Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holidays Update

We had a busy 3 days prior to our winter break.  Below are some pictures that I managed to get amidst all the activity!

Tuesday we had Polar Express day and all wore our pajamas.  The kids thought this was great!

We decorated our own wrapping paper.  I just brought in sheets of brown bulletin board paper and let them decorate any way they'd like with crayons.  Our most proud accomplishment was learning how to draw a star on our paper! :)  I can't find a picture of our parent gift, so I'll have to upload that when I get back to school in January. 

Have you ever shopping after a holiday and bought stuff for your classroom not knowing what you are going to do with it?  This project resulted for such a shopping trip.  I found felt Christmas trees at Target last year 90% off, which made a 3 pack 10 cents!  I gave students a plate of sequins and a bottle of glue and let them go.  They were really cute!  Too bad Target didn't have these again this year.

What did you pick up on a shopping trip that turned out to be a great project?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gingerbread Galore

We are in an "off" week from our reading curriculum, so we are in our gingerbread/holiday glory!  My students are learning lots and having a great time!  The pictures below are from our labs (centers).

Making gingerbread houses.  Brown lunch bags stuffed with newspaper, scalloped scrapbook paper and foam stickers (bucket for $3.60 at Michaels!). We are making a gingerbread village in the hallway.

This little guy is quite proud of his gingerbread house!

The gingerbread bakery is in full swing!  Hats are made from a 3" band of poster board and a plastic grocery bag.  They LOVE these "cooker" (chef/baker) hats!  I saw a similar one on Julie Lee's blog.  Students are using homemade gingerbread play dough to make their bakery creations.  The cookie cutters were in a 6 pack from the Dollar Tree.

This guy is very proud to be a chef!  The gingerbread man spatula is from Hobby Lobby.  It was $2 (originally $3.99, 50% off).  It was so cute, I had to go back for another one!

Making boats to help the gingerbread man safely cross the river.  Items available: plastic cups,  plastic  cafeteria containers, poster board, straws, toothpicks, clay, glue, scissors and tape.  Each student got a marshmallow gingerbread man to "rescue" and get safely across the river.

Testing out the gingerbread man's boat.  It floats!  This is a great problem solving activity for students!

We are measuring using cubes.  Students are measuring length, area and perimeter.  I have been impressed with how many students have remembered the correct terms to share what they are measuring.

What are you doing to celebrate the winter holidays?  I'd love some party ideas for next week!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Merry and Bright

It has been a busy few weeks, and the next 8 days of school will prove to be crazy as well!  I just wanted to share my little plan for a holiday picture of each of my students. I saw many cute pictures popping up on Pinterest (of course) for the holidays and knew I wanted to include something in my parent gift.

I purchased a clearance 16x20 photo mat at Hobby Lobby and glittery letters.  It was then just wrapped in a strand of 50 LED lights.  The kids loved it!  The lettering at the bottom says "Merry and Bright".  I wish I would have used all green letters so it would have shown up better.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Letters to Santa

Each year I have my students write a letter to Santa.  I do this for a couple reasons: it is a great memory of kindergarten; it is interesting to see what students ask for; it helps me when I am shopping for children I choose from the Salvation Army giving tree.

I keep the original letter that students write to give them at the end of the year (it typically shows great writing growth!) and send a copy home in the child's folder.

This year I created a little template for students to use.  In the past, I have helped them write the note, or written it out for them to copy from a dry erase board.  This year, I wanted to simplify the process, so I created this template.  You can download it free from my TpT store.  Pictures of my students' writing soon to come!

My TpT store will be on sale Monday and Tuesday with 20% off everything.  Use the code CMT12 to get an extra 10% off your purchases!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Little Turkeys

We have enjoyed 2 days of a more relaxed schedule and focused on Thanksgiving.  Yesterday was our Thanksgiving Feast.  Our whole school eats together in the gym on "feast day".  My students dressed up like turkeys.

One of my "turkeys" wearing his turkey hat.  The kids and staff loved them.  The yellow pieces are the turkey legs.  Here is the link to the site I found these.  Love Pinterest!

She is working on her story of Thanksgiving bracelet.  I downloaded this awesome freebie from Freebielicious, however, I can no longer find the link.  Here is the link to a post from Differentiated Kindergarten, who authored the book, when her students used it.

We practiced our color words by coloring this turkey according to the code.

Thanks to 70% off at JoAnn's, we made foam turkeys today.  $3 for 24 turkeys...Yes, you can make a craft today!  They were easy and age-appropriate.
Thank you to all the great blogs out there for some awesome Thanksgiving ideas!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Monday, November 19, 2012

QR Codes

QR Codes seem to be everywhere these days.  I recently purchased a SMARTphone and became even more aware of QR Codes in my everyday life.  I decided to take advantage of this technology in my classroom.  My students are hooked!

I started out easy. I created 12 codes using to create my QR Codes.  I'm not sure what the best website out there is to make your own QR Codes, but I liked this one because I could put my own text in and they were pretty colors (I know, really important, right?).  I printed and displayed all 12 codes on my closet door.  Next, I downloaded the "Scan" app on our 2 iPads.  Students take the iPads up and scan the codes one at a time and record the word that appears when they scan the code on a recording sheet.  Each QR Code contains one sight word.

This was almost too easy.  The most difficult part was choosing just the right color for the codes.  My students are in love with the activity, and I can't wait to create another if this is what it takes to capture their interest.

How are you using technology in your classroom?  I'd love fresh ideas!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Learning About Food

We spent the past 2 weeks learning about food!  We discussed where food comes from, healthy foods and the food groups they belong to and the workings of a grocery store (market).  My students loved our unit on food.  Below are some pictures of our learning.

Students used scented stickers to write about about fruits or vegetables.  They could make up their  own sentence or choose to complete the sentence "I like  (fill in fruit or vegetable)" or "I do not like (fill in fruit or vegetable)". 

We read sentences on pizza slices and tried to build a full pizza.   My students LOVE this game!  She is practicing "stretch and read" by tapping the sounds on her arm.  The pizza game is from my "Healthy Dose of Language Arts" pack.

At the Dramatic Play lab, students took orders at the "sandwich shop".  They did a stretching words writing to take a friend's order!

After taking orders, students created sandwiches using my Melissa and Doug sandwich kit.  Students then chose "mixed fruit" (runts) for a side dish or "peas and carrots" (peas and carrots jelly beans from the Jelly Belly Factory).  This center was definitely one students looked forward to visiting.

Counting vegetables then making a graph to show findings.  After making the graph, students analyzed the data and answered which vegetable has the most and the least.

Students completed a "My Plate" model by cutting foods out of a local grocery store advertisement and gluing them in the proper place on the plate.  They were very proud of the completed product!

This unit was a great lead-in to Thanksgiving.  Two days this week where we will focus on Thanksgiving.  Following our 3 day break, we will be learning about art and music with the theme "Sing a Song-Paint a Picture".

I love comments and new followers!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alphabet Exchange

I participated in an Alphabet Exchange hosted by Chrissy at First Grade Found Me.  My students loved making our "Y"s using "a yard of yellow yarn and yellow paint".  We also really enjoyed receiving our letters from around the country and learning about other classrooms.

Our alphabet is hanging in the hallway for the entire building to enjoy.  As we learn a letter and its sound, students bring in pictures of objects that begin with that sound.  These are the posters hung below the letters we received.

Thanks to everyone who participated and Chrissy for hosting it.  It is something we really enjoyed!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Winner Declared in Our Election

Our current theme is "What's on the Menu?" which includes nutrition and food groups.  We tasted 3 fruits: coconut, pomegranate seeds and blueberries (red, white & blue theme) then voted on our favorite.

Our puppet theater doubles as a voting booth.

Fun straws for our breakfast completed our day.
I was surprised when we tallied our votes to find that pomegranate won our election (9 pomegranate, 7 blueberry, 4 coconut).  We learned a lot about the democratic process today!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What's On The Menu?

Our theme for the next 2 weeks is food.  We will learn about healthy eating and where different foods come from.  I created a packet of language arts materials for my literacy labs (centers) to engage my students in skills we are currently practicing.  You can see some pictures from the unit below.  Check back later this week for pictures of my students using them.  You can purchase the packet from my TpT store here.

Board game: students have to read the CVC words on the healthy foods.  If you land on junk food, you have to go back 5 spaces.  4 monster game pieces included.

Writing CVC words: Students name the picture on the included recording sheet.  10 pictures total.

Pizza: Cut the pieces apart.  Students must read sentence to keep the pizza slice.  Students are trying to make a full pizza.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Some Fall and Halloween

Our Halloween party was Friday due to our Early Dismissal being our Friday.  I wanted to get this posted in case you were still looking looking for ideas as I was last week.

Thanks to Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business for this fall freebie!  Students roll the dice and color the acorn with the 10 frame represented on the dice.

Sight words fun: Inside each cup was a label with a sight word typed on it.  Students bounced a ping-pong ball (with an eyeball on it...thanks Dollar Tree!) into a cup and read the word to their partner. The kids loved it!

Martha Stewart cup clings (window clings for cups found at JoAnns) and TruMoo orange milk (vanilla flavored) for our Halloween Party snack.  Yum!

Packing down the sprinkles to see how many we can get to stay on the cookie :)  We had pumpkin shaped cookies with vanilla frosting and sprinkles to decorate.

He was warm in his costume (hence the costume down to his waist!)  Rely races...trying to carry an eyeball ping-pong ball on a spoon up the little ramp and back down.

Decorating foam pumpkins from Oriental Trading.  Decorating pieces on clearance from Michaels.

Where is the ball?  A ping-pong ball was hidden under 1 of 3 cups.  The cups were moved around and the child had to track/guess which cup had the ball.  This little guy and his dad had a great time playing!

Pumpkin bowling: 6 rolls of toilet paper "bowled over" using a small pumpkin or orange ball. 

Pin the Eye on the Monster:  Blindfolded students had a large wiggly eye with masking tape to "pin" on the moster.

Worm hunt: 5 gummy worms were hidden in a pile of canned Reddi Whip (pudding made with almond milk for student with milk allergy).  Students had to find worms and put them in the muffin cup using only their mouths.  They LOVED it!  I had hair ties available for the girls who wanted their hair tied back.

What do you do to celebrate fall and/or Halloween?  I'd love to hear!  Please consider leaving a comment!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Body

We finished up our study of our bodies, which students were very interested in.  See the photos below and the captions to get updated on our last couples weeks!

The Skeletal System puzzle from the Wal-Mart dollar bin!  I love a good deal, and my students loved putting this guy together!

When we learned about our circulatory system, we made "blood".  I thought it might be a little over their heads, but my students really enjoyed it and did remember the parts of their blood when we finished.  I found this idea at Chasing Cheerios.  There is a link on the post to download the whole lesson.

At the art center, students made thumbprint animals.  I found a few examples in Google images to give them ideas and put out paper, markers, pencils and a multicolored stamp pad.  It was a hit!

Students had the opportunity to view animal and human x-rays. I love these x-rays because you can see a picture of the object, but when you put it on a light box, you can see the bones thru the picture.  I purchased these x-rays here.

Our "x-rays" created with white and black BioColor paint.  This idea came from Sharron Krull's  "Picasso Meets Einstein" workshop at I Teach K! this summer.  My students thought it was so cool! I had to explain that they couldn't really see their bones in this picture, but it is like an x-ray.

When learning about our sense of sight, we made these eyes.  The black is a circle cut from the Ellison.  The blue (choices of blue, green or brown) was a mixture of tempra paint, Elmer's Glue and shaving cream to give it a spongy texture.  

We made these tongues when we studied our sense of taste.  It was painted with pink paint that had salt mixed in to create "taste buds".  Students then tasted something sweet (fruit roll up), salty (pretzels), sour (lemons) and bitter (lettuce) prior to gluing the pieces on the tongue to show where we taste these different things.

One of my little health care providers :).

We had a very busy yet productive couple weeks learning about our bodies.  We are now learning about fall and the changing seasons.  Check back soon for an update on this unit.

Can anyone offer some suggestions for center activities based on food?  We start that unit next week.  Thanks!