Friday, August 29, 2014

Cutting Song

The new school year has started and boy am I excited! New students, new strategies and fresh ideas (: The one I am sharing today is actually something that I came up with last year. It was extremely helpful and I have already seen it work this year too. With little ones in the room, we are just starting to get our fine motor cutting skills down pat. That means that there are a bunch of little teeny tiny scraps of paper all over the floor after cutting something out. That used to drive me wild! I knew there had to be a better way for the students to cut things out without causing so much trash. I decided to make up a little chant to help them cut something out and only have one piece of trash. They all sing it with me as they happily cut along and end up with one wonderful piece of trash. It's amazing! I decided to make a video of this chant so that other classes could watch it and maybe their floors could be less scrappy too. You can get the worksheet and sign that goes with the video if you click the link below. It's all FREE (:  Check it out:

If you watched the video, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. This is my first video and while I know it's no Spielberg, I'd like to know what I can do to make it better! Thanks (: 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beginning of the Year Math Cards

More posts than normal this time of the year. I just have so many different things I have done, I can't keep them all to myself! So today I'm talking about number cards. These are cards I have used for years but have only had a hand-drawn version. I finally typed them up so they are nicer looking. One set is black and white, and one is in color (so they look like the red counters). I just added the tens frame model above each word as a clue - I thought I'd spice them up (:  I give each student a copy of these cards and they keep them in their "Math Bag" in their desk. They are a great resource for the beginning of the year! I use them throughout the year for tons of different activities.

Use ideas: 
- Have them put all their cards with the words facing up. The first student shows the word to their partner. Their partner tells them the number, if they get it right, they get to keep the card. If they get it wrong, it goes to the bottom of the pile. Then the second partner does the same to the first partner. Students keep playing until all the cards are gone. Whoever has the most cards wins!

- You can use these with the Kagan strategy "Quiz, Quiz, Trade" and "Hand Up, Stand Up, Pair Up". Each student will get one card. Students will stand up, raise their hand, and find a partner. Then they will take turns showing each other their number words. Once they tell their partner the number, they will trade cards. Then they will raise their hand up and find a new partner and repeat. Students keep playing until time is up.

- Students who finish early can look at the words and put the number cards in order for greatest to least or least to greatest.

-Class Game: Put students into two teams. Put cards in your lap. Hold a card secretly in your hands. Give team one three clues without telling them what number it is. If they are able to guess the number, then their team gets a point. If their team is unable to guess the number or guesses the wrong number, the other team can try to guess the number and steal their point. Continue until all the cards are gone.

There are many more uses for these cards but these are just a few ways I remember using them. I can't wait to use them this year! If you have any other ideas, share them below (:


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Loomy Bracelets

Last year I watched as the rubber band bracelet craze swept our school. Every student had one or wanted one. It was everywhere. My students loved to give them to me and I loved getting them. I had close to a million. I tried to figure out a way to turn this idea into one where learning was involved. I worked hard and eventually came up with a worksheet that could essentially be turned into one of these bracelets. I had a rough copy and brought it into school. I let my students test it to see how smooth the whole idea would go. It was awesome! The students loved them (: Most of them were even able to put the last link on all by themselves. Those who didn't finish asked to finish it during recess. Others were going around helping each other. It was wonderful! Not only were the students practicing addition, they were working as a team to help each other put them together. Some of the students kept asking me over and over for the next few weeks when we were going to make another one. The only thing I realized was that you had to put a decent amount of glue on the ends of each strip, otherwise some of the links would pop off. For the most part though, the bracelets stayed together nicely.

Here are the directions:
It's pretty easy and the kids love them. If you have any requests or suggestions please let me know! I tried to make a few for different types of teachers. These are FREE! Check them out:

If you have any requests or suggestions please let me know! I hope you have fun with these (: 


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Keyboard Recycling

        For the past two years I have devoted a few days at the end of each school year to learning about and taking apart different types of technology. 2 years ago I bought a bunch of mini tool sets and I had my students learn about and take apart VHS tapes. This year I asked our county's tech person for any broken keyboards or mice. I kept them throughout the year and at the end of the year, my students learned about keyboards and took them apart in groups. They LOVED it. They had so much fun unscrewing, banging, pulling, and exploring the different parts of the keyboard. They came up with so many great questions. Each student got to take home a piece of their keyboard but there were tons of pieces left over. Hoarder me saved them and knew I could use them for something later. I was left with mainly a bunch of keys, screws, and metal bars. Over the summer I tried to figure out what to do with them. Check out what I made:
So I know I'm not a computer teacher and this would be super cool for someone who is but I thought it was fun anyways. If you have your students do this activity, you can make one too!

Wood Plaque
Magnetic and Chalkboard Paint - You could use any paint
Computer Keys and Pieces
Hot Glue

1. First, I painted the plaque with magnetic paint and then sprayed it with chalkboard paint.

2. After that, I picked out the letter keys for my name. Luckily my students took apart several keyboards so there were enough of the S key (: 

3. Finally, I hot glued everything on. I'm hoping no hall dwellers are going to try to pick anything off but we'll see.

Well there it is, technology recycling for hoarders. At least I used the pieces for something! Have a cool way you've taught technology in your class? I'd love to hear it!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Morning Meetings

School is just around the corner and I, like a special person, have been in my room early this year. Now this is a picture moment because it happens rarely. However, this year I wanted to get a jump start on things. Feel a little more at ease when Open House comes around. My newest addition to my room is my new morning meeting center. Normally I put it on a bulletin board and I crawl behind my tent to change everything each day. This year I wanted to be a little less friendly with the spiders so I made my own calendar set, laminated it, and put magnets on everything. Now it is easily accessible on one side of my white board. It should hopefully be much easier to change each month and no spider/roach stare downs this year! Check it out:

It's pretty cheap. Only 2 smackaroos!
You can see more pictures of it HERE.

I hope you had a good summer. See you in the halls!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Letters Match-Up Bucket

So, the more I write on this blog, the more I really do think I am a hoarder. However, for right now I'm going to call it "Resourceful Recycling". Throughout the Easter season (better known as the end of candy season in our house) my family ate massive amounts of cotton candy. We bought and ate close to 18 tubs of the stuff. Now, the "Resourceful Recycler" in me said - Don't throw those tubs away, you can use them for something, sometime. Well, I gave about 9 of them to the music teacher for their recycled instrument project but 9 still sat in the house screaming to be used. I decided to turn them into letter matching tubs of fun!
I was thinking of giving these out in the morning to the students who needed practice identifying which lowercase letters go with which uppercase letters. Once they are done, they just put all the pieces inside the tub and close the lid. It was super easy to make. Check it out:

1 tub (I used a cotton candy tub but I'm sure you could use another tub)
1 piece of felt
1 strip of sticky velcro (the hook side, not the fuzzy side)
letters sheet - laminated (for durability) and cut out - FREE HERE
1 piece of ribbon (if you want to be fancy)
a hot glue gun and glue

1. First, measure the felt around your tub. If it is not long enough, cut a small strip off of the bottom to fill in the gap. 

2. Hot glue the felt onto the tub. I prefer high temp hot glue but regular should work too. Let it cool for a second and then press the felt around the tub to make sure it is secure.

(If you want to be fancy, you can hot glue a piece of ribbon to the top and/or bottom of the felt to make you tub have a more finished look.)

3. Hot glue the letters around the tub. You could do all uppercase, all lowercase, or a mix. Push the letters while the glue is still warm to make sure it stays. (Let's pretend those are shadows on my carpet.)

4. Cut the velcro into small rectangles and place on the back of the remaining letters. 

5. Finished tub! Have the students take the letters out of the tub, match them to the corresponding letter and then put them back inside of the tub for safe keeping! Here is the link for letter cards again:

I think my students will really like this and it will be easy to store all of the pieces. Let me know what you think!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back to School Sale (:

I know that school isn't necessarily what you want on your mind just yet. But as it comes closer, it means it's time to start shopping. There are two things I super love when shopping. The dollar store and sales. Nothing beats the feeling when I get a $20 shirt for a cool $3. I love leaving a store in amazement at how much I think I just ripped them off. So, tomorrow is the beginning of the TeachersPayTeachers Back to School Sale. Hoooray! Check out what will be on sale in my store tomorrow:

Owl Chevron Classroom Pack - Regular Price $5 - Sale Price $4

ABC Book - Regular Price $3 - Sale Price $2

Class Helpers Badges - Regular Price $1.50 - Sale Price $1

Happy shopping and don't worry, summer's not over yet (: 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Backpack Tags

Four years ago I began teaching first grade. I used to teach third grade but then jumped down to first. What a HUGE difference! One of the first things I noticed was how small things became more difficult. The students had a hard time finding my room and often got lost. They couldn't tie their shoes or find their way to the bathroom. They had even more trouble finding their way home whether it was a bus, where car riders were picked up or where they went for an after school program. I kept getting many calls from the office about how my students didn't get where they were supposed to go. Crud muffins, I thought, I can't go with them down the hall to each of their buses (I had to stay with the others in the room) but there has to be a way for others to know where they were supposed to go. So I know I'm not the only person that uses bus tags but they are wonderful. Now, at the beginning of the year, I find out how they are supposed to go home. I put each bus tag on a key ring and then I hook it to their backpack.

Score two for me, everyone was finally getting home where they were supposed to and no more angry calls. I made some free bus tags for anyone who wants them. Hopefully they can help you out too. Click the link below to get them for FREE (:  Let me know what you think!