Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Freebie

Pumpkin math, pumpkin science, pumpkin literacy---so many great pumpkin ideas! Here's my contribution. My students are working on writing letters that fit in a small space. This was a fun way for them to do that. To play, students draw a letter card from the pile (I used cards I already had) then write the letter on the pumpkin in alphabetical order. This involves some critical thinking as they figure out where each letter will go. Click on the picture to download the file.
 Be sure to click on "download original" because the font is way better in the PDF version. (Anybody who can tell me how to fix this??) Enjoy

Friday, October 21, 2011

Everything's Batty!

Lots of "bat" fun this week! I used a bat-shaped notepad with sight words on it to "hide" bats around the room.
Students then went on a "bat hunt" to find all of the real and the "batty" words. Even my little guys could read and copy these words! If you'd like to use the recording sheet, click on the picture below.

(Once you get to the link, download the original. The font is just way too cute!) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Fun to Share

Here's a game for your literacy center.

Directions aren't included--it's self-explanatory, I think. I will use it with each of my four small groups, differentiating slightly based on what they need. One group will simply roll, say the letter and sound, put a unifix cube on it. Other groups will say the letter name, sound and a word that begins with that sound. A final group will do all of that AND use the word they come up with in a sentence. If they roll the letter again and can name it, etc, they can "crown" the cube and that cube cannot be bumped. First person to have all of his cubes on the board wins. I like to use these cubes as dice:

If you haven't used these, you don't know what you're missing! They are SO handy! It's great to be able to make them into ANY kind of dice, for any game. Plus they're QUIET! Happy rolling!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Firehouse Sight Word FREEBIE

Use your own sight words or the ones attached. You could also use letters, phrase cards, etc. I use the Photo Cube Blocks (click here) as the dice. I love these! I don't know how I ever taught without them! If you think this game is something you can use, click on the picture above to download.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Firefighters Rebus Poem

I have used this rebus poem for 28  years. The kids LOVE to act it out. It has a great rhythm to it, too. Hope you find that it's something you can use. Click on the image to download.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Apple Games FREEBIE and a Birthday Request!

This week has been Applicious in kindergarten! We've had so much fun with all the great apple activities from everyone who has so generously shared. I'm also going to share my Crazy Apples game, in two versions, at the end of this post.

Would you help me wish my 85 year old dad a Happy Birthday? He is one of the few of his generation who have embraced the latest technology. He LOVES working on his computer and even regularly visits Facebook to keep track of what's going on.

I am asking one simple thing: If you download my games, would you PLEASE send my dad an email with the subject line "Happy 85th Birthday, O.C." It would just THRILL him to receive 85 emails on his 85th birthday!

His birthday is today, October 1, but if you read this and download my game after that, please go ahead and send him an email anyway. He won't mind if it's late---and I might earn a few brownie points!

Here are the games, as promised. And if you download them, please send a birthday wish to:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back to School With Dr. Jean

Dr. Jean has some GREAT "Back to School" activities for kindergarten! Check them out!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

SUCH a great song! Love it that I can show this to my kids!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take a Break and READ!

So all summer long I have been blog-stalking and taking a turn at blogging and Target-diving and thinking about school. And then I began a 14 hour car ride home. And, of course, no internet. So I picked up this:

AND I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN! If you haven't read it, PLEASE take a couple of days and read it! It has absolutely nothing to do with education and yet is very educational---and entertaining. It's fiction. And I loved it. So before you go back to school, before you HAVE to start doing all of those things you are hankering to do----take 14 hours and READ this book. You won't be disappointed. (Read it now---the movie opens on August 10. And we all know the book is always better than the movie.) Let me know what you think of it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

And the Winner is........

Wow! I am totally blown away by all the great ideas for the Altoids tins!! It was SO hard to pick just ONE winner! But (drumroll, please) the winner is........

 Wild About Kindergarten! You can read about her idea, and all of the other fantastic Altoids tins ideas, here. Also, here are a couple of the ideas that I had for their use:

Categorizing Boxes:  Each box contains a set of three “alike” things (either the small items OR pictures) and one thing that is different. Students choose a box, then decide which thing doesn’t belong. If done at the beginning of kindergarten, students TELL a buddy why it doesn’t belong. If done at the END of kindergarten, OR the beginning of first grade, students would then WRITE about WHY that thing doesn’t belong. The explanation is the key to critical thinking in this activity. To view my original post on categorizing, click here.

Name Game: (middle of the year for kinder, beginning of the year for first grade) Each student gets a copy of their name to cut apart into letter strips. The letter strips go into individual, unmarked tins.  In a literacy center, students choose a box and arrange the letters in the box to make a classmate’s name. They can use the “Friends” word wall to help them make names. For accountability, you could add a recording sheet. Students would choose a certain number of tins (I would say 5) and record those names on the sheet.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Who Loves Target?

EVERYONE! Especially when they are carrying a $10 gift card! That could be YOU! Remember to submit your ideas for the educational reuse of Altoids tins. You might be the lucky winner of a $10 Target gift card! See the original post here. And please spread the word!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

$10 Target Card??

Calling all creative minds! I have a bunch of these larger Altoid tins, and a few of the smaller ones, stored in my classroom, just waiting to be used! I would LOVE to have your creative ideas on how to use them in the classroom! I have a few ideas.....but I am sure YOU have a TON more! Tell me: how would YOU use these? The person who comments with the best, most creative educational use for these tins, as decided by ME, will win a $10 gift card to Target! So, let's hear it! Comments will close at midnight on Tuesday, July 19. And please: spread the word!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stirring of Excitement

I think I am finally read to start thinking about the beginning of a new school year. It's hard to get motivated to stay inside and "work" when the front door is calling me outside to this:
What prompted this stirring of excitement? The $$ spot at TARGET! Being on vacation this month, in a town that has two stoplights, where the nearest WalMart is 30 minutes away, we have been "deprived" of the retail enticements that such large stores have. So when my daughter and I volunteered to take the MIL to the airport, I admit that we might have had a little ulterior motive (drivethelongwayhomesowecangotoTarget.) Oh. my.goodness. Am I glad we did! I realize that the following pics will make this post way longer than necessary, but I have to share. Here's my haul:
 Mini Pocket Chart--LOVE this! Got three, wish I had gotten more!

 GREAT "sorting" cards for categorizing.

 Capital/Lowercase Alpha Puzzles and Sets to 10 Puzzles

 Bookmarks for STARS and KinderKids Reading Club

 Table Tags with Alphabet Line

This one's kind of hard to see---Animal Action Words 
Card Set

 Calendar Headers for Writing Station

 Small Reusable Dr. Seuss Bags--Portable Station?

Locker Mirrors
(magnetic--to hang on the "Making Words" side of
the filing cabinet--I bought 5)

My "almost favorite"--GIANT 
coffee cup. I think it's supposed to be for ice cream,
but it's microwavable, and it's already had it's first filling
of coffee. (Gilmore Girls, anyone?)

THESE were my favorite find. They're end-of-the-pencil
erasers. We'll use them as pointers.

There WERE a lot of other items that I didn't buy, contrary to what my husband thinks. But I tried to use some restraint. Because NEXT week, we have to go back to the airport. And there just MIGHT be a good reason for me to volunteer again (inoticedadollartreeacrossthestreetfromtarget.) Until then, I think I'll go sit by the lake and read the next chapter of The Book Whisperer.

AMAZING New Blogger

Have you visited Donna's blog, Peace, Love, and Learning? She is quite amazing!! I just LOVE her blog!! She is quite generous about sharing what she has made, too. Head on over to her blog and get this goodie!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cheater Reader/Ready Reader Poster

While reading Debbie Diller's Spaces and Places book, I saw a poster in a teacher's classroom with similar wording to the one I created, below. I will be using it in my reading corner to help my kinders understand what is expected from "real" readers. Is this something you can use? Click on the picture to download, and please leave me a comment!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Doesn't Belong?

Every year when we do sorting, my kids love to play the "What Doesn't Belong?" game.  I use the picture cards, below, cut lengthwise into four-picture strips. I love this game because it brings so many skills into the lesson, while still being fun. It develops vocabulary, encourages logical thinking and also pulls critical thinking all into one fun lesson.
First we name all of the pictures on the strip. Students then decide what doesn't belong in the group of four pictures. Almost all of them know, right away, which one doesn't belong. THE TRICK, however, and the most important part of this lesson, is that they have to tell me WHY that item doesn't belong. For example, "The "pool" doesn't belong because it's not something you eat." Many times, there can be more than one correct answer. For example, in this group of pictures:  cake, pool, pizza, carrot a student might say that the "carrot" doesn't belong because it's not round. Both of these answers are correct. Students LOVE it when they think of a reason that one doesn't belong that even I didn't think of! I love this game because it is a means of differentiation just by letting the students think and talk. Hope you can use it, too. Click on the picture to download three pages of card strips.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Let's Go Bowling!

Great fun from Dollar Tree! Found this mini bowling set that we'll use when we talk about making sets of 10 (addition) and when doing subtraction.
Below are the sheets to go with this center. Click on them to view or download. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Other ideas??

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Another exciting find at Dollar Tree! I found these door-sized (6 ft. tall!) palm tree door covers! They will be GREAT to put on a door and use magnetic letters to tell the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom story!

Mrs. Larremore has a great "edible" Chicka tree. The Teacher Wife has some great ideas for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Check them out!

Everybody Sort!

Love these! They are "tiki" ice cube trays, but they have officially been renamed as "sorting" trays. Buttons, beads, teeny tiny animals. And they're soft, so they'll be much quieter than hard plastic. Check them out at Dollar Tree!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cheap Peeps!

My husband is always on the lookout for a bargain. Recently, just after Easter, he came home with a bag full of these:
Now don't get me wrong: I think they are cute, too. But that's just what we DON'T need in our house: more candy! Each of these adorable chicks had three small peanut butter cups in them. And he had purchased about 18 of them!
"But they were only 9 cents apiece!" he cried. "The candy alone is worth that!" Hmmmmm....not so sure I agree there.....but I was pretty sure I could find a good use for the eggs!

After removing the candy from the eggs, I put the eggs back in the "holder" he had brought them home in.
And they instantly became: "math peeps!" The game is played like "memory" or concentration. Player one turns over two "peeps." If they match, he leaves them upside down and both players write the number sentence and the sum on a pair of peeps (download the sheet below.) If they do not match, the peeps are turned upright and player two has a turn. Play is completed when all of the peeps are matched.
Lot's of fun--for 9 cents a peep. You can download the "Peep Matching" sheet by clicking on the image below.
I hope to use these other ways, too, especially since they open easily and stay closed tightly. Anyone have any other good ideas for their use?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Being Proactive: Transportation Tags

I think the biggest concern I hear from parents at the beginning of the year is "who will make sure my child goes home the right way?" While it's a huge concern of most parents, it's also a concern for teachers: we ALL want to be sure our little charges get home safely. Our district is very cautious with student transportation---and it is a pet peeve of our principal. And rightly so.

Our kindergarten teachers use the tags below to assist in making sure our students get home the correct way. Parents fill out a form at Kindergarten Orientation telling how the child will go home. The teachers then fill out the transportation tag, which has already been laminated, hole punched and had a "grommet" put in for durability, and attach it to the child's backpack with a "zip tie." This way, any staff member who comes across the child can easily tell where this student belongs, whether it's in the morning as he comes from parent drop-off or in the afternoon as he is getting on a bus. This has worked well for us and has helped our parents, as well as our principal, feel more secure about student transportation.

Click on the picture to download!

Thinking Ahead to Orientation.....

I've been "creeping," as my oldest daughter calls it, on different blogs looking for "beginning of the year" ideas. I'm not finding much, yet. This is probably due to the fact that many of the schools aren't even out for the year yet. My school system in Florida is one of the "counties of distinction," meaning we have had test scores in the top 10 counties for a number of years. Such schools are allowed to start school anytime after the second week of August. (Other schools have to wait until no more than two weeks before Labor Day.) So while we are beginning our second week of summer vacation, many schools haven't even started the countdown. Good for us now, but once August comes......

Our kindergarten team uses the following form to find out about our students and families. It has worked well for us, with some updating, for many years. I am wondering, though, if there are others out there that are better? If you find a good one, please leave a comment. And feel free to borrow ours.
Click on the picture to download.

My Friends Are Addicts

Teacher BLOG addicts, that is! Today five of us met, only one week after school got out, to talk about next year----and print and laminate activities we have gleaned off of our favorite blogs! There are six of us on our kindergarten team----and four of us are now teacher blog addicts. Check out this blog that one of our teachers started: teacherblogstalker 

The problem is, though, that not only are we spending WAAYYYY too much time perusing other teacher blogs, but there is NO WAY we can ever do all of the activities and ideas that we have downloaded or saved. Somehow we will have to purge and delete----but not yet. We'll save that for later. Afterall, we have the whole summer ahead of us.........

Sunday, May 29, 2011

We Love Our Volunteers!

We love our volunteers! Last week we honored our three classroom volunteers by writing about them, drawing their portraits and surprising them with "homemade" flowers and a book all about them! They liked it all, but I think their favorite part was when the kids wrote about them on the "All About...." form.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Very Hungry....

......caterpillar, that is! After we acted the story out, we graphed the "fruits", aka "fruit rings cereal", that were in our bag. Click on the graph to view or download.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friend Bingo!

Here it is! I just love it that my kids can read! I know they will have fun with this next week. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

School's Out.....well, almost!

Nothing like waiting until the end of the school year to start a blog! I have become ADDICTED to all of the kindergarten and first grade blogs (THANKS, Cheryl); so many great ideas! I spent five hours after school yesterday and five hours today tossing the old and reorganizing. I am excited to begin next year with all of the fresh ideas! Hopefully I will be able to contribute ideas, too. I am working on a "Friend Bingo" that I want to use next week, so once I figure out how to upload it, I will post it here. Wish me luck!