Holiday Ideas

Early Learning

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Giving Back: Make a Difference at ARF

Just a quick post today– many of the TpT sellers have teamed up for a day of giving back. We’ve noticed that Sundays are big days for teachers as they’re purchasing products to use at school the following week. =) So today, we’re each donating a portion of our sales to a charity of our choice. It’s our little way of paying it forward and making a difference.

I’m donating 100% of proceeds from my store to a charity that is near and dear to my heart, ARF. ARF (Animal Rescue Fund) is a no-kill shelter in Muncie, Indiana, where I adopted my sweet girl Isabelle. She’s been with me since I started teaching and brings so much joy to our life. Couldn’t imagine myself without her!

Each time you buy a resource on TpT, your purchases directly help other teachers. Today, they go even further as we give back to causes that are special to us. Happy shopping, friends! 

freebies, management

The Desk Fairy is Here: Classroom Notes Freebie

There really isn’t anything like the holiday season in the classroom. Attention spans get shorter while activity levels get higher. Kids are pumped full of holiday treats and cheer while routines go out the window. It’s sort of like a game of Whac-A-Mole; as soon as you handle one issue, another pops up. Isn’t it fun?? Oh, the days of “going with the flow” in the classroom. =)

While many homes and classrooms are bringing in elves that report to Santa, I always went with the Desk Fairy. Let’s face it… halfway through the year, desks can be a hot mess. They’ve accumulated treasures {and moldy snacks, true story} for months. But a quick visit by the desk fairy gets everything back in order. I drop a few hints that I’ve heard she’s been seen around the school, rewarding students with organized and clean work spaces (desk and floor).  Voila! A flurry of activity as messy desks magically become orderly.

A few days later when the Desk Fairy visits, students with neat work spaces are rewarded with a small treat and note from the fairy herself. If my warning didn’t motivate students, an actual visit usually does. No one wants to be left out on her next trip! 

Grab my free clean desk notes and give them a try with your class. Your room will be neat in no time!

Free notes from the desk fairy to help with classroom organization

big kid units, Christmas, math, teacher tips

Save Yourself Some Merry Little Minutes This Winter

Oh, the days leading up to winter break in the elementary classroom. The excitement of Christmas, the rehearsals for our holiday show, the semester assessments for progress monitoring, and writing all those report cards… it’s enough to make you want to eat the entire cookie jar. 😉  

To help you out, I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite upper elementary bloggers again to bring you this quick blog hop. Our goal is to save you some of those precious little minutes as we wrap up 2014. Less time on prep and more time with family is what it’s all about.

My tip to you is to work in BULK. This is something I apply to many aspects of my life, but seems to be something many teachers struggle with. When my husband and I first got married, it seemed like we were at the grocery store every other day because we couldn’t work ahead on our menus. I hate the grocery store and dreaded having to go so often. It was a waste of time! I felt the same way about our copy machine at school. Ain’t nobody got time for waiting in that line!

So now I work in bulk. I sketch out my lesson plans in monthly units and pull the folders/bins/centers I’ll need for those units all at the same time. Then I go to the copy machine one time. Yes, one time. I’ll run all my copies and then put the masters away. This saves so much time!

I’ll go in before or after school one day and run them all when no one else is around {like on common prep periods or lunch, you know, rush hour times}. I paper clip each stack together and toss them on a shelf behind my desk. Then I have them right at my fingertips when I’m ready to prep my daily folders each week. This not only saves me copy machine time, but has me “sub ready” without scrambling. She just grabs my daily folder and teachers her way straight through it. It also saves me when our copy machine takes one of its frequent vacations. 

Classroom organization: time saving lesson prep

Another way you can save yourself some time this winter is to grab print and go materials from TpT. We’re having a big ‘ol sale too! Be sure to use the coupon code when you check out for 28% off everything in my store.

Here are a few activities I can’t teach without this time of the year. First, we dive into my penguin unit. I’m all about teaching in thematic units and the penguin theme is always a hit with my kiddos. They’ve studied penguins before, but we go much deeper and they truly become experts about a penguin species of their choice with this pack. Of course, I carry the penguin theme over into word work, math, science, and social studies too. We’re sneaky like that. 😉 This is also a great unit for coming back to school in January.

Penguin Nonfiction Unit for Elementary School

For a little seasonal fun, I use my Winter Wonderland unit. It has tons of seasonal writing activities with math activities, map skill practice for social studies, and crafts/recipes mixed in too. It’s mostly winter themed with just a few Christmas pieces, so it’s perfect for schools that can’t do Christmas in the classroom.

Winter Wonderland Unit for Elementary School: Alternative to Christmas

Next up, I use my Multiplication Workshop pack all month long in my math group centers. I actually finished this a little late last year and we used it through January too. 😉 It has black/white as well as color options to save your ink. 
Multiplication centers and color sheets with a Christmas theme

There’s a set of matching cards for each multiplication fact family 1-12. Students can use the cards alone in “memory” games, or use them as game cards with the included board games. 

Multiplication centers and color sheets with a Christmas theme

These coloring sheets are included in the pack, but I also pulled them out separately for those of you who just need print-and-go sheets. I use these for fast finishers.

Multiplication centers and color sheets with a Christmas theme

Finally, my fall math craftivities were such a hit I had to carry the theme over into winter with Santa, Christmas Tree, and Snowmen. These all come in addition/subtraction and multiplication/division options. I like this because you can differentiate for your students while everyone works on the same thing too. Again, sneaky. I pass out multiple options so we wend up with a variety of finished crafts for a bulletin board display. I also like that this reduces the temptation to share answers so everyone has to work the problems. 

Winter or Christmas themed math crafts for elementary school

Thank you so much for all that you do for your students. We appreciate you so much! For more time-saving tips, head over to any of these great blogs. 

freebies, math

Teachers Thanking Teachers: Math Craftivity

***The freebies have ended. Thank you so much for your support! Be sure to follow my blog with BlogLovin‘ and on Facebook so you don’t miss out on the next ones!***

Does anyone here like freebies? =) I’ve teamed up with a few of my upper elementary teacher friends to bring you this quick and easy blog hop of freebies to show our appreciation for YOU! Teachers work hard and sometimes the “thank you”s are just too few and far between. So today you get to relax, hop around, and collect a few freebies to help make it through the next few {crazy} weeks until winter break.

Here at Ms. Fultz’s Corner you can grab one of my new math craftivities. I’m a big fan of sneaking in a little art wherever I can, so I created a series of seasonal math crafts that feel more like fun than work. Sneaky, I know. 😉 Students solve math problems and then color the pieces using their solution to check their work. When they’re finished, they can assemble the pieces to make their craft and illustrate the background. And there you have it– an educational bulletin board display. Voila! 

You don’t want to see my attempt to illustrate the background.

I also made them in two versions, addition/subtraction and multiplication/division for differentiation. The crafts look the same, so students don’t have to know who is working on what. Love that! Just click here to grab the addition/subtraction scarecrow and here to grab the multiplication/division version. Hope your students love it and thank you for all you do!

If you love this version, be sure to check out the rest. In addition to the scarecrow, I also have a pair of pilgrims or a turkey. For winter, I have a snowman, Christmas tree, and Santa. I like to mix and match what I pass out so we end up with a variety on our bulletin board displays, and it also helps cut down on sharing answers so everyone is practicing their own skills. Shhh… 😉

I’ve bundled the multiplication/division set for extra savings. The addition/subtraction set will be coming soon and check back this spring for more new seasonal sets. I love them so much!

Don’t forget to visit these teacher-friends for more great ideas:

big kid units, craft, freebies, Thanksgiving

Turkey Tuesday

Hey, friends! Last year I blogged about all of my turkey ideas after Thanksgiving so I promised myself that wouldn’t happen again this year. I’ve been staring at my to do list for 11 whole days now with “Turkey post” right at the top. The control freak in me just can’t take it anymore. ha! So here is a little throwback to how we rolled turkey style the month of November.

It’s no secret that I like to teach in themed units. If I can work a theme into reading, writing, language, word work, math, science, and social studies while tossing in some art as well, I am a happy teacher of a happy class. It increases buy-in for my students and their knowledge of our topic goes both deep and wide because we’ve spent so much time on it.

For the month of November, we are all about turkeys. Turkey poems, turkey anatomy, turkey math, turkey nutrition, turkey word work, turkey…. you get the point. 😉 I bundled the majority of my stuff into my Turkey Unit for Big Kids to keep it simple.

Nonfiction turkey unit for elementary students

My favorite piece is actually a little nonfiction book I wrote for guided reading. We use it as the starting point for our unit and you can print it into mini books with multiple pages per sheet, project it, or print it off in whole-sheet size as a big book. It comes in both color and black/white options too. My students love all the little turkey “tidbits” in there.

Then I have my students show what they know by labeling a turkey with details. We’re constantly working on nonfiction text features, so I love that this reinforces those skills. 

Mix science with nonfiction text features and label the parts of a turkey

But we don’t just keep turkeys in our literacy instruction. I move that theme right on into math. I actually use two versions of this for differentiation; one for addition/subtraction and one for multiplication/division. It’s sneaky because the crafts are the same so the students don’t even realize there are two versions floating around based on their skill level. 

A turkey craftivity using math problems

Even though my poor fella doesn’t have a face, I had to share these cute little bags with you too. We make them on the last day before break {you know how crazy those days can be!}. I have students write individual notes for what they are thankful for this year. I encourage them to write at least one for each family member, and then add to those if they have time. They’re always so proud and ready to take their bags home to show off what’s inside.

Finally, how cute are these cookies? We work on following directions with these, but then students get a yummy treat when they’re finished. I don’t show them the example first, so it’s always fun to see how each individual cookie comes together. 

Follow directions to create a cute turkey snack

Throughout the week, we’re also working on turkey themed word work. I have my students complete individual work work/spelling contracts each week, but like to mix them up with themes around the holidays. You can click here to grab your freebie

Hope that gives you a few ideas in advance this year! =) Here are even more ideas for you from my Pinterest board:

Follow Christi @ Ms. Fultz’s Corner’s board School Thanksgiving on Pinterest.