Math Test Prep Centers for Your Kindergarten or First Grade Class

Spring Review for Kindergarten and First Grade

Hey, y'all. Let me just say, I HATE the idea that we as teachers feel the need to test prep 5- and 6-year-olds. I. HATE. It.

There, now that we've covered that. The reality of the situation is that we do. We can call it "test prep." We can call it "end of the year review." Whatever we name it, we're still getting ready to assess their learning during the school year.

BUT, it doesn't have to be tedious, AND they don't have to know they're doing it. Our littles need to have fun, so why not make our test prep/review fun, too?

Here are nine stations or activities you can add to your math workshop to keep your students engaged and practicing math skills:

Adding coins write the room
This adding coins stations has three levels of play. With progressively more challenging task cards, you're sure to have just what you need for your little learners.


Base 10 scoot
My firsties needed lots of practice counting base ten numbers. This fun station can be used as a scoot, a write the room, or in a sensory bin.


Telling time
Help your littles match the time on the analog clock with the digital clock. This can be played as a memory game, as a simple matching game, or as a simple draw-the-card game.


Money addition trail game
This free money trail game has four levels of play. Students roll a die and move their game piece that many spaces. Then, they add the coin they land on to their running total. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins. For younger students, you can also have plastic money on hand to help them to keep track of their score as they play.


Ten frames
These free ten frames can be used with mini erasers for a counting center or used with stickers to count the number of days in school. There are several patterns to choose from so you're sure to find a pattern you love.


Fraction of me
This freebie is great for reviewing fractions. Students pick four colors to "build" themselves with and count out the number of pieces they've used to make themselves. My firsties loved this little activity at the end of our fraction unit.


Baseball addition and subtraction write the room
Review adding and subtracting with your kindergarten or first grade students this spring with this simple little write the room. With two sets of cards and two recording sheets, this center is easy to differentiate based on your students' needs.


Color words write the room
This station is fun any time of year, but just before spring assessment is a great time to review how read and recognize color words.


Color words color by code
For a simple, free center, these color words color by code pages help your students read and recognize color words as well. There are four different pages to keep your littles engaged and challenged.


I hope you found some new ideas for centers and some fun ways to review math and color words with your littles. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more great resources coming soon.

Have a wonderful week and stay sweet,

Coffee Shop Test Prep and Bulletin Boards

Coffee Shop Test Prep and Bulletin Boards

Hey, y'all! I am so exited to share with you my latest creation! 

So Reading Week is coming up and so is our spring testing season (yay and boo!). So during Reading Week, our classroom is turning into a Starbooks! We have all kinds of FUN test prep going on that will hopefully make this learning stick like cinnamon rolls. 


The reading stations cover synonyms and antonyms, context clues, main idea, categorizing words, procedural writing, and prefixes and suffixes. 







Math stations cover adding and subtracting with decimals, rounding, ordering decimals (prices of menu items), telling time and elapsed time, money, measurement, and even and odd numbers.







And it wouldn't be a true room transformation without a bulletin board or two, plus a writing prompt! This bulletin board set includes two options for letters, plus two smaller signs, two writing prompts, and a blank writing prompt. 



These were so much fun to make and the kids are going to be so excited to see it all! The best part is, you can get each set separately or in one handy bundle here.

Thank you so much for stopping by and stay tuned for more great resources coming soon. Check social media for the full room reveal during Reading Week.

Have a great week and stay sweet,

Lesson Plans For When You Have to Split a Class Last Minute

Lesson Plans for Last Minute Split Classes

Hey, y'all. Almost all of us have been there. It's 20 minutes before school and the secretary tells you that your teammate's sub isn't coming. Or the bell just rang and in comes an administrator with ten extra kids because there's a sub shortage. Or a teammate had to leave unexpectedly to take care of their own sick kid.

Whatever the reason, last minute split classes can be a real challenge and cause for stress. If you've never experienced this, you've been blessed. I, on the other hand, have had this happen more often than I can count.

So what do you do when you suddenly have ten more kids than expected?

Most of the time, I don't have a chance to make some more copies before our guest students come in. Occasionally, our guests come with a packet of work and can sit quietly at the horseshoe table and get to work (although they often have questions or the work is too hard or easy--which presents a whole new problem), but most of the time this is not the case.

That's when it's time to bust out the trusty toolbox of tricks. Here are some quick and easy options for keeping the whole class learning and engaged without having to run to make extra copies. I keep a stack of blank paper on hand just for these purposes.

1. Draw and write
There's been a time or two when I've had more than one grade level of students in my room during a split. This meant that continuing on as usual was going to be extra challenging. So...we did a directed drawing on one side of a blank sheet of paper and on the other side, students had to write a story about their drawing. We talked about story elements and students added details to their drawings to make them align with their writing. The beauty of a task like this is that it naturally differentiates. Students can write or draw on their level and work together no matter what their learning level is.

2. Book searches
This one is such an easy task to implement. All you need is some blank paper/notebook paper, books, and a task. I lay out the books I want my students to analyze and give them a task. This might include finding the main idea, outlining the plot of the story, finding text features, identifying character traits, or any other standard you're currently working on (or need to review). Students work alone, in pairs, or in groups to identify the chosen element. Students simply write the name of the book and their findings on their papers. You've practiced identifying the standards and didn't need to make any extra copies.

3. Writing prompts
This is such a versatile one because it can be used in most subject areas with all learns. Prompts can be as simple as answering a question or writing a story about a picture, or as complex as writing a poem, song, or play to teach classmates about a specific topic. This is super easy to differentiate and to vary the level of rigor. Bigger tasks like writing a song or play can take great lengths of time and can play on different students' strengths. Allowing students to perform their final drafts can build student moral and community and enables students to teach each other the material.

4. Vocabulary 4 squares
Group students in teams and give each team a vocabulary word the class has been working on. Each team has to divide their paper into four squares. In the squares, teams define the word, illustrate it, use it in a sentence, and provide an antonym(s). When teams complete the vocabulary activity, they then teach the class the word they worked on. Extra points for creativity on this one ensure students take their time and do their best work.

5. Vocabulary or sight word hunt
This can be done in several ways. Students write the letters from A-Z on their papers. If going on a sight word hunt, students write the room looking for sight words that begin with each letter. If going on a vocabulary hunt, students use the resources they've collected during the unit to find a vocabulary word related to the topic for each letter of the alphabet. Add a game element by giving students one point for each word found. Top scores can earn prizes like homework tickets, cute pencils, stickers, etc.

6. Make an ABC book
Like the activity above, students are identifying a word for each letter of the alphabet. When I taught first grade, we made a Texas ABC book and came up with a Texas-related word for each letter of the alphabet. This can be done in any subject at any level. Even big kids get excited to see their work in a "published" book. I give each student (or pair of students depending on how many kids and the difficulty of the task) a letter and help students (as needed) come up with a word that begins with that letter. Students write their word, use it in a sentence, and illustrate their page. Binding the book can be as simple as put a piece of construction paper on the front to make a cover and stapling it all together. Kids love to have their book read to them as soon as it's finished (even the big kids that think they're too big for this).

7. Have a read-in
If your kids are big enough and have the stamina, have a read-in. Let them get comfy, find some good books, put on some calming instrumental music, and read as long as they're able. This is the perfect time to work with a small group for interventions or extensions.

8. Play Quiz-Quiz-Trade
If you haven't played this yet, I highly recommend it. Students have a card with a math problem or vocabulary word on one side and the answer or definition on the other side. Students pair up with their card and show their partner one side of the card (the math problem or the word) and the partner gives the answer/definition. The other partner does the same thing, then students trade and find another partner. I play music while my students are transitioning between partners and when the music stops, students find the closest person to be their partner (think musical chairs). The kids absolutely love this game and get so much more out of it than traditional drill and kill exercises. Don't have a set of math problems or vocabulary cards ready to go? Pull out some index cards and have students make their own before playing. It's a win-win!

9. Hold a debate
Start with a question that's controversial enough for students to have opinions but not so controversial that those opinions will get heated. Give students a few minutes to choose a stance and gather their thoughts in support of their opinion. Depending on the size of the group, you could have one large debate/discussion, you could have two or three groups discussing, or you could have a speed debate (like speed dating) and come back together for a full discussion in the end. This is a great opportunity to not only discuss the issue, but also to teach respectful disagreement and strengthening our arguments.

10. Play a quiz game
You can even have students make the questions! Divide students into teams. Play Jeopardy style or traditional Q & A ways. Award points and give the top teams special status. Games can be played in any subject with just about any content. This can be as high-tech or low-tech as needed. The more you play it up, the more excited your students will be to review content questions.


Any time we have to split classes, especially when it's last minute, it can be super stressful. However, the learning doesn't have to be put on hold for the day and we don't have to let our guest students sit alone to work independently all day. There are many ways we can keep all students learning and engaged for the whole day without losing our sanity.

I hope the next time you find yourself with a handful of extra kiddos in your room, you'll be able to use these strategies to keep things engaging and in control. What other strategies have you used? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more great ideas coming soon. Have a wonderful week and stay sweet.

Spring Sight Word Games


Spring Sight Words Games for 2nd Grade

Hey, y'all! I wanted to share one of our favorite sight word games with you: hide and seek. It's super simple and your students will beg to play it.

Simply place the sight word card in a pocket chart and hide the little character behind one of the words. Students take turns calling out one of the sight words to guess where the character is hidden. When the character is found the game is over.


I usually put about twenty or so cards in a pocket chart at a time and call on my more reluctant readers first (if their hands are up, I want them to play!). 


The first game is for reading week and a unicorn is the character the kids are trying to find. The second game is catching fireflies, and the third game is camping (looking for s'mores). These are perfect for the last few weeks of school as temperatures begin to warm. (They also are a nice addition to my end of the year math centers!)


The best part is that each of these is free! And there's more! The words for these games came from Into Reading 2nd Grade and there are games for the whole year. There are also some games for kindergarten and first grade. To check out all of the sight word hide and seek game, click here

Thanks for stopping and by I hope you enjoy these freebies. Stay tuned for more great resources coming soon. Have a wonderful week! 

Stay sweet,