Friday, August 29, 2014

Apples + Freebie!

I love fall!  Even though it is still August, I can taste that fall crispness coming.  Nothing says fall like sweet, crisp apples!

I put two of my favorites together, apples and play dough, and cooked up some juicy fun!
I started out by making up a batch of play dough.  We made two types of play dough.  The first was a new type for me.  I got the idea from Crayons and Cuties in Kindergarten.  You can see her awesome post on coconut play dough and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities here.

The coolest part of this recipe is that it has only two ingredients: conditioner and corn starch.  We used Suave Apple Conditioner, so the play dough would spell like delicious apples.  You use one cup of corn starch and 5 tablespoons of conditioner.  You need to make sure to stir well in between each addition of conditioner.  You can see the directions in pictures on Jenn's post.

We added food coloring to the play dough to make green and red apples.  Our hands did get dyed when using the food coloring, but it doesn't get on your hands once the dye is mixed in.
Notice the green hands :)
 Here is our red dough.
 This play dough has a very different consistency than regular play dough.  My son and daughter kept asking for the apple clay.  It almost feels like cloud dough.  I kept the dough in the fridge and used it for several days and then tossed it.  It definitely does not last like play doh!

We got our play dough recipe from Jenn, too!  She got it from the Imagination Tree.  This is an awesome recipe, because 
#1- It lasts 6 months
#2- It's no cook
#3- It takes 4 minutes

Click here to get the play dough recipe from Imagination Tree!
We added food coloring and cinnamon for an apple pie kind of smell.

Now for the fun!  We broke out the play dough mats with numbers.  The kids used the dough to form the numbers.  Great fine motor activity, as well as, practice with number formation.  I always have them "trace" the number after they create it on the mat.  It is a very tactile experience to run your finger over the bumpy play dough.  It also helps them get familiar with the shapes of each numeral.
For each number, they also made the corresponding number of apples on the tree.  We practiced counting with one-to-one correspondence after they created the apples.  
My daughter and her friend switched mats and they "checked" the other's apples.  This was a great way to have them use one-to-one correspondence and hold them accountable for their work.  Plus, they loved being the teacher!
I also have apple manipulatives in the pack.  We used these along with the play dough.  I hot glued foam to the back of the apples.  This makes them easier for kids to manipulate.  

One child would make the numeral with play dough.  The other would trace it and count out the same number of apples.  

We talked about how many apples were in the tree and how many fell down.  The kids seemed to get a kick out of this!
I also have some blank tree mats.  These are so useful!  We used them to tell story problems.  The kids used the different colored play dough to "show" the story.  

Josh saw 5 green apples in the tree.  Jeremy saw 5 red, ripe apples in the same tree.  How many apples were there all together?
 Here is another mat.  The apples aren't quite in the tree, but they are on the mat!
They wanted to make the answer in play dough after they counted the apples.
Above, you saw the basic play dough mats.  Now, I want to show you the exciting part of these interactive play dough mats!  I have included 3 different types of cards: numerals, ten frames, and addition sentences.  It makes it very easy to differentiate for different students and ages.  I am able to use the same mats and games with my four year old and a 6 year old, by simply substituting different skill cards.

Here is an example of the numeral cards.  The cards are placed in a pile and the student will choose a card and represent the numeral with apples on the tree.  Fun, hands-on practice for a necessary skill.

There are numeral cards to 20.
Next, are the ten frames.  There are ten frames to 20.  Students will choose a card and create the same number of apples on the tree.  This is good for getting students comfortable with the ten frame format AND to show them that the same number can be represented in a different way.

A student created 15 apples on the tree.
There are addition cards included in the pack.  There are sums to 10.

We used two different colors of play dough to represent the two numbers in the addition sentences.  This can be used as a partner game.  One partner can draw a card and create the number sentence with play dough.  
The other partner can count up all the apples and create the number with play doh.  Then, they will switch jobs.
The numeral, ten frame, and addition cards can be used for:
Go Fish

The numeral, ten frame, and addition cards can also be used for a memory game.  Just select the specific numbers/sums that you would like your students to work on.  Place the selected cards face down and have students try and match a numeral to a ten frame, numeral to addition sentence, or any combination that works for your students.

In "Go Fish", you would use two sets of cards.  Either print two sets of numerals, or use a combination of numerals/ten frames/addition.  Use the skills that your students need to practice.  Pass out 5 cards to each student and put the remaining cards in the fish pond.  Each student will ask another for the card that represents a number in their hand.  If the other student doesn't have the card, they say "Go Fish"!  The original student will choose a card from the fish pond.  Play will continue until all the matches are found.

War is another fun game for children to play.  You can call it "SMASH!".  This is played just like the original "War".  Choose the combination of cards that you would like to use.  I often use ten frames and numerals together.  Students slap down their cards and whoever has the largest amount of "apples" wins!  If the students get the same number, they will put out cards for the letters in SMASH.  When they flip over the last card, they will see who has the largest amount of "apples".  That number SMASHES the other!!  It's a fun spin on War.

I have a free "SMASH" poster that you can use with the game.  This will allow students to reference the poster for the spelling of SMASH and give them a visual that the larger number wins.  Click here to get your free poster.
The fun doesn't stop there!  I have included extension worksheets for students to work on the specific skills.  There are worksheets where students count the apples and write the matching numeral.
I was able to differentiate in a really cool way for students that need to trace the numbers.  I found these cool markers at Target.  They have regular markers that write in a normal color.  They include markers that are white.  When the students trace over the first marker, the color changes.  It's so exciting and fun to kids.  I have 8 year old children that ask to use these markers for different activities!

The Learning Center Giveaway- Day 2

I am lucky to be part of The Learning Center's Giveaway!  She is celebrating 500 followers!!  You can see her blog here and enter to win anything from her store!

15 other bloggers joined up to offer a winner's choice from our stores!  That means you get 15 FREE products :)  What a nice surprise!
You can enter the Rafflecopter below!  Good luck!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Roll A Story Freebie!

I've always loved all of the Roll A Story games.  It reminds me of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books that I used to read.  It's such a fun concept that your story is chosen by the roll of a die.

I have used other people's Roll A Story games before, but had not yet made my own.  A ton of kids in my neighborhood are about to enter Kindergarten and I wanted a fun way to introduce them to the people and places in the school.  I decided to create a "Back to School: Roll A Story".  The kids can roll the die and verbally make up a story to go along with the pictures.
My daughter, who is going to be in preschool, didn't want to be left out!  She is busy making up all kinds of stories.  I promised her that I would share one of her creations, so I will be back later to share one of her original stories!

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Click here to get your free copy of "Back To School: Roll A Story"!  I would love to know what you think and any other themes you might want for "Roll A Story"!

I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies for Manic Monday!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gimme 5 and MORE!!

I love back to school time, but it is SO exhausting.  It's exhausting for teachers, parents, and for kids!  I linked up with a few other teachers to bring you a little pick me up, just in time for back to school! 

This is a fun hop that was organized by the AMAZING Erica Hildebrand!  You can check out her blog and link to all the other bloggers here. 
To win 5 of my products, you get to play a little game.  The rules are simple:
1- Go to my store.
2- Choose 5 products that you can use in your classroom/home
3- Comment below with the URL of each product.
4- Put your email in the comment.
Before I go to bed tonight (and that is probably around 8 EST- I know lame...), I will use a random number generator to choose one winner that will win ALL 5 products of their choosing.  I will choose a runner up that can pick 1 of the products from their comment.  Keep reading for more fun that's happening today!
 Now that you've commented with your 5 products from my store, get ready to win a 'Scen'sational bundle from one of my favorite teacher-creators.  This teacher is phenomenal.  She is able to bring fun into her classroom and products with ease.  I wish that we lived in the same state, so that my kids were able to be in her kindergarten classroom.  She is THAT good!
Here is the deal.  You have the chance to win Jennifer Drake's brand new sensory tub bundle!  This adorable sensory tub fun fits in perfectly with "If You Give A Mouse a Cookie", by Laura Numeroff; however, it can stand on it's own.  Check out a blog post with tons of sensory tub and play dough ideas here.
This pack can be used with a sensory table, but can just as easily be a stand alone center.  The pack will cover A to Z and 1-10, as well as story retelling!  Plus, it is just plain fun :)  To win this pack, you need to go to my FB page and comment on the contest link.  I will choose the winner tonight before I go to bed.  I will put the numbers in my sensory table and one of my kids will fish out the winner.
I have one more little surprise for you today!  I joined up with a bunch of other teachers to bring you some BTS dollar deals.  I have 2 of my fall products marked down to $1 for today ONLY!  You can also find a bunch of other deals, by putting 'btsdollarday' in the TPT search engine.  There are some amazing deals there!
I have a "Pumpkin Themed: Roll, Say, Keep Game" , where students can practice their alphabet in a game format!  It is a fall and pumpkin themed center, game and printables. It includes pumpkins, as well as, adorable kids at the pumpkin patch. This is a game that can be used in a center or small group setting. It is appropriate for advanced preschoolers, kindergarten, special education instruction, or for any student that needs extra practice in learning their upper and lowercase letters. There is a lot of repetition to help students strengthen their knowledge of the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet. You can use this game to focus on letter names, or to focus on the sound that each letter makes.  It includes the "Roll, Say, Keep" alphabet game, as well, as printables for every upper and lower case letter of the alphabet.
The second dollar deal is my "Apples: Interactive Play Dough Mats".  This is one of my favorites!  This set of fall / apple themed centers, games and printables is designed to help students master counting and number identification. It is appropriate for preschool, kindergarten, homeschool, and special education instruction. The games and centers are designed for hands-on, concrete learning. Students can learn while having fun! There are 69 pages in this product.
Tomorrow is having a sale to give you a "Back-To-School" boost.  Let's face it, we all need it!  Everything in my store will be 20% off all day long tomorrow + put in the code BOOST and get an additional 10% off your entire order. 
Hope everyone has or is having a fabulous and rewarding back-to-school season.  I am wishing you a strong immune system to fight off the germs, laughter to get through the tough patches, and a soft bed to recharge you at night! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cooking Up a Great Year!

I am really excited to be joining up with an amazing team of bloggers to bring you a smorgasbord of wonderful food based ideas!  There is really a bunch of great ideas in this hop.  Everything from crock pot recipes to creating art with your veggies and fruit.  You will not want to miss this scrumptious selection of tasty treats! 
On my blog, you will be exploring emotions and taste with fruits, veggies, and healthy treats!
I got my inspiration from a wonderful book called, "How Are You Peeling?", by Jan Freymann and Joost Elffers.  I LOVE this book!  If you haven't already seen it, the book is all about foods with moods.  Fruits and veggies are given faces with very distinct moods.  The artistry is phenomenal.
It is a fun way to get students thinking about feelings and how each individual can effect others by their actions and moods.  It gives students a safe avenue to explore their own feelings.
It also is a great way to help students understand that every person experiences a variety of feelings every day.  It is so important to let students know that all feelings are OK and it is important to learn how to deal with all the different feelings.
After reading the book, we created our own foods with moods!
We used apples and peaches.  That was what the kids chose.  I provided a variety of fun stickers with different eyes.  I believe that these eyes were from Oriental Trading. The great thing about these eyes is they already suggest different feelings.  The kids were able to select a set of eyes to inspire their feelings face.
They stuck the eyes on the fruit and used a toothpick to create the rest of the face.  My 4 year old was able to create both a happy and sad face with just a sticker and a toothpick.
 We created a two feelings on each fruit.  Each child chose a "comfortable" and "uncomfortable" feeling.  Some kids chose happy and sad, others happy and mad.  All identified happy as their "comfortable" feeling.
I emphasize "comfortable" and "uncomfortable" feelings, because I want children to understand that all feelings are OK.  Children should not feel as though they are not allowed to feel sad or mad.  It is our job as parents and educators to teach children HOW to deal with these feelings.
 The kids had a great time creating their foods with moods and using the fruits to play act different scenarios with their different moods.
After creating our foods with moods, we took off the stickers, washed REALLY well, and ate our creations.  Delicious!
This brings us to the second part of our interactions with foods.  We talked about all the different ways that foods can taste.  We discussed that foods can have multiple tastes, just like we can have multiple feelings.
I gathered a bunch of different foods for us to taste.  We had no allergies, so our possibilities were endless!
 We used apples, pretzels, bananas, carrots, lemons, and radishes.
 We used a blindfold, but you don't have to include this step.  We used the blindfold to help the students really focus in on the taste of each food.  They were able to identify the taste without already knowing the type of food.  Carrots were identified as sweet and sour.  Interesting results!
Even the pickiest kids were willing to try all the fruits and veggies, when it was presented as a game!  That doesn't mean that they liked them all!!!
After tasting each food, the kids were able to put the picture of the food on the graph.  I only worked with a few kids, so they tried each type of food.  If you have an entire class, you can give each student only one or two foods to try.
We completed our graph on the floor, but it would probably work better on chart paper.  We were on vacation, so I didn't have access to any chart paper :)
 You can get a free set of all the graphing labels here.
Need some more ideas for teaching feelings with young children?  I just created a "Rainbow of Feelings" unit with my mom.  She is a retired elementary school guidance counselor AND puppeteer extraordinaire :)  Together, we created some fun resources to use with your kids!  Find the unit here.
Don't forget to enter our giveaway for some fantastic prizes!
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