Odd & Even Anchor Activity

Do y'all use anchor activities in your room?  I do!  I refer to them as anchor activities & desserts...a little something for the kids to do {independently} when they're stuck or when they're finished with their work.  I love anchor activities because they lend themselves to easy differentiation.  They give kids a sense of independence and autonomy, too.  

 The activities I include in mine are concept/skill specific and thematic.  I keep them out for a few weeks, until I feel the novelty is wearing off, or until the themtic unit of study comes to an end. The activities included are always independent activities or activities that can be played with a partner.  Nothing I put in my anchor activity/dessert tubs requires reteaching.  I mean, I introduce the activity{ies} to them, but they aren't coming up to me every 5 seconds asking, "how do I do this?!?!?!?"  Too much redirection defeats the purpose!!!

If you're anything like me, you're always looking for more activities to incorporate into your anchor activity/dessert tubs.   I thought I'd share this quick and easy activity I shared with my friends at the TN 1st grade conference.  This is a perfect activity for K & 1.  Even though this particular skill may not be in your standards, it's still a concept that has to be taught....and reinforced.  And when are you supposed to do that if it's not in your curriculum?!?  ANCHOR/DESSERT TUBS, of course!  

Materials needed: 120's chart, 2 different colored counters, a coin {the one pictured above is oversized and huge...I got it several years ago at the Dollar Tree in the party favor section}

 This game can be played independently or with a partner.  

Independent play:  Toss the coin.  If the coin lands on heads, the player will cover up an EVEN number with a red counter.  If the coin lands on tails, the player will cover up an ODD number with a blue counter.  Player will continue to toss & cover odd/even numbers on the 120's chart until X amount of numbers are covered {you can choose the amount or give the kids varying amounts from which to choose}.

Partner play:  Player 1 tosses the coin.  If the coin lands on heads, the player will cover up an EVEN number with a red counter.  If the coin lands on tails, then the play goes to player 2.  Players will continue to toss & identify until one player has 10 counters on the board {or you can determine a different amount players have to have on the board....or players choose the amount they have to have on the board}.  To switch up play, you can also have the kids toss and cover up ODD numbers instead.  

What I love about this very SIMPLE activity is that it reinforces a necessary concept/skill and provides choice for the kids.  They NEED that autonomy.  I also like that the kids aren't tied to playing the game just one way.  Offering them choices within the game helps to give them a sense of ownership and keep them engaged as well.

I'd love to hear more about what you do for your anchor/dessert activities!!!

Musical Matching - A Blending Game

Hey y'all!  

How's the week going so far?!  If it's anything for you like it is for me, then it's crazy...and jam packed full of Halloween insanity {I'm talking about the kids, of course;)}  I love, love, LOVE Halloween, but I know you feel me when I say that celebrating it at school with the kids is nothing short of....well...crazy.  Fun, absolutely.  But crazy nonetheless.  I feel ya, friends.  I really do!

But let's go ahead and keep it business as usual until all Hallow's Eve and remain thankful that Friday's festivities don't coincide with a full moon {can I get an amen?!!??!}

I wanted to share a fun game with y'all that I shared with my friends in TN last week.  I'm all about incorporating games into learning.  Hands-on, life sized, kinesthetic, get'cha-up-and-movin' kinda games.  I love that my kids make connections to these games days/weeks/months after playing when they're independently working on similiar concepts at different points during the year.  And let's be real...games are just plain FUN.  And that's just how learning {and teaching!!!} should be...FUN!!!!  

One of the most important...and oftentimes trickiest...skills to teach our early readers is how to blend onsets/rimes/phonemes.  Here's a game that garnered rave reviews from my kids over the years.  It's a little onset/rime blending game that'll get your kids up and moving, blending sounds, and identifying real and nonsense words.   Let's play, shall we?!

Label a small set of plates with various word endings/families {rimes}.  As you can see in the pic above, I have lots of different rimes on my plates.  You could play this game using as few as 1 or as many as you want!  Label a set of index cards with different phonemes/onsets.  Place the labeled plates in a circle on the floor and hand out one labeled index card to each of your kids.  While your kids are holding their cards, direct them to stand in a circle around the plates.  

Now start the music.  Crank it or yank it.  Pump up the jam {does that date me?!?!?}  I like to turn on KidzBop when we play this game because the kids love it and I actually know the words so I can sing along, too.  While the music is playing, the kids will move around the plates going clockwise/counterclockwise {just like musical chairs}.  When the music stops, the kids stop in front of a plate.  

The kids will take their index card {onset/phoneme} and blend it with the word ending/rime they're standing in front of.  If they blend a real word, they stay in the game.  If the word they blend is nonsense, they're out.  {You could potentially have several kids out at once depending on the number of different onsent/rimes you include in the game}.  Unlike musical chairs, you won't remove any of the plates.  Start the music again, sing for a bit, stop, and blend.  Wash. rinse. repeat.  The game is all over when only one person is standing :)  

To keep the other kids engaged in the activity when they get out, you could have them take out their dry erase boards/sleeves and write the real/nonsense words as they're called out during play.  Encourage those that are "out" to use 1-2 of the real words in a sentence while the music is playing.  There are lots of ways to keep non-participants engaged and learning!!  

I hope you can use this fun little game in your room.  Maybe on Friday perhaps?!  Because when trick-or-treating is on the mind, a game is absolutley necessary :)    

Five for Friday

It's been a while since my last post.  I just realized I can't do everything.  Actually, I came to that realization a long, long, LONG time ago, but it slapped me in the face yet again this past month.  Between getting 8 presentations ready for the TN 1st grade conference, being the grade level chair for our community Fall Fest, and *trying* to take care of my little family, everything else in my little world just got pushed to the side.  And I'm okay with that.

If you purchased my growing Work on Writing Year Long Bundle and are wondering why I didn't meet my October 15 deadline for adding the November edition, I promise it's coming this weekend.  I'm hunkering down these next two days to finish it all up.  I apologize for the delay.  I didn't take my conference schedule into account when I set those deadlines a few months ago.  Scatterbrained and behind pretty much sums up my life right now.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!!!

Since so much has been going on this last month, I thought it would be fun to recap it all and link up with Kacey for Five for Friday.

Our community Fall Fest was a week ago.  I spent every Friday up at school helping the committee prep for the big event.  It's actually a pretty impressive ordeal.  It's completely free for the community and the area businesses come out the night before and cook for the crowd.  Did I mention it's free?!  Tacos, gumbo, corn dogs, hot dogs, brisket...SO.MUCH.FOOD!!!  There are lots of games for the kids to play and I was in charge of coordinating the Kindergarten booths.  SO fun!!!  I didn't take any pics of the set up, but here are my boys enjoying Fall Fest.  They had the BEST time!!!!

The boys had the BEST time at Fall Fest, but as soon as I got home that afternoon, my sweet little Grant fell off the neighbor's monkey bars and hurt is arm something awful.  Praise the Lord it wasn't broken, but it was swollen pretty badly.  The x-rays didn't show a fracture, but they treated it like it was broken.  Sweet boy asked for dinner at Texas Roadhouse because "thothe rollth and thinnamon butter are the betht!!!!", so we took him out for being so brave and as soon as he got home he asked us to take off the splint.  He's doing 100x better now and has full range of motion in his arm!  Halleluia!

The boys were SO excited to take us up to school last week for Open House.  They couldn't wait to show us everything they've been working so hard on in their classrooms.  I love that they love school as much as they do and I owe it all to their amazing teachers.  We love them and the love and dedication they show our boys every single day.  We feel so blessed!  I mean, c'mon...are they not the cutest, proudest things you've ever seen!? {I'm totally biased, of course ;)}


They got to meet Clifford at the Book Fair that night, too!  SCORE!

It took many, many weeks and countless hours to prep and plan my presentations for the TN 1st grade conference.  Here's a little peek at what I shared when I was there.  I haven't shared it on the blog and it's not available on TpT because I got a little feedback from Vegas where some of the conference attendees said they would rather see more brand new ideas than many ideas from my blog....so I wanted to make sure this time around I had plenty of new things to share with the girls in TN!  Well shoo!!!  I love sharing on this little blog...this is hard!!!   The struggle is real!!!  ;)        


Speaking of TN, I had the BEST time.  The ladies who attended were some of the sweetest, most gracious people I've ever met.  I got to spend some time meeting and having dinner with one of the sweetest girls, my dear friend Elisabeth from The Adventures of Miss Elisabeth.  I adore her.  And her ideas.  We had dinner at J. Alexander and it was the perfect start to my two-day stay in Tennessee!

And I met these adorable ladies, too!!!  They were just as sweet as could be!

I got to see one of my favorite friends, Elizabeth from Kickin' it in Kindergarten, and she took me to one of her favorite downtown Franklin boutiques for a little retail therapy.  She's not good for my check card....dangit!  But boy that sure was a precious boutique!!!

We walked around downtown Franklin for a little bit...the most CHARMING city in the world {I swear we're moving there one day!!!!}...and then headed out to dinner at Gray's with the ladies from GoNoodle.  I LOVE them!!!!

If you don't know about GoNoodle, you need to.  And not just because it's FREE, but because it's awesome.  And the people behind the scenes are even more amazing.  Truly.  And if you didn't already know, Koo Koo Kangaroo has added 6 more videos to their channel on GoNoodle and my boys and I have already watched and danced along to all of them!!!!!

Okay...so that was more like 5 for Friday and then some :)  Whoops!  I guess that's what happens when you're gone for a bit!

Hope y'all have had a great week and hope you have an even better weekend!!!

It's Tuesday & I'm a Little Batty

See what I did there?!

In all seriousness, happy Tuesday!!  Did y'all have the day off yesterday?!  We did.  All 3 of my boys had a "man day".  That basically consisted of a lot of bathroom jokes, lunch out at Chili's, and a trip to Home Depot.  I spent the day putting the finishing touches on my presentations for next week's Tennessee First Grade Conference.  Will I see you there?!  I sure hope so!

If y'all haven't learned about bats yet, or even if you have, I just wanted to share a few things we've done in years past and give you guys a few more freebies to add to your ever growing collection of resources.  I hope these ideas and printables/activities help you get through these next few weeks or prepare for more fun next year!!!

We loved reading Stellaluna during "bat week" and organizing our thoughts with this story map.  Stickies are my favorite to use for these types of organizers.


Since there were a lot of little problems and characters in Stellaluna, this was the perfect time to talk about main character & main problem.  We starred those on the story map to remember the difference!

stellaluna5 stellaluna6

I also had the kids make their own beginning/middle/end story map.  After they organized their thoughts onto their trifolds, one of my sweet moms came in to help guide the kids as they “published” their work on these bats…

We hung them {upside down} from the ceiling!

We red several non-fiction books about bats and used the info to help us fill out our Venn Diagram.
I LOVED this bat craft idea I saw on Chalk Talk.  I sat out the materials to create the bats, along with these pink strips of paper, at the writing center.  The kids used the Venn diagram as a reference to write two bat facts on their bats.  Some of my sweet little overachievers asked if they could write facts they remembered that weren’t listed on the diagram.  Well pin a rose on your nose little love…of course you can!

We learned about the differences between megabats & microbats and the kids were fascinated to learn that you can tell the difference between the two by the size of their eyes.  SO…I had different sized googly eyes that the kids could choose from to either make megabats or microbats.  Most of them made megabats!  No surprise there!

stellaluna2 stellaluna3
I set out a few hands-on bat themed activities at our literacy stations, too.  Click on the link below to download a word family word-to-picture match.  I cut the bats out & then cut their wings off.  The kids had to put the bat back together by matching the words to the pics that were on the wings.  {Once you see the download, you’ll understand…and if you don’t, just let me know!!}
I also created these word family bats {-ug, –un, –ut} programmed with various short u words.  I set out a clothesline and had the kids hang the bats {upside down} in ABC order.  My struggling kiddos were alphabetizing by first letter only.  My love-to-be-challenged kiddos had to look at the WHOLE word to alphabetize it correctly.  They LOVED this activity!  I just can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures!  CRAZY week!!!

abcorderbats copy

  After seeing a few illustrations and real pictures of bats, I was dying to know what my kids thought…do you think they’re cute??  or creepy??  I’ve seen one up close & in person and ohmiword…I hope I never see one again.  My vote…CREEPY.  Here’s what the kids thought…
3-bats  4-bats

Can y’all believe that?!  Most of my little sweeties thought they were cute!!!!  We took this time to review the differences between picture graphs and bar graphs…first creating our picture graph.  Then we transferred all that data to our graphing sheet and analyzed it a little more.  After completing our graphs and analyzing the data, the kids made their own little {not-so-creepy} bats…and they loved it!


If you’re interested in doing this little graphtivity in your classroom, click on the picture below to download a copy for yourself!


To carry our learning into literacy, here are a few activities my kids worked on during their independent work stations.  Listening for beginning and ending sounds and distinguishing between rhyming and non-rhyming words.  Some of my sweeties who loved to be challenged used the beginning and ending sound mats to listen for ALL the sounds.  Some of them are even using the words they make in sentences!! 

1-bats  2-bats

Click on the pic below for your {free} copy!


 Here are a few fun little activities my kids worked on in their math centers from my Cute or Creepy? {7-Math Tub Activities} packet.  Here’s a little peek.

7-bats  8-bats  9-bats

If you want a more detailed preview at this packet, you can check it out in my little shop.


Here's another thematic graphic organizer we loved!!  After we read a few really great books about these flying mammals, we had to add that little piece of info to the misconceptions column :)   bats1

This was a great opportunity for me to talk about fact & opinion, too.  I know that’s a concept that will take a while for my kids to understand and develop, but it never hurts to plant the seed!!
I carried over the thematic learning in our centers and stations, too...


The rhymes with/doesn’t rhyme with bat mats are a free download I posted last year and you can grab them HERE.  The Candy Corn Cover Up and Vampire Vowel activities are in my It’s a Hands-On Harvest of Literacy Fun packet.  

Do you have any batty ideas you want to share?!  Link up in the comments!!!  


During this time of the year, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate the "holidays" into our learning.  I think it's really important to be sensitive to negative connotations this time of year can evoke.  Let's be real.  Not everyone is a fan of Halloween. And I know many schools/districts don't approve of the symbolism that goes along with it all.   But that doesn't mean we can't make it fun :)

Halloween has always been my favorite.  I mean, I LOVE Christmas....errrr..Winter Holidays?!!?!??!...but there's just something about Halloween.  It reminds me of my childhood.  I can still smell our school Halloween carnival when I close my eyes.  Such FUN memories!!! 

One of my favorite seasonal characters is Frankenstein.  I don't know why, but I LOVE him!!!  Always have.  I've never seen the movie or read the books, but he's always been one of my favorite characters....ummm, symbols...for this time of year.  If you can't tell, I was a HUGE fan of The Addams Family when I was growing up.  I loved me some Herman Munster :)  

When I was at Target the other day, I found these little gems....
I'm thinking they were leftover from last year because I have the tin.  There were only a few of these left and I have about 2-3 already in my holiday stash.  I'm anxious to head out to the "big" Target this weekend because our little one doesn't really have much of a selection.

Anyway...it got me thinking.  I absolutely NEED to create some activities that compliment my favorite holiday character!!!   When my boys come home in the afternoon, they {{{shockingly}}} want to do their homework.  I know it won't always be like this, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can.  I'm always trying to think of ways to make their after school work more exciting, so I created these activities for them to use for the next few weeks in hopes that it does the trick.  Since my boys are in K and 1st, I made sure to include activities...and variations of the activities included...that would work for both grade levels/objectives.

I created a printable Math packet....a literacy resource...and I also bundled them both together.

We haven't touched on much from the packet, but Landon saw me creating this and he wanted to do it so badly.  And, of course, monkey see monkey do.  Baby brother just had to do it, too :)  So far, this is one of their favorites!!  Hahahaha!!!  Any time they can make something to wear, they get a little excited.  Landon wanted to skip count by 10's and Grant begged to practice counting by 5's.  Sure boys...whatever floats your boat(s) :)

We've been reading our way through these titles...

One thing both my boys need to work on is retell & comprehension.  Comprehension is an area where kids can ALWAYS grow, so I think it's important to give them lots of practice.  Since they bring home a lot of pencil/paper activities for homework, I want to give them something a little bit more "fun". So we we're going to make this little Frankenfoldable.  Ha.  They've seen my example and they're SO  excited!!!!  

We'll talk about the beginning/middle/end of the story and then write about it inside the foldable.  But first things first, of course...making the foldable  We're a family that loves to create :)

This week we'll be making these PRECIOUS snacks...FRANKENPUDDING!!!  Aaaaahhh!!!  I haven't showed the boys yet, but ohmiword.  Anything that involves pudding and Oreos, well...let's just say there won't be any leftovers.  

Since they're both writing, I'm going to follow-up with a little procedural writing activity.  I'll disguise it as writing to explain to Mimi & Daddy how-to make Frankenpudding {since they both work late and won't be around to make this with us}...and they'll eat it right up {no pun intended ;)}
While we're making the pudding, we'll also review our 5 senses.  Even though I'm not in the classroom, I feel like I never left.  I'm sure my mommy/teacher friends can relate.  I don't necessarily try to make everything a learning moment, but I just feel like SO many things lend themselves to teaching or reinforcing skills and concepts they've already learned or are learning, y'know?!  And the teacher in me will always be there no matter who I'm teaching...my own kids, my classroom kids, or my teacher friends...I just can't turn it off!!!  Just ask my husband...my teacher voice comes out more than he'd like ;)  Anyway, here's what I'll use to review that...I'll have them do this during their "downtime" before bed.  

And, of course, I've already busted out my erasers for this one.  We'll be finding numbers on the number line and talking about one more/one less!!!!  I do feel very fortunate that my boys don't really know that they're learning when they do things like these.  I try and make everything a game and so far they're falling for it. Let's pray that lasts a while longer!!!

You can grab the Frankenline in my FrankenFUN Math packet if you're interested in adding a few more seasonal math activities to your bag of tricks.

I also bundled both of these packets together... FrankenFun Math & Literacy.

There are a couple of games in the math packet that I know my boys are going to be excited to play this week.  That's probably how we'll spend our Columbus Day...exploring a few different math concepts and playing games.  Can't wait!!!!