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! 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Free Fraction Puzzles

This post contains affiliate links.

This past week, my first grade class learned about fractions!  I started out with 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4 using the language "one OUT OF two pieces," and so on.  This seemed to work best for introducing the concept, but as the week progressed I wanted my students to also use the word versions-- one half, one third, and one fourth.

To help with this, I gathered my students on our classroom carpet and held a mini-math talk to go over the various ways to talk about a fraction.  Then, I popped these fraction puzzles under our document camera to visually show my kiddos that 1/3, one out of three, and one third were all describing the same amount!


To get these fraction puzzles prepped, I printed them out onto Astrobrights Paper.  I went ahead and printed two of each so that I could have a mini math center and put a set on our math board as a visual reminder!

Then, I ran them through my personal laminator which I'm somewhat obsessed with, grabbed my scissors and cut them out!

After prepping two sets, I threw them into gallon sized baggies, labeled the outside of each bag as "Fractions" and they were ready to go!

Using Them

There are a few ways you could use these fraction puzzles:
  • Students could put all of the pieces together as a mini math center.
  • You could post them on your board or in your classroom as a visual.
  • Students could cut their own set out and keep them in a math toolkit.
  • Students could try to replicate them by making "pizzas" with Play-Doh and cutting them into fraction pieces.
  • and MORE!

Let me know in the comments what you think of this simple and concrete math resource-- I'd love to hear from you!  Happy teaching!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Penguin Letter Identification Freebie for B D P & Q

This post contains affiliate links.

My first graders are really starting to take flight with their reading and writing, but I've noticed lately that some of my kiddos still haven't quite made it over that tricky B/D and P/Q "hump".

Because I'm somewhat obsessed with centers, I whipped up this quick and easy letter identification / beginning sounds activity!

Getting it Ready

To get this center ready, I simply printed it out the pages onto cardstock and laminated them!  Then, I cut each piece apart and threw it in a gallon Ziploc baggie.

I store all of my centers in baggies and then I write the main skill on the outside of the bag in sharpie.  It's an easy and affordable system that works for me.  When I'm tutoring, planning small group lessons, or even just re-stocking my whole-class centers, it's SO EASY to just flip through my pre-made centers for a few supporting activities to go along with whatever we are learning!

The Activity

Since I created this activity for a few select students in my first grade class, I introduced it in my Guided Reading groups as a part of my word work/warm-up to reading.  I laid out each of the letter cards first (b, d, p, and q) and asked my kiddos what they noticed about the letters.

We talked about what letters they are, but also how tricky and confusing they can be since they all look similar!

Next, I spread out all of the picture cards and explained that we were going to practice saying words, thinking about what letter they would start with, and work together to complete our activity!  I also reminded my students to refer back to our beloved ABC chart as needed!

I gave each student a few cards and then we went around the table letting each student have their turn.  I prompted them to practice saying the word slowly, checking the ABC chart, and then deciding which letter to place the card under.

After using this activity with my students who really needed it, I showed it to the whole class under our document camera and added it to our class stash of word work choices!  My kiddos who struggle with reversals could then be the experts and help show it to other students who hadn't tried it out yet! 

Ready to Download?

Simply click on the blue button below to grab it for free in my TpT shop!

When you're done downloading, hop over to some of these awesome blogs for more penguin activities!  They are sure to bring more fun into your classroom or home!


Penguin Felt Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy

Penguin Sight Word Game - Editable // Playdough to Plato

How Penguins Stay Warm // Science Kiddo

Penguin Counting Mats // Mom Inspired Life

Penguin Letter Identification Freebie // The Simplified Classroom

Penguin Patterning Mats // Fairy Poppins

Penguin Labeling Printable // Letters of Literacy

Penguin Number Words // My Creative Inclusion

Feeding the Sight Word Penguin // Play & Learn Every Day

Penguin Pre-Writing Tracing Cards // Modern Preschool

Baby Penguin Alphabet Letter Matching // Fun with Mama

Penguin Shapes Roll and Graph // The Kindergarten Connection

Penguin Ice Races // Still Playing School

Penguin Rhyming Game // Sara J Creations

How Do I Feel Emotions Chart // Liz's Early Learning Spot

Penguin Syllable Sort Printable // A Dab of Glue Will Do

Penguin Addition Problem // Recipe for Teaching

Penguin 10 Frame Worksheet // Schooling a Monkey

Penguin Number Puzzles // The STEM Laboratory

Penguin Dice Addition Game // Adventures of Adam

Also, check out my Pinterest board full of January activities!

Thanks for stopping by and happy teaching!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Classroom Friendly Supplies - Pencil Sharpener Review

This post contains affiliate links.

When my $60 electric pencil sharpener began to wear down, I did what any teacher would-- I started browsing the internet for pencil sharpeners to replace it.  Although my electric sharpener did a good job for a solid two years, I still wanted to find something less expensive that would get the job done!

First Impression

During my teacher-research, I came across a familiar product: "The Best Pencil Sharpener in the World" as they call it.  I had seen it on Instagram and other teacher blogs, but I really wasn't sure if a non-electric sharpener would live up to that name.

When I hopped over to the Classroom Friendly Supplies website, I was impressed by a few things right off the bat:

  • The price is reasonable at 24.99, but you can also get a good deal if you or your school buys more than one.
  • The amount of color choices-- I went with firehouse red, but they have 6 other colors!
  • The company gives back to charity with each purchase.
  • A teacher owns and operates the business!
I also saw that Classroom Friendly Supplies would send me a free sharpener in exchange for my honest review of the product on my blog.  I figured I had nothing to loose, so I jumped on the opportunity and I'm SO GLAD I did.  I can assure you that my praise for this product is completely genuine and truthful.

The Review

First off, the sharpener arrived quickly and was packaged well and with care.  It was completely assembled and honestly got me excited about sharpening pencils-- I am a first grade teacher after all, and WE ALL LOVE SCHOOL SUPPLIES.

Anyways, I wasn't exactly sure how to work it right away (I made a quick video to show you below) so I tinkered around with it for a minute and sharpened my first pencil.  They really aren't kidding when they say it sharpens pencils to a perfect point EVERY. TIME.

I was sold, and I really think the design of the pencil sharpener is the reason it is so much better than anything I've ever used before.  Instead of you pushing the pencil into the sharpener, the two black buttons on the top clamp the pencil for you and PULL it into the sharpener.  This, along with the fact that it has a good blade on the inside is why I think it is superior to other sharpeners-- manual or electric.

Lastly, I highly recommend this product because it is much quieter than you'd expect, it's easy to operate, and it doesn't create a "powdery" mess of pencil fluff, but instead carves off little spirals!  You can see these if you look closely on the picture above.

You can also check out my quick YouTube video below to see me sharpen a brand new (flat) pencil.

If you'd like to buy this awesome sharpener, simply click on the blue button below-- you won't regret it!

Happy sharpening and feel free to comment with any questions and I'd be happy to answer them for you!  If you're still looking for more teacher-tested products, you can follow my Pinterest board specifically for that!