St. Patrick’s Day Word Search- Free Printable

Okay, I know Valentine’s Day hasn’t even happened yet. But I also know that teacher planning doesn’t happen in a day, and most teachers are looking forward at least a month in advance, if not longer!

So to all those teachers out there who are already thinking ahead to St. Patrick’s Day even though Valentine’s Day is still our main focus, here is a free printable resource for you! A fun, St. Patrick’s Day themed word search, with an answer key.

This word search is geared a little more towards 3rd grade and up, but younger grades can still be successful with help.

If you download it and use it in your classroom, let us know how it goes! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

And if you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day resource, check out our FREE word search printable.

Photo by RDNE Stock project:

A Free Valentine’s Day Printable

Valentine’s Day is coming up, which means class parties for all ages are coming up, too!

Does anyone else dread trying to plan an activity to do with your class on a sugar-high day? Or is it just me? Whether you’re a teacher, para, or class parent, here’s a fun, cute, FREE printable that you can use in your classroom or send home with students! It’s also a great addition to libraries and school offices for handouts.

The word search is on the easier side, so ideal for those younger to mid-grades. There is also a color version and black & white version for ease of printing.

Feel free to print out what you need and share this free resource with friends as well. Tell us below in the comments how it went with your students!

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah:

Classroom Christmas Party Games: Free Cakewalk Printable

There are a lot of teachers who have support from parents and volunteers to help with Christmas parties, and that is incredible! What an amazing resource to have in the classroom.

But for those teachers who are doing the majority of the party planning on their own, let me help you out with a FREE printable for an easy cakewalk game that you can host in your classroom for your Christmas party. Or, use it for the school’s Christmas party! Need it for a family Christmas party? It works for that, too!

A cakewalk is fairly simple to orchestrate, especially if you’re familiar with musical chairs. Tape down on the floor ~20 numbers. This amount can change based on what your needs are for the group you’re serving. Not every number needs to be filled, but each individual needs a number.

Start up some festive music and everyone starts walking in a circle. Decide beforehand if you’re starting clockwise or counter-clockwise. If the music suddenly switches, switch directions! Once the music has stopped, everyone stands on the number they landed on.

A number is drawn randomly and whoever is on this number receives the prize for the round. Traditionally the prize is a cake… hence the name a cakewalk. However, any prizes are acceptable! It’s also handy to have consolation prizes for those who participated but didn’t win, such as a sticker or a small piece of small candy.

Here is the download for the FREE cakewalk printable including numbers to tape to the ground and smaller numbers to cut out and draw for winners. Enjoy!

Christmas Reading Bingo Chart: FREE Downloadable PDF

Our reading bingo charts have become pretty popular with the reading crowd around our town! Each holiday and season I’m getting new requests for more. You can see our past reading bingos here:

Summer Reading Bingo

Fall Reading Bingo

As always, these are FREE to download. We love sharing this free resource for those who need or want it. These bingo charts have been great for readers who want a challenge and for readers who need some motivation or direction to get started.

On the bingo chart, there are several squares for reading books about different winter celebrations and holidays. If you don’t know where to find these books, look no further! We did the work for you last winter! Check out our winter holiday book lists:

The bingo charts are available in both color and black and white, for whatever your preference is. Download them here!

The Importance of Being Thankful- Ideas for the Classroom

Thanksgiving can be a tricky topic in school to learn about and celebrate, especially when we want to be respectful of those who may not celebrate the holiday.

At its very core, Thanksgiving is about being thankful, which is always a great topic and value to teach to all ages of children in schools. You don’t have to explicitly celebrate Thanksgiving in your classroom to celebrate and learn about being thankful.

We can start off by having a simple conversation about being thankful and what it means to us. We can talk about the different things we can be thankful for from everyday necessities like water, food, and shelter, to the bigger things like our gaming systems at home, bikes, etc. There are also things to be thankful for like friends, family, and teachers.

Ways we can incorporate thankfulness in the classroom-

A thankful tree art project- an empty tree trunk that eventually is filled with leaves that are written with what the students are thankful for.

A thankful turkey art project- similar to the thankful tree, but a more “Thanksgiving” approach if you’re wanting to head that way.

Write thank-you notes to teachers, janitors, administration, cafeteria workers, and more.

Take a few minutes of class each day to have the students tell everyone what they are thankful for.

Create thankful journals in class and write in them when possible.

Have students write what they are thankful for on a strip of paper and draw a few each day to read to the class.

Let the students highlight each other when they see the kindness their peers are showing.

When we are looking at the good, positive aspects of our lives, the good only gets better. That’s why promoting and talking about being thankful in our classrooms is only a net positive for everyone. It’s eye-opening for everyone to see what others value and are thankful for in their lives, and can remind us more about what we are thankful for in our lives.

Do you talk about being thankful with your students? What does this look like in your classroom?

Differentiated Spelling Lists: There’s a Reason for Them

My daughter brought home her first spelling list to practice this school year, you can read about how hard she worked for her spelling test in my post here. 

Recently, we had quite the opposite experience with her. After a few weeks of great scores on spelling tests, she started becoming incredibly confident in her work, which really was great! Until that translated to being too confident. I think you already know where this is going, don’t you? 

We had a week where homework was a fight. I tried to find a good balance of prompting and encouraging, but not pushing too hard either and causing more pushback from the constant nagging. It’s a delicate balance! By the time the spelling test came around, she hadn’t practiced the words at all. They also do a reading test, where they read a passage and answer questions about the passage… This also was never practiced during the week prior to the test. I figured there were probably going to be some great natural consequences for her when she realized how much harder the tests would be when she didn’t spend the time practicing. 

We had dealt with some academic-related anxiety with her earlier in the school year, so knowing this, I had a conversation with her before the school day to prep her for the pending spelling test that I was anticipating ending in tears. We talked about trying our best and how sometimes when we don’t practice, the test can be a lot harder for us. When we do practice, it’s much easier because we know what to expect. She took it all in and seemed like she understood what I was saying. 

That afternoon she came home with a spelling test in her hand. Her final score? 100%. She completely aced it! I couldn’t believe it. Everything I was trying to do had backfired completely. What she had just learned was “I can get a good score even when I don’t put in the time and effort.” 

This is why differentiated spelling lists are so important. Because odds are, there was also a child in that class who despite the work, time, and effort put in, still did poorly. This doesn’t mean one child is better or worse than another,  it means that the needs and levels are different and therefore should be differentiated. 

Reading groups are differentiated for the most part in our school, why can’t we include spelling words and tests in that as well? 

What are our students actually learning if they are either trying too hard or not trying hard enough on their spelling tests each week? 

Many of us have specific guidelines and curriculums we must follow as a teacher, but how can we still use these, but work around them in creating and using differentiated spelling lists? 

Other posts on spelling words that may be helpful: 

A Place For Jokes in the Classroom

When I was in sixth grade I had a teacher who would take the time every single day to read the Joke of the Day in the newspaper. Every day, without fail. 

We all looked forward to hearing the joke of the day and sometimes we would have a fun discussion about the joke, too. 

It was the very first thing we did in his classroom each day and it set the tone for the remainder of the school day. 

Laughing and joking immediately puts your mind at ease, it tells your body, “I am safe here, this place is okay.” This is why some people like to joke around when they are in dangerous or stressful situations, they are trying to trick their bodies into thinking they are safe and okay. 

School can feel stressful and scary for many students, but starting the school year, and even just your day, in a setting where joking and laughing and great discussions are held tells the mind, “This is somewhere we like to be. This is safe.”

If you’re not already doing something similar to Joke of the Day or adding humor into your classrooms or schools, I would strongly suggest finding a way to implement it. 

It’s a simple, easy way to tell your students that they are welcome, safe, needed, and happy in their environment. 

Do you do a joke of the day in your classroom? 

Photo by Katerina Holmes: