Friday, May 8, 2015

Buggy Bonanza

 Creepy, crawly insects are AWESOME! Kids love to interact with "gross" and beautiful bugs. Spring is the perfect time to break out the bug activities!
My mom and I got together this weekend and came up with a little song about insects. This song is sung to the tune of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic". Get a FREE copy of the lyrics to "Song of An Insect" here. I even recorded myself singing this song for you to use with your kids. I am a teacher- not a singer, so please don't judge the song quality!! :)
I love using songs to get kids engaged with their learning. It helps them learn and retain information. When you add props to the songs, you make the learning activities even more interactive. This is great for kinesthetic learners.
We used masks to enhance the "Song of An Insect", but you could use puppets, plastic toys, pictures on a stick, or any type of manipulative! Kids use the props to act out the information in the song.
We also used games with an insect theme to practice basic skills. Kids often forget that they are learning, when presented with information in a game format. This allows kids to get much needed practice in a fun way.

"Roll, Say, Keep" is one of my favorite games. It allows kids to practice almost any skill in a fun and easy format.
We used "Roll, Say, Keep" to practice numeral recognition.
Upper and lowercase letter recognition.
 Letter sounds.
I love using the letter and number cards from the "Roll, Say, Keep" game for memory, on the pocket chart, and in so many other ways.

Scoop up the "Roll, Say, Keep" from my TPT store. You can get the Butterfly Numerals here and the Butterfly Alphabet and Letter Sounds here.

"Butterfly Bump" is a great game to get your kids adding! Bump is a great game that allows partners to interact with addition in a fun way. All you need is the board, two dice and cubes of 2 colors.

Get your FREE copy of "Butterfly Bump", for a limited time, here. I would love to hear what your kids thought of the game!
I'll share one more fun game for early learners. You can get my copy here, or use simple manipulatives to create your own. This is a simple counting center.
I included two different types of mats that are differentiated. One set of mats has a model to provide a scaffold for kids that are still learning to count. The other set of mats has no model and students must count independently.
It's a simple, yet fun, center to get kids counting.
 This pack also includes a variety of printables to extend the learning. You can use them in morning work, homework, or in the center. Get the "Catching Bugs Counting Center" here.
Thanks so much for getting buggy with me! I hope you found some great ideas to get your kids excited about bugs. I would love for you to comment with your ideas, too!

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Buggy Bonanza!

I blogged today over at The Primary Pack. Head over to see some ideas on insect themed activities! I would love to hear what you think!
 You can also scoop up a math FREEBIE!
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And a FREE song about insect characteristics!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teachers Make the World Colorful!

I'm so excited to be teaming up with The Primary Pack to bring you this amazing Giveaway! It is in celebration of all of you amazing teachers! We are also giving away one big GRAND PRIZE on The Primary Pack blog to one fabulous teacher, but we are also giving away special gifts on each of our pages!

I am giving away $25.00 credit to my store. I hope you can have tons of fun shopping there!
Enter below in the Rafflecopter to win! The giveaway will run through Sunday, May 10th.

And now, for the GRAND PRIZE!

Over at The Primary Pack, we are giving way a 250.00 gift card to Tieks! That's right, Tieks! The most COLORFUL, comfortable, Italian leather shoes around! We know how much money you have undoubtedly put into your classroom this year for resources and supplies--so this giveaway is all about a splurge just for you! For 250.00, you can even get a fancy pair! To enter, click HERE or click on the image below!
And don't forget to visit each of our blogs for chances to win even more great prizes!

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Rainbow of Appreciation: DIY

I can't wait for Teacher Appreciation Week! My son's school sends home a list of themed ideas for each day of teacher appreciation week. It emphasizes that kids can make their own gifts and show appreciation in many ways, instead of just buying gifts. I love that it emphasizes that they can draw, find, or create a gift. In this way, money is taken out of the equation and ALL children are able to participate.
As you've probably seen, I love to create. My kids really get into the spirit of creating out of junk. My husband just rolls his eyes when my son or daughter tells him not to recycle a cool looking glass or bottle. I've once heard them telling my husband, "But Daddy, we are going to make it into a Sneetch Star Machine." True story...
So, this was the perfect time to get my kids involved in a fun project! We hit Pinterest for some fun and easy ideas. We were immediately drawn to a colorful container from Place of My Taste. You need to head over to this amazing blog for her post on Getting Creative With Crayola. Loved it! We decided to create pencil containers, but we wanted to customize container to each specific teacher.
We started out with a bunch of aluminum cans. Ours were from cans of black beans. The small containers were from a 15.5 oz container. The large container was from a 28 oz can. The tall owl container is a glass container from some type of sauce.  Any container will work! You will just customize based on the size of your container.

First, choose your container and cover it with scrapbooking paper. Hot glue the paper directly to the can. Hot glue the crayons to the top of the can. The crayons should be about 1/2 inch taller than the top of the can.
 We decided to choose objects to glue to the bottom of the can. I got a bunch of erasers to glue in a diagonal pattern across the bottom. This gives more depth to the pencil container.
The finishing touch is to tie a ribbon around the middle of the crayons. I hot glued the ribbon directly to the crayons. Use any color ribbon that you like!
Our completed can!
 One of my son's teachers loves owls, so I went to the craft store to get some fun owls. I found these owls in the bargain bins! The large owl is a wooden owl and the smaller ones are scrapbooking accents, but you can really use anything.
 I hot glued the small owl accents to a small clothespin. Adding the clothespin to the accent will prop the accents out a little bit and make the jar look more balanced.
We also created a butterfly themed container. The butterflies are scrapbooking materials.
Glue the scrapbooking accents to the small clothespins.
The last project that we made is a decorative box. My son's homeroom teacher already has a pencil container on her desk, so he wanted to make her something special. I found him a wooden box in my craft supplies and let him paint it. He took the initiative to find out her favorite colors :)
After painting the entire box, he chose a stencil to paint on the top. He picked out dandelions flying in the air. This was his choice, because he said his teacher was his wish come true. He wanted a teacher that made him love to learn and she does!!
We taped the stencil to the top of the box and he used a paintbrush to fill in the stencil. Then, we used the Cricut machine to cut the letters out with vinyl adhesive. We peeled them off and attached them to the box. Easy!
All of our projects were completed in one afternoon and I made all of them with my kids! Hope you enjoyed these easy DIY presents and have a wonderful week!
I feel so blessed that my kids spend their days learning with such special teachers! Thank you to ALL of the amazing teachers out there. You are so appreciated!!
Here are the Amazon affiliate links that I used:

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Playing with Base Ten Blocks!

A few weeks ago I found an amazing activity on Step Into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemon's blog!  She used place value blocks to create her name and then found the value of each name. You can see her blog post here.  I knew right away that we needed to try this activity! I had kids ages 5-8 playing with the base ten blocks together, so I needed to be able to differentiate for their learning needs and abilities. We ended up working with letters, names, and sight words and it was a hit!!
We broke out actual base ten blocks, but you could have kids cut out paper blocks to create their names and glue to paper.  The kids had tons of fun using the blocks to create their names.
After creating their name, they wrote out the value of their name on a post it note.
The values were broken down by hundreds, tens, and ones.
After watching how each individual child used the base ten blocks to create the specific numbers, I thought it might be interesting to have two different kids to create the same name. It turned out really cool! We ended up with different values for the same name.
The next idea was inspired by an awesome kid! She wondered out loud if there was a difference between her real name and nickname. This led to more exploring!

We couldn't stop at names. My daughter (she just turned 5) wanted in on the fun. She knows all her letters and is starting to learn sight words, so we brought in learning that was appropriate for her, too!
She created her upper and lowercase letters. Then, she counted all the blocks that she used. I had her use the 'ones' blocks. After counting, she either dictated the number of blocks or wrote it herself.
Then, we brought out the "Greater Gator" and compared the amounts!
You can create your own "Greater Gator" or use popsicle sticks or just a symbol on a post-it.
Then, we moved on to sight words. All the kids created sight words and differentiated in the way they  recorded the value of the word.
 We loved all the fun that we had with base ten blocks! It kept kids ages 5-8 engaged and learning on their own level. I thought it was a huge success!  Thanks so much to Step Into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons for the fantastic idea :)
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