Friday 4 November 2016

DIY Felt Board and Retelling Centre Pieces

I posted a picture on my Instagram of my latest DIY project. I have been wanting to make a felt board for some time now and finally found some free time in between naps and housework! :)

The board was super easy to make. I followed this AMAZING tutorial from Ashley over at One Sharp Bunch. Everything I needed I found at Michaels (and used my coupons and teacher discount too): 16x20" picture frame, black felt, and Tacky Spray glue. Check out Ashley's tutorial here for more details.

I've been eyeing up this awesome rainbow craft/photo storage kit from Michaels, but didn't know what I would use it for. Then I thought it would be great to house different story kits to use with the felt board! Here it is in all it's glory.... holding 16 different story retelling kits!

All the pieces fit neatly inside each of the small plastic cases:

The felt sets were super easy to make. I thought about stories that I love to read to my class that are good for retelling (and also that I might have already have clipart of...) and got to work making my sets! Unfortunately I can't share the sets with you because it is basically just printing out clipart (which is against terms of use). I will list where I got the clipart sets from though, so you can make your own sets if you are interested! All you need is some white felt sheets, T-shirt transfers, and an iron! Create of page of images in PowerPoint (mirror imaging the images as needed, because they will transfer backwards), print on the transfer paper, iron onto felt, and cut out! It is easy as that!

Here's a look at the story telling sets that I created. I've linked to Amazon (affiliate links) to find the books I used and the links to where to get the clipart sets as well.

The Three Little Pigs (any version is fine)

Clipart by Clipart 4 Teachers (I made my own letters though with KG Blank Space font)

The Gingerbread Man (any version)

Cat Clipart by Melonheadz and Catch'em Early (I don't think these sets are available anymore, but this one by Clipart 4 Teachers includes all these pictures)

This set was a bunch of randoms I found, but you can find the outline of the dog here from Making Learning Fun.

One thing that I found with these printed felt pieces is that you can't layer them on top of each other because the felt is covered in the transfer. So I used sticky velcro dots from the dollar store where I wanted the felt pieces to stick. On this example, I placed the rough piece of the velcro dots on the dog so that the soft backing of the coloured dots stuck to the dog.

The Little Red Hen (any version)

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum (great science connection as well!)

Pete the Cat found here from Making Learning Fun
**I used velcro dots on Pete's jacket to stick the buttons on!**

**I used velcro dots so that the ten mice would stick in the jar.**

Friday 7 October 2016

Five for Friday - October 7th

Finally, I'm back with a post that's NOT about Explore Tubs. Were you getting sick of them? I hope you at least got some fun ideas or freebies to try with your class! :) I had a lot of fun planning them.

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly Five for Friday linky. Here are a few things I've been up to the past little while...

Well for starters, when August rolled around and everyone was setting up their classrooms and getting ready for the new school year, I was welcoming our baby boy, Jackson Cole. He was born on August 3rd. He just turned two months this week and is such a bundle of joy! Even if I'm not getting as much sleep as I would like and am usually covered in some sort of bodily fluid... I still love him! ;) I get to have Zoe at home with me too, which is fun, but it definitely keeps me busy! But I get to take her to preschool, gymnastics, and have lots of fun times with her! She is enjoying being a big sister and helping me out whenever she can!

Of course my teacher brain never shuts off, so I've been trying to harness some of my teacherness into my home life. One of my projects was to organize (and label of course) some of Zoe's toy bins. They have actually stayed organized and it helps us with clean up time and searching for toys!

And I've also been letting her play with some of my math manipulatives. These jungle counters from Learning Resources were a big hit. And after she spent a good hour playing with some dry beans daddy harvested from his garden, I knew she would just love a sensory bin. I had some left over split peas, rocks, and blue jewels from some bins I made for school, so I threw them in a tub with some containers and the jungle animals. She just loves it! It makes a mess, but it also keeps her quiet and focused for a bit. I'll take that over clean house any day.

Another home/school purchase I made were these Tiggly sets for the iPad. They are interactive tools that you use on the iPad with their corresponding apps. There is a shapes kit, number kit, and words kit. I'll use the shape one at home with Zoe, and will take the other two to school next year. They are pretty fun to use and bring iPad learning to another level!

I've been doing a bit of thinking/planning on how I want to run my classroom net year. I know I want to incorporate a lot of flexible seating into my classroom and more inquiry/play opportunities. I really struggle with fitting enough play time into our school day. I totally see the value in play, but for me I want to try to tie it into their learning and the curriculum as much as I can.

I want to set up a dramatic play centre in my first grade garden. I did a "Pizza Parlour" last year during some of our free time/explorations time and the students had a blast! We incorporated some math with money and writing by taking orders. I thought I could change up the centre each month and connect it to our theme for the month. Here's a look at my monthly theme plans. If you download the PDF by clicking here or on either picture, it contains links to my journals and explore tub posts.


The first centre I want to set up will be a movie theatre. I want to use the movie "Inside Out" to connect to our Social Studies unit of "I Belong". It is the perfect movie to talk about feelings, groups we belong to, conflict resolution, and friendship/family. I'm thinking of setting up a movie theatre with a puppet theatre, so students can create their own "movies". We'll also incorporate counting/addition with money to buy tickets and snacks. They can do some writing with the movie tickets and movie reviews. It's all planned out in my head, but I'll have to take pictures when it's all set up next September! 

I found a few goodies to use in my movie theatre dramatic play centre from The Dollar Tree. Unfortunately those candy boxes were full, so I had to eat them so I could use the empty boxes. ;)

But then I was at Walmart the other day in the toy department and saw this WONDERFUL GOODNESS OF A TOY PACK! It's a Movie Theatre Snack Set! It has hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, candy, slurpees... even 3D glasses and movie tickets! How perfect! And it was only $14! I found it online at but not Check your local stores to see if they have it!

You can follow my Pinterest Board to see some of the ideas I have pinned for dramatic play.

And of course I try to sneak in some time to work on TeachersPayTeachers stuff. I had a lot of requests to do a Grade 2 Interactive Social Studies unit. It's been a lot more detailed, so I'm rolling out the units slowly over the course of the year. The first cluster, all about our local community, is up and available here. The second cluster will be finished next month. I have to fit in computer time during naps and after bedtime, so I don't get things done as much as I would like. That's ok... sometimes snuggles and playing picnic take priority over work! :)

I've also fit in a few other TpT projects, such as some Social Studies and Health games/activities, some more Chalkboard & Brights decor items, and a request for some French vocabulary cards. These are all available in my store.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends. Enjoy your three-day weekend and some turkey! We've got friend and family gatherings all weekend, so I'm sure it will be a delicious, fun-filled weekend for us. :) See ya next time!

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Social Studies Explore Tubs - Community

Here are the theme topics that we study each month:

December - Social Studies: Christmas Around the World
January - Science: Five Senses
February - Social Studies: Canada
March - Health: Nutrition
April - Science: Objects & Materials and
Health - Dental Health
May - Social Studies: Community
June - Science: Living Things

This is my last post on Explore Tubs! In May, we study our community, community helpers, and mapping. We usually go on a community field trip too! Last year we went to a nursery, a pasta factory, a newspaper, a gym, and an arts council. It was so much fun! Here is a look at the Explore Tubs we played with during this Social Studies unit:

*Community Books: Follow That Map, Looking at Maps and Globes, Me on the Map, Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, Whose Hat is This?, Mapping Penny's WorldThere's a Map on My Lap!, All Through My Town, Community Helpers from A to Z, Community Helpers 8-Book Set

*Community Helper Playdough Mats {by me on TpT}
*Play-Doh {from Amazon}

*Community Helpers Picture Sort {by me on TpT}

*Map Making Kit {from Differentiation Station Creation on TpT}
*Melissa & Doug Wooden Vehicles & Traffic Signs {from Scholar's Choice}
*Printable Roads, Lakes, etc. {freebie from me here}

*Small Foam Globes {from Dollarama or Michaels}
*Land or Water? Tally Mark Chart {freebie from me here}: Laminate. Students can play by themselves or with a partner. They throw the ball, catch it, and see where their right thumb lands. They make a tally mark if it lands on land or water.
*Dry Erase Markers

*Community Helpers Matching Puzzles {from Scholar's Choice}

*Community Helper Board Game {by me on TpT}

You can read more about my other Explore Tubs here:

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Health Explore Tubs - Dental Health

Here are the theme topics that we study each month:

December - Social Studies: Christmas Around the World
January - Science: Five Senses
February - Social Studies: Canada
March - Health: Nutrition
April - Science: Objects & Materials and
Health - Dental Health

April is Dental Health month! We spend a couple of weeks talking about keeping our teeth clean and healthy. This transitions perfectly into our community helpers unit in May! Here are some simple Explore Tub ideas for our Dental Health study:

*Happy and Sad Tooth Sort {freebie by me here}

*Dental Health Board Game {by me on TpT}

*White Unifix Cubes or Wooden Cubes Painted White
*Number Cube and Plus or Minus Cube: Use foam or wooden cubes and write three plus signs and three minus signs on one cube and the numbers 1-6 on the other cube.
*Mouth Game Board {freebie by me here}: Students start with an empty mouth board. They roll the two cubes and either add or take away teeth based on the plus or minus sign.

*Play-Doh Doctor Drill 'n Fill Set {from Amazon}

*Guess Who? Smile Edition Matching Game: Take close up pictures of students' heads. On one card crop just the mouth with the words "Guess Who?" and on the other card put the student's name and picture. Students can practice matching up the smiles! 

*Dental Health Bingo {by me on TpT}
*Unifix Cubes or Bingo Chips

You can read more about my other Explore Tubs here: