Teaching Cheap {Week 1}

Hiya there Peeps
Shuna here 
I hope all is well in your teaching world
My littles are doing quite well! I am thrilled with their progress this year
Anyhoo
I have been meaning to write a post about cheap and easy centers, that you can do in your 
classroom that require little to no money, for awhile now. I love doing centers and I love to find 
fun and engaging centers that my students will love. Sometimes making centers can become quite 
expensive and we all know how HIGHLY paid teachers are, right?!
I created two pin boards that are full of ideas that teachers can use to DIY their own centers
You can check out the boards by clicking each picture

I am going to TRY to post a fun and simple idea as often as possible
First up is an idea that I found and adapted
This week I tried a fun idea that I found on Pinterest by way of School Time Snippets
This a great center that not only works on fine motor skills but can also be adapted to suit so many skills! 
To make the Playdough Dig center gather all your materials. We are working on beginning sounds so I used letter magnets. You could also hide number magnets or tiles inside to make it a math center. 

The easiest way for me to make the Playdough Dig ball is to roll out the playdough as flat as I could get it then insert the letters. 
Once you have rolled out the playdough place the letters on it. 
Don’t push the letters down because it will cut the playdough and will pop out when you roll it up. 
I rolled it up and kinda pushed the sides in a bit. The letters will move around but that is alright. 
Next you are going to make a new layer and place the letters on. Place the first ball in the center of the new layer. 
Roll the second layer around the first one. You may have to rearrange some letters that fall off. 
You can just stick them on anywhere on the ball. 
This is how both layers looked when I rolled them together.

I then rolled out a 3rd layer and placed it over the ball making sure all the letters were covered. 
The finished project!!!

To store I placed in a plastic Ziploc bag. 
After students have completed their dig I had them make the ball for the next group of students that visited that center. You may have to model how you want them to make the ball. When introducing my centers for the week I model for them how I wanted them to clean up this station and get it ready for the next group. They did really well with it! They all wanted to make it hard for the next group of students to find the letters so they covered them up pretty well. 
I am super duper excited by this simple and fun center
Over the past few weeks we have done several Playdough Dig centers and the kiddos love them.
* Please be aware that this is the end of the month and the ink fairy hasn’t visited me yet :)*
You may proceed
Students practiced matching uppercase and lowercase letters.

 Digging for numbers

Digging and matching numbers
Digging and matching beginning sounds
The centers you could create are endless! 
I created several pages that you can use to get you started with this center idea. 
You can get all of these pages and more as a 
Do you have any awesome ideas for a playdough dig station? I would love to hear them. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think

Ferris….. Bueller….anyone?!

Make sure you check out this amazing freebie deal on Educents

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Peace Out Peepers

Happy Teaching

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20 Replies to “Teaching Cheap {Week 1}”

  1. What a great idea! The OT in my classroom often does a dig type activity with theraputty, but just with pegs. This is a great way to carry it over and add a skill review. Thanks!

  2. How about this for another idea: word family words. So you could put a,t, h, p,m,s,v,r,b, etc and have a worksheet with the "at" family words. Hope that makes sense…

  3. thank you so much for the freebie. this is great!!! I've been wanting to use playdoh when I use small groups but am so worried about the mess or them not doing it correctly, among other worries since I have Pre-K….Just a few questions though… How many kids did you have working on this at a time?? How long did you let each group 'dig'?

    1. My room looks like a hurricane during center times and gets really messy but I constantly have to remind myself that the kiddos are learning so it is okay. For my centers I have 2 students per group and my center times usually last around 20 minutes

  4. thanks for answering! sorry! 2 more questions! with 2 per group i'm assuming you have more than one group of kids at the same area? what is your max number of groups doing the same thing? i'm really trying to get this small group thing to work and appreciate all the advice

    1. The way I do centers is that I have my students grouped in two. I have 26 students so I have 13 different centers going at one time. Each center has a different activity in it and the students rotate through them over a 2 week period. One group may be working on alphabet skills while another group is in the listening station etc. I have a couple of blog post here about how I manage and set up my centers that may be helpful

  5. Glad you loved the idea : ) Thanks for linking to my blog… And it got me thinking that it would be great for spelling words, too! Hide the letters in the playdough, dig the letters out, and unscramble them to make your spelling word!

    Kristina@ School Time Snippets

  6. Hi, Great idea. Just wondering if you can put a link up to the printable files for the alphabet, number and word sheets you had the kids put the letters on in the photos above?

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