basket filling that I had stored! 

The night before I spent about 45 minutes setting up tablecloths, laying out all the student items, and hanging the banner (included in my TPT file, and not pictured).  I also set up a quick photo backdrop outside my classroom door with butcher paper and a tissue paper banner that was left over from my daughter's weekend birthday party!  I went home and baked muffins for the number that had RSVP'd.  I was ready!  

The day of, I set out my muffins, poured juice into cups and had as much prepared ahead of time as possible.  

I talked to my students about how special Moms are and how much they do for us.  We shared at circle time how we had celebrated Mother's Day, and we read the story "The Night Before Mother's Day."

I told students that when their mothers arrived they would greet them at the door, take them to their seat, and give them all of the gifts we had made.  Then they would ask them what kind of muffin they would like and serve them.  Next they would serve their mother her juice preference.  If they had a grandmother, they would serve her second.  After all their guests were served the student could get a muffin and juice and eat with their guests.  The last step was to visit the photo booth and have their picture snapped!

I was so nervous about how it would go, since this was the first time I had done this event, but it went so smoothly!  It was a very laid-back atmosphere, and the students were so polite to their mothers!  I received so many compliments from parents about how wonderful it was and how appreciative they were.  I will definitely do it again next year! 

Also, here's a photo of my cutie and her Gigi {my mom} at her Muffins with Mom. I did get to sneak down to her classroom for a bit, but was so thankful my mom could be there with her, since of course, my Kinders needed me!  Aren't moms the best?!

May 9, 2016

To My Kinder Darlings

Dear Kinder Darlings,

Eight days. That's all that is left of our time together. How will eight days ever be enough to hug you and laugh with you and assure you that you are the best and the smartest in the world? Don't get me wrong, I am counting down the days until sleeping in, cartoons with my kids at home, and ice cream and swimming with just as much anticipation and jubilation as you. Except, there is also this lump in my throat. There is a little twinge of pain in my full, full heart. You see, this year, you were mine. I loved you and cared for you and laughed with you and sometimes wanted to pull my hair out. Just like my own children. And now, it is almost over. Now you belong to your parents and next year., another teacher. The next thing you know, you will be graduating from high school and I will be but a distant memory. But, YOU, dear students, you will always have a home in my heart.

This time of year is bittersweet. I can almost taste the freedom and adventures of summer. I am also filled with pride because you have come so far. You have learned to tie your shoes, to say "excuse me" instead of pushing, to read CVC words, and to start sentences with an uppercase letter. You mastered your rainbow words! You counted to 100! You learned to work independently and be a good friend and resolve conflict. Yet, I am scared to let you go. Did I do enough? Did I work enough with you on adding detail to your writing? Did I make you feel important and smart every day? Did you really understand how to solve those math story problems? Do you know how much I love you? Eight days is not enough to be sure.

At the same time, eight days will feel like an eternity. Because you, for some mysterious reason, have suddenly forgotten that hallways are meant to be quiet and that it not okay to scream your head off indoors. For the love of all that is good and holy, WHY must I repeat myself a thousand times a day about little tiny things we have been doing for 158 days of school? I feel like I have used the words "stop" and "don't" more in the past month than I did all school year. "Stop spinning in line. Please sit on your bottom. Are we being good listeners? Is this how Kindergarteners act in the library? Don't glue your crayons together. Stop poking your neighbor. Scissors are only for cutting paper!" But I think I know the reason for all of this.

You see, I think that God knows that goodbye for the summer has the potential to rip my heart out. I think maybe He causes you to act like wild animals so that it distracts me from the fact that you aren't going to be mine anymore. Kindergarten is over. Next year you will see me in the hall and you will wave and smile, and maybe, if I'm lucky, give me a hug. You will have a new teacher to love, and I will have a whole new set of Kinder babies. Next year at this time, I will be writing their letter and crying tears over their departure. Right now, though, my tears are for you. I want you to know that you are kind and you are brave. That you are outstanding readers and mathematicians and scientists, and beings.  I want you to know that you will always always be my Kinder darlings, forever five and six in my heart. Now, go on. Grow up. Be great.

Your Kinder Teacher

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