Team Builders for the Classroom

Teambuilder long pin

It’s my first day of school!  I love this time of year, all fresh starts and possiblities!  Team builder games are one of my favorite things to do in the classroom during the first few weeks and I’m sharing a few of my favorites with you today.

Pass the Hoop

No doubt you’ve been forced to play this game at some point in your life.

It’s pretty simple:

Stand in a circle.

Hold hands.

Pass a hula hoop around without letting go.

Even though this seems like a no brainer, most of my kids haven’t played it and they think it’s really fun.  I like to start with small groups – 5 or 6 kiddos – and build up to my whole class.  pass the hula hoopOr, as pictured here, our school wide team of about 50 kids in kindergarten through 4th grade.  With that many kids we ended up using about 8 hula hoops to keep the wait time down.

blast off

Here’s another simple hula hoop game: Blast Off!

It works best with group so of 4-6 kiddos who are about the same size.

To play:

Start with a hula hoop on the floor and the kiddos standing around it.

Each student puts ONE FINGER under the hula hoop.

Then the group works together to lift the hula hoop above their heads – holding the hula hoop with only one finger each!

Perimeter Pass

By far the absolute favorite game we played was Perimeter Pass.

To play:

Students lay on their backs with their feet against the wall.

The first student holds a large exercise ball against the wall with her feet, then passes the ball to the person next to her.

After passing the ball, students can run to the end of the line to continue the game.

pass and run

Keep passing the ball as long as you can.  For an extra challenge try going around some corners!


I didn’t manage to get any pictures of my kiddos playing this one, but it is hilarous!

Each students needs one balloon or playground ball.

Place the balloon on your belly.

Line up directly behind a friend, pinning the balloon between you.

Continue forming a line: student, balloon, student, balloon, student, balloon….

Now: Try to walk without touching the balloons or letting them drop!

Guaranteed to have your class giggling!

Family walking hand in hand

Last, but not least: Hot Lava!

You know you played this when you were little….you jumped from pillow to pillow because the floor was hot lava!

This team builder is basically the same idea, but with a team building twist.

To play, you will need carpet squares or floor dots, slightly fewer than you have students.

Set a starting and ending point, then give about three quarters of your class a carpet square.

The goal is to get your entire class to the ending point by making a path with the carpet squares and without touching the floor.

Caution: my class got really good at this, but they were REALLY LOUD!  You might want to take your class outside or to a hallway without many classrooms.

You can grab my favorite team builders free by clicking here.Team Builders cover

Do you have a favorite team builder?


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Don’t freak out! {5 ways to ease back to school stress}

Cheerful smiling funny boy on a green background.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times:  Back to school!

Fresh starts, pretty classrooms, new students…

Who has time to eat, sleep, shower, let alone feed children and get Pinterest perfect back to school outfits together?

My family knows that August means a big transition for us.  It’s a group effort to keep Mom from losing her mind.  I mean, kids actually need to eat a few times a day and they don’t seem to care if all my bulletin boards have perfectly layered border.  What’s that all about?

Here are five things that help my family survive back to school and make sure it’s the best of times.


GET OFF PINTEREST!!  Get your ideas and walk away.  Seriously, put down the phone.  Don’t open that laptop.  Go be the queen of your classroom.

When my room looks like this:

messy classroom


and I see someone’s Pinterest perfect classroom it just takes the wind out of my sails.

Make your room your own kind of perfect **cough*cough* shove the mess in the closet** and get to teaching.


Plan your meals.  Even if it’s planning to order pizza, I know I feel more prepared when I have a plan about what we’re going to eat for dinner each night.  One of our week night favorites is pulled pork.  Then we use the leftovers for super delicious “pork and fries” the next night.

finished dish

Click here for the yummy recipe!


Here’s my not so fancy (but super helpful) menu board.

Shop for your favorite lunches and prep what you can in advance.  Then, when you drag in the door after school you won’t have to worry about what you’re taking for lunch the next day.

Get yourself your favorite treats, too.  You deserve it.

candy on desk


Lay out your clothes (and actually wear them!)


I like to plan get all my clothes ready for the week on Sunday afternoons.  I lay them out, iron if I need to and even add accessories.  Then, when it’s time to get dressed I don’t have to think about it.  (But seriously, don’t let yourself go down the dark and twisty path of changing your mind and trying on everything in your closet!)


Set a “quitting time” and actually leave school then.


I know it’s hard and you have a million things to do, but honestly, if you need some time to be at home, too!  Give yourself permission to relax…or at least work on your couch in your pjs!


Make some weekend plans.


You’ll feel better on Monday if you haven’t worked all weekend (we all know you’ll probably work a little bit, but keep it under control!)


Even if you’re just going to the pool or out to dinner with friends, you’ll be liess likely to spend your whole weekend working if you have plans to look forward to!


fountains 01

How do you keep yourself on track at the beginning of the school year?





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Winner Wednesday {Custom Name Handwriting}

Winner Wednesday Header

It’s August!  Seriously – how did that happen?  I’m starting a new job at a new school and my daughter will be coming with me for kindergarten.  It’s going to be a big year!

I’m exciting to be linking up with Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do and Sara from Sara J Creation for Winner Wednesday!

This month I’m sharing one of my newest products: Custom Name Handwriting created especially for your students!

Donut Handwriting

This product is perfect for centers or morning work in the beginning of the school year or throughout the year in preschool or kinder.

Donut Edition Long Pin

I will take your class list and create yummy and bright handwriting practice sheets specifically for your class. PLUS you’ll get color and black and white versions of each name.

name handwriting

Your choice of first and last or first name only.

name or picture

Plus name tags with or without student pictures.

trace and erase

I like to laminate the pages and have students use vis-a-vis markers to trace their names.  You can also use dry erase markers, but I don’t like how they erase from laminating after a few uses so I stick with wet erase.

write and erase pouch

You can also grab these write and erase sleeves from the Target Dollar Spot right now.  They are easy to write on and erase nicely.

Want to win a set for your class?  Click below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Back to School season!


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Winner Wednesday: Alphabet Cards

Winner Wednesday Header

Wow – summer is just flying by!  I can’t believe it’s already July and I’m linking up with Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do and Sara from Sara J Creations for another Winner Wednesday!

This month I’m sharing a product that was a lifesaver for my less independent kiddos at the beginning of the school year!  These letter formation cards are perfect for kiddos to put in their browsing boxes when they’re not quite to the point that they have a lot to read independently, plus they’re easy to personalize for each student’s known letters AND they can help you progress monitor!


When I set these up for my students I put only the letters the students knows easily on a ring.  Then I put the unknown letters in a baggie with their name on it and keep it with my guided reading supplies so I can quickly and easily add letters to the ring as the students learn them.  My kiddos keep the rings in their browsing boxes and bring them to reading group each day so we can start group with individual letter practice.

Here’s how I teach my students to use the cards.

point say trace

  1. Point to the letter and say the letter name (or sound).
  2. Put your finger on the character and trace the letter.
  3. Say the letter name (or sound) again.

It ends up being a super easy way for students to get letter recognition and formation practice and lets me keep track of what letters the students know each day or week!

Winner Wednesday alphabet cards

Want to win all three sets of letter formation cards?  Click below to enter! You can also see the letter formation cards on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I created these themes for specific students in my class, but I’d love to add some more options!  What other characters would your class love to see?


Posted in Classroom, first grade, kindergarten, literacy intervention | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Favorite Characters Craftivities!

two for tuesday

I don’t know about you, but I love Piggie and Elephant and Pete the Cat!  My class and my own children love them, too, so I’m always using their books in the classroom and reading them as bedtime stories at home!

I also love quick and easy craftivities in the classroom!  They promote listening skills, following step by step directions plus they look adorable on bulletin boards and hanging in the hallway!

It’s Two for Tuesday with Chalk One Up for the Teacher and I’ve marked down my Pig and Elephant and our other favorite character…Pete the Cat!  You can grab each of these craftivities for half price today only!

Click the image to see these products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Pete Craftivity

Piggie and Elephant


What other characters does your class love?


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