A few years ago when I first taught Year 1 my sister put me on to the idea of using placemats for the students. This year I have adapted the template further to suit my Year 2s and to help them to meet the standards in Mathematics in the Australian Curriculum.
Making the placemats was fiddly and time consuming. My teaching partner tried to convince me that it would be easier to make one and photocopy it rather than make individual ones for 24 students (plus a spare just in case - and as a teacher model). I was afraid the colours wouldn't be as bright so insisted we make them by hand. After making 25 placemats each (printing, cutting, gluing, laminating) our fingers were tired and our minds were numb. She might just be able to convince me to make one and photocopy next time!
But don't they look lovely????
The front side has a handwriting model sticker (purchased from Young Ideas), left/right hand stickers (also purchased), a name plate (created using a table in MS Word with text box overlays), and a list of "No Excuses Words" which are a combination of a few high frequency word lists and a few other words that I wanted my students to spell well - including my name. ;-)
You can purchase placemats from various places that are similar to these but I like to be able to personalise them and include the bits and pieces I feel are important.
The back side has a hundreds chart which is sized to fit counters, a tens frame which also fits counters, some shapes and their names, the poem about the months (important for Year 2), the days of the week, a number line and some other maths things.
We found these great little containers (that are Decor brand - supposed to be for salad dressing) that fit 20 counters in neatly so each child will have their own set of counters and a hundreds chart at their fingertips for daily number awareness and games!
The placemats were great in Year 1 a few years ago. I am hoping they will get lots of use again this year.