Welcome to Differentiated Kindergarten. I’m Marsha, a teacher-mom committed to the journey of creating a differentiated classroom for my students. It’s my goal to meet the needs of all my students through fun, engaging and developmentally appropriate activities.
What do you do when you find a plethora of ‘good stuff’ like these amazing red, white and blue treasures? Well, you whip a fun, self-correcting, and differentiated ten frame freebie of course.
Even though many of us are on summer break, I figured I would take advantage of all the great red, white and blue goodies out there and make a little ten frame activity that you could use now with your own kiddos, at summer school if you are teaching or save it for another time during the year . . . President’s Day . . . Memorial Day . . . or whenever.
And for goodness sakes, don’t fret if you don’t have these super cute ice trays or the acrylic stars, you can use the playing mat in this freebie for the ten frame and then grab up some red, white and blue pompoms, star buttons or beads. Get creative. Add a set of ‘cheater chopsticks’ or tongs to add some difficulty and give you little ones more fine motor practice.
How It Works
There are two different levels to this activity. One is a simple number activity. Students read the number and represent the number by using tongs to place objects in the ten frame (or ice tray).
Once they have built the number, they open the self-correcting card to see if the answer is correct. That’s independent goodness, folks.
The other option is a ‘how many more to make ten’ activity. Students use tongs to build the number in a ten frame, and then they count the empty spots to determine how many more to make ten.
They complete the equation at the bottom of the page, and then open the card to determine if they completed it correctly.
What You’ll Need:
copy of the Star Spangled Freebie (you can get that at the bottom of this post), laminated and cut apart
Just complete the form below. An email will be sent to your address (You might want to check SPAM if you don’t see it right away.) Once you confirm that you are interested in joining my mailing list to get tons of great ideas and activities for your classroom, your file will automatically be downloaded to your computer. Just check you ‘download file.’
This activity is very similar to the kinds of engaging and hands-on activities that you will find in my Morning Work Stations on TpT. Check them out but clicking the picture below. I have a set for each month of the year.
You can also find lots of other great self-correcting activities for math and word work in my TpT Store by clicking HERE or on the picture below to see more self-correcting activities. The best part about these activities is that they give your students immediate feedback and they’re independent. I encourage you to check them out.
As each class leaves my classroom at the end of the year and I prepare for a new one, I can’t help but marvel at how far they have come. In so many areas they grow, but none more than with their fine motor skills. I cringe at the thought of what each fall brings in terms of my new students and their fine motor abilities. Is it just me or has there been a drastic decline in the number of students who enter kindergarten with a good hand strength and the ability to manipulate objects . . . especially scissors and pencils. . . with any kind of basic ability? It seems to be a little worse each year. This trend gave me cause to start daily fine-motor morning bins a couple of years ago and to offer students and their parents’ access to a fine motor take-home kit each fall. The work has paid off and by this time of the year, I can see just how valuable these simple yet engaging activities have been. Of course, my students have their favorites and one that they never tire of is the ‘Dot It’ pages.
I’m delighted to share with you just how easy they are and what a great, independent station they are in my own classroom. All you need it a little dab of paint, a supply of cotton swabs and something for your students to trace.
It could be their name . . .
a simple thematic picture . . .
. . . letters . . .
or even sight words. (Yep, these are editable.)
Whatever you choose, students have to use careful hand-eye coordination to follow the tracer lines of the image and/or letters. Because the q-tips are short, they allow students to hold them without fisting them and carefully dot with minimal pressure. The more practice they get, the better they are at following the lines and the better the picture they create.
If you utilize small paint bottles or grab a few small squirt bottles to store paint in, students can even secure the paint for themselves and squeeze a small dab into a small plastic paint palate. The clean up is completely manageable. In my own classroom, we do this activity so often that my students are completely independent.
I’d love for you to try it yourself, so I’m including a simple little freebie at the end of this post. Just click on the FREEBIE button at the bottom of this page and you will receive an email confirming your willingness to be included on my mailing list. You’ll get periodic updates on new items, ideas, and freebies that are available on my blog. Once you have made that confirmation from the email sent, the file is automatically placed in the ‘download’ file of your computer.
Of course, if you’d like to find out more about my Editable Sight Word and Letter pages, you can find them in my Dot-It Paint-It Stick-It packet. Just click the button below to see more.
Or if you’d like to have some holiday tracers, you can check out those by clicking on the picture below.
There will be some other variations coming in the upcoming weeks, but until then, please make sure you grab the freebie, pick up some cotton swabs and watch your students go crazy over this fine motor fun station.
And because it’s my birthday . . . and in case you’re in the mood to do a little shopping . . . (just click the button below to get save!)
Summer is just around the corner, and I am happy send my little ones off with some summer fun themed Morning Work Stations these last few weeks of school. In case you still have some weeks left like I do, or if you’re just looking for summer fun, you can check out all the activities included in my Summer Morning Work Stations sets below. If you would like to know where I secured all the goodies that go along with these fun, engaging stations, just click HERE. It will take you to my materials list. Scroll down to the very end where you will find Summer’s.
So here’s everything you’ll see . . .
1.Fun at the Beach Sight Word Links
Students use shell letter cards and editable sight word cards to practice their sight words by linking them together with plastic links.
Shell letter cards or real shells with letters written on them or beads with letters
Self-correcting beach bucket cards
Response sheet (Included in this set and optional)
If you want to make it even more engaging, grab some shells and write the letters on them. Students can line them up in order to spell the word.
3. Fun at the Beach Links Numbers and Quantities
Using those same plastic links, student link together numbers with quantities, ten frames and tally marks. These numbers are easily differentiated when you limit the number of cards offered. This set has numbers 0-20 available along with their corresponding quantity, ten frames and tally marks.
Fun At The Beach Themed Number Cards and Quantity Cards printed on cardstock and laminated for durability (Included in this set)
Sensory bin with thematic items
4.Fishy Fishy Sand Tray Sight Words Trays
These editable sight word cards allow you to offer sight word practice at all students levels. Simple differentiate by printing off different lists on different colored card stock. Students can use their fingers or a pencil to practice writing the words.
Fishy Fishy Sight Word Cards (available in this set)
Small cake pan or cookie sheet
Thematic fishy pencil
Blue colored sand or salt
Fun Fish Sprinkles or confetti (optional)
5.Melon Playdoh Counting Math Mats
Play-doh is always a great fine motor tool. This way students can get a little fine motor work incorporated with number recognition and counting.
Laminated number mats printed on cardstock for durability
Dough for making number and melon seeds.
6.Melon Playdoh Ten Frame
If your students are working with ten frames, this set might be more appropriate.
Laminated number mats
Dough for making the number (and representing the quantity in a ten frame)
Optional: manipulatives for showing the quantity instead of playdoh
7. Melon Playdoh How Many More To Make Ten
And if you have students who are ready to figure out how many more to make ten, this set is probably perfect.
Dough Laminated number mats on cardstock for durability
Dough Dry erase markers
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for erasing (optional)
Manipulatives (Optional if you wish to use something other than dough: pompoms, buttons or seasonal manipulatives.)
8.Playdoh Fill the Fish Tank, Set the Table, Build a Cone
I also love to offer some more open-ended type play-doh fun. With these mats, students complete the pictures by adding fish to a fish bowl, picnic items to a picnic table or build an ice cream cone.
These mats give students a bit more guidance with creating summery items. There are many mats your students can use to make their play-doh creations.
Various colors of dough
Summer item cards laminated for durability
10.Summer Fun Q-tip Painting (beach ball, sun, bucket/shovel, flip-flop, sunglasses)
Always a favorite of my students, q-tip painting this in this set include a beach ball, sun, bucket/shovel, flip-flop, sunglasses and, of course, ice cream.
Q-tip picture sheets printed on white paper.
Washable tempera paint
11.Star Spangled Sort and Count Items
Therapy putty offers such a great fine motor tool for your students. By hiding a few thematic items in the putty, you can make it a great fine motor and math activity. And you can differentiate it very easily. Using this set, they are just sorting by color . . .
This station can be used for other skills as well. In this station, you are working on adding ‘one more.’ Students complete the equation by using the tongs to move the ‘ice’ and then write the equation on the bottom.
When it is completed, they simply open the card to confirm they did it correctly.
Self-correcting cards printed on cardstock, laminated and secured with a clothespin.
Playing mat printed on cardstock and laminated for durability. Tongs (optional)
I found these sweet oceans themed rubber toys (much like rubber ducks) at the Dollar Tree. I knew they would be perfect for a morning workstation. I mean just look at how fun they are. I simply wrote numbers on the bottom. Students take turn using tongs to select an ocean critter, read the number on the bottom and then spin the spinner to see if the greater or less than number wins both critters. The student with the most critters, in the end, is the winner.
By using little plastic ants, students at this station will work at counting on. Don’t worry if you don’t have plastic ants, you can always use black buttons or beads for the same effect. Students use tongs to move the number on the card and then write that number and the numbers that come after on the mat.
Spring has finally sprung in Northern Michigan and to welcome it and bring some color to my hallway, I had my students create these bright, fun and shapely bugs. While it was super simple, it also was a great way to reinforce shapes, practice scissor skills and discuss symmetry.
There’s not much that you need to pull off a similar hallway of your own. Of course, Astrobrights papers are a must!!! If I’m needing a punch of color, I wouldn’t look any further.
I didn’t really have a template for these bugs, I simply drew some large shapes, then used more shapes to create the antenna and eyes. I threw together a simple template for the legs, used some leftover black hearts from a heart punching activity earlier in the year and . . . ‘ bing, bang, bug’ . . . we had our bug collection.
If you’d like to make a set for yourself, grab your favorite Astrobrights cardstock pack and download this FREE Buggy Banner for yourself by clicking HERE. And for more fun and engaging springtime activities, make sure you visit my store by clicking on any of the images below.
It never fails to amaze me just how much my kinders LOVE to color. The simple question, “can we color this when we’re done?’ It always warms my heart, because it tells me, no matter how hard we work at reading and writing and math or no matter how much they enjoy all things techie, they haven’t lost the love of simply coloring.
Of course, it’s hard to fit coloring into a busy kindergarten day filled with standards and expectations to be met, so one way I balance it, is by offering coloring pages that address the skills we need to practice plus allow for a bit of creative fun. While it is definitely NOT an open-ended art project, it does seem to satisfy their desire to ‘color.’ So I’m always happy to offer them these activities as part of their sight word and word work choices during Daily 5.
And because I know that my sight word list may not be the same as your sight word list, when I create these activities, I try to make all of them editable. This way you can add your own words — the words YOUR students need to practice.
Color by sight words printables are a great resource when they are editable. It makes no sense for you to practice words that aren’t the ones you need to practice. That’s why ALL the pages in these monthly sets editable. You enter the words next to the crayons and they are automatically populated. There are so many pages to choose from so that you can even offer differentiated sheets for your students based on their own personal word lists if needed.
And to really challenge my students, I also have Mystery Picture Color by Sight Words. All the pictures in these sets are also editable. The mystery of not knowing what they will end up when they are done coloring makes it that much more engaging. This is the freebie I am sharing with you at the end of this post.
And they’re just plain fun.
If you’d like to learn more about editable letter, sight words and mystery pages, go ahead and click on the pictures below to learn more.
And yes, they come in a monthly bundle as well . . . in case you’re wondering.
And if you’d like to try a FREE editable color by sight word mystery picture freebie, just click below to subscribe to my mailing list. You will get a confirmation note from me and when you confirm your subscription, the file will automatically be placed in your computer’s ‘download file.’ Look for it there.
Traditionally, April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, April snow showers this last weekend brought me an extra snow day and a day to finish up May Morning Work Stations. Yuck to the snow, but yeah for a day to prep morning work. I know that spring will come . . . eventually! And when it does, my ‘Kinder Garden’ will bloom with May Morning work. If you’d like a quick peek at the activities included in May’s set of stations, just scroll down.
I often get emails regarding the manipulatives I use, just click HERE and it will take you to a product list for each month’s stations. Just scroll down to the bottom to find May’s. There you will find a link to items you may like to use.
Some of these items have affiliate links to Amazon and/or DollarTree. I do receive a small affiliate payment for these referrals which help me maintain and cover the expenses to keep this blog running.
There are 43 in all. This will give you plenty of choices to find the perfect activity for the skills you want your students to practice. I’ll give you a quick description and a materials list to help you find items you may not have readily available.
1.Editable Buggy Sight Word Links
You choose the words you want them to practice and the letters you want to be printed on the bugs. They use plastic links to connect the letter bugs to make the words.
Bug letter cards, foam bugs with letters written on them or letter beads
Self-correcting bug box card
3.Bee-utiful Links Numbers and Quantities
Student use those plastic links yet again (just when you thought you’d never find a use for them . . .), but this time we are working with numbers. After clipping numbers in order, they match up the ten frame, quantities and tally marks that match by linking them below.
Clothespins or clips (These bee ones came from the Dollar Tree)
Twine or string
Bee Themed Number Cards and Quantity Cards printed on cardstock and laminated for durability (Included in this set)
Sensory bin with thematic items (optional)
4.Editable Flower Fun Sand Tray Sight Words Trays
I am always looking for fun ways to get my students to practice their sight words. Because these word cards are black and white and editable, you can print off different words on different colored cardstock to easily organize for differentiating.
Materials you will need:
Editable Flower Fun Sight Word Cards (available in this set)
Small cake pan or cookie sheet available at the Dollar Tree
Thematic Flower Pencil, small pinwheel or other items to write in the sand
For more guided play-doh art, try these garden themed play-doh mats.
Materials you will need:
Various colors of dough
Garden item cards laminated for durability
10.Garden Fun Q-tip Painting (Flowers, Butterfly and Ladybug)
For fun, fine motor practice, my students love doing Q-Tip painting. This packet will give you several options so that your students are limited to just one. Just add a little bit of paint, some Q-tips and you have a favorite station.
Materials you will need:
Q-tip picture sheets printed on white paper.
Washable tempura paint
11.Colorful Butterfly Sort and Count Items
Therapy putty is in every month of my morning stations. I love the rresistanceit provides and when you find small items to hide inside, it makes it an incredibly engaging station. This time students just sort by color.
Sort graph and count mat option, printed on cardstock and laminated
14.Four Frogs In a Row (CVC, CVCC/CCVC and Digraphs)
Last months rubber ducks were such a hit in my classroom, I wanted to replicate that fun with these little rubber frogs I found. For this station, you have a choice between CVC words, CVCC/CCVC words and digraphs. You will want to program your frogs with the words on the mat ahead of time. If you play with 2 students, each will need a mat. Students select a frog using tongs and match it up to the picture on the mat. The first student to get four frogs in a row wins.
You can find little plastic bugs just about anywhere. I have these beauties from years and years of doing morning work. I think I got them from the Dollar Tree along with the little bug box I use to hold them. Students use the tongs to move bugs to the playing mat to represent the number on the self-correcting card. When all the bugs are moved, they open the card to see if they are correct.
Materials you will need:
Count Your Bugs self-correcting cards printed on cardstock, laminated, and secured with a clothespins.
Count Your Bugs playing mat printed on cardstock and laminated for durability. (One for each student. You could also use a small bug box or jar.)
Bug erasers, small miniature plastic bugs, or whatever small bugs you can find for counting.
16.One More Bug
If you want to extend learning a big, there are a couple of extra options. In this one, students use the bugs to make the number and then add one more. When they open it up, they will see if they are correct or not.
Materials you will need:
Self-correcting cards printed on cardstock, laminated and secured with a clothespin.
Playing mat printed on cardstock and laminated for durability. (One for each student or you could use a mini, plastic pot.)
Or if you are working on subtraction, they can make the number and then take one away to complete the equation. The self-correcting cards for these stations make them oh so independent and that’s just what you want for morning work.
Materials you will need:
Self-correcting cards printed on cardstock, laminated and secured with a clothespin.
Playing mat printed on cardstock and laminated for durability. (One for each student or you could use a bug box or bug jar).
Use those same type of bugs, but this time throw them in a sensory bin and preprogram them by writing a number on their belly. I give each student a bug box and tweezers. Students select a bug and read the number. Then they spin the greater/less than spinner to see who wins the bugs for their box.
You can love assessing and so can your students. I promise! Not only am I going to tell you how, but I have some freebies and amazing offers that are going to make it oh so easy for you to get started. Plus . . . you could win big . . . I mean like all expenses paid professional development big . . . keep reading.
One of the staple activities in many of my morning work sets is what I call Link and Learn activities. You know those plastic links that you have lying around your math cupboard. Those links that you aren’t quite sure how to use them. Well I have a very easy activity that your students can use that will give them practice matching up numerals to quantities and they never have to raise a pencil . . . and neither do you.
While I do receive a small affiliate payment for any referrals to ESGI which help me maintain and cover the expenses to keep this blog running, I only endorse products that I really love and use in my own kindergarten classroom.
I usually add these cards to a sensory bin and have them string them up to add a bit more of a fine motor challenge to the activity. Students learn to use these materials once,and I can expand the difficulty or change the theme out so it’s always a fresh, fun activity.
I love that my students feel like their playing while I can quickly assess whether they can match quantities to numerals with a quick glance.
And even better . . . by grabbing my iPad I can quickly document what I see and have a record to show mastery and growth. If you ever wander into my classroom, you will find me with an iPad or my phone in hand. I promise you, I’m not shopping Amazon, I’m using ESGI to assess my kids on the fly. The thing I love about ESGI is that it is quick, easy and it saves me tons of time. An even greater bonus regarding ESGI though is that I can see where my students are at any given time. I know exactly which letters they are missing.
This is just a quick example to demonstrate mastery of letters for instance.
This information makes it much easier for me to plan and know exactly what my students still have not mastered or where I need to target their learning.
It’s so quick and the best part is that my students are so ENGAGED. Is there any pencil or paper involved? Nope! Am I getting good formative assessment data? You bet! I can take that information and adjust-teach-assess . . . adjust-teach-assess . . . adjust-teach-assess.
And believe me, when there are so many assessments to be, it’s nice to be able to take a quick look at my ESGI data and know, “whoops, looks like I need to re-teach hexagons. My kids don’t have them yet.”
Not only is it great for gaining assessment data to find out where your students are at any given time, but, if your students are like mine, they will love seeing that little pie chart get fuller and fuller as they master more and more skills.
And ESGI has amazing resources too. So when you want to keep parents up to date with student progress or maybe provide a few flash cards for some ‘at home’ practice, you can whip off a progress report and corresponding cards easy peasy.
HOW TO GET IT
I know. You want it, right? But you would really love to have the chance to test drive it first. I get it. . . really I do. So here’s the AMAZING news I have for you. By signing up with ESGI and using my DifferKinder code before May 15th, you’re going to use it for FREE until August 31st. That’s all of April, all of May, June, July and August for free. Do you have any ideas how much time this could save you in assessing and completing report cards, and you can easily show your administrator student growth without a second thought. Just pick up your iPad and there it is.
But that’s not all . . . you’re also going to get a $40 coupon. If by August 31st you’ve decided you can’t live without it, you can use that $40 to make it happen. There’s no question . . . you’re going to love it.
Do me a favor, just try it. I promise you won’t regret it. And I’m even going to give you a little freebie you get you started. It’s easy. Just click on the picture below or HERE and you’ll get a free Link and Learn numerals and quantities set.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL BECAUSE YOU COULD WIN BIG
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So if you’d like to get all this goodness and be entered to win . . . CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW or HERE. This link has the promo code already loaded so you just need to sign up. Easy Peasy. Your trial period will also be extended a few days after you sign up. ESGI goes through and does it by hand so don’t worry . . . you’ll get it through August 1st. Adn the $40 coupon is also automatically noted through your login when you come pack to make your purchase.
And I hope you win because I’ll be in Vegas for I Teach K and Differentiated Instruction and I would LOVE to see you there.
April Morning Work Stations have arrived, and I’m ready to give a quick run down of all 43 activities that I included in it. Knowing that April is usually the month of Easter and there are those of you that can and can not celebrate it in your classroom, I added some Easter-ish activities and others that are more Spring-ish with showers, bunnies, chicks, kites and ducks and the like. I think you’ll find a little bit of everything, but I’m anxious to hear what you think.
Oh and if you are wondering where I got my hot little hands on any of the cute manipulatives and items below, please just hop on over to my Morning Work Materials page and scroll down until you see April. You’ll find everything right there. Or click HERE.
Lucky to have Morning Work? You bet. It has changed my mornings completely. My kinders rush into class and can’t wait to start the day. Tardies? Nope! Dawdling in the hall? Nope! It makes for a much more pleasant morning, and my students are getting that extra, hands-on practice they so desperately need. They think they’re ‘playing,’ but we will just keep the fact that they are actually working between us teachers, ok?
This set of morning work activities has 39 station activities and over 225 pages. It’s huge and will give you so many options from which to choose. In my own class, I typically use between 12-15 and the rest I can put in my Word Work or Math Stations if I want, but I always have a choice.
Below I’ve given you a very brief glimpse of March’s packet. Remember, if you would like to see a detailed materials list of where I secured the items for these stations, just click HERE. I have a list of each month. If you scroll all the way down, you’ll find March.
1.Pot of Gold Sight Word Links
This station is editable. You can enter your own sight word list to add to the leprechaun pots and then use the leprechaun’s gold letter cards to link the letters to reproduce the words. Just add plastic links and you’re all set to go!
2.Somewhere over the rainbow CVC Self-Correcting Fun
Use those same plastic links and this time, practice making CVC words. The wonderful thing about this activity is that it is self-correcting. Students create the word by linking the color or the rainbow cards, write the word . . .
and then open the card and check to see if the answer is correct.
More fun with plastic links! (I bet you never imagined they could be used in so many ways.) This time students link all the various values of numbers together . . . numbers, quantities, ten frames and tally marks.
4.Rainbow Sand Tray Sight Words Trays
I love these editable sight word sand trays because I can simply enter different lists of words on different colored Astrobrights cardstock and . . . Ta Dah . . . they are instantly organized for differentiation. This month I took a common Dollar Tree small cake pan and painted the bottom of it with acrylic paint in a rainbow pattern. I slapped a little Modge Podge over it just to make sure it was protected and then a bit of salt. The result is rainbow writing in a whole new way.
5.Fill Your Pot Playdoh Counting Math Mats
Play-doh is a no-brainer. Students love it, it is GREAT fine motor and so versatile that you can use it to practice a variety of skills. This is a simple counting activity which is great for students still struggling with numeracy.
6.Luck of the Irish Playdoh Ten Frame
For my friends who are moving on to ten frame activities, I can offer a similar activity where they construct the number as a ten frame.
7.Luck of the Irish Playdoh How Many More To Make Ten
And for those students needing a greater challenge, they can create the number and tell me how many more they need to make ten by completing the equation.
8.Playdoh Rainbows and Dress A Leprechaun
For a more open-ended activity, students can use mats to create a rainbow or dress the leprechaun.
9.Playdoh St. Patrick’s Lucky Playdoh Items
These play-doh mats are especially great for thematic vocabulary.
10.Lucky Q-tip Painting
A favorite in my class is always the q-tip painting activities. This month is all about rainbows and St. Patrick’s Day. I always give my students a choice between the many pictures offered.
11.Colors of the Rainbow (Therapy Putty)
Do you use therapy putty? This month I have a couple of options for you based on what you can find in your local Dollar Tree or Walmart Stores. These first manipulatives I hid are from a St. Patrick’s Day necklace that I cut apart last year. They were a great item for my students to dig in and find.
12.Colors of the Rainbow Sorting
But I get that not everyone has access to those cute little necklaces so a rainbow of pony beads would also do the trick. In this activity they simply graph the beads they find by color.
13.Colors of the Rainbow, Find, Sort, Graph and Count
For a bit of a challenge, in this activity, they can graph and then count the beads they find.
14.Race To Fill Your Hat
I love using these sweet little mini ping-pong balls and tongs to add some fun to this counting game. And how about this shamrock dice? Cute right? Well, it’s super easy to differentiate this activity just by changing up the type of dice you offer your students. The leprechaun hats are from the Dollar Tree and make a perfect container to hold the balls that each player wins.
15.Fill Your Pot
Self-correcting cards are the perfect answer to independent stations because they give instant feedback to your students. Here students simply move the gold coins to the mat using tongs to represent the number.
Once they have done that, they open the card to see if they were correct.
16.Fill Your Pot With One More
For students looking for a bit of a challenge, have them use the coins to answer the equation.
Then once they have the equation, they can open the card to reveal the answer.
17.Empty Your Pot with One Less
Once less works the same way. Use the tons to make the number, take one away and complete the equation.
It’s that time of the month . . . time introduce you to February’s Morning Work Station Activities, and I just know you’re going to LOVE them!!!!!
You’ll find a brief listing and a picture of each activity below. There are 36 activities, so I’m going to make it kind of quick. But, remember, if you would like to know where I secured various items that I use with these activities, just click on THIS LINK to see a breakdown of all the materials I use in each activity.
1.Box of Chocolate Sight Word Links
This EDITABLE activity allows you to enter the sight words you wish instead of being stuck with the ones I use. Students then use plastic links to spell out the words on the candy heart box card. GREAT fine motor practice.
2.Sweet Sounds CVC Self-Correcting Fun
This self-correcting activity allows students to immediately get feedback. . .
Students look at the card and spell the word out with heart cards and plastic clips. They then write the word with dry erase marker . . .
. . . open the card and they can see whether they are correct or not. These self-correcting cards make activities so independent. I LOVE that.
3.Lovely Links Numbers and Quantities
Again with the links? Yes! If you are like me, you have a tub of plastic links in your cupboard and you don’t really know how to best utilize them. Well, here’s your answer. I place playing cards in a sensory tub filled with Valentine themed items and students search for the cards. When they find a number card, they hang it up using some cute thematic clothespins. Then they match up all the quantities, ten frames and tally mark cards below the numeral. Numbers come in 0-20 so you differentiate this activity as needed.
4.Sprinkles and Sweets Sand Tray Sight Words Trays
I love using a sand tray as another way to practice writing each month. If at all possible I try to make it thematic and fun, so when I saw this idea from Pocketful of Preschool for adding Valentine’s sprinkles to my sand trays, I knew it would be perfect. I added editable ‘cupids arrow’ sight word cards and printed them off on different colored card stock so I could easily differentiate them. I use themed pencils from the Dollar Tree or plastic heart straws from Walmart as my writing utensil for these trays.
5.Sweet Play-doh Counting Math Mats
Nothing is better for fine motor practice than play-doh, and what kid doesn’t love it? In this first set, students who are still working on number recognition and numeracy simply count the number of chocolate candies, write the number using play-doh, then make the same number of candies for the candy heart box.
6.Sweet Play-doh Ten Frame
To extend learning, in this activity students make the number and then represent it as a 10 frame number.
7.Sweet Play-doh How Many More To Make Ten
And finally, in this play-doh activity, students make the number, represent it in a ten frame and tell me how many more they need to make ten. Everyone gets to use Play-doh at their own level of readiness. That’s a win-win!
8.Play-doh Cupcake Decorating and Box of Sweets
Combining fine motor with creativity is especially engaging for your students with Artistic Multiple Intelligences. Here they can decorate a Valentine cupcake or the other mat allows them to fill a candy heart box full of ‘candy goodies’ of their creation.
9.Play-doh Valentine’s Day Items
Or you can offer these thematic vocabulary play-doh cards for students to use. As long as it’s play-doh, they’ll love it.
10.Valentine’s Q-tip Painting
Always one of my most popular stations, in this activity, students use q-tips and paint to trace the picture. There are four different thematic pictures from which to choose.
If your students are also huge q-tip painting lovers like mine, you may also be interested in checking out my latest editable Dot-It, Paint-It, Stick It. It gives you a chance to offer your students more opportunities to paint and stick as they practice their sight words and letters. Just click HERE to see all about them.
Therapy putty is a must. This month I am hiding these colored heart buttons I found at Target last year in putty, but really, you can use heart shaped pony beads or regular colored buttons as well. If you interested in using the heart shaped pony beads, there is a link here to where you can find some on Amazon. They include white, red, purple and pink colors that can be used with this activity for simple sorting.
Or you can offer them this graph and count option. Students graph what they find, record the quantity of each color and then the total.
14.Race To Collect Your Valentines
I hope you’ve stocked up on pink and red table scatter from the Dollar Tree because I use them a LOT this month. In this game, students roll a dice (or two) to determine how many hearts they can move from the candy box to their heart tin. If they drop their hearts on the way over, they lose them. My students have graduated from tongs this month on a few activities to ‘cheater chopsticks’. They love using these and it makes the games a bit more challenging. Remember, you can also use different kinds of dice to differentiate this activity for different levels of readiness.
15.Fill Your Heart
Conversation hearts make a cheap and delicious manipulative for morning workstations this month. This self-correcting activity has students moving hearts onto the candy box to represent the number shown.
Once all the hearts are moved, they open the card to see if they are correct.
16.One More Heart-Plus One More
Want to extend this activity? This is a plus one more version. Students use the cutie patootie people cheater chopsticks to move hearts to the candy box on the mat. They then write that number in the box and add one more to it.
Opening the card will give them instant feedback as to whether they are correct or not.
17.We Love Having A Ball with Greater and Less Than – Grab, Spin and Win
Mini ping pong balls are the perfect size for this game, but if all you have are regular sized ping-pong balls or maybe leftover ‘beer pong’ balls from January’s morning work, you can just paint little hearts on them with paint pens. I elected to grab up these mini pink ones and wrote numbers on the balls in different ranges. Students will select a ball using chopsticks, identify the number and then spin the spinner to see if the greater or lesser number wins both balls.
18.Valentine’s Less And More
More uses for those plastic hearts from the Dollar Tree! In this activity, students read the number on the self-correcting card and move that many hearts to the candy jar on the mat. I used these cute little tongs. You can get them from Walmart or Amazon. Then they write the number in the box and indicate what number comes before and after.
Opening the card will tell them if they are correct.
19.Sweet Sticker Count
If there is one great thing about Valentine’s Day is the unending supply of cute stickers! Wow! No lack of little stickers this month. You can find them at Walmart, Dollar Tree and most anywhere. Students pick the stickers they would like to use and outline the heart on the sheet. Then they record how many they used. There are a couple of different options you can choose for extending this activity in case you want to challenge some of your students more than others.
If your students are beginning to work on addition to 5 or even to 10, you can customize this activity to fit their level of readiness. Students punch out hearts from two different colored papers. Then they take those hearts and glue them in their addition booklet to represent the equation shown. Don’t fret if you don’t have paper punches like these. You can always use two stampers (I saw some cute ones at Walmart!) to illustrate the equation if you prefer or even stickers.
21.Valentines Gel Bead Sort
I love the color of this month’s gel beads . . . purple, pink and white. Of course, you can really use any colors you would like but trust me when these colors are sat on a