Friday, November 10, 2017

Christmas Center Activity: Santa Face

Alright teacher friends. I know we're not even halfway through November, but I've already got one eye on the winter holiday season. I'm looking forward to trying this Santa Face activity from! I'm planning to incorporate it into my winter holiday centers the day before Christmas break. I'll have parent volunteers helping out that day, so this is a perfect activity to kick off our break!

Christmas Center Activity: 
Santa Face
First Grade Math Activities: Santa Face
Easy Santa Circle Craft
This unique Santa is made only from circles. It's true! Your little ones will have a fantastic time puzzling together Santa's face. The challenging part will be that they can only use one shape, the circle! 

What You Need:

  • White, pink, and red construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Small, medium and large circular objects to trace
  • Glue stick

What You Do:

  1. Have children trace a large bowl onto a sheet of pink and a sheet of red construction paper. Cut both circles out.
  2. Encourage them to fold the red circle in half. Then, unfold it and cut it in half.
  3. Lay the red circle on top of the pink circle so it overlaps about halfway and glue it in place.
  4. Ask them to fold two sheets of white paper stacked on top of one another 3 times. Trace a medium-sized circle on the top of the paper and cut out all of the circles at the same time.
  5. Have them arrange them into the shape of Santa's beard. Glue them in place.
  6. Finally, have them trace and cut out two small circles to create Santa's eyes.
  7. Ask: How many circles did it take to create Santa's face?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Giveaways, First of the Month Freebie, and 10% Off Sale!

Click here to enter between November 1st- November 8th 2017!

Two Giveaway Opportunities!

Big news, everyone! In addition to my First of the Month Freebies, Little Owl will host a Rafflecopter giveaway starting on the first of every month! You can enter to win any of my products from my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Little Owl's Teacher Treats. Simply follow the link, fill out the form, and you're entered to win! The raffle will be open for a week, and I'll select a winner on November 9th.

I'm also excited to be part of this $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway organized by Kelly Maloy (An Apple for the Teacher) and co-hosted by: An Apple for the Teacher, Mrs Hansens Helpfuls, Teacher Gameroom, It's Kinder Time, Little Owl's Teacher Treats, and Samson's Shoppe.

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 11/6/2017 and is open worldwide.

First of the Month Freebie from Little Owl

This month's freebie is a math game from my Go Math! series. This zoo- themed math center reinforces subtraction concepts in a hands-on, engaging way.

Zoo Break: Taking Apart with Pictures

In addition to Zoo Break, here's what Little Owl has been up to for the past month!

Go Math Chapter 1 Games and Bundle

I'm so excited to share that I'm DONE with my Go Math! Chapter 1: Addition Concepts centers for first gradeThe centers cover early addition concepts. Although these activities were specifically designed to support the Go Math! curriculum, they can be a useful addition to any math program! My first graders particularly love matching "switcharoo" facts with Find My Twin :)

Go Math! Chapter 1: Addition Concepts Bundle

Concepts include...

1) FREEBIE- Adding zero with Good Clues, Bad Clues:

2) Using pictures to add with Puzzling Pieces:

3) Adding in any order with Find My Twin:

4) Solving for missing addends and sums with The Case of the Missing Number:

5) Making 6, 7, 8, and 9 with Evidence Files:

Record sheets are also included for every activity!


Winter is Around the Corner!

It may be November, but it's never too early to start thinking about winter holidays, amiright? I'm mildly obsessed with Helen Lester's Tacky the Penguin series, and I can't WAIT to try out my new Tacky the Penguin Reader's Theater Script this year!

Tacky the Penguin Reader's Theater Script

Tacky the Penguin Bundle

Between Tacky the Penguin, Mooseltoe, Holidays Around the World, and my love of all things elf... 

My Elf Lapbook Activity

Bundle: Elf-Themed Math Activities

Cookies from the North Pole: Making 10 Activities

Cookies from the North Pole: Making 10 Activities

Cookies from the North Pole: Making 10 Activities

Ernie's Cookies: Subtraction Activity

The Hungry Elf: Subtraction Activity

Looking to boost family involvement at your school? Want to take the stress out of planning a family night before the holidays? Consider hosting a Pajama Reading Night! Read all about it here, and check out my Host a Pajama Reading Night packet on TPT!

...I'll have my hands full this December and January... but that's just the way I like it! What are your plans for this holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching :)

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

$25 Teachers Pay Teacher Gift Card Giveaway!

Teacher friends- I'm so excited to be part of this $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway organized by Kelly Maloy (An Apple for the Teacher) and co-hosted by: An Apple for the TeacherMrs Hansens Helpfuls, Teacher GameroomIt's Kinder TimeLittle Owl's Teacher Treats, and Samson's Shoppe!

Rules: Click here to use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 11/6/2017 and is open worldwide.

In celebration of this giveaway, my entire TPT store, Little Owl's Teacher Treats, will be on sale from 10/30-11/1. Everything will be 10% off!

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

How to Host Pajama Reading Night

Hey there, teacher friends! I was on the Reading Committee at my previous school, and last school year we wrapped up Read Across America Month with a fun, low-key Pajama Reading Night for our K-3rd grade students. Approximately 75 kids and 55 parents turned out for the event- a big success for our inaugural year! Everyone showed up in PJs excited for a fun night of storytelling. I put together a few tips in case you’d like to throw a similar event at your own school.

Pajama Reading Night Interest Form

1. Divide Guests into Stations

Dispersing the group into stations kept the event calm and organized. It also made our event flow because families started trickling in five minutes early, and arrived up to 20 minutes after our starting time. As families arrived, they drew cards from our Sorting Hat (yes, we had a real Harry Potter Sorting Hat thanks to one of our 4th grade teachers!). The cards told families where to go for their first rotations. By doing it this way, we didn’t have a big group of people hovering around, waiting for us to get the party started! Each station lasted 15 minutes, and we announced when it was time to rotate over the PA system. Click here for posters for each station. We had five:

  1. Storytime with the Principal: Students gathered into the front office to listen to our principal read stories. I liked this station because it put a positive spin on being sent to the principal’s office :)
    Under "Next Stop," fill in the next activity's location- library, gym, office, etc.

  2. Cozy Up with a Good Book: We used the music room for this station because it was spacious with bleacher-style seating and lots of floor space. Before entering the room, each family selected books and flashlights from shelves we set up in the hall. Once everyone got settled, we shut off the lights and got down to reading! This station was a huge hit.
    Cozy Up With a Good Book Station

  3. Stories with a Special Guest: We invited our former PE teacher to read stories in his old stomping grounds, the gym. This station could be led by any special member of your community.
    Story with a Special Guest Station

  4. Cookies and Milk: Pretty self- explanatory, right? ;) Our kind PTO parents donated cookies and milk. Also, I had recently cleaned out my classroom and had tons of extra books to donate that had been left behind by previous teachers. A member of our committee had the great idea to offer them to our guests. We set out the boxes and invited students to browse while they enjoyed their snacks. If you’d like to do something similar, I suggest putting out a request for teachers or families to donate gently used books in the weeks before your event.
    Have teachers and families donate gently used books for students to take home at your event!
    Cookies and Milk Station

  5. Get Crafty: Students made simple commemorative bookmarks at this station. The bookmarks had the event’s name and date on them. Parents helped their children punch holes and tie strings to complete the bookmarks.
    Get Crafty Station
    File includes 4 different bookmarks (2 boys, 2 girls)

2. Establish Expectations

Our committee hosted Family Literacy Night last year. Guests gathered in the cafeteria and the PTO hosted a potluck beforehand. While it was a nice event, things got a little… chaotic. Students were running around unsupervised and the teacher in me wanted to move all their clips to red :) We learned our lesson after that. Thanks to the fancy- schmancy poster printer, we were able to print a helpful poster explaining the event and our expectations. Additionally, each station had directions and expectations posted outside. This turned out to be enormously helpful in keeping the whole event organized. Everyone knew where to go and what to do!

Pajama Reading Night Welcome Poster

3. Consider Friday Night

Believe me, sacrificing my Friday night was just about the last thing I wanted to do. We threw the event after dinnertime, from 6-7:30. I was TIRED. However, I think our turnout was so great because parents didn’t have to worry about keeping kids out so late on a school night. We’re also in a small, overseas community where families are often looking for things to do with their kids, so I think that helped. Many parents commented on the way out the door that bedtime would be easy, because everyone was already in PJs!

4. Publicize with Storybook Character Day

Pajama Reading Night was the last event in Read Across America Month for our school. To build interest, we had Storybook Character Day during the school day. Students were encouraged to dress as their favorite storybook characters. In years past we’ve also thrown a Storybook Character Parade, but we decided to keep it low-key this year.

5. Gently Share Tips for the Home
Parents loved this informational sheet! 
We placed this freebie from Growing Firsties on the sign-in table, and many parents took copies on the way in the door. It felt less intimidating and more effective than last year’s full presentation on literacy at home, and hopefully parents left our event with a few tips under their belts! One parent even said as she left, “This was really nice. I expected this to be painful, but it was great!”

I use these strategies in my guided reading lessons, too!

Everything you need for this event is available here, from Little Owl's Teacher Treats!

Please note that the pages in this product are NOT editable because I must abide by Terms of Use for all images and fonts. However, I am happy to take customization requests for minor changes with one week's notice. If you have any questions about our event or customizations, I'm more than happy to talk to you! Just email me at and I'll get back to you ASAP. Until then, happy teaching!


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Whole Body Listening

Follow my blog with Bloglovin If you're like most primary teachers, you get the importance of establishing routines throughout the first few weeks of a new school year. Everything from dismissal procedures to how to properly use a glue stick- it may seem tedious to some of your kiddos, but the extra effort up front pays off big time when your classroom runs like a well-oiled machine! 

I spent several days during week 1 talking about Whole Body Listening. Whole Body Listening is the idea that listening extends beyond the ears to all parts of the body. I introduced the concept during one of our first Reader's Workshop mini-lessons. First, I gathered the class on the carpet and asked them to share what they know about listening. I led a Google Slides presentation. My favorite part of the presentation was discussing the idea of "brain thoughts" vs. "mouth thoughts." You know how first graders love to tell you EVERYTHING they think? Well, there's just not enough time in the day for them to do that. We talked about the difference between Brain Thoughts, or those ideas that can stay inside your brain, and Mouth Thoughts, or those thoughts that are so important that they need to be shared. 

Whole Body Listening Google Slides

Brain Thoughts vs. Mouth Thoughts

Some kiddos just love to share EVERYTHING they think!

Then, we created an anchor chart together. Last year, while reminding my class to listen like the boy on our chart, one of my kiddos spontaneously said, "You mean Steve?" and he became know as Steve for the rest of the year ;P I thought it would be funny to nickname our chart dude again this year, so I asked the class what we should call him... and one kiddo immediately replied, "Bob. He looks like a Bob." So it stuck! Now when we review Whole Body Listening, I remind them that they should look like a bunch of Bobs. Cracks me up!

Our Whole Body Listening Model, aka Bob

After creating the anchor chart, I led the class in a read-aloud while reinforcing the positive behaviors I saw from my kiddos. I said things such as, "I love how ___ is facing forward towards me!" and "____'s hands are so calm and still" to connect their behaviors to the anchor chart. I also had my minions complete a "Whole Body Listening" emergent reader to review the concepts. 

Emergent Reader

"I listen with my eyes."

"I listen with my whole body!"

I printed copies of the Whole Body Listening chart and the Mouth Thoughts/Brain Thoughts slides on standard-sized paper, laminated them, and hung them in our whole-group meeting area for reference. We have to review the concepts once in awhile, but sharing this common understanding of what it means to be a Whole Body Listener has made a huge difference in my classroom! I'm also a newbie to Class Dojo, the online classroom management tool, so I made "Whole Body Listening" into a skill worth 2 points. I also printed a copy of what it means to be a Whole Group Listener at tables and displayed it at my reading table. Kiddos can't know what you expect unless you teach it explicitly... I'm loving my "Bobs" this year! Happy teaching!

Whole Body Listening poster in black-and-white

Whole Body Listening poster in color

Sunday, September 10, 2017

New Year, New School, New Freebies!

Hey teacher friends! I've been going through some major upheavals throughout the past few months, and life is finally starting to settle down again. Since May, I left Japan to move back to the States, got married, bought a house with my new husband, and accepted a position as a first grade teacher in my local school district! I'm thrilled to find myself in first grade again after all the changes I've gone through recently. Starting the school year in a new place on short notice has been a bit daunting, but I've been blessed with friendly, collaborative coworkers. Here's a little glimpse into my life for the past two weeks!

My biggest focus lately has been classroom setup. I'm trying to keep things clean, organized, and simple from the get go. 

Alphabet Sound Chart and Matching Word Wall Labels Available Here

It's so important to establish rules, routines, and expectations during these first few weeks. On day 1, we read No, David by David Shannon, and made T-chart of things we DO at school, and things we DO NOT do at school. On day 2, we read Swimmy by Leo Lionni, and thought about the ways we work together at school. Then, we used these two stories to launch a discussion about respectful vs. disrespectful behaviors. We managed to boil our T-chart down to two rules:

1) Respect people (including yourself)
2) Respect materials

Next week, we're going to focus on Whole Body Listening. I've made a Google Slides presentation to lead a conversation about listening with ears, eyes, mouths, hands, and feet, and we'll make an anchor chart for referencing this lesson throughout the year!

Whole Body Listening Lesson
Whole Body Listening Lesson

Whole Body Listening Lesson

Whole Body Listening Lesson

Whole Body Listening Lesson

I've also added a new math freebie called Good Clues, Bad Clues to my store. It focuses on adding zero. 

Good Clues, Bad Blues FREEBIE available here!

Now that things have calmed down on the home front, I'll be getting back to my "First of the Month Freebies." In the meantime, enjoy this math game and b/d reversal posters! Happy teaching!

FREE b/d reversal posters available here!

Christmas Center Activity: Santa Face

Alright teacher friends. I know we're not even halfway through November, but I've already got one eye on the winter holiday seas...