Sunday, April 2, 2017

Using Play-Doh Playsets in the Classroom!

Using Play-Doh Playsets in the Classroom

I was obsessed with Play-Doh as a child, so I love using it in my classroom too!! Recently I was given the opportunity to try out two new Play-Doh Playsets in my classroom. I received Play-Doh Letters and Language and Play-Doh Colors and Shapes. One thing I did when I received my sets was to laminate the mats that were included. Since I plan on using these year after year, laminating was the best option to prevent wear and tear!

Using Play-Doh Playsets in the Classroom

Each set came with small containers of Play-Doh. I was fortunate enough to also receive extra regular-sized containers as well. I'd recommend getting a few of the regular-sized containers so that there's more Play-Doh to go around when students use these!

Letters & Language: This set is perfect for word work and alphabet activities!! My students made quick work of figuring out how to make small circles with the hollowed out rolling pin and then stamping to make letters.
Using Play-Doh Playsets in the Classroom
The letter stampers are also great because we can spell sight words, CVC words, and CVCe words which we're always working on during our word work station.


Shapes & Colors: This set is a great addition to our math stations and games. My students also use this one during our center playtime at the end of the day. I'm a bit obsessive about colors getting mixed, so we don't always have all the colors out to match each object on these mats. My students never seem to mind though! (Sorry about the glare, but like I said, I laminated the mats which has really kept them in great shape!)
My favorite part of this set is the pattern mat. This is a skill that is no longer part of our Kindergarten standards, but I still feel is so important to learn! I always work in pattern activities whenever possible, so I love that this pattern mat allows one more way for my students to play with patterns. Just check out that ABC pattern one of my students made!!

I've always been a big fan of using Play-Doh in my classroom, and I'm glad I was introduced to these playsets as another way to use our Play-Doh! Now you have the chance to WIN TWO Play-Doh Playsets for your own classroom! Enter using the options below for your chance to WIN! {For shipping reasons, winner must live in the United States, sorry!}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to pin it!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Table Trash Bins FREEBIE!

Table Trash Bins - A is for Apples

Recently I posted this image on Instagram because I loved how pretty my table trash bins looked with all of the bright paper scraps! Several people commented about my labels, so I wanted to tell you a little more about my bins, and you can grab my labels for free at the end of this post!
A post shared by Elyse Rhodes | A is for Apples (@peaceloveapples) on

Table Trash Bins Table Trash Bins

The bins were purchased from Dollar Tree in 2015. You can use any small bin that works for your tables! I have 1 table trash bin per table that 2-3 students share.

We have the rule that our table trash bins are for paper garbage. NO food trash allowed in the bins! We do snack in the afternoons and sometimes they have to eat breakfast in the classroom. I don't allow them to throw food wrappers or other food trash in the bins because I don't want them getting gross, sticky, and foul smelling!!

We keep it simple in my room so I don't do classroom jobs, but emptying the table trash bins would be a great one to have if you do jobs! My first couple students to arrive each morning empty the bins. If it fills up during the day, they know to empty only their table's bin, or I will tell someone to grab their bin and empty it. The whole idea is to minimize them going back and forth to the trash cans, so we don't go back and forth to empty these either!!


Table Trash Bins
I've included the labels in 2 different sizes. My bins have the larger label on them. Click HERE or on the image above to grab these labels for FREE!!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hats off to Reading with Party City!

Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples

Party City wants us to celebrate the 113th birthday of America's favorite author, Dr. Seuss, and the "Hats Off to Reading" campaign! Don't just throw a party, throw a Party City Dr. Seuss Party! And that's exactly what we did!! Check it out!

Check out all of these goodies that Party City has available for Dr. Seuss celebrations!! We made up goodie bags for each student with a bookmark, notepad and pencil, stamper, and award medal. The adorable thing was seeing my kiddos come to school the next day with the image of their new stamp all over their hands!
Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples

Those bookmarks are no joke either! I thought 2 were stuck together, but they are just that thick and sturdy!! Party City's Party Kits are an easy and stress-free way for busy teachers and parents to put together a Dr. Seuss celebration! From decorations and serveware featuring all your favorite characters, to costumes and accessories (including the iconic red and white hat!), Party City has it all!

Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for ApplesDr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples

These photo props have forever changed my life for Read Across America!! My students had too much fun with these (and so did I!!!) I even got some parents to pose with their child at drop off in the morning!
Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples

Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples
At only 5ft tall, this was the perfect quote for me to pose with!

Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples

Snack time for the day was a Cat in the Hat string cheese and "green eggs and ham" (a pretzel, melted white chocolate and a green M&M). I had some students ask if they could save their plate and napkin because it was so bright and cute!!
Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples

At the end of the day, each of my students went home with one of these adorable certificates! Does anyone else hope that this went straight on the fridge? Because I hope so!!
I'm hoping that I gave my students a Dr. Seuss party and Read Across America Day to remember! Don't forget to use Party City to throw a fun, Seuss-filled party that they'll never forget!

Dr. Seuss party ideas for the classroom | A is for Apples

Check out how my friends partied with Party City and Dr. Seuss for Read Across America!





Saturday, January 14, 2017

Qwirkle, Our New Favorite Math Station Game!

Qwirkle. It's such a great word to say and such a FUN game to play!! We've been using Qwirkle from MindWare all year in our math stations. By now you might be asking, what is Qwirkle??!  It's a game that helps my students with their colors and shapes! It's like playing Dominos + Scrabble combined!



Qwirkle requires players to match the tiles by shape or color. You can match a tile if it is the same color OR if it is the same shape. You can score points, but my students love just playing and matching! I love watching them figure out where a tile should go and have discussions on why a tile fits or doesn't fit in a certain spot. (Great for questioning and discussion!!)




Qwirkle comes neatly packed in its box. Once you open it up, you find all the colored tiles and a bag to store them in! We keep the bag in one of our math station drawers. My students love grabbing this game to play during math stations, and I love that they are learning strategy while practicing colors and shapes!


I highly recommend adding Qwirkle to your math station rotations! Your students will thank you! It would also be a great game to play at home with your family!! (It comes in a travel size too!!!)
*I was provided this product from MindWare for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are mine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Cornucopia of Classroom FREEBIES!

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? This year I am having a virtual Thanksgiving Potluck with some of my teacher besties! We have so much to be thankful for, and we wanted share our blessing with you!
We created a FREE Classroom Cornucopia of our best selling resources! These are some of our favorite classroom creations that can be used throughout the year. Here's a taste of everything we shared in our Cornucopia...

I'm sharing my differentiated reading logs! They are the perfect way to hold students and parents accountable for reading at home while also making it fun! Students color in a picture every time they read a book, and you can choose from over 20 recording pages to meet the needs of all your learners! {A is for Apples}

Emily from Polka Dots Please shared a Tooth Word Bank that can be used for writing folders, anchor charts, or a creative writing center. There are pictures to match every word so little writers feel inspired and supported! (This is a BONUS word bank that is not included in the original set!)


Alisha from Missing Tooth Grins shared Winter Main Idea Passages. These main idea passages are designed for the winter months and help your students understand and practice telling the main idea and supporting details from a short passage. They are consistent, easy to use, and require no prep!



Jessica from Mrs. Stanford's Class shared Post It Note Reminders! These easy to use sticky note reminders are a great way to keep notes home consistent in your classroom. All you need to do is print the template, stick the post its, and print again. Have them stocked up in your drawer for your next writing checklist! Parents and students will love the consistency these checklists can bring to your classroom! Teachers will love the convenience! 



Katie from Simply Creative Teaching shared Place Value Exit Slips from her Math Exit Slips for every Common Core math standard! You can grab exit slips for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade! They are designed to be completed in 5 minutes or less and there are 4 to a page for quick and easy printing. 
Kelly from Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten shared Kindergarten Reading Comprehension Stories that are so much fun for emergent readers! Students read a text with CVC words and sight words while using the tracking dots to point to the words as they read. Students color a star or symbol at the top of the page each time they read. Four comprehension questions are included (multiple choice and fill in the blank). Additional practice is included on the bottom of the page with CVC words or seasonal vocabulary.


Diane from One Giggle At a Time shared her best selling Joke of the Day Set! It's her favorite part of every school day, and it has been rated by her firsties on the Top Ten List of Bests in her classroom for years! Every day of the school year, her class starts the day with a joke, a fact, and a question to ponder together. It is a great way to join together to share some giggles, some deep thinking, and a little each other. Joke of The Day set includes daily cards that can be printed out or a Smartboard version that can be displayed on the screen each morning as the students come in. 



Amber from A Smiling Teacher shared Editable Sight Word Lists! 
They make it easy for teachers to differentiate sight word and spelling practice while giving your students choice! The pack includes 15 word work activities that require little to no prep and can be used with any spelling or sight word list! Students loves the variety of choices and teachers love that students are working on words that are just right for them! EDITABLE word lists are included and make it easy to personalize learning! 


Gina from Teaching with Heart shared Work on Writing. You can easily create ENGAGING and MEANINGFUL writing center activities for your kindergarteners or first graders! The pack includes lots of activities so you and differentiate and scaffold to meet the needs of your students!

We are so thankful this year and happy to share our Classroom Cornucopia with you! You can download the whole 43 page pack here or click on the picture below! Happy Thanksgiving Friends!