What Are You Teaching? January

It's January and we have been back one full week. It was a LONG week. It was a BUSY week and a TIRING week! We were focused on getting back into routines and just surviving. We did it! It's time to dig in and get to work. What are you teaching this week?

We are on Unit 4 Week 2 in Reading Street. One of my favorite stories, My Lucky Day! It is an adorable story about a fox and a piglet. This unit has a lot of fairy tales in it and it is our focus for new IB unit "How We Express Ourselves". It's always a fun one!

For our centers we are using this set:
It has objective posters to keep me on track and "paper centers" (that's what we call them) for the kiddos to complete during the week. Some of our favorites are cut and glue, stamping, and write the room.

This unit also includes a really fun craftivity to go along with it. It is free HERE!

For our "hands on" centers we have some fun Little Red Riding Hood activities. I created these over break to kick off our fairy tale unit. 
CVC word blending cards for small groups
Sight Word work mats for independent time
CVC Building Mats for independent time

We will be reading a new Little Red Riding Hood book each day and comparing the characters, setting, problem, and solution. I love reading fractured fairy tales! They are so much fun! 
Here are a few we are including. 

I won't get to all of these this week but I should be able to get to most of them by Friday and then finish them up next week. We will also explore Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs in the coming weeks. We are playing with the idea of writing our own "fairy tales" during Writer's Workshop but I will have to get back to you on that one. It will be a new venture for me for sure! 

So what is in your lesson plan this week? If you do any fractured fairy tales I would love to hear how you use them! Thanks for visiting today! 

Christmas Handprint Calendar Freebie

Many moons ago I made handprint calendars with my class to send home for Christmas. They were a ton of work, copying/pasting to get the calendars on the right pages, and the handprints take some time. After leaving full day kindergarten and going into half day....I just knew I would never be able to manage 48 sets of handprints so I never even considered doing them again. 

Well this year was the year! 

Full day kinder and only 24 students....woohoo! 

In the last 12 years so much has changed when you create something new and when I set out to make these again they were super easy. I didn't have an original to look at so I had to find poems to go with each month but I think I have it pretty close to what we did back then. 
Even better? I thought printing them was going to be a mess but all I had to do was put them in the copier in order and copy 1 to 2 sided and they were perfect!  I had all twelve months done and copied in no time (copy on cardstock) 

Here is a peek at two of the handprints we did yesterday. I will share all of them once we get them done but that won't be until next week. I need to do 4 handprints a day to get them done on time. I may have to call in reinforcements! 

Handprint Calendar February
February....super simple, just two handprints to make a heart

Handprint Calendar March
March....a little more complicated. You need 3 colors to pull off the leprechaun look

Handprint Calendar March
They all turned out really cute! 

Handprint Calendar March
A simple little smile to complete the leprechaun.

Want to make one? Here you go! I added them to my TPT store today. Seriously, if you are still in school this week you could get them done in no time! 

Kinder Bites: Quick Mini Lessons for December

This week will be a quick share of some quick mini lessons for December! 
Do you ever struggle with integrating the fun books you want to use for the holidays while meeting your comprehension needs with a reading series? And how long can your kids sit still? 3 minutes? 5 minutes? Here are some QUICK (that's the theme for this post!) mini lessons to use in between your regularly scheduled programming! :) 

I wrote up a few of my favorite books and some fun ways to integrate comprehension with them in this Kinder Bite activity. Here is a sneak peak...
 6 quick and easy little mini lessons for the month. I am going to keep putting these together for my favorite books so stayed tuned for more! 

Happy December! 

Jack & the Beanstalk Activities and a FREEBIE

We are in our final week of our How the World Works unit and this week our story from Reading Street is Jack & the Beanstalk. It's such a fun week to explore plants, wrap up our investigations on life cycles, and explore some make-believe fiction! 

Sprouting a Lima bean: 
It seems like a strange time of the year to be doing this but who could resist sprouting a bean stalk while reading Jack & the Beanstalk? And they are so easy to do! Here is a quick overview: 

1. Soak your lima beans overnight the night before you want to use them. 
2. Have students wet a paper towel and place the bean on the paper towel. 
3. Place the paper towel in a plastic bag. 
4. Hang in the window. 

You can add these cute Jack & the Beanstalk castles to display them in the window. This is available in this Jack & the Beanstalk unit.  To prepare the beans is pretty easy so this adds a little to the lesson by having them color the castle, cut out the door, and add it to the bag. 

Another great resource I found is this YouTube video of a bean sprouting. It's really cool! 

Parts of a Plant: 
To finish up our life cycle unit we are giving a summative assessment this week about the parts of a plant. I will use this to add to their portfolio. I am still searching for a great summative that would include more choice on the student's part. This will close out the unit nicely though. 
This is the freebie file! Download it HERE.

If sprouting Lima beans wasn't enough for science we are starting our FOSS kit "Trees". This will involve some nature "hikes" to the playground this week to check out the changing trees in our area and make some observations about what happens to trees in the winter. We have some nice pine trees right outside our playground fence that will make a good topic for discussion and a little compare/contrast with the trees out front that are in the middle of losing their leaves. (yes...our trees still have leaves on them!) 

Literacy Centers: 
We have so many options this week for centers!  

The letter of the week this week in this Reading Street unit is the letter Ii (for the second week). We will continue to work on not only the initial sound /i/ but also the medial sound /i/. 

Here are a few of the options in the unit. 
Upper/lowercase sort
Upper/lowercase Letter Sort

Letter Search and Color
Upper/lowercase letter search. 

Word Search Middle /i/ words
This is new this week and will be their first
time with a word search.

Write the Room
Write the room includes a spot to draw a picture of yourself
with one of the words on the wall. This week focus on middle /i/ words.

Rhyme Time
Rhyme Time includes a rhyming sheet. Students use bingo chips to match up rhyming words then they complete the cut and glue.  
We also have a fun listening station available with a response sheet about reality vs. make-believe. And of course all of our small groups happening this week with a full rotation finally in place. These centers keep them engaged for about 15 minutes while I make my way through groups. We are 12 weeks into school and I can finally say it's working just the way I want it to! Perfection takes time (wink, wink).

Jack & the Beanstalk is one of my favorite weeks with Reading Street so I am looking forward to all of the activities we have planned. Do you have any special activities you do with this book? I'd love to hear from you! 

Pin for later! 

September Means Apple Time! FREEBIE included

Those first 3 weeks of school FLEW by and here we are in September. That means APPLES! I spent a little time in my classroom today getting my math tubs ready and they are so beautiful and organized. I had to take pictures (that's what an empty nester does, take pictures of their math activities....sigh) 

So far our math tubs have been just a mix of materials to get to know the procedures. We now know how to use them and follow these simple rules: 

1. Get one math tub and keep the same one the whole time. 

2. Use a rug to keep all of your materials in one place. (I get my rugs from carpet stores. They will usually give you their old samples)

3. If all the tubs are taken, go join a partner (ask nicely to be their partner). 

4. Work quietly. 

5. Clean up quickly. 

That seems pretty simple right? It takes a little bit to get the procedure down but we are ready now! 

Here is a picture of the tubs. They are the red dishpans from Walmart. I bought them a little bit at a time so the $2 bucks a piece didn't sting as much as it had to. I have about 25 of these in my classroom and use them for all sorts of things. I like that they are large and any type of material will fit in them. I change out the numbers on them every year to keep them fresh and new. (I used Mod Podge to stick them on). 

A simple game of compare turned hands on fun by adding blocks. 

This tub has two purposes: Putting the numbers in order and writing the numerals. 

I put these write the room cards on a ring instead of hanging them around the room. 

Count and Clip: September Math Centers
Count and Clip. My students love the clothes pin activities this year! 

Number Puzzles: September Math Centers
This one is my favorite. Number Puzzles! 

Great fine motor and counting work!
This was inspired by an activity I saw my daughter doing at her preschool 18 years ago. I changed it up and added pom poms to pick up with tweezers after I took this picture. Great fine motor and counting work! 
Simple 10 frames with pony beads to build fine motor skills.
Simple 10 frames with pony beads. Again, fine motor and counting practice. 

Each activity appears once or twice to fill the 12 math tubs that I have available. I have 24 students so it makes for perfect pairs when math tub time comes. Usually they go to these activities after we have completed math journals. It's a short 5-10 minute activity time at the end of our math block (and always in my back pocket in case we have extra time!)

Save yourself time tip......
Yes I took these pictures so I could blog about this today but I REALLY took the pictures for my kiddos. I will print out each one of these pictures and put them in the matching bin. Instead of spending 10 minutes explaining each activity I can give them a quick run down and then they can follow the directions by looking at the picture. If they aren't using materials correctly (yes...that happens) they have to go sit down. The pictures give a clear expectation of what the activity should look like when they are done. 

Here is a link to all of the activities (and even more). See it in my TPT store by clicking HERE. There are quite a few activities that I haven't set up and a really fun 100's chart included too. I turned that into a FREEBIE if you want to try it out. 

Classroom Water Bottles

This has been an issue for me. I NEED my kiddos to be hydrated but the bottles from home can be a struggle. Some are too big, some are too drippy, some are too small and break easily (sounds like the three little bears...no one is ever happy!). So this year I decided I would take control and handle the water bottle situation so #1 everyone had one and #2 everyone had one that was the appropriate size. I thought this would be so easy but let me tell you...it's been a journey.

I started the first 3 weeks with the little sized disposable bottles. I just replaced them every week. Well....last week I decided enough was enough. I needed a permanent solution.

Enter Dollar Store...

My fears? They will break, they will spill, they will be hard to handle. I've been reassured from all of the blogs I have read that this works so I'm giving it a go. We won't know until we try! Here are the bottles I purchased and put name tags on today.

Aren't they cute? I had to mix up the colors because I couldn't get all of them the same color (bummer). The mix is kind of fun though! Pink and purple for the girls and green and blue for the boys.  The nametags are simple clear shipping labels from Avery. Here is my affiliate link to the ones I used.

Thanks for stopping in! I will let you know how this goes! 

What Are You Teaching? August 27

Just spent 6 hours in my classroom.....

Don't feel prepared.....

Welcome to the beginning of kindergarten!

Actually I do feel prepared, I just know there are a million things I would LIKE to do but we are not READY to do yet. It's hard to set your pace slow in order to get all of those procedures in place so we can FLY later. Patience is a virtue...patience is a virtue...

Here is what IS in the plans this week: 
Our word work this week is still focused on our letter of the week and new sight words.
Reading: This week we are adding in Read to Someone. I didn't really put that on the visual plans but we will use our group decodables and Reading Street Skills Buddy to introduce that routine. 

Centers: I am using centers from this Alphabet Centers unit I created last year when I had a few students who really struggled with alphabet recognition. They are still class favorites! 

Reading Street: Our RS unit this week is Plaidypus Lost. We have a really fun platypus to make at the end of the week that I am excited about. I am incorporating centers form this unit (click HERE) and using the book and Vocabulary Talks I created to introduce the Amazing Words. 

Writer's Workshop: This week we are talking all about tools! Here are the books we are reading to talk about how to use our crayons correctly, when to use a pencil, and how to care for materials. (these are affiliate links) 

Math: We are continuing on our Math in Focus journey. I am really enjoying this curriculum. It feels a little slow right now but thank heavens for that! We hardly have time to make it through our day so I am ok with a little slow routine building. A lot of talk about same/different and a whole lot of discovery with the numbers 1-5. I like that solid foundation. It has a fantastic calendar component as well and I am starting to get a good handle on that. Phew!  

Unit of Study: Alphabet  Our unit of study will become our social studies/science time once we are all done introducing the alphabet. For now every afternoon we use these activities to help us #1 introduce the alphabet and #2 introduce activities like cutting, gluing, listening to directions, coloring (properly) and writing. 
This week we are completing the letter H and I. That's all I could fit in! We will step it up with a couple more pages next week! 

That is our week. No eclipse this week, no days off to take my baby to college (I left that part out....this was me on Thursday)
We are smiling but we were both super nervous and ready to cry on the inside. She is doing great and starts classes tomorrow. I am so excited for her! 

So that being said....I am excited for a regular week! Have a good one!