Monday, April 20, 2015

Learn With Your Craft Stash - BEADS!

I'm linking up once again with "Life Over C's" for Learn With Your Craft Stash to show you some ways you can use all of those beads you have as learning manipulatives!

This is a great activity for hand/eye coordination and practicing fine motor skills. And if you store your beads in an organizer similar to mine or this one..... can take the tray right out, insert a separator as you see I did for my student above, and you have an instant activity center. 

Make number cards and have students practice counting and 1:1 correspondence. Simple!!! The small manipulatives also work on fine motor at the same time.

This student is making an ABC pattern on a pipe cleaner! Presenting the beads this way makes it easy for her to better understand and complete an ABC pattern. And again, using the drawer from my bead organizer already divided into 3 sections makes this activity a snap!

These students are working on fine motor skills by placing beads on a pipe cleaner! The pipe cleaners work much better than string as they aren't flimsy and are easier for the student to control.

Beads are perfect for making your own rekenreks! Not familiar with rekenreks? Click {here} for info and activities.

Now get out those beads and start learning!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five For Friday!

We've had an exciting week in the Bender Bunch Classroom and I'm happy to share it with you for "Five For Friday."

We set up a nail salon on Monday! The girls had a blast learning to paint nails, and the boys were a little jealous!!


Tuesday was SILLY PUTTY!


We started our lettuce this week and it is growing beautifully!!!!


I got these COOL CUBES that I'm in love with!


We ended the week today with a picnic in the park!!!
My students made their own sandwiches and packed their own lunches.

And guess who's on Instagram now!!!.......Me!
You can follow me {here}

Thanks for stopping by to see our week!
 Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read more Five for Friday posts or link up your own!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Best Ever TpT Center Storage

Trial and error, trial and error! That's my middle name. I believe it has taught me more than any college program ever did! I'm always trying new things, and either they don't work, or they do! I'm always looking for ways to simplify my planning and organization and most of the time it takes much trial and error. I'm a seventh year SPED teacher and I'm still looking for the perfect method to teach and collect data on IEP goals, how to progress monitor effectively, how to develop the perfect multi-level lesson plan, and so on! Does that tell you anything? But through much trial and error I can finally say....I have finally found the perfect way to store my center activities. Problem solved! No more ziplocs! 

Don't get me wrong...I love ziplocs for everything, just not for my centers!!!

I was beyond excited for these to arrive a few days ago!


While this may look somewhat organized, it was a pain in the butt! Trying to keep task cards and little pieces in these open ended folders, or staple baggies to the inside, or much less trying to store required dice for an activity in these office folders.? It doesn't work very well! Believe me!

These zipper envelopes are just genius!!! They are 9x12, so they are perfect for storing full page centers and recording sheets. They easily and conveniently store small pieces as well as dice or counters that may be needed for each center! The clear pockets allow you to see what is in the pack or allow you to easily insert a cover page for each center! I just love them! Best investment ever!

Here are my centers now! All neatly tucked away in their own pocket! 

And while everything is always a work in progress for a I'm looking at possible color coding as each package comes with 5 colors! The possibilities with these are endless...and there are SO many uses! While these are easy to flip through, you could also organize skills by color. For instance, all base ten activities could be blue, while all addition centers could be yellow. Holiday and seasonal themed centers could also be sorted by color.  

Personally, I try to stay away from too many seasonal/holiday themed centers for a few reasons. Through trial and error, I have learned that these skills are not usually what I need for my students at that time...and adjusting their centers for each holiday/season can cause a great deal of additional work for the teacher when you are working with multiple levels. 

I've already filled up 75 of these zippered envelopes....and just ordered 10 more packs! I don't want to chance them being discontinued as I accumulate more centers. They come 5 to a pack from "" and after searching the web, this is the best deal I have found!! You can check them out {here}, and shipping is free on orders that are $45 or more!  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Learn with Your Scrap Tissue Paper

Life Over C's is hosting an awesome linky party this month to show you ways to clean up your craft supplies or use your left over supplies as learning tools! Every day through the 28th teacher bloggers will be sharing their fabulous craft stash ideas with you. Each day a different craft item will be featured from pipe cleaners, to coffee filters, to pom poms to cardboard tubes.....and today, I'm featuring.....tissue paper!!! 

Do you have all of those baggies of cut up, scrap pieces of tissue paper lying around from previous holiday projects?? I know I do! Here are some ways you can turn those scraps into LEARNING!!

Use your scrap pieces of tissue paper from previous crafts and have students sort them. These are left over from a Christmas craft my class did 2 years ago and have been crammed in a baggie sitting in the back of a cupboard. 
 I love that the color options required this student to not only sort green, but to sort different shades of green! Give your students different shades of colors to reach a higher level of thinking. This can also easily be turned into a same or different activity.

Use tissue paper to make patterns!
 These scraps were already cut and left over from a President's Day activity we did!

 Fine Motor Skills
 A water bottle and some scrap tissue paper can be an excellent way to practice fine motor skills on a budget.
 After looking at all of the bags of cut and scrap tissue paper I still had, I got to thinking about how much my students love games, and how could I create a game using tissue paper? 

So I came up with a game, which I thought was a little silly at first, but my students LOVED it! And so did I! I made it rather late and quickly, and hate the name, so I have since changed the name from what you see in the picture.
 Students spin the spinner and then cover that color on their gameboard with a piece of scrap tissue paper. The first to cover all of their colors wins the game!! 
While I thought the game was a little silly at first as I started creating it, now I LOVE it! This game targets so many skills; fine motor, colors, matching, following directions, listening skills, taking turns, waiting, and partner play. You can get this tissue paper game for free below.

Other ways you could use your scrap tissue paper for learning is by doing big/small, same/different, adding/subtracting.....basically you can use it just like you use unifix cubes. For more ideas on using tissue paper for learning in the classroom, check out my "Tissue Paper" Pinterest Board and all of the other featured tissue paper posts today at Life Over C's!

Follow each day for other ways to "Learn With Your Craft Stash!!"

Do you have a unique way to use tissue paper??