Category : First Grade

Christmas Math Puzzles

I love the holiday season especially Christmas!!! It’s probably my favorite holiday, at least after October 31st it is. I think it’s awesome if children can celebrate holidays in class without missing out on pivotal math topics. I’ve made a lot of different math and literacy for different holidays just for this reason.

One Christmas unit that I really love is Christmas math puzzles. There are several different types of puzzles. Most children love the math stories the most. It’s a fun way to let math dictate the story. There are also graphing puzzles, drawing puzzles based on math questions, number search and more.

The great thing about my math puzzles is that I’ve made them for first through 6th grade. This allows young children enjoy them, as well as, older children. Depending on the grade level, the math skills are practiced for that particular grade.

You can check them out here.

Teaching Tolerance through Teaching about Religion and Cultures

In today’s world everything is constantly changing. We as teachers have to ability to teach tolerance through teaching about different cultures and teaching about different religions. It’s not about trying to convert anyone, of course. It’s about to understand the differences between people’s religion. Many religions do have common threads and with these common threads we can teach tolerance and empathy to our students.

I know when I was young, I didn’t know anything about any other religions and just a little about a few different cultures in Europe and Mexico (I lived in Texas). I really didn’t learn much about these things until I went to the University of Texas in Austin. I learned some through the classes I took, but most from the people I met. I took lots of foreign languages because I was so interested in learning more about these neat cultures. I took Malayalam, Japanese, Russian, French, Czech and Latin. I guess you could say I was a little bit obsessed. I embraced learning about the differences.

Today with the dawning of the internet, we can teach our children so much earlier when their minds are open to learn about new cultures and religions. One of my favorite things to make for my students and Teachers pay Teachers are units on different countries, religions and ancient civilizations. I hope you can use some of these products in your classroom to help teach about tolerance! We all can help make the world a better place to live together!

Five Ways to Use Interactive Notebooks in Your Classroom

What is an Interactive Notebook?
I’m sure you’ve heard about Interactive Notebooks by now, but let’s just review a bit in case you haven’t heard about them yet. Interactive Notebooks are a way that your students can interact with the subjects you are teaching them. They can cut, paste, draw, expand and really experience the subject they are learning. No two interactive notebooks are created equally. Some may say they are interactive, but they aren’t. Some may have too much cutting and pasting, which will interrupt your lesson plans. The best way to judge them is to look at previews and read all of the details before you purchase one.

Five Ways to Use Interactive Notebooks
1. Review and Test Prep – A lot of the reasons I started making and using interactive notebooks is because if you have a printable you use with your students, the students finish it and toss it into folder never to look at it again. With my interactive notebooks, the activities are designed to have the students come back and review what they’ve just learned. There are flaps, envelopes, yarn, brads and more all specifically used to help your students redo activities for test prep and to show their parents what they’ve learned.

2. Confidence Booster – Using an interactive notebook, your students can keep all of the things they’ve learned throughout the year in one place. Students can look through all of the different things they’ve learned and feel achieved.

3. Introducing New Topics – You can use the activities in an interactive notebook to help students learn new topics. Sometimes students are scared about learning new things. A fun activity will help relax them and allow them to learn new topics (especially fractions which can be frustrating for students).

4. Assessments – You can use the activities to finish up a unit. Instead of or in addition to a quiz, you can have students do an interactive activity to make sure they understand the concepts that you taught in the lessons.

5. Spice Up Lessons – If your students get bored with a topic (you know it’s bound to happen), you can pull out an interactive activity and use a little art and interactiveness to spice up your lessons.

If you’re interested in looking at my interactive notebooks, you can find them here. They have the perfect combination of low prep and high interactiveness.

Here are a few of my best sellers, you can click on the picture to see more information and a preview about each:

Autumn math scene

An autumn math scene for addition and subtractionA few years ago we shared this post, which featured a free printable where students could use their addition skills to add ornaments and other festive decorations to a Christmas tree. We received some positive feedback on that activity. Since the fall season is officially upon us, I’ve created a new math scene for autumn. Kids can use addition and subtraction to add various items to the scene.

I for one am excited about the season – the weather is already getting a bit cooler, and I’m looking forward to fun fall holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. We’ve already placed a few Halloween decorations on the lawn outside our house!

Here is the free download for the autumn math scene. I hope you and your students have a wonderful fall season.

Is it Ever Too Early to Plan?

I have to admit I’m a planner. I like to plan every aspect of my life. I’m completely aware that things might not turn out the way I want them to turn out, or that things might change. However, if I plan ahead then I don’t have to spend all of that time worrying that I don’t have anything planned. Sounds odd, but for me it works. With teaching, I think we all need to learn from our strengths and weaknesses and see what works for us.

With that said…let me introduce my Halloween Interactive Math Printables. I’m entirely too early to post about Halloween, but as stated before, I’m a planner. I love these interactive printables. These are quick printables that you can print out early and use for homework, classwork, bellwork, subs or anything during the month of October. They are very interactive and keep the interest of students.

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You can find these Halloween Interactive Printables in levels from first grade to fourth grade. Each packet comes with age appropriate math work.

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If you’d like to see more information about these interactive printables, click here: Halloween Interactive Math Printables

Russia Country Study

Today I wanted to show you a little about my Russia Country Study printables. It’s a great set to introduce your students to Russia. They can even learn a little Russian as well.

All of my individual country packets have a letter written from a child from that particular country, fast facts, a crossword puzzle, word search, post card writing activity, comparison writing activity, crafts and more! Here is the ‘All About Russia page’ that your students can fill out while they are learning about Russi or you can use it as an assessment to see how much they learned about Russia.

Russia Country Study

My favorite activty of this packet is the Nesting Dolls (Matryoshka) craft. Students can create their own designs for the dolls or use the provided design.

Russia Country Study

They each sit on a ring of paper and can stand up.

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They actually can nest inside of one another as well.

Russia Country Study

Russia Country Study

If you’d like more information about my Russia printables, click here: Russia Country Study

Learning About Islam

With so many references to Islam and Muslims in the news lately, my daughter asked me about the Islam religion. I teach English to adults in my free time and I’ve learned a lot of Islam because many of my students are Muslims. There are so many stereotypes that are out there and so many are false, so I thought I’d make a packet about Islam to teach some of the beliefs of Islam.

My daughter found it interesting that we do have a lot in common with Muslims. We both believe in one God – that was the most surprising fact that she learned. I think she thought that we believed in a different God or that maybe they believed in more than one God, but it’s not the case.


My Islam printables has many components to it including a letter from a Muslim which explains their daily life with prayers and more. There are also facts, crafts, writing prompts and more. My daughter loved making her own mosque and adding her own designs to it.


I think she learned a lot and it made me happy to teach her something important and to end stereotypes.


To check out my Islam printables click here: Islam and Muslim Religion Study

The Many Uses of Morning Work

Do you use morning work in your classroom? I love morning work. It really helps students to stay focused as everyone else files into the classroom. I also like to use them as bell work, in case math isn’t the first class of the day. It helps students to stay focused between different subjects.

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I’m using my morning work pages with my children as exit tickets to use their electronic devices this summer. It keeps them focused and prevents the summer slide for math. I know lots of parents worry about reading in the summer, but sometimes they forget to reinforce math. I understand, there are so many things we as parents have to worry about. That is why I like these pages, you can half them to save on paper and also just to save on implementation. It’s just enough math to help your children review the skills.

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I also like the ‘too easy’ ‘too hard’ or ‘just right’ on the bottom because then you can see how your children or students feel about that particular math concept. My daughter had fun coloring the black and white graphics when she was done too!

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These morning work printables have a great format that will enable your students to work on them by themselves. This will help you free up time for last minute lesson prep. They also work well for homework. Low stress for your kids’ parents too!

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I love these input/output problems. My daughter didn’t realize that each one was different based on multiplication, division, etc. So it was nice to see her solve for the correct answer.
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I mentioned earlier that I used these as exit tickets in the summer, but you can use these as exit tickets during the school year too! The half-sized pages are just long enough to push your students to achieve a little bit more work before they go to recess or get to do another activity.

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And hey, sometimes pups have to get into the action of morning work, especially in the summer!

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To check out my morning work packets click on the following links:
First Grade Morning Work
Second Grade Morning Work
Third Grade Morning Work
Fourth Grade Morning Work
Fifth Grade Morning Work

Ancient Egypt

I know I’ve mentioned in a past post about how much I love learning and teaching about other countries, but I also adore learning and teaching about different ancient civilizations. I think we can learn a lot about ourselves by learning about the past. Not only can we learn from their mistakes but we can learn how they work as a community and how to grow as a community. I think it’s hard to teach an introduction of Ancient Egypt to elementary students because you want to hit some points and you need to keep them interested. So, I created a fun high-interest packet to keep students involved in the learning process when learning about Ancient Egypt.

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There are lots of crafts since I think it’s fun to get students excited about learning through crafts, but it also has lots of more educational components like writing a comparison essay, a long letter from a child from that time period, some brainstorming activities and more – all about Ancient Egypt.

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Students will love making their own Ancient Egypt Cobra Headpiece. They can color it however they like and also add their own touches like glitter or stickers. Adding a pipe cleaner to the back of the cobra will make it stand up tall.

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My son had fun making his own Ancient Egypt Cobra Headpiece today on this lazy summer day. As you can tell, he’s a bit shy.

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Students will also love creating their own Ancient Egypt Sarcophagus!

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You can find my Ancient Egypt printables here: Ancient Egypt

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What Makes a Good Interactive Notebook?

It’s so important for students to be interested in what they are learning in school. It’s not always easy and of course everyone has their favorite subjects. I remember when I was little, I loved math, but I wasn’t so into Language Arts class. It wasn’t my teacher’s fault, the materials were just boring. So, my number one purpose is to making learning fun. I love to really get into my curriculum and think what would make a student enjoy learning this skill? What would make it enjoyable for a teacher to teach this skill? Interactive notebooks are a great way to achieve these goals. There are many interactive notebooks out there today, so how can you tell which is the best?

Make sure the interactive notebook is truly interactive. Some notebooks are just filled with activities that are really just a worksheet in disguise. So, make sure to look for ones that have the students interactive with the printables and can be used in the future to review.

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Here are a few examples of some fun interactive reading notebook pages.

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Make sure the interactive Notebook that is unique. Since there are so many interactive notebooks out there today, lots of people buy the same graphics and the activities are the same. I love to draw my own and make every page unique!

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Make sure the interactive notebook is teaching what you need it to teach. If you are teaching reading, or math or writing, make sure all of the concepts that you need to cover are included. For reading, I love to include passages to make the whole teaching process easier for teachers and for students.

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Check out my Interactive Reading Notebooks here: Interactive Reading Notebooks 1st through 6th grades