Friday, January 30, 2015

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday Fun.

This is my new favorite art project for rienforcing the concept of symmetry. This math lesson comes up during our artic/habitats unit - talk about PERFECT! It's quick, easy, and cute!

All you do is draw a 3 on the fold.
 Add a wing and a foot.
 Fold, press, and TA-DA! I like the one in the middle that looks angry.
 I have a new incentive this year.... "lunch with the teacher"! Instead of picking out a prize when they fill their incentive chart, they can choose a coupon to have lunch with me in our classroom. Today was a day they could redeem the coupons and I enjoyed the individualized time with two of my students. I learn so much about them when we can just talk and laugh over lunch. It's more of a treat for me :)

I received these beautiful flowers from a family this week. Spring is on it's way!

This has been the most popular sensory table so far this year - kinetic sand. It has the coolest feel and molds into any shape! While it may look like a pile of sand...to the untrained eye... it is actually the planet Mars according to my Kinders.


I introduce chapter books to my Kinders after December. I always start with 5 Cheesy Stories by Patsy Clairmont. It is an adorable book about a family of mice who live in a forgotten box of Christmas candy in a pantry. Each story follows one of the mice on an adventure and teaches a life lesson such as "you can't believe everything you hear".

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pajama Day

What better way to fight the "below zero blues" of January than with a pajama day! My students came in their P.J.s and slippers along with a favorite stuffed animal. I set up several tents throughout the classroom the night before for them to read in.

We made pancakes for our morning snack. Each student helped stir the batter while practicing their counting skills. Some counted by 2's, 5's, or 10's during their turn and others I gave a number and they had to count on (43, 44, 45...) Then they each had a chance to flip a pancake! There was a lot of laughter! We had several conjoined pancakes by the end of it. And many burnt-ish pancakes - my specialty! (They just needed a little extra syrup, that's all.) The leader of the day brought two kinds of syrups for us to try with our pancakes. Afterwards we graphed our favorite - this year it was an equal liking for maple and blueberry.

The other classrooms were jealous of the delicious smell coming from our room!

We read If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff  and talked about its circular story pattern - circular just like a pancake. I had to laugh, beacause on one page I asked the class "Why do you think the pig wants her picture taken?" A student responded, "To put on Facebook!" Haha!

We also read The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood while highlighting the growing pattern of the story. I took drawings of each character and taped them to wooden building blocks. We stacked the blocks as each character piled onto the next one in the story.

"What can you find that measures 3 pancakes?" was our math challenge of the day. I cut out 4inch pancakes for students to measure with. It was a great critical thinking exercise.

I am slowly introducing the concept of subtraction until we get to that unit. I want my class to be familiar with the vocabulary prior to jumping right in.  We read a version of There Were 10 in a Bed  and acted out the story with teddy grahams. Each time the little one said "Roll over!", we rolled one teddy graham off the bed and into our mouths. I would say the subtraction problem and then call up a student to write the difference on the whiteboard.

We wrote in our journals about our day by copying the sentence: "Today was pajama day." I encouraged them to write a second sentence of their own. At the beginning of the year I focus on phonemic writing/inventive spelling - stretching out the word and writing down the sounds they hear. Now, at this point in the year, I take it a step further and model "finger spacing" between words, starting with a capital letter, and ending with a punctuation mark.

I drew names to see which 3 students could put their nap mats in each of the 3 tents set up in the room.

Pajama day was a success! However, I did get a lot of grief for wearing pajamas from my colleagues,"In a rush this morning?" They also advised me not to run errands after school - unless I was shopping at Wal-mart. They were just jealous. :) Who doesn't love being comfy? I think I might plan a "sweatpants day" next month...

Monday, January 5, 2015

Who Has These Feet? Class Book FREEBIE

We are currently finishing the Animals unit in our reading curriculum. One of my favorite literacy activities I added this year was reading Who Has These Feet? by Laura Hulbert.


On each page it shows a close up picture of a certain animal's feet. We choral read the question: "Who has these feet?" Before turning the page, we took turns guessing which animal the feet belonged to.  I love that this book includes cool facts about how various foot features help each animal.

We made our own Who Has These Feet? class book.

I took pictures of each student's "feet" for the illustrations.

They added their names along with a self portrait on the second page. So cute!

Click HERE to download this FREE book template
This book has been frequently checked out of our classroom library. Click on the link above to download the FREE template to make your own class book!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bag of Tricks: Fishy Words Game

We've all been there... you finished an activity or story and you have an awkward 5 minutes to fill. Too short to start anything new, but you don't want to waste 5 whole minutes of teaching time!
Here is a quick game to practice sight words that only takes a few minutes - Fishy Words!
I can't remember where I first came across this idea (I'm thinking the Mailbox magazine) but my kids never tire of it and it's a great way to reinforce our sight word recognition skills.

 It's pretty much a version hangman - my students need to figure out my mystery sight word before I finish drawing my (highly artistic) fish.

1) Pick a sight words and draw a line for each letter and a seaweed patch for incorrect letters.
(Sorry about the picture quality...)
2) Call on students to shout out letters. For each incorrect letter guessed, draw it in the seaweed patch and add one part to the fish.

Turns out "has" is not the word I'm thinking of.

3) If they guess the word before you finish drawing Nemo - they win!

The entire class has to shout out the word together to "officially" win the game.

But... if you add the last bubble - you win!

To modify this game to fit with your themes throughout the year, simply change the picture to draw. Instead of a fish you can draw a snowman (Olaf), flower, butterfly, spider, or any other animal your drawing skills can handle. (Remember, kindergarteners will think anything you draw is a masterpiece! They are a great crowd.)