Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sharing Sunshine with Hello Sunshine... New Dollar Tree Finds for Classrooms!

This year has been a somewhat difficult transition for me: EVERYTHING changed. I switched districts, I switched schools, and I switched grades. After being in the same place in the same grade with the same team for 6 years, suddenly everything was different. I had to get used to different routines, different curriculum, different standards, a different team, different school procedures... you name it, and it was totally flipping what I knew about teaching and being a part of a school community. Now, don't get me wrong - I absolutely LOVE where I work and I wouldn't change anything about my new journey. However, it has definitely provided for some more stressful times than one normally has in their 7th year of teaching... sometimes I feel like a first year teacher all over again! That includes working LONG hours on planning, finding resources, and doing all the little things our job entails. When our teaching lives get stressful, it can be easy to reside in that zone of negativity: complaining, putting too much on our plates, and not bothering to find solutions to make things better. Once we place ourselves in that mindset, it can be hard to get out of it and see and share the positive things that are happening in our schools and classrooms!

That's why I'm so excited that my friends and I over at our collaborative blog, Hello Sunshine, are starting a new monthly linky... Sharing Sunshine!

Sharing Sunshine is a linky where you can write a blog post sharing some teacher-y sunshine with your fellow peers! It can be anything you are excited to share about: a new product, a freebie, a great lesson you taught, teacher deals, favorite products, favorite classroom supplies... ANYTHING! Share something you love about teaching and link up with us on every 15th of the month!

This month, I'll be sharing a little sunshine about some of my favorite classroom items from Dollar Tree! I picked up all of these things this summer and I am so excited to put them to use in my classroom.

The first item that I was SO excited to find were these magnetic spinners:

Seriously, I went on the hunt for these babies after my mom told me about them and it took me going to 4 different Dollar Tree stores before I actually found them. So if you see them at yours, RUN to buy them! I tested them out and they work perfectly! I plan on using them for whole group spinner games, voting activities, and more! I'll also be using the finger pointer spinner in the middle of my GoNoodle spinner to choose our new class champ:

You can download the spinner for free HERE!

Dollar Tree is also the absolute perfect place to grab gobs and gobs of baskets, bins, and containers! They have them in all shapes and sizes in adorable colors... you can even get 2-3 baskets for $1! The little orange buckets and the long skinny green baskets came 2 to a pack! How are these even a dollar? You'd find these kinds of baskets at most retail stores for $3-$4... but not at Dollar Tree! Such a steal. And I don't know about you, but I can never have too many baskets in my classroom!

This summer, they actually had a lot of things I hadn't seen before at a Dollar Tree, such as these magnetic speech bubble dry erase boards. You could use these in so many ways! I was thinking I could make some sort of area on my magnetic cabinets where I'd post a student's picture and have them write something about what we are currently learning about: a math fact, something new they've learned, their favorite thing to do at school, etc... the options are limitless! You could also use them as an adorable label and change it out when you need to, since they are erasable!

Another great item I was able to score at Dollar Tree were these colorful, big, plastic tweezers. 

These are GREAT for helping students develop strength and fine motor skills. I plan on using these in many different center activities where they'll have to pick up items with tweezers to sort them instead of just moving them around with their fingers. And don't even get me started on how completely excited your kiddos will be to use these! It can put a fun twist on any learning activity.

Here are some other favorite Dollar Tree finds:

Recycling Game:
This is a magnetic sorting game that I can't wait to use with my kids on Earth Day! It has tons of pieces to help students sort items by plastic, paper, and aluminum. Such a fun hands-on activity!

Big Foam Dice:
I can't get enough of these giant foam dice that come two to a pack! You can't find jumbo dice like this ANYWHERE for the price of a dollar. They are very durable and I use them all the time in my classroom to play dice games in both math and reading centers.

Magnetic Mirror:
I love these! Mirrors can be used for so many different things. I plan on using a couple of these in guided reading groups to help my kiddos struggling with articulation of sounds so they can see how their mouth moves when they attempt to say them correctly. I also have one for a non-educational purpose: making sure I don't look completely scraggly after school if I'm headed to a parent or staff meeting! You know how we all feel and look at the end of a school day! Ha!!

I hope these affordable classroom ideas brought a little sunshine to your day! Be sure to link up with us over at Hello Sunshine to share some sunshine (and read about other bright ideas) today and then again on the 15th of every month!


  1. Friend, I am completely obsessed with the Dollar Tree! It seems I can't stop shopping there :-) Love all your finds!

  2. I LOVE all of the amazing things that you can pick up at The Dollar Tree too!! AMAZING!! I love your champ spinner too! Such a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!!

    Mrs. 3rd Grade