Ladybug Length Measurement Creativity

Saturday, May 20, 2017 / Leave a Comment

I love doing crafts with my students as much as possible. I try to add some writing activity to each craft, but I also wanted to tie in math to some of our crafts as well. 


Right now, we have been working on measuring the length of objects. Some of my younger students are using blocks to do non-standard measurement.


My older students are working on measuring to the nearest inch. Our vocabulary story the past few weeks involved ladybugs, and we had been talking about the life cycle of ladybugs, so I decided a ladybug craft was necessary.



With this activity, I was able to tie in our math lesson with the craft. I love how they turned out! They look awesome outside our classroom. 

Scroll to end to download the freebie! 






Click on the picture to download the freebie measurement activity!




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Keeping Math Skills Sharp All Year with File Folder Tasks (Math Labels Freebie)

Saturday, May 6, 2017 / 2 comments
Like most special educators, I teach several different skills in math a day. In our math rotations, I am able to see each students 1:1 for about 10 minutes to teach them new skills, and then they rotate through the other centers to practice that skill and previously mastered skills. This is the first year I have done this system, and it's been magical!

Here is a quick run down of our math rotations (we color code our stations):
Blue Table: Work with teacher on new skill
Black Table: Practice new skill with teacher assistant (I use a lot of my cut and paste pages here)
Yellow Table: Technology (math games - I love ABCYA Pre-K/K level for my young lads and Prodigy for my older kiddos - both are FREE)
Red Table: Independent binder work - I keep their binders stocked with sheets of previously mastered skills.
Green Table: File Folder Tasks - more practice with mastered skills



Since the red and green tables are independent, I mark or provide the amount of work they have to do. I always have fun, MOTIVATING, STEM-esk activities for them to do if they finish early, so they are typically motivated to kick it in high gear and work efficiently so they have time to do the fun activity before the timer goes off to rotate. Some of the "fun" activities included pattern blocks, gears, popsticle sticks, Legos, building sticks, marble run, etc. I'll save those for another post.



Today I want to talk about magic that happens at the green table. This station used to BUG. ME. OUT. before I started using strictly file folders. With so many different levels, I would be constantly switching out materials while the timer was going off, which left the student at my table free to do whatevs (which is NOT good). Now, I have all of the file folders prepped and on shelves at the station. As I've said before, I color-code everything in my classroom, and that does not leave out the actual children. At the beginning of every year, I assign each of my students a color (kind of like larger elementary classes assign numbers). I talk about color-coding a lot in THIS POST if you want to check it out.



Back to the topic at hand.. 

I organized all of my file folders by math topic. The levels in my class right now are about PreK - 2nd, so I start with Numbers and go all the way through Division and Fractions. I use file folders from my Math Skills Megabundle, so I know that I'm covered for all the skills I will be teaching throughout the year, even though I have so many different levels in my class.



I loving using the bins to store my file folders, but I also like the idea of using a filing cabinet as well. I've even seen people use dish strainers to store them. I personally like to have them out in the open because it's functional and also very pretty (let's be honest). The bins are from Really Good Stuff's website.



Each day, pull 2-3 folders out and place them in the student's bins. I use these File Holders from Amazon. They've held up great! I only place mastered skills in a students bin, so that they can do them completely independently.




During rotations, the students just pull down their color, complete the tasks, and put them back in the bin and back on the shelf when they are finished. At the end of the day, or whenever I have time throughout the day, I check their folders, take the data I need, and reset the station for the next day.




Since I have so many folders prepped, the students work on a variety of skills and folders throughout the week. They don't get bored doing the same things over and over again, and I'm happy because they are reviewing skills they've learned throughout the year and keeping their mathematic minds SHARP.

Want the free labels?




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Spring is Here! Spring Book List, Work Tasks, and Art Activities

Friday, April 7, 2017 / Leave a Comment
Spring may be my favorite time of the year, especially here in North Carolina. The cherry blossom trees are blooming everywhere, the birdies are singing, and there are tons of fun themes for teaching for the months of March and April. Today I wanted to briefly share some of my favorite books and tasks for spring.

So far this month, we have been LOVING to read the Poppleton series in the mornings to get us set for the day. Poppleton is a silly pig that lives in a small house in a small town. He has lots of sweet friends and the stories are JUST short and silly enough that they keep my little darlings’ attention during a read aloud for our morning meeting. I love that each book comes with 3 short stories, and most of the stories follow an easy sequence so my students can recall information from the stories fairly easily. The best part, the books are crazy cheap (like 3 bucks a book).

We also have a designated time for story time, even though I have K-3, my third graders still love this time in the classroom. During this time, we read the books included in my story time packs, and then we pick them apart using our story map, sequencing pictures, and interactive comprehension questions. Typically, we spend 2-3 days with a book so my students can recap the information in the story map using pictures and answer the comprehension questions independently. 



Below are the titles we will be reading for the rest of the month once we return from Spring Break.



If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know I love to use a ton of different items for our independent work areas for students. In the past, I've taught in classrooms in which a lot of my students were still working on basic skills such as color matching, sorting, counting, etc. When a student mastered a skill, I would immediately add tasks that focused on that skill into their independent work systems so they could retain the newly mastered skills. Below you can see some of my favorite tasks from the past few years. I frequent dollar tree, walmart, target, rite aid/walgreens, and dollar general (especially after the holidays for the clearance) to get supplies for work tasks.




Clothespin tasks are another huge hit in our classroom. I love the skills they cover and I also love the fine motor practice students get while working. In my clothespin pack for spring, I cover a variety of basic skills for reading and math, from basic picture matching to counting to abc's to CVC words. A little bit of everything since we tend to have such a range in our classrooms. 



One thing I love to use in my math and reading groups are file folders, flip book tasks, and counting books. A lot of students lack the motivation to complete their work. Besides earn charts (I am working on a post about these), I like to use a variety of colorful, themed activities to teach skills versus worksheets. I mean, I do love a good interactive cut and paste worksheet too, don't get me wrong, and my students complete these at other stations that are led by a teacher assistant or independently. But, I feel like while I have one on one time with a student, I need to be fun and the tasks needs to be engaging and somewhat appealing to do. 




For art activities, my easy art packs are my go-to tasks for working on direction following, among lots of other skills! Plus, they make great writing activities and hallway displays.


What are your favorite spring themes?
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