My Primary Paradise | Making Teaching A Breeze

12 Days of Freebies!

12-days-of-freebiesI’m SO excited to share something I’ve had up my sleeve! I’ve been planning this for the last two weeks, and I think you’ll all love this! As my present to you, I am doing a 12 Days of Freebies email starting on December 14th that runs until Christmas day! When you sign up, each day you’ll receive an EXCLUSIVE free activity (or two, or maybe even a WHOLE pack!) from some of my new and best selling products! That’s it! No catch, no hopping from blog to blog, or any extra work. Just sign up below and your freebies will be delivered right to your inbox. :) I hope that you have a fantastic holiday season, and I hope this makes this crazy time of year just a little bit easier. Enjoy, friends!

***Note: If you use gmail, your emails will go to your Promotions folder, so please check there for a welcome message right after you sign up, and set the messages to go to your inbox.***


December Activities Calendar

Happy December, friends! I wanted to share something fun that I’m doing with my own daughter this December.

Christmas is such a fun time of the year, but it’s also SO very busy. I am trying to be intentional about taking some time each day to spend with her, talking about the meaning of Christmas and having some fun that’s not focused on getting presents.

The first thing that we’re doing is reading Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (aff link) advent book each day, but I also wanted to do some daily FUN!

So, I created a daily activity calendar!  (Click the picture below to download a printable version, as well as a blank version where you can write your own activities in.)


If you follow me on instagram or Facebook, you might have seen my posts of the first few activities. I plan to continue to post what we’re doing daily, so make sure to give me a follow!

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Many of the supplies for the activities I have planned are from Dollar Tree, and most of the activities are self explanatory, but here’s a quick run down. :)

1st Sort red and green bells by color

2nd Make a wreath (I used dollar tree supplies, but lots of ideas on Pinterest)

3rd Paint pack from the dollar tree, but could easily print from the computer

4th Printed a manger picture from the internet, and we decorated our mini tree together

5th Make cards for some of our neighbors to leave on their doors

6th Homemade ornament- we are using dollar tree supplies, but lots of ideas on Pinterest

7th Using gems from the dollar tree to make patterns, but you could also use red and green stamps, markers, or paint

(Here’s my template to download for free!)


8th Making a Christmas scene using dollar tree magnets

9th Using a dry erase foam dice (Dollar Tree), we’ll roll and color in different Christmas symbols


10th Sponge paint a Christmas tree on paper (lots of ideas on Pinterest)

11th Use 3 paper plates to make a snowman

12th Making gifts for family members

13th Wrapping gifts for family members

14th Popsicle stick manger- again, lots of easy ideas on Pinterest

15th Hand print Angel

16th Go to local food pantry to donate canned goods

17th “Snowball fight” with paper balls

18th “Snow” painting- white paint on black paper

19th Cup of cocoa craft- look on Pinterest for some fun options and of course drinking cocoa

20th Make a Christmas tree with our hand prints

21st  Make a manger scene using thumbprints

22nd Act out  Christmas story with stick puppets

23rd Make a candy can with our finger prints and tasting candy canes

24th Make a cotton ball snowman

25th Christmas Day!

I hope you enjoy as much as we will! Make sure to give me a follow on instagram and Facebook if you’d like to see how it goes! What are some fun things you do with your kiddos in December?

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National Day of Kindness Freebie!

Hi Friends,

I know I’m not the only person right now with a heavy heart. Whatever “side” of things you’re on, or even if you’re indifferent, I know that everyone I talk to is disturbed by the way that *some* people (on BOTH sides and again, even those who are indifferent) are treating others. It’s disheartening.

I know as a teacher, I always, always stressed the importance of kindness. SO many conversations with students who were having disagreements went something like this (when I was speaking to each party involved one on one):

Student: But I don’t like him/her.

Me: We don’t always like everyone, but we still have to be kind to everyone.

Student: But he/she did …. XYZ

Me: Even if we don’t like someone’s words or actions, we still have to show kindness.

So, how appropriate that today is National Kindness Day. After everything that has happened in the last week, I think that it is the perfect time to remind our students and ourselves to always choose kindness.

And, I wanted to put my money where my mouth is, so I created a little freebie that will be perfect to use tomorrow and this week.

My #NationalDayofKindness pack includes 3 posters to hang in your classroom.


And a WANTED poster activity that works perfectly after a discussion or book about kindness. Students can draw and write about what they want kindness to look like in their classroom, school, home or the world as well as talk about what they will do to be kind.


If you’d like some recommendations for great books about kindness, here are a few of my favorites (aff links).

I hope that this can help start a discussion on kindness in your classroom this week. There can never, never be too much kindness in the world. <3

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Morning Work- A Sanity Saver in the Mornings


Ah, morning work. When I was in school, that wasn’t a thing. At least not in my school. We came in and the teacher collected lunch money while we unpacked, sharpened pencils, talked about the Rugrats episode we watched last night etc, etc and then eventually the Pledge of Allegiance would come over the loud speaker, we’d all stand, and then when it was over, we’d dive into our work for the day. But typically, a few kids were still talking, not everyone was unpacked, and someone (or many someones) would inevitably end up with bench time before we were all settled and ready to learn.

My first year of teaching, I didn’t always use morning work. Sometimes I’d have a do now, sometimes I wouldn’t. I was a bit unorganized and overwhelmed. (I know, a first year teacher who’s unorganized and overwhelmed? Shocker! 😉 )

When I went into year two, I was much more organized, and was much better about always having some kind of morning work for my students, but it wasn’t always consistent. They’d often have a lot of questions, even far into the year, and it wasn’t doing it’s job.


What exactly did I want my morning work to do? It’s simple, really. I wanted my morning work routine to

1. Review important skills.

2. Be easy enough so my students could do it completely on their own.

3. Be challenging enough that it took more than 2 minutes (but not so challenging that it took 30 min).

4. Keep my kiddos busy while I did all of the morning duties.

That way, when it was time to begin our day, we could really dig in right away.

My 3rd full year of teaching, I was in a new school teaching second grade. That year, before school started, I really thought long and hard about what I wanted my morning work to be like. What I came up with saved my sanity every single morning, and the other teachers in my grade began to use it as well.


It was fabulous because students knew what to do every. single. day. Each day followed the same format, so after I taught them how it worked, we were set for the year.

After completing the pledge every day, we’d quickly go over the answers, so students knew, if they were stuck, they could just move on and we’d review it together before morning work time was over.


It also gave me a glimpse at the skills that students needed a little extra work on, and helped to guide my guided reading and math time.


And then when I moved back to first grade the next year, I created a first grade version, which again, saved my sanity big time.


I am a firm believer in using morning work to help students get into a “school frame of mind”. It also was a great way for students to collaborate. I often would hear students asking each other for help from each other, which I loved.

Do you use morning work? What have you found successful?

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Dollar Tree Bowling Math Centers

Dollar tree heart eyes. That how it all started.

A few days ago, I made a child-free trip to the Dollar Tree, and as I was wondering aimlessly, drinking in the fact that I didn’t have to wrangle a toddler or carry an infant, I saw it. And instantly, I had what I like to call dollar tree heart eyes. :)

Bowl & Learn

I saw this little plastic bowling set and immediately thought “I NEED to turn that into a center!” Because… let’s face it. Kids like (need) to play, move, and have FUN. Plus, kids like to knock stuff down. It teaches them the laws of physics I guess too, right? 😉

So, I stuffed the little bowling set into my basket along with lots of other random items that I NEEDED, and continued to browse.

When I got home, I set to work, and I am so excited about the math centers that came to be! Low ink, very little prep, NO CUTTING (hallelujah, am I right?) and SO fun and engaging!

Bowl & Learn

FYI- in case you don’t have a Dollar Tree near you, and you don’t want to purchase an entire case of little bowling sets from their website, you can totally purchase bowling sets on Amazon (although not nearly as cheap) or simply use small cups.

These centers are super easy for you and for your kiddos.

Here’s how they work.

Bowl & Learn

They set the pins.

Bowl & Learn

Grab a recording sheet.

Bowl & Learn




They’re perfect for working in partners (look, now they’re learning social skills like taking turns, too! 😉 )or independently.

I wanted to cover a variety of skills, and I plan to add more as time goes on as well. (Please feel free to comment below with suggestions.)

But so far, this pack includes:

Counting, Tally Marks, and Skip Counting by 5’s and 10’s Bowl & Learn

Number Recognition to 100

Bowl & Learn

Addition (to 30) & Subtraction (to 20)

Bowl & Learn

Shape Identification and Graphing

Bowl & Learn

And the best part? There are multiple levels and options for the skills in the packet, so it’s easy to differentiate and grow as your students advance.

Bowl & Learn

Bowl & Learn

Visual directions for the centers also make it easy for your students, and it will keep you from having to explain directions over and over and over.

Bowl & Learn

So, if your kiddos would enjoy getting to Bowl & Learn, you can grab the whole pack in my TpT shop.

Bowl & Learn

And since you made it to the end of the post, you can try one for free by clicking the picture below! Yay!

Bowl & Learn Preview Freebie

Before I go, I wanted to share that I’m also working on an ELA version which will be available shortly! If you have any specific skills you’d like to be included in the Math or ELA versions, please leave a comment.

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