Friday, October 30, 2015

Five for Friday October 30

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! 
Happy Halloween! Happy Extra Hour this weekend! 

I sort of felt like this was me all week trying to keep my kids' attention with Halloween, the full moon, life in general when you are five...

Toddler Struggles To Clean Up Tennis Balls
When you do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result... :P
Posted by America's Funniest Home Videos on Thursday, October 8, 2015 

This week was my wonderful sister's birthday!  I'm so lucky that she lives nearby, and we get to see each other a lot.  I so appreciate knowing someone always loves me and is there for me no matter what, like my parents and my sister, and my family.  

You know who else had a birthday?  Jaclyn Smith.  She turned... 70!  SEVENTY.  I am picturing her showing up at a class reunion looking at everyone, thinking, "WHO are these people who look seventy when I absolutely do not?!"  

 She's always been one of my favorites.  Here's proof:

I had this book since- forever...I looked it up. It came out in 1987.  So I'm sure I've had it since 1987.  My daughter Emily and I went to see Jaclyn Smith at a furniture store nearby, probably ten years ago now! She signed my book for me then.  Emily and I had such a fun day that day.

 I MAY have collected Charlie's Angels trading cards... and I may still have them. 

More true confessions... I always wanted to play her when my friends and I played Charlie's Angels, which was all the time.  I was always Sabrina, AKA Kate Jackson, for those of you who may not have been obsessed know. Kate Jackson was nice and everything, she was just not Jaclyn Smith.  I knew Farrah was way out of reach because one of the three of us who played together was blonde, so she knew she had that one in the bag.  

Happy Birthday to my sister Alexis, and to Jaclyn!

OK- on to school stuff.  Does anyone ever feel like this with Writing Folders?

I get the idea of them- I just sometimes like the kids to focus and finish something.  Too many choices for them is overwhelming.  Plus, I like to collect their books, look at them, and  write little notes for the next day on sticky notes so I remember what they are writing about and  what little mini lesson I want to focus on with each of them as I conference.  

Today we took a break from writing our books.  Every now and then we just need a little break.  We did a great activity about adding details- and the kids had a ball!

We read hat books. Today we read the first two- Whose Hat is This and Jennie's Hat

Whose Hat is This is very simple, but was a great introduction for our lesson.

Then, I gave the children a page from my Do You Doodle? book.  This book is so much fun for the kids.  It's great for morning work or independent centers.  It's also so good because each child completes the pages exactly to their ability.  Some who can add more and more, do.  Some who you know can write a little about the page, do that.  Others, who are just trying their best, can be successful and have just as much fun with it.
(Here are a couple  example pages from the book.)

We did the hat page.  It's just two hats on the front ( a pirate and a cowboy) and two hats on the back (a clown and a wizard.)  The children had to draw WHO was wearing the hats.  It was fun to do with Halloween coming up, too.  

First, we talked about who would wear each of the hats.  Then, we brainstormed ideas about what we could draw that would be special to each of the people (i.e. The pirate might have an eye patch, a hook hand, striped pants, a parrot, a gold tooth, a speech bubble saying, "ARGH.")

 We also had a good discussion about what size the head should be to make it look right and fit the hat.

The pictures came out so cute!  I can refer back to this lesson when the children write their books, and remind them how much the details helped when they drew these pictures. 


 I loved his gold tooth and hook hand. The cowboy reminds me of a Rugrats character. 

 I LOVE the witch on the broom and the cat on the back!  

This book has so many great doodles in it, I use it a lot.  But, you could probably easily make a hat paper like this if you wanted to try this activity out with your class!

Playing school is the FAVORITE free choice center.  They practice sight words, letters, counting, reading, and talking like me. 

It's funny hearing yourself in their words and expression.  The other day, one of my sweeties wasn't feeling well all day.  So at free choice, I heard her saying to another little girl, "Honey, do you think you can make it until after center time?  Maybe if you get a little drink it will help.  Just take it easy and we'll see how you're doing. Let me know!"

It's always a great reminder for me, too, to always think what I say and how I say it, because they are like little tape recorders, ready to play you right back!

I can't say enough how valuable free choice time is for children.  They get the chance to freely explore what they have just learned and try it out.  It's perfect. For the School Center,  I just switch out what's in the Teacher Bins every so often to keep it exciting- magnetic letters, numbers, shapes, different sentences on strips, letter cards, sight word cards, dry erase markers/boards, some leveled books...  If I want them to review the reading strategies, I put the reading buddies beanie babies in there, and they tell each other what they are for- without me even asking them to!  Pointers are always a favorite.  

Here is another fun packet I use for either a center activity or free choice. It is from Kindergarten Lifestyle.   I've used it a couple years, and the kids love it!  It gives the building center such purpose.  I love to take pictures of their masterpieces after they're done.  Knowing that I have a picture and their hard work is "saved forever" that way always makes taking apart their structures much easier.  

I just printed the "I Can Build" pictures on cardstock, cut the pictures apart, and put them together on a ring.  I made two sets so the kids can work in partners for center time or in small group, and each have a set of cards. 

This article goes along with my  huge belief in playing to learn.
It's a  really interesting article about Delayed Kindergarten Enrollment, and giving children the "gift of time."  Here is a little excerpt:

Delaying kindergarten enrollment for one year shows significant mental health benefits for children, according to a recent study. Researchers found that a one-year delay in enrolling a child in kindergarten dramatically reduces inattention and hyperactivity at age seven.

Researchers found that children who were held back from kindergarten for as little as one year showed a 73 percent reduction in inattentiveness and hyperactivity compared to children sent the year earlier, according to this new study on kindergarten and mental health.

Of course there are exceptions where it's best for children to be in school instead of at home, but I don't think this is even what it's saying. I think even more than the physical act of being in school is the fact that children are just being pushed too far too fast.  Yes, children can perform  and try to do what we ask of them. They are capable of so much.   But that doesn't really mean it's best for them this early.  I so strongly believe that children need experiences and experimentation in kindergarten.  Then,  everything will come together much easier for them- when they are more developmentally ready to do the tasks we ask of them.  So many of my kids "go through the motions" and do what I ask them to do, but don't really understand why with some of the academics we teach in kindergarten.  They totally understand those same concepts when we play a game or learn with hands-on activities.   
I finally finished my Alphabet QR Code Packet! I made a QR code for 5 video songs for each letter of the alphabet- one from ABC Mouse, Have Fun Teaching, Sesame Street Podcast, Storybots, and KidsTV123.  I also included 16 alphabet and phonics songs. 

I've been working on this for a long time. I've been taking in parts of it for the kids to use as I finish and they're loving it.  

I have several who just plain need those letters and sounds reinforced whenever and however they can be!  I'm sending one letter page home a night (from the letters I know my certain kids need extra help with), at different times, for the kids to listen to at home. They are having so much fun with this!  I sent a note home to the parents explaining that they could download a free QR code reader app- and they've been having a ball.  I figure it's one more way for them to see those letters over and over. 

Don't forget to set those clocks back! Thank you so much for stopping by.


  1. I agree with the power of play but as a parent of a toddler (looking ahead to kindergarten time), cost is a big factor. It's not the difference between playing at home and school. It's the difference between thousands of dollars of daycare and (free) school. I think that if schools offered public pre-k, parents would be more willing to delay kindergarten (especially for fall birthdays).

    My Bright Blue House

    1. Thanks for writing! You are so right! We offer pre-k ,but once you are school age you can't go to pre-k, so that sort of ruins that option for a lot of families. I don't think delaying kindergarten is as important as delaying the structured curriculum that isn't developmentally appropriate for them is. School is great for children for so many things and so much learning- hands on and age appropriate!

  2. Thank you for the birthday wishes in your awesome blog!!! I love you too! (It's sad to know that Jaclyn Smith at 70 is certainly in better shape than I will ever be, but she doesn't have you for a sister, so too bad for her!)

  3. Where can get a copy of the I CAN Build cards?

    1. I am looking for them, too! Any luck finding them?

    2. Here is the link!


Search This Blog