Saturday, January 7, 2017

Winter Alphabet Activities

Yes...it's true...
We had our first 'brush' of snow yesterday- we read A Snowy Day and then I filled plastic totes with snow for the kids to explore and watch melt!

And today we are housebound with 12 inches on its way:
(my current view)

So it's only fitting that our centers and morning tub activities reflect the season!
If you didn't already read my Winter Math Centers post, be sure to head there too:

But today's post is all about ABC Fun!
Our school uses FUNdations and we are required to give the unit tests.  If 80% of our class does not meet benchmark, we cannot go onto the next unit.
Next week is our 'assessment week' for FUNdations Unit 1- which we have been in since the beginning of school.  The test requires you to meet 1:1 with each student, so I needed some activities for my kiddos to do independently while I conducted the assessments (we don't have full time teaching assistants in our district).  Since I will be doing them during my 'Word Work' block, I wanted my kids to still participate in 'word work' activities.

Here is the list of what we will be doing!  
The first few are not seasonally based but are goodies I can't give up!

1. Letter Locks
These are from Lakeshore and the kids L-O-V-E them!
I put a binder ring on each lock and they have to collect all the binder rings to show that they were able to match all the upper/lowercase letters (they haven't figured out how to 'unclip' a binder ring yet so shhhhhh!  It makes it easier for me to set-up because I don't have to unlock each one!)

2. Leaping Letters
We got this game from our classroom elf this Christmas and it is SO MUCH FUN!
It's like Perfection (am I dating myself knowing that game?!) but with letters!
And the letters don't actually FLY like they are on the cover...so no worries about chaos!
The elf told me he got it from BJ's Wholesale Club but he also said he saw it on Amazon!

These are FABULOUS because the kids LOVE using the links!
This is a freebie from Jennifer White on her blog.
These were a morning tub activity, along with the locks, since about October.  I would just add the letter(s) we learned the previous week into the bucket until we had all the letters in there.

3. ABC Ice Fishing
I found this on Pinterest!  It is from Joyfully Weary and it's FREE!
She gives you the ABC fish in both lowercase and capital.
I had the fishing poles from a Lakeshore Phonics Game (although I have made additional poles using a dowel, string and a magnet) and I snagged 2 copy paper boxes from the copy room to make the 'frozen pond!'

I copied the lowercase fish on white cardstock and put 2 staples in each one as she suggests. 
(So smart!  I have used paperclips before and they always pull off & kids have a hard time getting them back on!)

I copied the uppercase set on blue paper and put them into sleeve protectors.  The kids are going to work in pairs to fish out the lowercase and match them to the uppercase fish.

4.  Snow Globe Letter Matching
This was another Pinterest find!  It is from Mom Inspired Life and she has an uppercase letter globe, lowercase letter globe and blank globe for you to download for FREE!

She has her child cover the letters with white stickers, but I wanted a reusable activity.  My magnetic letters were too big but my letter beads were the PERFECT size!
I have both capital and lowercase letter beads but chose to only use the lowercase ones for now since that is what most of our FUNdations work has focused on.

I put all 26 letters into a bowl for matching:

I printed the globes front/back so I could differentiate instruction:
To the kids its looks like they are completing the same activity, but you know you are giving each one what they need to practice at the time.


5. Roll and Cover

I got these alphabet dice while at the I Teach K! Conference in Las Vegas last July from a booth hosted by a company called 'Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks.'  They have an online catalog that sells them for both US and Canada.
The dice are $1.50 each- I have used them for a few activities already this year and the kids LOVE them.

I made a mat, grabbed some Target Dollar Spot erasers, the dice and little plastic baskets.
These dice TAKE OFF when rolled on the tables...so having them roll them in the basket helps keep it in place and on the table...and less noise!

They roll a letter, say it's name and then find it on the mat and cover it.
I printed the mats front/back for upper and lowercase, but for now we're just using the lowercase side.  After some practice, they'll be allowed to choose a side for morning tubs.
You can grab the mat for FREE at the end of this post!

6. ABC Winter Express
Each kid has a train...they find the upper, lowercase and a picture for each letter.  
Click the picture to find it in my TpT Store.

7. 'Snow' Writing

I love sand/salt trays...but they are usually bulky and inevitably always get knocked over!
I filled 5 plastic crayon boxes with a mixture of salt and glitter (well not so much 'FILLED' but poured enough in to cover the bottom!)

I put letters a-z on a word ring (in FUNdations you only practice writing the lowercase letters for the first 12 weeks- after our Unit 1 test we will learn how to write uppercase letters) and in each box.

They open the box, take the word ring out, find 'a' and write it in the salt.  They GENTLY shake the box side to side to erase the letter and flip to the next letter.  They continue to write, shake, turn until they have practiced all 26 letters.

This was an inexpensive center to set up- 1 container of salt covered all 5 boxes and I only used a little bit of glitter in each!

DO be careful to keep the boxes flat...the salt is so fine it 'leaks' out the seams if put on it's side!

You can find the writing snowballs in both capital and lowercase for FREE at the end of the post!

All 7 of these stations will be set up and they can travel freely to any they want to do as long as their is room at that table/area.
I do want each of them to visit the salt tray station because they each need handwriting practice, so there will be a 'sign-in' sheet at that table.  After they complete it they will write their name next to their printed name so I can remind those that haven't done it yet to do so.

Want to grab the roll/cover mats and snowball writing cards?
Click HERE:

and if you didn't already visit the Winter Math Center freebies, head there now:

I have been pinning a lot of cute ideas to my Winter Pinterest Board too:


If it's snowing where you are...stay warm and safe!
If not...send some sun our way please!

Until next post,

Monday, January 2, 2017

Winter Math Centers

I am going to be honest...I had hoped to have this post up back in December...I had a bunch of winter/holiday center ideas using goodies I purchased at Target, as well as freebies I found on blogs and TpT that I wanted to share with you to help make planning easier...BUT some little things like motherhood, teaching, being a wife/running a home and life in general got in the way!

So I pulled out the things that were winter and could continue to be used to share with you!
Let's hope I can be better prepared next year!

Let's start with these snowman plates I found at Target!  They were in the holiday party goods section.  THEY might even be on clearance now!
I found the white pom poms in the Dollar Spot.  If you can't find white pom poms, cotton balls would work just as well!

The double dice are from Lakeshore and can be found HERE.  I have the Jumbo Double Dice (12 to a package) although they also sell regular size double dice where there are 70 to a package!

The tweezers are also from Lakeshore.  I have used them A LOT this year...we've needed a lot of fine motor work.  They work great for picking up Target Dollar Spot erasers too!

Take a look at this video if you need a 'visual':


Here's another way we used the plates as I reference in the video:

And if you don't already own this tape you want it...NOW!
We used it for interactive writing to cover up 'mistakes' but I have found it's great for making center activities when I don't want a permanent mark!
(I used them on these puzzles too!)

And if you were lucky enough to find these erasers (and I even read some teachers found them in Target Christmas clearance for 30 cents a bag!!!!!) you can use them instead of the pom poms/cotton balls.

Speaking of clearance....I am SURE these Santa plates are on clearance now!
I purchased present gift tags and simply removed the string part.  We also used these candy cane erasers with the Santa plates.

The dice were great but I also wanted my kids to work on numbers to 10, so I created this spinner that we used with the plates too.  You can find the spinner in the download pack at the end of this post for FREE!

The other goodie I found in the Dollar Spot were these 2-sided wooden trees.  Of course we called them Christmas trees, but you could also call them 'winter' or evergreen trees!

And for my readers that need a visual...


And a few other things that popped into my head on how you could use them:

Next up is these number ordering cards.  My kids L-O-V-E these because they get to use the fun links!  We have been practicing these since Fall.   I know this picture shows the Christmas stockings, but the winter center pack download (free at the bottom of this post) will have the snowflakes to order.  We'll be using them starting next week!
I don't have a 'counting by 10's' set but they would be easy to make..go to Google images (if you don't already own snowflake images) and find a snowflake image, insert a text box and print them on cardstock.  Cut & hole punch just like above.

Back to the famous Target Dollar Spot erasers...

This is one of my students' FAVORITE early finisher basket activity and I also put it out for morning stations/tubs.  The directions on how to play are included in the FREE download pack.  If you don't have the erasers- no big deal!  You can use chips, cubes, flat glass 'marbles' (you can find them in the florist section of craft stores), pom poms/cotton balls, buttons, etc!

I just added this to my TpT Store for practicing numbers 10-20:
It is a follow-up to the New Year Theme for Numbers 0-10 that I posted for FREE!


Think these are some things you'd like to try out this winter?!
This FREE download includes:
*snowflake number ordering cards (0-10)
*Roll & Remove instructions & game boards for 1-6 and 2-12
*Snowman spinner for 1-10
*Snowman button cards for 1-10

We also used this freebie from Life Over C's:
I printed the Christmas and Winter sets she offers back to back.  We used the Christmas version and will now be moving onto the winter side.  We used the glass gems to help find and count all the items and I put the recording sheets into clear sleeves so we could use dry eraser markers:


I have been pinning a lot of cute center and project ideas on my Winter Pinterest board:
I'd love to have you follow the board so you can grab some of the ideas, as well!

Well tomorrow is 'back to school'!
I hope everyone had a wonderful break and enjoyed down time with those you love!

Until next post,

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year FREEBIE...And Some Magical Deals!

How is it possible that we are getting ready to ring in 2017?
As much as I dread the end of my winter break, I do love the start of a new year and all that comes with starting fresh!

I prepped my 'New Year' goodies before I left for break so that I wouldn't have any 'work' hanging over my head.  I 'prettied-up' this math center I prepped and am offering it as a New Year gift!

My students just finished our 'comparing and ordering numbers 0-10' unit before break so I know they'll need a bit of review and 'refresher' when we return before we dive into numbers 11-20.  We completed something similar for Christmas and I saw they needed a bit more practice with this skill.  SO, I made one using some fun new clip art I purchased from Little Red Schoolhouse!

All the directions and suggestions for use are in the FREE DOWNLOAD!
Students identify what the 'missing number' is and then write it on the recording sheet next to the picture that was in the missing number's place! 

If you are in a paper crunch, or trying to be more environmentally friendly, you can also have them use magnetic numbers to cover the picture...they can then record it on a dry erase board and/or a laminated version of the recording sheet so that it can be re-used! 

After we use this in math center next week, I plan on putting it in one of our morning tubs with magnetic numbers and a dry erase board for them to practice writing the number (aka my trick to squeeze in some extra number writing practice!)

You can click the pictures above or HERE to download it for FREE!
(There is ANOTHER FREEBIE at the bottom of this post too!)

If you LOVE the New Year one for Numbers 0-10, be sure to check out my Winter Theme for Numbers 10-20 too:

But that's not the end of the New Year fun!
I have teamed up with 30 other sellers for a 'Magical New Year' promotion!

On Saturday December 31st we are each offering a dollar deal!
I am offering my New Year's Early Emergent Readers Pack!
It is normally $3, but will be reduced to $1 for ONE DAY ONLY!

Much like the Winter Express Readers Pack I offered back in November (see post and video here), this pack comes with word cards, word and picture cards and 2 versions of the reader to aid differentiation in the classroom!  
It is also offered in both color and black & white: 
We will be reading and coloring our books the first week back when we discuss 'New Years' and then they will be added to our Readers Workshop book baggies for independent reading, sight word recognition and fluency practice!

If you are like me a 'visual' always helps!
This shows what is included:

And here is my son reading the book that is included:

Be sure to check out all the DOLLAR DEALS for 12/31/16 HERE:


In addition, each author is also offering one of their bundles for 50% off on 1/1/17!
From me you will find my EDITABLE SIGHT WORD PUZZLES BUNDLE for only $18!
We use these puzzles EACH week in centers and it has really helped with being able to identify, read and write our 'tricky' words!
I pair it with this great editable FREEBIE from Resource Ranch:
It is editable too!
After the kids complete their puzzle, they take this to complete- we call it 'shake and write' because I put the dice in small plastic containers so that we aren't chasing them off the tables!


I started by making a fall set and continued through the year.  I recently added a 'non-seasonal' set and then bundled them all together so you will never be without a puzzle!
You can read more details about the puzzles HERE and find all my posts that contain sight word puzzles by scrolling through HERE!

Basically- you decide on what 2, 3, 4 or 5 letter word you want your student(s) to practice.  Because they are editable, you can change around the words so everyone has the same picture, but the words are different!
Follow the instructions in the pack to edit and then print:

Students color/cut on the dotted lines: 
  

And then glue the pieces to spell the word: 

They practice writing the word 3 times: 

And can even use it in a sentence on the back: 

There are also full color puzzles included that can be used at a center, during word work, etc! 

And in each pack there is a free sample to download so you can try it out! 

AS A SPECIAL HAPPY NEW YEAR GIFT...
Try this New Year Puzzle (for the word 'have') for FREE!

Using them is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4! 

This video explains how to use them as well:



Searching for more New Years resources?
Just click this picture to be brought to all my paid and free resources!


One of my favorite things to do is have this puzzle on the kids' desks when they come in the first day from break!  It's super easy- they cut, build the new year and color!
(Click the picture to find it in my TpT Store- I edit it each year so you'll always have it!)

We work through these New Year goodies during the week back
The kids each make a pair of monocles (see in picture below) and I take their picture wearing them with a New Years hat and blower in hand!  Then I print the pictures and mount them with their New Years resolution foldable (see above).  It makes a great bulletin board/hallway display!

We also make and read these books:
and watch the ball drop via YouTube!


In addition to the FREEBIE at the beginning of this post, be sure to grab my New Year Countdown FREEBIE in my TpT Store too!

AND DON'T FORGET TO GRAB YOUR:
DOLLAR DEALS- Sat 12/31/16
HALF OFF DEALS- Sun 1/1/17

Wishing you health, happiness, peace and serenity as you head into 2017!

I would like to say that I am resolving to blog more in 2017 but I don't want to break my resolutions TOO quickly this year!  I post a lot of ideas on Instagram and my Facebook page because it is easier and less time consuming, so if you don't already follow me via those social media outlets, I would love to have you join me this year!

Until next post,
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