Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to School Monsters {Plus a Special FREEBIE!}

Today it's all about monsters. Back to school monsters that is. It's such a cute and fun back to school theme! I wanted to share a sneak peek of my latest 6 Pack Centers packet along with a fun NO-PREP freebie! Those first few weeks back to school are nothing short of we need all the EASY we can get. I'm hoping that's just what you'll find in these two activities that I'm going to share with you!

First up is the 6 Pack Centers with a monster theme. Each packet in the 6 Pack series includes 6 centers {3 literacy and 3 math} and 6 follow up no-prep practice pages. The activities included are completely different than the ones in my larger monthly centers packets. I had lots of requests to make more centers, so that's where the 6 Pack idea came about!

The practice pages are to help reinforce the skills students work on during the center activity, so they are great for morning work, small group work, sub tubs, homework, or even remediation. And just like the monthly centers, these also come with recording sheets and corresponding answer keys, teacher friendly directions, and "I Can" visual direction pages to keep kiddos on task. These visual direction pages are especially helpful at the beginning of the year. Plus I love that when admin walks through, they can look at these "I Can" pages and know exactly what the kids are supposed to be working on!

Here's a sneak peek at what's included in the 6 Pack Centers: Back to School Monsters Edition!

This activity is called Monster Alphabet and includes two versions. Students identify the capital letter on the card and find the matching letter on their paper. You can chose to have them match uppercase to uppercase {pictured above} or uppercase to lowercase {pictured below}. The instructions for both activities are the same. Students color the letter on the paper to match the color of the letter on the card. Included is an answer key so you can easily check student work. 

Here's the follow up practice page for the Monster Alphabet activity. Students select six colors to create their own personal code. I find that students love this because they get to pick which colors they use. They dab the matching uppercase letter using their code. There is a uppercase and lowercase matching version also included.

Monster Sounds is an introduction to phonemic awareness. Students identify the beginning sound of the picture on the monster's sign. They color the picture that has the same beginning sound. A practice page is also included for this activity.

Next is uppercase and lowercase matching and writing. Students color or dab the matching lowercase letter and then write the letter pair on the lines.

Here's the follow up activity for that activity. Students can use bingo dabbers or crayons to color the matching uppercase and lowercase letters. You could also use this as a fast finisher activity by sliding the page in a page protector and have students use snap cubes to show the matches. 

The math activities in this packet focus on numbers 1-5. For Monster Counting students count the monsters on the card and then find a square on their paper with the matching number of dots. They color the square to match the color of the monsters. 

While using the Monster Numbers activity students read the number on the card and color the set of dots that matches. They trace the number and then practice writing the number on their own. 

With Monster Math students count the circles on the card to determine how many. They find the corresponding number on their paper and color the square to match the color of the circles. 

Here's a peek at one of the follow up pages for math.

You can check out this packet in my TpT shop by clicking on the picture below. Be sure to download the preview to see what is included.

And now for the FREEBIE! Here's a few pictures to show you a sneak peek of some of the activities included. This freebie is in my TpT shop so you can click on any of the pictures to take you there or click on the big picture at the end.

First up is Monster Supplies. This makes for a fun class discussion during the first week of school and a great introduction to sorting. We talk about what students need for school and color those objects. This leads into a discussion on the importance of talking care of our class supplies.

Name practice with Watch Me Write. There's picture cues on the page to help students remember what writing utensil to use.

Another name practice page {because in Kindergarten you can NEVER have enough}! Students write their name, color the letters in their name, and then count the letters in their name.

This next page helps us practice using just a small dot of glue. We use glue sticks a lot, but I do like to introduce my students to glue bottles. Using the bottles helps strengthen hand muscles and they use them in art class so I like for them to have some practice. 

Here's a fun little activity that is super easy to put together. Just print the page and slide it in a page protector. Student will need a dot cube for this activity. To play, they roll the dot cube and count the number of dots and place that many snap cubes on the board. They roll again, count, and add more dot cubes to the board. They continue rolling, counting, and adding dot cubes until the board is full. 

A few helpful tips...I have my students switch colors each time so they can keep track of their rolls. On the last roll they have to roll the exact number they need. So if they have four empty spaces, they have to roll a four to complete the activity!

Another title for this next activity could be "My First Write the Room" because it's basically the same idea. It's perfect for getting the kiddos up and moving and exploring their new "home away from home". First go over the names of each picture with the students before having them complete this activity independently or with a partner. The little explorers walk around the classroom on a hunt for each location listed. Once they find it, they color it on the paper.

This would also be a great activity to do Meet the Teacher night!

Here's an uppercase and lowercase matching activity. Little learners roll the dot cube, count the dots and color {or dab} a lowercase letter based on the letter code in the square. You could also slide this page in to a page protector and have your learners use snap cubes to cover the letters.

So there's your sneak peek of what's included. You'll find a couple more pages are included, but I'll leave those for a surprise! Be sure to stop by my TpT shop and download this freebie. Click on the picture below to take you there. 

If you love this freebie and find it useful, I would love for you to let me know by leaving feedback in my TpT shop. I know it takes a few extra minutes out of your day, but just know that it is very much appreciated! :) 

Wishing you the very best school year!!! 
Thanks for reading along!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Number Sense for Kindergarten

Number sense is such an important skill. It is the foundation that all other math skills are built upon. It is as important as letter and letter sound knowledge in reading. Students need to have a firm understanding of what numbers mean, what they stand for, and what numbers and quantities look like. While your little guys may come in with some basic knowledge of numbers, as Kindergarten teachers we begin building the official framework for their entire mathematical education. Students who do not have a solid foundation of number sense will most often struggle in math. Knowing that makes our job even more important.

Number sense is more than just identifying and writing numbers. It is not something that comes instantly. It's not something you can teach in a week, or even a month, maybe not even a school year. It is an ongoing skill that needs to be practiced, practiced...and you guessed it..practiced some more! 

Learners need to be able to talk about numbers, experiment with numbers, ask questions, and practice. Number sense is not something you can stand in front of your class and teach. While that is an important component, learners need to be provided with hands-on, engaging activities. 

Because number sense requires so much practice and repetition, it's a good idea to have lots of activities to keep things fresh and exciting. Hopefully with this blog post, you'll find a few new ideas to introduce to your crew.

Here's an idea that you can whip together quickly to help students practice one-to-one correspondence. It took me maybe 15 minutes to make this activity. This would be a great idea for a parent volunteer to put together. I found these vinyl numbers for $3 in the Dollar Spot section at Target over the summer. They were self adhesive and who can pass that up? I already had the paper plates, labels, and snap cubes in my supplies.

These numbers were so easy to put on. No glue required {my kind of craftin'}. The vinyl numbers are very forgiving. If you're like me and put them on crooked, you can easily peel them off and try again. I did find it was easier to start at the top and work your way down when adhering them to the paper. The vinyl packet also includes a plus, minus, and equal sign. Save those! They will be great for turning this activity in to an addition or subtraction center later. 

If you don't have vinyl numbers, don't worry! You can use numbers from the die-cut machine or you can take a Sharpie marker and write the numbers on the plates. Another idea, I found poster board numbers at the Dollar Tree. You could glue those on and they would work just as good!

On the back of each plate I put the matching number of sticker circles. In the picture above the number five is on one side and there are five circles on the back. This will make the activity self checking, which is so important!

To complete the activity, students identify the number on the front of the plate. They count out and put that many manipulatives on the front of the plate. To check their answers they take the counters off of the plate, turn the plate over, and match their counters to the dots. If they got the answer right, all of the dots are covered. 

You can also use this as a whole group activity too. Pass the plates out to a group of students. Have them stand up and put themselves in number order. Then have them do it without talking. That's kinda fun to watch! Team work at it's best.

Here's another quick activity that I put together using items I found at the Dollar Spot. This ruler pattern border makes for a great number line. Paired with some magnetic numbers, you've got a quick and easy activity! Each packet of numbers contains two sets of numbers. (They also include a plus, minus, and equal sign which will be great later for addition and subtraction.) 

Now this activity requires a lot of prep, I hope you can handle it. Just kidding! All you have to do is open the packages. That's it. You could laminate the ruler border first if you want, but it was pretty sturdy. 

I always try to give you ideas on how to make the activities if you don't have the exact same supplies I do. So, if you don't have this ruler border, you can easily make this activity by writing numbers on a sentence strip or by using a number poster. Also, any type of numbers will work, they don't necessarily have to be magnetic numbers. 

Your little mathematicians sort through the numbers and match them to the numbers on the number line. Or you can cut the number line apart and have them put it back a puzzle.

Do you love colorful sentence strips? I do! I was so ecstatic to find them in the Dollar Spot this summer.  And these small colorful clothespins...I just love these too! I may have bought all they had when I found them...okay, I did. I bought all they had. So if you live in Wisconsin and couldn't find them, I apologize. I have them!  They are just so pretty and cheerful...and they are great for math activities. Read below to see why!

I took the sentence strips and cut them in thirds. I programmed each section with a number 1-10. On the back I put small stickers to make these self checking {just like the paper plate activity above}. Your little math loves identify the number on the front and clip that many clothespins on to the card. {This is GREAT for fine motor!} On the back they can count the stickers or match up the clothes pins to check their work. If you don't have clothes pins, don't fret! You can also use small erasers, snap cubes, bears, etc. for this activity.

Here's another easy to prep activity. I call it "Bugs in a Bowl". For this activity you'll need some bugs, one bowl per player, and a dot cube. Your little bug collectors roll the dot cube and put that many bugs in their bowl. Bug collectors take turns rolling the cube and putting that many bugs in their bowl until one collector has their bowl full. {It took about 20 bugs to fill the bowl.}

If you're wanting to use this activity for larger numbers and use two dot cubes, make sure you provide players with a larger container or small manipulatives. Basically you want to make sure the manipulatives and collection container are proportionate. If the manipulatives are too big, they'll be done super fast and if they're too small it will take forever and a day to fill up. 

If you don't have bugs, grab some cubes and cups and change the name to "Cubes in a Cup"! 

I recently put together a bundle of NO-PREP number sense activities and wanted to share some of them with you. All of the activities are fun, versatile, engaging, and educational. What I love most about this bundle is that each page in all NINE packets focuses on only one number. There are no mixed number pages so students will really be able to focus on the number that you are teaching.

First up is Number Mazes for numbers 0-20. This activity is similar to Letter Mazes but is the number version. Students can use bingo dabbers, crayons, stamps, etc to mark their way through the maze. The pages are also super for FLUENCY practice! Have students read through each line quickly to build their fluency.

You can also slide the pages in page protectors and give students manipulatives to mark their way through the maze. 

One of the hardest challenges for our little friends is forming numbers correctly. Especially in Kindergarten, especially at the beginning of the year when we are working so hard to build fine motor skills. We start by using play dough mats to make number snakes, bingo dabbers to practice path of motion, and shaving cream to write numbers. However, eventually we've got to write them on paper. But what kid wants to sit down in front of a worksheet and write numbers? Not many. 

With Spin and Write students get to create their own color code. They select four colors and color the crayons on the spinner thus creating their personal color code. They love this part because they get to be the boss and pick the colors they use. There are small dots in each section to show students where to put their pencil to begin writing the number.

They use a paper clip and a pencil to make a spinner. They write the number using the color that they land on. They spin again and write the number using the new color. They continue spinning and writing until the page is filled.

Colored pencils, markers, or crayons work great for this activity.

These pages can also be used in page protectors. For this option, you need to color the crayons and create the color code before putting the page in the protector. Students need corresponding dry erase markers. They put the paper clip on top of the page protector and complete the activity as described above.

Part of building number sense is talking about numbers. These are perfect pages for teacher led discussions on numbers. You may choose to use them in your guided math groups or at the beginning of a lesson. These are also great for introducing numbers. This activity is called Number Talk 1.

Little learners rainbow write the number at the top of the page. The number is large enough that you could use bingo dabbers to dab it. Next they show the number on the ten frame, draw objects to show the number, trace and write the number, and then color snap cubes to show the number.

You can see below that the activities change slightly for numbers 11-20. 

This next activity is called Number Talk 2. Because there are so many components to number sense, I wanted another page that dug a little further. You could copy Number Talk 1 and 2 back to back or save this page for later in your numbers unit. 

The activities change again slightly for numbers 11-20, as shown below.

This next activity is called Find and Color. Students read the focus number on page and find the matching numbers. You can have students color the matching pictures or slide them in a page protector and have students use manipulatives to mark the numbers. Each page in this packet has a different theme which helps keep student engagement high and the activity new and fresh!

This activity is called Number Expert. It's similar to the Letter Expert packet, but with numbers! There's several skills included on this page to help students become little number experts. First your experts practice tracing and writing the numbers at the top of the page. They cut apart the pictures on the bottom and glue on the ones that represent the focus number. At the end, your experts color the spaces that show the number.

Count and Color helps students practice counting and one-to-one correspondence. They count each set of objects and color the ones that show the focus number. Like the Find and Color activity above, each page features a different theme to keep this activity fresh and new for your little learners.

 You can click on any of the links or pictures above to check out each individual packets. 


You can save 25% with the BUNDLE, which includes all of the activities pictures above plus some extra! Click on the picture below to check out the bundle in my TpT shop.