Wednesday, June 29, 2022

FREEBIE Math Game for Shark Week!

Looking for a SIMPLE, easy-to-learn math game that will have kids practicing their counting and addition facts? A game that even Kindergarten kids can play during the first week of school? A game you can add to centers and rotations at any point of the year to have them practice fact fluency? Well, here it is: SNEAKY SHARK! A Clear the Board game.

I have this same game for Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day but wanted to make one for SHARK WEEK and summer fun.  Takes a minute to learn and is a quick game that the kids want to play again and again.

How Do You Play?
Place all ten of your tokens on the board. Take turns rolling 2 dice and add numbers together. Look to see if your token is in that column. If it is, remove it. Roll doubles? Take turn and ROLL AGAIN! If your token isn’t in that column, skip a turn. First one to remove all of his/her tokens is The Sneaky Shark!
Two boards are included (both in color and BW) so Kindergarten students can play while using one die on a 1-6 board and Grades 1/2 can use two dice and add numbers together on the 2-12 board. SO EASY and FUN!

Here's one of my FAVORITE shark-related books, SHARK LADY. My class LOVES it too! Have you read it?


Saturday, June 11, 2022

THIS is the Playlist You Need For Your Classroom

Did you know that the first five minutes of each school day is critical for establishing or deepening connections with our students? Even after you've built that strong community, you must nurture it to ensure it continues to thrive. 

The second I step outside into the hallway and see my kids coming toward me in the hall, I'm ready to greet each one by name and make a quick connection like, "Did you win your game last night?' or "Today's Friday. Pancake Day for your family! What kind did you have?" 

Yep- even short interactions foster that community spirit.

Then, they enter my classroom and I have this playlist on in the background while they're unpacking and chit chatting with each other for 5-7 minutes before they start their Do-Now. 

 Isn't it such an easy way to continue the community building?  

I also play it during snack, dismissal, and times when they request it. Does belting out the above songs really strengthen our classroom community?

YOU BETCHA! Music is so powerful whether you are 1 or 100 years old. 

I hope you can use this for your class. Do you have any songs you'd like to see added? Any songs that resonate with you and your class? Let me know!

Check out my other playlists for Writing Workshop and Brain Break Dance Songs.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Thirty Second Game Changer for ANY Grade Level (Problem Solved)

Can you relate to this scenario?

You're having a wonderful discussion about a picture book with your class. Kids have their hands flying in the air to share their thoughts, opinions and feelings, and are ready to make a connection to their own lives or another book the class has read. Their enthusiasm is palpable.

You call on several kids to share out. Lots of their answers motivate even more hands to shoot up and wave wildly in the air.  

The kids are so excited but being respectful trying hard to signal to you that they're sitting nicely, hand in the air, and ready to share. Some are making noises and you're not sure if they want to share or telling you they're sick! :)

 Sometimes, lots of times, you get those begging eyes that if those same eyes could talk, would be screaming, "PICK ME! Look how I'm sitting crisscross applesauce!"

You glance at the clock and think: Do I have time to call on one more student or do I need to line them up now so we're not late for gym?

You decide to call on one more student.

Said child answers and when you say, "Okay, kids.  That's all we have time for today," you hear moans.  Groans.  Mumbling  Grumbling.

Kids are bummed. Frustrated. You overhear at least one kid say, "It's not fair.  You didn't call on me." They want to be heard.

As they line up, some are coming up to you to share. Others are walking to the line, shoulders slumped and muttering under their breath.

I get it. I feel their disappointment.

At least I used to before implementing this SIMPLE 30 second strategy:

When you end the lesson and are about to transition, simply say, "If you didn't get to share out, turn and share with someone next to you."


Students immediately feel validated since they've been heard. They feel like an important community member that had something to contribute to the discussion.

This 30 second trick truly helps foster your classroom community because they're making connections with classmates. A bond. Even small shared connections- one word answers- have forged many a friendship.

It's really a gamechanger!

There is no downside. I do it every time. Try it!  Let me know how it goes.

I'm big on "sharing" and feel it's the most important component of Morning Meeting. Totally contributes to turning your kids into a community! 

One thing I learned the hard way when I started teaching: Your SHARING doesn't always have to be WHOLE CLASS sharing which can be tedious at times.  

To see how I handle sharing in class and maybe find a tip or two you can use, you might want to read the post from a few years ago.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Wrapping Up the Year

My school year ended on April 5th because I took a terrible fall in school and broke my kneecap, detached my quad muscle, broke a toe and suffered a concussion!  Yep! I was in the hospital for ten nights and had surgery. Did I mention this was all on my NEW custom-made knee replacement knee/leg? Um. Yep.

Crushing.  If you know my story, I had spent the prior 18 months home due to my leg and had a few major surgeries and was even in ICU. It's been a difficult journey for sure. To be in this position again is beyond frustrating. So I've been reading night and day.  Adult- not kid- books.  I'll post some of the books I loved that I've read these last few months at the end of this post.

Over the last week, I've been working on some new products. Trying to fill my days while I'm still in this brace for another six weeks. 

With the uploading of my June Crowns packet above, I finally finished the CROWNS BUNDLE.  I did go back and added additional crowns to all of the individual packets.  I just couldn't resist! There's truly something for everyone!

Do I use all of them in a month? NOPE! But I'm glad I can pick and choose AND I often put a few out during FREETIME so kids can grab if they want.

NOTE: All of he crowns are also offered in COLOR in case teachers want one (or to give to a colleague) but don't want to color in themselves. 

Also made this: May/June Craft & Goals.  SO EASY and an INSTANT bulletin board. 

My newest product? Class Books to make for your classroom library and enhance your print rich environment. These books are a great way to get to know your students and are a fun way to build community in the classroom. Pick from printing out the cover in color OR have a student color it in. (Can pull a name out of jar to decide who is the Lucky Duck!)

Although June's not finished yet, I have September-December ready to go. If you are interested, the price is over 60% off while I add new packets.  Grab it now! The bundle is listed for only $14 but will go up soon. That means if you buy this week, each month would only cost about $1.50.  That's for FIVE books per month!  It would be 50 books in all for $14! I'll add the rest by June 14th. 

Here are 5 September Class Books so you can see whar they're all about.

Books Included in September:

✿ The Apples of Our Eyes
✿ Chicka Chicka Book Boom! Looks Who's In Our Room!
✿ Make Your Mark (Inspired by the book The Dot. Dot Day is September 15th.)
✿ A Beary Fun Classroom (Teddy Bear Day is September 9th)
✿ A Peaceful Class (World Peace Day is September 21st)

These are so easy to make! Pass out the appropriate sheet (primary, secondary or blank space (no writing lines) for kindergarteners or not-yet-ready to write students.) and have them complete prompt and draw a picture. Ten minutes later, another class book to add to your library or display.

I let my kids check them out throughout the year AND at the end of the year, I give out all of the books for the students to keep. We make 40 books a year so kids usually get 2 books!

Last page: I like to take a picture of the class (holding their individual pages) and glue it in the book. If you don't want to include a picture, have each student sign their name or draw a heart or flower and write name on or under it. 

Can use for Writing Workshop, Morning Meeting activity or a Do-Now.

As promised, here are the covers of some of the books I've read recently  No reviews but if I'm putting cover here, I loved the book!

I'll post more books next time.  Have any recommendations for me? Let me know!

If you're out of school, enjoy your break! If you're still teaching, hang in there! Sand, sun and fun are coming your way soon!