Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Teacher Tricks for Math

Need some new teacher tricks up your sleeve for MATH?! I am really excited to share some of my favorite math teaching ideas that I use for instruction, centers, and independent work with you!

Make sure you also check out the Teacher Tricks for Reading and Writing I just posted recently too – and I’ve mapped out a lot more fun posts coming your way! :) I have included some affiliate links (I get a commission for purchases made through the links) in this post so you can easily find some of the things I show. I don’t care whether or not you buy anything – feel free to just idea scavenge if you want :) I just wanted to make it easy for you to find them!

Add magnets to the back of math cubes to use for teaching on the whiteboard. Click for a ton more math teaching tricks!

The first thing I want to share with you is adding magnets to the backs of math manipulatives. I love the magnets I have – you just peel the sticker off the back and stick them on anything to make it a magnet… LOVE!

Then you can use math manipulatives on the whiteboard when you’re teaching! You can do so many different counting, adding, subtracting, etc. activities with cubes on the whiteboard where kids can see visuals of your “thinking” as you move the cubes.

Great tips for how to make any math manipulative into a magnet to use on the whiteboard!

You really can put them on anything! If you’re teaching measurement with a ruler, put a few magnets on the ruler so it holds the ruler on the board in place as you hold things up to show kids how to measure items around the classroom. So much easier than trying to hold both!

A ton of math teaching tricks like how to add magnets to a ruler so you can teach measuring with a ruler on the whiteboard.

My favorite thing to use magnet-ed math manipulatives for is personal work trays! My dollar store has magnetic cookie sheets (for, yes, only a $1!) so I bought a bunch of them and they are PERFECT for so many things! I’ve shown you how I use them for word building with alphabet magnets in my Short A activities post but I also use them a lot for math.

Want to know another teacher trick? You can write on them with dry erase markers!!

Use a dry erase marker to write on cookie sheets to create a ton of fun math sorts! So many teach ideas on this site!

I was so excited when I discovered I could write on them with dry erase markers and it wipes right off! It allows you to make so many different activities right on the board and change them as much as you want to which is great for small groups or even independent centers. You can also use wet erase markers if you find the kids are wiping off the directions themselves.

Tons of math teaching ideas like adding magnets to the backs of pattern blocks to create sorts on a magnet cookie sheet.

You can easily change this sort from sorting shapes by how many sides the shape has to sorting the shapes by their name (or any sort you want!) by simply wiping off what you wrote and rewriting :) This makes it so easy to transition between different small groups or between kids.

Use a dry erase marker and magnets to create so many different math sorts on a dollar store magnetic cookie sheet - lots of great math ideas if you click the picture!

Also, since the cookie sheets are magnetic, kids can hold them in their lap to move around the pieces and have them stay in place. They can even hold them up and turn them around to show you their work without the pieces moving which is great.

Add magnets to the backs of pattern blocks so kids can build pictures that stay put! So many teacher tricks on this site.

Having the pieces stay in place is actually awesome for picture building with pattern blocks. No one is going to knock into their table and have the picture get messed up (cue the tears) and they’re not going to hit one block by accident that messes up the others, etc.

This is actually a great parenting trick as well if you have a younger kid on a long car ride – give them the cookie sheet and the pattern blocks with magnets on the back and let them make pictures in their lap while you drive. Pattern blocks are so much fun!

Awesome trick! Stick magnets to the back of pattern blocks so kids can use a magnetic cookie sheet to create pictures that stay put in their laps - great for long car rides too!

I have a lot more fun math ideas and games I showed that you can use with pattern blocks in my Composing Shapes post too!

Like I said, you can add magnets to the back of anything to make activities. You can add them to red/yellow counters and draw a 10 frame on the cookie sheet (or whiteboard) to do a ton of counting, adding, subtracting, etc. lessons!

Stick magnets to the back of red yellow counters for a ton of 10 frame practice to work on number sense, adding, subtracting, etc.

You can also use pom poms of any size by just sticking a magnet to the back. An easy game you can play (shown below) is to have kids roll 2 dice that are different colors and put that many pom poms in their 10 frame to add the 2 together.

How to add a magnet to the back of anything to practice ten frames in small group math lessons

So as you can see, the pink dice says 4 so they put 4 pink balls into their 10 frame and the orange dice says 3 so they added 3 orange balls. Then you can ask them questions like, “What number did you make?” “How many more to 10?” “How do you know?” etc. for math discussion with you or their partner.

Speaking of dice, I LOVE my big fat chunky colorful dice. I love that they come in cute colors and also have the white one with extra sides that goes up to 12. It’s great for challenging the higher kids or to use later on in the year.

These dice are my favorite for math centers and games... click to see where to get them

One math trick with dice that I love is to have kids roll the dice into a bucket! If they’re playing any sort of game or math center that involves dice, you can avoid having dice go flying across the room, off the table, etc. by having them roll into a bucket.

Have kids roll dice into a bucket so dice don't end up on the floor... and it's quieter too!

All you have to do is say that you lose your turn if your dice don’t land in the bucket and you won’t ever have dice on the floor again :)

It’s also a lot quieter than rolling on their desks or tables. You can even glue felt or foam to the bottom of the bucket if you want it to be even quieter. I have a few foam bottom buckets for quiet rolling and it’s wonderful.

Another way to keep dice off the floor is to use small containers just big enough to roll dice inside to make little shakers. You do have to use regular sized dice for those. I bought a pack of the small containers and made sets of them to throw in center buckets. Kids just shake them to roll their numbers. It’s so nice because you always know where the dice are, they don’t end up on the floor, and kids just grab them to use really easily when they need dice.

Put dice in little containers to create dice shakers for kids to grab and go during math centers... they're quieter and dice don't get lost on the floor!

If you’ve read my math posts, you know I use dice a lot for hands on math games so it’s nice to have a system for them. Another thing you’ll know from reading my math posts is that I use my number cards from Unit 1 (or you can also get them in Unit 11) for a ton of different things. I mentioned in my Building Number Sense post how I even use them for behavior management too so I wanted to explain that a little more!

Check out this trick for using your numbers chart as a classroom management strategy!

So this shows 50 but I usually start with 20 cards for the first time so it’s a quicker reward and also to solidify numbers 1-20. So, first, pick a reward that the class can earn that they’re really excited about (my favorite is an extra recess with popsicles) and have all the number cards showing in your pocket chart. Also print a second set of number cards, mix them up, and stack them upside down near the chart.

When the class gets a compliment for walking nicely in the hallway or the P.E. teacher says they were really good, whatever, tell them they’ll get to pick a number when you get back in class... OR during class, let’s say a group is working so quietly and well together during centers, say something like, “Wow, the blue table is working so hard and are so quiet right now – Aiden, you can go pick a number card.” He’d go up to the stack of number cards by the chart and pick a card. He’d show it to you then you’d flip that number over. When they flip all the number cards over, they get the reward! You could also have them earn mini rewards for completing a row or column.

Read about this fun classroom management idea that builds number sense at the same time... LOVE!

Once they get the awesome reward, they’ll want it again so you can do the number chart up to 50 this time! I recommend doing it up to 50 a few times. It’s great because it really gets them looking at the numbers and talking about them (“We only need to get 42 and 45 to finish that row!”). You can also incorporate learning by pointing to a flipped over number and asking them what it is. They’ll have to look at the numbers before/after/above/below/etc. to figure it out so it’s great number sense practice. You can also ask them what number they need to finish a row, count by 5s, etc. Even just have them turn to a partner and ask each other questions about it. You can get a lot of great math talk out of it!

If you have one of those awesome pocket charts that is specifically for displaying the 100 chart, you can also use that and just have as many numbers as you want to practice in it.

More fun things you can do is have them get something for finishing a row or column like I said above. Maybe they get a small reward for getting 10 in a row (when you’re using the 100 chart) like half an hour of free choice centers or something fun like that.

I have a lot more fun classroom management tips in my Chatty Class Classroom Management post and 20 Classroom Management Strategies You Can Start Right Away post if you want more behavior management ideas!

I use the number cards for centers all year. Another way I use them goes along with the next trick of sticking magnets to the back of base ten blocks to practice place value. I got a big set of plastic base ten blocks that I use – I think it’d work to stick magnets on the foam ones too but I’m not sure. I used to use foam ones but I like the durability of the plastic ones so that’s what these are.

How to turn your base 10 blocks into magnets to use for teaching in small groups or even on the whiteboard

You can just give a kid a stack of number cards and have them build each number on their cookie sheet with base 10 blocks. It’s great for building numbers and practicing tens and ones.

You could also do this on a magnetic whiteboard. A lot of the small whiteboards aren’t magnetic but your big classroom board or easel most likely is so you can use those to practice whole group. :)

Add a magnet to the back of base 10 blocks so you can use them to teach on the whiteboard or in other fun place value activities

I also use the same materials to play War. Just like the classic card game but with numbers 1-120 instead! If your kids aren’t ready for that big of numbers, just use number cards 1-50 or 1-100 or whatever you think they can handle.

Fun place value games and activities to play

The trick is to have them build their numbers with base 10 blocks to compare. Even if they say they know the answer, building it is great practice and really helps them see numbers conceptually as this many tens, this many ones, etc. which is amazing for building their number sense.

Another place value trick is to use a permanent (or wet erase) marker to write 1-10 on a ten block so kids can see what the 10 actually means and that each cube within the 10 is a 1. It’s a really great visual for students to see the “why” behind the vocabulary!

Write on place value blocks so kids can see what "tens" and "ones" actually mean... so many great math ideas on this post

Definitely read my Place Value in First Grade post if you want more fun place value ideas and to see the resources from my place value unit in action!

It also has tips for how to differentiate your place value lessons. Differentiating is really important to me – not just for your struggling students but for your advanced students as well like I talked about in my How to Keep Gifted Kids Engaged and Learning post. One easy way to differentiate is to use the different levels of worksheets (or centers) in my math units. The majority of the worksheets in my math units come in 3 levels for each concept – each one has a star in the upper right corner that says the level (A, B, or C) so you can easily give students the level that challenges but doesn’t frustrate them so they’re all working on the same thing but at their level. Another thing the worksheets also have is a self-reflection at the bottom where the student evaluates how they felt about the activity – was it too easy? Just right? Too hard? After they complete the worksheet, they circle at the bottom like this:

Awesome ideas for assessing understanding while your students work

See how they circled “Just Right” at the bottom of this page? This section lets you know how the activity was for them. They do this after they’re done with the activity. It only takes a bit of time to train them to assess their own understanding correctly. If you notice the little strip they clipped underneath, I have those in full page posters that I go over what each level means in easy to understand kid language (the posters are just bigger versions of the desk strips) so they can reference it.

Checking for understanding without any tests or grading involved... LOVE! Click to read how to use these!

I also shrunk the posters down into these little strips kids can keep on their desk and clip how they feel WHILE they work so you can walk around and see how everyone feels about the worksheet you’re doing so easily – I love it. If you see they’ve clipped that it’s too hard, you can stop to help them; if you see they’ve clipped that it’s too easy, you could give them the next level up version of the worksheet to work on instead. Then, you don't have several hands up waiting for you for help - they can keep working and trying until you get to them. They can keep it on their name tag so it's not in the way and you can use them with any subject/activity to always be able to do a quick check for understanding.

Instead of clipping, you can also cut the strips into 3 mini cards to put on a binder ring so they can flip to which one they feel like this:

How to differentiate and check for understanding without any tests or even grading... save this post!

The full page posters and desk strips are all in my Assessing Understanding pack if you want to use these in your own classroom. They’re really great for assessing understanding during lessons and also having students reflect on their own learning.

I also sort the papers kids turn in by what they circled. It’s quick to just sort them into 3 stacks by what they circled. If they circled “Too Hard,” I usually will take that stack out and put it at the small groups table so I know to re-teach that to them in a small group or go over it with them when they have a moment. I also often put it in their Student Drawer (which I have a blog post planned to show you my individual student drawers) so I know to help them with it later if it’s just 1 or 2 kids :)

Sorting into 3 piles can also help you make flexible math groups super easily. I don’t like math small groups staying the same for every concept because sometimes a high kid struggles with telling time and a low kid excels with fractions so you want to be flexible in your grouping when you can so everyone gets what they need for each skill. After I sort the papers into 3 piles, you’ll usually find it’s mostly “Just Right” to make 2 or 3 small groups with that you can continue on at grade level with the concept, a handful of “Too Hard” to pull back to re-teach the concept and work on it in a more hands-on and visual way, and a handful of “Too Easy” to pull back to extend the lesson and provide more challenging questions/work with the concept. It’s like having an assessment for every single concept without doing any grading or testing – win win, right?! :)

You can also have them put the cards on a binder ring next to them while they’re doing centers so you can see how they feel about the center too, even if there isn’t a recording sheet or paper involved.

Use a dry erase marker and a magnetic cookie sheet from the dollar store to create easy activities and fun sorts for kids

So if you were doing this simple color sort, if a student thought it was too easy, they would have the "Too Easy" card flipped showing. If they thought it was just right, they’d have that one flipped, etc. There’s a lot of sorts you can do with the cookie sheets like I said – you could change the one above to numbers instead of the color name and they put that many balls under it… or anything!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of math tricks! I’ve shown other math tricks on my other math posts in the past too if you want more! If you click on “Math” at the top of my site, it’ll take you to a list of links of math concepts I’ve written about so you can look at fun ideas to teach those concepts and such!

For example, in my Graphing and Data Analysis post, I show a trick for how you can use a fun daily graphing question to have your students take their own attendance each day AND sneak in a ton of learning.

In my Fact Fluency post, I show how you can take any cutting and pasting worksheet and turn it into a reusable center. That’s one of my favorite tricks for math and reading!

I haven’t written a complete post about using my math bottle cap centers yet but another trick is I love recycling bottle caps to use in math and literacy centers. Just write the numbers on the bottle caps and hand them the cards and they make really easy centers! I did show using bottle caps for phonics and word building in my CVC Bottle Cap Word Building post, though, if you want to see and bottle caps make appearances in some of my other posts too:)    

Thank you so much for reading – I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Happy Teaching!!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Teacher Tricks for Reading and Writing

Want some teacher tricks for reading, writing, and grammar? I am excited to share with you some fun ideas for literacy that you can use in your classroom or homeschool :)

I got a lot of positive response from my 20 Classroom Management Strategies You Can Use Right Away and Chatty Class Classroom Management Strategies and How to Help Gifted Kids posts where I compiled a lot of behavior management ideas so I figured I’d write some to show tricks for other topics like reading, writing, math, technology, parents, organization, centers, classroom set up, time management, and a whole lot more – I have a lot of posts planned and I’m really excited to share them with you all so make sure you check back often! I have included some affiliate links (I get a commission for purchases made through the links) in this post so you can easily find some of the things I show. I don’t care whether or not you buy anything – feel free to just idea scavenge if you want :) I just wanted to make it easy for you to find them!

Okay so first trick! You’ve probably seen in a lot of my literacy posts that I LOVE highlighting - a trick I love to use is labeling the highlighter!

Whatever you want them to highlight, simply write it on a white label and stick it on the highlighter. So easy!! For this activity, I just used one of my Short Vowels Reading Comprehension Passages to practice parts of speech (nouns, verbs, and adjectives).

My favorite highlighters are these chunky ones and you can use any rectangular labels like these rectangular self adhesive labels to stick on them and write what you want kids to highlight.

You can also have them highlight a specific phonics sound in a passage. You can also label each highlighter a different sight word for them to highlight when they come across it. Would you judge me if I told you I had a whole drawer of highlighters labeled with each sight word? :) It’s really visual for kids so I like this trick.

Speaking of highlighting, have you ever thought of highlighting words IN your pocket chart? Simply cut up transparent color binder dividers the size of a word and use them to highlight words on your pocket chart!

All you do is get transparent color binder dividers, cut off the tab and a straight line to cut off the 3 hole punches, and then cut what’s left into 8 equal size pieces. I fold it in half the long way, unfold, and cut along the line to get 2 strips. Then I fold the strips in half and cut to get 4 and then again to get 8 pieces total. They’re perfect for any literacy work in your pocket chart!

As you can see here, we’re working on AI and AY so we’re highlighting AY words in yellow, AI words in orange, and then also highlighting the sight word THE in blue when we see it. You can do it for phonics sounds, highlighting sight words, parts of speech, or anything you want to sort. You can do it whole group or even have students do it as a center.

I know I’ve raved about my magnetic pocket chart before but I just love it! It’s perfect for my daily graphing question (read my Graphing post if you want to see that) as well as a ton of math and literacy activities including the one above. For highlighting words, I just use index cards or basic sentence strips in the pocket chart then use the cut up dividers to highlight any sight words, parts of speech, words with the focus phonics sound, etc. 

What I use my pocket chart most for is my Phonics Pocket Chart Centers – I have them for the entire year of phonics sounds so they’re a weekly staple. I showed a lot of ways to use them in my Short A post, Digraphs post, EW UE UI post, etc. so you’ve probably seen them a lot but I wanted to show you another way to use them using DOLLAR STORE mini trash cans!

Are these trash cans not the cutest? And I got them for only a dollar each! I’ve shown you them before but I had to again because I am obsessed with these removable dry erase labels I stuck on them.

Why am I obsessed? DRY ERASE. I can literally write any phonics sound on them and then wipe it off and make it a new one the next week. They’re also removable so you can just peel them off if you want to put them somewhere else.

I use these on everything because they’re just so easy to write/wipe or peel off if I don’t want them on something anymore. They’re great for labeling buckets, centers, cubbies, etc. especially if you have students moving a lot, use a wet erase marker to label their cubbies with these instead so you can switch names easily.

Here I just write and wiped the SH / CH sort to make it a Nouns / Verbs sort in about 5 seconds :)

Kids love using dry erase markers too so I try to let that happen whenever possible. A teacher trick I LOVE is to put worksheets in heavy duty sheet protectors in a binder then let kids use dry erase markers to do the worksheets. It just makes it seem ten times more fun for some reason.

This is actually out of one of my Phonics Sound Binders which I plan on writing a post all about them soon to show how I have a binder for each phonics sound that kids can grab and work on that particular phonics sound. This is the Long i binder. All they need is the binder and a dry erase marker. 

I also plan on showing you this teacher trick in that post but here’s a sneak peek – use this tape to create reusable centers in your binder from regular worksheets instead of having to deal with scissors and glue. You definitely need heavy duty sheet protectors for this, not just regular ones, or they may rip when kids pull off the pieces. I also showed how I do this for math in my Fact Fluency post.

Both those worksheets are from my Long I No Prep pack – I have them for almost every phonics sound. If you go to my Literacy page, you can see all the sounds I have them for. I show a lot of the fun activities from them in the digraphs and other literacy posts I mentioned earlier.

I love fun hands on worksheets but I also love to do a lot of hands on centers which I think is a teach trick in and of itself :) Prefixes aren’t a lot of fun by nature but they can be if you have a lot of visuals and games. Check out my prefixes and suffixes post for examples of what I mean!

You can also switch up activities you already have by using them in different ways. If you read my CVC Bottle Cap Word Building post, you saw how I use recycled bottle caps for differentiated word building phonics centers. Well I also use them for a small groups game!

All you need are the Bottle Cap Center word cards for whatever phonics sound you’re working on and some red/yellow counters

Print out the version that has ALL the letters in the circles (none missing) and cover up as many as you want with counters. You could do just beginning sounds, just vowel sounds, just ending sounds, all the sounds, whatever!

Have the student put their finger on the counter and say the sound it is then slide it off to check. If they’re correct, they get to keep the chip. If not, it just goes back in the pile. Whoever has the most chips at the end of the game wins (or it can just be fun collecting chips)!

This can be a really fun game to play in small groups, especially for struggling students, and it’s so easily differentiated by how many/which letters you cover.

Like I said, I have these cards for just about every phonics sound so you can play the game all year. It’s also a great game or activity to have parent volunteers do with struggling kids because it’s easy and fun.

Another helpful trick for struggling students is using a storage bag with a slider to practice ABC order.

Simply use a permanent marker to write the alphabet across a bag then give it to students with their worksheet. Teach them to start at the first letter (A) to see if any words start with A. If they find one, they write it down; if not, they slide to the B and check for words that start with B and so on. It’s really helpful for students who struggle with putting words in ABC order.

That sheet is out of my Long A No Prep pack – there are ABC order sheets in all of them, though, so you can practice it weekly with each phonics sound. It’s one of those skills that most kids usually get but need to practice often to keep fresh so I like to practice it every week with the new phonics sound(s).

Okay so one of my FAVORITE tricks is a genius idea I saw from Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten that helps A TON with the frustration and mess of rough drafts and copy them into final drafts. Behold…. the clipbord stand!

Take any clipboard and turn it into a stand! Seriously classroom changing. They can just clip their rough draft onto it and have it right in front of them to copy into a final draft so they’re not shuffling papers. AND… it doesn’t get lost. An edited rough draft that gets lost is even more devastating than a lost glue stick cap (the horror!), am I right?! 

All you do is buy an 8 x 10 picture frame (go to the dollar store or clearance sections to find them cheap) and take the back out of it and adhere it to the back of a clipboard and it’s done!

I actually just doubled up strong tape to adhere mine but you could probably hot glue gun it or something if you wanted. It is seriously the best! 

I have no prep writing crafts for a ton of different themes, holidays, and writing genres that I like to do each week. They’re quick and easy to make and they make really cute bulletin boards so I usually like to do a rough draft first so this is perfect for that. If you want to check out the writing crafts I do, I have a post for most months showing that month’s crafts :) Just click on the month you want: January, February, March, April, October, November, or December

I also use clipboard stands to display center directions!

The centers in my first grade math units have directions so I just clip them onto the clipboard stand to easily make any desk an independent center! This game is Race to Graph from Unit 16: Graphing and Data Analysis which you can see the other activities in action on my Graphing post about that unit. It has a lot of other pictures and ideas – if you go to my MATH page, I actually have a lot of different math posts by concept (place value, adding 3 numbers, etc.) that you can click on from that page. 

Okay more tricks!

Do you ever receive notebooks from parents or donations but they’re college ruled? Well I still use them! Just teach kids to draw a line covering 2 lines, then skip one, a line covering 2 lines, skip one, etc. It’ll take a second to teach them at first but most will get it pretty quick, especially if you do it often. For younger kids, you can do it for them – but it creates nice and big space for kids to practice correct handwriting formation… and you don’t feel like you have a cabinet full of notebooks you can’t use! :)

Another handwriting trick is to use a highlighter to create instant tracing worksheets. If you have a kid who struggles with handwriting or even just a certain letter, you can just write in highlighter and have them trace it with a pencil.

You can also just create instant worksheets at your small groups table to practice sight words, spelling words, whatever! It’s nice because you can really tailor it to them without even using a computer.

One more trick for this post! File your books to read aloud by month! I just get a little magazine holder type bin (like the ones on top of my rainbow drawers) for each month and put my special books for reading aloud in it. It makes it so easy to pull books to read or to quickly fill your display bookshelf if you have one each month. For example, spread out your classroom management books between your August and September bins, your Halloween books in the October bin, etc.  

Okay so that’s all the reading and writing tricks I’m sharing with you today! Like I said above, I have A LOT of posts planned for more teacher tricks. If you scroll down the right hand side of my blog, there are a lot of different ways to follow me and my blog so you don’t miss out! If you try any of these tricks, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!! I hope you found them helpful! :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April Writing Activities and Fun Spring Learning

Is it Spring already?! April writing activities, learning about life cycles, eggs and chicks and butterflies, oh my! I love Spring because students are finally starting to follow all the classroom routines with ease… right before the year’s almost over, of course :) but I also love it because there are a lot of fun spring themed science, writing, and math opportunities in April and May.

Spring writing activities that are easy no prep crafts for fun April and May learning

Life cycles are a fun topic in science in spring. We learn about the life cycle of a butterfly first. I love to integrate science into writing as you can see in the picture above from my Spring Writing Crafts pack. I think kids learn a lot more when they write about their learning.

After learning about the life cycle of a butterfly, an easy activity is the Find and Write: Butterfly Life Cycle activity. Simply put the big picture/word cards around the room (tape them to the wall, etc.) and have kids go on a hunt to find them, match the picture on their recording sheet, and write down the vocabulary word.

Life Cycle of a Butterfly science center that is fun and easy – simply put the picture cards around your classroom and let students find and write their new science vocabulary words

It’s nice because it gets kids moving up out of their seats in a controlled, educational way. You could have the entire class do it at once or have it be a group center during literacy rotations of just 4-6 kids. Kids love having to be detectives and find the words. You can also give them magnifying glasses and clipboards if you want to make it more fun :)

After learning about the butterfly life cycle, kids can show what they’ve learned by writing out the steps of the life cycle with this easy no prep craft. I’ve shown you my other no prep crafts in other posts by month (I’ll put them all at the bottom of this post so you can check them out if you want!) – I love them because kids simply write, color, cut, and glue onto construction paper to make an instant craft that makes a great bulletin board. I was so sick of cutting out this many legs, this many eyes, etc. for crafts so I created these to make it absolutely no prep for the teacher except for printing it out :)
Super cute butterfly writing craft activity that is no prep and perfect for young kids learning about butterflies and their life cycle

Like I said, I love integration across subjects whenever possible so it’s great to mix math in there too! This Butterfly Place Value puzzle is an easy way to get in a ton of numbers practice:

Butterfly place value puzzle where kids grab a card with base 10 blocks and figure out the number it is and color it in to reveal a butterfly! Click this to see a video of it being done… such a fun way to practice number sense!

For this activity, kids grab a card that shows a number in base 10 blocks. They figure out what the number is then color it the color of the card on their hundreds chart. Once they do all the cards, it reveals a picture of a butterfly!! These are a kid favorite and sneak in a ton of number practice!

I actually love to put the cards on a binder ring (simply punch a hole in the top left corner of each card) like I show in this video from my Instagram.

The cards come in both this base 10 blocks version to practice place value AND a full set of cards where it just says the number. Those are much easier, of course, and great for practicing number sense. If you haven’t read my huge post about building number sense and have kids struggling with it, I recommend reading that post to get some ideas – I shared a lot of my secrets :) I also have a post about teaching place value and a lot of other math concepts if you want more math tricks.

Anyway! Next is learning about the life cycle of a frog and another Find and Write activity.

Life Cycle of a Frog science center that is fun and easy – simply put the picture cards around your classroom and let students find and write their new science vocabulary words like tadpole, froglet, etc.

Then, have students practice their first, next, then, last, etc. style of writing with a Frog no prep craft to tell you the life cycle of a frog. These make a super cute April science/writing bulletin board as well!
Frogs writing craft activity that is no prep and perfect for young kids learning about the life cycle of a frog

Another fun thing to learn and write about in spring is insects! I LOVE all of the picture heavy bugs books available for kids – kids just eat them up with the “scary” real life pictures. They’re great for nonfiction reading practice, especially the little readers for small groups.

Insects writing craft that is NO PREP perfect for learning about bugs in science in the springtime! Click for a ton of fun Spring activities and writing prompts!

This is a quick little writing craft to do about insects if you learn about them too!

I also have one specifically for Ants because I know a lot of teachers teach specifically about ants so it’s an easy way for students to recap their learning with this cute little guy!

Ants writing craft that is NO PREP perfect for learning about insects in science in the springtime! Click for a ton of fun Spring activities and writing prompts!

Plants and how they grow is also another spring science concept!

How Plants Grow writing craft that is NO PREP perfect for learning about plants in science in the springtime! It’s also a great opportunity to practice how to writing. Click for a ton of fun Spring activities and writing prompts!

This can be an easy transition into practicing How To writing. Here's another fun one to practice procedural writing:

How to Fly a Kite is a great Spring writing prompt for kids to practice how to writing in a fun way

If you have the time to do a “science experiment” of taking the kids out for an extra recess where you try to fly a kite, it is such a fun way to bring their writing to life. I am awful at actually getting the kite up in the air but maybe you’re more skilled than me ;) After flying the kite, they can write about it in how to writing format to practice procedural writing.

… and it wouldn’t be spring without some bunnies! Here’s a quick little craft to do if you learn about rabbits:

So many fun Spring themed writing prompts and ideas that are wonderful for practicing writing

Speaking of bunnies… I have some fun Easter bunny crafts too if you do Easter activities in your home or classroom. All of the writing no prep crafts you saw above this (not the Find and Writes) are in the Spring Writing Crafts pack.

Now I’m going to show you some fun no prep crafts from my Easter Writing Crafts pack!

A TON of fun Easter writing activities that are no prep crafts and other fun ideas

A really fun way to get their imaginations going is to pretend that THEY are the Easter bunny and tell them to come up with a funny story of what would happen if they were the Easter bunny. Brainstorm some funny mishaps together and then let them write their own.

If I Were the Easter Bunny writing prompt and other fun Easter writing activities - there are a ton of ideas on this post for Spring learning in science, writing, and math!

Another creative writing piece they can do is The Magic Egg… another fun one to brainstorm what the magic egg could be, what could it do, etc. and then let them come up with their own stories.

The Magic Egg is a fun Spring creative writing prompt! Click to check out all these fun April writing activities and ideas on this post!

I love using plastic eggs for so many things in April. You can make centers so much more fun by putting things in eggs :) One fun idea is to get the clear plastic eggs and put dice in them for when they roll dice in centers. It’s just an easy way to incorporate a little fun AND the dice don’t go flying everywhere!

Another how to writing opportunity is How to Hunt for Eggs:

How to Hunt for Eggs is a perfect Easter writing prompt to practice how to writing all in a fun no prep craft - all you do is print and students write, color, cut, and glue for a super easy April bulletin board

To prepare for this craft, you could have an egg hunt in your classroom where you crumple up center cards for a skill and put them inside plastic eggs. Then, have students go around trying to find them and answer the questions like the Find and Write activities I showed before. You could do this with any center activity that has cards and a recording sheet!

I just love Spring! If you read my blog regularly, you also know I have a new behavior chart for every month (as well as other themed ones for fun throughout the year like pirates, circus, under the sea, etc.) so of course I have a Spring one!

Spring behavior chart - I love switching out my clip chart every month to keep it fresh and exciting. Everyone wants to be the Top Frog so it’s a great classroom management strategy :)

I love switching them out every month. If you want to read about my system and see my other behavior charts, it’s in this post: 20 Classroom Management Strategies You Can Start Right Away

Every kiddo will want to be the Top Frog obviously :) But really, kids love trying to get to the top of the chart to get the new certificate (in this case “Top Frog”) to take home to their parents and such!

Another fun Spring holiday is Earth Day! Here are some fun ideas for Earth Day that I like to do:

Fun ideas for Earth Day like this place value puzzle where kids grab a card with base 10 blocks and figure out the number it is and color it in to reveal a fun Spring message! Click this to see a video of it being done… such a fun way to practice number sense!

This Earth Day Puzzle is another place value activity like the butterfly one above :)

Earth Day is a great opportunity to discuss how it’s important to take care of Earth – I also have some Earth Day writing crafts I like to have available in the writing center.

Earth Day writing activities that are NO PREP! Just print and kids simply write, color, cut, and glue to make a super easy Spring bulletin board to show how they take care of our planet

As well as talk about the importance of recycling! There is a ton of paper used in K-2 so I love to emphasize the importance of recycling whenever possible. We also talk about how we recycle water bottle caps to use in math and literacy centers like my CVC Bottle Caps Word Building and other things we can reuse or recycle.

Recycling writing activity that is an easy NO PREP craft! I love these Earth Day writing prompts and ideas for April and May

Anyway! That’s what I have for spring :) I am working on a TON of blog posts right now to show teaching tricks and classroom management strategies that I’m really excited about so make sure you check back! There are a lot of different ways to follow along on the right side (by email, IG, etc.) if you want as well. I’m really excited about them!

In the meantime, here are some other blog posts you might like:
Chatty Class Class Management Strategies
Digraphs Activities and Ideas
Phonics Fluency Notebooks
EW UE UI Activities (the ideas can be used for any phonics skill)
Composing Shapes (go to MATH to see all my math posts)

Here are my posts for the other months:
January Writing Crafts
February Writing Crafts

March Writing Crafts
December Writing Crafts
November Writing Crafts
October Writing Crafts

Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear from you in the comments :)