Hi...remember me??

*opens door...fumbles around for the light...brushes off dust*

Hi friends! It's been a LONG time! I always make promises to be a better blogger but I am really motivated this time. I have had a splendid Christmas break (and it's not done yet!) Seriously how great are the vacation perks of being a teacher?? Granted we need them desperately to keep from going out of our minds, but isn't it a great feeling to see people going back to work and knowing you have another week or so of freedom?

Anyway to help me get my own blogging butt into gear I decided to start focusing on some favorite math activities that I use in the classroom. Math was my favorite subject when I was in school and it is still my favorite to teach.

First up: number bonds. I really love using number bonds in the classroom. When I first started teaching it took a little practice for me to figure out how to introduce well and use them with my kids but they have proven to be a great tool to introduce and reinforce some key math concepts. My last school was a thinking map school and number bonds fit in perfectly alongside our work with brace maps and their "whole" and "part" concepts.

I start by giving them the manipulatives for their mats (in this case goldfish) and we tell number stories and move the fish around the mat to show how the 5 (or at this point in the year 10) can be broken down and then put back together. We have lots and lots of talking and moving (and occasionally some sneaky manipulative eating here or there haha).  It's really a great visual for composing and decomposing and can be extended easily to addition and subtraction concepts.

After the kids have gotten comfortable with the parts and the whole I start moving them into more "missing part" activities. For instance "if there is a 5 on the penguin belly, and we put 3 fish in the top box, how many need to go in the bottom box to get 5 all together?" We use number bonds all year in different ways as the skills get harder and the numbers get bigger.

You can find the penguin number bond mats and some practice sheets in my new little penguin mini math unit.


I'm off to the NC mountains to go skiing for the first time ever...say a prayer that I come back on 2 legs!!

Pete The Cat Subtraction

We have been working on subtraction for the last few weeks. I am just starting to discover the Pete The Cat books (I know I am WAY late to the game!!)  This week we read Pete The Cat and His 4 Groovy Buttons. I found this great freebie from the aptly named Peterson's Pad. I pulled out my button math manipulatives and let the kids model the word problems using the buttons.

Next we made this cute craft. I let them decide how many of Pete's buttons were going to pop off and they wrote the number sentence to match.  We just used short strips of paper with an accordion fold to get the buttons to "pop off".

Jumping into fall with some freebies.

We had a busy busy week in 1st grade. Fall weather is starting to make a subtle appearance and this FL girl is getting excited!! It was the perfect time to start learning about apples and my favorite season of the year.

I had a big Scholastic Book Club order a few weeks ago and I got a bunch of great new books. We really loved this one. My TA and I learned all kinds of new facts about fall that we had never heard before like why leaves change colors and why evergreens stay ever green. It's a great book to start your fall unit with.

We also read "Fall Mixed Up" which the kids loved!  It takes all kinds of facts about fall and twists them around in really funny ways.

 After we read the book I had them make their own mixed up fall fact. I got some really hilarious responses (which I totally forgot to take pictures of). It was a fun little writing activity that made them think outside the box a little bit. I made some writing paper to go with the story that you can grab here.

In math I am still really trying to get them comfortable with their making 10 facts. I found this idea through Pinterest which lead me to a post on Through The Looking Glass.  I adapted it to work for my kiddos. We sponge painted a paper place and a half, and I stapled the parts together to make a pocket. Then I had them color their ten frame seeds brown and glue the making ten facts back to back (so 6 is glued to the back of 4). I'm going to send it home with the kiddos with a note to parents to explain how to use the seeds as a flash card game for making ten facts.

They will look at a seed, say the number and then state the matching number that will help them make 10. I made a set with ten frames and a set with just the numbers. My kinder friends you could use these for ten frame recognition instead of making ten. You can grab the seeds here.

Much more fun to come next week. My kiddos are excited to keep learning about Johnny Appleseed and make applesauce.

Teaming up with Educents for an awesome deal!

Kindergarten teachers... are you tired?  {Silly question right!}  

Well... we know this time of year can be exhausting and yet you still need great resources to keep your students engaged in learning and so I am very excited to share this amazing opportunity for you to stock up with Educents!

Over 1400 pages of activities for literacy, math, and even a little social studies!

2.  From my store you will get my Fall Math Mini Bundle.  You will love all the math activities that you can use with your kids all throughout the fall months!

But that's just one product.  With this bundle you get 24 products from some other amazing sellers as well!  So we have linked up blog hop style for you to see what's included in this great bundle from Educents!  So hop on to the next blog to see what else is included!

If you love what you see as much as I do, go ahead and head on over to Educents to stock up!  

iPad fun :)

So I have an ipad this year to use in my classroom and I am LOVING.IT.  I know there is a ton of potential that I have not even begun to explore yet, but here are a few of my favorite things about using it so far in my classroom.

One of the 2nd grade teachers at our school told us about this app called Too Noisy. It is a noise level gauge that is a great visual for students to see when they are getting too loud. We use it all day long in my room.

If they really get too loud, the "glass breaks" and an alarm goes off. Then the gauge resets itself and the sunny skies come back out :)  My ipad case is magnetic so I can hang it up on my whiteboard for all to see but many times I use my AirPlay feature on my computer and project the image up on the screen during work time so it is nice and big for them all to see (more on that later in the post).   I also really love that in the pro version, there are preset levels that you can choose like "Class" "Group" "Quiet" and "Silent" and then within those levels you can adjust the sensitivity yourself.

 The only downside to this is when I forget that it is on and then I stand right in front of the iPad and "break the glass" myself. The kids always get a kick out of this. We have a chain link compliment system in our room for whole group compliments. When we break the glass too many times we lose a link but if we make it through the whole day without breaking it once we get 5 bonus links (it's only happened once so far so it's a VERY exciting goal haha).

My other favorite feature of my ipad is using Airplay which connects my iPad to my computer screen. I have been using it this week during math journals as a way to share. I set up the Airplay feature, turn on my camera, and hover my iPad over my student's work. They can explain their thinking from their desk and everyone can look up on the screen and see it nice and big :) The kids LOVE this and it is a great way for everyone to get a good view of each other's work. I am excited to explore this idea as the year goes on. This is a fuzzy picture that I took myself (holding my phone in one hand and my iPad hovering over a math journal) but you get the idea :)

 Now I will be honest, I have no idea how the Airplay is set up because we have PC's in our rooms (I always thought it was an Apple thing), but somehow the iPad's can be connected. Greg over at Kindergarten Smorgasboard had a great video post explaining another way to connect your iPad to your computer so it can be projected on your screen and I'm sure there other ways to do this that I haven't discovered yet.

What are some of your favorite ways to use your iPad in your classroom?

I hope y'all have a great long weekend. I have some exciting news coming up next week so stay tuned :)

Today's number: calendar routine.

I'm gonna be totally honest with you...I have sort of a love/hate relationship with calendar. I really really want to love it (and lately I do). I know there are so so so many skills you can incorporate during this time and it really is a good way to start off the day but I usually get to a point in the year when it all just seems the same. I added this "Today's number" routine to my calendar last year with my kidnergarteners but I've really amped it up this year with my firsties.  It really can work with either grade level. Each day we have a special number that we look at and discuss in various ways.  I love that there are so many different conversations we can get into and skills we can hit every day.

I usually start off by using either the number of days we have been in school or the date. In Kindergarten I looped back through 1-10 and eventually 1-20.  So far this year we have been doing the date. We start off by building the number in the ten frame and we do a quick number talk about what the kids see in the ten frame. My kids this year started out pretty reluctant to actually talk out loud about numbers so far so we have really been working on this every day.

Side note: My calendar is mounted on my white board so I use 2 sided magnetic counters and for other sections I just write directly on the board...it gives me more room to move things around and play when we hit a "teachable moment"...more on that later in the post.  Last year I had each section in a long pocket chart and I used laminated paper with dry erase markers. 

So after we talk about the ten frames, we move down to the dominoes. For smaller numbers I actually draw in the domino dots.  Sometimes I have them build both sides and give me a combination to make the number. Later on I fill in one of the sides and they have to tell me what else is missing to make the number.  With the bigger numbers I have been doing this week I have just been having the kids give me combinations and I write the numbers in (mostly so I don't lose their attention while I draw 14 tiny dots with my marker). The tallies are pretty self explanatory. On the day I took the picture (at the top) we were talking about groups of 5 and also groups of 10.

My kids have REALLY been enjoying using our money pocket chart and coming up with all the different ways to build the number using coins. Yesterday they started saying things like "you could get 16 cents by giving someone 2 dimes and getting 4 cents back". Love that! For the before/after we are sequencing the numbers. This day we were also counting by 2's.

For the popsicle sticks, again I usually do how many days have been in school, but this year I have been going up with the number of the day and we just keep adding and regrouping.  I have a great routine for popsicle sticks that really works wonders but I'll have to save that for another post.

Like I said, one of the things I love about this is how we can go off on different tangents and find a million little teachable moments. Today when when we were doing our combinations to 19 1 student said "17 and 2" and the next one said "16 and 3" that started a whole conversation about number patterns and we ended up identifying and extending the pattern.

It really makes it easier that I do this on a white board so I can slide things around and create more space to work and write.   I also found these great magnetic pockets at lakeshore last week that hold all my "stuff"

You can find the red headers for ten frame, tally, domino ect in my polkadot calendar set.
It also has some bright days of the week and months of the year headers.

And you grab the domino template and sequencing boxes from google docs.

Happy Monday friends :)

Freebie Hop!

I am SO excited about this friends!! A whole bunch of us got together to host a monster freebie hop. There are some seriously great freebies out there waiting for you. Here's all you have to do. Start at my facebook page. Look for this button at the top.

Click the tab and you can download the freebie. If you're not a fan of my page, you have to do that first and THEN get your freebie :). Then click the blue circle to head to the next facebook page. Go all around the circle until you get back to me (get your clicking fingers ready there are 42 of us!!)

Click here to get to my facebook. Happy hopping :)

New resources for back to school!

 I have been busy busy busy this month creating lots of new stuff for back to school. (All my Kinder friends, don't worry...I haven't even begun wrapping my brain around 1st grade yet so this will all work for you!) I'm moving to a private school and I haven't seen my standards yet for 1st grade so I'm just sticking with what I know for now :)

I am starting to make homework packets that align to my morning work packs!! Each week of homework corresponds to the skills and tasks being covered in the morning work that week. I have 2 done so far: Back to School and Fall.

Number match puzzles....great for early finishers or math tubs. 

I'm really excited about these books. I made a set of Alphabet Interactive Emergent Readers. Each letter has a book with multiple options. 


My updated Monster Unit

Summer Linky Party: New Teacher Tips

I'm linking up to share some advice for first year teachers. Sometimes I still can't believe that I have 3 years under my belt. My 1st year was UNBELIEVABLY difficult. Like whoa. But I barely survived! I could go on and on for pages with advice and ideas to make it through your first year but these 3 came to mind first.

1. Take advantage of the internet but don't get overwhelmed!

There are some FABULOUS resources out there at our disposal. When I first started teaching 3 years ago I had no idea about teaching blogs, of course there are many many many more now! The wealth of knowledge that you can get from reading blogs as well as the resources available on TPT is absolutely wonderful. But you have to be careful not to get overwhelmed. Especially in the first few years of teaching it is so easy to get caught up in wanting to implement a million ideas (and there are a million out there! Just scroll through a teacher's Pinterest feed and you will know what I'm talking about) Don't get caught up in comparing yourself to every teacher you see out there and don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to do it all right away. Use the resources, figure out what you need and what your kids need, and go from there. There is plenty of time in the summer months to get lost in Pinterest and create your dream classroom in your head :)

2.Have an expectation for EVERY. MOMENT.

This might go without saying but especially in the lower grades you would be surprised to find out how you need to have every single second of the day "managed" in some way. That doesn't mean you need to run your room like an army camp, but there should never be a time in your day when your students don't know exactly what is expected of them. I learned this the hard way. Many times. Have clear expectations, and remind them all the time. :)

3. Have fun!!

Teaching is a blast! It is exhausting and overwhelming (still for me some days) and takes absolutely everything you have to give, but it is also so much fun. Try to find time in every day to enjoy your kids, to laugh with them, to have fun with them. It will make you a better teacher and it will help your kids love school.

There are some great tips in some of the other posts in this linky party. Be sure to click through and find them all! :)

Back in the game.

I'm alive!! It has been ages and ages since I blogged. I was swamped with end of the year craziness, plus moving out of my classroom, immediate family vacation time, and then three weeks of cabin life in the glorious NC mountains.

 I have lots and lots to share with you, the first being the big news that I took a job teaching 1st grade!! It was not my first choice (I have always said that my heart is forever in Kindergarten) but it was a great opportunity to move to an awesome school and I jumped at it. I'm not gonna lie, I had to go through some heartbreak for a bit over leaving Kindergarten (even though I am determined to make it back). But I am truly excited for a new adventure!

I have been pumping out lots of (Kindergarten) ideas that I didn't have time for over the school year. While I have had lots of forced relaxation time over the last few weeks a broken TV has also lead to some great creative time haha. I just finished updating my monster unit from last year. This was my first (and still one of my only) big thematic units and I just packed it full of more goodies. Last year I started the year with my monster unit so it was much more activity based and not so many centers. Check out all the fun stuff below. I even added some of my fun crafty monster activities from last year. Click the pictures to find it in my store. While you are over there you can check out some of my other new items. 


Teacher Appreciation Sale!

I have lots of fun stuff to share with you from our ocean unit, but for now....it's sale time!!! My whole store will be on sale tomorrow and Wednesday. Here's some fun new stuff you can snag while you are shopping :) Click on the pictures to head to my store

I updated my ocean interactive emergent readers to include some color books!

I just threw together a summer skills practice pack similar to my morning work packs. There are 7 weeks of 5 skill practice sheets to keep those little brains working over those long summer months.

Click on the picture below to start filling up your card!! Don't forget the TPT discount code for your extra 10% off :)