Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Anytime Center" Activities

In my school district, we use something called "Center Maps" for students to tell which center activities they should complete on a given day.  They are pre-made maps that have pictures to designate a center.  I personally am not a fan of these maps.  In some ways, I do like how they are straight-forward and kid-friendly.  What I don't like is that, based on the current set up, students visit the same centers multiple times in one week.  Although Kinder hasn't started using the maps yet, we are due to introduce them soon. 

In my room, I've been using my own version of centers thus far.  It's based similarly but at this point, students move as a whole table group.  They are not yet grouped by reading levels, etc. We do sooooo many assessments at the beginning of the year to get those baseline levels that center time is when I do most of my testing.  As we get further into the year, I am now getting ready to introduce Guided Reading groups.

We currently work on a 6-day rotation of 4 groups (not negotiable) so I'm forced to come up with a TON of center activities.  What I have come up with is to introduce "anytime centers."  Let's say Johnny goes to the Math center on Day 1 and works on the activity I have in that center.  When Johnny goes back to the Math center on Day 4 I would instantly hear, "Ms. Hill, I'm done that center!"  So instead, when a student is done their main activity (which is usually theme or skill focused) they are allowed to get an "anytime center."  I keep a variety of games / center activities available to the kids that they can choose from.  All of my games / activities have specific skills that we have practiced in class so the kids have already been introduced to that skill.  It seems to be working really well. 

The activities below are things I would put in my anytime centers.

This activity is READY MADE!  I'm all about print-and-go activities!   This is called "Winter Roll and Record."  It is the same as my Christmas version.  The kids love these games.  There are a total of 10 different winter-themed playing mats in this pack.  To access this game on my TpT Store click the preview picture below.

A few days ago, I posted a Christmas Bingo game.  Do your kiddos love Bingo as much as my kids do????  The go crazy for Bingo!  There are 10 differnt Christmas Bingo mats in this pack, all holiday-themed.  Click the picture to access this pack.

Last, "Hot Chocolate" is another favorite for my kiddies.  This is played just like Poisonous Spiders and Crazy Candy Canes.  Hot chocolate is a winter-themed activity that goes in my literacy anytime center bin.  Students practice sight word and don't even realize it.  To me, that is the BEST kind of learning :)   Because I have such a wide variety of readers in my class this year, I made the sight words to include Pre-Primer and Primer.  Click the picture to access this pack.

When I sit down to make an activity, the most important thing to me is that it is practical.  I am able (and do) use every center activity I made and publish on here.  These center activities are also favorites of my students!  I hope your students enjoy them just as much!

Have a great week!


The Liebster Award!

Thank you so much to Meg at for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.  I hope that sharing the news about some of these "newer" blogs helps them get more followers!
Here are the rules:
-You must post 11 random things about yourself.

-Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.

-Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.

-Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.

-No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!

11 Random Things about Me

   1.  I am now officially obsessed with blogging!
2.  I HATE getting up early.
3.  I could eat pizza every day.
4.  I have the two cutest dogs in the world!
5.  Even though everyone tells me I'm very patient, I always strive for more patience.
6.  I am obsessed with writing neatly.
7.  Christmas is my favorite holiday.
8.  I love my new family.
9.  I truly have the best kids in the world!
10.  I'd love to learn more about graphic design.
11 Questions For My Nominees…
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?    Aruba

What is one of your most memorable moments in teaching?  When one of my students e-mailed me the morning of my surgery to tell me he loved me!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Probably cereal

Name a favorite book you have read in recent years.   The Other Wes Moore.

Name one of your favorite childhood TV shows.  Tom & Jerry

If you had to spend a day at a sporting event, what would you attend?  Gymnastics

PC or Mac?  PC

Night owl or early riser?  Night Owl

Favorite current TV show or movie?  The Voice

What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas

If you could do any other job, what would you do?  Graphic Design

Blogs I'm Nominating    

11 Questions to Answer:

1.   What do you love best about blogging?
2.   Your favorite food?
3.   If you weren't teaching, what would you do?
4.   Are you married / single?
5.   Favorite subject to teach?
6.   Favorite season?
7.   Favorite holiday?
8.   Least favorite holiday, and why?
9.   Favorite food?
10. Favorite store?
11. Favorite day of the week, and why?

Good luck to all!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cyber Monday SALE!!!!!

This is a biggie! 

I am having a HUGE Cyber Monday (plus Bonus Tuesday) sale at my TpT Store. This is my first sale on TpT so I hope you are able to take advantage of it!  EVERYTHING I have posted in my store is 20% off for two days only.  When purchasing any product, use the promo code:  CMT12 and your 20% will be taken off at check-out. Use this link to browse my store and let me know if you have any questions. 
You can preview everything out now and add items to your wishlist.  Monday and Tuesday, they will be ready to go!  As always, following my blog or leaving feedback is HUGELY appreciated!  Thanks!


Friday, November 23, 2012


I know I've been posting a lot about activities I've made.  I'm trying to build up my TpT Store before the holidays!  We just finished report card conferences this past week.  I try to offer a wide variety of hours because a lot of my parents work full-time.  It does make for very long days but the bonus for me is I get time in between to work on my room.

I am in a brand new classroom this year which I refer to as "the penthouse."  I have a HUGE room and all new furniture.  The problem was my furniture didn't get delivered until the very last minute in August so I didn't have a lot of time to get things set up.  I made sure the kids activities were where they needed to be but my things just got shoved onto shelves.  I like to think of myself as a very organized person so this has been driving me crazy!!!!  It was sooooo nice to have organization time this past week.

The biggest thing that was bothering me were my shelves and library (my personal library.)  It felt great to get everything neat and organized.  I had a ton of books all mixed up.  I used magazine boxes to organize by month/theme/author. 

I hate when I want to read a book or do an activity and I can't find what I need.  Now, everything is neat and tidy!  I also tackled my binders.  As teachers, we collect sooooo many papers and resources.  Now I have everything filed nice and neat (can you read O.C.D.)

Today's project is to work on some of my anchor charts to get them updated.  Will post when done.  Hope you're having a nice break!


Crazy Candy Canes

This is a game adapted for the holiday theme.  It is similar to Poisonous Spiders.  I can't tell you how much my kiddies love playing this game.  They get soooo into it that they don't even realize they are practicing their sight words!  So I've adapted it for the holiday's and called it Crazy Candy Canes.

There are three different game sets so multiple groups can play.  I recommend 2-3 players per game.  Place all cards face down on the table.  Player 1 flips a card and tries to read the sight word. If he/she reads it correctly they get to keep the card. Player 2 repeats.  If a player flips over a Candy Cane card, they lose all their cards.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

December Complete Center Collection

Happy Turkey  Day!!!!!  I have to say I had one of the best Thanksgiving days this year.  And I did NOTHING!  My bf has been working like a dog lately and I just finished 3 looooong days of report card conferences.  My own kiddos spent the day with their dad so it was just him and I.  I had the most relaxing day ever!  It will be really nice to spend the day with family next year but for this year, this was just what I needed!

I had time this morning to finish up my center set for December.  I'm SUPER excited about this!  These are the same centers I will be using in my classroom with some additional ones.  This collection is loaded with activities for each week in December.  There is a letter matching activity, number sequencing up to 30, Holiday Writing pages, Read it, Trace it, Paste it activities, December writing word cards, and more! 

                                           Download your copy here.

I hope your students enjoy it!  PLEASE leave feedback on my TpT site once you download the set.  Also, if you have something in particular you'd like to see just leave me a comment below and I'll get started on it!  Thanks for visiting!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

December Calendar Set

I'm SUPER excited today.  I was driving to work and Christmas music was on the radio.  Some years, most in fact, I dread hearing Christmas music this early.  I guess it's just part of the holiday bug I caught this year.  Now, let me tell you, I am shocked I'm in the spirit this year.....especially at this point.  My man has started a new job and he's working TONS of hours.  All this week he is actually staying at a hotel near the job site because it's too far away to drive back and forth.  My daughter just totaled her car (thankfully, she is fine.)  I am turning the big 4 - 0 next week.  I say this only because I have a lot of reasons to NOT be in the holiday spirit but for some reason I am :)

When I went to Dunkin Donuts to get my morning juice today, I bumped into a nice older gentleman.  We made small talk while we waited in line.  He said he was on disability and had a pacemaker put in a few months back.  Long story short, when we got up to the register I asked if I could buy him a coffee.  It just blurted right out of me.  Of course, at first he said no but I didn't give up (very unlike me.)  I told him it would make me feel good if he would let me.  He finally agreed.  I am not telling this story to make myself look good.  I'm telling it because it really made me feel good.  I left the store in a great mood!  I drove to work in a great mood.  And it carried through my day.  So I decided I am going to try to do at least one simple good deed until Christmas.  If everyone reading my blog did the same, this would be a pretty cool place to live!

Okay, enough about my warm fuzzy feelings :)  I finished making my December Calendar set just in time.....whew!  I am printing and laminating mine tomorrow so they are ready to go when the kiddies come back after the holiday. 

                           Download your set here.

This set includes calendar cards in three different colors - yup, three sets of cards!  The sets come in burgundy, light green and blue, each with a holiday image.  The set also includes the Days of the Week cards, the "Today is, Yesterday was, Tomorrow will be" set and the "December" month card (all in the three colors.)  Hope you enjoy!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Bear Unit

Happy Monday!  Today I attended all day training on our Math program (Everyday Math.)  I must say, the program has come a long way since I started using it.  Our district bought the deluxe online package and it really has a lot to offer.  At the training we discussed the CCS a lot and unlike others, it got me pretty excited.  WHY you ask? Is it because I'm crazy?  Well, yes, but no :)

I'm actually excited because my district will move completely to CCS by next year.  This gives me the opportunity to begin aligning my activities NOW.  I feel like I will be soooo ahead of the curve for once!  Woo Hoo!

I just finished my Bear Unit for next week.  Included in this pack are 3 Literacy activities (all can be instant centers) and 2 Math activities.  We are practicing a lot of tally marks in Kindergarten these days.  The math activities include matching the number word to the tally mark and ten frame.  The Literacy activities are tiered activities.  They include letter matching (upper/lowercase) for those kiddos who still need the practice, Sight Word Memory, and the more advanced Scrambled Sentences.

                         Download the complete unit here

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankful....and a FREEBIE

I am a very reflective person. There is nothing better in my world than a day at the beach spent people-watching and thinking.  It is very theraputic to me!  One day this summer, I was thinking about how I got to this point in my teaching career.  There are so many people who helped me, friends, etc. There are so many people who influenced my teaching and me as a person.  I am so thankful to each and every one of them for riding along this journey with me.

I was thinking back to my days of student teaching.  I remember walking in the first day absolutely TERRIFIED!  I was so afraid everyone would find out I had no idea what I was doing.  I remember waiting in the office for my cooperating teacher to arrive.  I'll never forget when she bounced into the office with a smile on her face.  I probably looked like a deer in headlights but she put me to ease right away.  We went to the classroom and her laid-back style instantly put me at ease.  I'll never forget my time with her and the laughs we had that semester.  She was so willing to let me learn everything I could about teaching.  I owe a lot to alot of people but that semester was the real turning point for me.  That was the time I knew I was exactly where I belonged in this world!  Thanks Nancy!

Okay, I wanted to post a FREEBIE to all those just starting out.  This is little something I keep hanging in my writing center as a reference guide.  Students are also allowed to use this throughout the day as needed.  I printed and laminated them, punched a hole in the upper corner and hung from a book ring. Enjoy!  (Sorry for the glare!)

                         Download Number Word Cards

                        Download Color Word Cards

My First Linky Party!

Well I hope this works.....I'm joining my first linky party courtesy of 1..2..3...Teach with Me.  Love her blog and her new one "Dots" of Fun!  Super-cute stuff on there so check it out if you have a chance.

This linky is about Christmas and as I said in an earlier post, I'm really feeling the holiday spirit this year. I've held off on starting the Christmas music but I am looking forward to it.  I'm planning on decorating this coming weekend and figured I would start playing it then.

It's funny to me that of all the year's, I feel like I shouldn't be in the spirit this year.  Money is VERY tight this year!  I'm busier than I've ever been and I am turning the DREADED 4-0 next week.  These are all things that are causing me a little stress so I guess Christmas will be a nice divergence!

Anyway, here is a glimpse at what is inspiring me this year......



 I just love decorations with pine cones....totally makes me think of Christmas!  The second image reminds me of spending time with my friends and family during the holiday's. We may have our differences throughout the year but everything is put aside during the holidays.  And best of all, the third picture reminds me of the time snuggling with my man in front of a fire with the tree lit in the background.

So join in to the linky party and get the spirit!


2012 Edublog Award

I would like to post my nominations for the 2012 Edublog Award.  Here we go:

New Blog:  "What's New in Room 202" ~ This new blog is by a fifth grade teacher.  She has fun, innovative ways to get the kids truly interested in learning.  Her blogs are detailed and original filled with great ideas and tips.  A MUST check out:

Group Blog: Awesome sight for free resources from a variety of amazing bloggers


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Poisonous Spiders

Happy Saturday!  My doggies got me up pretty early today :(  I was really hoping to sleep in a bit but oh well.  Around Halloween, I made this activity for my students.  At that point, we only had a limited number of sight words so I couldn't make too many cards.  I thought they might like it but oh man, they LOVED playing this game.  I promised them I would make more cards as we learned more sight words.  So here they are.  Even though it is Halloween themed, this activity can be used year round.

In this pack are three games.  Each game can have 2-4 players.  You can download the pack here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Word Hunt

Happy Friday!

Do your students get bored during Library Center time?  I know my kiddos do.  Early in the year, they have been exposed to a limited amount of text.  They are still learning those basic sight words so finding books just right for them can be challenging.  This activity is something my kids really enjoy.  I place these Word Hunt papers in the Library Center. Before they read their book they are allowed to go on a Word Hunt to look for the given words. Each time they find a word they make a tally mark (can you say integrated math?!?!)  This allows each student to preview the text before reading and to identify known words in the story.

I am offering this activity FREE!  I've included a blackline page that is blank so you can customize this activity to your own sight words.  I hope you find it helpful!  Click here to download.


Ten Frames

Report cards......UGH!  Our report cards are due tomorrow.  I only have a few comments to finish but they seriously drain me!  We had our annual Turkey Feast for our kiddos today.  We have 4 Kindergarten teachers.  Two cook the turkey's....not ME, and the other two do the shopping.  Although it is exhausting, it is nice to see the kids together enjoying a thanksgiving dinner/lunch.

I am truly blessed to have a high-level group of kiddos this year.  It's a lot of fun making games and activities that are a little bit harder than I've made in the past.  This group likes to be challenged and try new things too which is even better.  Tonight I made a Ten Frame activity for my kids to practice.  We've been reviewing Ten Frames to 10 but I think they are ready to move on, especially since we've been focusing on teen numbers.  This activity includes numbers 1-20.  My kids also like to use the dry erase markers any chance they get so I just laminate these types of activities and let them go.  If you don't have access to dry erase markers or would rather not use them, Bingo counters or buttons work just as well. When you download the activity, cut the pages in half for individual ten frame cards.  To preview or download click here.

TIP:  When using dry erase markers on laminated papers it can be hard getting the marker to erase.  Try Magic Erasers, they work wonders.  I buy them at the dollar store and cut them into three sections.  They last a really long time!

I will print the activity tonight and try to upload a pic tomorrow.  To get your, click here.

Tootles ~

Hidden Sight Words

As I was walking down the hallway at school this week I heard our 4th grade choir practicing for the upcoming Christmas Concert.  I was instantly inspired with the holiday spirit!  I haven't been feeling the spirit the last few years so I am thrilled to be feeling it now, especially since Christmas is my favorite holiday.

I got to thinking about one of my favorite activities as a kid.  My siblings and I would all fight to get my grandmother's copy of the Sunday Comics just so we could complete the hidden pictures puzzle. I LOVED finding each object hidden in the picture.  I've been wanting to create something similar for my kiddies at school so I thought this would be a great opportunity.

I absolutely LOVE the country cottage images.  I took the image above and hid 20 sight words from the Dolch Primer list.  Just provide your kiddos with a magnifying glass (dollar store item) and voila, you have an integrated Literacy / Writing center!

To download this product click here.  Hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Transportation Labels

Whew, what a day!  I still find it amazing how funny (and frank) kinders can be.  The private conversations they have are hysterical.  They definitely keep me on my toes!

I must say I am totally loving this blogging thing.   I was driving home tonight thinking about how I want my blog to look, what I want to say, and what I want people to be able to get out of it.  So I got to thinking what it is I love about reading other people's blogs.  What it boils down to is I enjoy the process of learning and the process of teaching.  I also love the process of learning from others - taking one idea and turning it into two or three different ideas.  Reading other blogs inspires me.  I want that for my blog - I want people to feel inspired and full of ideas when they leave.  I know it will take time to build up this lil ole blog but I am working at it.  I have to keep reminding myself it will get there in time.

So last night I worked on some Transportation Labels - for lack of a better term.  I use these in my classroom this year and LOVE them!  I used to stress when parents would write a note to let me know little Susie wouldn't be a car rider but a walker that day. I would worry that with the 8 million things running through my head that I would totally forget by the end of the day. 

All that you need are the labels and come colorful ribbon.  I added the pictures at the bottom for decorative purposes.  There is an image on each label that identifies car, bus, walker or after school program.  I wrote each child's name on cardstock and hot glued it onto clothespins I got at the dollar store.  Super Simple!  Now, when a note comes in from home changing the dismissal routine, I simply move that child's name from one to the other and forget about it.  I have this posted right next to my door so I know which student goes in which line.
The labels in my pack include 25 different borders - polka dots, solids, stripes, etc., but all with the same designations.  This pack can be downloaded at my TpT store by clicking here.  If you need something different written on the labels, just e-mail me and I will customize them. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Numbers 1-6

One of the many challenges teachers face is how to address the needs of every ability level in your class.  This year I have students reading on a 2nd grade level and those who do not know their letters or numbers.  To say this makes things difficult is an understatement!  I am very fortunate to have helpers from an upper grade come in at the end of the day. I've deliberately made games for my students who need to learn the basics and have my 6th grade helpers play with them.  They LOVE working with the older students and vice versa!

One of the skills my students need is to be able to identify numbers 1-10 by mid-point in the year. I feel this is too much in the beginning so I focus on 1-5/6.  We also introduce dice fairly early on in the year so I made a game to combine the two......Dice Race Games.  It's very simple to play and the kids can independently get the materials they need to play.....YAY!   I pair one uppergrade student with one kindergarten student.  Students gain practice in number identification as well as counting and identifying number on a die.  Best of all, the kids LOVE playing the game and don't even realize they are learning!  I will post a pic of the game tomorrow - left my camera in school :)

To access this game in my TpT Store, click here.

Sight Word Hopscotch

I'm on a roll tonight so I figured I would keep going.  First, I would like to say thank you to all the amazing veterans out there.  I am in awe of the sacrifices you made and continue to make!

I created this document as another way for my kids to practice their sight words.  The girls love to play hopscotch so I turned it into a game and they really love playing it!  I provide each student with a colored pom-pom (available at the dollar store.)  They can find a partner or play alone.  There are a total of 14 different hopscotch boards.  The words include number words, color words, and words from the Dolch list.  Just print out on cardstock for durability, laminate or put into a sheet protector, and voila, you have an instant center activity!

Click here to get your hopscotch boards from my TpT store.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sight Word Freebie

I figured a good way to start off my blog is to give away a FREEBIE! I know how much I love getting freebies so here it is. My kids absolutely love playing this game. I like creating lots of games for my kids to practice their "popcorn" words. We call them popcorn words because they "pop" up in all of our books. As you know, these words are soooo important to the emergent reader. Since we are only in the first three months of school, these boards only contain the words they've learned. As they learn more, I update the boards.

There are a number of ways to set up the game based on the resources you have. I am blessed to have access to a laminator in school so I print these out on cardstock and laminated them. The kids can use expo markers and play away! If you do not have access to laminating, you can place them in a clear protector sheet and they can mark right on them. You can also use colored pom-poms to mark your spot. The best part is these boards are completely editable so you can change the words to suit your needs. Hope you enjoy!

Click here to get your game boards.


Welcome to my blog!!!

Hi all! I've been wanting to do this FOREVER but I could never seem to figure things out or I just never had enough time - who does? So anywho, I wanted to have an outlet for sharing some of the things that I use in my classroom all the time. These resources have helped me a great deal. I am a firm believer in making learning FUN! There is nothing worse as a teacher than looking at 25 bored faces. I love creating games to teach / reinforce the skills my students need to learn to be successful.

I am incredibly blessed with a high-level group of students this year. In fact, I've been a little caught off guard by how advanced some of them are. This is my 3rd year teaching Kinder and I'm still compiling my resources. I haven't focused as much on advanced games because the need wasn't there. I've been following some other bloggers who tier their activities and I LOVE the idea! I want each activity to be challenging but not frustrating.

I hope you enjoy my blog. I'll be posting soon with some exciting games / activities for kinders. I'm always open to suggestions as well. Thanks for reading :)

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