Friday, April 24, 2015

Stop, Swap, and Roll + GIVEAWAY!

I am so excited to participate in the Stop, Swap, and Roll hosted by Melissa at Jungle Learners!

This is such a fun idea!  I was so happy to be paired with Molly from xoxokindergarten.  Molly is super sweet and is a kindergarten teacher in Minnesota who loves to camp with her family. 

It was fun to go shopping in Molly's TpT store xoxokindergarten.  I had a tough decision to make beacause I am terrible with decisions.  However, I have a soft spot in my heart for math materials and so I picked her Reusable Primary Math Stations and Games packet.  I am so glad that I did!  This packet is full of activities for your students to learn and stay engaged in math centers.

As soon as I got the packet I quickly printed materials, laminated, and got my centers ready to go.  I was anxious for my students to get started.  This packet is great because it has some things that are in color, and other materials that are in black and white so you are able to choose what you would like to print.  The packet was easy to print and prep.

One of the games we played was "Go Fish" with a twist.  The children were looking for multiples of 10.  Molly included a little "cheat sheet" which helped my children.  They quickly caught on that they were adding two numbers that equaled ten and gathering piles of those number partners.

I love the interaction this game provided and it was super easy to prep as well.  This will be an easy game to keep handy for my students to grab and play, ahem, I mean learn!

Another game we played was "Top it".  I like this packet because it had many activities for differentiation.  This is one of those games.  Students pick two cards and the highest card wins.  I put out base ten block cards to 30 and number cards to 30.  My strong students picked up the game quickly and went wild over it!  My students who need more support had fun, but it was a challenge.  In the future, I would only put this game out for certain learners and/or give certain groups cards to suit their own level.  I had all of my students participate in all of the activities because I wanted to see how they worked.  

"Ladybug Addition" was another fun activity that my students loved!  I laminated the mat and gave them large dice in dice.  They rolled the dice and put that number of dots on the ladybug - one side was the big die and the other side of the ladybug was the small die.  I handed out Expo markers so their work could be recorded on the page, and then it was transferred to the recording sheet provided. 

"Addition Crossout" was super fun!  Children worked in pairs and again rolled dice in dice.  The two numbers were added together and then partner A crossed that number off on the tower.  Partner B went and did the same thing.  The first person to cross out all of their numbers wins the game.  It was great to see my students so engaged in a meaningful partner activity!

"Double it!" was another great game.  All you need for this game is dice, crayons, and the recording sheet.  The children get one die and roll it.  Say a "3" is rolled.  They double it - so 3+3 is 6 and then they find the 6 on the page and color it.  Roll again.........Double it!..........roll again......Double it!......until the page is full!

Another activity we tried out of this great packet was "Math Mountain."  Think number bonds but instead of putting the manipulatives in the circles, you put them on the lines connecting the bonds.  See how it is like a mountain?  This was another great adding opportunity for my students to physically count the objects, as well as divide the objects on either side.  It helped them understand decomposing, adding, and even missing addends a little better.

The last activity we tried was a favorite of some of the kiddos because it involved food!  Molly created a few different pages for addition and subtraction stories.  I chose the subtraction story with a simplified layout.  I had some snacks left over from the 100th Day of School that we never used, so the children were given a certain amount of snack and then they drew that number on the mat.  As they ate, they crossed out the snacks on their board and recorded the equation.  Soon enough, they had eaten their entire snack and they were left with zero!  

There are so many activities in this packet that I haven't even gotten to try yet.  This is full of different skills that are good for review, a challenge, to work with whole group or centers, or to differentiate instruction.  You will be able to use so many parts of this packet and the prep is pretty easy too - bonus!

Molly is having a sale in her TpT store so you can get this product at a discount right now.  

For a chance to win this math packet, hop on over to my Kindergarten Planet Facebook page.  Make sure to like my page before entering to win.  Also, check out the rafflecopter at the end of this blog post to win this packet.  You should also like Molly on TpT, Instagram and Facebook so you can keep up with any new product she creates!

Be sure to check out Molly's blog post!!!!  She tried out my Rhyming Rocks! packet and you can read all about it and enter to win my packet on her blog and Facebook page!

In addition, I am having a sale in my TpT store to celebrate the product swap!  Make sure to stop on by!

There are also many other product swaps going on.  Be sure to hop around to different blogs and enter to win other amazing products!

You can try to win this awesome math packet from xoxokindergarten.  Enter the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Next Two Weeks

Happy Monday everyone!  I am just coming off of a great weekend and I hope you are too!  It was a little hard to return to "reality" actually.   It was my birthday yesterday and so my husband and I had a fun weekend in Seattle attending a Mariners game!  The Mariners are now our local team and we were happy to cheer them on and see them win!

We also stopped in Olympia on our way home and explored The Evergreen State College Campus.

I currently have a student teacher, Kayla, (or "Miss D." as the kiddos know her) in my room and she is doing a fabulous job!  Today starts her two week solo teaching portion of her time in my room.  I am happy to report that I am not worried because she has some fun lessons planned, and she is capable of handling the classroom, and continuing instruction for our kinders.

One exciting theme of her two week lesson is the metamorphosis of the butterfly.  We got caterpillars over a week ago and when we came in this morning, we can see that they are starting to form their chrysalis.  We are all beyond excited!

In addition, Kayla will be working with my students on their end of the year tech sample (how are we working on end of the year goals already???) using the app "Draw and Tell" to have the students draw the lifecycle of the butterfly.  Yeah!  They are learning, using technology, and we get to take care of some end of the year tasks.

Do you know "Draw and Tell"?  It costs $1.99 but it is so worth it.  It guides the students step by step through the app and is a great reminder of what they need to do.  Each student will be drawing their own lifecycle so they will all have their own unique touch.  Last year my school bought the app for all of the iPads in our building so we got a deal on the price.  Many of the K-1 teachers use this app for our tech sample.

This is a big two weeks because Kayla will also be working with the students on their end of the year district writing sample.  The prompt is "Think about your favorite animal.  Name the animal and describe three characteristics that make it interesting."  What????  That is a hard prompt for kindergarten.  But, we will do our best!

We are also going to have some fun math centers taking place, as well as all of the other things that pop up in kindergarten - children losing teeth (two today!), College and Career Day Assembly and presentations, storytime, songs, and more learning fun to prepare for first grade.

What will I be doing while Kayla is teaching you ask?  I have many tasks on my to-do list.
  • Individualized easyCBM progress monitoring for all of my students
  • Begin the end of the year district math assessment for some of my kiddos
  • Work one:one with students on skills they need to practice (I am so excited for this part)
  • Look forward to the end of the year and try and get things organized and ready
  • Go through my vast book collection
  • Time depending - go through my math and science cabinet
  • Plus, all the other little things that pop up
Check out this book collection!  It is awesome! I have a rolling easel where I keep all of the current themed books to read.  You can see some of the books have been removed from my book shelf which is why they look like they are falling down.

My mom is a retired first grade teacher and when she retired, she sent me all of her books.  I also inherited some books from retiring teachers in my buildings, I have bought some, and I have also gotten books from book orders.  They are organized and labeled (thankfully - that was another project years ago!), but I find that I do not read all of them.  There are books that I tend to skip year after year.  So, those books will be taken out and either given to Kayla (if she wants them), put in my students' library, or given away to my kiddos - which they will love!

This will be a fun two weeks, but it will go by soooooo fast.  Do you have a student teacher?  What do you do with your time when you have a student teacher in your room?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rainy Day Art and a FREEBIE

Hi!  I live in Oregon and it's true - it rains quite a bit here.  However, this winter has been dry and warm. :(

 Recently we have had a little cold snap and some rainy weather.  I took this opportunity to do an art project with my class.  I have seen pictures of children holding an umbrella on Pinterest before, but I wanted to extend that idea.

We needed a background.  I modeled how to paint raindrops and grass.  My students know that after a painting is finished, they hang up the apron and walk away.  This is what my easel looks like during a project.

I love how the kiddos know the routines at the time of the year!

While they were painting (which was quick - raindrops and grass do not take a long time), I was calling students outside to take their picture.  I am fortunate to have a door that leads outside to the playground.

Each child held the umbrella in such a way that was unique to their personality - kind of like a directed drawing!  After the pictures were taken, they were uploaded into PowerPoint (on landscape), printed on plain white paper, and then cut out.  Next came the best part - glueing the pictures on the background they painted.  I am loving this art project so far!

But, the final step was having them think about rainy days and what they like doing on rainy days.  I came up with a design, had the children complete the sentence and then an adult glued it down.  Voila!  ADORABLE art project!  To be honest, I have never created an art project with personalized photos, and I am hooked.  

This little cutie said "On rainy days I like to stay at home and drink hot cocoa."

And this little darlingsaid "On rainy days I like to play cars in my house."

This final cutie said "On rainy days I like to play inside with my friends."  Love how he is holding the umbrella!  I just noticed that all of the final projects I posted ar of boys (oops!)  I do have girls in my class, but I have way more boys.

I just noticed that all of the final projects I posted are of boys (oops!)  I do have girls in my class, but I have way more boys.  The final projects are so adorable and really brighten our hallway!  This was a super quick project!  I started it on Monday, and here they are on our hallway bulletin board on Thursday.  I admit, I have a student teacher (who is great!!!), a parent helper, and Instructional Assistants who helped out as well.  So, while I had help with this project, you could do it on your own if you don't have any support!

If you'd like to do this project, you can grab the rainy day freebie below.  This is my first time posting a pdf to my blog - I hope it works out!

I want to thank Glitter Meets Glue for the cute boot and umbrella clip art, Paula Kim Studio for the border, and Hello Jen Jones for the cute fonts!

I also want to thank Alex at The Kindergarten Connection for helping me with the pdf and being patient with me as I learn so many new things regarding blogging!

I hope you enjoy this project as much as we did!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

You Oughta Know About Storybots!

I am so excited to link up with Mrs. McClain over at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain and to be a part of the You Oughta Know Blog Hop.

Have you seen the Storybots videos?  They are awesome!  My kiddos absolutely love them.........and to be honest, so do I!  The creators of Storybots also created JibJab - you know, those funny videos where people upload their families faces to music, and they have also done some great political cartoons.  

Well it turns out that they also realized the potential for educational videos and I am so glad that they did.  They have created engaging, educational videos that children love and ask for often.  We always watch at least one a week to coincide with our letter of the week.  In addition to alphabet videos, they also have other topics like videos on numbers, emotions, shapes, etc.  Look at the large list in the picture below.

The videos are fun, funny, and original.  You can find Storybots on youtube, but I would recommend signing up for their Educator Network.  If you do, you will have unlimited and free access to all of their videos.  You can sign up here:

They also have a membership where you can pay a monthly fee to have even more access if that interests you.  With this membership you could also put your child, or students faces, in books and videos.  How exciting is that?!?!

Check out this video on the letter A to get a little taste of how creative Storybots videos are - Hooray for A!

Wasn't that just the best???  I love how each video is catered to the letter and sound.  It is great how the lyrics revolve around words that begin with /a/ (or whatever letter you are watching).  The other videos in their line up are just the same - fun and educational!  I don't feel bad having my students watch a video because they are short (so it does not take up a lot of instructional time) and it provides an opportunity for discussion after.  Don't you think your students would enjoy watching these videos in class?  Mine love watching it on the SMARTBoard for whole group learning.  

There is also a Storybots app (for the letters of the alphabet) and it is definitely a favorite app that my students choose to visit.  It's wonderful because they are happy (and learning) and so that makes me happy :)

As you can see from the photo below, the app is so user friendly!

We also use Storybots as a treat during our small group.  After a good lesson, we might take a few moments to watch a video on the letter we were just practicing.  The students are thrilled when this happens - they seriously love Storybots!

So, what are you waiting for?  Get your Educator Network Access today!

Thanks for stopping by.  Make sure you check out more fabulous bloggers and their ideas in the You Oughta Know Blog Hop!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Currently.........April Edition!

April 1st is here again!  Wow!  I can't believe we are this far into the school year already.  I have such a good group and our year is flying by.  I'm excited to link up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for Currently in April.

Listening: I started streaming Hart of Dixie on Netflix.  It is an adorable show.  It is light and easy to watch, as well as do other things at the same time (like this blog post).  I was looking for a new show and came across Hart of Dixie.  This is the most spirited small town ever!  I *mostly* grew up in the south (Louisiana) and so some of the southern aspects are so charming and remind me of my youth.  Rachel Bilson is in it and I have been a fan of hers since The OC!

Loving: My student teacher is great!  She did practicum hours at the beginning of the school year in my room every Tuesday.  After the winter break she was upstairs doing her student teaching in fourth grade.  Now, she is back in Kinder.  Yahoo!!!!!  I feel so blessed to have a very capable student teacher and the children also adore her.  I am so excited to have her work up to solo teaching and also to be able to pull some students and give them some one:one support.

Thinking:  My to-do list is so long.  It seems like there is so much to do at school and so much to do at home.  We were out of town for spring break and so just coming back to "reality" has felt crazy!  I am also trying to make sure I get at least my 10,000 steps with my Fitbit and sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day.  Anybody else feel constantly busy?

Wanting: I have been wanting to make some QR Code activities for my class and so I started researching how to go about creating them.  I am excited to make some new activities for my students and TpT store, but, it is just a matter of making them - you know, since I have so much on my to-do list (see Thinking above)!  Teehee.

Needing: I need to get some new art work and academic activities going so I can switch over things in my room and hallway bulletin board.  All of a sudden March is over, we are back from spring break, and everything looks like it is sooooo last month.  Ha!

EGGS-Plain your name: When I first started out on Teachers pay Teachers my store was actually under my name.  Then, I decided to change it to a logo.  My husband and I were talking about all different kinds of ideas and when Kindergarten Planet came up - and it just fit.  I loved it!!!!  I'm so happy with it.

I hope all of you are enjoying April and survived any April Fools pranks.