Mother's Day and Giveaway!!

We made the cutest purses for Mother's Day this week! This was a TPT purchase from First Grade Schoolhouse and it turned out adorable, considering 4 year old hands cut most of it lol!
I forgot to take pictures until I had put most of them in backpacks already lol, but here's a good idea of what they looked like! I bought scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby (on sale so it was 29 cents a sheet! Two sheets per kiddo made this craft less than $15! I bought a few extra so that each child got to choose their favorite pattern for their mom - note to self, buy more papers with hearts for next year - those were the first to get chosen!

Here are some images from inside the "purses":

To touch on a recent debate on Facebook. I truly believe that Mother's Day gifts should be a priority - yes its the end of the school year and I had assessments that needed to be done, a library book to unearth (every year I lose at least one!) powerpoint slideshows to create for our celebration next Monday etc. This took time and effort and honestly I can see what some teachers don't want to put effort/money into projects like this because we don't all get a lot of support from families. BUT, I can tell you this - this is the first step to building a positive relationship with your families.

Remember occasions like Mother's Day and Father's Day, have the kids make mama something on Valentine's Day or if a kiddo comes in and says "It's my Nana's birthday today!" hand them some construction paper and let them have 10 minutes to make Nana a card! If you're making pattern bracelets and a sweetie wants to make an extra large one for her daddy, let her! Sure its a little bit of time/money/effort but I tell you that the dividends will be better relationships between you and the families in your communities!

You might say "It's the end of the year!" or "I'll never have these kids again!", but don't forget that parents TALK! And they'll tell each other about little things as well as the big things. So you will either have a classroom full of mamas with happy hopes next year or a classroom full of mamas who are dreading the school year and hoping you don't make their child miserable. Trust me, it is much easier to deal with parents who think you're a good teacher and to build trust and a relationship from there than to start off with the attitude "This teacher doesn't care, she never has the kids do anything fun."

AND, remember that we are here to MODEL for these kids what appreciation looks like. What it means to be kind and to be a good person. It doesn't take much money - and if you can't afford scrapbook paper for purses then get whatever you can scrounge up and just have the kids draw a picture and write a note. Something is better than nothing!

Case in point: I picked up my little man Sullivan from daycare on Friday after sending all my kiddos off with surprises in their backpacks and the admonishment to mothers, "Don't look until Sunday!". When I went into Sullivan's classroom, the first thing I did was check his cubby to see if they had him make me a Mother's Day craft. Sure, we can and probably will do something at home (my daughter is great at rounding up the boys for things like this!) but I have to admit that my heart sank a little when I saw that his cubby was empty. No surprise for me! I put a smile on and didn't say anything of course - but you can imagine how happy I was when his teacher said "Did you already get his craft?" and pulled a laminated paper from his top shelf - it was so flat I hadn't seen it! It's not much, just handprint flowers and a poem, but it means the world to me and I'm reassured once again that his teachers care about him and are giving him a positive environment while I'm at work!

So the next time you get overwhelmed with data and assessments and standards and you're low on funds/crayons/paper and you're tempted to skip doing some activity or craft for families, remember, this is the first step in your relationship with those kids, their families and that community!

Ok now that's done with, check out this video:

Can you believe that this was just their 2nd time playing the game! Look how quickly they already picked up those sight words!

I saw The Reading Game at the EdExpo in Atlanta back in February and I loved it. Simple, easy to implement AND the kids enjoy it! Nothing like trying to teach sight words when the kids are dragging their heels! But, with The Reading Game, my kiddos automatically wanted to try it...and then wanted to play it again and again! They loved "conquering" a set of words and getting to move on to the next level. And I loved that the cards were all organized by color/image/number so that I don't get them mixed up and everyone can keep track of what cards they were using. The books also have interesting stories - its not "See Spot run." that's for sure!

I used the game with my highest kiddos who had already mastered letter/sound recognition. With just a few weeks of playing the game a few times a week, they have quickly caught on to 10-30 sight words each! That's huge for pre-k! I showed it to my kindergarten coworkers and they loved it too - this is such an easy game that it's great for tutors, reading buddies etc. There are free pre/post game assessment checklists and class recording sheets as well so all that data is at your fingertips!

While you can purchase The Reading Game at many local retailers, the creators  have agreed to let me give away a copy of the game to one lucky reader!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below! And, if you have some Scholastic Bonus Points you're itching to use, you can also purchase The Reading Game from the Scholastic Bonus Points catalog!

Alright, so without further ado, here's your entry form:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

May the odds be ever in your favor!

3 Rustle Up A Response!:

Christy K said... Reply to comment

Thank you for voicing your opinion about Mother's day gifts! I agree completely about beginning (not ending) communication with parents, even if it is the Grandma,Grandpa or Auntie. Parents talk and sometimes just over hearing things said in the parking lot or hallway is enough to make a bad impression with next year parents. Great job! Happy Mothers Day.

John Dehnart said... Reply to comment

Howdy! Your video for The Reading Game doesn't play. It says it's a private video. Could you switch it to public so we can see it? :-)


John D.

Jennifer K. said... Reply to comment

@John Dehnart

Hi John! Thanks for pointing that out! It should be fixed now :)

Jennifer @ Herding Kats in KIndergarten