Saturday, 30 November 2013

Dr. Seuss Character Crafts for a Seuss themed Classroom

I always knew that my hoarding habits would never go to waste... I was inspired to make a Dr. Seuss character and was torn between The Cat in the Hat and the Thing 1 and 2 guys. They are all so cute! I decided to do both but I'm still working on the cat. 

For Thing 1, I used a red pencil for the body, a Styrofoam ball for the head (I speared it with the pencil then pushed the eraser end through), cotton for the hair, blue glitter, hair styling spray, white electrical tape for the neck, a marker, scissors, a red pipe cleaner, and red and white pieces of felt. I glued the cotton to the ball for the hair and sprayed it with hairspray to make the glitter that I sprinkled on it stick to the cotton. I love the blue hair. The pipe cleaner wraps around the fold of the red felt to hold it tight on the pencil and it creates the illusion of the red turtleneck sweaters that they always wear. I chose to draw the eyes closed because they're usually closed in the Dr. Seuss books and it gives it that classic silliness that makes it 'Seuss'. 

Have you got enough Seuss books?


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Printables versus Factory-made Classroom Manipulatives

Using Printable Manipulatives versus Factory-made ones

I love to have my students learn new things in a most hands on way. This of course often requires bulky manipulatives that take up a lot of precious space. That's why I try to have printable version of hands-on manipulatives that are just as effective as a factory made plastic one. The added bonus to the printables is that they are flat and can be stored away in a folder so that I don't have to compromise on space. I just laminate them for durability.

This inspired my to make these printable inchworm rulers for introducing the inch. Well, it's more than rulers. It's a measurement task card set which includes a tutorial about measuring with an inchworm ruler. A sheet of printable rulers are included for you to laminate and cut out for your students. You can click here to see the complete listing of what you get with this download. It is available at my TpT store and I'd love for you to check it out! 

Isn't it addictive for you, once you start using printable manipulatives? I'm an addict for sure! But I try to have balance by exposing my students to a bit of everything: real objects, field trips, and videos too.  I like that these options are 'easy on my pocket'. So if a printable version is way cheaper than a brand-name item, I'd take the printable! ...How about you?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Free Puzzle Maker with Answer Keys

If you search the web constantly for a free puzzle maker that generates answer keys for you and gives you a variety of puzzle types to chose, I'm recommending what I have been using for years. It's a free puzzle generation tool called Puzzlemaker, created by Discovery Education.


You can use it to make word search and criss-cross (cross-word) puzzles, math squares, mazes, cryptograms and number blocks. You will have the options of printing out your puzzle straight from the webpage or you can choose the format that lets you copy and paste it into Ms Word so that it can be inserted into your own worksheet format. This will allow you to change up the size of the font and add images or special instructions for your students. 

I use it mainly for creating crossword puzzles for vocabulary and word search puzzles to match my weekly spelling word lists. So give it a try. The automatic creation of answer keys are the best part.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Conductor or Insulator Science Experiment

Testing for Conductors or Insulators
Oh the places a teacher goes! A few months ago I found myself at an electronics store getting a quick tutorial about all kinds of fancy gizmos and such. I went there with the intention of buying bulbs, batteries, and some wire to make circuit experiments for my students. I have wanted to make a Conductor or Insulator Science Experiment for so long! But after telling the nice man that I'm a teacher and what I was looking for, he got really excited and that's how the tutorial started. I ended up learning a lot about all kinds of stuff and buying some really cute mini jumpers, battery holders, batteries and bulbs

Anyway, that was months ago. Since then I've been so busy with school that I had to put that project on the back burner.  It's a good thing I got a few hours and a good vibe yesterday so I finally started it and once I got started, I could not stop. I was darting from room to room rounding up my supplies and trying out new ideas along the way. Then I spotted the clipboard and everything just clicked after that.

I started by inserting the batteries into the battery holder and clamping it down with the clipboard's clip. My battery holder already came with two wires attached, a red and a black. I clamped one end of a short alligator jumper clip onto the red wire and left the other end loose. I taped the black wire to the base of the bulb which was housed in a tiny matchbox. A paperclip was wrapped around the swirly part of the bulb. I clamped another alligator clip to the paperclip and the other end of that gator clip was loose. I left the loose ends for the purpose of leaving the circuit open so that my students can test different materials for electric conductivity. The circles at the center are like holding cells for the materials to be tested. I just cut them from a tissue roll and taped them down. Then I labelled it with adhesive foam dotty letters. It finally was complete!

Things to make a circuit - Alligator clip jumpers, battery holders and bulbs      Dotty Letters - stickers
Every time I look at it, I feel so good inside. Crafting just makes me happy!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Classroom Posters Made Easy

Classroom Posters Made Easy

Here's a tip to help you set up A4 sized posters easily. After printing my posters, I skip laminating and just insert them into vinyl report covers (with the clips). This way, the posters can be seen clearly and are protected by the glossy transparent cover. The best part about it is that you can change the posters easily by just taking out the page and putting in a new one. While the vinyl covers will remain on the wall all year, the posters inside can be changed as often as needed. 

Setting up your Classroom posters...   Magnetic dots for Classroom use

I applied some heavy duty mounting tape at the back of each, and placed a pair of adhesive-backed magnetic dots on the inside of the top corners to keep the vinyl covers closed. You can always use Velcro dots instead of the magnetic dots if you prefer because the Velcro dots are stronger. I chose the magnetic ones because they always give a sleeker finish.
Free Classroom Poster for Vocabulary and Grammar
Currently, I am using them for my grammar and vocabulary display areas. I got those amazing (and free) posters from Corinna at Surfing Through Second. Feel free to grab your copy there! Here are links to free downloads of other things you may need to have on display: monthly calendarsclass rules, motivational posters, math posters, reading posters, etc. I am really pleased with how this idea turned out so I'd love for you to give it a try sometime!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Antonym Word Wall - Illustrated

Antonym Word Wall
I love my latest creation! It's an Antonym Word Wall for grade 1, 2 and 3. It is full of beautiful pictures that I got from the very talented clip art designers at TpT, namely Oxanna from Teachers Clipart. I love her stuff! Now would be the best time to grab this as it is 35 pairs of Antonyms at half price ($2.00) for 3 days only! 

A black and white version with just a touch of color is also included in this download. Each card is just over a foot wide, that's 33cm by 6cm. They are laid out as three cards per page on landscape legal sized paper. Here are some preview images for you below. Click on them to see more...
Antonym word wall cards      Antonym word wall cards      Antonym word wall cards
I hope you check them out! See them here, you'll love them!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Phonics Activities and Crafts

I think that the best thing about having to teach first grade this year is that I get to do more crafts with these younger students. I love finding ways to integrate it into whatever I'm teaching. My latest pet project has been all about reinforcing phonics with fun craft activities. 

silent e and long ā sound

So far we have done the long and short vowel sounds. For the long ā sound and silent e, we made a flower vase craft to showcase long ā words. We brainstormed a list of long ā  words and each child chose their own words from our list to feature in their craft. I decided to use a flower hole-punch to make it cute for my students. They loved it. If you do not have a pattern hole punch, you can use layered circles instead.

This is the hole punch I used for the flower petals. Isn't it cute or what? I topped them off with circles from my regular hole puncher.

While I was doing this, I realized that I could use this craft idea for 'ai' words as well; an 'ai' pail perhaps?

Long ē words were next. We divided the long ē words into three categories: 
  • the long ē words from silent e, for example, names like Pete, Bede, Steve and Eve.
  • the doubled e words, example, see, bee, tree, eel and seed.
  • and the single end e long ē words, for example, me, we, he, she and be.

These are pictures of the doubled e long ē words that we did with an apple tree display. Click on the pictures or here to download a free template of the tree-tops that you can print out on green paper. My students did theirs in their books which were on a much smaller scale than my demo poster.

(Please forgive their little spelling errors!)

Each item you see above is:
  • A stack of tree trunks made by slicing up a folded sheet of brown paper with a guillotine. That took only a minute.
  • Tufts of grass clipped off of a strip of green paper with a border punch or a zig-zag cut scissors.
  • Tree tops printed and cut out on green card stock.
  • A small pack of foam apple stickers in different colors.
Moving along to the long 'i' words... we brainstormed our word list and chose 'kite' as the focus. All of the other long 'i' words were attached to the kite. This poster below is my demo poster.

Long i and silent e words - craft

I will add my other phonics crafts to this post as I continue to make them with my class. Long 'o' words are up for next week...

Friday, 1 November 2013

CCSS Prefixes, Suffixes, Greek Roots and Latin Roots - Super Bundle

Fourth and Fifth Grade CCSS ELA Roots
Here are Common Core aligned activities for Prefixes, Suffixes, Greek Roots and Latin Roots. It has five decks of cards:
(1) Prefix Cards including three small group activities,
(2) Suffix Cards including three small group activities,
(3) Word Building Cards for Root Words and their matching prefixes and suffixes,
(4) Greek Root Cards including three small group activities and
(5) Latin Root Cards including three small group activities. 

These cards fulfill the CCSS L.4.4b and L.5.4b. They are all contained in one file that you can purchase from my TpT Store at a discount (because it it a bundled product). Click here to see it or click on any of the sample pictures below.

Affixes and Root Words

      Prefixes     Suffixes

Greek and Latin Roots - Cards     Greek and Latin Roots - Cards

About Me

My photo
As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!