Saturday, February 16, 2013

Great Dice for Math!

The other day when I was visiting the teacher across the hall from me, I noticed she had these super cool dice!  I spent no time and got on Amazon and ordered my own!  You get a container of 72 dice for under $13 (they're on sale now)!  This is great because instead of having your kids roll two die, they only need ONE!
I'm not going to do a post about all the wonderful things you can do with dice to practice math (since I am assuming that most people who are reading this already have great ideas), but I DID want to share with you these cool dice!  You can order them by clicking HERE.  I have had them for about a month now and my kids (first graders) love them and so do I!
(My 'real' kids also like them and use them to race multiplication facts too.)
I noticed that one reviewer on Amazon said that the inner dice doesn't turn around freely but I haven't had that problem.

First Grade Insect Report/Museum

My first graders LOVE learning about insects!  One of the highlights of the year is when we finish our unit by having an "Insect Museum."  The students research one insect and make a model of that insect to bring into school.  We practice sharing our reports and what we learn in class and then later for the school and parents.  This is a great experience in oral language too!
If you would like to use the report we use at our school, you can click HERE.
I don't believe in that "Teacher Pay Teacher" stuff... 
If I already made it for my kids, why not let you have it for your's?  I (clearly) didn't get into this profession for the money!
I'm sure I'll tweak this as time goes on (I've already tweaked it a few times).  If I do, I'll try to remember to update this post!

Valentine's Fun

Valentine's Day was a blast this year so I thought I'd share some of the things I did.  I gave my family a "Heart Attack."  I saw the idea on Pinterest and then tweaked it a bit.  What I did was cut out a ton of hearts (this is easier if you have a cricut or paper cutter) and then I wrote personal notes (reasons) I love everyone in my family on each heart.  I then shuffled them up and spread them out on our kitchen island.  I made sure I had equal amounts for my kids (because I knew they would check) and also threw some in for my husband and the family pets (dogs and tortoise). I also sprinkled in some plastic and glittered hearts to make it look more festive and added some heart garland to jazz up our pendant lights.  I bought four mylar balloons (one for each kid) and tied them to stools.  Since I shopped at the Dollar Tree, this whole thing cost me $7!  The kids were SO excited about this and it is DEFINITELY something I plan to do for years to come.  I imagine them in college opening up a box and dumping out hearts with my love notes to them!

I am equally as cheap frugal when it comes to my gifts for my husband. I got him a lot of candy (also from the dollar store) and wrote cute cheesy messages (puns) to go with each one.  Since my folks come over in the morning to get our kids on the bus I also had a candy bar for my dad (A 100 Grand bar that said, "I think you deserve a raise."), and since my mom is currently on WW and doing awesome, I gave her an edible Valentine that wouldn't be quite so many points!

When it came to the Valentines my kids gave out, my boys just wanted to do the store bought variety (which was great because it was easy and the Dollar Tree had some paper airplane Valentines which were pretty neat).  My daughter however, decided that she wanted to give out Sweedish Fish.  The only problem is there was no cute packaging for them, so we made our own.  We found a fishbowl clip art and typed in some "Fishy" messages which she glued on card stock and signed.  She then put the fish in zip-lock baggies and I just stapled them on because it was quick.  They actually turned out really cute.  If you want to steal this template, you can just click HERE to get it (why recreate the wheel?).
 I was also pretty excited with the way the Valentines I made for my other kids (my students) came out.  I was up so late the night before getting things ready for home/school that I kicked these guys out during my half hour prep!  I made these cards on Publisher (they have a template for them).  On the front I wrote, "Happy Valentine's Day!  There's no erasing the fact that you are one amazing First Grader!" and I taped an eraser below the message.
On the inside, I added group pictures from my blog and wrote, "Wishing you a Valentine's Day that is "Write On!" and gave them a pencil.  I got great feedback from the kids and even some parents which was cool! I'm thinking this is definitely something I am doing again next year.  I got the erasers and pencils from (you guessed it!!!) The Dollar Tree.

The other thing I did in school which was a big hit (though I didn't take any pictures of it), was I gave each student a cut out heart (similar to the kind I made for my "Heart Attack") and the name of one other friend from class.  They wrote their friend a nice (secret) note about how special they are and while they were at lunch, I hung all the hearts from the ceiling with red ribbon.  When they came back they saw all the hearts and had a fun time finding their own!  It also made the room look even more festive for the holiday!
Happy Valentine's Day!