Sensory Bins Ideas

We are always looking for new ideas for our sensory bins to keep students engaged. 

Changing up activities keeps the interest as new activities easily change the dynamic in a classroom by calming children down as they explore the new activities.

alphabet & numbers
alphabet cereal
animals
aquarium gravel
beads
beans
birdseed (nut allergy issue)
bottle caps
bugs
buttons
cereal
chickpeas
cloud dough
corks
colored pasta
colored sand
construction paper scraps
corn
decaf coffee grinds
dinosaurs
dried beans
drinking straws and scissors
Easter grass
funfetti
gems
gak
ice blocks
Jello crystals
kinetic sand (homemade or store bought)
leaves
Lego blocks
magnetic objects and magnets
marbles
moon sand
mud
nuts and bolts
oatmeal (use gluten free version if allergies are an issue)
pine cones (tree allergy issue)
pine needles (tree allergy issue)
plumbers pipes, elbows and joints
pom poms
pebbles
raisins
ramps
rice
sand
saw dust
shaving cream (potential scent allergy issue)
shells
shredded paper (look for sight words, letter hunt)
snow with shovels
snow with paint
soil
straw (potential allergy issue)
stones
tissue paper
vehicles
water
water with soap to make bubbles
water beads (dollar store)
wooden chips/mulch
wooden pallets
wooden pallets

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Play Dough Recipe


I have had many parents bring in recipes of play dough. This is our best recipe that we have found to send home to our families.

Dry Ingredients

2 c flour
1 c salt
4 tsp cream of tarter

Wet Ingredients

2 c boiled water
4 Tbsp oil
food colouring

Directions

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix all wet ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix together.
Knead together.
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Shared Reading Ideas


I love shared reading. Especially with primary students.

It is a time to have fun reading a story together.

Often the teacher will read the poem first on their own.

Then students will echo read where students repeat what the teacher has said.

Choral reading occurs when the teacher and students read together.

Fill in the blank reading. This is when the teacher will pause every once and a while and the students guess the missing words. This helps students make meaning and can help develop their understanding of rhyming words.

Integrating themes and interests, with simple sight words around the topics of shared reading helps students develop their confidence in their ability to read!

Learning activities during shared reading:

Find the hidden word
Search for the letter of the week
Search for letters in your name
Model 1-1 correlation by point to the words when reading
Model left to right and top to bottom progression
Discuss concepts of print (capitals, spaces and punctuation)
Develop a sense of a story (characters, setting beginning, middle and ending)
Develop an ability to predict and infer
Expand their vocabulary
Expand their understanding of topics, themes and styles of writing



I will be honest, I was lacking differentiated poem materials to ensure I had copies that are perfect for my high readers and and also had enough visual supports provided for my low readers or ELL students.

So I wrote some poetry. Each poem has 4-5 versions of the poem included which vary from few images cues to many for differentiated learning.

I firmly believe it is important to have fun activities which integrate math and literacy so I ensured that it is included for each of the poems in the sets.

If you're interested in checking them out, I have included the links below!

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Student Gift Ideas for Busy Teachers


Affordable gifts for students are not always easy for teachers on a budget. Here are some ideas worth considering, if you choose to give your students gifts.

Books

Check out sources like Scholastic and buy books of interest in bulk for a great sale! 
Remember to use your reward coupons for a discount.

White Boards & Markers

Check out  your local Dollar store. Whiteboards are a great gift idea to support
 printing and writing skills at home!

 Reindeer Food

Make a batch of reindeer food for your students. It sparks their love of the holidays and helps make the holiday season a bit more exciting as they anticipate Santa! Click the image above for a recipe!

 Hats

Hats are awesome to support oral literacy by encouraging dramatic play! Change up a 'hat' theme over the years.  by considering fun hats like animals, community helpers, or even holiday themed hats! Perfect for inspiring dramatic play at home!

Gak

Gak is an awesome homemade recipe, similar to putty, which is excellent for hours of fun.  It is a great way to support fine motor skills in children of all ages! Find a recipe by clicking on the image above!

 Personalized Clocks

Take photos of your students throughout the school year. Buy a cheap wall clock from your 
local Dollar store and replace the numbers with small printed images of each child OR place the photos beside each number.

Bells

Every other year we have Polar Express theme in our classroom. As a gift, Santa brings a bell with ribbon tied to it as a gift for each of the children. It is quite beautiful to see them full of wonder and walk around carrying their "treasured gift" from Santa.

Play Dough

I don't know about your class, but our play dough centre is always one of the busiest centres in our classroom. Having a "gift" of several bunches of different colors would be most of my students best dream come true!

Individualized Bookmarks

If I have a large number of students I have made individualized bookmarks for each of my students with a favorite quote or something inspiring. Many students end up using it throughout the year, especially in the older grades for their self-selected reading in class.

Click on the image above to check out some growth mindset bookmarks perfect for student gifts!

I hope that you can find an idea to make your gift giving easier this year! I would love to hear about other ideas you give to your students!
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