Halloween Bat Crayon

This year I am giving each student a melted bat crayon as a little Halloween gift!  Grab the tutorial and free printable over at Apples and ABC's!


Pumpkin Mat Freebie

 Work on fine motor skills while working on numbers at the same time.  

Head on over to my blog, by clicking on the picture below, to see how I use this and to grab it for free.

Halloween Alphabet Freebie

Are you ready for Halloween?  I know I'm starting to go through my things and pull out all the activities I need to get ready.

Here is a little freebie for you.

The cards come in upper and lowercase.
There are so many different ways you can use them.

Click on the picture below to head on over to my blog to see how 
I use them in class and to grab them for free.

FREE Centers!

Hey there!  Tara West here from Little Minds at Work!  I'm not sure about you.... but I am ALWAYS needing additional activities for my literacy and math centers!  Beyond needing activities... I also need to be able to quickly differentiate the centers for the varying levels of students in my classroom!  That's when I decided to create 'binders of centers.'  In each binder I can decide if it will be below, on, or above leveled.  I then select the practice sheets to meet that level.  I slide the practice sheets into page protectors and snap them into a binder!  Every couple weeks I am able to take out those sheets and swap them for more!

You can read more about my binder of centers and grab a FREE preview for the literacy and math centers by clicking on the image above or HERE!  The link will take you straight to the freebie download :)


Close Reads in Kindergarten!

Hi all and thanks so much for stopping by! This is Tara West from Little Minds at Work and I wanted to share my latest post all about close reading in kindergarten (and first grade).  Close reads are a passion of mine and I am so excited to share that with you!  You can watch the lessons in action and grab a free week of instruction to try out on your own!  You can click HERE or on the image above to grab the freebie!
See you soon!

Tara West

Sight Word Activities

It is always difficult teaching sight words to students.  I want to share with you a couple of ideas on how to engage students in memorizing sight words!  I find that the more ways I can get the students to interact with the words, the quicker they memorize them.

I like to make little sight word cards to use in a variety of different ways.  I make them at the beginning of the year, laminate them, and we use them all year long.  This is a simple idea of using a cookie try and magnetic letters to build the words.  The students grab a card, and write out the word using the letters.

Students love writing words in sand.  To make the sand box, I put a piece of blue paper at the bottom of a pencil box, then I poured in a thin layer of sand on top.  The students take a pencil and write in the sand using the eraser end.  You don't need to put a piece of paper in the bottom of the pencil box, but I wanted the bottom of the box to POP when the students were writing in the sand.

One of my favorite sensory activities is making a sensory shaker.  I used a paint cup from Lakeshore, pom poms, and wooden cubes that I wrote sight words on them.  The students shake the cup, see a word inside, and write down the word the see!

My students also love using paint dabbers (sold at most craft stores, target, teacher stores).  I printed off the words in bubble font, and the students stamp the inside of the word!

Good luck teaching sight words in your class!

The Year After I Gave Up My Passion

What happens when you give up teaching what you love...
THEN you get it back?
Do your emotions change?
Does your heart shift and suddenly you learn you are NOT who you thought you were?

Or does something else occur?

This is my year AFTER I gave up my Passion.
This is the year I GET to go back to Kindergarten.

I can't wait for you to read about my first week back. 


First Day of School Pencil Buddy FREEBIE

Hi! It's Michelle from Apples and ABC's! On the first day of school, I love having a little treat on the students' desks.  Often times, they are nervous for the first day, so when they see the small gift they feel welcomed!  You can grab this Back to School Pencil Buddy in my TpT Store!

I found the neon pencils at Target!  They are much cuter that the standard yellow. ;)

Grab the free printable HERE!

Hey teacher peeps! I love keeping things FUN, yet simple and easily managed!

Pop over and see how I handle birthdays in my classroom.
... and grab this adorable FREEBIE while you're there!

How to dye beans for your sensory table

How to dye beans for your sensory table

Hello everyone! Kristen here from A Day In First Grade. This morning I was dying beans for my new group of kindergarteners and thought I would write a quick tutorial on how I dyed them. This sensory bin is all about COLOR and therefore I wanted them to be super vibrant.

To do this, I went the grocery store (I went to Whole Foods) and bought the beans in bulk. (It's cheaper this way-- plus Whole Foods has awesome bulk containers that I use over and over again!)

How to dye beans for your sensory table

I ended up buying:
3 containers of yellow lentils (because they were on sale)
2 containers of navy beans
2 containers of lima beans
and 2 containers of white kidney beans

I could have bought all the same beans but I wanted a variety in texture, size, and shape to encourage that conversation while the kids are playing.

To dye the beans you will need rubbing alcohol, ziplock baggies (freezer size),  baking trays, parchment paper, and some sort of dye. Personally I like to use liquid watercolor as it creates a super vibrant color but food coloring works too. If you are using food coloring, I have had the most success using the gel colors.
Making the beans took me about 30 minutes and when you use rubbing alcohol, they dry pretty quickly.

If you would like to see how to dye the beans, click here to head over to my blog!

Tutorial: How to dye beans for your sensory table

Tutorial: How to dye beans for your sensory table