The end of the school year is always such a bittersweet time!  Teachers start to count the days until they are able to relax and recharge from an absolutely crazy a hectic school year.  However, not all of our students are looking forward to weeks without the comfort of coming to school daily.  

This year, I have been on morning arrival duty for my campus.  I spent many early mornings…in every kind of weather…watching my kids arrive at school.  Some of them get out of a car driven by their mother who packed them a lunch, kissed them good by, and told them to have a great day.  Then, there are the other kids.  The ones that get off the bus after getting themselves and their siblings ready for school without any help from a parent.  The ones who got out of a car with an adult screaming and fussing at them.  The ones who were dropped off by an adult under the influence of who knows what.  These kids are able to put a smile on their face and learn because they know their teachers love them.  For these students, the long summer months won’t be something to look forward to.  Being reminded each morning of the difference teachers make in the lives of their students, make me treasure the last few days with my precious children even more. 

Celebrating the End of the Year

A special awards day is the final celebration with my students and I try to make it as memorable as possible on a budget.  With a little help from Dollar Tree and some personalized awards, I am able to make a special day to be remembered.

End of the Year Student Gifts from Dollar Tree

I have created awards that can be personalized and matched to the each student.

End of the Year Student Awards ~ These awards are customizable for each student and come with a matching gift suggestion that can be purchased at Dollar Tree for only $1

I designed the awards so that I could match a gift from Dollar Tree to the award and present it along with the certificate to the child on Awards Day.

If you would like to try these awards in your classroom, I have made the fully customizable Perfect Attendance and Excellent Citizenship Awards available from FREE to use in your classroom.  You can download either of these awards by clicking on the image.

You can check out the complete set here.

End of the Year Student Awards ~ These awards are customizable for each student and come with a matching gift suggestion that can be purchased at Dollar Tree for only $1

Summer Reading Print and Go

As a reading specialist, I get to work with students from grades K-4 each day.  They have made such gains in reading this year that I want to do what I can to minimize the summer slide.  Over the last couple of weeks, my students took interest surveys from students in each grade level.  We researched new book and old favorites to find the best matches to their peers interest.  My students read summaries of each book, reviews from people who have read the book, and checked out the actual book.  Based on their findings, they helped me put together a suggested summer reading list.  This picture show a sampling of the books they selected.

I also created a fun Summer Reading Bingo to go along with the suggested Summer Reading List.  You can download both for FREE to use in your class by clicking on the image above.

Summer Reading Practice

I also wanted to share these great summer reading passages by ReadWorks that are available for free.  You will need to create an account to download the pack, but it is free to create an account.  This picture show all the articles and questions from students entering 3rd grade in the fall.  You can check out the other grade levels here.

Summer Reading for Rising 2nd Graders

Summer Reading for Rising 3rd Graders

Summer Reading for Rising 4th Graders

Summer Reading for Rising 5th Graders.

Looking for More Suggestions?

Teacher Bloggers from across the country are sharing other great tips for the End of the School Year.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

Do you teach a butterfly unit with your class?  It is one of my favorite topics to teach because my kids are always so excited to see first hand how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I have gathered some of my favorite butterfly lesson resources to share with you.


Read Aloud Books About Butterflies

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

Integrating reading with science is a great way to make instruction meaningful for students by providing connections to the real world.  I love picture books that help to introduce students to the world that they live in while exposing them to quality literature and boosting their love of reading.  I like to choose at least one related read aloud for each day of the unit.

I Wish I Were a Butterfly

This book is about a butterfly, but it is so much more.  A little cricket stops singing because a frog told him that he was ugly.  It takes a while but the other animals of the pond are able to convince the cricket to be proud of who he is.


Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly

Velma is a young girl living in the shadows of her older sisters.  She desperately wants to find something that will make her stand out and make her special.  It is easy for young readers to make connections with this book.  This book uses expressive language and beautiful pictures to share facts about butterflies.  

Adios Oscar!

This is another butterfly story with a great message.  Oscar, the caterpillar, is inspired by a beautiful monarch that migrates to Mexico.  He dreams of migrating to Mexico, but when he come out of his cocoon, he is a simple gray moth.  Oscar learns a great lesson about never giving up on your dreams.

Farfillina and Marcel

This book tells the story of Farfillina, a caterpillar, and Marcel, a gosling becoming best friends. Although major changes happen in both of their lives, they are able to keep their friendship alive.  I love to relate this to the friendships between my students.   


Hurry and the Monarch

This book tells the story of Hurry, an old tortoise, making friends with a beautiful monarch butterfly.  Hurry lives in Texas and the monarch is migrating to Mexico for the winter.  The monarch’s visit with the old tortoise is short which allow the reader to follow along on the journey to Mexico.  This book has beautiful pictures that show the life cycle of a butterfly.  The book also has a simple map that shows how far the monarch butterflies migrate each year.  

Butterfly Nonfiction Reading Passage

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

In addition to read alouds, I like to give my students as many opportunities as possible to interact with nonfiction text.  I love this type of passage because it gives the students a chance to use text evidence to prove their answers in a less intimidating format.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

During response to reading time, the students are able to chose from these two graphic organizers to complete independently.

You can grab this butterfly set for FREE to use in your classroom by clicking on the image above.

Butterfly Life Cycle in the Classroom


Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

 If there was a bucket list for elementary school….watching the butterfly life cycle would definitely be on it.  This has been a classroom favorite for many years.  I order my caterpillars from Insect Lore.  I am sure there are other places to get them, but I have not checked into it.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

It usually takes about 3 weeks for the butterfly to complete its life cycle.

Concrete Model of the Butterfly’s Life Cycle

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

You have probably seen this idea before but it is such a great way for students to build a concrete model of a butterfly’s life cycle.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

A lot of times the life cycle is shown on a paper plate to show its circular pattern.  I like to have my kids make a book with a page for each part of the life cycle so they can integrate more writing into the project.  

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

After we made a concrete model of the butterfly’s life cycle, my kids were able to create their own life cycle book.  One of the simplest apps that I have found for this is Story Creator.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

Students are able upload pictures they found on the internet to their books and add text. 

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

I also have my kids photograph their own work to add to the book.

Butterfly Life Cycle Video


This video is produced by Duncan Scott for the Chicago Nature Museum.  He uses time-lapse photography to travel through the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly.  I particularly like this video because there are actual close-up images that the kids love.  My class will watch this video over and over on the I-Pads….it’s that good!

Butterfly Fun

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

After reading about how butterflies are able to get nectar from flowers, my students were curious about the butterfly’s proboscis worked.  They were having a hard time visualizing what it would look like.  So, we set up a simple butterfly simulation station.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

I had a request from a teaching buddy to add a “generic” print and go award for Perfect Attendance.  So, in addition to the fully customizable version included in the bundle, here is a one-size-fits-all version that will work for both boys and girls.  You can download it here as a FREEBIE.

This award matches perfectly with the other editable and customizable awards in the End of the Year Awards with Matching Gift Bundle.

I chose the perfect award for each student this weekend….now for the fun part!  I can’t wait to start shopping for my little sweeties this week.

If you missed the Accelerated Reader Award FREEBIE, you can get it here.  This is a editable and fully customizable award.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

 


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I love reading through all of the 4th Grade Frolic’s Made It Monday Links because it is a sure way to get the creative juices flowing!  I finished this huge classroom “made-it” project just in time to join in on the fun!

 The end of the year awards day ceremony is one the most anticipated days of the year for a child….second only to field day maybe.  It is a time for the kids to put on their Sunday best and take pride in their accomplishments!

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This is not my picture (I found it on here on Pinterest) but this is very similar to how I set up my classroom for awards day.  The kids get the feeling of “walking the red carpet”.  The day before awards day I always show the kids pictures of their favorite stars on the red carpet so they get an idea of how special it is.

For several years, I have been giving personalized awards with a matching end of the year gift to each of my students.  Recently, I became familiar with Melonheadz kidlettes, I immediately knew my End of the Year Awards needed a makeover.  I am not sure where Melonheadz cuteness has been my whole life!

I love how I can choose the perfect kidlette to match the child receiving the award.

When preparing for awards day, I first choose the perfect award for each of my students.

Then, I have the luxury of choosing from 20 adorable Melonheadz kids so each award is personalized for its recipient. 

Finally, depending on which option best fits my needs at the time, I either customize the award in PowerPoint or print them out in color and fill in by hand.  

I just love the happiness of celebrating a year’s worth of accomplishments with my students.

In honor of teacher appreciation week, I want to share with you one of these adorable awards to use with your students.  Click on the image above to download the complete Accelerated Reader Award file as a FREEBIE to use with your class. 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Check out even more freebies at the Teacher Appreciation Week version of Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies.

The End of the Year Awards with Matching Gift Set will be on sale for 28% off along with the rest of my store for the TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale May 6th and 7th.

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