Sunday, October 13, 2013

BUILD: Week 3...

I love when October finally hits.  My kiddos have been in school long enough to know HOW to be in school (my fellow First Grade Teachers know exactly what I mean...) and they are settled and ready to take off!

Here are my BUILD Rotations for this week :)
The photos were being stubborn.  We will see if I can convince them to turn correctly-- sorry if they don't! :)

B-Buddy Games

Teen Numbers are our focus this week.  The first game is from Every Day Counts Partner Games.  It is a matching game that has all different representations of teen numbers. 

The second game is using 10 frame cards. Pull out a 10 card.  Have each player take turns flipping over one more card. (For example, if I flip over an 8, I have to say "8 and 10 are the same as 18." You can play it speed version-- where whoever says it first gets it, or by turns.  They LOVE it!

If you don't have ten frame cards, here for some that I made... they are a MUST have for all k-2 classrooms!!

U-Using Manipulatives

This first game is a subtract 1 game.  I have my kids use their "bead rack" to work on the problems-- although they can do them mentally. 
The second game is a monster number match game.  It is SO stinking cute!  Thanks to the great creator, Grade School Giggles, click here for a copy!
I had my kids build the numbers on their bead rack when they matched them.  Simple but super fun!

 I-Independent Reading/ Independent Work

This is another cut and paste book.  I made this one based off a math poem that I found in a great resource!  It is all about counting sets of 10. When they finish this, if there is time, they can read the math books.

 L-Learning about Numbers


 We learned about doubles facts this week.  This is a game that practices doubles called "Capture the Star".

  Their other game for Learning about Numbers is a game where they pick a number and then write it as a numeral, word, and circle that many.  I altered it from the original creators game, but I love it.  Here is the link to TPT to snag your own set!! (Another shout out to Grade School Giggles for sharing your awesome work on TPT at no cost- I am a HUGE fan!!)

 D-Doing Math

My kids are loving that they can solve an entire page of math facts.  I gave them this Halloween worksheet- they solve the math facts and then color by the code to find a jack-o-lantern. 

Have a SUPER day!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Planning for BUILD....

Is it cold where you are?? I am freezing! I was supposed to go running with my kindergarten teacher buddy but it started snowing :( October 3rd snow is just not my favorite. 
 Sometimes the hardest part of independent work is keeping it organized and doing it in a way that makes you feel less overwhelmed when it is time to "restock" your rotation supplies.

I started pulling different games, worksheets, and other activities and setting them aside as I found them last year.  I would just stick a sticky note on them that would said "For 'B'" or "For 'L'", etc.  That way, when it was time to "refill" the baskets, I had some things pulled that I could choose from.  This year I decided to make my folders a little more formal (and cute) :)  Being my OCD self, they are color coded to match the signs. 

Here is a sneak peek at next week's BUILD activities-- or at least what I have pulled for now.  I may end up changing them... it's hard to tell you.
B- Teen Game (from Every Day Counts Partner Games)
I- Independent Reading
(This is actually a book I made, using a poem for inspiration!)
L- Learning about numbers
(This is a fun game my teammate found on pinterest! If I can find it, I will link it. If you know where it is from, PLEASE leave it in the comment below!) :)

D- Doing Math
I am not convinced that I will keep this in for "D" but we will see.
Obviously I haven't pulled anything for "U" yet-- but at least the other 4 have something that I can fall back on. :)


Here you can see how I have my kids grouped.  I have heterogeneous groupings so that there are mixed levels working together. I find this to be especially important when it comes to reading ability!
I rotate the cards to the right. (When "Red Frogs" are back on the red "B", I know it's time for a new set of activities.)
 The fancy sticky notes are just little reminders to them of WHERE they need to be.  :)

This is just to answer the questions from so many emailers! I have a basket where they turn in all of their BUILD work.  It is separate from all other work so that I can easily check it off at the end of the week. 
Have a terrific night!

BUILD: Week 2

Oh. My. Goodness.

I am actually following up the second week... :)  It's almost a miracle.  It's been a crazy week and I wanted to not be doing what I should be... so here I am :) Blogging away!

Here we go! Week 2!
B- Buddy Games
I have my kids build these addition sentences using this Add-A_frog Game from Lakeshore.  (Yes, I consider myself a frugal teacher. Lakeshore games are sometimes out of my price range but this is a GREAT game if you like teaching with 10 Frames. My mom gave it to me when she retired and my kids LOVE it!)


U- Using Manipulatives
It's already time to break out the pattern blocks! 
My pattern block cards are from Scholastic. I bought them with Bonus Points a few years ago. These are "back to school/fall" themed. 

I- Independent Reading/Independent Work
I have my kids work on "math books".  They are from Scholastic's Cut and Paste Mini Books: Math (click to check it out on Amazon).
They are super cool because they are interactive- there is a page that they cut and glue the answers into the books.  The kids LOVE them.  the last page is also a great quick assessment. 
(Disclaimer- they can be challenging to read-- we read them together a few times before I put them in the basket, and then I have my kids work together to figure them out).
This penguin book is all about numbers 1-5.

L- Learning about Numbers
These magnets are awesome. I found them at Dollar Tree (the pans are from Dollar Tree, too.)  It is another opportunity to connect the numeral, word, and picture.  (Can you tell we do that A LOT?!?) :)
 There are also symbols (+  -  =)included so later they can use the same magnets to create their own problems :)

D- Doing Math 

Look familiar? Yeah, it's a very similar task to the last week.  But they love it an it keeps them busy, practicing their numeral, word, and picture connections again. 

Hope you found something useful!  Leave a comment if you have questions or suggestions!
Have a splendid day!
Sarah <3

Monday, September 23, 2013

BUILD: Week 1

I told a colleague that I would TRY to document my BUILD activities week by week.  I know that it is a ridiculously ambitious goal... but why not give it a shot?  But let's be clear-- I am not promising anything.... :)

We are working on connecting the numeral, word, and picture-- basically all things numbers zero-ten!

B- Buddy Games

Puzzles, match books, and matching cards.  These can be done independently, or with a partner.  There are several kinds-- they do one, clean it up, and do another.  Some pairs choose to "race" and see who can match theirs the fastest-- some work collaboratively.  For this week, I keep it very open-ended. (It's fun to watch them decide--)

U- Using Manipulatives

These were a splurge from Lakeshore-- but my kids LOVE them.  They have to put numbers from 1-30 in order-- working together!

I- Independent Reading

I put all my counting books in this basket for the first part of the year.  These are a few examples :)

L- Learning about Numbers

These are numeral, word, picture dominoes.  We make "Number Monsters"-- touching any matching part, any direction.  (We don't play the traditional rules of "dominoes") :)

D- Doing Math

This is a worksheet we have used for years-- they do both sides.  Again, we are simply working on matching the numeral, word, and picture :)

Obviously these are not super challenging.  We are still teaching behaviors and want the kids to be engaged and busy, but not cognitively demanding-- yet :)

Have a super day!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I want to start Math Rotations (Math Centers) but I don't know where to begin!

Recently I had a teacher come to my room to observe my math block.

She was a fairly new teacher and wants to start math centers, but isn't sure where to start... She was so overwhelmed by the idea of having enough STUFF for her kids.

I have been thinking about this ever since, and have come up with a list...

Start simple.  Look at what materials you already have. 
(Things like puzzles, math flash cards, wipe math boards, etc.)

Think "frugal".  If you are looking to slowly expand your resources, check out Dollar Tree... check out the dollar section at Target.  Look at the clearance at WalMart.  (Especially since all of these "discount" and "big box stores" have teacher/school sections these days, you might be surprised by what you will find-- flash cards, simple file-folder-type games, card games, etc.) 
Here are a few examples-- all of these were $1 or less!

Ask for donations.  If you don't ask, they won't think to offer.  Sometimes parents have learning games that they think their kids have outgrown but are really perfect for independent practice. 

My fiancĂ© and I have recently discovered the wonderful world of THRIFTING! It's great. I have found SO MANY games (some even VERY gently used--) and math books!  You do have to be willing to look through a giant shelf of unorganized children's books, and some are in better quality than others, but they are a great value. (I found some great counting books for$0.79 each last Saturday at Savers!)  The hard part is, it's unpredictable.

Write a grant.  Many school districts have mini-grants.  Donors Choose ( is a great organization, and of course there is 100% for Kids ( (There are others!)

Scholastic has $1 sales! Sometimes they are actual games (premade) and sometimes they are e-books.  Some of my favorite games have come from the $1 sale.  I receive emails from Scholastic to know when their sales are on.  Scholastic Book Orders are also a GREAT way to earn points for your class to buy books and learning games! 

And then, of course, use your online buddies:  Pinterest and of course Teachers Pay Teachers!

Have a fantastic day!

Time for a room update!

Let’s get organized!

This summer I wanted to do something to spruce up my room.  Getting ready for my 7th year teaching, many of the things I need for each year are already made, but there are many ways I can update my room.

I decided to make new labels for my supplies.  I just used Google Images for the pictures (instead of clip art). I love, love, love how they turned out!



Next I worked on my planning drawers.  I use them for planning my days, and my weeks.  (We do our main copying a month at a time, so I have a month loosely planned at a time.)   Each week (typically Thursday night) I pull out next week’s drawer, and empty it by putting everything where it goes.
 I added paper clips to hold a card that says the date (I used to use sticky notes—they were functional but these are so much cuter!) J
My secret was a low-temp hot glue gun.  I hot glued each sign on-- that way it sticks really well, but CAN be removed in the future if it's necessary!


 My last big project was updating my “Frog Trays”.  (My tables are each a different color frog- red frogs, yellow frogs, etc.)  I put new labels on the sides and the back. I LOVE them because now the papers don’t slip out the back! J

I don't know about you, but a little bit of "cute" and "creativity" gets me all jazzed up!   These little, easy, updates were just the changes I needed to start this year!
Have a terrific day!!