Friday, May 22

Geometry in Grade One!

I LOVE teaching geometry. There are so many fun activities you can do with Grade Ones. And they don't even realize they're doing math. It's all just fun and games!

Here's what we've been up to.

These monster shapes were SO much fun to make. I got the idea from Em at Curious Firsties and only changed it up a little bit.

It's essentially a listening exercise combined with 2D and 3D shape identification, all rolled into a cute craft.


  1. coloured cardstock
  2. large circle tracers
  3. pre-cut rectangular legs
  4. Hershey Kisses
  5. pom poms
  6. mini marshmallows
  7. sponges pre-cut into cubes

  1. Trace a large circle on your coloured paper and cut out
  2. Put your name on the back
  3. Draw a half circle on the bottom of the large circle
  4. Outline the half circle in black
  5. Glue a cone in the middle of the large circle
  6. Trace 3 circles using your glue stick as a tracer and cut out
  7. Walk around the room and trade your little circles for other colours so they do not match your big circle
  8. Glue the 3 circles above the cone
  9. Glue a sphere on each little circle
  10. Glue the cylinders in the half circle
  11. Glue the long rectangles on the back of the large circle, underneath the half circle
  12. Glue the cubes onto the bottom of the long rectangles
And voila! The cutest little shape monsters. My kids LOVED them!

Building cubes, rectangular prisms, and pyramids using toothpicks and mini marshmallows is an oldie but a goldie.  

I love how some of the kids took their 3D shapes and combined them into these glorious structures!

These 3D castles were also extremely popular and bonus ... they fit in nicely with our fairytale unit.

I can't share the template for these just yet as they were part of a package that I'm testing out for Ellen from Create in the Chaos. But as soon as I get the go-ahead I'll update this post and give you the direct link to her product.

It's a really cool set of fun, crafty, easy printables for primary kids.

That's it for now!

Do you have a favourite geometry lesson? I'd love to hear about it.

Here are some more geometry activities I've pinned.

Follow Barbara Leyne's board Math ~ Geometry on Pinterest.

Sunday, May 17

Jack and the Beanstalk Paintings and Plants

Good Morning!

I hope you're all enjoying this beautiful long weekend.

Last week my class painted these gorgeous Giants!

Hard to believe these were done by Grade 1 students, but they were, thanks to a fabulous tutorial by look, love, create, which she originally found in Usborne Art Ideas: Big Book of Things to Draw.

We've been doing a Fairytale unit and by the time we did these paintings we already had two Jack and the Beanstalk stories and a short video under our belts, so the kids were primed and easily caught on to the idea of perspective drawings.

When I first read Holly's directions I thought okay, this is going to be super easy.

But I have to admit it was a little tough for my students. Actually, most of them were fine, but there were at least five kids out of 24 who needed a lot of help with the drawing. So probably it's more suited to Grades 2 and 3. But having said that, if you pulled small groups for the drawing portion, you could probably even do this with Kindergarten.

Warning!  In order to do this properly you need to use a ruler to draw three long pencil guide lines. This was probably the hardest part for my Ones, and I had to do that for most of them.

But once we got the lines in place most of the kids rose to the challenge. Once the drawings were complete they traced all their lines with Sharpies and then painted with water colours. That part, of course, everyone LOVED and needed no help with!

Of course, once we completed our paintings we HAD to grow our own beanstalks!

You've probably seen these on Pinterest already ... they seem to be everywhere ... so we just had to do them, too. The kids love their little castles sitting in the clouds and are very excited to watch their beans grow.

We also wrote some extremely cute Jack and the Beanstalk stories. Watch for the next post!

And thank you, Holly, for the art idea and directions.

Sunday, May 3

MAY Pick 3 Pinterest Party and Linky

Good Morning!

I'm joining Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner for a Pinterest Party Linky. It's pretty simple: Just post and share your favourite three May pins.

My first pick is a measurement activity from Tammy at Forever in First. ROY G BIV measuring is simple, fun and gives the kids lots of practice measuring with rulers. We'll be doing this in the next couple of weeks.

Click to view the pin

Pick #2 is tracing and colouring with playdough. I think my kids will get a big kick out of this, especially those little ones who still struggle with their colouring. This will be a fun break for them, yet it still works on fine motor skills.

Click to view the pin

My last pick are these beautiful castles from Deep Space Sparkle. I love absolutely everything Patty comes up with and these are no exception. We're currently doing a fairytale unit so this little project will fit in perfectly.

Click to view the pin

Thanks for stopping by!

Visit Barbara Leyne Designs's profile on Pinterest.

Saturday, May 2

Our Earth Day Paintings

Hi Everyone!

We finished up our Earth Day paintings on Thursday. Yeah, I know I'm a week late (sigh). But hey, at least we got them done.

I found this great idea at an art blog called Thrive.  Theirs look much better than ours but I'm thinking they weren't created by 6 and 7 year olds:)

It's a super easy lesson. You just need paper, black sharpies and water colours. It's pretty self-explanatory but if you'd like more instructions then Thrive has some good ones.

Looking for more earth related books and activities?

I have lots!

See you tomorrow ... I'm joining a Pinterest party.

Monday, April 27

Mother's Day in Grade 1

Every year I like to do something different for Mother's Day.

Yesterday I was scouring pinterest for some great new ideas and here's what I've come up with:

1. "Bird in a Nest Card": Okay, I guess I cheated a bit here. I actually made this card with my class two years ago, but I liked it SO much that I decided to included it in this round-up. 

2. "Thumb-Shaped Heart Card": I think this little card is seriously cute! You can find the directions at Crafty Morning.

3. "Heart-Shaped Pendants": Aren't these sweet? They'd be a great match up with the heart card. I found them on Little Pink Monster.

4. "Bouquet Card": I love the bright colours and simplicity of these. The easy directions are on Krokotak.

5. "Handprint Bouquet Card": So lovely and simple from The Trendy Treehouse.

6. "Bath Bombs": I've never made these with a class, ever! But I keep meaning to. The directions from Playdough to Plato make it look pretty easy.

7. "Button Love": I used to love playing with buttons when I was a kid and seeing as how they're easy to find and cheap to buy I think this is the perfect gift. This great idea is from Veetje.

8. "Heart Pendant Keychains": Hmm, just realized these are almost identical to the #3 pendants but I still love them and think they're share-worthy. I especially like the added touch of glitter paint. Directions are at Mrs. Mathis' Homeroom.

I haven't decided yet which card and gift we'll be making. Maybe I'll let my class decide:)

How about you?

Looking for a new blog design? 
I'd love to help you out!

Friday, April 17

Running Teaching Designing

Whenever I need a quick timeout from school work or designing, my thoughts turn to running.

I've been running for 20 years and it never gets old.

I love running, especially in the spring and autumn. Spring because it's just warming up and everything smells so good.

Autumn because it's crisp, cool and smells even better.

But those first few days of spring ... well, that's when you make the big changeover from winter capris to summer shorts, and you have to face those dreaded white legs!


Today was that day for me.

But I was very brave (yes, thank you) and out I went. I didn't notice any smirks or heads quickly turning away in shock ... so that was good.

And I had a great 23 minute workout around a nearby mountain.  I ran a bit faster than usual and did lots of hill repeats. I'm pretty slow on the hills so my dog, Max, was in sniffing glory. He could walk and mosey while I gasped and struggled. We work well together, Max and I.

What does all this have to do with the usual stuff I post? Absolutely nothing. Unless, of course, you count all the great ideas I get while I'm out there.

How do you get your creative neurons firing?    

Thursday, April 16

Cleanest Room in Years!

Hi Everyone,

I hope your spring is beautiful and warm wherever you are.  I'm in Victoria, Canada. It's bright and sunny here but still pretty chilly!

This is a real quick post today to fill you in on how I'm managing the tools of the trade.

Both ideas came from Ceilidh, one of many wonderful colleagues. 

Brilliant Idea #1

These clear trays from Ikea are absolutely perfect for holding the kids' supplies. The compartments are just the right size for glue, crayons, pencils, erasers and felt pens.

I have the desks in three pods of eight, so each pod gets two tubs of supplies. It works really well and there's no more "I can't find my red crayon" or "My pencil needs sharpening." There are always extra pencils and I make sure that the supplies are more or less evenly distributed amongst the tubs each morning.

There's no room for the scissors, which in my mind is a good thing. Ever have those kids who start cutting their hair or clothes?

No more! We keep our scissors in a separate box. They have easy access but they only use them when needed. No more fiddling with scissors in their desks.

I don't remember the exact price, but I do remember they were very affordable. I'm thinking I paid about $30 (Canadian) for 8 tubs (I got extra).  I definitely recommend these Ikea tubs.

Brilliant Idea #2

You know how their desks just fill up with garbage? Okay, not everyone, but they do tend to get very messy. By the end of a week or two you have old Kleenex, apple cores, crayon shavings, all sorts of yuck.

I no longer have that problem. We simply turned our desks around and butted the open ends together. The children no longer have access to the inside of their desks.

I wasn't sure how well this would work, but it's been amazing. No more squabbles about lost or misplaced supplies and I've had the cleanest room in years.

Hope this helps someone.


Need a new blog design? Come visit me at Barbara Leyne Designs.

Wednesday, April 8

Smashing Eggs Experiment

We've been learning about eggs and have done a couple of experiments.

Today's was the most exciting because I goofed and broken eggs were everywhere!!  You should have heard the screaming. Hee hee.

First we talked about how fragile eggs are.

Then we predicted how many small white boards 3 eggs could support before breaking.

The kids' predictions ranged from two to 50.

eggs and caps supporting white boards

After some trial and error, we finally got everything set up. Those are glue caps. We needed to use them because we had several tries where the eggs were supported with play dough. But that didn't work because the boards just kept sliding off. 

The kids were VERY surprised to see that the eggs could support all the white boards AND all the bigger heavier chalkboards we have!  So was I.

eggs and caps supporting white boards experiment showing how strong eggs are

So we kept going and started adding our Dr. Seuss books. The eggs STILL didn't break, so we put on two bins of exercise books (I forgot to take a picture of that).

The second bin of books sat proudly on top of the pile for about 5 seconds and then CRASH!  It all came down.

Now sadly, I don't have a picture of the broken egg mess. Sorry. But I had one of my students taking the last pic and he was so focussed on trying to capture the actual fall that he (and I) forgot to take a picture of the raw egg that was strewn ALL across the carpet.

Yes, I'm a bit of an idiot:)  We had boards and paper towel protecting the carpet but it didn't even occur to me that the eggs would go flying off to the side as they broke.

Hence, the screams! Lots of fun in Grade 1 today.

Here's a short video that shows how it should be done properly. I think we had more fun though.

Saturday, April 4

Easter Colour

Hi everyone!

This is clearly not a teaching post but I just LOVE making up colour palettes, so I thought I'd share this one with you.

Photograph of a pink and cream tulip Last week I was at Starbucks for our weekly family tea.

It was chilly and drizzling but I managed to take a pic of these beautiful pink and cream tulips.

P.S. If you're looking for a new blog design I'd love to help you out. I have tons of experience and a huge portfolio. You can find me at