Monday, September 30, 2013

Scarecrows, Apples & Fall!

Hello friends! We sure have been busy this past week! Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time to fit in all of the thematic studies you want to? Last week I crammed apples, scarecrows and fall all together. It was a lot and I didn't get to do everything I had wanted to do with my kinders. But, they at least got to experience a little of it.

For apples, we read "Up, Up, Up, It's Apple-Picking Time" (click on the picture for the Amazon link). This is a great story about picking apples in an orchard.

We brainstormed ideas for apples uses:

We got all of our  fun apple activities from here:

For fall we read "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves". My kinders love these old lady books!
We made these adorable scarecrows and wrote about them:


All of our "Old Lady" activities came from the packet below (including the adorable scarecrows!)

This week we are working on pumpkins! I LOVE fall!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Community Helpers {with mini giveaway!}

Hello friends! We just wrapped up our community helpers unit. We have so much fun with community helpers! Here are some pictures of the fun:
I love class graphs! We created one for which community helper they thought they would like to be. 
Above is our themed word wall (a little fuzzy). This is a great help when we are working in our journals!

 The K teacher beside me bought the masks for all of the kindergarten kiddos. They wore them as we worked on our class graph. It was a big hit!

 Each morning with our calendar/journal time we had a community helper themed message.
I wish I had snapped some pictures of their journals because they did such an awesome job with it! Click on the picture below to get the morning messages from my little store.

We also sent home a survey to parents asking them about their jobs. About half of my class sent them back, and my kiddos loved hearing about the different jobs! 
You can find the survey and many many more community helper activities by clicking on the picture below.

And the most exciting part about our community helpers week was that one of our kiddo's parents works for the Rescue Squad. He came with the truck and showed all of the kids the tools they use to help people out of a wrecked car. He then turned on the lights and opened up all of the compartments and let us walk around and check it all out!

Do you work on community helpers? What kind of activities do you do?

The first THREE followers to comment {with their email so I can send the prizes} will receive both of my community helper packs! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ready for Fall Ya'll! {linky}

Hello friends! Here in East TN we actually had a day with cool weather. It's raining now as I have my first cup of hot chocolate of the season. Fall is my favorite time of the year! I just finished working on my new packet on the life cycle of an apple. I'm so excited about it! However, I won't be using it to teach. My student teacher is teaching full time this week and next week. So, I at least will get to see the parts of it she wants to use for all Fall unit. 
Just click on the picture to check it out!

I haven't had a linky in what seems like forever. So, now feels like a good time. Link up anything you have for fall! I'd love to see what you all have for this great time of year!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Writing Rubrics (freebies and mini giveaway!!!)

Hello friends! How much writing do you do in kindergarten? When do they begin writing sentences and really writing on their own? Of everything that we teach in kinder, I enjoy teaching writing, but I feel that it can be the most frustrating (especially at the beginning of the year). So this year we started on day one and I feel like we have already made HUGE progress. 
One of my teaching partners decided to have her kids practicing their name each morning during announcements and bathroom time. I decided to do the same. Each child has their name practice paper in a plastic sleeve protector. While they are "listening" announcements and while they are going to the bathroom (one toilet for boys and one for girls to share between 2 classes) they are tracing and writing their name. When they are done they can write our words for the week or ANYTHING they want that they see around the room. One of the best things is that they use dry erase markers for this and there is no prep for this anymore. 
Another thing that has helped our writing is our morning messages and then putting the response in our journals. Each morning we have a morning message. I read it to the kids, we discuss, I write the key word on  my dry erase board and they go to their journal, write the key word and draw their response. The best thing....I already have kids trying to write sentences!!
Here's a link to my morning messages:
 They are available in  yearly and quarterly bundles and individually.
 I'm also going to give away my newest addition, Colors with Brown Bear and Friends to 2 lucky followers. 

Go to the bottom to enter through rafflecopter.

Now at my school, I am the kindergarten member of our writing team. We were asked to create rubrics for writing. Here is what I have come up with:
The best part?....they are free!! Just click on the picture to snag them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Literacy Stations {and a mini giveaway}

Hello friends! So I have recently posted about my math tubs and RTI. Now, it's time for literacy stations! Maybe it's because I teach little ones, but I {puffy heart} LOVE stations! I feel like my students get so much hands on learning out of them. Here's what my stations look like for kindergarten at the beginning of the year. 

First, I set up a pocket chart using their picture and free station cards from One Extra Degree. My students rotate through stations and only do one station each day. 
Our stations are:
1. Listening Station (2 students)
2. Pokey Pins (2 students)
3. Word Work (2 students)
4. Computers (4 students)

For my listening station, my students will listen to stories on, leap frog videos and alphabet songs. It varies depending on the group. I want them to listen to something they can learn from and enjoy.

Pokey Pins - Then Read to Self
I use the pokey pins from  from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business. Students lay on their bellies to do this work. They are great for fine motor skills. I also have carpet squares if I have a student who would rather sit at a table for this activity. Felt under their paper will also work. When students complete this one we hang it in the window just because it looks cool and then they go and read to self. Our read to self is a little reading corner with a kid sized couch and beanbag. 
I had a hard time finally deciding to implement this station. Students use push pins to do the work. When I was in kindergarten, the little boy I sat beside put a push pin on my seat hoping I would sit on it. I saw it and immediately told on that stinker. But I tell ya, I cried! And all of that made it hard for me to do this station ( I guess that scarred me, LOL). But as I see my kiddos doing this station, I know I made that right choice to make it part of our stations. 

Work Work
This is how I fit my sensory table into my stations. (And just happens to be the only thing I remembered to take picture of.)
I  have many activities for my table all stored underneath it. With this activity, students will pick a side to stand on and look at the board to see what letters they need. 
Then, they will look through the table and dig through the noodles and find the uppercase, lowercase and 3 pictures for each of their letters. 

The board is dry erase and magnetic, so I added a small magnet on each card so my students can easily sort what they find, remove and switch spots with their partner to work on new letters.

You can find that station here in my little store:
P.S. -all sensory activities are on sale until the 4th!

Four of my little friends will work on during station time.

Now I'm sure you are wondering how many kids I have, since they can't possibly fit at those few stations. I am very blessed to have an aid for 30 minutes each day. I have made that time my station time. She takes half of my students into our back room  to work on letters, sounds and words in a small group setting. The half that stay with me go to a station and then I pull for guided reading. 
This is the first year that it has worked out this way and I love it! 

With all of that said...I'm still a firm believer in very small groups for stations. With computers as the exception, I only put 2 kids at each station. I do the same with math tubs (and all of my kids are in the room for that). Only 2 kids are at a tub at one time. That means more things going on in the room and more stations to teach procedures for. But, you don't have to change stations out as often and I find that my students are actually quieter with just one friend instead of 2 or 3 friends in their group. 

Now is your chance to enter to win my alphabet activities for the sensory table. Just use the rafflecopter to enter and 2 lucky entries will be randomly chosen!
Lois is the winner! Check you email for some goodies! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway