Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Desk Bags

This year I went out on a limb and tried something new. I was beyond tired of pig pen desks and I decided to combat it with desk bags. I gave each student 3 bags that had different colored dots - a My Words bag (green dot), a Math Facts bag (yellow dot), and a My Books bag (red dot). Whenever I gave them new spelling words, sight words, or words they wanted to learn, I told them to take out their green dot bag and put them inside. Whenever we had a paper book - decodable reader, small science book, etc., I had them put it in their red dot bag. Same thing with math facts. When I wanted them to practice adding numbers to 10, doubles, doubles plus one, or teen number words I gave them cards and then I had them put them in their yellow dot bag. Whenever they finished early, they could take out a colored dot bag and read a book, practice their words, or practice their facts. At the end of the year they were able to take all of the bags home to review over the summer. The only problem I had was that some super messy kids lost some of their bags so I had to give them a new one. Other than that it worked really well! This summer I made chevron owl bag labels so I don't have to write on each bag. They look like this (sorry for the bad pic):

Just write each student's name in the blank then tape the labels to the bags. Add some sight words or words they want to spell and POOF instant desk organization!

The color coding definitely helped because all I had to say was "Take out your red dot bag" or in this case "Take out your blue owl bag" and everyone would have the right bag out of their desk. Hopefully this helps to keep your munchkins organized this year! Let me know what you think (:

There are labels for My Words Bag, My Spelling Words Bag, My Book Bag, My Math Bag, My Science Bag, and My Social Studies Bag. 

Get them for FREE here: 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Fish Dissection

I was thinking about some of the cool things I teach throughout the year and fish are one of my favorites. I love this animal group because fish are smelly, slimy, and tons of fun! I don't just show my students pictures or movies and have them label them (boring!), I give each student a minnow, a magnifying glass (hand lens) and a toothpick, then I put one on my document camera and we go to town!

I show them the eyes, gills, fins, mouth, tail, and scales. Some of them are a little squeamish at first, but once they see the others start to poke and prod their fish, they almost always join in on the fun. After I show them the different parts, I let them explore on their own. They are allowed to take it apart, open its mouth, scrape off the scales, etc. They LOVE it. The only problem with this activity is that some of them want to take their fish home, which is obviously a big no-no (being super stinky and torn to pieces and all). Sometimes I almost give them a zip lock bag, but then I think: Would I want my child to come home with a super stinky, torn up fish? Probably not. Either way, it's fun and definitely a great way for them to learn about fish. If you can't stand the smell, breathe out of your mouth! Normally it's not too bad though (and I don't have any windows in my classroom). I hope you put this on your to-do list of activities this year because it is one your students will not forget! Let me know what you think or if you have any ideas to go with this activity (: So long!

-Crazy S

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cool DIY Color Box

So my husband tells me I hoard things. Now I'm nothing like those super hoarders on TV but I do save a lot of random things that most people throw away. Most of the time I look at them and think - I know I can use this for something. The tops to the baby wet wipes pouches were one of those things.
I pulled them off when the wipes were empty and stuck them in a bin under the diaper table just knowing that I could use them some day in some way. Well lucky for me, today was that day. A lot of the students coming into first grade don't know their color words. I thought it would be fun to have a color box with flaps that snap and click! It's really easy to make (:

-flaps from wipes or cardboard rectangles
-a box (big enough for the flaps)
-color cards (FREE at the bottom of the post)
-hot glue
(You can also put color items or shapes inside when the box is done)

1. First, print and cut out the color cards. Grab the color cards here for FREE: Color Cards 
I put packing tape on them to make them more durable. I ran out of laminating sheets (grr) or I would have done that. 

2. Then, hot glue the color cards in the center of each box side. 

3. After that, hot glue the wipes flaps on top. I did this with the flap up to make sure the color was showing inside of the window.

4. Next, glue the color words on top of each flap.

All done! If you want your box to be super cool, put some different colored items or shapes inside like this:

My 18 month old son loves this box. He loves how all of the windows click open and snap shut. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below! Over and out.

-Crazy S

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pointer Magic

So I've been MIA for a little while on summer adventures but now I'm back and here to stay. So today I'm talking about group reading. Don't you hate it when you read something as a class and you have those students who are looking around or picking their nose instead of reading! Well, I have one reading trick up my sleeve that I have used for years. It is very cheap and my students love it. What's the mystery, you might ask? Drink stirs. No, I don't mean go grab a drink and pray your students can read. When you go out, save those fancy drink stirs. Or if you don't drink (like me) go to the dollar tree and buy a pack. Like this:

Now the mistake most teachers make is that before they start reading, they pass out a reading "pointer" to each student and then they get mad that all of them aren't reading. Amateurs! They real key is to tell the students that you will be looking to see who is doing a good job reading and following along. Then when you see a student who is reading or following along, you hand them a pointer. The other students then rush to find where you are and read because they want a cool kid pointer too! 

It's pretty funny to watch the students scramble as you walk around and get closer to them. I throw my pointers into their lap or book so they never know when it might come to them. The pointers definitely get them to read more, it's magic! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Later gators.

-Crazy S