Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Halloween Centers

It is a that spooky time of year. There is a chill in the air, and your students are starting to feel the holiday season. I like to use themed activities this time of year because it keeps students engaged a little more.

I love Halloween Math and Literacy Centers. I always suggest you model each activity before students use them. Then, they should be independent. I use mixed groups for my centers so there are high students that can help the low student at every activity. At this time of the year, we are focusing on number sense, letters, and beginning sounds. For the beginning sounds 4 in a Row, I will go over the picture sounds and what beginning sound everyday before centers. This only takes a minute or two and it will avoid interruptions during my guided reading groups with students asking, "What is this?"

Do you have these Frankenstein erasers from Target yet? they have them every Halloween (usually in September, and they sell fast). I bought a set a few years ago and designed this subitizing game to go with it. Last year, I bought a new set. This is such a popular game, the erasers took a beating (and several went missing).

The Haunted house Ten Frame is fun because you can use a variety of Halloween erasers with it. I just love the skull erasers, but I also have ghost and candy that I use with it. I will put the letter witches in a pocket chart and the beginning sound cauldrons in a cute Halloween tin. This makes for a great whole group activity. usually do it as a whole group activity a few times before I have the students do it. You can find all of these activities here and ON SALE.

This FREE Spider Ten Frame game is always a hit. You can have students work on sums of 5 or sums of 10. The spider manipulativies are included because I can NEVER find spider erasers!!! I know they are out there. I have seen them on Pinterest, but never in the store.

If you follow me on Instagram @myfabulousclass you saw this yesterday. (Yes, I have been working on this post for 24 hours, thanks to a fussy 8 week old).These spider webs are editable so you can type in students names or sight words. Then, you can type in the letters on the spiders. You will need to download the free font KGWhatATeacherWants. Or, save time, and print it blank, and have students write it in. You get this FREE HERE.  Since Halloween is on a Thursday this year, I will carry this theme in through the 1st. Next week, I will do some more pumpkins before I start with Scarecrows. I love turkeys, but Thanksgiving is late this year.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Pumpkin Investigation

Are you a pumpkin lover? Do you go for everything pumpkin? I am huge coffee drinker, but I don't really like Pumpkin Spice coffee. I know, I know, don't shout me! I pretty much stick to the basics - pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin pie. I love teaching about pumpkins though. It is a great way to tie in science and math standards, while keeping students engaged during the start of this crazy, crazy time of year.

Do you teach pumpkins in October or November? I have always done October, but this year, I might continue into November since Thanksgiving is so late this year. Today's activities come from my Pumpkin Activities . I also have a FREE Investigation Resource for you at the end.

First, we did this fun craft with the inside of the pumpkin. We cut a small pumpkin in half and pull out the insides. We talk about how it looks, how it smells, and how it feels. Then, we fill out or recording sheet and draw the insides. Next, we label the parts of the pumpkin. Then, we create this adorable craft. There are two ways to make this craft. You can simply do front and back or you can staple them stems together. When the kids created the insides, we used real pumpkin seeds and gold pipe cleaner. I like the gold because it adds a bit of sparkle! You could also use string and paper seeds.

We also talk about the life cycle of a pumpkin. We talk about how the seeds sprout and grow into a plant. The plant grows flowers and the flowers turn into green pumpkins, and eventually, by fall, they turn into orange pumpkins.

Have your started learning about force and motion? This is a great introduction. We talk about how to move the pumpkin in different situations. We also discuss if it would be easier to move a big pumpkin or a small pumpkin.

Then, we spend some time investigating out pumpkins. I set up these FREE pumpkin investigation cards around the room and they use the recording sheet. There is a recording sheet for predications about their pumpkins and for what they actually found to be true (we are little scientist). I like to have parents help, if they can, but if not, I will create groups with a mix of high and low kids to help each other out. First Graders should be able to do this independently, but Kindergarteners will need some sort of guidance. I definitely recommend you model how to do each activity for your class. 

This last activity that I am sharing is perfect for Halloween Day. We talk about how to carve a pumpkin. We sequence how to carve it, then we get to design our own. You can use these shapes or have students trace shapes you have (less prep for you, score). Then, have students count how many shapes they used. You can add more content to this lesson by making sure they know the names of the shapes, asking how many sides the have, and how many corners they have.

I hope you all enjoy teaching pumpkins with you class. It will help foster a love for science! You can find these Pumpkin Activities here.

Friday, September 20, 2019

All About Apples

Are you ready for Johnny Appleseed Day next week??? I am excited to celebrated apples. I wanted to share some of my favorites from last year with you all. We read some great books, did some apple research and crafts, and played lots of fun apple themed math and literacy games, I even have a free resource for you all at the end.

These are some of my Favorite Apple Books, which can all be found on Amazon. Have you read Bad Apple yet? It's a cute story about Bullying. The Gail Gibbons book is a little much for Kindergarten, so we break it down into small chunks instead of reading it all at once.

Last year, I created this Apple Research Unit. It is differentiated for Kindergarten or First Grade. It has information about apples, two apple crafts, a thinking map for the apple life cycle, a tree map to describe an apple, and lots of writing sheets. My kids loved this last year.

This was a combination apple/fall sensory table. It has bird seed, leaves from the Dollar tree, plastic apples from Michaels, construction trucks from Amazon, and table decor from Hobby Lobby. The kids loved it. We used this for all of September.

I LOVE these Apple Math and Literacy Centers. This includes 12 different Apple themed Math and Literacy activities that are perfect for Kindergarten. The subitizing apples are my FAVORITE! The kids really like the Apple Words. there are a few different list that they can use, depending are their abilities. They can write the word or trace it. The apple word and letter sort is a great activity to put in the pocket chart.

We made this adorable apple math craft from my Fall Math Crafts. There are three differentiated fall math crafts and  three matching math centers. You can either have students work on number sense to ten (perfect for Kindergarten), making 5, or making 10 (perfect for 1st grade). These also come in a bundle with Fall, Winter, and Spring Math Crafts.

Finally, I have a FREE Math Printable for you. This is an updated version that I have offered before. You can download it HERE. I hope you all enjoy all of these apple ideas!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Morning Work Buckets - Your Questions Answered

I get asked about Morning Work Tubs and Buckets A LOT. I started using them in 2015 and I never looked back. You can read my original post HERE. Honestly, not a lot has changed since I first started using them, but I know you have a lot of questions about them. I am going to try to answer a few of the most asked questions.

One question I get asked a lot, is what do you do at the beginning of the year? Honestly, I will not start using them until September, two weeks after school starts. I tried putting out just simple math manipulatives at the beginning of the year, and that did not work for me. My number one rules is kids need to be independent with them.

Whether you teach Kindergarten or First Grade, you need to take the time to TEACH kids how to use them. The last week of August, I will take our 5 activities to teach the kids. I pick activities that i think my kids can independently complete, after i have taught them. I teach them on the carpet. I have kids sit in a circle and I model how to take everything you need out of the bucket, work on the activity, and put it back. These activities are all designed to be never ending, so they will last for the amount of time you need to work. The beauty of Morning Work Buckets is that some days you made need kids to only work for 5-10 minutes, but other days, you may need 15+ minutes to complete everything. I show kids how they can "start the activity over" if they think they are finished. After I have introduced all 5 activities, I place a bucket on each table and have students "practice" the tubs. Is this going to take longer then my normal 10 minutes? YES!!!!! But remember, if you take the time at the beginning of the year, you won't have to take as much time later on in the year. The 5 buckets I am teaching will last my class the entire month. They will do each activity once a week for the month. At the end of September, I will teach another 5 centers. You can purchase these letter cards individually HERE or in the Kindergarten Morning Work Bundle HERE.

Another question I know a lot of you have asked is HOW do you organize your Morning Work Buckets? I put them in zip-lock bags and I put the bags in plastic tubs. I put everything they need in the zip-lock bag - dry erase markers, letter tiles, math manipultives, etc.Each tub has a monthly label. My Morning Work Tubs are NOT thematic, but I know what month I usually pull them out for. Also, I know that sometimes, I may use a center in January and then again in March. When January is over, I put that bag in March. I made these FREE monthly labels that you can download HERE FREE. I am use the same labels for my Math and Literacy buckets and my book boxes so you will get labels for all of those.

Last year, I started putting numbers on my buckets to help me stay organized. I use the same 5 buckets all month long and rotate them through the tables. My tables are labeled by colors. I know the yellow table always gets box 1 on Mondays. The blue table always gets box 2 on Mondays...and so forth and so forth. You can get the labels FREE HERE. I also make sure there are enough activities in the bucket for each child. For some activities, that means printing out multiple copies of the activities. The activities that need multiple copies, are usually single pages. For letter activities, sight word activities, and cvc word activities, there are multiple copies included.

You can purchase these EDITABLE Read, Write, Build Sight Word cards individually HERE or in my Kindergarten Work Bucket Bundle or my 1st Grade Morning Work Bucket.

You can purchase these EDITABLE Read, Write, Build Sight Word cards individually HERE or in my Kindergarten Work Bucket Bundle or my 1st Grade Morning Work Bucket.

Throughout this post, I have shown you pictures from my Kindergarten Morning Work Buckets and my First Grade Morning Work Buckets.  Each set has more then 50 Math and Literacy activities. There are some activities that are in both products. You can look at the previews to see what is included in each one. I also have TWO FREE activities for you down below.

I have shared this FREE sight word activity before. It is one of the first activities I created for Morning Work Buckets and I still LOVE IT! You can download it FREE HERE.

I shared this FREE Math Activity with you all last spring. It is differentiated with dots, ten frames, and numbers so that it can be used throughout the year. You can download this FREE resource here.

I hope I answered most of your questions about Morning Work Tubs. You can always ask me if you have additional questions.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Construction Word Builders

I love creating resources that make simple centers. A few years ago, I created Construction Word Builder Cards. This summer, I decided to give them a MAKEOVER! I updated the fonts, colors, and clip-art. Plus, I made the Sight Word Builder EDITABLE. Then, I decided to bundle them and include FREE Letter Building cards, with the purchase of the bundle.

First, the Editable Construction Sight Word Builder  includes over 100 sight words. There are unifix cube letters you can use or you can use letters you already have, such as magnets or tiles. Students get to build the sight word and write the sight word. This is great practice for an independent center, RTI, or a morning Work Bucket.

The CVC Construction Word Builder may be my favorite. Students get to practice changing beginning, middle and ending sounds to build new words. The cards are labeled on the side what sound they are changing to make it easier for you to differentiate.

I created this Construction Letter Building activity. I am excited to use this at the beginning of the year. You can get this FREE with purchase of the Literacy Construction Builder Bundle.

I hope you enjoy these low prep literacy centers.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Assessment Data Punch Cards

How are you at collecting data? Truth. It has been a struggle for me. Yes, I am a Special education Teacher and I KNOW the importance of collecting meaningful data, but I am always struggling with an easy way to do it. I have tried using post its. It was a mess. I have tried complicated student binders that held SO MUCH data, I got lost in it all and I could not keep up with it. This last school year, I created two resources that helped me tremendously by simplifying it. One, these Assessment Data Punch Cards. Two Assessment Data Binders, which I will share more on soon.

Last summer, I created two of the seven Assessment Data Books. I created Letter Identification and  Sight Words. The idea behind it was simple. Once a week, I would assess students on their letters and their sight words.  If they could read the letter or the word, I would give them a punch. You can also use stickers or have students color it in, if you do not have  a star punch. When they had 5 punches, I would know that they had mastered it. I did not want to overwhelm students, so I started with the just the letters they knew, and then added in letters as they were formally introduced. I wanted students to feel successful. Some students know all their letters after 6 weeks, while others still may not know them after 6 months. I always want kids to feel successful.

I was so happy with how easy this was to keep up with. It gave me great data for IEP Goals, Report Cards, RTI, and Parent Teacher Conferences. Best part, I USED them. Each of my students has a drawer for their guided reading books, dry erase boards, math tool kits, etc. so I had students add this to their drawers. I think the most important part of data collection is to find something YOU WILL USE!

Does this sound like something you might like but you aren't sure? I have a Free Sample for Number Recognition that you can try before you buy. See if it is something you like and will use.

If you can tell this is something you LOVE, it is ON SALE for 50% off for a limited time. You can buy the entire Assessment Data Punch Cards HERE.

These are the products I used to create these punches. If you click on the photo, it will take you to an Amazon Affiliate Link where I will receive a small commission for sharing.