All Posts By

Chad Boender

Parent Volunteer Cherry Man Celebration

Parent volunteers are so important in the classroom! Without parent volunteers, my centers would not run smoothly and efficiently. They are seriously the cherry on top, and I will be forever indebted to them for all their help! Today I am excited to be partnering with CherryMan and the Laura Kelly Design Team to bring you three recipes to show your parent volunteers how much you appreciate them! 

Now you might be thinking… A male kindergarten teacher that can cook/bake!? Well, not quite. I’ve partnered with my sister-in-law (Julie) from Country Fresh Cooking to bring you these delicious recipes that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! Julie is an amazing chef and a Spanish teacher, as well. Here is what we will be making today:

Click on the links above to download a FREE printable PDF of each recipe! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end and check out all the other great recipes made with CherryMan products. Let’s get started!

Basil Infused
Cherry Limeade

What’s better on a hot summer day than a refreshing sip of basil infused cherry limeade?

Cherry Limeade

2-liter bottle of lemon-lime soda
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
One 10-ounce jar of CherryMan maraschino cherries, with juice
Thin lime wheels for garnish

For Basil Infused
Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 basil leaves

Instructions

1. Start with the
simple syrup by combining 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 2 basil leaves in a medium-size pot.  Give the basil leaves a slap
before adding them in (sounds weird, but totally works to maximize the basil
infusion, so give it a couple slaps). 
Over medium heat, bring to a simmer just until sugar is dissolved.   Remove from heat, discard basil, and allow to
cool to room temperature.

2. In a pitcher,
combine the lemon-lime soda, fresh lime juice, CherryMan maraschino cherries with juice,
lime wheels and simple syrup.  Stir
gently and chill for 30 minutes before serving.
3. Add red sugar sprinkles to the rim of your glass milk bottle. Simply spread lime juice around the rim and dip into a bowl of red sugar sprinkles. Add lime wheels and CherryMan maraschino cherries (with stems) for garnish. 

Cherry Chocolate Cake Pops

Who doesn’t love chocolate? These cherry chocolate cake pops are sure to be a decadent delight at any event!

Cake Batter

1 box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix
1 ¼ cups of hot water
3 eggs
1/3 cup of butter
1 tbsp baking cocoa

Cake pop “glue”

1 jar of CherryMan Maraschino Cherries and juice
1 tbsp of cornstarch
1 tbsp of water
1 cup of Nutella

Cake Pop Assembly

2 packages Candy Melts – white
and chocolate
24 white cake pop sticks
sprinkles of your choice

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to
350°. Open the boxed
chocolate cake mix and dump it in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
2. In a medium-size pot over low heat, melt the butter.  Then whisk in the baking cocoa and the hot
water. Whisk over medium-low heat for
20 seconds.
3. With the mixer on low, add the butter and the cocoa-water
mix into the dry cake, mix until just
combined (to cool it down a bit). Then, gently whisk in 3 eggs, ONE at a time.
3.  Divide cake batter
between 2 greased 9” cake pans lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
Cool to room temperature or cool in the refrigerator overnight.
4.
Pulse one jar of cherries (with juice) in a food processor to chop the cherries.  Do NOT pulverize them. 
5.  Put the cherry mixture in a medium sauce pan
over medium-low heat.  In a separate
bowl, mix the cornstarch and water and stir vigorously until the cornstarch is
dissolved.  Add to the cherry
mixture.  Stir occasionally and allow to
thicken; approximately 5 minutes.  Cool
completely.  This can be stored in a mason jar
overnight in the refrigerator.

Forming the
Cake Balls

1.  Crumble cooled cake into a
large mixing bowl. 
2.  To the crumbled cake, add
the cherry mixture and the Nutella.  Work
cake with a large wooden spoon to combine cake and cherry-Nutella mixture.
3.  Next, using a 2” cookie
scoop, scoop out a small amount of cherry cake mixture and roll into a
ball.  Place on a wax paper lined baking
sheet.  Continue making little balls
until all of the cake is used up. 
Freeze for an hour or overnight.

Cake Pop
Assembly

1.  Over a double boiler, melt
one package of the candy melts.  Stir
frequently with a whisk until smooth.
2. Working in batches of 3 or 4, remove frozen cake balls from
freezer.  Dip one end of the stick into
the candy melt (just a tiny bit), insert into the flat side of the cake
pop.  Replace and repeat with remaining 2
or 3 cake pops.
3.  Next, dip the whole cake pop
in the candy melt using a spoon to help coat the whole cake pop.  Tap cake pop gently on the side of the bowl
to remove excess candy melt coating.  Add
desired sprinkles immediately.  Place
cake pop in a cake pop stand or a styrofoam
block
to dry. 
4. Repeat with remaining cake balls, working in small
batches.  Leave the remaining cake balls in the freezer so that they don’t get too soft while they are waiting for their
turn.  You can use a variety of Candy Melt
colors if desired.

Makes approximately
30 cake pops.

Check out the inside of that cake pop! Delicious! Is your mouth watering yet?

When you are finished making your delicious cake pops, place them into a small pail with crinkle cut paper fill.
Add that special touch to your cake pop bouquet by adding one of Laura Kelly’s personalized stamps by Expressionery onto a tag.

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Cupcake Batter

1 box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix
1 ¼ cups of hot water
3 eggs
1/3 cup of butter,
melted
1 tbsp baking cocoa

Cherry Cupcake
Filling

1 jar of CherryMan Maraschino Cherries
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp of water

Butter Cream Frosting

3 cups of powdered sugar
½ stick of butter, softened
2 or 3 tbsp of heavy whipping cream.
1.  Start by making
the batter for the cupcakes.  In the bowl
of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, dump in the chocolate cake mix.
2.  Place the butter
in a medium sauce pan and melt over medium-low heat.  Add the hot water and baking cocoa and whisk
for 30 seconds or so. 
3.  With the mixer on
low, slowly add the hot mixture to the cake mix.  Give a couple quick pulses and shut off.  With the mixer back on low, add the 3 eggs,
one at a time until just combined.
4.  Use an ice cream
scoop to portion out the cupcakes.  Bake
cupcakes at 350° for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes
out clean.

Cherry Filling

1.  Pulse jar of cherries (with juice) in a food
processor to chop the cherries. 
Do NOT pulverize them. 
2.  Put the cherry mixture in a medium sauce pan
over medium-low heat.  In a separate
bowl, mix the cornstarch and water and stir vigorously until the cornstarch is
dissolved.  Add to the cherry
mixture.  Stir occasionally and allow to
thicken; approximately 5 minutes.  Cool
completely.
3.
Use a cupcake corer or a knife to carve out a small portion in the center of
the cupcake.  Add 1 tbsp of the cherry
mixture to each cupcake.

Butter Cream Frosting

1.  Mix softened butter and powdered sugar in a
stand mixer with the whisk attachment. 
Add 2 or 3 tbsp of heavy whipping cream and beat until light and fluffy.  Use a piping bag or a knife to spread on the
frosting.

Makes approximately
18 cupcakes

Look at these delicious CherryMan Maraschino cherry-filled cupcakes! These are sure to be the hit of any party! Plus the buttercream frosting is delicious!

Setting the Table

Set the table for your parent volunteers with all things white and red to fit that perfect cherry theme! Oriental Trading has a number of items perfect for your event!

Supplies:


Giveaway!

You can enter to win a Cherry Man Prize Pack and a $100 Visa Gift Card! 

Check out these other CherryMan Recipes:

Chad Boender is an official member of the Laura Kelly Design Team. Products or compensation may have been received to support this post; however, the opinions, designs, images and concepts are my own.

Have a CherryMan Cherry-ific Day, 

Mother’s Day Flowers with Sculpey

Sometimes the best gift ideas for Mother’s Day are homemade. Sculpey clay is the perfect solution for those homemade crafts. I am excited to share with you some Mother’s Day craft ideas for kids & toddlers that Mom will cherish forever! Sculpey sponsored this post but the opinions and ideas are all my own!

The possibilities are endless with Sculpey clay products. My kindergarten students were excited to work with clay to create flowers for Mother’s Day. Each flower was so unique and my students had such a blast making them!

Sculpey sent me Sculpey Bake Shop Oven-Bake Clay Kits and tools for my students to work with. I love how soft this clay is for my students. It makes it easy for them to shape their clay into a magnificent masterpiece. This kit also comes with 12 vibrant colors for your students to choose from.

I had my students use Laura Kelly’s Traceable Doodle Patterns as inspiration for creating their flowers. These kits are perfect for embroidery, needle crafts, paper crafts, coloring, scrapbooking and little projects!

Laura Kelly’s whimsical doodles make crafting so much fun! Check out this flower that one of my students made with Laura’s doodle as inspiration. How fun!

This school year is certainly flying by! The weather is beginning to get warmer, the flowers are beginning to bloom and our kindergarteners are truly blooming too! What I love most about this craft project is how unique each flower is. This free printable flower tag by Laura Kelly Designs is paired perfectly with each flower to make Mother’s Day extra special.

These Sculpey clay flowers are the perfect pick for any Mother’s Day craft with your students.

How adorable is this flower that one of my students made? Check out this free printable tag by the amazing Laura Kelly Designs! Click Here to download this tag or click the picture above!

Giveaway

Enter below to win $50 in Sculpey products and a $25 WalMart gift card for you to use in your classroom! Have a happy Mother’s Day!

Check out these other projects!

Happy Sculpting,

Punctuation Police Academy

The Punctuation Police are in town! That’s right, we’re solving punctuation crime and catching those punctuation punks. My students loved walking into our classroom on Monday and seeing a total classroom transformation.

The classroom was filled with flashing lights, police hats, badges, and police tape. This activity is perfect for reinforcing the proper usage of end marks, and it is something your students will never forget! Oriental Trading has a number of police themed supplies to turn your classroom into a police headquarters! Let’s grab our supplies and catch those punctuation punks!

Supplies
Bold & Blue Police Hats
Police Car Photo Stand-Up
Police Party Latex Balloons
Police Party Light-Up Badges
Police Badge Name Tag Stickers
Police Party Hanging Swirls
Child’s Black Robe
Flashing Mini Blue Beacon Light
Police Officer Craft Bulletin Board
Punctuation Police TPT Bundle by Elizabeth Hall

The entrance to my classroom is one of my favorite parts! This Police Car Photo-Stand Up really brings this classroom transformation to life. I added police caution tape and a custom Punctuation Police Academy sign printed on heavy-duty outdoor vinyl from Vistaprint.

I setup my classroom with all of the supplies for our lesson on my red table in the back of the room. This includes small clipboards for each of my students, baskets filled with citations for my students to fill out, and mini blue beacon lights.

I created a punctuation bulletin board for my students to refer to as they are solving punctuation crime! These posters are part of Elizabeth Hall’s Punctuation Police Bundle on TeachersPayTeachers. The large exclamation point and question mark posters are from ReallyGoodStuff. The Police Party Latex Balloons from Oriental add that special touch to any classroom bulletin board!

Every student in my class had a bold and blue police hat sitting on their table when they entered the classroom. I created a coloring page for my students to work on while I took attendance and had my students order lunch.

The most important part of this lesson was explaining the different jobs. I had four different jobs: An officers, offenders, judges, and students finding punctuation punks that were hiding throughout the halls. I created this PowerPoint so my students would know exactly where they needed to go.

I had two baskets in back of my classroom filled with “Punctuation Citations.” If the child was a police officer they would head to the back of the classroom and grab a clipboard and a citation.

This is the setup that I had for my students when they entered the room. They were so excited to find out what they were doing and why the classroom was transformed into a police headquarters!

My students loved these police hats from Oriental Trading. They’re durable and a perfect size for my kindergarten students.

These police badge stickers are perfect for adding that special touch to any police officer’s uniform. What police officer is complete without a badge?

At each table I had a black waste basket full of laminated sentences. I found these black waste baskets at the Dollar Tree. Students were partnered together as one officer and one offender. The children would pick a sentence out of the waste basket and identify the improper use of an end mark on their citations.

After the officer and offender identify the improper use of an end mark on their sentence, they bring it to the judge tables located in the front of the classroom.

Here is a picture of my students hard at work solving punctuation crime! My students were so engaged as well. This lesson helped to reinforce this concept and my students worked together as a team to find those punctuation punks!

Here’s an officer hard at work! She’s about to take her citation back to her table and work with her offender to correct the sentence.

Here’s an offender and officer working diligently to identify the correct end mark that should be at the end of the sentence, “What time is it?”

As soon as the officer and offender fill out the citation, they bring their sentence and citation up to the judges. The judges determine if the offender and officer identified the correct end mark and take appropriate action.

If the judge finds that the officer and offender did not identify the correct end mark, they must sound the alarm and send the offender to “jail.” I designated my classroom library as my jail. The offender must stay in the library for one minute. The judges are in charge of stamping each citation with a “CONFIDENTIAL” stamp and placing it in the orange basket for filing.

A number of students explore the halls to find the punctuation punks. They must work together as a team to read the sentence and correct the end mark.

How cool are these police party light-up badges? My students loved that they flashed when pressed!

A day at the Punctuation Police Academy is not complete without a picture behind our police car photo stand-up. This lesson was perfect for reinforcing the concept of using the correct end mark at the end of each sentence and reviewing the different types of sentences. This is something that I hope my students will never forget!

Happy Patrolling,

DIY Robot Mask for Kids

I was so excited to find out that Ellison recently released one of Laura Kelly’s new dies – A Robot Mask! This DIY robot mask is a craft that kids of all ages will enjoy. It is quick to make and perfect for any birthday event, celebration, or school craft. This mask is sure to bring out your child’s imagination and have them saying, “I’m a robot.” (insert robotic voice) for hours! Let’s grab our supplies and get started!

Supplies:
– Ellison SuperStar Machine (Item #A10800)
– Sizzix Bigz XL Die – Mask, Robot (Item #A11130)
– Fiskars Scissors
– Eco-fiPlus™ Premiumfelt
– Adhesive (Hot glue or Tacky glue)
– Elastic String or Ribbon
– Brown Paper Bags

I used my Ellison SuperStar Machine to die cut each mask in a variety of colors of Eco-fiPlus™ Premium felt. Provide your students with a variety of felt colors to make each robot mask stand out.

Adhere each piece of felt together using hot glue or Tacky glue. The one thing that I absolutely love about Kunin’s Eco-fiPlus™ Premium felt is that it has a self-adhesive backing. This makes it very easy for my students to peel and stick their creations onto any object or surface. Add elastic string or ribbon to the back of each mask for easy adjustments. The die even die cuts a hole in each mask for easy stringing.

How fun are these paper bag robot costumes to go with the mask? I found out how to cut each brown grocery bag over on MomItForward.com. Use Washi Tape to add details and gears to make it your own!

These DIY robot masks are perfect for dress up! Your students are for sure going to love this!

Check out that vest! I was really pleased with how these fun robot masks and vests turned out, and I think the kids really like them too.

Giveaway

Enter to win your own Sizzix Big Shot Machine and an assortment of Laura Kelly dies!

Check out all these other great projects!

Disclosure: As a member of the Laura Kelly Design Team, I received craft products from Sizzix to create this awesome DIY tutorial post. All opinions are those of Male Kindergarten Teacher.

Happy die-cutting,

Earth Day Kid’s Crafts

Happy Earth Week! Welcome to “A Day in the Life of Kunin Felt Enthusiasts.” Join us for everyday crafting with Kunin. Make a mug rug to enjoy your morning coffee or a welcoming wreath on the front door. The possibilities are endless with Kunin Eco-fi brand felt

Today I am excited to share with you a couple of fun and easy crafts to create with your students for Earth Day! Let’s grab our supplies and get started!

Earth Day Felt Flowers

Supplies:
Eco-fiPlus™ Premiumfelt
– Fiskars Scissors
Green Chevron Paper Straws
Earth Day Felt Flower Tags (Free Printable)
Buttons (Laura Kelly buttons preferred) 
Adhesive (Hot glue or Tacky glue)
Ellison SuperStar Machine (Item #A10800)
Sizzix Bigz Die – Circle 4″ (Item #A10211)

As a kindergarten teacher, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Earth Day is one of my all-time favorite books, The Lorax! With that in mind, I decided to create some Truffula Tree inspired flowers.

I used my Ellison SuperStar Machine to die cut 4-inch circles in a variety of colors of Eco-fiPlus™ Premium felt. Have your students use a variety of colors to make each flower stand out and resemble the Truffula Trees from The Lorax.

Have your students use scissors to cut from the 4-inch circle. It’s okay to let them be creative and create their own shapes! Be sure that you have some type of scissors that is able to cut through felt.

Adhere each piece of felt together using hot glue or Tacky glue. Add a colorful button to the top of your flower to give it that finishing touch.

Now it is time to adhere your flower to the stem. I purchased these green chevron paper straws from Oriental Trading – they’re perfect for this craft and they really give the felt flowers a realistic look. Turn your felt flower over and die cut one more 4-inch circle using your Ellison SuperStar Machine. “Sandwich” your stem between your flower and the 4-inch circle. Use some type of adhesive to keep each layer from separating.

How amazing are these? To add a special Earth Day touch to your flowers, download the free printable earth day tag to wrap around your felt flowers. You can find the free printable by Clicking Here!

Silly Soup Can Flower Pots

Have you ever wondered what to do with those old soup cans you have lying around the house? This craft is the perfect opportunity to talk about the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle). Let’s make a silly face and create these silly soup can flower pots!

Supplies:
– Soup Can
Googly Eyes
Wheat Grass Seed (or some other seed/plant)
– Eco-fiPlus™ Premiumfelt
– Fiskars Scissors
Sharpies
TULIP Fabric Markers (Optional)
– Adhesive (Hot glue or Tacky glue)
– Ellison SuperStar Machine (Item #A10800)
– Sizzix Bigz Die – Mustaches Item (#A11030)
Sizzix Bigz Die – Glasses Item (#A10682)

I used my Ellison SuperStar Machine to die cut a pair of glasses and a mustache using Eco-fiPlus™ Premium felt. I highly recommend using wheat grass seed for this project. It is very easy to care for and it only takes a couple of days to start growing. Check out how tall my wheat grass is after only a week of growing!

The one thing that I absolutely love about Kunin’s Eco-fiPlus™ Premium felt is that it has a self-adhesive backing. This makes it very easy for my students to peel and stick their creations onto any object or surface. The adhesive backing also makes it easy for my students to draw any object on the back using Sharpies and cut their objects out with ease!

I love using TULIP Fabric Markers to add detail to each piece. The one thing that I absolutely love about this project is that students can personalize their silly tin can flower pot by adding different facial expressions or accessories to make it their own.

Thank you for enjoying this part of your day with Kunin. I hope you enjoyed these fun and easy projects for your students to complete during Earth Week! Are you inspired to create your own Earth Day project? If so, I would love to see it! Please share any of your Earth Day projects on Kunin’s Facebook Page. Happy Earth Day!

Go Green,

Spring Writing: When it rains…

Happy Spring! Wow – It’s hard to believe that it’s April! I am currently on Spring break this week and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I definitely miss my students, but I’m loving the amount of time I have to create fun, engaging writing activities for my students for the month of April. 

Since it’s April and the forecast for this week has been rain, rain, and more rain, it got me thinking of the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” Today I am excited to share with you this Spring writing and craft idea using Ellison dies. Let’s grab our supplies and get started.

Supplies:
– Sizzix Bigz Die – Umbrella #4 (Item #A11089)
Ellison Superstar Machine
Watercolor Pencils
Watercolor brush pens
– Watercolor paper, card stock, or construction paper
Spring Writing: When it rains… Printable

Use your Ellison Superstar machine to die cut this amazing umbrella die by Laura Kelly. Use your watercolor pencils to draw darker lines to give the umbrella dimension. Lightly color each section with the desired watercolor pencil. Tip: Color very lightly with watercolor pencils… a little goes a long way!

Use your watercolor brush to blend the watercolor pencil. I loved overlapping the colors too – this helps blend it together and make it look more unified. The reason I love these watercolor brush pens is because they already have a water reservoir that holds water. No more dipping your brush over and over again in a water cup!

After you have colored your umbrellas to a desired look, use a scissors to cut off the handle of the umbrella.

Have your students color the boots to their liking with water color pencils and blend the pencil with a watercolor brush pen.

Carefully have your students cut out each boot and glue them on the back of their umbrella.

Check out this free writing printable! Your students will love writing about their favorite things to do in the rain!

Get this free writing printable template and boot printable by clicking here or clicking the image above!

Happy April,


Expressionery Loves Teachers

Teacher appreciation week will be here before you know it and Expressionery loves teachers! I love Expresionery because they have the perfect items for any teacher gift!

This post was sponsored by Expressionery but know that all ideas and opinions are my own. I love notepads, pens, and custom stamps – I mean, who doesn’t love anything personalized? These products are a perfect gift idea for a teacher friend, coworker, or your child’s teacher.

If your child has a male teacher, it can be difficult to find something to give to your child’s teacher. However, if anyone knows me well, they know I am obsessed with anything mustache or tie related. That’s why I created a gift basket full of items that are perfect for any male educator out there.

Before I share more…you should know that you can save 30% on
stationery for your teachers with the promo code LKTEACH.  Just click here and start shopping! Check out this custom stamp that is perfect for any parent gift! These stamps add such a special touch to any teacher gift or creation. You can find this Just For You Custom Stamp HERE.

Did I mention I’m obsessed with Coffee too?

I purchased a large metal pail at the local craft supply store. Simply fill it with teacher goodies such as coffee, mugs, teacher tape, magnets, pens, and of course, your favorite Expressionery products!

These personalized notepads are perfect for sending a positive note home with your students or reminding yourself that you have a meeting after school… we all know that we sometimes forget those important meetings. It is a Single Peep on a Small Memo Pad and you can order it HERE.

The custom stamp adds such a personalized touch to any gift.

Promotion: 30% off stationery with code: LKTEACH & 30%
off stamps with no code needed
Legal:

Valid through 4/11/2016. Receive 30% off personalized
stationery with code: ‘LKTEACH’ at checkout. Offer excludes all announcements
& notebooks. This offer may not be combined with any other offer or
discount, and shipping fees and sales tax are separate. To prevent abuse,
prices, specifications, and availability subject to change without notice from
Expressionery.com.



Enter to win an awesome prize from Laura Kelly and Expressionery! Use the below Rafflecopter form to enter to win.

See more Teacher Appreciation ideas with Expressionery here:




Happy Teaching,

Classroom Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is almost here which makes it a great time for one of my students’ favorite activities… Easter egg hunts! I have to admit this is one of my favorite activities too. The kids are so excited as they race around the classroom trying to collect their eggs! Another reason I love Easter egg hunts is that you can adapt them for almost any subject or skill level. Let’s grab our materials and get started!

The first step in creating a fun, engaging Easter egg hunt is to create teams. I created these egg hunt team cards using Kate Hadfield Designs clip art. This year I decided to go with a carrot theme after seeing all of Laura Kelly’s carrot obsession on her blog.

I created 6 teams with 4 students on each team. I also designated a specific color to each team in case any team is confused on what color eggs to look for.

Check out these amazing Carrot-Shaped Plastic Easter Eggs and Chevron Pails from Oriental Trading! The carrot-shaped plastic Easter eggs are perfect for any classroom egg hunt. They’re bright, durable, and they add such a special touch to the theme of my egg hunt! Oriental Trading has a variety of Easter eggs that are perfect for any theme of egg hunt. Check out all the options!

The next step is to think about where you want to hide your eggs around the school and/or classroom. After finding places to hide each egg, it is important to write kid-friendly clues. My goal was to make sure that my students could read and/or sound out each clue.

Have I told you how obsessed I am with all of the items that Oriental Trading has to offer for any themed party and event? They made planning my Easter egg hunt so easy! I try to stay away from giving my students too much candy. This Easter Egg Filler Assortment is perfect for filling eggs and creating goody bags for my students!

I decided to use these Chevron Pails to fill with Easter goodies and prizes! The pails are heavy-duty and come in a variety of colors (blue, green, purple, and pink). I used green Easter grass to fill the bottom of my pails and I filled each pail with a plastic carrot Easter egg full of jelly beans and goodies from the Easter Egg Filler Assortment.


Check out this hippity hoppity Easter tag that I made for each pail. You can use the back of the tag to write a personalized note to each of your students. You can download these tags for free: Click Here!

I used these carrot stationery note cards from Laura Kelly Designs to create a personalized award for each of my students for completing the classroom egg hunt. I also used my personalized stamp from Expressionery to add a special touch.

How awesome are these?

The last clue that my students will receive is in a glitter Easter egg. I focused on reading simple sentences for my Easter egg hunt, but you can focus on any subject or content area.

Are you ready to get started on your classroom Easter egg hunt? Download this free printable file with sample clues, team cards, and much more! Click the picture above to download it!

This activity is sure to get your students excited about Easter, and it is something they will remember and cherish for a lifetime! Be sure to check out all of Oriental Trading’s amazing Easter products. Happy egg hunting!


This review is based strictly on my opinion. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company to provide my honest review. No other type of compensation was received. All ideas and opinions are my own.

Udderly Smooth Loves Teachers!

What’s the number one problem teachers face on a day-to-day basis? Dry hands, of course! Well, I have the best solution! 
Udderly Smooth Udder Cream, of course! If you haven’t tried this stuff, where have you been? It’s amazing! How many of you remember a teacher you had that motivated, challenged, and inspired you to be the teacher you are today? I’m sure you can think of someone! Shockingly, I can list off all my teachers from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. They have all impacted my life in some way, shape, or form. However, I will never forget my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Roberts. She was the sweetest, most caring teacher I had ever met. She motivated me to be the best student I could be, challenged me to take risks, and encouraged me to always do my best. 
Today I am teaming up with Udderly Smooth and the Laura Kelly Design Team to share with you this udderly fun and MOO-tivational teacher gift! Let’s grab our supplies and get MOO-ving!
Supplies
– Black all-purpose acrylic paint
– Metal Tin Party Tubs and/or pail
– Paint brush
– Chalk marker
– Red crinkle paper filler
– Red and black pinwheels
Udderly Smooth Products (From your local CVS Store)

I purchased some plain, tin tubs from my local craft supply store. Using black all-purpose acrylic paint, I decided to turn this tub into a cow-spotted masterpiece.

The best part about painting the container is there is no way to mess up when making your spots – just have fun with it! Make your spots different shapes and sizes to give it a true cow look.

How cool is that? Plus, can we talk about how amazing that cow is?! I also purchased some red and black pinwheels from my local craft store. This reminded me of spring and who doesn’t want spring?

Use a chalk marker to personalize your pail! These markers are easier to write with than chalk, plus they do not smear!

Add red crinkle paper filler to your tin tub and pail. Lastly, fill your tub and pail with all your favorite Udderly Smooth products! These teacher gifts are perfect for any colleague, friend, or any MOO-tivational person in your life.

We are surrounded by so many positive, influential educators who make a difference in a child’s life each day. These gift baskets are the perfect way to say “Thank You” to any educator that has made an impact on your life.

Be sure to check out all the Udderly Smooth products at your local CVS store. Say goodbye to dry hands and hello to an udderly amazing gift!

Giveaway

Enter below for your chance to win an Udderly Smooth Prize Pack and a $50 CVS gift card! Plus be sure to check out all of the other amazing gift ideas below!

Check out these other gift ideas!

MOO-tivationally yours,

Creating Interactive Classrooms: Spy Headquarters!

How can I turn my classroom into a fun, interactive learning environment that my students will never forget? How can I create engaging lessons that still align with curriculum, with state standards, etc.? Well, folks, it’s possible! Today I am excited to share with you exactly how I turned my classroom into an experience that my students will never forget. Let’s grab our disguises and solve a mystery!

I got this amazing idea to transform my classroom into an interactive classroom from Hope at Elementary Shenanigans.
However, I still needed to add my own Male Kindergarten Teacher twist to it! My inspiration for an interactive classroom experience came from a quote that Hope shared on her blog:

“Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude.” – Dave Burgess

If we create an uncommon experience for our students by transforming our classrooms into something spectacular, our students are going provide us with a desire to learn, a desire to adapt to new experiences/situations, and a desire to think outside of the box. In this lesson, my students were actively engaged in reviewing skills that were previously taught from the beginning of the year. Plus all the skills in this lesson were all aligned to our reading and math curriculum.

How do I get started?

Well, it’s pretty simple, but first you need to come up with a plan. What mystery are your students going to solve and how are they going to solve it? In my classroom I have a real popcorn machine. No, the popcorn machine is not to make popcorn, but it is to help my students learn their kindergarten sight words (or what I call popcorn words). I thought it would be a great idea to have my popcorn machine go “missing” the day before our spy headquarters transformation. I talked with my principal and she graciously said she would love to be part of this mystery! I hid our popcorn machine in her office and started creating invitations to send home to my students the night before.

The next step was creating an invitation to each of my students inviting them to our spy headquarters the next day. I created these personalized envelopes with a secret message inside. However, in order to find out what the secret message said, my students needed to put together a puzzle with the secret message on it! I used Ellison dies to cut my secret message into four puzzle pieces. To find out how I made the invitations, head on over to the Ellison Education blog!

The invitation said:

“Secret Agent,
I need your help! You have been chosen to be a part of a top secret mission. Our popcorn machine has gone missing, and I need your help to find it!
In order to solve our mystery, you will need to complete a number of tasks. If you accept his mission, please report to your classroom at 8:20 A.M. sharp. If possible, please wear black as a disguise.
I hope to see you there!
– Agent Boender”

Classroom Setup

Classroom setup is fairly simple! However, when setting up your classroom, you can go as crazy or as simple as you want. Here is what you will need:

Yes, it’s that simple! I created this sign using Kate Hadfield Designs clip art. After creating the graphic, I had it made into a 2.5′ x 4′ banner from Vistaprint.

Check out this classroom transformation! Simply place a series of black lights around the classroom. Tie white yarn from the ceiling to objects such as tables, chairs, etc. Now that our classroom is transformed, this calls for some costumes/disguises!

My students each received a secret agent badge and some amazing disguise glasses from OrientalTrading.com.

I also purchased these personalized trophies from OrientalTrading for each student. This is a great way to reward my students for solving the mystery of the missing popcorn machine!

My students also received a bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn!

Check out my Spy Headquarters unit in My TeachersPayTeachers Store!

This unit includes:

• 7 spy themed center activities that review the following
skills:
   – Beginning Sounds
   – Missing Numbers
(Up to 20)
   – Ten Frames (Up to
20)
   – Uppercase to
Lowercase Matching
   – Letter Mat
Matching
   – Rhyming Words
   – Number
Identification (Tally marks, base ten blocks, fingers, and ten frames)
• Editable poster
• Editable personalizable invitation
• Editable personalizable envelope cover
With over 60 pages, this unit is excellent for reviewing the
concepts in both reading and mathematics.
Center Setup
I designated six of my tables as a center. As the students completed each center, the students received
a puzzle piece. After receiving each puzzle piece, the students were one step
closer to finding out the culprit of the missing popcorn machine!

At the end of all six centers, my students received six puzzle pieces to put together. They worked together in groups to solve the mystery and found out who the culprit was. Their favorite part was taking a visit down to the principal’s office to question the culprit! Why did our principal take our popcorn machine? She wanted to learn our popcorn words (sight words), of course!

This activity is sure to get your students excited about learning, and it is something they will remember and cherish for a lifetime!
Secret Agent,