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Brag Tags in Music Class


Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

What are brag tags?  They are tiny little awards that look similar to dog tags.  They are used as a classroom management tool and are insanely motivating for student when used consistently.  When I used these in my music and computer classes, my entire school was using them as student incentives.  We actually just called them "reward tags" instead of "brag tags" which sounds MUCH cooler!

After a year of using this system, administration changed and the incentive system wasn't a top priority.  Some teachers continued to use them, others dropped them.  Can brag tags work in special area classes even if classroom teachers don't use them?  You bet!  

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

I introduce brag tags on the first day of class, but don't really get too detailed about them until day two of music.  During this class period, I'll show them some of the tags that I keep on hand and why they might be rewarded.  This is also when I introduce my two brag tag rules.
1.  There are no replacement tags.  You are responsible for your tag once it is given to you.
2.  Don't ask for a tag or you will not get one.
Pretty simple, right?  I bet I repeated rule #2 a million times!  

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

I used reward tags to recognize many different behaviors, achievements and special event sin music class.  I loved giving out tags for concert attendance and performance.  I also used them to recognize singing in tune, keeping steady beat, singing solos, performing difficult rhythms, leading small groups and more.

Often I would take 3 or 4 tags and put them up on the board.  Then I would remind students that I would be looking for people who were exhibiting that skill or characteristic to reward.  This immediately focused student energy to what was happening in class.

When the entire school was using reward tags, I would just give out the tags as the students left my room.  They would take them back to their classroom and add them to whatever their home room teacher had set up for them.  For most classes it was a necklace that hung on their desk or on a bulletin board.  For other classes they used a jump ring (as shown in the first picture above). 

When classroom teachers stopped using them, I had to get a little creative with how students were rewarded and what they did with the tags.

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

My favorite way was to attach the brag tags with a safety pin.  This worked great!  The older students could put them on by themselves and the younger students were easy enough to pin on their way out of class.

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.
A student favorite for displaying brag tags was to string them onto their shoe strings.  I thought this was pretty clever!  They looked great until...well...until they didn't.  *giggling*  Imagine recess just after the rain stopped.  Yep.  Some of the tags didn't last very long.  When that happened, I happily referred students to rule #1.

Some students did not want to wear their tag in any fashion, so they would just slip it into their pockets.  I was fine with that.  Some of them put them in their backpacks, taped them into folders or books.

I experimented with giving students library pockets to store their brag tags, but found with hundreds of students that was a little too much for me to keep up with.  I kept a box of small envelopes at my desk that students could request if they didn't want to wear them.  Most students wanted to wear them, so the envelopes were not used very often.  They were also seriously plain, so that might have deterred them as well. 
Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.
My favorite use for brag tags was as an immediate reward for singing.  With my younger classes I would give them out liberally to students who sang by themselves, match pitched or performed a solo for the class.  For older students I used tags to recognize good singing posture, enunciation, eyes on the conductor, etc...

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.   Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

Preparing the Tags
I have a HUGE collection of music brag tags in my store that you may be interested in.  Click HERE to take a look at the Music Class Set with has 75 tags.  They were designed to be used with a color printer, but a low in version with no background is included as well.

To use them you'll need to print them, trim the edges and then laminate the whole sheet.  After they have been laminated, cut them apart.  At the beginning of the year, I punched holes at the top of every tag to save class time.  When I printed more copies during the year I usually skipped this step and just kept a whole punch near the tags in my classroom.

The start up time can seem a little overwhelming.  If you have a teaching assistant, school print shop or a parent volunteer, this would be a great job to pass off!  For me, I just picked a show to binge watch on Netflix and laminated the night away.


Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.
  There are brag tags for recorders too!  Color tags are included (but do not reference "karate") for white, yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink, turquoise and a master tag with several colors.

I use the Peripole Halo recorders with the neck strap so it was easy to thread them on.  Students with different recorders used a jump ring to attach them to their cases or backpacks.

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.
You can get the recorder set of brag tags HERE.  

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

There are many ways to organize brag tags.  I must admit that my way is not very creative.  I used index card boxes.  I put singing tags in one box, recorder tags in another and so on.  There are many other more innovative ideas out there including pocket charts, photo storage boxes and some brag tag tackle boxes.

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

I encourage you to consider adding this fun and motivating behavior incentive system in your classroom this year.  Do a little.  Do a lot.  Do what works for you and your classroom.

You can get my set of Brag Tags for Music Class HERE and the Recorder Set HERE.

Learn to use Brag Tags in Music Class or any special area class.  Brag tags are an incredible student behavior incentive and can be used in older students as well as Kindergarten and other young learners.  You’ll find ideas for using these printable sanity savers even if you only see your students once a week.

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DIY Dry Erase Pockets

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!

I am such a big fan of working in a paperless classroom.  It is not completely possible, but I love to find ways to save paper AND save myself from hours at the copy machine.  For the last 10 years or more I've been using lap packs.  Lap packs are copies of the treble staff in various sizes, a blank piece of paper and other sheets that I used every day in class.  I pop these into a thick page protector and students can use these with a dry erase marker.  Because I've copied everything on cardstock, they are firm enough to use without a clipboard or table.

This led me to thinking about other ways to save paper and eliminate stacks to grade.  If we are doing a simple assessment, I can walk around the classroom and quickly mark the seating chart with a score while students are working.  This is MUCH faster than grading stacks of paper.  I started using dry erase pockets for such activities.

You've probably seen the pockets on Amazon, Oriental Trading or even in the dollar spot at Target.  LOVE them, but since most of my classroom budget comes out of my grocery budget, I needed a less expensive option.  Project time!  I was able to make an entire classroom set for six dollars.  WAHOO!

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!
Here's what you'll need:
Thick report covers (I like the kind with that little plastic binder edge that you slide on.)  This pack was $ .97 at Walmart.
Duct Tape -I prefer to use the smaller roll so that less of the cover is covered with the tape.  The larger rolls work, but may cover some of the sheets that you put in them.  You can also use clear packing tape.  It isn't as pretty, but it works well.  I had several rolls on hand as I assume most teachers do.
Scissors

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!
I rolled the tape out flat so that I could set the report cover on it.  This let me line it up a little better than putting the tap onto the report cover.

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!
Place the report cover so that it covers about half of the tape.  Fold the tape up to seal the edge.  Trim the edges with your scissors.

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!

I only taped three of the sides (including the side that isn't open).  At the top I wanted to create a little flap so that my youngest learners would be able to load the pocket themselves.  Instead of running the tape all the way across, I just created a tab that is a couple of inches long on ONE piece of the report cover.  In this way, students can use the tab to open the pocket without my help.  It is much trickier than it seems for some of my younger students.

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!
LOVE the way they turned out!  I popped some handwriting sheets in so my daughter could try them out.  They were definitely easy to use and pretty durable.  I had tried using page protectors for this project but did not like that they had holes in them.  The holes are for using in a binder, which is handy, but my students liked to poke their pencils in the holes and they tore and looked bad.  The report covers keep this from happening.  

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!
I like to use these small dry erase markers that have an eraser on the end.  When I don't have them available for workstations I put regular dry erase markers and paper towels or cotton balls there for students to use to erase.
DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!

I've seen teachers that hot glue a pom pom on the end of the dry erase marker lid and students use those for erasers, but haven't tried that.  If you have, I'd love to hear any tips or ideas you might have for keeping them usable all year.

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!

These worksheets are from my No Prep Music Worksheets -Summer.  They are great examples of worksheets that I would use in workstations.

DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!DIY Dry Erase Pockets – Learn how to create cute, colorful and durable dry erase pockets for less than 20 cents each!  You’ll love this easy to follow tutorial and your students will love using dry erase markers in class.  Save your classroom budget and save time at the copier.  This is a great teacher hack!


I hope you enjoy this teacher hack and can use it to save some money and create a more functional classroom! Enjoy!


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Music Freebies Round Up

Music teacher freebies?  Got ‘em!  This list features free resources that you can download now and use tomorrow in your classroom.  Music history, composers, rhythm, melody, instruments and more downloads await!  Most of the resources are geared towards elementary classes, but several would work well in middle school and high school general music classes.

Let's face it, most music teachers spend hundreds (I've even heard thousands!) of their own money each year on resources for their classroom.  It is one of the reasons that I am so glad that I found TeachersPayTeachers.  I love the affordable resources that were created by teachers like me.  

I've compiled a list of some great freebies that I think you'll love in this post.  I hope that you'll try them out and follow all of these amazing music educators there.  You can follow them (and me!) by clicking the green star by the name of the store.  When you do this you'll get occasional notifications via email when they add new resources.

History and Composers

The Big Apple Dance Craze of 1937 by Sally Utley of Sally's Sea of Songs
How did I live this long without knowing about the Big Apple?  Your students will be just as delighted as I was!  This PowerPoint file is linked to several amazing videos.  You'll want to add this to your yearly lesson plans.

John Williams Foldables by Kim Maloney from Music Teacher Resources
I am such a fan of John Williams and so are students that are introduced to the magic of his music.  This set of foldables is perfect for the classroom or private studio.  With ample opportunities for research and writing, this freebie is great for cross curriculuar integration.

Favorite Folk Songs: Looby Loo (Teacher Toolkit) by David Row of Make Moments Matter
I love, love LOVE David's amazing collections of folk songs.  They make great bulletin boards and great tools for introducing songs.  After using several of them, my students were more than disappointed to learn that our next song did not have the "cool slide show" to go with it.  LOVE that!

Composer of the Month Johannes Brahms  by The Bulletin Board Lady-Tracy King
I love celebrating composers of the month with my students and I created this series of composer bulletin boards and writing activities to use.  Since I used the kits for Kindergarten through 6th (and for a few years 7th and 8th grades), they were designed to used accordingly.  Grab this one (normally $5.99) for free!

Music teacher freebies?  Got ‘em!  This list features free resources that you can download now and use tomorrow in your classroom.  Music history, composers, rhythm, melody, instruments and more downloads await!  Most of the resources are geared towards elementary classes, but several would work well in middle school and high school general music classes.

Instruments

My Book of Instruments  by The Bulletin Board Lady-Tracy King
I'm always looking for ways for my youngest learners to write in music class that don't take up our entire time together.  This book is my solution!  We can do a page or two on an instrument that we are studying and continue to add to it as the year goes along OR I can leave it for a sub and they leave with a beautiful book to take home.

Rainbow Ukulele Starter Kit by Shelly Tomich of Pitch Publications
So, a few years ago in the midst of 20 snow days at home, I ordered a ukulele.  I did not do well.  LOL.  I think that Shelly may have convinced me to try again!  This is a great way to get started with the uke.  You'll probably want to check out her post about choosing a great instrument too.

Recorder Black Belt System by Linda Seamons of Floating Down the River
Learn about Linda's recorder program and get tons of music to use with your learners.  She starts with C and A instead of the traditional BAG.  This freebie is filled with many great ideas for teaching and organizing.  I wish I had this twenty years ago!

Brass Instrument Races (Aural Identification) by Chrissy Hutzel from Hutzel House of Music
This is such a great idea!  In this freebie your students are asked to listen to an unidentified instruments (sound files included) and then race to identify it by retrieving a card.  FUN!

Orff Instrument Labels by Stacie Bates of The Bates Clef (I love that name!)
Do you love the look of camo?  You are going to love this set of Orff instrument labels!  Make sure your instruments are decked out with these free printables.


Melody and Singing Activities

Fishin' for Melody by Linda McPherson
I am a BIG fan of centers in music class and this free download sets you up for four (Yes.  I said FOUR!) recorder stations.  It's easy.  It takes little explanation.  It's brilliant.  Did you hear me? Go get it!

Kindergarten Music Lesson Plan Day 1 by Lindsay Jervis
I've said this for years and years "I knew how to teach music after graduating from college, but no one taught me what to do on that first day!"  This detailed and engaging lesson plan does just that.  Songs and activities and a great sequence are laid out in detail.  Try this freebie and you may want the entire year!

The Adventures of Sophie Solfege - Sophie Climbs the Ladder by Angie Kelton of i heart teaching music.
This is a clever (and quite adorable) way to introduce lines/spaces and solfege to your students.  You are probably already acquainted with Sophie Solfege, but if not this is the place to start.

First Grade Music Lesson  by Aileen Miracle
This is a fun and engaging lesson for first grade!  It is actually a sampler from a much larger work, but this is a stand alone lesson plan with great ideas, a detailed plan and several songs and activities.

Fall Vocal Explorations by Anne Newman
Warm up with these fall vocal explorations.  These slides are laid out in beautiful autumnal colors and would be a great way to start class.

Copy, Transfer, Transpose (sol mi set) by Debbie O'Shea from Crescendo Music
Such a difficult skill, such a great freebie to help!  With these worksheets, students transpose sol and mi to different places on the staff!  Although this is probably intended for younger students who have just learned sol and mi, I can see it being handy for older students too!

"Come Along and Sing with Me" (2 part round) by Sandra Hendrickson of Sing Play Creatively
This catchy little round is laid out perfectly for your Kodaly classroom.  You get the sheet music, solfege and pitch names version as well as a file to introduce it.  WOW!

Peter and the Wolf Vocal Explorations by The Bulletin Board Lady-Tracy King
This is a great set to use for vocal explorations at workstations (or as part of your Peter and the Wolf workstations).  It's a great way to warm up a group before singing and it is a fun (and silly!) way to review the characters in PatW and the instrument that plays their theme.

Music teacher freebies?  Got ‘em!  This list features free resources that you can download now and use tomorrow in your classroom.  Music history, composers, rhythm, melody, instruments and more downloads await!  Most of the resources are geared towards elementary classes, but several would work well in middle school and high school general music classes.


Rhythm

Rhythm Whack-a-Mole by Cara Coffey of MiscellaneousMe
Okay I must admit that I haven't played this game with students yet, but I have about 20 different props for whacking!  LOL.  Cara has put together a simple, but ridiculously fun game that you'll want to download today.

Engine Engine Number Nine by Anne Meleski of Anacrusic
Working with ta and titi?  You'll enjoy this bright and colorful download of "Engine Engine Number 9" that works on quarter notes and barred eighth notes.  Working from lyrics, then steady beat and then rhythm, this is a great plan.

16th Note Worksheets by Jamie Parker
I'm always looking for print and go worksheets to use with my students.  This sampler of 16th note worksheets is great!  You'll get worksheets for "Dinah", "Old Brass Wagon" and one that works great for ear training.

Rap It, Clap It, Music Match It  by The Bulletin Board Lady-Tracy King
This has to be one of my primary students' favorite activities!  Students say (or rap) the pictures, clap them and them match them with rhythms.  The worksheets make assessment a breeze!  This is a freebie, but be sure to check out the entire line of Rap It, Clap Its in my store.

Rhythm Clap Backs by Jennifer Foxx of Music Educator Resources
What's a rhythm clap back?  Well, you know.  It's a rhythm that you clap back!  This freebie has 5 different rhythms represented iconically and a worksheet.  Such a smart idea!

Measure Tiles by Nancy Otto of The Rested Musician
This game is essentially music dominoes and it's FREE!  A great resource for music workstations or to use during a reward day, you'll want to print and laminate this one and use it for many years.


Don't have time to grab all of these fabulous freebies now?  PIN this list and grab them later!
Music teacher freebies?  Got ‘em!  This list features free resources that you can download now and use tomorrow in your classroom.  Music history, composers, rhythm, melody, instruments and more downloads await!  Most of the resources are geared towards elementary classes, but several would work well in middle school and high school general music classes.


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My Bloomin' Pencil Problem and a Crafty Solution

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.

In twenty years of teaching I think that I must have tried twenty thousand different ways to protect my pencil stash.  Once I even bought pencils that said "Stolen from Mrs. King".  My high school kids took it as a challenge.  I've never lost pencils faster than I did that year!

I supply my own pencils because as a music specialist, it can sometimes be a hassle to have students bring a pencil to class.  They forget or I forget to remind them.  Sometimes when they remember they bring an entire pencil box full of everything but the kitchen sink.  It is just easier for me to have my own stash.  That being said, the pencils come out of my grocery budget so I always want to keep them as long as possible.

One of the solutions I loved the most was to turn the pencils into classroom decorations.  It isn't the perfect solution, but it might be the prettiest!  When turning the pencils into flowers you give up the ability to use the eraser.  This actually works really well because the erasers usually only last about two weeks anyway.  (If I am lucky!)  I always have a small tub of erasers that students can use if they need them.

With the flower pot pencils, Once they are sharpened to the green, I retire them from the flower pot and put in a pencil can.  About mid-year (or whenever all my flowers have been used up) I'll whip out the can of used pencils that magically have FULL erasers!  With this can of pencils and a hope and a prayer I can coast right into summer!

So, let me introduce you to an old project to introduce you to my newest project.
Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.

A few years ago  I painted several flower pots with a keyboard theme.  I stuffed them with flowers and put them on a shelf in the teacher corner of my classroom.  They made me smile each time I saw them!  After a couple of years, I decided to retire them.  Now, they hold my bloomin' pencils.

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.
For this project, you'll need a flower pot (painted or not), some fake flowers a pack of dried beans, green masking tape or floral tape and pencils.

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.

The green floral tape works really well, but for this batch I only had green masking tape, so that is what I used.  I snipped the individual flowers from the bundle and using the masking tape adhered them to the pencils.

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.
Put a couple of pieces of tape over the hole in the bottom of the flower pot and fill with dried beans.

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.
The beans hold the pencils up so that they look like a bouquet of flowers and they are gentle on the lead so that it doesn't break each time a pencil is replaced.

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.

If you look closely in the picture above, you'll notice that a few pieces of the masking tape are starting to curl up a bit.  This happens with the floral tape too.  I secure them with a piece of clear, Scotch tape and they stay put.

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.

This finished product is a bright and cheery addition to your classroom and a solution for your pencil problem!  Eventually I moved the flower pots to several places around my classroom.  This made it easier for students working at workstations to have supplies close to them.  It also looked pretty!

Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.


Pencil problems in your classroom? This clever teacher craft may be just the pencil solution that you are looking for. Provide pencils for your students and brighten up your teaching space. Elementary, high school or even in the main office, this handy DIY idea will be popular.

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Princesses Don't Do Math - Number Mats for a Reluctant Learner

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

Welcome to a new segment on my blog.  As a busy wife and mom, I've decided to share some stories from my crazy and wonderful home life.  Crafting, recipes (that I don't ruin!), parenting and loving the one you are with will all be features of MrsKing@Home.  I'll also be sharing activities that I've created for my kids to further their education and some that are just for fun!  Eventually, you'll be able to see all of these posts by clicking on Mrs. King @ Home right under the page header.

My daughter, a bright and sassy 4 year old, lives in a world of princess, mermaids, rainbows and unicorns.  With her rich imagination she is always playing pretend or performing for us in some dramatic fashion.  Last week, I thought that we should spend a little time working on recognizing numbers.  Unfortunately, she disagreed.
"Noooo!" she whined.  "Princesses don't do math!"

When I stopped laughing, it occurred to me that I needed to make this time just a little more fun for both of us.  Thus, the bottle cap number mats were born!  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I love recycling bottle caps to use in the classroom.  I use them for a bottle cap staff and have used them in a dip tray workstation too.  Since I just happened to have a big stash of these, they made the perfect muse for my hands-on number mats.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

I collected many of the caps myself, but I also enlisted parents to help me as well.  It didn't take long before I had more than enough caps for all the projects I would ever need!  I put them all in the sink with hot, sudsy water and sloshed them around.  (Yes, "sloshed" is the technical term.)  I laid them out on a towel to dry and they were ready to go.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.
Here's what they look like in action.   These are cleaned bottle caps in a variety of colors.  I had a few parents turn in lids from larger bottles and from milk jugs.  I've got them stashed somewhere for another project, but for the number mats I really wanted to use just bottle caps.  This Ferris wheel set is one of my daughter's favorites.  It is second only to the the mermaid set.
Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

Each of the sets contains mats for 1-10.  I printed off the full color versions, but in the sets that I've posted in my store there are four versions.  In addition to the full color version with the little circles to show placement of the bottle caps, there's one with an ink saving background.  There are also versions without the circles in full color and with the ink saving version.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.


For the hammer and nail version I painted the tops of some gray bottle caps and added "ones and X's" as my daughter described them.  When we worked with this set we used a little plastic hammer to smack them as we counted them.
Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.
Our favorite bottle caps were spray painted gold.  They work great for the sandcastle set and would be awesome for the treasure chest and piggy bank versions I'm working on.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

We painted the yellow bottle caps to look like corn cobs.  These were a little trickier to do!  We added the lines with a permanent marker and they look great with the cornstalk set.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.
For the beehive set we decorated a few of the yellow bottle caps to look like bees.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

As you can see in the picture above, the bottle caps aren't always the same height.  As long as the diameter is the same, they will match up with the circles on the number mats.  The fish bowl set would be fun to use with those shiny aquarium rocks too.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

We did use the bottle caps for the pizza set, but we had been using play dough earlier, so we made play dough toppings for our pizza mats too.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

The bottle caps work regardless of which side they are placed on as scene on the starfish.  Actually, I think they may look better upside down with this set.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

The frog set was great fun!  We decorated a few of the caps with little flies.  We also used some of the plastic frogs and insect from the party store to count with this one.  In addition to counting with these number mats, we used #5 for "Five Green and Speckled Frogs".

In addition to counting with the mats and arranging them from high to low and vice versa, we've started using them for simple addition problems.  I'll lay out the mats for 1 and 5 and ask "How many all together?" and she can add them up and give me an answer.

You can download all of these mats (400 pages!) or individual sets here:
Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.

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Princesses Don’t Do Math – Number Mat Ideas for a Reluctant Learner.  You’ll love these number mat ideas for getting your reluctant preschooler playing, counting and adding their way to success.  Number mats are great for developing number sense and these mats work with bottle caps!  They can work with playdough, rocks, and more but I think you’ll like how perfectly the bottle caps can work with any theme.  Great for preschool and kindergarten aged students in workstations or at home.