Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Simple Teacher Gifts (with sayings)

Since NEXT week is teacher appreciation week, I thought I would share some simple gift ideas for the teachers.

*There are many REISENS why we think you are a great teacher! - Reinsen candy
*We think you're NOTEworthy! Have a stuPENdous day!
*You make life a little SWEETER! - candy/something sweet
*You are the APPLE of our eye! - caramel apple suckers or anything apple related.
*You're one in a MELON! - Watermelon flavored anything (candy, drink, candle scent, etc.)
*You really measure up! I am so glad that you are my teacher - ruler tied to a box of fruit by the foot
*I've got to HAND it to you, I think you're great! - lotion, nail polish, manicure gift certificate
*We are BERRY glad we had you as a teacher! - Berry flavored anything
*You are the CREME of the crop - Creme Life Saver candy
*You are a class ACT! - tied to a box of popcorn (Act brand)
*There's MUFFIN like a teacher like you! - muffins/muffin mix
*To a SCENTsational teacher. - Attached to a candle, lotion, or a scentsy candle warmer and a package or two of wax. (I have seen the non-name brand scensty warmers and wax bars at Wal-Mart. I believe that the warmer is from $10-15 and the wax bars are $1.88...this is what I plan on giving this year.)
*We have had MOUNDS of fun in your class this year! - Mounds candy
*As the year CLIPS along, we want you to know that you are the HIGHLIGHT! - paperclips and highligher markers.
*You have been a FANTAstic teacher! - Fanta pop

**In the past I have done a movie basket, where you attach some of the candy mentioned with cute sayings, a box of (Act) popcorn, bottles of pop, and a gift certificate to a movie rental place. I have also done gift certificates to a favorite restaurant.

Ideas for the PTA to give to teachers:
*One year, the PTA had large stars with the teachers' names on them attached to the walls that lined the halls of the school. On Monday morning with the teachers arrived to school, their desk and floor had Hershey kisses scattered with a note that read: We KISS the ground you walk on! We appreciate you! Another treat given out that week was a (red) fruit by the foot attached with the following saying: We're ROLLIN' out the RED (as in carpet) for our Celebrious Staff!
*Thanks for CHIPPIN' in to make this school year great! - chips
*You always RISE to the occasion. Thanks for being willing to help when we KNEAD you! - loaf of bread
*We're NUTS about having you at school! - attached to a small bag of Planters Peanuts
*Attach the following to a bag of assorted mint candy:
Thank You Assort-MINT
1. Thanks for your commit-"mint"
2. Thanks for your encourage-"mint"
3. Thanks for your involve-"mint"
4. Thanks for your invest-"mint" of time
5. Thanks for making each day an enjoy-"mint"
6. Thanks for helping to create a nice environ-"mint"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Decorating the Classroom Door

HERE is a link to Tip Junkie with ideas for decorating your child's classroom door. My son's teacher (who I am the room mom for) is currently pregnant so I think I might use this idea?!?

The idea came from this blog. The door is decorated with flowers, binkies and other baby things. Cute and useful for a pregnant teacher. *As an update, I did end up using this idea for the door this year, but also including mini Baby Ruth candy bars taped to the door. You could also use Sugar Babies candy.

Three door ideas came from HERE. Super cute ideas including gifts to match the door decorations.

Other ideas I have seen or received were:
*You're one in a "melon"! - Glue a die cut of watermelon (one for each student) and have them write their name or reason why their teacher is the best. You could also attach a bag of Sour Patch Watermelon candy, or other melon flavored candy.
*A BUNCH of us think you're GRAPE! - Blow up purple balloons and tape them to the door in the shape of a bunch of grapes. (The balloons may not last the whole week though!!)
*We think you were MINT to be a teacher! Love your little JUNIORS - Glue little boxes of Jr. Mint candy to the door.
*Let's Party with Mrs. _________ - Tape 5 gift bags to the door and have a surprise inside the bags each day for the teacher. Monday's bag might have a candy bar. Tuesday's bag might have a gift certificate, etc.
*We're NUTS about having you as our teacher! - Have each child write their name on a die cut of a peanut and attach little bags of nuts to the door.
*"Here's the 'Scoop'____ Grade Is A Real Treat". - Give each child a blank scoop of ice cream and have them decorate it and tell why they love they grade/teacher.
*We think you are a Marvelous and Magnificent teacher! - Do an M&M theme. Cut out circles (write the letter M on each one) and attach to the door. Can also glue on bags of M&Ms or M&M Amazing bars (is that what they're called?) to the door.
*Donut you know you're a great teacher? - Die cuts of donuts with each child's name written on them. You could also include a gift certificate for donuts or leave enough to share with the class on the teacher's desk.

**If you are in the PTA and need to do something for all the teachers, HERE is a website that offers custom wrappers for candy bars. The downside is that you have to buy them (they are super cute though!) Maybe you could get ideas and make your own!?! OR HERE is a FREE pattern for how to make your own candy bar wrapper. It turns out really cute and there is a saying you can download that reads: A teacher...takes a hand opens a mind touches a heart shapes the future. Just one of those fun things to show you care.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kool Aid Play Dough

Today it is snowing for the 2nd day in a row. You would think that since I have lived in cold, snowy places before I would be use to it by now. The truth is, I probably would be if I had lived in the snow more recently. For the past 9 years, up until this last summer when our family moved, I have been living in almost 365 days a year of pure warmth and sunshine. I will get use to the change in weather, but for now I am going stir crazy.
I decided to try out THIS recipe for Kool Aid Play Dough. (I am sure there are TONS of these recipes out there, but this is the one I decided to try. It was super easy and super fast! It is suppose to smell good too, but I can't really smell too much from it. (I used pink lemonade kool aid though so maybe pick a more potent smell.) It turns out really soft too and my 2 little kiddos are having a blast playing. YEAH~no fighting! Anyway, if you too are longing for warmer outside days and looking for something to do (indoors) try out this recipe.
From a teaching stand point, you could turn this into an educational tool too. Try having your kids make letters or words with the play dough.

Also, if you have cookie cutters, you could have the kids cut out shapes and name them for you. (My 3 1/2 year old is having fun making triangles and telling me all about them.)

You could also try doing a little math. Make numerals or try story problems such as rolling out 4 balls/snakes/whatever and take away one. What are you left with? 3! You can even have your child practice counting the objects you/your child makes.

Teacher Appreciation Ideas

Here are some sites and ideas I have come across from the web. With teacher appreciation week not far from now, I thought that I would start thinking of ideas now.

Tip Junkie of course always has great ideas!

From Sugardoodle:

For a gift to the teachers, use a clear cellophane sack with one package of graham crackers, Hershey candy bar and marshmallows on top. Then include a note that it read "We need s'more teachers like you!"

Sundae Bath Salts

Get some fortune cookies and dip them in chocolate (dip just one side). Put them in cellophane bags with a pretty bow and a card attached that will say "It's been our good fortune to have you as our teacher".

Attach this poem to a small sponge with a ribbon tied around it:Children are like sponges.They absorb your knowledge,they sap your strength,they soak up your resources and drain your energy -but with one big squeeze,they give it all back.

(From the PTA to the teachers) Attach the following poem to a 100 Grand candy bar:"To our million dollar teachers, we appreciate you a lot.You're worth a million dollars,But our budget's almost shot.We scraped together 100 Grand Please accept it as your pay.Keep up the great teaching And have a Happy Day!"

Creative sayings from Skip to My Lou.

I will have to dig through some of my files from the past and add some of my own ideas later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Handwriting Help

Looking for a way to help your kid(s) with their handwriting? This site allows you to type in the words that you want your child to practice, up to 10 words. You can also choose between print and cursive, the size of font and how you want the lines the words are on to look. How cool is that? Anyway, thought I would share.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fun Easter Ideas

Some more fun ideas for Easter I have come across are: (this is the last Easter post...this year and then I will move on. Promise.)

Egg a House. The nice way.

This looks like such a fun idea...more a neighbor idea than relating to school, but still fun.

From Skip to My Lou:
Bunny Egg Holder

Bunny Treat Bags

Make a bunny hat by using a paper plate.

Click HERE for the instructions and click HERE for the template.

From Family Fun:
An Egg Shirt

Party Carrots

Bunny Tangrams

On a side note, (not dealing with Easter) when I was a teacher, I use to incorporate tangram activities every once in a while into the classroom. They can be used as a math activity or to go along with a book, such as Grandfather Tang's Story.

Here is an online (free) copy of the story if you are interested.

HERE is one more fun Easter site with crafts, recipes, and ideas.

Easter Goodies

Easter just ended, but that doesn't mean the ideas have to. Sorry for the late post, but we were out of town for most of last week and things have been hectic as they usually are. Anyway...if you want some fun Easter goodies for next year, here are some ideas I have come across:

Cinna-Bunnies from Studio 5.

Any of the ADORABLE cake pops from Bakerella.

Edible Bird Nests from Me & My Insanity

And finally, what's Easter without PEEPS? Okay so I am not a big fan of them, but if you are, here are some ideas for you.

Make some homemade PEEPS. These were featured on Good Things Utah and here is the recipe:

1/3 c. water
2.5 tsp powdered gelatin (1 envelope)
1/4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Bloom the gelatin in the bowl of an electric mixer
2. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat on high to make a soft ball sugar syrup (232F in Salt Lake City) 238 at sea level.
3. Add syrup to gelatin. Mix on high until soft peaks form. Add vanilla.
4. Put into a piping bag with a round tip and pipe desired shapes. Pipe directly onto colored sugar and cover with more sugar. Don’t let it sit too long or it will form a skin and the sugar won’t stick. Use immediately. If it starts to become too thick to pipe, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Easter Bunny S'mores

PEEPS Drizzle Pops


More PEEPS ideas HERE.
I also found some more cute, fun and yummy looking rice krispies recipes HERE.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What To Do With Those Plastic Easter Eggs

I was trying to think up some ideas of ways you could use plastic Easter eggs in an educational way. After Easter, it seems that those eggs get stored away until the following year when they can again be used for another egg hunt. Well here are some ideas I came up with. If you are a teacher, I was thinking that some of these ideas could be used as centers.

Fill an Easter basket with an assortment of eggs split apart. The students have to find the correct match up, connect the egg and place the complete egg in an egg carton. If you are trying this activity on older kids, try to mix up the colors so the answer isn't so easy to find. (Like a pink top with a green bottom.)
Math problem to answer match up - Write the problem on one half of the egg and the answer on the other half. Depending on the age level of the kids, you could do anything from simple addition to division.
Upper and Lower Case Match Up - Find an upper case letter and its matching lower case letter and connect the eggs.
Cursive to Print - Have the kids try to match up the correct cursive letter to the same letter in print. The could be a good activity when just introducing cursive, especially since cursive can feel like a whole new language to kids! :)
Dots to Numeral - For younger kids, have the them match up the number of dots on half the egg, with the correct numeral on the other half. (four dots = 4)
Numeral to Number Word - Four to 4
Word to Definition - This could be applied to spelling, vocabulary lesson, etc. On this particular activity, have the eggs whole and have the students place the correct definition to the word (typed out on a piece of paper by you) in an egg with the correct word.
If you have any suggestions that could go along with this, or other ideas for reusing those plastic Easter eggs, I would love to know what you are thinking!

Listening Eggs

This activity would be good for: Preschool-kindergarten/Special Education

1 empty Egg Carton
12 Colored Plastic Eggs

Objects to place inside eggs such as small rocks, sand, paper clips, erasers, beans, beads, etc. If there are concerns the student may place the objects in their mouth, the eggs can be hot glued closed or taped.

Place two similar objects into 2 eggs. Numbers the eggs and record what is in each egg. Place the eggs in a small basket and have the kids "listen" to the eggs to match the sounds. Have the kids then put the matches in the egg carton, side by side. Have the kids continue doing this u until all eggs are matched. You can check the kids' work by looking at your answer key or having them open the eggs to discover for themselves. You could even have the kids try to guess what each sound is.

Candy Bar Wrappers - Bunny Style

Jadi, from Parties and Holidays, had these cute bunny templates on her blog that she said she found on Katrina's blog from Katrina's Kreations. Ahh...the joy of blog hopping! LOL Anyway, I thought that I too would share these adorable candy bar wrapper templates of bunnies. I think they are super cute and would be fun to give to a teacher, friend, neighbor, etc. If you really want to get cheesy, you could also attach a tag saying, "Hoppy Easter" or I am so "HOPPY" to have you for a teacher, etc.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ideas for Decorating Hard Boiled Eggs

Oil and Food Coloring Marbled Eggs

What you'll need:
Eggs (hard boiled or raw)
Food coloring
Cooking oil
Containers for the dye mixture (mugs will work)
Paper towels
A few spoons
In each container combine one tablespoon of each of the following: oil, vinegar, and your choice of food coloring. Add enough water to make the liquid deep enough to cover an egg. Swirl the liquid with a spoon, and quickly lower and raise an egg into it. Pat dry with a paper towel, and repeat with a second color. Swirl into a third color, if desired. Some white areas can be left on the egg. Gently pat dry the completed egg, leaving a bit of the oil to give the egg a varnished look.


What you'll need:
Boiled eggs
Neon food coloring and white vinegar (optional)
How to make it:
Be sure that boiled eggs are cool and dry. Place a double folded kitchen towel and place it on the table underneath child's hands so if the egg slips out it will have a soft cushion to land on. Use crayons to draw designs on the egg. Have kids hold the egg gently so they do not crack the shell.
This step is optional but adds a fun effect. If you like, mix 1 Tbsp of white vinegar into a coffee mug of water (filled ¾ full) then add several drops of food coloring. Dip the crayon colored egg into the dye and let sit for about a minute.
Remove and let dry. The dye makes the crayon look brighter, especially if you use neon food coloring!

To boil perfect eggs, place into a shallow pan, cover with water and boil gently for three minutes. Turn off heat and cover pan with a tight fitting lid and let sit for 15 minutes. Place pan in sink, carefully drain out hot water and let cold water run over them for several minutes. Turn off water and add several ice cubes and let sit for about 5 minutes more.
Try different types of food coloring, we used neon colors!
The longer you leave the egg in the dye, the deeper the color will be.

If you like these ideas, you can find more HERE.

Here are some more ideas I have found for decorating hard boiled eggs. Enjoy and have fun creating!

Make your own food color dye - Combine 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of food coloring with 2 tsp. vinegar in a cup that is deep enough for the eggs. Add water to about the half way point. Gently place the eggs into the cups. I use a soup spoon to place my eggs in the cups, to avoid cracking. The longer they are left in the dye, the darker the color shade. Experiment with different combinations of colors When you remove the egg from the dye, pat dry with a paper towel and place in a holder.

Rubber Band Designs - Wrap elastic bands around hard cooked eggs, then drop them in food-coloring dye. Remove eggs, pat dry with paper towel and remove rubber bands. The parts of the egg covered with rubber bands will not be colored. Once the rubber bands are removed, you can drop the egg into a different color dye.

Sponge Painted Eggs - Cut a sponge into small pieces. Pour some acrylic paint into a shallow dish or onto wax paper.Clip the sponge pieces onto clothes pins, one for each color of paint. Dip the sponge into the paint and dab the egg with it. Start with your darker colors first for the best effect. Put the egg in an egg cup to dry. *Do NOT eat eggs that have been painted!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April Fool's Dinner

I realize that April Fool's Day is a few days past, but I thought I would update you on what I did. On April Fool's Day, I decided to get into the holiday for a change. I added a pregnancy tracker on the side of my family's blog for the day and made a fun dinner for the kids. Nothing too crazy...but still some excitement.

When I pulled the "cupcakes" out of the oven and told the kids we would be eating our dessert first for dinner, they looked at me like I was crazy. Then, as they looked closer, my oldest son said, "hey I see meat in there." A disturbing thought when talking about a cupcake, but the fact that they were really meatloaf cupcakes with potatoes as the frosting, I guess that is okay. Surprisingly they tasted really good and we all enjoyed them, including my husband. When my youngest son first licked the "frosting", expecting a sweet taste, he got a funny look on his face and said, "hey, these are potatoes." We had some explaining to do at this point. When the kids had finished their "dessert", I asked if they were then ready for "dinner". They laughed and then were excited to see what was next.

I pulled out some "fishsticks and peas", and they were a little more nervous to try it out, but once they tasted both and figured out what they really were (cookies & Laffy Taffy), they loved them too. My 3 year old was a little confused throughout the dinner, but went along with things because the older 2kids were so excited. He kept telling me how much he loved peas. (Great, now I may be in trouble with that vegetable!)
The 2 older kids enjoying some "cupcakes":

I hope you all had a great April Fool's Day and weren't tricked by too many people!