Tuesday, October 29, 2013

November Book-It Reading Log

Hi friends!

I just finished a new Book-It reading log for November -- with only a couple days to spare!  Can't believe it's already time for turkeys and Thanksgiving activities at school!

Click the link at the bottom of the post if you'd like to use it with your class!  You'll just need to print it out and copy double-sided.

Click HERE to grab it from Google Drive!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five for Friday {October 25}


I have today off because of Parent-Teacher Conferences this week.  I'm so looking forward to some extra time with my kids after lots of time away.

Here's what went on at school this week!  

1. We are wrapping up our first science unit on the 5 senses.  We put our tastebuds to the test on Tuesday!  
The kids LOVED this fun activity!  
 We worked together to figure out the four tastes - salty, sweet, sour, and bitter.  The cocoa powder was so funny!  It smells great and the students were excited to taste it, but then.....it's SO bitter!  And, of course, lemon faces are pretty funny too!  I had my camera out during this activity to catch their expressions...priceless!!
 This sheet comes from Kindergarten Smiles' "Our Five Senses" unit found HERE.  I tweaked it a bit and turned the spicy taste into bitter.
Science is SO MUCH FUN in Kindergarten!!

2. We were all smiles on Wednesday when I read the students the notes that their parents left them at conferences.  Some parents ran out of time or missed the table, so I wrote a few myself.  Such a fun way to encourage these kiddos who are working so hard!  
 You can see the post I wrote about everything that was on the hallway table by clicking HERE.

3. We are so lucky to have two pen pals this year from two parts of the country!  We've had two letters waiting, and I had the best intentions of writing both classes back this week, but we only got one letter finished.  This is the sign that I post when a letter arrives in the mail.  It always brings LOTS of excitement!
Colorado friends.....your letter is on it's way!
 Texas friends..... your letter will be mailed out next week!
We LOVE our pen pals!!

4. Our reading curriculum story for this week was Life in an Ocean.
The class loved this non-fiction story.  I had some fun extensions planned, including a class book that we made using these ocean animals...
 BUT...I forgot to take pictures of the finished products!  Look for a post next week about our ocean extensions.

5. This one is not school related, but I had such a fun night with my kids last night with this activity!  We got "BOO'd" on Sunday night -- this is something new to our neighborhood this year and so much fun!  The rules are that once you get Boo'd, you are supposed to BOO two houses within 24 hours...but that just wasn't possible with my crazy schedule this week.  SO....last night we headed to the store, got all the treats we needed, and devised our BOO plan!  My son, Trey, got the job of ringing the doorbell and running away as fast as he could.  Both of our BOO's were successful!  Such a fun memory for the kids!
It got me thinking...this could be so fun at school!  Maybe next year???

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Parent-Teacher Conferences: hallway table

I have had one crazy, busy week....and it's only Thursday evening.  It was Parent-Teacher Conference week, which means that on Monday and Tuesday I taught full days, then had conferences until 9:00 PM both nights.  Wednesday was another full day of teaching and today was a district-wide professional development day.  

Felt like a lot for this girl who is normally IN BED by 9:00 PM. Ha!

Anyway, all is well in the world because I don't have school tomorrow and I get to volunteer in my son's 1st grade class in the afternoon.  
I. can't. wait.

In case you still have P/T conferences coming...but mostly because I want to remember this for next year :), I wanted to share photos of the table that my teaching partner and I set up in the hallway for the parents of our kindies.  I don't have the energy to write about it, so just the photos will have to do.

It is very important to us that we present a united front to parents.  We want them to know that, regardless of the teacher, we work together and we have the same goals!  We also wanted a chance to highlight a few important things and give them a feel for what is still to come this year.
You can grab these "STAR notes" for FREE from my TPT shop HERE
Not quite sure about the link to this poem....my partner found it online and whipped up this cute sign!

Do you set up a table for your parents to check out during conferences?  If so, what do you make sure is on it???

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"In the Fall" class book

My teaching partner came across this photo last weekend and we both were inspired by it! (Click the photo to head over to the site.) 
We didn't need a bulletin board decoration, but we thought that we could use the same idea to make an adorable class book!  We have parent-teacher conferences next week and I always like to have a new class book sitting out for parents to look at in case they have to wait a few minutes. 

It really became a week-long project.  On Monday, we worked as a class to put together a list of things we like to do in the Fall.  Then, on Tuesday, we reviewed the list and I told students to choose the one thing that they most enjoyed doing.  I have a high-schooler that comes to my classroom two afternoons a week as part of one of her classes, so on Tuesday afternoon she met with each child and had them tell her which activity was their favorite.  She wrote their names in pencil next to their activity.
 I then took the responses and typed them up so that each student would have their own complete sentence to glue onto their page.  NOTE:  I had an aide in the classroom with me when I did the cutting/gluing/drawing part.  If I didn't, I probably would have done this part in small groups.  Building sentences (even though I had a page for them to model after up on the projector screen) is challenging for many October Kindergarten students.  I was glad to have help as we checked each sentence and gave the okay to glue.

Once the students glued their sentences in place, they were ready to add their illustrations.

I thought this little boy's drawing was so creative and fun!  Look how he is jumping into that leaf pile!!

I added their names on file folder labels (I just retouched the names out of these photos) which was really cute until I completed the book.  Stay tuned.... :)

I finally completed the book on Friday by laminating each of the pages and adding a cover.  This was a "live and learn" moment.  I realized that the sentences had been built at the very top of the page, and the name stickers had been put in the bottom corners of the pages.  Either way I hole-punched, I was going to punch right through something important!  Boo!  I decided to punch through the bottom because enough of their names are still left to know whose is whose.  Whoops!  Rookie mistake!

Our finished product is really adorable and I think parents will love looking through it.

I'll definitely add this to my Fall file for next year.  And I might just do some similar books for other themes this year.  The kids were all smiles as we went through the book as a class on Friday.

Aaaannnnndddd.....tomorrow I will be busy getting things finalized for conferences.  Such a busy time of year!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spookley craftivity

You know Spookley, right?  
The adorable square pumpkin who saves the day?
I LOVE this story.  I have read it with my students several times already, and we'll read it more before October ends.

Spookley is too cute to not extend into a craftivity!  My teaching partner has always done cute Spookley stuff in the Fall, but we tweaked a few things this year and came up with something new.  The perfectly imperfect pumpkins are a great jumping off point for discussing the word "unique" (a great vocab word!), and this book is perfect for making text-to-self connections!

Check out our Spookley masterpieces!

I gave each student a sheet of 9x12 orange construction paper and told them that they could cut it into any shape they wanted.  We used brown scraps to make stems and we had an old master copy for the eyes, nose, and mouth that the kids cut out and glued on.  You could have them use construction paper scraps for the face too.  Or if you are artistic, you could draw your own.  I'm not, so I prefer to use the old copy we have filed away. :)

They turned out pretty darn cute, that's for sure!!  A keeper!

If you'd like the extension page or the display sign, click HERE and HERE to snag them from google drive!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Current math stations

We began math stations last week.  Finally!  My teaching partner has had them up and going for a couple of weeks already, but I just didn't feel like my crew was quite ready to dive in yet.  We first got literacy stations rolling, and last week I decided that I had prepared them as much as I could.  We had to dive in and problem-solve as we went.

I have a pretty good size class this year at 25 kiddos, so three of my math station groups have 6 kids and 1 has 7 (4 groups in all).  They're large, but I have an aide in my classroom during this time so we roam and help out where we are needed.  The activities are meant to be completed independently, and it went great last week!  We'll keep these same activities through this week (math stations take place on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for us), and then I'll switch them out.

SO....here's what we're working on now.

1. "Apples on the Tree" (link to this pack by Growing Kinders HERE)
Pull out extra large dice and kids will stay entertained for hours! Ha!  I double sided this sheet and my students easily stayed engaged for the entire math station block (30 minutes).

2. Fall ten-frame counting mats (download freebie HERE)
I whipped up a recording strip to go along with this to make sure that the students built every number -- accountability!!  I also had them use gator grabbers to add in a fine-motor piece.  The kids went CRAZY over those cute grabbers!  I might leave this one in for another round because my students really loved it.

3. "Create-a-Pattern" (link to this pack by Julie Lee HERE)
I have a student this year that doesn't celebrate Halloween and his mom asked that he not participate in anything Halloween-related in the classroom.  I understand that completely because that was me growing up - my family never celebrated Halloween either.  Now that I'm a mom and teacher, I love celebrating each holiday in fun and creative ways...and that includes Halloween.  BUT....I will happily respect this student and his parents' request to not participate.  So, I've had to keep most of my fun Halloween things packed away this year, and instead I am getting lots of use out of this fun monster pack.  We just finished a math chapter on patterns, so this fit perfectly.  The students had to match and label the patterns.

4. "Brown Bear Ten-Frames" (link to my Brown Bear pack HERE)
We had lots of fun starting our year out with Brown Bear and his gang this year.  This was a page that we had completed as a class several weeks ago, so the students were familiar with it and had fun doing it on their own this time.  I also added "Brown Bear Groups" to the backside to extend the activity and help it fill the time better. (I didn't get a pic of that side...sorry!)

Math station tip:  I always walk around during math stations with a highlighter in hand.  If I see a child that isn't sure how to form a number, I write it with my highlighter and ask them to trace it.  It's an easy way to offer them some quick support, and they are still getting the practice of writing it on their own...the right way.

YAY for a successful first round of math stations!!  It feels so good to slowly get all the parts and pieces of our routine in place.