FREE Kindergarten Math Centers Your Students Will LOVE

Math centers are a fun and effective way to get kindergarten students engaged in learning and applying important math skills and strategies that we are working on in the classroom. 

Your students get to have a more active role in their learning when you use engaging centers, and it gives you a chance to do more one-on-one instruction with the students who need it. This gives students an increased sense of independence, which is always a great thing! 

They will also get the opportunity to work with hands-on manipulatives. With students this age, this improves their motivation to learn which then increases their outcomes and helps them hit benchmarks with ease. You can do individual testing once they know how to do centers independently. 

I love coming up with fun and creative centers to get my students excited about math. The opportunities are truly endless! 

My favorite math centers theme is a “Math Salad Bar” or “Math Café”

math centers

You can make your Math Café (or Buffet or Salad Bar) out of a bookcase or a rolling cart. A student pulls out the manipulative cart and then they choose a recipe card which functions like a task card. It includes the material list, number of people who can participate in the math activity, picture cues, and directions. They will choose their partners if required, fill their tray with materials, and do the activity anywhere in the room! They can easily clean up by using a tray to hold their materials.

Here are three fun activities to include in your café

  • Roll and Cover Caterpillar
  • Sorting Bears by Color
  • Fish Match Up Addition

The best part is, you can get all three of these math centers for FREE by visiting my store here.

math centers

You’ll get everything you need to get started with your own Math Salad Bar or Math Café. 

Check out this video on how to set it up in your classroom!

For more tips, you can also check out my post here.

If you love these and want some more activities, you can get more with the full bundle here! This yearlong bundle includes digital cards, blank recipe cards, assessments, posters and crafts as well as more math centers. 

What is your favorite thing about math centers? Let me know in the comments!

 

Beginner Sight Words | DRESS or T-Shirt Idea

Wearable Sight Words? Why not! Sight word and shape templates can easily be used to create your own sight word dress or t-shirt. Buy a white dress or t-shirt.  I found mine at Amazon. Use the templates to plan how you want your dress to look. Place the templates under the dress or shirt to trace the words and/or shapes.

sight Word Dress

sight word dress 5

Some ideas for students:

  • Let them pick a sight word to color.
  • Give verbal directions to students color the word to improve listening skills.
  • Play the Go Fish game to build a sight word. That word is theirs to color on the dress.
  • Design their own dress.
  • Design their own t-shirt.
  • Get a fly swatter. Place the words on the floor. Call out a word and have students swat the word.
  • Use the Sight Word Journals to write about the daily or weekly sight words.

Sight Word Journal

Last, wear the dress or shirt to school on a special day.  See if students remember which words they colored. You will impress the principal as well as remind students of valuable sight words.

sight word dress idea

I decided not to place any words on the back or top so I could call out a sight word or shape and have students try to find it without touching inappropriate places.

Sight Word Dress

You can add just 5 words a week and make it a reward to color a sight word, then wear it on a special day.

-OR-

Make the whole dress and have a volunteer work with one student at a time to color their sight word.

sight word dress

Students LOVE seeing their teacher all dressed up in something they helped create! It makes learning new concepts a breeze!

sight word dress idea

HAVE FUN! Grab the templates HERE.

 

How to Make Alphabet Worksheets Fun

Teachers cringe in primary grades with they hear the word “worksheets”, but we all understand that they are important hands-on tools for developing readers and writers. They truly are the simplest and most straightforward way to give students lots of practice with the skills they need to learn. 

Worksheets get a bad rap in my opinion! 

If you have worksheets that require cutting, coloring, painting, folding, thinking, and creating, they serve as great learning tools for developing minds. It also gives students a variety of ways to practice their skills so they don’t get restless. They don’t have to be boring! There are so many ways to make them fun.

worksheets

 Center time is a great time to use worksheets. 

This is because students can work together to create a group project or individually to learn beginning sounds, letter formation, and practice letter identification.  These worksheets and crafts are great for that. 

Here are some creative ways to use alphabet worksheets in your classroom

worksheets

  • Add playdough to a worksheet to form letters for fine motor skills.
  • Add them into plastic sleeves and let students use dry erase markers to fill them out. This saves on paper and also gets students engaged because who doesn’t love using those markers? 
  • Have a snowball fight with them afterward. Students will be more motivated to get their work completed and excited to do them! Just tell them when they are done with their worksheet, bring it to you to check, then if all is well, they can ball it up and make a snowball. When everyone is done, let the snowball fight begin! 
  • Add a soccer goal or basketball hoop! This is a great way to get students up and moving. Once they complete their worksheet and have it checked off, they get to shoot a basket or kick their “ball” into the soccer goal. 
  • Make crafts out of them! As mentioned above and in this post here, crafts are so great for little learners for so many reasons. If you are working on letters, have students create something with their letters. For example, turn the letter A into an alligator by coloring or painting, adding googly eyes, and a mouth. 

I created these alphabet worksheets as a way to give students lots of practice with the letters of the alphabet without getting bored. 

Each letter comes with a variety of activities and ways to practice. It is a complete A-Z bundle so it will be all you need for your reading or writing lessons!

What are your favorite ways to use worksheets in the classroom? Let me know in the comments!

Blurt Beans: Classroom Management Strategies

Is your class super talkative this year? Do your amazing lessons get interrupted repeatedly? Are you looking for strategies and interventions to get student’s attention and prevent them from blurting out?

You are in the right place and NOT ALONE. Student interruptions are normal.  The good news is there are strategies you can use to prevent the behavior.

I have several ways to help students learn expectations, but the Blurt Bean system is one of my favorite tools. There are several ways you can use a Blurt Bean Jar. If you are interested in a low interruption lesson, I will explain my two ways of using beans for behavior.

Stop the Blurting Out

Blurt bean jars are amazing for helping students who are blurting out.  Sometimes they don’t even know they are blurting out.  It is important that students understand why it’s a problem and learn some strategies of how they can help the class. Beans are cheap and less likely to be eaten.

Blurt Beans

Types of Beans

You can use coffee beans, dried pinto beans, black beans, northern white beans, virtual beans, or even jelly beans.  I’m not a fan of jelly beans just because they tend to eat them and bugs, but maybe you will have better luck.  You will be surprised how protective students are of their little beans.

You will need two clear jars.  I prefer plastic to avoid them breaking, but it’s important for kids to see the beans filling up in the jars. One jar is to hold the beans. Label the jar Blurt Beans or something else catchy. The other jar needs to have two to four lines with labels of prizes the class can earn for filling up the jar. Let students help you decide on the prizes to get them to “buy-in” to the new system.

You can write on the jar, add labels to the jar, write on tape, and put the tape on the jar. The higher the lines, the better the prizes. Students take ownership when they pick their own prizes.

Two Behavior Management Options

There are two options. The first option is to put 5 blurt beans on each student’s desk. If they have a name tag, I tell them to keep them on their name tag or in the pencil groove. In addition, they are responsible for their beans. Beans found on the floor get added to the Blurt Bean Jar. When students blurt out you, another student or the student must put a bean back in the Blurt Bean Jar.

The second way is a more sanitary option.  You control the beans. Provide a small cup or container to hold 5 beans for each student and you or one student who will be the Bean Monitor will remove beans when a student blurts out.

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day (no matter which way you do it), you will let the kids pour their beans into the 2nd jar to see if the beans hit the line for them to earn anything.  This is important because it’s fun for them to add their own beans and it gives them ownership. Once beans are earned, YOU CAN NOT take them out. They have earned them and need to know you won’t remove earned beans. If the whole class does a great job of being quiet and not blurting out, you can add extra “COOL BEANS” to the jar. Absolutely, make sure you announce it to the class when you do it.

When kids blurt out and get a bean removed, I don’t make a huge deal out of it to avoid embarrassment, but I do make a big deal at the end of the day when students fill up the jar. Clearly make sure to follow through on any promised rewards. Certificates are provided for home reinforcement.

blurt bean jar

When the jar fills up yell, “Cool Beans!” Then, reward them. Kids love it!

Virtual Beans

I know a lot of you are teaching online this year.  The good news is Google Slides makes it simple to have virtual beans that you add to a virtual jar. You can control them and still have the students learn about interruptions, expectations and plan their online prizes.

What Else Can I Do

Next, it’s important to teach students some strategies. Especially, for repeat offenders. Here are a few.

  • Use a journal to write your thoughts before you BLURT.
  • Raise your hand.
  • Stop and Think before you speak
  • Be an Active Listener (eye contact, lean forwards, quiet hands)
  • Hold your voice until times you can talk (lunch, centers, recess or free time)
  • Use a Focus Squishy

Blurt Beans Journal

Blurt Beans allow me to easily tie in writing with different prompts.  Students love to write their opinion about the new behavior management system. I give them a persuasive prompt to convenience the teacher of an amazing prize. Students can practice explaining how to fill up the blurt jar to get their prizes. They love the prompts.  I tell them they can rub or shake the beans for inspiration.

Blurt Beans

Read Stories About Blurting

There is a story provided in the Blurt Bean download called Billy the Blurter.  I have students put their thumbs up if they hear someone blurting out during the story. Also, I read books like My Mouth is a Volcano or It’s Hard to Be a Verb. Students are able to make text-to-self connections easily.

RULES & Posters

Students will buy-in to the system if you let them write their own rules, teach them how to regulate their voices, and model behavior.  Place posters around the most visible area to remind students of expectations. I like to have my own beans on my desk and tell them my principal gave them to me for not blurting out at the last staff meeting.  They will see that self-control is a life skill.

voice regulator

Also – don’t forget to follow Teacher’s Brain on TpT, so you never miss out on fun ideas and exclusive free stuff!

Another GREAT classroom management tool is Desk Pets. Read all about them and grab a freebie HERE.