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How to Make Birthday Cups

This idea has been around for awhile-- so it's totally not my original idea-- but I thought I'd share what I bought and how I assembled my "birthday cups" last summer! Especially because I plan on making more this summer! 
Materials needed: 
1) Plastic coffee cups (with lids)-- I ordered mine from Amazon. It was a little pricey--but I really got enough to last 2 years! I've also heard that some coffee places will donate these cups to teachers for free-- so it may be worth inquiring! Just make sure it's the kind for iced coffee and has a hole in the lid! 

2) Shredded white crinkle paper-- I bought a few packs from my local Dollar Tree. You can still find this on Amazon though. You also don't have to use white, but I wanted mine to resemble whipped cream. 

3) Suckers-- I used different colored Tootsie Roll Pops (because a bag of just red cost a little more than I was willing to pay). You could easily use Blow Pops too. I bought my suckers in a large quantity from Walmart. 

4) Pencils-- I use pencils to look like the "straws"-- I found some cute rainbow ones at Walmart for very cheap! 

5) Whatever you want to use as a filler-- This is where you can be as creative (or not creative) as you please! Here are some ideas for your cups:

  • Candy (if you are making these during the summer keep in mind that some candy lasts better than others over time-- like bubble gum)
  • Erasers
  • Bookmarks
  • Glow bracelets
  • Play-Doh
  • Packet of Koolaid (or other drink mix)
  • Stickers
  • Brag tags-- My kids LOVED these last year (click the pic to see in my store)

6) Full page label paper (or sticker paper). I purchase mine from Amazon-- but I believe label paper is cheaper than sticker paper. You will need this type of paper to make the stickers for the cups! 

7)Labels for the cups-- I have created a set with 19 different labels-- here are a few closer up:
How to assemble:

  1. Fill each cup with desired goodies/candy-- leave a little space at the top for the white crinkle paper!
  2. Top goodies with white crinkle paper and put on cup lid
  3. Use a hole punch to punch a hole in the cup lid (for the birthday pencil) and put pencil in-- I had to almost do 2 punches side by side to slide the pencil in more easily
  4. Put a sucker in the top hole of the cup lid
  5. Choose your birthday sticker label and put label paper in the printer (make sure you put it in the right way-- I had to put mine in upside down)
  6. Print birthday cup stickers on the labels, cut out, peel, and stick onto cups
Now you are ready for the year ahead! Here is a quick post about how I keep track of student birthdays-- if you need help remembering! Plus it's a fun way to store birthday gifts! 

I hope you found this to be helpful! Best of luck in preparing for next year! 

How to Manage Student Rewards

Hello everyone! I don't know about you-- but I LOVE rewarding students for good behavior, positive attitudes, effort, and other fine qualities all teachers admire! Today I want to share some ideas for managing the rewards you give to students!

First off, make sure your reward system matches your management style. For the past 5 years I've used ClassDojo in my room-- and I love it! Here is a post I wrote a few years ago about how I use it in conjunction with a classroom economy. Basically I hand out "Dojo Dollars" every Friday based on how many points my students have earned.
Then they can use those dollars to pay for prizes and rewards.

I had to decide what types of rewards to put on each poster-- you don't want your best rewards to be worth $5! Make them save for it! I usually switch the prizes up every year based on popularity or if I get tired of it... Here are the posters I use:
Sometimes I forget what the student has paid for-- so this year I am going to give them a coupon after they pay. Then they can trade the coupon in whenever they want to use it! Here is how I will manage my coupons:

1) I bought an "Iris Photo Keeper" from Amazon (you can also get them from Michaels and other craft places). I created labels, printed, and hot glued them to the boxes to help me keep track.

2) I had to figure out how to sort my coupons...

3) I decided to stick with the point system-- so I sorted the coupons by my point system:
Below you can see an example of some of the coupons that will go in the "10 point" box. The best coupons go in the "50 point" box!
I also love the holidays-- so I provide a "holiday tub" for students to purchase a prize from (I usually made this cost 5 Dojo Dollars)
Then, whatever was leftover I could easily save for next year. Also, after each holiday be sure to stock up on the little toys, pencils, erasers, etc. that go on sale (Hobby Lobby, Mardels, Walmart, Target are excellent places to look) and save them for next year!

What types of rewards do you use with students? Click here or on the picture below to visit my reward coupons in my TPT store. The preview has a full list with explanations-- most of the rewards don't cost anything!
Download also includes black and white versions-- which look amazing on Astrobright paper! It's a great way to save on colored ink!
Lastly, I included the labels for a photo keeper-- as well as an editable version of the coupons-- so you can make your own!

Hope you have a blessed day!

Student Gift Idea (Perfect for End of Year!)

Isn't it amazing how quickly the school year always flies by? I am already planning the last few weeks of school! One thing I love to do during the last week is give my students a small gift from me. I originally saw this idea on Instagram-- and I'm not sure who was the original creator-- but you can find some another example here.

First thing I did was check my local Dollar Tree for plastic water bottles. I was in luck! They had enough for my 24 students-- and a nice variety of colors left. 
If you cannot find them in store-- try online. You can order a case of 30 for $1 per bottle-- and they have many more style options online. Be sure to order early enough to allow for shipping time. 

Now, if you do not own a Cricut or Silhouette machine, the next step will be a bit tricky. You could always invest in letter stickers from a craft store or Amazon-- but it will definitely take a lot longer. You could also get a paint pen and write student names! Using my Cricut was cheap since I already had white vinyl-- and it was speedy. The entire process only took me 1.5 hours. 

I measured my bottles. I could make the names about 1.25 inches wide and 6 inches long. Next, I typed up all my students name using the font called "KG Shake It Off Chunky". This font is free for download on TPT-- but you cannot use it for commercial use unless you purchase the license. I made sure the names fit the size parameter-- and then I hit "cut". 
After the name were cut out, I took some time to cut them apart and weed them (take out all the extra pieces). Next, I cut some pieces of Walmart contact paper. I love this stuff because you get a huge roll for a great price-- and it isn't too sticky. 
I used the contact paper to transfer to names from the vinyl sheets to the water bottles: 
Then I pressed down firmly and peeled the contact paper away. The names stuck perfectly! 

I will have to tell the students to try and limit how wet the letters get-- and to never put them in the dishwasher. Although the vinyl I used is "permanent"-- nothing will last forever. If you don't have a Cricut or Silhouette, I highly recommend investing in one. They can be pricey, but I have found it so useful for my classroom! 
There you have it! Easy gifts that are personalized-- and they only cost $1 per student! If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below. I hope you have a blessed day! 

The Teacher's Assistant

This blog post is short and sweet! Sometimes you just need 5 minutes to finish grading tests or work with struggling students-- but it's hard to find time when your other 25 students are constantly coming up to ask you questions!

Thus-- I created the position of "Teacher Assistant".
I choose 1-2 responsible students (usually ones who follow directions, listen, are good at explaining things, etc.) and let them wear a badge for the day. I created these badges to fit into a plastic name badge holder (I found mine at Walmart) and attached a cute lanyard so it wouldn't get lost.

I even let my assistant give out Class Dojo points while I was conferencing with students about their writing pieces! It was amazing! I highly recommend trying it!

Click HERE or on the picture below to snag a free copy!
If you give it a go let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by!
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