Category Archives: Uncategorized

Brag tags for colors, shapes, and Numbers

Brag Tags that Motivate Students to Learn Numbers, Shapes, & Colors

After seeing the success I had with brag tags for alphabet letters (you can read more about that here) and how motivated and excited students were about learning the letters and receiving a tag for each one, I decided to create some for numbers, colors, and shapes too.

With the ever increasing demands on young students to learn more and more standards, I like to praise and encourage them each step of the way and keep a positive “vibe” because it can get a little overwhelming for them.  In years past I would use stickers as rewards or place a sticker on an incentive chart each time a student would master a letter or concept and my young students enjoyed receiving them (we all know how excited they get about receiving praise from the teacher!), but they didn’t seem to value them quite as much as they did their brag tags.

My students were really excited about receiving each brag tag and took great pride in seeing all of their accomplishments on their brag tag necklaces. I was told by parents that once the children were allowed to take their necklaces home they hung them in very special places in their rooms or in the house and reviewed them as well as showed them off to others.

How to encourage and motivate students to learn numbers, shapes, and colors.

I have found that receiving something extra special and unique that celebrates their efforts energized students’ desire to learn more, kept them enthusiastic about their learning, and restored their confidence and commitment (especially if they had been struggling). This is why I made each brag tag different with its own praise word and “cheer”.

They are designed to appeal to young children with bright colors and cute characters. They also have pictures of real world objects to not only give students a visual reminder but also help them associate their learning to the real world.

The numbers brag tags have both a number character and a ten frame character that helps students “see” the number and build their number sense.

numbers brag tags

I have distributed them several different ways over the years depending on the personality of my class.  There is really no right or wrong way to use them – it totally depends on your personal preference and your students. They are very versatile and can easily fit any teaching style.

Necklaces

By far the most popular way students have kept track of their brag tags has been on ball chain necklaces. I found mine on Amazon, though I have been told that you can also find them at Oriental Trading and some craft stores.  I use the 24 inch length for my pre-k and kindergarten students.  On Amazon you can find them in packs of 50 or packs of 25.

After students master a number, shape, or color they receive the appropriate tag and place it on their necklace.

Binder Rings

Another option for storing brag tags is to use binder rings.  Several years hanging items on their backpacks was “all the rage” for my kinders so they enjoyed have a ring on their backpack for their brag tags. Since the students brought their backpacks to school every day it worked out well and it also acted as a parent communication tool.  The students were excited to show their parents when they earned a new tag and parents were able to monitor their child’s progress.

Brag Tag Books

If you want a less public way for students to store their brag tags and for you to keep track of their progress, then brag tag books are a good option.  They also a nice keepsake of their accomplishments and can also be used for reference throughout the year.

When students earn a tag, they glue it on a page in their books and then complete a task below it. The task can be differentiated to fit each student’s ability level.

For example, in the numbers brag tag books students glue a number tag on each page as they are earned and can write the number and/or write the number word, color in or draw objects in the appropriate number of boxes in the ten frame underneath.

For the shapes brag tag books, students glue a shape tag on each page as they are earned and can draw the shape, draw an object of that shape, and/or write the shape word underneath.

For the colors brag tag books, students glue a color tag on each page as they are earned and can draw something of that color and/or write the color word underneath.

Individual Rewards

Each brag tag can also be given out as an individual reward. If you do a color, number, or shape of the week you can give the brag tag at the end of the week or when a students shows mastery.

If you would like to use these brag tags with your young students to help motivate and encourage their learning they are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

You can purchase them individually or in several money-saving bundle packs.

Click any of the links or pictures below to view more details and samples.

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How I Motivated Students to Learn Their Alphabet Letters

salt tray for alphabet letter writing

Fun Alphabet and Handwriting Practice

I wanted to share with you today some favorite and fun ideas for teaching the letters of the alphabet and handwriting.

Fun Alphabet and Handwriting Ideas

Over the years teaching the alphabet has changed quite a lot due to the increase in standards. However, the fact that young children can get overwhelmed with learning both the uppercase and lowercase version of each letter of the alphabet, their sounds, and how to write them has not changed.

Varying your letter practice can increase student motivation and decrease boredom.  I have also found that varying letter practice based on letter difficulty and reviewing frequently are very effective in helping students retain letter knowledge.

Young children need manipulatives in addition to practice pages when learning the alphabet because manipulatives not only hold their attention better but they activate the pathways in the brain better than using only a letter page.

Here are some of my favorite manipulatives to use for teaching the alphabet. They are relatively easy and inexpensive to set up and use.

I use differentiated letter cards with my students along with the manipulative activities as aides for showing students how to properly form the alphabet letters.

Fun Ideas for Teaching the Alphabet and Handwriting

Practice Letters Using Salt and/or Sand Trays

Students love to practice writing letters in salt or sand! You can create a simple salt or sand tray by pouring some salt or sand on a cookie sheet, on a plate, or in a pencil box.

Have students write the letter in the salt or sand with their finger, a Q-Tip, or a pointer.

salt tray for alphabet letter writing       sand tray for alphabet letter writing

Optional: If you would like colored sand or salt for your tray, mix a teaspoon of powder tempera paint per cup of sand or salt. Mix the powder paint and salt or sand thoroughly. You may add more powder tempera paint if desired until you get the color you want.

Practice Letters Using Dry Erase Markers with Dry Erase Boards or Write Directly on the Desk or Table

Allowing students to use washable dry erase markers instead of a pencil can be a real motivator, especially if they get to write directly on their desks or the tables! They think that is really cool! (the marker wipes off with a damp sponge or baby wipe). They can also practice on dry erase boards.

writing alphabet letters on desk writing alphabet letters on dry erase board

Practice Alphabet Letters with Sidewalk Chalk 

Go outside and let students write alphabet letters with sidewalk chalk.  Afterwards, give them squirt bottles, name a letter, and have students squirt the letter with the water.

write letters of the alphabet with sidewalk chalk

Write Letters Outside with Paintbrushes and Water

Give students paintbrushes or sponge brushes and allow them to paint letters with water.
An added activity to do is to have students guess how long they think their letters will last in the sun.

paint alphabet letters with water

Gel Bags

My students love using gel bags! We not only use them to practice letters but numbers and shapes as well.

Create gel bags by buying cheap hair gel from the Dollar Store and filling a Ziploc bag. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired or you can also add glitter for some sparkle. Double bag and/or tape the top of the bag to avoid leaks.

Have students either look at a letter card and write it on the gel bag with their finger or a Q-Tip or place the letter card under the gel bag and have them trace the letter with their finger or a Q-Tip.

practicing letters of the alphabet with gel bags practicing letters of the alphabet with gel bags practicing alphabet letters with gel bags practicing alphabet letters with gel bags

Practice Letters with Salt Puffy Paint

Salt puffy paint dries with a 3D look and texture that students love!

Make a batch of salt puffy paint by mixing equal parts of flour, salt, and water.  Add a few drops of food coloring and mix. Place in squeeze condiment bottles. Our local BBQ was nice enough to donate bottles, you can also find them on Amazon here (affiliate link). You can also try using pastry bags or cutting the corner off a Ziploc bag, however these don’t seem to work as well as the bottles.

how to make salt puffy paint    how to make salt puffy paint

Have students write letters with the salt puffy paint or do a letter hunt and have students mark the correct letters with the salt puffy paint.

writing alphabet letters using salt puffy paint   letter hunt using salt puffy paint

Shape Letters Using Play Dough

Have students form letters on play dough mats or have them look at a letter and form it with the play dough on their own. Teach them how to roll the play dough in their hands to form a “snake” and them form it into the letter.

form letters with play dough form letters with play doughform alphabet letters with play dough

Play Dough Letter Mazes

Another option is to make play dough letter mazes.  Flatten play dough on a tray or in a pencil box and press a letter with your thumb in the play dough. Make sure the maze is wide enough to fit a marble.

Have students push the marble through the letter maze with their finger. See how quickly students can do it without letting the marble leave the letter maze.

play dough letter maze play dough letter maze

Use Paint

Spark interest by allowing students to paint the letters. They can use their finger with finger paint or a brush.

paint letters of the alphabet paint letters of the alphabet

If you have an easel available, placing paper on the easel and having students write/paint on the easel promotes shoulder stability which is critical in fine motor development and also helps to promote hand grasp which is important for writing.

paint letters of the alphabet on an easel

Another option is to use pom-pom painters using clothespins and cotton balls. Have students grab a cotton ball with a clothespin, dip it in paint, and paint their letters. Squeezing the clothespins helps develop the appropriate muscle groups needed for successful handwriting.

paint letters with pom pom painters paint letters with pom pom painters

Build Letters with Blocks

Have students build the letters with Legos, blocks, or Snap Cubes.

build letters of the alphabet with Legos build letters of the alphabet with Legos or blocks

Make a Connection to Reading by Finding Letters in Books

Help students understand the connection between letters and words and reading by having Letter Hunts in books and/or around the room.

Explain that letters put together make words that we read. Allow students to find either the featured letter you are working on or a letter that you name in their favorite books or around the classroom in posters, charts, bulletin boards, etc.

child hunting for alphabet letters in a book

Textured Letters

When students trace textured letters with their fingers it helps them feel the difference of the letters.

Two ideas for making textured letters are to cut letters from sandpaper using stencils or to put a thick layer of glue over letter cards. You can also purchase a tactile letter kit from Amazon.

textured letter made with glue textured letter made with sandpaper

Air Writing

Have students write the letter in the air with their fingers or special pointers. Visualizing the letter in the air promotes visual memory and large arm movements.

air writing letters

Form Letters with Dot Painters

Students love using Dot Painters so have them form / write alphabet letters with them.

dot painters letters

Use Visual Cues & Reminders

Remembering 52 letters (uppercase and lowercase) is challenging for young students, so it is important to review frequently and to have visual reminders for students to reference.

These can include alphabet displays, nameplates on their desks that have the alphabet letters on them, alphabet charts, etc.

I give students a mini alphabet handwriting chart that has all the letters with the directional arrow font that shows how to form each letter to keep in their writing folders.  I also place one at our writing center.

alphabet handwriting chart

I also provide students with QR code cards that link to videos that demonstrate how to write the letters. These really help my visual learners that need to see the letters being formed and also alleviates the need for me to keep showing or demonstrating how to write the letters. My students also LOVE QR codes so they really like using them!

alphabet cards with QR codes

Vary Letter Page Practice

Use a variety of letter practice pages to avoid boredom and increase student motivation. You can vary them according to students’ motor skill ability levels or according to the letter difficulty. Use different pages when introducing, practicing, and reviewing letters.

Another option is to have a variety available and let students choose which one they prefer – giving students choice is a great motivator! You can also provide a number of different pages in your writing center for practice.

differentiated letter pages for learning the alphabet differentiated letter pages for learning the alphabet

differentiated letter pages for learning the alphabetdifferentiated letter pages for learning the alphabetdifferentiated letter pages for learning the alphabet

Place Pages Under Desks, On the Wall, or on the Easel

Another way to alleviate boredom and spark interest is to allow students to write on the pages upside down (tape them under the table or desk), hang them on the wall or your painting easel.

This promotes shoulder stability which allows for control of the arm, hand, and fingers and helps with hand grasp for writing. In order to develop shoulder stability, paper needs to be vertical.

shoulder stability

Place Pages in Page Protectors and Use Dry Erase Markers

Another way to change things up and motivate students is to allow them to complete the pages using dry erase markers. As I stated above, young students love writing with markers!

Save paper by placing your letter pages in page protectors. Place some pages in a binder along with dry erase markers and make-up rounds to use as erasers in your writing center or in your small groups. If you need a record of students’ writing, snap a picture.

place letter pages in page protectors

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If you would like to use the differentiated cards and letter pages shown in this post with your students they are available here.

Differentiated Alphabet Letter Pages and Cards

Here are a few comments from other teachers who have used these alphabet pages and cards in their classrooms:

“So great for the variety of skill levels in my room.” – Megan S.

“Excellent package for working with the alphabet. Love the ideas that went with the worksheets. Thanks.” – Beth S.

“This item is PERFECT for my primary autism class. Most are learning the alphabet and this is great to use along with hands on activities.” – Sharon B.

“Thanks a bunch!!Now I don’t have to search for letter of the week activities for the whole week!!!” – Cassie B.

“My favorite thing about this is how it will address all my learners. Thank you!!” – Nanette F.

“Great for differentiation for some of my firsties still working on letters!” – Amy D.

“I use this daily for letter of day activities!” – Kayla R.

“Love the differentiation!” – Kristin W.

“These are great!! Love the variation and that they can be used with all skill levels!”

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How I Motivated Students to Learn Their Alphabet Letters with Brag Tags / Rewards & Books

How to Use 2 Classic Card Games for Differentiated Alphabet Practice 

 

End of the year bulletin board and craft

End of the Year Bulletin Boards & Craftivities with Writing Prompts

This post contains my favorite end of the school year craftivities and bulletin board displays that I have used over the years.

I love doing creative writing craftivities that help students reflect on the school year and then showcasing their work with pride in our classroom or hallway with a cute display! Parents, teachers, & students all enjoy reading about our favorite memories or seeing how much we have learned this year.  The displays also make perfect decorations for our graduation ceremony and end of the school year celebration.

If you are interested in using any of these end of the year displays in your classroom and want to save time creating them, the patterns, printables, detailed instructions, & bulletin board titles/letters are available in a money-saving bundle pack here OR individually by theme: Spring, Beach, Graduation.

This Year was “TOAD”-ally Cool! & “Un-FROG-ettable” Memories Frog Craftivity and Bulletin Board

End of the year bulletin board and craft

I must admit that this is one of my favorites! We usually do a frog unit towards the end of the year so it fits in perfectly with our theme!

To make the frogs, I first fold paper plates in half and have each student paint the top green and the inside pink.

end of the school year frog craft

Then while the plates are drying, students cut out their frog’s legs, arms, eyes, and tongue and draw/write about their favorite memory from the school year on their “My Favorite Memory” lily pads.  I let students choose whether they write directly on the lily pad or write/draw on a frame that they glue to their lily pad.

When the plates are dry, they glue their frogs together.

They look so cute on display in our classroom!  Here is another title you can use:

end of the year bulletin board

We Had an “Un-BEE-lievable” Year! Bee Craftivity & Class Display

End of the year classroom display

This cute, bee-themed bulletin board / classroom display will get your students “buzzing” about their favorite memories and accomplishments of the school year.

Prior to making our bees I wrote “I liked” across the top of an anchor chart and “I learned” across the top of another anchor chart.  We discussed favorite memories from the school year and I wrote them under the “I liked” heading.  We also discussed some things that the students were proud of learning and I wrote them under the “I learned” heading.  I gave the students the choice of which heading to use on their bees or they could use both or make two bees.

Students cut out the bee body and colored the stripes black starting with the first stripe at the top.

I gave students two different options for wings, white construction paper or wax paper that resembled the transparent appearance of bee’s wings. They cut out the wings of their choice along with antennas and a stinger and attached them to their bee bodies.

Then students referred to the anchor charts and wrote what they liked or learned this school year in the yellow lines of the bee body and drew a face for their bee on the top.

This Year Flew By! Kites Writing Craftivity & Bulletin Board

end of the year bulletin board

Students will be flying high after they reflect on all that they learned during the year!

There are 2 different ways that students can make their kites – they can write and/or draw what they learned on the kite itself OR they can write individual things that they learned on each kite tail.

This Year Has Been Buckets of Fun! Sand Bucket Craftivity & Bulletin Board

end of the school year bulletin board, classroom display

I use this display when our end of the year, graduation theme is the beach.

Each student makes a sand bucket and shovel.  Students can choose whether to write their names on the their shovels or on their buckets.  I provide a number of different art supplies from which students can choose to decorate their buckets (glitter, paint, crayons, markers, dot painters, etc.).  I also bring in sand and allow students to glue sand in the top of their buckets.

They write and draw about a fun activity or event from the school year and then glue their handle and shovel to their buckets.

We Had a Ball This Year! Beach Ball Craftivity & Classroom Display

end of the school year classroom display

This is another personal favorite of mine not only because I love how they turn out but now we create them digitally using Pic Kids (Pic Collage)!

Students first used the Clip tool to crop their pictures to a circle shape and then placed them in the center of the beach ball (a pattern that I provided and the students set as the background).

Then students used the text feature and either pictures from the school year stored on the camera roll, stickers, or web search pictures to complete each writing prompt on the beach balls.

To save ink, you can use a black and white beach ball pattern, print them, and then have students color in each section or use a colored pattern and print the full-color versions.

If you don’t want to have students create the beach balls digitally, they can complete them by hand as well.

end of the year writing craftivity

“Sea” What We Have Learned! Fish Craft & Bulletin Board

end of the year bulletin board

For this end of the year display I combined a favorite fish craft with a writing prompt.

To make their fish, students first painted a paper plate. While their plates were drying, they cut out their bubbles and wrote “I learned to” in the first bubble and then what they learned in the other two.

The next day, students cut a v-shape for the mouth and then glued the cut out piece to the other end for the fish tail.  They then glued cut up cupcake liners to their fish as fins.

This Year Has Been a Real Treat! Dog Craftivity & End of the Year Bulletin Board

end of the year bulletin board Dogs

As a dog lover, of course I had to do a dog themed end of the year display to match my room theme!

This craft was simple to do and turned out so adorable! Students simply wrote something they liked about the school year on the dog bone and then colored and cut out their dogs.

Smart Cookies Craft & End of the Year Bulletin Board

end of the school year bulletin board

This end of the school year display turned out yummy LOL!  I had students glue icing on a cookie pattern that was entitled “I’m a smart cookie!”.  Then they glued their pictures in the center and wrote things that they can do now that they could not do at the beginning of the year.  Afterwards, they had the choice of adding construction paper sprinkles, dot painter dots, or fingerprint dot decorations to their cookies.

Grinning Graduates Graduation Craft & Bulletin Board

graduation bulletin board

I have been doing this graduation bulletin board for many, many years and it is always a parent favorite!

Students color a face to resemble their own and glue a graduation hat to it. I have done the hat tassels 2 different ways – a paper cut out and a simple yarn tassel that is poked through a small hole in the hat and taped to the back.

Students then write and/or draw a favorite memory from the school year on their certificates, cut them out along with hands, and attach them to their face.

end of the year graduation craft & writing activity

If you would like the patterns, printables, detailed instructions with pictures, and bulletin board titles/letters for each of the end of the year bulletin boards shown above they are available in a money-saving bundle pack. Click here for details.

End of the Year Craftivities & Bulletin Boards Bundle

You can also purchase them individually according to theme.

End of the Year Bulletin Board & Craftivities Kit – Spring Theme (Frogs, Bees, Kites)

end of the year bulletin boards and craftivities

End of the Year Bulletin Board & Craftivities Kit – Beach Theme 3 Ideas

End of the Year Bulletin Boards & Craftivities Beach Theme

End of the Year, Graduation Bulletin Board & Craftivities Kit – 3 Ideas

coversquare

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Easter Peeps play dough indredients

Easter Peeps Play Dough & Learning Activities

Easter Peeps Play Dough & Learning Activities

I saw several recipes for Easter Peeps play dough on Pinterest and had to try it for my class! By far the easiest one with the best results was from 123 Homeschool 4 Me. It was super simple (I’m talking like 2 minutes to make!) and was the best consistency.

Making the Easter Peeps Play Dough

All you do is place 5 Peeps, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1 tablespoon of Crisco in a microwave-safe bowl.

Easter Peeps play dough indredients

Place it in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir.  Let it cool for a minute, and then knead it.  That’s it! Super simple!

how to make Easter Peeps play dough

The only thing is it only makes a small amount of play dough and I needed more for my class.

Easter Peeps Play Dough Yellow

So I made a few more batches of the yellow and then decided to try blue bunny Peeps.

Easter Peeps Playdough Ingredients Blue

The blue turned out a pretty pastel color!

Blue Easter Peeps Play Dough

Using the Easter Peeps Play Dough for Learning Activities

My students LOVED it!  We used it in our math groups with our spring counting mats to practice numbers and counting.  Students rolled small balls of the Easter Peeps play dough using their thumbs and forefingers which was terrific fine motor practice and placed them in the ten frames! They thought the blue looked like robin eggs :).

Counting Practice with Easter Peeps Playdough

We also used the Easter Peeps play dough for subtraction smash (a student favorite)! If you aren’t familiar with subtraction smash, students use the play dough as a manipulative to solve subtraction problems. I usually have my students either write the subtraction problem on their dry erase boards or on their desks with a dry erase marker (it wipes right off). They then make the correct number of play dough balls (the first number in the equation) and line them up. Then they smash the correct number of play dough balls (the 2nd number in the equation) with their fists. The number of play dough balls still standing is the answer.

Easter Peeps Playdough Subtraction Smash

A similar phonics activity is to use the Easter Peeps play dough for CVC word practice.  Students write a CVC word from a list on their dry erase boards and place a Peeps play dough ball under each letter. As they say the sound of each letter, they smash the corresponding play dough ball with their fist and then they blend the sounds together while swiping up the smashed Peeps play dough balls.

Of course my students also just wanted to play and mold it, so I placed some in a play dough center along with our play dough toys and cutters.  We also used it to make Easter shapes for math word problems/stories.

Easter Peeps Play Dough shapes

After use, simply wrap it up in saran wrap.  If it gets hard, place it in the microwave for a few seconds.  This really was a surprisingly easy play dough recipe and a great use for Easter Peeps!

Easter Peeps Play Dough yellow and blue

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Easter student gift tag egg shaped

Easter Student Gifts & Gift Tags

Easter Student Gifts & Gift Tags

Today I am sharing some favorite Easter gift tags that can be added to any Easter treat to easily create a special surprise for your students. Simply attach them to baggies filled with chocolate eggs or bunnies, jelly beans, Easter Peeps, trinkets, or your favorite Easter surprise.  If you like any of the sayings and would like to save time creating your own tags, you can find the Easter gift tags used in this post here.

“Some-bunny” Thinks You’re “Eggs-tra” Special! Easter Gift Tag

Easter student gift tag

“Hoppy” Easter to an “Eggs-ellent” Student! Easter Gift Tag

Easter student gift tag - Hoppy Easter

To An “Eggs-tra” Special Student! Egg-Shaped Tag

Easter student gift tag - "Eggs-tra" Special

“Hoppy” Easter to an “Eggs-ellent” Student! Egg-Shaped Easter Tag

Easter student gift tag egg shaped

An Easter Treat for One of My Favorite Peeps! Gift Tag

Easter student gift tag - Peeps

“Hoppy” Easter to One of My Favorite Peeps! Student Gift Tag

Easter student gift tag - Peeps

“Some-bunny” is Very “Hoppy” to Have You as a Student! Easter Treat Bag Topper

Easter student treat bag topper

“Hoppy” Easter to “Some-bunny” Special! Round Student Gift Tag

Easter student gift tag round

If you would like to use these Easter Student Gift Tags for your students they are available here.

Easter Student Gift Tags Editable

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St. Patrick's Day leprechaun writing craftivity

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts & Writing Craftivity

Incorporating crafts into the curriculum allows students to create personalized and original pieces that showcase their creativity and are a fun way to work on fine motor skills.

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite writing craftivities that connect the St. Patrick’s Day holiday to students’ own lives making learning more meaningful. I’m also including 2 fun crafts that can be used as cute seasonal decor to make your classroom look more festive.

Leprechaun Writing Craftivity

This activity combines language arts instruction with a fun St. Patrick’s Day craft. We completed the writing prompt first during group time.  I like giving students choice in their writing so they got to choose from 2 writing prompts:

If I had a pot of gold…
I would hide my pot of gold…

We had been talking and learning about leprechaun lore so this activity allowed the students to be “in the leprechaun’s shoes” so to speak and think about what they would do if they had a pot of gold or where they would hide it to keep others from finding it.

After completing the writing portion of the activity, we got to work on creating the leprechaun. We used paper plates for the head because when completed it gives the craft a sort of 3D effect.

I have been doing this craftivity for several years and have done it 2 different ways – with kid drawn faces and with real student photos.

I’ve also used different methods for making the beard – tissue paper squares with my younger pre-k students and tear art with my kinders.  I really like the fine motor practice that students get with the tear art method!  Both turn out cute!

Students then attached their leprechaun faces to construction paper and glued on their writing prompts and leprechaun hands.

They make such a cute classroom or hallway display!

St. Patrick's Day leprechaun writing craftivity

I’m Lucky To Be Me St. Patrick’s Day Craftivity

I like this craftivity because it requires students to reflect on their lives and what makes them unique and special.

I’ve also done this activity 2 different ways – using student names and using student photos.  After a class discussion, students wrote 4 reasons they felt lucky to be themselves (1 on each leaf of a “lucky” four leaf clover).  I then displayed them on our classroom door with the title “Mrs. O’Block’s Lucky Charms” (sorry I couldn’t locate a picture of my door at the time of this writing).

Shamrock Suncatchers Craft

These suncatcher crafts really make your room look festive and brighten up your windows (if you don’t have windows they can be hung from the ceiling)!

I traced a shamrock pattern onto green construction paper then cut it out (I folded the paper in half and cut multiple shamrocks at once to save time).  I then glued it on wax paper.

I gave students cut up tissue paper squares in various shades of green, watered down glue, and paintbrushes.  They painted on some glue to the back of their shamrocks and glued on the squares until it was covered.

I Can Make Green! Craft

In the St. Patrick’s Day PowerPoint that I show students they learn that yellow and blue make green so I wanted to let them try it out for themselves.

I have used both watercolor paint and watered down tempera paint for this craft and both have worked well.  With my younger pre-k students I give them a small container of yellow paint and a small container of blue paint (they choose from light blue or dark blue). I then have them add the blue paint to the yellow paint a little bit at a time and mix them together until they get the shade of green that they like. They paint their four leaf clovers with their newly created green paint.

With my kindergarten students I have them mix the paint directly on their clovers to create various shades of green.  First they paint a small section yellow or blue, rinse their brush in water, then paint over it with the other color and mix together.  They discover that using more yellow gives you lighter shades of green and more blue gives you darker shades of green.  The four leaf clovers they create have various shades of green and turn out very pretty and each one is unique.

I’ve used 2 options for displaying each child’s green shamrock – letting them make their names with glitter or gluing on their photos.

If you would like to do any of these crafts with your students and save planning time, the patterns and more detailed instructions are in my St. Patrick’s Day Crafts resource.

St. Patrick's Day Crafts (Writing Craftivity Pack)

If you would like additional activities you may be interested in my St. Patrick’s Day Bundle Pack that includes a PowerPoint Presentation, math, science, and language arts activities, crafts, & student gift tags. Click here for more details.

St. Patrick's Day Bundle

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A Sneaky Way to Teach Students about St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day Craft Ideas & Writing Craftivity

rainbow writing craftivity - A rainbow is...

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Experiment, Math Activity, Writing Craftivity & Game

I like to teach about rainbows and the colors of the rainbow around St. Patrick’s Day since part of the lore of the leprechaun is that he sometimes hides his pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  Here are a few of my favorite rainbow activities.

Rainbow Science Experiment

This simple experiment helps students understand what is needed to form a rainbow and why we don’t always see rainbows even if there is both rain and sunshine.

Materials Needed:

A clear glass or container
Water
Small mirror
Direct sunlight

Fill the glass or container with water.
Place the mirror in the container of water at an angle.
Position the glass so the sunlight is shining directly at the mirror.

rainbow science experiment

Adjust the angle and position of the mirror until you see a rainbow on the wall or ceiling (if you don’t have a white or plain wall, shine it on a sheet of white poster board).

Move the mirror so that the rainbow disappears.  Ask students what you did to make the rainbow no longer visible (moved the mirror).  Explain this is the reason we don’t always see rainbows every time there is sunshine and rain.  The sunshine has to shine through the rain at just the right angle in order for a rainbow to be visible just like the sunshine has to reflect through the water at just the right angle.

Move the glass out of the sunlight and ask students why you can no longer see a rainbow.

I usually let groups of students experiment with the mirror and water on their own to see if they can make the rainbow appear. Afterwards they complete this printable page.

St. Patrick's Day rainbow science experiment printable page

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Math Activity

This is a simple, fun math activity that is a student favorite because it involves food and they get to munch any leftovers LOL!  It uses Fruit Loops cereal and reviews math skills and the colors of the rainbow.

Give a pair or small group of students a container or pile of Fruit Loops cereal (make sure there are cereal pieces in all of the colors).

Students make a rainbow using the cereal ensuring the colors are in the correct order (since there is no indigo in Fruit Loops we just do blue then purple/violet).  You can have the students glue on the cereal if you wish to display or keep their rainbows or you can let them build the rainbow and then eat the cereal as a reward after finishing the math portion of the activity.

After making their rainbows, students then count how many cereal pieces of each color they used and answer questions such as:
What color had the most pieces?
What color had the least number of pieces?
How many more red pieces than blue pieces did you use?

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Counting Math Activity

Rainbow Writing Craftivity – A Rainbow is…

I really like integrating crafts into our curriculum.  They allow students to create unique and personalized pieces that show their creativity and they are also excellent for working on their fine motor skills.

This rainbow writing craftivity relates the colors of the rainbow with students’ environments making the learning more meaningful.

For each color of the rainbow, students write and/or draw something of that color on a rainbow color strip.  They then put the strips in order and glue them to a cloud entitled “A rainbow is…”.  (Since my kinders are familiar with the color word purple more than violet and indigo I use a purple color word strip.  You can replace it with an indigo and a violet color word strip to resemble the real colors of the rainbow.)

rainbow writing craftivity - A rainbow is...

I love how these look hanging from our ceiling!

rainbow writing craftivity - A rainbow is...

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Relay Race Game

This is a fun game that gets the students up and moving and practices the colors of the rainbow.  It is played like a relay race so you need a large, open playing area.

Divide students into teams.  Have each team stand in a line on one side of the playing area.

Place a pile of shamrock rainbow color cards (a card for each color of the rainbow) for each team on the opposite side of the playing area.

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Relay Race Game

On your signal, the first player from each team runs to their pile of shamrock rainbow color cards, picks one up, runs back and tags the next person in line on their team. The next person then runs to the pile, selects a card, runs back and tags the next player.  Play continues until all shamrock rainbow color cards have been picked up.

Once a team has all of their shamrock rainbow color cards, they can place them in a line in the correct order (colors of the rainbow).

St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Rainbow Relay Race Game

The first team to correctly put their shamrock color cards in order is the winner.

If you liked the printables used in these activities and would like to use them in your classroom they are part of my St. Patrick’s Day Bundle which includes a PowerPoint Presentation, science, math, language arts activities, crafts, student gift tags, & a game.

St. Patrick's Day Bundle

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St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Science Experiment, Writing Craftivity, Math Activity, & Game