Friday, October 23, 2015

Five for (Fall Break) Friday

I love a beautiful October day! And, if it happens to include a day of Fall Break it's even better! October in northwest Indiana is very pretty. The leaves are amazing right now. In honor of this colorful season my Five for Friday features all things fall.


My kinders worked hard on making numbers to five in various ways using my Apple Basket Number Sense activities. To round out the lessons we made these cute apple baskets to add some fall color to our room (and, to show off their learning of course).

My set includes 42 pages of number sense activities that are perfect for this time of year.
 Purchase it HERE. (PS you can get just the craftivity for free in my store.)

Beautiful autumn leaves. To create some lovely leaves for our hallway tree we had fun sponge painting these papers. I had traced a leaf shape on the back before painting. The kids cut them out once the paint had dried. Because the sponge painting was random they were surprised to see the results. They will stay up until Thanksgiving ~ by then we will need to make some snow for the tree!

Scrappy Owls have come to roost in our tree branches. We made these cuties using my freebie and some left over scrapbook paper I found in the hall. (When we teachers come in to set up for the up-coming year anything that is no longer wanted/needed it put out into the hall with a "Free to a Good Home" sign. I scored a stack of pretty paper from the cast-off pile!) I think the kids did a great job ~ each owl is so cute and unique. 

 Get this craftivity HERE. Please rate it if you download it. And, if your kids make them I'd LOVE to see them. Post a link in the comments or send pictures to via Facebook.

Hedgehogs! I wanted to do something different this year on our hallway bulletin board. (It's to the right of my door & the tree is to the left of my door.) Like our leaves & owls, this bulletin board will take us through November. (Which is great because my youngest, Gabrielle, is getting married in November & I'm not sure how creative I'm going to be until after the wedding...) The cute little hedgies are made from paper plates ~ I folded them & pre-cut the head/snout before the kids painted them. Once dry, I stapled them along the edges & the kids glued on the paper spines, wiggle eyes, and pompom noses. I've never used glue sponges, and really wished that I had some for this craft. But, in lieu of glue sponges I put some white glue into milk bottle caps. (We have a ton of them on hand because our PTO is saving them to have benches made for our playground. Check out the program HERE.) I figured  using 18 caps for glue wouldn't set back our bench goal too badly. :-)

I asked our kindergarten TA to put some words up for our hedgehog bulletin board ~ I wasn't picky, I just thought we needed it to say something. Well, not only did she come up with a title, she created this fabulous harvesting hedgehog! She is a wonder! She looked at some pictures online & painted it!

Trip to the apple orchard with some of my girls (Gabrielle had to work). Sarah (in last car) is also a kindergarten teacher so she was on Fall Break. Emily, in the front car, is an author and sets her own hours. (Check her out on Facebook.) What a fun activity for a crisp fall day!

 A ride on the Moo Choo is a must!

 A harvest of cuties! My little darling granddaughters in a giant cornucopia.

 Enjoying apple cider on the front porch of the apple orchard's big barn.

Background papers by:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Playing with Shapes

As any early childhood educator knows kids learn best through play. This was proven recently by my class as we were learning about shapes. In addition to our "regular" lessons on shapes my Kinders had lots of hands-on experiences with shapes. The materials were introduced during whole group lessons, but then were placed in our "math baskets" for lots of exploritory play.

Super cheap coffee stirrers are perfect for making shapes with sides & corners. I cut some in half so the kids could make rectangles & various sizes of squares during this whole group lesson.

In another whole group lesson we added some Wikki Stix to create shapes with curves, shapes with straight lines, and shapes with curves & straight lines. 

Once this little guy discovered that the Wikki Stix fit into the ends of the coffee stirrers we had all sorts of interesting shapes. After we were done with this lesson I put everything into a basket & the kids had fun playing with them during our free play times.

We started learning the names & properties of solid shapes as a whole group. But, the fun began once I put the shapes into a math basket. That's when the kids really learned which shapes can roll or can be stacked. They also compared & matched faces while building some pretty interesting structures.

The cool outcome of all this play is that when I tested my kiddos everyone was able to name the flat shapes & nearly everyone was able to name the solid shapes! Even those who couldn't remember the names of the solid shapes could tell me why some could roll & others couldn't & the names of the faces. CCSS standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.G.B.4 Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes ~ check!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Five for Friday


Happy Friday!  This week just flew by! We were super busy with lots of fun and learning. I'm happy that I am linking up once again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's Five for Friday.

 OK, I know this has nothing to do with school, but I wanted to share the mimosa bar we had at my daughter's bridal shower. I made the sign using the Designer's Calender Cricut cartridge and fancy scrapbook paper. It's hanging from gold ribbon with tiny gold clothespins I found at Michaels. I found the juice bottles in the Dollar Spot at Target. 

Inquiry based play starring my darling granddaughters. I have always been a big proponent of open-ended play. It is so fun watching my little cuties explore and use their imaginations.

Amelia is fascinated with the seashells sent by my niece who lives on Virginia Beach. 

Olivia is delighted by the color exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. I have loved that museum since I was a child, had fun visiting with my daughters, and am so excited to be able to share it with my grandchildren. If you are ever in Chicago you need to go there.

Isabella had fun moving magnetic shapes in this hands-on exhibit.

Monarch butterflies! Our county Agriculture vocational program is housed on our campus, and the Ag students do several program for the Kinders throughout the year. In the fall we get to learn about Monarch butterflies in the courtyard. This brave little guy let one walk on his hand before being released. 

 Busy Builders. I have a class of builders this year! We are fortunate to be allowed time for play. During our 20 minutes of free play at the end of the day the Kinders get to use their imaginations ~ no technology allowed! We use the tablets & computers for learning, but not for play. I figure the kids probably get more than enough screen time at home, so I want to give them the opportunity to play with things that run on kid power, not battery power.

This is a pretty impressive structure! I love his proud smile.

This little guy is an airplane builder. He and another little boy make a fleet of planes from these interlocking toys. Once created, they fly all around the classroom.

Building & sorting. 

These girls were having fun with Duplo. 

I traced the kids' hands & asked my teaching assistant to cut them out for the trunks of these cute trees so they sould be true representations of their little hands. The kids cut the green leaves & used their fingers to paint the apples. 

I love my teaching partner despite the fact that she has a big red bird on her shirt.  Go Cubbies!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Five for Friday

It has been sooooo long since I have linked up with Doodle Bugs for a Five for Friday. I really neglected my little blog last year, hopefully I can do a better job this year. :-)


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On Monday morning my phone rang at 5:30 (after I was in the shower of course) informing me of a 2 hour fog delay. (We get them a lot in our rural area,) It was really foggy, but because I live just a few minutes away from the school I decided to go in early to get some work done before the kids came in at 9:35. At 8:05 my cell rang ~ I was horrified to see the caller ID read our central office's number. School was cancelled! On the EIGHTH day of school! We already had a make-up day before some places even started school! But, as you can see by the pictures just outside my classroom the fog never lifted enough to make travel safe in time for the day to count. It really didn't clear up until after 10:00. (Bye bye Friday of Presidents' Day Weekend...)

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I am fortunate to teach in a school where the administration understands the importance of play. We have 20 minutes of unstructured play every day! Here are a few pictures that I took today.

These little guys have been working on perfecting a block ramp for cars all week. Every day it's a little different as they try to figure out how to get the cars to run the length of their race track.

More constructive play ~ domino structures, play doh, and linking "things" (I don't know what they are called...)

Pretend play ~ fishing, farm, and restaurant. The little girls are using books from the library as cookbooks. (Get the number formation posters in the fishing picture HERE.)

Get this free poster HERE to hang in your room to show your support for the importance of play. (Hey ~ if Albet Einstien supported play, then so should school administrators!)

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This past summer I decided that I wanted a low table so the kids could sit on the floor to work. I found this gem for $5.00! The kids love it. It's a popular writing space, and often during our "Book Time" (which is time for enjoying books with friends, not quiet Read to Self) I find 2 or 3 little boys under it with the Spiderman book!

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Yay! My first Donors Choose project was funded! Thanks to an anonymous donor I now have two great iPod Touches for our Listening Center. It's going to take some time to load all of my CDs onto iTunes, but so far I have nine titles with cover pictures I found on Amazon. I'm so excited for this new addition to my classroom.

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We made these cute wormy apples this week to hang on this AMAZING tree that our creativly talented kindergarten teaching assistant made for the wall just outside my classroom. It's hot glued to the wall so it should stay up for a long time. It will be so much fun to decorate for the different seasons! (I'm thinking it will turn into an oak for October, and some sort of flowering tree come spring.)

Now it's your turn to share Five for Friday! Have a great Labor Day Weekend!