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Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring Time is Planting Time

We are kicking off April with a Plant unit. I love this time of year. The kinders are so excited to be at school and are maturing right before my eyes! I especially love how they are growing into such independent learners. Speaking of growing, have you read the folktale "Tops and Bottoms" by Janet Stevens?

I'll be reading "Tops and Bottoms" by Janet Steven. 
I use Deanna Jump & DeeDee Wills' Guided Reader lessons to integrate kindergarten skills using this Folktale. Their 5 day plan goes over key ideas and details, craft and structure, as well as integration of knowledge and ideas.  If you are looking for a way to do more than just read a story to your class then click the picture to check these guided reading lessons out!

 Guided Readers

Riddle Time

I thought it would be fun to create a slide show of Vegetable Riddles and Garden Giggles to help with our vocabulary. It is themed to go along with our mentor text "Tops and Bottoms".I just uploaded it today to TpT. Click on the picture to check it out in my store.


Another favorite thing I like to do with the kinders in my class is plant Grass Heads. All you need are knee highs, soil, quick-grow grass seed and clear plastic punch cups or bowls. I like to add wiggly eyes after school to surprise the kids.  This is a picture of one of my former students giving his Grass Head a trim before taking it home!

Sensory Center

My centers will definitely include a sensory bin. I just happened to have a bag full of little plastic fruits and vegetables so I whipped up a sorting mat to add to the sensory bin. Mr. Greg at Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Marsha McGuire at Differentiated Kindergarten have awesome carrot themed centers that I will also add to the bin through out our Plant unit.


I love poetry and my all time favorite resources are DeeDee Wills' Poetry Stations and Shared Reading. These are poems on steroids! There are 5 days of activities to teach a wide variety of kindergarten reading skills like; craft and structure, phonics skills, print concepts, and fluency. This week we are doing "Plant Song". The words are piggy-backed onto "The Wheels on the Bus". The kinders love the catchy tune and the words teach plant vocabulary in a fun and memorable way.
Well that's all for now. 
Check back later when our chick eggs arrive! 


Thursday, March 16, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day Emergent Reader

‘Tis a lucky time of year when St. Patrick’s Day comes around. To help you make this a magical time in your classroom I created a St. Patrick’s Day emergent reader that is packed full of high frequency words and vocabulary. It also has follow along touch dots to aid in tracking left to right. Just click on the title to find “We Can Find His Pot of Gold” on TpT.

Tis A Lucky Set of Word Families

While you are visiting my store, check out my St. Patrick's themed set of Word Families. “Tis a Lucky Set of Word Families” provides virtually every CVC word possible! The BEST part is all of the cards have been designed to be used with pool noodles without cutting off any of the graphics! The special tabs are color coded by vowels which makes it easy to quickly organize the specific skill you want your students to work on.

The onset letters are printed on shamrocks. There are additional slides with multiples of the same letters for ease in copying.

The ending rhymes are printed on gold coins and include
the following word families:
ab, ag, an, ap, at, eb, ed, eg, en, et, ib, id, ig, im, in, ip, it, ix, ob, og, on, op, ot, ox, ub, ug, un, up
You can print multiples of the coin pages to offer more choices to the students.

Finally there are 26 rhyming pairs of CVC pictures. These pictures can be used in a sensory bin or pot to pull out and match. They can also be used with the shamrocks and gold coin cards to help students think of words to create as well as match words to pictures.

All together there are 21 slides of onset letters, ending rhymes, and rhyming pictures. Just print on cardstock, cut apart and laminate for durability.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. If you are planning to share some Lucky Charms with your kiddos on St. Patrick's Day then here's a FREEBIE just for you! It's a sorting mat and graphing page for those yummy Lucky Charms marshmallows.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Presidents' Day and a FREEBIE or two!

I love teaching the kindergartners about our Founding Fathers. Each year we learn to sing all of the presidents' names to the tune of Yankee Doodle. I have been doing this for 28 years so every four years or so I have to update the bookmark I give to the kinders so they can practice their song at home. There is a link at the end of this post where you can download the bookmark. I created a slide to put on the Smart board for kinders to follow along with when we sing the song in class. Click on the caption below the picture to get your free copy!

In addition to reading some terrific books about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln I created some literacy and math centers to help the kinders practice their letters, sounds, spelling CVC and CVCe words as well as counting.
Here's a preview of the President's Day Super Centers that I have listed in my TpT store:

I found some star shaped mini erasers at Target back in July and decided to use them in the President's Day Super Centers. For fine motor strengthening I picked up some Theraputty off of Amazon. I plan to use it each month by just switching out the small objects that I place inside of each tub of putty. I placed several erasers in each tub and supplied a graphing mat for the kinders to find and graph all of the erasers. This one has been a huge hit with everyone!

I used a Sharpie pen to label 36 star shaped mini erasers to go along with the CVC mats. I placed these in a tub of rice and supplied some Joyce Chen chop sticks to pick out the erasers. If you can't find the mini erasers then you can always use the star cards that are included with President's Day Super Centers.

Write the Room is always a favorite with the kinders. They love looking around for the cards. I have included recording sheets for counting objects, ten frames 0-10 and 10-20.

There are also differentiated CVC and CVCe Write the Room cards and recording sheets. Here are a few samples of what you will find in the President's Day Super Centers.

You get 41 pages of great centers to use for President's Day! You just print, laminate and go! But...before you go check out another fine motor FREEBIE!
 This is my Star Studded President's Day Pokey Pin packet. All you need are some push pins, pink erasers for storing your push pins and the copies of the President's Day Pokey Pin pages. You can have the students work on your carpet or supply them with fun foam pieces to work on. I typically dull down the push pins on the concrete to make them a bit safer. :) 

Click on the words to access the President's Day Bookmark FREEBIE 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

That week....

I call it the limbo week. It is the week between Thanksgiving and the first full week of December. I am planning to do a quick theme on hibernation. We've had some frosty mornings here in St. Louis but no snow yet. With the leaves almost all off the trees it is easier to see the wildlife so calling attention to what the animals do in winter will be perfect.

I love the book, "Bear Snores On" by Karma Wilson. It came with our Treasures series which also included a set of sequencing cards. I like to show it on the smart board to grab the student's attention. Being able to see the pictures and hear the story on the large white board seems to engage the students a little better than trying to focus on the book in my hand. I will revisit the book later when I want to recall specific details. 
A good Youtube version of this story can be found here: Bear Snores On

Leslie Hope has a really cute "Bear Snores On" Literacy and Math Activities Set on TpT that I use to extend this book in the classroom.

For my fluency practice at school and at home I created an emergent reader "Go To Sleep, Little Friend". It is found in my Emergent Readers for December and Winter bundle.  This emergent reader shows five animals sleeping in their natural habitat. It targets the following high frequency words: a, can, go, I, is, it, little, see, the, to. The vocabulary Words that are introduced in the reader include: bat, bear, frog, snake, squirrel, sleep, friend.


Another fun book to read is "Hibernation Station" by Michelle Meadows.  It has an adorable rhyming text that introduces children to different types of hibernating animals. I absolutely love the pictures of the animals in their pajamas!

I think a fun way to end our week of studying animals that hibernate would be to have Pajama Day! We could pull out the Finger Lights and read our books about animals that sleep in the winter with the lights off!  

You can find 40 Finger Lights on Amazon for $8.29. Let me tell you, the kids love them!

I hope this post will help you through the limbo week!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Magical Wizards Behavior Clip Chart

A colleague of mine mentioned that her class was called the Wizards. I thought that theme would look pretty cool in the Behavior Clip Charts especially when I found some vibrant  Watercolor Star Papers on TpT from Creative Clips! If your classroom mascot is a wizard this may be the clip chart for you!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Foreign Exchange Student Fun in St. Louis

In my previous blog I shared some insights about hosting a foreign exchange student. We were amazed to see how many cool things there are to do in St. Louis. We live about 20 minutes from downtown and every time we traveled that direction our motto became "You can't go to downtown St. Louis without stopping at Ted Drewes for frozen custard!" Our German daughter, Isabell, said she always had room for ice cream! Enjoy our pics from in and around St. Louis:

Yummy Chocolate!

Backstage Tour

The girls at the Old Courthouse.

Heading up in the Arch

Tom Sawyer Riverboat Cruise

Strike a pose!

St. Louis Ball Park Village

Isabell's First Baseball Game!

It was a great game!

View from the Arch at night - Fireworks were a bonus
as a result of the grand re-opening of the Riverfront!

The Blue Owl in Kimmswick

Billikens Basketball Game 

St. Louis Union Station

Elephant Rock

Baby chicks from my classroom

High School Prom at The Falls

One of our MANY trips to Ted Drewes!

A New Experience for Our Family

In January we volunteered to host a foreign exchange student who was displaced by a local flood. Her former host family had to move in with their relatives and there wasn't room for Isabell. We had the room and our daughter already knew Isabell from school. We found out a lot of things with this experience. 1) two teenage girls make more noise than one! 2) you never really know someone until they come to live with you! 3)we don't eat enough vegetables! 4) St. Louis has sooo many cool places we had never been to and 4) we really enjoy showing off our great country!
    Not too many things make you a prouder American then when you have the opportunity to show off our city, state and country. We flew out to Vegas after school was out because Isabell wanted to see the Grand Canyon. Here are a few wonderful things we were able to experience with our German daughter (she's the tall one) on that trip:

I would be remiss if I didn't share some of our fun times in St. Louis too! I will share some of those activities in my next blog post!