Using Contact Paper in the Classroom

7/22/2016 / Leave a Comment
I love my classroom, but my tables are horrible. I have 3 white circular tables that are so old, any pencil, crayon or marker stains it. Stains it so much that even Magic Eraser can't remove it!

I also have 5 trapezoid tables that are dark brown, and one rectangular table that is a different dark brown.

My first year I just let this go. I was more worried about transitioning from 5th to Kindergarten!

Last year I decided to use contact paper to trick the eye and make consistent. The best part was how much the color I chose warmed up the room.
I went with Golden Oak by Magic Cover. It is incredibly easy to apply (and adjust when need be) and because of the wood grain, the seams don't really show at all!

For the edge of the tables I used 2" electrical tape, it is an easy way to finish them off smoothly.
My sister, Ladybug's Teacher Files, has a great tutorial on  how to apply contact paper:

Overall they held up really well this year. I talked to my students a lot about why I covered them. I showed them pictures of the old tables and they all agreed they liked the new ones better. I had a few kids who picked, but I just patched it up when need be.
The best part of all was how quickly I could clean up each afternoon. My first year it would take about six Lysol wipes, a Magic Eraser and about 5-8 minutes per table. This year? I would be done the whole room in about five minutes!

I found a larger size of the contact paper (18" x 60") rather than the short version I used last year. I think this is going to make setting up my tables a lot easier, and there will be a lot less rolls to manage!
The other place I use contact paper is on my bulletin boards. I like a clean black background for my signs.

My boards were actually painted bright blue underneath. A very cheery color, but not what I was looking for in my classroom.

I was able to staple the contact paper on (it is so much faster that way) wherever there were bulletin boards.

It even worked on the metal space next to my windows!
On the chalkboard, I removed the backing and adhered the paper. It looks so much better than the old green chalkboard!
Have you used contact paper in your room? Let me know how in the comments below!
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Time Saving Tips - Organizing Copies and Originals

7/19/2016 / Leave a Comment
Any teacher knows that copy time is precious. My first year I was a disaster, I never had what I needed when I got to the copier, which by the way is quite aways from my room! I've gotten a bit more organized over the years and it really paid off last year.
Walmart had these fashionable expanding file folders last year and I knew it was exactly what I needed. Each subject area is in its own colored file. I printed what I need for the year and I either bring the whole file, or just pull out what I need to copy for the following week.
The pink file is for my math originals:

Hundreds charts
The Crazy Pre-K Classroom's scissor skills sheets
Math Journals from Mrs. Wills.
The orange has homework:

Miss Kindergarten's morning work (I use her math sheets for homework)
handwriting sheets with my students first and last names, I use handwriting
The blue has my ELA originals:

The green file has science and social studies activities, as well as handouts for my Bee Binders, Open House, Parent Conferences and more!

To label these files, I use Post-It's filing tabs and a fine tip Sharpie. These tabs are the best as you can move them around repeatedly without bending the paper or smudging the ink.
This saved me so much prep time during the school year. The best part is, everything is waiting for me in the fall!

Anything that I printed in color needs to be reprinted, and throughout the year I added in a few more items. 

But overall, I have very little to prep when it comes to the items that I use consistently each week!

How do you organize your originals? Let me know in the comments below!
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Using a TV in the Classroom - Morning Meeting

6/14/2016 / Leave a Comment
Last year our amazing PTG bought us all a TV for our classroom. I decided to purchase an Apple Tv to use with mine and it was the best decision I ever made!

At first I was a bit overwhelmed with how I would incorporate the TV into our routine, but it was actually quite easy! These days it stays on for pretty much the entire time we are in our classroom. In morning meeting alone, it allows me to incorporate math and science!

The helper of the day gets to complete the weather station on the wall.  They look out the window and choose the correct weather card and write the word, then they record the temperature.
We use Google to check the temperature each day.
 We then slide the bar over to our recess time temperature and discuss how the temperature and weather have changed. Next, we discuss what they will need to wear at recess that day.
As the year has progressed they noticed a lot of different things; they noticed the high and low temperature, the long range forecast, the wind and humidity.

I never pointed those things out, they just became more aware of them each day as we looked at this page repeatedly. It led to some wonderful conversations about weather patterns and how the sun moves throughout the day and changes the temperature. They were always amazed when a rainy day would just disappear from the long range forecast!

We then graph the weather using an Excel chart on my Google Drive. This graph was a great way to show the different ways in which you can count on a graph.
As the numbers climbed higher, the number of days would change. In the beginning it was by 1's, then 2's, 5's, 10's and for a few days it was even by 12's. They loved trying to figure out how much it was skip counting by!

This also helped to reinforce comparing numbers. They would discuss how windy and snowy were equal. Then I would ask them to name a weather that was less than sunny, or greater than rainy.

The color coding of the weather patterns allowed them to "read" the graph earlier in the year when they were not ready to read yet.

Every day the helper also gets to place a sticker on our How Many Days Have We Been in School Chart.
In the beginning of the year we use it to count by 1's and 10's. As the year goes on, we count only by 10's, just to save time!

To incorporate counting by 5's, we use Educreations for our tally mark chart.
I model how to make the tally marks for the first few weeks and then the helper takes over. Every 40 days I neaten it up a bit. Educreations lets them write on my iPad with their finger, so it can get a bit messy as the weeks go on!

After they have filled it in, we skip count by 5's. This is a great way to reinforce it daily, as well as help them learn how to make tally marks correctly.

Place Value Fish is my absolute favorite app. It allows me to see how well they understand place value, based solely on how they build the number.
 If they start in the ones and go all the way up, I know they are struggling with this concept.
After they have tapped to display the correct number, you can look at the abacus beads. This really helps them to understand that one bead in the hundreds is different than one bead in the tens or ones column.

One more click takes you to the base ten blocks. This is another great way to visually see the difference between 1 and 100.

I truly feel this app has helped my students to understand place value. This is a goal of mine, as when I taught 5th grade, I had A LOT of students who had a hard time with this concept.

After that, we work on the Sight Word of the Day. I actually keep each word up for a day or two, depending on the difficulty of the word. After we have practiced the word of the day, it is time for the sight word slideshow!
This is a great (and fast) way to reinforce those 50 sight words each day!

After our morning meeting is over, it is time for GoNoodle!
This is a great way to get some energy out after our morning meeting!

We also use Stick Pick on the TV.  This saves me having to run around to find a name jar, since my iPad is always near me.
In the morning we use it for the office helpers, to see who gets the rockers that day and for the sensory bins.

Stop back by my blog in the next few weeks to read about how we use the TV throughout the rest of the day.

Do you have a TV in your room? How do you incorporate it into your daily routine?
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Cookie Monster Subtraction Craft

4/17/2016 / Leave a Comment
We have been focusing on subtraction this month, so I knew the time had come for a math art project to show what they have learned.

Subtraction is always harder to demonstrate visually. I spent a lot of time thinking about how we could do this and then it occurred to me...Cookie Monster! Who doesn't love Cookie Monster? And he is the perfect subtracting tool!

I hopped over to Sesame Street's website and found a directed drawing. He was actually a lot easier to draw that I expected!

Next, I headed over to Amazon for some round labels. I prefer to use stickers for these projects. It allows my students to physically express the problem rather than trying to draw it. I find many times they make a simple mistake when they are just drawing it out.
First we did the directed drawing, I love how these turned out. My favorite thing about directed drawings is that even though we do it step by step, they all come out so different!
After they were finished drawing and coloring Cookie Monster with their oil pastels, it was time for the stickers. We talked a lot about how your starting number had to be less than 10, so we would have room for the cookies in his mouth as well as on the page.
I allowed them to come up with their own problem and display it anyway they chose.
Next, I gave them the amount of stickers they requested and let them have at it! Having the stickers in their hands helped a lot of my kids who still need to move it around physically in order to see the problem. They could see how after Cookie Monster ate the cookies, they would be gone forever!
As you can see, some were successful when it came to subtraction and some were still thinking of it as an addition problem. We still have a ways to go, but it was a great way to informally assess where everyone was at, in a fun Friday kind of way!

What are your favorite subtraction activities? Let me know in the comments below!
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Kindergarten Math Centers - 100's Activities Tuesdays Part 3

3/12/2016 / Leave a Comment
When I returned to Kindergarten last  year, I knew that I wanted to focus on mastering the 100's. Not just counting to 100, but truly understanding the 100's chart and how it works.

When I taught 5th grade, I had a lot of students who could not count forward or backwards from a given number easily. They also struggled with the sequence of numbers above the 80's. I believe that once you deeply understand how the 100's chart works, you can apply that place value knowledge in all math concepts.

Keeping this in mind, I knew I needed a whole day where our centers would be devoted to all things 100's! One thing that I needed a lot of was foam dice. A definite must have in Kindergarten, they are a lot more fun to roll and a lot quieter too!
Ten frame to 100
In the beginning of the year I used the red and yellow counters for this activity. Then I discovered the awesomeness of the mini eraser! My students are way more motivated to complete this task when there are adorable tiny erasers involved! I purchased these sets from Carnival SourceMichaels and Target. And this is just the beginning of my addiction, more are arriving this week!

To play this game they just need a dice and a set of erasers. They roll the dice and display that many erasers on the ten frame.

Some of my groups use 2 dice for an extra challenge. A few groups have tried predicting how many rolls it will take before they get to the bottom of the chart. It is always neat to see how they alter these activities to suit their own curiosities and interests.

120's charts dry erase
I found these dry erase 100's charts on Oriental trading and they are amazing! They have the numbers through 120 on one side and a blank 120's chart on the other side. 

We have used these for whole group activities as well, but my students love racing each other to see who can fill in the most numbers first! I also leave a 2 minute sand timer at the table so they can see how far they can get before the sand runs out!

Monthly 100's charts
These monthly 100's charts are a great way to show the natural progression your students make in writing their numbers though 100 during the course of the year. I start it our first week of school - it is a struggle the first time, but we talk about how it is an end of the year goal. They understand that they have a lot of time to work towards it. I notice many students begin to take it very seriously around December or January.

At the end of the year they decorate the cover and I turn it into their own 100's book! I had them waiting at their seats on the last day of school last year. They all sat together in the morning flipping through the months and talking about how much better they had all gotten!

Dry erase 100's charts
As all classes do, my students love any chance to use a dry erase markers. I bought these ticket holders last summer and they are perfect! They are just a bit bigger than an 8.5 x 11 inch paper, which makes them a lot easier to store.

My monthly 100's chart set includes these scaffolded hundreds charts. There are options for 1-25, 1-50, 1-75 and 1-100. This allows you to slowly challenge your class as the year move forward. Each sequence has 5 different scaffolded sheets that challenge them to fill in the missing numbers. The pre-filled boxes help to ensure that they stay on the right track.

Roll to 100
This activity is similar to the eraser ten frame game, but we use blank 100's charts instead. They can choose either stamps or stickers and they roll their way to 100.

I have some students who take this one very seriously, and say each number as they place the stickers on the chart. It is a great way to practice one to one correspondence.

Build to 100
We play Build to 100 after our Problem of the Day and mini lesson every Tuesday. I have the cards divided up into sets of 22 (one for each student in class). They sit in a circle and try to build their way to the target number for the day.

We have 2 rules; one is that you cannot tell anyone when it is their turn and the other is that we have to do it before the time runs out. I let them choose the time they think it will take, I set it on my iPad, but I make sure to hide it from them so they don't get too distracted!

In the beginning of the year we build to 25, then around the November we build to 50. In January and February we build to 75 and then from March on we are building all the way to 100!

After we have done this as a whole group, it sits out at the rug for them to try to complete in a small group. It is very neat watching them try to support each other in their individual counting goals.
Up next, Buddy Games Wednesday!

What kind of 100's activities do you use in your classroom?

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