Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Chicka chicka Boom Boom activities

One of my favorite back to school read alouds/picture books to introduce words/letters/the alphabet has got to be the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  It's great for kinder babies and firsties the first few days/weeks of school to get them talking about letters/sounds before you do any letter sound assessments on them.  It's a fun way to look at the alphabet and if you can get your hands on the Ray Charles song/rap either on you tube or an old school cd that is super fun for them too.

chicka chicka boom boom ideas
There are so many different ways you can incorporate this read aloud and tons of extension activities to do with it that are perfect for those first few weeks of school.  
Kids LOVE to talk about their names and while I'm on the subject let's talk about names.  KNOWING and LEARNING kids name is of upmost importance!  If you aren't sure how to pronounce it - ask them, tell them you want to say their name correctly so you don't 'butcher' their name every single time.  It's hurtful to your students if you don't learn their name and say it correctly.  I had a student a few years back in 3rd grade.  I could not pronounce his name correctly and it was frustrating.  I finally pulled him aside and told him how important it was for me to say his name correctly.  So I had him say it to me slowly and I phonetically wrote it on a sticky note in a way that I knew I could say.  He looked at the note and laughed saying that is NOT how you spell my name.   I told him I knew but I would  never mispronounce his name again.  Guess what!?!?!  I didn't mess it up ever again.  Last year I ran into his mom and she said her son still talks about how I made such an effort to say his name correctly.  He said he loved that about me and wished all his teachers tried that hard to learn his name.  WOW, you never know the impact a simple gesture has on kids. 

and now back to the original blog post...( #soapbox )

As I was saying Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has so many different possiblities:  snack ideas, alphabet ideas, crafts, letter recognition, name spelling, vowels/consonant activities and more.  

Here are some things I created to extend the learning from the story.

 chicka chicka boom boom craft

The types of sorts/letter worksheets you can do with this are endless:

chicka chicka boom boom worksheets

chicka chicka boom boom alphabet worksheets

and so many more in my pack as well.

chicka chicka boom boom math and STEM activities

You can also have them taste a coconut, I've included an idea for an anchor chart/graph you do whole class.  

chicka chicka boom boom snack ideas
Need fine motor skill practice?!?!  This is also included:

chicka chicka boom boom fine motor activities

This story is so great and as you can see there are so many ways to extend the book in your classroom.  You can even recreate the book on larger paper and make a class book assigning different pages to kids or table groups.  

*** I take no responsibility for the presence of allergies in your classroom for the snack ideas, always check your students health records to be sure it's safe to expose your students to these products. ***

If you want to grab these activities you can find them by clicking 
{ here

Parent Gift Ideas

Saturday, June 1, 2019
It's the end of the are #teachertired...but you still have #allthethings to finish.  Report cards, packing up, checking out, student gifts, parent helper gifts, etc.  
Well teacher friends...let me help you out.  I was just at Big Lots and my hubby found these really nice, potent candles for $4 each.  What a find!  I knew I had to grab them up and get them for my parent helpers.  

parent helper gift idea

I knew the perfect thing to put on the tag and...there you go!  Easy, Peasy, Cheap and your parents will love it.

end of the year parent helper gift idea

If you want to give these and need the tag you can grab it { here }
I hope this gives you one less thing to think about as your school year is coming to a close.  
Happy { almost } summer friends!  Enjoy those last few days with your precious students.

Dollar Store Spring Teacher Hacks

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Spring is all around us ~ it's beautiful out, my allergies are flaring up and there are tons of bunnies, insects, and flowery things at the Dollar Store.

dollar store teacher hacks

Here are some great finds that you can use in your primary or preschool classroom.

Dollar Store teacher hacks

Call me crazy but I find such inspiration at the Dollar Store or Dollar Spot at our favorite place ~ Target.  There's always something to spark my imagination and I think about how I can use it in my classroom or how YOU can use it in yours. 

So...I came across some eggs, some legos, a teeny, tiny jenga game, some pom poms, tweezers and tiny Etch - a - Sketch board.

My first thought when I saw the eggs was - how FUN would this be in Kindergarten or preschool?!?!  First you could write their names on all eggs. ( One letter per egg so it would take a while ) Maybe enlist parent help for this one.  BUT - then the kids could go on an egg hunt and only look for the letters in their name.  They would have to leave the other eggs alone.  Then they could come back to their own egg carton and 'build their name'. When I taught preschool my students would have loved this!

dollar store teacher hacks

Here is a sample, if you have time you can create a caterpillar out of an egg carton for them to have a spot to build their name.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

Another thing they would enjoy and it's great for both fine motor skills and counting/one to one correspondence would be the caterpillar counting activity.  Cover a toilet paper roll with bright green paper, add antennae and you have your caterpillar.  Give them die - either purchased or made and after they roll the die they have to count out that many pom poms and 'feed' their caterpillar.  You can even add the oversized tweezers to make it more of a fine motor activity for them as well.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

The teeny, tiny jenga game is PERFECT for little hands!  You can have them pull it and read the sight word.  Or if they are non readers have them identify the color or letter after they pull their wooden piece.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

Kids love anything hands on - when I saw the Play doh, Legos and tiny Etch -a - Sketch I knew I could turn it into something fun and engaging.

Dollar Store teaching hacks

One of my all time favorite games to play with my students to reinforce a skill or practice spelling words is TRASHKETBALL.  I space out points with tape and they choose where they stand - if they get it in and answer the question correctly they earn that many points for their team.  Read more about it { here }

Dollar Store teaching hacks

I hope these finds gave you inspiration as well and you have some fun new ideas to try out with your students, your own  child or your grandchild.  
Happy Spring!  Remember you can find me very active on my social media pages linked at the top of my blog.  Just click on the icons to find and follow me.


Math tips for all ages

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Making math engaging is one of my favorite things to do in the classroom.  If you were to ask me what I'm best at - I would for sure say guided reading and phonics.  However, teaching math and making it very hands on is one of my favorite things to do during my school day.  Making math come alive is so exciting and I love to see them grow their confidence.  

engaging math tips

I get so excited when I see my students 'get it' and work through things especially if they are using manipulatives or centers I have made for them.  

Here are some everyday dollar tree items that you can turn into math centers that won't break the bank.

99 ¢ flip flop plate = number bond fun!  Just add some pom poms and you are all set for some part/part/whole equations to work though.

Did you know you could use a bubble blower wand for math?  The petals make the perfect repeated addition problems to reinforce multiplications skills.  

engaging math tips

Another tip - Play doh... you can use it in like 1,000 ways!  Here I used a cookie cutter for numbers and then added dot touch points for math.  They can create equations, add the dot touch points into the play doh and use that strategy to add.  
**** NOTE: ****
Typically I only add the touch points to the smaller number and have them use the strategy of counting on to help them.  So they would say 5 and use the 3 touch points to count on.  That has been what's worked best for my students in the past.  

This is great for the little guys still struggling with one to one correspondence.  They will also be working on fine motor skills at the same time...what?!?!?!  How great is that!??!  They will pull a number from a bag and then use the tweezers to count out that many small pom poms to put on the egg die cuts.  

spring math centers

Kids don't need much to get excited...thank goodness!  These 99 ¢ carrot eggs are the perfect hands on manipulative to bring your centers alive and keep your students motivated.  You can work on basic counting skills OR addition skills.  This center is SUPER EASY to differentiate.  I found the small carrots at Michaels and added tiny pom poms for the addition one.  

math hacks

I found these plastic paint pallets at Hobby Lobby in the party section for a couple bucks and knew I could do something creative with them.  They are also perfect for repeated addition if you are introducing multiplication.  I added sixlets to them but you can also use tiny pom poms as well.  
As you can see the possibilities are endless when it comes to math and engagement.  Dollar Tree, Target Dollar Spot , Big Lots, Hobby Lobby and Michaels are your besties when it comes to this.  
Think outside the box and be creative when it comes to getting your students to work on skills that you are wanting to reinforce.  There are tons of options out there to help you!
You can find me on instagram and facebook for more fun ideas, just click the symbols at the top of my blog to visit my social media.
I hope these ideas inspire you to create some fun hands on activities for your students.  As always ~ happy teaching!

Counting coins

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pennies, nickels, and dimes oh my!  Oh and quarters, don't forget about those big ones.  I love teaching money, years ago it was a first grade standard and I had so much fun with it.  

First let's start with some great intro videos that I love using and keep my kids engaged.  
Here's a list of good ones you can try in your room.

I love these videos for lessons, this #1 guy is the best!

Fun, catchy songs are helpful too for recognition and remembering worth.

Hairy money has been around for a while and it's not my idea but if your group of kids needs a new approach this can certainly help you out.  Each strand that stands up counts as 5 - so a quarter would have 5 hair strands and it would equal 25 as they point to each hair and count by 5's.  The dime has 2 hairs to represent 2 groups of 5, the nickel gets one hair and the penny gets a dot or freckle.  This shows that you have to count by 1's for him. Most of your students can count by 5's so it's a great approach if they are struggling with the concept of money.

Hairy money is another way your students might learn - it's kind of like the touch point idea in math.  It's just another strategy that can be taught along with skip counting and finding the biggest coin to start with when counting several.

My students LOVE my coin tin center that helps them practice counting out piles of money.  This reinforces looking for the largest amount or worth first also which is super important.
I actually made this center before the Pinterest days guys.  Yep, back in 2007.  My students loved it, I bought the Altoid tins on line on ebay and decorated them and then grabbed some magnetic coins from lakeshore but you can probably buy them on Amazon now, I mean you can buy anything on Amazon - hello - 2 day shipping and thank you amazon prime.  

Here's how they look, you can use them for a math block/centers.  The kids take a coin card place it at the top of the altoid tin and then create that amount in the bottom of the tin with the magnetic coins.  It's easy to check as I walk around or you can encourage peer checking as well.  The coins stick perfectly to the altoid tins so it's fun to use and easy to keep all together.

tips for teaching money and coins

Won't fall out ~ they put the money on the bottom and the amount slips on the top ( lid ).

tips for teaching money and coins

tips for teaching money and coins

Hope you gained some new ideas that you can use right away for teaching money with your students.  As always ~ Happy teaching my friends~

Classroom Transformation low key style

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Classroom transformations are #alltherage right now.  I get it...I added a stage in my classroom because times have changed since I started this career 25 years ago.  
Today we have the competition of all the lights, action and quick responses from video games and it's become so hard to keep kids attention for more than like 5 seconds.
My teaching has HAD to change over the years due to all the technology.  For real...I'm not kidding.  
Kids are use to quick responses, no wait time, constant action, etc.  If all I did was talk at my students or even add in a small group activity I would lose them for sure.  
The stage has added a dynamic that keeps their attention as well as the smart board.  Now with pinterest and instagram classroom transformations are literally taking #centerstage.  


I feel badly for the newer teachers just entering the field because of all the pressure that surrounds them constantly...OR even the new moms that are tired and just getting through the day after not sleeping all night.  It's hard enough to live life and do #allthethings without adding in the pressure of classroom transformations, instagram accounts, etc.

So, I have a solution to hopefully help a sista or brother out a bit.  

ONE...stop comparing yourself and DON'T get sucked into the pressures of social media/pinterest etc.  
But, also you can still take the IDEA of a classroom transformation and do it on a very LOW KEY level and I promise it will still be effective!!!
For instance, I could've spent an hour decorating my classroom with CODE BLUE signs, lots of medical masks and gloves, first aid signs etc.  BUT I DIDN'T.  
Y'all I may have kids that are much older - college and junior in high school that don't need me as much BUT  I still have a life outside of school.  There's so much more to me than being a teacher FOR SURE!  I'm a believer, a mama, a swimmer, a wife, a creator, etc.  So ain't no body got time to #liveatschool .

Anywho this is what I did and it still KEPT THEIR ATTENTION, KEPT THEM ENGAGED and was highly EFFECTIVE.
When the kids walked in I had a heart rate monitor going from you tube on my smart board.  Immediately as they were getting their homework out they knew something was up.  I piqued their interest and they were curious.  Then I put on my mask and gloves...NO I DIDN'T have these supplies for every student, and that's okay!

AGAIN - being realistic about spending money that was unnecessary and mindful of my time.  I still created a highly engaging lesson that they will remember but I didn't have to spend a ton of time and money on a full on transformation.
It can be done.  Don't be sucked in to all the pinterest ideas that are truly #overthetop.  Do what YOU can DO and don't feel one bit guilty about it either.  YOU ARE ENOUGH, you are DOING ENOUGH and your STUDENTS LOVE YOU AS YOU ARE.

...and there you have it.  This lesson I can promise you they will remember, I spent hardly anytime prepping it and the materials I got from the school nurse. 
 Other ideas:  check out the dollar store if you want to add some props to your teaching.  
But again ~ the real message here is stop killing yourself to replicate something on pinterest that either:  the teacher that prepped it - has no kids at home, or has kids in college or has a stay at home husband or other things like that you know nothing what you can but keep the important things first.  
YOUR FAMILY, YOUR SANITY and BALANCE.  If you are able to do this and want to - more power to you!!!  But, if you feel pressured to do this and don't have the money or time - STOP stressing!  You can do a LOW KEY version or don't even bother.  Just show a power point, do a kahoot on it and call it a day.  Your students will survive I promise!
Hope this #keepingitreal talk has helped a bit.  You are enough, you are amazing and keep doing what you are doing!
As always, happy teaching my friends!

** you can find me on Instagram @teachingmore
Facebook @ Teaching and Much Moore

Love notes to your students

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Hi teacher friends!!!  Happy Wait for it Wednesday, I'm so excited to share with you one way that I love on my students in a BIG way!
It's cheap/free, easy and meaningful... what more can you ask for anyway right?!?!  

I think it is so important to continue to build on the relationships you have in your classroom all year long.  They long for that with you as well.  
I leave little notes on their desks periodically to show them how much I care and I wish I could post a video of their responses.  It's like Christmas morning guys and I'm not even kidding.  They LOVE these notes.  I try to do them seasonally but one of the most important things is these notes are personalized just to suit them and why I appreciate them.  
Here are some examples of notes I've done:

building classroom community

building classroom community

I always write my students a note on the first day of school AND the first Friday of that week as well.  It starts the year off on the right foot and lets them know how much you care. 

love notes to your students

building classroom community

These are my most recent ones that I did this week - if you are interested in doing this as well you can get these here

building classroom community

I hope you can use these to build classroom community and show your students how much you care.  I always say:  They will always remember how you made them feel. 
Anywho, go out there and love on your students!  Happy { almost Christmas break} my teacher friends.

Remember you can always find me here on Wednesdays for my Wait for it Wednesday blog posts as well as Sunday nights on my Instagram for Sunday Night Snippets.  I'd love for you to join me.

Instagram: @teachingmore
Twitter: @teachingmore
Facebook: @teaching and much moore