A Simple Trick and a Giveaway

A Simple Trick

I don't know about you, but sometimes my very best ideas come at random moments.  I had one of these ideas during the last trimester of this past school year & had such great success with it that I'm doing it again!

I have struggled with my kiddos NEVER having pencils for the first 24 years of my teaching career (I am now in year 25).  Last year I had one of my ideas mentioned above.  I decided to give everyone in my class 2 pencils with their number written on both of them (I assign numbers to my students for their mailbox, papers, etc.).  I told them that I would be giving Dojo Points and brag tags for kids who could hold onto their pencils for a certain time period (maybe one week at the beginning of this trial and then stretched to several weeks towards the end of the year).  I had quite a few kids earning Dojo points, then a fewer amount the brag tags.  Towards the end I even increased the prize to a candy bar of their choice.  I think I bought candy bars for 10 of my 22 students at the end of the year (I call this a major victory!).

I want to mention that I passed out new numbered pencils several times during that last trimester to allow students who had lost theirs to start over again.  I went through so many less pencils than I had in previous years!

This year I started out the school year giving each of my 25 students 2 numbered pencils.  I did a spot check the first week for a Dojo point and then another check this past Friday (2 1/2 weeks into the school year). I ended up giving 22 of my 25 students a brag tag!  I am thrilled that this simple solution is working so well for me.

You don't have to use student numbers to use this idea.  You could write their names on their pencils.
If you'd like to try this idea (or another for keeping their pencils), I made brag tags last year that you can download and use.  You can click the pictures below or click HERE to get them.

I think this idea was much better than the time I had the random idea to let it "rain" mini marshmallows.  But... that's another story.


The last time I blogged I showed you my summer project of putting together my tubs of base 10 blocks.  You can see that blog post here if you would like to see the tubs and read about them.
I have been so proud of my students and their understanding of place value.  We are not there "yet" but I see lots of glimmers of lights (this is why I LOVE first grade!!!!).

I decided to put together an engaging activity for them to use this week to practice what we're working on.  I think they'll love the idea that they are going "apple picking".

Students will look at each card and count the tens and ones blocks.  They will then "pick" the correct answer by poking a thin stick through the hole.  The back has the correct answer circled, so they get immediate feedback on their answer.  I know my kids will be using this one over and over!  
If you're interested in this fun September activity (or really any time of the year), you can see it HERE or click the pictures below.

Giveway for $75 gift certificate to TpT

You have the chance to win a $75 gift certificate to TpT. I know that would come in handy right now at the beginning of a school year!  Use the rafflecopter below to enter!


Prize: $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 9/13/17 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great rest of your week!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I am TOTALLY doing this when school starts this fall!! And I can only imagine the day it rained marshmallows...I'm sure it was an unforgettable day for all! :)


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