Thursday, March 16, 2017

Grab & Go Centers!

Hey everyone!  I'm here to talk about some new center games that I'm so excited about!  I found a need in my classroom to have centers that were skill based and not necessarily theme related.  I was also looking for something that I could use to help differentiate the levels in my groups and provide choices.  
I came up with some fun independent Spill & Shake games that I can use ANY time of the year.  I can put different bags in my word work and math centers and kids can grab the one that they want! LOVE! 
I wanted to keep the format consistent, so I didn't have to explain the directions each week.  Kids come to these centers and they know exactly what to do.  I love that they're 100% engaged!
 I have kids in my class who need a lot more help with CVC words, so these games are perfect for them.  I have other kids who are well above kindergarten reading level.  So, I needed to challenge them more.  I created the same type of games, but with vowel patterns.  This was the perfect way to differentiate!

I have also used these games in my morning tubs.  Instead of having the kids color the pictures, they had to cover the picture with the colored cubes that matched the word.  They were so engaged!
I love that they have to think about the word/picture, and also what color it is.
Of course I had to make some fun games for math too.  These are helping my kids identify numbers on the 100's chart.  The kids love these games because they don't need any help doing it & they're 100% engaged!
  I love centers like this!

While we're on the topic of morning tubs (a new thing in my classroom), I wanted to show you guys a hot new game.  The kids are going crazy for this game!
It's called Build It! Buzz It!

The kids lay all the cards face down in a pile.  Each kid has these colored cubes: red, blue, green, orange, and purple.  They have to match the same color pattern as the card by using their cubes.  First one to do that presses the buzzer and keeps the card!  They were having SO much fun with this game that I just had to buy different buzzers. 

{CLICK HERE} to find them! They can't wait to get to this bucket!  I'm a happy teacher!

Here's what the bucket looks like:

Here's a sneak peak at some of the other games I've made so far:
 (Can you tell I like to make games?!)

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you found some new ideas to add to your morning routine or centers!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Phonics Rules

Hey everyone! I'm Amy from Cahill's Creations.  
I'm here to talk about phonics rules for different letter combinations or "letter buddies!"

I saw a need to make some visuals for my kids because they're ready for more spelling patterns.  I felt that all the different letter buddies needed some serious attention.  
SO, I created a Hollywood themed phonics set!  

These letters just needed a red carpet and a spotlight.

As I introduce the sounds, I start with this card:

We talk about the different words that have this sound.  We practice reading and writing them on our whiteboards.  We always do a song in the lesson too!

Then, I show them the spotlight and we talk about how important the letter sounds are.
I made sorting picture/word cards to put in a center.  The kids sort the words and write them on a recording sheet.  To make this center extra fun I bought these fancy glasses to wear while working in this center.  They love wearing fun glasses!   

Click the picture to find these!


Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentines for your Students

Do you know what profession receives the most Valentines? I'm sure you know, it is TEACHERS!! Each Valentine's Day teachers all over the country receive Valentines from their current students, former students, coworkers, administrators and any significant others they may have in their lives. It's so AWESOME! 

So, how about your students?  Do you give them a Valentine each year? Chances are if you are an Elementary grade teacher, you give your students a Valentine card and possibly a small gift on this day of love.

If this is what you do each year, I have a FREEBIE you might be interested in.

This packet contains free Valentines you can give your class. With three to choose from, you are sure to find one to fit your needs:

Quarter Page Size Card: This card can be printed on card stock and given to students.  You can even add a special treat such as a pencil, or lollipop if you want to. Just punch holes or use clear tape to attach.

Treat Bag Tag:  This card is sized so you can print on card stock, cut out and fold over a snack size zip lock bag.  Fill the bags with candy, Goldfish crackers, Teddy Grams or any other treat you would like.

Ruler Valentine: This last one is my favorite! I try to stock up on rulers in August when they are on sale at the beginning of school. Sometimes you can purchase them for as little as 50 cents each.  Then on Valentine's Day, you can use this card to give them to your students as a very special Valentine's gift. 

One year my daughter used these to give to her classmates cute colorful rulers as Valentines.  They loved it!

This packet also has a couple of fun Valentine Activities you can do with your students on Valentine's Day:  a Graphing Activity (for which you will need a small box of Conversation Hearts Candy for each student.) and a word scramble:

If you would like to download this Valentine's Freebie   all you have to do is click on the picture below.

I hope you and your students have a great Valentine's Day.  Stop by and visit me at:

Until Next Time........

Monday, January 2, 2017

Polar Bear Close Read

Friends~Do you LOVE close reads?  I sure do and so do my students.  Next week,  we will be studying the Polar Bear and I know they are going to be crazy about them!  They also love QR codes so I thought I would mix the two up.  I created a Polar Bear Close Read for our listening center.  
The Schroeder Page

The Schroeder PageThe Schroeder Page

It was so simple to do.  I printed out my FREE Polar Bear Close Read and then mounted it to a file folder upside down.  (I wanted the tab at the bottom.)  Now my students can open the folder and read the text or scan the code to have it read to them by me!  I also added my Close Reading Boomarks.  I really like when my students use the bookmarks because they help them pick apart the text.  Because I laminated the folder, my students can use expo markers to write on the text to help them pinpoint important information.  They can also answer the comprehension questions on the back.  

Watch this quick tutorial showing how I put this close read listening center together for my students. 
One wipe and they are clean for the next student to use!
Plus, it saves tons on copies!  
You can grab a FREE copy of the file by clicking the image below!  
The Schroeder Page

We will also be making life size models of polar bear paws!  Check them out! They are fascinating!
Click the image above to read more about our Polar Bear Study!


Sunday, January 1, 2017


The new science standards have been tough to maneuver this year.  One strand that kept coming up in each unit was a stem project.  Stem was very new to me but I decided, along with my 1st grade team to go for it.  In December we did a mini-unit on Nutcrackers.  We were taking the kids to go see the Nutcracker play and thought, why not do a lesson on nutcrackers.  But the best part of all was that the kids would be making a nutcracker at home with their families.  The results were amazing!  We told the that the nutcracker should be able to crack just a regular peanut or a gold fish (for those allergy classrooms).  The families went above and beyond.  We got some great responses back from our families.  

Here are some pictures!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Embracing the Elf Activities

Hi everyone, I hope you are surviving the last few weeks before Christmas break with your students.  It is a hectic time for teachers as we try to keep our students engaged during the day and then work to finish all of our Christmas home projects at night.  Even though it is a tiring time, I love teaching during the month of December.  If your students are anything like mine there is a lot of talk in our classroom about the Elf on the Shelf, his or her pet reindeer or pet dog.  I like to capitalize on my students' interests when teaching.  If they are engaged it makes my job so much easier.  Here are some ways I have embraced the "Elf"


I am currently teaching data management and pictographs.  To help keep my students interest I decided to put cards with a picture of a boy elf, a girl elf and a reindeer pet in a brown paper bag.  Students take turn drawing the cards out of the bag and using tally marks to record their results.  The students then use their data to make a pictograph.

There is something about using the Elf that suddenly causes all my students to want to see who is hiding in Santa's Bag.

If you think the "Elf" might help you teach pictographs, you can get it here

Language Arts

If you haven't ordered the book "Memoirs of an Elf" from Scholastic you should.  My students love the story and it is a great book to get students writing about Elves and their adventures.  
I love giving students hashtags and having them write about the "Elfie" they made.  Below are just some that I have used with my class.

If you own the book and would like this writing activity, you can get it here.

To help your students write about the Elf and answer that popular question "How do you spell?", you may want to download this FREEBIE.
Hang in there, only ten more days until a much needed break!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rethinking Writing Prompts! Spice up your writing block!

Hello all!  Thank you so much for stopping by!  It's Hilary From Primary Planet!
Today I want you to stop for a moment and re imagine Writing Prompts.
Usually when I think of writing prompts, I think of a narrow, specific task that the students need to address. 
What if I told you that Writing Prompts could be fun, scaffolded, and engaging?  What if I even told you that your kiddos would ask for them during Writer's Workshop or Writing Centers (even your most reluctant writers)?

Let me introduce: Pick a Prompts and Story Starter Cootie Catchers!

Super Silly Pick a Prompt

First up: Pick a Prompts!

These are writing prompts that give the kiddos choice over what elements they want to write about.  These are perfect for substitute teachers, fast finishers, or the "I don't know what to write about " gang.  They have pictures with short, easy to read captions that scaffold your students writing!  These are great for ELL students as well!
Super Silly Pick a Prompt 

Your students choose one "prompt" from each section, then use them to write their story!

When I use them in my classroom we have a discussion before we write.  We read all of the choices and if there is something that they don't understand we clarify.  
I make a list of "key words" on my whiteboard easel, then let the kiddos turn and talk to  a partner about their plans for writing.

Then, the kiddos go back to their spots, circle their choices and write, write, write!
Sometime the kiddos make some modifications to help the prompt better fit their needs:
Super Silly Pick a Prompt
I also often challenge the students to use all of the elements!  My kiddos LOVE these and often ask for them.

If you would like to give these a try, I have a freebie in my store HERE!

If you like these prompts, but are trying to go paperless, I have several digital versions in my store as well!  They work with Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive!  You can find them here:

Up Next:  Story Starter Cootie Catchers

I have to start with: My kiddos LOVE Cootie Catchers (or fortune tellers if you prefer). You would think that they were somehow magical that is how much my kiddos love them!
What a better way to get them writing but to use a cootie catcher for a writing prompt!
These are similar to the Pick a Prompts as it has choices for Settings, Characters, and Plots.
Throw in that they are on a cootie catcher and it is magical!

Let me first say that folding Cootie Catchers with second graders was a bit of a challenge the first time we did it.  Yes, I almost tore all of my hair out, but I had a student who knew how to fold them on her own, so she was a great big help.  Let me also say, it was worth it!  The kiddos were enamored with them all day!  They asked to take them home as well!
These would be great for putting in your Writing Center for Writer's Workshop, fast finishers, or as holiday gifts (yes, they really love them that much!)

First, we folded them.  It was painful the first time we did this, the second time went much smoother.  I only had to refold a few of them!  

Then, we take some time to explore them with our partners and tell stories!

Then, we go back to our writing spots and using the special paper, get drawing and writing!

My heavens!  These kiddos wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more!  They actually groaned when I told them that Writer's Workshop was over!  Even my kiddos who do everything they can to avoid writing!
If you would like to try these, I have a freebie (it is Halloween themed, but it would be fun to try out!) HERE

Now in my room when I say "Today we will be writing to a prompt" the kiddos all cheer!
Of course we still do some of the old, test style ones as well...
but you can probably guess which ones they prefer!

If you are looking to spice up your writing block, you can find these products by clicking on the pictures, or here in my TpT store:

These are the links to the bundle, but you can buy them separately as well!