Valentine's Day Freebies! - Blending & Sight Word Games

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and today I'm at home nursing a sick child.  There is nothing worse than not being able to help your baby feel better.  This just STINKS.  We could absolutely use the prayers.  Fevers scare the daylights out of me...especially when the Motrin/Tylenol combo doesn't do a thing to relieve them. 

For those of you who will be at school tomorrow, here are a few activities you can implement for a little extra fun.  Of course, they'll work perfectly for the month of February as well so no need to put them away after all the Valentine excitement has died down!

First up, Valentine Bingo.  

Six player cards and one teacher call-out card is included which makes this the perfect little small group activity.  This is NOT an editable freebie (so sorry!!!), but it's perfect for a sight word review with the words that are included.  

The teacher will distribute one HEART card to each child in the group and use the word list to call out sight words to the group.  The teacher will call out the word and the student will search their board to identify it and cover it with a counter.  As you can see, we used these great little heart counters I found at Wal Mart in the holiday party aisle.  

The first person to cover five in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally), will call out "I've got HEART!" and wins the game!!  FUN!
Click the pic below to download your copy.

Next up, a fun partner game to practice blending onsets & rimes and identifying real and nonsense words.

For this activity, pair students together and provide counters for their board pieces.  Again, we used these great little heart counters I found in the holiday aisle at Wal Mart.  We also used these transparent spinner overlays as well, but a paper clip and pencil will work just the same!
Player 1 will spin the spinner and blend the onset on which he lands with the FIRST rime in sequence on his side of the board.  For example, if the player spins and lands on /r/, he will blend that with /-at/ because it's the first rime in sequence.  If the player makes a REAL word, he will place a counter on top of the rime.  If the word is NONSENSE, he loses a turn.  Players will take turns blending and determining if the words are real or nonsense.  

The first player to cover all of his rimes on his side f the game board, WINS!  Great for small group (you can provide guidance as they get the hang of the activity) and independent/partner practice, too!
Grab your free copy by clicking the pic below.

If you have any questions, just let me know!  Otherwise, enjoy the activities and have a WONDERFUL (stress free, lol!!!) Valentine celebration with your babies!!!!  

Printable Valentine GIft Tag & Writing Craftivity - FREEBIES!

Can y'all believe it's almost already Valentine's Day?  Does it seem someone pressed fast forward on February?  Or nah?  Well...that's what it feels like to me.  

Moving on.

Since Valentine's Day is just a few short days away, I wanted to share a writing activity & a printable treat tag that you might be able to put to use in your classroom this coming week. 

First up, let's talk tags.  I absolutely LOVE Valentine's Day and love gifting different treats to students, co-workers, friends, and family.  There's just something my Kindergarten heart loves about the holiday (as commercial as it may be).  I was at Target earlier this week and ran across these tasty little hearts.  

I'm never one to turn down candy....especially candy of the marshmallow I picked up a few packages to hoard here and enjoy (alone) at home.  Then I remembered my pants still aren't buttoning up very easily because of all the holiday eating I enjoyed November-December, so I figured these marshmallow bites would be better served in a treat for my boys and all their friends.  

For this little treat, you'll need 1 graham cracker, 1 Valentine Peep, 2-3 pieces of Dove Milk Chocolate, and a clear cellophane baggie.  Tie it up with cute ribbon or twine and attach the gift tag.  Done and done!  Great little treat for your students or something to send with your own kids to school, too!  I went ahead and included gift tags for both!  Just click the pic to download.

A few years ago I blogged about these Valentine treats for the classroom.  Check them out HERE.

Now let's talk about writing.  I always love celebrating friendship the week of Valentine's Day.  I'm sure many of you do, too.  Here's a writing craftivity that celebrates friendship and is perfect to implement any time in February....or any other time as well!  Of course, it would be even better if this were a leap year, but I'll roll with it anyway.  Haha!!  

Head HERE to grab your FREE printables!  

Hope you've had a WONDERFUL Friday!!  Check back here this weekend for a few more freebies - a couple of sight word games, some math freebies, and a blending onset & rime game....all perfect for Friendship Week!!!

2D & 3D Shapes

It's about that time of the year....for us introduce & reinforce 2D & 3D shapes (concepts and ideas).  Does that hold true for you, too? Shape identification and geometrical language are always among my favorite concepts/skills to teach.  Hands-on and engaging and so many connections to the real world!  And for our kids, shapes are tangible.  They can feel real world shapes.  They can play with them.  They can even identify shapes in the environment around them.  Shapes are EVERYWHERE!  And shapes are among the earliest objects they learn, recognize, and identify (thank you, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and every Disney and Nick Jr. toddler show on air :)

While these concepts and skills are familiar to our babies...and while me may think "they've got it"...we need to make sure we "dig deep" and ensure that our kids not only have a strong sense of understanding, but that they are able to proficiently use geomtetrical language and easily & efficiently apply the learned skills.  

Today I just wanted to share with you a few activities I loved using in my classroom.  Activities that are hands-on and engaging...activities that encourage our kids to explore, learn, reinforce, and use geometrical language.  Activities, in my opinion, that are just plain fun!  

First up, let's talk about one of the core concepts when teaching these skills and concepts.  Composing Shapes.  

This is a great example of an interactive anchor chart from The Controlled Chaos Classroom that  I would use with my students to introduce this concept.

I love interactive anchor charts.  I love giving kids the opportunity to not only learn, but teach their peers at the same time.  

These are a great set of FREE composing shapes activity cards from my friend, Susan, over at Thank God, It's First Grade.  These cards are perfect for centers or fast finisher activities and give kids repeated opportunities to practice composing shapes.  And we all know that when our kids can manipulate tangible objects learning becomes more concrete and connections are made that help them to remember and apply what they learn.

Speaking of tangible objects, I love to incorporate any type of tactile material into my lessons and independent activities so that my kids have opportunities to explore hands-on learning with a variety of materials....just something to make learning more concrete.

These are my go-to hands-on materials for learning.  Many of them are perfect for composing both 2D and 3D shapes.  And if you haven't figured out a way these materials can be used in your instruction, just ask your kids....they always have ideas!  

While we're on the subject of both 2D and 3D shapes, let's talk about something celebratory.  At the end of each unit, I like to celebrate with food.  If you know me at all, this shouldn't surprise you one bit.  Food is my love language <3.  I know many schools don't allow food as part of the learning process, but many do.  So for those of you who CAN incorporate food into your plans, consider hosting a SHAPE BUFFET after learning about either/both 2D &/or 3D shapes.  This is basically a smorgasbord of various 2D & 3D shaped food items.  
Circle:  Ritz Crackers, Pepperoni, Round Cookies
Square:  Wheat Thins, Cheez Its, Waffle Pretzels
Triangle:  Doritos, Pita Crackers, Triscuit Thin Crisps
Rectangle: Club Crackers, Chessmen Cookies, Graham Crackers
Oval:  Flip Sides Pretzel Crackers, Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies
Hexagon:  Gold-n-Cheese Crackers, Oyster Crackers

Cylinder: Pirouettes, Slim Jims, Combos, marshmallows
Sphere:  Kix cereal, Cocoa Puffs cereal, grapes, Whoppers
Cone:  sugar cones, Bugles
Cube:  cheese cubes, croutons, caramels
Rectangular prism:  Hershey's kiss, Candy corn
Rectangular Prism:  Twix, sugar wafer cookies

A Shape Buffet can be implemented as a simple, "Fill your plate with 1 food item of each shape" OR you can fill your celebration with a few educational activities, too.  

Fill a giant bowl full of both 2D & 3D shaped food objects.  Prompt students to scoop a cup of food objects and sort into 2D & 3D shape categories and graph.

Fill a giant bowl full of either 2D or 3D shaped food items. Prompt students to scoop a cup of food items and sort into differnt shape categories (example:  scoop a cup of 2D shape food items and sort into circle, square, triangle, etc.)  Graph results.

Scoop a cup full of food items and count the total amount scooped.  Find a friend who scooped more/less/same.

Scoop a cup full of both 2D & 3D shaped food items.  Sort into 2D & 3D groups.  Count the total amount of 2D shape food items and record the number.  Count the total amount of 3D shaped food items and record the number.  Add the two numbers together and write the total sum.  Count the total amount of food items scooped to double check the answer.

This collection of 2D & 3D shape activities are perfect for everything from whole group to partner work.  The activities are engaging and hands-on and are kid & teacher tested and approved :)  I think it's extremely important to make learning hands-on.  Like I said earlier, hands-on learning creates a strong foundation in conceptual understanding and helps our kids to form lasting connections that allow them to easily remember & apply the skills they learn.  PLUS, what kids don't like to have fun while they're learning?!  Anytime you can present content in the form of a game, everybody wins :)

And when I'm in the need for a paper/pencil assessment...which isn't the case most of the time, but sometimes paper documentation and samples are needed...I pull out these 2D & 3D shape flip strips.  My kids LOVE these!!  

Now let's finish this out with a few freebies for you, shall we?! These are some of my favorite activities to include in my centers, teacher table, and fast finisher tubs.  

ROLL & ADD - for this activity, assemble the 2D die template provided & place the Roll & Add printable in a dry erase sleeve.  Roll the die once.  Draw the shape on which you land in the first bubble provided.  Count the vertices on the shape and record the number on the line beneath it.  Roll the die again.  Draw the shape on which you land in the next bubble.  Count the vertices on the shape and record the numberon the line beneath it.  Add the vertices of both shapes together for a combined sum.  Write the sum in the space provided and draw a shape with a matching number of vertices in the bubble.  Record the shape in the box below.  

ROLL & COLLECT:  For this activity, assemble the pattern block die template.  Prompt students to roll the die 10-20 times (teacherdiscretion.  Students can even spin a spinner or pull a random number card from a container to determine the number of times to roll the die.) 
Students will roll the die, identify the shape on which they land, and then collect that matching shape.  Students will continue to roll and collect until they have rolled the die the determined amount of times.  Once all shapes are collected, students will assemble into a creation, count, and record in the space provided on the printable.

GUESS THE SHAPE:  This activity is perfect for whole or small group.  You can use a paper bag or something fancier if you prefer.  Adhere the “Guess the Shape” label onto the frontof the bag (optional) and print out the “guess the shape” activity prompt sheet.  Place a tactile “mystery” shape in the bag.  This will be your discretion.  Use pattern blocks or geosolids for this activity.  In a whole/small group setting, prompt a student to reach into the bag without looking and then read the prompts aloud to encourage students to describe the shape without telling what the shape actually is.  The rest of the students in the group will listen to the descriptors and determine which shape is hiding in the bag.  This is a great activity to discuss attributes as well as giving kids the opportunity to use geometric language and would be perfect to introduce shapes or review them. (ADDITIONAL IDEA:  Keep a set of shape picture cards on hand and prompt kids to determine which shapes DON’T fit the descriptions and remove until only one is remaining. ) 


SPIN & STACK:  For this hands-on 3D shape activity, you will need a spinner overlay (or pencil & paper clip to create
 a spinner) and a set of geosolids. 
OPTION 1:  Students will roll 1 or 2 dice to determine the number of times they will spin the spinner.  Students will spin and collect the shapes on which they land until they are out of spins.  Then students will determine how to stack the geosolids collected without it falling over. 
OPTION 2:  Students will spin the spinner, collect the geosolid on which they land, and create a stack.  Students will continue to spin, collect, and stack until their “tower” falls over.  The player whose tower is the last one standing, wins the game.  (With this option, students will quickly determine that cones, and pyramids/rectangular prisms can only be stacked on its base and spheres can’t stack at all :) )

I hope these activities are helpful for you and hope your kids enjoy!!!


All About January (and a few freebies!)

Happy (ALMOST) New Year, friends!  2017....really?!?!

Have you made any resolutions?  Me...notsomuch.  Of course, I always want to be a better version of who I was the year before, but resolutions never quite "stick" if you know what I mean.  Sure...I want to eat healthier.  Work out more.  Get more organized.  Keep the house clean.  Do the laundry...regularly ;)  Yes...I want all those things.  And to eat all the things and still be able to fit into my jeans.  But really...I just want to have a great year filled with lots of laughter and more memories than I can count.

I'm still trying to narrow down my ONE LITTLE WORD for the New Year.  Here's what I have so far...

Do you see a theme here?!  

I'm *hoping* to take this blog in a different direction after the new year as well.  We'll see how that pans out.  Ha!

Before we look ahead to the new year, let's take a look back at a few things we did going into the new year in years past.   Maybe there are some activities and freebies that will help you with your planning these next few weeks!!  

This is typically how I start the new year with my cuties.  These were our goals in 2011...

In 2011, I blogged all about these snowman activities.  

I got this cutie snowman painting idea from What the Teacher Wants and then paired that with a reading response for Snowmen at Night.  You can read all about our fun that day HERE.

The following year, I was inspired by The Elementary Art Room with this cute snowman craftivity.
I decided to have the kids create this with their response to the story.  LOVE the way they turned out!!!  You can check out our writing HERE.

At the time we were also working on expository writing.  I had my kids build their own snowman out of construction paper...create a little scene...and then write about HOW to build a snowman.  

Here's what we did when I taught Kindergarten in 2013.  I made these little snowman parts in power point (sorry...I don't have the file!!! :() and then had the kids build the snowman and then write about how they built it.  In these parts of Texas, my kids will probably never have a chance to build a snowman, so this was a way to make the writing a bit more tangible and relevant.

We were also working on blends, so I created this simple little activity.  You can grab it for FREE!!!

Speaking of FREE...and who doesn't love free?!?!'s a little freebie I blogged about that same year.  A little something fun for the writing center. 

And of course, a few little math freebies, too!

This little math craftivity was inspired by Joanna Davis at We Heart Art.  I used her cutie snowman for  problem solving. They used their thumprints to create the snowflakes and then made patterns on the snowman's scarf.  You can read all about it HERE.

I love introducing the concept of symmetry in January.  Really, any time of the year is appropriate, but I love the activities I can do this time of the year with this concept.

Here we are making a symmetrical snowman.  This really helped the kids to "get" the concept.

And we've made these symmetrical snowflakes as long as I've been teaching!  13 years!  Say what?!

This was such a FUN whole group math game!!!!  My kids LOVED it!  A great way 
to reinforce making 10 while keeping with the whole snowman theme.  #targetsnowflakesforthewin

Speaking of games, this was another class favorite!!!  Aaaahhh!!!  This was SUCH a blast for the kids...they asked to play it almost every day after that!  Great way to reinforce the concept of comparing numbers.

Speaking of's another "making 10" game we loved.  Only with this one, we practiced using the number line.  You can read more about it HERE.

Here was a little patterning activity we got from Julie Lee at Mrs. Lee's Kinder Kids.  I absolutely LOVED these!!  So did my kids!

This was a game we played a TON last year.  It really works with ANY skill.  You can find out how we played it in this post.

Another favorite was this great sight word activity we kept out almost all winter long.  My kids had to dig for sight words and build them with "snowballs".  You can grab the FREEBIE HERE.

We did SO much more in January in the years past, but this post would be a mile long if I included everything.  So I'll save that for another post...maybe tomorrow or the day after that.  Hopefully these activities will help you with your planning the next few weeks!!!

Here's a little something I'm THRILLED about going into the new school year...this  Place Value Intervention packet of activities!!!

Does that sound silly?? #teachernerd

I'm really passionate about teaching math and place value is one of my most favorite concepts to teach.  Here is a little sneak peek at just a few of the activities in the packet...

Climb the ladder is a fun small group game where kids have to correctly answer several different questions about a number and the value of it's digits to win the game.  

The pyramid place value tray is a different twist on building numbers and I absolutely love anything I can put a twist on.   I really believe in taking one concept and finding lots of different ways to practice the skill so that the novelty doesn't wear off.

Not only does this intervention packet include lots of whole group & small group games & activities, but it also provides opportunities for independent practice and reinforcement.  That's something our kids can NEVER do enough!!!

I like using independent acivities for whole group lessons as well.  It's a great way to introduce a concept.  And when the kids are familiar with a game/activity, that's less reteaching you have to do later on and less interruption you'll get when it comes time for that independent practice.

Speaking of independent practice, I included 15 different print & practice activity sheets.  These would be great for morning work, homework, or anything you can think of.

And if you have interactive journals in your classroom, I also included a few supplemental (editable) journaling pages for additional practice and reinforcement opportunities.

And the most exciting thing we're doing in my opinion of course, is SCIENCE!!!  Our babies LOVE anything and everything science related and unfortunately, we often toss this subject to the side and don't give it the attention it deserves because we have too much to do!

Abby and I have made it easy for you with our cross curricular science resources!!!   Here's how the month of January looks at a glance....

Lots of vocabulary...

We made sure to include a list of suggested books for each week, although ANY book to which you have access that covers SNOW, ICE, WINTER, & ANIMALS IN WINTER will work beautifully for these activities.  We even included three non-fiction books in this resource that you can print out and bind or project and read.

TONS of science activities!!!

ELA Extensions...

Lots of math...

And my personal favorite...hands-on craftivities!!!!

If you're interested in implementing these activities and plans into your classroom, just click on the pic below.  We are SO excited about this resource and can't wait to see how you incorporate it into your plans!!!  This was a labor of love and we hope you love it as much as we do!!!!!

And if you're looking for a few things to help your planning go a little smoother while transitioning into the 2nd semeseter of the school year (WOO HOO!!!!), here are a few things that might be able to help!!!

You can grab EVERYTHING mentioned here...AND MORE!!!!...for 20% through New Year's Day!  No code needed!!! 

Have a FABULOUS weekend before the crazy starts up again!!!!  
And have a