In this first installment of Bootstrapping Boot Camp, you'll learn two easy ways to organize, two games you can make and use for many subjects and skills, and two no-mess activities that take two (or fewer) supplies to complete.
1. File Your Books . . .
If you like to keep a permanent collection of favorite books, use your filing cabinets to file them by category.
. . . Or Pile Them
If you like to have a rotating collection of new and different books, check out several at your local library every couple of weeks, and pile in a basket or bin where your students can flip through them.
2. Make Coloring Sheets to Differentiate by Ability
To differentiate, change the skill (e.g. letters vs. sight words, or numbers vs. addition) required on your coloring sheets. To differentiate the same skill, change the amount of work involved (e.g., letters a-d for emergent; letters a-z for advanced). Mark crayons or colored pencils with letters or numbers to use in corresponding matches on the sheets. Different pictures, skills, and levels of difficulty make it a cheap project that never gets boring!
3. Mark Up Your Puzzles So They Double As Matching Games
For this activity, you need a puzzle that has a board, so that you can match the pieces with their places on the board. You can use a variety of subjects and skills; for this one, I used beginning letters. Students must find the words on the board that match the beginning letters on the puzzle pieces. This game is fun because it gives instant feedback — students will know they're right if the pieces fit together. If they get all the right answers, they've made a whole picture.
4. Use Silly Putty Instead of Play-Doh
Silly Putty makes for a playful, non-messy activity that has the benefit of getting little hands ready for writing practice. Squeeze it, stretch it, and bend it into shapes! It won't crumble all over, or get mixed in with other colors like Play-Doh does, and it doesn't dry out as quickly.
5. Use Wet Wipes Containers to Store Things
If you're anything like me, you use a lot of wet wipes in the classroom. Get the kind that come in a canister, and when you run out, you'll have a storage container that works for almost anything.
6. Make Books With Sticky Notes
It's the easiest way to bind a book! Write and/or draw on separate sticky notes to make separate pages, and then stick 'em together!