Thursday, December 4, 2014

Someone touched the elf 2.0

Last year I had to do some quick thinking because one of my students touched our classroom elf.  You can read all about that here.

This year I was so excited to introduce an elf to our classroom.  We received a package in the mail and found out there was an elf inside.

On the very first day of having the elf, not one, but TWO students touched the elf.  I was having a mini panic attack about this since it was the first day.  I told the students that I hoped he would return the next day.

The next day when the students came in they saw him like this:

He was sick in bed with a big bandage on his arm.  We also received a letter from Santa telling us that our elf, Jingles, was unable to make it to the North Pole and Santa had to send out a search party for him.  Jingles was so sick that he needed a big shot in his arm to inject more magic into him so that he could come back.

The kids felt so bad that the elf had to get a shot that we haven't had any trouble since.  My aide and I really played it up and talked about how much his poor arm must hurt with a bandage that big.  His bandage stayed on for two days.  Tomorrow when he arrives he will be bandage free!

What do you do when this happens in your classroom?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's beginning to feel a lot like....

Christmas!  December!  Yep, it is a magical time of year, but unfortunately it also tends to be a stressful month and our sweet little kiddos are so excited about things like Santa Claus and Christmas parties that they tend to have a difficult time focusing and following directions.

December has always been a struggle for me with behavior in the classroom.  Two years ago I decided that I would try an elf that would be watching them to report to Santa.  It worked for a little bit, but not really.  I still plan on having an elf this year because it is just so much fun!

This year I decided I needed something different that would really help my little ones stay focused on good behavior.  The idea just came to this morning (while I was in the shower because my best ideas always hit me as I am shampooing my hair).

Previously the other kindergarten teacher in my building and I would make the last week before winter break filled with tons of fun activities.  Each day had a theme.  We would wear certain things.  We would watch some movies.  We would have special snacks.  You get the idea right?

I liked that and all, but it was stressful on me.  It was a lot crammed into one week.  My students really couldn't focus that week because we were so out of our normal routine.

I decided this year to do FUN FRIDAYS.  We have 3 Fridays in December that we are in school.  Each Friday will have a special Christmas theme (the green guy who hates Christmas, a special reindeer, etc.).  We will still have a special snack, craft, and short video.  This way though it is not as stressful because it is more spread out.

To be able to participate, students can not move more than a certain amount of sticks throughout the week.  You could really set the guide to be anything you want.....moving sticks, homework turned in, etc.

Our district has folders that go home on Thursday with all our important notes so I wanted to send home the information today because my next chance would be the day before our first FUN FRIDAY.  Since I was sending home info, I wanted to tell the students about it.  As I was explaining it, I started asking them, "What can you do to earn a ticket to a Fun Friday?"  When I got home from work today I thought, "Why not make actual tickets that they need to present in order to participate?"  Lo and behold came this freebie below.  I plan on printing them on red or green paper and giving them right before our fun activities start.  Just click on the picture to download the tickets.  I included two versions.  One that is Christmas themed and one that is just plain.  I might use this idea on a smaller scale at the end of the year as well.

I will post about our actual FUN FRIDAY activities as the time gets closer.  I am so excited to have a great stress-free December in my classroom!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas Round Up

As you may have noticed, I have been participating in a link-up each month with some other amazing bloggers called "Bright Ideas."  Over the past few months, we have shared thousands of ideas.  This month we are re-capping some of our ideas just in case you missed them!

Here are some of my "bright ideas" just click on the picture to head to original post!

I like to make the most of the space in my classroom.  Here is a bright idea about how to hang your anchor charts:

The end of the day can be busy and we are trying to get our students out the door.  See how I say goodbye to my students so that they always leave on a positive note:

Do you have your students create an end of year gift for each other?  I do.  See all about it here:

Teachers love to be organized.  I have an easy system to keep my guided reading groups materials neat and organized.  You can read about it in this post:

I also have a post all about how I keep my students' supplies organized.  Organization in the classroom keeps me sane!

I use a quick trick on my tables to teach my students personal space.  You can read about what I do right here:

I hope that you have enjoyed these bright ideas and found something useful that you can use in your classroom.  Be sure to check out the link up below for tons more bright idea from some other amazing bloggers.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Literacy Centers with Freebie

My class this year has taken a little longer to get ready to do full on literacy centers.  I am totally ok with that because I don't want my students doing independent work at their centers until they are completely ready.

I am very fortunate this year in that our ELL teacher is pushing in during guided reading time so four of my six groups are being met with on a daily basis.  Usually when it is just me, I can only meet with two groups.  (I might also get a classroom para and if that happens then all my groups will meet with a teacher on a daily basis.  PTL!)

I like to keep my activities very simple in the beginning of literacy center time.  I created some freebies for you to use in your classroom.  I have already made copies and they are ready to go for next week in my classroom.  (We are on fall break this week!)

Here is a little preview:

I taught my kids how to play this game last week and we practiced a lot so I know they will be able to independently complete this activity.  All I do is write a sight word right above each dice.  Then I make copies for the center.  I love this because it is so easy to differentiate.  I still have a few kiddos who are learning words like: a, I, the, and my.  For those kids, I will use those words.  For my kids who are ready, I will use our current sight words that we are learning that week.

Would you like to snag this activity (and another one) for free?  Just head to my TpT store and snatch it up!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pumpkin Fun!

This week has been all about pumpkins in my room.  It is the first theme of the year that we have "gotten into" if you know what I mean.

Today was the big day.

You know the one.  Where you bring in an actual real live pumpkin.

I brought in a small assortment of pumpkins.

My students were shocked with the pumpkins that were colors other than orange.  It was one thing to see it in a book, but to see it in real life is a whole different ballgame.

We used the orange pumpkin to do some investigations.  First we knocked on the pumpkin to hear what it sounded like.

Then they felt the pumpkin to see what it felt like.  {It was so fun to hear them use vocabulary like rind and ribs as they felt the pumpkin!}

We cut the top off so we could peek inside.  I always love how excited they get when they see this.

Of course, we had to get our hands in there and see what the inside felt like.

As they were feeling the inside, I also gave them the task of pulling out some of the seeds.  I plan on roasting them this weekend, but wanted some help getting them all out.  My kiddos were more than happy to help!

Once we finished investigating the pumpkin, we went and drew a picture of a pumpkin in our science notebooks.  We also labeled our illustration.

We are just starting our math centers this week.  I know some people have been doing math centers for a long time, but my kiddos just weren't quite ready for them yet.  This has been a fun and easy center to introduce math centers.

Students worked in pairs.  One student pulled a pumpkin number card out of the bag.  The other student used manipulatives (Halloween erasers from Target $ Spot) to show that number on the ten frame.  Simple, easy, and very little prep.

Once the student made that number with the manipulatives, the other student had to check their work.  Then the partners switched roles.

I have to share my proud teacher moment.  The little guy in this picture below is extremely low and has made little progress thus far this year.  Today, he counted three little bat erasers.  This was a major victory for him and you better believe I showered praise all over that sweet kiddo.  Makes it all worth it right there.

We are having a fall break this year which completely threw off my units that I normally teach.  I couldn't decide if I should do bats or spiders next week.  Instead I let my kiddos decide.  I gave them a little voting card.  They circled their choice, we tallied the results, and bats won!  They were so excited to have a choice in what they are learning.  I plan on doing this more often throughout the year as a result.

Do you give your students a choice in what units of study you do?  If so, how do you let them decide?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Celebrating with a Giveaway

I have reached some personal milestones thanks to my amazing followers.  I wanted to celebrate with a sale and a giveaway.

I have reached over 1,500 Facebook Followers and over 1,000 TpT followers.  I am beyond excited to reach these milestones.  I just can't believe it.

First, I will throwing a sale this weekend that will end on Monday night.  Just click the button to head to my store!  Everything will be 20% until the 29th.

Graphics by Creative Clips, Fonts by KG Fonts

A sale isn't enough to show my appreciation to all of you so I am also having a little giveaway!  The winner will receive a $20 TpT gift card and a $10 Target gift card.  Just enter using the rafflecopter below!

Thank you for being so amazing!

Graphics by Creative Clips, Fonts by KG Fonts

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Number Sense Game {freebie included}

Last week was all about learning our numbers in math.  This week I wanted to focus on number sense....more specifically 1:1 correspondence and counting objects.

I decided that we needed some hands-on engaging activities to practice these concepts.  My kiddos were absolutely loving dice so I came up with a game for them to play using dice and teddy bear counters {although you could really use any object you wanted to}.

Students were paired up.  One student had a die and the other student had a bag of teddy bear counters.

Step 1:  Student A rolled the die.

Step 2:  Students count the dots on the die to know what number they will be working with.

Step 3:  Student B gets out that number of objects.

Step 4:  Student A counts the teddy bears to check Student B's work.

Step 5:  Student A praises or coaches Student B.  {We practiced a lot with this ahead of time.  What do we say when our partner gets the answer correct?  How can we coach our partner to get the correct answer?}

Step 6:  Student's switch jobs.  Now Student B will roll the dice.  Students will then go through all the steps again.

Once the students had played the game for a bit and I had a chance to go around to check on each group, I had my students complete a practice page so I could see what they could do independently.

On the practice page, I realized that my students did pretty well with counting, but struggled with writing the number to match the objects.  They could say the number, but writing it was a whole different struggle.  We will continue to work on that skill this week.

Tomorrow, we will do this activity again except we will be using some fall objects.....leaves!  When it is time to practice independently, my students will complete the worksheet below.  I am leaving it here as a freebie for all of you!  {Just click on the picture to download it!}

You will want to check back later this week because I have a fun surprise in the works.  I hit some personal milestones and I want to celebrate with YOU!