Monday, December 31, 2012

Math Tub Time! {Freebies included}

Do you use math tubs?  They are a BIG hit in my room each year and I'm always on the lookout for some new ideas for tub-fillers.

When I started teaching kindergarten a few years back, I knew I wanted to utilize math tubs.  I had 20 students so I wanted to have 20 different math tubs available.  20 at one time?? Yes, let me explain.   I taught whole group math on Mondays and guided groups with specific station activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Wednesdays and Fridays were reserved for what I referred to as "Tub Time."  It was a specific 30 minute block where my kids were able to review past concepts, build on current skills, or explore with manipulatives.  I wanted these tubs to be engaging, fun, and beneficial.  It was also a time when I could pull a small group or an individual for reteaching if needed, or just mingle around the room to observe my students in action.
At the beginning of the year I would place specific tubs in front of each student.  By the end, my students were able to freely choose which tubs they wanted to work with.  We would rotate or swap tubs every 5 minutes so that we were able to work in about 5 tubs each day.  This timing worked well for my class because it encouraged my kiddos to get to work right away, therefore eliminating their time off task.  Plus, these tubs were meant to be quick review lessons or exploration activities- not lengthy assignments.

A lot has changed since that first year!  In the beginning, I put so much thought and planning into my tub activities.  I'll be honest...sometimes I even went a little overboard.  :)  I had specific cutesy activities for each season and I spent so much time cutting and laminating!  We've all been there, right? By the end of the year I realized that the tubs that were the most popular were the basic ones that required few pieces and little planning time.  Phew!

Here are some examples of a few "staples" that stuck around.

  • Connect-the-dot pictures are great for number order.  You can find a huge selection of free ones on the internet that range in difficulty.  
  • Pattern blocks are also wonderful!  You can provide templates (also many free ones on the internet) or challenge students to create their own pictures, numbers, etc. with the blocks.  
  • Beads and string are great for patterning!  You can usually find large beads for pretty cheap.  I prefer the wood ones and shoelaces.
  • You can find the racetrack numbers and shapes at  Print and add a race car or two!
  • I found this Vtech handheld math game on clearance for $4 at Wal-Mart a few years back.  Well worth the batteries it runs through each year!
  • A geoboard and a hand full of rubber bands make for an exciting math tub!  You can provide picture cards for the kids to duplicate.  The number 7 is pictured but I found a great variety of shapes and designs for free online.  I shrank them down to card size and I add different cards to spice up the tub throughout the year.
  • These shape puzzles came from the Target Dollar Spot last year.  They look simple but they are really quite difficult!  You have to have a good grasp on shapes and spatial sense to work them quickly.
  • These lacing cards also came from the Target Dollar Spot {love that place!}.  It always amazes me how difficult lacing is for 5 year olds.  You can even challenge your students to lace a shape or number into the rectangle board.
The activities mentioned above usually are available all year for my students to work with.  I do have other tub activities that I change out seasonally or when we have successfully mastered a skill and are ready to move on.  Some of these include Roll and Cover games and Count and Clip games.  Both are favorites with my kids!  They love to predict what the next theme will be.  :)

Here are two "Star Friends" activities that I created specifically for math tubs this year. 

You can grab your own copy of these activities by clicking on the pictures above.  Add a few dice and counters for the Roll and Cover game and a handful of clothespins for the Count and Clip game and you are all set. {To make the clip game self-checking, just add stickers or dots to the back to show the correct answer!}

Of course this Roll and Cover game will be in a tub for January! :) {click to download for free}

I hope I have given you some inexpensive ideas on how to fill up those math tubs!  I'd love to hear about what types of things you put in the math tubs in your classroom.  Feel free to leave a comment below!

I'm always pinning new ideas to my "All About Math" pinboard on Pinterest. Repin away if you see something worth using!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year! Roll and Cover FREEBIES!

In preparation for 2013 I've revised last year's Roll and Cover game a bit.  I added 2 more versions so you now have the option of using it for number recognition (1-6), adding 2 numbers, or adding 3 numbers.  I hope you can use it!

Click the image below or {here} to download all 3 games for free!

You can check out my post from last year for some great New Year's activities for the classroom.  Just click the pic.

AND I'm linking up with my friend Denise at SunnyDays.  
Check out her blog for even more fun for the New Year!

Happy New Year! :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Introducing a New....Collaborative Pinboard!

Hi everyone!  I hope you have been enjoying your holidays.  I've been taking some much needed family time and am now ready to dive back in to teaching, creating, and blogging.  My plan is to park myself on the couch and finish up all of these packets that I've started over the last 2 months!  That way I will feel prepared to go back to school next week.  :)

On my breaks you will probably find me pinning away on the new KinderLand Collaborative pinboard!  There are some FANTASTIC contributors on this board so you will want to make sure you are following!  It has only been up a few hours and is already bursting with great things!

Click on the image to head there now.  Don't forget to click "follow" at the top of the board to make sure the pins appear on your own Pinterest page.

I've been busy pinning to my "All Things January & February" board as well.  You can check out my Pinterest page {here}.

I must go get back soon!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Blog Hop! Day 11 {FREEBIE}

I'm so excited to be participating in the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!  That is 12 days of freebies to get you in the holiday spirit.  :)

I'd like to share with you a gingerbread-themed CVC bingo game that you can use to reinforce or review short a words.  I created it using the short a graphics that my hubs and I recently finished. (The short i set is almost complete so I'll be creating with them soon!)

Click on one of the images below to download your copy for free.

Make sure to visit these wonderful blogs that are co-hosting Day 11 of the Blog Hop with me:

Color Me Kinder
Pocket Full of Kinders and Kinder-Craze are hosting Day 12 of the hop so make sure and grab their freebies tomorrow!

You can head over to Time for Kindergarten if you need a recap of days 1-10:


P.S.-  I believe the hop has been extended for the remainder of the month!  That means even more freebies from awesome bloggers.  Whoohoo! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Are you ready?? Don't forget your Elf FREEBIE!

Is anyone else as excited as I am about TpT's Cyber Monday & Tuesday sale???  It's time to move all of those wonderful products from your wishlist to your cart!  Most sellers (myself included) will have their entire store on sale!  When you use TpT's"cmt12" code, you can save up to 28% off everything!  Whoohoo!  Don't forget to leave feedback on things you have already purchased so you can earn tpt credits towards your new stuff!

I'll definitely be stocking up on activities for the next few months. :)

I posted a brand new unit today just in time for the big sale.  It is Common Core aligned for K-2 and includes 16 fairy tale scenes for practicing blending sounds to make words.  It doubles as a real vs nonsense word activity as well.  It is differentiated, of course, so you can choose the level of difficulty for your students.  Click on the image to read more about it.

Here are a few images of the fairy tale scene mats included.  This was a fun one to make! :)

Here are a few seasonal things from my store that you can grab for next to nothing. 

All of my top sellers will be on sale as well!  Happy shopping!
You can see all 12 of my available Rock, Paper, Scissors games {here}.
Now is also a great time to grab up my Government Unit, Transition Music Templates, On My Way to 1st Grade packet or Environmental Print Posters if you haven't already.  ;-)

I'll be back tomorrow to show you some of the things in my shopping cart!

Here is a creative writing freebie that I posted during last year's holiday season.  I hope it helps to get you in the mood for December.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Guest Post! {With a Freebie!}

Hi All Kindergarten Peeps! I am Mary from 
I am excited about guest blogging today for all you Learning Detectives!
I am gearing up for Thanksgiving next week with a ton of FUN activities and ideas to share.
We are making Native American crafts and symbols of Thanksgiving art projects.
Here is a peak at some art that we finished this week.
We are creating ART everywhere to help make this season memorable for each learners.

One of my favorite things to do during this special time of year is to combine my Thanksgiving feast with progress reports since both usually occur at the same time! How do I do this? I create a FUN reward system for my students to "earn" their Native American feathers for their headbands.
I pick one element I need to assess and assign it a color. Then, I print out the assessment sheet for each student and explain it to them. If you can do that element, you earn that feather. Since I need to assess 6 elements, students can earn up to 6 feathers. 
They are so highly motivated it is almost ridiculous! But boy, do I love it and so do they! So many of my students earn all their feathers and it is a HUGE praise aspect to the feast.

Here is a visual of the headband and possible feathers and a peek at our 
"How Many Feathers Have I Earned" Progress Reports sheet.
Here are my areas of assessment:

Yellow- write your name- must be completely correct.
Orange- write your numbers to 20- again must be completely correct.
Red- Read more than 25 sight words. (I have introduced and taught more than 50.)
Purple- Read an easy reader to me with no mistakes. (I give some students 3 mistakes but they can try as many times as they want.) I also look for tracking text, turning pages, using sight words, using decoding skills, etc.
Blue- Identify each letter we have learned so far and the sound it makes.
 Green- Behavioral goal for the whole week!

I uploaded this word file into Google Docs {which is now called Google Drive}
for you to download and edit as you see fit. The font is free from 
Kevin and Amanda called Oh! {Photo} Shoot, 
but if you do not have that font, your computer will convert it for you.

I hope these ideas help you add some FUN to your classroom. As always, I am THANKFUL for all of you who read these posts. 
  Mary Amoson, Sharing Kindergarten

Isn't she wonderful???  Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous ideas with us today, Mary! <3

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Moving Forward...

My heart aches for all of the families that have been affected by last week's Superstorm Sandy.  I've donated one of my products to Ms. Smarty Pants' Moving Forward Fundraiser in an effort to help one of the families that lost everything in the storm.  For a $20 donation you can receive 33 products valued at approximately $200!  You can click {here} to read about the family and see previews of all the products included in the donation pack.
My sweet bloggy friend, Erica Bohrer, lives and teaches in Lindenhurst, which is one of the cities in New York that was hit hard.  Thankfully she is safe and sound!  She created a new Hurricane pack and is donating all of the proceeds to victims of the storm.  She is also collecting new and used books for the school her mom teaches at.  You can check out her post about her fundraisers {here}.  Click the pic to go to her store and preview the pack!
I am truly inspired by the efforts of both these ladies.
Thank you, Samantha and Erica!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bats, Spiders, Pumpkins...Recap!

Phew!  I feel like I've been in a whirlwind this last week.  I managed to cover bats, spiders, and pumpkins all before Wednesday's "Fall" Party on are a few pictures:
This was my second year painting these awesome bat scenes!  I first saw the idea on Pinterest and then figured out it was originally from the talented Reagan Tunstall's Stellaluna Book Study!  I let my kids free-paint orange, yellow, and black tempera paint rather than using watercolors.  This year we used foam bats from the Target dollar spot rather than bat cut-outs.  Super easy!  We completed a circle map on bats to display with our paintings.  Here is a close up: {Can you read the writing?}
Reagan has some graphic organizers and writing prompts to go with the activity in her pack.  Love it! :)

Moving on to spiders....have you ever had spider soup?  This was a first for me this year.  Unfortunately, my kiddos didn't really buy into it....I guess they know I would never really feed them spiders.  :)  It is really just chicken noodle soup, ramen noodles, and a fake spider on top before serving.

We did really get into our noodle spider web masterpieces.  We mixed glue and glitter with cooked noodles and then sequenced the steps to web making.  It was hilarious watching my kinders dig around in the gooey noodles.  I was shocked by just how many kiddos did NOT like to get messy!

We made these cutesy spider word families from T.G.I.F. too! It's a FREE download s grab yours {here}.  I love the 8 eyes. :)

Of course it wouldn't be October without some pumpkin activities!  We had tons of pumpkin fun throughout the month like pumpkin math, pumpkin experimenting, pumpkin painting, etc.  I won't bore you with a bunch of orange pictures....instead I'll tell you about one of my favorite pumpkin products!  I absolutely loved Miss Kindergarten's Pumpkin Graphs and Glyphs!  You can see our glyph jack-o-lanterns displayed along with our bats and spiders.  Loads of fun! :)

On to Pilgrims and Native Americans.....