Monday, June 19, 2017

Oriental Trading's Updated Website Learn 365

Oriental Trading Company Learn 365
 Oriental Trading Company is rolling out their new teacher website this week Learn 365 and asked me to write a post about a couple of their products that will be useful in my teaching.  I am so grateful for the wonderful resources.  I found some amazing products for teaching young children.  I am impressed with the selection and quality of the products they offer.  I love that they offer Melissa and Doug products and Learning Resource products on their site. 

  One of the things I noticed with the little four year olds I was working with is that they also needed to work on some colors as well as alphabet the number awareness skills.

So when I found these alphabet bean bags I was super excited that they were in different colors.  I can use them for two activities color sorting/basic counting and of course alphabet games.  I also plan on using them for some spelling activities with the first and second graders as well.  I think these bean bags will be a wonderful addition to my teaching resource bag. 
Alphabet Bean Bags
I was so excited to get this Alphabet Phonics books.  What I like about these books are two fold:  1.  The books are not just the beginning sounds.  They have ending sounds as well.  The vowel books have short and long sound words.  2.  You get the entire alphabet for $10.  That is an amazing deal!  They are nice small square books for little hands.  I plan on using these books with the K5 and First Graders who are struggling with their sounds.  
ABC Phonics Books
I just love these color boxes.  I picked these out with my little grand daughter in mind.  She is learning new vocabulary and color words and this activity fits the bill perfectly!  The little vocabulary cards have wonderful simple photos on them.  The cards are well made and easy for little hands to handle.  My grand daughter loves the pictures, and the objects are things she recognizes from her environment. She loves putting the cards in the little slots on the boxes.  Right now we are only using two boxes at a time however you can change up the activity and tailor it towards each students learning needs.   
Color Sorting Boxes
This is another open-ended activity that you can change and adapt to the student's needs as well.  The game comes with a color dice and two number dice so you can play all kinds of games: colors, patterns, number awareness, basic counting, and early addition and subtraction.  So many possibilities and I know little boys are going to love the "race car" format.  I picked this game because I thought I could lots of different things with it.  
Learning Resources Mini Motor Math Activity Set
These number duckies are adorable....and what child does not like to play and learn in the water.  It is going to be so much fun picking up the ducks and looking at the numbers to identify.  However my grand daughter is not ready for number identification yet so we are using the colorful ducks to learn our colors.  You can really use this activity for two different purposes.  It was a lot of fun.  
1,2,3 Number Rubber Duckies
This MAGNETIC shape sorting activity is very open ended.  You can do so many different sorts.  I can not wait to try this out with my students.  I love that it is magnetic, my students love working on a magnetic board.  
Shape Sorting Magnets
Thank you to Oriental Trading Company for the above products.  I was given the products in exchange for this post.  All the opinions and thoughts are my own.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer Vacation Begins

My summer vacation begins today.  I don't have a lot of summer plans this year because we just remodeled our bathrooms.  So nothing left in the budget for vacation money, however I will make the best of the free stuff around the city and of course babysitting for my adorable grandchildren.  I already went to the zoo with my daughter and grand daughter this past weekend.  It is fun to see the animals from a three year olds eyes.  Every animal was exciting even if it was just sleeping.  

I sat down tonight and brainstorm my summer homework.  My wish list of things I hope to accomplish before the new school year starts.  I have three books I want to read and several activities I want to pull together for the new year.  This is just the list of school stuff I want to accomplish, I have another list for the house and one for myself, and of course my endless reading list.    

Monday, May 29, 2017

Most Used Resources This Year

At the end of every school year I like to take time and reflect back over the year and think about what activities worked well and what I need to improve.  This year I found myself in new role as the primary resource teacher.  I worked with grades K4 - 2nd grade in the classroom and pulling students who needed one on one instruction.

I started out the year assessing the new four year old students to see where they were at and checking up on their progress throughout the year.  I created this assessment binder to grab and go when it was time to assess one of the little ones.  I have everything I need in it to check in on their progress all year long.

These name bags were a hit at the beginning of the year and again in the middle of the year when I added their last name.  I used these with the little four year olds and they loved setting up their names.  I had these bags on the table as they enter the room.  It was the first thing they did.  It was really helpful because they referred to the letters in their name all year long.  We even referred the letters in our friends names as well.
We played these Bingo games all year round.  I put the capital letter bingo and lowercase bingo back to back and we switched it up.  I did the same with the number bingo as well.  At the beginning of the year I played the number bingo 1-30 with the 5 year olds and towards the end of the year I was playing the 1-20 number bingo with the 4 year olds.  I also used the number and letter cards to play other board games as well. We switched up our markers to holiday markers throughout the year.  This was a favorite that they begged to play each week.

Oh my gosh the kids loved the letters on the stones.  They loved putting them in order and they loved using them to match pictures and letters for beginning sounds.  I used them with the K5 and first graders to do making words exercises.  I think it was a texture thing.  The kids loved the smooth cool feeling of the rocks.  I even made a second set with capital letters to match up. 

These sensory cards were a free item I got from Oriental Trading Company and they were a hit with my four year old students.  They loved touching them and we made up lots of activities with them however their favorite were the sandboxes.  They loved tracing the letters and then drawing the letters in the sand that I found at the dollar store.

Stick Bang is a game that cost little money to make and the kids love to play it.  I made so many different versions of this game.  However I think the favorite was this lollipop version I made for the four year olds.  

My Mystery Number Box was a huge hit.  I found these number cards in a Math Packet I had already purchased on TPT.  I printed them and mounted them on card stock and laminated them.  Then I found an empty Kleenex box and that's where I put the cards.  I used these cards for so many activities:  Number Identification, Greater Than/Less Than, Put the numbers in order from Greatest to Least, from Least to Greatest.   Grab a number and then find one more/one less/ten more/ten less, number of the day,  adding and subtracting activities. 
I looked and looked and I couldn't find where I got these cards from but I know they were something I found I TPT. 
These reference folders were something I used daily with a lot of my older students.  I have math activities on the outside and language activities on the inside.  I found this idea in one of the kindergarten classrooms at my school and I used resources I already had and found free resources that I could use to complete my folders.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Math Centers: Money Counting Cards

As part of my math instruction I like to have Math Stations to reinforce our daily instruction.   
My students finish their class work at different times and begin Math Stations.  I try to introduce at least one or two new stations a week.  I generally have five to six stations going at one time.  
When they complete the lesson, I do a quick check of their work and then the students go to the Math Station they were working on until it is complete.  When they complete that station then they can move to the next one.   With Money Counting Cards, it is really important to me that each student completes each color level correctly before he/she continues to the next level because each level get a little bit harder.  

When all the students complete a station then I introduced a new station. 
Once in a while I have a few students who take forever to complete a station.  I generally pack up that station and they take it home for homework so the class can move on.  Or if I know they are the type that will not return it,  I have them do it during recess. 

Generally I have the stations set up around the room so my students are busy working in different corners.   I like to use these tabletop pocket charts because they are easy to set up and fold during the Math lessons.  
If you want to see more details about the Math Station activity please go to my TPT store and check it out.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Author of the Month Eric Carle

 Spring is the best time of the year to read Eric Carle's books.  Caterpillars, butterflies, clouds, flowers, ladybugs, fireflies and crickets are all things that make me think of Spring.    The kids love listening/watching stories on the ipad and that is why I like to have the Listening Center fresh and new each month.  I put something new in this pack.  There is a clip from youtube on how Eric Carle creates his illustrations.  I think it is important for the children to see the authors and illustrations as real people.
 What I like about this layout is that the posters make a nice display with the covers of the books that Eric Carle wrote.  I have them hanging low on the door where the students can reach and scan them in the Reading Center.  
I have some follow up sheets as well.  There are three different levels of sheets so you can pick what will work best for your students.  

You can pick this up for FREE at my TPT store

Happy Spring! 
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