10 Ingenious Ways to Use Solo Cups in the Classroom

Last year, I bought 100 solo cups for the 100th day of school. My students had a blast building 100-cup structures. It was definitely the hit of the day. But then, I was left with 100 solo cups. Sure, I could just put them on the shelf and use them again next year, but I knew that there HAD to be a lot more possibilities for these things. I now use them all the time, and they have become one of my favorite, inexpensive tools to use in the classroom!

So here, I've rounded up my TOP TEN favorite ways to use solo cups in the classroom.

Having your students work together to build a structure using 100 cups is a great way to encourage cooperation and teamwork on the 100th day of school.

I love this simple word work idea! To create this station, just cut a window into one cup and write the rime to the word families of your choice after it. On the cup underneath, write different onsets so that the students can rotate the cups to create different words. 
I created a recording sheet to add some accountability to this station, which you can snag by clicking the image below.
Set up the solo cups just like bowling pins. Your students can practice subtraction and use math talk to tell how many they knocked down and how many cups are left standing. Another idea is to write sight words on the cups. As your students knock down the cups, they must read the sight words on them. I love this variation from Coffee Cups and Crayons!

Use green, yellow, and red solo cups to check for understanding. You can use these with individual students or with students when working in groups. Students will place a green cup on top to indicate understanding, yellow if they are iffy, and red when they need help or are not understanding a concept. Check out this pin from The Ardent Teacher.
I'm going to put red and green cups next to each computer where my students work independently during station time. When the students are working problem-free, the green cup stays on top. But if they have a problem and need help, they can put the red cup on top. This will alert me from across the room where I'm doing guided reading, and I can make sure that my student-appointed "tech support helper" can get to them.

One of my favorite community-building books is Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud. Mel from Seusstastic Inspirations used solo cups for her bucket filling display. I love it!

Just grab an exacto knife and cut a slit along the top. These make the perfect holder for signs. You could use these to hold directions for word work, I can lists, etc. These are signs from the Meet The Teacher Scavenger Hunt (made by Creativity to the Core) we did at the beginning of the year. Do you play card games with your students? These would work perfectly to hold their cards, since their little hands often have trouble!

This is one of my very favorite games for building number sense with my kinders, and I always use a solo cup as the "cave." There are ___ bears total (you tell the students the total). If ___ bears are outside of the cave, then how many bears are inside? Check out this example from The Reading Corner below.

This year, we made this adorable Elf craftivity from Jennifer of Crayons and Cuties in Kindergarten. I've since found adorable craft ideas for Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, and  just about every holiday!

This is one of my favorite ideas from Kelly at Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten. Students put math manipulatives in each cup and then add the total together!

Check out this adorable supply caddy from Smile Monsters. How perfect would these be in the center of your classroom tables? Or even on your desk?
So that's my list of top ten ways to use Solo cups in your classroom! I hope you try one or two!


Penguin Activities

We're reading all about penguins in our classroom this week! This is always one of my favorite units because my students love nonfiction, and who doesn't love penguins!? Here are some of the penguin activities we are doing in our classroom this week. 
There is lots of new learning going on about penguins in our classroom! You know what's funny? Every year, someone says that penguins live in igloos. This is always our one misconception about them! 
This graphic organizer is from my new penguin unit! I've been making it as I go along this week and it's just about finished! You can grab this page as a freebie HERE!
How cute are these Penguin flap books from One Sharp Bunch? It's a craftivity and nonfiction writing in one! I just love it, and so did my students!
The blubber glove is one of my favorite experiments! It allows students to see how penguins are able to keep warm in below-freezing temperatures! It's amazing how a layer of Crisco really does keep your hand warm in icy cold water!
In math, we are learning about fractions. These fraction penguins come from Amber Polk on TpT.
Look at the cute finished products!
Finally, we did a penguin directed drawing. We do one directed drawing a month and I am blown away by the quality of these! 
That's all I've got for now--make sure to visit everyone else who has linked up from The Primary Pack to see all the penguin fun they have going on! Plus, enter the rafflecopter and you can win a big ol' bundle of all of our penguin resources! The winner will be all set for winter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Snow Math and Science

Here we are, a week into January and not a snow flurry in sight! Very unusual for these parts, but we have El Nino to thank for that. I decided that I don't want to wait for the weather to cooperate in order to have some fun with snow, so I took to my kitchen and whipped some up. Check out all snowy fun over on The Primary Pack blog, and get my Snow Math and Science pack freebie!

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