Category Archives: Daisy Designs

Christmas in Kindergarten

How many of you are going NUTS this time of year fitting in all the awesome things you want to do?! *raises hand*

December is such a short month for school, but there’s SO much to cram into it. In Kindergarten, I swear crafts take 10 times as long, especially when you are one teacher to 19 kiddos that all need help. Sigh. Well, we were able to fit in a few fun things in spite of some Learning Checks and tests and trying to learn subtraction (who made these curriculum maps?! Learning a new skill in December is HARD!).

I am a firm believer in the importance of holidays in primary school. Kids are excited for Christmas, especially in Kindergarten. Even though time has been tight, it has been my mission to MAKE time for these special holiday goodies.


I found these ADORABLE Christmas tree glasses in the dollar spot at Target to spice up my guided reading and guided math center and I’m telling you, the kids are dying to go to guided reading (the effect we always want, am I right?). I bought 4 pairs and it was totally worth the $4 investment.

IMG_1013Did you decorate your room for the holidays? I was shocked to find out how many kids did not have Christmas trees set up at home (there are no religious conflicts in this group of students). I felt like that was an experience I could easily give the kids. I used our old tree (kind of small from our apartment living days) and all my old childhood ornaments. We also cut out strips of paper (the kids voted on the colors orange, red, and purple) and I brought out the markers (best teacher ever!!). They are so excited to continue to add to our paper chain garland and it was super easy for me. It has turned into an early finisher activity and we continue to build our chain. I bump my head on it daily, but it is worth it.

Picture2This is from a previous post that I had to mention again. This has been one of the best additions to my holiday curriculum yet. Read the entire post HERE. Basically, I got out all the Christmas and winter books and wrapped one for each day to place under the tree. Everyday, we unwrap a new one and then write about it in our Holiday Book Journals, which you can download for free on my TpT store. Click the image above to see the full post and click the image below to get the journals for free.

Unwrap CoverAnd now for a pinspiration result, that I could not be happier with!

SnowflakesThese were fun and easy and super inexpensive to make. And we were able to discuss that no two snowflakes are the same. ūüėČ

More Pinspired photos coming soon!

Want more ideas for your Christmas classroom? Check out where it all started for me: Pinterest! The gals at The Teaching Two Step and I created a Pinterest board just for this occasion. Make sure you follow it for more great ideas!

Follow Amanda Smith @ Daisy Designs’s board Christmas in the Classroom Collaborative – The Teaching 2 Step on Pinterest.

Merry “Last Week of School Before Break” everyone! ūüėČ Amanda Daisy DesignsBUTTON BUZZ

Elf on a Shelf in the Classroom

Hi ya’ll! Amanda here, from Daisy Designs, ready to talk about Elf on a Shelf in the classroom!


Do you use Elf on a Shelf at home? I know it is a HUGE trend right now and, honestly, I wish I could have had one when I was growing up! It is SUCH a neat idea and I love it when my kinders get excited to tell me all about their home elf and then see their excited faces when we talk about our school elf!

First of all, Elf on a Shelf, the complete kit with book and elf is like $40. Goodness. I was reluctant. I knew I wanted one but I was NOT about to spend $40 on an elf. I do not have kids at home, so this would not be something used the whole month everyday. It would only be used at school for the 15 days we have school… which to me… I don’t know… $40 is a lot of money! Then it hit me… These kids don’t know the difference between the “name-brand” elf and the dollar store elf. I mean, to them, they are all magic elves. So, thank you Dollar Tree! I snagged a cheap stuffed elf (I think mine is totally cuter and way less creepy anyway…), and borrowed a book from a friend who has the elf at home. WIN!


Meet Alex the Elf. Well, that is his name this year. I feel like that is totally the most boring name for an elf, but that’s what the class voted on! I voted for Peanut, but no one listens to me… He is a little clumsy. Since I went with the dollar store elf instead of the name brand elf, he is a little top heavy. I will say, it is not as easy to keep him standing, or sitting, or pretty much anything. But I would say it was totally worth save $39.

So how can you use this baby in the classroom? I swear to you, I’ve had him for 4 days, and behavior is DEFINITELY different in my classroom. We have been using our elf for writing activities, graphing activities, and he brings them treats, which I will get to later.

How to Use an Elf in the Classroom:

Change his handwriting.
I’m using a curly-q style hand writing because the kids will DEFINITELY tell that it is my handwriting otherwise. I was scouring Pinterest for elf ideas and was surprised at how many wrote in the regular hand writing! My kids would not be fooled.


Don’t FORGET. You can’t forget to move him! Like you have room for another thing to remember to do everyday up there in your busy brain… but seriously… if you’re going to do it, you have to keep up with it.

You are going to give your kids treats this time of the year anyway, so make some of them from the elf! Mine brought them stickers the other day (which I forgot to snap a picture of). He was covered in Santa stickers and the kids LOVED earning them on their behavior sticker charts.

Picture2In this picture, Alex brought us Rudolph band-aids from the North Pole. You’d think he brought cash money the way the kids were acting about these band-aids. And since there are only 10 in a box, (well, 9, since Alex fell on the way up to hanging by his tag) they didn’t fake injuries to get them. They are saving them for “real” emergencies.

And don’t forget… elves have tiny elf ears. It hurts them if the class gets too loud. (Quietest day ever).

Also in this picture is something I took the time to do: held my kids accountable. Remember, it isn’t “you” talking… It’s the elf. If you have specific kids who need reminders (like the Sariyah on this list), they’ll remember it more coming from a stuffed elf. Seriously.

I haven’t had any students TOUCH the elf yet… but poor Alex fell today (clumsy guy). I had to think quick on my feet. My kids were panicking (and a few were laughing… they’ll get a note from Alex tomorrow…). I mean, I can’t touch him and pick him up to put him back. So he stayed there. In the middle of the floor. Fortunately I had a peppermint life-saver, which of course save lives and are elf vitamins. When he wakes up from his nap, he can take his vitamin and feel strong again tomorrow. My kindergarten logic worked and my class was totally okay with it. They were also pretty funny tip toeing around him so not to wake him up.

Picture3Life-savers save lives, people.


I have some plans for the upcoming week to do with clumsy Alex. Here they are!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_1 Alex will give the kids Christmas pencils!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_2 Alex will ride our toy train and bring Polar Express!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_3 Alex will be taking a nap in the tissue box.

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_4 Alex will bring marshmallows for hot chocolate!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_5 Alex will bring his favorite Christmas movie!

I hope these ideas help you with your Elf on a Shelf planning for your classroom. It has certainly made a difference in their behavior the past several days. Too bad he has to leave after Christmas, am I right?!

Amanda Daisy Designs

Unwrap the Gift of Reading

Hey ya’ll! Amanda from Daisy Designs here with a GREAT idea for your classroom or home!


This week I began what I call, “Unwrap the Gift of Reading.” I selected enough Christmas picture books to read every single day which we began on Monday (December 1) and gift wrapped them. They are placed under our classroom Christmas tree and everyday we unwrap a new one to read. The students get SO excited to see what we unwrap next. My class of kinders this year is overall pretty attentive during read-alouds, but I will tell you, the past 3 days have been glorious! They are paying attention, they are excited, and they are definitely enjoying the gift of reading.

Here’s a picture list of the holiday books I selected to put under the tree! Some were easy ones I already had on my shelf and others were ones I found at the public library. Comment below with other Christmas/holiday book ideas! There are so many amazing books out there!


Another excitement factor for this holiday treat, is our Daily Holiday Book Journal! Everyday, we log the date we read the book, the title of the book, and a drawing of our favorite part in the story. It is fun, engaging, and doesn’t eat up a ton of time in the day. I am a fan of ongoing projects. I love to say to my kinders, “Okay, get out your Holiday Book Journals and log the book of the day!”

Right now, in my store, Unwrap the Gift of Reading Holiday Book Journals are FREE!

Unwrap Cover

Click the above image to get your download! Included are enough pages for the entire month of the December. We are obviously not in school that many days, so I only printed 15 days worth.

Don’t forget to comment below with books you might use with your class or your family this year for the holiday season! Can’t wait to discover new holiday books.

Happy holidays!

Amanda Daisy Designs

Manic Monday!

Some Mondays are exciting. Some Mondays are dreadful. Some Mondays are just MANIC. ūüėČ

I LOVE the link-up I found over at Classroom Freebies, a great blog that shares and posts about free downloads and free ideas for teachers of all subjects and grade levels. Every Monday, they host a linky where bloggers can link up posts about their freebies! And since we at The Teaching 2-Step have so many fantastic bloggers, we of course have a supply of freebies up our sleeves! I’m starting this party off right, with a forever freebie from my store, Daisy Designs.


We are starting subtraction in the coming weeks in Kindergarten, which always means I need to whip out a Kindergarten favorite: Pete the Cat! The book¬†Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons¬†is my favorite book to use to introduce subtraction. In the book, Pete is wearing his groovy yellow coat with four buttons and as he is walking along, his buttons pop off one by one! The freebie I created and am supplying below is the wonderful and groovy Pete with a tens frame as a coat! Use some buttons as manipulatives to re-create the events in the story! Don’t you LOVE combining math and reading?!

Picture1Click the image above to go straight to the link and make sure you leave a comment! I’d love to meet some of the 2-Steppers out there!

Keep on the watch for more Manic Monday freebies from your friends at The Teaching 2-Step!


Amanda Signature

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday