Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Make your own letter stamps!

Letter stamps are a great way for students to work on building, creating and spelling words. I use them as a choice during word work in Daily 5.

However, they can be quite expensive at the teachers store. I recently found some materials at the dollar store to make 3 full letter sets for under $5!

I bought 3 sets of foam letters from the dollar store. They had capitals and lowercase but I chose just the lowercase sets. I popped them all out of their molds.


I then needed a way to attach a handle of sorts to the back for kids to hold when stamping. I had a leftover foam mat from a set I had bought so I thought I would use that!


I just eyeballed it and cut out rectangles with my exacto knife.


Then I set out to hot glue the letters onto the rectangles! Make sure to glue them the correct way for stamping!


This is 1 finished set. I made 3 sets of each letter so 3 kids could be using the stamps at the same time.


I might also use a paint pen or something to write the letter on the back of the rectangle so kids know which way to hold the stamp when stamping.

Here they are in use with an ink pad!


Try it out for a cheap word work idea!

I have also added my Daily 5 anchor charts to TPT if you want to check them out!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Hands On Math Activities

I wanted to share some of the activities my kids were picking from during Math Daily 3 near the end of the year.

Math with Someone:  Take Ten

Students work on finding pairs that make 10 and removing them from the game board.
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Math Writing: Cross Number Puzzles

These crossword number puzzles are awesome! They are sequential and get harder and harder. They were designed by a Canadian Educator and fit the curriculum for my kids perfectly. After doing a few together, my kids can independently read and solve most questions. They have puzzles designed for K-4. You can find more about them {HERE}

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Math with Someone: Space Race

Another friends of 10 activity, students turn over a card and put their counter on the number that goes with it to make 10. So if you turn over a 10, you put your counter on a 0 because 10 + 0 = 10.

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Math by Myself: Bear Toss

Students toss their bears on the plate and remove the bears that land face down. They then work on writing a  subtraction number sentence to match.

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Math by Myself: Number Puzzle

This activity works on matching up a ten frame picture to a number sentence to the answer.


Extra Math: Don`t Capture the Tens!

If students are done their Math Writing before the round is up, they can take out their deck of cards and play some independent games.


I am always looking for new math activity ideas with minimal prep and paper!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Cleaning up the blog

Hello everyone!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! This is the FIRST teaching thing I have done all summer !

I am doing some cleaning up, deleting, editing on the blog and in my shops. I am going to be deleting a lot of my past freebies and try to set up everything in 1 place. So you will notice a few changes here and maybe some old deleted posts. I will be updating some of my freebies to TPT and am going to be deleting my Teachers Notebook shop.

I have decided that I will no longer offer paid products and only post freebies that I make for my own class. While I love making things for my own kiddos, I am always torn between the “shop” side of it and making things just to sell stuff. I have scaled back a lot of my teacher time outside school and I want to make sure that I am spending time between things I want to do as well as teaching. So with that being said, my TPT store will only house things I make for my own class. And they will be free. I rarely find things on TPT made by other people that truly fit my kids needs. Maybe it’s my style of teaching, but I don’t use worksheets or centres or cutesy decor or craftivities. So instead of trying to keep with with the joneses on TPT, I am just going to continue to use my blog to share what I am doing with my kids in my class. I hope you can get some ideas from it to go make your own stuff to fit your kids! If there are printables, games, etc, then I will be posting them to TPT for free or you can email me for them!

You can head to my shop to see what things I have posted for free. I will be continuing to add freebies from my blog to the site over the summer.

Hope to post more as I start to get things ready again for back to school!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Simple Skip Counting Activities

My kids have been working on solidifying their skip counting patterns for grade 1.
In grade 1, we need to know how to skip count by 5’s and 10’s to 100 and by 2’s to 30.

A simple activity we did, had kids sorting by groups of 2 using beans. Their job was to sort by 2 and use sticky notes to label!

We first sat as a group at the smartboard and sorted our beans under the ipad makeshift document camera. I had students come up to add more beans and we recorded the next step in the pattern. 

Our makeshift document camera works great when you have something small to show! They could see each new bean being added and see how we skipped 1 number and then counted the next.


Document camera = ipad on camera mode, hooked up to the projector, resting on 2 lamps in our classroom while we work underneath! It works!

Students were then sent out with some beans, sticky notes, a marker, and a partner!

Their job was to work together to sort and label!


Students were then tasked with showing their numbers with beansticks and beans. They worked in Book Creator to create a skip counting book for conferences.

This was a great activity to see if students new how and when to trade in their single beans (ones) for a beanstick (ten). They had to take photos of each new number in the pattern as they kept adding on.

They could choose to make their book showing skip counting by 5 or 2!


easy Peasy!

Some beans and sticky notes makes a great formative assessment!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Getting ready for Parent Conferences

This week we have Tri-Conferences at my school and I wanted to share some of the things my kids would be sharing with their parents.

Tri-Conferences consist of a meeting between the student, parent and teacher. The students share their learning independently with their parents for 20 minutes and then meet with the teacher to discuss their learning for 10 minutes. (30 minute conference)

I have tried many different structures over the years for my students tri-conferences including portfolios, centres, digital portfolios, and learning projects.

For the past 2 years, my students have shared various learning projects through technology with their parents. This has been the easiest way for us to show the learning that takes place in our class.

Here is what my students are sharing during their 20 minutes:

1. Storyteller Book

I shared previously how my students created their own listen to reading book for Daily 5. Their parents will listen to them read on their recording and follow along in their book.


2. Subtraction and Addition Stories

Students made videos of themselves telling a subtraction problem story and an addition problem story with manipulatives. We uploaded them to dropbox and made QR codes to link to their videos.


3. Art Movie

I keep all the students artwork at school throughout the year in a big portfolio for each of them. I send it home at the end of the year. We made movies in Shadow Puppet to show all our artwork so far to our parents, as they have not seen it! We uploaded again to dropbox and made a QR code for it.


4. Skip Counting Book

Students worked with a partner to create a skip counting book in Book Creator, showing one of our skip counting patterns in grade 1. (2, 5 or 10) Again, uploaded to to dropbox and then ibooks.


5. My Favourite Book

Students wrote about their favourite books and why. We drew a character from the book and then recorded them telling about why it was their favourite. QR codes were created of their recording and attached to their picture.


Once students are done sharing, they come meet with me with their parents and we go through their data binders together and talk about how they are doing in grade 1!

Before our tri-conference date, we spend lots of time practicing with the ipad to make sure we know to get on the internet, scan the apps etc.


How do you run parent conferences?

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Printmaking Idea and a Make Ten Idea

It’s my second last day of Spring Break! :(

I have been relaxing to the max this week, and did a whole lot of nothing! A couple weeks ago, I was in Palm Springs with some fellow colleagues for the annual CUE Conference.


We had such a great time and I came back with a few more ideas to use with my kids. I will be sharing more about those as I use them in my class. (green screens, AR (augmented reality) etc)

Last week, our whole school worked on an art project for the rights of a child. Our whole school division is taking part in a art piece about Human Rights and the rights of a child. Each child got a 8x11 board to creatively show 1 of the rights of the child.

Our class had Article 27:
You have the right to food, clothing, a safe place to live and to have your basic needs met.

We displayed this right by using simple symbols to show food, clothing and shelter. We used a printmaking technique to stamp our symbols on our boards.

Step 1: Paint a piece of foam with tempera paint. (thin, no blobs)
Step 2: Draw your picture into the paint, using  a q-tip.
Step 3: Press your paper down on top of the foam and press down!
Step 4: Peel off the paper to see your print!


During Morning Meeting, we have been working on a variety of activities to help us learn our Make 10 facts.

One of the activities we did last week is called “Bears in a Cave.”

There are 10 bears (counters, chips, etc) and a cave (bowl or cup).

1 student hides some of the bears in the cave while the other student closes their eyes. After they are done, they tell a story to the other student.

“There are 10 bears in total. 5 bears are outside the cave. How many are hiding in the cave?”


The other student needs to use their friends of ten knowledge to figure out the partner number of 5 that makes 10.

“There are 5 bears in the cave because 5 + 5 = 10.

This is a great activity to help students find the missing part in a number sentence! Easy to make and play and can be used for any number!

Happy Easter Sunday!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

What we did this week

We have no kids tomorrow as it is Report Card Writing Day. I am already done my reports (yahoo) so I will be spending the day cleaning, organizing stuff and getting ready for my sub next week as I will be in Palm Springs for the week for the annual CUE Conference. (Computer using Educators….tech stuff)

I had a ton of photos on my ipad of things we did this week and I thought I would share some! I love seeing photos of people doing things in their class as it always gives me ideas! I get waaayyy more ideas for activities from people sharing pics, than people sharing a product they made :s (just saying….I know I share products too at times!)

So here are some things we worked on in no particular order:

Working on Ideas in Writing:

We read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown and worked on using her structure to write interesting sentences that stick to the main idea. We wrote one together, they wrote one with a partner and then they wrote one by themselves.

Here is our Ideas Anchor Chart (ideas for the chart are from 6+1 Writing Traits)


Here is the one we wrote together:


Here are some of the ones they wrote independently. Quite a few of my students struggled with this. They reverted back to the “ I like it, it is good, it is fun” types of sentences. This is a tough activity when 20 out of 23 students of mine are EAL. We worked on whiteboards so as to easily write and re write if needed.


(The important thing about a shark is that it can fight with a dangerous animal. They surf for food like seals and fish. They are fast like a motorcycle and they eat people too. Their teeth are very sharp. They are amazing. But the most important thing about a shark is that it can fight with a dangerous animal.)


Portrait Drawing in Art

I made a makeshift document camera with my ipad and lamps! It worked alright. I used the camera app to document what I was drawing and display it on the smartboard for them to watch step by step. Could I have drawn on the smartboard? Yes. Could I have drawn on the whiteboard? Of course. But I wanted to try it out. Excited to use it to show things in math !


Art Video

I keep all the kids art at school in a big folder until the end of the year and then they take it all home. We decided to make a video to share at conferences to show moms and dads all our art so far because they haven’t seen any of it!
We took pictures of every piece of art in our folder and then used Shadow Puppet to create a video. Students had to add a title to each piece of art and chose music for the background.


Morning Message

I realized that we have some misconceptions about turnaround facts in math. We have been talking a lot about how when you add, you can flip or turnaround the parts and you get the same answer. Well they have been thinking that the same is true for subtraction.

Teaching moment: re- go over that when you subtract the bigger number needs to go first. Fact Family !


Another Art Piece! Collaborative Abstract Art

Students were given criteria and they had to work with a partner to plan and create an piece.
Choose 1 colour paint
Choose 2 shapes (each paints one)
Paint shapes in black
Use the paint to make a tint and a shade
Fill in all sections with no white space



And here, in all its glory is the wonderfulness of the Open Area School. The arrows indicate different things going on in the same area. We have kids working on Art (inside and outside the classroom), kids on computers, teachers having an impromptu hallway meeting, an EA working 1:1 with a student, and kids listening to a story in their classroom. It’s a tad crazy at times!


Tomorrow is Friday and my Birthday!!! Goodbye to my 20’s! Have a great weekend!

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