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Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Christmas Activities (5 for Fri.)

This year I made a chart that allowed us as a class to analyze each main character in selected books and determine whether they would be placed on Santa's naughty or nice list. This was a really fun way to teach about character and students had to learn to justify their decisions with evidence from the text. My class did so well! I am really excited about what they came up with!
I thought we had finished when it was decided that the gingerbread man was going on the naughty list!  Why? All that taunting he did as he was running away!!

A close-up picture for a bit more detail.
Note:  This the "Ready Freddy" book was not actually the one we read.  I could not get a picture of the actual story.  
Also, Pete is on the chart in two places because of his two different stories: The Wheels on the Bus is the story on the left. Why is he on the naughty list?  I was told by a student that he stood on top of the bus and that was not being safe .

 Gingerbread Fun!
We started our week off with these fun activities. Here is a copy of the gingerbread pattern for the graph. Just click the image.
Sorry, still on the headband kick!! Hey, just get on board and grab yours here!!!
Mice on Ice
Each year a teacher friend of mine and I get together with our Scholastic Book orders.  We accumulate points and order a book for each student in our classes for the holiday.  This year my pick was Mice on Ice.  It is a very cute rhyming book and it was perfect for a younger group of students.  I am very excited to give each child this book!
Enjoy this video with your gingerbread activities!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Crafts for my Kindergarteners

Last year I made a Santa and it had way too many pieces to cut out and put together.  This year I made my own simpler Santa.  I have mentioned before that I have younger students and things just have to be easier!!  The list he is holding just includes sight words because I knew my class would be successful writing those. 

My "Santa Craft" is free on my TpT store.

I simplified this reindeer headband also! I have nearly 30 students, so I have to make things faster, as well as, easier!
Most versions of this involve breaking your back, cutting out each student's individual hands between each finger. This is, of course, after you complete the tedious task of tracing the child's hands on the paper. By using dark brown paint and creating a hand print on light brown construction paper, I was able to cut around the hand quickly and still have the detail of the fingers.  The nose was done using a craft punch and red paper.  Craft punches are huge time savers! The eyes I cut out by hand.  The strip of paper for the headband had to be pretty thick-about 5 inches to fit all the pieces on it.
Maybe you would like to do this with your class...

I recommend a craft punch for the nose, but if you just can't get one...

Have fun crafting with your kids!!

Freebie Fridays

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christmas Emergent Reader Freebie

This reader was inspired by the students in my class. A few weeks ago, we were in the library browsing books, when a few children started to quarrel over a flip flap book! Everyone wanted it! It was then I set my mind to creating flip flap book for my class!  
I also have discovered how nice it is to have emergent readers on slideshare, since it eliminates my need to write up the text on sentence strips for the pocket chart.  All I do is pull up this presentation and project it from the IPad.  You are welcome to use this as well.
Presents From Santa: An Emergent Reader by KinderBlossoms from stinablossom

Get your copy here:


We made our Mayflower Ships again this year.  I changed the pilgrims inside.  These ships were filled with snack donations from parents and placed in a clear gallon baggie.  Each student was given one to take home after our class performance and refreshment period.
Last year I only had the picture posted.  This year I will give you more assistance.  It is a little late to do now, but save it for next year! 
The idea and templates are from the dollar tree website.

But I added these to my projects....

(Print on card stock, color, bend, and tape in.)

Our performance pictures...

These were taken the day before the performance during the dress rehearsal.  Students looked much better in the plain, white, gray, black, or brown shirts they wore as recommended. 
Our performance was simple.  We recited some Thanksgiving poems and sang songs. 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Concepts of Print (Sorting Words, Letters, Sentences) Freebies

If you are coming from the YouTube link, here are your matching printable pages as promised! 

If you are here to visit this blog, feel free to download anything you might find useful.  I embedded the video toward the bottom of the post so you can see what I am referring to if you wish. 

Here is the booklet referred to at the end of the video.  The pieces match the print in the video.  The video was intended as a tutoring tool, so the idea was to provide extra support for struggling students. You could have students search for letters, words, or sentences in magazines and place them in the booklet if you feel they are ready.


 I wrote the book print on sentence strips and copied the numbers so they could be changed for each problem. I also printed up turkeys for visual help. Students came up and put each piece in the correct area. 
When you download the preview file for these math readers you get a free pumpkins place value book!
Click here!
Remember that headband obsession!! Well now my colleague has it too and insisted I make a turkey version! So I'll post it here if you want it too!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pete's Thankful Class Book

I hope you are ready for a third helping of Pete!  This is a really simple activity that aligns with Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving and those predictable charts I was talking about a few posts ago.  
(I got my new Pete book from a Scholastic book order and I saw today that it is still available.  The price is better through Scholastic books than at the book store.)

I read the story to my class today.  I had one little boy who was very excited because it is a flap book. He made a point of telling me how much he loves books with flaps! 

The last line of the story Pete asks, "What are you thankful for?" This transitioned flawlessly into this pocket chart activity. Each student gave me an ending response which I wrote on the paper and I added the student's name in Pete's bubble instead of on the bottom of a sentence strip. 
I was very proud of my students. They really understood the concept of being thankful.  I had some terrific responses. Students told me that they were thankful for love, the world, homes, pets- not toys!!

Here is a copy for you to use if you are interested in doing this with your class.

 I am prepared this time, so we will have a class book made for the  final activity!  
This is a sample page for the inside of the book. There is also a page that does not have the sentence starter, if you have students that are more independent.
 Here is a copy if you would like to use this.

Here is a link that outlines the steps of this lesson format if you are not familar with it:

We just finished up these activities.  
Our hands-on experience was touching the inside and outside of a pumpkin and our vocabulary was generated on this bubble map.  The dictation portion was done using the map as a guide. We  rehearsed the starter sentence. 
"Pumpkins are__________." We used our generated vocabulary on the bubble map to fill in the blank. That is what was written and read. 
I really like this song for this time of year.

I can sum up Halloween with one word!
"Grease" is the word!
Hope you had fun too!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bat Brace Map and More!!

I am really enjoying teaching these days with all these fun seasonal activities!!

These pumpkins brace maps were all the rage last year and everyone had their version-even me! I used mine for the specific purpose of writing from a thinking map.
I am posting it here in case you could use this.

This week we had a Zero Hero day.  This entailed a Zero the Hero challenge!! Each student had to create 5 groups of 10.

Several students completed the challenge.  Those that did not have time, were able to combine with another student to complete the assignment.

We worked with our Dollar Tree Creepy Creatures to compare number sets and I introduced the symbols that are used to compare. We used craft sticks. The students were responsible for making the correct symbol for each problem.
Here is a worksheet I will use sometime soon and I am sharing it below.


I was very excited to do this interactively with the class!  The "s" in green was brought on by a teachable moment where it was decided to make things plural.  I chose green to highlight the "s" and to help students remember that its job is making things more than one.  We also had the conversation about "feet" already being plural. We also highlighted our targeted high frequency word "have."
Again, students made a copy of the map to write from.  We did an oral rehearsal for each part before writing.
Here is a copy for you if want to try it.

Conveniently, we were ready for our letter Jj lesson when I wanted to make a paper Jack-o-lantern.  I love it when things work out like this!

Freebie Fridays

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October Activities in Kindergarten

The theme of the week was to try and cram as much fun in as possible.
I am obsessed with headbands!! I try to turn as many activities as possible into a headband.  This worked out really well for us because it fell on a Zero the Hero day and we practiced our counting by tens!  

I know there are many number ordering activities out there, but they weren't quite right for me.  I need black and white versions that are small enough to fit on the headbands! I made these myself.  You are free to take any of these you might be interested in!

The students and I had a great time with this!

I used these creatures last year to introduce addition. 
I am planning that for next week, but we be began with counting and comparing numbers with these.  Click on the image below to see last year's post and get a copy of the addition sheet.
Like many of you, we have also been working on bats!
We have created a simple circle map together, made our bat projects, and read our itsy bitsy bat books with our 2nd and third grade reading buddies.
Bat project here!

The one thing I am most proud of is this double bubble map comparing a nonfiction bat book to a fiction bat book!! 

My partner teacher thought this was rather ambitious, but the kids got it!  Probably, because I don't open a book with out going over the parts of it! 

Unfortunately, it is black and white.  I think it would have looked so much better in color, but we are a small school and that makes us a poor school.

We finished up with our predictable chart.  The students liked getting their sentence and having to put it together like a puzzle.  This was also a great time to teach students about directionality, capitalization, and punctuation of sentences.  I like using predictable charts because they can fit into any topic you are working with!
A copy of a lesson plan is found on the first 3 pages, if you aren't familiar with the procedure.

 powered by MyBookezzz.net
A list of possible topics for a predictable chart can be found here.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cookie's Week Activities (Freebies)

A few weeks ago I had a meeting with a group of kindergarten teachers in my district. We were talking about days of the week not beginning written into the common core standards.  We laughed at the thought of not addressing this!  How would first grade teachers feel about that?!! Of course, we would be teaching them!!  

One of my favorite books that addresses this concept is Cookie's Week.  Unfortunately, there was not a lot out there, so I came up with some of my own activities.  

One of our activities was making a Cookie's Week retelling puppet. Students used the picture clues and the days of the week listed on the body to retell the story.
This is a different way to make the puppet using black construction paper and a craft stick for a handle. My students retold the story to the class during a short day when there was not time to start something new.

We also worked on a interactively written Thinking Map.
Students had to describe Cookie for this bubble map.  I modified the interactively written part based on students selected.  Sometimes, I had them only write the first or last letter they heard in the word while I wrote the middle.  The most able students wrote the entire word or most of the word. 

I followed up this activity with a writing assignment.  Since this was the first time students have written a sentence, I gave them a lot of support.  They only had to write the last word on their own. I also modified this by allowing more able students to choose the word from the map that they wanted. The others had to copy my example.
Then for fun and to practice following directions, I gave them a directed drawing lesson for Cookie.
We also used coloring pages from Making Learning Fun to make a book.  She has other Cookie books available on her site, but I found that they were too difficult for the beginning of kindergarten.
This student is very enthusiastically pointing to and reading the sight words he knows!!

We did our Cookie paper plate project again this year.
This time I used my circle punch to cut out Cookie's green eyes and I used my heart punch to cut out his nose.  This was a huge time saver!! The ears were cut by hand.  Students drew the mouth and whiskers with a marker. 
Have fun with Cookie!!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday