Posted in STEM

STEM in Kindergarten… can you help??

The buzz word recently in teaching has been STEM, and for good reason – it’s a smart idea to get students interested in these fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) because they’re everywhere! It gets students thinking of different ways to solve problems, collaborating with others and more! 
My school does a STEM day 5 times a year – a few hours where students go to a different classroom and attempt to build something new (a castle, boat, etc) using a variety of materials. However it’s hard for kindergarteners to learn to work WITH a group of kids, make something together… and to understand that sometimes what you build doesn’t work the first time AND THAT’S OK! Some of my kids struggled last year and I wished they had more STEM exposure. 

And then I found these STEM bins and got super excited! What a fun idea. I can set up bins with different materials and let them explore or give them all an object to attempt to make. I was thinking once a week we could have STEM Centers and I’d bring out the bins and let the creation begin. They would love it!

However… materials cost money. And yes, there are some cheap things I can and do plan on getting  – pipe cleaners, playdoh, cups, etc. But there are so many other fun materials too:

Don’t you want to play with it all?? That’s just a small portion of my wishlist, there’s so much I want to get!

The problem is it all costs money. I can’t afford to buy it all. So that’s why I’m asking for help. Could you possibly make a donation to help a kindergarten class in need?

There are 2 ways to help: 

  1. Visit my GoFundMe and donate to my project. Remember, ANY amount helps!
  2. Go to my Amazon wish list and pick an item (or more!) that you’d like to donate. This way is fun because you can pick out the materials you’d like the kids to receive! Add it to your cart and purchase to ship it directly to me!

I can’t wait to take pics and show you all the fun things my students will create with your help. So… please help?

Posted in math, teachers pay teachers

Sweet Summer Measurement with mini erasers!

So I love mini erasers. LOVE them. The obsession is real. So now that I collect every mini eraser that exists for every month/season… I need a reason to use them, right? Especially these adorable summer PINEAPPLE themed erasers, and especially now that, thanks to a bunch of snow days, I’m teaching til mid-June for the first time ever.

IMG_2658So I did! I decided they could be used as measurement tools and I made some summer themed measuring cards to go with them! The red lines are so that the students can easily identify which way they’re supposed to measure and when they should STOP measuring! 🙂

IMG_2670I also made the cards in black and white so they can be easily printed on color cardstock, for those that don’t want to/can’t print in color (though seriously, HP instant ink is the best invention ever and I think every teacher should be using it!)

IMG_2659Weren’t able to find the erasers? Well, first of all I totally understand – my Target never got any and I had to do a lot of begging before kind, generous people send me some… but also… I made paper rulers to go with this. That way your class can still use those fun pineapples, popsicles and rainbows to measure. Oh and if you have other mini erasers, those could totally be used too.

IMG_2668Need a recording sheet? It comes with one! Personally, I plan on writing the answers on the back and letting students just check their work (because I don’t like dealing with so many worksheets) but if you want to hold students accountable, you can!

img_2661Just keep in mind that erasers come in all sizes so students may come up with different answers, based on the size of the erasers they’re using.

Slide21Want your own? It’s available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, or just click on the image above to get it!

Now I’m starting to think about other mini eraser measurement activities I could make… gotta put all those erasers to use!

Posted in teaching

About that mini eraser addiction..

It seems like all the kindergarten teachers online are newly obsessed with mini erasers. And what’s not to like? They’re cute, inexpensive and can be used in so many different ways… 

Aren’t they adorable??

I love collecting for the different seasons… I already am pretty seasonal in my classroom and so at the start of each month/season, I change out my seasonal bookshelf, the decor in the classroom library, and the mini erasers that go in the different centers. 

Overpriced on eBay but totally worth it!

How do I use them? Let’s count the ways…

  1. Practice counting.
  2. As game markers. 
  3. Spin and cover games. 
  4. Roll and cover games. 
  5. Addition. 
  6. Subtraction. 
  7. Graphing. 
  8. Sorting. 
  9. Building numbers. 
  10. Building sight words. 
  11. Measurement (more on that later). 

Also overpriced on eBay but I had to get some unicorns for my unicorn obsessed girls!

A student playing a spin and add/subtract game.

I store my mini erasers in the 4″x6″ photo cases. When I buy them, I usually try to get 3-4 bags at a time so this holds them all perfectly. Aren’t these penguins cute?
Spring erasers, oh I love you so. 

Are you a mini eraser addict??

Posted in teachers pay teachers, teaching

Mystery Puzzles – CVC and CCVC words 

Oh I had so much fun making this center! It made me wish I was a student so I could play… being a detective, using foam tiles (a big hit in my classroom), and making words – recipe for fun!

My latest creation was another must do center… all the kids wanted to be at and stay at this center. I even found one little girl try to come back and do some more. 🙂

How does it work? Well, there are picture clues and the students have to figure out the initial sound/letter for each picture.

It comes with an alphabet chart, or what I refer to as a “cheat sheet”, so students who aren’t confident on their letters and sounds can still match the beginning letter.

Once the student has all the letters, they sound out the word and find the picture that matches. On the back of the picture, I wrote the word so they can check to see if they got it right!

I love these 4″x6″ photo cases for storing centers and everything in this one fits inside nicely. I color coordinated the cards and pictures so the kids have 6 different sets to choose from (and if something falls on the floor, it’s easily to find its home).

Everything put away in the 6 case storage box. This center comes with 36 cards – 28 CVC word cards and 8 CCVC cards for a bit of a challenge. I plan on making some CVCe word cards in the future… and I’m open to more ideas on what I can make after that!

Want your own? It’s up on my Teachers Pay Teachers store, click here to get it! BUT WAIT…

Slide23Check out my growing bundle… at a VERY low price. This bundle will eventually have CVC words, CVCe words and digraphs – the alphabet chart will be the same throughout the different products so children will get very comfortable with those initial sounds and will feel confident each time they do this center, even as it grows more challenging. Want it? Click here and grab your own!

Posted in teachers pay teachers, teaching pineapples

Spring counting cards

Within the last few weeks I’ve really tried to change up my math centers – I noticed that my kids gravitated to the ones that aren’t paper & pencil or using dry erase crayons. In fact, those centers usually end up empty. Why am I using centers they won’t use… why can’t I make some they’ll love?

So… I made some! 

These are counting cards, with a twist. Students pick a card, count the number of objects and then put the tile down to match in the first square. But wait, there’s more! Then they need to practice counting on…

6 flowers, after 6 comes 7 and then… 8!

This student figured it out pretty easily. 

Yes, I could’ve used dry erase markers/crayons on these but I thought foam tiles would be a fun change… and they were. I got some foam sheets, cut them in 1″ squares and wrote numbers on them with sharpie. Easy and the kids loved it. Foam made it super quiet and the numbers were color coded so every once in a while I’d hear someone ask, “what color is number 3?” Super cute. 

It makes my teacher heart happy to say this center was a success! Every student wanted to go to it and they were happily working the entire time. I printed 8 cards in each box (Iris photo cases, I love these!) so everything they needed was all in one place and easy to tidy up. 

Need to differentiate? There are 2 sets of cards and instructions… for students that aren’t ready to count on, they can just count and put the number. Write the number on the back to make it independent and self-correcting. I will probably have these ready to go in the fall. 

Want your own? Click here to get them! I’m thinking about adding more cards so this is a great price!

Posted in math, organization

Math Toolkit Binders

Recently someone asked me if I would make binders to match my Math Toolkits. This person was using a curriculum that had a lot of regular sized paper mats for partner games and other activities – she wanted to hole punch them and put them in binders for her students to use. What a great idea!

So I made some, to match both my original toolkits and the ink saving versions!

With some spine labels too!

This is going to make passing out math supplies EVEN easier, and once a binder is created, it should be good to go for years to come.

Check them out at my TPT store by clicking on the image below:


Posted in school

Officially back at work

Today is my first official contract day back at work… I’ve been at school off and on for the last few weeks but today begins the mandatory back to school meetings, stress and all the usual August/September chaos. It’s hard to say goodbye to summer – even tho the season is my least favorite, those 2 months of sleeping in, going to the gym when I want to (instead of at 6am again, yuck) and just generally doing my own thing was kind of wonderful. 

But instead of looking back on what I’m going to miss about summer, here’s a list of what I’m looking forward to:

  • A new batch of students… Granted, I get stressed out wondering what type of class I’m going to have and how hard it is in September but I love knowing that after a few months of molding, we’ll be in our routines again. 
  • New books… Can you ever have enough? New Scholastic catalogs were waiting for me and I can’t wait to hopefully start placing orders again. Shame I’ve been demoted down to a green apple teacher again tho. :p
  • New material… Over the summer I found a fun Social Studies curriculum I can’t wait to try out, plus KinderScience to support the curriculum my district provides. Plus I’m starting the year with KinderSurvival, which seems like it’s going to get my year off right!
  • Friends: I’ve missed my co-workers over the summer. I saw a few of the a time or too but it’s not the same and I look forward to getting to see them all on a regular basis. 
  • My new creations! I’m really excited to try my Math Toolkits with my kids, and my no prep interactive notebooks, plus the hundred chart puzzles. And then there’s all my quirky bird themed things too… I’ve never worked so hard and made so many things for my classroom that I’m so proud of… Hope my kids love them too. 
  • The weather. I love fall weather and hate summer heat… Plus fall is just generally my favorite season, teaching about it, reading books about it… Bring it on!

So there you go, I guess I’m ready for the school year after all. I hope it’s a great one!