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So if you've ever played BINGO with your students, well, you know already know it can get loud. But don't tune me out just yet! 

I know, loud can = chaos. BUTTTTTTTT, they LOVE it!!

Those loud, chaotic moments are the moments they remember! The reasons they look forward to coming to see you each and every day. And the moments they miss when they've moved onto the next grade level! 

So now that I have your attention, your next thought or question may be, well how do I make BINGO work for what I am teaching. 

So, BINGO can work for anything you are teaching, really! Place Value, math facts, expanded form, skip counting, and I'm listing all math activities because I am teaching only math and science this year, but I know you can do a lot of reading activities with BINGO as well.

My kiddos even love BINGO so much that they ask to play it during indoor recess, instead of doing Gonoodle, watching a magic school bus, or even playing games. 

Something else with BINGO, kiddos love using emoji erasers from Five Below! I think I got a GIANT pack for $3. Or you could trade out the seasonal $1 mini-erasers Target always has!

Wanna try it for free?! Why not, you don't have anything to lose!


Many students are able to route count long before they enter the school system. However, every once in a while there may be a student or two that enters your classroom that counting was something they've never been introduced to. Or maybe for one reason or another they are just unable to. 

There are a few students in my classroom this year who had not yet mastered counting. Some of them could count to 10, but they didn't understand and hadn't yet grasped the concept of one-to-one correspondence. Meaning when counting a group of objects, and prompted to tell me how many, they would count one, two, three, etc and not count each actual object. 

Once they had the route counting down, we practiced touching and counting each object. They became bored with counting and counting and counting. So I wanted to make it fun for them, so I came up with the idea of Color and Count! I currently have this Freebie available:


Each page has a color key with 5 different objects for the students to color, and then count. This has helped my students feel successful at counting, while doing something they enjoy-coloring!

First grade is such a monumental year. So many new skills these young learners acquire, in reading and math, and the opportunity to watch first grade students grow is something I don't ever plan on changing!! 

I have taught 1st grade for the past 4 years. This year I have 1st and 2nd graders, so it's been a little bit different than in years past. I also only teach math to two groups of kiddos. I share these kiddos with my teammate that teaches them reading and writing. 

So one of the most IMPORTANT skills in math in first grade is comprehending place value. Without a solid base of understanding place value, it is really hard to move past that and build on it.

This week we have been working on place value. My highest group of kiddos have been working on adding within 100. 

We start out the lesson by reviewing the I can statement and focus poster. Both these hang on the clothes line that is directly above my small group table. I teach my math lesson based off what the students needs within a small group setting. I find that hanging these up on the clothesline is convenient and practical!

My students have really connected with using base ten blocks to build two digit numbers, as well as solve a 2 digit number plus a multiple of 10. Even when playing these spin and add games, my students used the base ten blocks to successful help them out.

These games are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, you can find them by clicking HERE! You can also find the I can poster and focus wall poster for 1.NBT.4 HERE :)
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!

With it being the infamous Dr. Seuss week, and me being a primary school teacher, doctor Seuss' birthday doesn't go by without mention. My dilemma being that I teach Math, but yet wanted to read one of his books.

I was in Target checking out the other day, and they had many different Dr. Seuss titles, but when I saw Ten Apples up on Top I thought of an activity for the kiddos to do to go with the text!

After reading the story we discussed how each page an animal added another apple trying to out-do the other animals. I teach 2 different classes of math, so I differentiate this activity by having my one class write equations with different color apples, and my other class count and label the apples stacked on top of their head in their picture.

Kiddos love Dr. Seuss and I didn't want them to miss out on it in my room just because I teach math. I love integrating fun read-alouds into our math lessons! They enjoyed it as well!

What fun activities did you do in your classroom to celebrate Dr. Seuss and his birthday?

You know it never gets easier. Call me Debbie Downer, or Negative Nelly, but it's the truth, watching our babies grow, it is sooo bittersweet. I am getting ready to return to work after having my fifth and final baby, after 75 days of being able to stay home. It has been amazing. Like parts of me wish I could stay home. I made lunches daily for my older school children, I made these wonderful meals at night, my house has been clean, my toddler and I have played games and done crafty things! I mean really, real-life, this kinda stuff doesn't happen when I'm working, which makes me feel like a terrible mother, but it's the truth! But I have truly enjoyed my time off.

And even though I know when I return to work I won't be making meatloaf on school nights, or vacuuming my living room daily, I know that my babies will be loved. They know I love them, and if there is one thing I've always done that is to make time for them. We talk about their days. We laugh about funny things that have happened. Sometimes we even get a pick up game(baseketball) in before dinner. I come to their games and baton competitions and parades and concerts and cheer them on. I pick them up from practices. I help them with their homework. I make sure they brush their teeth (although not nearly enough I'm sure). I make sure their clothes are clean. I make sure we have food in the house (even those not so healthy treats they love, along with fruits and healthier choices, of course ha ;). I sing to them at bedtime and we pray every night. My children know that I love them. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't tell them each MANY times how much they are loved. And I'm sure you are the same way, you do many things for your own children. Thank you for raising your children in a loving home :)

I always knew I wanted to teach. It was something that was bigger than me. Even after dropping out of college, getting pregnant, fighting all the odds of being a single mom, getting married, having 2 more kiddos, I earned my bachelors and masters degree and got my certification to teach. I truly believe I was put on this Earth to teach. 

And teaching in today's world is so much more than teaching fractions or poetry or chemistry. I mean yes, of course, we all have curriculum we have to teach our students, but we teach so much more than that. Students come to us from broken homes, they may be unwanted or feel unwanted, they may have no concept of how to act socially, or how to handle their emotions. Our students may come to school without food in their homes, or even without homes. They may have different last names than their family members, they may be being raised by no one they are related to. They may have seen things you or I couldn't even imagine. They may have dealt with loss, more loss than a child should even deal with. They may smile while hiding a closet full of secrets. I choose to teach to reach these babies, even if it's just 1 baby a year. I choose to teach to make sure that 1 student that needs to feel loved, feels it, and knows it.

Those who stumble upon this post that aren't in the education field, please know, and don't judge me, that I do love my own children. BUT I know that the children put in my classroom also need me, and I love them as well. And that's what keeps me in this profession. 

Thank you teaching mommas (and teaching daddys) who choose to stay in our profession and teach. With behavior issues, parental issues, administration issues, curriculum issues, testing issues, and all the other issues, THANK YOU for continuing to not only raise your own children in a loving home, but also help raise your students in a loving classroom :) YOU are making a difference in our world, and the future is truly in our classrooms. 

P.S. Thank you for reading, this was more of a pep-talk for myself, but hopefully it helps other teaching parents as well:)

Any primary teacher that has attempted to teach their beloved students how to solve word problems, has surely encountered the Word Problem Woes.

You know the look, that deer in the headlights, have no idea what is going on, "I'm lost Mrs. Ebersole" look. Teaching students how to solve word problems in 1st grade is not an easy task. In fact, the students' ability to solve word problems relies heavily on the students ability to comprehend the words or the situation in the word problem.

Take for example this word problem:

This is an example of one of the word problems I give to my students to start our day as a warm-up. 

I incorporate word problems throughout the entire year as a warm-up. We also work on word problems throughout the year in small group instruction. 

At the beginning of the school year, I introduce my expectations for our warm-ups and solving word problems. I explain to them that everyday I will read the word problem to them (the important thing is for them to be able to solve the word problems, not read them). I also explain to them that they can use any method I teach them to solve the word problems. As the weeks pass, I introduce different ways and tools to solve the word problems. We use number lines, hundreds charts, manipulatives (counters), draw pictures, as well as I continuously model how to solve the more difficult word problems I see them struggling to successfully solve.

So given the word problem above, many of my students would right away want to add 8 + 2.  As I walk around the room, as they are solving, even if I see the majority of them solving it incorrectly, I still give them about 5-7 minutes to work through the problem. I re-read the problem quite a few times for the students who need that repeated direction or extra processing time.

After giving the students a few minutes to solve, I then ask 2 questions. The first thing I ask is, what is this problem asking us to solve? Many students don't even hear what I said, they just want to spew out the answer. I will then repeat myself, and say PLEASE LISTEN--WHAT IS THIS PROBLEM ASKING US TO SOLVE? Sometimes I even have to re-read the problem because they are unsure what the problem is asking them to solve.  Then someone will finally say, "it wants us to find how many hearts Jada can cut out." And I may clap or I may do a cheer, but either way, I make a big deal that they understood what the problem is asking of us.

The 2nd question I ask them, with EVERY word problem, is what do we know? Meaning when we read this problem, what do we know about what is happening. Of course in the word problem above, the answer I am looking for is "We know that each piece of paper can be made into 8 hearts, AND we also know that Jada has 2 pieces of paper". 

So after we review those 2 questions What is this problem asking us to solve, and what do we know---I then will give them some more think time (if needed).  This gives the students the chance to go back and check their work, or go back and start over and change their work and answer. 

I will then ask students, what answer did you get? I'll have a few students share, after each one stating their answer, I'll ask their peers, do you agree or disagree? Thumbs up or down? After giving me their answer, I'll have them tell me how they solved. Some students prefer to draw a picture, some prefer number lines, others prefer hands on manipulatives.

With the word problems that I see quite a few students struggle on, I will model how to solve. Like in the word problem shown above, I would draw the 2 pieces of paper that Jada had, and I will draw 8 hearts on each piece of paper. And with some word problems, I may model various ways to solve it. 

I encourage my students to really think about the word problem and what it's asking us to solve. We focus on the things we know that are happening in the word problem, and we go from there. I have found this way to be very successful for the students in my classroom. Many of them struggle with comprehension, so breaking it down into smaller chunks is key to their success.

If you are interested in checking out my word problem sets, I have them currently available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, or you can click the images below!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/February-Word-Problem-Warm-Ups-Printables-1OA1-2940341 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Problems-Addition-and-Subtraction-NO-PREP-Printables-1722883

I know, you're probably thinking, really??! Can we get to our holiday break first before we start thinking about going back?!?! Hopefully you have enjoyed/ are enjoying your holiday break!

That first day back is always rough! Kiddos are out of their routines, probably tired from staying up late, you'll have that one or two that cry because they miss their mommy after getting to spend so many days with her. GOOD LUCK! So just to think ahead, so you're not spending all of your Sunday night before you go back searching for ideas and activities for your classroom, I've put together some ideas that may be useful to you and your classroom.

Now these are some ideas I've come up with for the primary classroom (K-2), but if you have some ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments below! 

Write All About It!
If you teach students that are able to put their thoughts into writing, give them some paper, and a prompt, such as What was your favorite part about your break? Or write a story telling me all about your break. 
This allows your students to get out their excitement from their break, wanting to tell YOU and all their classmates every tiny detail! After giving them some time to write, you can then bring them all to the rug (or wherever you meet as a class), and depending on your time, allow some to share. 

Build It!!
What students don't love play-doh? Well actually, I did have one the other year, so if you do have students that don't like it, offer them an alternative (such as paint, draw, color). But give students play-doh to build a scene or a particular part of their break that they liked the most.
When students are finished, you can have them do a gallery walk (walk around the classroom and look at each others work) and then bring them back to the rug to ask any clarifying questions to each other about their artwork.

Review Rules and Procedures
Even though you've spent probably around 80 school days prior to your holiday break in a routine, and you think your kiddos got the rules/procedures down pat--being off for a number of days can really lend to them forgetting what exactly it is they are supposed to do! 
Make sure you build in enough time to review or go over your classroom rules/expectations/procedures. 
You can find the rules/expectations posters--- HERE
Start an highly engaging unit!
Whether it's opinion writing or an author study on Jan Brett, upon returning from holiday break, no better way to engage your students is to start a highly engaging unit!

My students love opinion writing, you can find this What would you choose? book HERE, it's a great way to introduce opinion writing.

Flipbook to reflect on their time off!
Students love flipbooks, this can be used for returning from any break! Click on the picture above to be taken to the flipbook!
If you have any suggestions for returning after holiday break, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!!

Wishing you all the best in the upcoming New Year!!
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