Sunday, July 31, 2011

Literature Based Units

No time for a long winded blog post's my best on-line find of the week!

This is an amazing resource for teaching Literature Based units. It's perfect for preschoolers and could even be used with toddlers.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tooth Fairy!

To say that my son was excited to lose his first tooth is an understatement. The dentist told him back in January that his tooth was loose. So I've had the pleasure of hearing about the tooth, reading tooth books, helping to wiggle the tooth, hearing my son tell other people about the tooth, answering tooth falling out questions, making a tooth collage, and reading more books about teeth....but the darn tooth was hanging on.

Finally the wiggly tooth fell out while eating a hot dog at our community pool. My son was so excited to show it to his friend we were with, then the woman selling the hot dogs, the man grilling the hot dogs, and finally his swimming teacher. The little tooth was shown practically to anyone who would look at it. Once we got home my son insisted on checking it out under the microscope and he was amazed at looking at the inside of the tooth. Then he wrote this sweet note to the tooth fairy...

The tooth fairy was so impressed by the tooth and the note that he got $1 and got to keep the tooth for further scientific studies!!!

Lemonade Stand

It's an annual tradition at our house to have a lemonade stand and yard sale. I love to see how the kids have changed in these pictures and how our set up is getting better!
June 2009 - my son's first lemonade stand!

May 2010 - who wouldn't want to buy lemonade from this sweet boy? And little sis is trying to help!

Next Saturday (7/23) we are going to have our annual yard sale & lemonade stand and I hope my local friends can make it!

To prepare (and to get a bunch of coin counting practice) we are going to set up a lemonade stand in our basement this week. We have decided to expand our selection and sell cookies and rice crispy treats.

My son has mastered counting like coins (i.e. all dimes, all nickels, or all pennies) but is still learning how to count quarters. So to get extra practice, everything we sell will either be 25, 50, or 75 cents. This will give him lots of practice counting quarters and making change from a dollar.

After our big sale I will post an updated picture and tell you about all the profit!!!

As a bonus, I found some cute free printables to make our stand look even better than before! Get some for yourself here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Math Teaching Resources

So we are at the last chapter of Debbie Diller's fabulous book Math Work Stations. My big question is..."How am I going to remember where all these wonderful on-line resources for teaching math are located? How will I be able to go back an find all those great posts from the blog party?"

My solution....create my own blog post that lists the direct links for each chapter. Each of these has links for up to 30-40 other blogs, many of which have freebies! And at the end of this post is a list of a few other of the math websites that I don't want to forget!  

Hope this is helpful to someone else besides me!

Thanks for letting me a part of the blog party!

Chapter 1&2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4 - Beginning Number Concept

Chapter 5 - Addition & Subtraction

Chapter 6 - Place Value

Chapter 7 - Geometry

Chapter 8 - Measurement

Other math websites that I wanted to remember....I didn't have a chance to write a description for each!

Online Games and Activities for K-1

Math Skills checklist for ages 3 - 6th grade

Free Math Clipart for Teachers - there are almost 10,000 images!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Free Printable Books

Tonight I was on the hunt for a free source of printable books for emergent readers. I have a couple of friends whose children are just learning to read, and I'd love to give them a one-stop website to print books.  
Overall, I would say that the free sources on-line are not the quality of books that I would want a beginning reader to use. Listed below are what I found so far. If anyone has additional sources please let me know!

Free mini books (alphabet, holiday, common themes)

Free printable books for a variety of reading levels. There is a section of alphabet books and some 'first reader' coloring books. From the home page click on book list and then click on the theme. The number by the title tells you the reading level.

Free Word Family Books:

Free Word Family Worksheets & Activities:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This week's Math Work Station chapter was about Geometry. I know I keep saying this, but I am SOOOO thankful for all the wonderful activities that my blogging friends have posted! I am also glad that I have participated in the Blog Party, instead of just being a 'stalker'! I now have so many great activities to use at home with my son and will keep in my files for the future! Who else is sad that next week is our last chapter?!

This summer I have been doing lots of fun early learning geometry activities with my 2 year old. Read all about in this post. She is quite good at spotting shapes and loves to do her shape puzzles! Today's post will focus on the activities that I am doing with my 5 year old son, since the blog party is for grades K-2!

3D geometric solids Match Up  - my son picks one of the plastic 3D shapes and then searches the house to find objects that match them. It's fun to see what items he selects. Our two year old is eager to participate so I leave out some easy items for her to match at the same time! To extend this activity in the future, I will ask my son to draw the objects he finds or maybe trace them to make it a bit easier. I liked the book's idea of taking a digital camera on the shape hunt and photograph objects but I never seem to print the drawing will likely work better for us!

Building 3D Shapes - this activity never gets boring! For our buildings we have used a wide variety of materials: mini marshmallows & toothpicks, coffee stirrers & clay, straws & pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks & play dough, and newspaper rolled tightly & tape. To build larger structures we use commercial products such as Straws & Connectors, Crazy Forts, and Tinker Toys. One activity that I am planing this week is to have him build cubes with various materials to show that a cube built with toothpicks and one built with Tinker toys has the same number of edges and corners, but it's on a larger scale. (This may also be a nice lead into measurement activities, which is the focus of next week's chapter.)

Look for Shapes in Nature - a couple of weeks ago we went on a "triangle walk" in the woods. It was amazing  to see how many naturally occurring triangles we found. We will definitely do this again but look for different shapes!

Find the Hidden Treasure - I loved this idea. I have written directions on index cards for my son to follow to find a hidden treasure chest. I like the idea of practicing positional words and have tried to make the text simple enough that he could read them independently. I also used arrows and simple drawings for added support. After he does my hunts, I will help him in writing the clues and then Daddy can look for the treasure!

Shape Designs - using large foam shapes my son makes elaborate designs. His pieces are always symmetrical so I thought I would introduce that term and have him practice symmetrical drawings. I liked the idea of using pattern blocks and a mirror to draw a symmetrical design.
I think I will also fold a few pieces of paper in half, let him paint one side, and then squish the pages closed to show him symmetry in another medium.

Tangrams - a new favorite activity at our house. I searched online for "free tangram printables" and found lots of choices. My favorites are at because they are simple to do. I printed the puzzles on one side and the solutions on the reverse. For now we are just using the solution side to rebuild the design and later we can try to solve the puzzles. (I personally find tangrams very challenging, so I like knowing the solution is handy for me!)

Pattern Block Designs - My son has been using his Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Board set for several years. This has pre-printed images that he basically just lays the pieces onto. I knew he was ready for more of a challenge and was excited to see the templates DeeDee posted this week. Her templates are smaller than the actual size of the blocks and this will make him think a bit more as he recreates the design on his own. She also posted a  response page to record the number of each of the shapes, which I think extends this activity nicely! (Thanks DeeDee...we especially liked making the flag on the 4th of July!) Check out the printables at:

We also own the Melissa and Doug Beginner Pattern Blocks. These are great for younger children since the blocks fit into place and won't slide around. My two year old is now an expert at these! I enjoy bringing both of these sets out for the kids to use side by side. It's fun when they have similar activities that they can both do independently! When she's ready I found these simple pattern block templates that I can print. My tip is NOT to laminate them because they become slippery and it's frustrating to younger kids.

Geoboards - we have just started exploring with these. So far my son just makes creative designs and he loves it. I plan on introducing task cards to guide him in making specific shapes. I will add a link when I find a good one.

Blocks - my son loves to build with our wooden blocks. I can see working some geometry lessons into this by using task cards such as, "Build a tower with 5 rectangles and 3 triangles." "Make a square by using only triangles."
Another idea is to let him create a building and then make a 'blueprint' of it or record how many of each shape was used.

Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to learning lots of new geometry ideas from all my new blogging friends! The host for this week's chapter is:

Morning Stations Take 2

Straws and Connectors are a favorite building material at our house! My 5 year old will even nap in his structures!

It has been a lot of fun setting up morning stations for my son. And being able to sleep in an extra 30 minutes or so really makes the effort worthwhile!

Read my first post here, which explains exactly what goes into our morning stations.

Over the last couple of weeks, my son has woken up to the following activities laid out for him!

Tooth Books with Tooth Man Collage activity ~ to celebrate his wiggly tooth. (Of course it's been loose since January but it's VERY wiggly now. So hopefully any day it will fall out!)

Estimation Station - he counts the objects in the containers and then later, when the rest of the family is awake, he asks each of us to estimate. The funniest thing is when he asks his 2 year old sister because her response is, "1,2, 1,2 blocks."

Straws and Connectors building materials set up in the living room, with arrows leading the way from his bedroom to the building site!

Bug Identification chart and bugs in jars he had collected the previous day. (Apparently when Grandpa gave him 20 empty pill bottles my son thought everyone needed to have a bug to live in it!)

Watercolors - really easy set up and it's fun to see what he creates.

Hundred Chart Puzzle, which I found here:

Hundreds Chart puzzle
Tangrams that I bought from Amazon and then printed designs from this website:

Pattern Blocks activity made by Melissa and Doug, and harder templates to build from which I found here:

"I Can Read" tub of books for him to read aloud to his over sized stuffed dog, Pluto.


What great ideas do you have for Morning Stations? There are still almost 2 months worth of mornings to fill with creative & quiet learning stations. I'd love to hear your suggestions!