## 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!

### Prep

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!

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!

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

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

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.
AND
• 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!