Do you give your students a welcome back to school gift? I decided to this year and I think it was a hit!
Open house is always so awkward – the students are shy and don’t really want to talk to anyone but their parents. This year I was able to show the kiddos around the room a little, stopping by the ever so popular turtle, and ending at my guided reading table where I had a surprise waiting for everyone!
I’ve used these little fellas during guided reading in the past and they are so much fun! I was in Target the other day…shocker, right?...and found these little guys again. They were in the party section, just begging to be picked up. So, I did.
I whipped up a little phrase to put with the eye finger puppet when I got home. Super cheesy, but I do teach first grade. Cheese is definitely called for. All the time.
(Y'all - please excuse my fingernails. It's back to school time - you know how it is. Ha!)
Once I printed and cut the cards out, I just hot glued the eyeballs onto the card and was ready to go!
I hope you can use this free card with your finger puppets!
I’d love to see your pictures on Instagram – tag me at @mirandalarayne!
What do you do for your students’ birthdays?
I love to give my students birthday balloons! These are such a easy gift to put together before school starts and have them ready to go. It only takes me a few minutes to cut out the circles and tape them to the straws. I put them in a basket and then forget about them.
I’m the worst at remembering and planning for student birthdays, so it is fantastic to have these ready to pass out when the announcement comes on. Anyone else have too many other things in your mind? Nah – you’re a teacher. You’re a super star.
My kiddos love the silly straws so much! I let them choose their color, which thrills them!
I’d love to share these editable birthday balloons with you! Just click on the document below and download!
When you open it in Adobe, just click below "Happy Birthday!" and you should be able to type in your name.
I’d love to see pictures of you using “birthday balloons” in your classroom! Please tag me on Instagram @mirandalarayne!
Has anyone else gotten caught up in all of the WONDERFUL Target Dollar Spot finds lately? Oh my word. SO many good finds!
I, too, have fallen victim of a good Dollar Spot haul. Or two. Or three. Here’s a pic of ONE of my trips. It’s a disease, y’all.
There have been so many good finds, but one of my favorites is this awesome little puzzle set! I love how simple it is, yet has some good educational purposes! First off, I love a good puzzle and so do my students! I pull out puzzles especially at the beginning of the year during centers and then throughout the year during indoor recess. I love how puzzles help with fine motor skills, spatial skills, problem solving, hand eye coordination, self esteem, and so many other important skills! Above all – they are just plain fun!
This particular puzzle set has four two-sided discs that pull apart into five pieces, thus creating eight different puzzles to match. While students can match the puzzles with the background color, they can also look at the words/pictures and find the rhyming words.
I’ve been in schools before that don’t want just play time during centers (which is a whole other blog post coming your way). Administration wants proof of learning, aka documentation. One way to go about this is to have the students take a picture with an iPod of their work. I have a few donated iPods in my classroom, but we use them at another center, so this doesn’t work for me. I sometimes have my students use the manipulatives in the centers and then record their findings on a sheet to turn into a center basket. I don’t grade center work, but I do look through it and see if there are any areas I need to go back and address. I always pull out their writing and make comments or have them read their work to me before sending them home.
For this fun puzzle, I decided to whip up a little recording sheet. Once the students match all the puzzle pieces, they will choose four puzzles to record on the sheet. Nothing too fancy, nothing too hard. Just practicing writing the rhymes and handwriting.
Click this link to grab your freebie to use with your target dollar puzzles, too!
Do you use puzzles in your classroom? How do you use them?
What does the shape say?
Oh my goodness, friends. Do you remember this CRAZY song that was a hit a few years ago? What does the fox say? Bless.
Well…we may not be talking about what a fox says, but we sure can talk about what shapes say! This is a fun, engaging way to learn about shapes’ attributes.
We use several songs throughout our shape unit. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Have Fun Teaching. They make some great videos.
We started by creating a graphic organizer with 4 different shapes and their attributes. We used the most common shapes – circle, triangle, square, and rectangle. We wrote the number of corners and sides each one had. Once we did the on the board, we used Reagan Tunstall’s shape interactive notebook page to sort the shapes and their attributes. I love her and her work.
Anyway, I let them choose ONE of those shapes and colored the column all the way down. We used our information to imagine what our favorite shape would say. We wrote the description in little word bubbles. One of my friends said, “It’s like we are writing a riddle!” I thought that was a super smart connection!
We then cut our favorite shape out of our favorite color of construction paper. We added some eyeballs and a few extra details. Once it was all together, we proudly displayed them in the hallway.
Our first grade team is fantastic. We plan together and help each other out. I love how we have the same structure, yet all do something completely different with it! Here are a few more pictures of what my teammates did with their students.
Do you struggle with finding activities for centers? I know I sometimes do.
I recently discovered my students’ love for a pocket chart. I was blessed my first year teaching from several of my mom’s coworkers who were retiring and gave me some of their awesome stuff. Among these goodies were some pocket charts. I didn’t really know what to do with them for a while, to be honest. I used it for several display things, but certainly not as an interactive center. A few months ago I started letting my students put numbers in order in the chart, like a 120 chart, and they loved it. I got a rhyming word work center pack of different pictures/words and figured I might as well give the old pocket chart a go – and boy did it go!
A few weeks ago I our spelling pattern for the week was extra tricky! We worked with words containing “er, ir, and ur.” Yikes! I decided that we would need extra practice outside of our normal spelling center, so I whipped up a new word work center to sort the words. Once the students sorted the words, they were to write them in the corresponding category (the spelling pattern).
I simply printed the first page on colored paper, laminated, and cut. Super simple. To save on paper, I printed page two as two to a page, but I also could have just print it as a whole page.
I am including this center as a freebie to you, just for stopping by! Thank you so much for being a part of this little blog and supporting me!
Enjoy this FREE download for your word work center! Just click on the picture above to access it! What other spelling patterns would you like to see?