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15 Dollar Store Finds to Use in Your Classroom...Right Away!

This week I had 13 of my sweet friends staying at my house for the Teachers Pay Teachers conference, and we had a blast!!  Some of my friends went home on Friday morning so the rest of us decided to hit the Dollar Tree to see what we could find!!   We decided to do our very first Facebook live video and share what we found.  Many of you asked us to do a follow-up blog post so you could grab the pictures of our ideas, so we decided to do a blog hop. Be sure and visit all five blogs to see all 15 of the ideas!

Here are the ideas that I shared during the video:

Hungry Shark Missing Addends Game

Materials Needed: Plastic shark sand toy, goldfish crackers
Here's how you play:
  • The students will play the game with a partner.
  • Determine what number your group of students will be working with and have them count out that many goldfish and say the number.  "SIX"
  • Player one will hide his or her eyes while player two has the shark "eat" some of the fish.
  • Player two will open his or her eyes and try to determine the missing addend.
  • They must frame their answer like this, _____ and _____ is 6.  So for example, if player one had the shark eat three fish it would sound like this,  "3 and 3 is 6.
  • Have the players switch roles and keep playing.   

 Materials Needed: Plastic fish sand toy, gummy worms
Game is played the same as Hungry Shark

Materials Needed: Coconut bra (use just one side), gummy bears
Game is played the same as Hungry Shark

Five Little Fishies

Materials Needed: five fish puppets (bath mitts from the baby section), shark bath mitt (this one is from Target)

  • Choose five students to be fish and one student to be the shark
  • The students will stand in a line as the class does the Five Little Fishies poem.  The children will sit down once their fish gets chomped.  
  • As a class state the equation, (for example, 5-1 is 4) each time a fish is chomped.
  • When you first start subtraction, you may only want to work on ONE LESS, so the shark would only eat one fish at a time.  Once your students have mastered one less you can let the shark chomp more than one at a time. 

Flash Card Holder

Materials Needed: plastic cutting board from the kitchen section, drill, metal ring, flashcards

This makes a great holder for your flashcards that you use for literacy and math warm up.
Just add your cards and you are all set!  I've included the ten frame cards and a template so that you can make your own cards. 


Are you ready to shop? Would you like a $25 gift card to get you started? Here's how you can win one! It's really simple. All you need to do is...

Follow each of us on Instagram. Each blogger will provide their link in their blog post.   Here’s mine:

•Visit each blog and read the ideas. Each post will have a link at the bottom to take you to the next blog.

•On the last blog you will find the rafflecopter to enter! 
So....what are you waiting for?  Click on the button to hop on over to Kim's blog and see her great ideas!

  • Not required, but I would love it if you would  leave a comment about your favorite activity

Addition Games to Build Number Sense

If you've ever worked with primary children, you've undoubtedly seen the look of frustration on your student's faces when they can't quite grasp the understanding of addition and subtraction.  Usually, the problems stem from teachers introducing abstract symbols before students have had a lot of real experiences manipulating objects to help them develop a sense of quantity, number combinations, and number relationships. "Symbols come to have meaning only when they are associated with these real experiences." Kathy Richardson  So put away the workbooks and flashcards and break out the games.  If you've used mine and Deedee's Kindergarten or First Grade Math Units you know that we are a firm believer in giving kids conceptual experiences to help them develop a deep understanding of number sense.  Here are a few ideas for things that you can do in your classroom to help your students build number sense for addition and subtraction.  

Use the “Five Little this and five little that” poems to work on addition and subtraction.  Let the kids be the manipulatives.  Use language like,  "3 and 2 is 5," so that when it comes time to introduce the symbols for addition they will already have a conceptual understanding. 

 These monster puppets are a great way to get your students involved in the math poem.

Give your students lots of opportunities to play games that require them to build two sets of objects and then count them to see how many in all. 

You can use any manipulatives that you have in your room and a set of dice to get started.  Kids love using real objects like pom poms, keys, pattern blocks, and unifix cubes. 

Abby and I teamed up to work on some games to help your students strengthen their number sense.  You can read her post here.  We just finished the second set of math games, and this set is all about Addition. There are ELEVEN games, and they are on sale for almost 40% off until Wednesday.
 Here's some of what's included:

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope you are enjoying your summer!!

Teaching with Informational Texts: Close Reading Lessons for One Tiny Turtle

One Tiny Turtle was written by one of my favorite authors, Nicola Davies. 

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

This book chronicles the life cycle of the loggerhead sea turtle.

As with most informational texts, we start by discussing our schema on the subject. We want students to think about what they already know and attach their new understandings to their prior knowledge.    Here are a few of the responses we got.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles hatch and go to the sea and live there forever!

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles live in the sea.    Sea turtles start out as tiny as bottle caps.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles live in the sea.  They use their shells to hide from big things.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtle start in shells.  When they get older they live in water.  Mom turtles hide there eggs under the sand.

 After reading the text, we create an anchor chart to help support our new learning.
One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

Students worked on their own All About Turtles books.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles have to hurry to the ocean so they won't get eaten.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles have hard shells later [when] they are older.
In addition to reading One Tiny Turtle, there are also fantastic videos.  Johnathan Bird's Blue World are always fantastic.

The lesson plans ending with a fun sea turtle life cycle activity.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

I also wanted to mention that we have added an additional version of the reading skills charts AND skills rubrics to our Guiding Readers units.  If you have already purchased our units, these are FREE to you.  Just go to "My Purchases" on TpT.

Here is a peek at what they look like.

You can find the lesson plans for One Tiny Turtle HERE.
You can find the entire Guided Reading Series HERE.


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