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I have a confession. I really don't mind teaching summer school. Actually, I might even go as far as saying I like teaching summer school! Now don't get me wrong, I like being on vacation even more and I cannot wait to join all of you who decided to take a much needed, well deserved break! But I do enjoy the shorter school days, much smaller class size, and slightly more relaxed environment that summer school brings.

If you are teaching summer school or just looking for some fun in the sun themed activities to help prevent the "summer slide", read on to find several literacy, math, and science ideas to try out this summer! Be sure to grab your Summer themed freebie before you leave!

These are always a hit and fun to make after reading a non-fiction book about sea creatures. Add a little more science to this activity by discussing how the oil and water always separate, no matter how hard you shake the bottle! You could also point out how the sensory bottle has different layers and discuss the layers of the ocean.

These hats are ADORABLE and give lots of patterning practice! To make them all you need is construction paper, a sentence strip, dot markers (or crayons/markers), and glue or a stapler. Measure the sentence strip to fit around the child's head. Cut 8 strips of paper for the octopus' legs and a rounded shape for the octopus' head. Instruct students to create a pattern on each of the 8 tentacles. Attach the "head" and "tentacles" to the sentence strip for an adorable Octopus Pattern hat!  

Another beachy way to practice patterning is this fun pattern identifying and extending activity. Students identify what kind of pattern is on each strip then extend the pattern by filling in the missing piece. You can find this activity here.

This ice cream cone matching activity is another summer favorite for math.  Students can match the ice cream numeral to the correct quantity using either the 10 frame or the tally mark ice cream cones. You can find this activity here.

Sand and seashells make this letter hunt activity really fun and engaging! I love to place the letter sand bucket cards in a tub filled with play sand. Students  draw a card, identify the letter, and then cover the matching letter with a seashell on the sandcastle page. You can find this printable letter recognition activity here.

I am sure by now you have heard of and probably tried making jello "oceans" with students. While that activity is an oldy and a goody, pudding oceans are a great alternative if you need instant gratification (and an instant snack)! For this activity, students mix a drop or two of blue food coloring into white vanilla pudding. Once your pudding is a lovely blue color, add gummy sea creatures. If you want to add "sand" to the mix, crushed graham cracker does the trick! I like to have students write a how to after they are finished to tie this tasty treat into writing practice. Can you read those sweet little pre-k instructions I have pictured? 

Speaking of tasty treats, if this letter matching and beginning sound activity doesn't scream summer, I don't know what does! Students have to find the capital letter, lowercase letter, and a picture with that begins what that letter's sound to complete the red, white, and blue Popsicle. You can find this printable here.

Another fun in the sun literacy activity is this rhyming match. These cards are the perfect addition to a summer themed sensory bin or if you are working with a small group, you can turn the cards upside down to play a rhyming memory match game! You can find this printable rhyming match activity here.

I have done several versions of this paper plate whale craft over the years and they always turn out so cute! After we have learned a few facts about whales, students will write their favorite fact and then create their own whale by coloring and cutting up a paper plate. 

The last idea I have for you today are these vocabulary cards featuring 24 different fun in the sun words and illustrations. There are so many great ways you can use these cards but here are a few ideas:

•Students can put vocabulary on the word wall by beginning sound
•Students can use vocabulary cards in the writing center to help them write about summer, the beach, the pool, etc.
•Students can build vocabulary words with magnetic letters, stamps, letter beads, etc.
•Place a thin layer of sand in a tray and students can write the words in the sand.
•If you can cut the picture off of the word, students can read the vocabulary words and match them to the pictures.
•Students can put the vocabulary words in ABC order

Grab your Vocabulary Cards HERE!

I hope you found a few ideas to use with your kiddos! If do use any of these activities, I would LOVE to see them! Please tag me @teachglittergrow so I can share out your amazing hard work on social! 

Happy teaching! 

St. Patrick's Day Classroom Activities

Today I have rounded up some of my favorite hands-on St. Patrick's Day themed activities that we like to use all March long during centers, small group, and whole group instruction! Make sure you keep scrolling to snag the fun freebie below! 

First up is this fun and easy St. Patrick's day craft! To make these cute shamrocks and/or 4 leaf clovers, all you need are some bell peppers, paper, and paint!  

Cut the tops and bottoms off of the bell pepper. Bonus points if you get a pepper with a long stem - they make a great handle for little hands!  Place pepper "stamps" and a squirt of paint on a paper plate. 

Invite children to dip the pepper in the paint and stamp their fun St. Patrick's day shapes on the paper. 


These Number Sense 4 Leaf Clover Puzzles are the perfect addition to your March math block and can be used all spring longTo complete this activity, students will form each 4 leaf clover by matching the numeral, tally marks, 10 frame, and subitizing dots.

With this Irish Flag CVC Word Building and Worksheet activity, students can sound out and spell 27 different CVC words by placing one letter on each section of the Irish flag. Once students have spelled all of their words, they can show their work on the recording worksheet. You can give students magnetic letters to complete this activity or print and laminate letters in this pack.

These adorable St. Patrick's Day Kids  are the perfect way to incorporate many different skills into your literacy block in a fun, thematic way! Prep once and differentiate for your class using the following ideas:

♦ Match capital letter hats to lowercase letter kids
♦ Put capital letters in ABC order
♦ Put lowercase letters in ABC
♦ Match capital to capital using magnetic letters
♦ Match lowercase to lowercase using magnetic letters
♦ Match letters to objects by beginning sound
♦ Pull letters out of a hat/bag and name the letter
♦ Pull letters out of a hat/bag and produce the letter sound
♦ Pull letters out of a hat/bag and produce a word that begins with that sound.

These 4 Leaf Clover Beginning Sound Puzzles  are perfect for practicing capital and lower case letter matching, beginning sounds, and alliteration. Students can have fun building these puzzles all March long during whole group, small group, intervention, or for independent practice during workstations or centers.

Do you have students who are currently learning letters or students who are struggling with recognizing letters of the alphabet? This St. Patrick's day themed Pot of Gold Letter Recognition Freebie is a fun, hands-on way for them to practice!  I have even pulled out just the letters in a student's name so that they can practice putting the letters in the correct order and identifying all of the letters in their name. 

All of these activities (plus 8 MORE engaging learning opportunities) can be found in the March Math and Literacy Activities  bundle. The bundle is perfect for providing a wide variety of hands-on practice to meet the needs of all learners in your class and you receive a big discount when you buy them all together!

No time to check out all these fun activities now? Pin this image so you can easily find, print, and prep lots of Saint Patrick's Day fun for your littles! 

Celebrating the New Year in the Classroom

Coming back to school in the new year is always a little bitter sweet. On one hand you have missed your kids and have (hopefully) gotten some much needed, well deserved rest. On the other hand sleeping in, going to the restroom whenever you want, and having more than 10 minutes to scarf down your lunch has been amazing and will definitely be missed! 

To help make the transition back to the classroom easy for you and fun for your students, I have come up with some engaging activities, printables, and freebies to ensure you all have a happy new year! 

Countdown Balloon Pop! 

You can use this activity to practice virtually any skill but I love to use it during the math block. To prepare this low prep, high engagement activity all that you need are a few un-inflated balloons, scraps of paper, and something to write with. 

Write out problems that match whatever objective you are covering on a small piece of paper. For example, you could write addition or subtraction problems, numbers to identify and count to, patterns for students to create, etc. Before blowing up the balloons, roll or fold up the paper and slip it into the balloon. If you are feeling really wild, you could also slip a little confetti into each balloon before you inflate it. ;) 

Blow up the balloons and label each one with a number (1-5, 1-10, however many balloons you want to do) using a permanent marker. 

When you are ready to begin the activity, start by popping the balloon with the largest number. After students solve the problem that was inside the balloon (either as a class or individually), move on to the balloon with the next highest number. Keep popping and solving until all of the balloons are gone! 

 Find the New Year 

There are two different ways to play this fun letter recognition game:

Whole group: Play “Where is the New Year?” Letter ID Game

To prepare: Print, cut out and shuffle the letter cards and place them in a pocket chart. Hide one (or more) 2023 cards behind a letter card.
To play: Students will take turns identifying letters of the cards to try and guess where the New Year is hiding. Once a letter is guessed, you will reveal if the year is behind that letter. If 2023 is not hiding behind the card, you can flip the card over and let another student guess until the 2023 has been found.

Centers or Small Group: Play Flip and Color Letter ID Game

To prepare: Print, cut out, and shuffle the letter cards and place them in a pile face down or in a sensory bin.
To play: Students will draw cards one at a time, identify the letter name (or letter sound) and color that letter in on their 2020 recording sheet. 

(Updated for 2023) ***GRAB THIS ACTIVITY HERE*** 

Happy New Year Crown {FREEBIE}

My students always love making crowns and hats... almost as much as I love seeing them march down the hall wearing them! 

I have 3 different versions of 2023 crowns for you to choose from so you can pick the New Year crown that best suits your students’ needs. (Updated for 2023.) After the crowns have been cut out, you can attach them to a sentence strip to fit it around students’ heads.

Crown 1: Students can color and decorate the year and the letters on this crown. You can encourage them to identify the numerals and the letter names as they are coloring

Crown 2: Students can practice writing in the new year and color the words “Happy New Year”

Crown 3: Students can color in the year write “Happy New Year”, their new year resolution, their name, or whatever you would like! 

I hope you have a wonderful first week back with your students! If you use any of these activities in your classroom, I would love to hear about it in the comments below or tag me on social media @teachglittergrow

Happy Teaching! 

Calendar Time!

Last week I coved all of the different skills we cover during Morning Message. Today, I want to spend a little time discussing all of the skills we cover during the final section of our morning routine - Calendar! 

NONE of the images you are about to see are "Pinterest Perfect". They are real life pictures of a well loved, well used calendar that gets the job done! That being said, I have since updated all of my calendar materials so that they look as well as they perform! ;) You can find my 20 different sets of patterned number cards for your calendar, click here!

Calendar Numbers

Here is a look at my calendar area:

I warned you it wasn't pinterest perfect! lol Now it may seem like a lot, but once we get into the routine, calendar time seriously only takes about 10 minutes and is completely student lead! 

First we begin with the days of the week.

A student comes up and points to each day of the week as we sing "The Days of the Week Song" to the tune of the Adams Family. 

Then we practice the skill of passing time by identifying yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We sing a song about yesterday, today, and tomorrow to the tune of Frere Jacques that goes like this:

Today is (insert day)
Today is (insert day)
All day long 
All day long 
Yesterday was (insert day)
Yesterday was (insert day)
Tomorrow will be (insert day)
Tomorrow will be (insert day)
Let's have fun!
Let's have fun!

After I have taught alliteration, we usually practice the skill by having 2 or 3 students come up with a word that has the same beginning sound as the day of the week. (Friday, fish, football)

Next, we move on to the months of the year. Another students comes up and points to the months of the year as we all stand up and do the "Months of the Year Macarena"  

We then name the month that we are in and practice counting how many syllables are in the name of the month.

After that, another student volunteer comes up and leads the class by identifying the pattern on the calendar and extending the pattern to find today's date.

I usually try to find or make calendar pieces that go along with our theme. I also start the school year with a simple AB pattern and then make the patterns increasingly more difficult as the year goes.

The students will identify the pattern by shape (UFO, astronaut, astronaut, rocket), Letter (ABBC), and then number (starting at 1 and ending at the date). Using that information, they extend the pattern by predicting what comes next and adding that piece to the calendar.

After we have our date, another student comes up and updates the 10 frames so that they match our date.

As the year progresses, we use the 10 frame to practice different skills such as subitizing, counting by 10's, and figuring out how many more days until 10, 20, or 30.

Next up, days in school!

A new student helper comes up and adds a stick to the one's place. (As you can see, my fabulous matching sticks that came with the calendar have slowly disappeared and are now replaced with popsicle sticks.) We all count the sticks to see how many days we have been in school (starting with 100) and then change the number at the bottom so that it matches our sticks.

While students are still working on number ID, I like to hand the student leading "days in school" several different numbers so they can show them to the class and the class can "help" him/her find the correct number. It sounds a little something like this:

Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "No! That is number 4!"
Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "No! That is number 9!"
Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "Yes! That is number 8!"

After days in school comes tally marks! The tally marks match how many days we have been in school.

I always start the year leading and modeling the calendar for my students and then gradually release one part of the calendar at a time over to the students for them to lead. You can probably look at the tally mark chart and guess when students began to take over that section. It's not perfect but it sure is authentic! ;)

The student who leads this section of the calendar first points to each group of tallies as we count the tally marks we already have by 5's. Then, the student says our "tally mark chant"and adds another tally to the chart.

To remember when to make a vertical line and when to cross the 4 vertical lines with a diagonal line (and yes, even the students use the words vertical and diagonal. Parents can't believe their 4 and 5 year olds actually know what those words mean but we start using the vocab in context on day 1!) we say this cute little poem and do hand motions to go with it.

One, Two, Three, Four, (move hands up and down vertically for each number)
Number Five Shuts the Door! (Move hands across the body diagonally)
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, (move hands up and down vertically for each number)
Number Ten Draws a Line! (Move hands across the body diagonally)

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this rhyme! It really has help my students draw tally marks.

If you would like to download a free printable of the chant for your own calendar, just click the picture below :)

Up until the 100th day of school, we add an apple to fill in our giant 100's chart. I have made enough numbers to take us through the last day of school because I used to use these little apples as one looooong number line, but this year I use them as a 100's chart. I created the apples so that all of the odd numbers are blue apples, the evens are green, the 5's have a purple circle, and the 10's have a pink background. This really helps the kids not only see number patterns but also count by 2's, 5's, and 10's!
 If you would like to snag these numbers for yourself, you can find them here.

For the weather, we use this cute freebie found here. (There are several other options for types of weather in the freebie but where we live, these 4 pretty much have us covered!)

And sing this weather song:

What is the weather, weather, weather?
What could the weather be today?
Is it sunny, sunny, sunny? (raise arms above head to make a big circle)
S-U-N-N-Y today!
Is it cloudy, cloudy, cloudy? (move hands like you're forming a big fluffy cloud)
C-L-O-U-D-Y today!
Is it rainy, rainy, rainy? (wiggle fingers down in front of you like rain falling)
R-A-I-N-Y today!
Is it windy, windy, windy? (move arms like your hula dancing)
W-I-N-D-Y today!
What could the weather, weather, weather,
What could the weather be today?

We also discuss how a thermometer measures temperature. When the temperature is warmer, the red liquid inside the thermometer goes up and when it is cooler the temperature goes down. As the year progresses I also show them a real thermometer and we begin to check it for degrees fahrenheit.

Finally we work on positional words! Since we are the Amazing Ants, naturally we practice this with an ant and a picnic basket ;)

The ant is thumbtacked to the board and we move it all around the picnic basket practicing our positional words. For example, I may move it above the picnic basket, far from the picnic basket, inside the picnic basket, etc. This is also useful when we are talking about antonyms or opposites. For example, "The ant is inside the picnic basket. What would be the opposite of inside?" I also teach them synonyms for positional words like under or below, beside or next to.

By the 2nd semester I have pretty much phased this part of the calendar routine out because the students all have a good understanding of positional words. Every now and then I will throw it back into our routine for review though.

I hope my calendar routine breakdown has been helpful! :)

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