Preparing Name Labels for PreK


When you finally get your class list you have a whole list of your own of things that need to get made for your classroom.  You need coat hook labels, cubbie labels, question of the day name response cards, and on and on.  Since I just got my list I pulled out two files from my Ocean Decor Bundle that I have used the last few years and my brand new editable file that I just created.

You can see my brand new editable file above.  I will use these for my Question of the Day responses as students come into the classroom.  I will make a new set later in the year with student last names on them so that they will know those as well for kindergarten.


My coat hook labels will have velcro on them so that they can be moved each week.  I keep the classroom jobs above the coat labels so the names move down each week to switch jobs.


Although I thought I had printed and laminated all the lunch bin labels I just noticed one label crumpled in the bottom of my backpack.  I went ahead and printed a label for myself and my assistant so we can have lunch bins as well this year since I had to print a new label to replace the crumpled one.

It is just about time for me to order some new laminating sheets for all of the back to school laminating.  I had great luck this past year with this set.  (This is an affiliate link.)

With any of my editable products, please be sure to open in Adobe Acrobat for successful editing.  When open in a browser the editing function will not work correctly.

You can find all of these labels in my Ocean Decor Bundle.

Ocean Theme Decor Bundle

If you have a forest theme I do have one freebie file of labels for you to use.

Forest Animal Editable Labels


Taking Care of the Classroom Betta Fish


Now is the time of year that many teachers think about getting a new pet for the classroom.  A betta fish can be a great choice for a classroom pet.  There are a few suggestions I would make to help make your new fish happy and healthy throughout the school year.

Tank size

I know that betta fish are sold in tiny containers and small tanks are so cute, but they are not a healthy choice for your betta fish and can lead to way more work than you have time for and poor health for your fish.

I recommend a five gallon tank  (Amazon affiliate link) for your betta fish.  This way you can purchase some items for your fish to explore and it makes it more challenging and interesting for your students as well.


Cleaning Supplies

You can see the original container I was given for the first fish we had in our classroom.  Not a good choice.  The water level seemed to need to be added to nearly daily and it had no top.  Not safe for the fish since bettas are notorious jumpers and not good for little hands that like to check things out or put things in the tank.  I did end up using it to help me make water changes to the tank, though.

You need a good sized container to fill with water and put in your water conditioner to give it a chance to do its work before you dump it in the tank with your fish.  I try to keep this filled with treated water for when I need to add a bit of water to the tank.

Water conditioner (aff. link) is all you need to use tap water with your fish.  I believe the kind I have calls for a capful to a certain number of gallons, so I just use a tiny amount for my container.


Cleaning the Tank

You should clean out your tank about once a month.  When you do this you should remove your plants and rock formations so that you can wipe them down to remove algae build up.  I rinse them in regular water and wipe with a paper towel.  Do not use any kinds of soaps or detergents.

Check the filter at this time as well.  My tank’s filter is a bit too strong for my betta so I found directions to make something to help with that from a part of a water bottle.

Make sure you turn off your filter before removing water.


Now I clean the rocks with this tool. (aff. link) This is where that too small fish tank comes in.  I use it to pour the dirty water into as I clean the rocks.  Remove about a third (no more than half) the water.  If you do not leave at least half the water in the tank you may shock your fish’s system by too big of a change in the quality of the water.

Add water back in with your container you have your conditioned water in.  Once the water is back in you can turn on your filter again.


I am researching replacing our fish’s filter with a weaker filter since betta fish do not need a strong flow.  So a sponge filter (aff. link) may be our next purchase for him.


Back To School Sale and a Giveaway


The Back to School sale is almost upon us at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I already have some goodies in my shopping cart to help me create some new things for my classroom this year.

The sale starts Wednesday, August 1st and continues Thursday, August 2nd.   You have the opportunity to save up to 25% off.  Just remember to use the code:  BTSFRESH.  I have personally forgotten to put in the sale code in the past and kicked myself for it.

If you purchase bundles on the sale days you will have the opportunity to save even more, since they are already discounted compared to purchasing the items separately.

The bundles in my shop that will be heading to the printer soon to get ready for the school year include these:

Alphabet Bundle

I already have the building cards laminated as well as the magnet pages, but I will be printing dot marker, stamping, and emergent readers all year long from my ABC Bundle.

Calendar Cards Bundle

I have many of these calendar cards already printed and ready to go, but I am sure I will end up printing at least one more set to switch things up this year.

Question of the Day Bundle

I just need to laminate the summer set from my Question of the Day Bundle since I updated it over the summer and want to use some of the questions for the first week of school.

Fall Math and Literacy Centers Bundle

I need to laminate the geoboard cards from my Fall Bundle.  As soon as I know for sure the names of my students I will be printing out the fall books with their names on each page.

Forest Animals Decor Bundle

I also have lots of classroom decor items, including some new bundles.  You can check out Classroom Decor in my shop to see more.

Before you go on your sale spending spree, be sure to leave feedback for any items on TPT that you have purchased in the past.  You receive credits for doing this that can be redeemed when you make your next purchase.  Another way to make your money stretch further.

What would the Back To School Sale be without a giveaway? I am giving away a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.  The giveaway will end at midnight Wednesday night so that I can send out your prize in time for you to make the most of it during the sale.
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How To Edit Text in an Editable PDF


Sometimes you open a pdf you found or purchased online that is editable.  However, you are not sure how easy that is going to be to do yourself and are hesitant to mess with it.  Since I have been creating my own editable pdfs for myself lately I thought it would be a good idea to share how to make changes to them and any others you may find online.

Your first step is to open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Although there are other pdf readers out there, they may not have all the features of Adobe that allow changes to be made.

You will see blue areas of the file.  This is the area to click on and start typing.


Once you have typed something, click and highlight that text.


Now press CTRL-E for PCs.  I understand that CMD-E works for Macs, but have not tested it.

A Form Field Text Properties section will now pop up where you can make changes to highlighted areas of text.  You can change color, alignment, font, font size, make text bold, italic, and underline.

You can choose any font you have on your computer as well as typing in a font size if you want a larger size than shown.  Be aware that fonts that are too large will not fit.

If you want the text properties to continue in the next text box you will either need to choose them all again in the next box or you can save some time.  Copy and paste the text from your first box into the next one.  Now the next box has the same text properties and you can just edit it with the text you want.

Ready to color and read
Fall Editable Book with name added in

Not every editable pdf will allow you all of these changes.  It all depends upon what settings the file creator set.  For example, my editable books (such as my Fall Book shown above) have a specific font set so that it will match what is in the book, but my labels allow you to make many changes.

RainbowBundleSquareCoverThe labels shown in the example are contained in my Rainbow Decor Bundle.

Geoboards in PreK


In the summer preschool teachers have time to play with the geoboards.  We had some random free cards with ideas for students to create with the boards but I really wanted some cards that went along with some of our themes to use this year with my students.  I started out with ideas based upon some fall shapes.

I picked up my geoboards from the Green Valley Book Fair, but they have a set on Amazon (aff. link) as well.

I discovered that my daughter’s abandoned loom bands (aff. link) work great with the smaller geoboards.  I tested my patterns with both loom bands and regular rubber bands.  Sometimes the regular rubber bands are a bit large and need to be wrapped to one side of a loop to curve around.  The loom bands obviously will not stretch all the way across the board.


In my examples that I have shown in this post, the apple is made with rubber bands for the apple portion and loom bands for the leaf and stem.  I used rubber bands for the leaf and acorn.  The rake is made with all loom bands.  As you can see from the photos I place both portions of the rubber band on one side of a post to change directions for curves or points.

As with anything with small parts, I do not start using geoboards with rubber bands or loom bands until I am familiar with my students and know if any still put things in their mouths.

These fall geoboard cards can be found in my shop separately or as part of my Fall Bundle.  The bundle currently includes twelve different activities to use in your classroom.



Using Question of the Day in PreK


Since I taught several summer camps this year I decided it was time to refresh the questions in my Question of the Day Summer Fun set.  This set has questions that are great for the beginning and end of the school year if you do not teach over the summer.  I usually use a few at the end of the year and a few at the beginning when kids are thinking of outdoor activities.

I place my questions on a long pocket chart that I purchased from Amazon; they apparently do not currently offer it through Amazon, so I linked directly to Lakeshore.  I hang it with Command Hooks (aff. link) on the back of our classroom bathroom door since that is near the entrance of the room.

The top of the lunch cubby area is where I place the students’ name cards so that they can find the card and answer the question before moving on to centers activities at the beginning of the day.  At the beginning of the year I put first names on the cards, but about halfway through the year I put last names so that they will begin to recognize those as well.

During circle time one of my students is in charge of counting the responses so that we can discuss the numbers, decide which number is larger, and discuss words like more, less, tie, and unanimous.  They get very excited when we get a unanimous response.


These Summer questions are also included in my Question of the Day Bundle, which has more than enough questions for the entire year.  I just have a few of my new questions to laminate for the new year and then I am set.

Summer Camp Centers in Preschool


Summer camp centers during our cooking camp needed to be mostly self led.  I did get brave and put out my brand new Summer Qtip Painting because I had a feeling that several of the kids at camp would enjoy the challenge since the camp was mostly students who would be entering preschool or PreK in the fall, not moving on to kindergarten.

Other than ending up with quite a few papers that did not have an owner, this center was a great success.  One thing that definitely helped were the color coded cotton swabs that I discovered at my local Dollar Tree.  I did end up needing to clean up one set midway through camp when one camper decided that the science experiment of color mixing was very interesting.


I was pleased to see that some of the campers even decided to try tracing the words at the bottoms of the sheets.  During the year in PreK I would probably have my students use a different writing implement to do the tracing part.


For summer cooking camp I knew sensory bins would be a hit and keep those who were not cooking very occupied.  I also did not want something that was a challenge to clean up.  My coworker had seen suggestions online for making the funnel contraption so I knew we had this to pull out of our closets.  I chose the colorful died beans because they would be easy to see on the dark rug beneath the bin.  The scissor scoopers were already in my stash, but I would love to pick up a set like the ones on Amazon from Learning Resources (aff. link.)


One sensory bin was not enough for the first week of camp, so I also set up one with a sunflower seed bird seed mix, magnets, and magnetic alphabet letters.  The magnets (aff. link) are from Learning Resources.  The magnetic alphabet set was one I had in my stash, but you can also find one here (aff. link) that I also own.

I realized that we had not pulled out the Cranium Fort set this year, so each day we started a building for the students and let them try to add to it.  The older students spent more time building and the younger ones sat in it.  This set is no longer manufactured, but you can see a link to it here (aff. link) so you know what it is in case you fall upon it at a yard sale or somewhere.

IceCreamShopIn addition to these activities and our cooking we also had out some puzzles, Potato Heads, Lego Duplos and our Ice Cream Shop Pretend Play.  These kept our full house of preschoolers very busy during our cooking camp.

Summer Cooking Camp in PreK


After our preschool graduation we hold several three day camps in the summer for our preschoolers.  Our first camp had a cooking theme.

We made the following recipes during the camp:

Pizza Roll Ups  This was our first day’s snack.  I chose something I knew most students would like for the first day to make it more likely that they would try the snacks on the following days.


Apple Sandwiches  We used multigrain O’s cereal with these.  Students spread the peanut butter and placed the cereal on the apples.  I prepared the apple slices ahead of time.  We were fortunate enough not to have any peanut allergies during this camp so that we could try this snack.

Banana Pops  We prepped these on the second day of camp so that they could be ready for our final snack on the third day.

Green Hummus  On the final day of camp my assistant called students over to the Cuisinart to help put all the ingredients in the machine.  We served this with cut up carrots, broccoli, cucumber, and crackers.

Bread in a Bag and Butter

The butter was made by pouring a small amount of heavy whipping cream in a small container and shaking it vigorously for several minutes.  I had about five students make the bread and butter each day of the camp.  I took turns with the students shaking their containers until it turned into butter.  Once it turned into butter I drained off the liquid and sent home the butter with the loaves of bread.

While we had students rotating through our cooking activities the rest worked their way through centers I had set up.   I will share those with you next.

Bird Theme Centers in PreK and a Giveaway


For our centers time in PreK for a birds theme, we worked our muscles in our fingers in many ways.  I created birds from clothes pins to be Momma and Papa bird.  I tried glue dots for the feathers, but hot glue definitely works better and I repaired them with hot glue.  Students grabbed pipe cleaner worms and fed them to the baby birds, which are large pom poms with google eyes and beaks glued on them.  I found similar ideas that inspired mine here and here.

We also placed beads on the matching color feathers for more fine motor practice.  Just a warning–be sure that the beads will fit on the feathers.  Our blue feather had quite a thick quill, which made it a bit difficult to get started for some students.  We used goose feathers (aff. link) for this center.  This center idea came from ChildCareLand.


We share some of our supplies in our preschool, so the bug play dough tools came to my class this week instead of during bug week.  My students enjoyed pressing these down into their play dough.  I also had several play dough mats, including some from  1+1+1=1 .  The bug dough tools are from Lakeshore and are called 3D dough stampers.


To prepare for our build a bird craft you saw in my last post I had a bunch of bird wings for students to cut out during the week in a few colors, including white so they could color them if they wished.

I also found several bird themed pattern block pages to put out on the table.  This site has a bunch, just be sure to always print actual size and NOT to fit so that your blocks will fit on the page.  I made that mistake a couple times in the past and could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

And now for my giveaway.  Since this is Teacher Appreciation Week, I will be doing a giveaway for a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.  Giveaway starts at midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning.  Winner will be announced Wednesday morning so that you can use your card during the sale.  Be sure to use the code THANKYOU18 when doing purchases during the sale on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Even if you don’t win the giveaway you can get great deals, especially on bundles, which will be an extra 25% off.

The bundles I use every week in my classroom include these:

Question of the Day Bundle

Alphabet Bundle

Calendar Cards Bundle

And here is the giveaway!!!!
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Bird Arts and Crafts in PreK


For our bird theme week we managed to create three completely different art or craft projects with my PreK students.  I enjoyed how they all turned out so our hallway is filled with bird themed projects.

Our first project involved painting with feathers. (aff. link)  I gave students blue and yellow feathers that they could dip in the same color paint to paint the paper.  I also provided pipe cleaner (aff. link) bird feet to dip in orange paint.  Students could use all or just one of the choices to create their artwork.

I found the idea for the pipe cleaner bird feet on Fun-a-Day.  They used the idea for turkey tracks.


In more of a craft vein, we created our hatching egg birds.  Someone donated hundreds of already cut out egg shapes made of a thick textured paper.  I drew a jagged line for students to practice their cutting skills first.  They also painted a circle and triangle yellow to be the head and body of the baby bird.  This project was inspired by Young School Art.

The next day I had the students put the craft together.  They cut tissue paper to make the grass.  Some students made a fringe and others cut the tissue paper into strips.  I enjoyed how the students placed the feathers and the top of the egg to make the birds have some personality.


Since we had a center to create insects and bugs recently, we took the idea to adapt for birds.  I could tell that my students were thinking much more about how to create their bird after having the practice with bugs recently.

The wings for this project came from a center we had during the week for cutting practice.  Several students enjoy cutting so there were plenty of wings to use for this project.

Coming up next I will share some of the centers we explored during our bird theme week.

Since it is Teacher Appreciation Week, there will be a sale on Teachers Pay Teachers on May 8 and 9, 2018.  My store will be 25% off with the code THANKYOU18.  You can head over to my shop and find some goodies.  Now is a good time to purchase some bundles for the fall or to use as review at the end of the year.  Below are a few bundles I use all year long in my classroom that will be awesome deals during the sale.

Question of the Day Bundle

Alphabet Bundle

Calendar Cards Bundle