Sunday, November 8, 2015

Educational Goodies!

Autumn is here and the back to school madness has settled down.  My students are getting the routines of the classroom down and we are chugging along in our day to day kindergarten adventure. I wanted to add in some extra educational goodies in our kindergarten day and so I was thrilled when my box from Oriental Trading arrived to my classroom!  

One of the things that came in my box was this adorable Fall Apple Magnet Craft project.  This project was all ready to go with each apple in its own little bag.  The foam pieces had a sticky back and so all the children had to do was peel and stick!  They were able to choose their own color and design.  They could also do this independently, with the exception of poking out the seeds.  The seeds were little and so that was challenging for some of my kiddos, but it was great fine motor skills practice.  These had magnets and so to finish the project, a magnet was stuck on the back and the children had a great project to bring home.  This project fit in so nicely around Johnny Appleseed day and our apple unit.  They did complete this project one:one with my wonderful Instructional Assistant, but they could have been completed whole group because of the ease of this cute craft.  She basically guided them in their craft, and helped out when needed.

If you are like me, then you love cute and colorful supply holders.  These Classroom Small Round Storage Baskets are perfect for holding small supplies.  They are not huge (hence the word small) but they fit my needs perfectly.  Sometimes I need a little basket to throw in a math manipulative for an activity, or a craft supply, and these are so handy and sturdy that I will continue to get a lot of use out of these.  I also love the Roll and Color page from The Kindergarten Connection (see green basket).  These baskets were the perfect size to hold the dice at our table and keep them in one central place for the table to access.

This is my first year teaching full-day kindergarten and I am loving it!  I feel like we have so much more time in our day and I am enjoying the extra learning taking place.  I thought these Fun Shape Word & Number Swatters would be a perfect way to get my students up and moving and exploring our classroom for words and numbers.  They loved walking around the room swatting different words and I was impressed at some of the places they found print.  I know we will continue to get a lot of use out of these and they are already asking about the next time they can walk around the room looking for words and numbers!

We use Reading Street for our reading program and the children are already starting to practice reading decodable books from our program.  Currently we are working on the high-frequency words we have learned and practicing concepts of print.  We are reading left to right, word by word, and only what is written on the page.  These are big skills for kindergarten children!  These Bookworm Word Spacers are actually meant for writing to help the children space out their words.  While we will use it for our writing, currently, I am having them use them for reading so they can move the bookworm along the sentence and isolate each word as they read.

Wwwhhhhooooooo doesn't love talking about owls in the autumns?  Ha!  We have been reading owl stories and learning about nocturnal animals.  This Fall Color Owl Ornament Craft Kit owl craft is so adorable!  This was another craft that was easy to put together.  It came with sticky backs and so the children were able to complete this project on their own.  They did get help from my IA with tying the ribbon through the hole at the top.  While this came with everything peel and stick and ready to go, I did need to reinforce the wings with glue dots.  The sticky portion was small and so it needed a little something extra to help the wings stick on the side. But, they currently look great hanging on my cabinets and bulletin board next to an autumn addition project (and freebie you will find below!).

This Turkey Craft Kit is probably the cutest thing I have seen!  It is a sturdy material with colorful pieces.  Each kit was individually wrapped and all of our pieces were accounted for.  This project needed to be glued so we did this project whole group.  I modeled how to do it, and then the children copied mine.  It became a directed art project and yet each child still had their own personal touch.  This is such a cute craft!!!!  I hung these on my bulletin board at the end of the day on Friday and I got so many compliments from fellow teachers.  They look great filling in our bulletin board out in the hall.  They are sharing the board with a 10 Little Turkeys FREEBIE by Teacher's Breathing Space which is also adorable and educational.  Be sure to check out both of these projects!

I happened to have pumpkin (so old I can't find them on the website anymore!) and leaf foam pieces from Oriental Trading Company from a few years ago and decided to create a little addition project to go along with them.  I had a parent helper come in and had the children roll big dice in dice.  

The children used the big number on the dice for the leaves, and the small inside number for the pumpkins.  The children colored their project and then added the correct amount of leaves and pumpkins to their paper.  After the foam pieces were added (the pumpkins had to be glued down and the leaves had a peeling foam back) they recorded their numbers and added them together to find out how many in all.


While I can't offer you foam pieces through cyber space (as much as I'd like to do so!), I did create this freebie for you to use.  If you have foam pieces, use them!  But if not, you can copy the leaves and pumpkins and enjoy this fun autumn addition freebie with your kiddos!

You can get the freebie here, or by clicking the picture below!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

**The reviews of any products in this post are based strictly on my own opinion. Others may have a different experience or opinion about the products listed above. I was provided the products free of charge by Oriental Trading Company, and after using the products, I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Scary Things *Freebie*

                                                                                    Photo Credit: Jordan

Tis the season to talk about scary things and read scary Halloween books.  While we talk about scary things, it only gets so scary in kindergarten.  Luckily, most books aren't that scary, and they usually end up with a happy ending - phew!

Something I like to do every year is read an assortment of scary seasonal books and then ask the students to make a list of scary things.  They really come up with some good ideas!  I make this chart and draw a little image next to it for a reminder.
I have been doing this book for years and don't even know where it originated.  I know that at one point I remade it.  The version in my photos that I am using with my students this year, shows a DJ Inkers font (which I don't have a license for commercial use so I am not using it in my freebie), and Comic Sans (I know, the dreaded comic sans).  But hey, back in the day, comic sans was the cute and different font!  Now I know better, and have invested in loads of fonts.

**But, just for the record, I do not share in the distaste for comic sans that so many others do (I know, please don't throw rotten eggs at me!).

After we make our list, we get to work creating our book.  The children think about which scary thing they want in their book, and then they copy the word, and illustrate the photo.

We are also working on beginning writing skills in kindergarten.  We are working on drawing a detailed picture, and since I let them use markers (woohoo - that is cause for great excitement in kindergarten!) they are really trying their best!

We have one page left on Monday, and then we will take the time to share our books out to the class.  Check out the cute writing and illustrations from my kiddos:

You can see how hard at work my students are.  They are loving this project - and so am I.  It is always a fun experience each year.  They get very excited about their creations and they always come up with the cutest drawings!

I printed out the book, cut them in half, and then stapled black construction paper on the outside of the book.  I glued the cover down on the front.  You can also do this, but you can also keep it simple by running the book on white paper and stapling it in the copy machine to save you time.

As you can see, this is an adorable book!  I jazzed it up for the freebie, and will be sure to use that format next year.  But I wanted to get the book going in my class this past week and didn't have time to redo this packet until now.  If only we had like 6 more hours in each day!

I created this freebie for you and it is now in my TpT store.  You can find Scary Things here.  I made it with new fonts, added a border, and even made the pages so you can have some differentiation.  I hope you can use it this week to get ready for Halloween!  If you don't celebrate Halloween, this is still applicable with the season of autumn, and bats, and spiders - oh my!

You can see some of the images from the new and improved, (and comic sans free), Scary Things book below!

This FREE Scary Things book can be found in my Teachers pay Teachers store.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have an incredibly fun, and calm, week :)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Back to School in Kindergarten!

Photo Credit: Meirlaen

Truthfully, it is Back to School for me, and the very beginning of the educational journey for most of my kindergarten students!  It is also the first year for full day kindergarten in Oregon.  I have been waiting for this day for many years and was looking forward to the start of our year and having my students stay all day.  It is great, but WOW is it ever tiring!  I was so excited I had to post a photo on my Instagram account, and Teachers Pay Teachers actually featured this picture in their "TpT Loves Back to School Selfies" on their blog using the hashtag #tptbtsselfie.  I was thrilled to be featured and I had to share it on my blog as well!

The beginning of kindergarten is amazing and random and funny and tiring, and ultimately unpredictable!  It takes a lot of love, patience, and sleep to get through this time successfully.  Teachers constantly talk about rules, and then remind them of the rules, and then talk about them again, and then practice them over and over and.............well, you get the picture!  Kindergarten children love to learn and make new friends, but they need structure, repetition and reminders to make the day go smoothly.  Sometimes it seems like all we did was read stories to review rules, but putting in this time at the beginning of the year is so important and will pay off later on so don't hesitate to take this time to get your classroom routines down.

We just finished our 21st day of school!  Can you believe it?  I know some of you have been in school much longer than us.  School started the week before Labor Day this year, but my students started a week after that.  During that week, my new students and families came to school and we were able to chat and do a little testing.

Once school started, we have been having so much fun.  I truly have a wonderful group this year and so enjoy going to work to spend the day with my little kiddos!

Are you ready for a LOT of pictures?  Hope so!

I saw a few pics on Instagram (with a play on IG) and knew I wanted to do that with my kiddos as well, so I got to work.  I do remember seeing it on Kindergarten Smorgasboard's IG page but when I looked back to link it in this post, I couldn't find it. Our "IG" board turned out so gosh darn cute!  I can't stand it!  I took pictures with them holding a big decorated K, added scrapbook paper, cut out the letters on my Silhouette Cameo and made the IG sign with construction paper.

Scissor practice is so important in kindergarten!  They need explicit instruction and practice - lots of it.  Before we do any art projects, we just practice using scissors for the sake of using scissors.  This page is a part of my Snip, Snip..........Scissor Practice packet from my TpT store.

Holding pencils and penmanship is also something that needs explicit instruction and lots of practice. Here we are tracing our numbers 1-10 and then writing them on our own. This is a freebie in my TpT store called Number Tracing and Writing Freebie!

We read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and then worked on this cute page from First Grade Blue Skies Chrysanthemum freebie packet.  My school uses Tribes and so after we filled out our picture of what it looks like to be a good friend, and to not be a good friend, we partnered up using "Milling to Music" and then shared our responses.

My class has grown so fond of Go Noodle!  They love it!!!!  One of the times we use it is at the end of the day after we have cleaned up and have our backpacks on.  We are really digging Koo Koo Kangaroo and "Roller Coaster."

We started literacy 9 days after school started.  My school transitions for native language literacy.  Some students are in English literacy with me, and some are in Spanish literacy with one of my colleagues.  I am thankful to have those 8 homeroom days so we can build a bond and establish some routines because once literacy starts, I only have my homeroom for about an hour and a half a day total (except for Wednesday which is a homeroom day - my favorite!).  We loved using this sound practice from Miss Kindergarten.  We picked an apple and said the letter name and sound.

We also had fun using these clip cards from The Kindergarten Connection!  Not only are my kiddos practicing beginning sounds and matching upper and lowercase letters, they are also pinching clothespins which is good fine motor skills practice.  And, this is a growing bundle so we will have educational and seasonal activities to go along with our learning all year.  Woohoo!

We have started using math journals as well.  I want my students to be able to identify numbers in many ways.  Here is an example of one student representing the number 2.  To be clear, at the beginning of the year, we do a lot of work together so they understand the expectation.  As the year progresses, and they have a better understanding of numbers, they are able to come up with their own ideas.

My school uses ST Math and we have completed our password training and then are able to log in and start learning some mathematical skills.  This is a program my students really enjoy and will often go to it when they have free iPad time during activity time.

The children have also had a little time to explore foam blocks with friends.

My students have also been enjoying looking at books in the library.

We are so lucky to have a very sweet community member volunteer his time and come into my classroom and read.  He is a retired librarian and he will sing songs, play music CD's and dance with the children, and read them several books.  They absolutley love his visits.  He is so awesome!!!!  I believe this is his third year coming into my classroom now and I feel so fortunate.

I have also had some children pick flowers for me.  Love the little bouquet :)

Like many of you, we also talked a lot about apples and Johnny Appleseed.  We started off by reading a story and then painting apples.  It made for a very cute hallway bulletin board display.

You can't talk about apples without tasting them though!  I stuck with the three basic apples for our taste test - Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.  Mmmmmm!  I also cut an apple in half to show them the star you get.  Have you ever seen that?  You don't cut down the core vertically, but instead cut it horizontally through the middle.  It is pretty fascinating.

After eating the apples we colored our favorite flavor and practiced using scissors to cut them out.

We sat around the carpet and graphed our results.  We interpreted our graph as well.  My students did such a good job with this!

We used this Apple Taste test page from Khrys Bosland's apple packet to record the results of our graph and it is a freebie in her store.  It was so great sitting on our carpet learning together.  I look forward to more activities like this in the future.

After we ate the apples, I asked my class to use adjectives to describe the apples.  I thought they came up with a pretty impressive list!

We continued our apple learning by using my free SMARTBoard product in my TpT store Apples, Apples, Apples.  They had fun taking turns and putting Ten Apples Up on Top of the children's heads.

Last, we put Ten Apples Up on Top of each of our heads.  Again, more scissor practice and number sequencing.  This is so old.  I have had it for years and don't remember where it came from or even when I started doing it.  I know the boy/girl clip art is from DJ Inkers, but other than that, go figure!  It is such a fun activity though!

Well, that is a good overview of what we have been doing in kindergarten in Oregon.  Monday will be our 22nd day of school.  Woohoo!  

Hope you are having a lovely autumn.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Classroom Reveal and a Freebie!

I am so excited to be sharing my kindergarten classroom with all of you!  My classroom is a home away from home and I want it to be an inviting place for me and my students.  I made some changes this year and am excited about the "newness" the room has this year.  I have been in this room for 8 years now and so walking in with some changes makes it feel fresh.

Tomorrow will be Day 9 of school for us.  We are having a great start to our year and I am have a sweet group this year.  I hope you are having a wonderful start to your year as well.

This is the view of my door from outside in the hall.  I love my apple flag and have many flags that I rotate seasonally throughout the year.
I put my Happy Birthday board on my door.  I cut the letters on my Silhouette Cameo and bought the cupcakes from Lakeshore.  I am going to take pictures of my students and put them on the cupcakes for their birthdays.  The fabric is my window protection and rolls down easily in case of lockdown drills.
This is the view of my classroom from my door.  I love my large windows that let in a lot of natural light.  I also have a door that leads straight out to the playground which is very nice!
This is one of my bulletin boards.  I do a random drawing for a Star Student every week.  The children fill out a paper and we learn more about them.  They get a special chair and slip cover for the week.  This year I also decided to simplify and make the Star Student my jobs person.  I always had rotating jobs in the past and I could never remember who was in charge of things (like the door holder) when we were out of the room.  I can remember one student for everything though!  I am looking forward to this starting next week. 

The fish straws are birthday gifts!  Students can pick the straw color of their choice on their special day.  They came from Oriental Trading Company.
We had a recess rodeo on the third day of school where we taught the children how to safely play recess games.  After, we made these adorable art projects with children swinging on a swing, or going down the slide.  Underneath it says "I promise to be safe at recess."  They are so cute!  This packet comes with a book and activity cards.  It is by D Conway called Recess Rules! Emergent Reader and Creativity Pack and you can find it here.
This is my word wall - to be!  I made the letters and words and want to post it on TpT soon.  I used a chevron background and just love how it looks.  I also put up black fabric this year.  This is a brand new board to me.  I wasn't sure how I would like the black.  At first it seemed very dark, but I am liking it a lot now that I have the border and parts put together.
This is my writing center.  The kiddos are liking this area of the classroom so much.  I got the colorful wall hanger on Amazon and am going to put in different writing papers as the year goes on.
The Writing Center image is from Teaching Superkids and the small posters talking about different writing strategies are from A Class of Kinders.
This is my little library.  The colored tubs on top are my table books.  The word READ is a freebie in my TpT store.  You can find that here.
My playhouse!  This is a favorite during activity time.  I think it is adorable!
The view of my small group area from the library.
A view of the front of my classroom!  The math bulletin board is actually two bulletin boards put together, hence the silver bar down the middle.  I put burlap on the bulletin board and I am excited to start adding to it as the year goes on.
I like my new math wall. I made the letters for MATH and got the plates at the Dollar Store.  The number posters are in my TpT store.  You can find those here.  The Days in School is adorable and that is from Wild About Firsties for her Facebook fans.
This is my literacy Focus Wall.  We use the Reading Street program and this board is a good way to draw their attention to the targeted skills for the week.
This is a view of my vast personal book collection.  I also keep things on the counter like my Math Journals, and papers for the week.  The two tubs against the wall are things I have bought from TpT.  I have a bit of a buying problem!  But, they are all organized and ready to go for activities for my students.
The colorful tubs are where I store my word work activities.  I got most of these materials from Lakeshore through a Donors Choose grant.  The wooden shelf shows the plastic tubs I spray painted and I love how the green looks.  I am putting together my All Done! Now What? by Miss Kindergarten Love in these tubs.  However, our copy machine has been broken the majority of the school year and I can't quite get the copies made.  I also have some whiteboards and clipboards for easy student access.
This is a view of my room standing by the small group table against the windows. You can also see my SMARTBoard.  I love using this teaching tool in the classroom.  
This a view of my desk and filing cabinet.  The desks are huge!  They were donated by a company and so this is not the traditional teacher desk.  Above my desk is my number of the week bulletin board (oops! I cut off the top!).  That is in my TpT store and you can find that here.  Next to that, where the long pocket charts are, is where I will post my goals (CCSS) for my lessons.
Here is another view of my classroom from my desk.  I love the colorful lanterns hanging in my room.  They add so much charm.  I got those at Oriental Trading Company.
This is my bathroom pass.  The children take the clothespin and put that on their clothes.  I made this graphic with clip art from Krista Wallden at Creative Clips and Graphics from the Pond.
I adore the way the students are getting home turned out.  I got the images from Wild About Firsties and am using clothespins underneath.  I used to type names but then had to keep typing up new lists as students came and went, or changed their mode of transportation.  This is way easier!  The tooth graph is also so cute and it is from Erica Bohrer, but I don't see it in her TpT store anymore.  The fairy is from Clementine Digitals and it so stinking cute!  The wand if from The Dollar Store!  I cut out the letters on my Silhouette Cameo. 

My husband came to school last year and painted my shelf.  Here I store my table caddies, crayons and markers, and some math materials.
At the end of my cubbies I store my glue sponges and my tidy tubs.  Do you use Tidy Tubs?  They are so amazing and it keeps my kiddos at their seats, rather than waking around the room non-stop to the recycling bin.  I wanted to share a Tidy Tub freebie with you in case you use them.  I made these to label my bins and I just love them! Find your freebie below!

Here are just a few more pics of my classroom!  It is a place that makes me happy :)
Don't mind the missing Uu on the bulletin board.  I accidentally printed two Tt's, so I need to replace that.  I also love the large shapes along the top of my wall.  The 2D ones I made, the 3D ones I bought - but I don't recall where.
Click here, or the image below for your Tidy Tub Freebie :)

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a great rest of your school year :)