Monday, April 30, 2012

12 Days...Woot!

Just getting done with a 4 day weekend!  What a nice break...and a little sneak peak into summer!

12 days left and LOTS of testing to do.  We are going to do lots of extra recesses, wiggle breaks and "fun" activities to keep school fun these last few days.  Plus there's graduation practice to break up the days.

Crossing my fingers for no rain!

Have you seen Harry Kindergarten videos on You Tube?  If you haven't...shame on you!  They are all GREAT and my kids LOVE them.  Above is a new one I found today- perfect for the wiggle breaks my kids will need these last 12 days (I just like writing 12 days!)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New computer and a freebie!

Side bar:
So my hubby was using my computer last night (while I was fast asleep like a good girl) and he spilled his beer  on it.  It would turn on, the mouse still worked but the keyboard was ka-put!  Thankfully he waited until after church today to break the news.  His exact words were, "Hey honey. . . can I buy you a new computer?"  I have to admit, that was the best way to break the news.

So, after a long day of moving files (thank goodness that was still possible) everything is set back up, nothing important was lost, and I now have a faster computer.  Yeah spilled beer!

Now...on to the teaching stuff:
My pocket chart center this time of year is Scrambled Sentences.  The kids put the sentence in order and then write the sentence paying particular attention to putting spaces between their words!  Click here for a free download of 14 scrambled sentences.  The pictures on the cards are from DJ Inkers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Building Numbers 10-30 (Freebie!)



Next week we are working on Building numbers 10-30.  One of our activities will be "Number Detectives." I've included the directions for the activity in the free download.  Click here for your copy.  

By the way....13 days left for me!  Woo Hoo!

Sunday, April 22, 2012



Subtraction is so much fun to teach.....hahahahahaha! 
Ok, sorry, had to get that out of my system.

My kids love "When You Subtract With a Pirate" video and for a few of my late bloomers it helped them come to their "ah-ha" moment.

I think next year I need to start practicing counting backwards sooner.  My kinders ROCK at counting up which I give 99.9% credit to the fact that we count up all year long!

I use domino cards with my kids starting almost the 1st month of school.  I hold a few of them up and the kids shout "dominoes" and then we run through a few cards.

We start simple with ones that look like this and start by counting all the dots:

Then we add harder ones like this:

Then we stop counting all the dots because some genius child figures out we don't need to count every dot sometimes our brain knows how many dots are in a cluster (Ok, I usually point that out to them but one day there will be a genius child who does it first!)

Once the big "ah-ha" moment arrives we start saying the "big" number and counting up!
We make a big deal out of NOT counting every dot.  Using the card above as an example the conversation would go something like this:

Me:  "Oh my goodness kindergarten, do we really need to count every dot?"

Kinders:  NO!

Me:  That's right!  Don't waste your time counting dots when your brain already knows how many are in the cluster!  How many are in our big cluster?

Kinders:  4

Me:  Woohoo!  Someone turned their math brain on HIGH!  That's right, there are 4 dots in the big cluster.  Let's count up!
Ready. . .  4, 5, 6!
(While they are counting I'll circle the "4" cluster with my finger and then touch the 2 other dots while we count.)

Usually we are doing this while waiting for a few straggling kinders to make it to the floor for story time or the line so we can leave the room.  Quick time filler and voila. . . counting up skill. . .done!

BUUUUUT. . . . .every year about this time I realize (oops) forgot to practice counting down.

Next year I'll remember.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Handwriting Zoo Freebie

One of my very favorite units to teach is my Handwriting Zoo.  I used to HATE not enjoy teaching handwriting all all!  I never could explain the lines and the letter spacing in a way that the kids understood me.  Then one day I had an "ah-ha" moment and started assigning the letters animal names.  Turtles are short so we called a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x & z turtles.  Giraffes have long necks and so do the letters b, d, f, h, k, l & t.  Monkeys have tails like letters g, j, p, q & y.  Capital letters are "Large and In-Charge" just like a gorilla so capital letters are known as gorillas.  I even created a story, some posters and other various activities to accompany the unit.  For more info on the Handwriting Zoo click here to view it on TPT.  It will be on sale for the next few days.

Click here to see another activity I use the animals for.

Anyways, on to my freebie.  Once we got past writing all the letters for practice I then want the kids to carry that over into writing words.  But, of course, a lot were not.... augh!   So I created an activity where the kids cut out the animals and match them up to the correct letter.  For example: the word "lip" would be giraffe turtle, monkey (see above).  At first I printed the animals out on label pages (avery 5160) and made them into stickers but this activity takes quite a few animals so after I ran out of labels I just printed them on to regular paper.
(hint: if you use regular paper and not labels just cut the page into strips and then it's easy for the kids to snip off one animal at a time.)

After they assign every letter the correct animal then they write the word as neatly as they can using the correct letter spacing.  

Clear as mud?

This method has worked wonders for me over the last few years.  What I like most is that if I see a letter not spaced correctly on the line I can say things like "What animal is the letter a?"  The kids can tell me it's a turtle and most of them do a mental head-slap and quickly fix their letter.

It's also really helped my kids know the difference between capital and lowercase letters.

Am I always super picky about handwriting....Goodness No (little Pete the Cat humor)  BUT when we are specifically practicing handwriting or concentrating on writing words neatly this method does the trick for me!

To get the worksheet click here.  To get the animal sheets click here.

The animals I used for this freebie are from DJ Inkers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Subtraction Game Freebie

My awesome student teacher, Leah, found a fun subtraction game on-line the other day.  Of course, as a kindergarten teacher, my first question is. . . .can we make it cuter?  Of course we can!  We took the idea of the game she found and created this fun worksheet/center activity.  Kids roll a dice, fill in the blank, cross out the pins, and fill in the answer.  Easy and fun way to practice subtraction using pictures.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shape Monster Revision

I recently revised my Shape Monster book/TPT packet to include a black and white reproducible book.  I also changed the monster graphics because I fell in love with these monsters from Thistlegirl.  Only $2.00 and it's one of my favs!  If you already purchased it make sure and download it again!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Am I the only one? Help!!!

Am I the only one who hates is frustrated by the containers these stamps come in?????     I use alphabet stamps a lot because.....well, I teach K.   Buuuuut.... I want to stomp on these cases and scream at the top of my lungs in frustration find a better way to store them.

Here's what I LOVE about the cases:
1. They are stored in ABC order. it!  Makes it super easy to find the one you want quickly!

2. The letter is on the bottom of the case. it!  Makes is super easy to replace the letters to the correct spot quickly (which of course all my perfect kinders do every time.............hahahahahahaha!)

Here is what I do NOT like about these cases:
1.  Little fingers find it hard to take the letter out of the case and replace them.  I'm blaming this mainly on the fact that the slot is only slightly bigger than the stamp and the fact that the stamps are stacked pretty tightly together.

2.  This is the one that really has me frustrated:  The lids keep breaking off of the cases!!  I have 6 of these sets now and only 1 set still has the lid on it.  Without the lid the stamps obviously don't stay in place at all!  While it is the highlight of my day to help the kids pick up 26 alphabet stamps (again and again and again) I think maybe I should find a better use of my time.  Sigh....

I think I have #1 solved. by buying these stamps:
They have a nice curved handle top on them which my kinders like a lot better than the flat ones.  However, the cases are almost exactly the same and I'm dreading the day the lids break off.

So my question is:  Does anyone have a better way to store these stamps????  I would really really really love to hear if you have a solution!  If I had a million dollars for your awesome thoughts I would gladly pay it but I don't get paid for another 13 days (teacher pay humor).

This post might have been a little dramatic.  If you read all the way to the end....bless you.  I tend to ramble when I'm tired.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Zero the Hero TPT Packet

Starting on things for next year...a little crazy but making these Zero the Hero books was on my mind and decided to do it and get it over with!  Plus, Scrappin Doodle had these adorable super hero graphics that I couldn't pass up!

Every 10 days of school we will get a reproducible book as part of our celebration.  There are 10 books in this pack plus a few math center activities. Click on the picture above to check it out!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Good News to Start the Week

Just had to share a quick "happy" with you!  Our district has been debating for an eternity a few years about implementing all day kindergarten at all 4 of our elementary schools (currently 2 have all day and 2 have half day).  I am relieved thrilled to say that tonight our School Board voted to put all day into all our schools next year!  WOO HOO!  Happy dance!

Friday, April 6, 2012

CVC Review Freebie & fun timers

Here's a super easy flip flap book to review middle sounds.  My students will have to think of 2 CVC words for under each flap.  Click the pic to download.

Also, if you are lucky enough to have a Smart Board click on the sand timer below to go to a site with lots of fun timers.  

Hope you are enjoying your Easter break as much as I am!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Awesome Science Videos!

Was looking for some short videos to show my class for our plants unit next week and came across this great website called   WOW!  Tons of great Science videos!

Here's one of the plant videos I found:

They had some good Earth Day ones too!