Sunday, December 29, 2013

Math Olympics!

The Olympics are almost here! I'm so excited! I love watching the Olympics, and cheering on the amazing athletes. I like to integrate the Olympics into my lessons every time the Olympics occur. The students are so interested in the different events, and it is important to make learning fun! This year I am integrating the Olympics into my math instruction. I have created two fun Winter Games Packs that I will be using with my students this year. I have posted these items on my TeachersPayTeachers store, so you can participate in the fun too!

I plan on introducing the Winter Olympics with my Measurement Winter Games Pack



This pack is full of fun measurement centers that are great for skill practice and review. Before beginning the measurement Olympics, I plan on having a small Opening Ceremony for my students. I am going to have them create a flag that represents themselves on a plain piece of paper. Their flag will need to be full of symbols that describe who they are. Once the students have finished designing their flags, I will host a small Opening Ceremony and have them parade around the room with their flags. Once the ceremony has ended, the games will begin!

The Measurement Olympics are set up into four different centers. The students will be rotating to each center in groups. They will record their individual results on their Measurement Winter Games Recording Sheet. A description of the measurement events are listed below:
-Curling Challenge- During this event, students will practice their curling and measurement skills(measuring in feet and inches).
-Marble Ski Jump-During this event students will use marbles and a ramp to compete in the ski jump. They will measure the total distance their marble traveled.
-Ice Skating Coin Spin- Students will practice measuring time and spinning coins during this event.
-Hockey Slap Shot Challenge- Students will use paperclips as hockey pucks to measure distance during this event.

Once the students have finished their events, I will collect their recording sheets to see who places in each event. The top three students in each event will get to participate in the class medal ceremony.

The second Winter Games item I created is my Winter Games Multiplication and Division Games and Centers Pack

My students are finishing up their multiplication and division unit. This themed pack is perfect for practicing and reviewing their basic multiplication and division skills. This set includes four math games/centers. The games and skills are listed below: 

-Help Penguin Win the Gold- Help Penguin slalom his way to the gold. Along the way, students will have to complete basic division problems with and without remainders.
-Skating for a Perfect Score- Help Penguin win the gold  by solving basic multiplication facts and adding totals.
-Competing on the Halfpipe- Two players will compete in five trial runs to see who wins the Halfpipe competition. Students will be solving basic multiplication problems during this center.
-Hockey: Division Block That Shot- In this center, students will be competing against each other to fill in a hundreds chart using basic division problems.

I can't wait to celebrate the games with my students! This is going to be so much fun! Let the games begin!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tis' the Season for the Wiggles!

I don’t know about you, but during this time of year my students need to move! I find myself integrating more movement activities the closer we get to winter break. I found some cute holiday themed movement activities on YouTube and thought that I’d share.
I hope you enjoy using these activities in your class! We are in the home stretch! We are almost there!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cyber Monday Giveaway!



The holidays are a fun, but crazy time of the year. It always helps to have fun curriculum based units ready for that mad season rush! My Gingerbread Man themed unit is perfect for those crazy times. 

This unit contains the following five activities:

1. Search, Search as Hard as You Can! Can You Catch the Gingerbread Man- This activity is played like the game Battleship and reviews using ordered pairs.


2. Gingerbread Story Activity- During this activity, students will read different versions of the Gingerbread Man (a book list is provided to help you easily find books). The students will compare different stories, and use planning sheets to help them create their own version of this classic folktale. Gingerbread publishing papers are included.

3. Gingerbread Man Measurement- Students will use a Gingerbread Man cut out to measure different items in the room. A recording sheet is provided for this activity along with extension activities for early finishers.

4. Run, Run as Fast as You Can!- The students join the Gingerbread Man Capture Squad during this science experiment, and explore what happens to their pulse before, during, and after exercise.

5. The History of the Gingerbread Man- This activity goes over the Gingerbread Man's history and has students practice their map skills.

I have included activities for each subject area so it can be used for a day of gingerbread fun, over a couple of days, or throughout a week.

Starting now through December 3rd, you can go to my store at Teacher’s Notebook to register for my holiday giveaway. One lucky reader will get my gingerbread themed unit, Work, Work as Hard as you Can! It’s a Unit of Fun with the Gingerbread Man!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Cyber Monday on TpT

300 × 250

It's that time of year again! Time to bulk up those wish lists on TpT, and get ready to spend on Cyber Monday! I love this sale! I have so many items on my wish list that I am ready to purchase. There is nothing like a sale to perk up your teaching during the holiday season! I am joining in on the Cyber Monday madness. All of the items in my store will be 28% off. Happy shopping!

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you enjoy this much needed time with your family and friends! Rest up! The Christmas bug bites our little ones over the break, and we need to recharge before the holiday rush!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Exploring Cause and Effect

This week in reading we were exploring the relationship between cause and effect, and how understanding this relationship can improve our comprehension. At the beginning of the week, I showed my students our new anchor chart and went over how cause and effect are related. 


I absolutely love this anchor chart! It provides great visuals for my students. They loved the Angry Birds and felt bad for the poor little pig.

After I introduced the anchor chart, I read them the story If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff.  Any of the books in this series would be great for discussing cause and effect relationships. I selected this book due to the time of year and chilly weather. While I was reading, I had my students listen for the different causes and effects throughout the story. After I finished reading we discussed the different relationships they found. Once I felt they had a good understanding of the skill, I sent them back to their seats with a sticky note for their independent reading time. While they were reading, they had to find two cause and effect relationships and record them on their sticky note. I have some nonfiction lovers in my classroom, and they were concerned about finding cause and effect  relationships in their books. This led to a great discussion about cause and effect relationships in nonfiction. Once they were finished reading, I had the students come back to the front of the room, and we shared our results. I then posted their sticky notes on our anchor chart to provide more examples.

Later in the week, I had the students review what we had learned by playing a game of Cause and Effect, I Have, Who Has.

This game was a great review strategy and a bunch of fun. By the end of the week, we were cause and effect masters! I posted my Cause and Effect I have, Who Has game as a freebie to my TeachersPayTeachers store. Feel free to check it out, and use it in your classroom!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'm Thankful for Activities Like Learning Menus!



I don’t know about you, but this school year is flying by so quickly! I have been really bad about keeping up with my blog. I am still working on trying to balance work and new mommy guilt. I want to spend time with my sweet baby girl before she turns into a teenager and doesn't want to spend time with her mother. Needless to say, I am so very THANKFUL to join this linky party and get my blogging back on track! This week, Blog Hoppin' is having a Thanksgiving linky party! I missed the earlier posts, but I am linking up today for New Ideas. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent searching Pinterest for creative new ideas for my classroom. Pinterest is a teaching gold mine! Throughout my hours of searching, I stumbled upon the idea of using activity menus or choice boards in the classroom.  I work at a project based learning school, and learning menus are perfect for incorporating projects into the classroom. Plus, students love having a choice when doing their work.  I found this idea last year and have been using activity menus regularly in my classroom ever since. They have been a huge success! My students love when our units have menus. When they work on their menu activities they are actively engaged and excited about their work! You really get to see their creativity come out. Let’s face it, anything is better than a boring worksheet! I have used many different types of menus with my students. In math, we have used cafĂ© menus where the students pick an appetizer, main course, and dessert. 

This is the front page of my Place Value Cafe Menu.

In science, and spelling we have used Tic-Tac-Toe menus where the students have to pick three activities in a row. 
My Plant Tic-Tac-Toe Activity Menu.
During our guided reading groups, we use the pick three menu to practice our reading skills.

Our Cause and Effect Reading Skills Menu.

Menus give your students freedom in their learning, and the students they take pride in their work. If you haven’t tried using menus in your classroom, you should give it a try! I have many different menus on my TeachersPayTeachers store all ready for you to use. Stop by and take a look!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday Made It



I am going to join my first Linky Party! This week I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. I have never done this before, so I hope that all goes well. Here we go…


I have seen so many cute anchor charts on Pinterest lately. Anchor charts are great learning tools, and I love using them during our reading mini-lessons. I made this Anchor chart last week for our lesson on connecting to the text.


It goes over text to self, text to text, and text to world connections. I was happy with the way it turned out, and I can’t wait to keep using it throughout the year!


I love using interactive notebooks with my third graders. I use them in so many subjects. This year I am in charge of creating science plans, and I finally finished my interactive science notebook on plants!
I can’t wait to use this with our next unit on plants!  You can check it out on my TeachersPayTeachers store. It includes interactive notebook pages on the following plant lessons:

-The parts of a plant
-The parts of a seed
-Life-cycles of flowering and nonflowering plants
-Plant habitats
-Plant adaptations
-How seeds travel
-How natural changes effect plants
-How humans effect plants
A rubric is also included for easy assessment!

Finally, I wanted to share an item not related to teaching. I am a first-time mother and was blest with a beauty baby girl that has a full head of hair. That being said, I have become a bit of a bow addict. Instead of spending tons of money on precious bows, I found a bunch of great tutorial videos on YouTube and have begun creating a plethora of bows on my own! The bows pictured below are just a few of my creations.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Classifying Sentences

I am always looking for cute anchor charts to use in my classroom, and fun mini-lessons to go with them. Pinterest is full of awesome ideas! I am slightly addicted to the world of pinning. In the past, I have used many of their ideas, but this week I can up with an anchor chart and mini-lesson of my own.

This past week we were studying the four different types of sentences; statement, question, exclamation, and command. I introduced the different types of sentences to my students with a quick hands-on activity and matching anchor chart. While discussing the types of sentences, I took my chart paper and divided it into four equal rectangular sections, wrote a different sentence type, and punctuation used in each section.

I then gave each of my students four different picture cards. The cards had pictures that represented each sentence type. The command card had a picture of a general, the statement card had a cartoon of a bored smiley face, the question card had a cartoon of Curious George, and the exclamation card had a cartoon of someone shouting. I glued the matching sample cards in the middle of each section on my anchor chart (see picture below). We discussed why each picture was used to represent each sentence type.


Next, I read my students a series of sentences. After each sentence, they had to raise the picture card they thought best represented that sentence. This gave us time to discuss each sentence, and what clues were given to help them figure out the sentence type. We discussed tone and words used at the beginning of questions like, who, what, when, where, how, and why.

To assess their learning, I gave each student four sticky notes. They had to write an example of a question, command, statement, and exclamation on each sticky note. Once they had finished their writing, they had to place each sticky note in the correct section of the anchor chart. Finally, we reviewed our anchor chart and checked to see if our sentences were correctly placed.

We keep this anchor chart on display in our classroom to help us during our writing workshop. If you like this lesson, I have posted this mini-lesson, picture cards, sample sentences, and quiz on my TpT store. What other strategies to you use while teaching sentence types in your classroom?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Exploring Question Answer Relationships Using Informational Texts

As we all know, the Common Core emphasizes the use of informational text in the reading classroom. We are moving from mostly fiction based instruction to instruction that equally focuses on both non-fiction and fiction. Students are to read, understand text features, and analyze the information given in the text.

One way I like to help my students understand informational text is by exploring question and answer relationships. I feel that understanding this relationship helps my students comprehend and answer questions effectively. I teach my students to read the questions before they read a passage to help them focus their reading. I spend time at the beginning of each school year going over the four different types of question-answer relationships; right there, think and search, author and me, and on my own questions. I do a mini lesson going over these relationships with my students. As part of the lesson, I create an anchor chart to help them remember the different relationships.


I got the idea for this anchor chart from http://braun107.blogspot.com/.


After the mini-lesson, I give each student a Question Answer Relationship Mat and an informational text passage, or book. The students use these mats to help guide their reading. One side of the mat is printed on bright green paper. This side has a section for right there questions and think and search questions. I have this side on green paper to remind students that they can go right to their text to look for the answer. I have an example of the mats I used last year with my students below. I made a new owl themed set with matching posters that I plan on using this year. The other side is printed on yellow and red paper. The yellow section is for the author and me questions. I use yellow paper to remind them that they may need to go back and look in the book to help them answer their question. The final side is printed on red paper. This side is for the on my own questions. I use the color red to remind my students to stop and use their heads. These questions are questions they can answer on their own.

This is the front of the question answer relationship mat.

This is the back of the mat.
You can use these mats a couple of different ways. You can give the students a passage with questions, and have the students sort the questions before reading the passage. This is good to do when you first introduce question answer relationships to your students. You can also have the students come up with questions for each section after reading a passage. They are great to use with fiction texts too.  I like to laminate the mats first so you can use them from year to year. You can have the students use sticky notes to write down their questions, or you can have them write with overhead markers. What other uses can you think of for these mats?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Genre Review with Recycled Book Orders

Are you a Scholastic Book Club member? Are you like me, and have a ton of extra book order forms? I have found a great way to recycle those extra forms! I have been a Scholastic Book Club member for eleven years and love it! However, whenever I place a book order I have some extra unused forms. Instead of throwing those forms in the recycle bin, use them as a literacy center or activity in your classroom.

Last week my students were reviewing genre. As a culminating activity, I gave each student an unused book order form. I had each student make a tree diagram on a piece of white construction paper. The diagram started with the word genre and broke into two subcategories non-fiction and fiction. I then had the students look through their book orders and cut out ten non-fiction and ten fiction books.


After they cut out their book samples, they had to classify them into their genre groups (mystery, informational text, realistic fiction, etc.), label, and glue them onto the correct section of their tree chart. I created a sample ahead of time to help guide them.

My sample for the students.

My students loved this activity! They had fun picking out the books that they liked, and it was great review. Their finished projects turned out great and they were proud of their work.

Here is one student's finished project.
Now I need to find some more uses for those extra forms. Maybe a math center to review money, addition, and subtraction? Do you have any ideas?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Guided Reading in the Intermediate Grades

School is back in full swing! My days of relaxation are now limited to weekends and holidays! I had a nice long break with maternity leave before summer break. Now it's back to the swing of things! This year presents more challenges for me with being a first-time mother. Managing motherhood and work has been tough, but I feel like I am finally getting a handle on the whole work/life balance thing. Having an amazing husband helps too! I am one very lucky woman!

This year I plan on beefing up my guided reading groups. I have always done guided reading groups in the past, but this year I plan on making them more in depth to go along with the Common Core. I like using centers during guided reading time. Centers are great tools that help students apply their comprehension skills. Plus, they free up time so I can meet with small groups of students while the rest of my class works.

Each year I level my students and put them into four or five groups based on my needs of my class. These groups are flexible and students can switch groups throughout the year. I like to have four to five small groups of students, so I can meet with each group throughout the week and meet the needs of my diverse learners.

Each week I focus my instruction on one comprehension skill. I find leveled books that go along with each skill for all of my groups. I use books I have gotten with Scholastic points, leveled readers from out textbook, books from our literacy closet, or books from www.readinga-z.com. At the beginning of each week, I do a whole class mini-lesson that focuses on that one comprehension skill. I usually make an anchor chart to help them remember how to use that skill during this time. After the whole class instruction, I have my students work on their centers.

The centers I use are more for the intermediate grades. Each week I have my students go through the following centers; meet with the teacher, silent independent reading, written response journal, word work, and  reading comprehension skill menus.
  • Meet with the Teacher- During this time, I meet with my leveled groups. The students read the leveled book I have for them that week, and we review the comprehension skill that we discussed with the whole group. I give each student a Reading Comprehension Bookmark as we finish up our meeting. This bookmark gives a brief summary of the skill we are focusing on and gives them a weekly writing prompt for their Written Response Journal.

  • Silent Independent Reading- This center is so basic but so important in creating lifelong readers! During this time, I let me students choose books out of the classroom library that they want to read. This is time for them to get excited about reading, and read books that interest them. While they read, I have them use the bookmarks I gave them during our small group instruction. While they are reading they are looking for an example of the comprehension skill we have been studying. For example, if we were studying problem and solution they might be looking for a way a character in their book solved a problem. When they have found an example of the skill, I have them place their Reading Comprehension Bookmark on that page to mark their spot, and set them up for their next center, their Written Response Notebook.

  • Written Response Notebook-While I was getting my Masters, I focused my thesis on best practices in reading instruction. Throughout my research, I found that there is a strong connection between reading and writing. When students write about their reading it increases their comprehension. During this center, my students use their Written Response Notebook. My students use the prompt on their Reading Comprehension Bookmark and write a letter to me about that skill in their Written Response Journals.

  • Word Work-
    Every week I like my students to work on their spelling skills for the week. I use a bunch of menu activities in my classroom. I like using menus because it gives the students a choice on how to apply their learning. Every week I give my students a spelling menu to work on in class, and for homework. During this time, they work on their spelling menu activities.

  • Reading Comprehension Menus-
    Like I said before I love menus! Last year, I spent time creating menus to go along with the different comprehension skills. I use the menu that goes along with the skill we are studying that week. The best part about these menus is that they all come with checbrics to hold the students accountable for their work! These menus are great for getting students to apply the skills they learned, plus they are great for daily reading grades!

This is my interpretation of guided reading for the intermediate grades. What practices do you use during guided reading instruction?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School Sale

Are you ready to head back to school? I am, I love this time of year! Everything is nice, clean, and organized. I have spent the past week preparing my room for the upcoming school year! Next week I get to meet my new bunch of thinkers. I can't wait!

As you know, I have an owl themed classroom. We are Tighe's Thinkers. Over the summer, I made some new owl products for my classroom. I just finished my Interactive Owl Themed Writing Process Bulletin Board Set. I put it up in my classroom yesterday, and it turned out so cute! I can't wait to use it! I assign each of my students a number at the beginning of the school year. They use that number for everything from cubbies to folders, etc. This year they will also use it to keep track of where they are in the writing process during our writing workshop.


I set up this interactive bulletin board set on the whiteboard in the front of my classroom. Each number owl has a magnet glued behind it. This way students can easily move their owls when they move on to the next step of the writing process. I like using this system because I can easily see where the students are in their writing. What systems do you use to hold your students accountable during their writing time?

On August 18-19 my store will be part of the big back to school sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. Check out my store, and get ready for an amazing school year!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Whooo loves Whole Brain?

Over the summer, I have been feeding my Pinterest addiction. While pinning to prepare for the school year, I found a ton of great Whole Brain resources. I tried some attention grabbers last year before leaving for my maternity leave, and was amazed how well they worked. Parents would come into my room for a class party and when the students got too noisy I would use one of the attention grabbers. They were shocked with how fast I got the students attention. I had one parent tell me she was going to start using that attention grabber at home.

Last year I only used the attention grabbers, this year I am going to give more Whole Brain strategies a try. I am going to implement the classroom rules, some of the teaching techniques, and the scoreboard to start. I just finished making my Whole Brain Owl Themed classroom rules, and posted them on my TpT store as a freebie. Do any of you guys use Whole Brain in your classroom? What strategies have you tried? Have you found that some strategies work better than others?
My favorite Whole Brain rule framed and ready to go!



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Carolina Bloggers Meet-Up & New Mom Night Out


Last night my wonderful husband had baby duty while I met up with the Carolina Bloggers. We had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Greenville, The Lazy Goat. Delish! My inner foodie was very happy! It was great to meet other bloggers, get some tips and tricks, and have a night off of mommy duties. It was funny how many people I recognized from following their blogs! They were so nice to a newbie blogger like me! Thank you, Amanda @ Teaching Maddeness for putting everything together!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Give Me A Break!

Let's face it, being a student these days is pretty tough. They have so much they are accountable for today. That's why I try to make learning as interesting as possible! If it's fun it is pretty painless. One strategy that I consistently use in my classroom is the use of movement breaks. According to ADDitude Magazine, "Exercise improves learning on three levels: It optimizes your mindset, by improving alertness, attention, and motivation." Those three levels are pretty important to learning!

Movement breaks don't have to be a half-hour aerobic session in the classroom, they can be quick 5 minute breaks placed throughout the day. My students love their movement breaks. Whenever I see them starting to fade, we take a break and move!

Youtube has made finding movement breaks so much easier! They have some great activities you can easily display on your Smartboard! Here is a list of some of my favorites breaks from youtube.com.

  1. Monster Mash Halloween Energizer- This break is awesome for the month of October! It's done to the song "The Monster Mash," and it has the students sit like a pumpkin once the song is done!
  2. The Penguin Dance- I love penguins, and my students definitely love acting like one! This song and dance is high energy and so much fun!
  3. The Banana Song- This break is pretty quick, so I will play it twice when we need it!
  4. The Sid Shuffle-  Sid the Sloth from Ice Age leads students in doing the Sid Shuffle. They show people from all around the world dancing, so you can add a little geography into this one.
  5. Peanut Butter Jelly Time- The only thing bad about this one is that it will get stuck in your head all day long!
  6. The Gummy Bear Song- This is from Just Dance Kids 2. My students love this one.
  7. Just Dance Kids- There are tons of fun dance songs for your students! Just do a search for Just Dance Kids.
  8. Fitness Freddie- Freddie does five-minute fitness breaks for your students. It is like a five-minute trip to the gym.
What movement breaks have you tried in your classroom? I hope you have fun moving with your students!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

File Folder Fun!

This week's money saving teacher tip is all about the file folder! Every year I like to make two things with file folders; binder pocket dividers, and student blockers. The best thing about file folders is that they are really cheap! A pack of 100 folders only costs about $5.

Every year I like my students to stay organized with a binder. We use the SOAR binder in my classroom because I have an owl theme. I ask my students to use the binder pocket dividers to help us stay organized. I love the extra folder space these give the students. A set of five of these can cost $5. However, you can make these for a fraction of the cost. To make a set of five, you will need five file folders and some Duck Tape. I  found the cutest roll of owl Duck Tape at Wal-Mart for $3.37, but you could use plain Duck Tape.

The first thing you need to do is cut the folder in half along the fold.
Next, take the half without the tab and fold it like a hotdog.


Then slide the unfolded tab in the middle of the folded half.


Make sure to line the up the edge of the hot dog fold with the edge of the other half. The cut off the part of the hot dog fold that goes past the side with the tab.


Then take the hot dog folded part and line the two outer edges with Duck Tape.

Place the tab part back in the middle of the hot dog folded part.
Then you will need to tape the two side edges to create a pocket. Be sure to seal the sides with the tape, so you can store papers in the pockets.


Finally, use a hole puncher to punch holes in the folder on the side without the tab. Place the divider in your binder, and you are done! You have created a two-sided pocket divider for a fraction of the price of buying them already made!

The next project is really easy! I use blockers every year to help my students protect their work, and ward off the wondering eye. At the beginning of the year, I give them two file folders. I have them take the two folders and open them on their desk. Then I have them overlap two halves and staple them together in the middle.



When they have finished, they can open the folders and stand up their blockers to protect their work. They fold back up for easy storage in their desk or cubby. You can even have them decorate their blockers when they have finished.
I hope that you find these money saving tips helpful in your classroom! Here's to a wonderful year!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Homemade Dry Erase Clipboards

This week's money saving trick is one of my favorites! I love using individual whiteboards in my classroom. They are great to use for assessment, centers, and games. The only problem with individual whiteboards is that a class set of 30 boards costs $100 if you buy them from a teacher supply store! If you make them yourself you will only spend $13.00 on a set of 32 boards!

To make the boards, go to your local Lowes or Home Depot. In the lumber section, they have sheets of white panel board. The white panel board is just like a dry erase board. I went to Lowes and found a sheet that was 4 feet by 8 feet for $12.98. I then found a friendly sales person who cut the sheet into 12 inch by 12 inch boards.  This gave me a set of 32 boards to use in my classroom.


I have used these boards for years, and they work great. At the beginning of the school year, I have my students bring in a clean old sock. I know it sounds gross, but they make the best erasers when using these boards. I have my students keep their socks in their desks. When we use the boards, I have the students take out their socks and put them on their hands to use as erasers. This is great when you need to quickly assess the students.


While I was shopping the other day, I came up with another use for these whiteboards.  If you spend an extra $4.00 on binder clips, you can make these whiteboards into whiteboard clipboards. Just fasten the binder clip to the top of the board and your students will have a whiteboard and a clipboard! Just think of all of the space this will save!


The grand total for this project was just $17.00. If I was to buy whiteboards from a supply company I would have spent $100, and the clipboards would have been another $30. By making my own, I was able to save $113! I hope this tip helps you in the classroom.

Happy Teaching!
Sarah

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Favorite Money Saving Teacher Tricks

Now that it is summer, it is time to relax, enjoy the time off, and gradually get ready for the upcoming school year. I have found that doing a couple things throughout the summer helps me stay organized during the mad rush of the beginning of the school year. Now that I have a new baby, I need to be more organized than ever!

In a quest to stay more organized, I have decided to share my favorite money saving teacher projects as I complete them this summer. My goal is to share at least one project a week. I hope that you find these tips and tricks helpful as you prepare for the upcoming school year!

This week's project is creating number tiles. Number tiles are a great hands-on tool! I use them for math, in centers, and in games. I like using the digits 0 through 9 when using number tiles. The only problem with number tiles is that they are so expensive! In the past, I have tried to reduce that cost by printing my number tiles on cardstock and laminating them. This method is cheap, but my students are always losing the one inch paper squares. So this year I am making my own number tiles.

Yesterday I went to Lowes and found some great one inch square tiles. They come on a 12 by 12 sheet for $3.98. That is 144 tiles for $3.98! I want to make 30 sets of the digits 0-9 for my classroom. So, I bought three sheets of tiles for a grand total of $12.66. That is so much cheaper than the $50 you would spend to buy them from a teacher supply company.


They come in a couple of different colors, but I went with the color dune. I want my numbers to really stand out.
Once I got the tiles home, I used a permanent marker to write the digits 0-9 on my tiles.


Once the permanent marker dried, I grouped the tiles into sets and stored them into Ziploc bags.


With the three 12 by 12 sheets, I was able to make 42 sets for my classroom. With the cost of the tiles ($12.66), and the cost of the Ziploc bags (I got two boxes of 25 bags from a local dollar store), my project only cost $14.66! That is $35.34 less than buying them from a teacher supply company! I can't wait to use these number tiles in my classroom! You could use the same tiles to create letter tiles too!

Happy Teaching!
Sarah