Kindergarten Math Made Easy! (Plus, a Flash Freebie!)

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Have you ever struggled with how to teach the required math standards.. but still make it fun and – most important – at the right level for every one of your students?

I’ll admit it. I have. I developed these math units after struggling to make our big box curriculum meet our needs and finding I needed to supplement a whole lot. These units have been classroom-tested and kid approved. I’ve used these units the past 3 years and my kids have never loved math more – or had better data!

I’m even more excited about them now because, by popular demand, I am currently working on adding differentiation options to each unit! I just finished Unit 1 Numbers to 5 and I am in love. I have included below level/intervention and enrichment options that is going to make it so easy to just TEACH!

Let me show you what’s included:

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Isn’t it gorgeous?! So what’s included in each unit? Well, each unit contains or will contain: lesson plans, differentiation options, anchor charts, and an end of unit assessment (I am currently working my way through updating each unit).

The lesson plans include: a number sense warm up, a teacher-directed activity, a partner game or activity, independent practice, and a home extension.

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This is an example of one of the lessons. Everything is laid out for you!

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Then you have your differentiation plans. You can use these in small groups or during the lesson! Either way will work.

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Each lesson contains a partner activity. For this lesson, students are playing number bump with the numbers 0-5. For below level, students will be playing with JUST the numbers 0 and 1! For enrichment, students will use subitizing cards instead of the number die. They’re very easy changes to make to support each of your kiddos!

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Some of the subitizing cards are pictures above.

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I have also included extra practice sheets for those intervention groups (although nothing says you can’t use them with ALL students! 😉

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Each lesson also contains an independent activity. For this one, students will be matching all of the pictures that represent the number 1 to their number page.

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I have also included a home extension for each unit. I know many teachers who use these as exit tickets or morning work instead of home extensions! You can use any piece of these units however you need to!

I have put the curriculum bundle and the first 4 units only SALE through 7/18 only!

If you’ve stuck around to the end of this post, then yay! You get to hear about a special flash freebie I have to celebrate all of YOU!

These book bin labels feature real photographs perfect for our ELL babies, and book stickers to help students build independence! These labels with only be free for the month of JULY but if you download them now, you will have access to them FOREVER!

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Kindergarten Math Intervention Made Easy

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of time in my day. As any elementary teacher knows, you plan and teach every subject, but it doesn’t end there. To meet the needs of all your students, you may need to plan activities for intervention too. It can feel overwhelming! What do we do today? Do I have time to get it prepped? Is it really targeting the areas my students are struggling in?

I needed something I could print and prep once and then grab every time I met with students for intervention. That’s why I developed this math intervention binderIt meets all CCSS and all I had to do was print it, stick it in a binder, and add manipulatives. I made the activities reusable by sticking them in page protectors so I don’t even need to make copies anymore!

Best of all, all of the activities are hands-on and engaging. I’ve had so many students tell me that math small groups was their favorite time of day! Here’s a peak at some of the activities included:

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I’ve included multiple activities to work on number identification and number sense because these skills are SO important and can be such a struggle for young learners. Using fun counters like these mini-erasers keeps it exciting!

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Just add magnetic numbers! Don’t have magnetic numbers? I’ve also included printable number tiles you can use. My kids love this activity so much they’ve asked for it to become a center!

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I love these transparent spinners, but if you don’t want to purchase them, a paperclip and pencil makes an easy spinner!

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I like to sneak in fine motor work as much as possible. We often use tweezers and pom poms in place of counters!

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Cubes are perfect for nonstandard measurement!

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Not only do we work on recognizing shapes, but we also compose new shapes!

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If you put your pages in page protectors, you can easily write on them with dry erase markers and then wipe clean!

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We cover multiple addition and subtraction strategies because you never know what’s going to stick with a student!

Want to check the binder out for yourself? Find it here:

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Kindergarten Portfolios and Memory Books

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When people ask what I love about teaching kindergarten, one of my first answers is always the growth that happens each year. Students come in not knowing their own name or having held  a pencil before and leave first grade ready.

One of the best ways to show that growth to both students and parents is through portfolios. Portfolios are a place to keep writing samples, work students are proud of, and to track data and goals. And at the end of the year, they become a wonderful memory book to send home to parents!

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I keep my portfolios in individual binders because it’s easy to quickly insert pages. However, you could just keep each student’s pages in a file folder and then bind at the end of the year.

I start collecting work samples from the very first day of school. Each month has it’s own section. Instead of buying dividers, I have students make a simple craft on construction paper, which is slightly larger than printer paper and makes the perfect divider. As you can see in the picture above, the construction paper is slightly taller than the binder, so if that bothered you, you could trim them down.

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At the beginning of each month, students also draw a portrait of themselves and write their names. I love to see how the pictures get so much more detailed throughout the year!

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I also have them write their uppercase and lowercase letters and fill out a calendar to show number writing. At the beginning of the year, this is rough, but again, the growth is always amazing to see!

Throughout the year, students choose some of their work samples that they are proud of to put in their portfolio. I also choose work that I think represents them as a students and I have a few seasonal writing prompts that I give the whole class.

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Finally, I have one of my FAVORITE sections in the portfolios: Data tracking and goal setting.

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Students help me track their data – sometimes by coloring in what they know and sometimes just by discussing it with me. I let them set their own goals, usually just one or two at a time, that they want to work towards. When they achieve it, they get to add a page to the binder celebrating  the achievement.

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I have students (or me depending on time) use different colors each time I assess so I can easily see where they started and how much they grew each time. This is also very helpful to have on hand during parent teacher conferences – you can just pull out their child’s binder and show how much they’ve grown from the very beginning.

You can find everything you need to easily put together your own portfolios here:

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8 Fun, Free Letter Review Activities

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If you are a kindergarten teacher, you know how important it is to teach and review letters until it feels like you’re in a real life version of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It can get old, fast to us and to our kiddos.

Thankfully, it’s SO easy to spice things up a little bit and keep those letters interesting to both us and our students! All of these activities require little to no prep and if they use materials, it’s probably something you have already in your classroom!

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I don’t think this activity is new to anyone, but it’s a staple. I know some teachers absolutely despise playdough in the classroom because of the mess, but really, I say the bigger the mess the more learning is happening!

This activity is awesome for for fine motor and it helps students really see the lines and curves of each letter. Win!

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Another playdough activity! Just like some teachers despise playdough, I despise ink pads. I’ll admit it – ink covered hands touching every important paper and surface is my kryptonite.

As an alternative, I let my students stamp letters in playdough! They just pick a letter, find the stamp, and stamp it in the playdough. As an added bonus, this stamp set has each letter on printed on the tray so students have to match them when they all accidentally on purpose get jumbled up. I just got it on Amazon.

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This is another activity that is great for fine motor because students have to really work to manipulate the pipe cleaners just right. Eventually, I let them make sight words using pipe cleaners too! It’s always a favorite.

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This activity I just thought of on the spot, but I LOVE it! Students pick a letter and then have to find the matching letter in the bag of letter beads. Then they string them onto a pipe cleaner.

This is another activity that could also be used to practice sight words! Just have students string the letters to make each word onto the pipe cleaners! How easy it that??

The next few activities are meant to be done whole group or in small groups and would be great for when you have an extra 5 minutes to fill.

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For this activity, you will think of a letter and give students clues to guess what it is. You can use features such as “It has a circle then a stick” or sounds “Bear begins with it.”

Once students get the hang of this, they can be the ones to think of the letters and give clues!

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This game practices beginning sounds. You will say a letter and a word that begins with that letter (b balloon). Then you will go around the circle as students say words that begin with that letter (ball, bear, bee). When they cannot think of any more, that letter ends. You can make it a competition by seeing which letter they can think of the most words for!

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For this activity, you will need a bowl of letter magnets or tiles. You could make it really interesting by getting a plastic cauldron around Halloween time! You will stir the pot while saying,

Letters, letters, in my stew. Pick a letter just for you!

A students will reach in and grab a letter. You can differentiate by having them name the letter, say the letter sound, or name something that begins with that letter. If you want to make it REALLY hard, you can have them try to guess the letter by feel before they take it out!

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This is probably not an activity you have room for in your classroom (and if you do, i’m jealous!), but it would be fun to do outside or in the gym.

Students will work together in small groups of 2-3 to form letters with their bodies! They can do this laying down or standing up, but some letters will be much easier laying down.

I hope these ideas were useful to you! These letter review activities are a bonus included in all of my Little Readers Whole Group Literacy units, but i’m also offering them as a blog exclusive FREEBIE here:

Letter Review Activities FREEBIE

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Make the Most of the TpT Sale!

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It’s that time of year once again – time for the TeachersPayTeachers Back to School sale! I spend all summer putting items on my wishlist and filling up my cart in anticipation of this sale because it’s one of the BEST ways to get the most bang for your buck!

Today, i’m going to show you some of my tips and tricks for saving BIG during this sale every year!

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Many sellers want to make this time of year a little less stressful for teachers so they offer up TpT gift cards through giveaways. These giveaways cost you nothing (except some time) to enter, but can save you a lot! I’ve actually won a few of these giveaways and i’m someone who never wins anything, so i’m a big fan of the giveaway!

I’m giving away a $10 TpT gift card on Instagram right now! All you have to do is be following me and like and comment on the picture. How easy is that?!

Click here to enter:

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Ok, this is probably something you already know, but it’s worth mentioning again. Did you know you can earn FREE resources by leaving feedback on past purchases? No catch!

Every time you leave feedback, you get credits equal to the dollar amount you paid ($5 = 5 credits). Those credits become dollars you can spend on future purchases. Every 100 credits is worth $5, but you don’t have to wait until you have that many credits! You just need a minimum of 20 credits to redeem them.picture31.pngBundles are an item that are usually a great deal, but during the sale they’re a STEAL. Sellers generally offer bundles at 20-30% off the price if you were to buy all the items within individually. During the sale, most sellers will also put those bundles on sale with the rest of their store for an extra 25% savings. If a bundle was 20% off, it now equals out to a 40% savings. I’m going to be buying a LOT of bundles during this sale!

BUT you can save even more – by purchasing growing bundles during the sale. Growing bundles only contain some of the products they will eventually contain, and they are offered at a deep, deep discount as products are being added into it.

For example, my Differentiated Math and Literacy Centers for the Year will eventually be worth $110, however I am currently offering it for only $20 as I add in months. During the sale, it will only be $15. That’s a HUGE savings!

 

My Themed Writing Center for the Year will also eventually be worth $117, but it is currently only $15 as I add in centers. During the sale, it will only cost you $11.25 to have everything you need to keep your writing center engaging all year long!

My Guided Readers and Guided Math Curriculum are also growing bundles, although the math curriculum is almost complete, and they are also going to be greatly discounted during the sale! You can get a whole year’s curriculum for very little money.

The first unit in the guided math curriculum is Numbers to 5. The unit contains lesson plans, whole group activities, partner games, follow up worksheets, and home extensions. Here are some pictures so you can see some of the activities included:

 

I hope these tips were helpful to you! For all my teachers going back to school  (or who already went back!), good luck!

How To Differentiate Your Centers in Kindergarten

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I talked previously about how I managed my differentiated centers last year in this post. However, i’m in a new school this year and i’m not sure i’ll have all that space!

I wanted to show you an EASY way to differentiate your centers and then give you a peek into HOW I differentiate them. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work!

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I have different colors for below level, on level, and above level. I wish that yellow folder was purple but beggars can’t be choosers! These are normally at least $4 at Office Depot, but I got them when they were 2/$1 plus I had a coupon making them around 30 cents each!

So in each basket center, I would have 3 folders. I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year teaching my students how to get out THEIR color. If you assign students centers, you could have 1 basket at each center and that basket would hold the 3 folders for any students who go to that center so you don’t have to change it out.

You could also just have one basket hold all the blue folders, one hold all the pink folders, and one hold all the purple folders for students to choose from if you want to give them more choice. It cuts out a lot of space!

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What I LOVE about these folders are the pockets! I can keep the recording sheets and instructions in the zipped pocket and smaller pieces in the little pockets!

I promise this isn’t an ad for these, I just really wanted to show you because I am SO excited about that feature. 😉

So then the activities as that center are very similar, but at different levels. To the students, it looks like they are doing the same center or almost the same center, but I know each student is getting what they need.

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This is the below level sight word center from my September pack. Students are matching sight words to sight words. They are just working on recognizing the word in print.

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This is the on level center. Now students are building the sight word and working on spelling it.

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The above level activity is, again, very similar but now students have to unscramble the sight word. This requires them to use higher order thinking skills.

I differentiate my math centers in the same way.

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Oops! Notice the mistake? Even teachers have trouble subitizing. 😉

I change it up by what numbers are used and sometimes by the task. So for the subitizing center above, my below level students are sorting up to 5, my on level students are sorting up to 10, and my above level students are sorting up to 20.

You can get all of these differentiated centers by month in my store, or you can get the growing year-long bundle right now! It is a STEAL right now as I add in the months and it’s guaranteed to make differentiating your centers easy!

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Easy Name Activities

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Every year that I have taught kindergarten, I have always had multiple students come in not even able to recognize their own name. So it’s no surprise then that we spend a LOT of time our first few weeks of school focusing on names.

The activities i’m going to show you today do not take a lot of prep at all but are fun and would be perfect for Pre-K to 1st grade kiddos who need some name practice.

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This activity is probably not new to you, but it’s a staple in my classroom! I use these name puzzles in guided reading groups and I let my students keep them in baggies in their book boxes to pull out throughout the day.

If I have a student who is just beginning to learn their name, I only make one cut right in the middle of their name. As they master the puzzle, I cut more and more pieces until it is finally all cut apart!

If you are doing this as part of guided reading groups, it is always a big motivator to cut the puzzles at the table. My kiddos practice extra just so they can have the most pieces!

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I LOVE this rainbow names craft because it is SO easy but it brightens up our room beautifully!

I just write each kiddo’s name on the clouds and then give them enough rays to write 1 letter of their name on each ray (for some students, I write the letters). They have to put the rays in order and I check them before they glue.

I have this craft as a freebie in my store! If you don’t want to print the rays page on colored paper, you can also cut strips of construction paper.

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Another easy word work activity! All you need is a name and magnetic letters or letter tiles. I’ll find all sorts of different letters just to make this more interesting.

You can also take a picture of students at the beginning of the year and put it next to their name so they can easily pull out the right one!

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Along with those cards, I use sentence frames for students to practice reading.

Now, I know it would be easy to type these up and laminate them but, just being honest, i’m not likely to do that! I like easy, low prep!

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The last activity is this fun name craft! I like this one because it doubles as a name puzzle – students can take the crayons out of the box and put them in order to make their names.

This craft is very similar to the rainbow craft. The students cut out their boxes and I staple the sides and write their name on the front. Then they write 1 letter on each crayon and put them in their box.

I’ve just added options for longer names too! You can check that out here.

I hope you enjoyed these easy name activities! If you have any go to ways to practice names, i’d love it if you left them below!

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What’s In Your Writing Center?

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The writing center has always been one of my favorite centers; probably because it has always been one of my students’ favorite centers as well! Seriously, they choose to go to the writing center during free time over computers or legos.

So what’s the key to making your writing center so engaging to your students that they choose to go there over playing? The answer is: choice!

Of course, choice doesn’t mean having a free for all at the writing center. I make sure to set high expectations for the materials at this center and I don’t put out all the choices at once. I introduce 3 at the beginning of the year and then 1-2 each quarter.

The choices then stay the same, but the vocabulary cards and the themes change to keep it fresh. I have themed writing centers that I can keep all month or change out whenever we focus on a new topic. This keeps my students excited and connects what we’re learning in other areas to our center time!

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I keep the choices in these letter trays. You could hang the vocabulary cards on hooks or on a ribbon using clothespins. I’ve done both and they both work just fine! I also keep visual directions for each activity here so students always know the expectations.

I’m going to show you some of my favorite activities to keep at my writing center below!

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This free activity is perfect for beginning writers because it exposes them to sentence structure, sight words, and vocabulary, but also scaffolds their writing by providing the sentence frame.

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In this activity, students will trace the sentence and use the vocabulary cards to finish the sentence. They will also draw a matching picture, which gives them practice drawing matching illustrations.

You could also save paper and make this reusable by sticking it in a dry erase sleeve.

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Again, you can find this activity free here.

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This is another great activity for beginning writers, but I love this activity for all year because it exposes students to vocabulary and gives them practice with longer words.

Some of my students choose to stretch out the words instead of looking at the vocabulary cards and that is perfectly fine with me! I love seeing their progress throughout the year.

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ANOTHER easy activity, but it’s also easy to differentiate! Students can write generic lists, which I usually keep out from day 1, or I can have them write lists on specific topics.

Again, this exposes them to new vocabulary and drawing pictures to match their words.

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I have two different levels of writing paper. One just has a couple lines and is perfect for emergent writers. Once my students can write multiple pages for one story, I also let them add covers to make their own books!

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I also have story starter paper, which is great for those students who take ten years to think of a writing topic. They already have the topic provided for them; they just have to write about the picture!

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This is an activity I usually introduce the second semester, because I like to take the time to teach my students the proper way to right a letter. It annoys me so much to see a page with just a heart or “hi.” written on it!

How engaging would this be if you actually had a mailbox, though?? I know they usually put small ones in the Target Dollar Spot around Valentine’s Day. You could let students “mail” their letters and have a mailman as a classroom job to deliver the letters!

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This is another activity I save either for the end of the year or for my more advanced writers. If you taught 1st or 2nd grade, though, this would be perfect for all year long!

I have so many of these research flip books, so I can keep ones out that match with what we’re learning or put out ones that match student interest. The National Geographic Kids books are perfect for research, or I let my students use Kiddle (the kid-friendly Google) on the computers!

If you want to start your own writing center, or even just change yours up, i’m offering my Themed Writing Centers for the Year for just $15 right now as I add in the themes! There are currently 10 themes included (a $30 value), and I will be adding in at least 29 more!

In each themed pack, you’ll get the visual directions posters you can display, picture vocabulary cards, multiple labeling pages, list pages, writing and story start paper, a card, and letter paper.

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Subitizing Activities for Number Sense

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We all know how important number sense is. It’s the foundation of every other math skill! That’s why I LOVE subitizing activities so much – they help students start to see numbers is new ways and to begin seeing the connections between numbers.

Especially in kindergarten, I like to make subitizing a part of our daily routine, no matter what level my students are at. These are some of my favorite activities to do whole group, in small groups, and as centers!

Quick Look Cards:

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In my class, we do number talks every day. I choose a different set of quick look cards each day. Sometimes we just work on fluency and identifying the number shown, and sometimes we talk about how they see each number, different ways to make the number, how many more is needed to make 10, etc.

Every Friday we do a longer math talk. This is when I show my students one of the subitizing cards (as the year goes on, I make the amount of time they have to look shorter) and I have them think about the number they see. Then i’ll have students talk about the different ways they saw the number – “I saw 3 dots and 4 dots and that is 7” or “I saw 2 empty spaces on the ten frame so I knew it was 8.”

These subitizing quick look cards are included in all of my math units because I think they’re that important!

 

Subitizing Games:

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In this game, students will roll a die. You can use a number die or a dot die (I prefer number dice for this, but I didn’t have one available!). Students will roll the die and cover that space with their counter.

This game is a freebie here.

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In this game, students will draw a domino card and cover the matching number with their counter. This game is also a freebie, and I have included a 0-6 and a 0-12 version.

Subitizing Strips:

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In this activity, students will match subitizing pictures to each number strip. You can focus on all numbers 1-10 or on only a few numbers at a time.

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In this activity, students will match number cards to subitizing pictures. This will require them to work with multiple numbers at a time.

You can find both of these activities here.

 I hope you enjoyed these fun subitizing activities and that you’ll consider building some of them in to your math class next year!

Little Readers: Whole Group Literacy for K-1 (Freebies included!)

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I’m not going to lie, i’m a little bit sentimental about the “birth” of this curriculum! It has been a LONG time coming!

Each unit contains everything you need to teach an effective and engaging whole group literacy block, including phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary, phonics, and crafts – all you need to add is the books!

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What does a typical unit look like?

Each unit contains 4 weeks worth of materials (except August/September which contains 6 weeks). Each week will focus on one text you will do a close read on as a whole class.

Why a close read? By focusing on one book a week, but reading it for different information and thinking about it in a different way, students really get to know the text and can really focus on the reading comprehension strategies they are practicing each week.

NOT every week will look the same, though! In the August/September unit, most of the weeks focus on the same comprehension skills to build a routine, but by the 6th week, the strategies change as nonfiction text is also introduced. In the October unit, students some of the comprehension skills will stay the same, but 1-2 will be different each week.

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Each week, you will have a week overview and 5 days worth of lesson plans. These lesson plans offer easy ways to differentiate for K/1 (or for your higher/lower students).

Each week generally contains 4 vocabulary words students will focus on and one day a week is generally dedicated to working with that vocabulary.

You are given two options for these vocabulary cards to make it easy for you! You may also choose to just print the picture and word card and let the students generate the definition using context clues in the text. For kindergarten, this is a skill I would introduce later on in the year.

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This is one of the fun phonemic awareness activities included for kindergarten! I can’t take credit for this idea, but I can guarantee that students LOVE this game!

 

These are an example of one of the comprehension skills covered – making predictions. You can see how the pages might be different for kindergarten or first, but the skills stay the same. If you have students at different levels in your classroom, you could also use these to differentiate their work.

 

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Each week contains one craft or extension activity. Above you can see an example of the August/September crafts, and below you can see examples of the October crafts.

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Phonics is also differentiated for K/1. In the August/September unit, kindergarten will focus on being introduce to the letters and reviewing the letters. In October, they will focus on reviewing letter sounds, working with beginning sounds, and learn medial vowel a.

 

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First grade will focus on all of the medial vowels and cvc words in August/September. In October, they will focus on word families. Their word work generally contains one paper activity or interactive board activity per day and a short assessment/check in for Fridays.

Interested but still not completely sure if this is for you?

Try the first week FREE for a limited time!

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I’m interested! Where can I find this?

Right now, August/September and October are available and they will be discounted to 50% off through Friday 6/23.

BUT you can also save a HUGE amount of money by getting the growing bundle! This bundle will be $25 (a $102 value) through Friday only as well. Right now it contains the first 2 units, but each additional unit will be added at least 2 months before the actual month.

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