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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dollar Tree Finds and Suggestions for Use

I'm a Dollar Tree junkie.  I'm a Target Dollar Spot addict. 
If I can find a few things here and there and use them in the classroom
I'm all for it.  It fits my budget well.  
Then I can also share the ideas I'm using with parents.
 It also fits their budget well.

Last night, I shared this picture on FB.  You can tell I'm a tad bit of a junkie.
 Sometimes I have ideas in my head when I see things in Dollar Tree, but lots of times I'm an impulse buyer.  I buy, bring it home, and it sits in the closet until something pops in my head.  

So how am I planning on using the things above?

Let's start with the ice cube tray. They were 2/$1 and in a variety of colors. 

 I purchased one set to make sure I could cut through it without a lot of breaking. 
Sure enough, just sharp scissors worked (though I'm sure you could use a knife just fine too)
I cut off the end so that there were only five cubes left on the top and bottom rows.  
I didn't want little fingers or hands to get hurt from where plastic was cut, so I used some tape I had around the house.  I think the tape came from Walmart, but I have had it for about a year. Luckily, everything I have is turquoise so it all matches :)
I lined the edges all the way around to keep it uniform. 
 When you're finished, you have a perfect manipulative for little hands.
The pom poms used above as a manipulative also came from dollar tree.  :)

Next up, the roller and ink pad.
Nothing fancy here, but it helps with one-on-one correspondence, 
addition with a picture, and fine motor skills.

Simply have the student roll the roller around in a stamp pad (or you can use paint) 
and roll onto white paper. 
The image above shows an addition problem with the roller.
It could also be used for just number writing.  Roll and count.  Write the number.

Along the same concept, using the stamp pad, a die, and white paper you can create addition problems, or multiplication problems.
 If you're using this for a center activity for number recognition/one-on-one correspondence, 
you could use one of the activities below.
Number Stamp It--First Grade and Fabulous
 In this activity, students will match the pips (dots) on their die to the corresponding number.
Number Stamp It--First Grade and Fabulous
 In this activity, students will match the dots to the like image.

You can grab yourself a copy of the above activities by clicking on the images. 
 Both activities are in the same download.

While I'm talking about using dice, let's move on to storing and holding student's accountable.
See those little storage containers?  They are just the right size for holding one die. They aren't big enough to shake the die in unfortunately, though.
If you assign numbers to your students, each student is responsible for their die. 
Then when you're cleaning up, you know quickly who still needs to turn it in.
**I know sometimes you need more than one die, so they sell bigger lidded containers at the dollar tree too.  You can use the same concept by placing two dice in, and numbering them.  The bigger containers can also be "shakers." 

One more dice activity.  This one also uses bingo daubers, or markers.
Students will roll the die, find that corresponding number onto their paper and color it in.
With the possibility of me teaching Kindergarten this year, I left it as simple 1-6 number recognition.
If you would like a copy of the activity above, you can click on the image below.
Number Recognition-First Grade and Fabulous
In the picture below we have a windmill and cleaning pads from Dollar Tree.
The Dry Erase Board was from Target, though Dollar Tree does carry them.
I just added a Dry Erase marker and a plastic bag that I had around the house for this activity.
 First, a storage suggestion....the little cleaning pads from Dollar Tree, inside a baggie with your dry erase marker makes for quick distribution and clean up during small group time.

 Using a Sharpie, program your windmill.  This can be with letters, sight words, rhyming words, math facts, numbers, etc.--basically whatever skill your students need.
 For this picture, I labeled it with capital letters.  Students will spin the windmill and write the letter that spins back to the top onto the dry erase board.  No paper--but hands on and practice.  You could differentiate it with having capital letters on the windmill and they have to write the lower case letter, or vice versa.
 Here I programed it with sight words. 
 Then they will write the sight word onto the dry erase board.  You could use spelling words as well.
You could also differentiate it and ask them to write a sentence using the word they landed.
Again, no paper. :) 

**Little cleaning tip---I used the same windmill for both of these pictures.
I found that eye make up remover works well for removing permanent marker.
A simple plastic chips/dip tray---
PERFECT for sorting for little hands.
Simply use a permanent marker to program the tray with the skills you are working on.
For example, you can program with letters and have them sort their letters.
Place the cards for sorting in the center, or they can each have their own baggy of letters.
You can use a variety of fonts for exposure should you choose. 
 Another suggestion is programming the tray with word families.
Students can sort the words by family.
This one is programmed with -at, -an, -ag, and -ad.

Anything that you can use for sorting, you could use this tray for.
Other examples may be numbers or math facts.  They can sort number for number recognition.
Program the tray with numbers, and they can match up like numbers. On the same concept, you can differentiate it by having them match math facts to the corresponding sums/differences.
**Again, this can be cleaned off and reprogrammed easily. 

The next little activity uses a big swatter.
I saw this, and had to have it. Nothing fancy--but a fun idea in the making.
It's big, but for a floor game for littles, it's perfect.
Simply program bug cards (using an Ellison cut machine or clip art)
with the skill you're wanting to work on --Sight words, number recognition, place value--again the possibilities are endless. Tape the card to the floor.  Call out the word (or the skill you're wanting them to find) and have them swat it.  This is good for small group, and one-on-one tutoring.
Nothing fancy with this idea either.
Just simple $1 cut outs from the Dollar Tree.
Who would've thought I'd choose the junk food one, huh? ;)

 Sometimes I am at small group, and an idea hits me. 
I want to do a quick matching game for my kiddos--and using index cards 
(because that's what I have in my reading tub) gets boring.  How perfect to keep these on hand.
Or even still---printer ink gets expensive.  I can laminate these and reuse them if I want--and just program them with different skill sets for matching.  Here are a few examples.
 Capital to lower case (F/f) , sight word match up (can/can), opposites (up/down)
 Number to picture (1, .) rhyming words (man/tan)
Picture to word (hat), or standard form to word form (one/1)

Just nice to keep them on hand for those "moments."

Another quick, but cheap activity--
These cute little frogs, again from Dollar Tree, make for a quick and fun assessment check.
 Simply cut through the mouth of the frog to create a wide enough slit to slip a card through.
Students will feed the little frog with the skill that you call out.
For example, on the cupcake above there is a cat.
I could have asked students to feed all the words beginning with the /c/ sound to the frog, or words that are animals, or find rhyming words for bat, etc.

Here is a picture of suggestions.  I choose to use cupcakes--imagine that--but you could just print it out on index cards, or choose your own clip art (flies, cake, pie, etc)
You could use word families, numbers, beginning sounds, vowel sounds, 
ending sounds, capital letters, picture sorts for vocab, etc.  
Use the skills that you are working on in your classroom or small group.

While I'm talking about quick checks and assessing, I'm going to end the post with the Parking Lot Activity.  I'm not the originator of this idea, I'm really not sure where it first came from.  I just know that it is fun and a quick way to check your students.  Here's what you need.
 A simple game board and little toy cars.  
The game board I made and the toy cars are from the Dollar Tree.
You can make the game board bigger by using poster board, 
but for small group, I prefer using a sheet of paper. 

How to play:
Program the game board with the skill you are working on.
You will call out a letter, number, word, etc.  
Students will drive their car to what you called out and "park" on that space.   
**Notice I left the game board blank.  That way I could reuse it to show examples.
 (You could also slide it into sheet protectors, but if being used in small group, it may be just as easy to print out one and program it.  Then copy to make a set.)
I slid it into a sheet protector
 And then wrote over top.  
In the image below, students would be working on lower case recognition.
 I would call out a lower case letter, and they would drive their cars to that letter and "park."
 This provides for a quick check.  It could be used one-on-one or in small group.
If played in small group, each player will need a game board and little toy car.

You could also use this activity for number recognition.
 Math Facts
 Or a variety of other skills that you use in your classroom.
I love that this is a fun way to keep my kiddos engaged, especially my boys. :)

If you would like your own copy, click the image below.
First Grade and Fabulous-Parking Lot Game

Big Shout out for my graphics to Pink Cat Studio, Bubbly Borders and More, 
Melonheadz, and Whimsy Clips.  Thank you ladies! :)

I hope you've enjoyed these little suggestions.
Nothing fancy--but quick, fast, cheap and easy for the teacher makes for a little less stress! :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Riddle Me This

My students really enjoyed working on riddles last year. 
I used riddles from the pack below during small group time.
Riddle Me This
It focuses on CVC and CVCe words.

Since I will be working with some of the same kiddos next year, I thought I should extend this activity to other skills they need to work on. 

That brings me to our new set.
More Riddle Me This

I introduce the phonics packs with skills that we have worked on to get them 
familiar with the riddle pages. 
Here's a sample page of one I shared on FB.

This set has two first grade skills (verbs and compound words), as well as,
 phonics skills of blends and digraphs (both beginning and ending).

The pages are differentiated.  
Here is a sample set of all three pages so you can see the levels of difficulty. 

On the first page of each skill, the word is spelled for the student under the picture. 

 The next level has the words and pictures separated. 

The last page of the sequence has eliminated the words.  

These were designed to help my students with spelling, as well as, proving a fun activity for reading.
If you would like to try the sample pages, click below. 
More Riddle Me This Sample


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