Sunday, September 18, 2016


Are you ready for those first parent conferences? first round of testing/assessing (or more testing!)? first report cards?  Make it all easy on yourself and check out ESGI!  It’s the quickest one-on-one assessment ever developed.  You can use their preloaded assessments or you can add your own.  Try it for free!  Just click on the icon below, sign up for the free trial before Sept. 30 and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win one of ten $50 gift cards from TpT! 

Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools

September 15 was International Dot Day, named for the storybook, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.  In the story, in art class a little girl cannot draw and just stares at a blank sheet of paper.  Her teacher finally encourages her to just make a mark and see where it takes her.  So in anger she makes one little mark, a little dot which becomes the beginning of a beautiful journey!  

We also read the book, Ten Black Dots, by Donald Crews.  Our students created illustrations using sticky dots and wrote about their pictures.  We gave them a choice of colored dots rather than just black dots to encourage originality rather than copy the illustrations in the book.  

We collected their dot pictures and created a class book for our library.  You can get a free copy of the student page and the cover page by clicking here.  

Ten Black Dots also lends itself to lots of number activities.  One fun activity is to ask the students how many dots we would need to make 10 pictures, one with 1 dot, one with 2 dots, etc.  Most children will answer 10! 
To get the correct answer, we use small 1” blocks and count out 10 sets, with one block in the first set, two blocks in the second set, and so on until we have 10 blocks in the 10th set.  Then we put all the blocks together and count them to get the correct answer of 55!  Most children are amazed!  
We create an anchor chart of black paper dots that we have cut out on the Ellison machine.  Here is a small sample of the chart, which remains up in the room for reference.  Of course we have to count all the dots again because many children will still insist there are only 10 dots!
Do you have products for sale in your TpT store for numeral identification and/or counting sets?  Link up three of your products below!  Don’t forget to tell others to come link up! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Lisa: There’s a saying here in Phoenix about the seasons:   We have only three - hot, hotter, and hottest!  If we drive about 2 hours north, we can experience all 4 seasons in Arizona.  

Linda: Obviously it’s difficult to teach about the four seasons with our weather but on our school grounds we have a few trees whose leaves actually change colors.  So our classes “adopt” a tree in September and observe what happens to it during the year. 

Lisa: This activity supports our science strands for the inquiry process and for changes in the environment.  The project makes children aware of their surroundings while having them write and draw about what they observe.   

When leaves begin to change color, we adopt a tree by walking around the campus with the children to decide on one.  We tie a laminated label to the tree that will remain on the it for the entire school year.

Back in the classroom, the children receive their science journals, Our Class Tree, and complete the fall page by writing the title on it and then writing a sentence to describe their tree.  They decorate the tree with paper leaves. 

We visit our adopted tree during the winter, spring, and summer (or as close to the summer as we can get before the school year is over!).  The children work in their science journals each time with a different art project for the tree and take them home at the end of the school year. 

Get your free Adopt-A-Tree journal by clicking on this cover.  This product is not available in our store yet on Teachers Pay Teachers so get yours first! 

We hope your children enjoy adopting a tree as much as ours do!  And follow this blog to get more freebies, ideas, and projects!  

Enter our Rafflecopter contest between September 8th and 11th to win a $50 gift card to TpT!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We are also a part of a K-2 Linky party so be sure to check out the blogs below for more ideas and freebies.  

Happy Teaching!