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Christmas Gift Tags

December is a busy time at home and in the classroom.  In third grade we are busily creating small gifts (ornaments this year) for our parents, writing 'encouragement notes' for older students in the school, and trying madly to make a little gift for our first grade younger buddies.  It's a wonderful time of year, but oh boy is it exhausting!

To help remember who created each ornament, card, and gift, I have made gift tags for students to attach on each of their homemade presents.

Our presents home to our families will feature gift tags with Nativity scene:

(Nativity Gift Tags - download here )

Our presents to our little buddies have gift these cute little Christmas figures and a few song lyrics:

(Cute Student Gift Tags - download here)

And I have special tags just for gifts that will go from staff to staff:

(Watercolor gift cards - download here. )

I have all of these gift tags packaged together as a free download on my Teachers Pay Teachers page as a small Christmas present from me to you.  Thank you for reading my blog and visiting my little TpT shop.

Merry Christmas to you!

Target's Back to School Calendar

I am Canadian.  Once upon a time we had Target, and it was glorious.  But only a few short years later our Targets closed, and I was once again left to venture down to the States for all of my Target purchases.

Luckily, I live in Vancouver, BC, so there is a Target Dollar Spot less than an hour away.  Phew!

This year I have made more than a few quick trips across the border to decorate my classroom and find budget-friendly teaching supplies.

One of the things I loved was my new target calendar.  It was a total winner. However, upon closer inspection, it had a problem.

The calendar started on Monday.

@the.traveling.teacher  noticed the same problem!

When teaching students to chant, say, and count the days of the week we always start on Sunday.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

We were totally thrown off by this design. So I had to make new labels:

I tried to design complementary labels.  If you'd like them, they are available for free by clicking HERE.  Just print, laminate, and go! 

In the comments below, let me know where your Target Calendar is located in your classroom.

Happy September, All!


April and May are some of my favourite months to be a teacher. By this point, I know each and every one of my students, and they know me.  We’ve found our perfect rhythm and can work together as a fairly well-oiled machine.

I know which students need that ‘extra push’ to do their best, and which ones need to be gently coached with a hug and a smile of encouragement. I know how to correct behaviors in a way that encourages the best from my little ones, and doesn’t crush their spirits.

Each student needs such different things, and it often takes months to figure it all out.

Look at my little hard-working students  Oh term three, how I love you!

So, for me, Term Three is the most blissful of the three.

They know what I expect in my classroom, and I (for the most part) know what they need to be successful. I still get small butterflies in my stomach when I look across the hall to the Grade Two class that will eventually be ‘mine’ next year.

I wonder how we will get to this point.

Academically, I find September to be one of the most challenging months as a teacher.

Is anyone else with me on that one?

All of those lovely, high-achieving students that walked out of the school in May or June, walk back in like tiny little zombies who have forgotten almost everything. (Or so it seems!)

Oh, the summer slump.

Teachers, you know what I mean.

It’s that phenomenon that happens over the summer where the 8+ weeks of summer vacation seem to erase our students’ brains… or at least the part that remembers how to ‘do’ school.

So we re-teach. Things that were a snap in June, are suddenly brand-new skills.

  • How to put your name on a piece of paper
  • Where to line up
  • How to use capital letters and punctuation
  • Working for more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time
  • How to open a thermos! (So, so many thermoses… side note: why has no one invented a thermos that will open itself?!)

I’ve tried all kinds of things to beat the Summer Slump.

I’ve sent home reading logs, writing journals, and extra science projects.

Some have had more success than others.

This year, I’m trying something different.

I’ve put together a “Stay Sharp Summer Packet” for my kiddos.

It covers most of the things that we have learned in Grade Three, plus a few skills from previous grades that I don’t want them to lose.

I’m spiral-binding it into a booklet and sending it home right before the break.

Purposeful practice: Summer practice pages specifically designed to practice the most important skills.  (Try out a freebie - link below!) 

It is my hope (and prayer!) that they will do one page every 2nd day.  That should be about 15 minutes of work. Just enough to help to keep their minds sharp a little bit over the summer, and maybe, just maybe, prevent the summer slump from completely erasing their brain! ;)

I'd love for my blog readers to try this packet out!  The full version is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but I've put together a sample (9 full pages!) for you to try out for free. The full version (90+ pages is available for 5$). 

(CLICK HERE for the freebie!)  

Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.  

How do you combat the Summer Slump in your classroom or in your school? I’d love to hear your tips!

- Rachel

Smoothie Day!

I love events.   I'm not the biggest fan of class parties (the chips/pop/free-for-all type of parties) but oh my stars do I love an all-class event.  After the first month or two of school, once I am sure that I trust my class, and I know the dynamics of the kiddos in the room, I love planning big things.  

All class theme day around a book where we are in character?  Sure!

Set up lemonade stands around the school to practice entrepreneurship? No problem!

Drape bedsheets from the ceiling and turn the entire room into a blanket fort for buddy reading?  Done! 

Create a neighbourhood-wide scavenger hunt themed around things we have studied during the year? Yes, yes! 

In Health and Career Education we have been studying healthy eating and food groups.  As we wrapped this unit, it was time to celebrate in a fun way.  My kids have been begging for a "Mrs. P style Party", and I was happy to do it!  Together, we planned Smoothie Day, an in-class afternoon to make delicious smoothies, and celebrate healthy eating choices.  

I sent home  flyers for each parent a few days in advance.  I'm pretty fortunate that most parents in my class are able to bring something small in if we do a class event.  (Although I don't usually ask for too much throughout the year). I'm pretty specific to ask for fruit/veggies that are cut up already, because it makes the process go much quicker, and I don't have a ton of space to do a lot of chopping/peeling at the back of the room.    

On Smoothie Day, each student brought in their contributions.  I have a small bar fridge behind my desk (thanks to the hubby last year!), and I packed it full of the perishable goods.  Then we waited until the afternoon.  I quickly crammed in all of the academic subjects, so that way we could end our day with Smoothie making.  

We started the activity by brainstorming all of the food groups, and reminding ourselves why it was important to eat many different kinds of food groups.  

i.e. Why shouldn't we just have a smoothie of just strawberries and bananas?  Why is it important to also eat dairy and vegetables as well?

  (Note: this is where I really sell them on how GREAT smoothies are for eating sneaky vegetables!  So many of my kiddos are amazed about how they can't even taste the spinach/carrots/cucumber that is in their smoothie, and go right home and ask for it!)

Then comes the good part... making smoothies!  I have two blenders in the classroom, one for me, and one for my Educational Assistant.  We each took a group of three students, and guided them through creating a smoothie "recipe".  Our only instruction was that it had to have fruit, dairy, and vegetables in it.  Then they were off!  It was so great to watch them gather ingredients as they decided what they thought would taste best, and be best for their bodies.  

hile sipping their finished creations, I sent them back to their desks to write out everything that went into their smoothies.  This way, they had something to take home to their families to show how to recreate the smoothie they enjoyed in class.  (24/25 loved it, vegetables an all!)

I've gathered all of my resources Smoothie Day together, and you can grab them HERE.  The best part, it's totally free!  I hope you and your class love celebrating healthy eating as much as we did.  

Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!  Happy blending :) 

- Rachel