Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dollar Tree - THE Spinner

You've waited so patiently and I'm so excited to share my spinner templates with you today. The picture below shows a few examples of what you will get when download this.

It all started when I saw this at the Dollar Tree. So many ideas popped into my head- I thought I would have to buy at least 20 if I wanted to do half the activities that were already turning in my brain. Instead, I decided to create a template so I could trade out the activities.

Alright, so if you already have your spinners or you are going out to get one I have some advice. Before you walk to the check out counter give your spinner a little wiggle. You want to make sure your spinner will actually spin. I bought 4 spinners, 1 of them had a sticky spinner and will have to be exchanged. Hopefully I saved you some time and trouble.

Okay, now this made me a little nervous at first, but trust me. You want to pop off the black plastic spinner. I was so gentle at first, I didn't want to break it. By my third spinner I was not holding back. The plastic is pretty sturdy, as long as you pull from the middle circle part NOT the skinny arrow. I held the bottom piece with one hand, and snapped the top off with the other.

Now that you have it off, put the spinner on the back on the cardboard. This time with the spinner on the white side. (This is crazy, I know, but I just thought 8 was too many options for my sweet first graders. I wanted a pretty white background for my new and improved spinners.)

Testing to make sure it spins. The first time I pushed the arrow piece in too hard and it was locked in place. I just popped it out a bit and it was ready to spin.

At this point, I was ready to add my new template. The picture you see above was printed on regular copy paper so I could make this post. In all honesty, it should be printed on cardstock and/or laminated.

Anyway, you want to cut just one slit to the middle. I cut betweeen the black and pink sections. When I got to the middle I cut a little circle with my scissors. This is eyeballed I promise, doesn't have to be perfect but you want to fit it around the center of the spinner. Now, you are ready to slide it on.

This is one of my templates with a green background. If you print the background it actually sits a little flatter. In the document above you will get every spinner with a color and a white background. You can decide, but I know some of us are printing at home and want to be mindful of our ink usage. If you decide to print the white background (like my samples above), you can always use removable double sided tape to hold it down if it bothers you. I could just see the edges curling up over time with use.

Here are some more ideas I had for the spinner:

1. Daily 5- One of my favorite things about Daily 5 is the student gets to choose their literacy activity. What do you do when a kid is indecisive? Really, I think one student used this strategy as work avoidance or maybe just to see if it got under my skin. Well, this year, I'm going to put the activities on the spinner. I'll give the student an opportunity and time to decide, but when I'm ready to start my guided reading group we are gonna spin that sucker and the student will snap to work. (Hopefully.)

*Notice I did not put Listen to Reading on the spinner. You can definitely add that if you want. We use iTouches for LTR and if this student is the last to decide, chance are the iTouches are already in use. Talking with teachers about Daily 5, I kinda get the idea that you are all in the same boat when it comes to equipment and managment at LTR.

2. Work on Words/Spelling Station- Throughout the blogging world I've seen several fun, creative ideas for writing high frequency and/or sight words. Super cut tic tac toe boards, menus, etc. I borrowed some of these ideas and put them on my spinner. This way the child will spin to determine how they are going to practice their words.

3. Writing Prompts- Let me start by saying, I'm looping with my class from kinder to first grade. So, the majority of the students have already had me (and the Lucy Calkins Units of Study) for a year. I realize most of you can't whip this out the first week of school, but for what it's worth...

4. So the possiblities are endless. That being said, I also attached some blank spinners and some that just have numbers. Then you can create your own menu to match different subject areas.

Again, thank you for being so kind while I got all my spinner stuff together. As always, please comment and let me know how you are going to use these in your classroom!


  1. Aaahhhh!!!!! I could kiss your sweet cheeks right now!!! I absolutely LOVE this idea!!! I NEVER would've thought of that!!! GREAT idea, girl!!! Love, love, LOVE it!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! SO happy I bought these before they sold out!!!

    Cara :)
    The First Grade Parade

  2. Love these! I'm going to have to pick up a few more spinners!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Frolicking Through First

  3. Great idea, thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Hey friend!! Where do you find all your super cute fonts?? I am a FREAK for fonts, but the site I used to get cute free ones off of has shut down. I feel like I find the same ones all the time... I'd love some new resources! :)

  5. Oh my word! I love this! Thanks so much for all of your hard work and thought for this! I will surely use this with my firstie friends :o)

  6. Love your spinners, thank you for sharing!

  7. Thank you sooo much for sharing all of your great ideas! I have tons of dollar tree spinners that I havent used yet!