Earth Day Fun and Freebies

Fun Earth Day activities, crafts, books and a freebie to use in your classroom!

     Welcome Back Friends! Happy Spring and Happy Earth Day! I love this time of year. There are so many fun activities to do to celebrate the excitement that Mother Earth brings to us in the spring. Today I want to tell you about a few of my very favorite activities to do for Earth Day, and to bring you a little FREEBIE to thank you for stopping by!


Fun Earth Day activities, crafts, books and a freebie to use in your classroom!

     My favorite Earth Day craft is a whole class, cooperative craft and it is a magazine collage of the earth. The most time consuming prep for this craft is 1. collecting old magazines and 2. cutting up any pages that have shades of blue, green, or brown into various sized squares. (Tip: Parent helpers and older students are FABULOUS for this part of the activity!)
     Next, you need to draw the earth onto a blue piece of  bulletin board paper. I shaded in the parts that were land with pencil, so that the students wouldn't get confused as they were working. Then let the kids get started gluing on the magazine squares. We usually work on our Earth throughout the entire week of Earth Day doing a little at a time. The students love that we are upcycling the magazines to make something new and beautiful, and that they get to work on a project as a whole class.

Fun Earth Day activities, crafts, books and a freebie to use in your classroom!

     When the project is complete, I mount it onto black bulletin board paper and put it up for display.


Fun Earth Day activities, crafts, books and a freebie to use in your classroom!
   
     One of the other things I love about Earth Day is all the great books there are to go along with it! Some of my very favorites are: Just A Dream by Chris Van Allsburg, Someday A Tree by Eve Bunting, Recycle Every Day by Nancy Wallace, Oil Spill  by Melvin Berger, Where Does All The Garbage Go? by Melvin Berger, and A Pig Tale by Olivia Newton John (Yes....GREASE...SANDY...Olivia Newton John).

Fun Earth Day activities, crafts, books and a freebie to use in your classroom!

     My favorite Earth Day activity, is to have my students go outside and read to the trees. Yep, READ TO THE TREES!!! What is better than listening to firsties read? NOTHING! So it is the perfect way to celebrate all that Mother Earth does for us. Our trees LOVE it...and I swear they stand taller every year because of it!

Fun Earth Day activities, crafts, books and a freebie to use in your classroom!
     
     To help your students celebrate Earth Day while they are reading to the trees, I have some Earth Day Bookmark FREEBIES for you! You can get them HERE.

Fun Earth Day activities, crafts, books and a freebie to use in your classroom!

    Let me know if your students read to the trees or make a magazine collage earth. I would love to hear about it. Also, what are some of your favorite Earth Day read alouds?
Have a Great Earth Day!

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Smart Beads For The Win!


Are you looking for a fun, cheap, and easy idea for positive reinforcement to use in your classroom? Your students will love earning smart bead rewards!



     Hello Friends! Thanks for stopping by! I have a short little post for you today all about a really fun and inexpensive way that I motivate/celebrate my students and the hard work they do each day! I call them Smart Beads, and they are a HOT COMMODITY in my classroom!
     I have to stop here for a moment to share that this is one of the EXACT reasons why I LOVE teaching first grade... I can go to the Dollar Store and buy 4 "cheapo" plastic bead necklaces for $1.00, and rename them Smart Beads, and suddenly they are worth more than The Hope Diamond! #firstiesarethebest #firstieswillchangeyourlife
     Anyway, my students know that they can earn Smart Beads in my classroom by using their best Brain Building Behaviors in class and providing SUPER SMART answers during classroom instruction. So Smart Beads become a WIN-WIN for everyone involved! I win, because my students are focused and paying attention (well...most of the students...these aren't MAGIC beads after all), and they are participating in the lessons. They win, because they get to show off their smarts in front of their classmates, and get to wear VALUABLE, SHINY, BLING around their necks for the rest of the day!
 
Are you looking for a fun, cheap, and easy idea for positive reinforcement to use in your classroom? Your students will love earning smart bead rewards!

     Along with the beads, the student also gets a certificate to take home explaining all about their reason for being celebrated in class. If the beads become a distraction, then I have the student put the beads on my desk so that they can still see the beads, and they still have the certificate to show they received recognition.


     If you think this is something you would like to try in your classroom, hit your favorite Dollar Store or Party Store and stock up on some BLING! I have added a link to the  Smart Bead Award Certificate below. Just copy onto colored paper.

                              Click HERE for your SMART BEAD AWARD FREEBIE!
Are you looking for a fun, cheap, and easy idea for positive reinforcement to use in your classroom? Your students will love earning smart bead rewards!


     The Brain Building Behaviors I refer to in my classroom are just another way of saying "whole body listening". I do repeated readings of the social story Smart Students Use Brain Building Behavior and I hang Brain Building Behavior Posters in the classroom for reference. The story explains the importance of paying close attention in class so that your brain can take in all of the important information. You can find this product in my TPT store HERE.

Get your students to listen using their whole brain and whole body with these brain building behaviors. This social story teaches students all about the importance of paying attention!



     I would love to know what you do in your classroom to motivate/celebrate your students hard work each day. Also, if you decide to spring for the BLING and try Smart Beads in your classroom, I would love to hear about it!
     My dear friend Emily over at Polka Dots Please uses beads in a slightly different way in her classroom. Hop over to her blog to read all about the fun way she is motivating her students with BLING!

http://morepolkadotsplease.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-magic-of-helper-beads.html




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Let Creativity Bloom With Some Flower Power!


Looking for a fun, creative, easy to make flower craft for kids? This simple,colorful paper plate flower craft is the perfect way to welcome spring!

Happy Spring Friends! Even though it is SNOWING LIKE CRAZY here in Ohio right now, I wanted to share with you this really fun craft I did with my firsties! We made an adorable flower garden mural complete with paper plate flowers and wooden bead bugs! Here is how we did it:
     Materials: paper plates, tempera paint, fingerpainting paper, green construction paper, glue sticks, scissors
     Day One: I gave each child a full sized paper plate to paint yellow. ( I wanted to use small plates, but in classic "Mrs. Romo Form" I decided to do this craft on my drive to school THAT SAME DAY, and I could only scrounge up 8 small paper plates, so full sized plates it was! #unfilteredclassroom) I then had them add some orange accents to their plates so that it would look more like a center of a flower. We put those in the drying racks and then began the next step.
     I gave each child one sheet of fingerpainting paper and two different colors of paint at each table. We talked about patterns and then each child painted a pattern of their choice onto their paper. We put those in the drying racks also.

Looking for a fun, creative, easy to make flower craft for kids? This simple,colorful paper plate flower craft is the perfect way to welcome spring!

     Day Two: I returned the paper plates to the students and gave them each a precut stem and two leaves. I had them glue those onto the backs of their plates.
     I then passed back the painted pattern papers and had them cut that into long strips. (Some children felt comfortable doing this themselves and some wanted assistance. I am big on having my students do things independently as much as possible, so this was no big deal to them.)

Looking for a fun, creative, easy to make flower craft for kids? This simple,colorful paper plate flower craft is the perfect way to welcome spring!

     I then showed them how to fold the strips in half and glue the ends together and then onto the back of the plate.
Looking for a fun, creative, easy to make flower craft for kids? This simple,colorful paper plate flower craft is the perfect way to welcome spring!

They turned out absolutely FABULOUS!!!

Looking for a fun, creative, easy to make flower craft for kids? This simple,colorful paper plate flower craft is the perfect way to welcome spring!

Looking for a fun, creative, easy to make flower craft for kids? This simple,colorful paper plate flower craft is the perfect way to welcome spring!

     As an afterthought, I pulled out some wooden beads and pipecleaners and the kids fashioned some bugs to put in the flower garden. (I am sorry I don't have a picture of that process, but if you look closely in the picture below you can see their adorable bugs crawling through the garden.)
     Materials: various sized wooden beads, black pipe cleaners
     I gave each child two pipe cleaners (one uncut, and one cut into 3 pieces) and had them choose three wooden beads. We then constructed the bugs. We folded the uncut pipe cleaner in half and threaded the "abdomen" bead onto the pipe cleaner. (We turned up the folded end so the bead would not fall off.) We then put on the "thorax" bead and the "head" bead. We twisted the two ends around each other and curled the antennae down. We then added the legs by folding the 3 small pieces in half and then positioning them between the body parts and twisting them so they were secure.

Looking for a fun, creative, easy to make flower craft for kids? This simple,colorful paper plate flower craft is the perfect way to welcome spring!

 I hope I gave you a little crafting inspiration to get you into the swing of SPRING! Have you done any fun crafts for spring? I would love to hear about them!

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