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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Blogger I Admire is...

 I linked up with Amanda from The Primary Gal to participate in this month's blog event. I got to choose any blogger that I wanted and a product, from their store to use in my own classroom, to review. I knew instantly who I wanted to pick. The hardest part of picking this amazing blogger was picking which item, I wanted to use from her store. So who did I pick? Check out the clues below.

Clue #1 This blogger does not have a specific grade in her blog name.
Clue#2 This blogger has three words in her blog name.
Clue#3 This blogger is a mother, a wife and a teacher. She isn't currently teaching.
Clue#4 This blogger uses cardboard, small toys, and my guess is a lot of hot glue to create her different creations.
Clue#5 Whoot! Whoot! The train has left the station!

Did you figure it out? The blogger that I admire is.....

I have been following Laura of Differentiation Station Creations on Teachers pay Teachers and on her Facebook Page since August of 2013. So when I found out she had started a blog, dare I say that I was excited! Her products are amazing and I love how engaged the children are in her pictures! It just looks like fun! And learning should be fun! She is the go to person if you are looking for a way to get your students up and moving and of course to differentiate your instruction.

So what product did I chose to review? It honestly took me a good hour to decide which product I wanted to beg for. I decided that I have some students in my grade 1 class that still need practice counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s to 100 (Ontario expectation). And some students that could use the challenge of counting by 3s. So I chose her "Let's Get Hopping" set. 

This activity took a fair bit of set up, but oh was it worth it. My student teacher wanted to shoot me by the end, I'm sure. How could my students not love it? They get to hop from Lily pad to Lily pad and practice counting at the same time. How cool is that?

What I Love...What don't I love? 
One of the handiest things about this product is that Laura included both coloured and black and white lily pads. I printed the black and white version and then copied them on to coloured card stock. Even though they aren't printed in colour, I love them and even better the students loved them. 

What is included:
- detailed instructions with pictures
- Lily pads in colour and black and white for counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s and 10s to 120
- Frog faces for the students to hold
- Activity pages (2 sets one set goes to 100, the other goes to 120)

What I Love
I love that the lily pads are colour coded. If you are counting by 2s, you step on the green lily pads. If you are counting by 3s, you step on the blue lily pads and so on. Not only are you getting you kinesthetic learners moving but you are helping your visual learner as well. It also helps those students who are just learning what number to step on.

I actually made these cards twice. I printed them, cut them out and laminated them. I then realized that when the cards are  layered that they might slide apart. So I redid them...I cut them out, glued them together and then laminated them. This worked soooo much better. 

What I Love 
Laura also included adorable frog faces that tell everyone what number they are counting by. The students loved the frog faces. She also included blank faces so students could write their own numbers. I had one little guy that wanted to count by 4's. So he wrote on the blank frog that he was counting by 4's.

Laura suggested attaching them to a Popsicle stick or a paint stir stick. I used Velcro to attach mine to a clip board. This way the students could use the clip board to hold their hundreds chart and they could also change the frog face depending on what they were counting by.

What I Love
Laura includes a variety of 100s charts and 120s charts in this kit. While practicing, students can colour in the numbers that they say as they are counting by the different numbers. They can also fill in the missing numbers. 

I set this up as a centre, so I we didn't have too many pile ups on our Lily Pad trail. I had a group of four students hopping along the lily pads.  

I love how engaged my students were.
I love that they were working on fluency and speed.
I love that the activity is differentiated easily for different learners.
I love that that it kept my busy students moving.
Most importantly I loved that they had fun while learning!

So now here is the fun part. Laura from Differentiation Creation Station has given you a sample of this amazing activity. Click HERE to download it.

I just wanted to thank Laura for allowing me to use her product in my classroom and for being willing to share a sample with you. It is definitely one of my new favorites!

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  1. You truly made my day :) Thank you so much for seeing the frogs in action! I am blown away by your sweet review and how it worked with your students. This is truly what I envisioned when I came up with the concept. I can't thank you enough for choosing to use my game with your students and for sharing it with me. I am speechless! Thank you so very much!! If you ever want to try another game, just let me know :)

    1. Laura, I'm so glad that you liked it! I was stressing over it. I didn't want you to be disappointed. I didn't include it in the blog post, but I had one little girl who made her own lily pads at explore time so that her little sister in Kindie could practice counting at home. I thought it was so sweet. Thanks again for offering up one of your products!

    2. I would never be disappointed! I was so excited to even know that someone admired me :) Thanks for sharing about the little girl. That is why I create. You have energized me! Thank you again!!! I really can't begin to tell you how much your post meant to me.

  2. This looks like a lot of fun! We skip count every day during calendar time and 5s and 10s are pretty easy, but when we get to 2s, not so much. Haha. You can hear 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 nice and loud and confident and then they start to trickle off....12, 14, 15, wait no, 16, 17, UGH, 18.....Haha!! It can be comical at times. We love that the children are moving and are truly engaged in this activity. Thank you for sharing Laura's creation, we will have to check it out!
    Kelly and Kim’s Kindergarten Kreations

  3. We do the same thing at calendar. Some days it is painful especially in September. We also play a game were I'll pick a number and they yell out what number would come next. "I say 12" and they chime back "We say 14. 12, 14, 12, 14".

  4. Hey Emily,
    It's Beth from Thinking of Teaching. Would you mind going back and entering your email on book study schedule...I forgot to add that column before!
    Thinking of Teaching

  5. Laura and Emily...great work from great ladies!! Smiles, Jayne
    Smart Kids