Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It All Starts With a Squiggle...

Do you have one of those items in your 
bag of teacher tricks 
that you have used FOREVER, 
but just l♥ve?

For me, it's squiggles.
Let me preface by saying that this may not be my original idea.
I have been doing them so long (over 20 years!)
that I do not remember where the idea came from.

But I love using them,
and the best thing about them is,
and there is no prep!
(Unless you want to copy off a bunch just to have handy.)

I have used them in many different ways over the years,
and I thought I would share just a few with you.

It all starts with a squiggle...
just a simple black line or design 
somewhere on a blank page.

They can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be.

I give my kiddos about 10 minutes 
to turn that squiggle 
into a pencil drawing.
While they are drawing, they are to be 

thinking about the story behind their picture.

Next they write their story.
I have different requirements for their stories, 
depending on what we're working on at the time.
For my littles, I just let them write a story about the picture.

After they finish their story, they get to color the picture.
After all, it is a writing assignment, 
so I want the focus on the writing.

Here are a few of their stories...

Want a class set of Squiggles?
Show students a few examples,
and then give everyone 
a black marker and a piece of paper.
Have each person make a squiggle.
Collect them all and you have a set of Squiggles to use.
Do you have someone in you class that LOVES to doodle?
Have them make some for you!
Along that same line, 
a few times I have had the students
draw a Squiggle.  
Then we pass the papers over or back 3 or 4 seats.
Students complete the writing activity that they just received.
Easy Peasy!
One year I made packets of about 30 designs on lined paper like this...
(lines on the back too.)

3-hole punched them and put them in a plastic pocket folder for each kiddo.
Everyone had their own Squiggle Stories notebook to work on if they had free time.

Another year "Squiggle Stories" was one of my year-long literacy centers.
Each week I put a new design in the center, along with a date stamp, and a two-hole punch.

Students kept all their stories in a pronged file folder at the center.
Each month they chose their best one or two stories for me to grade.

I have also made class books of Squiggle Stories
for the classroom library.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Got more ideas?
I would L♥VE to hear them!
Please share!

Monday, April 28, 2014

New, Fun, BUMP games for Geometry and Telling Time!

I had some fun last week making up these fun
BUMP games for math.

The first one is

This one has three different games
Telling Time to the Hour
Telling Time to the Half-Hour
Telling Time to the Hour and Half-Hour combined.

I also worked on these for my geometry unit.

The Geometry BUMP Games 
are available individually (click on the images above) 
or in a bundle at a discounted price.

I am having so much fun with these,
I am going to have to make some more!

They are so FUN and easy to make/use!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

More Upcycled Centers - The Math Version!

Welcome back to my little corner of the web!
Today I am going to finish telling you about my upcycled centers.
Today's focus 

I am all about anything that will keep the kids practicing with math facts.
Whatever it takes!

That's how this one came about.

All you need for these quick and easy math centers are empty water bottles and some blank dice (link to purchase included.) 
Students roll the dice and solve math problems using the digits rolled. 
The file includes teacher instructions, 
student directions and recording sheets for 
8 different games
Skills include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and place value.
Great for 2nd-5th grades!

For these games, I used dice in different colors for ease of use, but you certainly could use all white dice.

Here's what you get!

Place Value 
Building Big and Small Numbers 
Standard Form
Expanded Notation and
Word form

Addition and Subtraction
(2 and 3-Digit)



Race to 1000 and Race to 0

And again you have EASY, FAST, and ENGAGING
math centers!

Grab them here.

More math games coming tomorrow!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Upcycled Center Ideas

In preparation for our annual 
Family Math and Literacy Night
I designed the easy to make and use 
literacy and math centers.

All you need are some empty water bottles and some blank dice and you are good to go!

The first one I made is a  C-V-C Literacy Center for K-1.

First I labeled 2 dice with consonants.
Next I wrote 1 vowel on all sides of a third die using a different color ink.

Students shake the bottle then make a word with the letters showing.

Then they read the word and decide if it is a real or nonsense word.

The file includes teacher directions, 
illustrated student directions, 
a student recording sheet, 
and links to purchase dice and labels.

It is a very FAST, EASY, and ENGAGING center!

You can grab yours here.

The next one I made was my twist on BOGGLE.
Boggle is a favorite in my class and I wanted to make it even more fun.

Again all you need are some water bottles and blank dice.
Easy peasy!
For each bottle, choose a word of up to ten letters.  
I get my words from 

Or you can just use random letters.
Label the dice with the letters so that the student 
could always make your big word. 
My suggestion is to have one or two of the dice have only vowels, 
so that they will always be able to make a word.

Students compete against a partner 
to see who can make the most words.

This one was a BIG hit with my kiddos!
They just l♥ve a little competition!

You can grab this one here.

Tune in tomorrow to see the math centers!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Reports Almost Good Enough to Eat!

Some of my favorite book reports that I have ever done with my class are the ones I found by my friend over at The Peanut Gallery!

These delicious projects have been a real hit in my classroom!

Here are my kids' almost edible creations!

I just love seeing what they come up with!
You can go here to see the reports from last year.

What kinds of book reports do you like to do with your kids?
Please share your favorites!

Need some more reading resources?

Check out this great deal from Educents

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