Author: TCR Staff

Valentine’s Day Paper Wreath

Love is in the air!

Here is an easy Valentine’s Day activity for your students to make and display in your classroom to add a festive feel for the holiday.

1) Have students trace two circles on a piece of paper. (Plates and bowls are good for this part.) Cut along the lines to create a donut shape with a hole in the middle. This will be the back of the wreath that the hearts will attach to.

Cut out wreath shape along the lines. (Students can fold paper in half in order to make a cut in the middle to make it easier to cut out the center.)

2) Have different colors of paper available for students to cut out their hearts. Once they have chosen their paper, show them how to fold the paper in half to cut a heart that has its two sides symmetrical. You may want them to practice with scratch paper first.

Confetti Project Paper TCR5577
Younger students may need to trace the hearts first.

3) Start placing the hearts around the wreath form, making sure the actual paper of the wreath is covered. Students should do this without pasting them down yet, in case they want to adjust the hearts. This will also show them if they need to cut more hearts to fill the shape. Have them adjust the hearts to their liking, then use glue, tape, or other adhesive to attach the hearts to the wreath shape.

4) Students may continue adding hearts to their wreaths to make them as simple or elaborate as they’d like. Once they are done, give them a piece of ribbon or string to attach to the back in order to hang them.

You can also take pictures of the students and place them inside the wreath like a frame. They make great parent gifts!

Starting Fresh in the Classroom for the New Year

Did you know that January 17th is the day people are most likely to drop their New Year’s resolutions? It’s even been dubbed Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day. As we head towards the end of January, you may be feeling like you’re ready to give up your resolutions, or are already overwhelmed by what the year has piled on your plate, work-wise. Many teachers want to start fresh in the classroom when the New Year rolls around, but then get bogged down with the same onslaught of paperwork, testing, refocusing students after a long break, and everything else that seems to lend itself to thwarting all your best intentions for getting your classroom organized for the new year.

Fear not, all is not lost. Instead of trying to do a major overhaul to completely revamp your classroom, we have some ideas for small tweaks and changes that can help you feel like you’re on a newly-organized path even when you don’t have a lot of time or energy to completely redo your classroom.

• Start by taking down any holiday décor or student work that’s still lingering on walls or surfaces in the classroom. It’s okay if you haven’t had time to do another artistic activity with the students that will fill the blank walls. It’s nice to have some open space to allow everyone’s focus to reset and not feel distracted over over-stimulated. You might even start a conversation with your students about what they would like to do to decorate the walls. Add back décor and student work slowly and intentionally.

• Now is a good time to rearrange the desks and other furniture to get an instant refresh. Again, you might ask your students for their input. Perhaps try a couple of their suggestions for a week or so, just to see how it works. This will also give the kids a sense of ownership in their classroom, knowing that they have a say in the setup. 

• Simply changing the borders and/or backgrounds of bulletin boards or other displays can add a fresh new feel to a room. If you did this and nothing else, it would still feel like a completely different space. And that can get you in the right headspace for thinking more clearly about what you want to organize next.

• Pick ONE area at a time that you’d like to reorganize, whether it’s a paperwork management system, student routine, or organization of materials, and focus on cultivating ideas for that area. Start small. For example, if you want to better organize materials that students use, start by just walking around your classroom with a notepad to jot down what hot spots aren’t working. Then pick one of them to organize. Ask yourself if the area just needs some easy-to-read labels, or maybe you need to get some different-sized plastic tubs to keep everything in that area corralled. Maybe it just needs to be moved somewhere else in the room to make materials easier to access. Next create a list of what you need to do to organize that area and get that spot set before moving on to another zone.

Classroom Storage

• Ask colleagues for suggestions; a fresh pair of eyes can see things from a different perspective and another teacher might have an idea you wouldn’t normally think of. They might even have some extra organizational supplies you can use!

• Most importantly, be patient with yourself. You and your students are all readjusting to the routine, and it’s okay if things take longer than you’d like, including organization. Just because January is drawing to a close, doesn’t mean you have to automatically give up on being organized for the rest of the school year. If you tried a few things at the beginning and they’re not working, revisit them and try something else.

There’s still time to get the classroom design and system that you desire.

STEM Leprechaun Trap Activity

Looking for a fun but educational activity to do with your students for St. Patrick’s Day?  We’ve put together a STEM focused lesson where students will figure out how to catch their own leprechaun!

Leprechauns are smart and very tricky, too.  Do your students want to catch one?  If so, they will need to make a very special trap – one that has a simple machine or two as part of the construction.  Students will also have to think of something to get the leprechaun’s attention.  What would make him come out of hiding so they can catch him in their traps?

The STEM: Catching a Leprechaun Handout will start by walking students through examples of common machines they see around them every day.  Next they will get to know leprechauns by learning facts like… They make shoes for themselves and for fairies.  Next, students will need to decide which machine(s) they are planning to use in their trap, and for extra fun, allow your students to get crafty and decorate their traps.  After all, they need to attract their leprechaun!

The activity will then ask a series of questions for the technology and engineering aspects where students will have to discuss their processes.  And finally, will do a bit of math!

Feel free to add on to this activity or possibly celebrate the capture of your leprechauns with a St. Patrick’s Day Party!



Related St. Patrick’s Day Products 

TCR5281 Shamrocks Accents

TCR6526 St. Patrick’s Day Wristbands

TCR4224 For All Seasons Sticker Book

Quick Tip: Colorful Bulletin Board Titles

QUICK TIP! When creating a title for a bulletin board (like our science one below), we know many of you want to make sure you don’t end up with two of the same color in a row. Luckily, it is pretty easy to avoid!

Instead of punching out just one ‘A’, punch out all of the color options available in the pack. Stack on top of each other so you are able to see what you have to work with.

Some letters like the teal ‘Y’ will be a given, (since it is the only ‘Y’ in this pack) so start there. Slowly take away the colors that CAN’T be used… You would not put a teal ‘D’ next to the ‘Y’, or a pink ‘O’ next to the ‘B’. Set aside the leftover letters to use in another spot in the classroom.


With a little playing around, you will get the right (color-balanced) look!

Here we were working with the Chalkboard Brights 3″ Magnetic Bold Block Letters: