Sunday, April 29, 2012

Word Family Ladders

My kinders have recently discovered the fun of word family word ladders - changing one letter at a time to create new words.  They are especially excited when a letter change makes a new word family.  Click on the link below for the freebie.

Word Wall Linky Party

Garden of Readers

As the year winds down, I like to reflect on just how far my Kinders have come since we first met in August.  Some of them didn't yet know all the letters of the alphbet, and now all of them are reading words!  We recently did this little project to showcase their reading prowess.

Blooming Readers!  The kids has fun creating simple flowers using paper plates and green paper.

Once their flowers were complete, they looked through magazines for words they could read.  The words were collected on the paper plate for my approval - they had to read their words to me before they could glue them onto the flowers.  As you can see by the flower in the lower right corner, this activity was differentiated; this higher level student found harder words.
 This is the first bulletin board seen upon entering our classroom.  Using different borders, I was able to create three different spaces.  It is a nice backdrop to our Listening Center and Popcorn Words Skill Spot. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

If the Dinosaurs Came Back

We recently read If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most.  Like most Kinders, mine really enjoyed our "Dinosaur Week."  Our reading series featured this book, and we extended the theme with more dino activities.  We made these cute little dinosaurs for our classroom bulletin board.  I used my trusty Cricut to make the sign.

I used my newest Cricut cartridge, Create a Critter, to make this.
Volcano!  The kids gathered around me as I was making this.  
 Cute dinos.  It wasn't until I hung them that I realized that I should have given the kids another color for the bodies.  I love the fabric covering this bulletin board, but I will need to use something other than green for the projects that go onto it.  (I have covered all of my bulletin boards with inexpensive fabric from Walmart.  I like the duribility of fabric - staple holes disappear - and it doesn't fade like paper.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Free Stuff and Pencils

Free Stuff

Everyone loves to get Free Stuff!  Especially teachers...  Feed the Children is an international charity that distributes food to children all over the world.  They also have distribution centers where teachers can go to get free items for their classrooms.  (Visit to see a map with locations.)  Schools must be registered and only teachers who have proper ID may enter.  Over Spring Break four of my teacher friends and I piled into the corporation van and drove two hours to the distribution center nearest us.  After filling out the necessary paperwork and showing our IDs, we got to "shop!"  Everyone gets as much stuff from one area that can be fitted into a shopping basket, and as much stuff from another area that you can fit in your vehicle!  Needless to say we were more comfortable on the trip there than we were on the way back!  It was lots of fun sorting through all of the donated items.  We were able to find things that will be used in our own classrooms as well as items that were brought back and shared.  Here are some of the items I found for my classroom.

Three-ring binders.  We were allowed to take a full box of binders!  Everyone should be organized now.

 Glitter paint.  Another "all you want" item.  I took one of each color.  We got some for our Art teacher, too.  I wish I'd had these when we made our butterflies...  Oh well, there will always be something else to paint.

Wall stickers.  Yet another take all you want item (I took two - one for me & one to share). I stuck one package's worth around my room - the Kinders think they're cook!
Items from the "limited quantity" area.  I am excited about the pencil boxes (lower left) because I found something on Pinterest to make using them and didn't want to pay full price for them.  I'd hoped to get them during the Back to School sales this summer.
Finger puppets.
Colored pens, Sharpies, and thumb tacks.  Another item I usually spend my own money on at Back to School Time.
A nifty collapsible vase.

Pencil boxes, accordion folders, paper clips, stickers, page protectors.
My "Big Item."  Everyone gets to pick one big item.  There are all sorts of "Big Items."  This is a super cool colored masking tape dispenser.  One of my teacher friends got a fireproof safe as her big item!  It is amazing the items that are donated.


As you know, pencil sharpeners and Kinders do not mix (at least not very well...).  I keep a supply of sharp pencils on hand for a quick swap whenever a pointy pencil is needed.  In order to keep a constant supply available, I have enlisted two parents to be my Pencil Parents.  About twice a month, I send home a zipper bag full of dull pencils and my wonderful volunteers sharpen them for us!  What a time saver!  This is a great volunteer opportunity for parents who work or have small children at home and cannot come into the classroom, and it is incredibly helpful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Newest Literacy Stations

Because of our four-day Easter weekend, we got off the schedule of starting new Literacy Stations on Mondays.  Last week it did seem strange to begin a new set of activities on Wednesday, but I think I like this new schedule:  No more staying late on Fridays to get everything set up!  I already stay until about 4:00 - 4:30 on Tuesday, so it shouldn't be a big deal.  And, I will hopefully get out the door a little earlier on Fridays!

Math Literacy.  One of my partners came up with this nifty Math activity.  It is a super cute tulip perfect for making number bonds with sums of ten.  The white discs are some byproduct of ?? that were donated.  The red discs on the leaves are two sided counters.  These are new, but I am thinking about getting out some of my old counters and drawing ladybug spots onto them.
Students will complete this record sheet as they make their number bonds.
Writing Station.  We have been working hard on writing sentences - complete with proper ending punctuation.  Students will work together to read each sentence and place the proper punctuation card at the end of each. 
Once they are finished working with the sentence cards, the kids will fill out this record sheet.  It has four of the same sentences that were on the cards, so hopefully they will be able to write the correct punctuation on the lines!  See bottom of this post for a link for a freebie of this activity.

Literacy Station.  The Kinders will use a Reading Robot to find the Sight Words hidden in this puzzle.  To make the robot, I cut out a small rectangle from a robot shaped note pad and laminated the pages, leaving the laminating film in the hole to make a window.  Yesterday I posted the link to a freebie of this activity.  In it I included a robot that you can use if you can't find these note pads.
Students will write the words that they find with their Reading Robots

 Reading Station.  The  mClass window has opened and our Kindergarten teaching assistant will be testing, so we wanted a pretty simple activity for this station (she usually runs this one).  Using a page found in the book below, students will color, cut out, and reassemble these month puzzles.  They will glue them onto construction paper in order.  Not shown are "cheat sheets" of the months in order and an early finishers page titled "My Birthday Month" where students can write the name of their birthday month and draw a picture of a birthday scene.

This is a really good resource for quick Literacy Centers.

Following are two links for the Punctuation Freebie.  I use two different programs when I made it.  They don't "like" to mix, so I had to save each component separately.  Sorry for the inconvenience!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Literacy Stations

Our Literacy Stations sort of got off-track with the four-day weekend.  (Now, I am not complaining about a four-day weekend, but it does create a strange schedule...)  We began new Literacy Stations on Wednesday of this week, and will probably not be able to get back onto our "New Stations on Monday" routine.  Oh, well... the kids don't seem to mind if the new activities begin some other day than Monday. 

Writing Station.  Write the Room - with a twist... On the left side of the page students write the words that they know, and on the right side they write words that they see everyday in the room, but don't know what they say.  Once their list is completed, they can read their words to a friend.  They can also ask a friend to help them figure out what the unknown words are.  Of course, a clipboard, star glasses and a sparkly pencil make this activity more fun!
Literacy/Word Work Station.  The kids are having fun playing Oh No! (see freebie in an earlier post).  The little book is for recording unknown words.  (Kind of a theme with our word activites this week.)  The star didn't copy well, so I have made one in black & white.  Click on the link below to print a new cover.
Reading Station.  The Kinders have been having so much fun with this activity, which was created by one of my wonderful teaching partners.  This is similar to a mad-lib, where sentences are filled in with words printed onto color-caded cards to make silly sentences.
Math Literacy.  My other wonderful teaching partner came up with this activity to practice making numbers using towers of ten cubes, and single cubes.  This has proven to be a pretty difficult concept for a number of children.  After working with the cubes, they complete the page below.

Click here for a black and white version of the Star Words Practice Book.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Under the Sea!

Last week we learned all about the ocean and its amazing animals.  Our reading series, Treasures, does a nice job of incorporating science themes into its weekly lessons.  I like to expand on those themes whenever possible - Kinders love science!  We looked at and read books (many students checked out "ocean" books on library day!), and explored the Internet to find photos of critters that live under the sea.

Under the Sea.  I made this using the "Life's a Beach" Cricut cartridge.
I LOVE this bulletin board!  The SCUBA divers are so cute - each has his/her own personality.  And, the jellies hanging in front of the bulletin board make it more dimensional.
Don't you love the hair?
The kids used water colors to paint the paper that was used for the fish and jellies.

The shiny tinsel tentacles and fish "scales" are remnants of a past prom.  (I am a prom co-sponsor so I have access to some pretty cool leftover materials!) 
After researching lots of different animals, my little divers wrote about what they saw under the sea.  We brain-stormed a list of animals, which I wrote on the board, but the kids did the rest!

This one needs a little bit of translating, but I was so impressed with the drawing - it wasn't traced, he drew the dolphin freehand!  (I see a dolphin.  It can jump high and swim fast.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Literacy Stations

I recently snapped some pictures of a few Literacy Stations materials that have not made it to my blog.   Some were used in the first semester.  These activities are so "easy" compared to the work my Kinders are doing now!  It really is exciting to think about how much they have grown and learned since August. 
An early sorting activity.  Students took the "sandwiches" from their lunch bag and sorted them onto the appropriate "napkin."

Pictures sorted by initial sound.
"Musical Paper Plates."  The plates were arranged in a large circle on the floor.  Students were given a small picture card and walked around the circle until the music stopped.  They then had to say whether or not their picture started with the letter on the plate.  If not, they sat in the middle of the circle and the game continued.
Number of letters sort.  Using the sight words that had been learned, students read and sorted the words by the number of letters.  They then wrote the words onto the record sheet pictured below. 
"Interesting I"  Using pre-cut pieces of paper, students assembled a capital and lower case i, decorated them with stickers to make them "interesting," and traced & copied i words.  This type of booklet could be made for other letters as well:  Amazing A, Beautiful B, etc.

Word Building.  Using red consonant cards and yellow word family chunk cards, students built words.  Reading them into a whisper phone, they decided whether or not they were real words.  If the word was real, it was written onto the record sheet.
Clothesline words.  Using clothespins with vowels written onto them, students can make real and nonsense words. 

Zoom!  Make a map with streets named for your target letters.  Label little cars with word family chunks.  As students drive their cars around town, they will find new word.  Boys seem to really like this activity.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...