Monday, October 31, 2011


Last year I attended a Boost-Up or SMART (Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training) training in Minneapolis. Wonderful training! If you get a chance to go or see it in action it is wonderful stuff! The training really focuses on the whole child! Above you see some of our kinders reading sight words, letters and sounds while balancing on stability balls. (We had the words a little too high but we've fixed that now!)

In this picture we are exercising our eyes and working on crossing our midline.

This activity works on our near/far focus.

As well as mid line, visual & balancing skills we also work on gross motor, fine motor & auditory skills. If you haven't heard of this training yet check it out. It's great for Early Childhood through 2nd grade students. Even some of your struggling 3rd-5th graders can benefit from these activities.

Here's an easy crossing the mid line activity to try with your students (We call it Soldier Walking): While walking in the halls to a special have them pat their legs using opposite hands (so right hand taps left leg, left hand taps right leg, etc.) VERY difficult for some kids to do but a great activity to promote crossing the midline. If you're like me you will be shocked how many kids can't do this at first. Make sure you aren't late for a special though because they do walk slower when they do this....also a great classroom management technique to slow kids down and quiet them in the halls (they are so busy thinking about their walking they don't talk!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Weekend checklist: visit Grandma (check), teach Sunday school (check), make cupcakes for Addie's Halloween party (check), clean house (check), laundry (check), make 3 poodle skirts (1/2 check...material bought....that counts, for 1/2 a check, right?) take 2 daughters to 2 diferent Halloween parties (check), my schoolwork (check), kids homework (check), turn a banana into a bumblebee (check.) Whew. I'm beat.

This week's checklist: survive my class' Halloween party, survive trick or treating with my own kids, make 3 poodle skirts, keep my sanity until Friday. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Holly Bloggy Christmas

Kindergarten Korner and Ms. Preppy are hosting a Holly Bloggy Christmas. Check it out by clicking on the button above. Gifts, prizes, meeting new people AND helping a can't go wrong!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vowel Cheer!

Super duper easy, catchy Vowel Cheer to help your student remember the vowel letters. My class will start to spontaneously sing this song at all times of the day (ok, I'm's a little annoying during math work to hear the vowel song...but I'm glad they know their vowels!) Sing it to the tune of B-I-N-G-O.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Listening Center Freebie

Ok, so I'm trying to figure out how to share stuff for free without using TPT every time. Don't know if this is going to work but I'll give it a try! Click on the little dude above and hopefully you'll get a freebie listening center/book report appropriate for k-1 kiddos! If you try it please leave me a comment to let me know if it worked or not. I love being a newbie! : )

Monday, October 24, 2011

Favorite Read Aloud

Just saw the neatest 2nd grade blog: Swimming into Second. Very fun! Thought I'd add my 2 cents to her linky party and add my favorite read aloud!
I read The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau every December. It's a great story about a king who is selfish, materialistic and doesn't like to share! He finds a quiltmaker who makes the most beautiful quilts and tells her he wants one. She refuses, saying that she only gives her quilts to people who are poor and in need and that he is neither. She does agree to make him one quilt square for every posession he gives away. Long story short, he starts giving his stuff away and finds out that giving makes him happy.
Great book to read around Christmas time when we are all so focused on what we "want." Also a good book to start a discussion on needs and wants. As a follow up activity this year we are going to make a tie quilt and give it away to a charity.
If you're interested in buying the book click on the picture and it will take you right to Amazon. Well worth the $10!
Also, check out Swimming into Second!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Getting close to Halloween!

I really do like this time of year! October, November & December are three of my favorites. The kids are SO into all the holiday characters and makes it so easy to long as you join them in their enthusiasm! : )

So, this week we are going to make our Story of Jack books (one of my freebie activities on TPT) and have some fun with Dr. Jean's "The Five Days of Halloween." I love repetitive read alouds and extending those read alouds to my pocket chart and then to student books. The Story of Jack Pack and The Five Days of Halloween Pack have everything you need to follow that routine. I take 1 to 2 weeks to complete my whole routine. By the time I pass out the student version of the book even my struggling reader feel successful and view themselves as brilliant readers! Best feeling ever!

My routine looks a little like this:

day 1, 2, 3 (5 minutes) read the class book together periodically throughout the day (great quick activity right before lunch or right before we go home for the day)

day 4, 5, 6 (10 minutes) reread the book but also extend it to the pocket chart.

day 7, 8 & 9 contine pocket chart building, rereading the story (I make sure both are available during reading center time- it is always a favorite)

day 10 (10 minutes) we finally get our own copy of the book! The kids love making it "their own" by coloring/illustrating their own personal book. Then we take them home and share them with our families.

Click on the picture above to go to my TPT site and download this pack. I am also working on a few for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sorting, cheap, cheap!

This is an oldie but a goodie. I buy noodles (yep noodles) of all shapes and sizes and dye them using rubbing alcohol and food coloring. Cheap and easy! Throw them all into one container and have kids sort them by color, shape or size. You can specify how you want them to sort or you can let them decide how they want to sort. I throw in a little bit of fine motor skills by having them sort the noodles using a tweezers (I got the tweezers in the pictures from Lakeshore.)

To dye the noodles:

Put about a Tbsp. of rubbing alcohol and as many drops of food coloring as you want into a baggie(the more food coloring you use the darker the color). Let it sit in the baggie for about 10 minutes, flip the bag over and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Spread the noodles out onto wax paper and allow time to dry (usually at least an hour). The coloring will bleed through the wax paper onto your counter so I usually put a few layers or newspaper under the wax paper.

This method also works for coloring clothespins, craft sticks, etc.

Mrs. Larremore (creator of ChalkTalk....awesome blog) is having a linky party. Check out her page for more fun math ideas!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Number Sense

One of my new "favorites" in my classroom is my Smartboard. It is so useful for so many reasons and one of the things I love most about it is that I can quickly create kindergarten friendly games/centers that are easy to use and can be differentiated. In this game the kids move things above the line that remind them of the number 3 and then they have to explain why. Explaining yourself is the key! (Common Core Standards!) One of my little guys recently moved the word "one" above the line in the activity and explained to my class that it reminds him of the number three because there are 3 letters in the word. My class thought he was a genius! The power of the peer teacher! For those of you that have a Smarboard you can download this file from my TPT site. If you don't have one worries...I have a paper cut/paste version you can download!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kindergarten is a HOOT!

This is the display outside our rooms. Cute!!! My co-worker Jill is a genius and comes up with the cutest displays! We got the owl from The Elementary Art Room. Aren't they cute!! My other awesome co-worker Tina had her class make the colorful extraordinary display! That's my daughter Addie in front of the tree. She is in kindergarten this year also... So much fun to have her right next door to me all day!

I'm just so lucky to work with such wonderfully talented ladies!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


After years and years and years of asking and hoping and begging for one my class finally got a smartboard! I don't know how I every taught without it! I'm putting together a number sense smartboard file. I have numbers 1-6 done. When I'm done with 7-10 I'll post it on TPT. The file this kiddo is using in the picture is a simple October page with a few "fun" links. I'll post that for free on TPT if you're interested in downloading it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My class LOVES Fix-A-Name (Found in Deanna Jump's "Back to School" unit...Thank you Deanna!!) Every day we unscrambled one of our classmates names in the pocket chart. I added a little to the activity to go along with my handwriting lessons. (If you saw my post about my handwriting lessons this is one of they ways I use the animals.) We put the matching animals in the pocket chart and "Animalcise" (Animal Exercise) to the name. After we are all tired out we go back to our table spots and cut apart the same scrambled name and glue it back together for our friend. Every kid gets the name scrambled in a different font. The Fix-a-Name "star" unscrambles his name again on the smartboard and then sits back and relaxes as he waits for his friends to bring his name to him all fixed up!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spider/Halloween Bulletin Board Idea

We had a lot of fun making this bulletin board in our classroom. We are discussing spiders in science, counting by 10's in math and color words in reading so we made a bulletin board that incorporated all 3 plus a little art! 

The spiders on each web are made with the kids' fingerprints. If you would like a copy of the spider webs you can get them for free by clicking HERE.

Also wanted to share with you this fun quilt I made a few years ago (pre-kids!) This is why I love Halloween!! How can you not enjoy it when the colors are this fun??

Monday, October 10, 2011

Teachers Pay Teachers

Wow...I just found out you can't sell DJ Inkers created projects. Umm...I would love to share every project I've ever made but I used DJ Inkers for years! So I guess I will start to revamp a lot of my projects so I can share them with others. One of my favorites is how I teach handwriting. The system I use in my class was all created with DJ Inkers but I think I recreated it pretty well with some graphics I found on

I'll add some pictures of it in use in my class later. I truly love it! Painless and fun! Click on the picture below to go to my TPT site and take a peak!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I LOVE blogs, October and Kindergarten!

My friend and awesome co-worker Jill is always sending me the BEST blogs to check out. I consider myself pretty computer savvy but was completely in the dark about how addictive blogs could be until she started sending me all sorts of blogs to check out. Now...I'm addicted. There are so many awesome ideas out there! Teachers are so creative!!

I've been teaching since 1998. I started by teaching Title Math for 2 years, then moved to 1st grade for 7 years. My school district decided to try all day kindergarten and I jumped at the chance to teach it! This is my 5th year in kindergarten. I am truly Inspired by 5 years olds, just like my blog title says....more on that later.

I love the colors of Halloween! Fall has pretty colors too...but I love the colors of Halloween! Purple, pink, funky green, it! I also love doing Halloween projects at school. Spiders, bats, owls, mummies, monsters (cute ones of course), and pumpkins...of course!

The Story of Jack is one of my favorites because we get to read the story using lots of expression. We practice using our "interesting" voices as we read and re-read the story. We read it together in our book, build it in our pocket chart, and also create our own books for more practice. It's so fun to listen to them and they realize how fun they can make a book just by changing their voice!

Click on the picture below to go to my TPT site and get this pack for free!