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Decomposing Numbers to Make Ten!

If you are a kindergarten teacher then you know exactly how I feel when it is time to start teaching decomposing and composing numbers with those dreaded connecting cubes. Now, some years I get lucky and my kinders grasp this concept in no time! However, I can't say that for this year. In fact, I think this year has been the biggest struggle by far. When it came time to using connecting cubes, which I thought would definitely help with understanding this concept better, it was a disaster. I tried everything from small groups, to whole class, to individualized instruction, modeled the concept in every which way I could, but NOTHING was working. Now of course what do I start to do, blame myself. I kept asking "What am I doing wrong?", but instead of asking that I should've been asking "What can I do that I have not done yet?" So the search was on! I needed to come up with something that would would not only engage my kinder's, but also something that was visual and hands on (more hands on then just using connecting cubes).

I decided to take a trip to the dollar store & target to see what I could find...

 I knew that I wanted to create a ten frame, but I just wasn't sure how. I found some great materials to use and could not be happier with the outcome of these resource! So instead of just explaining what I did and what I bought I want to take you through this activity step by step & tell you all of the resources you will need to create your own. 

I purchased these really cute hearts from the Dollar Tree that work great as counters & the best part is that they are plastic. You will need two different colors in order for your kiddos to have a clear distinction between the two numbers they will be adding together. If you cannot find these hearts you could pick up foam hearts from Dollar Tree or if you are obsessed like me you already have some Target erasers and they will work just as good. Make sure to pick up something with at least two different colors. I bought large tweezers from the Dollar Tree as well that my kinders could use to pick up the hearts (added bonus: fine motor skill reinforcement). The pails that are holding the hearts are from Target. Mine are Valentine's Day themed, but you do not need to be that particular!

 I mean, who knew that pipe cleaners would make the perfect ten frame! I picked up 1 bag of these (Valentine's Day colors to go with the theme of course) to create TWO ten frames (10 in all to be exact). I used 3 regular sized pipe 
cleaners for the top, middle and bottom. I also used 6 to go across (those being the red and white in the picture). I cut these in half to make the frames square shaped instead of rectangle. The picture above shows you what the ten frame looks like cut in half. This picture to the right shows you what the ten frame looks like before you cut it in half. The pails are from Target (you will need two of these to hold two different colors).

After using all of my materials to create my activity I decided to create some resources to use with it. All of these & more can be found in my TPT store. I created number cards as well as a plus and equal symbol for my kids to use as they created their addition sentence. I also wanted to make sure that they really grasped this concept, so I created a recording sheet. I love having a recording sheet so my kinders are held accountable for their learning. Last but not least, you will definitely NEED a wand from Target. I do not know about you, but my kinders absolutely love using a wand so I find a way to incorporate it into any activity/center I can. 

These are all of the resources that are included! So if you can't find the hearts or pipe cleaners or maybe you just do not have time to go searching for them or create all of this? Well, do not worry, because I have you covered! I created everything you need to successfully create this activity. There are also black and white copies for those of you who love using colored paper & saving ink like me! I hope that this post and resource gets your kiddos excited about learning addition as well as engaged. Please leave me some comments below to let me know what you think or tell me some strategies or ideas you have as well as any questions that you may have!


I am so excited to finally have a fabulous looking blog (created by Laugh Eat Learn)! So why not celebrate, RIGHT? I have teamed up with some of my fabulous teacher authors to host an AMAZING giveaway! 

You could win a $35 Target gift card & a $30 TPT gift card! It gets better.. Blick Art Supplies was kind enough to donate a set of Mr. Sketch Markers & scented gel pens (I mean who doesn't love new markers & pens?!)

Giveaway starts on: Wednesday, January 18th at 5:00 p.m
Giveaway ends on: Monday, January 23rd at 12:00 a.m

In order to win all of these Fabulous goodies enter the Rafflecopter link below:

Good luck to everyone!! I will announce the winner Tuesday evening.


       When I entered my new district they just adapted Fundations. I heard of this program before from teacher friends and admin, but never had the chance to use it. As all of you Kindergarten teachers know, when you start something new 99% of the time your kinders probably have not been exposed to it. It was a bit of a struggle the first two months, but once I became more comfortable with the lessons as well as my kiddies, it became more routine. The class really started to enjoy it as well as myself. This program really does a great job of reinforcing letters and sounds as well as intertwining letter formation with mostly every lesson. 
      However, as great as this program is, one thing that made me very frustrated was all of the reinforcement I was using. I was spending each day teaching these specific letter-keyword-sounds and then when it came time to sending home work or placing my children in centers I realized they weren't gaining extra support. The work and activities I was using had different picture that matched the letters and I noticed that some of my kiddies were becoming confused. When I started to research reinforcement activities they seemed to be very limited. I decided that if I wanted extra practice for my kiddies that I would just have to create them myself, which is exactly what I did.
       I first started with the essential, handwriting sheets. It was not an easy task considering I had to design something from scratch. I spent countless hours searching for the perfect clip art and fonts! I knew that if I was going to create these I wanted them to be as close to perfect as possible. I finally found all of my clipart from Whimsy Clips, which I absolutely love!! I not only needed pictures to match the "keywords, but also to create the "skyline," "planeline,"grassland," and "wormline."Having everything I needed I started to design them. I began by creating the lowercase letters first, since they are the letters that Fundations teaches first. I had many drafts and I used my kiddies to test and make sure it was the perfect product before finalizing anything. I was finally done and so excited to use these in my classroom & share them with other Fundation users!       

       After creating my handwriting practice sheets and receiving a wonderful response from colleagues, teacher friends, and followers I knew I couldn't stop there. That is how I came up with my growing bundle, which you can find here!

I have added alphabet play-dough mats, a letter-keyword matching game, and an initial sounds clip-it game. My uppercase handwriting practice is in the words as well as trick word games and mats that all use Fundations letter-keyword-sounds. These are included in the bundle or could be purchased separately in my TPT store. The best thing about this product is, you do not HAVE to be using Foundations to use it! I would love to hear your feedback or any ideas that you have or would like me to create! I hope that all of the teachers that use Fundations find this bundle to be not only useful, but easy to prep! Once I create more products to add to this bundle I will share them with you on my Instagram and on a post! Here are a few pictures of my kiddies!

Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum! 

If you don't know who Chrysanthemum is then you are most likely not a teacher especially a primary one! This has been a staple first week of school book ever since I started teaching 10 years ago. Not to mention it is written by one of my favorite authors Kevin Henkes. It sends such a great message to young children in a way that is easy for them to relate too. It doesn't matter how many times I have read it, I love waiting for the gasps when Victoria "the bully" picks on Chrysanthemum. However, my favorite part is the end, but I won't ruin it for those who have not read it yet! Here is a picture the book Chrysanthemum along with my sidekick Nemo. 

So you are probably wondering what Nemo has to do with this book and bullying?! Well, if you know me personally you would know exactly what these two have in common! Nemo has been helping me teach my kiddies about being different for the last few years. This is because I was born with one arm.  As many of you can imagine it can be somewhat difficult for young children to grasp. However, one day I realized "OMG Nemo would be the perfect example because he has a little fin!"and I was absolutely right! Ever since I brought Nemo up about having a little fin in comparison to my arm my kiddies totally get it! It is hysterical/sweet to hear most of them say "Oh I get it now!" I teach them about the importance of treating everyone how they would like to be treated. I also tell my kiddies how fortunate I was and still am to have be brought up by my amazing parents who never let anything stop me! I try to instill this in each and every one of them. Telling and showing them they can do anything they put their mind too and should never let anyone or anything stop them. I am so grateful to have a career where I am able to inspire children every day and teach them about being different, it is such a great feeling and most of all rewarding! 

Chalk it up to Target!

Soooo who was able to score some of those awesome chalkboard laptops at Target?? Well, I managed to find 2 & am still on the hunt for more. I knew what I had in store for them before I even purchased them. I really wanted to use them as part of my word work center. I knew I had to create a keyboard because what laptop is complete without a keyboard right?!?! 
I am so excited to share my finished project with you. Here it is….. 
I mean come on, isn’t this awesome!?
Sooooo what do I have in store for this you ask? Well, I plan to use it as an ongoing word work center all year. Starting with letter sounds and names, followed by sight words, and moving on to sentences. You could add in rhyming, word families, etc. 
This is how I plan to use the center:
My kiddies will first say the word,  “type” the sight word, letter, etc on the keyboard. Then they will write the sight word on the screen with chalk. All you need is a damp cloth or eraser and the chalk comes right off. Make sure to tell your students to hold the screen when writing the word because the string holding it up is not too strong. I plan on going through procedures with them before they use these. 
This keyboard does not just come by itself on my TPT store, but also with sight word cards pre-primed to word list 3. I made it a growing bundle because Alphabet cards and sentences are in the works. Remember that as s growing bundle the price can increase at any time. The link to purchase this can be found below. 
I hope you are as excited about this product as I am!! I can’t wait to share some pictures of my kiddies putting this to use! 

Target Dollar Bin Summer Stash!

       Did you buy a ton of goodies from the target dollar bins & now need some ideas on how to utilize them? Like many of you, I have spent my summer literally digging through various target dollar bins. My husband would cringe when I even mentioned Target!  I admit that I have even been that person to ask an associate to open the boxes that  are just sitting there unopened  😳. I know I'm not the only crazy one who does this lol. Needless to say, I am verrrry excited about what I found! Here is a look at what I found & some suggestions on how to put them to use. 
      These word building boards are a great addition to a word work center or early finisher work! They come with magnetic letter tiles as well as stars that can be used for extra letters, & a dry erase marker. You could use these when introducing sight words, blends, digraphs, word families & math words! I have placed all of them in plastic envelopes from the Dollar Tree (I found the ones with the Velcro on the front fit them the best). Just pop out your letters and place everything in the bag! I am going to store them in plastic rolling drawers that I have labeled. 
dont mind my foot there
bagged & ready to go
These chalkboard lap tops are by far my favorite find! I cannot wait to add some color to them & make them look like a real laptop on the outside! There are so many possibilities with these gems! You could add a mini keyboard to the bottom, which I'm working on now, and have your kiddies "type"and write sight words, letters, numbers, math facts, sentences. I could just got on and on with possibilities. I am planning to use them for letter work in the beginning of the year along with CVC picture cards I have. They will say the name of the picture (ex. 🐶 "dog" , "type" d & write the letter on the top.) this could be an ongoing center all year starting with beginning sounds, ending, middle, & working your way to words and sentences. I will definitely be blogging more about these!  
who would pass these up?!
I found these adhesive pockets in square (pictured below with my book bin labels inside). I also found them in a rectangle shape & bought a ton! You could use these for book bins, supply bins, folder bins, cubby numbers & signs, schedule cards, center bins, plastic drawers, behavior/incentive charts on your kiddies desks, table numbers, so many more possibilities!  
I picked up (& still am picking up) a TON of these mini books! I absolutely love the visual with the label. At first I was just going to use these for my writing center so children have a reference for words they cannot sound out or do not know. However, I keep going back and buying more to use in other areas. I think these are also great for read to self or someone for children who are still struggling because they have a visual. It will definitely boost their confidence, which is a big part of becoming a reader! They could also be used in a math center as well when working on numbers and shapes. Oh, did I not mention, they fit PERFECTLY in those 97 cent bins from Walmart! 
Ok, I think I went a little crazy when I saw these! They are a teachers dream! They coming in their own reusable bag with everything you need! All you have to do is unwrap the cards inside. I probably bought 3 of each (but who's counting). These are a great resource for early finishers work and are very easy for your kiddies to use. They are also very self explanatory so you will not be sitting there explaining the directions for an hour. You could also use these for morning work (placing a new bin at each table every day) or in centers. I will obviously explain how we use, handle, and store them before they are put to use. I am also planning on using them in my guided easing groups as well for my preA/A levels. 
Last, but definitely not least, since I know I will be back there! I was so excited when I saw these dry erase boards with the primary lines and a blank space on the back. We do not use lines in the beginning of the year to write so the blank side is great for that. Once we move onto lines they can just flip the board over and WALA! These could literally be used in any center, activity, small group, etc. that you can think of! The best part is they are only $1!! 
I hope you enjoyed my first blog post & were able to walk away with some ideas for your dollar bin finds! I will be posting these goodies in action once my year starts in September!