Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Teaching Bingo

It's time to play December Teaching Bingo! How many of these could you mark off?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas Storybook Countdown + TPT Super Cyber Sale!

December is always a fun and stressful time for teachers! I love seeing the magic of the season through my students eyes but, I don't quite have enough energy to keep up with their level of enthusiasm for an entire month!

I always find that it is nice to have some quiet, calming activities to do during the day to help the students calm down, and to give me a little break too!  One of the calming activities I love to do with my class is to have a read aloud just for fun. I let the students lay down on the rug while they quietly listen to the story.

To add some extra fun you can do a Christmas Storybook Countdown advent calendar. At the beginning of December wrap one storybook for each day of school until Christmas Break. Then, when it is time for the daily read aloud choose a student to come choose a book to unwrap. The privilege of choosing and unwrapping the book each day can be a great incentive for good behavior!

You can get books for your Christmas Storybook Countdown at the library, from thrift stores, parent donations or on  I have included a few of my favorite Christmas/Winter/Holiday stories below.

Some of My Favorite Christmas/Holiday Books:
(Contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase a book through this link Amazon will pay me a small cut to help support my blog and TPT store at no extra cost to you.)


While you are getting ready for December don't forget that Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Super Cyber Savings Sale on Dec 1st and 2nd. Use the coupon code: TPTCYBER to save 10% off. Everything in my store is an additional 20% off for a total of a 28% discount.

This sale would be a great time to buy some of my fun December products at a huge discount!
Prompts for Beginning Writers (December)Christmas Math Place Value Mystery Pictures 

                            Christmas Math and Literacy Printables- No Prep (Common Co

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fun and Free Indoor Recess Ideas

The weather is already starting to change and with the changing weather comes the dreaded Indoor Recess. Often times going to the gym is not an option, so I created this list of easy no prep indoor recess ideas that can be done in the classroom.

1. Follow Along to Just Dance Videos

Materials Needed: Projector, teacher computer, internet connection, open space for dancing.

My students love the chance to play one of their favorite video games at school. I love that they get some of the exercise that they would have gotten at recess.

Many people have made recordings of themselves playing the Just Dance video game and posted them to You Tube. Others can use these recordings to follow along and do the dances without the video game console. Your class won't be able to earn points and the characters will not react to their movements but my class doesn't mind. 

*Note: Be sure to preview any Just Dance Video you find on You Tube to ensure that the contents are appropriate for your class. 

You can find my collection of Just Dance Videos on my Pinterest board below.

2. Board Games

Materials Needed: Enough board games and puzzles for students to share in small groups

Free time with board games is another of my students favorite indoor recess activities. Games they play frequently at home become fun and new again with a new group of friends to play. At the beginning of the year I ask for donations of unneeded board games from students homes.  I also occasionally pick up board games at thrift stores.

3. Heads Up 7-Up

Materials Needed: Desks and chairs

This game is an oldie but a goodie.  I use this game when my class needs some quite time to rest and calm down before we continue with our day.  The class puts their heads down on their desks and closes their eyes, leaving one thumb sticking up. 7 students who are "it" quietly circulate around the classroom and tap the thumb of one of their classmates. Students who are chosen put their thumbs down.  After each student who is "it" has tagged a classmate they return to the front of the room and the class puts their heads up.  The students who were tagged stand and try to guess which if the taggers chose them. If a student is able to correctly guess who chose them they get to have a turn to tag.

4. Silent Ball

Materials Needed: A soft ball such as a Nerf Ball

The players stand up and spread around the room. Once the game starts all players must be silent. The teacher throws the ball to a student and the students continue throwing the ball to each other. A player must sit down if they: 1. drop the ball, 2. they make a bad throw, 3. they talk or make noise. Play continues until only one player remains. The last player remaining gets to start the next round. In order to keep the players who are out quiet and watching the game, my class knows that if the students who are out start talking the game has to stop.

5. Free Drawing/ Coloring Time

Materials Needed: crayons, markers, colored pencils. blank paper, coloring sheets

I keep a stack of coloring sheets printed off the internet for emergency indoor recess. My students love the chance to color their favorite characters and see what new coloring sheets I have printed. Other students prefer to just have blank paper and use the time to draw.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Favorite First Week of School Activities for First Grade

I love the first week of school. I am excited, the kids are excited and everything is new. It is a chance for everyone to start fresh. The first week of school is a great time to build a classroom community, practice routines and procedures and just help everyone get to know each other better.

Below I have listed a few of my favorite activities to do with my class at the beginning of the school year.  These activities are easy and fun but they give me a structured way to practice procedures for using supplies, coming to and leaving the rug, lining up and walking in the hallways etc.

1. Reading First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

I love this book. My class is always surprised when we get to the end of the book and they realize that the story is about a teacher who was nervous for the first day of school, not a student. After reading this I have my students complete the sentence "On the first day of school I had jitters about_______________."  The students realize that everyone is nervous about something on the first day of school. Reading students responses gives me a chance to address some of their fears to help each student feel more comfortable.

2. Math Scavenger Hunt

On one of the first few days of math instruction I love to take my class on a math scavenger hunt. This activity gets my class excited about math and also gives them a chance to tour and become more familiar with our school building.

I explain to the class that math is all around us. While we are on a scavenger hunt students look for anything that has to do with math (i.e. numbers on doors, shapes, angles. counting steps, estimating length/ width counting windows etc).

Before we leave the classroom to go on this scavenger hunt I make sure to tell me class that this is a completely silent activity. Whenever they see something in our school that has to do with math they point to it and give a thumbs up sign. When we return to the classroom I let students share with partners and the whole class the various ways they found math in our school.  My students always love the chance to get out of the classroom and this activity doubles as a great time to practice hallway procedures.

3. Get To Know You Ball Roll

I feel that it is very important for students to get to know each other and find similarities between themselves and their classmates as soon as possible. To do a "Get To Know You Ball Roll," I have my class sit in a circle with legs crossed. I hold a ball. I call a student by his or her name and roll the ball to them.  The student who receives the ball must respond with "Thank you (insert name of roller)" and then call another student by name and roll the ball to them.

After students have learned the names of their classmates I vary this game by having a question for each round.  For example one round might be "What is your favorite animal?" and each student must answer with their favorite animal before rolling the ball to another classmate.

4. Following the Rules or Not Following Rules Game

I always like to turn learning the classroom rules into a game.  It helps students become more excited about the rules. First we discuss our classroom rules and why each classroom rule helps us to learn and have a happy classroom. After the class has been introduced to the rules I like to play "Following the Rules or Not Following the Rules?" Each student begins sitting in their chair. I give the class a scenario (i.e. you stand on top of the tables and dance the hula).  If the students think this behavior is following the rules they stand up, if they think this behavior is not following the rules they sit down.  I try to include many funny and ridiculous scenarios along with realistic ones to keep the students interested. This game is very simple but my students always love to play it.  I especially like that it gives an outlet for some of the wiggles that build up during the first few days of school.

Comment below and tell me: What are your favorite activities to get your school year off to a good start?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

End of the Year Compliment Book Freebie

As the school year drew to a close in my classroom, I was looking for a fun way for my students to continue to practice their writing skills while making a fun keepsake they could look back on in years to come and I came up with the idea of a compliment book!

This activity was perfect for my class at the end of the year but, it would also be great for any other time of the year when your class needs some team building.

I printed off a cover for each student and glued it onto a sheet of construction paper.  Then I stapled two sheets of construction paper along with several blank inner pages (you can use the printed pages provided in the download or just blank paper) to create a book.

I gave each student a copy of the cover page and let them write their name on the line and decorate the cover.  After they finished decorating the students glued the cover page onto the front cover of their book.

After the students have finished decorating their books its time to let the fun begin. Each student opens their book to the first blank page and places a pencil next to their book.  At my signal, the students slide one chair to the right and write a compliment to their classmate. Students continue moving to the right until they have had the chance to write in each of their classmate's books. Make sure that your students know that more than one person can write a compliment on each page to avoid using tons of paper!

I am so glad I did this with my class.  It was so cute to watch the smiles grow on each student's face as they were able to read the sweet compliments the received from each of their classmates. 

Go here to download this freebie to use in your classroom!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week Sale + A Giveaway!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  I was greeted this morning by cute door decorations from some amazing parents. It really brightened my day.

As my thank you to you I have two gifts for you.  The first is that everything in my TPT store will be 28% off tomorrow with the promo code TPTXO.  This is a great chance to save some $$$ on resources to get you to the end of the year.

The next gift I have for you is a 10$ TPT Gift Certificate giveaway! This giveaway closes on 5/9/14 at midnight. The winner will be announced here, on my blog, Saturday 5/6/14. Good Luck! Remember to share this giveaway with your teacher friends so they have a chance to win as well!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Free Idea Friday 4/18/14-Place Value

This is the first post in a new weekly series I will be starting on my blog. Each Friday I will feature my 5 favorite free ideas, resources or products that relate to a specific topic or theme.  This week's theme is Place Value.

1. The first free resource I have for you is a great You Tube Video by Common Core 4 Kids. This video shows the places in a visual way. My students loved this video. It really helped the idea of place value "click" for a few of my more visual learners.

2. My second idea, this week, is another great video.  This song was great to help my students remember the order of the places. A few students in my class were begging to listen to this again and again.

3. My next idea comes from My Second Grade Journal. I love her idea of using foam cups as place value sliders.  Students can use these cups to practice place value in a center or to quiz partners. To find directions to make these great place value sliders head over to My Second Grade Journal here.

4. The next resource I have for you is great for your kinesthetic/tactile learners.  Students place the fun game using 10 sided die, beads, and pipe cleaners. Students try to get to 50 points by rolling the die and collecting the corresponding number of beads. When students get a group of 10 beads they make a group of ten by string the beads onto a pipe cleaner. For full directions for this game head over to: Mrs. T's First Grade Class.

5. My final resource for you this week is from Teaching in the Early Years.  I love her idea for using place value tents to teach place value. I especially love that students can see that the value of all of the numbers and see that the zeros do not "go away," but rather are just covered up by other digits. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Helping Henry Fundraiser

Look at that cute little face!
Within 48 hours after receiving a vaccination at his 15 month check up,  Henry developed cerebellar ataxia, absence seizures and signs of possible brain damage. He has been in out out of the hospital. 
Because of all the hardship Henry and his family have gone through in his short life, I, along with 29 other teachers have joined together and donated  well over $100 worth of teaching products for this fundraiser!  You can have all of these for your $20 donation to Help Henry!  Your donation will go to help Henry’s family pay for the numerous plasma transfusions required to help little Henry get well.   
Go here to download the pack.  Remember 100% the proceeds will go to help Henry's family. 

This is the product I donated to this bundle which you will get along with TONS of other great products when you donate to help Henry!
Telling Time-I Have Who Has