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Friday, March 10, 2017

Five for Friday: Read Across America & More

It's Five for Friday! Thank you to Kacey for hosting!


These are alphabet cut outs glued on construction paper with smiley faces at the top so the children know where to start! The bottom has stamped rectangle boxes so students can practice with a pencil.  Get your free ABC's here.

I love St. Patrick's Day crafts!
My class really enjoyed this story.  Here they are "performing surgery" to save the old lady.  They are using plastic tweezers to remove the animal and insect cards from her.  These are from the Making Learning Fun website link above.


My class used crayons and watercolors to make these cats.  You can get the Cat in a Hat template here.


These Free Dr.Seuss Themed Teen Numbers were supposed to be used as a puzzle.  But I had the idea to turn them into a giant Thinking Map.  The pieces make for a terrific Bridge map. 


Friday, February 10, 2017

Five for Friday: Turtles, Buckets, and Writing. Oh my!

I am linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching with my five!

I have been working with my students on the "turtle."  This strategy originated from PATHS but I have seen adapted versions around the internet.  When students get angry, sad, or extremely upset, they are to stop, pull their body inward, breathe deeply until they can can calmly state their feelings and the problem. After this, they can work on problem solving.


I really wanted to have the students make buckets and write bucket fillers to each other.  Even though some students cannot write, I will take down the message for them. They can add a picture and their name.


It took us several days to discuss the scenarios and really think about why these actions were nice or not nice. 


100th day

Rather than ask parents to bring in 100 items for the children to glue, I provided the children with a hundreds chart and fruit loops.  This way I could ensure that we would be working with items that would stay glued down.  Last year, we had feathers, straws, and tiny beans brought in.  These materials did not work at all. We also had these very cute capes from Really Good Stuff.


I just received my Kindergarten Handwriting Without Tears Teacher's Guide. I am so excited! If you have a guide, you can get started right away even if you don't every thing they reference in it.

These are the Capital letter and Mat Man pieces.  They are available as a reference on the website when you enter the code on your teacher's guide. I printed 14 copies on color card stock and cut them out.  This gave me plenty of pieces to work with. 

You need to provide a mat of some kind with a starting point in the left hand corner.  Students will need this when using the pieces to make letters.  If you don't give them one, they will build the letters backward.
This gray block paper was created by homeschoolcreations.com

This is our first mat man, which uses the same mat and pieces as the letters. We just needed to find hands, hair, eyes, a nose and a belly button.
Here is a picture one of the students drew of him after the activity.  The purpose of this is to create body awareness in student drawings.  (Remember all the drawings of heads with the arms and legs sticking out.)

This is our revised mat man. He has a neck because one of the children pointed out that he needed  one.
I used this rectangle stamp to create the writing blocks on white paper.  Then we worked on writing numbers.  If you can find one of these it could be very handy.  I also used it to stamp out the blocks for a child to learn to write his name in capitals. 

Here is the wet dry try activity using some 4x6 inch chalkboards from Hobby Lobby.

If you find these activities interesting, you should visit the Handwriting without Tears website.  They have lots of videos and information.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Character Building Buckets (Free Resources)

Many of you, like me, have been reading and using Carol McCloud's book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"  This is in hopes to create better character development in our students. I introduced the concept to my class by reading the book and then having discussions about it. Immediately, my group started to speak in terms of "buckets."  
I heard, "I'm going to fill your bucket!" I listened to them reminder each other, "You're not filling my bucket."

These ideas work because they are concrete. They take the abstract ideas of emotion and interaction put them into a pronounced form. I love the idea of physical buckets for each child and special notes or trinkets placed inside for acts of kindness. Our little ones need manipulatives to conceptualize ideas.

Here are two great read alouds on Youtube.  These are terrific resources to introduce the bucket concept.

These are two fabulous songs that will reinforce character development.

I created this resource to help teachers facilitate conversations with their classes about being kinder to each other.

Free here!

If you aren't already familiar with it, here is the main website for bucket concepts:Bucket Fillers 
You can find many ideas and resources at the site.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December Show and Tell

This display is pattern block snowflakes, hand-cut snowflakes and decorated foam trees.

This year I purchased clipart to create my own Hanukkah and Kwanzaa materials.

We have been working on our math shapes unit. One of the activities is to fill in a shape in different ways. I was excited to see all the different ways students created.

Here we are using our oversize deck of cards to count and compare numbers.

These are some of the crafts that graced our classroom walls.

A simple project for students to make:  Roll out Model Magic clay, cut shape with a cookie cutter, and press glitter into the clay.  After 3 days, the ornaments are ready to be hung.

This is one of our newest toys.  It is a table that the children use the mega block to build structures. They are just loving it!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Little Miss Muffet and other Random Stuff

I am linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching with my five!

 I am also linking up with Stephanie over at Forever in Fifth Grade with my four!

I knew I had seen Shape Turkeys somewhere, so I searched the internet high and low for it.  Several days and hours passed and still I found nothing.  Finally, I gave up and decided to do something like it myself.  Of course, I found it a week later.  The original can be found here: Wild about Firsties

I have never done anything with food in my classroom.  Mostly because I am a disaster cook and I find it intimidating.  Then I found this nonthreatening Spookley Snack on line and I knew I could handle it no problem.  I used graham crackers, frosting, marshmallows, decorating gel, and AirHeads Soft filled Bites candy.  We used yellow and red food coloring to make the frosting orange.  I asked the children to predict what color red and yellow would make.  I was dismayed at how many strange colors I was given.  We frosted our graham crackers, placed two marshmallows for eyes, used the black decorating gel to draw details to the eyes and a mouth, and lastly added a green colored candy stem. 

We have been studying Little Miss Muffet.  I made the picture (below) of little Miss Muffet with her meal set in a park. There is no spider.  First we recite the poem as written and I add the spider. Then we repeat the poem until we get to the part, "Along came a..." At this point I change the characters (available below) and we discuss how this changes the ending. 
Finally, the children choose their own character and tell me the new ending.  These students are TK and are not writing more than there names yet, so I take dictation. The results are pictured above.

(Free) Miss Muffet Setting 
Laminate for multiple use.

Laminate and cut out characters.  Use tape to add and remove characters.

Left over Halloween pics!  I love the balloons.  These are colored balloons that we drew faces on with a sharpie.  But the fun part was the candy inside.  I must warn you.  It is not easy getting items inside the balloons.  I found that the long cylinder shape of some smarties went in easily. I think tootsie rolls would probably work too. When playing with the balloon is over, you pop it, and out lands the candy!

This was my son's first vex competition. He only made 8th place out of 33. Still, I was really proud of his effort and excitement. 

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