My Primary Paradise | Making Teaching A Breeze

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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2nd Grade Common Core Math Made Easy!

My favorite grade to teach is 2nd. Granted, I’ve only ever taught 1st and 2nd, but 2nd graders are such a fun age to teach because they’re still cute and sweet, BUT they can already read and there’s a little less shoe tying. I enjoyed the mix of innocence and independence. Additionally, my very favorite subject to teach is math. I LOVE math at the lower elementary level because it’s so concrete and ever lesson can be hands on and fun. One of the biggest labors of love last year was my 1st Grade Activities by the Standard Common Core Bundle (Learn More Here and Grab a Sample Here).

I am THRILLED to announce that I’ve begun working on the 2nd grade version which will make teaching 2nd grade math skills easy and keep your kiddos engaged! There will be one pack for each of the 26 second grade common core standards!

2nd Grade ABS

I am so passionate about 2nd grade math, and I plan to not only create this product, but also share tips and tidbits on 2nd grade math periodically on my Facebook page, like this video below which gave some background info on why teaching Odd and Even numbers more in depth than 1,3,5,7,9 is odd and 2,4,6,8,0 is even. (Click the picture to watch the video explanation, and make sure to “like” my page for the ability to watch future videos live as well).

Facebook Live

Now, here’s a little sneak peek into what is included in each pack.


First, each pack includes teaching posters with pictures and simple, kid friendly definition and examples for each concept. These are great tools to put up in your classroom and it also gives you the verbiage that you can use to help explain the concepts to your students.Interactive notebook

Secondly, each pack includes interactive notebook activities that only uses 2 pages per standard and requires minimal cutting, folding, and gluing. These hands on activities are a great way to have students practice each skill in an engaging way, and, once each activity is complete, they can go back and review that skill as needed. The sorts can be done over and over! Activities

Third, each pack also includes at least 5 printables that will allow students to practice every skill involved in the standard. They also make fantastic assessments. When creating these printable activities, I focus on quality, not quantity, so students will not be asked to do 50 problems when you can easily assess their knowledge in 10 or less.

Answer Keys

And finally, each pack includes answer keys for the printables that are included which saves you time and energy.

Each pack for each standard is available individually here in my TpT Shop as I upload them, but I have also created a growing bundle in which I will upload each new pack as it’s finished. The bundle price is currently half of the final price, and will go up as new packs are added. The sooner you purchase, the more you save while still having access to every pack as it’s uploaded!

Growing Bundle

I hope that this resource as well as the tips I’ll be sharing on my Facebook page about 2nd grade math activities and strategies makes teaching 2nd grade math a breeze!

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3 EASY DIY Toddler Crafts

Happy Sunday!

A few weeks ago, we welcomed baby number 2 into our lives, and we are thrilled with this little bundle.


I recently blogged over at SeeMamaTeach about what we did to make the transition from one kiddos to 2 a little easier. To check out that post, just click the picture below. :)


One of the things I mentioned in that post is that doing a simple craft with my 2 year old, when I can, has been a HUGE help in making the transition from only child to big sister (aka has to wait for things now) a little easier, so I decided to share some of those simple crafts with you today!


These crafts are all super easy, super fun, and require supplies you most likely already have. These are perfect for toddlers up to kindergarteners, and could easily be tied to specific lessons. However, we just did them for fun.


The first craft is a simple DIY maraca. All you need to create this is dried beans, plastic eggs, masking tape, plastic spoons, and markers to decorate.


First I had her fill the eggs with dried beans using the spoon. She thought this was a blast, so not only was it great fine motor practice, but it entertained her for a good long time! (After the maracas were done, we kept filling plastic eggs, just for fun.)


Next, we put the egg between the spoons…


and taped around the top.


And then kept going.


Then, we decorated them with markers. I think it would have been super fun to use stickers as well.


And then they were done! We sang so many songs while shaking these after, and she is still playing with them over a week later!


This was by far my sweet girl’s favorite craft, and it was so simple!


First trace and cut out their hand.


I drew on a mouth and let little miss put the googly eyes on.


Next, she decorated them with glitter glue which very quickly became her new favorite thing ever.


And then last, we glued on the popsicle sticks for handles! She was so excited to play with them, I couldn’t even get a picture. :)

She is obsessed with Laurie Berkner songs, so we naturally played the Goldfish song while acting it out with our fish. These little puppets have gotten so much use, and were so simple!


After making the fish puppets, she became a little obsessed with making things using her hand prints, so the next craft we did was a hand print bee.


This one was also super simple. I pained yellow and black stripes on her hand.


Then, we put her hand down on a piece of paper. Since she’s 2 and wiggly, the colors got a little mixed, but she didn’t care at all.


Last, we held the paintbrush together to make a circle for the head, a mouth, and an eye! Easy and cute! I think this would also work well with a foot.


I know I said 3 crafts, but I also want to share this little bonus craft. I don’t have pictures of the steps because it was super impromptu, but we made a little butterfly out of her handprints. We didn’t make it a puppet, but if you glued a popsicle stick on the back, it could easily be turned into one.

I hope the littles in your life can enjoy some of these crafts as well!

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Alphabet Project for Read Across America Week!

Happy Read Across America Week!

Alphabet Book

Today I want to share with you a quick and fun activity to go along with Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s! This activity doesn’t have to be paired with this book, and can totally be completed alone, but since it’s RAAW, I realized it’s a perfect fit!

This project is super simple. Read Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s to your class, and then give each student a letter! They will get to write their own words that begin with the letter, illustrate it, and share it with the class. These make a great display, and the best part is that you can easily differentiate it!

Alphabet Book example 1If you have younger students (kindergarten), or students who just need a little extra support, you can have them draw items that begin with their letter and then write the words themselves phonetically. Then, you can sit with them and rewrite any words that are misspelled. Highlighting every other line helps them to leave spaces for you to help correct their words.

Alphabet Book example 2For other students, you can have them make a list of as many words as they can think of, (they can even use the dictionary as long as they can read the words they choose), and then they can pick some or all to illustrate.

Alphabet Book example 3And lastly, for older or more advanced students, you can have them write sentences or phrases with words that start mostly with their letter and then pick one to illustrate. For added fun, have them highlight the letter at the beginning of each word to see how many they can include!

I hope you enjoy this fun activity with your students! To grab this pack, click on any of the above pictures to purchase it from my TpT shop!

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New Year New Tools Blog Hop!

Hi Everyone! My friends and I over at SeeMamaTeach are linking up for a fun New Years blog hop!

blog hog picture

We’re sharing ideas and freebies to help you ease back into January and I’m stop number 1!stop 1

Here’s my freebie that I find is a great way to start the new year in January! (Click the picture below to grab it from my tpt shop).

New Year Letter FreebieThis friendly letter freebie is a great, new spin on having your students write new years resolutions! It comes with a few different versions and will work for kindergarten to second or third grade!

I also want to share a little, simple tip. Take some time the first day back to really go back over your classroom routines and procedures. Their little brains are likely to forget a ton over break, so I like to treat the first period or two like the first day of school- reviewing, practicing, and remember our procedures.

I hope you have a great first week back!

Now keep on hopping through to grab some more tips and freebies, and to enter to win a $50 gift card & a bunch of great teaching resources!

Here’s the resource you could win from my TpT shop!

enter to winMy Short Vowel and Long Vowel Interactive Notebook & Game packs are no prep, low cutting, and tons of fun, and you can win both of them at the end of the blog hop! Just keep hopping through and enter to win at the end! :)

Click the button below to hop on to the next blog!next stop

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