Nov 30, 2014

Sunday Scoop & a Sale!

I am linking up today with Teaching Trio for their Sunday Scoop, for just a quick look at what's happening. Check out the linky to see what everyone else is up to today, after you read mine of

First up 3 things I have to do...

1-I have my basic outline for the entire year week by week already set up, but I need to sit down and fill in the details on my lesson plans and make sure I have all of my materials ready to printed and laminated.  I think almost all of you can relate and do some form of planning on 

2-I need to head over to school and spend about an hour putting things away and putting out my new centers for this coming week in my classroom.  I usually do this on Friday before I leave, however with the holiday I rushed out of there last Wednesday to get to the train station to pick up my oldest son, who came home from college for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Total run on sentence I

3-With all of our family celebrations over the past several days I have gotten a little behind on my laundry and dishes...the story of my life it seems...I need to get those tackled so I can enjoy the rest of the day.

Next 2 things I hope to do...

1-I usually put my Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, but we had a few extra celebrations to attend this year and I haven't had a chance to get to it yet.  So I hope to do it this afternoon while all the boys are hanging around and can help.

2-I ate WAY too much for the holiday.  I hope to find 30 min to jump on the treadmill and do a couple of miles. I know I will feel so much better afterward.

The thing I am happy to do...

We are heading out this evening for a dinner with all our boys before our oldest heads back to college in the morning.  We are going to one of our favorite restaurants...P.F.Changs.  I can already taste those lettuce wraps...yum, yum!

Finally, I am sure you have heard about the big Cyber Monday/Tuesday sale at TPT.  

Well I am joining in on the fun too!  My store will be 20% off, Monday and Tuesday.  Plus if you enter code TPTCYBER you can get an additional 8 % off.  I am loading up my kart this evening! Thanks to the 3AM Teacher for this super cute graphic!

Have a great week friends and happy shopping! 


I love to read your comments. I like to respond by email, so be sure you are not a no-reply blogger so I can reply!

Nov 28, 2014

Five for Friday ~ Turkey Fun!

Now don't fall out of your seat, I am actually linking up with Kacy at Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday and it is FRIDAY! A miracle I  That's what being off 2 days will get ya I guess.  

This week was a total whirl wind.  We had 2 1/2 days of school and we packed every bit of learning and fun in that we could. 

So with the short week we had nothing new on our focus wall.  We had enough going on with out adding new core concepts into the mix.  This week was all about the first thanksgiving and the pilgrims.  We started off with some great books, of course.

We then went to the scholastic website to learn even more about the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving.

Then we made an anchor chart all about who was on the Mayflower, why they went and what were the conditions like. The inspiration for this anchor chart is from the fabulous Deanna Jump

By the way, I was not trying to be all "artistic" with the two different shades of blue on our chart.  That is what happens when you go to the teacher resource room and there is NO blue paper left.  There were a few scraps and I taped them together to make it

After learning all about the first thanksgiving we made these fantastic First Thanksgiving retell bracelets and books.  Each bead represents a different part of the story.

These are a freebie from Fran Kramer at Kindergarten Crayons. You can get your own here. The kiddos loved their new bracelets and could now go home and share the story of the first Thanksgiving with their families. 

Once we had learned all about the pilgrims we completed a sort about people then and people now.

After we completed the sort on our pocket chart together the students completed their own sort with pictures on their papers.

Next we came up with statements to put on our venn diagram.  We decided if it should be in the category of people then, people now or both.  They did such a great job.

Both of these activities can be found here from Jeannie Partin of Kindergarten Lifestyle.

We had to have some fun with all of our learning too. We made these super cute hand print turkey's with a special Thanksgiving poem for all the parents.  I first saw this idea on Pinterest several years ago, pre-blogging, so sorry I don't have the pin for the original idea. The kiddos love it anytime we use paint. My wonderful aide painted all the kiddos hands for this project, while I ran guided reading. I don't know what I would do without her.

They came out just adorable and they make a great keepsake. 

If you like mine you can get it for free HERE. I used clipart from the wonderful Krista Wallden at Creative  Clips and the font is from KG Fonts. I didn't put the year on the copy you download so you can use it from year to year.

Next we made these super cute turkey hats.  What would a holiday be without a silly hat.

To make your own cute turkey hats each student will need the following:  
  • 1-brown piece 4" X  12" (headband)
  • 1-orange square 2 1/2" X  2 1/2" (fold in half on diagonal for the beak)
  • 2-white squares 3" X  3" (eyes)
  • 1-red rectange 2" X  4" (glottal) 
  • 1 ea-red, yellow & orange rectangles 3" X  9" for the feathers
  • 2 gold brads and 1 rubber band to hook the hat together in the back
I gave each student the pieces and told them to just cut it in the shapes the best they could.  I did make an example for them to see.  This allowed them to each be totally different and unique. It was also a fantastic fine motor skill activity.

I love cooking with my kiddos and try to do so at least once a month.  This time we made no bake pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. They had a blast and thought it tasted great too.  I used the recipe I found here from Corrina at Surfin' Through Second. It is super simple.

First we measured all our ingredients and put them into the mixer. While it was being mixed the kiddos got to make their graham cracker crust. 

You put two graham cracker squares into a zip lock and the kiddos pound on them to crush them up. Some of them really got into

Next you dump the crushed graham cracker into a cup, add your pumpkin mixture and top with whip cream. The finished product! It was soo good!

Our last activity of the week was to watch the movie about an Elf on the Shelf.  Do you use the Elf in your room? I did for the first time last year and the kiddos loved it.  I knew I would have to make it a yearly tradition.

After the movie we talked about what happened in the video and we decided we would write letters to Santa to ask if he would send us our own Elf on the Shelf for our classroom.  We used these great letter starters from Kreative in Kinder.  Then added our own sentence telling "why" Santa should send us our own elf. I told them all I would get them in the mail to Santa ASAP!

I have a feeling that we may get a "special delivery" Monday that is really cold. (I usually wrap the boxed book and elf in brown packing paper and address it to the class.  I put it in the freezer overnight and that way, when the office calls us to come get our package, it is cold, as if it was just delivered from the North Pole)  Shhh! Don't tell!

It was an an exhausting 2 1/2 days but it was a ton of fun. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful Thanksgiving, spent with family and friends and hope that you did as well.

Be sure to check out the other posts in the linky to see what 's been happenin'. I wold love to hear your thoughts and comments.  Enjoy the rest of your break! 


Nov 24, 2014

Five for Fonday ~ Little Scientists!

Hell all, hope you had a fantastic week!  We had a great time being little scientists this week. I sat down every day for the last 3 to write this and just kept getting interrupted with it goes. So, I am linking up a little later than usual with Kacey at Doodble Bugs for her Five for Friday, on Monday 
Fonday to give you a quick glimpse of how it all went down. 

We had just 4 half days and one full day this week so it was busy, busy, busy.  I don't know how those of you who teach half day kindergarten do it.  I felt so rushed all week trying to fit everything in that I wanted to get done. So here's a recap of our week.

Here was our focus wall for the week. We didn't have a new shape, but reviewed all of our 2D shapes since we will be moving on to 3D shapes right after Thanksgiving break. 

We also finished up our colors last week so we will be focusing on one word family each week.  We have already learned the -at word family as an intro to word families over the last two weeks and now we are really ready to rock-n-roll.  

We made our last circle map of the alphabet this week.  I always save Qq for last.  I teach that the Q and U are stuck like glue and are married.  Which means from here on out they are always together, ALWAYS.  No comments about the sshh!  I realize I didn't do too good on that  That is the pointer finger...that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Thanks goodness my kinders didn't question it.

The reason we had a different schedule this week was, due to our parent teacher conferences. I am happy to say I had 100% attendance.  However, I am glad it is over.  I have to say it wears me out more than just being with my kiddos all day.  

Thank goodness for my teaching BFF who brought me this goodie on day two of conferences to help me make it through! 

One way I introduce word families is by having my students stand up holding different letters to form the words.  Then we all sound them out together. This helps to reinforce the individual sounds for my kiddos who are still working on sounds and gives practice blending and reading for my kiddos that are ready to move on.  

We talk about the patterns of the letters and how they rhyme.  They have a great time and it really helps to cement the learning with them up moving and interacting. If you like the letter cards I use you can get your own set for FREE from Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten

I also use picture writing strips as a warm up in my guided reading groups. This allows me to differentiate for where ever my kiddos are at.  I have some practicing beginning sounds, some are making CVC words and I even have a few working on CVCE words.  

This is a quick 3-4 minute activity that the kiddos do while I conduct a running record with one of the students in the group.  I just love using these and the kiddos love them too!  These are from Tara West at Little Minds at Work.

This week we studied all about owls.  We started off by creating our schema on our anchor chart.
Then we read several books during the week and each day added more to our list of things that were new learning.  

Then on Friday we did a comparison between bats, which we studied last week, and owls.  We did a life size Venn diagram with 2 giant hula hoops on the floor.  We then took our sticky notes off of our bat and owl anchor charts and put them in the correct categories...bats, owls, or both.  

After they fully understood where each statement belonged the students returned to their seats to complete a Venn diagram of their own. They all did a fantastic job.

After we had read all of our owl books we watched a few owl videos as well.  It is one thing to see pictures in a book, but it really brings it to life to be able to see a video. The kiddos really loved the one with different owl sounds and the hatching baby owl.

After our books and videos we completed a diagram of the owl by labeling all of the parts.  

Then we used our schema and new learning to complete our owl books.  This time I passed out sentences that were scrambled.  They had to unscramble the sentence and glue it into their book in the correct order. Then they had to draw an illustration to match the sentence. They did a fantastic job!

Both of these great activities can be found in the Owl Math and Literacy pack from Deanna at Mrs. Jump's Class.

We saved the best for last.  On Friday we got to dissect owl pellets.  We had been talking about it all week, building up the anticipation.  My littles were having a hard time wrapping their brain around what an owl pellet really was.  Despite the fact we had explained it and gone over it several times. However, I found this awesome little video that shows an owl producing a pellet, yes he throws up on the video. Plus there is a really cute song.

Well wallah! They finally really got it.  There were a few who were unsure of this whole activity as we were about to get started. They weren't sure they wanted to look at something that had been thrown up.  

Our fifth grade reading buddies came to help us out with this activity and it was a total success.  Both sets of students loved it. Even my shy ones really got into it once we got started and they started seeing all of the bones. 

We are on a tight budget at our school so thank goodness we had a staff member that has a ranch and lots of owl pellets that they brought to us.  We didn't have tweezers to use so we improvised with forks.  I am going to keep my eye out at the dollar store for tweezers for next year.  If you have the opportunity to do this activity I highly recommend it.

How was your week?  Are you off for break? Do you have big plans?  I would love to hear all about it. We have 2 1/2 days then our break begins. Woo hoo! Have a wonderful week friends and be sure to check out all the other Five for Friday posts.