Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday: June 28th

I'm Linking up with Doodles Bugs Teaching again for the last Five for Friday for a while. Sniff, Sniff..
1. My wonderful friends came over on Wednesday for what I fondly call Cheese Night. We do Cheese Night every time my wonderful, allergic to dairy, man has to be out of town. Each person brings something cheesy over and as you can imagine, it is DELICIOUS! This Wednesday, we sat on the patio and let me tell you, the next morning my legs were eaten alive. Mosquitoes are the worst! I am so itchy. :(
 2. I've been really thinking about the beginning of next school year. I will be teaching full day Kindergarten and I worry about how tired we will be by the end of the day. Please note that I used the word we. Then, I started thinking of ways to add in afternoon breaks that took us outside but were still educational. I started with sidewalk chalk ideas and then did bean bags. Click on the links to see what I came up with. Also, please share with me what you do to break up the day.
3. I love send my kiddos on what I call a Walk About. This means there is something around the room that they need to find. I use this with all subject areas. This last year to review shapes, we went on a Shape Hunt. I got these shape posters, free I should add, from Intentional Momma and posted them all around the room. Then, I made up a page for the kiddos to write the names of the shapes as they found them. Click here to get a freebie Shape Hunt page of your own.
I have the kiddos use a white board for the paper so they can walk and write.
I love how this friend is checking to see what shape she needs to go find next. So professional!

4. I have turned into a frame addict. I love making things fun and cute. I was as pleased as punch when I found Teaching Super Power on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have been using her frames everywhere. These green frames are a prime example. She has lots of freebies and the frames are just too fun. I love the chalkboard look and the bright colors.
 5. I'm sure many of you have heard that as of July 1, 2013 Google Reader is going away.  Bloglovin' is a site that will put all of your favorite blogs in one place and it is super easy to add all of your favorite blogs. All you have to do is sign in and hit accept. I did it is less that 2 minutes. I added a Follow Us button on the side of the page and I would be honored if you would follow us on Bloglovin'. :)
Happy Friday!

cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I'm Linking up with Cara from The First Grade Parade for Throwback Thursday. It is fun to look at old posts and remember all of the fun things we did this last year.

Here a Throwback from this last fall. I love the ocean and wish that I could dive all of the time. I have been to lucky to have gone on 2 different dive trips and every time I come back, I do a huge ocean unit with my kiddos. The kids love it! Living in a landlocked state only peeks their curiosity for the ocean and they love learning about all the different types of ocean animals. Be sure to check out the two writing freebies at the bottom.

I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to go on another dive trip. We did our first dive trip 3 years ago and this last November, we went on a week long adventure to the island of Roatan just off of Honduras. Here a picture of me next to Mr. Bud; one of the wreck dives by our resort. :)

When I came back, I of course had to dive into Thanksgiving but after all of the pilgrim fun, I was able to take some time to bring the ocean to my landlocked classroom. We spent the week writing and reading about the ocean animals and at the end of the week were able to pick our favorite animals to create published writing and pieces of art. We put all of our ocean life together to make a coral reef that I would be all for diving!

Isn't it cute! The kids got to pick their favorite animal they wrote and learned about for the week, make a final draft of their writing, and then create an animal out of construction paper. Of will notice all the sharks at the top. Kids are just fascinated with them. I could spend a whole week just on sharks. Here are some close ups of my kiddos work.


When we do our writing, I split the kids into differentiated writing groups that are working on specific targets/standards. As a group, we do an example writing together and discuss the writing target and previous worked on targets as we create a descriptive writing piece. Then the kids go and work independently on a piece of their own. Since we are describing something, we use a web to brainstorm out descriptive words before writing about the animal or object. The below picture shows the group work together on the left. The student then gets to pick out an animal of his or her own to write about. I like to give the kids something tangible to take back to their tables for independent work so for this unit, I used cut out pictures of ocean critters from my dive magazines.

At the end of the week, the kids go back and review all of their writing and pick their very favorite writing. Once they have picked it, we go through and edit the work together. That is the orange pen marks you see on the picture on the right. Then, they write up their final draft. Isn't this clownfish the cutest!  

Here is a freebie of the writing page, if you want your kiddos make an ocean writing of their own.  Here is also another freebie for a seashell writing page that we did after our ocean unit to tie into our life science unit.
cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Favorite Things: Gettin' Fit

I'm linking up again with Across the Hall in 2nd Grade to discuss my favorite fitness activities and some of the products I can't live without.

I always procrastinate going on a run but once I get going and especially when I am finished with a run, I love it. It is a great way to stay in shape and I also find that if I run around the neighborhood, I really start to know the neighborhood much better. There is so much to see! Here are a couple of things that I cannot live without when running.
I love my Nikes. I have tried other shoes and they just don't work the same way. I couldn't run without them. I love the lunar shoes as well because they do well for narrow feet, high arches, and bad ankles. :)
I also couldn't run without some tunes. I love my little Nano because it can clip anywhere and when I am tried of my music, I can just switch to the radio.
This is a free app for the iPod or the iPad that I just love. It gives you challenging workouts that start at just 15 minutes. It works great for targeting problem areas because you can pick workouts that fit the area you want to work on. The app also makes you feel successful. It keeps track of your workout minutes and you get little rewards when you make new goals. I can do this at home or at the gym. Here are a couple of supplies you need to do the workout at home.

A yoga mat.
Some dumb bells. I use either a 5 lb. or an 8 lb. weight.
The program actually recommends a medicine ball but I just use my kettle bell instead.
I just think Zumba is too fun! I love getting a workout by shaking my groove thing. My gym offers lots of classes and I try to do Zumba at least twice a week.
cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Take Learning Outside: Bean Bags

Here's day 2 of Taking Learning Outside. Yesterday, we discussed the merits of sidewalk chalk. Today, I found some cute bean bag games I want to share with you.
Toss and Add: Toss bean bags into number circles and add up the points you earn. Great for adding numbers and you can make it as easy or as challenging as you want. This would also be a good game for adding money. Just put a picture of the different types of money in the circles and the kiddos have to add up how much money they earned for their tosses.
Same idea but with bowls. This would be easier to already have prepped to take outside.
Letter Toss: Here's another idea with numbers but I am thinking switching this up and doing letters. Kids have to draw a letter out of a bag and throw their beanbag to that letter. I like the idea of using the planting bases. These would definitely not be blow away by the wind. Again, it is also nice to already have something prepped to take outside.
Match Up or Add Up: Throw the bean bags to match the number. Great for early number identification. You could also have to throw the bags to add up the numbers to make a certain numbers i.e. if you wanted to make 8, you would have to throw the 3 bag on the 5 mat. 
Spelling Pass, Letter Pass, Counting Pass: Have kiddos stand and face each other and pass the bean bag back and forth. Every time they catch the bean bag, they have to say a letter from the word they are spelling i.e. if the word is cat; kiddo 1 says "c" and passes, kiddo 2 says "a" and passes back, kiddo 1 says "t", kiddo 2 says the whole word and starts a new word. This would also work well with kids saying the alphabet from A to Z or counting. 
How to Make Your Own Bean Bags: Click on the picture below for the directions on how to make bean bags for your classroom.
If you don't want to make your own bean bags here are some cute Letter and Phonics based beanbags from Brookstone. These would be great for spelling words, sorting consonants and vowels, as well as matching upper and lowercase letters.
That cat is too cute for x-ray!
 I love these. I didn't even know these existed. These would be so great for a math station or a shape hunt.

 Shapes Bean Bags
 Tell me you thoughts! How would you or how have you used bean bags with your kiddos?

cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Monday, June 24, 2013

Take Learning Outside: Sidewalk Chalk

The beginning of the school year is always tough on kiddos and teachers. We have to start getting up earlier and the day feels so long. Here are some easy and fun ideas that I am going to work into the first couple weeks of school to continue learning but add some movement and teambuilding into the day. Click on the pictures to go to the original links. :)

Write and Read: What an easy way to practice sight words, spelling, letters, math facts. I love it! I'm picturing kiddos drawing out words or letters out of a bag, reading the word/letter,  and then writing it on the sidewalk. Their partner then has to read all of the words/letters on the sidewalk before it is his or her turn.
Spelling Hop: How fun! Write all of the letters of the alphabet on the sidewalk and kiddos have to hop to each letter to spell the word. This would help with spelling, letter recognition, and alphabetical order.
Roll a Number: Drawing a number line on the sidewalk will help kids with their number identification and counting skills. This would also be fun with a giant dice. Have one person roll for the kiddos playing. You could also have a dice that has addition and subtraction symbols on it. The possibilities are endless!
What's my Number: Here's number identification in another way. Hop and say the number. This would be a great activity for kiddos who have trouble with reversals i.e. 14 and 41.
Solve It: Call out a math problem and have kiddos solve it on the sidewalk. Then, your class can talk a "Gallery Walk" and see how everyone reached the answer.
Here is also a link to 30 Sidewalk Chalk Games to play with kiddos. What sidewalk chalk activities do you do with your kiddos?
cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five for Friday

I am linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. I was worried there wasn't going to be any linky over the summer and I am so glad Doodle Bugs is keeping this going. Yay!

1. Some Beach.....Somewhere
I am still going through beach withdrawals. I shouldn't complain because I did get a week at the beach but I still want more.
What are your summer plans this summer?
2. Fly Swatters
I found these great retractable flyswatters at the Dollar Store and all I could think about was Swat a Letter, Swat a Word, Swat a Color. I love that you can change the size of the retractor so that students can use them at their tables without hitting one another. (Not saying that won't happen anyway; one can dream though.)

3. Eric Carle
I have all of my supplies ready and once this wind dies down, I am going to get started painting my animals/characters for my Eric Carle inspired kindergarten room.
I have made lots of Eric Carle inspired art projects over the years. We always start by making "pretty paper" as Eric Carle puts it. He uses tissue paper but I have found that regular white copy paper works really well and is more durable. I am going to try and make giant animals using white butcher paper. My other supplies consist of lots of Eric Carle books, tempera paint in lots of colors, and foam brushes. Here is a link to a  slide show on how Eric Carle creates his art.

4. New Books
I have been going crazy on eBay and at the thrift store buying books. I amazed at the great deals that are out there. Also, I find that if I get books at great deals, I don't tear up as much when covers get bent and pages get ripped. Here is a couple of my most recent finds.
I bought this lot of Eric Carle books off of eBay for $18.00 including shipping.
I love going to the thrift store. The one here will put kid's books in bags and sell of the whole bag for cheap. This lot cost me $4.95. I couldn't believe. That's a great deal for the Seuss. I have to contain myself and not go too crazy but boy is it hard!

5. Sight Words
I have posted another sight word unit on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have really loved using all of these sight words pages in my classroom and they go so well with Word Work for the Daily 5.
 I also noticed that my students are better at writing complete sentences and using the words correctly. I loved reading their sentences. Kiddos are just too funny. Here are a couple of examples.
I love that this one is about Hide and Seek. Adam is the little boy's big brother.
I want more chocolate too!
Yay for remembering double consonants before adding the ending -ing!
I love the detail in this picture!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Go and enjoy some sunshine!

cartoon graphicsPriscilla