Winner of the Zebra Glue Gun!!!

I am excited to announce that Confessions of a 3rd Grade Teacher is the winner of the zebra glue gun, hosted by Freebielicious!  

Thank you everyone who entered the giveaway!!! There will be more to come this summer!  I am finally home from a 3 long week vacation to Europe.  I feel so rested and ready to enjoy the last couple weeks of summer before I start getting ready to go back to school.  I do have an announcement to make in a couple of weeks about next year ;)...stay tuned for that.... 

I will be sharing some photos from my trip soon!!! I am headed to bed, but excited for my blog date with Layla tomorrow!  


A DIY Clipboard from Crayons and Whimsy

Hello! Hello! This is Christy from Crayons and Whimsy and I am beyond excited to be guest blogging on Apples and ABC's today.

There have been many posts about covering clipboards to be cuter than the ugly brown they traditionally come in. But then I thought to myself... isn't everything cuter when it is mini? And wouldn't my sweet kiddos love to have their own cute mini clipboard?

Oh... and I have already devised a plan to make these educational, too!

So that is how I came to the decision to make cute, mini clipboards as first day of school gifts for my new class! I'm going to teach you how....

You will need:
White Foam Board
Exacto knife
Scrapbook paper
Mod Podge
Bag clips
Optional: print out the Welcome Sign Freebie {Click Here}

I decided I didn't want to buy the actual mini clipboards in the store - let me tell you why...

1. The clip itself is either too difficult for a little one to use (see the one on the left) or it is too hard to remove (unlike with the regular size clipboard where you can unscrew it and put it back on when you are done)
2. These are 6x9 which is a good mini size for an adult, but for my little ones I wanted to be careful not to go "too mini" since they may only fit 2 letters on the whole clipboard.
3. just will add up money wise since I need to make 29 of these puppies.

So I went this route instead:
I bought 20x30 inches (which is the smaller size on the right in the picture) "White Foam Board" as it is so creatively named from Hobby Lobby and cut it down to 6 2/3x10in. It was easy peasy to cut down, but if you don't want that hassle you can take it to Home Depot and they will cut it for you. 

I chose the size mainly because I could get 9 clipboards from one piece of foam, but you can do any size you want. And like I said, I wanted it to be mini, but large enough for little hands to have enough space. I didn't get the larger size because it just seems harder to keep the edges straight when you are cutting so many pieces from a single sheet.

Next step - make it cute! First, we are going to cover the board in scrapbook paper.  For this size it actually works better to get the 8 1/2 x 11 size and you will need 2 pieces per board (your best bet is to buy a big book of papers!)

One piece of scrapbook paper (above shown upside down) is 8 1/2 x 11. The other piece (you can see the blue chevron on this one) is cut to be slightly smaller than the foam piece.

Now, "paint" the foam board with Mod Podge on one side and then center and press down the larger piece of scrapbook paper. Be sure to take the time to really press down and smooth it out to get rid of any bubbles. You can use a brayer (I don't have one, so I just pressed with my fist over and over).

Now turn it over and we're going to do the other side:
Now, we are ready to Mod Podge down the piece for the back that has been cut to be a bit smaller than the board.

Let me warn you that when you pick a pattern like this multi colored chevron- it is super hard to line it up.  Aaahhh! I learned the hard way, but the light blue and white chevron...much easier to deal with.

Let it dry for a bit and then coat the entire back with Mod Podge and let it dry again.

Turn it over and we are going to add the phrase "Welcome to Kindergarten" or whatever grade you are teaching.... You can download this for FREE (for grades K-5) from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store- just click {HERE.} You can also keep the clipboards plain, add the child's name, use Washi tape, ribbon, stickers... so many cute choices.

I added Mod Podge to the back of the paper, flipped it over, and again spent a while making sure there are no air bubbles. Then paint the entire front side with Mod Podge. Let it dry and then apply a second coat. Optional: add a second coat to the back as well.

Now for the clip. I bought a bag of "chip clips" from WalMart {this didn't include the metal "bulldog" clip you see - just the plastic ones} There are cute clips in shapes of animals... look at these I saw at Target Dollar Spot:
If you are making these for slightly older kids you can use binder clips and just look at the color selection at Staples below....exciting, isn't it? I just thought for kinder these may be too tricky. 

I am going to clip a note on the front and send these home with my new cuties on the first day of school. You can get it too, just click on it below:
Very last thing.... I just had the idea to use these clipboards as a place to "clip and practice" sight words. I have compiled 100 sight words on 20 lists, which are the perfect size for these cute clipboards:

Wow... that was a long post. I guess I was so excited to be on Michelle's blog I just couldn't stop! Thanks for reading {if you made it this far} and stop by Crayons and Whimsy when you have a chance.

Thank you!! Christy Donnelly


Christmas in July! A school supplies giveaway!!!

Merry Christmas in July everyone!  All the lovely ladies from Freebielicious are partnering together for a blog hop giveaway!

This little gem is what I am giving away here!  A mini, zebra print, glue gun...I mean, who doesn't need one of these!? 

In order to win, leave a comment on this blog post with your email address!  I will pick a random winner this weekend (when I get back from Europe, woot!)

Make sure you hop over to Kinderglynn's blog to enter to win another school supply item!  

Most importantly, head to Freebielicious to enter to win ONE OF EVERYTHING that we are giving away!


The Very Hungary Caterpillar Craft

Have you ever been in the middle of a project, got a "genius" idea (knowing it could cause mayhem and confusion) and ran with it?  That pretty much sums up the way my brain works... and it's a blessing/ curse.  This one turned out to be a blessing because our little caterpillars came out so cute!  We were studying The Very Hungary Caterpillar, and I found a black and white version of the caterpillar, and copied it for all of the children. (I can't share it because it's a book I bought)  After I read the story, I had the students color their caterpillar.  As the students were in the middle of coloring their little guy, I got the idea...lets add the little hairs on top ....really?  yep...

I gave the students a string of yarn, and showed them how to cut the string in little pieces and glue them on the top.  As I was giving instructions, I knew this could possibly be a horrible idea for a couple of reasons:
1. It takes fine motor skills to cut the little pieces = frustration for their little hands
2.  Time consuming = frustrating because they would have to focus for a longer period of time

But to my surprise, they had a great time, and did a wonderful job at working hard to finish the task at hand!  The students that finished quickly, helped their neighbor cutting and gluing the pieces on.  The students put a strip of glue on the top of the caterpillar and pressed the small pieces of yarn on top.

So this time, my random idea turned out cute!  


Finger Space Problem? Nothing a Magic Wand Can't Fix...

I feel like sometimes there is a HUGE disconnect between kids writing words and putting spaces between each one.  Right from the beginning of the year I teach them the phrase (that we all know and love) "remember a finger space between your words."  Well, sometimes that isn't enough, and I need to bust out something more exciting to help them remember... the Finger Space Wand...

I have a basket of wands that the students can use when they are writing sentences.  They place the finger space wand on their paper between words to help them focus on correct finger spaces.  I feel like any manipulative that you can add to enhance normal routines make it more exciting for the kids to produce work.

(please ignore the dirty white board)

I have the finger space wands in a basket that the children could easily access for when they finished their work early.  They were allowed to borrow a wand to practice sentence writing while their classmates were finishing their assignments.  

Of course not everyone wanted to use a princess wand to practice spacing between words.  I had a googly eye finger puppet option as well for those who were less interested in the wand. ;)

I found the wands and the eye puppets at the 99 Cents store, and they were definitely worth the investment! 


Guest Blogger: A Rocky Top Teacher

Hi! Sarah here, from A Rocky Top Teacher. My amazingly talented friend, Michelle, is traveling Europe and has asked me to stop over at her blog  and leave a little post while she is seeing the world. Jealous of her awesome summer adventure? I sure am! I tried to convince her to let me ride in her suitcase Flat Stanley style..but I am writing this blog so we know that plan didn't work!

I am so excited to be sharing an effective yet cheap and EASY classroom management technique that can be adapted into any classroom no matter what grade level you teach! 

The Lunch Choice Clipboard!!!

This is genius y'all. I WISH I could take credit for being the brain child behind this, but I cannot. It was found somewhere in the world of Pinterest and passed around at my school. In the past, I have tried to implement lunch charts like the ones below. They look adorable, the kiddos can visually represent what they want for lunch, and my lunch helper can easily count and record who is eating what for lunch. Easy peasy lemon squeezy..right?

I wish! Here is the glitch in that whole plan. My kiddos pick their lunch the moment they walk into the classroom each morning and forget what they signed up for by the time we make it to the cafeteria. The first couple weeks of school are usually the worst with Mark saying he picked chicken even though Amy promises he signed up for PB&J, Anthony thinking he brought his lunch but now he remembers that it is Wednesday and he never packs his lunch on Wednesdays, and Carlos has seen the chicken and decided that he wanted a salad instead. And, our lunch ladies mean business. If you signed up for chicken then you BETTER get chicken. No ifs, ands, or butts.  

So, insert amazing clipboard solution. My kiddos walk in the classroom each morning and pick their lunch on the clip chart. My classroom lunch helper counts up lunch, arranges my clipboard, sends in the lunch count, and then carries the clipboard to the cafeteria at lunchtime. The end. World War 3 cafeteria style has been avoided. The class is at peace. The lunch ladies smile at us. The world is a happy place. No more "I don't remember what I signed up for" or "The lasagna looks like plastic...can I switch?". It's calm, easy, and effective. The clipboard does not lie, folks! 

I made my lunch choice board using a Dollar Tree clipboard, modge podge, scrapbook paper, ribbon, and numbered clothespins. This is my recent summer project. I upgraded from the one I used last which was literally a clipboard with a piece of paper on it labeled "choices". This one is SO much more fun! 

I encourage you to make one, too. If you do..would you please send me pictures or post them on Instagram? I would LOVE to see your finished products. 

Thanks for reading, and a big thank you to Michelle for letting me share on her blog today. Won't you stop by and see me?


Clothes Rack to Dry Paintings

What is worse than painting with 5 year olds?  Having the paintings laying around your room drying!  I use a clothes drying rack to help save space while my little artists paintings' are drying. I wish I could say I thought of this...nope!  This drying rack was left in my room when I started working at my current school, and I used it right away to hang our paintings on to dry.  I just clip clothes pins to the little bars and they hang nicely in the corner of the room or outside!

Sometimes I place them back to back, if the papers are large.  I can ALWAYS fit everyone's paintings on here!  This bad boy folds up nicely and can fit behind my filing cabinet when we aren't using it.

I couldn't live without this little gem!



I am in Europe for the next 3 weeks!!! I will try to upload photos as I go if my Internet will allow it! So far here are the first two days in Paris...

                      Notre Dame. 

                   Cute streets. 

                     My first crepe. 

                        Little park. 

                  Adorable 50's cafe. 

                 Giant meringues!!!

            Yep. Pretty much heaven. :)

Freebielicious + Educents = A JUMBO Back to School Pack

Did you see, did you see, did you see?  

Simply Kinder and all the gals over at Freebielicious have teamed with Educents with this amazing deal for Back to School!

Our Back to School bundle is 23 of our best selling products!    Included in your download is craftivities, centers, small group games, printables, activities, organization items, posters, readers, and much more!  Over 2000 pages of Back to School fun!  All this for $30 - that's over 80% off the retail price!  

Apples and ABC's contribution is one of my favorite products:  Upper and Lower Case- Letters A-Z! These are perfect for letter introduction or review, and the kids really do enjoy them because there are several things to do on each page:
~Trace the letter
~Print it
~Color it
~Find it
~Color the picture 

My BFF's over at Freebielicious have linked up their products so you can see what you are purchasing!  Click below to head on over and see all the other great products!  

Or click here to go directly to Educents to get the deal!