Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dr. Seuss Ideas and Freebies!

Hi! I've updated this post with new (and more) ideas HERE.  Thank you for looking!









Friday, February 27, 2015

Five for Friday February 27

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! 

We measured, watered, and watched our amaryllis bulb every single day since we planted it.  Finally, it was JUST about to burst open on Friday afternoon right before our week off.  SO, my wonderful mother took care of it for us at her house- and she actually made a book to show the children the beautiful blooms!

That wasn't all-  she brought in the plant, which now had four gorgeous flowers on it.  I love my mom's excited face!  That is exactly what makes a great teacher, because you should have heard the excitement when the children saw those flowers.   The book has been a favorite in our classroom book bin!
Every year, I take the children's pictures in a hat they choose, and have each of them tell me why they are lucky.  This first one made me smile. 
This one got lots of  bonus points, as you can imagine... 
Letter Man is great reinforcement for those children who still need some work on letter sounds.  We use him for reading sight words, too.  Then, of course, he becomes Word Man...
I got the garbage can at the Dollar Tree.  My sweet husband made the hair for me, just because that's what kindergarten teacher's husbands do. And he wanted to give him a mullet.  Because that is just what men do, I guess.  


We also have fun feeding Hungry Harry.  He's a tennis ball that I cut a slit in with an Exacto knife.  The eyes and hair brought him to life.  Eating  letters and words keeps him alive. He's always hungry for letters and words.  Sometimes numbers or shapes.  He's our hungry helper. 

One of my favorite things to do is watch the children read in their special spots.  I have pop sickle sticks with eight  different special spots on them. The spots I use are housekeeping, front corner, under table (3 times because I have 3 tables), rug, by my desk, and out in the hall.   Each pair of reading buddies (which I  choose ahead of time, by the way) choose a stick and go off to read, read, read.  It's just a fun way to change up independent reading time. 


Magic Smart Glasses are a fun way to change up Read the Room- or to wear when they are writing sight words.  They just write more neatly and remember how to spell those words better  with these magic glasses.  You know- it's magic!

 I wrote this letter because I wanted to send home some ideas to help parents while they read at home with their children. Reading at home with children is such a huge benefit and important part of a child's reading success, but sometimes we forget that parents don't always know what we're focusing on or looking for as they read with their child.



I labeled the praise points, "Wonderful," and the questions for parents to ask, "Wondering."  These ideas help parents remember to praise, praise, praise and encourage their child as they read together at home, as well as provide questions to help parents take their child deeper into the text and beyond the text. 



If you would like a copy to send home with your students'  click the picture below if you would like a copy!  Enjoy!




Have a happy, healthy weekend. Thank you for stopping by! 









Friday, February 20, 2015

Wonderful/Wondering Parent Note Freebie

I wanted to send home some ideas to help parents while they read at home with their children. Reading at home with children is such a huge benefit and important part of a child's reading success, but sometimes we forget that parents don't always know what we're focusing on or looking for as they read with their child.

I labeled the praise points, "Wonderful," and the questions for parents to ask, "Wondering."  These ideas help parents remember to praise, praise, praise and encourage their child as they read together at home, as well as provide questions to help parents take their child deeper into the text and beyond the text. 


I thought you might like to use it with your students' parents, too.  Just click the picture below if you would like a copy!  Enjoy!




This graphic is from Makayla Schenkelberg


This is from Perry Public Schools:









Monday, February 16, 2015

Teach Me in the Key of Life

My sweet friend Amy went to a Pre-K Conference in NYC last week, and shared this poem with me when she got back.  I LOVED it, and thought you would, too.  Thank you, Amy, for sharing this- and thank you, Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld for writing such truth from a child's eye.

Teach Me in the Key of Life
by Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld
I am waiting for you
I have been waiting all my life to spend this time with you.
I am full of questions, adventures, wonder, curiousity, imagination.
I am full of fears, doubts, confusions, nightmares, dreams.
I am the Cowardly Lion. I need a badge for courage.
So do you.
I am the Tin Man. So tight. I forgot about my heart.
How’s your heart?
I am the Scarecrow. Hangin’ so loose my brain feels unhinged.
Does yours?
Sometimes I’mGrumpy, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful, Doc, Sneezy, Happy.
Sometimes I’m seven new dwarfs as yet unnamed.
I love to sing.
I know the words to 2,437 songs.
Teach me through songs.
Let me paint, doodle, scribble, draw, carve, fix, sketch – DO.
I can’t keep still.
I’m a spaced-out, far-out, Star Wars, Superman IV, rock ‘n’ roll, disco, punk, psychedelic, tuned-out, right-on, cool age,  electronic, stereo, video games, computerized, technicolor, ten-speed kid!
I need action!
Keep it moving!
I love to read baseball cards, album covers, TV schedules, movie ads, license plates, T-shirts, buttons, posters, cartoons, cereal boxes, recipes, highway signs, historical markers, magazines, picture books,
sad stories, weird poems, animal histories, lost-and-found boards…
Let me ask my questions – even if you don’t know the answers.
Dumb questions, like who started numbers?
Do caterpillars know they’re going to turn into butterflies?
Where does the white go when the snow melts?
Why does time fly?
How do we see?
What do you see?
It’s not my birthday, but every day can’t we celebrate SOMETHING?
Colors, seasons, Tuesdays, Mexico, circles, houses, maps, our names, numbers, one seed, our journals, favorite books, inventions, rivers, peace!
Can we celebrate our country on the fourth of October or the twelfth of May?
We don’t have school on the fourth of July!
Every day let’s celebrate SOMETHING!
Life – the wonder and power and miracle of Life – of being here, learning together, with all our fantastic powers.
Surprise me.
Amaze me.
Startle me.
Challenge me.
Try me.
Laugh with me.
Love me.
Teach me
in “the key of life,”
and I promise I’ll surprise, amaze, startle, challenge, try, enjoy and love YOU!

 
Have a WONDERFUL week!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Five for Friday February 13

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! Happy Friday the 13th! 


These are my latest bulletin boards.  I got tired of snowflakes.  I loved the pretty paper snowflakes, but real life snow is getting old.  So- time for some magic.  This saying is from the new Cinderella movie. 


 I had a left over star, so I just gussied up the minion a bit.
The saying in the top bulletin board is from the new Cinderella movie coming out in March that I cannnnnnnot wait to see.  She has always been my favorite, and it looks just wonderful.
            

I sort of want this bed now would have LOVED this bed when I was little.



It was our 100th Day of School on Thursday!
We made 100 cups structures.

We each brought in 100 of something to eat and made a delicious trail mix! Yes,it was as delicious to a five year old and as sugary as it looks...  

We wore our 100 day hats.


 We collected the names of friends we have been with for 100 days. 

We also did our writing about what I will do at 100 years old and what I would do with $100.  Such a fun day!
The children also had a lot of fun this week retelling stories during small group time.  I put together props for several of my big books (or just fun favorite books).  After we read the story,  I had the children act it out in a whole group with props.  Then, during the week at center time, the children could choose a story and act it out with the props.  These aren't great pictures, but it's If You Give a Moose A Muffin, just to show you some of the little props we used.


Finally, do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and think and rethink?  This is so me sometimes...


 This was my devotion a while back, and I just need to remember it.  I loved it.



Have a happy, healthy weekend. Thank you for stopping by! 


Friday, February 6, 2015

Five for Friday February 6

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey!

We had a snow day on Monday, and then two two hour delays this week.  I have to say... our schedule was messed up, but I did love it so- not so much the shoveling and snow that went with it, but I guess I'm not going to get a delay for sand and sunshine!

We did this little "Love is"  writing activity this week. First we talked about what love is to us, and shared ideas with friends.  Then, the children wrote whatever they wanted, starting with "Love is."  I took each child's picture making "I love you" in sign language, and then they made a little frame around it.  Simple and sweet, and a good chance for the kids to remember those spaces and punctuation marks.






I also  posted about our How To Heart books here. We have lots of fun making hearts now. They are everywhere throughout the day.  Randomly. It makes me smile.


Recently, I've seen several posts on facebook asking about how people manage assessments for their students.  Since we just finished our second round of report cards, I wanted to share again how much our kindergarten team has loved using ESGI as an assessment tool. 
Here is a visual: 
Assessments before using ESGI...






And... Assessments AFTER using ESGI:


Yeah, it's pretty clear.  

I posted ALL about the benefits and some examples of what ESGI offers HERE.  If you want to learn more about ESGI and to get a  free 60 day trial of the software, click here. If you like using it and want to purchase the program, you can use my special PROMO CODE  B1119  and receive $40 off your purchase for the first year. The price is usually $199 a year, but with the promo code, it will be $159 for the first year. Check with your administration because they may be able to purchase it for you.  They can use the code and get it for $159 for the first year, too.  Enjoy!

We had so much fun playing our new "Secret Word" game!  I did this with a small group of four.  I had four bags made up with magnetic letters- each with letters for three of the same words and then one different secret word in each bag.  The children knew the three words but not their special secret word.  They had to dump the letters and quickly build the three words on the magnetic board. Then, with the left over letters, they had to figure out their secret word.  Each child tried to be the first one to discover his/her secret word, and shout it out.  They had a ball!  Finally, they had to write all of the words on their recording sheet, including their secret word. You could also have them write the words right on the dry erase board.  Here is a little sample of one group playing it.  (Except you might think this little sweetie's word is, "I won" because that might be what she says instead of her sight word...oops.  We take games seriously sometimes...)

video

Here's a simple little recording sheet I made to use with the game.  I just had the kids write each of their words twice.  You could also have them write right on the whiteboard. Click the picture if you'd like a copy. 



We are really working on listening to each other in our class.  I am thinking some adults may have missed this lesson when they were in school- not only listening to children, but to other adults, but that's another post I will never write.  ANYWAY...

We're having lots of fun with it, so I thought you might like it, too.

I have the kids get into Chit-Chat pairs. 


 Each person must ask their friend a question, LISTEN, and remember the answer.  Then, the other partner asks, LISTENS, and remembers.  


After a few minutes , I say, "Class, Class."  Everyone says, "Yes, Yes," and it's quiet.   No more talking.  Then, I go around and ask each person to tell me his/her partner's answer- with no help. We started off very easy with "What is your partner's favorite color?"   Then, we moved on to favorite holiday, favorite zoo animal, favorite farm animal, favorite dinner, favorite breakfast (with more details, like what KIND of cereal, what do they like on their pancakes...)   It's not as easy as it seems at the start.  They are getting great at it now.   Hopefully, it will help them in life forever, to realize  how important it is to really listen, and how much more special you feel when you think someone is truly listening to you.

Number 5 had to be this new song, Give Me Five, from Rocking Dan Teaching Man!  It's perfect for reminding the children of the combinations that make five. 


Between this and The Friends of Ten, my kids have gotten to be so good with facts to ten!


Every day during our morning meeting, we count the days we have been in school- like probably all of you do.  Last year, I started adding ten frames to our counting.

 As we get up in the number of days, we count by tens instead of ones some days using our fingers. The kids flash ten fingers for each ten that we count.  Then, when we get to the ones part, I have them show me that number with their fingers.  For example, if it is 47 days, they flash ten fingers four times as we count ten, twenty, thirty, forty, and then I say, "Show me 7 fingers."  This is fun because they can see that more than one answer is right- 3 and 4, 4 and 3, 2 and 5, 5 and 2.  Then, I will call the leader of the day up to help me show how it can also be zero and 7, 7 and zero, 1 and 6 or 6 and one.   It's such a simple, quick activity, but the kids have really loved doing it, and it reinforces those number facts. The "one" days (like 51) are fun, because it's only zero and 1, or 1 and zero.  They think that's funny.  I love how that is funny to them.  This was Wednesday- day 95.



Our amaryllis is GROWING like crazy! We're having fun with it.


Have a happy, healthy weekend. Thank you for stopping by!


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