Sunday, December 18, 2016

Easy Snowflake Ornaments

I always love getting creative with my students, and they LOVE making ornaments. This year, I wanted to make sure we made something that really showcased each child's unique, creative personality. I'm just not a fan of the foam/sticker cookie cutter ornaments that all look the same.

This year I decided to pull out that giant box of popsicle sticks I had in my cabinet and make snowflakes. This was a pretty easy project, but we worked on them two separate days. On the first day we just glued the popsicle sticks together. I wanted to make sure they didn't fall apart! This also gave me time to go to Hobby Lobby and buy some new glitter.
I went into the store for 2 colors and came out with all of this... oops!
On the second day we used all of the fun glitter glue bottles and got a little messy! We had SO much fun, and the snowflakes turned out SO CUTE!! I love how each one is totally different!
The only part that really required adult work was hot gluing string to the back... and I had a volunteer do that part!

What easy ornaments do you make with your students?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Classroom Cornucopia of Freebies

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? This year I am having a virtual Thanksgiving Potluck with some of my teacher besties! We have so much to be thankful for, and we wanted share our blessing with you!
We created a FREE Classroom Cornucopia of our best selling resources! These are some of our favorite classroom creations that can be used throughout the year. Here's a taste of everything we shared in our Cornucopia...

Emily from Polka Dots Please shared a Tooth Word Bank that can be used for writing folders, anchor charts, or a creative writing center. There are pictures to match every word so little writers feel inspired and supported! (This is a BONUS word bank that is not included in the original set!)

Alisha from Missing Tooth Grins shared Winter Main Idea Passages. These main idea passages are designed for the winter months and help your students understand and practice telling the main idea and supporting details from a short passage. They are consistent, easy to use, and require no prep!

Jessica from Mrs. Stanford's Class shared Post It Note Reminders! These easy to use sticky note reminders are a great way to keep notes home consistent in your classroom. All you need to do is print the template, stick the post its, and print again. Have them stocked up in your drawer for your next writing checklist! Parents and students will love the consistency these checklists can bring to your classroom! Teachers will love the convenience! 

Katie from Simply Creative Teaching shared Place Value Exit Slips from her Math Exit Slips for every Common Core math standard! You can grab exit slips for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade! They are designed to be completed in 5 minutes or less and there are 4 to a page for quick and easy printing. 
Kelly from Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten shared Kindergarten Reading Comprehension Stories that are so much fun for emergent readers! Students read a text with CVC words and sight words while using the tracking dots to point to the words as they read. Students color a star or symbol at the top of the page each time they read. Four comprehension questions are included (multiple choice and fill in the blank). Additional practice is included on the bottom of the page with CVC words or seasonal vocabulary.

Diane from One Giggle At a Time shared her best selling Joke of the Day Set! It's her favorite part of every school day, and it has been rated by her firsties on the Top Ten List of Bests in her classroom for years! Every day of the school year, her class starts the day with a joke, a fact, and a question to ponder together. It is a great way to join together to share some giggles, some deep thinking, and a little each other. Joke of The Day set includes daily cards that can be printed out or a Smartboard version that can be displayed on the screen each morning as the students come in. 
Amber from A Smiling Teacher shared Editable Sight Word Lists! 
They make it easy for teachers to differentiate sight word and spelling practice while giving your students choice! The pack includes 15 word work activities that require little to no prep and can be used with any spelling or sight word list! Students loves the variety of choices and teachers love that students are working on words that are just right for them! EDITABLE word lists are included and make it easy to personalize learning! 
Elyse from A is for Apples shared differentiated reading logs! They are the perfect way to hold students and parents accountable for reading at home while also making it fun! Students color in a picture every time they read a book, and you can choose from over 20 recording pages to meet the needs of all your learners!
Gina from Teaching with Heart shared Work on Writing. You can easily create ENGAGING and MEANINGFUL writing center activities for your kindergarteners or first graders! The pack includes lots of activities so you and differentiate and scaffold to meet the needs of your students!
We are so thankful this year and happy to share our Classroom Cornucopia with you! You can download the whole 43 page pack here or click on the picture below! Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Math Essentials for Every Primary Classroom

When I was in undergrad, I was soooo nervous about teaching math. My oh my, how that’s changed. I would teach primary math all day if I could now. I absolutely LOVE it. There are a handful of tools that I’ve found super helpful when teaching math, so today I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite MATH ESSENTIALS!

Throughout this post you will find links to these math tools in my Amazon storefront. I earn a small commission from each purchase that helps keep Simply Creative Teaching up and running!

#1 – Magnetic Base Ten Pieces from Learning Resources
Before I had these magnetic base ten pieces (Amazon affiliate link), I used to hot glue magnets to the back of my foam base ten blocks and it was a disaster. The day I got these it was like Christmas! I’ve used them a few different ways. One year, my calendar area was housed on a dry erase board, so I used these for counting the number of days in school during calendar time.
#2 – Number Line, Tens Frames, and Hundreds Chart Dry Erase Boards
I never knew I was missing out until I got these dry erase boards from Education by Oriental Trading. Each board is two-sided, and the part I love the most is the number line! I’ve tried to have my students draw their own number lines on blank dry erase boards and it's very difficult for them. They make them so tiny and then the fat dry erase markers make it hard to read. That's why these dry erase boards are the PERFECT size for my little learners. If you don’t want to splurge on the dry erase boards, you could always make your own math with tens frames and just slide them in sheet protectors to make them dry erase!

#3 – Math Apps from The Math Learning Center
This year my district adopted Bridges as our math curriculum, and I really love it. When I was at a PD over the summer, they shared with us all of the free apps they have. You all... OH MY WORD. They're amazing! I wish I would've known these existed even for the years when we weren't using Bridges! 
We practiced number combinations to 10 with the Number Rack app! We also earned stickers for hard work!
#4 Dice, Dice, and even more DICE!
I have to confess... I am dice obsessed! These dice from Amazon (affiliate link) are awesome because you get a 100 pack of dice!  I feel like you can NEVER have too many dice! There are so many great ways to use them because they are the perfect tool for differentiation. Students can use the double dice and triple dice to roll and make numbers. One of my favorite games is Rock & Roll Place Value, where students roll two or three dice, make the largest number possible, and compare them. You find the free directions to the game here.
This is only one of my dice organizers... The obsession is real!
#5 Math Talk Sentence Starters
Obviously this is not a tangible manipulative or math tool; however, teaching your students to have productive conversations about math is essential! Our students can learn SO much from listening to and learning from their peers. During math number talks, when a student shares a strategy for solving a problem, I'll call on another student to repeat that strategy. Then they must ask the initial student who shared, "Is that how you solved it?" This practice helps remind students to listen and learn from how their classmates are solving problems. After modeling and practicing frequently during whole group, I pair up students to solve a few problems and teach each other how they solved the problems.
Click on the image above to grab a free copy!
If you haven't read the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish (Amazon affiliate link), you must add it to your list. You will learn so much about different strategies students can use to solve math problems mentally and fluently. Here are some sentence starters I use in my classroom to help foster math conversations. You can get a copy for yourself by clicking the image.
Display this free poster to help your students talk about math!
While these are only some of my favorite math essentials, there are so many more amazing tools out there. Share YOUR must-have math tools in the comments below!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lazy Teacher Lunches

You know those adorable lunches you see all over Pinterest with the salad in the mason jars... yeah, that's not me.

I'm sorry, but I just don't have the time for that. I can barely meal prep my own dinners, so planning ahead to take salad in a mason jar is just not in the cards for me. If it's ideal for you, then by all means, go for it! If you find yourself in the same boat as me though, keep reading...

A few weeks ago I stopped at the grocery store for a few things on my way home from school. And then, I saw IT.

This precious, tiny, ON SALE, little baby LUNCH CROCKPOT.

Originally $25. On sale for $7.50. WHAAAAAAAT!

So obviously I bought one and took a selfie with it. Because I'm known to take selfies with crockpots.
A few days ago... My face still looks like this when I talk about my Lunch Crock
Back in 2013 when I got a new crockpot :)
So what's so great about this little Lunch Crock? Well, when I get to school in the morning, I pop in some soup or leftovers from last night's dinner and turn it on. Then, when it's time for lunch, mine is already ready to go! No waiting in line for the microwave for me! I actually stocked up on soups at to grocery store and put them in my cabinet in my classroom. That way, if I don't have any dinner leftovers to bring, I already have some soups in my cabinet.

At the end of the day, I quickly clean it in my classroom sink, dry it, and leave it at school so it's ready for the next day! I don't even have to take it home! But if I wanted to, I could because it does have an adorable handle.

Am I being too dramatic if I call it life-changing? Whatever, it's life changing. Go grab yourself one. I found mine at Kroger, but you can also snag them on Amazon for $20.

Happy Eating!