Category : Kindergarten

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.

It’s time for some Thanksgiving fun!

A Thanksgiving turkeyAmerican Thanksgiving is just around the corner! And I, for one, have plenty to be thankful for. It’s been a great year so far! And the holiday season is nearing – I love this time of year!

A Thanksgiving turkey craft

If you’re looking for a fun craft to make in your classroom this November, here’s a Thanksgiving turkey with a variety of different feathers that you can cut out. Your students can cut out and paste or tape together the turkey, then write the various things that they are thankful for on the provided feathers. Finally, they can color the turkey and otherwise decorate it however they like!

The free PDF download for the Thanksgiving turkey craft can be found at the bottom of this post.

Math and English Language Arts Common Core Thanksgiving Activities

Thanksgiving Stress-Free Printables Common Core Math and LiteracyLooking for something to do in the classroom in those days leading up to Thanksgiving?

Here are some easy-to-use Common Core-aligned math and literacy printables that you can use in your classroom for those days or weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Problems involve mathematics and English grammar and writing skills for a variety of grade levels.

These worksheets are designed to be stress-free, offering an easy-to-use solution for the classroom activity, or for a substitute teacher. Why not check them out?

I hope that you have a wonderful lead-up to the Thanksgiving weekend, and that your Thanksgiving is spent with food, family, and friends!

What are you and your students thankful for?

Using the following Thanksgiving turkey craft, students can cut out the featherless turkey, and the oval feathers. They can then paste the feathers onto the turkey to create a turkey with feathers. On each feather, they can write something that they are thankful for – for example, family, friends, food, pets, or good health!

When the crafts have been completed, you can put them on display on your classroom wall or on your classroom door, or let your kids take them home to put on the fridge to add some Thanksgiving cheer.

A quick disclaimer – I did this craft when I was a kid, and while I may be a turkey, I’m certainly no spring chicken. So I am pretty sure that variations of this craft qualify as “fair use”!

Happy Thanksgiving!

September is here! Along with some cooler weather

An autumn sunsetSeptember has arrived!

Here in Florida, it’s been a hot July and August (not surprising, really). With the arrival of September, I’m happy to see some of the cooler breezes arriving on our porch. September evenings are terrific evenings to go for long walks in the neighborhood, to spend some time at the swimming pool, or to visit the Disney parks! Our family much prefers to visit central Florida’s attractions in the evenings; the weather is nicer, the crowds are fewer, and as such, the lines to the various rides are much shorter.

September Interactive Math Notebooks

These days, interactive notebooks are red hot. Most of the elementary and middle school teachers I speak to are using interactive math, reading, writing, and/or science notebooks in their classrooms this fall. They’re a great way to get kids to get some hands-on practice using the various skills they will need to master during the school year.

If you’re looking for September-themed interactive lessons for your students, we’ve made a Common Core-aligned September interactive math notebook for first, second, and third grades. Inside you’ll find various interactive activities with a back-to-school and fall theme. You can find the products here:

A September poster for your classroom

Here is a free poster that you can download in PDF (or JPG format. You can put it on your classroom door or tack it to the wall to add some September charm to your decor. We hope you have a wonderful September!

A Poem for Earth Day

A poem for Earth DayI’m a big fan of Earth Day! Growing up in Canada, I always appreciated the forests and lakes of my homeland (I probably would have appreciated the Rocky Mountains, too, but I grew up in the eastern part of the country. I guess I appreciated them from afar). I did plenty of scouting and camping as a kid, and I fondly remember frequent trips to our family cottage by the lake in a forested area of northern Ontario. I used to dream about being a forest ranger, sitting atop a fire tower in a remote Canadian forest, taking in the peace and tranquility and fresh air! But they don’t tend have very good Internet way up there, so that’s probably a no-go.

An Earth Day poem and poster

Interested in celebrating Earth Day in your classroom? Below you will find a free poster I made for Earth Day that you can display on your classroom walls or distribute to your students to use in their writing and language notebooks (or maybe in another fun and creative way you can come up with – it’s late and my imagination is running out). It features a poem I wrote about respecting our beautiful planet Earth, and is available for free download in PDF format.

Earth Day Common Core Stress-Free Printables

Earth Day Common Core Stress-Free PrintablesYvonne and I have created some no-prep printables packets for your classroom, including the Earth Day Common Core Stress-Free Printables, now available at our store at Teachers Pay Teachers. For Earth Day these packets offer a variety of different worksheets aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts, and are available for first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grades.

The packets feature a fun Earth Day theme, including recycling, the environment, planting trees and saplings, and a general appreciation of the planet Earth. The pages are all ready to be printed and used: no prep, no laminating and low ink for a no-stress experience. The worksheets comprise several different levels of activities to help with differentiation in a classroom.

You can use the activities in this packet in a variety of different ways:

  • As morning work
  • As homework
  • As a skills review
  • As an assessment
  • For a substitute teacher
  • To accompany an Earth Day unit or work center

We also have Easter Common Core Stress-Free Printables available at our TPT store for Easter, another holiday that takes place in April this year.

If you do check out these products, please let us know what you think! We’re always interested in feedback and looking for suggestions for new products that teachers can use in the classroom or in a homeschool environment.

The Earth Day poem and poster

Here’s the free poster for Earth Day. I hope you have fun teaching your students about our beautiful environment!

Kindergarten Math Common Core Breakdown

Common Core for KindergartenAre you teaching according to the Common Core State Standards? Wouldn’t it be useful to have a diagram that shows a breakdown of the various Common Core domains for your grade level?

That’s what I thought, so I created some pie charts of the various Common Core domains for the various elementary school grade levels. I’ve started with charts for mathematics, but will also post the domains for English language arts.

Kindergarten skills learned

In kindergarten, the Common Core teaching focus is on the following sets of skills:

  • Knowing number names and learning to count
  • Beginning addition and subtraction
  • Understanding place value using the numbers 11-19
  • Learning how to measure and placing objects into categories
  • Identifying, describing, and comparing different geometric shapes

Kindergarten Common Core Standards

The Common Core State Standard domains for kindergarten mathematics are broken down like so:

  • Counting and Cardinality: 7 standards (32%)
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking: 5 standards (23%)
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten: 1 standard (5%)
  • Measurement and Data: 3 standards (14%)
  • Geometry: 6 standards (27%)

The percentages don’t add up to 100, but that’s because I’ve rounded up and rounded down where necessary.

I’ve also indicated the various Common Core skills, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, that students will be learning and practicing during their kindergarten year.

Common Core Activity Review Sheet

Common Core Lesson Review SheetHere’s a free tool for you to use to review, organize, and categorize your lessons by Common Core standard. I know that I’m looking forward to using it myself!

Reviewing your Common Core lessons

With this tool, you can keep a record of which lessons, activities, worksheets, or chapters that you have used with your class, and which ones were the most effective. These will help you to record and categorize the work that you’ve completed with your students during the school year, and can help jog your memory when re-teaching the activities in later semesters or academic years.

Here are the fields you will find on the sheet, and how to fill them out:

Activity: The name of the worksheet or activity that you completed with your class.

Rating: A rating, out of five, that you can give the activity. This will help you to pick out the most effective lessons and activities for next time.

Common Core skills reviewed: Which Common Core State Standards were practiced during the lesson or activity. For example, 1.OA.2, 3.L.4, and so on.

Date: The date that you did the activity or worksheet with your class.

Duration: How long it took to complete the activity.

Source: Where you found the activity. For example, if it was found on a web page, put the URL of the web page so that you can find it again. Or if it was found at a TPT or TN store, put the seller’s name in the box, or the URL where you found the activity on the site. Similarly, if it was a handout or an activity from a textbook or workbook, you can indicate that here.

Notes / Suggestions for next use: Any notes or observations from using the worksheet in your class, or suggestions for ways to make your activity more effective or more engaging for the next time or times that you use it in your classroom.

I hope that you find this worksheet useful! Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions for the worksheet – for example, extra fields or information that you would find useful on the sheet – please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. You can download the reviewing tool in PDF format here:

Quick Common Core Literacy bundles

If you’re looking for Common Core-aligned English language arts activities to use with your students, we have released bundles of our Quick Common Core literacy packets. These feature a wide variety of different Common Core worksheets for reading and English language arts that you can provide to your students as practice sheets, warm-up work, or homework assignments. They are all available at our Teachers Pay Teachers store; there are also Quick Common Core Math bundles that you will find on that site. Here are the packets, from kindergarten to fifth grade:

Quick Common Core Literacy Bundle for Kindergarten


Common Core standards: K.L.1, K.L.2, K.L,3, K.L.4, K.L,5, K.L.6

Quick Common Core Literacy Bundle for First Grade

First Grade

Common Core standards: 1.L.1, 1.L.2, 1.L.3, 1.L.4, 1.L.5 1.L.6

Quick Common Core Literacy Bundle for Second Grade

Second Grade

Common Core standards: 2.L.1, 2.L.2, 2.L.3, 2.L.4, 2.L.5 2.L.6

Quick Common Core Literacy Bundle for Third Grade

Third Grade

Common Core standards: 3.L.1, 3.L.2, 3.L.3, 3.L.4 3.L.5, 3.L.6

Quick Common Core Literacy Bundle for Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade

Common Core standards: 4.L.1, 4.L.2, 4.L.3, 4.L.4 4.L.5, 4.L.6

Quick Common Core Literacy Bundle for Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade

Common Core standards: 5.L.1, 5.L.2, 5.L.3, 5.L.4, 5.L.5, 5.L.6

All the best with your Common Core teaching and assessments, and with reviewing and categorizing your Common Core-aligned lessons and activities!

Make a Soda Pop Bottle Helicopter

Soda pop bottle helicopter craftYvonne writes: I have to admit… I love crafts!  I enjoy crocheting, knitting, and teddy bear making, just to name a few of my favorite activities.  My daughter is a bit young to teach how to do those crafts, so I like to try to find other fun challenges for her to complete.  Putting together crafts uses a child’s hands and mind, and stimulates his or her imagination in fun and creative ways.

Yesterday, my daughter and I made a fun helicopter out of a used soda pop bottle…  it was a lot of fun to make, and now that it is finished, there is a great deal of interesting, imaginative play that she can participate in with her new toy.

Here’s how you and your students or children can create your own soda pop bottle helicopter:

What you will need

Here are the “ingredients” that you will need to make your helicopter:

Soda pop bottle helicopter craft

  • A clean soda pop bottle with the bottom cut off
  • A cork, from a wine bottle or similar
  • An empty paper towel roll or two empty toilet paper rolls
  • Several pieces of colored construction paper
  • Paint
  • Glue or paste


Here is how to put together your craft:

  1. Cut the bottom off of the soda pop bottle; see the image to figure out approximately how much of the bottom of the bottle you should cut off.  Parents and teachers should do this step because it’s kind of difficult to achieve without the right kind of scissors. This will serve as the body of the helicopter.
  2. If you’re using an empty paper towel roll, cut it into two equal-sized pieces. If you’re using two toilet paper rolls, do not cut them. These pieces will serve as the landing “feet” of your vehicle.
  3. Gluing the soda pop bottle helicopter

  4. Have your child paint the soda pop bottle and the paper towel roll pieces or toilet paper rolls any colors they would like.
  5. After the paint on the craft dries, your child can then glue the paper towel roll pieces or toilet paper rolls to the bottom of the soda pop bottle.
  6. Cut out windows for the helicopter out of construction paper and glue them onto the soda pop bottle.
  7. Glue the cork onto the top of the soda water bottle. This will serve as the focal point for the helicopter’s blades.
  8. Cut out propellers from construction paper and glue them on top of the cork. Popsicle sticks will also work as helicopter propellers.
  9. Fly your helicopter around the room like a crazy person!

And there you have it, a fun and easy craft to do on a cold or rainy afternoon. If you need help visualizing how your helicopter should look, check out the images of my daughter and her own finished craft – just click to enlarge. Happy flying!

Valentine’s Day Color by Numbers

Valentine's Day Color by Numbers

Yvonne writes: I hope everyone is having a wonderful new year.  I can’t believe that February is almost here!  I really dislike the expression, time flies… but it truly does.  

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us.  I am sure you are getting ready for the coming weeks by putting together an assortment of different fun activities for your class.  I thought I’d help you out with your planning by making a Valentine’s Day freebie.  So here’s an activity that I made especially for Cupids for Cancer!

Cupids for Cancer

Cupids for Cancer is a wonderful cause where schools collect healthy snacks for the children in their local children’s hospital to eat while they are on site for treatment.  I love how this cause makes it fun for the schoolchildren who are collecting food; the kids really get into the activity, gathering individually wrapped healthy snacks for the young patients in the hospital and participating in special themed days, like “Rockin’ My Pink Socks Day” and “Have a Heart Hat Day”. It is a fantastic cause.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope your students have fun with the worksheet, and that you and your class have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Color by Subtraction Worksheet

Free Color by Subtraction Worksheet

Color by subtraction

Here’s a free color by numbers worksheet with a farm theme. It is ideal for students who are beginning or practicing subtraction. Download the PDF file and have your kids solve the subtraction equations in the problem. Next, they should color the girl, the barn, the rooster and the rest of the farmyard scene according to the color key provided at the bottom of the worksheet. When your class has finished coloring the scene according to the equations provided, they can then color in the rest of the picture however they wish. This will provide some colorul variations in case you’re interested in posting the results of this exercise on the classroom wall.

More color by numbers worksheets

Completing color by numbers activities for addition, subtraction, and other operations helps to reinforce math skills in your students in fun and creative ways. If you’re interested in finding more color by numbers activities for various types of mathematical operations, check out our Math Puzzles and Picture Math products at the Mixminder TPT store.

First and Second Grade Common Core Standards for Mathematics

This worksheet aligns with the following standards:

  • 1.OA.5, Operations & Algebraic Thinking for first grade:

    Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).

  • 1.OA.6, Operations & Algebraic Thinking for first grade:

    Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10.

  • 2.OA.2, Operations & Algebraic Thinking for second grade:

    Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.