Best Play Dough Ever!

I make my own play dough because #1...I am cheap....and #2 It is SO MUCH BETTER! I made some tonight to go with my March Math Centers that will get us through the rest of the month and I just had to share. Here is the recipe:

I have dubbed this the best play dough recipe EVER because it was the first one I used many moons ago that didn't dry out right away. Here are the oh so easy directions:

3 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups salt, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon Cream of Tarter and 3 cups of water in a sauce pan. I just dump it all in right on the stove:
The secret to this play dough is the Cream of Tarter. I've used other recipes without it (and tried to substitute) and it is just NOT the same!
Don't leave it out! 
Put on medium heat and start to stir. I added my food coloring right away this time. It worked out great! It will be pretty saucy at first...
I stir the whole time because the action happens fast...
It starts to form as dough and gets really hard to stir...
And there you go! It's ready to knead...(this is the best part!)

Need some sensory therapy? Kneading warm play dough is a great form of therapy!

It took me about 5 minutes start to finish. Ok...maybe 10. At one point my husband came through the kitchen all surprised because I was cooking but he was super disappointed when he saw my green concoction. In hind sight maybe I should cook for him more often :)

So this will last us for months...if we keep it that long. I actually throw it out after about a month just because of germs.

We are using this playdough to make 3D shapes this month. I realized the last time we went through testing that we are really needing some work with cylinders, spheres, cubes, and cones. Students will be using the play dough to make the shapes.

This activity is available in my March Math Centers and I included it in April's set too! Here is an image to pin for later or click on it to see the set in my store. :)

Thanks for stopping by today! You still have time to make some play dough for tomorrow! Get to it!


Field Trip Galore!

Do you ever just get in a rut? You start to feel like you run the same routine day in and day out and you just need a break? Not a spring break but a break from all the regular stuff in the classroom..... 
No? 
Well I do! 
After 3 quarters of really hard work I.....I mean WE needed to get out of the classroom! 

It was time for our community helpers unit and a little exploration. I've had this idea in my head for a little while but this year I made it happen. A whole week of community field trips! 

Monday: We started the week visiting Safeway, our local grocery store. We got to visit the produce department, meat department, and view the store from the cat walk up above. It was really neat! I remember going on the same field trip when I was little (to the exact same store!). We got to sample items from the deli and even take home a cookie and an orange. This was a big hit!  

Tuesday: The police department! 

We toured the department, checked out the holding cells, listened to the LOUD sirens, and even got to meet Jax! He is an amazing police dog! 

Wednesday: Ok....I have to admit by Wednesday I was feeling a little crazy. Who planned all this anyway? We visited the Fire Department just down the street from our school. It was sort of a bust, but ended up being cool at the same time. The fire department was called out to a pretty big call right before we showed up so EVERYONE was gone. There wasn't a soul around to show us the station and they actually asked me if I could come back. Um...no, this is it. Our one big chance. Luckily the nice gentleman who works at the front was nice enough to show us around. Even though he probably wasn't planning on entertaining 2 classes of kindergarten students that morning he did a really good job! No pictures from this day because to be honest I was a bit stressed! 

Thursday: Our final day of field trips and I was the MOST excited about this one because I've never done it. We headed to the post office with post cards in hand to find out how the mail works! 
You can get these free postcards at the post office to mail off. This was so fun! I can't wait to hear from my kiddos when they get their post cards at home this week! 

That was our super extravaganza of field trips this week. Why one a day?? I got that question a lot this week and honestly it was planned that way for a reason. After about an hour of listening my kiddos are DONE and anything past that turns into herding cats rather than actually learning something new. If we had driven around town all day we might have been able to do 2 of these places and then stop for lunch in a park (which would have been equally as fun) but I wanted to see it all! Next year I plan on adding in some visitors to come and see us in the afternoons (trash collector, veterinarian, and maybe a doctor/dentist?)  but I don't think I'd change a thing about our week. We had a lot of fun and learned so much! 



Editing in Kindergarten

It seems each year the same conversation comes around about writing in kindergarten. Editing....get them editing their writing. Ugh. Anyone else feel my pain? 
Well today the clouds parted, the angels sang, and I figured it out! I had them eating out of the palm of hand! Not a lie! I couldn't wait to get home and tell you all about it! 

I started just like I always do and told my kiddos what we were going to be learning about during Writer's Workshop and for the very first time used the word "edit". I always ask before I tell....what do you think that means? 

One of my very on top of it kiddos raised his hand and said it meant to "make sure".........hmmmm. He is right. That was a perfect explanation! 

So instead of getting out our writing check list we dove a little deeper into "making sure". I ask them to make a list of what they would need if they were going to the beach. 

We made the following list: 

1. sunscreen
2. swimsuit
3. food
4. towel

Excellent beach going items. I can tell my little desert dwellers know a thing or two about going to the beach. Then we imagined packing for the beach. Before you leave you want to MAKE SURE you have everything. We imagined digging through the suitcase (huge hands and arm movements here....we all pretended to throw stuff all around!)

We checked to MAKE SURE we brought the sunscreen...if we didn't bring it we would get burned and ruin our day at the beach. 

We checked to MAKE SURE we had our swimsuit. Seriously, our trip would be ruined without it. 

We checked to MAKE SURE we had food. Swimming makes me hungry! I would be miserable without food at the beach! 

We checked to MAKE SURE we had a towel. A day at the beach without a towel would be silly. 

Right? We need to MAKE SURE we have what we need to have a successful trip to the beach. Just like checking to make sure we have what we need in our suit case we can MAKE SURE we have what we need to be successful during writing. We made a quick check list for that....

1. Capitals
2. Punctuation
3. Spaces
4. Mostly lowercase writing

Then we practiced what it would look like to MAKE SURE our writing had everything we needed to be successful. Oh my heavens. It was AMAZING! They were editing like crazy! I had kiddos going back and changing lowercase letters at the beginning into capitals, and fixing those dreaded capital P's in the middle of their sentences. It just really clicked today! 

Phew. I am exhausted from all of the excitement. And to add to the excitement I saw this from Adam at Teachers Learn Too on Facebook when I got home. He introduced a chant that is really fun! If you don't already follow Adam you should. He has a fantastic Vlog (video blog) and shares lots of great ideas. 

Thanks for stopping by today! Have fun teaching writing! 


Five Towers Math Game

We played such a fun game in math today! I have been piloting some new programs this month so I'm getting a little bit of everything from everyone. That is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time! Today was good! 

I called this "5 Towers" because it just made sense. The program didn't call it that or suggest it...this just came from our investigation today. I love it when something on the fly happens and turns out so well! 



How to play the game: 

#1
First we met together at one of my tables and I put one ten (1 tower) and 7 ones (individual blocks) on the table and asked how many blocks were on the table. It's funny but both of my classes said "7"....like it was no problem at all. They completely ignored the tower of 10 sitting there! It took a little conversation but we got there and discussed that we didn't need to count the 10, we could just count up from there. 

#2
We tried a bunch of other numbers until we felt pretty solid. 21, 36, 42....you get the idea

#3 
I introduced the game by telling them each table would get 5 towers (50 cubes) to build a number. I would write a number on the white board and their group would make the number as quickly as they could. 

The goal was to keep the towers in towers of 10! (as much as possible) That way they weren't breaking things apart and counting by 1's. 

The first group with the correct number in the middle (and sitting oh so quietly) would get a point. The group with the most points would go to lunch first (yay for easy prizes!)

And finally...
We played the game......first of all we really need to work on our cooperation skills. This was evident during this game. I loved watching them figure out how to make "42" together. They wanted to grab all of the towers for themselves and it was hard to work as a team. This was great practice! We pointed out the fact that they had to work together....there weren't enough cubes for everyone to build the number on their own!   

This was so great for place value practice and a really good team building activity. My tables that worked together flew through this! One table designated 2 girls the 'ones' team and the boys the 'ten towers' team. They were the first ones done every time! 

Tomorrow we are going to add in HeidiSongs 10 song called "Get on the Bus". It is one of my favorites! 
Every time I walk my kids to bus I want to sing, "Get on the bus, get on the bus, get on the bus...." No one gets me....

HeidiSongs saves me all of the time. If you would like to see more, click HERE for my affiliate link. 

I wish I had taken pictures....I was too engaged to remember to pick up my phone! I will remember tomorrow when we get some independent practice with towers. Until next time, happy teaching! 

What are you teaching? February 27


I haven't been around much but I promise I have been teaching! Here is what we are focusing on this week!

We only have 2 weeks until Spring Break so it's down to the wire here. We are starting some work on our community helpers unit and next week we have a bunch of field trips planned. I'm so excited to share all of that with you but that's later in the week....

This week our story from Reading Street is Trucks Roll! My boys love this story. Not leaving the girls out, not being stereotypical....just stating a fact. We are working on comparing and contrasting, prepositions, and the middle /u/ sound. This is all highlighted in our weekly morning work:
Can you believe we teach prepositions in Kindergarten?
All of our centers come from this unit. It includes posters to keep your objectives posted around the room, easy prep centers, activities, and ideas that will keep you "rolling" all week. Hehe, see what I did there?
Our favorite center right now is the stamping center:
I will tell you that I used to STRONGLY DISLIKE the stamping station. I tried to organize it 100 different ways and it just didn't work. Students weren't getting the work done, stamps were all over the place, and then there was the mess.  What a mess!

A few months ago I got these:
Click on the picture to see my Amazon affiliate link

They completely changed our stamping center! Now it's open every week, kiddos are getting the work done, and it is not a mess! What could be better? I do have to say that the hinges on the lids broke pretty easily, but that didn't slow us down. The bottom of the case is holding up nicely and we just set the lid on top. The kiddos can carry them to and from their work spot without a mess. I got 4 sets and if you click on the pic you can get to my affiliate link. 

In Writer's Workshop this week I am continuing with Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills' Writing Through the Year Personal Narratives unit. I really love this one! I've done writer's workshop for the last 10 years but these units are packed full of great ideas and they keep me on track! 

Math is a mess.....honestly! I have been piloting new math programs for the last 2 months so I feel very unorganized here. I have been leaning on these 3 units to keep my sanity while I try out another program. Sigh....
This week I am continuing my pilot of Math in Focus. I have to say I do love this one. I am still using these to anchor my day: 




That's our week! 2 full weeks until Spring Break and I have abolutely NOTHING planned! It's been a long while since I've been able to say that. Have a great week and check back for more info on our community helpers unit coming up next week!