### Halloween Counting and Subitizing Freebie

Today I wanted to stop by and share with you this subitizing freebie game that's perfect for Halloween. If you're not familiar with subitizing, it's a fancy name for quickly being able to recognize "how many" without actually counting. It's an important skill that, once mastered, will help students become successful mini mathematicians.

One of the first ways you can introduce subitizing to your students is through the use of dot cubes {aka dice}. For this activity students roll the dot cube and identify the number they rolled. They find a matching candy corn on their game board and cover it. They continue rolling and covering the pictures until all of the spaces have been covered.

Of course if your student(s) or child is just learning to count, this is a great game to simply introduce counting and one-to-one correspondence. By all means, allow your little one to point and count as they identify the numbers.

If you're wanting to use this activity during your Halloween party, you could have students play with a partner. Supply each student with a different set of manipulatives to cover their answers. If a student rolls a number and all of the corresponding candy corns have been covered that player loses a turn. Once all of the candies have been covered, the player with the most spaces covered wins the game.

I've also included a version using two dot cubes. This one encourages students to add the numbers together. This version would be great for your little mathematicians that are ready for higher numbers, or for first grade math stars!

You can click on any of the pictures above to download the freebie!

If you're looking for some more Halloween ideas check out this post which has some great read aloud ideas, games, and some more freebies.

### Beginning Sounds Activities, Games, and Centers for Kindergarten

Learning letter names and letter sounds is an important step our students must master in order to become a successful reader. As teachers, we want our students to have strong phonemic awareness and phonics skills. We want our students to be able to identify beginning sounds so that can quickly decode texts and read fluently. This requires lots of exposure and lots of practice.

Today I want to share with you several activities to help your students practice and master beginning sounds. These are easy to prep activities that you can use in morning tubs, literacy stations, or as fast finisher activities. These activities are new, fresh, and sure to keep your little ones attention.

I actually have two freebies for you. One requires students to provide the beginning sound of a picture, while the other assessment focuses on students understanding of the sounds letters make.

This beginning sounds assessment is similar to the alphabet assessment freebie that I share awhile back. There is a student page {color and black and white} and a teacher recording page included in the download. For this assessment students say the beginning sound of each picture as you check off the beginning sounds they identified correctly. The bottom portion of the assessment page can be used for a re-test at a later date.

And now for a letter sound assessment freebie...

Next is an assessment to monitor student knowledge and progress of letter sounds. I prefer to assess students using uppercase letters and lowercase letters separately. Don't just assume that because a student may know the sound the uppercase letter makes, they will recognize it when shown the lowercase letter {or vice versa}. I'd rather be sure by double checking. :)

There are two versions of the uppercase and lowercase student pages included: a black/gray and white version and a color version. The lines are different colors to make it easier for students to track the print. I like the color version because it you can easily mix up the assessment by asking students to read the orange row, and then the purple row, etc.

Since students often needs lots of exposure and lots of practice to master skills, it's a great idea to have lots of different activities to provide that practice. This beginning sounds bundle includes ten different resources to help your students sharper their skills.

The ten activities in this bundle are either low prep or no prep at all. Students use manipulatives like mini erasers, plastic cubes, magnetic letters, and more to practice letter sounds. These activities are perfect for literacy centers but are also great for morning tubs or fast finishers. Picture names are included for every. single. picture. included in this packet.

The Match and Cover activity can't get any easier to prep! Just print and slide in page protectors. Students will need red, yellow, green, and blue plastic cubes for this activity. Students identify the letter and corresponding letter sounds. This resource include 20 practice mats and 5 no prep pages to monitor student progress.

Build the Letter includes three different types of activities. In this first activity students use mini erasers to form the uppercase and lowercase letter of the beginning sound picture. Each letter has directional arrows to show students how to form the letter. These are great for introducing students to the concept of using mini erasers or small manipulatives to form letters.

In this next activity students identify the beginning sound of the pictures at the top of the mat. They use mini erasers to form the letter to show the sound. Uppercase and lowercase letter formation reference pages are included to provide student support.

Finally, in this last activity, students will select a card and use mini erasers to form the letter to show the beginning sound. Multiple sets of picture cards are included. They are color coded to keep you organized! If you don't have mini erasers, don't worry! You can use any small manipulative to complete these activities.

These pocket chart activities are great for large group, small group, or center activities. There are alphabet header cards for each letter of the alphabet along with six beginning sound pictures. The headers and picture cards slide right into pocket charts.

You can use these for introducing a letter, a whole group sorting activity, or students can use this as a center. Students can use a pocket chart to sort the pictures or complete the activity on the floor.

You can also use the picture cards to pair students with partners or in small groups. For extra fun, make this a game or a quick time filler activity!

Here's another idea for using these cards for a small group game. Select a set of picture cards, you can use many different letters or focus on a few letters that you want students to practice. (I usually use 16 for a group of 4-5 students). Turn all of the cards over and put a few classroom manipulatives on each card. You can use mini erasers, plastic cubes, small bears...whatever you have.

Students take turns selecting a card and turning it over. If they can identify the beginning sound correctly, they keep the manipulatives that were on top. If they don't identify the sound correctly, they turn the card back over and place the manipulatives back on top. Continue playing until all of the cards have been used. The player with the most manipulatives is the winner.

There are six different themes included. Students match the letter on the card to the beginning sound picture. Throughout the activities you'll find a variety of letter cards {uppercase letters only, lowercase letters only, and uppercase/lowercase letter combo. so students get exposure in a variety of formats.

These cards are a great size for most pocket charts, or students can make their matches on the floor.

Students match the camera to the picture.

Match the sandwich to the lunch bag.

Match the fish to the fishbowl.

Match the pencil to the paper.

Also included are two optional recording sheets to hold students accountable for their work. You can most definitely use this activity without the recording sheets...but they are there if you want them! :)

Beginning Sound Literacy Centers

This packet includes six different center activities. Most of the activities have more than one version so they can be used more than once without having to re-explain the directions. Answer keys are included and student recording sheets are in black and white. Here's a sneak peek at some of the activities:

Students say the name of the letter in the apple and determine the sound that it makes. They will clip the two pictures that begin with that sound.

On the recording sheet, students color the two pictures to show their answers.

Students say the name of each picture to determine the two pictures that have the same beginning sound.

They color the two pictures on the recording sheet and write the letter to show the beginning sound.

Students will need magnetic letters for this activity. They will use the letters to show the beginning sounds on the activity mats.

To record their work they will find the series of pictures on their paper and record the letters to show the beginning sounds.

This activity will help bring some math into your literacy block! Students will count each set of pictures to determine how many. On the recording sheet they will find the letter to show the beginning sound of the pictures and record the number of pictures. {Note: There is a second activity with letters N-Z included.}

This activity includes write the room cards and recording sheets for all 26 letters. {Note: The letter Xx includes CVC words that end in x}. You'll want to place the picture cards around the room. Students will walk around to find the cards. They will match the beginning sound picture to the one on their paper. They will copy and record the word on their paper.

I love when activities can serve two purposes, so you can also use the cards as a word work station. Students use magnetic letters to spell the words.

Students identify the beginning sound of each picture as they work through the maze. They cover the pictures that begin with the target sound until they reach the STOP sign. Students can use plastic cubes, mini erasers, or any other small manipulative to cover the pictures.

Also included, but not pictured, are answer keys. You can easily make this a self-checking activity by sliding the beginning sound mazes and answer keys back-to-back in page protectors.

This resource includes three types of mats. The first one is pictured above and is perfect for learners just starting on beginning sounds. There are only six pictures so it is not overwhelming for young students.

This next mat is similar to the one above, but has 12 opportunities for practice.

The last activity included is color-coded and meant to be cut apart. Each color set includes 26 beginning sound pictures (A-Z). You can use these in a small group or place them in a small container with letters for students to "grab and go".

I picked up these clothespins from Target, but have also seen them at Michaels. For a little fine motor practice, students can clip the letter to the card.

This resource includes 26 mats, one for each letter of the alphabet. Just print and slide in page protectors. Students will say the name of each picture and cover the ones that begin with the target sound. For the letter Xx students will be covering pictures of CVC words that end in the letter Xx.

This packet includes six different types of games. Each game has multiple versions so students can play multiple times without having to re-explain directions. Here's a peak at some of the games included.

Students play with a partner. They roll the dot cub, count the dots, and cover a picture with the corresponding beginning sound. The first player to cover all of the pictures on their game board is the winner.

This activity is perfect for a fun game during guided reading. Students take turns selecting a card and identifing the beginning sound of the picture. If the player identifies the sound correctly they get to cover a picture on their game board. If a player picks a SoundBAM card they must follow the directions. The first player to cover all of the pictures is the winner. Several different themes and picture cards are included.

Also great for a small adult led group, this is a modified version of the game shown above. Students are shown a series of three pictures to determine the beginning sound. If they answer correctly they get to move a space forward on their game mat...but beware of those special cards! Several different themes and picture cards are included.

For this game students play with a partner and try to be the first to cover four in a row. You could also use this as a fast finisher activity and have students work independently to cover the beginning sound pictures.

With Four in a Row students roll a dot cube and cover a corresponding picture. The first player to cover four in a row is the winner.

Click on the picture below to check out the BUNDLE.

Thanks so much for stopping by! For ideas on letter recognition check out this post.

### Spin and Cover Alphabet Freebie!

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### How to Build Relationships with Students

Back to school is an exciting, but busy time. Your students are excited about their new classroom, teacher and friends. You are excited about your new students, your freshly decorated classroom and you're probably full of new ideas. But with all this excitement, there is no doubt a few reservations: coming from you AND your new students. Building relationships early on makes for a happy and productive classroom - 100% guaranteed! That's why today's post focuses on how to build relationships with students.

There is one thing that is a necessity in any classroom, from Kindergarten up to high school - TRUST. Students need to be able to trust their teacher. They have to know that their teacher likes them, values them, and has their best interest at heart. Students will work 10 times harder for you if they trust you. They will work harder to learn and to please you. Building that trust relationship though can be challenging.

#### So where do I begin?

You genuinely need to be concerned and interested in what is going on in each of your kiddo's lives. A few simple steps will help your students know that you are concerned and care about them.

First and foremost - SMILE! Greet your kiddos in the morning with a smile as they walk through the door of your classroom. It's easy to use student arrival time as an opportunity to chat with other teachers or finish up some last minute task, but taking the time to greet your students lets them know that you're happy to see them and happy they came to school. As a bonus, saying a simple phrase like "I'm so happy to see you!" will only support your smile.

Secondly, GET TO KNOW your students. Ask them questions! A great beginning of the week question is "What did you do this weekend?" Spend five minutes on Monday morning listening to their stories. {This is great for developing oral language and taking turns!}

If a student receives a special award from an after-school activity (such as soccer of baseball), invite them to bring it in and share it with the class. At the beginning of the year, have students bring in pictures of their family. These can be displayed throughout the year. Young students love to tell you stories and share about what's going on in their lives and this just makes your relationship with them strong!

Another great way to get to know your students is to spend time with them. I know mornings can be a busy time, but consider spending a few minutes before class starts interacting with your students. As they get settled, walk around and have short, one to two minute conversations with a few of them one on one. Bend down and get on their level. Pick a few different students the next day. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, it can make a world of difference and it lets them know you care.

Mornings are also the perfect time to spend a few minutes one-on-one with those couple students who need positive attention. Encourage them to have a good day and follow the rules. Maybe set a small goal together. Rather than acting out to get your attention in a negative way, they start their day with positive attention from you. This is going to show them you care and makes a big deposit in that bank account of trust you are growing!

We all need to eat, and kids LOVE to eat with their teacher! Now I know that lunch is the time we make copies, run to the bathroom, and just take a deep breath. But one or two days a week or even a month, consider inviting a small group of students to eat lunch with you in the classroom. Lunch time is the perfect time to have casual conversations with the kiddos in a relaxed, comfortable environment. What a great way to get to know your littles than over a fun lunch! Not only will you build a relationship with your students while filling their tummies, you'll create an environment  where your kiddos feel loved and safe!

Another key on how to build relationships with students are using positive comments. This is probably one of the easiest to implement. Say something like, "I love your shirt," "Wow, your handwriting looks beautiful!" or I am so proud of how you.....!" These are just a few examples of how positive comments can help build relationships among your littles.

I would add that being specific in your positive comments is critical! Your compliment means more when you are specific. Rather than saying, "Great job lining up," say, "I love how you went to the door without talking to your neighbor!" This lets the students know exactly what they did right so they will want to repeat the behavior. But it also encourages the rest of the class to follow in that positive behavior without pointing out the negative behaviors. This of course is much easier to accomplish and for the kids to react to if the relationship is already forming!

There's one more piece on how to build relationships with students, even though it doesn't actually have anything to do with the classroom. Regardless, it's still important. Make positive parent contacts. This creates a positive relationship between the teacher, student, and parent. And if you have that positive relationships built on trust, it makes working together so much easier. Making a positive parent contact early on will help make any negative contact you may have to make later in the yer go much more smoothly.

Simply calling, texting, or emailing a parent to tell them their child has done something super that day (while being specific) will work to create a positive home relationship that will help make for a stronger partnership and a productive school year.

So smile, ask questions, have a special lunch, be specific on what you like that your kids are doing, and you will develop a relationship built on trust! Incorporating these small, simple steps into your day creates the type of learning environment students can thrive in and really makes an impact.

#### Plus your students will remember you for years to come!

Thanks so much for reading along. Best of luck to you this year as you work to build relationships with students. :)

### Letter Recognition and Alphabet Activities for Kindergarten

Learning recognition and letter sounds are such an important skills for students to master. It's just about impossible to teach students to write or read if they haven't mastered those two skills. They need to know it and they need to know it well. As Kindergarten teachers, we spend a ton of time the first few weeks and months of school build this foundation. We work day in and day out to strength and solidify these important skills.

Even though these may seems like an easy thing to teach, it doesn't come easy for some kiddos and they struggle to master the skills. As teachers, it's our job to provide lots of different opportunities for students to practice these beginning skills. This is where having a variety of resources that we can easily pull from comes in handy.  I am so excited about this latest resource. It includes SO many activities that you can easily prep and add to your bag of tricks.

But let's back up for a second. Before we just jump in and start teaching letters, I think it's a good idea to determine what our students already know, don't you? This is how we show growth! I put together this little letter assessment freebie for you. It includes student uppercase and lowercase pages and a teacher recording page.

There are two versions of the student page: a black /gray and white version and a color version. The lines are different colors to make it easier for students to track the print. I just slide the two student pages in back-to-back in a page protector and it makes a quick assessment a breeze!

This alphabet bundle includes nine different resources to help your students practice and build their letter recognition skills. The activities are either super low prep or no prep at all.

Students use mini erasers to form the uppercase and lowercase letters on the mat. They'll use a dry erase marker to trace the letter at the button. You could also use plastic linking cubes {or any small classroom manipulatives} with this activity if you're short on mini erasers.

This activity is similar to the one above, but students are having to form the uppercase and lowercase letters on their own. Again, you could use other types of manipulatives as well.

This is the third activity in the packet. This is a great activity for a guided reading group as you introduce letters.

This activity, called Find and Cover, presents letters in a variety of fonts. This will help students begin to recognize letters in a variety of settings, such as environmental print. Students will need red, orange, yellow, green, and blue plastic cubes to complete this activity. And can we say hooray for easy prep?! Just print, slide in page protectors, and add some plastic cubes. DONE!

This packet includes six different types of Write the Room activities. Each activity has more than one version so you're not constantly re-explaining the directions. Here's a peak at some of the activities.

Students will count the uppercase letters on the card. They will find the matching lowercase letter on their paper and record how many uppercase letters they counted. There are two recording sheets for this activity {A - M and N - Z}. Note: This activity only uses numbers 1 - 5.

Similar to the activity above, students will count the lowercase letters on the card. They will find the matching uppercase letter on their paper and record how many letters they counted. There are two recording sheets for this activity as well {A - M and N - Z}. Note: Numbers 1 - 10 are included in this activity.

Students will identify the shape on the card and match it to the one of their paper. They will write the uppercase and lowercase pair on their paper. There are two color-coded version of this activity included.

For this activity you'll want to put the letter cards near the picture cues on the paper. Students will find the matching objects in the classroom and record the letter pair. There are three color coded versions for this activity included.

This is fun little activity for whole group activity. There are five different year-round themed sets of letter cards and corresponding "special" picture cards. You'll put the letter cards {uppercase or lowercase} in a pocket chart and hide the secret cards behind a few of the letters. Students will take turns guessing which letters the secret cards are hiding behind.

Lowercase letters are included in all five themes as well.

Also included are two optional prediction pages. Students can write down which letter or letters they think the cards are hiding behind.

I also included a few sorting mats so you can use this as a sorting activity as well.

You could also pass out some of the uppercase and lowercase cards to students and have them find their matching partner.

This packet includes five different types of games. Each game has multiple versions, so students can play multiple times without having to re-explain directions. Here's a peak at three of the games.

Students play with a partner. They will roll the cube, count the dots, and cover the corresponding lowercase letter on their game board. The first player to cover all of the letters is the winner.

This game works great during guided reading or in an adult led small group. Students will select a card. If the student identifies the letter correctly they get to cover a picture on their game board. The first player to cover all of the pictures is the winner...just be careful not to pull an AlphaBAM card! Four different themes are included.

Students play with a partner and try to be the first to cover four in a row with this activity. You could also use this as a fast finisher activity and have student work independently to cover the lowercase letter after they spin {I wouldn't cut the page apart if you're using it this way.}

Students will match the uppercase and lowercase letters. This activity also works great in a pocket chart!

An optional recording sheet is included.

Students can turn over the cards and play a memory matching game using the cards.

Another recording sheet option. Or have students trace the letters as they make a match.

Students will need red, orange, yellow, green, and blue plastic cubes for this activity. Simply print and slide in a page protector. Students will identify the letters in the color code and cover the matching letters. 28 activity mats are included.

Another no prep activity...just print on color paper and slide in page protectors! Students roll the cube, count the dots, and use the code to cover an uppercase or lowercase letter.

If you have mini erasers to match the beginning sounds, use them!

Here's a fun twist on handwriting practice. A black and white version is included along with a color version.

Students spin the spinner and write the uppercase or lowercase letter. They continue spinning and writing until the page is complete.

Click on the picture below to check out the BUNDLE

Thanks so much for stopping by! For more alphabet activities, ideas, and freebies check out this post and this post.