Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Character Education FREEBIES

Happy Holidays, friends!
With all the hustle & bustle that this season sometimes brings...shopping, baking, crafting, mailing, decorating, etc., I like to turn it down a notch by helping my kiddos remember how to be the BEST ME.
I came up with some quick and easy activities focused on some of the character traits/qualities found in most Character Education programs/curriculums. Even if your school doesn't specifically teach these traits, I love the idea of incorporating these simple holiday-themed activities into your days leading up to the holiday break. Many of them take no more than 20 minutes are can be done individually and/or in groups. 

Check back every other day to pick up a new activity focused on a different character trait. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Havin' a BLast with BLends

Have you ever wanted to create something, but time and life got in the way?
You know, like that wreath you've been wanting to 
make every Christmas since 2004.
Or that chair you thought you'd have reupholstered by now. 
That's literally the story of my life.
Grand plans, but extremely delayed execution. 

This is just another example of that.
I've been wanting to make this product since 2009! (don't judge)
So I bought the clipart this past summer and finally put my nose to the computer these past few weeks. A little here and a little there and TA DA...

Please let me introduce you to 
{Click on image or here to buy)

This colorful, not-so-little thing (100+ pages) is packed full of games that 
could take literacy centers by storm!
Six (L) blends (bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, and sl) are covered in 3 game formats: 


After initial instruction, these games could provide hours of practice and challenge for students to put that new learning to use. 
Plus, I threw in some opportunities for extended learning through 
blend creation and writing.  

Since consonant blends are mostly covered in First and Second Grades, you'll find four 1st grade CCSS and six 2nd grade CCSS, in addition to one Anchor Standard. Standards are either covered directly or indirectly through game play. 

Want to see these games in action, keep reading...

I gathered up some sweet friends (K-2) from my neighborhood to take these games for a spin-around-the-block. They did great and genuinely loved playing. I don't even think they knew they were practicing (L) Blends...and I didn't break it to them either. 

We started with the Mend the Blend 3-Piece Puzzles
There are 12 self-correcting puzzles per blend (72 total). 
For the sake of time, I only provided the BL blend puzzles. 
These are simple cut, laminate, & cut again.  
Just spread these bad-boys out and let the kids reassemble. 
 This little cutie was great at recognizing the self-correcting designs.
Additionally, the 5 other blend puzzles are varying colors to help students correctly assemble puzzles if multiple blends are played at the same time. 
 See how blueberries and blackboard have slightly different shaped pieces?
To add an extra layer of extension or challenge, have your students fill out the My Mended Blends Puzzle sheet. You can have students simply list the words in the appropriate blend category. Or bump up the difficulty by having them put words in ABC order under each blend category.

Additionally, if you're looking to really challenge your kiddos, print off a few blank templates and have students create their own blend words and pictures to add to the game.

Moving on. . .
Clipboard Clue requires students to carefully listen to 3 hints and make logical guesses about what blend word is being described. Blend picture cards can help students narrow down choices, but difficulty can be added by removing them from the game. 
An answer sheet is provided in case blend picture cards are removed from game-play or if students are not in agreement on what is being described. Colors coordinate with the clipboard colors for ease of finding answers.
To start the game, blend picture cards are shuffled and divided equally among all players. A student-reader selects a Clipboard Clue card from the top of the downward-facing pile. 
He/she reads the 3 clues aloud to the group. 
 Students use the inferences to guess which blend picture card is being described. If a student has a picture that matches the clues, he/she can offer up their blend picture card. 
!!!WATCH OUT!!! 
Students sometimes like to jump to a conclusion before all 3 clues have been read. I had to remind these lovelies to listen to all the clues first. 
 If guessed correctly, a student wins the Clipboard Clue card and pairs it up with their blend picture card. 
That student selects the next Clipboard Clue card.
Person with the most pairs, at the end, wins!
Great activity for individual and/or partner teams. 
With 72 (12 words per blend) Clipboard Clue and blend picture card pairs, the game could last a long time!

To round out your L blend focus, give students Blend Monopoly to practice all 6 L blends! Very similar to traditional Monopoly with a few slight changes to make the game easy to play. This was a HUGE hit with everyone and if time wasn't limited, they would have played well into the night.
 Add individual games pieces (I like Toy Story figures) and a dice to this game and you're set.
 Students used their Blend Bucks to buy color-coded spaces around the board.
Don't have a gl Blend Buck to buy globe? They may have to borrow from the Blend Bank.
 Roll the dice to see how many spaces you can move.
 Get movin'
 You have a pl Blend Buck?
If so, buy the colorful space by paying the Blend Bank and getting a Spend-A-Blend word card to show ownership of the space. 
Students also have the option to trade Blend Bucks and sell Spend-A-Blend word cards in hopes of winning.  
Speaking of winning? How does that happen?
1 of 2 ways. 
Time runs out and person with most Spend-A-Blend cards wins
Instant Win by the person who buys all the spaces in the same blend category/color row.

Want to really up the ante?
Have your kiddos fill out the Blend Blog sheet to record all their won spaces. 

These games are only a part of L blend instruction and practice. 
Take a peek at these other great resources from wonderful TPT sellers:
Click here to buy this from More than Math by Mo 
 Click here to buy this from The Chocolate Teacher
Click here to buy this from Sarah Cooley

Hope your time with (L) Blends are a (BL)AST!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Week of Giving THANKS: S for Sharpies

The final letter is S so,
It might not be the most original school-related object to be thankful for, but oh do I appreciate these permanent markers. Long before all the AH-MAZING digital clipart and fonts became available on TPT and other sites, I was free-handing my classroom posters and folders...and so much more. And those weren't much to write home about!
Now, I use Sharpies to outline, write, and doodle. 

Hope everyone has enjoyed joining me during this week of showing thanks for the small things that make teaching my passion. 
Check out my previous post what I'm thankful for in my personal life.
I am blessed. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Week of Giving THANKS & 5 for Friday

To say I fell off the blogging bandwagon this past week would be an accurate statement. 

I've been linking up with the ladies over at Blog Hoppin' for their A Week of Giving T.H.A.N.K.S. linky party and was doing quite well until Wednesday. 

And now since its Friday and I try my best to link up with Kacey, over at Doodle Bugs Teaching, for her weekly Five For Friday linky, I'm going to make today's thoughts a TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE-kinda post

So here we go...
 Wednesday's letter was A so, 
 I'm super grateful for antibacterial products! Any teacher knows that washing hands (on the regular) is important to decreasing the chances of catching ______(fill in the blank), but when you're in elementary classrooms, it's ESSENTIAL. My poor hands are bone dry throughout the school year, but I don't care. My sick days are minimal and we all know it takes more work to be absent.

Thursday's letter was N so,  
{Above notepads are Kate Spade}

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE notepads.
I mean it's kinda an obsession. 
I almost never walk about of Office Max, Staples, or Target without a new notepad...or a few.
And if I log on to Etsy, I almost always end up with a notepad in my cart. 
If you didn't know, Kacey (Doodle Bugs Teaching) has her own line of adorable paper products:
{Click here or image}

And today's letter is K so, 
When I was younger, my mom would usually tell me to kill people with kindness when I felt I was being treated unfairly or in a mean manner. I didn't really understand why I should be so nice to people when I wasn't be treated in the same way, but thankfully that life lesson was learned. I do my best to pass that non-standards based lesson on to my students. Being nice to those that maybe aren't so nice to you isn't about be a punching bag for others, it's about rising above a behavior and emulating what our Savior, Jesus Christ, has demonstrated. 
Kindness is our body's way of showing others what is in our hearts. 

First linky complete...now on to the next.

 I've completed my latest product:
Here's a sneak peek...
And I've loaded it up onto TPT, but waiting to blog about it unit later.
Spending quality time with my guys this weekend.
 I've been wanting to update my credits page for a long time. 
When I say long time read A YEAR.
Well, I finally sat down on Wednesday and did just that. 
This is the final product and it's a vast improvement over what I had. 
 We went to some friends' home for Thanksgiving yesterday for a potluck style gathering. 
I volunteered for pies.
Toot, toot (that's me tooting my own horn).
Apple and Pecan from a Southern girl. 
I'm putting my entire store on sale (20% off) this upcoming Monday & Tuesday for TPT's site wide Super Cyber Savings Sale. With the site's 8% discount, you can save 28% off ALL my products. 
Remember to type in TPTCYBER at checkout...don't forget. 
Get Ready! Go fill up those wish lists and carts. 
Kacey is taking a mini-vacay from the 5 for Friday linky during December, so I'm going to follow suit and do the same. I hope you'll continue to follow my happenings (and upcoming FREEBIES) by following me on 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week of Giving THANKS: H for Helping Hands

is focused on the letter H.
I'm super grateful for all those extra helping hands that have volunteered in my classrooms over the past years. To say that things could have been difficult without spare hands would be an understatement! I have been so fortunate to have amazing students' parents and family, community members, and friends come to countless field trips, talent shows, and Family Nights to lend their hands to make things run smoothly. Not to mention the wonderful volunteers who have given up their own time to make copies/staple papers, read to students, listen to students read, and so much more. It really is worth saying again "It takes a village..".