St. Patrick’s Day Number & Counting Activities

I cannot express how much my students and I love Around the Room activities in Pre-K! Whether it is Count the Room, Write the Room, Find the Number / Letter, etc., I will usually include one variation a week in my planning. Though the initial purpose of these activities is to get students up and moving during work time, there are SO many different ways to use the cards and just as many ways to differentiate for all learners! Here is a little run down of my St. Patrick’s Day Count the Room resource on Teachers Pay Teachers and all the different ways you can use it.

(this post includes affiliate links)

What’s Included?

I made the St. Patrick’s Day resource to be multifunctional AND easy to prep. Just spend a few minutes cutting and laminating some pages and you are good to go year after year! Pages in the pack include:

  • Number cards 1-10
  • Number cards 11-20
  • Counting cards 1-10
  • Counting cards 11-20
  • Recording sheets (4 variations with B&W and color versions)


The contents of the resource seem very basic but you can use them for SO MANY different activities! Need some ideas? Below are the variations that I had in mind when creating it.

1. Count the Room: I typically use these activities as independent centers but this year have incorporated it as a small group activity and it is still so fun! The original concept: hang up the cards throughout the classroom. Give students a recording sheet on a clipboard and have them find the cards, count the pictures or identify the number, and write / color the correct number in the corresponding box. If using the counting cards, I suggest taping a number line to the back of the clipboard for students that are still learning how to identify numbers — success with using this problem solving strategy comes with a lot of pre-teaching and scaffolding, but it is SO worth it in the end when they can use it independently!

2. Number / Counting Practice: Over the past few years, I have started introducing the cards as in whole group or small group activity and then the following week, switch it to Around the Room or putting the activity at a table during independent centers. It is a super simple activity! Just pick a card, read or count it, and then write or color the corresponding number on the recording sheet. You can kick it up a notch by strategically mixing picture and number cards – just be sure to only pick one for each image on the recording sheet!

3. Number + Counting Match: This is fun for independent centers! Spread the number cards on a table and place the picture cards in a pile. Students pick a picture card, count the images, and then find the correct number card to match it. As a fun whole group activity, you can give half of the students a number card and half the students the matching picture cards and take turns trying to find the matches! I probably wouldn’t use the recording sheet for this activity, but it can definitely be incorporated!

4. Counting Practice: My students LOVE doing counting practice activities to work on their counting strategies and this is such an easy to set up independent center, so its a huge win-win! All you need is a set of cards and small items to count (mini erasers, gems, or themed counters, etc). Students pick a card and count out that many items. Again, I wouldn’t necessarily use a recording sheet for this activity but it could be included!

5. Sensory Bin: Fill a bin with any filler (my faves are painted chickpeas, dyed rice, or pompoms) and decorations you want and “hide” a set of cards in it all. You can leave it at that and have a more open ended activity where students can explore the bin with the cards in it or you can add more structure. For structure, provide recording sheets on clipboards and have students pick a card and write / color the corresponding number.

My number one favorite thing? You can cycle through a couple activities (or all of them!) over time to get the most of it!


In order for activities to be successful, they have to work for your students. I have learned the hard way that just planning an activity ‘as is’ leads to frustration from children AND adults. That is why I include multiple sets of cards so that you can mix and match so that each student is working skills for THEM. In this resources specifically, the cards for numbers 1-10 have a dark green border and numbers 11-20 have a light green border. This is super helpful if they are being used as a Count the Room activity – students just find their color cards (the color version of the recording sheet are also color coded). You can choose which set of cards to use if you want students to practice identifying numbers or counting! There are also variations with the recording sheets: one for writing numbers and one for identifying and coloring the correct number. These small details and differentiation options make such a difference in my classroom!

Multifunctional – ✓

Easy to Prep – ✓

Everything a teacher could ask for!

Happy teaching,


C is for Calendar Time

Two years ago, I did some research and crowdsourced information on Instagram about calendar / meeting time in Pre-K — I even wrote a blog post about it with the information that I had collected. It had become monotonous in my classroom and I was so bored of it, which in turn made my students completely over it. I know, and knew then, the benefits of having calendar time in a classroom: tracking, counting, number recognition, days of the week, months of the year, etc. but I sided with the fact that time being such an abstract concept for my four year olds. It turns out, I was bored how HOW I was implementing calendar time in my classroom and not calendar time itself. It just wasn’t meaningful anymore, for any of us.

I did end up stopping calendar time in my classroom for the last few weeks of school that year. It felt weird. Once I started looking into if calendar time was developmentally appropriate for young children (spoiler alert: it is, in the right way) and hearing from others about how implement it in their classrooms, I knew that just needed to try something new and shift my teaching a bit. I read an amazing article from the Nation Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC, a source I think is highly credible!) called “Calendar Time for Young Children – Good Intentions Gone Awry” and was inspired to bring it back.

With all this information, I spent time last summer switching from a traditional calendar to a linear calendar for my classroom. Using two rows of laminated sentence strips stuck with magnets to my whiteboard, I added velcro dots to my existing calendar pieces and stuck them to the strips. I added magnets with a hot glue gun for some pieces that would move more frequently. I found a linear calendar set on TPT that I downloaded and used for the home / school day cards. I had to make a few of my own pieces — birthdays, special days, etc — but it worked really well! There were two big struggles for me though: the sentence strips needed a LOT of magnets to hold taut with all of the pieces on, and it wasn’t easy to pull the pieces off when it was time to change the calendar at the start of the month. Once the cards started ripping and the sentence strips were pulled off of the magnets, I knew I had to rethink my linear calendar. Sooo, naturally as I do with many things in my classroom, I made my own!

Making my own, I was able to add a VERY important piece that I didn’t have with the set I had bought: a card for a half day, when I would have my morning students but not my afternoon students. I also knew that I wanted the letters / words to be BIG and the overall theme of the calendar to be bright (to visually pop with the removable wallpaper and whiteboard that it would be on). I also decided to use StikkiClips for the calendar pieces. They stick really well (much better than I was anticipating!) and it will be SO MUCH easier to pull the cards off of them to reset the calendar! Last year, I used mini clothespins to clip birthday cards to the dates, and this is how I will show holidays with this new setup.

School hasn’t started yet, but I am so excited about calendar time this year! Here is a full view of our calendar area, including cards and headers for the month, year, weather, and season — all things we go over during calendar time!

This calendar set, with the home / school / half day cards, holidays, numbers, headers, and MORE is in my Teachers Pay Teachers store — click the photo below to see more details about it!

I am also working to make month-specific sets to go along with this. These will have more holiday options that might not be in the original set and have multiple pattern cards for the days (with matching month cards). Of course, I love to share freebies of things, so I’ve made a mini September set for you! This includes a special set of number cards that isn’t included in the full September pack!

Happy teaching!

Summer P.D. with CCEI

Hey teacher friends!

In my last blog post, I shared a giant list of things I plan to do this summer for Professional Development, and I hinted at another that I would share later. TA-DA, this is it! One of my BIGGEST goals each year in my classroom is communication with parents. When I first started teaching, I was terrified of talking with parents — it can be so intimidating! My confidence has grown since then and, even though now I’m less scared to talk to parents, I am always thinking about how I can do more when it comes to positive communication between home and school. Thankfully, I was able to take a course through ChildCare Education Institute that focused precisely on that! Now, before I dive into my experience and details of the course (and a Freebie for you!), I want to share WHY I keep coming back to ChildCare Education Institute for professional development.

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What is CCEI? 

ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, online training courses and programs, applicable to those who work in an array of child care settings, including center-based care, Head Start, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, after school environments and more. Over 150 English and Spanish training courses are available to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard℠ training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)

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Why I Choose CCEI for Professional Development?

I love CCEI for so many reasons! CCEI has a massive catalog of courses to fit any goal that you may have as an educator or inspire you to dive deeper into a topic that you may not have even thought about. Also, being able to complete courses in the comfort of your own home and on your own time is more relevant now than ever before! The courses themselves are easy to navigate, full of useful (and realistic) information/suggestions for teachers, and they provide you with opportunities throughout to reflect on your own experience and growth as an educator. If that doesn’t convince you that CCEI is a great resource for professional development, then check out these stats:

– With CCEI, you can earn IACET CEU credits from the comfort of your couch 24/7/365

– CCEI courses are all web-based and are accessible anytime on any device

– 99 percent of students say they would recommend CCEI to others

– Nearly 6,000,000 online course hours have been completed by CCEI students

– CCEI has graduated over 18,000 early childhood professionals from CDA and other certificate programs

– 30 hours of new content are added each year

– New users are eligible for a free trial course that changes each month

– IACET CEUs can be earned at no additional cost


To see all of the amazing things that CCEI has to offer, click the link below!

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My Experience

I completed the course CCEI520: Parent Communication: Building Partners in the Educational Process. This course had a few really important refreshers about verbal and nonverbal communication, including listening skills and speaking skills – I feel like it is easy to forget how impactful something as simple as tone or use of space can be when facilitating conversations with parents! It also touched on how to take on challenging conversations, identifying barriers in communication, and gave suggestions on how to build strong relationships with parents through events and notes home. One of my BIGGEST takeaways from CCEI520 was how important notes home can be! Each year, I feel like I am mainly communicating with parents when something is wrong or if I have concerns, but there are so many opportunities to send positive information home, too. The course pointed out that building those positive relationships with parents is huge in developing a student’s self esteem! I strive to make sending “good new” notes home a daily occurrence, but in the hustle and bustle of a school day, sometimes it is easy to skip. In order to help me meet my goal and implement what I have learned through CCEI520, I made some “Super Star Notes” that I can use to send some positive information home for students — I just have to print a bunch of copies, cut them in half, and spread throughout my classroom so that I can have easy access throughout the day! You can snag your own copy of these notes by clicking the box below.

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Even though it is mid-July and I still have a while before school starts (and who knows what it will look like when we do!), I am so excited to be setting myself up to meet my goals for the new school year! I am so excited to dive into more professional development, learn A LOT, and reflect on my own teaching. If you’re looking for your own PD opportunities, check out my last blog post and be sure to look into ChildCare Education Institute

Happy learning!





[This post was made possible through a paid partnership with ChildCare Education Institute. Though I was compensated for my time, all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.]

S U M M E R!

Happy July, teacher friends!

My goodness, what a wild ride it has been since my last post – I was definitely a bit naive to think that two weeks would be the maximum amount of days that our school would close and that we’d be back to business as usual by April. HA! Distance learning was incredibly challenging: I felt that expectations kept changing and then there was the added stress of the whole global pandemic thing. Now that the school year is FINALLY over, I am working hard on my plan to rest and reset.

Like I do every summer, I am choosing to do some Professional Development (on my own, it isn’t a mandatory expectation from my school!). Unlike most summers, I am not going to be away traveling or at a summer program for a majority of it, so I am going to take that extra time to really focus on my teaching and classroom. Here is what I have planned, just in case you are looking for some things as well!


Conferences / Webinars

  • Get Your Teach On Virtual Conference (K-1)
  • NAEYC Virtual Institute
  • Educators 2 Educators Summer Teacher Reboot
  • Teach Your Heart Out Conference
  • Online professional development course (I am so excited to share more about it later this month!)

tbh, I would never physically attend GYTO or TYHO because of the cost, timing, and my personal feelings about these types of conferences, so I am definitely taking advantage of the FREE GYTO experience and the cheaper TYHO cost (which I’ll get reimbursed for). The NAEYC Virtual Institute is free  — I feel like it will definitely relate more to Pre-K than the others — as well as the e2e Conference.


New reads:

  • Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky A. Bailey
  • Yardsticks by Chip Wood
  • Inside Pre-K Classrooms by Judith A. Schickedanz and Catherine Merchant

I realistically know that I won’t actually be able to read all three of these books, but I have them and will decide which one or two to focus on when I get to them! I also have a few anti-racist and inclusive classroom books that I have on my wishlist that will be my top priority. 

Re-Read / Skim:

  • The Importance of Being Little by Erika Christakis
  • The Most Important Year by Suzanne Buffard
  • The First Six Weeks of School

I highly recommend all of these for Pre-K teachers! I have read these books and made notes / highlights in them, but I want to revisit them as a refresher and add notes to my PD notebook!

To keep track of all the Professional Development that I do on my own, I made a log — this will keep track of what I did (conference, course, or reading), how many hours it was, and note if there was a certificate. At the end of the year, I’ll submit this to my school’s Recertification Committee so that the hours count towards renewing my teaching certificate. You can grab the log for free by clicking the image below — don’t worry, there is no signing up for a newsletter required. 🙂

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This is a lot, bu I fear that I might get bored by being home more this summer while physically distancing — hopefully having so many amazing resources to dive into will keep me busy! If there is anything that you have signed up for or books that you’re also reading, reach out on Instagram – I’d love to chat about it!

Happy resting,









Pre-K Take Home Work

Hey teachers,

My school, like many of yours probably, is talking about the potential of shutting down in the wake of Covid 19. In the event that my school is to close for precautionary measures, our teachers need to have 10 days of take-home work ready for students. This is a bit stressful for all teachers, but it left me SO nervous about prepping materials! I finally came up with a plan and wanted to share it with you — as well as the materials that I have prepped!

First, I had to think of how our day was scheduled so that I could get the right amount of work to send home. Our day is filled with many small moments of learning, but I always plan for one whole group lesson and two small group activities each day. That makes it pretty easy — three activities for each day, 30 total to send home! Of course, literacy would include letters and sounds, and math would include numbers and counting. To make them engaging, I decided to create puzzles for each topic to count for the “whole group” lesson. Why puzzles? It is the most play-like activity that I could mass produce, is something that we often do in centers anyway, is low prep for parents, and can easily be differentiated at home.

Now for small group work, which is more focused. Last week, I printed Planning Playtime’s March Preschool Worksheets to fill in small group gaps while we complete our mid-year assessments. I am so glad I have this handy, because I was able to pull some pages from the pack that would work for my take home plans! Also, Michaela from Especially Education is super incredible and listed her Spring Cut and Paste pack as a Freebie on TPT to help out teachers that are going through this planning process too — I definitely will include some of those pages too!

To keep everything straight, I am making a little calendar with “assignments” (also so parents can sign off that they completed work that day) and numbered these worksheet pages 1-10 to correspond with a day to complete. Assigning work for each day is mostly for my planning — I want to ensure that the number of literacy and math activities are balanced — but also because I know that some parents may try to push their children to sit and do too much work at once if it is just in a packet. I know they mean well, but I don’t expect that in my classroom and want to ensure that the “workload” reflects our day as much as possible.

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Other things that I will send home are an alphabet chart, crayons, white board markers / erasers, a laminated paper for writing and name practice, and a Creative Clips coloring book by Krista Wallden (her Transportation book, since that is our current unit!).  I made a note to parents asking them to continue exploration of concepts through conversations and games (I Spy with colors or letter sounds or shapes, Simon Says with opposites, etc), and encouraged them to read with their child. Here’s hoping that in the unfortunate event that we close down, our students will continue to have fun learning at home!

If you’re in the same boat as me, you can grab aFREE copy of my number and letter puzzles here! They are very basic but will work in a pinch!

Happy hand scrubbing,


All About Meals & Snack


Hey, teacher friends!

You know when you think that you have come up with a great solution to a problem but hesitate to do anything about it? I get that. I have that feeling so many times throughout the school year. You have probably noticed on Instagram and in past blog posts that when this type of dilemma comes up, I try to crowd source more information! For example, last year I needed to revamp my entire mindset and practice around meeting time in Pre-K. I love this online community of educators because, being a Pre-K teacher, I never get to interact throughout the day with grade level teachers. If I have an idea or struggle with something, I know I can take to Instagram stories to get some feedback from other early childhood educators.

Back to my latest struggle: an overwhelming feeling of not having enough time to get everything done this year. Sticking to a packed curriculum, trying to provide enough time to play, rushing through meals so we can spend more time in the classroom, and then balancing small groups, whole group lessons, AND centers? It is too much to do in just three hours! Thankfully, throughout this school year, I’ve been able to remedy some of those struggles, but meal times and snack prove to be the W O R S T. Just a little background: in our Pre-K program, I have two sessions – morning and afternoon. Each is three hours long, and each has a meal time (breakfast in the AM, lunch in the PM). I also have always had a snack time built in to our daily schedule, right at the end of the day.

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Gearing Up for Spring Cleaning with CCEI

Happy February! 

It has been a WILD time in Pre-K lately (though, tbh I think I could say that every month) and I am finding it so hard to keep up with it all: the 100th Day of School, Valentine’s Day, mid-year assessments, and the constant threat of inside recess. I am beyond ready for February break — I definitely need to rest and reset my tired teacher brain! Even though I absolutely love my littles and being in the classroom with them, the breaks allow me time to practice some intense self care that lets me be my best teaching self. Kind of like a little ‘spring cleaning’ for the teaching soul!

Though I am lounging and sleeping for 70% of my break, I do take the time to get some professional development and classroom planning done. The only difference with doing these two things during a break as opposed to during school is that they are on MY time (and are usually completed in my pajamas). During my February break, I am so excited to rethink our morning meetings in Pre-K, plan our Transportation unit, and check out ChildCare Education Institute’s catalogue of professional development courses.’


What is CCEI? ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, online training courses and programs, applicable to those who work in an array of child care settings, including center-based care, Head Start, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, after school environments and more. Over 150 English and Spanish training courses are available to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard℠ training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)

CCEI is my go-to for professional development. Their catalog of courses is HUGE and covers a wide range of topics — basically anything a teacher could want and THEN some! Being able to complete courses on my own time is incredible, because I feel like my schedule after school  is always changing from day to day. I don’t have to worry about being at a certain place at a certain time! The courses themselves are easy to navigate and include high quality content that give practical advice –they get what it is like in a classroom of kids and the suggestions reflect the ‘realness’ of teaching!

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 If you’re like me and like to throw some cozy professional development into your “teacher soul spring cleaning” routine, I have found some CCEI courses that can hugely benefit you in the classroom!

CCEI954: Building a Team Environment 

This course presents guidance and strategies for increasing employee satisfaction and reducing turnover through strong teamwork and an appropriate organizational climate. Participants will learn about the benefits of teamwork and the importance of empowering their employees.

ADM109: Developing Leadership in Early Care and Education

This course examines what it means to be a successful leader in the field of early care and education (ECE) which includes after school or out-of-school-time care. While there are certain universal qualities to any good leader, regardless of profession, leaders in the ECE industry face some unique challenges and responsibilities that are not covered in typical corporate leadership books and seminars.

CCEI770: Making Time! Time Management Skills for Administrators

This course outlines effective time management skills for program administrators or directors. Participants will learn how to prioritize deadlines, set goals, and use time more effectively. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to clearly state their job purpose, list three types of formal and informal planning and create strategies for using time more efficiently.

NFS101: Nutrition and Food Service in Early Learning Environments

This course is designed to provide information to assist food service staff, caregivers and members of program leadership develop positive, healthy nutritional programs for young children. Participants will also gain a greater understanding of the requirements of the USDA Food Program and meal planning in an early childhood education setting.

ADM110: Technology and Social Media Policy in the Early Care and Education Environment

This course examines the impact of digital technologies, the Internet, and social media on the early care and education environment and offers recommended strategies and best practices for using various technological tools. Program policies are a central focus of the comprehensive course, with emphasis on crafting policies that best promote effective, high-quality care.

ADM100: The Eco-Friendly Child Care Center, Part 1: Green Lifestyle and Environmental Health

The goal of this course is to provide an overview of what constitutes an eco-friendly child care environment, with a major focus on the hazards of environmental exposure and recommended practices for maintaining a safe, healthy environment for young children.

ADM101: The Eco-Friendly Child Care Center, Part 2: Environmental Education and Sustainability

This course offers strategies for developing and implementing a sustainability plan at a child care center, including activities for promoting environmental awareness in young children and increasing family involvement.

PROF104: Reflective Practices in Early Childhood Education

This course provides an examination of what it means to reflect on daily teaching practices and why it is an important practice. The course offers several models of reflection and reflective thinking strategies to help ECE professionals establish a reflective practice. Participants will also discover ways to plan for reflection when working with colleagues, children, and families.


Easy to access 🗸

Wide variety of options 🗸

Practical information 🗸

Professional development certificates printed on demand 🗸

Take it from me, ChildCare Education Institute is the way professional development should be! If you’re not totally convinced, here are the hard facts:

  • 99 percent of students say they would recommend CCEI to others
  • Over 5 million online course hours completed
  • CCEI has graduated over 15,000 early childhood professionals from CDA and other certificate programs
  • Web-based coursework, available 24/7/365
  • 30 hours of new content added each year
  • IACET CEUs awarded for completed coursework at no additional cost

So, if you have a February break coming up or are thinking ahead to Spring Break in March or April, let ChildCare Education Institute help you tackle your teacher spring cleaning to-do list!


Happy resetting,


[This post was made possible through a paid partnership with ChildCare Education Institute. Though I was compensated for my time, all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.]

O is for Organizing


This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

One thing that I have learned in my years of teaching is that you have to adapt your ways when needed. Sometimes you have to have flexibility with your coworkers or your teaching techniques, or even your lesson plans. One thing that has been ever-changing in my classroom is how I store center activities, read alouds, and lesson materials that follow our curriculum. I have tried different ways of storing these things and, even though it would work for me for a little while, the natural accumulation of more and more materials each year called for a change in my storage strategy.

For clarification, I just want you to know that when I say materials or center activities that I reference in this post, I mean printed materials and things that I have prepped from Teachers Pay Teachers. Games, manipulatives, and other physical materials are usually stored in my classroom closets. Storing those items has also been a work in progress over the years — I’ll be posting about that next time!

My two years of teaching, I would store materials for each letter in Iris Project Cases. They work very well and fit in my closet perfectly. They were pricey (up to $6 per case), but I bought a couple at a time when I found them on sale on Amazon or at Target and it took two years to get enough bins for what I needed. Eventually I had one case for each letter, and then at least an additional 6 for special themes or events.

For my picture books, I was hesitant to mix my own personal books in with the ones that I inherited with the classroom. My thought process was that if I were to move schools after a couple of years, I wouldn’t want to have to go through all the books. I decided to keep them in a separate spot, but because the shelving situation in my classroom isn’t ideal for books (built ins were taken out before I was hired and they were replaced with metal storage shelves), I kept them in crates.


I decided that the classroom books would be best used the classroom library, since they weren’t the best quality and I wasn’t attached to them. I did need to sort them, though, and after trying to use paint stirring sticks from Lowes but not having it work like I needed, I bought the cardboard Ikea magazine boxes. I sorted the books by topic / curriculum themes, and loved how it worked out –I still use them to organize the books for our library!


So, this was all working for a little while. But then our school needed to purchase a new Pre-K curriculum, which brought with it sooooo many new things that needed storing!


I had bought rainbow plastic book bins but never had a great use for them. I eventually realized that I could get 8 (one for each curriculum unit) and sort the materials from the Iris boxes to the bins as I taught. I quickly realized that I would need double the amount so that I could have a separate bin for the unit books, too. After a little shopping spree and a year of slow sorting, I ended up with shelves fulled of color coded organized goodness!


So, flash forward to last spring when I was in year two of teaching a new curriculum and merging materials in from the past one. The gorgeous rainbow bins were overflowing! I need MORE SPACE to store all this stuff, but I didn’t physically have any open spots in my classroom to house it all. After a loooong brainstorm, I decided that I could put my collection of books in the book bins and relocate the curriculum materials to the crates using hanging files. I gave it a test, and it was PERFECT! I added Astrobrights cardstock to label the files, color coded by week of course, and it was more than enough space to hold a whole unit’s worth of materials AND books. Now I am slowly reorganizing each unit as I get to them. This one looks a little messy filled, but I had only sorted by week and didn’t organize the materials for weeks 2-4 (I typically put each activity in a Ziplock gallon sized bag, but am excited to try plastic zipper envelopes soon!)

Ta-da! I keep the crates on the wire shelves until I need a unit. Then that crate lives next to my teacher table for easy access, and I can just pull one week’s worth of materials out at a time when I’m planning, rather than digging through an overflowing book bin.

Like I said, each of these tactics did work for me at some point, but I needed to change things as my collection of materials grew. If you’re struggling to find a way to keep everything in order, don’t give up! Sometimes just swapping the contents of bins you already have will make a huge difference!

Happy organizing!


T is for Thanksgiving

[this post contains affiliate links]

What do you do when you have a two-day week and in between units? Phone it in.  Plan some fun, festive review activities and have FUN! I am taking this opportunity to finish up small group activities, read the Family books that we haven’t gotten to yet, and make some really cute Thanksgiving crafts! Here is a short round up that includes my two FAVORITE Thanksgiving activities from TPT, links to my favorite books in our classroom library, and a FREEBIE activity that I will use as review for my littles!


We traditionally have a two day week the week of Thanksgiving, so I have grown used to filling those days with crafty activities. Two things we always do are a directed draw and turkey hats!

I love directed draws in Pre-K — I never think my students can do them, but I am always pleasantly  surprised with how good they come out! The step by step directions are a great way to review lines / curves / shapes with this age group, and it helps them practice their fine motor skills! My go-to for directed draws is The Happy Teacher’s Palette. She has so many great drawings, and you can find her Directed Drawing Turkey here. The steps are clear, easy to follow, and perfect for the Pre-K age group. My tip for directed drawings are to use permanent markers, card stock, and clipboards to draw as a whole class and then let students paint with Kwik Stix or tempera paint!

Another must-do for my class is a turkey hat! I always use Teacher Laura’s Turkey Headband Freebie. It takes a lot of prep, but it is SO worth it! It isn’t too detailed, so littles can easily put it together (mostly) independently. I have also learned that they turn out best when you use sentence strips and AstroBrights paper!


When I finally pulled the Thanksgiving books out for our classroom library, I noticed how dated they were and that they weren’t age appropriate for Pre-K. I also only had five Thanksgiving books, so I knew that I needed to put my Scholastic Bonus Points to use filling our shelves! You can see some of the books that I bought in my Amazon store — all in the ‘Thanksgiving’ list! My absolute favorite is Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson. We read it and then each child fills out a place mat with a picture of what they are thankful for. I laminate it and send it home for the holiday!


This post is short and sweet — hopefully like the week! If you are in the same boat as me, I hope these books and resources above help you out! As I mentioned, I am doing some review activities with my students since we will be between units and I wanted to share my letter matching activity with you! My students will match the letters that are on the feathers with the correct turkey. It is and easy, independent center that will keep them engaged while we work in small groups! Because it is a review activity, it only includes the letters that we have focused on so far: A, C, I, M, N, P, S, and T. You can grab your free copy of it here!

Happy Thanksgiving!





Holidays Around the World 2019

Note: this post contains affiliate links

It’s November. I am sure that many of you are gearing up for Thanksgiving, but I’m thinking even FURTHER ahead to prepare for December and all the holidays that come with it! Last year, I went posted week by week for the entire month of December, showcasing all the holidays that we celebrated and what activities we did for each one. Didn’t catch them the first time around? You can read about the Why & How here, Week 1 here, Week 2 here, and Week 3 here.

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