Now that we're in October it's time to focus on all things seasonal.  Or is that just me?!  ;)

I wanted to re-post something I shared last year in case you might be able to use some of these ideas soon!  If you're anything like me when it comes to planning, it helps to look at the "big picture" and start planning and prepping materials in advance.

These skip counting "hats" were a favorite last year!!!  The kids have the option to skip count by 5's or 10's and the hats are super easy to prep.  My boys loved them!

These are some of my most favorite monster themed read alouds...

One thing both my boys need to work on is retell & comprehension.  Comprehension is an area where kids can ALWAYS grow, so I think it's important to give them lots of practice.  Since they bring home a lot of pencil/paper activities for homework, I want to give them something a little bit more "fun". So we we're going to make this little Frankenfoldable.  Ha.  

We'll talk about the beginning/middle/end of the story and then write about it inside the foldable.  But first things first, of course...making the foldable  We're a family that loves to create :)

This week we'll be making these PRECIOUS snacks...FRANKENPUDDING!!!  Aaaaahhh!!!  I haven't showed the boys yet, but ohmiword.  Anything that involves pudding and Oreos, well...let's just say there won't be any leftovers.  

Since they're both writing, I'm going to follow-up with a little procedural writing activity.  I'll disguise it as writing to explain to Mimi & Daddy how-to make Frankenpudding {since they both work late and won't be around to make this with us}...and they'll eat it right up {no pun intended ;)}
While we're making the pudding, we'll also review our 5 senses.  Even though I'm not in the classroom, I feel like I never left.  I'm sure my mommy/teacher friends can relate.  I don't necessarily try to make everything a learning moment, but I just feel like SO many things lend themselves to teaching or reinforcing skills and concepts they've already learned or are learning, y'know?!  And the teacher in me will always be there no matter who I'm own kids, my classroom kids, or my teacher friends...I just can't turn it off!!!  Just ask my teacher voice comes out more than he'd like ;)  Anyway, here's what I'll use to review that...I'll have them do this during their "downtime" before bed.  

And, of course, I've already busted out my erasers for this one.  We'll be finding numbers on the number line and talking about one more/one less!!!!  I do feel very fortunate that my boys don't really know that they're learning when they do things like these.  I try and make everything a game and so far they're falling for it. Let's pray that lasts a while longer!!!

You can grab the Frankenline in my FrankenFUN Math packet if you're interested in adding a few more seasonal math activities to your bag of tricks.

I also bundled both of these packets together... FrankenFun Math & Literacy.

There are a couple of games in the math packet that I know my boys are going to be excited to play this week.  That's probably how we'll spend our Columbus Day...exploring a few different math concepts and playing games.  Can't wait!!!!

CVC Word Work Activities


There's been a bit of radio silence here since our family arrived last week.  We only get to see them 3 times a year, so when they come to visit I lock up the laptop so I won't be tempted to work and I can give all my undivided attention to my favorite people : )  Since they left, we've been trying to clean up from the mess the contractors left when the FINISHED...yes, FINISHED...our bathroom!  Praise Jesus, halleluia!!!  5 long months later and we have a bathroom again!!  

In the last couple of weeks, I've received about 4-5 different emails asking me about introducing CVC words and how I help my kids blend and segment those sounds.  I've directed them to the post below in hopes that it might help!  Just in case you guys are reviewing or introducing CVC words, I thought today would be a good time to share while I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things here at the house.  I originally posted about this a couple of years ago.  Hope this helps some of you, too!  And please feel free to comment with any additional ideas or suggestions!!!  

Blending and segmenting is such a tricky concept for some kids to grasp, so I try to integrate this skill as often as I can so that my kids are constantly being slammed with practice…even when they don’t realize it.  One of the first things I like to do is help the kids build a visual image of what CVC words look like so that they can distinguish an easily decodable word from a sight word.  We practiced sorting CVC/not CVC words whole group and discussed each word as the kids brought theirs up to the easel.

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This was a great little assessment to see which of my kids were still having trouble distinguishing between consonants and vowels, too.
I finally had a chance to sit down and revamp some of the CVC activities I’ve been using with my kids since I started teaching 13 years ago.  What that basically means is that I swapped out Comic Sans and updated the clipart :)  I have a CVC station in the classroom where the kids can choose from any of these activities and practice making, reading, & writing CVC words.
Spin it & blend it is always a class favorite.  I like to introduce this during small group so that the kids understand the concept and then I’ll place different word family/sound spinners in dry erase sleeves and set them out in the CVC station.  My kids LOVE this one.  I also love using the cover it up cards for visual & sound discrimination.  It’s a great tool to use to quickly assess their knowledge & understanding, too.
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Of course, who doesn’t have these handy dandy CVC word building mats.  I had mine FOR.EV.ER and they were in sad, SAD shape.  I found the perfect clipart and was able to update the pictures and add more work mats to my collection.  Halleluia. Amen.  My kids always seem to go back to this activity, too.  I’m glad they love it so much!! And what kid doesn’t love a good puzzle?!  The CVC word/picture puzzles are visited quite often in 206.

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These CVC phoneme puzzles are great for introducing beginning/middle/ending sounds.  I love to use these for my intervention groups.  They help the kids build a visual image of the word as well as build their basic vocabulary.

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Kathleen from Growing Kinders has an EXCELLENT post packed full of CVC activities and ideas.  DEFINITELY worth the read.  Her ideas have definitely helped me reinforce this skill in my own classroom!!!


Here’s an idea via From Kindergarten with Love that I absolutely ADORE!  Shake, Rattle, & Read – real & nonsense words!  I have a gobzillion of these little containers and this is surely the perfect use!!

Shake, Rattle and Read CVC words - real or nonsense

One of my favorite whole group games to play with the kids {sorry, no pictures!!!!} is a little game called Monkey in the Middle.  For this game, the kids are all monkeys.  I give each of my kids a letter printed on a banana template.  I typically use all 5 vowels {which means only 5 kids get these letters}, but you can use only a couple if you want.  I pull out a picture card to show the class and then set it on the floor.  I tell my monkeys that I need the first sound & the last sound to sandwich the picture {the beginning sound stands to the left of the picture and the ending sound stands to the right}.  This also helps us to reinforce how words are built & read….left to right.  Then we all chant, “where’s the monkey in the middle?!”  The monkey with the matching medial vowel comes up and stands on the picture {in the middle} and all three hold up their letter bananas.  Then we practice blending & segmenting the sounds that make the word.  They absolutely go BANANAS over this game!!  Hahahaha :)

Do you have any great CVC ideas you want to share?!  I’d LOVE to hear them!!!  I’m always looking for fun new ways to practice this skill!!!  Leave me a comment and let me know how you make CVC practice fun & exciting for your kids!! 

In the meantime, I compiled all my CVC activities and bundled them into a little packet…chocked full of hands-on practice, printables, & emergent readers, too. You can click on the pictures to read more about it if you’re interested.

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Have a GREAT week!

120 Chart - Moving Beyond the Number Line

If you're reading that title and thinking I'm crazy, let me explain.

Both the number line and the 120 chart are important tools for our kids to use.  They are equally important and make wonderful resources for our kids to use when problem solving, counting, etc.  I think it's extremely important to equip our kids with the tools necessary to be successful.  

I display the number line (0-120) in my classroom and all of my kids have a personal number line they keep in their desks.  Their personal number line contains the numerals 0-20.  The reason for this is so that we can practice with the numbers we will more often than not work with in our day-to-day math.  In Kindergarten we add (to 10) and subtract (from 10).  In first grade, we're adding (to 20) and subtracting (from 18).  The smaller, personal number line just makes sense for it's intended use in our classroom.

I use the prompts to get them to look at the number line in different ways.  I use the prompts to enrich their math vocabulary and get them thinking.  They're great for quick review or small group intervention.

We start the year with our Number Line Prompts for quick review.   They were really a  huge success for my kids when I implemented using them into our daily routine.  Realizing I needed a little bit more so that my kids could "see" the bigger picture as the year progresses,  I went ahead and created a set of 120 chart prompts as well.

These prompts are perfect for moving "beyond" the number line.  The prompts focus on concepts such as place value, 10 more/10 less/1 more/ 1 less, even & odd numbers, etc.  This is a great "piggyback" resource to my Number Line Prompts and help provide that extension piece our kids need to deepen their understanding.

These would be great to use for quick review or in a small group setting.  Whatever works for the dynamics in your classroom!

Just wanted to pop-in real quick and throw this out these in case you're looking for something quick to implement into your daily instruction that will help to build number sense and other important math skills!  I'm always looking for different ways to change things up and keep my kids engaged.  Hope this helps!!!

To grab your own set of Number Line & 120 Chart Prompts, just click on the pics below.

Columbus Day in the Primary Classroom

If y'all are anything like me, you're probably trying to wrap your mind around the fact that it's MID-September (how'd that happen?!?!).  You might also be trying to "plan ahead".  I say that loosely because planning ahead may look more like planning for tomorrow's activities instead of planning into the next month.  This week I received a couple of emails from readers who wanted to know how I incorporate Columbus Day into my plans and if I acknowledge that holiday at all.

Since we typically have the day off for Columbus Day, I do acknowledge it.  However, instead of focusing on Columbus being the first to discover America...which, by the way is highly disputed...we focus on exploration, new discoveries, and Christopher Columbus' explorations.

I figured today would be a great day to share with y'all what I posted last case you're planning ahead.  I mean, are we really almost in October?!?!?!    

If you're all about the snacks....which you know I am!!!...then these are pretty fun...and cute, to boot!  Of course, this will take a little ambition which I don't always have when it comes to preparation the night before.  I'm usually too tired to make dinner :)  Ha!


This version is fun, too!  

You could even have your kids assemble the snack and then write an expository piece about how they made it.

I like to start most of my themed units with a poem or song of some sort.  There are lots of Columbus Day type songs out there.  I made up this little one and my boys won't stop singing it.  Oy.  

I included a printable version for poetry folders/independent reading station/etc. as well as song strips for the pocket chart...

I absolutely LOVE incorporating vocabulary activities into anything I can.  After reading the book Word Nerds last year, I was on a mission to amp up the vocabulary instruction in my classroom.  I think our babies definitely have the capacity to not only learn, but use "big words" in their every day vocabulary...we just have to guide them in the right direction and provide lots of opportunities for them to work with these words.  

I wrote a little "Let's Learn About Columbus" booklet and highlighted some important vocabulary words from the story...

I also included printable story vocabulary cards and a couple of activities to go with those words.

I'm also loving this "ship-shape" sequencing book that follows along with the story, too!

It's this time of the year that I like to talk about symbols.  I create a symbols anchor chart that describes what they are and how they are used.  I included a printable where the kids have to sort symbols and match them to their corresponding holiday and I also included this little booklet.  For this activity, the kids have to look at the symbol on the sail and then write the word on on the lines.  This would be a great independent writing activity!

We're going to have the kids use these vocabulary picture/word cards as a resource when completing these activities.  They're also going to have them displayed in their writing center.

I thought it would be fun for the kids to take some of those same vocabulary words and sort them into alphabetical order, so I made this little cut and paste booklet for that...

I also included this little writing craftivity and two different writing prompts.  My oldest wanted to make one of his own as soon as he saw this one.  Bless. 
You can check out this resource & read the details HERE.  

I hope this helps with your planning!!!

Apple Fun For EVERYONE!

How many of y'all felt a little shift in the weather this past weekend?!

I woke up to a beautifully crisp (what felt like Fall) day and it progressively got hotter as the weekend went on.  As they say here in Texas, "if you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes."

With the change of seasons impending, I couldn't wait to recap some of my favorite apple themed activities for you today and share with you some freebies a new addition to my little shop.

One of my favorite things to do with ANY theme is to incorporate it wherever I can in the classroom.  The easiest places to incorporate a theme...IMO....are in literacy and math stations.  Here are a few little apple activities my kids engaged in during our apple themed fun.  We did these in both K & 1st.  You can grab them for FREE HERE.


I included this little packet of fun in my plans when I taught Kindergarten and my kids loved it.  I loved that I had so much to choose from, too!  As you can see, these are all literacy based activities.  I fit our math fun in with different resources.

Before beginning our apple themed fun, we always do our little KWL.  These are scary looking, but they get the job done :)

I also have my 1st graders complete this little response sheet and add it to their reading notebooks.  Click HERE or on the pic to download {free}.

We also love our labels.  It's about this time of the year when we've recently introduced the concept of labeling and we're trying to integrate this skill in as many areas as we can.  Labeling apples {or Johnny Appleseed} is always one of my favorite activities.  I don't know why.  I love the way they all turn out.  I cut out all the pieces of the apple and then show my kids how to assemble them on their own.  Then I leave the pieces in a station and have them assemble their own and then label.  

Making applesauce with my class is another seasonal favorite.  I love the way it makes my classroom smell and I absolutely LOVE the experience it gives my kids....many of whom never have or never will get to do this again.  They talk about this all year long!!!  Then I bring home the very few leftovers I have, heat it up, and serve it over ice cream....for myself.  Sorry boys, mommy can't stop eating!!!  No applesauce for you! {said in my best soup nazi voice}

I also give my kids the recipe to take home to their parents just in case they want to try and recreate the deliciousness at home.  A gesture I'm sure my parents are thanking me for {NOT} as they quietly usher it into the trash can ;)

An apple taste test is imperative!  Such a simple yet meaningful and fun activity to do with your kids!  I'm all about creating experiences for them that help them to make connections, compare & contrast, analyze, etc.  Anything involving some type of food will usually get the job done and this is usually the first of the year that we get to work with food in both math & literacy.

After our little taste test, we graph the results.  This is a great springboard for introducing pictographs and analyzing than/less many more/ get the idea.

Those darn delicious yellow apples!  They "win" every time!!  My personal favorite?!  Honeycrisp!!!!!! {of course, it's also the most expensive....WHY?!?!?!?!}

When we graph, I'll give each of my kids a unifix cube that matches the color apple they liked best.  I have them help me create "graphing towers" with them for comparison purposes.    Since graphing can get a little messy, the towers help them to tell me how many more/fewer and we also use them to discuss various scenarios..."What if 3 more people liked green apples?!  How many people would like green apples then?!?", etc.

I like to display the class graph with their personal graphs {from Deanna Jump's Apple Unit} and a little apple craftivity.  

The craftivity, of course, matches the color apple they chose as their favorite.

Around this time of the year we're also learning about our 5 senses, so I take this opportunity to integrate that learning with apples.  I have my kids investigate apples using their 5 senses.  THey LOVE this!!!!  As they're investigating, I write their words on a big ol' anchor chart.  After we've gone through all 5 senses, we talk about how these words DESCRIBE apples.  This is a great springboard for introducing descriptive words {adjectives}.  

After creating our anchor chart, my kids draw their own apple, color it, and then write a little sentence using one of their descriptive words.  For first graders, you could have them write more than a sentence  ;)


The day after our descriptive writing activity, I like to follow up with a little five senses review.  I write all of the words we brainstormed on index cards and have the kids sort them into their matching categories.  They love this and it gives me the opportunity who's still riding the bus down struggle street with the concept of five senses.

Then we follow up with this little interactive printable...great for 1st graders to do independently and a good little activity to do with your Kindergartners in a whole/small group setting. I have them add these to their science notebooks.  You can download yours HERE {free} or click on the pic.

Speaking of science, check out these awesome apple experiments!!!!!

We also LOVE investigating apples in lots of different ways.  I give each of my kids an apple investigations booklet and we complete each page as a whole group.  This is one of their favorite activities through our unit of learning!  So engaging and fun!!!

You can grab your investigations booklets HERE.

Of course, anything art related is always fun and this has been a class favorite for the last 5 years.  Contact paper apple window clings!  Just cut out the apple shape and leave a cut out in the middle for your clear contact paper.  Place the apple cutout on top of the contact paper and then give your kids torn pieces of tissue paper {I use red, green, & yellow} and teach them how to fill the empty space in the middle of the apple by overlapping their tissue paper.  Once they're finished, cut around the outside of the apple {cutting off the excess contact paper} and then hang!  They turn out so pretty and the kids love it!  It's a great little fine motor activity and a good opportunity for building vocabulary and practicing listening :)

We always end our apple unit with a little culminating activity...another fun taste test. Can't you tell I love anything that involves food?!  This is what I brought in last year...

Sarah Cooley has the cutest little Apple Tasting Party packet that gave me the inspiration for this activity.

And then we graphed our favorite ways to eat/drink an apple...after tasting it all, of course.

You could get a lot more creative with that than I did.  I grabbed what was convenient for me. You could be way more ambitious and bake for your kids :)  Or you could just call it a day and treat yourself to Dairy Queen's new Apple Pie blizzard after it's all said and done.  Not that I've had that or anything...I'm just sayin' ;)

I display the graph with the their little ap'PALS' from my Apple Antics packet.

As you saw earlier in the post, I incorporated lots of apple themed literacy based centers in my instruction.  I've been asked about making more for first grade and then throwing in some math with that, too :)  It's a little late, but if you're still in search of apple themed centers for your first grade classroom, be sure to check these out...

The same activities shown above have also been bundled in case you might need both.

Is there anything I'm forgetting?!

I'd love to know what I'm missing and what I can add to my ever growing collection of apple themed fun!!!