Sandra Duncan: Classroom Containers as Invitations

This year at the NAEYC Annual Conference I had the delight of meeting Sandra Duncan. It was exciting because I love her book Inspiring Spaces for Young Children. Sandra is such an inspiration!  I asked her to inspire us at my 2017 Winter Conference. She said she wanted to share an amazing perspective shift in her session. Here’s a […]

4 Steps to Your Greatest Teaching Year Ever

I have one of my favorite freebies for you – the Take One 2017 Toolkit.  It is a life-changing document that has transformed my teaching practice year after year.       I am so excited to share this with you. Feel free to share this with any friends or colleagues.

Make Your Own Story Stones

Story Stones are a great way to get students excited about story telling and they are surprisingly easy to make! Materials Needed: Stones A variety of stickers Modge Podge Paint Brush Small container to pour the Modge Podge in (this is optional) *I purchased all of my materials at our local Dollar Tree*   The Process: […]

Flexible Seating in a Reggio-Inspired School

Offering children flexible seating choices can be a great way to make the classroom environment more cozy and home-like. Let’s take a look at flexible seating in a Reggio-Inspired school. What is Flexible Seating? Flexible seating is simply offering students multiple choices of where and how to sit in the classroom. Traditionally, classrooms are supplied […]

Creating a Literacy Rich Environment

Creating a literacy rich environment can be a teacher’s strongest tool that sets the stage for student success all year long. What is a literacy rich environment? An environment where children are exposed to and offered multiple ways to interact with: letters, books, environmental print, and writing materials.  Letters Exposing students to letters is a […]

Loose Parts

Let’s talk loose parts! When I was in the classroom, loose parts were one of my favorite elements of the Reggio Inspired approach to implement! My hope is after reading this post, you will need no explanation as to why that was. What are loose parts? Loose parts are materials that can be moved all around […]

Simplifying Documentation

One of the most important elements of Reggio-Inspired teaching is documentation. From experience, I know this can be one of the most intimidating pieces to implement. I want to share one example of a documentation panel I created along with my students in a first grade classroom. I want to share how I simplified this documentation […]

A Closer Look Round Up

I have read a lot of blog posts lately that have made me feel the need to take a closer look at the various approaches to learning. The post that really sparked this is from How We Montessori and is featured first. The following posts are ones that I feel really break down the Reggio approach and […]

Loose Parts: Construction (LP Master Checklist PDF)

This week I was reviewing The Art of Loose Parts Master Workshop and  had to share some of the amazing loose parts.   Most of these can be had for a very economical price or free! The best loose parts or repurposed materials.   Construction sites and companies, ReStore (Habitat for Humanity), junk stores, asking the families […]

Construction Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Every time I visit Rosa Parks ECEC, I am taken aback by their creativity and dedication. Their rooms are beautifully adorned with child-made chandeliers, inspirational documentation,  earthy tones, and it is clean, very clean! It inspires me to come home and declutter my house every time! It is a win-win for all. On my last […]

5 Year Blogiversary! Tossing Glitter and Give-Aways!

I am speechless! I can’t believe it has been five years since I started Fairy Dust Teaching!  I had no idea how much it would grow. I still remember asking my daughter – “Do you think I will reach 100 followers?” Today Fairy Dust Teaching is heading towards 20,000 followers. Crazy pants! Thanks to you, my […]

What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Misbehavior

Did you know there is DNA of misbehavior?   In my teaching practice, I have found the only real way to implement effective strategies with children with difficult behavior is to understand the deeper levels of their misbehavior.   Sounds complicated.   But actually, it is not when you understand the DNA of misbehavior. You […]

How to Set-Up A Simple Outdoor Math Center

Creating simple centers outdoors is not only easy but economical.  To demonstrate this – I want to share a simple center.  This center could be a solo activity or group collaboration. OBJECTIVE: Sorting, Classifying, & Pattering. Sorting and classifying objects not only teaches children about attributes and relationships, but also promotes thinking logically and applying rules. MATERIALS: […]

5 Reasons You Should Take Your Class Outside

If you should ask me – What do you remember about your childhood? – I would answer: playing outdoors.  I remember, like yesterday, creating a little hide-out under a group of tall bushes.   I would spend hours with my friends gathering twigs and rocks to make those bushes into a secret hide-out. Children have a natural desire to play […]

St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc.

The St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc. is an incredible resource for teachers. What is it, you ask? It is a place where all things “teachery” come to wait for their classroom home. If you are like me, you are always reusing items from around your house in your classroom. Things from jar lids to […]

All Around Child-Outside

I have been sharing the wonderful things I saw while visiting All Around Child in Overland Park, KS. So far we have explored the common areas, hallways, and the beautiful classrooms. Now you will get to see the masterpiece that is the outside play areas, but they are so much more than that. They are […]

All Around Child-A Reggio-Inspired Preschool

I had the pleasure of taking a tour through All Around Child, a beautiful Reggio-Inspired preschool in Overland Park, KS. This school serves children 6 weeks to 6 years. I was so impressed with this school that I took way too many pictures to put into one post. This will be a glimpse into the […]

The Sound Tile System: It is MAGIC!

I want share a real literacy jewel. This is an easy and economical system to set up. It can be used in multiple ways. I have combined two approaches to create a highly effective small group reading activity. The system originates from a book called “Right Track Reading Lessons: A Highly Effective Step-by-Step Direct Systematic […]

A Peek into the 100th Day of School: Freebies

We began the day with the “collection of 100” each student brought to school.  I put out a large black construction paper for each student to display their collection.  I like using black as it really showcases the collection.  I used to have the children glue down their collections in groups of ten.  But now […]

GUEST POST: The Life & Times of a Beloved Doll

  In a small village in the north of France (not far from the ocean), lives a little girl in a big buttercream house. She has blue eyes, pink cheeks & long blonde braids. Every day she dances & sings as she plays happily in the garden. When it is cold or wet, she stays […]

Math Gnomes: Plus

I think Waldorf Math Gnomes are one of the most magical ways to introduce the math processes!  It all begins with a story! Once, a long time ago, there lived a Gnome King.  He loved the jewels found deep in the earth and asked for special helpers to fill his treasure chest.   Four very […]

Boulder Journey School

Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Boulder Journey School Conference.  It was a wonderful, thought-provoking gathering.  I highly recommend this conference for an enriching professional development experience.  (And the thrift stores in Boulder are amazing!) I was taken back by the gorgeous environments.  I wanted to share a few glimpses into this […]

Jennifer’s Reggio Inspired Classroom, Part One

I must admit. I am sooooo lucky. I work in a school where my colleagues are striving to bring amazing educational environments. Jennifer Dean, a kindergarten teacher, has created pure magic in her classroom. I just had to share!  Let’s go take a peek. . . Loose parts in the Math Center —  I love […]

Splish Splash!

A peek at Rosa Parks outdoor play: Look at these rich and powerful play experiences.  Boots are a must. Rosa Parks now has classroom sets of rubber boots for water play – because of the ebook purchases many of you made. Thank you so much for your purchase! You can help Fairy Dust Teaching continue […]

Easy Peasy Letter & Sight Word Jewels

I love making special gems and jewels to help motivate my students to learn critical skills like letters, letter sounds and sight words (see method here).  But my original method was way too time consuming.  I needed easy peasy.  I had a bag of those big sparkly jewels (from Michael’s Craft Store).  Perfect! Yes!  Super easy!  […]

2014 Create Your Year Planner! New Years’ Resolution Solution!

Click HERE to download. This is my gift to you!  I appreciate you all so much! This playful planner has been created to give you access to an amazing year!  There are 71 pages of creating-your-year-goodness.  Forget those resolutions and make true changes! A few interesting things to note.  Did you know that a study […]

Featured Follower: Susan Meyer

There are people who cross your path and you instantly connect.  Susan Meyer is one of those people for me.  She has been a follower of Fairy Dust for as long as I can remember.  I think what really captured me was her incredible gift for photography.  It is stunning.   She lives along the Upper […]

New E-Book!

  NEW E-Book!  Ever-Changing Environments: A Pictorial Overview of Materials and Design at Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center!  ON SALE! Inside the pages of this ebook you will find hundreds of gorgeous full-color photographs of Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center and its stunning classrooms.  You will see the key areas of their Reggio […]

Teaching Children How to “Make Their World”

Elizabeth des Roches is a Wild Waldorf Mama & a Vintage Crafts Explorer. Just over 3 years ago – she & her husband decided to sell their house in Toronto after buying a beautiful old house in the French countryside. They packed up her books & materials, his tools & their 2 youngest kids decided […]

Zen Playdough. . .

Begin with plain playdough.  No color, no scent.  Just plain old simple playdough. I set out little bowls of old grains and spices.  Flax seeds, chia seeds, basil leaf, a flower tea. . . . All set out with a zen like peacefulness.  Sniff.  Pick.  Mix. I added a mortar and pestle for pressing and […]

Procedures: Learning to Use Glue

Teaching young children how to use glue can be as simple as a song and strong visual instructions.   Just click on the image to download a copy of this song.  My co-teacher, Patty, has a wonderful additional line I have never heard – “It is strong!”   The children love it!  We make a […]

Rock Puzzles

This is the coolest idea from my colleague, Patty. She calls them rock puzzles. It is very simple. You find nice sized, flat rocks. Wrap the rock in a towel and bam! Break a piece or two off with a hammer or another rock!   How to use the rock puzzles: Put four to five […]

Make a 3-D Game Board!

This is another idea I shared in my Summer Institute.  It is one of my favorite math activities – a hand-built 3-D game board. The best part – the children get to construct it. Base – a shoe/boot tray.  This one is from Target and is copper. I have used cheap black plastic boot trays. […]

Easy Peasy Game Boards

In my Summer Institute I shared some of my favorite math games.  I love simple game boards for a wonderful way to practice counting and 1-to-1 correspondence as they move their game piece.  It builds the life skills of patience and waiting. I found that children love to create their own game boards.  It is […]

Woo Hoo! Welcome to my New Digs

Oh my word!  I am so excited to welcome you to my new cyber home.  Jeni, the Blog Maven, has made some real magic in her design of my site.   I am so grateful for her hard work and amazing talent! I would like to give you a tour!  Ready?!  Let’s check out the magic […]

Dynamic Family Involvement Course Starts Soon!

When:  June 23-29 Where:  Online Classroom Cost:  Only $37 (deal ends June 14 at midnight) I must confess.  I absolutely love this workshop – Dynamic Family Involvement.   Hands down – it is one of my most treasured workshops.  Why?  Because I know the impact it has on each child’s learning.  Family support is key. This […]

Global Art Lesson Pack + Bonus Wish Pouch Lesson

   PLUS a special bonus lesson plan from Handwork Homeschool! The lesson pack includes these four multimedia art projects: African masks            French Windows      India Elephants      3-D Chinese Lanterns  Over 38 pages of instructions including: Recommended literature to read with project   Documentation “worksheets” (arts integration) Research based learning with non-fiction sources Featured art skills and adaptations […]

Red Birds in Snow

This is an art project I did at the local museum.  I used the extra large black construction paper (24 x 36) which gave it such a “wow” factor.  We painted this in three stages: Drew and painted the bird.  Let it dry. (Used oil pastels to draw the bird.) Drawing Instructions: Draw a large […]

Thankful Turkeys

This is a simple project. All you need are four simple items: brown construction paper colored copy paper clothes pins download of the hand and leaves: CLICK HERE  Cut out brown thankful hand. Write four things you are thankful for – one on each leaf! Cut out the leaves and glue one to each finger. […]

A Full Summer

Dear Readers, You might have noticed I have not been posting much this month.  Well, this has been for good reason!  I am in New Hampshire at Antioch University working on the first bit of my Masters of Waldorf Education. I am taking the summer sequence program. While I had Waldorf Kindergarten training in the […]

Shhhh. . .

Driving to my school today to get some work done, I felt this amazing sense of gratitude.  I am feeling so blessed by all of you.  I can not begin to express my appreciation and joy for your support.   I am going to offer a FREE e-workshop as an expression of my thanks.  Yup.  It […]

My Best Friend, I Miss You

Today, it hit me.  My sweet daughter has been given another chance at life with the amazing drugs for MS.  I am on my knees in gratitude.  Lizzie is walking with a cane, back at work this week and improving daily.  While there are still impairments, her quality of life has returned. My sister, on […]

With Deep Gratitude

I am so grateful to report to you that Lizzie is improving!  She has been home now for three weeks and we have already seen great progress!  It is amazing!  She has gone from being wheelchair bound to using a walker.  In fact, yesterday she held her father’s arm and walked without her walker.  We […]

Monet’s Mural

This is a wonderful mural to create!  I put up two rows of white bulletin board paper and framed it in a black paper with big scallop edges. This is the mural in process.  I failed to take a final photo!  So sad – it was so beautiful.  You know, sometimes it is the best […]

Drip Painting

Step One:  Brush water over your whole paper!  Lots of water! Step Two:  Using droppers, drip paint on to the wet paper.  (primary colors)

Homeward Bound

It has been an amazing experience to be at the famous Mayo Clinic.  Lizzie was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital.  The treatment we received was world class from the moment we entered the hospital.  For example – in her room she has total control of the temperature and lights. Every room has its own refrigerator, […]

On the Road!

Lizzie and myself before the strange brain lesions. I am so excited to let you know that we are taking my daughter to Mayo Clinic tomorrow, Thursday.  We will drive her there (a little challenge) and then they will admit her to the hospital.  Yay!  This is what we have been waiting for – so […]

CVC Sound Boxes

This is a great tool for building phonemic awareness.  You use this just like the chips and Elkonin sound boxes where each box represents one phoneme.  In this method, you have the child touch the green for the first sound, the yellow for the middle sound and the red for the ending sound.  This is […]

A Handwriting Helper

This is an idea that comes from one of my interns this year, Tracy.  She saw it in another classroom.   I could not find anything about it online so I just had to make my own poster.  When you begin teaching handwriting on the “lines” this is such a helpful visual for the children. Chicken […]

Bring on the Learning Revolution!

Sir Ken asserts we need a revolution.  This is an outstanding discourse on the current state of affairs in American education!  I must warn you it is 17 minutes long but worth the watch.  Sir Ken brings up several key points about our cultural dispositions that must be confronted. One point that I feel is […]

Make a File Folder Puppet Theater!

One day I had an inspiration while making a “mini-office.”  I realized the file folders would make a perfect puppet theater! What you will need:  2 file folders per puppet theater, scrapbook paper, tape, glue sticks. I used two special types of file folders.  The first is a pre-printed folder and the second is a […]

Shhh – It’s a Secret Message, Helper, CVC Word!

This is simply an oldie but goodie!  At a workshop I lead recently, one of the participants reminded me of all the different ways to use this!  I just had to share it with you. What you will need:  candles, watercolors, and paper (cardstock or watercolor paper is best).  I love the little floating candles. […]

Love These Books!

On Saturday I gave family story time tours at Philbrook Art Museum.  I found this book called “Press Here” by Herve Tullet – I thought would be a good read to a large group of children.  Oh my word!  The children were squealing with joy!   It was such a good book – parents were […]

ABC Rocks

Photo is from I am Momma – Hear Me Roar I found these ABC rocks on I Am Momma Hear Me Roar  and I loved them (click on the link to see her post! It is called Alphabet Rocks. She has good ideas if you would like to try painting a set.  I love her […]

Easy ABC Set

A wooden tray of wooden ABC chips! I found this great wooden tray at Michael’s for $1.99. Add a bag of wooden discs…  And a bag of scrapbook letters. . .  And a swirl of modge podge  and voila!  So quick and simple!  Love it!

A Great Way to Spend the Day

Today I am off to Oklahoma City to the State Department of Education to serve as a judge for the State Teacher of the Year selection committee.  Today we will choose the final 6 candidates from the State’s pool of district winners. This is my second invitation to serve on this committee.  It is such […]

Birthday Rocks!

This idea came from a five year old during our Trading Post.  He said to me, “I want a birthday rock.” “A birthday rock?  Where do you get one?”  I inquired. “There.” He said as he pointed to my stack of stones. One a grand idea!  I am preparing materials for next year and I […]

New Diagnosis for My Daughter

This photo was taken the day of the new diagnosis a week ago. Dear Readers, I wanted to give you the latest on my sweet daughter.  A week ago Wednesday the doctor did a MRI that came back with an alarming number of new lesions on her brain.  Immediately, the doctor called in a MS […]

End of the Year Kid Interview

I found this interview several years back and love capturing the children’s responses.  Some of the things they say are priceless.  It makes a great glimpse into the way they were thinking at this age.  I put it in their class photo albums. Examples of their responses: What would be the best thing someone could […]

How to Draw an Octopus

What you need:  white cardstock, sharpies, watercolor, foam sea creature stickers  Step One:  Draw an upside down U.   Add two circles for eyes.  Draw two dark circles for the pupils. Step Two: Draw a mouth in the shape of a crescent.  Draw eight legs.  Step Three:  Add dots for the octopus’ suction cups.  Step Four:  […]

Update on My Daughter

Thank you so much for all the love, emails, messages of prayer and thoughts for my family and daughter.  It has meant so much to us all.  I wanted to let you know that my daughter was admitted into the hospital today for steroid infusions, further testing (more MRI’s and such) and finally, rehab to […]

A Momma’s Tears

My Lizzie Lou It has been a challenging weekend.  My daughter who was recently diagnosed with MS – lost the ability to walk with cane.  Her muscle strength is gone.  She cannot use her left leg.  She says it is like lead.  Her feet feel like ice blocks.  It appears her MS is taking an […]

One Day at a Time

My Heart I have been intending to post for the last few days but my heart has been focused else where.  Last week my eldest daughter received a diagnosis of MS.  The most difficult part has been the progressive nature of her disease and that she went from fully able bodied one month ago to […]

Creation Station!

This week I pulled out a huge bag of boxes and containers I have saved for “Creation Station.”  I told the children they were to create (invent) something that they can use.   (I provided construction paper, glue, scissors, tape)  What they created had to have a purpose.  The class went to a quiet purr for […]

In the Hallway

There are always such great things happening in the kindergarten rooms around me!  I wanted to share a few of the current happenings: Mrs. Mendoza’s class made these after reading “It Looked Like Split Milk.”   The images were made by putting white paint on blue construction paper and folding it in half.  The children […]

The Sweet Delicious Details of Life

Where does love live?  On February 14?  We celebrate love every Valentine’s day with chocolates, bunches of roses, little notes of love and oh yes,  those expensive fufu meals.   But is this really love?  Maybe this is the mass market wrap it, stamp it and sell it kind of love.  Nothing wrong with it. Can’t […]

Hibernating Bear Dens

Art is such a powerful way for children to own information.  In science when we learn about an animal I try to find a way for the children to recreate that animal’s “habitat.” I read and talked about some of the facts about the hibernating bears.  The children love creating these habitats.   It is a […]