Beaded Candy Canes

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates!  I hope you are all having a great day with your families.  I haven't had a chance lately to post, but I have sooo much to share! 

Here are some candy canes that we made in class.  :)  I love that my little ones had skills to practice while making these:  patterning and fine motor skills! 

I had three different colors of pipe cleaners for my students to choose from:  red, green, and white.  I also had a variety of bead colors to choose from.

The students selected the color of beads and pipe cleaners that they wanted and then strung the beads onto the pipe cleaner and made a pattern with them.

We also had Cheerios so that they could make one to hang outside for the animals.  :)

 Finished beaded candy cane hung on the Christmas tree!  :)

  One of my little ones making the Cheerio candy cane.

Christmas Playdough Mats Freebie!!

Playdough mats are so much fun for the littles!  I've just uploaded a free Christmas playdough mats pack to my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  In the pack are a tree to decorate, a gingerbread person, a candy cane, and a stocking!  Fun sensory play learning!  I hope you enjoy!  :)
 Click the picture of the product cover above to grab your free copy!
Here's one of the pages in the pack.   It's the Christmas tree that the littles can decorate with playdough!

Facebook Page Now Open...

Yay!  It's official...The Teaching Zoo now has a Facebook page!  Visit: and like the page for exclusive freebies and to get even more great classroom ideas!  :)


Gingerbread is one of my favorite themes.  There is so much you can do to teach a unit on gingerbread and the kiddos absolutely love it!  Here's a gingerbread girl we made...tutu and all!
First, we painted the gingerbread girl with brown paint, then we glued google eyes, a pom pom nose, and a pipe cleaner mouth on her.  We glued rhinestones onto the hat, peppermint candies as buttons, and made a tulle tutu.  I think she looks great!  :)

My first day back!

Today, I finally got to return to my fabulous job of teaching the best class in the world!  It was a great day!  I had missed those smiling little faces so much!  Tired tonight, so this will be short, but I'm glad to be back!!  :)


I just love this time of the year!  I also LOVE crafting with the littles.  Here's  a Christmas footprint & fingerprint craft that we did together.  I made this one with my own two kiddos.  We did green paint on the feet, red on the toes and one foot at a time to form the tree.  Fingerprint stars and fingerprint lights. :)  This would also make a great parent gift from the littles at school to their parents. The canvas was really inexpensive (less than $1.00 each, but they even sell smaller ones for cheaper than that!).  Still haven't decided if I'll do it this year though, since I've just returned yesterday and the gifts will need to go home Friday in my classroom.  We're having a winter show and that's when we're supposed to send them home, so we'll see!

A little about my situation... and a GREAT day for me!

For the past 3 months, I've actually been home on my couch, with a broken shoulder and torn rotator cuff.  I tripped over a chair at work and fell with my arm out in front of me.  I've NEVER broken any bones in my whole life...until that Friday the 13th.  Ironic, I know. 

I learned to type using only my left hand (amongst many other things I had to learn to do one-handed, with the opposite hand than the one I've used daily my whole life).  I was only allowed to sit on my couch relaxing, so I decided that I would use my time wisely.  I created ALL of my lesson plans for the rest of the school year.  I didn't stop there.  I then started creating ALL of my own curriculum for my classroom to use with the plans I had just finished making.  Even more, then I found Teachers Pay Teachers.  I decided to start uploading many things I had created and was still creating with my left hand.  Everything you see on my site is available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site: www.teacherspayteachers/Store/The-Teaching-Zoo

Well, now for the GREAT news.  I went back to the doctor today and my arm is finally healed!  I'm allowed to start using it again.  This post is being typed two-handed!  Woo-Hoo for me!  :)

Little Readers!

I love little readers for my students.  The one's I'm creating could be used in a few grade levels (pre-k to first).  I love to use them for my pre-kers this year.  For them, I love that there are so many skills...cutting, tracing, coloring, identifying colors, counting, identifying letters, etc...the list goes on!  They love them too!  They love being able to make their own book and take it home to share it with their parents. They get excited about the skills they've learned, the words they are able to identify or even "read" them.  I use them as a part of my Letter of the Week activities.  We make them during table work time, then later in the day we read them again on the carpet together during our closing circle time.
 Here's a little preview of the Ee is for Elephant Little Reader.  You can click the picture above to be taken to Teachers Pay Teachers to see it in my store.  :)
 This is one of the pages of the little reader in color.  I also provided it in black and white.
 Here's a page of the coloring little reader book.
I've uploaded many letters.  Not quite done with the whole alphabet, but I'm working on it!!!  :)

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday Everyone!

I hope everyone is having a great day!  I can't believe it is already December 6!  Where has the time gone???

Are you ready for the upcoming holidays?

I'm almost ready...I'm an Amazon Prime girl!  My friends all joke about it because I even have the app on my phone and I'll order right then and there if I think of something I need or want and Amazon will have it delivered to my house in 2 days or less. Love it!

More ABC Fun!

I just LOVE teaching the ABCs.  As I said in my other ABC post, I love picking a theme and completely doing everything for the week in that theme to match our Letter of the Week.

One thing I love doing with my students each week is letting them use a Bingo dauber to find and stamp the letters.  They think it is the coolest thing ever to use those Bingo markers.  Here's what I've developed for my students to use:
Here's a sample picture of Z. 
My pack includes all uppercase letters A-Z.
You can click the pic to go directly to my TpT page.
I'm in the process of completing lowercase letters too and a combo of both upper and lower.
Here's a pic of my little one.  She chose not to use a bingo dauber. 
She really wanted to use her new pumpkin stamp to find the letter T.

Now I know my ABCs!

Letter of the Week curriculum activities are so important in preschool and in Kindergarten.  I absolutely LOVE planning for the letter of the week!  I love to make the theme intertwine in all of my activities for the week.  I think it makes it more meaningful and fun for the littles.  I even like to include a themed snack that matches what we are learning.  I'll go into that more in another post.
Today, I want to share my newest fun addition to my letters of the week.  ABC Alphabet bracelets that are fun and help the littles with learning the letters of the alphabet.  My littles LOVE wearing these to show off what they are learning.  They are also great for having others ask them to identify the letters of the bracelet.
Grab yours by clicking the pic. It will take you to a new page.  :)

Setting up a Gift Wrapping Dramatic Play Center

Dramatic Play centers are one of my favorite things to create!  They're also one of my students' favorite activities!  They look forward to seeing what the dramatic play center will be themed as because I change it pretty frequently.  This is one of the Dramatic Play centers that I set up for Christmas.
I created this dramatic play center for wrapping and skillful all at the same time!  In addition to setting it up in my classroom, I also gave it to my daughter's teacher to implement in the Dramatic Play center in her class because she's in preschool too.  I love how it came out!  The littles were sooo excited to join the fun!  The best part is that they're learning through play!  This center includes fine motor skill development too, which is so important.
Here's a little preview of the pack I created! You can click the pic to be redirected to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to purchase the set.
Here's the setup pics:
This board has the Price List, Wrapping Options, Helper of the Month and a Notice Board.

Here's the Wrapping Station - set up for wrapping the gifts, sorting and adding bows and tags, and of course the sneaky elf showed up!!
When gifts are all ready, they get placed in the "Ready for Pickup" area.

Here's a close up of the tag station!  Students can write to/from on the tag and/or a message.

The cash register area is used to pay using pretend money and/or credit cards! They're included in the pack too!

Love the tree my daughter's teacher created!

I hope your kiddos enjoy this center as much as my class and my daughter's class did!


My First Post!

I'm new to this whole blogging thing, so I'm excited {and nervous} to get started!  I have been thinking a lot about what I should write in my first post...and the truth is that I still don't really know what to write, but here I am typing away anyway.  :)   I feel silly because all bloggers know that your first post you are really just "talking" to yourself!  I'll keep it short and simple... I'm excited to share ideas and activities to use in classrooms- from Preschool to 2nd grade!