June 8, 2016

5 Fun & Easy Games to Keep Kids Learning this Summer

It's SUMMER! Time to be outside, play in the water, and have FUN!!! However, that doesn't mean that learning has to stop. Here are some cheap, yet fun games you can play with your child over the Summer.  Many of these items you probably already have at home or can find at the Dollar Store. 
When I think of Summer, I think of water balloon fights with my sisters. Why not use some of those water balloons for learning? Simply write some sight words, letters, numbers, etc. on the sidewalk or driveway. You can tell your child a word and they have to find it and throw a water balloon at it. I would recommend writing the words further apart. As you can see, my 1 balloon splashed over 2 words. 
Use those red plastic cups for more than just parties. Once again you can make this game for sight words, math facts, letters, etc. Kids have fun just trying to stack up the cups, but add a squirt gun and this game is a blast. Have your child read the sight word on top and try to knock it off by squirting it. They can then read all the way down to the bottom of the tower, trying to knock them all over.
These long squirters are from The Dollar Tree and are really fun for squirting each other in the pool! They can also be used to write with!
I'm sure you have some magnetic letters around the house. Throw them in a bucket of water and let your child scoop out some letters. They can read the letter, say the sound, build a word, etc.
Bozo buckets is always a fun and challenging game. I found these ping pong balls at The Dollar Tree and used the red plastic cups again instead of buckets. This makes it harder too! Simply read the letter on the ball and try to throw it in a cup. You can keep score and give your child 1, 2, or 3 points depending on which cup they land in.
Just because it's Summer, doesn't mean you can't incorporate a bit of learning into your everyday fun activities. All of these games can easily be differentiated for whatever skills you think your child may need some extra practice on. If you're looking for more games to play during the Summer, you can read my previous blog post about some Summer Centers. It's full of reading and math games to help your little one avoid the Summer slide!

May 25, 2016

12 FREE Station Signs for Field Day

Field Day is such a fun event for the end of the school year! Don't stress about planning what to do, here are some easy, yet fun games for your class to play. These activities are cheap and easy to throw together! 
To make our field day more fun, we made team shirts. You can easily create a logo with your class name and year in Kindergarten and get the iron-on paper to create the shirts. We had 6 kindergarten classes, so each class picked a different color of shirt. Sadly another teacher had already picked pink. :(
The game below is called "Drip, Drip, Drop" and is one of my favorite games to play! This game is similar to Duck, Duck, Goose--just add water! Kids go around and squeeze a tiny bit of water out and say "Drip" on each kid. When they want someone to tag and chase them, they squeeze more water on that kid's head and say "Drop!!!" then start running. This game is so much fun, especially on a HOT day!! I'm in charge of filling the sponge so the kids don't get totally soaked. :)
 Who doesn't love a little Limbo? It's a perfect field day gay that can be a bit challenging too.
To give students a bit of a break from running around, we throw out some sidewalk chalk and let them have at it! You can find chalk really cheap at The Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart.
The students really enjoyed playing bean bag toss and found it harder than they thought. They got 4 bean bags to throw and try to make it in a bucket for their team to get a point.
Football toss only requires a foam football (Nerf) and a hula hoop. Students simply throw the ball and try to make it through the hoop. 
Hula Hoop Relays are another fun activity. I didn't get a great picture of them in action, but students hold hands and then climb through the hula hoop and have it go over/under their bodies to get around the circle.
Fill the bucket is an easy, yet fun water game for field day! All you need are a few buckets and sponges. Students fill the sponge form one bucket, run to the other bucket and squeeze out as much water as they can. The first team to fill the water to the line marked, wins!
Don't forget to have a water station! It's important to keep your students hydrated. We had popsicles at our water station too. 
Students love autographing each other's shirts from field day! It's a great way to save those memories from the year. 
Click the picture below to grab 12 FREE Field Day signs that you can put at each station. You can attach them to a paint stick, old election signs, orange cones, etc. 

May 3, 2016

TPT Wishlist Linky and a TPT Gift Card GIVEAWAY

Since TeachersPayTeachers LOVES the teaching community so much, they are throwing a site-wide SALE starting TODAY! It's only 2 days, so get your shopping carts ready! I'm linking up with Teaching in the Tongass to show you some of the most wish listed items that buyers want in my TPT store
My Fluency & Fitness sets are many of my top wishlisted items. If you haven't me share videos of these in action on my FB and IG pages, then here's a quick video showing you what they are like. Students and teachers are LOVING them because students don't even realize they are learning! They are practicing all kinds of reading and math skills and getting the wiggles out at the same time. This Number Sense Fluency & Fitness is my #1 wishlisted item.

I have over 30 bundles for a variety of math and reading skills, so here are some previews of other sets available. 

Buying the MEGA bundle is by far the most bang for your buck. You get ALL 33 bundles + any other bundles I make for K-3 for FREE! Grab it now during the TPT sale, use the coupon code: CELEBRATE, and you'll be getting the bundle HALF OFF! This is a resource you can use multiple times a year, all year long, and for years to come! 

After many of my Fluency & Fitness bundles, the next wishlisted items is my Number Sense (1-10) Worksheets
You can use these as worksheets or put them in sheet protectors for center time. Students can show the variety of ways to show a number including the number word, tally marks, dice, base 10 blocks, and draw a picture. I also have Number Sense (11-20) Worksheets.
This Building Words Bundle is another top wishlisted item from my store.
This will help students build CVC words and work on their letter sounds. There are 2 sets of cards to allow for differentiation; some with the letter on the card as a hint, and some without the letter.
Students fill in the missing beginning, middle, or ending sounds, depending on the game. They can also fill in the missing sound on their worksheet, so you can hold them accountable for their work.
Visit Teaching in the Tongass's page to see many more most wishlisted items!

I have partnered up with TPT and they are allowing me to give away not 1, but 2 gift cards!!! Enter below and then jump over to my Instagram page to try to win the other $10 TPT gift card! Both winners will be announced tonight, so you'll still have 1 more day to use it while the big SALE is going on! 

April 22, 2016

Do You Want Your Students to Love Writing?

Do you want your students to love writing? I have a few tips to make writing more fun and ideas on how to set up a whole writing center in your room! My writing center has quickly become a favorite place for students to visit! 
All of my tips have to do with GIVING STUDENTS CHOICES! Just by letting your students have more choice in what they write, will encourage them to write more. 

1. Give students a VARIETY!. I know we all have topics and types of writing that we have to cover throughout the year, but why not let your students choose the format in which they want to write? If students are writing about small moments, they can choose to make a book, write it in a friendly letter, write a postcard, etc. It gives students more choice and makes writing interesting instead of just writing in a journal everyday. 

2. Let students WRITE WITH ANYTHING & EVERYTHINGI did a whole blog post about a month ago about Expanding Student's Writing Tools and letting them write with something besides a pencil all the time. Do you write with the same blue pen every day? Of course not, that's so boring! 

3. Provide HELPFUL RESOURCES for students to use. Are you students always asking you what letter is...how do you spell...what can I write about? Providing some posters on the wall, whether at the writing center or just on the walls in the room, help students become more independent writers. They don't have to rely on you, but can start to become resourceful. 

It's never too late to add a writing center to your room! It's April, and I just put this one up. I wanted to make writing more FUN! Therefore, I created a writing center bundle that has everything you need to set up a writing center for the whole year! It provides a variety of resources for your students, so they never get bored of writing.
Here's a close up of some of the HELPFUL RESOURCES I described. At my writing center, I put up posters for the alphabet, colors, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, monthly vocabulary words, examples of writing, a writing checklist, and ideas/topics they can write about. I see student referring to these often. 
The right side of my board includes posters that I change out periodically. I know students like to write about things that are happening each month, so I created a poster with monthly vocabulary words. Students would always want to know how to spell Santa, leprechaun, turkey, etc. depending on the month - now they have a reference sheet for that!

When we learn about a new type of writing, I can easily change out the "I can write" part of the board and put up a sample as well. Here are the signs I included for that area: alphabet, sight words, words, sentences, stories, letters, postcards, recipes, books, cards, poems.

Check out how I let students WRITE WITH ANYTHING & EVERYTHING! If you're a teacher, I know you  love Mr. Sketch markers, Sharpies, Flair pens,  gel pens, and anything that is colorful and fun to write with. Why don't we let our students have that kind of choice? At my writing center, I have a big tub FULL of writing tools. I can tell you that the students absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having choice and rarely grab the pencils. The gel pens are actually some of their favorite things to use.  Isn't is just beautiful?!?
I found all of these containers/trays  at The Dollar Tree, so this center was cheap to set-up as well! I got the pencils, chevron pens, gel pens, stamp markers, and paper cups there as well. I also included fat markers, skinny markers, crayons, colored pencils, and the new Mr. Sketch Twistable Crayons that I found at Wal-mart. They are the coolest!

These trays are stackable, so you could have even more writing sheets available at your center than what I have pictured. Below I have cards, letters, books, and generic writing paper available for students to use.
This writing center will allow your students to progress throughout the year.  Here are some of the generic writing sheets I have created. At the beginning of Kindergarten, I will use the alphabet sheets, then move on to beginning sounds, and then sight words. You can slowly start to add the writing sheets, books, and card for students to get used to writing simple sentences. Later in the year, you can introduce how to write a friendly letter, postcard, or recipe. It's all about providing a VARIETY of writing resources.

I have also included writing paper with dotted lines and regular lines, depending on the ability of your students. You will also find some of the writing sheets provide a space for a picture, whereas others are full sheet for students to solely focus on the writing. We all have those students that when given space for a picture, that's all they want to focus on. Now you have a choice of what to give students. 
Maybe because this is new, but the kids seriously love to go here and can't wait until it is their turn to visit the writing center!
This girl chose to write me a letter about how much she loves the writing center and can't wait to go back! :) As you can see, the kids can write with whatever they want and even switch writing tools throughout their writing. I remind them that they need to focus on writing and not just choosing what to write with, so they pick their selections quickly.
 This sweet girl wanted to make a Get Well Soon card for her friend that was sick. So sweet!
I also wanted to provide students with some writing prompts. I created 2 writing prompts for each month. Some are holiday themed and some are not. I once again made the option of dotted lines or regular lines for these as well.
Here's one last look at my writing center. I'm in LOVE with it! It's so colorful and inviting. 
If you decided to use this writing bundle in your class, I'd love to see pictures of how you set it up! 

TPT has featured this post on their blog!! Check it out and see all the other amazing posts they have shared!

March 28, 2016

Literacy & Math Activities for Spring Centers

My Spring Literacy & Math Centers Bundle got an update last year, and I realized that I completely forgot share it with you! Last year, I spend a lot of time updating my centers, so I must've just been a busy bee and forgot to post all about these activities. :) 
No matter what time of year it is, students can always get more practice on syllables. It is such a hard skill for them to grasp! This April Showers Syllable Sort will help students clap syllables all the way up to 4 syllables in a word. 
Addition seems to come easier to students than subtraction, so I knew I wanted to make another center activity to work on simple subtraction. This game is a BUMP game....have you played these? The kids loved them!! If they get the subtraction word correct, they put a block on the answer. If they get a card with that answer again, they get to double up their block and stay safe. However, if they only have 1 block on the number, and their opponent rolls the same answer, they can be bumped off that number! 
Even though time and money aren't a standard in Kindergarten anymore, I still introduced it some and worked on it more with my high ability students. The activity lets students match the price tag to the card with the coins on it.
Telling time can be a difficult concept, so we mostly worked on telling time to the hour. This game does however include cards to the half hour. Students simply grab a card, tell the time, then roll the dice and move around the board game.
Blends are another concept I introduced in the Spring in Kindergarten. This activity lets students match up the beginning blend, word, and picture or any variation of the 3 that you decide to put in the center.
Spring time is when we started hitting word families hard. I wanted to make something that I could easily differentiate for students. This Spin-A-Flower game comes with 3 letter and 4 letter word families, so you can easily distribute worksheets based on the reading ability of that student/group. Students simply spin a word family, find a flower with that word family in it, and then color it.
These are just a preview of some of the activities in my Spring bundle, there are actually 11 different activities with many of them having multiple ways to play!

If you have some students that still need help reading simple CVC words, grab this FREE real/nonsense word sort.
A response sheet is included to hold student's accountable for their work!