Monday, December 12, 2016

One Way to Keep 'em Busy This Holiday Season

It sure is a hectic time of year! I always find myself immersed in a sewing, craft, or baking project (or two) and then watch as time seems to slip through my fingers. I'm left questioning my sanity (as I continue to do this year after year) and wondering how to accomplish everything in time for the holidays.

As busy as teachers are, you are still tasked with keeping a class full of excited youngsters engaged in beneficial learning activities, holidays quickly approaching or not.

Enjoy this free Christmas themed rounding activity, perfect for second or third graders. Choose rounding two-digit numbers to the nearest ten, three-digit numbers to the nearest ten, or three-digit numbers to the nearest hundred.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How to Effectively Review Letters and Sounds the Multi-sensory Way

In a previous post, I wrote about ideas for introducing letters and sounds using Orton-Gillingham or multi-sensory methods with children who benefit from explicit instruction. These ideas can be extended to the daily review of letters and sounds.

Read this post about a variety of ways to review letters and sounds using a multi-sensory approach.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

2 Savvy Ways to Save: Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale

With Thanksgiving behind us, all your little darlings will have visions of Christmas magic dancing in their heads on Monday morning. Now is the perfect time to stock up on seasonal (or year round) teaching resources at Teachers Pay Teachers so all is calm in your classroom until the holiday break begins!

Huge TpT Gift Card Giveaway

Enter below for the opportunity to win a $10.00 TpT gift card for your holiday shopping. Then visit all twelve educators' blogs in this hop for a chance to win a $10.00 gift card from each one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are three ways you can enter my raffle.
  1. Leave a comment on any of my blog posts.
  2. Comment on this post by sharing any helpful holiday season teaching tips.
  3. Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Download one of my freebies and provide feedback.
Go ahead and hop on over to Kathleen at A+ Kids Bloggin' for another chance to win a $10.00 TpT gift card.

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale November 28th & 29th

Whether you win a gift card or not, be sure to shop Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale on November 28th and 29th. All resources in my TpT store, including my popular Addition Fact Mental Strategy Bundle and Subtraction Fact Mental Strategy Bundle, will be 20% off. Enter code CYBER2016 at checkout and TpT will take another 10% off your purchase for a total discount of 28%!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Rafter of Timely and Terrific Turkey Resources

When we first took up residence on Turkey Trot Lane over twenty years ago, it was aptly named. We would occasionally see a flock of wild turkeys trotting down the road or across our yard. These sightings gradually diminished and eventually disappeared over the years. The last time we saw turkeys in their natural habitat was driving along a primary road, which winds through farmland and vineyards, about 20 miles from home. I had to stop and wait for a large flock of turkeys, including little ones, to leisurely walk across the road. This unexpected experience certainly brightened my day! Be sure to check out the links below for interesting facts about turkeys.

Check out these turkey and Thanksgiving themed resources (including a free download) for kindergarten through second grade.

(Turkey photo by Eat Pray Travel Teach.)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

How to Celebrate National Candy Corn Day with Math

Candy corn is one of my favorite images of fall! As I began thinking about writing this blog post, I started wondering about the history of candy corn.

How to Celebrate National Candy Corn Day with Math- Check out this collection of activities including a freebie!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fun and Fabulous Counting Activities for Fall

There is a cool and crisp feeling to the air and a tinge of autumn color in the leaves. I identify with Chicken Little during my daily walks, as falling acorns barely miss my head. Fall is here!

Check out these ideas and free resources for fall counting activities appropriate for use with pre-k to second grade.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to Effectively Introduce Letters & Sounds the Multi-Sensory Way

By the end of my teaching career, I felt like I was hanging on to my chalkboard by the tips of my fingers. Every year, my principal tried to persuade me to trade it in for a brand new, shiny whiteboard. And every year, I politely declined, insisting I needed my chalkboard. Perhaps you think I'm just nostalgic about chalk dust. Actually, not at all! But using chalk on a chalkboard does produce a drag which provides sensory input. Compare this to the smoothness of a marker on a whiteboard. My chalkboard was an essential tool for teaching letters and sounds using a multi-sensory approach.

This post provides guidance for introducing letters and sounds using multi-sensory techniques. Free letter/ sound picture cards are featured.

Some children learn letters and sounds easily with exposure to alphabet books, environmental print, and sound play. Other children require explicit instruction. This post is for teachers working with children who benefit from explicit instruction.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Opportunity to Win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

You've been facing a classroom of eager learners for at least a week (maybe even 4 or 5 weeks) and are starting to pinpoint their instructional needs. If you are at all like me, you're always searching for that next "best teaching tool" to meet your students' needs. Take this opportunity for a chance to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card to help fulfill their needs (or maybe just your wants)!

Enter before 9/16/16 for the chance to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Why Is That Scolding Hawk on My Balcony?

One recent afternoon, I was relaxing on my couch reading a book and drinking my cup of tea, as I happened to glance out the sliding glass door in an adjacent room. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Could that be an owl perched on my balcony? I obviously had owls on my mind, as I had been creating owl themed resources. (Please keep reading as there is a free writing prompt in this post!)

Read about the hawk on my balcony. A free photo writing prompt appropriate for first, second, and third graders is included.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back to School with Miss Mingo

Somehow, when my parents retired to Florida twenty-five years ago, flamingos started appearing here in Virginia; in my yard, in my house, on my porch, and yes, even in my classroom.

My last year of full-time teaching, I started off with a flamingo theme that included behavior charts, basket labels, posters, books, and stuffed flamingos. One of the books I discovered was Miss Mingo and the First Day of School written and illustrated by Jamie Harper.

Free printable writing response sheets to accompany the book, Miss Mingo and the First Day of School.

Miss Mingo is, of course, a flamingo who asks her class full of critters to take turns sharing how they are special. I love this book's whimsical approach to highlighting the ways we are all unique. It's a wonderful read aloud for any group of diverse learners that helps set the tone for the year.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Watch out for the bears!

There are an estimated 5,000 to 6, 000 black bears living in Virginia (American Black Bear). It is always an exhilarating experience to spy one in the wild!

American Black Bear sighted along the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

Monday, August 1, 2016

Best Year Ever Sale

Back to School for many kids means the excitement of new shoes, new clothes, new school supplies, a new lunch box, and a new backpack, along with the anticipation of a new teacher and school year.

Back to School for teachers can also mean new shoes, a new outfit or two, or a new hairstyle along with that same sense of excitement and anticipation. Back to School for teachers might also include new classroom decor and brightly colored containers for organizing. I always enjoyed having a new designer clipboard (for holding my daily plans) and fancy file folders.

Teachers Pay Teachers would love for you to envision the Best Year Ever!

Enjoy 20% off all my resources, including bundles, August 1st- 3rd! Use the code at checkout on August 1st-2nd for a total of 28% off. It's time to envision your best year ever!

With that in mind, there will be a site wide sale August 1st and 2nd, to help get you started. I'll be offering 20% off all my resources, including bundles, through August 3rd. Use the code BESTYEAR for an additional 10% off (for a total of 28%) on August 1st and 2nd.

I have been searching high and low for the best teaching resources ever on TpT. I'd love to hear about the best one you have found!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Subtraction is NOT Just Take Away!

While I was updating my Subtraction Fact Mental Strategy Count Up To Free Sample, which provides practice in identifying and discriminating between basic subtraction equations, I began thinking about concrete ways to introduce this subtraction fact strategy. I also started to realize that children who view subtraction as only meaning to take away would have a difficult time conceptualizing this strategy. (Never fear, after I get off my soapbox, there will be a link to another subtraction freebie below!)

Subtraction is NOT just take away! Teaching all three forms of subtraction; taking away, comparing, and finding a missing part of the whole is critical! There are links to two subtraction fact strategy freebies in this post.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

5 Free & Nifty Ways to Improve Addition Fact Fluency

Are you looking for engaging games and activities to help your students develop fluency with adding basic facts? Do you have students who require frequent practice to learn and apply addition fact strategies? If the answer is yes to either question, the plethora of resources included in my Addition Fact Strategy Games & Activities might be the perfect solution. You can sample five of those activities for free!

This free sample, Three in a Row partner game, is perfect for applying the Count Up/ On strategy with first and second graders who are developing addition fact fluency.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Why Teaching Addition Fact Strategies Is Important

One of the things I love most about teaching is the continual learning process. I eventually became an "old teacher" but I never tired of learning "new tricks". Several years before I retired, I participated in extensive professional development about math instruction. We were told at that time, we could no longer use TouchPoints for computation, which I had used successfully with my students for many years. So, what were we to do? Why, teach fact strategies, of course! I started down that path, never believing that this approach could be effective with my students, those with mild disabilities. Taking on the challenge, I not only adapted this approach to meet the needs of my students, I became a firm believer that this is the way to go!

Learning and applying basic addition fact strategies is an important stage in developing fact fluency. Check out the fabulous freebie included in this post!

Friday, June 24, 2016

How to Stay Cool and Learn with Popsicles

Aah! Popsicles (or ice pops), provide a refreshing way to cool down on a hot, humid summer day! Whether you're at home with your kids or teaching summer school,  enjoy a little summery math, writing, and sweet, sticky fun with these activities.

These two popsicle themed ten frame worksheets, 1-10 and 11-20, are a refreshing way to review and practice counting and subtilizing skills with preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders at the end of the school year, during summer, or at the beginning of the school year.

If you visit my blog often, you will discover I'm a strong proponent of teaching (practicing, reteaching, reviewing) anything and everything number sense. Ten frames are a wonderful tool for counting, subtilizing (quickly recognizing and naming how many objects without counting), and developing an understanding of the relationships between the numbers 1-20 and the important anchor numbers of 5, 10, and 20. Here are two free popsicle themed ten frame worksheets for practice and review, one for the numbers 1-10 and another for 11-20.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

One Free Easy Way to Help Maintain Number Skills

Who doesn't love the beach with the salty smell of the ocean, the feel of sand squishing between your toes, the shrill squawking of seagulls, and the endless, shimmery view? I have taken delight in creating several beach and ocean themed resources that have evoked many pleasant memories of time spent at the beach.

This free, versatile beach bucket and shovel activity can be used to help maintain number skills that might otherwise be lost during the summer slump! It may be used with numbers 1-10, 11-20, 11-99, or 100-999. There are eight shovels integrating number sense and/ or place value skills for each range of numbers.

This free, versatile beach bucket and shovel activity can be used to help maintain number sense skills that might otherwise be lost during the summer slump! It is perfect for reviewing and reinforcing number sense skills with kindergarteners during the summer or the beginning of the school year.

This resource is perfect for reviewing and reinforcing number sense and place value skills with kindergarten, first, second, or third grade kids at the end of the school year, during the summer, or at the beginning of school. It is an open-ended activity that can be completed once or several times. It may be used in an interactive notebook (10.5 x 8) if the beach bucket is cut out. It may be printed on white paper to be colored or printed on colored paper.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 Tempting Ways to Celebrate National Doughnut Day

I can't believe I only found out about National Doughnut Day just last year! I was researching holidays and national days for a series of seasonal data collection and graphing resources. When I discovered National Doughnut Day, which occurs on the first Friday in June, I just knew I had to create a resource for this day!

This is a data collection and bar graph activity for first, second, and third grade that is a sure fire way to engage your students at the end of the school year or anytime. Celebrate National Doughnut Day the first Friday in June!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to Teach the Concepts of More and Less (Freebies)

I recently had the opportunity to teach a math basal lesson to a class of kindergarteners on comparing two events and choosing which one would take more or less time. Midway through the lesson, I realized that some of the little darlings didn't have a firm grasp on understanding the concepts of more and less. As I held two different sized water bottles (quickly grabbed at the spur of the moment) in my hands, I discovered they weren't able to pick which one would take less time to fill with water. This lesson was taught at the pictorial level, but my observations suggested these children needed additional experiences with comparing more and less using concrete quantities.

Activities to use with the book, I Wish You More.

I discovered a post on HubPages which has teaching activities for more and less along with book suggestions. I love bears so I found Bear Wants More to be an appealing choice. I have other books in this series but was unable to find a copy of this one in a timely manner. As a result, I'll be sharing Teddy Bear Ten Strips!

Serendipitously, I came across the endearing book, I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, which is filled with whimsical comparisons, at my nearest bookstore. The thought provoking comparisons are somewhat abstract but can easily be followed up with concrete modeling, particularly for tug of war and pockets and treasures. The simple, repetitive text structure easily lends itself to pattern writing and a class book or dictating and a class chart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Teach Fact Families with Animal Crackers (Freebie)

I love to teach math concepts hands-on and there's nothing more engaging than an edible treat! Any edible treat that comes in two different designs, colors, or sizes could be used for this activity.

Animal Cracker Fact Families is a hands-on, engaging way to introduce or practice addition and subtraction fact families using a part/ part/ whole mat to help develop conceptual understanding.

I started by admiring different candies, but eventually decided on animal crackers, not squishy or sticky and even nostalgic. Although many young children have a poor concept of time and age, it's fun to relate their present to your own childhood. "I read this book when I was your age." "I remember eating animal crackers when I was a kid."

Monday, April 25, 2016

How I Accidentally Stumbled Upon a Goose Nest

I enjoy walking (almost) daily with our 7 year old, 85 pound, perpetual puppy, Gibbs. He prances along the side of the road, ears flapping, with a huge grin on his face.

He always insists on leading the way and setting the pace. Our path takes us past a small pond. Last spring and summer, a pair of Canada geese made this pond their home. Eventually, five or six goslings joined them. This spring, the pair of geese returned. Naturally, Gibbs is curious and veers towards them, wanting to check them out.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

How to Develop Understanding of Ten Less Ten More (Freebie)

I've sometimes been astounded (and frustrated) by what appears to me to be a simple, right there concept, only to find children who have difficulty grasping it. This always gets me thinking about how I can change my methods to reach them in a more effective way.

While driving down the highway on a recent trip, I was brainstorming more compelling ways to teach the concept of ten less and ten more.


Thursday, April 7, 2016


Hello and welcome to my blog!

Thanks for visiting and I hope you pop by again soon!