Friday, December 22, 2017

Postcards for Free Writing

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Almost every day, my first grade students have a writing "job".  We might be starting a week-long writing project, responding to prompts, adding a new entry into our independent journals, or we could be doing some sort of writing craft!  I like to mix it up, but regardless, my students are writing every day and they LOVE it!

One of the reasons my students love to write each day is because once they finish the "job" that has been assigned for that day, they get to "FREE WRITE".

Basically, I have a table with all sorts of blank writing templates on it and they can choose anything they want to do as long as they are writing!

I was lucky enough to have a retired teacher donate a huge bag of postcards to my classroom earlier this year, but when I noticed we were running low, I whipped up some of my own!

I simply printed a handful of postcards in color, and some on colored cardstock.

They aren't anything fancy, but my kiddos love to write a short message and then draw pictures on the back!  Some of my students just write postcards to their friends and family, but I also try to encourage my students to get creative and think about what they would say if they traveled somewhere different!

Having a variety of writing formats keeps things fresh, and I sure do love getting postcards "mailed" to my desk.  :)

Ready to download your FREE copy of this simple resource???   Just click the blue button below or hop over to my Teachers Pay Teachers Shop.

Thanks for visiting and happy teaching!
Need more literacy resources?
Check out one of my favorite activity packs!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Magnetic Letters Center for All Year

This post contains affiliate links.

When I teach my first graders in guided reading groups, we almost always start out word work with magnetic letters.  I have my metal stove burner covers prepped ahead of time with magnetic letters so all my students have to do is "pull down" the letters needed to make a word.

For example, we might do:  at, bat, hat, chat

Because they are so familiar with building words with magnetic letters, I decided to make a "permanent" literacy center for my students to use ALL YEAR LONG!


All I did was fill up one of our latching center boxes with a few stove burner covers, magnetic letters, and recording sheets!
Because my students simply build the "words of the week" off our front board, nothing has to get swapped out for the rest of the year.  All I really do is copy more recording sheets when they run out.

(Click on the picture above to see the words I use each week!  It's just $2 on Teachers Pay Teachers)

*Quick tips:  
  1. I always draw an "X" in highlighter on the original recording sheet so my students know to bring it up to my desk for me to make more copies when the box runs out.
  2. I laminate the "cover sheet" and Velcro it to the outside of the latching box so that students can see what the literacy center is and read the directions for themselves!
  3. I only have two stove burners in the box because only two kiddos can do this center at a time.  (It can get a little hectic sharing the magnetic letters with more students)

Get a 6 pack of latching boxes and a 100 pack of storage bags:


This literacy center stays out all year, but the other centers I have out are swapped every week or so.  When centers are not "out" for students to use, I store them in 10x13 clear baggies that actually zip (as opposed to Ziplock gallon baggies that are too short, unfortunately!)

That's it!  This literacy center is fairly simple, but there is something SO MEANINGFUL about students building words out of magnetic letters.  This center allows them to do something hands-on while practicing our classroom words of the week!

Need magnetic letters???  Grab some from Target!

Download this BLOG EXCLUSIVE FREEBIE by clicking the blue button above, and then check out these other magnetic letter activities for kids:

Elkonin Sound Boxes // Playdough to Plato
Self-correcting Magnetic Word Work // Differentiated Kindergarten
Alphabet Magnet Beginning Sounds Center // The Letters of Literacy
Pull and Trace Alphabet Magnets // The Kindergarten Connection
Secret Code Seasonal Words // Mom Inspired Life
Editable Sight Word Mats // Mrs. Jones' Creation Station
Letter Identification Alphabet Train // Stay at Home Educator
Number Word Mats // Fairy Poppins
Magnetic Letters Nouns Game // Teach Me Mommy
CVC Word Spinners // Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten
Magnetic Letters Center for All Year // The Simplified Classroom

Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Snow Monster Addition Puzzles

This post contains affiliate links.

One math skill I always seem to forget about teaching my first graders is adding three numbers together.  

In my state, students are expected to be able to add three numbers together within 20, but I usually just start within 10.  To teach this concept to my class, I simply gathered my students on the classroom carpet and wrote a problem on the board.  I explained that they should add the first two numbers together, and then add on the last number!  We repeated this a few times, and I made sure to have student volunteers help out!

After my students "rated" their understanding of adding three numbers together, I popped this Snow Monster Addition math center under our document camera!

I told my kiddos that they could simply match up the math problems with the answers, or they could make more of a game out of it and play "memory" or "go fish" with them!

Prepping these math puzzles were quick and easy-- I'll I did was print them out on cardstock and then laminate them.  Because it was so simply, I'll likely send them home with a student who needs extra practice after it's time to rotate them out of our math station choices.

If you'd like to download a copy of this FREE math center for your child or students, simply hop over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store or click the blue button below!

Then, check out these other amazing Monster Activities for kids!!!

Feed the Monster Alphabet Match // Sara J Creations
Monster Alphabet Playdough Mats // Modern Preschool
Monster Counting Cards // Miss Kindergarten
Monster Math Addition Clip Cards // The Kindergarten Connection
Monster Counting Mats // The STEM Laboratory
Monster Measurement Cards // Fairy Poppins
Monster Alphabet Game // Stay at Home Educator
Felt Monsters Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
Monster Letter Match // Schooling a Monkey
Monster Snowball Coverall // Recipe for Teaching
Snow Monster Addition Puzzles // The Simplified Classroom
Monster Shape Graphs // Playdough to Plato
Name the Monster Phonics Game // Play & Learn Every Day
Monster Counting Emergent Reader // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Color Monsters Write the Room // Letters of Literacy
Monster Truck Numbers: Bigger and Smaller // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Monster Creation Tray // Powerful Mothering
Monster Feelings Match Up // Pocket of Preschool

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  Please feel free to leave a comment and I'll be sure to reply!

Monday, June 5, 2017

100th Day of School Challenge

This post contains affiliate links.

The 100th Day of School (or 101st) can be a bit overwhelming if your school is like mine and does things BIG!  Whether you're a teacher who wants a unique activity, or a homeschooling parent who wants to mix it up this year, this freebie has got you covered!

Prep Work

To get this 100th Day Challenge ready for my first graders, I simply copied the papers front to back and stapled them into a mini-packet.

My teaching teammates and I decided to opt for a rotation schedule for the 100th day, so I went ahead and printed a pack for every single first grader since they would all make it to my room at some point during the day.  Each packet was just two pages each so it wasn't too bad!

The Activity

This activity is pretty self-explanatory.  After each rotation of kiddos entered my classroom, I explained that in my room, we would be doing 100 second challenges for the 100th day of school.  Some would be exercise moves and some would be learning skills to, "get our brains engaged"!

Students found a spot to work at and I called on a student to read the first challenge.  The student would demonstrate or explain what to do and then I'd hit "start" on the full-screen stopwatch I had pulled up on my SMART Board.  

We did jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, and we wrote words and numbers-- just to name a few.

It was as easy as that!

The kids loved it and it was something they had never done before!

Get Yours for FREE

Want a copy for yourself?  Simply click on the blue button below!  Then, check out my Reminder Bracelets.  They are a life-saver for school events!

You can also check out my Pinterest board full of other February ideas!

I wish you a wonderful 100th or 101st day of school, and as always-- Happy Teaching!

Don't forget to check out this awesome activity pack, too!  It's full of 100th day activities your kiddos won't want to stop!

For this timeless box set of books, hop on over to Target.  You can keep them in your library all year, or use them for special 100th day activities!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Unicorn Spin and Graph Freebie

This post contains affiliate links.

My first graders are OBSESSED with our mini erasers from Target... maybe even more than me!  Is that even possible???  But really, during indoor recess, they just want to sort them, stack them, and put them in piles!

To harness all this eraser love, I created this Editable Unicorn Spin and Graph Freebie!

Prepping the Activity

To get this activity ready, all I did was print out the three pre-made spin and graph activities onto cardstock (you can always edit the last page of the file too)!

Then, I laminated each page and paired them with a paperclip spinner, some erasers, and a pencil!

Spin and Graph Activity

To play the activity, students simply use the pencil and paperclip to "spin" on the spinner, say the shape/word/coin, and then graph it with an eraser or other marker.

My kiddos love to predict which item will reach the top and "win" first and they typically take turns with a partner.

Ready to download your own FREE copy?  Simply click the blue button below and hop over to my Teachers Pay Teachers page!

Then, check out these other unicorn activities!

Unicorn Number Mats // Mrs. Jones' Creation Station
Unicorn Felt Page // Teach Me Mommy
Unicorn Color Recognition // M is for Monster
Unicorn CVC Word Match // The Kindergarten Connection
Unicorn Color Clip Cards // Fairy Poppins
Unicorn Place Value Game // Pages of Grace
Unicorn Alphabet Puzzles // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Ulla Unicorn's Very Busy School Day! // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Unicorn Sight Word Matching Game // Letters of Literacy
Unicorn Minus One Coverall Game // Recipe for Teaching
Unicorn Sensory Bin // Sara J Creations
Editable Unicorn Sight Word Game // Playdough to Plato
Unicorn Spin and Graph Freebie // The Simplified Classroom

Thanks for stopping by and happy teaching!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Blank Books for Writers' Workshop

This post contains affiliate links.

Every day my students have plenty of writing opportunities!  After putting their things away first thing in the morning, they know their job is to write in their "Morning Journal".  

Each day of the week has a guideline:

Monday -- Weekend update.
Tuesday -- True story Tuesday.
Wednesday -- Wacky Wednesday (a silly story) OR the choice to read.
Thursday -- Throwback Thursday.
Friday -- Free write Friday.

We also have a writing mini lesson and time to work on a specific piece. 

After these two morning routines, we switch to Readers' Workshop!  While I'm meeting with my reading groups, my other students can be found listening to reading on Epic, reading to themselves, completing literacy centers, or working on writing!

I have a designated writing table with papers for my students to choose from for work on writing!  These mini books are always a favorite, but I also have letter writing paper, lists, prompts, and even blank paper for them to be creative!  To save prep time, I've been having my amazing classroom volunteer make these blank books to restock our table!  She is so kind to donate her time and my kids appreciate having colorful books to put their ideas in.

I don't dictate the "work on writing" time-- as long as my kiddos are actually writing, I'm GOOD!  BUT, if students work really hard on a book and want to add it to our classroom library, I'll have them edit and revise it until it meets my standards.  Then, we add a "class books" label and drop it in the basket!

Ready to print off these free printable books?  Simply click the blue button below!

Then, check out these endless STEM challenges!

Have a great day and happy teaching,

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fix Em Up Sentences

This post contains affiliate links.

Each day, my first graders complete a few hands-on literacy activities during our reading rotations.  Students get to choose what they work on, and I even have some kiddos who take centers home a few nights a week to do for fun with their families-- it melts my teacher heart!

Fix Em Up Sentences

For this grammar activity, students must read each sentence strip and decide if it needs to be fixed or if it is just fine!  

Then, students sort the sentences into piles.  They will need to be on the lookout for capitals at the beginning of each sentence, as well as punctuation at the end.  There is also one sneaky sentence that is a bit tricky because there is a sight word spelled wrong!

After reading and sorting, the last thing to do is the FIXING!  Students will look closely at the five sentences with a mistake and then re-write them correctly on the included recording sheet.  It's that simple!

Students will work on reading, attending to the features of print, grammar, and writing!

Grab Your Copy 

Want to download this literacy center for your kiddos?  Simply click the blue button below!

You might also like this awesome pack of rhyming activities:

Then, check out hundreds of more ideas on my Pinterest boards!

Happy teaching!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Letter and Number Matching Puzzles

This post contains affiliate links.

Although I currently teach first grade, I do occasionally have students move-in from other areas in need of some kindergarten skills.  To help these kiddos out, I like to have literacy and math centers on hand that they can do independently and feel successful with!

These adorable zoo-themed matching puzzles have students work on three skills: matching capital letters to lowercase letters, matching numbers to tally marks, and matching capital letters to lowercase letters that form 4-letter sight words.

Getting Ready

To prep this activity, simply download the file below for free, print the 6 pages in color onto card stock for durability, and laminate!

Then, you'll need to cut the puzzle pieces apart.  Cut the zoo pictures into squares, but be sure to leave the matching mats intact.  I would also recommend drawing a star, smiley face, or some other symbol onto the back of the square pieces to indicate which puzzle set they are from.  Students may become frustrated if all of the puzzle pieces get mixed up.

Letter and Number Matching Puzzles

To play, students should pull a puzzle set and begin matching-- it's as simple as that!  You can prompt students to say the letters or numbers aloud, and if you have any zoo animal toys, this activity would be a great opportunity to pull those out and engage in a vocabulary-rich conversation!

Get Your Copy

Ready to download?  Simply click on the blue button below and hop over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to grab this freebie!

You can find even more zoo activities for kids by following the links below!

Editable Name Puzzles // Playdough to Plato
It's a Zoo Graphing Game // Stay at Home Educator
Zoo Themed STEM Activity // Sara J Creations
Zoo Sight Word Book // Still Playing School
Zoo Small World Busy Box // Play and Learn Every Day
Zoo Animals: Tracing Lines // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Letter and Number Matching Puzzles // The Simplified Classroom
Zoo Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
Zoo Pom Pom Mats // Fairy Poppins
Zoo Themed Counting Clip Cards // Schooling a Monkey
Zoo Number Puzzles // The STEM Laboratory
Zoo First to 20 and First to 50 Math Game // A Dab of Glue Will Do

Need more hands-on activities?  Check out this great fine-motor pack and MORE! 

Thanks for reading and happy teaching!