Monday, September 30, 2013

We Do Listen Foundation FREEBIES!

I found this neat site and wanted to pass it on to you.  It is called We Do Listen Foundation.  It offers FREE animated online books, with  lessons , posters, and songs to go along with each story.  You can click below and listen to the animated books.  It is another fun way to teach Character Education that I was so happy to find and wanted to share!  I added this to my Pre-K, K, 1st Grade Character Education Prezi at my TPT store, so it will be on there, too,  if you have that!

Have fun!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five for Friday September 27!

I think this school week was accidentally eight days long instead of five.  Anybody else?  I had lots of meetings and Open House/ Curriculum Night, but still, I am pretty sure a few extra days snuck in there. I am also pretty sure I never once said that about any week in the summer... ;)

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! Thank you for hosting! :)

Here are my favorite five for the week.

1. Roll and Read

I found a great new game  that  was shared on If You Give a Teacher a Blog.  She found this great freebie from Primary Essentials.  My wonderful mother comes in at center time, as  you may know, and she played this game with my groups to work on letter recognition and sounds, and even sight words with my top groups.  A child rolls a die, and if he/she can name the letter (or letter and sound, or give a word that starts with the letter...) of the number rolled, he/she keeps the letter.  If not, it stays on the number for more practice.

I thought this would be another good game for math number sense and addition/subtraction! What a great, versatile game! 


I love using the Africam in my classroom on the smart board. It is a site with live safari cameras 24/7. You can chose one camera, or watch them all. There is a BREAKING area (that red highlighted part) that tells you on the homepage if there are any live animals out and about. There are also taped videos of animals visiting the water holes in case you aren't seeing anything live.

We saw so many animals today! Must be it wasn't only my class who was active! :)  I felt better knowing that Africa was equally as active.  I love to leave this up for snack time and free choice. I put it on full-screen with the volume on, and hear the beautiful, calming  nature sounds.  Ahhh. (That wasn't saracstic- the Africam sounds ARE calming- the room- not so much! ;)

Kids Biology is a great site if you want to study the animals more. 

This is a really useful site with the focus on nonfiction in the CCSS. It is easy to use and fun for the kids.

These are some beautiful books about an African water holes that you could use to go along with this site.

This Kindle/Nook book is great for young children:

Baby giraffe comes across many of his Serengeti friends on the way to the local watering hole. As he travels he picks up friends along the way until he finally reaches his destination. This unique colorful picture book would be a great addition to any young child's book/ebook collection. This book is recommended for babies through children three years of age.

This next book is a beautiful counting book ( as well as science book and geography book) with illustrations that are so much fun to study:

This last book is fabulous, too.

My class loved the illustrations. Although the writing is beautiful and full of wonderful language, it was a little wordy for my class (maybe it was just my particular group! ;)  but easy to adapt and a perfect introduction to Africam.
Here is a review:
PreSchool-Grade 3-Richly colored pastel drawings and precise, surprising word choices make this story a natural for sharing with a group. A young vervet monkey, carefully supervised by his mother, waits impatiently for a safe time to drink at a busy water hole as the day passes and other animals of the African savanna come to quench their thirst. The delightful language adds enjoyment: "The silence pokes Monkey's ear"; "Sun lands on the horizon and tucks away its lower half." The beat of the text is palpable, moving from fast to slow and back, sometimes rhyming, sometimes joltingly not. However, as in Lynne Cherry's The Great Kapok Tree (Harcourt, 1990), the plot is secondary to an appreciation of the environment. The realistic illustrations are often from a monkey's-eye view, showing the belly of a running zebra and the gaping mouth of a crocodile. This is a must for studies of African animals or the savanna biome, and a gem for writing teachers.
Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ

3. Kindergarten Vocabulary

I have folders for every color and letter- old fashioned, paper  folders full of ideas! What I love about them is that they are full of beautiful pictures to show the children and full of opportunities to expand vocabulary!  It seems like for our color weeks, we learned a lot about different flowers and birds.  The pictures are great for conversations starters and real world connections, too.  Any time you have a few minutes, just hold up a picture and see how many hands go up with a story to tell.  Here is a kid-version of vocabulary from the week during free choice time:

Boy 1: "I don't even know what 'frustrated' means.

Boy 2: "Well, what it means is, the more you nag, the more we say 'no.'  

Do you think he has heard that a time or two?!

4.  iPad iDea

Probably most of you do this, but it has worked well for me, so I thought I would pass it on in case you haven't tried it.  We have five iPads in the classroom.  Since some games require students to sign in and continue where they left off, I have certain iPads assigned to certain students, one from each group as we switch. I take a picture of the students who will always use a certain iPad and use that for the screen saver.  Ta da! They always know which one to use.

5.  Making Paula Deen Proud

We made butter in class yesterday (one of my all time favorite days of the year for some reason!), and I blogged about it here. I love it because the kids are so enthusiastic and amazed.  When I poured the butter out of the baby food jar, one little boy said, "That looks just like Red Lobster butter!" It absolutely did look just like that scoop they put on a baked potato.  Yum. 

 I made a book to read with the class that you can get if you click on this picture below:

I also made a book for my children to make and take home.  You can get that one if you click on this next picture.  It has two versions of the student books.  The first one is the one I used with my class. The students glue the correct pictures on the page. (I put the pictures that I used at the end of the document, so you can print out as many as you need.)  The second book has the picture on the page, but leaves lines for the student to write the "how to" part to go with each picture. This would be better for older children.

Oh, Paula, you are right... butter is delicious.  

Have a wonderful weekend!  :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Paula Deen Would Be Proud...

Yes- we made BUTTER for Bb day! If you have never made this with your children, it is so easy and always one of the favorite memories of the year.  All you need is heavy cream, a baby food jar, and a little salt!  We spread our butter on crackers, so you need those, too. I made butter four times, once with each of my groups, filling the baby food jar half full each time and used only one 8 oz container of heavy cream. (That sounded a little like a Common Core math problem there for a minute. I was getting scared!)

Butter Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Yes- I created my own Butter holiday.  The children love shaking that baby food jar , but I always finish it up. You know how that is! I remind them how important it is to use two hands on that glass jar. 

I had to take some pictures of the kids shaking the jar so they saw how it looked blurry when it was moving. This was a great impromptu lesson on motion lines and movement!  The second picture that I use for their Butter Book that they make in class is a blurry one of the jar being shaken, so I wanted them to see it in "real life." 

I know what you are thinking, "Boy, your arms must be toned by now after all that shaking!" Well, no.  We ate the butter after the shaking, so...little column A, little column B. It is delicious, by the way- and comes out in a round ball- JUST LIKE RED LOBSTER BUTTER, I was told!  :)  Yes, you know how they put a scoop on the baked potato?  Well, that was exactly how it looked. 

The children love making butter. LOVE it. I have each child make a book to take home so they can remember the "recipe" to tell mom and dad- because they all ask and want to make it at home. 

I looked and looked for books about making butter and couldn't find one that I liked, so I made one. 
I found FABULOUS pictures at Chica and Jo's website .You can just click on the picture below and get a copy of the book I made if you would like!  THANK YOU to Elizabeth at Kickin It in Kindergarten for teaching me how to upload to Google Docs! What a sweetheart! (She set up a new website, so go re-follow her on Bloglovin!) 

This is my first attempt at uploading a document into my blog...(However, when I open the book here, the pictures look like watercolors for some reason- although they are photographs. No idea why.)  I hope they will print well for you.  Of course, my printer is not working now so I can't try it. Oh my, oh my. If it doesn't print well, I will sent it to you some other magical way if you would like it! 
If you click on the picture below, you can have copies of the student books that I made. There are two in this document.  The first one is the one I used with my class. The students glue the correct pictures on the page. (I put the pictures that I used at the end of the document, so you can print out as many as you need.)  The second book has the picture on the page, but leaves lines for the student to write the "how to" part to go with each picture. This would be better for older children.
You know- everything's better with butter!  

Have a great Friday! :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Favorite Writer's Workshop Mentor Texts

As I was reading over some of my Writer's Workshop lessons, I thought I would  share the mentor texts that I love to use for some different writing mini-lessons.  You probably have seen and use most of them, but every so often you  happen to come across a new one you may have SOMEHOW missed. I hate missing out on any good books- and would hate for you to miss out on any either, so just in case... here you go! ( You are welcome, Amazon... )

Before we begin writing, I do lots of sketching and drawing with my class. The children's first book is an "I Can Draw" book.  We do lessons on drawing horizontal lines, vertical lines, zig zag lines, curves, and drawing shapes.  We draw settings.  One day we draw a bedroom with everything we can think of that might be in a bedroom.  We do this as an interactive lesson, and label the items with at least one letter by each item.  Then, when the children do it on their own, they are in the habit of labeling already.  We also draw a kitchen, a farm, a playground- anyplace you can think of that allows for lots of detail.

This book is a wonderful early introduction to Writer's Workshop and sketching:

 The children can see so many imaginative ideas to make from a box- or rectangle!

BUT - I discovered it too late. I was ready to do my shape sketching and have the children make wonderful things out of their shapes-  and didn't have this book yet. (You can get it from Scholastic, by the way- and I have it ordered.)  Thank you, YouTube! Look what I found-

The Dot and Ish are great for your "I can't draw" kids. 
(The Dot is on YouTube, too.  We watch Ish on Tumblebooks sometimes, too.  But it is still fun to READ it to them! :)

I love using the Doodle books. These are great for morning work:
(some samples:)
 This book looks fun- but I haven't tried it.

Library Mouse (the original) is my favorite way to introduce to the children that they are authors. I always use it to introduce Writer's Workshop.
I have this box out, just like in the story, and they love to look at the "author" in the mirror.  If they get frustrated, I have them go check the box to remind them WHO is an author!
(I just cut a hole in the middle of the shoe box that I covered and put a mirror on the inside.)

Harold is a great way to introduce how to care for our materials.  He only had his purple crayon and had to be VERY careful of that crayon so that he could create all of his masterpieces and adventures.
This is another fun book to talk about how to use (and NOT use)  markers. 
I keep five sets of markers, pencils, pens, colored pencils, and crayons in the white bins.  I have very little storage in my class ( have I mentioned that a time or two-hundred??) so I keep the writing bins on these wire racks.  The top bin has blank books in it.  My pictures above are from Erin Dowling's TPT Store.  The Math I Can Statements are hers, too.  I change them depending on the standards we are working on.  I love her things!

This is just a fun story about being an author!
Here are some other topics...

These books are great to teach the students to try their best and not worry about mistakes!  Such great mini lessons!


These books are great to teach the importance of using spaces, because the animals don't leave any space on the seesaw.  You can have a good conversation about the importance of space on the rug, in line, on the seesaw like the animals, or in writing!  They are also similar stories and great to use for making connections.
These are other fun "spacing" books.


Exclamation Points:
(All time favorite, yes indeed!
Actually, this book is wonderful for teaching all of the punctuation marks.)

 Quotation Marks:

This book is also good to use to make connections with The Little Red Hen.
Ellipsis: (My kids become a little obsessed with noticing every ellipsis in every book. Maybe because I do, too... I just want to know, "WHAT'S COMING?!)

Question Mark:

Speech Bubbles:

 (You can never, ever go wrong with ANY Piggie and Elephant book.)

Beginning/Middle/End, Retelling, Sequencing:

The Falling  Raindrop is a sweet, simply illustrated book that tells the journey of a little raindrop happily falling from the sky- to suddenly horrified that he is falling toward a fire!  The simple illustrations show the children that just the little expression on the raindrop is enough for us to know exactly how it is feeling.  It is a great little water cycle book, too.

Fun Text! (SIZE, direction, motion...)
 (ANY Donald Crews books! I love his BOLD words and sound words. )
There are so many beautiful books that I love to use for illustrations- so rich and detailed. I love to use Eric Carle and other unique illustrators that the children grow to quickly recognize. This book may be one of my most favorites. You can tell by the cover how beautifully Bob Graham uses color to  highlight exactly where he wants his reader to focus.  Plus, the book is precious.
Helping Each Other:
I love this story- for Character Education, too.  The birds have a contest to see who can fly the highest. While the eagle is sure he will win, the wren sneaks a ride in the eagle's feathers and pops out at the last minute to fly just a bit higher and win the contest.  We talk about how reading each other's stories and asking good questions or giving helpful ideas can make us just a little bit better each time- better than we even thought we could be!
Moving Beyond Simple Stories- S t r e t c h i n g:
Writing Letters:
 Editing and Revising:

I hope you found some new books to check out. Sometimes that is just fun!  
Enjoy the rest of the week!

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