Easy Random Acts of Kindness for Classrooms in December!

December is almost here, and with it, an opportunity to build your classroom community and encourage kindness among your students! Regardless of what holiday they celebrate, they can all get together to do kind things for others - and hopefully this free Random Acts of Kindness Calendar will be the impetus they need to start making being kind an every day habit!
 Display it in your classroom in full color!

Or send home this b&w version so students' families can follow along at home!

Either way you choose, these simple (and affordable) ideas will soon have your students acting less Grinchy and more loving! To grab your copy, just click the picture to download it for free in my TPT store!

Check out my Pinterest Play Dough Board for recipe ideas for the homemade play dough! And pro-tip - if you have students with peanut allergies, use Crsico shortening instead of peanut butter for the bird feeders! And be sure to check out these fun resources in my TPT store to help make your December more merry!
Gingerbread Man Emergent Readers - fun sight word readers with embedded math skills!

Classroom Elf Letters - integrate your elf into your curriculum with fun letters that incorporate writing, math and science!

Have a joyful December everyone!

Positive Behavior Management System for Kindergarten

One of the things I love to do is have my class work together to achieve goals. It builds our classroom community when we're rooting for each other and encouraging each other! I try to make sure that all of my behavior management focuses on the positive rather than the negative behaviors, and my Spud-Tastic Behavior Management System is a culmination of a lot of different things I've done successfully in the classroom, all packaged together into a cohesive system!

First up, is expectations (or "rules"). These have to be phrased positively, and they have to be simple enough to remember! My Spud-Tastic expectations each have a fun visual and are great to use as a positive reminder.

During the first week of school, when we're talking about procedures and expectations every day, I love for my students to be able to share those with their families. This easy reader repeats the rules, and is simple enough for a beginning of the year literacy activity! Once complete, students take it home to read with their families, helping to reinforce those expectations!

 As an additional reminder AND a fun cut & paste/direction-following assessment (😂), this Spud-Tastic craftivity makes a fun bulletin board display too!

We all know that adding music really helps learning stick, so I also have 3 fun piggy-back songs all about Spud-Tastic behavior! I made multiple songs, because if you sing the same song over and over again, kids tend to start tuning it out. With 3 different versions, the songs stay novel, engaging the children for longer. We sing these at the beginning of the day, or during transitions, as a fun movement break that's also a reminder about our expectations! 

Once everyone knows the expectations, then the really fun part starts! This is where you get your teammates and administration to help out with getting your students EXCITED about following the expectations! You see, any time someone gives your class a compliment - for cafeteria behavior, hallway procedures, behaving in assembly etc - your class earns a piece of their Spud! Make sure you ask your coworkers to keep an eye out to see if they can compliment your class!

Now, you can use a Mr. Potato Head toy, or you can use the bulletin board pieces to create a paper Spud. I keep my cards in a can that I've decorated and labeled - Pringles or Crystal Lite cans work well!

After the class receives a compliment, I choose a student to randomly pull a card from the can. Then they get to add that piece to the Spud! We always start with just the body, and then add on. Once the Spud has two arms, two ears, eyes, a nose, mouth, feet and a hat, then its reward time!

I keep the 16 reward cards in another can - this one I bought at the Dollar Tree and then glued on the Spud-Tastic Reward label! All of the rewards are no- to low-cost (easy on teacher budgets!) and only 3 are food rewards. Choose the ones that work for your classroom, and place them in the can. You can either allow a student to randomly select a reward once the Spud is complete OR you can select the reward in advance so that your students know what they're working towards. My rule was the reward might be earned any day of the week, but the prize would be awarded on Friday, just so that I had time to make sure I had the reward material and/or work the time into my schedule!

Of course, sometimes the whole class might not be following the expectations, but you have a couple of students doing the right thing. That's where these bracelets come in! If I see a student doing the right thing, I award them a bracelet to wear and take home! They love wearing bracelets home to show off to their families - and as soon as one child gets a bracelet, it often encourages the rest of the class to follow suit! I have bracelets for each individual expectation, as well as a general "Spud-Tastic" version!

I print these on Astrobright paper (affiliate link) and cut them out in advance. Then I just keep them handy for a moment when I "catch" someone doing the right thing! A simple piece of tape later, and the proud student is now an inspiration to the rest of the class!

I just posted this complete Behavior Management System in my TPT store - and its on sale for 20% during the Site-Wide BTS Sale August 1st and 2nd! If you use the code BTSFRESH, you'll get an additional 5% off when you check out! Check it out here: Spud-Tastic Behavior Management

Building Classroom Community With Kindness

One of the most important components of classroom management is being able to build a sense of classroom community. When your students care about themselves, you and each other, it makes a world of difference in terms of attitude, effort and cooperation! Today I'm sharing some of my best tips for building classroom community by incorporation Kindness into your curriculum!

First up is my Kindness Playlist on youtube. Click the link to find 30+ teacher-approved videos that you can play in class to help teach your students Kindness as well as well as manners, resiliency and honesty! These are great transition activities, or to play during morning meeting!

For example, this episode of "Can You Teach My Alligator Manners?", focuses on the sign language for please and thank you and gives your students the chance to identify scenarios where the alligator is using good manners. The videos in this series are only about 2 minutes long, so they're perfect for Circle Time to introduce different concepts such a taking turns, sharing and being a good sport!

Sesame Street has an Everyday Super Heroes Club with videos, printable badges and more!

You can find the free membership materials here!

One of the things that has really changed my classroom community is instituting this "Saying "I'm Sorry" is the FIRST step" policy. Basically after saying sorry, the child has to ask the person they hurt how they can help them feel better. Sometimes its as simple as giving a hug, sometimes they request that the child not do whatever it was again, sometimes they ask the child to play a new game with them. It empowers the "victim" to decide how they want the other child to make amends! While I never force a child to say "Sorry", when they truly are repentant and want a way to make up with the other child, this works wonders!

Daniel Tiger is a great show for social and emotional skills, and I'll play it during inside recess or if we have lunch in the classroom because so many of the skills are applicable to my kiddos, and give me a quick, singable reminder any time an issue came up - like the one for when a friend doesn't want to play with you, which comes in handy when friends want to branch out and play with other people.

Next up is incorporating Kindness into your literacy block! Here are some of my favorite picture books that teach kindness and other character traits (affiliate links for your convenience) just click on the picture to see it on Amazon. These are great read aloud books that I love to use to teach about being kind and taking responsibility.

Another thing that I use in my classroom are these Kindness & Character Songs & Chants (freebie!) These are also great during your morning meeting or just to start your day with a quick reminder to be kind! Once your students learn them, you'll often hear them singing them during the day - or referring to them during disagreements! Click on the picture to go download them for free!


One of the things that I started last December was a Daily Act of Kindergarten Kindness. It was wonderful! My students were so happy to do sweet things for other classes, our principal and even each other! It truly made a difference in my classroom, and I was disappointed that I had waited until December to start it! Well after that I decided to start our RAKs in September! We start each school year off with a bang by doing a random act of kindness every day! Each of the acts is simple, most don't cost a thing (the few that do are inexpensive!) and require little prep, so they're easy to incorporate into your Back To School lessons! I'm sharing my September 2018 calendar with you all today, so download the calendar for free here: Random Acts of Kindness Calendar for September 2018.

Each morning we talk about our kindness act (RAK) for the day. We discuss what it may look like, how we'll feel and how the recipient might feel. We role play the different interactions, like asking someone new to play at recess, so that my students have the "script" for performing the RAKs - sometimes even the most outgoing and confident students need help opening a conversation! At the end of the day, I take a quick ten minutes to discuss the act of kindness we performed. Students share their individual stories or how they felt about a class act. Then we look at the next day's act so that we can start thinking of ideas for the upcoming RAK! For weekend activities, I try to make the acts of kindness super simple so that the kids can remember and perform them on their own (I also send home the b&w copy of the calendar so parents can help!) On Fridays we review the upcoming weekend's RAKs and discuss how we might accomplish them. For example, on the 14th, I'll make sure to teach my students a couple of jokes so they have some handy for telling to family members the next day! On Monday morning, the students will share if they completed their RAKs and how it made them feel! It truly makes a world of difference when your students are looking for ways to commit random acts of kindness!

And finally, I always taught about Martin Luther King Jr. in January. I think that's too late in the year as well. With the social climate these days, it just makes more sense to talk about these issues at the beginning of the school year as well. My Martin Luther King Jr. Pack has activities that are accessible for our young learners. It teaches the important concepts of changing the world through peace and love and that the change has to start with us.
Here are two of the activities included in the pack, easy for pre-k to 1st graders to understand!

If we start teaching about tolerance, kindness, fairness, honesty, peace and most of all LOVE at the beginning of the school year, we will reap the benefits all year long! I hope you'll be able to take these ideas back to school with you to build your classroom community! If you have tips of your own to share on building classroom community, please rustle up a comment below and share them!

March Sensory Bin Ideas

Sensory Bin ideas for Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick's Day

March is coming and with it all things Seuss, as well as St. Patrick's Day and for some, Spring Break! This is a great time to get something fun in your sensory bins! I have multiple sensory bins - our large 4 person table, as well as smaller 1 or 2 person Rubbermaid bins. This lets me add sensory fun to a variety of center activities, thus increasing engagement AND helping to develop fine motor skills and provide sensory input!

Green eggs & ham in green rice & beans anyone? I love this one because the mix can be reused for St. Patrick's Day in just a few weeks! Add some props from your Dramatic Play Center and students can have fun subitizing while matching number cards with ten frames! Adding the different size beans means lots of options for additional counting and sorting once students have finished the activity too!

 I love it when I can differentiate activities in my sensory bin. In this case, the cards can be matched to produce rhyming pairs, or matched to CVC word cards. This way my high flyers can be moving on, while those that need it continue to get support with rhyming. Red rice from Valentine's Day makes a reappearance and is mixed with pompoms - students love using the pompoms to block funnel spouts or fill up a container with the pompoms and then see how much rice can still fit!

Our new favorite sensory bin filler is dyed Epsom salt. Epsom salt is inexpensive, and looks like shiny crystals when dyed. You dye it the same way as rice - a little rubbing alcohol and some food coloring! These happy little fellows have sums on their chests and match an addition sentence card, so students can have fun with sums to 10!


Want the activities? Click here to see them in my TPT store!

 St. Patrick's Day is a big deal in my classroom - we love having Silly McGilly visit! Here's he's made a rainbow of rice in our sensory table! Yes, it gets messed up immediately, but the kids love it and it's often featured when they write about Silly McGilly's visit!
 For this bin, I spray painted glass gems gold and then write on them with Sharpies. Some have letters and some have numbers.
 Students find the "gold" and match it to the correct mat - either finding the beginning sound picture that matches the letter, or finding the number on the pot of gold - but they have to go in numerical order, to make it trickier lol!
One of our favorite morning bins in March is pots of gold with play dough - they have to make "gold pieces" to match the number on the pot! Grab these St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin Mats for FREE in my TPT store by clicking here.

We also write our letters in green hair gel - just add it to a baggie and make sure its completely closed! In this picture, Silly McGilly made a three-way match with our St. Patrick's Day Alphabet Match-Up cards - uppercase, lowercase and beginning sound picture, then he wrote the "S" in the gel!

Next up, Spring Life Cycles - are you raising any critters in your classroom this year? Check out this post for info on my favorite life cycle products for the classroom - including FREE Life Cycle crowns! 

Valentines Day Mini Eraser Activities You'll Fall For!

Have you see the adorable mini erasers at Target right now? I love the unicorns and pizzas! I've been hard at work making some activities to match, which was a struggle since we just moved to Okinawa, Japan!
This is the view from the seawall in Okinawa - gorgeous!

My husband is in the Army, so we will be in Okinawa for the next three years! Don't worry though, I'll still be teaching - no idea where yet, but I know myself well enough to know I'll have to have my own classroom somehow! In the meantime, I'll be using my 4 year old Sullivan as my guinea pig for all my ideas lol!

Some of you have been asking about more kindness activities, so today I'm sharing my February Random Acts of Kindness Calendar! Lots of ideas for helping to teach kindness in this month of love! Download it for free by clicking the picture!


And here are the mini eraser activities - they're perfect for February, but really the unicorn and pizza could be used year round! I had so much fun with these - I think the part-part-whole activities and the CVC word builders are my favorites!



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