Monday, May 10, 2021

End of the Year and/or Teacher Appreciation Gift Tags for Teachers

Looking for a simple and cute gift to make for those special teachers in your life?  This Starbucks cup filled with candy and topped with a Starbucks gift card makes a perfect end of the year and/or teacher appreciation gift.

Teacher Gift Ideas

Print the gift tag to attach to the cups for FREE by clicking HERE!

Gift tags for teacher gifts

Here’s the steps on how to create these Starbucks treats for teachers:

1.  Head to your local Starbucks to purchase a gift card as well as ask for an empty cup with a lid and straw.

Teacher Starbucks Gift Card Tag

2.  Print, sign, and cut out this printable gift tag.

Gift Tags for Teacher Gifts

3.  Fill the Starbucks cup up with any candy of your choice.

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

4.  Feed string or ribbon through the hole of the tag.

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

5.  Tie a bow attaching the tag to the straw.

Gift Tag for Teacher Gift Card

6.  Tape the gift card to the top of the cup lid.

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

7.  Make a cup for all the special teachers in your life.

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

8.  Give as an end-of-year goodbye present or a teacher appreciation gift!

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

A simply and cute gift to make for teachers that they will love!

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

Click HERE to download the gift tag for FREE from my TpT store!

Sunday, April 18, 2021


Sight Word Flashcards

What are Fry Sight Words?

In 1996, Dr. Edward Fry compiled a list of 1,000 “Instant Words.”  These words, often referred to as the “Fry Sight Words,” are the most common words used in the English language.  His list of words are arranged in the order of frequency in which they occur in printed material.  They are also broken up into 10 groups.  The first group contains the first 100 most common words, the second group contains the next 100 most common words and so on. Students who have mastered all 10 Fry lists will know 90% of all words they encounter in reading and writing. 

Color Coded Sight Word Flash Cards

It is recommended that:

The First 100 words be mastered by Grade 1.
The Second 100 words be mastered by Grade 2.
The Third 100 words be mastered by Grade 3.
The remaining lists be mastered in Fourth & Fifth Grades.

*Often kindergarten teachers will focus on the first 25 to 50 words.

Fry Words vs. Dolch Words

The Fry sight word lists are an expanded, updated list of sight words compared to the Dolch list of 220 sight words.  The Dolch list of words was compiled by Edward Dolch in 1936 and has not been modified since. 

Why are Sight Words Important?

Many of the sight words found on the Dolch and Fry lists do not follow the basic phonics principles, thus they cannot be “sounded out.”  They are often also difficult to illustrate, so children can’t use illustrations in picture books to read these words.  They are called “sight” words because the goal is for children to recognize these words instantly, at first sight.  

Once children have learned and memorized these basic sight words, they read more fluently.  They might also have:

MORE READING CONFIDENCE – since the first 100 sight words represent over 50% of text, a child who has mastered the list of sight words can already recognize at least half of a sentence.  If a child begins to read a book and can already recognize half of the words, chances are they won’t feel discouraged.

BETTER READING COMPREHENSION – sight word mastery also helps promote good reading comprehension.  Children will be able to concentrate more on what the text means instead of decoding the words.

Practicing Sight Words

Since sight words are a great way for students to begin building and improving their reading fluency I have many different sight word activities I like for my students to do.  One of my literacy centers is dedicated to sight word practice.  It might include a game, worksheet, or just these simple flash cards.

Sight Word Flash Cards

Fry's Sight Word Flash Cards

I made these color coded flash cards that align to Dr. Edward Fry’s Instant Word Lists 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600.

Fry's Sight Word Flash Cards

Each flash card set is color coded based on the Fry word list that it contains.

Fry's Sight Word Flash Cards

For example:

Yellow Set: 1st 100 Fry Words

Fry's First 100 Sight Words

Green Set: 2nd 100 Fry Words

Fry's Second 100 Sight Words

Orange Set: 3rd 100 Fry Words

Fry's Third 100 Sight Words

Blue Set: 4th 100 Fry Words

Fry's Fourth 100 Sight Words

Pink Set: 5th 100 Fry Words

Fry's Fifth 100 Sight Words

Purple Set: 6th 100 Fry Words

Fry's Sixth 100 Sight Words

I start my first graders off with set 1.  Some  of my students continue to progress through the different sets throughout the school year.

Fry's Sight Word Flash Cards 100-600

There are so many different ways you can use these sight word sets in your classroom besides just at a literacy center…

  • you can use them as whole group practice during bathroom breaks, when there is extra class time, etc.
  • at guided reading groups
  • as a partner practice activity
  • in an early finisher tub
  • with students that need one-on-one help and/or RTI Interventions
  • these cards can also be easily sent home as homework or during the summer months for students to practice their sight words with.
  • ....and so much more!

Fry's Sight Word Flash Cards 100-600

Place them in tubs or hang them up in your classroom with hooks!

Printable Sight Word Flash Cards

They are simple to put together.  Simply print, laminate, cut, hole punch, and attach the cards together using a book ring.

Sight Word Flash Cards and Sight Word Phrases and Short Sentences Flash Cards

Once I see my students mastering a set of sight word flash cards I like to step up their practice and include these sight word phrases and short sentences flash cards.

Sight Word Flash Cards and Sight Word Phrases and Short Sentences Flash Cards

Each set of cards include either a phrase or a short sentence using the words from that Fry word list.

Sight Word Practice

Many of the words are used multiple times in different sentences, which makes for great repeated practice.

Sight Word Fluency Practice

The flash card sets also build on each other.  For example, the green set (set 2) has words from the 1st and 2nd list of Fry sight words.  The orange set (set 3) has words from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd list of sight words and so on.

You can read more about these flash cards by clicking HERE.

Printable Sight Word Flash Cards
You can grab these Color Coded Fry Sight Word Flash Cards from my TpT store by clicking HERE!

Printable Sight Word Phrases and Short Sentences Flash Cards

OR grab my Sight Word BUNDLE that includes both sets of flash cards by clicking HERE!


Wednesday, December 9, 2020


 Every year I like to try out a new craft that can be used as a student-made parent gift for Christmas.  I like to find something that is simple, cute, and cheap for students to make.  This year I decided on these puzzle piece wreath ornaments!

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

I enlist the help of my four year old son Landon to test out the craft to see how easy it would be for first graders to make and also find the perfect step-by-step process to use with my students.  He loves being my helper!

Christmas Crafts for Kids

The front of each ornament will have each child's picture on it.  (Here we used a picture of Landon with his twin sisters.)

Puzzle Piece Christmas Tree Ornaments

The back of the ornament has each student's information such as their name, the date it was made, how old they are, and/or the grade level they are in.

Student Made Parent Gifts

Below are the step-by-step directions on how to make these puzzle piece wreath ornaments.  You simply need puzzle pieces, green spray paint, green glitter, Mod Podge, ribbon, and red pom-poms for this craft!

Classroom Christmas Crafts

Step 1: 
For this craft you will need a puzzle with at least 1000 pieces (or more depending on how many students/wreaths you are making).  You can find 1000 piece puzzles at Wal-Mart for around $10.00.  You can even use old puzzles with missing pieces or ones that you can find at garage sales!
Puzzle Piece Crafts

Step 2:
Find an old carboard box or anything else you can spray paint on.  Tape wax paper down on top of your cardboard so the pieces don’t stick after you spray paint them.  Next, spread the pieces of the puzzle out.  Make sure you turn all the puzzle pieces going the same direction.  I like to turn them all picture/smooth side up.
Puzzle Piece Crafts

Step 3:
Use a can of green spray paint to paint the pieces of the puzzle green.  I make sure as I’m painting the pieces to spray all the parts – even the sides.  Let the puzzle pieces dry really well before taking them off and putting them in a bag.  If they aren’t really dry the pieces will stick to each other.
Puzzle Piece Crafts

Puzzle Piece Crafts

Step 4:
Print the wreath templates (found HERE) on cardstock paper.  Give each of your students one of the wreath templates.  Have them use a green marker to color the circle green.
Student Made Parent Gifts

Step 5:
Next, have your students cut out the wreath template.  They will need to cut out the middle circle as well.  To cut the middle circle have your students slightly fold the template in the middle and make a single cut.  From that single cut they can go around and cut the remainder of the circle out.
Student Made Parent Gifts

Step 6:
Using bottle glue have your students glue a single layer of puzzle pieces on their wreath template.  Let this single layer of puzzle pieces completely dry before adding additional layers to the wreath.  If it’s not completely dry the puzzle pieces will slide all around making it hard to glue more on.
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Step 7:
You can have your students add as many layers of puzzle pieces to their wreath as you would like.  Just make sure the glue of each layer is completely dry before adding another layer.  I like to have my students do four layers of puzzle pieces for their wreath.  For each layer I have my students add a puzzle piece in between the two puzzle pieces below it for a fuller look.
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Step 8:
Once your students have completed their puzzle piece layers and the glue is completely dry it is time for them to add Mod Podge.  I have my students use a sponge brush to paint Mod Podge all over their wreath.  The sponge brush allows them to get down in the hard to reach spots as well.
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Step 9:
While the Mod Podge is still wet have them sprinkle green glitter on top of the Mod Podge.  They can sprinkle as little or as much as they want.
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Step 10:
Once the Mod Podge and glitter is dry it is time to add ribbon to the wreath.  You will need one piece of ribbon (about 5 inches long) to create the hoop the ornament hangs from.  You will also need to tie a bow out of the ribbon.
Classroom Crafts

Step 11:
For this step I glue the hoop and bow on each student’s wreath ornament using a hot glue gun.  I like using hot glue for this step because I think it holds better.
Classroom Crafts

Step 12:
Once you have added the ribbon it’s time for your students to add red pom-poms on their wreath.  You can use any size balls for this.  They can place single medium size balls around their wreath or they can group a couple tiny size balls together like pictured here.  Just make sure your students use a good amount of glue so the pom-poms don’t easily fall off.
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Step 13:
Next, it’s time to add each student’s picture in the wreath frame.  I used wallet size pictures and they fit perfectly.  Just tape whatever picture you would like to the back of the wreath.
Student Made Ornaments

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Step 14:
Using the name plaque template (found HERE) fill out each student’s information like their name, the year, and what grade they are in.  Tape the name plaques on the back of the ornaments.
Crafts for the Classroom

Step 15:
The ornaments are now complete!  Have your students wrap their parent gifts and send them home!  These ornaments make for a simple and cheap parent gift!  You can grab this cute snowman gift bag that your students can make to wrap their parent gifts in by clicking HERE!
Christmas Parent Gifts

Click HERE to download the printable snowman gift bags from my TpT store!

Snowman Gift BagSnowman Gift Bag
Another fun spin to this craft is to have your students use puzzle pieces that have green on them instead of spray painting the pieces green.  Let students dig through the puzzle pieces finding the pieces that have green on them.
Puzzle Piece Crafts
Here's an example of how the ornaments turn out.
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament
Both versions turn out super cute!
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Click HERE to download the step-by-step teacher instructions, the wreath templates, and the editable name plaques for FREE!

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament