Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Activities

Here are some of the Christmas activities we have done this month. We made big paper candy canes. Students had to tear the paper stripes and I helped them glitter their names. (Ugh, glitter.....I use it but once a year!)
Another activity is our Grinch activity. We read the book and did a little brainstorming on what the Grinch could do to make Christmas better. Then we completed the story. Students colored a Grinch topper. I found this activity on a blog, but I can't remember where. The kids love doing it. Then we wrapped up the day by watching the movie.You can grab this activity here or by clicking on the picture.
We also made a Christmas tree by putting our numbers in order. Students colored their tree, then glued on the number ornaments and cut the whole thing out. We put them in our classroom window because they looked so nice. You can get this activity here or by clicking on the picture.
Enjoy your last week of school! I know I am!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gingerbread Week

It is Gingerbread Week! We have a lot of fun this week, especially because it is the last week before Winter Break. But, I still want my students to work on language arts and listening skills. We do hunt the Gingerbread Man all over school. He's a sneaky little guy. We also make our Gingerbread Man: Escape Prevention Plan (a unit my class LOVES every year and available on TpT). This year we will be working on a story study. We will be comparing the different versions of the Gingerbread Man (and there are A LOT!) Below is a copy of the book we make about our stories. This book is for beginners. There are no writing lines. I chose to leave out the lines because I do not want my students to get stuck on the idea of writing a formal sentence. I want them to be brave enough to try and write about the story. Even if all I get are color words, I will praise their efforts and make suggestions so that next time that student will feel brave enough to try and write a little more. Take a look at this free story study and I hope you can do this with your own class.

As a family project this week I am asking my students to decorate and write about their gingerbread man. I have formal lines on this sheet because I want parents to help them complete a sentence. They can make their gingerbread man into anything they want. Then they have to finish the sentence "My gingerbread man is ___________." This gets the parents thinking about their child's writing as well and helping the kids with their writing by providing a starter to the sentence.

I hope you and your class have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
And a very merry WINTER BREAK!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gingerbread Man: Escape Prevention Plan

I have put some Gingerbread Man activities up on TpT. My favorite is the Gingerbread Man: Escape Prevention Plan. This is a booklet that the students make, taking the Gingerbread Man apart so that he cannot run away. (Yes, we eat him.)

Our Gingerbread Man hunt starts after we read the book The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray. We chase him into the library, the office, the cafeteria, the 1st grade, and then back to our classroom where he is "sleeping." After we find him students go out to recess and when they come back the Gingerbread Man has been taken to the office to talk with the principal who is "watching him."
 When we get back into class we talk about how we could have stopped the Gingerbread Man from running away. We then begin our Escape Prevention Plan. We all get 5 little paper gingerbread men. We color and cut them out. Then we glue them into our book one step at a time, like this:

As we make our book we also have little gingerbread men cookies. For each step we take the same bite in our cookie. I like the Keebler Gingerbread Men, but there are the Peppridge Farm one and the ones at Trader Joe's. This is probably the best part of the book! Yum!
If you would like to try out the Escape Prevention Plan in your class so that your Gingerbread Man doesn't run away you can get it at my TpT store.  This mini unit also includes some writing activities so that your little ones can write about the Gingerbread Man or can dictate what you write down. (The recipe activity in my unit always turns up some pretty funny kid answers!)


Monday, November 4, 2013

The Pumpkin Project

So my school is literally across the street from a pumpkin patch. We could walk there in 2 minutes. But, I don't take my students for one reason: money. I don't have enough money to take my entire class to get a pumpkin. So, instead we have pumpkin day! I had an amazing grandmother buy each child in my class a small pumpkin so that we could experiment with what a pumpkin was and what it can do. We called it The Pumpkin Project.Usually, when I do not have a generous grandmother I get one pumpkin per table and students investigate in small groups.
This is a picture of one of my students investigating her pumpkin.
1. Observe the pumpkin (we drew pictures).
2. Decide if the pumpkin is big, medium or small.
3. Count how many lines the pumpkin has (I drew a black line so students knew where to start and stop counting).
4. Put the pumpkin in water and see if it sinks or floats.
5. Measure the pumpkin with unifix cubes.
6. Draw what kind of face they wanted on their pumpkin.

I have another version of this where they cut the pumpkin open and count the seeds. That seemed like too much for my TKs.
This picture is of Version 2 of the Pumpkin Project. Version 1 has the seed counting option.

Grab Version 1 and Version 2. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Chocolate Chip Ghost

Here is a quick and fun activity to do in your classroom on those days when you have a little extra time, or to go along with your math or Halloween fun. This story is called 5 Little Ghosts. In my class we call it The Chocolate Chip Ghost because it sounds more fun. :) This is a story you read along with puppets. I made mine out of felt. One side is white and the other side has a color (orange, red, green, purple) and one ghost is white on both sides with chocolate chips on one side.
Ask 5 students to come up while you read the story and act it out with the puppets. We read this story every day, pretty much, in October so that everyone is class gets a chance to be a puppet. This activity teaches colors and ordinal numbers. And, most importantly, it teaches you to listen to your mommy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bats and Pumpkins!

Halloween is in full swing in Kindergarten. We have been working, creating and learning new and silly songs. One of the first crafts we made was our bat hat. It is too cute.
When the kids finish and put it on we all walk around saying, "So and have a bat on your head!" They crack up all day long. Here is the template for the hat. I recommend poster board or card stock for the wings so they stand out.

What else are we doing? Pumpkins! We have been learning about pumpkins all week. We have even entered the PTA Pumpkin Decorating Contest. I have yet to think of a good idea, but when I do I will post it.
Here is our bulletin board outside my classroom. Cute huh?

This is a page in our daily journals. We are working on capital letters, spacing and punctuation. Students have cut apart sentences (GRAB here!!) and they have to glue the sentence in their journal. Then they write the sentence, following all the rules, and then they draw a picture.

We learn the poem 5 Little Pumpkins and act out the poem with puppets. My students have it memorized in about 3 tries. I got these puppets at Michaels.

We make a 5 Little Pumpkins craft with popsicle sticks. I have them glue the poem on it so they can read it at home with their families. Grab the 5 Little Pumpkin craft here.

And of course, the paper plate pumpkin. We painted the plate and added a face to it, then did the life cycle on the back. To get the life cycle pieces go to my Pinterest Fall Activities Board.

We have a lot more Halloween fun to go !

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's October!

It is finally Fall. I always look forward to Fall and then realize how much I have to do with report cards, parent conferences, the Fall Festival and Halloween. Plus, I have to teach!
We kicked off our October with Stellaluna. We made a bat out of construction paper and wrote our own little sight word story retell on the back.
Grab the simple story here.

Another activity we did to go along with the bats theme was Nocturnal vs. Diurnal.
We read the story Where are the Night Animals? by Mary Ann Fraser and do a little sorting of our own.

Students will cut apart the animals and decide if they come out in the day or the night. Get the sorting sheets here.

We also had some fun with our math this week by putting our Spider Web numbers in order. I teach a Transitional Kindergarten class and do one number a week. We have only learned up to 7 so I only asked that my class order to 7. However, my numbers go to 9. If you would like to try some creepy, webby numbers grab them here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pumpkin Reader

Here is a quick freebie!
My Big Orange Pumpkin reader is a cute activity to go along with your pumpkin unit. We are learning how to follow along with our "reading finger" and reading the sight words. Grab it here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Apple Week!

I always do an apple theme in September. Who doesn't? This year I tried a few new ideas, including some of my common core training. We had a pretty successful week, so I thought I would share some of these activities:

The lowercase vowels are already on the tree. Students have to match the capital vowels. 

I begin the lesson with How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro. Once the story is done I cut an apple open sideways so students can see the star inside the apple. They are always amazed. We talk about how a seed can grow into a big tree.

We begin by reading The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons.This activity is done by tearing construction paper to make the leaves, flowers and apples on the tree. They don't get any scissors until it is time to label the picture.

Apple Mobile
I don't have a digital copy of this, but will try to get one soon. Students get to pick the color of their apple. We cut the pieces apart and I help them glue the pieces on the string. The funny part of this activity, and it never fails, is that the students don't understand what we are making until it's done. Then they LOVE it! We take turns going around the room asking each other "Did YOU eat my apple?" It results in lots of giggling. 

 Apple tasting! Yum! We try a slice of a yellow, green and red apple and graph which ones we liked the best!
Common Core Apple Math
 This is an activity from one of my supplement math books. We do counting, number identification, addition and subtraction with this activity. It is a great activity to differentiate for small groups.

Other activities that we do for apple week is reading 10 Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss. I give each child a photograph of themselves and we glue apples (the cut apart ones from Apple Tasting Graphing) on top of our heads! They get the same number of apples as letters in their names. Then we write the letters of their names on their apples. It's very cute.

We do an Apple Investigation Day also. We measure and weigh our apples. We stamp it and write the color word. 

The kids love apple week because EVERYONE LOVES APPLES!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I have been teaching Kindergarten for 8 years now. (Holy cow!!! 8 years!!) Anyway, the Common Core standards are having me teach a brand new shape this year. And, while I don't mind, it is not easy finding resources for this particular shape. I am talking about.......the HEXAGON! Yes, the shape that looks like an octagon, but isn't. Sure, the kids all know the octagon. They love the octagon. And here I am with the hexagon. And I have 40 little eyeballs looking at me like, "hey, lady, that's an octagon....not whatever you said." So we count the sides. We count the corners. We compare to an octagon. Then they get it.....finally. And we do a tasty craft. And once they do this craft, they LOVE the hexagon. It's called the Honeycomb Hexagon and another K teacher at my school came up with it.

We used Honeycombs cereal and it was yummy! Honeycombs go on all 6 corners and one in the middle (for the bumble bees, my students told me). Grab the activity sheet here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Number Book

Common Core has made me a better math teacher. It gave me the direction I needed to supplement my current math curriculum in a way that develops the number sense my Kinders need. We do a lot of activities each day with numbers. I want my students to see a number in many ways. Use this chart from on my Math Focus Wall. It works well to introduce a letter, review, and preview next weeks letter.
 But, I also wanted my kids to "see" the numbers for what they are. I am sharing a project that we are working on right now. It is called My Numbers Book and we take it a page at a time.
As you can see, this is a booklet filled with blank pages. Just copy paper stapled together. I used a die cut for the numbers. It's more visually appealing to my Kinders than writing it. Students need to think about the number direction before gluing it into their book. They shouldn't glue the number in backward. Then we think about the number. I give each student a blank 10 frame. They glue the 10 frame into their book. They color the dots on the 10 frame. Then we think of ways to make the number with our fingers. We do this throughout the day, so this is nothing new. But, we do have to think about how to write that down. I model the writing and students copy it. We think of all the ways we can make the number. When we think we have them all we get to draw pictures. My student in this picture made 2 balloons. I do this in a small group setting. The student who made the book in this picture is a Transitional Kindergarten student and is only 4 years old. Amazing how critical thinking skills can happen at such a young age. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Alphabet Fun Crafts!

As Kindergarten teachers know, getting the kids to work on one letter a week can be...well....boring. We like to spice it up with more than just handouts. We do activities like Highlight a Letter where they get to use a highlighter to color letters. We like to make a snack with foods that start with the letter of the week. We like to make art with the letter of the week. And we like to do the Alphabet Crafts each week. Here is what they look like:
This is the old version of what I using, but it shows the work very well. Each week we do a page like this with a different letter and material. Some of the activities have food and some don't. Of course, the food ones are the most fun. If you would like to do something like this with your kinders, GRAB IT HERE


Monday, September 9, 2013

Sight Word Complete List

It dawned on me, once I saw that someone had pinned an old sight word checklist I made, that I should upload the new one. As one of my grade level team teachers say "it's the pretty one." Haha. So, here you go, the "Pretty Sight Word List."
This is a complete checklist of ALL the Kindergarten words. I teach them by lists (which is part of my Sight Words Unit on TpT) and these words are organized by the lists. Grab the checklist .
Our Kindergarten classes like to challenge each other to who can read the most words. We usually do this at Progress Report Period (which is right now actually) and all who meet the goal get to go to the ice cream party!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Go Away Big Green Monster!

It was green week in our class this week. We painted and constructed a paper plate frog with a party blower as his tongue. We made an alligator picture and read the story Baby Alligator by Robert Munsch. And we read Go Away Big Green Monster. The kids LOVE Big Green Monster.

I read this story and then re-read it using felt pieces on my felt board. The kids love using the felt board for story retell. Then me made a big green monster to hang up in our classroom.
I found a website that has amazing story retell props. It is call KizClub. They have many stories and I am looking forward to using a lot of them. The kids had fun putting their monsters together and I had fun watching them retell the story with their friends as they put their monster together.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Color Week

The last week of August we have Color Week in Kindergarten. Everyday we wear a different color. I send home a note to the parents the week before so we can all wear the color of the day.
For color week we read a lot of books and sing all the color songs. Some of my favorite books for color week are:
1. White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker (We retell this story using a felt board.)
2. Dr. Seuss' My Many Colored Days
3. Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
4. Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch (Kids LOVE this book!)
5. Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

We do color mixing during the week. Of course we are learning to name the colors, but my students always think it's magic to make new colors. I use a page of out The Mailbox's Superbook Kindergarten for my experiment.
 We color the first and second steps with crayons. Then we use tempera paint for the mixing part.
Another activity we do is a Fruit Loop color sort. Here is the mat we use: Fruit Loop Sort

The students will color the mat with their crayons first. (I recommend underlining each color word with their correct color to help the kids do this right.) Then we get a cup of Fruit Loops and sort them on our mat. After we sort we get to eat them!

And of course we color a rainbow. The kids do such a great job on this easy project, but I do recommend underlining the color words with the correct color. I am not trying to test their ability to read color words. I am trying to get them to match colors.
Color Week is a lot of fun!
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