The I’m Sorry Letter

Do you have students who need help saying they’re sorry? A few of my firsties struggle with understanding how their actions can affect other people’s feelings and the consequences to their choices. When a student needs to be talked to, I do it in private to hear their side of the story. I’ve always felt that they need to write something down once they understand what we’ve talked about, so I created this I’m Sorry letter template to provide structure for their writing. After they’re done, they can also read and give it to the person they wrote to.

You can find my template here. I hope you find it useful!

Place Value Shamrock

Recently, I started posting worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers and it feels SO rewarding every time I make a sale! 

As I’m getting ready for Open House (yes, already!), I created this Place Value Shamrock and I LOVE how it turned out! Before I created it, I tried to find similar products on TPT, but I couldn’t find any that had specifically what I was looking for. I wanted it to different ways to represent 2-digit numbers that are taught in Eureka Math/Engage New York, but the only product that I found didn’t have them. Thus, I created my own, and thought I’d share it on TPT with other teachers that might also want to use it in their classrooms!

I did this activity with my firsties yesterday, and they did such a fantastic job representing numbers in different ways! Maybe I can have them trace their writing using a sharpie and add rainbow colors with crayon to make it more colorful? 🌈☘️

You can find my product here!


Focusing on the Positive Behaviors

My little friends really needed reminders today on how to be ready to learn. We brainstormed ideas, drew and labeled, and wrote sentences to describe our pictures. Finally I turned all our pages into a “book” in case anyone needs to review it in the future.

The kids were on task the whole time and I think they did a wonderful job describing what a learner looks like and does. Now let’s see if they can put it into practice more consistently.

What do you do when your class needs reminders?

Love Bug Valentine Art – Tens & Ones Practice

I recently found a new hobby – posting worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers. I’ve always created worksheets for my students and I share them with my team, but I never thought anyone would actually spend money on them! My (few) sales have been a huge motivation for me to continue to do my best as a teacher. It’s amazing how even though I’m not making big money, the validation just warms my heart!

My students have been learning about place value and counting tens and ones. I was inspired to make this Love Bug Valentine Art below for my kids to practice their math while making a Valentine art. I hope some of you will find the craft a great inclusion to your Valentine’s Day! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click on the image below to purchase the file from my TpT store. 🙂

Chinese New Year Craft 3

It’s the year of the pig and we did a directed draw of a pig! The kids worked really hard on them and they turned out so cute!

I gave directions to how to draw the pig step by step: the head, body, the word 福 (which means “blessing”), then we drew the fire crackers on the side. This student really wanted to make her drawing the best she could!
Once they were happy with their drawings in pencil, they used a sharpie to outline. I told them that they could only color the eyes and nostrils and nothing else.
After that, they colored the pig pink, the decorations red, and a color of their choice for the background.
Here’s mine! 😀
They worked really hard on their drawings and I absolutely LOVE the way they turned out! Can’t wait to show them off to all their families!

Do you do directed draw in your class? It’s really good for the kids to practice their listening, following directions, and patience. Hope this inspires you to do directed draw with your kids, too!

Simple Chinese New Year Paper Cutting Instructions & Template

Chinese New Year is approaching and we are getting more decorations ready for our celebration! This paper cutting is a traditional Chinese art where you fold a paper in half and cut out a character that is symmetrical. We cut the word “spring” for our decoration.

To prep, I outlined half of the word “spring” and made copies on yellow paper. I also cut red construction paper into 9×9 inch squares.
First, you fold the paper in half.
Next, you cut on the lines.
Then, you open the character and glue it on red paper.
And finally, you decorate and there you have it! Easy peasy!

Click the image above if you’d like to purchase my template and instructions!

Regrowing Green Onions

Who doesn’t like free and organic food? If you type “regrowing green onions” on Pinterest or Google, you’ll find so many blogs with instructions on how easy it is to regrow green onions from their roots: after you cut the green part off (the part you eat), put the remaining stem and its roots in water or soil, and you will have an endless supply of green onions FOREVER! Not quite… What I haven’t found is that the new green onion plants grow thinner and thinner over time.  Maybe it’s because I need to learn more about it myself, but I’ve been growing green onions in my balcony for about four years now and I’ve picked a few tricks here and there.

My green onions always turn out this thin after about a year.

Tips and Tricks I’ve Picked Up:

  • Let the roots grow in water before putting it in soil. If the roots are too short, the plant would not get enough water; thus it will not grow as quickly or even dry out during the hotter seasons. Be sure to change the water out and wash the slime off the plants every few days or it’ll start to smell and rot.
  • Grow the plant in soil instead of water. Even though they grow fine in water in the beginning, it’ll start to grow weaker over time, or even rot. It’s best to repot them in soil once the roots are longer.
  • Water only when needed. If the soil looks wet, 忍下手 be patient, and wait until the top of the soil is dry. I use 洗米水 rice water to provide more nutrients, since I eat rice all the time. I just save the water I use to wash the rice to water my plants with. If you’re not going to use the water right away, you can store it in the fridge. Don’t leave it out in room temperature or it’ll start to ferment.
  • Trim the plant only when it’s long. I’m guilty of this, because I eat green onions all the time. If you don’t give them enough time to grow, they just keep getting thinner and thinner. So once again, be patient!

Time to get new green onions

It was time for me to buy new green onions since I didn’t have enough to cook with. I saved the stems and placed them in water.

This is what it looked like after about a week.
The left one has been in water for about a week and look how long it’s grown! The right one is freshly cut. It’s time to repot the ones with longer roots.
I just use a chopstick to poke holes and place my plants in them.
This is what my pot looks like now, my old and new green onions mixed together. Note to self: don’t shake the green onions too hard after washing them or they’ll bend over.

Now I have green onions again. I hope you try to grow your own green onions, too!

Chinese New Year Craft

Do you teach about Chinese New Year in your classroom? I’m so happy to be able to share my Chinese culture and language with my 1st graders. We are busy preparing for the Chinese New Year Celebration coming up real soon – learning songs, dance moves, and making decorations for the special day. Here’s an easy decoration we made last week!

During Chinese New Year, red scrolls are hung on each side of the door as decorations. The writings on them are almost always a four-character wish, like wishing you safety as you walk in and out, or wishing you good health like horses and dragons. On the scrolls my students made, it simply says happy new year. 🙂

This craft was super easy. I just prepped pictures of a pig, 新年快樂 in bubble letters, and red paper. It was fun to watch the kids trying to arrange the four characters in order and right-side-up. That was a challenging task for some! In the end, they all did a fantastic job putting it all together. I can’t wait to decorate the MPR with their artwork!

Word Wall Ideas

It’s almost winter break and you have all these projects that have been put on hold due to lesson planning, assessments, and grading. You place them all in a box to take home, thinking you’ll have two long weeks to get them done, right? NO! I brought my box of STUFF to my car, parked my car in the garage, and it ended up staying there the whole entire two weeks! I brought it back to school untouched on Monday, our teacher work day.

One project DID make it into my home (because it was small enough to fit in my lunch bag) and was done the evening I got home! Last August, we started a new phonics program that had Word Wall Words embedded in the lessons. I absolutely love the book’s ideas, but making time to create material has been my struggle. I’ve been meaning to get the words printed on colorful paper, laminated, and cut out since the beginning of the school year, but it never made it to the top of my to-do list (speaking of to-do lists, I found a new way to write things down and finally helps me get things done. I’ll talk about that in another post). A quick solution I used to get the specific words ready for the lessons was writing them on sticky notes. I always knew it was going to be temporary, so I’m happy that this project is now DONE (for now)!

While watching a couple episodes Fuller House, I was able to finish the kindergarten and 1st grade units 1 & 2 words, and couldn’t wait to get back to school to put them up! Teachers’ work day came, I put the words up, and I loved how it turned out so much that I printed out the words from unit 3 right away!

I’m so blessed to have parent volunteers come and help with laminating at our school. They even helped me cut out each word individually. What a time saver! 

I still wanted to cut out each word on the lines, because it saves more space on the wall. 
Then I stuck magnet on the back of each word.

 

 

I would like to recommend this Adhesive Magnetic Tape to everybody! I learned about this product two years ago from a colleague and it’s been life-changing! Back in the day, I used to spend time cutting up magnetic tape using scissors, peeling off the white backing, and getting my scissors all sticky just to stick some magnets to the back of cards. Now I just pull, rip, and stick!

If you also want to get one, make sure it’s the kind with a metal blade. The first one I got had a plastic blade and was really hard to rip. This one from Lakeshore tears so much more easily!

 

This is how thin the magnet is and it’s strong enough to hold the cards on the whiteboard! I can easily stack them up without them falling apart!

Tips for an effective and organized Word Wall:
  1. Organize your words by rainbow color! My kindergarten words are all in pink, first grade unit 1 in orange, unit 2 in yellow, and so forth. For my Chinese Word Wall, I have kindergarten words in pink, trimester 1 words in orange, trimester 2 words in yellow, and trimester 3 in green. That way, I can easily organize my words at the end of the year and find them again when I need them the following year.
  2. Use colors make you happy! I’ve tried different kinds of paper, and my favorite kind is the Astrobright paper! They are so bright and anything on these papers look so much more professional. 🙂
  3. Use the right paper thickness! If your school has one of those big laminator machines, the plastic is usually really thin, so using card stock would keep your words more flat (or flatter?). I learned the hard way that if you use thin paper, the edges tend to curl and don’t look as good(like my Chinese Word Wall words). If you use small laminating sheets, using regular paper would be enough. Laminated card stock is really hard to cut. Been there, done that. 😉
  4. Ask for parent volunteers or cut while watching your favorite show! If you don’t really mind the quality of your words or if you have crafty parents that you can trust, you can always ask for volunteers. I’m picky and I rather do the cutting myself, and I do that while watching my favorite shows.
  5. Use thin magnetic tape! The magnetic tape I use is so thin that I can put them in one stack without them falling apart. It’s also very easy to rip and saves so much time.  No more cutting with scissors. No more peeling the white backing off. No more mountains of word cards.
I hope these tips were helpful for your Word Wall! Please share if you have tips that work for you!

 

My First Post!

I have been inspired by friends, colleagues, and bloggers online, and I think it’s about time to give back to the community, and even an online one. I want to share my passion for my cats, succulents, and teaching, as well as my struggles with organization and how I tackle each challenge one by one.