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Archive for July, 2014

postheadericon Dollar Deals ~ Chip/Dip Serving Trays

This is post 5 of 5. Thanks for following along! Be sure to read the other four posts Dollar Deals~Magic Wands , Dollar Deals~ Krazy Straws, Dollar Deals ~ Pencil Slider Boxes and Dollar Deals~ Containers


I usually buy chip/dip serving trays for $1 or less each.  If you wait until the summer clearance sales begin you can really cash out on these!  I can make a bunch of easy sort games using these divider trays. I have several of them with beginning, ending, middle sounds, and vowels.


Another way I use them is in small groups to identify Story Elements. To read more about how I use them in my differentiated read for meaning workstation visit these post for Read For Meaning Workstation using Nonfiction Text and Read For Meaning Workstation using Fictional Text.

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These are also great as a vocabulary center.  Using the Reading Street Amazing Words, I make a set of word cards and in each section of the chip tray I write an activity. Each of the sections are numbered.  The students roll a dice in the middle and complete the activity that matches what they rolled.  Then they write their answer on a recording sheet.  You can grab a free copy of the recording sheet HERE.  This is best used with your advanced group at the beginning of the year and then introduced as the year goes on to your other groups.


Here is the simple document I made along with the Unit R amazing word cards created using Lakeshore flashcard maker.

Vocabulary Center





Let's not forget Math.  These trays are great to use with your money unit.  I use a 5 section tray for this activity. Place pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters into the outer sections and dice in the center.  Use it as in intervention or center activity to practice identifying coins, adding coins, or making change.

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How else do you use these serving trays?

postheadericon Dollar Deals~ Containers

This is post 4 of 5. Be sure to read the other three posts Dollar Deals~Magic Wands , Dollar Deals~ Krazy Straws and Dollar Deals~Pencil Slider Boxes.


I love to have a variety of options when it comes to organizing my classroom.  I use baskets, plastic buckets, lock-top containers, plastic jars or any other thing that I can find for less than a dollar.  Last year I finally organized my math center (only to get a new curriculum this year).  The way I look at it now I'm a pro and you can never have too many math manipulatives!

PicMonkey Collage

I bought 6 (come in a 2-pk) plastic lock-top containers at the Dollar Tree for $3 and a rectangular woven basket to store them in $1. I placed all my time card decks into each container.  I then numbered each container 1-6.  One box for each partnership ready to go! I also did this for my regular deck of cards.  In the end I spent $8 and no longer worry about lost cards or broken boxes. 


I also bought 3 sets of 10 mini containers along with 4 packages of modeling clay sticks. I placed two sticks (same color) in each container. $7 later and I now have a classroom set (24) of modeling clay containers ready to use.  I am planning on using these the first week of school in workstations to practice making letters and numbers.

*The left over containers are great for storing dice, buttons, beads or any other small items.*



Another great Dollar Tree find are plastic jars.  They are great for storing manipulatives, letter tiles, craft items but personally I love using them in my centers.  I have created several centers in just minutes with these. 

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I have shared before about the Voice Jar and Don't Get Stung Jar. To read how I incorporate them into my menu choice board click here.

The Voice Jar center helps students improve fluency through expression using different voices. The jar activity includes 18 pictures of different facial expressions. My students LOVE when I put this jar out.



"Don't Get Stung" is a game that our team uses with nonsense words, bee stickers and flower stickers on the sticks. If a student pulls out a flower they read all their words and get another turn. If a student pulls out a bee they get stung and lose all their sticks.

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For more workstation jar activities I foud Aimee who has a Teachers Pay Teachers store with a variety of activites for grades K-6.  She also has a blog with many posts about how she uses theses jars in her own classoom. 


What are your must have containers? How do you use them?




postheadericon Dollar Deals ~ Pencil Slider Boxes

This is post 3 of 5.  Be sure to read the other two posts Dollar Deals~Magic Wands and Dollar Deals~ Krazy Straws.


Staples should be running their back to school sales soon!  I like to stock up on pencil boxes to use in my word work center.  Two of my favorite centers are Stretchy Snake and Sight Word Slider Boxes


Stretchy Snake

In the past, I shared how I use this center as a Menu Board choice.  To read more about menu board choices or just to check out how I use it visit that post here.

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To get started making your own Stretchy Snake center this FREE download is perfect. Be sure to read about how Heather from First Grade Heart made stretchy snake fun for her kiddos.


Sight Word Slider Boxes

There is a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers  

Click here to get the download from Pocketful of Centers.


I have created a set to use with the First Grade Reading Street Common Core Edition.  After completing each week of high frequency words, I add the cards to the word work station for my students to continue practicing.  I place each slider box with a set of word cards and letter tiles in a basket.  My students use it as one of the menu board choices during the second trimester.  This is an easy to modify center and can be used with Dolch words or with your own reading curriculum.


Do you have any great usages for pencil boxes?

postheadericon Dollar Deals ~ Krazy Straws

This is post 2 of 5.  To go back and read my last post Dollar Deals ~Magic Wands click here.

Birthdays are a big deal in first grade.  Since class parties and traditional treats are not encouraged, I still like to have a little something handy when birthdays roll around.  A few years ago I found a cute idea on Pinterest.  I bought 4 packages of Krazy Straws at Dollar Tree.  Each package has 6 straws.   


I printed off an adorable balloon template on white cardstock.  I can't seem to find the template that I used in the picture below, but you can get a free download here from Once Upon a First Grade Adventure.  Then I simply cut out each balloon and taped it to the straw. To add a little more flare to your straws use curling ribbon.

Voila! Birthday Balloons ready for the entire school year.


How do you use Krazy Straws in your classroom?

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