Teacher Appreciation Freebie

 Hi friends!

Happy teacher appreciation week! I hope you are shown extra appreciation this week for all of the hard work you put into your classrooms♡

As a Kindergarten parent now myself, I knew I wanted to do something small to show my appreciation for the two wonderful educators that T has. Honestly I cannot say enough good things about them. They are kind, compassionate, fun and has helped my T navigate his first two years of school with so much love and patience.

I decided to pick up some Amazon gift cards, write my own hand written note and also have T fill out this little sheet below:

It's always so fun hearing what the kids have to say about their teachers! 

Want a copy to download and do with your own kiddos? Grab it for FREE by from Google Drive by clicking here or the image below:

Hope you are able to use this to spread some love to more teachers!

xo, Yukari


Space Ideas for Kindergarten (with Freebies!)

Hi friends!

My 2 boys (3.5 and almost 6) are both super into space right now and many of you have told me that your students are really interested in space too (many student's interest sparked by the recent solar eclipse!) so I decided to round up my favourite space books, videos and share some of the activities I made to incorporate space into literacy and math learning!


First here are some of our favourite books about space!

"Little Kid's First Big Book of Space" and "My First Book of Planets" both deliver lots of solar system facts in child friendly language! If you kiddos are interested in dwarf planets, "My First Book of Planets" has a section on them!

If you're looking for a super simple book to use as an introduction to the solar system, the Solar System book by Jill McDonald (which is part of the Hello World series) is a nice quick read that introduces the planets and a fact about them.

And lastly, my boys are interested in Mars exploration and rovers so "Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover" was a hit! If your class shows interests in Mars exploration or rovers, give this one a read!


My youngest originally got interested in space from YouTube songs! Here are some of their favourites:

Here are the links to each on YouTube! (Left to right, top to bottom):

The Planet Song by Kids Learning Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQrlgH97v94
The Planets from Out Solar System Song by Hopscotch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvfVTPYw-kA
The Dwarf Planets Song by Hopscotch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws3kWuMi0Y8
The Dwarf Planet Song by Kids Learning Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsFSUuou14Y
We are the Planets by Storybots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHAqT4hXnMw
Star Size Comparison: The first song in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOTNbvotQN8
Do You Know the Names of Every Mars Rover? by Kids Learning Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3mEeF3dlVc

If you are looking for videos on other space topics, the Kids Learning Tube channel has educational space videos on almost any space topic you can think of! 


Here are some of the activities I made to incorporate space into literacy and math centres!



I've been eyeing the resin loose parts from @littleplayco for a while now, and when she posted these space loose parts I knew I had to bite the bullet and grab some! She only does limited drops so follow her on Instagram to stay up to date on that!

I also picked up a Space TOOB by Safari Ltd from Micheals and some star beads to add to this bin and also use with some of the other activities! Here are the links if you are interested in grabbing them too:

I put some dry black beans in the tub as a base and then added the resin planets, figurines from the space TOOB and some star beads.

Then I invited my kids to make and (optional) record a story!

The first day, my oldest (who is the only writer currently) did not have any interest in the napkin book, but the next morning I came downstairs to him independently working on writing solar system facts (or at least attempting to) in the napkin book using the space words chart! 

If you've followed me for sometime you might recall that he is not a fan of writing activities. So this was such a nice surprise! And a good reminder that offering the tools, being patient and letting them take the lead can be huge for some kids :)

Are you wondering what a napkin book is? It's just paper napkins with blank paper cut to fit and stapled inside it! It's a relatively economical way to make mini books that may spark the interest of your little learners! I got these paper napkins at Party City.

*The word charts shown in the photo above and any printable that is not a freebie in this post are all in my Kindergarten Space Themed Centres: Literacy, Math, Fine Motor & More! pack on TPT. You can find it here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Space-Themed-Centers-Literacy-Math-Fine-Motor-More-11502460 and I'll also link it again at the bottom of this post!


We are still very much working hard on pencil skills so I made up some dry erase tracing activities as well!

Here are some with pre-writing lines:

I made this "Help the shuttle get to the moon" cards for letters, numbers and shapes that do not require the lifting of a pencil/marker.

And then a simple tracing activity you can throw into your dry erase centre!


This was a surprising hit with my 5 year old! The task is to say what the picture is, isolate the beginning sound, find it in the mini sensory bin (I added black beans and star beads to this mini sensory bin) and place it on the line. Once all of the letters have been matched, he was invited to record the beginning sounds on the recording sheet! It was a fun way to work on beginning sounds and pencil skills!


So many of you always tell me mini books are popular in your class (they were always popular in my classes too!) so I made sure to include a space mini book too!

There are a few options, trace the word, trace the word in a sentence or fill in the blank. You can use the option that best fit the needs of your class or copy a few of each kind and let your students choose! There are also many pages included for this booklet so you an just choose 5-6 pages you think your students would like the most if you think all of them would be too overwhelming!


Another centre that is always popular is write the room, so I knew I had to include one in the space pack too!

If your learners are not quite ready to print the letters on their own, you can offer them this trace the room version! I like to print a trace and write the room double sided so the kids can easily flip to the side that best fit their printing ability :)


I'm always looking for fun ways to practice pencil skills with my son, so I made up these simple space themed trace and colour sheets!

You can find these free by clicking here or on the image below:



Number and letter formation practice is on going in Kindergarten, so I knew I had to incorporate it somewhere in the space pack. So here's what I came up with! Students will trace the numbers starting at the start and then add that many stars to the night sky. Again, I used these: Creatology Pearlized Star Beads from Micheals!


Here's a fun centre for working on 1:1 correspondence and fine motor skills! Students are invited to read the cards and then add that many stars, moon and planets to the space mat.

I added pom poms and play dough for the planets, grey flat marbles for the moons and star beads for the stars, but you can use any round/star shaped small manipulative you have on hand!

My kids LOVED this one! My 5 year old read the cards and made a scene that matched the cards while my 3 year old decided to just play and make a space story with the loose parts. It can be an open ended activity with multiple entry points so I hope all learners feel a sense of success with this one!


My youngest LOVES putting things in order (you can find evidence of him all around the house with many things lined up in order from smallest to biggest) so I knew I needed to make him a planet ordering activity!

I attached magnets on the back of the planets and taped the space mat to the cookie sheet. It's optional but it elevates the planets making it easier for little hands to pick up and place on the mat and also pieces get lost less since they stick to the cookie sheet!

We also did this cut and paste worksheet to work on scissors skills and ordinal numbers!


This activity combines working on sorting by colour, fine motor skills (threading the star beads onto the correct star wand), 1:1 correspondence and numeral identification! My kiddos loved this one! I "hid" the star beads in the mini sensory bin (I took the letters out of the one I used for the beginning sounds activity above and just reused that!) and had them search and thread the beads on to the correct wands :) Then they counted the beads and put a magnetic number on each star on the "Sort & Count" mat!

Want to grab this freebie to try in your classroom? Click here or on the button below to download it from Google Drive!


Here are some simple patterning strips where students can practice extending patterns! You can also print extras of the little squares and have students make their own space patterns!


Another centre that is always popular is the "Measure & Record" centre! Students are invited to measure each space item and then record it on the recording sheet!


1. An Invitation to Create Space Things! (FREEBIE)

I created these simple cards to set out with loose parts/building materials since I remembered my oldest already made a rover and space base out of Lego earlier this month! 

My oldest and his dad made a pretty cool rover out of Lego but unforunately it got taken apart before I got around to taking a picture of it so here is one that I made!

And below are some that my youngest (he is 3 and almost a half) made as well!

You can put these out with so many other materials than just Lego! I can't wait to see how you guys use them :)

You can grab these for free by clicking here or on the image below:

I hope you were able to grab some ideas if your students are interested in space too!

If you would like to grab the printables shown in this pack, you can find it in my "Kindergarten Space Centres: Literacy, Math & Fine Motor" here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Space-Themed-Centers-Literacy-Math-Fine-Motor-More-11502460 or by clicking on the image below:

- Yukari


Free VCe Lessons for Kindergarten (+ 10 Centre Ideas!)

 Hi there! I have an old blog post about how I teach CVCe or VCe words in Kindergarten (you can see that post if you are interested here: http://www.apinchofkinder.com/2016/04/super-e-activities-for-cvce-words.html) but I thought I'd write an updated post since I recently updated my VCe Centres resource and added a ton of new activities!

First, I always start by introducing the VCe pattern (or I like to call it Super E!) by watching this Super E video by Mark D. Pencil:

Click on the image or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCnIaD-1kVE to watch it!

I love this video and so do the kids!

And then we do two lessons:

First we practice our new super e knowledge with these slides:

We read the slides together and move the yellow square to reveal the answer.

For the second lesson, we practice reading more VCe words and then reveal the answer by moving the yellow squares.

You can make a copy of these FREE no prep lesson slides by clicking here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/15Y4EreePqug-e7cURBGP2IZMlbB1J-CZtfM4Q0hb4JU/copy or on the image below!

And here are some of the centres we follow up with!

1. All About Super E! Mini Book

We set this out at a centre after teaching Super E! to reinforce the lesson! There are 4 different versions:

1. the e at the end is the super e clip art
2. the e at the end is a regular e
3. the e at the end is traceable
4. there is a blank spot instead of the e at the end so students need to write the e in themselves

I usually set out the one where they have to fill in the e by themselves but please use the one that works best for your class! Or you can print the one that best fits the needs of your group(s) if you are working on them in small groups!

All of the centres shown in this post are in my CVCe/VCe Centers & Printables pack on TPT! I'll link it at the bottom of the post but here it is as well: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/CVCe_VCe-Centers-Printables-2469761

2. VCe Read, Make & Circle

Here's a centre to practice decoding VCe words! Students will read the word, make it with magnetic letters and circle the matching picture! There is also a version that says "Cover It!" so students can cover their answer with a marker instead too!

3. VCe Decode & Clip

This is a simple activity where students read a word, find the matching picture and link them together with linking chains! My students love linking chains so any activity with linking chains is always a hit!

3. VCe Read & Clip

Do you have kiddos who look at the first letter and guess? These are perfect for students who need practice slowing down and looking very carefully at words! The pictures all start with the same letter so students are forced to decode the whole word! Then they can clip the matching picture. I love using clothes pins for this activity because it provides extra fine motor practice/development but you can also have them mark their answer with a small loose part like a bingo chip, mini eraser etc!

4. What's Missing?

This is the perfect activity to use when you are first encoding VCe words as you only have to listen for the vowel! Simple, but an easy and effective way to get students identifying the vowel sound in VCe words!

5. Real Photo VCe Cards

These cards have the Super E! already filled in, so students just need to focus on encoding the first 3 sounds :)

6. VCe Encoding Cards

Now that they have had some practice encoding parts of VCe words, students can be challenged to encode and spell the whole word with these cards! I like to use magnetic letters with these but dry erase markers work well too!

For students who are not quite ready to encode on their own, you can provide the cards with the letters on them for them to match!

7. Cotton Swab + Paint Spelling Practice

My students always love cotton swab painting activities so I made these for VCe words! A simple, hands on way to work on reading and spelling VCe words :)

8. VCe Play Dough Mats

Here students are encouraged to make the VCe words with play dough or small loose parts! I used play dough (top) and pony beads (bottom) in this photo! Both materials are great for further developing their finger muscles :)

9. My VCe Mini Book

Mini books have always been super popular in my classes, so I made some new ones for VCe words! There is a mini book for a_e words, i_e words, o_e words and u_e words. My students love taking these home to share with their families!

All of the centres above can be found in my VCe Centres & Printables pack on TPT! You can find it here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/CVCe_VCe-Centers-Printables-2469761 or by clicking on the image below:

10. VCe Mini Reader (FREE!)

And here's a freebie for you! This is an updated version of my VCe mini reader! I used them with letter stamps but you can also just have students write the letters in with a pencil. The words are on the cover so students can self check or use it as a reference if they are not sure!

or by clicking on the image below:

I hope you were able to grab some ideas to use in your classroom!

- Yukari


Digraph Ideas + Activities for Kindergarten (with FREE Google Slides Lessons!)

 Hi there! Have your students mastered CVC words and some CVCC/CCVC words? It may be time to move on digraphs!

What is a Digraph?

A digraph is when 2 letters make one sound. There are consonant digraphs and vowel digraphs, but in Kindergarten typically only the consonant digraphs are introduced so we will be focusing on those! I am following the scope & sequence of the phonics program my son's school uses, so the digraphs I will be focusing on are the digraphs -ck, sh, th, ch, ph, wh, -ng and -nk.

How to Introduce Digraphs:

I like to introduce one digraph at a time and do a short lesson. I teach the students that digraphs are 2 letters that make one sound and then take a day or two and teach each digraph separately.

Want my FREE no-prep digraph lessons? Click here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1w9vaw0alUe2_T_OP4EzRVfzmpFjgls5LY7fe4hyldrU/copy or on the image below to make a copy!

Digraph Centres

After we introduce each digraph we start putting out some digraph centres so students can practice reading and writing with the digraphs we have learned! Here are some of our favourites:

1. My Digraph Mini Book

My students always love mini books so I knew I had to make some for digraphs too! I kept the words as decodable as possible so students could practice sounding out the words :)

There are 2 versions, one with tracing and handwriting boxes and another with tracing (with beginning dots) and no handwriting boxes. My own little guy hates handwriting boxes and needs more space, so I'm hoping this helps you differentiate, especially if you have any littles who are the same!

All of these centres are in my "Digraph Centes for -CK, SH, TH, CH, PH, WH, -NG and -NK" pack on TPT! You can find it here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Digraph-Centres-for-CK-SH-TH-CH-PH-WH-NG-and-NK-2700677 and I'll also link it again at the bottom of the post :)

2. Digraph Say, Tap & Make and Say, Make & Write

This is a two part centre. I introduce the "Say, Tap & Make" centre first to introduce students to the words containing the focus digraph and to have students practice isolating the sounds in the words and building the word.

Then we introduce this version, where students will have to tap the sounds, figure out the letters that each sound represents and make it (I use magnetic letters but any small letter manipulative will work!) and then write the word! If your littles are not quite ready to write on their own, there is a tracing version you can use as well!

3. Digraph Dot It

My students also always LOVE bingo dabbers so I created these bingo dabber pages! Students will practice forming the letters of each digraph and then they can colour the pictures if they wish.

Not keen on using so much paper? There is a version with the name writing omitted and the pictures in colour that you can print, laminate and set out with small manipulatives like pom poms or magnetic chips too :)

Here's an example of using it with magnetic chips:

4. Digraph Match Up

Being able to hear which digraph is at the beginning of a word is the first step to encoding digraph words! This centre helps develop that skill :) Students will look at the picture, say the word and find the digraph that begins with that letter!

Students can also work on hearing and identifying digraphs at the end of words with the "Ending Sounds Digraph Match Up"!

Tip: I like to put magnetic dots on the back of the cards and set out the mat on a cookie sheet. This way the card don't slide around (which can be frustrating for some of our littles!)

5. Beginning Digraph Clip Cards

Another way to practice hearing and identifying digraphs at the beginning and words is with these clip cards! My students love activities with clothes pins and they are great for strengthening finger muscles and improving fine motor skills!

6. Linking Chain Puzzles

Here's another way to practice blending the sounds in words with digraphs and work on fine motor skills at the same time! Students will look at the picture, sound out the first part of the word and then find and link the missing part.

All of these centres are in my "Digraph Centes for -CK, SH, TH, CH, PH, WH, -NG and -NK" pack on TPT! You can find it here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Digraph-Centres-for-CK-SH-TH-CH-PH-WH-NG-and-NK-2700677 or by clicking on the image below:

I hope you were able to grab some ideas to use in your classroom!

- Yukari