Saturday, September 26, 2020

Build a City: Mapping Skills Activity

Hi, Teacher Friends! I hope your school year is off to a great start! We have been in person the last three weeks, and it has been wonderful. Yes, things are different with trying to keep 6-year-olds socially distanced and wearing masks, but they have been rockstars, and it has been fantastic to be back doing what I love!

I usually like to do lots of hands-on centers throughout the day so that kids can collaborate and learn all the important social skills that come with working in a group, as well as apply content in a more age-appropriate way. That has been more of a challenge this year, for sure! I have been trying to get creative with individual centers that don't involve a screen, but one day a week we have digital Boom centers. 

I try to balance it so the kids don't get too much screen time, but they also get to use technology enough to become proficient in it. I typically start digital centers a little later in the year, but considering we may have to go remote at a moment's notice, I want my kids to learn all of our online platforms while I'm there in person to give support.

The kids love Boom cards--they are always asking to play "those games"--and I love that they give the kids immediate feedback and that I can see data on how they did. It is quick and easy to assign different decks to each kid, so, during reading, for example, I have some kids working on basic sight words while others are working on blends and other skills.

This particular deck focuses on mapping skills, which is one of our first grade standards. Working with cardinal directions can be tricky for 6- and 7-year olds, so I love the immediate feedback they get with this Boom deck! There are few things as damaging to a child's understanding as practicing something the wrong way.

This deck focuses on the directions north, south, east, and west, as kids take on the role of helping design a new city. It makes a no-prep and engaging way for your students to practice their mapping skills, and works just as well in-person as it does with remote learning.

Find "Build a City" here in my TPT store or here on Boom Learning.

Keep teaching with heart and passion!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

DIY Teacher Survival Kit: 2020 Style

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I will receive a small compensation at no cost to you.

Teacher Survival Kit | Apples to Applique

Getting ready to go back to school is totally nerve-wracking this year, and wrought with so many emotions. I am excited to be back in the classroom, which is my happy place; I've missed it terribly since March, when we transitioned to remote learning. I can't wait to meet a new set of kids to love and learn with, forming a tight-knit community. I even miss the little things, like putting up new bulletin boards and decorating for the holidays. My teacher-heart is thrilled to be heading back!

Mixed with all of the excitement, however, is a feeling of unease. Will we be able to help the kids understand the importance of social distancing? Will we still be able to foster the same feeling of community when the kids have to stay so far apart? Will our school have a coronavirus outbreak? Will our students and staff all stay healthy?

Understanding these mixed emotions, I decided to make a 2020 style Teacher Survival Kit as a back-to-school gift for my teammates. My teammates are the most amazing people out there; we work together so well and they inspire me to be the best teacher I can be. We are very close, and always give each other little gifts for occasions like this. However, this gift would also be great from a student to a teacher!

Most of the things included are often seen in teacher survival kits, but some I selected specifically for 2020:
Chocolate (always a necessity! These Dove dark chocolates are my favorite, and I love the little affirming messages inside each wrapper)
Stickers with inspirational messages (I purchased different styles to match my teammates' classroom decor; the ones pictured I found from Happy Honeycomb Studio on Etsy)
Travel hand sanitizer that can be put on a lanyard (Because, 2020...I purchased these holders)
Lotion (to combat the dryness from the frequent hand washing. I purchased this lotion with a calming lavender scent, because goodness knows we need a little calm this year!)
Box of Blessings (this little deck contains 101 blessings for teachers)
Emergen-C (not pictured, but I added it in after taking the photo. Teachers can always use this immune system boost in a good year, but in 2020, we need it in bulk!)

Last but not least, I found these adorable Teacher Survival Kit bags to package it all in.

Teacher Survival Kit | Apples to Applique

Hopefully these goodie bags will bring a smile to my teammates' faces as we face the uncertainties of this upcoming school year.

Is there anything else you can think of that should be put into a teacher survival kit, especially this year? Let me know, I would love to hear your ideas!

Keep teaching with heart and passion!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity | Apples to Applique

I can't even begin to tell you all how excited I am about this new product line: digital escape rooms for phonics skills!

I fell in love with making escape rooms for early childhood a couple of years ago; they are a great way to get kids using their imaginations and having fun while they learn.
Then COVID-19 hit, and we were suddenly shoved into a new way of doing things. Along the way, I discovered Boom Cards, and all of the possibilities they have! They are interactive, self-checking, and engaging, which is perfect for distance learning, independent centers, or even homework.

So, I decided to merge the two things to create Boom Card escape rooms. I am obsessed with them! Using the Boom platform has enabled me to add cool touches like sound effects, and kids love them! My daughters and my nephews have tested them out for me, and one of my nephews asked his mom if they could learn everything this way from now on. If that isn't high praise, I don't know what is!

As I am teaching first grade now, this new line is designed for kids slightly older than the students for whom my printable escape rooms are designed. Each digital escape room focuses on one phonics skill. This first one, Escape the Train, is all about l-blends.

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity | Apples to Applique

The game begins with students receiving a mission to board a train and unlock a case containing a secret message. Students find clues on the train and complete 4 different l-blends activities.

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity | Apples to Applique

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity | Apples to Applique

At the end of each activity, they earn one letter to use in unlocking the case.

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity | Apples to Applique

After all 4 letters have been earned, they put them on the lock in the correct order to open the case and read the message.

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity | Apples to Applique

Escape the Train: Digital L-Blends Activity | Apples to Applique

The bit of mystery, idea of a secret mission, and engaging photos and sound effects draw students in as they play; they hardly even realize they are learning!
Pre- and emerging readers can play independently, because audio directions are included, making these activities ideal for centers or extra practice.

You can find Escape the Train here in my TPT store or here from Boom Learning. Make sure you follow me to get notified of each new addition to this line; each escape room will have a different skill focus and a new setting to keep things fresh.

Keep teaching with heart and passion!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Calculate It! Number Talks FREEBIE

Calculate It! Number Talks FREEBIE | Apples to Applique
    Back in February, I was working on finishing up and listing all of the number talks I had been using with my students, with a plan to get them polished up and bundled by spring break. Then, of course, COVID-19 changed things and I shifted my focus to distance learning.    
    I am so excited to say that all of my number talks are now finished! I am pumped to start next school year with an entire year's worth of number talks ready to go.

Calculate It! Number Talks FREEBIE | Apples to Applique

    I've already talked in previous posts about how amazing I think number talks are, and how they completely changed my math instruction. I love them, the kids love them, and I am constantly amazed at the amount of critical thinking my students display as they work through the various problems. My class this past year took ownership of their learning and pride in showing their strategies to their friends; they even got upset when number talks were finished for the day! If that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is. ;)

Calculate It! Number Talks FREEBIE | Apples to Applique

    I've listed each of my number talks separately so you can purchase one to cover a particular skill, and I also offer them all together as a money-saving bundle if you're ready to go all-in. However, I wanted you to have the chance to experience number talks and see if they're a good fit for your classroom and teaching style before purchasing, so I've listed a sample pack as a FREEBIE! This sample includes 2 slides from each of my 12 number talks, for a total of 24 FREE number talks! Just like with the full version, the freebie includes a version for both PowerPoint and Google Slides™.

    I'm confident that your students will love Calculate It! Number Talks as much as mine do, and I'm excited for you to experience how engaging and rigorous number talks can be! Get the free sample here, and then please come leave some feedback to tell me how it went in your classroom!
    Keep teaching with heart and passion,


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Baking Shapes: Identifying and Classifying 2D Shapes

I told you in my last post that I have fallen in love with Boom Cards. In case you haven't heard of them, they are digital task cards that are interactive and super fun!

    This game is all about 2D shapes. It covers classifying shapes by number of sides or vertices...

Baking 2D Shapes: Digital Task Cards | Apples to Applique

...or the lack thereof.

Baking 2D Shapes: Digital Task Cards | Apples to Applique

    It covers identifying 2D shapes by name.

Baking 2D Shapes: Digital Task Cards | Apples to Applique

    It also has students identify whether shapes are opened or closed.