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Archive for the ‘Teaching on A Budget’ Category

postheadericon Goodbye First Grade….Hello Third Grade!


Educator Station has moved to third grade!  I am so excited to begin a new school year in a new grade level. 

It has been fun picking out my classroom rules posters, my behavior clip chart, and organizing my classroom has been a lot of work, but I have enjoyed every minute of it! Seeing everything nice and clean and organized is a great feeling. 

I thought I would share some of the things I have been working on to get the new year going. 

First, I want to implement character traits into my daily routine. Each month, I would like to choose a trait to model and read about throughout the month. When I see students exhibiting the trait, they will get a "Caught Being Good" ticket. At the end of each week, I will pick from my "Caught Being Good" container and those students will get to go to the prize box. Each child, that is chosen for the prizebox, will be complimented and celebrated each Friday. This is just a little way to acknowledge and celebrate each child in the classroom. 

Below are the Caught Being Good Tickets. Click on the image below to download them. 


caught being good ticket


Mrs. Castro posted about teaching monthly character traits with a literature list to use along with each character trait. Click HERE to see that post. 


I also ordered these red stools from IKEA. I have them around my teacher table and my students love sitting on them. 


The stools are working out so well, I decided to order more of them for my computer center. 


So, I would say we are off to a great start! I have a great classroom filled with wonderful students. Thrid grade is off to a great start! 

Do you start your day off with a morning message each day? I find this is a great way to start the day. 



Educator Station will be posting new things throughout the school year. Hope you are all off to a great start in this new school year! 


postheadericon Beginning of the Year Math Centers

While trying to keep the tears at bay and get everyone home, the first week of school is basic survival.  Teaching expectations, routines and modeling consumes the first six weeks of first grade.  

I have compiled a bunch of easy to make Kindergarten review math centers to take the pressure off while still keeping my firsties busy.  These centers review the kindergarten skills and give students the opportunity to freely explore with the math manipulatives.  

*All of these were found using Pinterest or a simple google search and none are my original ideas.  I have credited the links and directed you to the FREE download if available.


Independent Centers

Counting Towers- number recognition 1-10


2 sheets- 12×18 construction paper (taped together)

1 package shaped decor sheets- Dollar Store (write #s 1-10)

tape/glue stick


unifix cubes

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*Another way to make this center is to glue the blank shapes on, laminate and use as a write/wipe off mat.  Could easily be used as a math center one day and a word work center another.


Number Puzzles (1-10)

These can be printed for FREE here thanks to The Reading Mama


Snap Cube Number (1-9) and Pattern Cards

FREE download here thanks to One Beautiful Home



Paint Chip Number Line

Count forward beginning from a given number within a known sequence. Use paint chips, a Sharpie and laminate. Credit to A Kentucky Kindergarten

Number Line


Number Talks/Small Group Instruction

Subitizing Dot Plates- number sense 1-10

dot plates

Subitizing Arrangements

YouTube Video with tutorial Subitizing Made Easy


I Have Who Has Subitizing Cards

I found a free download here at TPT, but these can be easily created to add more to your deck.

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For more ideas visit some of my older posts on First Week of School Work Stations,  Operations and Algebraic Thinking and to learn more about how I run my work stations visit my organization and management posts.

postheadericon How I Manage Math Work Stations (part 4)

Math Station rotations are not easy to do but in time you and your students will come to love it. Depending on what station I'm setting up and which containers I have on hand, I keep my setup pretty simple.  If you missed my post on how to organize my work stations you can view it here.

photo 5

Each station gets a basket or tray containing the materials each student needs, a direction sheet that I slip right into a clear page protector or a fancier one I purchased from the Target Dolloar spot section. On my direction sheet, I provide a picture showing my students exactly what to do at that station.  This is a great reminder for those little ones that forget the direction seconds after you've gone over it. 

My math menu, is just in a page protector, hanging on my calendar board.  I go over all the workstations before sending the students off.  To take a look at how I schedule my work stations, you can take a look at my BUILD model here.


Here are a few different station ideas using the BUILD acronym:

Buddy Games

Turn a chutes and ladders game into a math facts practice game.


Using Manipulatives

Pattern Block Mats- create their own designs or copy the mats. You can download a FREE set here.


Independent Practice- Some math websites we like to use are:

Cool Math 4 Kids





Learning about Numbers

Build It with unifix cubes- you can get the FREE download here to make your own set


D- Doing Math- Teacher Table Actvities

Introduce students to Daily Math Jornals.  These will be released into an independent center where students will complete math prompts throughout the year. You can download FREE Back to School Math Journal Prompts here to get you started. I used these last year to liven up my journals. There a bunch of options for FREE math journal labels here

postheadericon Math Work Stations- First week of school work stations (part 2)

I hope you had a chance to check out how I run my Math Work Stations.  If you didn't you can view the post here.  Now that you have an idea of what my BUILD rotations look like, let's take a look at what a week of BUILD entails.  Today I will give you a look at what I have planned for my first graders to use the first week of school.  All of the materials and activites were used in Kindergarten.

*I will not officially start this until the third day of school.  This will allow me to give the students an introduction to working in small groups, go over expectations and procedures.


B – Buddy Games - dice roll and color, Chester Raccoon version and Back to School version         The first partner to color his entire picture wins.


U – Using Manipulatives-  exploring with unifix cubes- patterns and more patterns


I – Independent Work - computer time


L – Learning about Numbers- Play Dough Number Mats


D – Doing Math- Teacher Table - when the students come to the teacher table the first week, they will be taking the Grade 1 Placement test, Topic 1 pre-test and completing the Readiness Mats.



Come back next week for a quick look at how I organize my Math stations.


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