Monday, October 5, 2015

World Teachers' Day Celebrations!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Happy World Teachers' Day! 

Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store on October 5th and 6th - everything is 20% off, to thank you for all that you do and to make your teaching life just a bit easier.

If you're a follower at my store, check your TpT Inbox for your exclusive Followers' Thank You Freebie, a set of math games for fall. Thanks for following!!

After you shop, stop by the I Teach First blog, where you can enter a great World Teachers Day giveaway for a $25 gift card! Which would you choose? I'd find it pretty hard to pick just one!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Literacy Learning at the Pocket Chart ... and a Freebie, Too!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Is the pocket chart center a favorite in your classroom? Standing up, moving around a bit, learning ... a combo that pleases just about everybody, right?

Confession: The inspiration for this post is the bundle that I put together yesterday at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  But don't click away just yet ... there are lots more ideas below, and, yes, a freebie, too!! 

At a customer's request, I've bundles together all of my building sentences resources.

Here's a peak inside "Fun in the Fall", which gives you a good idea of what these resources are all about.

Each of the eleven sets includes color-coded word and punctuation cards (first words in green, ending punctuation in red), mini-sentence strips to give your students ideas for sentences to make,
three themed mini-pointers for extra practice with one-to-one matching, and a student response page.
Several sets are seasonal, and the others are about more general topics, like birthdays, reading, and pets. If your students like Go, Dog. Go!, they'll love using the "Go, Puppy!" set.

Each set is $3.50. The bundle of eleven sets is $30, so you're essentially getting two sets free.

Click here to see the bundle.

Click here to see all of my building sentences resources.

Aaaaand... here's your freebie, a chance to try a set of these building sentences resources free! Just click on the cover to get it at my store, and you'll have a November center ready to go!

What other literacy activities can your students do at the pocket chart center?

I love to use the pocket chart with our poem of the week. Put a small copy of the poem at your pocket chart.  Use sentence strips with one line of the poem on each and have your students build the whole poem, and of course read it aloud to check it!  Then, on a different color strip, break the sentences into phrases to promote fluency.  On a third color, write several single words on each piece and have your students match these to the poem they've assembled on the chart.

Pocket charts are great for matching, everything from alphabet to opposites! Pull out those sets of flashcards from the dollar store and have your students match uppercase to lowercase, or even put the whole alphabet in order. Get two sets of early sight word cards and have them make pairs. Match a picture to the letter it begins with. Match pictures of rhyming words.

Pocket charts are the perfect format for sorting.  Provide two header cards, like nouns and verbs, short a pictures and short e pictures, long vowel words, short vowel words, etc. Then give your students a great big pile of cards and set them to sorting! Here's a beautiful example of sorting at the pocket chart, from A Spoonful of Learning.

Pocket charts are great for games! Remember, it doesn't need to be A Game, in the formal sense ... if you add a fun element to practice and call it a game, well, then it's a game! Try this Sight Word Monster Game from Lori at Conversations in Literacy. Basically no prep, but so much fun that your little learners will want to play it again and again!

Of course, all of these activities could be done with the same materials, working on a tabletop or the floor.  But I just think a pocket chart makes them more fun. Do you agree?

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Apple Graphing - It's a Primary Thing! {{Apple Freeebies!!}}

Hi, Teaching Friends!

It's apple season! Tasting apples and graphing our favorites is a classic activity in most primary classrooms... graphing apples is our thing! Have any of you had this happen to you when it's time to get ready to graph your favorite apples?

Go to the grocery store, pick out a few interesting varieties of apples, make a lovely graph, smartly file away the graph to use again next year. Come the following September, find the graph again (the finding is sometimes its own small miracle, right?), go to the grocery store, find all of the apple varieties except one. It's not at the second store either, or the third... make another new graph.  Grrrr.

So, if you find yourself in the same sad boat, I hope this will be a mini-sanity saver for you.  Three blank graphs (two column, three column, four column), ready for you to label AFTER you buy your apples. (Note: You'll have to write them in by hand after you print. Sorry, I still haven't mastered making documents editable. : / ) Many thanks to Mel at From the Pond for the font and graphics!

The whole apple experience is so full of learning opportunities for our littles, from the five senses to enjoying great books to math, like cutting apples into fractional parts, counting apple seeds, and more. Here's an apple-themed ten frame freebie from my TpT store.

Another math freebie, this one from my blog.

Or save more and get more with this apple math bundle! It includes the set above, plus an apple addition craftivity and a set of four hundred chart games.

Enjoy, and happy applin'! ;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's National Play Dough Day (yes, really!!)

Hi, Teaching Friends!

In yet another proof that there's a day for everything (and everything in its day), today is National Play Dough Day. Yes, it seriously is, or at least as serious as you can get with Play Dough.

When you talk with adults about Play Dough, it seems to be a strongly emotional thing. Either you love it (That scent! Rolling the longest snakes! The fun factory!)  or hate it, which is pretty much only from people who've had the job of picking the dried pieces out of their carpeting. Ick.


Play Dough was invented in the 1930's as a wallpaper cleaner. Then, in the 50's, some clever kids started using the cleaner as a modeling compound and, there you have it - Play Dough! Thanks, kids!

If you're, ahem, of a certain age, you might remember shows like DingDongSchool, Romper Room, and Captain Kangaroo. They were among the first to feature Play Dough as an advertiser, way back in the 50's!

If you took all of the Play Dough that's ever been made, rolled it into a big ball (or maybe the world's longest Play Dough snake),  it would weigh as much as 2,000 Statues of Liberty!

(Thanks to MentalFloss for these cool facts!)


There are so many great ways to use Play Dough in school! Here are two of my favorites.

*  Use Play Dough every afternoon during the first week of school. It's a very calming activity and of course the children love to use it! After some free play and working on the basics on the first day (making snakes and pancakes), move on to something new each day, like snake letters, poking holes in a Play Dough pancake to make numerals, etc. Try following directions, like "Make three balls. Two should be the same size, and the third one should be bigger than the others."  This is also a great way to do some informal assessment.

*  Use little balls of Play Dough to model subtraction. For 5-3: Make five balls, then squish three. How many are left? The action of pounding down the balls seems to make subtraction real for some kids!

Here are a few more ideas, from Pinterest!

From Tina at MothersNiche, here's a terrific collection of links to free printable Play Dough mats for early math and literacy.

These "Feed the Monster" mats from PreKinders would make a great October math center. Cute monsters for Halloween - none of the scary stuff!

Use Play Dough with rubber stamps in a Working with Words Center. I love this because a) it eliminates the job of washing the messy ink off the stamps, and b) it's easy for kids to self-correct - just smooth out the clay and start over! Here are some ideas from No Time for Flashcards.

Last of the list is this super cool planet project from Malia at Playdough to Plato. I'm excited to try this one with our grandkids! Even if you don't have time for creating the layers of the Earth, just making mini-globes would be a lot of fun!

What's your favorite way to use Play Dough in your classroom?  Please share your ideas in a comment!

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pirate ABC's

Hi, Teaching Friends!

The Pirate Mayhem continues! Since so much of what I've been sharing for Talk Like a Pirate Day over the past few weeks has been for first and second grade, let's talk about some fun for the tiniest pirates, our PreK and kindergarten friends!

Here's a cute printable for a pirate-themed alphabet hunt, from School Time Snippets. With your kiddos searching the room for letters, this would be a fun and active alphabet experience.

From Melissa Freshwater at TpT, here's "Shiver Me Letters", a free set of adorable pirate-themed alphabet cards. You just can't get too many sets of alphabet cards ... use them for sequencing matching, sorting, assessment, and memory games like concentration.

Here's a huge pack of pirate fun and learning from Pam at Over the Big Moon. This set includes cuttting, sorting, matching, letters, patterns, numbers, puzzles, and lots more!

How about a fun pirate alphabet book? Have you seen Twenty Six Pirates by Dave Horowitz?

Cute and clever pirates, great for alphabet practice, predicting from the picture, and phonemic awareness using the rhymes. On this page for example, on your second reading of the book, have your students complete the rhymes: " Pirate Paul. Cannon ......", "Pirate Quaid. Not ......". Great for producing rhymes and also for using pictures for information.

If you're looking for more read-alouds about pirates, try these!

Last, here's a freebie for matching uppercase and lowercase letters. Each of the cards in this set has an uppercase and a lowercase letter. Match each uppercase to its lowercase form and build a trail to the pirates' treasure!  Click and enjoy!!

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Books for Pirate Day, Plus a Pirate Math Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Stop by my post at Teaching Blog Roundup to find out about some great books for Talk Like a Pirate Day!

 ... and if you read David McPhails's Edward and the Pirates to your class, there's also a freebie for you on the post, this set of word problems to go with the book. Enjoy!

Happy Teaching!

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