Friday, January 22, 2016

Five for Friday January 22

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

Super simple- but helpful!  I taped a star shaped post-it to the floor (with packaging tape) where I want the "star" of the day to start my line when they line up at the door.  I used to have a tape  line on the floor, but I like this better.  This way, the kids don't crowd by the door so it won't open when they line up. 

Everyone who comes in tries to pick the star off the ground, thinking it's a random scrap that fell there.  That's just a bonus.   I am the one who put it there, and I've done it like 4 times myself...

I bought a 99cent balloon at the store, and took each child's picture holding it to make their Valentine for home.  Then, I used Picmonkey to add some simple designs.  I clicked the snowflake on the side of Picmonkey, then "Sweethearts" for my theme, then "Heart Cutouts" for the frame part under that. 

You could very easily take a picture of the children holding nothing- then add the pretty red rose from Picmonkey- and it looks just like they are holding the red rose. 

These are all from the free Picmonkey choices.  It's a lot of fun.

We are writing our notes to mom and dad, or other family members during writing early February (stressing neatness, so it can be easily read). I like sending these home early so the families can enjoy them.

I posted SO many snowman ideas HERE if you are interested in any snowman crafts, food ideas, or ELA or math freebies from TpT!  My kids had a ball with this  Snowman Roll and Record Activity from Judy Buckley.  They worked  with a partner at an independent center. It was great practice for "counting on" using dice.
I love using Patty Cake with the children to practice lots of things.  We practice counting to 100 (by ones and by tens), spelling sight words, letters and sounds, and even rhyming words.  Sometimes I'll call out, "Fast!" and the children try to see how fast- but accurately- they can play.  Other times I'll say, "SLOW..."  They have so much fun.  

Patty Cake is great for children to develop the ability to cross the midline.  

I love using it as a transition activity.  Here was my room yesterday after snack, while I was wiping down the tables and the children were waiting for me to come to the rug to read a story.  Usually, I have the kids spread out - but for this video, I just had everyone go to the rug... that's why it seems a little confusing!  But they did so great- and focused only on their partners.  Talk about great practice shutting out outside distractions!  

Since learning Patty Cake was a little tricky for some of the children, I sent a note home to families, asking them to practice at home.  It was a fun little "homework" assignment.  Here is a copy of the letter I sent home.  It's nothing fancy, but does explain what I wanted practiced.  Feel free to use it if you would like!

I know it's a little early, but I wanted to share one of my favorite Groundhog Day books with you.
First of all, Pat Miller's books are just PRECIOUS!   She also wrote Squirrel's New Year's Resolution which we love every year.
It's hard to find good books for New Year's and Groundhog's Day- and these are great ones.

First of all, in the story, Groundhog isn't feeling well , so he needs to have a substitute fill in for him on the big day.  This gave me a chance to talk about what a substitute is- since the last time I was out of the class, the kids asked me when the "step teacher" was coming...

Groundhog tries out a few different applicants for the job, but there is always some sort of a problem.  One of the friends is Eagle- which was a perfect chance for me to ask the children why Eagle would be a good choice! (Because he can see so well- with his EAGLE EYES, like we use for reading!)

Spoiler Alert:  The ending is adorable, because an armadillo finally takes the job- and then makes Groundhog feel better by taking him back to Texas for some Texas sunshine! (I could use some of that right about now...)  It was fun to show the children where Texas was on the map (since we are in NY), and to hear how many relatives lived in Texas.

After we read the story and talked about it,  I had the kids write and illustrate a reason why they would be a good substitute groundhog.  Here were some of the answers from last year:

I made some writing prompts to go with Substitute Groundhog is you would like a copy! 

I use writing prompts all the time in my classroom.  This packet that I made has 180 writing prompts for 115 different stories.

Writing Prompts: 180 Prompts for 115 Stories

I added QR codes to go along with these writing prompts in this packet!
QR Codes and Writing Prompts for 102 Stories

This set has 160 writing prompts for 100 different books.  It has author studies for 8 different authors.  I love this set.  My kids know their authors!  
Author Study Writing Prompt Packet:  Featuring Books by 8 Authors
Ms. S and Ms. A's Classroom News shared this cute little doodle activity making a groundhog and shadow from a heart!  I have lots of heart tracers for Valentine's day, so this will be fun to do.
My kids also get a kick out of this song:

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Oh oh oh!! I love those love letters for the parents! Picmonkey is awesome but I never thought of doing all that! Amazing!

    The Land of I Can

  2. Thanks for all the great tips and ideas! :) Anne


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