Friday, February 14, 2014

Five for a Valentine Friday

It's finally Friday, and I'm celebrating by linking up with DoodleBugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

Have you ever all of a sudden had enough of student desks being total disaster areas?  That was me this week, realizing that I am making way too many extra copies of materials, due to the fact that students are perpetually losing them.  My students have folders for each subject (which are kept in cardboard file boxes) in addition to homework folders, so every paper has its place.  The problem is many papers are being shoved in the black hole that is their desk.  Ever help a student clean out their desk in February and find a paper from the first week of school?  Been there, done that!

So, one morning this week I told my students that every day before lunch I would be drawing five name sticks and inspecting those students' desks.  If the desk is free of any loose papers, the student gets a piece of gum.  Score!  On the other hand, if there is a single piece of paper loose in their desk, doom!  Recess spent cleaning and organizing their papers.  Eyes grew wide, and hands reached inside desks immediately until I said, "Nope!  You're not cleaning right now.  You will have to find time here and there in between subjects or on bathroom break."  

These are two of the desks I inspected that first day.  Amazing!

So far, so good!  No one has had to stay in and clean yet!

Alison at Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin' inspired me to have some Valentine fun with my kiddos, so we made Monkey Valentine's using the site ArtforKids! to teach my students how to draw monkeys.  (I certainly couldn't show them how!)  The picture below is Alison's. Click on it, and you can read her post "How to draw a Valentine's Monkey...Tried it Tuesday".  

These are some of the adorable Valentine's my students created!

My husband helped me come up with a bunch of Valentine puns, and I put together a bundle of Valentines you could do with your kids.  I included the links to the drawing lessons,too.  You can get it for free at my TPT Store!  

We had some more Valentine fun today doing Valentine's Day Sudoku!  Instead of finding the pattern in numbers, students figure out the pattern in the Valentine pictures.

You can check it out (for next year) at my TPT Store.

We decided to do a sundae bar for our Valentine's party.  Yum!  This is one of the delicious creations!

Yes, those are giant heart marshmallows!  It's enough to make my stomach hurt just looking at it.

For the last two years I have been teaching Social Studies using the Michigan Citizenship Curriculum and the free units offered by Oakland Schools.  I greatly enjoyed the lessons and activities but found that there was far too much there to cover in the school year.  So, I spent my whole summer going through all the units, picking and choosing what I thought were the best activities that could still fit within my school year.  I typed up new lesson plans only incorporating those activities and putting them into class period chunks.  I also created student packets for all the handouts and notetaking that goes with the units.  I have been using these materials this year, and they have made my Social Studies classes go so much more smoothly!  

Along with the student packet and lesson plans, I created a teacher resources set that includes vocabulary flashcards, vocabulary quizzes, games, and worksheets along with a study guide and test set.  All of my study guide and test sets are currently available at my TPT Store.  I am working to get my teacher resource sets ready for TPT whenever I get time.  (There's never enough!)  As of now, my Colonization & Settlement, The New England Resources Set is ready to go.  You can find it at my TPT Store.

If you would be interested in using the student packet and/or the adapted lesson plans I have created, contact me on my blog or at, and I will gladly send them to you for free! 

Make sure you check out everyone's Five for Friday at DoodleBugs Teaching!  Have a great weekend!



  1. We are studying New England right now :) I will have to go take a look!

  2. Messy desk drive me bonkers!! I like everything organized so when a few students have stuff everywhere it drives me crazy. I have a few this year that I am constantly on about keeping up with their papers. It is the same few that lose their papers every week. But it never seems to bother them only me!! Thanks for sharing!!!


  3. Stephanie,
    Happy Valentine's Day! I had a huge smile on my face this morning when a student gave me a light up Snoopy Valentine necklace. I immediately thought of you when I saw it. Oh my goodness...thank you for the shout out. I just love your Valentine's monkeys. They turned out precious! I just sent a link of your post to Rob Jensen from Art for Kids! I hope you have a fabulous weekend.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. Great idea for keeping the desks clean! My students (thankfully) don't keep anything in their desks. They each have their own cubby, but those get just as messy.

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  5. That sundae made my sweet tooth tingle!