Wednesday, May 25, 2016

End of Year Student Gift and Party

Today was our last day of school!

To begin our day, I wanted our morning work to be a bit more fun, but something that would hold my children's interest for a while.  I got this idea from a follow teacher and quickly saw how much fun they would have, so I went with it.  I covered their group of desks with bulletin board paper, and I put out washable markers, which they almost never get to use.  When they came in I told them they would get to draw all over their area with markers, and they could draw anything they wanted.  They absolutely loved it!  Here's a picture of one of the group's handiwork.

I thought this drawing was so cute!
As the day went one, we played math games, cleaned our desks and looked through all of our folders before packing them for home.  I read stories to them and we worked on our Memory Books.  They loved playing our End of Year Scavenger Hunt.  They looked for friends who loved or were doing certain things mentioned on the scavenger hunt.  You can get your FREE copy by clicking on the name, End Of Year Scavenger Hunt.

All day long, they asked the same question over and over... "Is it time for the party to start?" Finally, it was time!

For the End-of-Year party, we made Ice Cream Sundaes, complete with all the toppings!  While we enjoyed our sweet concoctions, we watched our End-of-Year photo video, featuring all of my sweet kiddos.  After the video, I handed each kid or parent a card with the QR code and link to the End-of-Year photo video, where they can download the video to their own computer.

In addition to the End-of-Year photo video I spoke about in my last post, I like to give my students a little going away present.  I found these colorful beach pails at Dollar General for a buck each.  I used paint pens to personalize a pail for each of my students.

To go inside each pail, I made a treat bag with a few pieces of candy. 

Then I put the treat bag inside beach pail, along with a couple of pieces of sidewalk chalk.  I found a large container of 54 pieces of sidewalk chalk at Hobby Lobby for $6, and using the weekly 40% off coupon, the whole thing was less than $4.  That was about 7 cents for each piece of chalk - a real bargain.

Finally, I gave my sweet kiddos their personalized beach pails to take home and enjoy over the summer, and received in return, some of the sweetest hugs and smiles.  It was a great party to end a great year!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

End of Year Photo Video

In years past, I spent countless hours putting my End-of-Year photo video onto 20 different DVDs to give my parents.  This year, I've come up with a much better solution that saves me TONS of time, not to mention the money I used to pay for those DVDs as well.

This year, I uploaded my End-of-Year photo video to You Tube.  Then I took the url and made a QR code.  I put the QR code on a card to hand out to my parents at the End-of-Year party.  I also included  the direct You Tube link and directions on how to scan the QR code to view the End-of-Year photo video.  To make QR codes, I use the site QR Stuff.

I shared this with my mom and she was so impressed!  She's a retired teacher and my biggest fan!  She made a good point... that the parents could email the QR code to grandparents (her perspective as a grandmother herself) who can't come to the End-of-Year party and they can still see all the photos of their beloved grandchildren!

I have a Mac, so I used iMovie to make the video, buy my PC teacher friend, Michelle uses Movie Maker.  I added the song from Toy Story, You've Got a Friend in Me from my iTunes.  I looked for other "friend" themed songs, but just when I thought I had found one, I would hear something about drinking a beer or a loving a girlfriend! So I ditched the idea and just repeated the same child-appropriate "friend" song over a couple of times.

Here's  a picture of the card (with QR code) I've made to hand out to my parents after I show the video at our End-of-Year party.  I know they will be happy to know they can download the video to their own computers at home.

These are just a few of the photos in our video.  They are not all together like this in the video, just here so you can see several pages at once.  I like to arrange each slide as if I'm looking at a scrapbook page; most with one to four pics per slide.  I started by making these slides in Power Point.  Then I took a screen shot of each page so I could have image files (.jpeg or .png).  I needed image files to make the movie.

I love to hear what other teachers are doing in their classrooms.  If you have a cool end-of-year activity or idea you'd like to share, use the comment button below.  I will check back often to see what is shared.   

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