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Painting has never been more fun! Ruby, my almost 2 year old, loves to paint. And it typically involves paint ending up on her hands, feet, clothes...basically anywhere but the paper ;) I love to let her learn and explore, but sometimes I want to give her time to paint WITHOUT a huge mess afterwards!

Enter Kwik Stix paint sticks! We were so excited when The Pencil Grip, Inc sent us a pack of fast-drying, mess-free paint sticks to try.

Disclosure: I received compensation and/or products in exchange for writing this review, however all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 



USING THE MARKERS
Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint sticks take the mess out of painting while keeping all the fun! They are the perfect size for tiny hands, easy to grip, and twist up when they need more paint. I found the caps are slightly difficult for kids to take off on their own, so either set them out without the lids on or make sure that they aren't snapped on all the way.

I printed out some shapes for Ruby to paint so she had some structure with the paint sticks, but she also loves creating pictures with just a blank piece of paper!

Kwik Stix have a fast drying formula that allow them to dry in 90 seconds! That means you can stack the papers on top of each other when the kids finish painting. No more hanging pictures up in random places around the room waiting for them to dry, or fearing pages sticking together ;) And no need for cups, smocks, water, or brushes...also a plus! Set up and clean up is quick and easy!

Ruby loved choosing from the vibrant colors to paint her shapes. I loved that I could just hand her a color and let her be creative!

She made sure to put the lid back on the paint sticks after she used them which is great fine motor practice as well.

NAME PRACTICE
I also printed out a sheet with Ruby's name in bold letters so she could practice the letters in her name while painting! She loved this one! As you can see, she choose pink again...her favorite color ;)

This would be a great center to set out at the start of the school year! You can customize a name page for all the students in your class and have them use their Kwik Stix paint sticks to decorate their names.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN NAME SHEETS
Want to make some name sheets for your students? I created mine in PowerPoint. Simply enter a text box and type in your student's name. The font I used is called KG Sorry Not Sorry Chub and can be found free here. I changed the font color to white and added a black outline to the text.

Ruby LOVES painting with Kwik Stix and I love giving her an opportunity to be creative without the stress of a huge mess ;)

PRODUCTS USED IN THIS POST {affiliate links}
You can find Kwik Stix Paint Sticks at the following places:
Michaels, in store & online
Target online
Amazon



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I love switching out our themed centers each month! I wanted to share a look at our summer themed centers which are perfect for the last few weeks of school or even if you're teaching summer school!

Math Centers:
Watermelon Addition
The kiddos will choose 2 watermelon cards, write the number of seeds on each watermelon, then add the numbers together. 

Skip Counting Puzzles
Complete the puzzles by counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.

Sunny Subtraction
What's more fun than sunglasses?! The kiddos will write a subtraction problem for each set of sunglasses and then write the difference on their recording sheet.

Flip Flop Fun
We have a version of this game almost every month. My students always love it! To play, you roll 2 dice, add the numbers together, and cover the number you on the game board. 

Sunny Teen Numbers
This is my FAVORITE center! Give each sun their sunglasses by decomposing the teen numbers using base ten blocks.

Beach Ball Ten Frames
The kiddos will use the ten frames to help them make a ten. Eventually, they will be able to solve the equations quickly and without counting the boxes!

Literacy Centers:
Scooping CVC words
Match the picture on the ice cream scoop with the correct CVC word on the cone.

Sight Word Sundaes
Your kiddos will read the sight words on the bowl and build the word using the ice cream scoops. On the recording sheet, they will unscramble the letters to make each word they built.

Searching for Shells
This center includes a word sort for both short and long vowel word families. They will sort the shells under the correct word family buckets.


Sentence Scrambles
This is a fun pocket chart center. Your kiddos will unscramble the word cards to build 4 sentences. It's a great way to practice sentence structure and comprehending sentences.

Barbecue Blends
Sorting the hamburger and hot dog cards by their ending blends.

You can find all these centers in my TpT shop!

You can also find these centers in my Centers for the Year MEGA BUNDLE! It includes centers for every month of the year! Anytime I add or update the centers, you get free access to the updates! Woohoo!


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We have been working on our addition & subtraction fluency a lot in kindergarten! Earlier in the year, I introduced Add & Reveal and my kiddos went bonkers over the cards! They already loved our Read & Reveal cards, so they were really excited about these! Once we started working on subtraction, I brought out Subtract & Reveal! I wanted to share a little more about these cards with you!


One of our kindergarten standards is to add and subtract fluently, so we practice lots! These cards make the mundane task a lot more fun!

Here's how they work:
The students choose a card {depending on what skill they're working on, more on that below!} and read the equation.

In the beginning, when we are learning, I do not expect my students to solve these fluently, which is why I included visual support. In this example, they will read "4 minus 1 is". They will use what they know about subtraction to solve this problem. They can use a dry-erase marker to cross out the number they are subtracting to help them see the answer {another reason to laminate the cards!}.

Once they are confident with their answer, they will unclip the card to *reveal* the answer!

Once they become more confident with their subtraction fluency, you can take away the visual support and use only number symbols.

I have included cards for several subtraction skills!
Subtraction minus 0

Subtraction minus 1


Subtraction from 5 and minus 5


Subtraction from 10 and minus 10


Doubles Subtraction


Mixed subtraction from 10 and 20


Helpful Tips:
*Print the cards on thick cardstock and laminate them for durability! They will be handled often so you'll want them to stay intact!
*You can also print each skill on a different colored cardstock so they are easy to organize by skill.
*Store the cards you aren't using in plastic bags or small plastic bins with labels! {see how I organize my Read & Reveal cards here}
*Find fun clothespins on clearance at Michaels or Joanns after holidays, or pick them up in the Target Dollar Spot!

Looking for Add & Reveal fluency? You can find those in my TpT shop as well!

Try Count & Reveal for FREE!



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 Our CVC centers and CVCe centers have been a HUGE hit in our classroom...I knew I had to make some fun centers for blends! The kiddos love the interactive, hands-on activities they get to use during center time and they're truly becoming great readers and writers. It really makes me one happy teacher! 

Since most of my students have mastered their CVC words and CVCe words, we needed something a little more challenging so I created fun games to practice reading and writing words with beginning blends. They are very similar to the other games and centers, so there wasn't a lot of re-teaching that had to go on. My students understood how to play right away!

Match it Up
This game is really great because it is scaffolded so ALL my students feel successful. They match the picture cards to each other and then practice blending the onset and rime to read each word. They also see the blend isolated which really helps them in decoding.


I also created some fun printables to reinforce the beginning blends. They cut out the letters, glue them at the beginning of each word, and re-write the word on the line. These would be a great center activity, but you could also send them home for homework or use them at the end of the unit as a spiral review!

Build a Word
The students choose a word card and finds the letters to build each word.
They can use magnetic letters, bottle cap letters or a dry-erase marker to build them.

Then they will practice sounding out each word on this page and writing the letters in each box. These word well in write and wipe pockets so that they can use it over and over again in centers, but it would also be a great formative assessment!


And another cut and paste activity! Throw in fine motor practice anywhere you can!


Sorting Blends
This is a fun pocket chart activity to help your students sort the picture cards by their beginning blend. Each blend {l blends, r blends, and s blends} are different colors so they're easier to differentiate.

And of course, a couple printables for them to show what they know.


Lastly, I included the POP! game that is so popular in my other word work centers.

This is a fun 2-4 player game. Each kiddo can have their own playing card of they can work as a team. They will take turns picking a gumball letter from the bag and placing it in the correct spot on their board. If they can't use the letter, they will put it back and skip their turn. If they pick a POP card, they can take any letter from the other team. First team to build all their words wins! 

If these look like something you could use, head on over to my TpT store!

You an also find centers for CVCe practice.

As well as CVC practice too.

If you would like all of these centers for your classroom, you can grab the bundle at a 20% discount!



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My students have been doing such a great job reading use our Read & Reveal cards! So I knew I needed to create something to help them transition into reading simple sentences. I introduced these to my reading groups and they ate them right up! They felt so proud of themselves using their reading strategies to read the sentences. And they just LOVE opening the flap to check to see that they read the sentence correctly :)


Today I want to share with you how I use Read & Reveal in my classroom and how to get it up and running!

Setting Up
Print the cards you need on card stock and cut apart. I use this paper cutter and it makes the cutting easy and quick!

I also suggest laminating the cards for durability. This way you won't need to reprint and replace them so often!

Once the cards are cut and laminated, fold the flap on the dashed lines. Sometimes I find it easier to fold the cards before laminating, especially if you are using a thick lamination. 

You can secure the flaps with mini clothespins, paper clips, or even velcro dots. I love stocking up on mini clothespins at the Target dollar spot or when Michaels has sales!

How to Use
Place the cards in a basket and have your students choose one card at a time. You can also hole punch the corners and use a binder ring to hold all the cards together. Have your students touch each dot and read each word.

Once they feel confident with the sentence, the unclip the clothespin to reveal the picture under the flap!

What's included?


This download includes 111 simple sentences that focus on CVC words. There are words for all short vowels! 


In this download you will find 93 simple sentences that include common sight words along with blends & digraphs with short vowels.


In this download you will find 72 simple sentences that include common sight words along with magic e words.

**Sentences using vowel teams and r-controlled vowels will also be added to the bundle!

You can find the Read & Reveal {simple sentences} bundle in my TpT shop!



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My 18 month old daughter, Ruby, LOVES arts & crafts {no surprise there I guess :)} so we were both really excited to test out My First Toddler Coloring Book! Ruby loves to color using all different types of medium and was really excited when her new coloring book came in the mail. She ran straight to it after I set it on her table and started to color!
 Disclosure: I received compensation and/or products in exchange for writing this review, however all opinions are my own.

 Coloring is such an important skill for little learners as it teaches them so much. They are practicing fine-motor skills exercising those teeny-tiny finger muscles and also working on their hand-eye coordination. They can also practice naming and identifying colors, as well as learning patience as they hone in on their coloring skills.

My First Toddler Coloring Book is great in that it includes simple, yet rich pages throughout the book! As Ruby was coloring her favorite letter ;) we talked about the name of the letter, how rocket ship starts with the letter sound, and she even pointed out the star and started singing "Twinkle, Twinkle". SO much learning on one little page!

The coloring book is divided into five sections which introduce numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and animals. 

The great thing about the illustrations in this book is it reinforces what your toddler learns in preschool, daycare, or what they see when reading children's books! Repetition and practice is key when toddlers are learning to name and identify letters, numbers, shapes, and colors.

This coloring book is also a great way to make learning basic concepts for young toddlers FUN! And if you ask me, that's what early learning should really be about :)

You can find My First Toddler Coloring Book on Amazon! Save $1 on your order if purchased by 2/5/18. Simply apply the coupon code 1COLOR to your payment method after adding the coloring book to your cart.

Happy coloring!


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A few years ago, I created some easy-to-prep, ready-to-go centers for my literacy and math time called See & Stamp Centers. They included 4 literacy centers and 4 math centers for each month that covered skills my kinders could complete independently! They loved using the stamps and I loved that they were practicing important skills.

It wasn't until a few days ago that I realized I could just make ONE little change to these centers and they would serve a whole NEW purpose! I simply switched out the word "stamp" for the word "write" and bam! Now these centers can be used throughout the year, NO STAMPS NEEDED!! 

These centers are super easy to prep! Just straight lines across the cards to cut them apart and of course laminate them for long lasting durability ;) I used my new Fiskars guillotine paper cutter, it is SO nice! {that's my affiliate link up there in case you want to try it out :)}

They are also easy to keep organized. Each center piece and recording sheet has matching clip art so you know which cards go with which paper! To save on paper, make copies for the students visiting each center and slide the recording sheets into sheet protectors. The kiddos can use dry-erase marker to record their answers, have their work checked, and then erase the recording sheet for the next group of kids!

Here's a look at the literacy centers included for January:
Sight word reading and writing practice {I've also included an editable page for the words since we all teach different ones at different times of the year :)}

CVC practice

Ending sounds

Magic e words

Here are the math centers included:
Counting on from a given number

Addition to 6

Teen numbers

Making a ten using ten frames

I included the See & Write Centers in the same file as the See & Stamp Centers so you can decide how you would like to use them :)

You can find these centers in my Year Long Bundle as well!


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Learning to count is extra fun with googly eyes are involved!

These adorable monsters are in need of some eyes! Have your kiddos pick a card, look at the number on the corner, and add that many eyes to the monster's face. These googly eyes are extra fun since they come in different sizes!

This activity doubles as excellent fine motor practice as well since the kiddos need to use their pincer grip to pick up the eyes. You could also add little tweezers to this center if you'd like!

Download the monster cards for free {here}.

Hope you enjoy!

Take a look at some more monster themed activities below!
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Monster Counting Cards // Miss Kindergarten
Monster Math Addition Clip Cards // The Kindergarten Connection
Monster Counting Mats // The STEM Laboratory
Monster Measurement Cards // Fairy Poppins
Monster Alphabet Game // Stay at Home Educator
Felt Monsters Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
Monster Letter Match // Schooling a Monkey
Monster Snowball Coverall // Recipe for Teaching
Snow Monster Addition Puzzles // The Simplified Classroom
Monster Shape Graphs // Playdough to Plato
Name the Monster Phonics Game // Play & Learn Every Day
Monster Counting Emergent Reader // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Color Monsters Write the Room // Letters of Literacy
Monster Truck Numbers: Bigger and Smaller // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Monster Creation Tray // Powerful Mothering
Monster Feelings Match Up // Pocket of Preschool



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If there’s one important thing you need to remember when teaching young learners to read, it’s to make the learning FUN! Young children learn through play, so why not capitalize on this? You can turn any learning activity into a game and your kiddos will eat.it.up.

Today I have a fun activity to share with you to help your students practice reading letters, sounds, sight words, and more! Here’s what you need to create the activity: 

*Label Cassettes
*Race Tracks 
{I got this fun race track tape at a local store, but you can simply print a race track from your computer if you don’t have this tape}
*Toy cars

Earlier this year, I received a DYMO MobileLabeler and used it to label my classroom supplies. I loved how simple and quick it was to use! It certainly did not disappoint for this project either. It was really easy for me to create labels for the 3 different race tracks.

First, I used the 1” label cassette and typed out a string of letters in the DYMO app. Letter recognition and letter sounds is the basis of teaching children how to read, so I wanted these letters to be large and bright. I knew they needed to stand out on the track.


After the string of letters printed out, I cut them apart and adhered them onto the track. The split backing feature on the label tape is amazing. It makes peeling the sticky labels of the backing super simple!


I created several letter tracks in under 10 minutes! Now my students can practice saying the letters {or letter sounds, depending on what I want them to work on} by driving their toy car over the track. Every time they get to a letter, they say the letter or the sound as they drive over it! 


I also created some tracks to practice short vowel words and sight words. I used the smaller ½” labels for these since I knew they would take up more space on the track. The great thing about the DYMO app is it allows you to change the fonts on your labels. I used a more “kid friendly” font for the short vowel words and a more “text” looking font for the sight words. Same concept for these tracks...drive your toy car over it and read the word!


I am excited to share these with my class, I know they will love them!
Thank you DYMO MobileLabelerfor helping to make learning FUN!

Disclosure: I received compensation in exchange for writing this review, however all opinions are my own.






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Throughout the first week of school, our focus during math is introducing 2D shapes. I made some fun posters to help my students remember the names and properties of each shape {and they referred to them all year long!}
  {clip art from Love Two Teachborders from Teaching in a Small Town} My class absolutely loved these! We learned each poem and talked about the characteristic of each shape. We even learned that Sandy Square has a booooyfriend ;)
{Download the shape poems here and ignore the fact that I clearly need more ink ;) I copied 2 to a page so that they printed out smaller than a regular sheet of paper.} After we learned about each shape, I hung the posters up in our classroom for future reference. We also played this super fun shape game!After we met our new friends and talked all about the shapes, we sat in a big circle {applying what we learned about circles!}. Then I walked around with a bunch of shapes in a bag and had each student pull out one shape. They told their neighbor what shape they pulled out {to practice identifying and to help their neighbor if they weren't sure} and then we played the Shape Game!
After everyone had a chance to stand up, we switched our shapes and played again. It was a lot of fun :)Take a look at what else we did during the first week of school here!



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