Tuesday, September 17, 2019

STEM Safari

Every once in a while, I create a product for my classroom or my TPT store that I get just giddily excited about. Products that are unique and that I know kids and teachers will both love. I felt this way when I released my escape rooms for early childhood, and I'm feeling it again with my latest project: STEM Safari! I've been working on it for weeks, and I am thrilled that it is finally live!

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

STEM Safari is an organized approach to implementing STEM in your classroom, and so much fun!

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

Each STEM session, a student picks a challenge card to complete. There are 5 different types of cards:

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

1. Elephant Engineering (engineering challenges)

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

 2. Cheetah Challenge (challenges with specific parameters in place)

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

 3. Rhino Riddles ("How can you...?" challenges)

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

4. Warthog Wonderings (reflection questions and challenges)

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique


5. Buffalo Building (free choice building).

I wanted to prevent students from always picking the same type of card, such as the free choice building, which is, of course, valuable, but doesn't do as well with developing problem-solving skills. To do this, and to encourage my students to try new things, they each have an Animal Checklist.

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

Every time they complete a specific type of challenge, they check it off. When they have completed all 5 of the different challenge types, they color in one country in their STEM Safari Africa map. Then they "journey" to a new country and start again with a new animal checklist! This way, the fun just keeps going, but they have a way to track how many challenges they have completed.

There is also a STEM Safari Journal included, which helps build their reflection skills.

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique


Any of the Warthog Wondering cards that say "write about it" can be completed in their STEM Safari Journals. There are also a few "design" challenges in the Elephant Engineering cards that can be completed in their journals. As they continue their STEM Safari journey, the reflections they have completed in the journal will help them polish their problem-solving and engineering skills.

I love doing STEM projects with my students! It is amazing to see what they can accomplish with a few basic supplies and some open-ended directives.

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

However, storing all of these supplies can be a challenge. Included in the STEM Safari kit are tons of supply labels with photographs, to help keep everything neat.

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique

STEM Safari: Over 60 STEM Challenges for Elementary! | Apples to Applique
Here's a close-up example of a supply label.

I even included some editable labels so that you can customize them for any supplies you have on hand!

I really hope that your students enjoy STEM Safari as much as mine do! (Click here to purchase!)
There's just something about open-ended, hands-on learning that gets kiddos excited. I would love to hear how you use STEM in your classroom; drop me a comment below!

Happy teaching!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

First Grade Classroom Reveal!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links, I'll receive a small commission at no cost to you!

You guys, I am in love with my classroom this year! I love how all the decor came together, and I love the overall "feeling" when I walk into the room. It's bright, cheerful, and welcoming.

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
Seriously how perfect is this lamp?! I found it in my parents' basement and had to "steal" it!

Our school theme this year is "Just Be...", as in "Just Be Respectful", "Just Be Kind", etc. so I painted the "Just Be...You" banner to hang above my windows. After I put it up and put the shapes posters on either side of it, I thought it still needed a little more color. This rainbow bunting was exactly what I needed!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

I opted to get rid of the rug that was in here when I arrived and just use carpet spots. They're amazing!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
My shelves look so bare because I was waiting for our new curriculum to be delivered! I didn't get a close up, but I used these Storex cubby bins for my leveled readers that you can see in the corner, and they are perfect!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
My word wall cards make me happy!
My room is such a hodge-podge of things that came together perfectly. This crate bench was given to me by another teacher who didn't want it anymore.

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
Positive affirmations to encourage my students (and myself!) every day! I brightened up this space with these watercolor dot decals and I love it!


First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

This focus wall is quick and easy to change! I bought these dry erase pockets because I wanted one of each color, and didn't need a whole ton of extras. Oh, and isn't this bulletin board trim amazing?! I was ecstatic when I found it!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
These Storex book bins are great for my classroom library! Confession, though: I ordered the orange bins directly from the Storex website because I really wanted orange, and I needed 6 colors for the 6 units in my reading curriculum.
My bookshelves look a little sparse here, but I am happy to say that my shelves are now fully stocked, thanks to some generous donations through Donors Choose for a new classroom library!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
You can find the number posters here!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
I didn't plan out the spacing very well on my job chart, haha!
Here's a close up of my classroom schedule and job chart.

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
Rainbow class calendar! It can also be used in a pocket chart or as a linear calendar.

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
Rainbow weather and seasons set!
First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
My teacher toolbox is a lifesaver, especially when working with paras or subs! Get the editable labels here, and check out this post for step-by-step instructions on how to make it!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
Have you noticed I'm a tad obsessed with my color-coded organization? Editable binder covers and spines here!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
Editable lunch attendance system here!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
The idea for this headphones organizer is not new with me, but it has worked perfectly! Find it here!
First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

I always want my students to know that I love them and want the best for them. When they leave my classroom, they are left with this goodbye message. 

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

My school uses the Zones of Regulation and has the students check in daily. I check in, too, and we talk about our emotions a lot throughout the day. (Due to copyright restrictions on the Zones of Regulation, I cannot offer this check in system for sale. I created it for my own personal classroom use.)

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

Display outside my classroom door. The paint splotches are attached to clothespins where I will hang student work throughout the year.

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

We have these display cases outside our doors, so of course I had to hang a trauma-informed poster!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

Morning greeting choices are all the rage right now, and I can see why! My students love it, and I love how it allows me to make a connection with each child every day in a way that is most comfortable for them. Find this set here!

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique

I've saved the favorite part of my classroom for last! This area is my peace corner. It's an area where students can go to self-regulate.

First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
Right above my peace corner is my birthday calendar. Students love seeing their pictures and being able to see when their friends' birthdays are! Find the birthday calendar here!


First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
I always want my students to feel safe and loved, especially when they're upset!
First Grade Classroom Reveal! | Apples to Applique
My peace corner has a basket of items to help students calm down and regulate.

So there you have it, my new classroom! I know the bright colors can be overstimulating for some kids, so I have to balance that by keeping everything very neat. I work hard to keep it organized and free of clutter. Clutter stresses me out, and I think it can also stress students out. So far all of my new friends seem to be settling in well and enjoying our new space; we're off to a great start to our school year!

Want all of the rainbow decor? Get the bundle here and save 20%!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Kindergarten Morning Work for the Entire School Year

Kindergarten Morning Work for the Entire School Year | Apples to Applique
I have finally completed a project that I've been working on for months! My Pre-K Morning Work Packet has been such a hit that I decided to make a Kindergarten Morning Work Packet, as well.
I knew it would be a large project, and I knew it would take a while to get finished. I have limited time to create since I teach full time and have 3 young children--and, lately, all of my creation time has been funneled into my Escape Room Growing Bundle--but, at last, it is finished! I may have had to stay up til 1:00 in the morning to get it done, but it was worth it!

Kindergarten Morning Work for the Entire School Year | Apples to Applique

Kindergarten Morning Work for the Entire School Year | Apples to Applique

This kindergarten morning work contains 200 pages and covers a wide variety of literacy and math skills.

Kindergarten Morning Work for the Entire School Year | Apples to Applique


Literacy
Upper and lower case letter recognition
Letter-sound correspondence
Letter writing
CVC words--Beginning sounds, medial sounds, and ending sounds
CVCe words
Matching CVC words to pictures
Word families
Sight words
Rhyming words
Syllables
Completing sentences
Matching sentences to pictures

Kindergarten Morning Work for the Entire School Year | Apples to Applique


Math
Numeral recognition
Matching numbers to quantities
Tally marks
Ten frames
Base 10
Subitizing
Shapes
Patterns
Counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s
Graphing
Writing the missing numbers (in list form and on a hundred's chart)
Comparing more and less
Five frames
Complements of 5
Ten frames
Complements of 10
Addition
Subtraction
Word problems
Measurement
Sorting


On top of that, it includes editable name sheets, where you type in your class list one time, and it generates 3 different name sheets for each student. One for tracing, one for writing, and one with name activities.

Kindergarten Morning Work for the Entire School Year | Apples to Applique


In addition to the pre-made sight word activity sheets, I also included an editable option. Everyone teaches sight words in different orders, so I wanted teachers to be able to put in the words they were working on. This also provides a great option for differentiation, as the pages can be customized for the student. (You can also get the editable sight word activity as a freebie when you sign up for my email list!)

Aside from having to type in your class list one time, these activities are all no prep! I hope you love this packet, and that it makes your life easier!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

DIY Teacher Toolbox

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of my links, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique

I love having an organized classroom. It enables me to spend more time teaching and less time prepping materials, because I know right where to find them. It also makes the school day go more smoothly, because when I have one kid who needs a band-aid and another who needs some tape because he ripped his paper, I can help them quickly and get back to the other 20 kids.

My teacher toolbox has been a lifesaver. It makes things easy for me to find, as well as for my paras and any substitutes that I have. I purchased this 24-drawer organizer and attached labels to each of the drawers. I sized my labels to fit exactly. Scroll to the end of the post to find links to the labels pictured here, as well as several other themes!

To make the labels look really nice, I put them on with ModPodge. To do this, simply print the labels and cut them out, then grab some ModPodge and a paintbrush.

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique
Yes, I have a gallon-sized thing of ModPodge. I love to craft, what can I say?

Apply a layer of ModPodge to the front of each drawer, then carefully line up the label and press it down.

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique

Let it dry for a little while--15 minutes or so should do it, it doesn't have to be completely dry--then paint some more ModPodge over the top.

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique
It's okay if you get a little on the drawer handle. When it dries you won't be able to tell!

Yep, right on top of the pretty printed side. Make sure to apply it over the edges as best as you can. I'll be honest, the first time I used ModPodge, I had a mini heart attack when I painted over the photo I was using; I was convinced it would be all wrinkly and cloudy looking when it was done. However, it turned out beautifully, and now I love the stuff!

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique

After the ModPodge is completely dry, put the drawers back in the unit and start filling them up! Now you have a nice protective coating on them, and they look so professional.

DIY Teacher Toolbox | Apples to Applique

Love the idea, but these rainbow labels aren't your thing? I have labels to fit all different themes, and even better, they are editable, so if you want something specific, you just have to type it in! Find each one by clicking the links below.

Black and White Theme (ink-friendly and classy)
Candy Colors Theme (brown, orange, yellow, and blue; sounds weird, but it's cute!)
Candy Shop Theme (whimsical and fun!)
Chalkboard Theme (a classic, natural look)
Comic Book Theme (you'd be the awesome-est teacher ever with a comic book themed classroom!)
Farmhouse Theme (another natural look, perfect for Montessori classrooms)
Monkey Theme (because who doesn't love monkeys?)
Popcorn Theme (always fun!)
Primary Colors Theme (can't go wrong with this classic)
Rainbow Theme (shown in this post)
Watercolor Theme (colorful and bright)
Yellow, Teal, and Gray (my most popular theme)

I also have tons of classroom decor items in all of the themes above in my TPT store, so you can have a fully coordinated classroom!

Happy organizing!