Quick Tip: Using different dice for math games

Go to your local game store and you’ll find a great selection of cool dice! My personal favorite is the 20-sided die. If you’re working on the “counting on” strategy and don’t want your numbers going higher than 4, there’s a 4-sided die. There’s also a “fate” die (pictured above) that has + and – symbols. I also have dice with multiples of 10. You can come up with so many dice games!


Quick Tip: Use desks as white boards

Quick Tip: Use desks as white boards

Why use desks as white boards?

  1. The kids think it’s awesome. This is the only time they get to write on furniture.
  2. They’re free (for you). The school already has them.
  3. They’re already there. You can save yourself the time of passing out all the white boards.
  4. They’re big. Plenty of space to write on.
  5. They’re easy to clean.


SOUND and SPELL: A Scaffolded, Systematic Approach to Early Decoding and Spelling


I love collaboration, because the best ideas sprout from them. I was talking to my principal about my student mentioned in a previous post, Andy, and how he finally made his first breakthrough. My principal showed me a few things to help encourage Andy’s progress. From that conversation, I came up with a totally new and different approach that I call Sound and Spell.

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Learning Sight Words


Sight words can be tough, because 95% of the time, it’s a matter of practice, practice, practice. Not all students get enough repeated exposure. Giving them worksheet after worksheet can get boring, unless you make it engaging. With that in mind, I created this packet for my struggling students. I wanted to pack in as much practice as possible but not use a ton of paper.

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Guest blog at Minds in Bloom!

I’m so excited that Rachel Lynette of Minds in Bloom has allowed me to guest blog on her website! Her task cards saved me quite a few times when I was teaching middle school.

Classroom Management Tips from a Tiger Teacher

I offer 5 tips about how to keep your kids in line, but still maintain at atmosphere of respect and learning. I’ve found that even though I am firm, sometimes unbending, the kids end up appreciating it. Check it out!

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Teaching decoding when nothing seems to work


All teachers have a general toolkit of ideas that works for majority of kids. But once in a while, you’ll encounter a kid who just can’t seem to make sense of reading. As a special ed teacher, I need to pinpoint strategies for the 5% of students who have needs that general education teachers can’t meet. That requires me to think outside the box. One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog is to share out ideas. If something worked for me, then it might also work for you. Learning is such a complex endeavor, and we could all use fresh ideas.

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Where has time gone?

I really wanted to devote more time to my blog, but my first quarter at my new job has been quite time consuming! I love it at my new school, and I have plenty of opportunities to develop new materials that I am adding to my TpT store. I have tons of ideas for blog posts that I have brewing in my head, so I have a lot of writing to do!

Since opening my TpT store, I created a board game called The Land of Oz. Right now there are expansion packs that range from kindergarten to 5th grade level for reading sight words. In the near future, I am creating expansions for mental math.

For now, keep in touch! Email me at ainsleelabs@gmail.com, find me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Ainslee Labs at TpT.


Teachers Pay Teachers store grand opening!

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Hello everyone! Anthony and I have been talking about creating a shared blog for months, but it’s been so hard to find time to actually do it. We’re finally taking baby steps. I’ve always wanted to share about my adventures in education and DIY/crafting, and this is a great outlet for it. I’m so excited right now, because I’ve been working on products all summer for my Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) store. I have one free product that showcases the rest of my products– CVC word work packets. I hope people find them helpful!

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