Monday, December 28, 2015

Freebie #5 - Winter Adding, Subtracting, Multiplication Game Board

Welcome Back!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!
This freebie will be useful in your math centers or cooperative groups. All you need is a set of dice.
Pairs of students will roll the dice and either: add, subtract or multiply the 2 numbers shown on the dice. {If using multiplication, students will probably advance quicker on the board, so they may want to keep a tally chart of how many times they reach the North Pole. The "winner" will be the one who reaches the North Pole 3 times, 5 times, etc..
To make this fun and exciting I like to use colored marshmallows as playing pieces- students will pick a color.
This a fun, time-filler that's educational and versatile.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you've been able to use these Freebies with your students! I'd love to hear how you have used / plan to use these in your classroom! Please comment below.
Have a relaxing break!

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Freebie #4 - Text Evidence Posters

Welcome Café Friends!
If you're like me, you're probably running around like a crazy person right about now.... last minute gifts, wrapping, baking, and seeing just what else can be crammed into these last few days before Christmas!
I would think most of you are on break now. If not, hopefully you will be soon.
 For this freebie {and for #5} I decided not to do a Christmas theme. Over break --at some point--- I like to begin looking into planning for our second semester of school. For this freebie I'd like to share Text Evidence Posters. We use these ALL THE TIME!
 I trim these down and display them in the front of my class. As we discuss texts, students refer to the posters when supporting their answers. This works really well with written responses!
 So... I thought I'd share these in hopes that they may help your little learners become better "reading detectives".
The posters remind them to dig deeper in the text to find evidence to support their answer.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you all have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Freebie #3 Color Your Own Christmas Cards

Freebie #3 ~ Color Your Own Christmas Cards
Hope you all have had a great week!
The link below will take you to some Color Your Own Christmas Cards that kids will LOVE to work on during these last few days before Christmas break.
These cards can be used different ways:
(1) Allow students to pick a card and color it for a friend or family member. Cards are really cute with a touch of added glitter.
(2) You can give these cards to students with a personal message inside.
There are 2 cards per page.
 Just copy, cut horizontally, then fold!

Thanks for stopping by to pick up this Christmas Freebie!
Have a great week!

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Freebie #2

Hello again Café Friends!
Thanks for stopping by for this week's Christmas Freebie!
This freebie is all about Reindeer and can be adapted across grade levels.
The idea is to get kids into conducting research about this interesting creature. This can be done several ways depending on the age of your students:
1.) Provide several copies of books, magazine articles, close read passages, etc. for students to read and find answers. If your students aren't independent readers yet, you can read facts aloud to them, noting some facts on a class anchor chart for them to use.
2.) Show informational websites, such as Wikipedia, National Geographic kids, etc. and discuss the information as a class. Students can record their information on the planning sheet. (or this can be done as a class)
3.) Allow this to be a project for home (or school). Students can use the research pages (they can use some or all pages) and include pictures to create a poster about their reindeer research.
4.) Choose a page (or 2) and display them with a reindeer craftivity for a festive bulletin board or hallway display. 


 Hope you enjoy using these to get your students interested in the research process!
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, feel free to share your ideas in the comments below. :-)

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Freebies!

Hello out there Cafe' friends!!
Anyone there?!?!
Oh. My. Goodness!
It's been SO long, I had to clean the cobwebs from my little blog! I sincerely apologize!
Starting a new grade this year has zapped every ounce of my time since the start of school. I moved to 3rd, but I'll continue to share ideas useful for my K-2 friends. :-)
Well, since it's almost CHRISTMAS, I need to make up for lost time------and fast! Whew!
So, I'm scheduling some FREEBIES for ya' throughout the month of December. Be sure to check back in at the Café over the next several Mondays to pick up some FREE resources:
Monday, December 7th
Monday, December 14th
Monday, December 21st
Monday, December 28th
We all know after Thanksgiving break the kids can start to get a *little* excited about the next vacation.
3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to teach, assess, and maintain some kind of sanity can make for some long days. And let's just hope there's not another full moon on the calendar.
 I'm sharing Freebie #1 with ya' in hopes that it will be helpful for your students {and kids at home, for that matter--I'm thinking about using it with my own kids!} Click on the link below to pick up this Christmas freebie! It's sort of like bingo, and can be used different ways. The first page shares some ideas for using this to help encourage and reward positive behavior.


I hope you can find lots of fun ways to use this with your class {or kids at home}.
If you're interested in more positive behavior incentives for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, check out my Santa's Little Bag of Tricks pack {Freebie #1-Run, Run, Reindeer, is from this pack.}

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear how you plan to use Freebie #1 with your kids {home or school} :-) Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Class Dojo Reward Tubs

Happy Summer! Welcome back to the Crazy Critter Café!

So I've been thinking about how I'd like to use my Class Dojo reward system and here's the latest...Numbered Tubs to match the Class Dojo "point clubs". I used this idea toward the end of the school year and it seemed to work well.
Students gave input on what they'd like to have in the tubs (thus, the 2 levels of sweet treats!)

My goal was to have a daily Dojo time, but due to our hectic afternoon schedule, that couldn't always be done, so I'd find time during the week for our class Dojo time (or every 2 weeks if I felt more time was needed for students to reach certain Dojo Point Clubs).
I had a checklist and whenever we had Dojo time, I would write the point club for each student so I would know which reward tubs they've picked from during that particular Dojo time. At a designated date, all Class Dojo points would reset and students would start over.
I bought 2 plastic organizers to help keep the rewards separate. All I have to do when we have Dojo time is snap apart the 5-15 trays and pull out the 20-30 point drawers for easy distribution of rewards!
 I'm sure there are tons of ways to use Class Dojo in the classroom. I found that starting simple was more effective. I didn't get overwhelmed with keeping up with rewards and trying to grab my iPad to give Dojo points every second of the day. I used it mostly during transition, independent work, and center times.
Make it work for you and your class!
 I'll switch out rewards periodically so students don't get bored with these.
I'd love to hear how you use Class Dojo in your class. Please add a comment below! :-)
Thanks for stopping by the café!

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Friday, May 1, 2015

End of the Year Bucket-filling Tagxedo Keepsake

I can't believe it's almost the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR! We have less than 30 days to go so it's time to get busy with my end of the year fun activities!
I really encourage bucket-filling with my students, so I thought it would be fitting to create a Tagxedo word cloud for each student with adjectives from their classmates. This is a great keepsake for students to remember their school year.
We started brainstorming positive adjectives that describe people and wrote examples on the board. I then gave each student a class roster. They were instructed to write one adjective beside each classmate's name.
I collected the papers and typed the adjectives for each student into a Word document that would later be copied and pasted into the Tagxedo program. I just save the adjectives under each child's name to make it easier.
I purchased inexpensive certificate frames from the Dollar Tree and typed a little saying to place on the back of the frame so students and parents will remember the purpose of the Tagxedo adjectives. I write the year in the bottom, right corner {which isn't seen in the photos}.
Check out these colorful Tagxedos!
2. Go to  the "Create" tab at the top.
3. Select and copy the student's adjectives from a Word document
4. Click in the big box to "Enter Text" and Control-V to paste (right clicking feature didn't work on my laptop for this) Click the "Submit" button. Now you should see your words in the template.
5. Go the menu at the left to change the color, font, orientation, etc. Under "shape" is where you'll find the star or other shape for your Tagxedo.
6. To print, go to "Save/Share" in the left menu and click the Print tab. 

What end of the year keepsakes do you like to do with your students? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by the Crazy Critter Café! Hang in there! The end is in sight!
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hands On Learning: Weighted Numbers & I Spy Bottles

Hello again, Café Friends!!!
It's been a while since my last post. I feel like I've been MIA! Finishing up National Board Renewal has zapped my time! It'll be submitted in less than a month, then hopefully I can get back in my "normal" routine - whatever "normal" might be! :-)
All of this renewal business has really caused me to reflect on my teaching and help me to remember WHY I do what I do with my students. I've been working on a component about student engagement and wanted to share a few activities I used this past week in centers to help promote hands on learning and student engagement.
(1) Weighted Numbers
I love using weighted numbers to show how to balance addition equations. These can be found at most teaching resource stores and online for about $20. I would suggest getting a couple of sets so students can balance equations with larger numbers.
Each number has the number word on the back so the 6's and 9's don't get mixed up. Plus, this helps reinforce number word recognition.
The picture above shows 6+3 = 9. I also wrote on the board: 9 = 6+3. This is such a hard concept for a lot of my students. The balance scale is a concrete learning tool that helps them see the "balance" {equals}.
 I always tell them when they see the equals sign to think of a balance scale. Both sides of the scale {equation} must be equal in order for the equation to be true.
I put the scales and numbers in my math center for students to explore balancing equations, helping them to understand that 6+3 is the same as 3+6.
(2) I Spy Bottles
Another hands on activity my students LOVE are I Spy Bottles that I made. Each bottle contains various objects and ten sight words. I've used these in my literacy centers for word work. They're also perfect for time-fillers. My goal is to make enough for a class set.
These are great for your kinesthetic learners and students with attention difficulties. I typed a sheet with the I Spy items, laminated the sheets, and students use dry-erase crayons {or markers} to check what they've found. Coins are the hardest to find. It keeps them busy for a while! They love the challenge.
 I'd love to hear about engaging activities you use with your students! Feel free to share in the comments below. :-)
Thanks for stopping by the Café!

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Fun & FREEBIES!

Happy Saturday, Café Friends!
There are about 60 school days left! OH. MY. GOODNESS! I don't know whether or not to be excited or freak out because there's still SO much work to be done between now and the end of May.
Spring break for us will be in a few weeks and time usually flies by after that.
St. Patrick's Day is almost here and I'd like to share some of the activities we've started working on in our math and literacy stations.
In our Word Work station, students love searching for words on the Itty Bitty I Spy. They use a magnifying glass to search for words, then write the word on the lines.
The Lucky Charms activity gave student extra practice recognizing and writing numbers within 120.
This upcoming week I will be using these activities in my math stations:
We've been working on place value so I thought this sheet would give students some extra practice. It can also be used as a quick check-up to see if students know the basics of understanding tens and ones.
This sheet allows students to represent tens and ones using "sticks" and "stones". This is the most effective method I've used so far to help students draw tens and ones. It's quick and it really helps when they start to add and subtract 2-digit numbers. They can easily see and count the tens and ones.
This activity will be used with my table groups. Students will pick a card and represent that number using manipulatives {rods & units}. Now that we have iPads, I'll also do this whole group and let them show me how to represent the number on their iPad whiteboard {Educreations app} using the "sticks" and "stones".
I like to have a station that includes puzzles and games. This station usually has pattern block activities, jigsaw puzzles, memory games, pentominoes, etc.
This week I'll use these tens and ones matching puzzles. I like to copy this on green cardstock to make it thematic for St. Patrick's Day.

This fun freebie will be used at my table groups. Board games are always needed to help encourage cooperation and social skills. We should do them everyday! This game uses dice to help reinforce addition and subtraction skills as students race to the gold.

Thanks for stopping by the Crazy Critter Café to check out my St. Patrick's Day activities. I hope you'll find them helpful with your students!
Have a great week!
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Effective Reading Activities & Resources {K-3} Linky Party

Happy Friday, Café Friends!
I could get used to working only Monday and Friday with 3 snow days in between.
Everything's wonderful until I get back to school this morning and try to make up for the 3 days we were out! Just when I think I'm getting back into our daily groove, the fire drill sounds! Go figure.
TGIF is all I have to say!!
Mid-term reports just went home this week and we're in full-swing with getting these little first graders reading at and above grade level. With only 3 solid months of school left I've been trying to find various ways to help ensure my students are ready for second grade. {My heart just skipped a few beats and my anxiety level just rose a bit when I typed that---3 MONTHS!} Where has the year gone?!?!
If you're like me, you're constantly looking for new tools, tricks, and activities to help your kids during this "crunch time".
Join the party!
Feel free to link up to 5 EFFECTIVE READING ACTIVITIES, RESOURCES, or BLOG POSTS that you've used and found to be SUCCESSFUL with your K-3 students in helping them become better readers. Please be sure the links are suitable for K-3 students.

 Thanks for stopping by the Crazy Critter Café! I hope you'll join the linky! {it ends 3/9/15}
Once the linky party is over, stop back by, check out the links, find some awesome resources for reading and get ready to finish out your school year with ease!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Huge ONE DAY Teachers Pay Teachers SALE!

It's a SALE!!! Save big on your favorite products and activities! Clean out your Wish List!

My entire TPT store is on sale + get an extra % off by entering the code: HEROES at checkout.

 photo sale banner heroes2 copy_zpsirfkqp7u.jpg
{Thanks to Strawberry Shake for the awesome promotion banner!}

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! ~ Art and Writing Activity

What a COLD week it's been here at the Crazy Critter Café!
We had 2 "snow" days here in NC--freezing rain, no fluffy stuff {yet}. :(
Since it's been so icy lately, I thought it would be perfect to continue our penguin activities.
Each year I love having students create their own penguin scene using construction paper and chalk.
Each student is given:
~1/2 sheet of black construction paper to make the body and wings
~1/4 sheet of orange construction paper for the feet and beak
~1/4 sheet of white construction paper for the belly
~1 whole sheet of blue construction paper for the background
~scissors, glue, and white chalk to create their scene
First they create their penguin and glue it onto the blue paper. Then students create their snow scene using white chalk. It's interesting to see all of the wonderful creativity!
Check out these adorable penguins!!


Some early finishers wanted to get extra paper, so they made a penguin family. How cute!?
Afterwards, I pulled a page from my Writing Paper Templates Pack for students to write their final draft of penguin facts.  

Finally, we read the book Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! by Bob Barner.

It was a perfect, arctic week to continue with our penguin fun.
Now, I think it's time to pull out my Spring files! Maybe that'll help these cold temps to rise!
I've had enough of Winter already. Anybody with me? I know my friends up north have BEEN ready!

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