Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers Through Tragedy

Words can't describe how I felt hearing about the terrible tragedy in Connecticut. I was with my own kindergarten babies when I found out and I just wanted to hug them all and never let go. As teachers, this hits too close to home for all of us. I can't fathom evil this big. I am praying for healing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Show Us What You Bought! And the Elf arrives...

I was loving the huge sale TPT had over Black Friday weekend, so I'm participating in the "Show Us What You Bought" linky from Blog Hoppin'! I'm super excited to use the few units I bought.

Trust me when I say there were a lot more that I wanted to buy, but I had to FORCE myself to leave it on my wishlist! Ha! Here's what did make it through the check-out line:

1. Morning Math by Donna Glynn
2. 10 Frame Flash Cards by Donna Glynn (love that these are already made for me now!)
3. The Backpack Boogie: Centers and Games for Back to School by Growing Kinders
4. Autumn Math and Literacy Centers by Deanna Jump and Julie Lee (love)

Can't wait to put all of these new centers together! And how perfect is Donna's Morning Math? Her worksheets will be great for bellwork or a quick warm-up. Thanks ladies!

I also wanted to thank everyone who purchased my Shapes Galore for the Common Core! unit and my new Deck the Halls {12 Christmas Math and Literacy Centers} unit during the sale. I so appreciate your support and I have been blown away by your kind, kind comments about each of those products. I don't feel worthy! :)

Today The Elf on the Shelf made its first appearance of the year. After much debating and voting, we decided that his name would be "Elfie the Elf". Original, I know. I was kinda rooting for Carlos... or School Shelf. School Shelf the Elf, now doesn't that have a nice ring to it? Oh well, I wasn't in charge of naming him...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently

What? December already? I love participating in Farley's Currently linky every month. It's fun finding out about new blogs that way!

I'm very excited... The Elf on the Shelf makes its first appearance in my classroom tomorrow! Last year my kids had an absolute ball with it so I'm hoping this year's group loves it just as much... I mean, how can you not? And it's the best behavior motivator ever! So fun!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Deck the Halls {12 Math and Literacy Centers Unit} and a SALE!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Did any of you venture out and go shopping on Black Friday? I did... found some great deals! The good news is, great shopping deals don't end today! TPT is throwing a HUGE sale where you can get discounts up to 28% off at all your favorite shops! I am going to be participating as well, and every product in my store will be 20% off - just use the code CMT12 to get the additional discount! I've got 4 units available for purchase: Shapes Galore for the Common Core (my best selling product!), Deck the Halls {12 Christmas Math and Literacy Centers} (my BRAND NEW product!), ABC Order Picture Sort Pack, and Plants and Living Things Observation Journal.

Click on the picture below to go straight to my TPT store!
Thanks to Ashley Hughes for the adorable banner!
I have created a brand new unit just in time for the holidays: Deck the Halls {12 Math and Literacy Centers for Christmas}! It includes 12 fun, hands on centers with response sheets for every station! Some of the activities include -at/an family word building, sight word practice, dice games, 2 different Santa labeling activities, ordering numbers, more/less board games, rhyming words, counting on activities, and more! It is the perfect addition to your December activities! Click on the preview picture below to go directly to the unit in my shop to download the preview and check it out!
Happy shopping! I know I'm going to be filling up my cart in preparation for the big sale!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Smorgasboard of activities and a Thanksgiving FREEBIE!

Happy Sunday, friends! It's been a few weeks since I last updated about the activities I have going on in my classroom, so today's blog will be a relative smorgasboard of different activities! And I've got a Thanksgiving math station freebie at the end, so make sure to read the whole thing! :)

Awhile back we wrapped up our colors unit - I think that's one of my favorite units to teach because there are so many great activities you can do. We learned color word songs to help us learn how to read and write them and the kids love them so much that they'll just randomly burst into song throughout the day! We make a fancy color songs flip book for them to take home and practice with their families. (Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it!) We also read Pete the Cat (of course) and created the little sentence building craftivity that's all over Pinterest. They cut up their sentence, put it back in order, and then built their Pete the Cat with the color shoes that their sentence had.

We also read The Crayon Box That Talked - I love that book - and I created a response sheet for the kids to complete. Below is my partially completed version that I did with the kids under the document camera. On the back, the kids had to combine all the things the character drew in the story to make an illustration with "lots of details". I challenged them to fill up the entire picture space (easier said than done for a 5-year old on an 11x17 piece of paper) and most of them did! My kids have been so cute with their writing and illustrations -- they'll ask me, "Did I use lots of details?" or "Look at all the good details I used!" I've noticed a big change in their writing because of it... love it!

We've also been working on a ton of labeling activities, still. Our latest vocab from our reading series was clothing words, so one of my amazing (former) teammates made up this little draw and label clothing activity - it's so funny to see how they draw themselves! I love the meticulousness of the striped shirt! Haha!

I didn't end up doing TONS of Halloween activities with my kiddos -- I mostly incorporated those activities into their math and literacy center time. We are currently finishing up our bat unit, so I'll post all of those activities when we are done! The kids are loving it. In the meantime, here are a few things that I did do. We sang the poem "5 Little Pumpkins" and created this craftivity to practice working with our ordinal numbers. I wish I had a picture of one of the completed versions my kids did -- theirs turned out much more cute and colorful! Here's the model I created to show them:

I also made a version of this poem that I got from A Place Called Kindergarten for the kids to work on in their interactive notebooks. We highlighted sight words we knew and then drew all the characters we read about in the poem! If you haven't checked out Mrs. Bell's blog, PLEASE go and see her posts on interactive notebooks! She has some fantastic ideas!

 Poem idea from Mrs. Bell at A Place Called Kindergarten

And finally, some quality gifts courtesy of my kinder kids. Haha. Love the "ghost poop"! ;)

Okay, okay, you've stuck with me this long! Thank you! Now for the FREEBIE! I made a little Thanksgiving themed math station for counting on from a given number in a known sequence. This concept has been a little tough for some of my kiddos so I thought this math station would be a fun way to practice it. Click on the picture below to get to my TPT store and download it for free! Enjoy! :)


Friday, November 2, 2012

Currently November!

Wait, what?! It's November? Did we even have the month of October? It went by too fast... but the good news is, November means a new "Currently" linky from Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade!

I'm going to have a Thanksgiving themed math freebie in my next blog post, so be sure to check back in a few days! In the meantime, here's what I'm "currently" up to!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spooktacular Sale!

Thanks to Abby at The Inspired Apple for making this adorable graphic!

I am joining in in the Spooktacular Savings Sale on TPT with dozens of your other favorite bloggers! From now through Sunday October 28th, everything in my store will be 20% off. You can find my best selling product, Shapes Galore for the Common Core, and an ABC Order Sort Literacy Pack! Head over here to my store by clicking on one of the two photos below to take advantage of the 2-day sale!

Shapes Galore for the Common CoreShapes Galore for the Common Core

I'll be back next week to share all the fun things we did for Halloween/Fall!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

{Shapes Galore for the Common Core!} Teaching Unit

I am excited to announce a new product I just posted on TeachersPayTeachers and Teacher's Notebook... Shapes Galore for the Common Core! This unit includes fun activities and resources for 2D and 3D shapes and meets the common core standards! This unit is perfect for teaching and reinforcing skills about shapes. It includes posters, word wall cards, and math ring vocab cards for 2D shapes and fun activities such as shape hunts, spinner games, sorting mat/pocket chart activities for 2D/3D shapes, and more! Check out the two preview images below:

You can click on the cover page below to take you to the product in my TPT store, or click on any of the two links to my stores in the right sidebar on my blog.
Shapes Galore for the Common Core

Along with using the resources from my unit, here are a few other shape activities I did with my kiddos. To learn about shapes and their attributes (how many sides, etc.) we create a fun shape people book. When they create the shape people, they have to make the eyes, nose, and mouth into whatever shape the body is. Here's a sample from the "square" page in my teacher created book:

We also do a lot of work in interactive math journals. To make life easier with labeling pages to show what activity we are working on, I just print the words on sticky mailing labels and there is no gluing involved! When we were learning about hexagons, since they are super tricky for my kinders to draw, they each got a plastic shape manipulative and traced them all over the page. The 3D shape (cube) attributes and circle map page shown next to the hexagon page is included in my new shapes unit!

To continue on with 3D shapes, we sang this poem often and the kids would take turns holding each 3D shape in the air whenever they heard the name of the shape read aloud.
Source: Pinterest

And we used marshmallows and round toothpicks (they're not sharp) to build 3D shapes! They LOVED building these!

Hopefully you can use some of these activities in your own classroom! Thanks for checking out my unit on TPT! :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Currently October!

It's October already, which means... time for the Currently Link-Up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade! I really can't believe it's time for October and Fall and pumpkins and everything that goes with it because it is still a cool 100 degrees here in the desert. I'm so ready for jackets and crisp weather but we won't get it for awhile here so I'll live vicariously through you all!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Labeling activity, Freebie, and a Giveaway!

Well, a month and a half into school and we have been rockin' and rollin' with ourselves! My class has been amazing and they keep impressing me every single day with their learning. I'm currently knee-deep in benchmark testing for the first time this year, but in the meantime we've been busy working on colors, beginning sounds, letters, writing skills, shapes, and counting. One thing I like to do to help my kids practice their early writing skills at the beginning of the year is labeling activities. I'll usually post the words either on the word wall, at the writing center, or on the whiteboard for the kids to use as references to label their pictures. For some reason, when we do these labeling activities, their handwriting turns out more beautiful than anything they've ever written before! I made up an activity sheet and matching word cards for our latest labeling activity we did this week using animal naming words. I hung up the four word cards on the board for them to look off of:

Then, using them as a reference, they labeled their animals on the activity sheet and then colored the picture.

You can download the animal naming words labeling sheet and word cards for FREE here on Google Drive (formerly Google Docs!): 

Animal Naming Words Labeling Sheet** (read note below about printing)

**One thing to note about the Labeling sheet - I made it to be printed on LEGAL-sized paper, so you'll have to manually go in on the PDF and change it to print on that size or else it will automatically print it to 8 1/2x 11 paper. Hope that makes sense! I wanted the kids to have as much room as possible to write their words.

Now for the exciting news - Heather over at the blog Heather's Heart is having an AMAZING giveaway just cause she loves us! 2 winners will get a $50 Target gift card, a $25 Lakeshore gift card, and a $25 TPT gift card! Woah! You know teachers love shopping at all 3 of those places! How generous of her! Check out the giveaway here: Heather's Heart Giveaway ....and hurry! There's only 3 hours left to enter!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Practicing Writing Concepts With Predictable Charts

One of the biggest things my kinder team takes pride in is our students' ability to do some amazing writing by the time the end of the year rolls around. At the beginning of the year, I'm always referring to the things that "good writers do" and we create an anchor chart together to leave up on the wall for the whole year. One of the strategies I've found most helpful is for my students to participate in shared writing with predictable charts. A great resource for learning how to implement these in your classroom is this book, Predictable Charts: Shared Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

After we learn a new sight word, I have each student dictate a sentence using the same sentence stem so that they see it used over and over and I record their sentences on chart paper like this:

After each sentence, you write their name on the end in parentheses (mine aren't shown). Every time I write a sentence, I make a huge deal about using a capital letter at the beginning, "finger spaces" and a period at the end. I usually do the predictable charts during my morning message time and have about 4-5 kids a day go so that by the end of the week, my whole class is done! Once I have every student's sentence recorded, I type each sentence out and give the kids theirs in one strip:

I have them cut off their name first and glue it in the corner of the writing paper:

Then they cut up each word in their sentence - I tell them to cut on the "finger spaces"! - and then glue them back in order on the writing lines.

After they glue their sentence back together, they have to copy and write their sentence exactly like the one that was typed out, practicing all of their things that "good writers do", and then illustrate!

Some get it and they come out great!

Others need a bit more practice.... :)

But either way it is a early-kinder writing strategy that I love using in my classroom! And my kiddos always think it is the coolest thing that they get their very own sentence to use. I love that they are excited about everything at this age! One of the things I love most about kinder is how much amazing growth they make throughout the year, especially in writing!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blog Hoppin' Freebie Friday {a few days late!}

Okay, okay, yes. I am late to the party for Freebie Friday. But the good news is, you get something free even though it is no longer Friday! Everyone likes free, right?

The first freebie I am offering is something new I created last year to go with a new Kindergarten Common Core Standard -- word endings! Students are to be able to tell what a word means based on its ending. To help my kiddos visually, I created word ending picture cards and a reference poster to help them with meaning. These are great for K-2 visual anchor charts!

The second freebie you can grab is a center game for reading, writing, and matching color words! You can find it in my TPT store, along with a monsters uppercase/lowercase letter matching game, for free! Here is the color word center in action with some of my kiddos last year:

Click here to go to my TPT store and get my other two freebies: Onward to my store!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Where I Work Wednesday : {Teacher Week}

UPDATE 8/23: I posted pictures of "where I work" last week, so here is the blog post again that I'm editing to be included in Teacher Week: Where I Work Wednesday! Enjoy!

Though I have gotten through one full week of school already, I am just now getting around to posting pictures of my classroom! I have been totally swamped the past few weeks between attending meetings, welcoming brand new teachers to my team, and preparing my own things for my class that this is the first time I've actually had the chance to sit and make a post about it. I love how it turned out! Since school is in full swing, you may notice my tables looking more scattered and scraggly with papers and student's items, but try to pretend you don't notice. ;)

So this is what my classroom looked like post-summer cleaning when I first came back in July...

...And ended up looking like this by the time Meet the Teacher Night rolled around! Much better!

This is my book center. I love how it turned out. I accidentally ended up with somewhat of an Eric Carle theme in my room that began when I innocently bought a set of The Very Hungry Caterpillar nametags for my students... and then I ended up making this giant tree, which now houses my kids' incentive charts.

Here's a closer view of the incentive tree...

And these are the charts that are hanging from the branches! How fun!

Next here's my word wall, that I always do a good job of adding our sight words to at the beginning of the year but not so much as the year goes on... it's my goal to be better at that this year!

In front of that is my writing center table that I had to make smaller this year because I have way more students in my class than last year - I had to make it only one table so I could use the other one for my extra students. I bought the 3-drawer thing this year in an attempt to keep my papers more organized for my students to use!

Here's my calendar set-up. I made the red ten frame template (found it on pinterest) since that has been a huge push with the new common core. I'm just going to put velcro on the back of some red/yellow counters and put one up there for every day that we are at school for the month. As you can see I haven't quite finished making it as there is nothing on there and we have been in school for 7 days, haha.

This is where most of the technology happens - desktop computer, laptop, document camera. How did I EVER teach kindergarten without a document camera?? Lifesaver for modeling!

Finally, on the first day of school I noticed some mysterious mustaches that had appeared in my room - I went to tell the kids "rule number 5" on the first day and did a double take when I saw my mustachio'd friend! Then the kids found another one on our line-up poster. It was really my neighbor teacher's boyfriend that was the culprit, but a few of my kids came to the conclusion that it was done by the "Mustache Maker" and he was a bad guy that leaves mustaches everywhere. HA! That's a good enough explanation for me!

So there it is! Thanks for joining me on a tour around my classroom. I've loved seeing what everyone else has done in their rooms so far, too, on various blogs. My class is off to a GREAT start so far with their behavior! Hope it continues!