Bugs, Bees, & Bears - Oh My!

This will be a double post weekend...I was crazy busy this week and didn't get a chance to update my blog with what we did last week...and I have this week's activities to post too!  As you can probably tell from my pictures that I post, I LOVE getting crafty!  I spent most of my free time this week creating decorations for my friend's son's 2nd birthday.  I'll include pics of that stuff too...just because it's so cute!

Anyway, last week we learned all about the letter B.  I didn't do a theme necessarily this week.  It was just all things B!!  We learned about bugs, bees, bears, beavers and more!  I think the kiddos favorite part of the week was our bug sensory bin.  Here's some pics:

I got all of the "ingredients" for the bug sensory/discovery bin at the Dollar Store!!  I love the Dollar Store for sensory bins!  I bought 4 packs of brown paper shreds, 4 packs of bugs, 2 bug kits and a magnifying glass.  The bug kits were great because they also came with a net and tweezers.  The tweezers were great because they helped make this bin ALSO become a fine motor skill that the kiddos LOVED!
Here's the completed bin.
Here are some of my little darlings using the tweezers to pick up the bugs and put them inside the bug collector kit.  I let only 2 students at a time use the bin.
Of course, we continued on to letter Bb in our ABC Interactive Notebook.  I haven't done a post about these books all by themselves yet...but that's coming soon. They are AMAZING.  Can't wait to share it all with you.  This page shows our letter sort and sound sort.

This is the inside flap of the uppercase B letter sort.

Here's the page in our interactive notebook where they had to find and stamp the letter Bb. We used a bingo stamper from the Dollar Store.  They also had to rainbow write the letter.
This is the uppercase B craft and tracing/writing practice that we did last week.  The wings are made out of parchment paper and we didn't glue them completely down, so they look like they're flying!

This is one of my kiddos working on the lowercase b craft and fine motor activity for the week.  We glued different color and shape buttons to a lowercase b.

I think it came out so cute!
This week we also learned about beavers.  We had been learning about different types of homes that people live in.  So when we read about how beavers build their homes, we created a Venn Diagram to compare how people and beavers build their homes.  We went on a scavenger hunt outside to collect our items (except the toothpicks that are representing wood).  People use leaves, mud/dirt, grass, wood and rocks.  Beavers use wood, sticks and mud/dirt.  So, we put mud/dirt and wood in the middle because both beavers and people have that item in common.  It was a GREAT introductory learning activity to Venn Diagrams.  Finding and gluing real items onto the diagram really helped the students to understand what we were trying to learn.
We also practiced our tracing and writing skills for the letter B.  I didn't take a pic of my kids tracing in action...but still wanted to share what we did to practice the letter.  I just finished turning this into a printable pack too!  It has all letters A to Z with an animal on each page to match the letter.  You can grab your copy by clicking on the picture.  :)
 We also practiced our math skills this week with bears!  We used the bears to learn beginning addition and also to count and build patterns.  This pack will be going in my TpT store as soon as I reach 300 followers and it will be a FREEBIE!!!  I'm at 299 now, so just one more person!  Check soon to get your copy for FREE!  It has tons more pages of counting, patterning, and addition practice! :)

***UPDATE:  It's now available for free here.
I hope you've enjoyed reading and looking at what we did to learn all about the Letter B.  We had a week packed with fun learning!  I hope you are able to use some of the ideas with your students. :)
Sweet Teaching,

Apples, Apples Everywhere!

We started to learn our letters of the week this week with letter Aa.  My students had so much fun exploring all things Aa!  Our focus was mostly apples, but we also learned about other things that begin with Aa too!  Here are some pictures of what we did this week:
"a is for apple" craft  {letter of the week crafts post coming soon!}

"A is for Alligator" craft.  Love that this uses shapes too!

These are the items that I used in my Apple Pie Discovery (sensory) bin.  All you really need is flour and oil.  The measurement is about 5-6 cups flour to 1 cup oil.  If you want it to be more like dough, add more oil.  I also added cinnamon sticks, mini plastic apples, pie and tart dishes, a spatula, and measuring utensils.
Here's a picture of what one of my little girls made in the bin!

Here's 2 of my students measuring the dough!  Great for beginning measurement activities too!

...and here's the bin when I first made it, before mixing in the oil and letting the kiddos play!

We also used our five senses to learn more about apples and describe them.  Of course they had trouble waiting to get to the "taste" part before they tasted!  Yum!

Here's an apple tree we made to go with our unit.

This is something new I'm beginning with them too.  It's our poetry book.  We will be adding to it each week with a poem and a craft. More info to come in another post dedicated only to poetry books!  I'm so excited for this one...but I'm not quite finished putting it together.  :)

We also hole punched beginning sounds this week with this pack of beginning sound punchers.
I love that these build fine motor with sound recognition and letter identification.  The kiddos love that they get to use the hole puncher!  It's a win-win!  :)

Here' one of my students building the letter Aa out of play dough with my Zoo Animals Playdough Mats pack.
I also did all of the A's and alligator activities from my Zoo Mega Learning Pack.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics, but we used the upper/lower Aa sort, the A is for Alligator coloring page, the Alligator Puzzle, and the Aa tracing page.  I also used my Apples Count & Clip for a math center.
That was about all for this week! 
On to the letter B! {I like to go in order mostly...a little OCD I guess!}
Sweet Teaching,

Five Senses

We just finished our Five Senses unit.  I absolutely LOVED teaching the kiddos about their five senses.  They loved learning about it too!  It's a long post, sorry, but worth the read for a wealth of activities to try in your classroom.

I always to make sure to incorporate reading in each lesson.  We read on the carpet with my students all gathered around my rocking chair.  It's a time of the day that they all enjoy.  Here are some books about the five senses that I read with this unit (and convenient links if you want to add them to your collection).

1. My Five Senses

2. Look, Listen, Taste, Touch, and Smell

3. My Five Senses

To have students practice using each of their senses, we did a variety of activities.

Smelling Cups- I had the students smell different scents inside of cups and try to guess what they were smelling.  I had the real items sitting out in front of them to try to give them clues.  I used peppermint, banana, orange, and lemon scents.

Then I made everyone a plate and they got to taste each item.  Surprisingly, not too many even wanted to try the peppermint candy!  They're the buttermint kind, so not too minty and super soft (so that they're not a choking hazard to my young kiddos).

Touch Box- I had 5 different items and I had 2 of each.  I had one of each item lined up and sitting out next to the box.  All of the other items were hidden in a bin.  I would place one item nside of the box and let the students reach one hand in the box and see if they could identify what it was just by touching it.  Here's the touchbox.

What's the Sound? - I use plastic "Easter" eggs with a variety of small items inside the eggs and have students try to match the sound.  Again, with this activity, I have two sets of the items - one set that is visible, and one set inside the eggs.  Some items that I used are: pennies, rice, cotton balls, marbles, dry beans, dry oatmeal, and mini jingle bells.

Eye Spy- I glued magazine clippings onto a piece of construction paper and asked them questions to have them spy certain items.  I would ask my students to find items by using descriptive terms, such as color, quantity and/or shape.  Example: Can you spy with your little eyes, something that is black and has wheels?

Here's our Eye Spy chart.


For each sense we learned about, I also used these five senses sticks, that are a part of my unit.  I actually printed out two sets and on the other set I placed magnets on the back so I could use them on my magnetic whiteboard.  There is also a black/white version included in the pack, which I printed out for my students and had them make their own Five Senses sticks that they could keep.

Here's the cover to our books!  I just let them choose whatever colors they wanted to use.  Sometimes I have them color things a specific color and sometimes I just let them choose. You can also see that there are a variety of ages in my class (3-5 year olds).  The booklet on top is one of my 3 year olds.  I think he did a great job!


 This is one of the pages inside our Five Senses book.  I'm so proud of how nicely my kiddos are learning to trace and color!  I just glued each individual page onto a sheet of construction paper that I cut just a little bit bigger than the page.


This is one of the learning sheets in my pack.  It's for the sense of smell.  The students have to decide if the smell is a good or bad smell.  It's so funny to see their little faces when we talk about the bad smells.  They all can imagine the smell of stinky socks and garbage!  It shows on their faces and most of them also said "yucky" or "stinky".  :)


How cute is this little monkey!?  This is our Five Senses Monkey.  I chose a monkey to make because my classroom is zoo themed this year and also because I wanted my students to understand that animals have senses too.  I've also included people (a boy and a girl) in my pack...just in case you don't want to use a monkey! 


This is what I used for my cute little craftivity:
Ears- Jingle Bells
Eyes-Googly Eyes
Hands-Velcro (the soft side)
Nose- Anything smelly (perfume...or for allergy reasons you could use breath spray)
Mouth-Bananas from a box of Runts candy.

I hope you find these ideas helpful!  There's tons more in my Five Senses Unit pack.  Let me know if you have any questions!  :)

Anchor Charts

I came across a ton of anchor charts that I used when teaching first and second grade.  I thought they may be helpful to you, so I took pictures to post!  Some I modeled off of other anchor chart pictures I happened upon while searching for ideas.  Here they are:

All About Me - I am Special

We just completed an All About Me (I Am Special) unit.  We started the unit at the end of the first week of school and continued it through the second week.  I like to start the year with All About Me.  Children love to learn and share about themselves.  I also think it helps to build self-confidence, which is so important. Here are some pictures from our unit, which is also available on Teachers Pay Teachers in my store, if you want to check it out.  Just click any of the pics to see.  :)

Here's the cover of the All About Me book that we made.   I chose to use the small version for my students this year.  We glued each page onto construction paper and when we finished, we bound the books with yarn.
This is one of my favorite pages!  I took yarn and measured my students.  Then, I placed it in a pocket and glued it onto the page.  Such a fun keepsake for parents!
Here are a few more pages from the book!  Wherever you see a fill in the blank line, I wrote the child's answer and had them use a crayon to trace over it, so they could get in the writing practice too.
Here's the people they made to look like themselves.  I used wrapping paper left overs for the clothing, google eyes for the eyes and yarn for the hair.  They drew the rest.  The pattern to make these cuties is included in my pack.  :)
Teaching the littles to recognize their name is so important.  It is the very first word that they will be able to read.  Here are a few ideas to help them teach them their names, as well as work on fine motor skills!
All I did for this one is write each child's name on an index card and then each letter on a clothespin and put it all in a bag with the child's name on it.  The clothespins came in a pack of 36 from the Dollar Store!  Can't beat that price!

For this activity, I wrote each child's name on a large piece of construction paper and gave them each a sheet of the little circle stickers.  Then they placed the stickers on the lines of their name.  They really LOVED this one because they got to use stickers!  It's the little things that make the littles happy!  :)
For this activity, I used the letters included in my All About Me pack.  They decorated the letter and traced the "is for _____" part.  I also had them cut out their initial, to provide cutting practice.
I hope you enjoy the ideas and can use them with your students!!  :)
Happy Teaching,


Well, I started back to school 3 weeks ago and I've been CRAZY busy and I haven't been able to post...but I have been taking tons of pictures.  Here's two of my huge mess after I moved rooms and started unpacking.  Talk about tons of work!  I definitely got my exercise in...lol  Can't wait to post my finished room for you all to see.  I'm especially excited because I made EVERYTHING for my room!  :)