Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snow Day Freebies!

Well, my wish came true! I am staring at about 8 inches of freshly fallen snow and ice coated sidewalks and trees out my window right now, so thankfully my school called a SNOW DAY! I am in such a great mood and have extra time for a change so I thought I'd share some freebies with you!

I mentioned in a previous post that my kiddos are working on that bossy silent E this week. I love Heather's Magic E Hunt and plan to use that with my above-level students at the beginning of next week (since today was a scratch!). I found several other printables from TpT and blogs to use for centers, too!

For a whole group mini-lesson, I made my own Magic E wand which my students LOVED! They took turns being the princes and princesses of Magic E Land and used the wand to magically transform CVC words into CVC+silent E words! Yahoo...kindergartners are easy to impress! After read both versions of the word, we sorted them into real or nonsense word categories on chart paper.

To make my wand, I painted and added some curling ribbon to a brown cardboard star wand from Paper Source (lovvve that place) that I had laying around. I included a template for you to make your own wand in a Magic E Mini-Packet that I have just finished. Just click the pic below to be taken to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and download for FREE! While you're there, take a moment to check out my other products that 20% off for the big Leap Day Sale going on now! Don't forget to add the promo code L2P9Y for an additional 10% off.

Finally, here are two Dr. Seuss themed freebies if you are celebrating his birthday with your class on Friday.
The first is a Crazy Seuss Creature page where students draw a crazy creature similar to one of Dr. Seuss'. I give my students several examples from books. There was a large poster with examples from a March Scholastic "Let's Find Out" if you still have it! The bottom lines are for students to write "It is a _____" and write the silly name for their creature. The second is a writing page where students write directions for making green eggs and ham.

I am excited to make green eggs and ham and do some fun projects with my kiddos on Friday! Best of all, my mom is coming in to help out! Love when I can recruit family members:)

Happy Leap Day!

PS >>>>Don't forget about my St. Patrick's Day GIVEAWAY. Click here to go to my post and comment on or before Friday for your chance to win the whole packet!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Leap Year TpT Sale, St. Patty Unit Give Away

Happy Monday Everyone! My kiddos have started working hard on learning words with that tricky silent, bossy, magic E at the end! I am excited to post some FREEBIES and pictures of activities we are doing...hopefully I will by Wednesday.

Speaking of Wednesday, I hope we get a snow day here in Minne-SNOW-ta because a big storm is heading straight for us on Tuesday/Wednesday. We have barely had a dusting of snow alll winter (not that I'm complaining) but I wouldn't mind a spontaneous mini-break from the daily grind. So, keep your fingers crossed for moi!

Have you had a chance to comment on my previous post so you have a chance to win my "Lucky Leprechaun's St. Patty's Day Packet" TpT unit?? If you haven't yet, click here to go to my previous post and do all or any of the following:

1. Follow my blog and leave me a comment with your email telling me you did so (if you already follow, you can still comment)!

2. Follow my TpT store and leave me a comment with your email telling me you did so.

3. Blog about my give away and leave me a comment with your email telling me you did so. *I would love, love for someone to do this!*

The give-away ends this FRIDAY so hurry up and comment away! Thanks so much!

PS- I can't wait for the Leap Year sale on TpT. My store is included in this great sale. You can get 20% off of everything! Link up with Reagan's linky party to advertise your store's sale, too.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

back with my st. patty's unit GIVE AWAY!

It feels good to be back! I had to take a mini-hiatus from blogging last week because, well, life just got in the way a bit! My running schedule, some car trouble, wedding planning, and volunteering at my school's community dinner all contributed to my lack of blogging time.

But, I am back and ready to show you my 38 page Lucky Leprechaun's St. Patty's Day Packet that is now for sale at my TpT store . It is filled with fun activities for your kindergarten kids or firsties such as: an addition adventure board game, differentiated subtraction practice pages, journal prompt ideas, a class book page template and a book cover template, magic e sorting activity, ETC....
This collage doesn't show everything that's included, but is a good sampling.

It's listed on TpT for $3.95 BUT here's a chance for you to get it for FREE! You can:

1. Follow me on TpT and leave me a comment (with your email) saying you did so.

2. Follow my blog and leave me comment (with your email) telling me you did so. You can still leave me a comment if you already do follow me!

3. Blog about my giveaway on your blog and leave me a comment (with your email) about it.

And YES, you get to leave a separate comment for each thing that you do. Every comment is a separate chance to win! Just please, please leave a valid email address for every entry. This has been an issue for me in the past.

The giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Friday, March 2nd. Winners will be notified by Sunday, March 4th via e-mail.

This giveaway doesn't last long so start commenting and please spread the word!!!

Thanks! Have a fabulous week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Digraphs and a little Freebie

I had introduced digraphs to my kindergarten kids about a month ago, but some of my middle to low kiddos are still getting them mixed up all the time. We took a break from them for a few weeks, and I think they are ready to try again! I have a bingo game from that the students will play at centers this week.

I also have a digraph picture sorting activity from a Mailbox book for centers. It would be easy to get pictures from clip art if you don't have any pre-made resources. The sort itself doesn't take long enough to fill a center time slot, so I created the sheet pictured below for students to practice writing the words that correspond to the pictures. This way, they get practice sounding out words, too! Hope you can get some use out of it!

Wednesday tomorrow...Is it just me or does this week need to get over ASAP?!? Lots of meetings and meetings and meetings (we did not get President's Day off, it was a meeting day) anyone else meeting-ed out?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Freebie-Preview of St. Patty's Unit

I have been busy working on a fun-filled St. Patrick's day thematic unit for kindergarten literacy and math stations for my TpT store. Help yourself to a free preview of one of the pages included-some ordering/number writing practice.
If you download this sheet, please leave me a comment, or (even better) follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers. It would truly, truly make my day!! I love feedback!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

St. Patty's Freebie and Blog Feature!

I am so excited to be featured as a new blogger on Laura's awesome blog, Kinder Kraziness tomorrow. Stop over and check it out:) To celebrate, here is a small St. Patty's day addition freebie for you!

graphics courtesy of SpringHill Graphics


Sight Word Bags

My PLC (professional learning community, does anyone else have to do those?) has set a goal to make sure even our lowest kiddos are proficient in reading sight words. I thought I would share the strategy we decided on.

To accomplish this goal, we are trying take-home sight word bags. We sent them home with an excerpt from a Snoopy comic about reading and call them "Snoopy's Word Bags" to try to make it more fun for the students.

It's a pretty basic concept-everyone has sent home sight word flashcards with their students before. These word bags differ in that the the students bring them to and from school every night. An adult in our classroom (either a parent volunteer or me) pulls each student aside to read through their words every day. When they have mastered all of the kindergarten list, I "retire" the easiest words, and add in 2-3 new "first grade words" at a time.

For my most advanced few students, I just threw all of the first grade words in the bag with a note to parents about the few words that they don't know. I don't think that flashcards are the most effective way to teach kids who are already reading pretty fluently, but I know that these kiddos think that flashcards are fun and would feel left out if they didn't get any:).
Pictured are the first third of our district's 1st grade words.

To keep the flashcards readily available to add into the word bags, I devised a flashcard binder (really just baseball card pockets). I copied class sets of all of the kindergarten and first grade words, and viola- flashcard binder was born!

Friday, February 17, 2012

You know you're a teacher when...

Does anyone else have a bin-buying problem?? I have tried to curb mine this year, but have been tempted to buy some new book bins lately for my leveled library.

Make your own and link up with this here at Kindergarten Lifestyle. There is a pinterest page, too. Super funny and some of them are oh-so-true for me!

Help with human body unit!

I need some help from YOU, dear readers.

I am teaching a unit on the human body for the first time next week. I do have my science portion of the day planned with some activities to show the role of important internal body parts, we are making an anatomy apron, and have plenty of read-alouds checked out from the library.

I would love some links for ideas for guided readers, levels B-K about the human body, and any interdisciplinary theme stuff to incorporate during guided reading centers, and/or math. If you have a human body unit for sale on TpT, please link me to it...I will consider buying/looking at anything since I have never taught this unit before, and all the internet resources I've found so far are for older grades.

Can't wait to hear from you soon!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our 100th Day...finally

Today was finally our 100th day of Kindergarten! It was technically on Monday, but I had a sub for the morning, and wanted to invite parent volunteers in to help celebrate so I "forgot" to do the calendar for a couple of days and it magically moved to today! I will post more pictures tomorrow, I forgot to take pictures of some of the projects.

The students started off the day by decorating a 100th day sheet for their portfolios. I helped them put on their crowns that they had decorated as a take-home project...I have a photo in a previous post.

During our morning meeting, we brainstormed a list of the great things we have done and learned throughout our first 100 days of kindergarten. I forgot to take a picture, but here are some of the students' thoughts:

*went on a field trip to the apple orchard.
*learned how to READ!
*learned about pumpkins and apples.
*painted snowmen with marshmallows.
*made Chinese lunar calendar wheels.
*made gingerbread houses.
*made applesauce.
*used centimeter cubes to make numbers in math.
*wrote numbers in shaving cream.
*made/recycled paper.
*did sink and float experiments with wood and paperclips.
*made penguin projects.
*learned how to make paper snowflakes.

It's always fascinating to hear what things stand out to the students the most.

For our morning snack, I did the 100th day trail mix, like many of you did. Because of our schedule, we have to eat snack fairly quickly, so I didn't do a sorting mat like I've seen on many blogs. Instead I just had the kiddos count out 10 of each snack item and put it right into a baggie. We still went over the concept of counting by 10's to 100 or adding or multiplying, so I think it was still a worthwhile activity.

I was lucky enough to have 2 parent volunteers plus my wonderful fiance in during centers to help with several projects. We did the 100 year old people, a writing prompt, "What you would do with $100" and another writing page where the students listed several things that they would like to have 100 of, and something that they would never want 100 of. We got lots of work done in only 1 hour. It was awesome!

We wrapped up the morning by reading a 100th day story and putting a 100 themed poem into their poetry notebook.

After lunch, students played a "race to 100" dice rolling game with partner. Then, they finished up their 100 year old self-portrait projects by writing about what they would do/act like when they were 100 years old.
The "Race to 100" game--who will reach 100 first?? Students took turns rolling the die and coloring the corresponding amount of circles.

Whewww! It was another busy day. Hopefully next year, the 100th day and Valentine's day don't fall on consecutive days. I was supposed to run 3 miles today for marathon training but I took a nap instead! There's always tomorrow I guess.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Game Idea

The kids are getting excited for Valentine's Day tomorrow! I wasn't going to have much of a party, but it's turning into one. I asked my fiance, Jon, to get a small treat (I said cookies maybe) for the morning snack while he was at the store tonight, and he came home with a ginormous package of cupcakes from the grocery store bakery! Yeahhh, probably will not be using those puppies for morning snack...more like 2 seconds before the dismissal bell rings! They will be wired enough tomorrow I think!

Anyway, here are some pics of a game board I made for a parent volunteer to lead tomorrow during our centers time. The kiddos will draw a heart card (like Candyland) to move around the game board. The hearts on the cards match the hearts on the spaces on the game board. They will have to read the sight word on the back of the card before they are allowed to move their game piece. Hope they like it! I don't have any type of printables for it, since I made the cards and game board (almost) by hand with some clip art help from KPM Doodles.

My game--"Valentine Valley"
Heart cards with sight words on the back.

Hope you survive Valentine's day with your class!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Things I Love Freebie

It's going to be a busy week in my classroom! Half day sub tomorrow for a professional development session, Valentine's Day is Tuesday and our 100th day of school is Wednesday! On top of that, my marathon training officially starts this week. I am doing Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN this June. This is my first marathon, I've never even run a half before. Only a few 10K's and 5k's....yep, I think that I'm crazy, too. My friend talked me into it, and I think it'll be a good way to get in shape for my wedding, which coming up in July. Have any of YOU ran a marathon (or half) before??? Please give me some advice- how did you manage your life and training and teaching??

I tried to get everything as prepped as possible this weekend. I whipped up this "Things I Love" page to do as a guided writing on Valentine's day. I will have a parent volunteer in playing a heart-shaped sight words game, and the kiddos will exchange valentines. They have already made a parent gift and decorated their Valentine's bags so that is going to be the extent of our V-Day party! I never get too wrapped up in that day for Kindergartners-just a few things to make it sorta-special:).

Anyway, here is the "Things I Love" sheet if you want to try it with your kids. Not my best work, as I was rushing to get 9 million things done tonight for school along with some wedding planning.
The cute clip art is by KPM Doodles. Love her Etsy shop. Stop by if you get a chance!

Teaching, wedding, training for a marathon, blogging....hmmm something tells me I'm in for a busy springtime! Hope you all have a great start to your week!

You Melt My Heart!

Yay! It's the weekend...and what am I doing? Yeparoo, I am doing stuff for school. Hooray.

Actually, this is kind of a fun school project! It did take a bit longer than I expected though.

I decided to melt old crayons to make heart-shaped valentine's crayons for my kiddos this year since I figured they get enough candy from their friends and family! I saw several versions of this craft on Pinterest and websites.

To do this, I used a Wilton Mini-Heart pan from Michael's. Of course, you could use candy molds or other shapes, too. I think I will mount them on tag board and write a cute message or put them in a cellophane bag. Will have to figure that out tomorrow!

Here are some pics of the process. I'm visiting my parents this weekend, so my mom helped me peel crayons and my dad helped me chop them up! Score!Here are the color combinations I chose to use. I liked having some contrast, but staying within the same color family prevented mucky colors from forming.

I would recommend using cooking spray prior to putting the crayon pieces into the tray or mold you use. Bake at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. I used a wooden skewer to achieve a marbled effect with some of mine.

Let the shapes cool thoroughly before popping them out of the mold. Putting them outside on a February night in Minnesota sure did the trick fast!

And...viola! A super cute, recycled, homemade gift for my students! Hope they like them almost as much as the candy they receive on Tuesday!

Let me know if you also try this idea! Hope everyone is having a more exciting weekend than me:)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yay! An award!

I am excited that Erica from Sprinkles to Kindergarten gave me my first award! Thanks so much! The award is for a blog with less than 200 followers, which is awesome for those of us who are just starting out.

If you receive The Liebster Award, you have to give it to 5 others with blogs that have less than 200 followers. Sooo, here are the lovely bloggers that I'm giving this special award to:

1. Just Teaching Kindergarten

2. Kaleigh's Klassroom

3. My Kindergarten Kids

4. The Eager Teacher

5. Classroom Confetti

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Math Freebie!

Our math curriculum is Math any of you use it in your kindergarten classroom?

Right now, the students are working on making partners of 10. Working with an abacus during centers is a perfect way to practice for this skill! Sooo, I made a 2-page document to help guide students' center work. You can get it by clicking on the picture link, which will bring you to my brand new TpT store. You can download it from there. Please leave some feedback there if you take it. Thanks so much!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

TPT sale

Hi everyone,

My sight word packet is on sale right now for an introductory price of $5.00 (normally $6.50) at my TpT store. The sale won't last long, so stop by and grab it soon:) I do have a star word memory match game for free there, also. If you download it, it would be awesome if you left a rating for me to help get me started on that site!

Thanks to those who entered my give-away. I will be emailing you tonight with your A-Z set of rainbow writing sheets.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TPT Store Up and Running!!!!!

Great News!
My Teachers Pay Teachers store is now up and I have a star word memory match freebie there for my first customers.

I also have a SUPER fun sight word packet that I'll be putting up tonight. UPDATE: Just posted it!! There are 37 pages of fun activities, including game boards, word scramble pages, rainbow writing pages, star word die toss pages, flashcards and MORE! Please come to my store and check it out!

I would appreciate any support that you are able to give me as I start out on that site!

Here are a few screen shots of pages from my sight words packet. Click the first (yellow) one for a link to it on TpT!
I think your kids will really LOVE them. So please check it out and follow me! Thanks!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Giveaway is almost over!

Hi Blogging Friends,

Tomorrow is the last day of my ABC Rainbow Writing Set giveaway. Everyone who either:

1. Blogs about the giveaway


2. Pins a picture from my blog onto one of their Pinterest boards


3. Leaves me a comment with a link to their blog or pin board and their email address

will win an entire A-Z set of these cute Rainbow Writing Worksheets!! Click here to go to my original post about the giveaway. You can leave a comment on either post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

One more freebie today:)

Sight words are on my brain....

I need to focus on getting my middle and lower kiddos to be proficient at sight words for my PLC (Professional Learning Community) data work, so here is a sight word practice activity I'm planning for tomorrow during reading centers.

Students will first have fun writing the sight word on one of these "finger paint" bags (hair gel, glitter, food coloring).

Then they will write the word three times on this sight word sheet. Finally, they will use it in a sentence. I have been trying to stress word spacing, punctuation and proper capitalization, so hopefully writing some sentences with familiar words will help with that skill, too. The other page is for my bottom 3 students that are still having major struggles picking up sight words.

Click EITHER link below to download your own copy of the practice lists! :)

Please leave a comment if you download either sheet.


Reading Centers and 1 Freebie!

How do you manage your reading centers?

I have a guided reading table, two small group centers that focus on current skills and/or themes, and 5 individual centers that stay up for the whole week.

Students go to one of these individual centers each day. I have them numbered and sometimes change their focus, but they usually include: 1. Library 2. Writing 3. Art 4. Sight Words 5. either Listening Center or Word Work. I really love individual centers because I don't have to buy or make as many center supplies for each theme/topic, and it's a relaxing and calm time for my kiddos.

Here is the chart I use so students know where to go that day. I move the stars on top over one spot every morning.
Although you can't tell, the names are color coded by group. The top row the first group that rotates to individual centers, the next row is the second, etc. I have four groups in my class of 18 students.

Below are some examples of what my students are currently working on at their individual centers:
Rainbow writing and write-the-room sheets for W and V, our letters of the week at the writing center.

One student per rotation gets the classroom library all to themselves! They sit on a small chair or on the pillows and read to Clifford or one of the other stuffed animals you can see off to the right, bursting out of the shelf!

The word work center this week is a consonant blends pocket chart sort. Click on the picture of the worksheet above to get a free copy!

This is our snowman sight word memory match game, which students play on the rug.
Our art center is one page of our "My ABC Book" Our letters of the week are W and V. Students draw what they see out of one of their home windows.

This is my guided reading table. I have small bins to hold books and supplies for each group.
The red bin holds general supplies that I use all the time. The blue bin on the right hand side is my "Friday" bin-what I throw all of my books and copies in for the day. It's part of a set from Lakeshore and usually lives on my desk. I just had it out after school to stock it! The white bins that you can partially see behind my table are A-Z leveled readers that I use for student book bags. I will have to explain those in later post. Dinner time!

Have a FANTASTIC Friday everyone. I am getting observed by my principal tomorrow so wish me luck:) Oh, and be sure to comment back or send me a link to your blog post about your reading center set-up!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Peace Table

Hi Friends,

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite classroom areas-my peace table! The peace table is where students go to resolve minor conflicts peers.

At the beginning of the year we discuss "warm fuzzies" and "cold pricklies" and read some books about getting along, sharing, etc. We talk about getting older and taking care of some of our own problems. Then, I model how to use the peace table if they ever do have a disagreement with a friend.

Here's how it works:
If a student asks another to go to the peace table, the other student must oblige and go. No exceptions! Students go to the table, and take turns talking and listening. The student tells their friend why they brought them to the table. The friend responds and apologies are exchanged as necessary. The students decide on a "friendship fix-it" to conclude the process. I have a pocket chart hanging by the table of 3 friendship fix-its for the kids to choose from: shake hands, give a high-five, and give a hug. In the past, I have also used "get your friend a tissue", "play together on the playground, "sit together at lunch" and "draw your friend a nice picture". Sometimes that is too many options for kinders though!

I do teach students to tell me if anything serious happens to them, or if someone is bothering them repeatedly.

Hope that this idea helps any of you that are struggling with the tattling that comes with teaching kindergarten!

Your Turn: What do you use for conflict resolution and/or character education?