The End of the School Year is Almost Here!


The end of the year is quickly approaching!  This is such an exciting time for everyone.  The thought of sleeping in, hanging out by the pool, taking a late night walk or a long fun family vacation is weighing on everyone’s mind.  Here are some things to do to finish out the year strong!

1. Have everyone bring in a pillowcase.  With a paint marker in the middle of the pillow you will write:

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I count these hands instead of sheep,

And think of all the friends I’ve made,

In “Miss Shipley’s” Pre-K  (change the name and the grade)

Paint each child’s hand a different color and have them lay their hand on the pillow case.  Write their name by their hand and they have an end of the year gift to remember your classroom and their friends.

2. Take time one afternoon to make Ice Cream in a Baggie and have an outdoor day with games.

Here is the link to the ice cream recipe:

3. Invite parents in for a morning breakfast and make smoothies in a baggie.

Here is the link to the Smoothies in a Baggie recipe:

After breakfast I would invite the families to stay for a short program that included fun awards and a gift for each parent.  I would find an overhead projector (hopefully schools still have these hidden away and will let you use it) and set it up where there is a large space on the wall. Get black butcher paper and have each child sit on a chair. Turn on the projector screen and the light will outline the child’s head. I traced the outline of their face and cut it out.  After I cut it out, I pasted the black paper to a large piece of white construction paper.  Families love this gift! (This is an “old” project my teachers used to do when I was in school—nothing new!)

4. I think an important thing to do all year is to keep a folder of student work and progress.  I also made a handprint calendar. It took all year, as we did one handprint per month.  There are many ways to do this, but they are so much fun, and parents and students love to go back and look through them.  Here is a link so you can get an idea:

As teachers we know there are not many days that we truly get to take for just ourselves.  But please remember it is important to charge your batteries too.  Here are some things to try:

Clean up your room and get everything in your classroom ready for “summer”.

Take time for yourself, sleep in, have lunch with friends and try to focus on yourself.

Attend workshops throughout the summer not all at once.

Attend a fun and engaging, creative and inspiring workshop right before school beings.  This will recharge your battery, and you will have new ideas to start the school year.

We know how exciting it is to start the new school year too.  So all summer collect fun things from garage sales, workshops etc. to start the new school year right.  See you in a few months! 


A to Z Teacher Stuff: Little Giraffes. (2015). Handprint Calendar.  Retrieved from:

Shipley, Tisha. (2015). The Busy Classroom. Recipes for Teachers to Use with Students.

Retrieved from:

Shipley, Tisha. (2016). The Busy Classroom. Recipes for Teachers to Use with Students.

Retrieved from:

This guest post was written by Tisha Shipley. Tisha has a doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught multiple grade levels at Moore Public Schools, including pre–K and gifted 3rd–6th graders.

You can find Tisha online in these places:


Simple and Lovely Mother’s Day Craft Ideas

This Sunday, May 10th we celebrate mothers everywhere!

George Washington once said…

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

It’s easy to see that mom’s are pretty special people.

I can imagine that some mom’s out there STILL have all the mother’s day presents they ever received. I bet you occasionally run across one saved away in a box and and ask your mom why she doesn’t just throw it away. To that she replies “NEVER!” Moms treasure the things we do and make that show we love them.

There are so many things from making cards, to a homemade necklace that you can do to say “Hey mom, I like you a lot. …And thanks for not getting mad when I cut my own hair, spilled countless items on the floor, colored in all your books to make them pretty, making you stay home with me when I didn’t feel good, for leaving the night light on, for reading to me even when you were exhausted, for giving me the best advice (that sometimes I should have listened to better), and for loving me (that’s the best one).”

So for all those teachers, dad’s, aunts, cousins, or anyone out there that wants to make a mom they know feel a little more special, check out these awesome ideas that we pinned!

I’ve also categorized a few for you to check out!

FREE Printable Love You Hand Stamp (Easy- great for teachers or to do at home with younger children that is super simple! Just print the image and stamp away! You have the option to frame it or not.)

CUTE Love U Hand Print Gift Idea

Full directions here

Mason Jar Flower Photo Holder (Medium- much better to do with older children or definitely do-able if you have more than one adult to help with your class, but this is GREAT! You could use ANY jar you want it doesn’t have to be a mason jar. Then just add a few flowers either real or some silk ones from a craft store to make it even more beautiful)

How to make a mason jar vase and frame

Full instructions here

Mosaic Mom (Harder-in the sense that a little more time is required for prep and clean up. To stay organized my tip is to keep the beads in tupperware containers, or beads will find themselves all over the place. You can use up all those old beads or shiny pieces you have lying around!)

Full directions here

We hope these ideas have helped inspire you to create some great things for Mother’s Day, and to mom’s everywhere thank you for all that you do!

Reflective Teaching in Early Childhood Education

Reflective Teaching

  Reflecting on your Teaching in the New Year

This holiday season, the best gift I received was a beautiful, fabric-covered journal.  Over the past couple of week, I contemplated how to make the best use of the journal, as well as the opportunity it affords me to reflect upon and record my thoughts. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from John Dewey: “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” Continue reading Reflective Teaching in Early Childhood Education

How to become a Classroom Management All-Star

Classroom Management

How to Make Classroom Management Simple & Easy

Every early childhood educator knows how essential classroom management is to the success of every classroom. Experienced teachers know that classroom management is more than just implementing your center’s guidance and discipline policy. Instead, it involves everything from the classroom setup to implemented rules, routines and schedules, and even includes the teacher’s attitude and consistency. I have written some helpful tips to help you become a classroom management all-star! Continue reading How to become a Classroom Management All-Star

5 Tips to Become a Better School Administrator or Director

 Use these 5 Tips to Become a Better Administrator

Throughout my years of teaching, I have encountered more than six directors and administrators. They were each so different and inspired me in so many ways. There were rules, expectations “buy-ins,” situations and opportunities for me to learn. I had always aspired to be an administrator so my first principal position was one of my favorites. I want to share some of the things that I learned from my supportive administrators. Continue reading 5 Tips to Become a Better School Administrator or Director

5 Ways to Establish Routines in the Classroom

Kindergarten Classroon

Establishing Routines in the Classroom

As the first month of school comes to a close, and pumpkins begin to invade everything from our stoops to our lattes, teachers begin to evaluate their classroom procedures and routines – what’s working, what’s not, what needs to tweaked and what needs to be scrapped altogether.


Continue reading 5 Ways to Establish Routines in the Classroom