Wednesday, May 27, 2015

End of Year Slideshow Tips

Who out there does an end of year slideshow for their students or class? I have been doing it for 4 years now and just simply love it....the kids love it....the parents love it....and it's such a nice way to capture and keepsake your child's memories and your student and teaching memories each year! 

I use Windows Movie Maker to make my DVD EOY slideshows. It's so super easy that even if you aren't very computer savvy, you can still figure it out! I upgraded a few month ago to Windows 8 and I did find though, that movie maker does not come installed on Windows 8. I panicked at first when I started to make my movie yesterday!!! What!! No Movie Maker!! HELP GOOGLE! And google calmed me down right away....You have to install it yourself on Windows 8. Really? But it was no hassle! Google came through again and found this how to video....and then I downloaded movie maker from their link. Piece of cake!

Inserting pictures...also piece of cake! Now for the music. All of the music I had stored from previous years was gone due to a computer crash. So I knew this was going to be time consuming. Starting from scratch again. My original music 3 years ago had come from, but when I tried to download my songs from there my security system and firewall kept denying it. Then I decided to try itunes, but movie maker would not accept the file type of the music files from itunes. So google saved the day again!!! They referred me to this and I was on my way in no time! No sign up required, no pop ups, hassle free, and it's FREE! Just type in the song you'd like and then download the mp3 version to your computer. 

My slideshow has 265 pictures and is 30 minutes long. This will give you an idea of how many pictures you'll want to include in yours. I don't think I'd want to go much over 30 minutes. 

I spent some time searching for the perfect songs, so if you want to save some time, here are the songs I inserted in my slideshow and I downloaded all of them for free from 

1. You've Got a Friend - Toy Story
2. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo - Louis Armstrong
3. Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
4. Happy - Pharrell Williams
5. We Are the World - Joe Cocker, Celine Dion,...
6. Best Day of my Life - Glee Cast
7. Brave - Sara Bareilles
8. What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
9. Goodbye Song for Kids - Unknown Artist

You can also save yourself some time by downloading and using my DVD cover {here}. Just print, cut, and place inside a jewel DVD case. 

Good luck with your EOY slideshow! Hopefully my tips will save you some time!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Simple After School Teacher Bridal Shower

While you may think this is not teaching actually is! I gave a bridal shower to a teacher colleague at school last week....AT that's teacher related, right!!? Even as teachers, we have to do things like this to support one another even away from school. I live in a rural community, that is also a tourist attraction, so most of the people that live here are not from here and have no family here! We have to stick together and be family for one another! 

So anyway, the shower turned out so awesome that I wanted to share it with other teachers to inspire them to support their teacher friends and offer some tips on how to pull off the easiest shower at school ever! 

Three of us hosted the shower. We only met once to discuss the shower throughout the planning. I emailed both parties with what supplies and responsibilities needed to be handled...each one responded volunteering for what they would be responsible for. Teacher #1 handled all the decor, plates, cups, napkins, and agreed to provide one game and game prize. Teacher #2 did one game and game prize plus the dessert display and drink, and Teacher #3 (that be me) did one game, game prize, finger foods, and party favors. 

We had 30 minutes to throw it all together after putting our students on the bus that day and it couldn't have worked out more perfectly! We all showed up with what we signed up for and wahlah.....

Our cupcake's supposed to look like a wedding dress!! Not bad for our first!

 We took up a group collection and purchased everything from the Bride's registry at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Their gift wrap is beautiful!  

 Kissing Booth Game
Guess how many kisses are in the jar! Winner takes home kisses. Easy game and no need to purchase a prize!

 Candy Bar Matching Game
This was such a fun game for everyone! And again, no need to purchase a prize because the guests win the candy bars in the basket.
 Guests choose a slip of paper with a saying on it from the right of the list above and try to guess which candy bar it is. Super hit! 

We also played "Guess the Hunk" that Teacher #1 brought, but I totally forgot to take photos of that one. 

Bride's Bucket List

Each guest was given a rock and had to write something on it for the Bride's Bucket List. The bride then read them out loud at the end of the shower! It was fun!

Food Display....simple, but nice! We had a fruit and veggie tray, tortilla chips with 2 dips, cheeseball with crackers, and the cupcakes. 

To the left (not pictured) were the plates, cups, napkins, and fruit water dispenser. 

I also did mini "Sutter Home" wine bottles as a party favor wrapped in tulle and hate that I didn't get a photo of those. 

Here is the "kissing booth" and "bride's bucket list" label if you'd like to use it for a soon to be bride at your school! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

End of Year Gifts, Activities, & Free Labels

Crazy how busy the end of the school year gets. You'd think it'd be the easiest....NOT!!! However, I must say I got a head start this year and am feeling pretty caught up! 

Our balloon countdown is down to 8 days! And the students are loving the surprises inside each balloon!

I finished up my end of the year gifts today!

For my students.....

For my two awesome aides....

Aren't these awesome? I just love these gallon size mason jars! 

 Inside each one is a beach towel, sunscreen stick, Burt's chapstick, Snapple singles, and gum. I also purchased a summer living magazine for each but they were too tall to close the lids. I may strap it on the back with ribbon.
You can get the student and teacher sun labels {here}. 
And for my lovely busdriver! 
She transports my special kiddos to and from school each day and is so caring for all the kids! She goes out of her way to give paperwork to parents for me so I know it makes it home. When I saw this on Pinterest, I knew I had to do it for her. I'm going to let my kids present it to her on the last day when they get on the bus! The stop sign printable is available {here} for free. 

On the last day, we always make english muffin pizzas! Super simple and cheap! Students are dismissed early at 12:25 and NO lunch is served on this day, so it's a perfect fit! With my kids generally eating lunch at 11:45...going until 1ish before eating makes for some hungry kids! 

While our pizzas are cooking, we do our own class awards. This year I am giving out Molly Lynch's Medallion Necklaces for my class awards! 

My student's are going to be way more excited about these than a certificate! Just tie a piece of yarn on each to make a necklace and you're good to go!! I also wrote the date on the back of each for students to keep as a keepsake. 

Our school also has a yearbook signing event on the morning of the last day and rarely do many of my students purchase a yearbook. So they can still participate, I usually make up some type of autograph book for them each year! This year I decided to change it up a little and let them leave with something a little more special, so I purchased autograph hats for this year from Really Good Stuff! 

When I posted this idea on my Facebook page, many said they were too expensive and they could get them cheaper at JoAnn's or Michael's. However, after looking at JoAnn's, they were $3.00 each and they only had 3 in stock! This did not include the fabric markers either! While I paid $30 for 12 of these from RGS, including the markers, it ended up being much cheaper than anywhere else I looked! 

Well now that all the FUN stuff is out of the way, I guess I need to focus on the important, dreadful EOY stuff like my report card comments and sped progress reports! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Summer Countdown with Food Groups

I'm ending the school year with a food group unit, which fits in perfectly since we are doing lots of cooking and eating from my "Cook to Learn" during these last few days of school (13 days left to be exact)......and it will hopefully help my students eat healthier during summer break!   

I finished my food group unit just in time for these last few days and I'm excited to share it with you to use with your students! 

There are a variety of printables with simple cut-n-paste activities to help students learn the 5 food groups; including combination foods. 

A mini-reader, "The Five Food Groups"
A Food Journal 
for students to easily color in and track their meals each day for a week. 

FOUR hands-on and engaging centers!!

You can get it {here}.

And to add in a little can use this icecream 10-day summer countdown! Get it free {here}

Hope your last few weeks are great!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Simple Mother's Day Gift & SpEd Giveaway!

Mother's Day is Sunday!!! My class made these today! They may seem a little silly, but I love how they turned out....and of course they're silly, they're made with silly straws, silly! :)

Here are the items you'll a hot glue gun, not pictured. I was able to purchase everything at Walmart believe it or not!

 The rest is pretty self-explanatory! I used 2 1/2 inch pots and they were only 77 cents each.

Just glue the foam ball inside the pot, insert the straw in the center, glue in moss, and decorate! Be sure to get the foam flowers that are sticky. This requires no gluing for your students and makes for a clean, mess-free craft and no drying time! 

We also made these little seed packets that I had printed from TpT last year! Each one is filled with a pack of flower seeds also purchased from Walmart. This printable is from "Teachings a Hoot." I don't have the direct link to this product, but {here} is the link to her blog. 

So that's Mother's Day this year in my classroom! I think the most favorite Mother's Day gifts my class have ever done are what we made last year....cookbooks and ceramic potholders! You can check that post out {here}. But since I have the same students each year, I have to always change it up! 


These four items you see are just a smidget of what is in this care package that my team over at #weteachsped have put together for one lucky special education teacher!

OVER $100 worth of must-haves!!
And you can enter right HERE!

Hurry....only 23 hours left!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May In A Click & Inspiring End of Year Ideas!

May is already slipping away and it's only the 3rd!! There are so many exciting and fun activities to do this time of year that you've probably already got a list a mile long! But if you are still looking for ideas, you've come to the right place. My "May in a Click" offers some great ideas for Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, and end of the year activities! Everything you need to spice up the month of May is just a click away! Go {here} to download the clickable version of the image above. Each image will take you directly to the freebie or activity link. 

I'm also linking up with Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner to bring you a few more ideas for the month from my top Pinterest Picks! 

Adorable Mother's day craft that is super easy even for little ones! A little note or poem could also be attached!

Holds a mini album--A Project by JYJiggy4JC2 from our Scrapbooking Gallery originally submitted 05/22/07 at 02:57 PM
Just love this idea for giving each student our end of the year DVD or a mini album!!! 

And a super cute end of year gift idea or Teacher Appreciation gift for your colleagues or teacher friends!!
6 Great DIY Gift Ideas {Living Creative Thursday}

I hope you have fun with these ideas!!!

Find more great ideas by checking me out on Pinterest!!

Let the summer break countdown begin!