Monday, February 18, 2013

The Best Game Pieces EVER!

Here is a wonderful idea to motivate your students to learn and practice.
If you are like me, you have TONS of learning board-type games. In the past we have used various pieces as "movers" or playing pieces. Everything from plastic dinosaurs to math bears.

Something I started doing several years ago has the kiddos so excited to play during workshop or even free time.
I take one of each child's small school photographs (we get a set of 3 or 4 every year) cut around the photo and laminate it. I have a laminator at home that laminates more strongly and stiffly than the one at school. I then use a binder clip for the base, I clip it and then remove the metal "arms".

And there you have it, a wonderful personalized game piece!
We talk about some rules, not allowed to use someone elses' game piece, treat it carefully, don't pull it off the base, etc..
Try it if you have a chance, your students will be begging to play, and any practice is good practice!
More later,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

More polka dot organization

I have been gradually sharing pictures of my classroom and resources that I made for it. As I mentioned before this year I went from 20 first graders, to 31 in a first/second grade split (yikes!!). Just trying to organize thirty-one of anything is daunting, and the paperwork..
 Here is how I organized my student's daily work. I  have 31 hanging file folders in 3 milk crates (so everyone is not crowded, otherwise known as pushing and shoving,
around one crate) and assigned a folder to each student (they each have student numbers). I made these polka dot "flower" numbers for each student and stapled them securely to the back of a hanging file folder (with the number facing forward). The reason for this is that each student was shown how to locate their number, place their finger on the number and slide their hand straight down to make sure they have the right folder.
Now unfinished work goes here in their work folder instead of lost around the room (we have group tables rather than desks).
This has worked quite well for us,
I do have to go in every now and
then to push down papers that
are sticking out, or to throw away
old papers, but other than that
they are able to manage them
on their own.
So I am adding a copy of these number flowers that you can print out on cardstock and laminate for use in your class.
In addition to the folders, I use the flowers to label certain supplies  such as scissors and glue.
If you are interested in organizing a system like this, you can get my flowers here.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read my blog.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 26 & 27
To go to my store CLICK HERE
Great SALE! Almost all stores will have up to 28% off!
Go to TpT and fill your wish list so you will be ready!
See ya there!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Love that Pete the Cat!

      Okay, I have decided that I am done feeling guilty about not posting and will just post when I can. For those of you who don't know, I will give you a little update on my crazy (teaching) life. This year at my school we went from 20 students per class to 31! After initially being freaked out, I buckled down and got ready
to welcome my 31 second graders.
I got my room set up, my book boxes and folders ready, etc. etc. you know the drill.
So... two weeks into the start of school and not too bad.  I can deal with this, I thought. Well... okay... called into the principal's
office one day and told I wouldbe losing 1/3 of my second graders, and they would be replaced by 1st graders! Yep, I now had a 1/2 split!Had I done a split before? No. Had I even done second grade!
Fortunately for me, I got to loop up with most of my first graders from last year, who are very high. Unfortunately for me, I welcomed 13 extremely low first graders, transferred in from another school. First graders that do not know the names of most of the letters of the alphabet, and very few letter sounds. OMG!
So, I have been keeping busy trying NOT to crack up and do as much as I am able to do in my crazy classroom.
Most days are spent late at school, I go in early, I go in on weekends, but I am nowhere near having things run smoothly. They just kinda... run!
So instead of feeling bad about not keeping up my blog I figure that I will just post what I can, when I can and see if anyone is interested.
I have been asked to post some pictures of my classroom. I have jumped aboard the "polka-dot" bandwagon and LOVE it. I will share some of the things I have made here in case anyone else is dotty for dots.
The first thing I want to share is this hanging that I made for my room. Both my kids and I LOVE Pete the Cat. I made these posters as much for myself as for my students, there are days when you will find me banging my head against the wall mumbling, "It's all cool...".
If you'd like to put together this cute hanging for your room, you need ribbon and these posters.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wearable DOLCH Word Cards

Here is an item that I just posted to my TpT store
(offered as a FREEBIE here for you!) 
(**btw: make sure you are signed up as a follower of my store on TpT as I will be posting the other sets for free on TpT for a short while and as a follower you will be notified by email as soon as they are posted)
I made word necklaces for all of my firsties last year and they LOVED them! I loved the way it really helps them memorize their sight words. Parents love it because it is a quick and easy way for them to help students with their words daily. It's a lot of work initially making sets for everyone in class but it is SO worth it!
I have a total of 5 sets (preprimer, primer, first grade, second grade and third grade) that I will be posting in my store. In the meantime you can find a FREE copy of the first set if you click on the link below.

I hope these come in handy for some of you.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great Center Game(s)

Here is another BOLO (Be On the Look Out for) you.
Sometimes at yard sales or at a sale/clearance table at a big bookstore like Barnes and Nobles, you can find one of these "game books". These are big cardboard books with pages of games. They are usually simple board games that students spin a spinner and move along until someone reaches the end of the board and wins. The attraction of these books is that they usually have a noisy spinner or move selection button. If the sound is dying, the batteries are easily replaced if you remove the battery cover.
Here are two that I came across, one at a yard sale, and one at a bookstore.
In order to make these useful for my kiddos. I "redo" the games inside. By that I mean that by using stickers or printing on label paper I can cover the existing game and add whatever it is that I would like my kids to practice.
Sight words is a big one. You can never have enough ways to have them practice their sight words (IMHO). Here is one of the Winny the Pooh pages that I converted to simple sight words. This one I use when I am doing kinder, or the beginning of first grade. This is also a great game to play with class buddies if you have students from a higher level classroom that come in to help out.

I have used these for sight words, sentence reading practice, math facts, etc.. Basically anything that can be put in board game form.
After putting the stickers on, I cover the whole surface of the page(s) with clear packing tape. I helps keep the board book clean and the words or labels that I have added do not come off.
Here is a page from the race car book:

I usually remove whatever pieces that come with the game for the kids to use as individual markers or movers and add my own.
I have a really cool way of making personalized game pieces that I will share in an upcoming blog.
In the meantime, "BOLO" for these in your summer travels.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Left hand, Right hand - Which is Which?

When you have a chance, download my latest resource. These are small posters that I created to help my firsties  and kinders distinguish their left hands from their right. I showed them how to hold their hands out in front of themselves, palms facing out,  and to stick out their pointer fingers and thumbs. The fingers that made an “L” were on their left handI placed these posters on the right and left side of the board in the front of the room for easy reference. 
My students loved these  and soon knew their right from their left without these “hints”. Perhaps these posters will come in handy for your kiddos as well.