Classroom Planning A-Z ~ Helping teachers prepare for Back-to-School

Classroom Planning A-Z

It’s back-to-school season! There are SO many things for teachers to do during this time and SO much to remember. Last year, I made a Classroom Planning list with detailed notes about each item and links to some freebies and resources to help you accomplish the things on your to-do list. It’s a free resource on Teachers Pay Teachers. My listing there has it for new teachers, but I’ve heard from many veteran teachers who have found it helpful. I’m using it right now to make sure I don’t forget anything!

Birthday Bags for Students
One very easy tip is to prepare NOW for the birthdays that you will celebrate throughout the year. What will you do about summer birthdays? Are you giving each student a little gift? I’ve seen cute, simple ideas of just a giant pixie stick with a birthday note attached or a book (use Scholastic points!) is always a great idea. I put together little gift bags. I’ve made a video of what’s inside. Click here or on the picture above to watch the video on YouTube.

Click here to download the free A-Z Planning Guide for Teachers!

What do you do to prepare for back-to-school? What should I add to my checklist? Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

Holiday Cookie Hop 2015 & FREEBIE!

I’m excited to link up with some fabulous bloggers at Classroom Tested Resources to bring you some delicious cookie recipes!

My recipe will be one that is super popular in my house! They are a sweet no-bake cookie and they are really easy to make! You just make a cookie “dough” and shape it into logs that you wrap in waxed paper. The joke at our house is always that we each need a whole roll to ourselves – forget slicing them into cookies! We will come to mom’s house and see the rolls and comment “here is my roll – I don’t know what the rest of you are going to eat!” They are addicting!

This recipe is from my Nana. We started calling her Nana Betty when my mom became a Nana and there were two Nanas around. Her real name was Marjorie, but she went by Betty. She grew up in New Zealand — hence our name for the cookies. I have no idea if they are common there or just a family recipe. 

Nana married and moved to Minnesota where she raised 3 children. When her oldest grandchild – me! – was born, she moved to Las Vegas to be close to us. My dad was stationed in the Air Force at the time. I was a completely spoiled grand-baby and was always telling her I needed a trip to K-Mart to fix some boo-boo — real or imagined! 

My family ended up moving to Washington state and Nana stayed in Las Vegas. We visited there often while I was growing up. Eventually, she moved to Oregon and later moved into my parent’s house. That was the best because I was able to see her more frequently. She played UNO games with us — and usually won even when she appeared to have no idea what was happening! We took her with us on trips with all the cousins (her great-grandchildren) for things like Pioneer Farms where she watched as the kids milked cows and cut wood with an old fashioned saw. She was 92 when she passed away. Days before, I was able to leave school and drive 3 and a half hours to spend time with her in the hospital and hold her hand. I miss her and think of her often. I was so blessed to have such a sweet Nana!

The main part of this recipe is a “dough” made of crushed vanilla wafers and sweetened condensed milk. You only need a small amount of the other ingredients. The recipe is at the end of this post. 

First, you crush a box of vanilla wafer cookies. I use a rolling pin, but a food processor makes this even easier. 

Next, you mix the crushed cookies with a can of sweetened condensed milk. Then, add some mini marshmallows (colorful ones make it look nice), raisins, chocolate chips, chopped maraschino cherries and chopped nuts. I use walnuts and chop them a little finer than the chopped walnuts that you can purchase at the store. I love this little chopper by Pampered Chef. It’s perfect for little jobs like this. 

It looks a little messy at this point. It should be a moist mixture that can easily be molded into logs. 

Separate the mixture into 3 piles and roll each one into a log. Then roll each log into coconut. *Hint: roll them on a counter top or plate – not the waxed paper like I did. It’s too sticky so I had to discard this waxed paper and get another piece to wrap them.

Wrap the log in waxed paper and refrigerate for several hours. These can also be placed in the freezer and then refrigerated to thaw a bit before slicing. Slice each log into individual cookies. Enjoy!!

New Zealand No-Bake Cookies

I hope that you enjoy this recipe! Check out the other bloggers for recipes that look absolutely delicious. Many bloggers have also included freebies. 

I’ve made a SCOOT multiplication freebie for this blog hop. Scoot games are great because the students move (scoot) from desk to desk so they get to move. If ever there is a time that students need to move – this is it! This freebie can help you (and your students) make it to winter break! Just click on the picture to go my TPT store and download the freebie. I’d love for you to leave feedback and follow my store!

 Multiplication Freebie

So, make some great cookies, a mug of apple cider (my latest favorite beverage — try the Keurig pods!) and find a quiet place by the tree to just chill this week-end. You deserve it!


How I Survived the First Day of School + Blog Hop + FREEBIE

I’m so happy to be a part of the Fall in Love with Teaching Blog Hop. Please read to the end to find a FREEBIE, giveaway from me & the blog hog giveaway! 
I’m sketching out this post a month before it is due. It is currently 8/24 and I have a week until school starts. I am hoping for that blog post title. Being ready for the 1st day of school & surviving are seriously in question right now!! Not only am I moving to a new grade (1st to 3rd), our school decided to renovate right before school starts. We were in desperate need of new paint and carpet and it was provided by a generous donor. The downside is that I am not in my room yet, and I’ve only been able to prepare some things at home. If I were still teaching 1st grade, I could go into auto-pilot and make this work. It is an extra challenge to figure out a new grade level when my room (as of tonight) has unassembled furniture and all of my things are in another space and can’t be accessed. 
15 days before school!!!
My online teacher friends (you all are awesome!) have been encouraging me with talk of a “blank palette”. My mind is simply on surviving Orientation (the night before) and the 1st day of school! I am mostly trying to not to think of all the details and keep moving to accomplish something – by the yard it’s hard, by the inch a cinch – right? 🙂
10 days before school!!

Carpet & pain completed – no furniture and can’t get to all my boxes 🙁
Some year, or perhaps this year, you will find yourself in a difficult situation which may even seem impossible. New administration/office staff/teachers, renovations and new grade level are the ones I’m dealing with this year. I want to pass along to you some of the great and encouraging tips that I received from my online friends. Of course, I will also have some teaching goodies along the way so make sure you read through to the end!
1. “This year my room may not be all that I want it to be. But, next year, it will be amazing!” – LOL! This comment made me laugh and think. It was posted by a teacher who will be moving her classroom after school starts. It always helps to know that you are not the only one. Other teachers are dealing with all kinds of situations and we are a strong and creative bunch who know how to make things work. Sometimes you just have to hold on loosely to your dreams and ideals and be willing to let some things go. 
2. “The students will love to help their new teacher set up parts of the room. Bonding experience!” So true! Anything that I can do together with the students will really help build our classroom community. I am likely going to go this route out of necessity. I am looking forward to having an older grade. I’ve made some lesson plans for the 1st week – can we really call it a plan for that 1st week? It may be more like lesson thoughts, hopes and ideas! I put in a time that first morning for them to sort through the supplies with me and label things and put them away. That will be a first! In 1st grade, you need everything setup and ready-to-go! 
3. “All that room needs is a motivated teacher to love on those students! You got this!!” My favorite comment! This is something that I just need to post above my computer this year. It helps to focus on what really matters – the students. We’ve been given a gift to have a part in these young lives. I’m so excited about the lessons that I have planned for this year – – both academic skills & character development. We truly have the opportunity to make a difference. These children are the present and the future! Find a way to encourage and inspire your students each day. Those are the lessons they remember long after they’ve forgotten how your room was setup or the little things that you wanted to get to and just couldn’t get finished. Let it go. Focus on the big picture.
BTW, these are all comments from some wonderful Instagram followers. It is such a fun way to share pictures. I am so inspired by the teaching ideas that I find there and obviously the teachers are so encouraging. You can follow me at TeacherTreasureHunter.
A work in progress…
pretty new bookcases
1st day of school! I made it this far. 🙂 Parts of the room look good!
I wish that I had some beautiful pictures for you of my entire completed room. Nope! It is getting close, but still a work in progress. The whiteboard (that I use for everything) was leaning against the wall for the 1st week and little things are being added all the time (new desk chair today and hanging pocket by the door). I’m still waiting for a place for the students to put backpacks and book bags. However, the parts that are finished are looking very good!
**Scroll down to the end of this post to read an update – How I’m Surviving After 4 Weeks!
I hope you found these comments from my online friends inspiring. If you need some practical tips to survive your teaching year, you may enjoy my FREE Classroom Planning A-Z Guide
I will continue to make materials that are suitable for 1st grade since that is where I have the most experience (and it will always have a piece of my heart regardless of other grades that I teach!). I will also be making more products for 3rd grade. I already have several animal products that are a great fit for both of those grades. I’ve used my animal research packs with groups of 1st-5th graders at the end of the year and they’ve all enjoyed the researching and writing. I’m going to give away 2 animal research bundles ($20 value each). Just join my email list to be entered into the contest. 
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UPDATE: After 4 weeks of teaching, I feel like I might survive! 🙂 Honestly, it has been a difficult experience but it does help to focus on the big picture. Here are some amazing things that have happened in the last few weeks:

*My new students are totally fitting into the class. We have a small school and it is a family like atmosphere. It’s so wonderful when they make new friends right away and feel like they belong. 
*One of my students told me right away that they don’t like to read and they only like Minecraft. I tried to suggest some great books and even mentioned Minecraft books. Nope! Fast forward to this week…that student has recorded the most reading out of all the 3rd graders (over 500 minutes) and won a special bead for the reading chains (see picture). He told me “I am so, so proud of myself!” THAT is worth so much!!
*I’m starting to figure out the 3rd grade curriculum and ways to incorporate the kinds of hands on teaching and activities that I love. Yesterday, the students pretended to be parts of the ear (2 students were the outer ear (arch for the sound to enter), the aisle was the auditory canal, 1 student was the ear drum, 3 were the bones of the middle ear (see the stirrup – triangular shaped hands), 1 was the cochlea (those curled up hands are supposed to look like a spiral!) and 2 students were the nerves. Of course 1 student had to be the sound and another the brain! They had so much fun bouncing the sound off the eardrum and through the middle ear and eventually to the brain. 
So, we are getting on to the important work of teaching. I still have a few bulletin boards to put up and some blank spaces on my walls. The kids have never once commented on that! Those aren’t the things that matter a whole lot to them. 
One of my sweeties wrote on the back of her paper – I love Mrs. Michael and Lizzy so much! I now rank up there with the classroom gecko – I’ll take it! I’m so glad that the students are learning and enjoying the process.
Click on the picture below to go to Jennifer’s post at The Blessed Teacher. She has some great tips for teaching grammar!

Labor LESS blog hop! Time Saving Tips + FREEBIE

Hello everyone!


Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!

All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!

I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time for ourselves and our families.

So here I go!

Here are a couple little tips (and a freebie!) that can save you time in the classroom.

Do you have students borrow pencils all the time and suddenly find that all the pencils at your desk or reading table are missing? A simple solution is to add a little flag to each pencil. Use a small piece of washi tape to wrap around the pencil until the two sides of the tape meet and stick to each other. Trim the tape into a point or just make it easy. Voila! Super easy pencil flag. There are so many patterns and colors of washi tape. You can even choose to use different patterns for pencils that belong in different areas. You can find washi tape at craft stores and even at Wal-Mart for a good price.

I love binders! I would much rather have my teaching materials in binders than in filing cabinets. I like to keep worksheets pages, printables and other ideas separated in monthly theme binders. I just type a list of the included themes on the front of the binder and use tabs to separate the sections.

I’ve included a free download for you to create your own monthly binders. You can edit the box on the front of the cover to make a list of the included themes. Just click on the picture above to download.
Two of my favorite ways to spend my free time are spending time with my family and reading. Our family loves spending time together. We went on a few trips this summer and that is all my boys can talk about. They can’t wait until next summer so they can get out of school 🙂 and spend time camping and relaxing with the family. One is a teenager and one is a pre-teen so I’m grateful they still want to spend time with us! The time is passing way too quickly! Facebook just showed this picture from 8 years ago on Labor Day weekend.

What??  It’s hard to believe they were that little. Such precious memories!

Another favorite thing is reading. I have been teaching 1st grade for 7 years and I’m teaching 3rd grade this year. It’s only been 4 days of school so far, but I have to tell you that it’s been like a vacation! I was shocked that I could actually read with them during the free reading time and they don’t need my constant attention. I can actually get lost in a book and share with them afterwards while we talk about what we read. It’s wonderful! I finally had a chance to read Wonder (R.J. Palacio) this week. Such a great book! I love this quote from the book…

I stopped at a thrift store today and of course I had to buy even more books for my classroom! A few of these are for my boys, but most are for the class.

BTW, I share these type of pictures on Instagram. I’d love for you to follow me. I’m @teachertreasurehunter
My most popular products at this time of year are my QR codes. They really do make reading centers a breeze. If you do Daily 5 or want to have your students listen to reading – this is the answer. Students can scan a QR code and listen to someone read the story. The links are of people (usually teachers & librarians) reading the stories on YouTube. The links do not go directly through YouTube, but are SafeShare links so that students don’t see other videos, adds or yucky comments. My students love these! Click on the picture below to see a bundle of QR packs. They are also sold individually and there is a free pack (Mercer Mayer stories) so that you can test them and make sure they will work in your classroom.

*Follow my TPT store so you don’t miss out on freebies and new products. Newly listed products are 50% off for the first 24 hours! 🙂

Thanks for reading! Enjoy your long weekend!

Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!
A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT
2 $25 gift cards to TpT


1 $10 gift card to TpT
Thank you for reading! And now don’t be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway//


Exciting News! Educents Store Launch & $50 giveaway

Exciting news! Educents has added storefronts to their marketplace. They are known for being the go-to deal site for teachers. They feature teaching products and downloadable curriculum that is offered at a bargain price for a limited time. I always thought of them as a groupon type of site for teachers. Now, they’ve added stores. This means that Educents can be your go-to place to find any curriculum you need. So, if you are looking for something to help you with teaching adjectives to your 1st graders you don’t need to wait for a special deal. You can go to the stores and search for your specific needs.

Here are 3 things that you really should do so you don’t miss out any Educents deals!

1) Download my Watch the Clock freebie! This game will help your students practice telling time to the hour, half hour & quarter hour. Students take turns being the time keeper. They get to watch the clock and announce the time when the clock matches their printed clock. A tip that I’ve learned for this game is to not start “clock watching” until there are only a few minutes left. You don’t want them to spend the whole time watching! Just set a timer for a few minutes before and give the chosen student a warning that it’s time to start watching. The kids love playing this game and get so much authentic time-telling practice! The cards are very versatile. There are so many games and activities that you could do with these clocks. So, download the whole set today!

2) Follow my Educents store! Just click on the heart at the top of the store. I’ll be featuring discounts and deals that you don’t want to miss. If you like Teacher Treasure Hunter products or have been wanting to try them in your classroom, then this is a great way to find out about new products. I’ll also be participating in some of the Educents deals which offer bundles at big discounts.

3) Enter the Educents giveaway! You could win $50 credit at Educents! Wouldn’t that be a fun shopping spree? Good luck!
Educents Marketplace $50 in Edubucks Giveaway #10 – Kinder & First Grade Stores

Birthday FREEBIE & Product Swap

I have to tell you that this has been a long, exhausting week – – and I still have Friday (the 100th day) to celebrate! There are some weeks that just have too many events! This week we had an Open House at school (showing off the student’s work), Groundhog Day (he saw his shadow! /floor ) and the 100th Day. Oh, and it’s my birthday today! I think I will spend the day sleeping once I finally get home. 🙂

I have a few freebies to share with you on my birthday. 🙂  The first 2 are birthday related items for your classroom. There are certificates (2 styles-2 files!) and a birthday bulletin board set where you can put the student’s birthday on the cupcake for that month. Click on the pictures above to download these freebies!

The next freebie is one that I put together for the Open House this week. The first graders had their Arctic reports on display. I used this About the Author page for the cover. I took a picture of each student holding a picture of the Arctic animal that they studied. I used the Arctic Animal Research Pages & pictures from my Arctic Animals unit on TPT. They turned out great and the kids really enjoyed working on this project. They get to become “experts” on the animal that they study!

I have also been participating in a product swap that was organized by Erin at Learning to Be Awesome.

Learning to be Awesome

I reviewed a product from Sharon who has the Teaching with Sight blog. She is a NBCT kindergarten teacher. I chose to review the Fantasy Guided Reading Unit. This product was designed for K-2nd grade students.
I used the story The Three Billy Goats Gruff for this review. I used it with my lower reading group. I was interested in this particular set of stories because it seemed like it would support my struggling readers and it had a writing component. Also, I have not used fantasy stories much so I figured we should experience more genres. It did work out well for my reading group. What I did not guess was my student’s reaction to the story. You’ll have to read to the end of the review to get the “student review”. 🙂
We started out by reviewing the vocabulary that would be used in the story. Sharon has provided the kids with words they need to know and a picture of the word. I had my students circle some of the sounds that we practice. These words also include their favorite sound – wa in water. I call it the baby sound and we make a crying baby saying wa-wa! 
We then read the story together. The picture clues were very helpful and it is written for beginning readers. It was so great for them to have a story they could easily read. We want to scaffold learning and keep the students going to the next level, but sometimes it is nice to just give them something they absolutely know and let them be super successful. It really helps to build their confidence.
Next, the students did a little re-write of the story. They wrote about what happened as each of the goats crossed the bridge. 

This story also has some comprehension questions (with a word bank), a place to write and draw about your favorite part and a place to write your own ending. Writing an alternate ending was definitely the favorite part for my students. It was interesting to hear their diverse reactions. Some said they would push the troll into the water. One said they would just swim across and avoid the troll on the bridge. And there was one who said he would be a friend to the troll. Maybe that is what that mean troll needs – friendship!

The best part of this whole experience was that when we finished the students asked if they could do more! They really liked this story. I was just going to use the one story in this pack because we have other materials for our reading group, but this was so appealing to them that I really need to use some more stories. This is a huge pack (over 100 pages!) and it has 12 stories in it. My first grader will be so excited to learn that we can do more stories like this.

Please visit Sharon’s blog, Teaching with Sight. I just found out as I was writing this blog post that she is not only a kindergarten teacher and ballroom dancer, but also that she is completely blind. There is a wonderful introduction video on her blog that shows her teaching. She is an inspiration.

Make sure that you visit the other bloggers participating in this product swap. Not only will you discover teaching materials for your classroom, there are many giveaways and special treats along the way.

Enjoy your weekend!


National Hat Day on January 15th and Teaching Across the USA Linky

In just a few days, it will be National Hat Day! Who knew? This holiday caught my attention because hats are a big deal in lower elementary. If you want to make an occasion extra fun then just add a hat (or crown!). So, here are some activity ideas for you that involve hats. Use them on January 15th or save them for a special day that needs a little extra excitement!

1) Free hat printables to use as photo booth props ~ use these for photo ops or even as props for a puppet show. It would be fun to have the students write a description of the type of person that they think would wear that hat. Young or old? Tall or short? Color of hair and eyes? If they had a dog, what type would it be? You could make a whole list of questions and then have them write some sentences describing this person. Take a picture of the hat or have them draw a picture of their imaginary character and then use the hat photo prop with the drawing and take a photo. 

2) Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans ~ There are many book series that feature a character who likes to wear a hat! Madeline is a classic one. This link shows you how to make a Madeline hat from a bowl and plate. It’s really cute!

3) The Hat by Jan Brett is a classic winter story. I love that this book features a hedgehog and that Jan Brett actually has a pet hedgehog named Pudge! Hedgehogs are super cute, but I recently discovered that they don’t always make good pets. A teacher was given one that hadn’t really been handled much. I attempted to “tame” it over a few months and had some bites as a consequence! She still doesn’t like people. 🙁 I think the key might be to adopt one when it is a baby and can get used to being handled. I would still love to have one as a pet! This freebie by 1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray! asks students to compare The Hat & The Mitten. Then they decorate their own hats & mittens and use their best writing to describe them. 

4) Mr. Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard showcases a variety of the silly and cute hats that his kinders have made. They make a hat a week! This might be something you would like to incorporate in your classroom. Check out his blog post with product ideas for creating learning hats. 

5) Arctic Animal Crown Game – I just created a TPT freebie that is a fun learning activity for my firsties as they study Arctic animals. We played it today and they had a great time! I had them play in groups of 2 or 3. They used the question prompt card to ask questions and figure out which animal was on the crown. I used a paperclip to attach the animal to each crown. It’s a good idea to print at least 2 copies of the animal cards. When a pair of students finished and identified their animal they asked for another one. So, I rotated around the room and put a different animal on the crown so they could play again. This is good for verbal skills and helps them learn more about Arctic animals. Have fun!

Lucy at Here’s an Idea is having a linky about what people eat in your state. I’m representing for Washington, but I had a hard time thinking of a distinct dish that is associated with our state. Of course, Washington is known for a fruit – apples! Over 1/2 of the apples that are sold for eating in the US come from our state. My family has been trying to focus on health lately and one of our goals has been to eat an apple a day. I’ve had an apple almost every day for this school year. There are many health benefits. I just read about the 3 apples a day plan – eat an apple before each meal. I may need to try that one. 🙂

Have a great week! Happy hat day!

January Calendar Days & National Bird Day freebies

Here is a list of some celebrated National Holidays in January – you may find a few surprising ones! You might have fun wearing some new socks on National Argyle Day or start a classroom band on National Kazoo Day. 🙂

I’m anxious to get back to my classroom and start working on Arctic animal studies! It’s one of my favorites. You can check out my best-seller: Arctic Animal Research Pages by clicking here. So, it doesn’t seem like a great time for me to celebrate National Bird Day! However, there are some great ideas and freebies out there for birds. I’ve listed some at the end of this post. You could use them on Monday or just hold onto these ideas until spring. Another way to incorporate two themes: focus on birds in the Arctic! They just happen to be some of the most fascinating birds that I’ve studied! A few of my favorites are the Arctic Tern, Peregrine Falcon & Snowy Owl.

The small Arctic Tern circumnavigates the globe during migration. They are also very territorial and will attack animals (or people!) who come near the next. I also just found out that they can hover!
[youtube] I can usually trick my 1st graders by asking them to name the fastest animal. Most of them will say the cheetah. Wrong! The cheetah is the fastest land animal and can reach speeds of 70 mph. The peregrine falcon can reach speeds of 200 mph while diving! Incredible! My students already know this since I can never wait until January to teach it! Plus, there was a passenger on board the Mayflower who was named Peregrine (Peregrine White – He was actually born after they arrived and while they were still anchored in the harbor). This year, one of my littles, drew that name for their “Pilgrim Name” and so they definitely had to learn about that bird. I’m curious as to why that name was chosen. I wonder if those birds were near the boat during their voyage?

Everything about owls is so fascinating – owl pellets, asymmetrical ears, variety of homes, etc. There is a wealth of information to keep young learners interested. Snowy Owls are one of the animals in my Arctic Animals unit and there is also an All About Owls product that helps students learn about owls while learning new vocabulary.

On to some general freebies and crafts about birds. 🙂

1) My friend, Chrystine, at Tweet Resources has made these awesome I have…Who Has… games. My kiddos love these games! It just so happens that there is a Bird Joke freebie game. I am SO excited to print this out and use it in my classroom. My 1st graders will love it!

2) I love this inspirational poster by Ben Clarance. It’s a great reminder to celebrate individuality!

The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. – Henry van Dyke.

3) Montessori Print Shop has created a wonderful freebie to teach about bird adaptations and beaks.

4) Here is an easy bird feeder made with a cardboard tube. You can read about it @ The Ramblings of a Crazy Woman. 🙂 This seems like it would actually be a great project for this time of year. Does anyone know if they will come if you start leaving out food in the winter? Have they already found other food sources by then or are they always looking?

5) I chose this for a craft once for 1st-5th graders. They turned out so cute! It is You just need to cut out the template from the pages of an old book (Goodwill!) and then lightly ink the edge and apply a little glitter. Then, attach to a clothespin! Beautiful!

6) This is a freebie (sample) from my Animal Writing pages with word banks. Just click on the picture to download. I love to give the students a list of words related to what they are writing about. It gives them such confidence and helps them to become more detailed writers. They often have lots of info. – they just need practice to express it well!

Another bird resource to consider adding to your teaching resources is this wonderful book by Dianna Aston. She has a few more books like this (a butterfly one, etc.) and they are all fantastic! I hope she keeps creating them! I love that the front endpapers have pictures of the eggs and the back endpapers have pictures of the birds. You can spend a while just matching up the two!

I really should make a general bird unit! I absolutely love teaching about birds. 🙂 In addition to the products listed above, I also have one for Bald Eagles.

I hope that you’ve learned a bit about birds and found some new resources for your classroom. Thanks for visiting! I’d love to hear a comment or two! 🙂

National Dice Day ~ December 4th

Today is National Dice Day! Dice are a part of many fun family games — including Monopoly, Boggle & Yahtzee. They are also a fun part of many educational math games. 

Dice found at Cantonment Clinch (1823-1834) in Pensacola, Florida
Dice have been around for a very long time! In Iran, archaeologists discovered the oldest known dice. They are over 5,000 years old! I couldn’t find a picture that I could post, but you can see a picture of the oldest dice here. The picture on the left shows dice that were likely used during the American Civil War. Historically, dice have been made from bone, wood, ivory & plastic. There are many more materials available today. A little trivia – –did you know that the dots on dice are called pips? This is also the word for the dots on dominoes. 

We have been taught that die is the singular form of dice. However, according to the Oxford dictionary, dice is now used for both singular and plural. I wish I would have know that at the beginning of my research for this post! While looking for graphics to use, I typed “dice” into the search field of a graphics site and when there weren’t any results (should I say – “no dice” LOL!) I quickly typed in die. Then, I started laughing thinking about the absurdity of finding a graphic for die on this cute graphics site that caters to scrapbookers– not to mention what will the site owner think when they look at the history of search terms. I’m pretty sure that I will be the only one who used that search term!

There are many great classroom resources that use dice. I’ve provided a little list here of some freebies. Read to the end of the post for a few ways to organize your dice collection!

1) Winter Dice Games by Teacher Treasure Hunter
2) Winter Color by Sum created by Teacher Tam
3) Polar Express Roll and Cover Games created by Mary Lirette
4) Roll a Snowman by the Tutu Teacher
5) Roll it! Make it! Expand it! worksheet by Rebecca Anderton – Teaching First
6) Roll a Tree a Christmas worksheet for adding 3 digits by Fun in First
7) Save the Snowman a winter game by Heather’s Heart
8) Anna, Elsa & Sven dice game for number recognition by the Activity Mom

Here are some great ideas to keep your dice organized:
*Put dice in magnetic containers that are put on a hanging cookie sheet (cutesified!)
*Plastic craft boxes with multiple compartments
*Plastic bin storage made for organization nails and other hardware (repurposed!)

Keep the dice QUIET with these ideas:
*Dice in a water bottle
*Glue felt or foam to the bottom of a container

Happy dice day! Now, go “shake” things up in your math lesson today!