Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Math Centers

Every year I plan to do my Easter centers, but typically we have Field Day that week or it becomes a zoo in my classroom since it's the week before Spring Break, so I don't manage to squeeze in centers. This year, I was determined because I have Easter centers I made a few years ago.  Plus, who doesn't want to play with Peeps and chocolate ducks?

To get them in, I changed it up a little bit.  Most of the time, I prefer doing rotations for holiday centers.  This time, we did centers, but I used them more as whole group activities.  I let the kids pair up in groups of two or three and then everyone did the same center.  These centers would have worked fine as a rotation, but I knew I didn't have time to get all the rotations in, so this was my way of finding a happy medium.  Really the kids don't care how they are done as long as they get to do a hands-on activity where they can work with a friend.

Here are a few pictures of some of the centers we did.

To help my kids figure out if the equation was true or false, I let my kids use stamps.  I also laminated these sheets so that I could use them more than once.  My kids turn in the sheet with their answers and after I check for understanding, I clean the sheets and we reuse them the next day.

With this center, I had my students draw lines between the numbers (easier to see in the second photo), answer the problem, and then match the carrots to the correct problem.  Most of the groups caught on after I showed them how to do one problem.

I have wanted to do this center for several years, but never had time to do it.  I bought tons of Peeps and mixed them into the boxes.  This allowed me to preset the questions that my students would need to answer about the graphing sheet.  This year, we did this whole group, but it would be easy to have this as a rotating center.  Also, since I bought all of the Peeps, I kept them in their boxes and stored them in gallon-sized Ziploc bags.  This way I won't have to buy them again.  Not to mention, I won't have to sort them again.  I discovered that I hate the sugar on Peeps.  It's like glitter, but sticky - yuck!

My kids love doing these little spinners.  The biggest thing is make sure to set a number for how many spins you want them to make.  I've had a few of my kiddos spin until the whole graph is full.  

This was my favorite!  I can't believe that I found these little bunny dice on Oriental Trading.  The kids loved them and even though they are foam, they are pretty solid.  

 When we do this, I try to make a point to pull three or four of my struggling students to work with me at a table.  Since everyone is working with partners it isn't overly obvious to the other kids.

Be sure to have an extra activity for your early finishers.  I usually keep little card games, flash cards, or allow them some time on the iPads playing math games.

If you like these centers, then feel free to grab my packet by clicking an image below.

Have a great Easter!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Fun

I'm sure if you've been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that I love holidays and I love finding ways to work holidays into my teaching.  Here are some fun little St.Patrick's Day activities, treats, and things you can do to liven up your classroom a little bit.
Jennifer White at First Grade Blue Skies has some incredible drawing freebies.  This group of kids LOVED drawing, so I decided to pair up her drawing freebies with a writing activity.  You can click my pictures to go grab her freebies.  Don't forget to leave her feedback.  Seriously, she's awesome!  Oh, and she has a new drawing bundle you will have to check out.
We did St. Patrick's Day centers in my classroom the week of St. Patrick's Day.  Below are some of the pictures I took, so you can see what they looked like.  If you are interested in some new centers, you can click on one of the two images below to go grab them from my TPT store.

We also did a few measuring activities on the playground with some giant 4-leaf clovers I found last year.
What's a holiday without a fun snack?  I found this cute little freebie over at What the Teacher Wants.  I grabbed Lucky Charms and the labels from the stores.  My kids were in Heaven :)  You can click on the images to go grab the freebie from What the Teacher Wants.  Be sure to tell them thanks :)
Oh, and if you need a reason to do a snack, here's a small freebie that allows your kids to graph the Lucky Charms.  I also included the writing pages I used with the self-directed drawing freebie.

If your team gets along as well as mine, then you probably enjoy having matching team shirts.  This is a quick one I made using my Cameo for us to wear for St.Patrick's Day.
Hope you had an awesome St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rainy or Cloudy - That is the Question

One of my favorite science topics to cover every year is weather.  There is just so much you can do with it and fortunately my friend Miss DeCarbo has an awesome weather packet.  Since I use pretty much the entire packet, then I included a link in the image below in case you want to see if it's something you could use.

Here are a few things that I do with my kids that are some of my favorites.

There is nothing more fun than making rain.  Yes, you read that correctly, we make rain.  It really is a cheap activity and it is a favorite every year.  As always, we talk about rules and expectations and if my sweethearts break the rules, they sit out and they have to try to earn their way back into the activity.

Here are pictures of the activity.  It's easier to do if you have an extra set of hands, but I did it on my own this year and it still worked.  It just takes a little longer.

After we make the rain, we fill out a rain report that is in the weather packet I was telling you about earlier in this post.  Seriously, the packet has so much it is almost all I use to teach weather.  It's just full of awesomeness!
This year, we had a ton of fun talking about the different types of clouds.  I Googled clouds and we pulled up a lot of pictures so that my kids could see real life examples.  During this lesson, I also taught my kids how to find shapes and objects in the clouds.  When I was a kid, I had fun doing that, so I wanted to teach my kids the same.  They loved it!

My favorite moment was when one of my kids came up to me and handed me a book and begged me to read it to the class.  At first, I didn't really listen, but then I realized why he wanted me to read it.  In the book, there were clouds and they were different shapes just like I had shown my kids.  In that moment I realized that my kids were making real life connections and that they were really into the lesson.
This last picture was at the end of the week and it just made me smile.  Some pictures just remind you of everything incredible in our world.  The weather was just right and there were a ton of clouds.  We went outside and looked for different shapes and objects in the clouds for a few minutes.
Hope this gives you a few new ideas!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Birthday in the Classroom

My birthday is in March.  I don't know when your birthday is, but every year we celebrate my birthday in my classroom.  I have printables (I don't use them all in one day), a special snack, and cupcakes.  I also have birthday books that I read and even a birthday movie depending on if it's cold and rainy.

It may seem silly, but kids love silly things and celebrating their teacher's birthday is something they don't forget.

Below are all of my favorites and a lot of what I use to make that day a little special for my kids.

These are some of the books that I read to my class each year either on my birthday or around my birthday.  I've linked the books (not an affiliate link) so that if you want to go grab them, you can. I picked Barnes and Noble because a lot of them are Nook books and regular books.  I love options, so enjoy!

Here are LOTS of FREE birthday printables.  Use however you want.  I went a little overboard and probably should bundle them, but thought it y'all may like a big freebie.  Just know if you like these, I have a ton of printables in my store.

Here are pictures of some of the things that my room mom did to help me make my birthday special.  I don't know if you can see the cupcakes, but she added farm pictures to all of them since my classroom is decked out like a farm.  Loved all the cute gifts - completely unexpected.

Hope these ideas give you a few ideas of things you can do.  I also hope that your birthday week goes smoother than mine.  I ended up with pink eye and a stomach virus by the end of my birthday, so definitely wasn't as pleasant as I hoped.

Have a great week!