December 11, 2014

Christmas centers for this CRAZY time of year

Who doesn't dread the last week before Christmas break? No one is in the mood to lesson plan and it gets harder and harder to keep students engaged. Save yourself some time and grab this pack of 14 centers that you can use in your literacy, math, and writing stations for the week. These are hands-on activities that keep students engaged, but are also easy to make! Below is a preview of all the games included!
I played this Gingerbread Ending Sounds game with my lower academic students. We first just matched the pictures to the sound, then we played it Memory style to make it a bit more difficult. 
If you're a follower, you've seen my Scrambled Sentences games before. Here, they are working on building 5 Christmas themed sentences and recording their answers. Scrambled sentences are a part of our centers often, so the students already know how to play. I just throw in the new cards & they are ready to go without any more explanation. 
We are starting to be beginning readers and it never hurts to have enough CVC word practice! 
I love this Santa's Shapes game!! We've been working on 2D & 3D shapes which can be a tough concept, so I whipped up this game for extra practice. I like that students have to sort not only the shapes, but real life objects as well. 
My students are obsessed with dry-erase markers!! If I have a worksheet for them, I typically throw it in a sheet protector so they can have the added fun of dry-erase markers. I do a graphing center for each month, so this game never needs an explanation except the first time. Our school limits our paper use and doesn't really like us to do worksheets. Sheet protectors are a great solution and you can have your students take a picture of their work on the iPad so you can hold them accountable! 
Do you do mClass Math testing? These worksheets are great practice throughout the year to have students work on quantity discrimination, missing numbers, and number fluency. Once again, thrown in a sheet protector! I sell these worksheets in a MEGA bundle as well as separately. I have black/white versions as well.
I love the Christmas season so much that I'm getting together with some of my friends to do 12 Days of Christmas Sales. On the 1st day of Christmas some of my products will be $1, on the 2nd day of Christmas my products will be $2, etc. I'll be posting about it on my Facebook and Instagram page, so be sure you follow me so you can see what products are on sale each day!! It starts December 13th.

December 6, 2014

Simple Comprehension Worksheets for Beginning Readers

Last week I created 2 new printable packs that can last you all year long. Once you explain how to do these worksheets, you can throw them in centers all year and never have to explain them again! Who doesn't love that??

Both packets have 2 versions of worksheets for each month of the year to allow for differentiation amongst your class. In Cut & Comprehend students will read a simple word or sentence, cut it out, glue it under the correct picture, and color the picture. I've added some color words to see if students really read the word/sentence and color the pictures correctly. For the first few months of the year the sentences have simpler sight words, then get more difficult throughout the year.  

I have a lot of students that love to draw, so I wanted to create a version where they can use their creativity. Decode & Draw is very similar to Cut & Comprehend, however students will read the word or sentence, then draw a picture to match. Once again, you'll get 2 versions of the worksheet to last you all 12 months. The sentences are different, but have similar words, than those in Cut & Comprehend. This way you can buy both packets and not feel that students will already know the sentences. 

Click here to get this FREE sample of the Cut & Comprehend packet.  You'll be able to download both versions of the Christmas themed worksheets. I hope this makes your December a little bit easier! 

December 3, 2014

Parent Christmas Gifts & More!

Are you thinking about all the lessons you still have to fit in before Christmas break, let alone all the assessing? Sometimes we just don't have time for our students to make fancy gifts for their parents.  I've done the super cute and creative parent gifts, but sometimes had to settle for something easy like these ornaments. Read below to see how to make each one.

Snowman - This is a craft students can make on their own, and use my sample as a guide. I put out the construction paper, but the students have to cut out all the shapes and build their own snowman. I even show them how to make a loop with the ribbon!
Popsicle Reindeer- Here's another craft that students can make without much direction from you. I let the students use craft glue to make sure the sticks, eyes, and pom pom really stick on. You may have to show them that they need to leave room for antlers, because some students will make a perfect triangle.
Snowflake- This craft is great practice to work on those fine motor skills! I use three white pipe cleaners, cut them in half, then twist them into a snowflake shape. I then put out a bowl of beads and let students make their own designs. I remind them to leave a little bit of room on the ends, so the beads don't fall off. I always like how these turn out!
Handprint Snowman- This is one of my favorite gifts to make for parents. They turn out adorable! I buy solid colored ornaments, white paint, and paint markers. I write their name on the back of the ornaments before we start. You'll have to do this next part one on one. Have each student dip their hand in white paint and put their hand on the ornament.  Make sure they spread their fingers out a bit. Let them dry, then they can use the paint markers to decorate the snowman. 
Paper Ornament- Our school had these ornament shaped die-cuts. Students glue a colorful square on the back of the ornament, put their picture on the front, then decorate with glitter. We turned this into a bulletin board and used their handprints to make the tree.
If you have a little more time and don't mind spending a little bit of money, these tiles are a great gift! I purchased these 12x12 ceramic tiles at Lowes for around 78 cents each. Students used their fingers to make the tree, handprints for the reindeer body, fingers for the eyes & paws, a snowflake stamp for the snow, and then painted a little bit of snow on the bottom. Students sprinkled some glitter on the tree while the paint was still wet. After the paint dried, I glued the ribbon and nose on the tiles. I also let the students pick out wrapping paper and they helped me wrap these. This was a Pinterest find, so I can't take credit for this idea, if it's your idea, let me know so I can give you the credit. :)
How about some gift ideas for you to give your students and colleagues? Last year I made small treat bags for my students. Our school isn't allowed to give out candy or treats, so making those adorable Pinterest snacks I see wouldn't work. I scoured the Dollar Tree and found some fun things that my students enjoy using in our classroom and can still help them learn over their winter break. :) Each student got a pencil and eraser to work on writing,  a deck of cards to play War and work on numbers, and a small slinky to work on stretching out words. 
I always do something small for my Kindergarten co-workers. Last year I made my K team a small tin of Pretzel Turtles. These are SO yummy and are super simple to make!! You can find the recipe below. All you need are 3 ingredients: Rolos, pretzels, and pecans. I add the white chocolate icing on top to make it pretty, but you don't have to. I got the small tins at Wal-Mart.
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Place pretzels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Put 1 Rolo on top of each pretzel and bake for 4 minutes. 
3. Take them out of the oven and put 1 pecan on top of the chocolate. Drizzle white chocolate on top if you'd like! Let cool completely or put in the refrigerator to cool quickly before putting in a container.  
    Still looking for ideas to get through December? How about a few more bulletin board ideas! I found these foam Gingerbreads in the dollar spot at Target last year. We were doing a unit on the Gingerbread Man so it was perfect timing! I let the kids decorate them any way they wanted. They then told me their favorite book and I wrote it on their Gingerbread boy/girl.
    As I'm thumbing through pictures, I can't seem to find a single photo of this next idea that I've done for many years. I make red, green, and white stockings for the students to choose from. Students have to string the stockings (great fine motor practice!), add the tinsel (or cotton) to the top, write their name at the bottom, then decorate the rest. I create a fake fireplace and fire out of tissue paper and bulletin board paper and then hang the stockings above it on a large bulletin board. I tell parents about our stockings and give them the option of sending in small stocking stuffers. It's something fun for the students to open during our Christmas party. 
    Hopefully you've found some useful ideas to help you get through this busy month! 

    November 28, 2014

    Black Friday DEALS ~ Shop Til You Drop!

    My Scrub-a-Dub-Dub Digraphs game is brand-new and can be played multiple ways to help your students master digraphs. 
    Students can sort the word or picture cards to the correct digraph bathtub depending on their skill level. They can also match the word to the correct picture as well!
    After students finish playing the game, they can complete this worksheet to get even more practice on digraphs, and it could be a quick assessment for you to see if they know their digraph sounds. 
    If you are still working on the alphabet and sounds, check out this "sweet" game! 
    Students can match uppercase and lowercase letters, match letters to their beginning sound, or match all 3! 
    My class loves games, so I incorporate game boards into a lot of my centers. I also use the same board over and over and just switch out the cards! Here, students are drawing a card and saying what beginning sound they hear, or what sound that letter makes. If correct, they can roll the dice and move around the game board. 

    November 24, 2014

    Number Sense ~ How to Represent Numbers

    We start off our number sense unit by making an anchor chart that explains how we can represent numbers in many ways. Anchor charts are a great reference for students to refer to when they need help. I just make simple anchor charts, that I whip up with the students. I read once that anchor charts need to be authentic and done in class with the students, not made up ahead of time. This way students follow along with what you are explaining and get to help create the chart with their ideas/examples.
    Students need a lot of practice with number sense, so they truly understand how numbers work and are related to each other. I created these simple worksheets to have students work on the multiple ways to show a number. I made the worksheets double sided and then put them in sheet protectors to make them dry-erase. They love anything dry-erase!! You can find these worksheets in my store here
    I also have a version for numbers 11-20 here!
    This treasure number sense game has students matching up gold coins that show a variety of ways to represent numbers to the correct treasure box with the number on it. While working with students on number sense, I have students explain how they got their answers to see if they really know how to recognize numbers and relate them to each other without always having to count all of the dots on a dice or ten frame. Students that really grasp this concept should be able to say "I know there are 5 dots on the top of a 10 frame, so I counted 5 then added the 3 more on the bottom row to get 8. 
    This file folder game below can be played 3 different ways. Students can match up the number word, number, or number sets to the correct dog house. 
    Have you ever played Kaboom? My students love it so much, that I keep it in centers all year round. It's super easy to prepare too! For number sense practice, I put popsicle sticks in a small Pringles can. On the popsicle sticks I write numbers, number words, tally marks, dice, etc. The students pick one out at a time and say what number it is, if correct, they can keep it. If they pick the KABOOM stick, they have to return all of their popsicle sticks back to the container. 
    Once you feel that your students really understand number sense, you could do my Number Sense Fluency & Fitness game. It projects number sense skills onto your screen for students to say and every so often an exercise screen comes up to get them moving! It's a great way to review these skills, but the students think they are getting a brain break! :) Here's a peek of a few of the Number Sense Fluency & Fitness games in action!

    November 12, 2014

    It's Turkey Time!

    I finally got my Thanksgiving packet updated with a few new games and I got to use some of Krista Wallden's adorable Thanksgiving Buddies clipart! This packet has 13 games now and can be used for social studies, reading, writing, and math!! In case you are preparing your Thanksgiving themed centers, read below to see some of the games included. 
    We are continuing to work on recognizing and counting numbers. Students got to use feathers to add to these turkeys, which was a big hit! Be prepared to find pieces of feather everywhere! For the clothespin count & clip game, I put a dot on the back of the card behind the correct answer so they can be self-checking.
    We also used these number puzzles to work on 1-1 correspondence!
    It's time to introduce 2D and 3D shapes, so I made this simple sorting game. Students sort shape cards and cards with real life images. There is also a worksheet for students to cut/paste the images into the boats. 
     To gear up for our mClass Dibels math assessments, I always throw in some missing number worksheets. I add them to sheet protectors so they can be in centers and used over and over.
     Here's a simple color by number that comes with 3 versions of worksheets.
    To review beginning sounds some more, I made this simple matching game. My students also like to play this as memory too!
    The students had so much fun with this sight word game! It is played like Old Maid and whoever was left with the "dinner" card lost. They weren't very good at keeping it a secret when they picked the "dinner" card from a friend.

    I do scrambled sentences in my classroom all the time! The students love them and they work on so many skills! These boys were building 5 sentences about Thanksgiving and learning some new vocabulary such as Pilgrims and Native Americans which one boy kept calling it Navy Americans LOL!
    I also always try to include an emergent reader into my centers. This gives students a chance to work on reading, hunt for sight words, and just take a relaxing break to color. I created 2 emergent readers for this month, and this "Hunting for Hats" has the turkey finding different color of hats. 
    I've been doing the disguise a turkey project ever since I started teaching. It's one of my favorite bulletin boards to do because it gets parents involved and the turkeys always turn out so dang cute! Some parents are very creative!! Like my title "Turkey Dressing"?? I got the pattern for these turkeys so many years ago, I can't even remember where. However, my friend Melissa has a really cute "Disguise a Turkey" product you can find here if you are looking for a turkey template. 
    How cute are these three turkeys!!!
    Here's another bulletin board I like to put up in November about how to cook a turkey. It is really funny to see how the students think a turkey is made. Like my turkey in a pan?? I found this turkey hat a few years back in the Target dollar spot and knew I could use it for something. 
    I just had to share these two papers. In case you aren't a Kindergarten teacher that knows how to read this kind of writing, let me share what it says. 

    (left paper) First, grab them by the neck. Next, peck the feathers off. Then, put it in the oven. Cook at 20 degrees for 1 minute. Serve with soup.
    (right paper) First, kill it. Next, take the bones out. Then, take the feathers off. Cook at 30 degrees for 10 minute. Serve with carrots.
    You can grab this and 2 more writing prompts for FREE in my TPT store!!
    If you want to see what other activities are included in my Thanksgiving Bundle, click here!