Sunday, September 29, 2013

Peek at My Week- Fall Leaves!

Hi everyone! I'm linking up with Deedee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten to share what we are doing this week!
This will be short and sweet because I've been working on a paper for my grad class and I want to get off my computer...  And, as said before- I'll get the visual thing down by Xmas :-) And don't miss my giveaway!!! (see the bottom of the post)

We are talking about Fall and leaves this week!!! I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!! Both in the classroom and out of it!

Reader's Workshop-
Still working on text to self connections.  Here are the books we are reading this week:
 And these will be just for fun:

Literacy Centers:

We are still working with letters, naming them, and will start adding in sounds for those who are ready this week.  Just bought, printed, laminated, and cut some wonderful activities from Marsha McQuire's Autumn Harvest Word Work Stations Galore!  

Autumn Harvest Word Work Galore-12 Differentiated and Alig

 That takes care of a lot of my centers but we will also be using starfall and lacing letters to spell color words.  I will be using a color easy reader that I made that you get pick up for free here!  And my para will be teaching I Have Who Has with letters.

 We are still working on counting and counting and counting and identifying numbers...  There's only so many weeks you can do this though.... SO if the plans for next week aren't different I will be changing them!!!   We will be finishing up with some Back to School Math Stations and incorporate some Falling Leaves Galore mid week:
Falling Leaves Galore-6 Activities in 1-Differentiated and

Lastly- I'm hosting my first giveaway!!!  You can enter to win these 4 brand new books:
All you have to do is follow me through Google or Bloglovin and enter on the rafflecopter!  Click here for the rafflecopter!

 Don't forget to visit Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for more great plans!  Enjoy the week!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five for Friday- Sept 27

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another wonderfully random Five for Friday!!
1. I am hosting my very first Giveaway!!!  Check out the details in my blog post from yesterday by clicking here!  All you have to do is follow me for the chance to win 4 beautiful new books:
 2. In writing we started labeling our drawings.  We talked about nouns, what they are, and made a list over the course of 3 days (please excuse my crude drawing...):

All the kids are working hard at getting letters down for labels:
And they work so quietly during writing time!!!

3. We did experimentations (yeah, I said it) with colors this week!  You can read my post here!

4. We started using the computers this week during literacy centers.  They were soooooo excited for these! We have been hanging out on Starfall and will be starting Breakthrough to Literacy sometime in October.

5.We started our ABC Fluency Books today.  I first heard the idea from Kim Adsit- you can check out her abc book here.  Then I found a little different one from Deedee Wills here, and decided this would work for me better.  BUT I modified her book to have the pictures that go with our Breakthrough to Literacy Alphabet.

If you also use Breakthrough to Literacy, or just want a new ABC book that the kids can color in, you can get my copy here!
Don't forget to check out other Five for Fridays at Doodle Bugs Teaching!  Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Color Experimentation and a Book Giveaway!

We did our first "real" science experiment this week!  I got the idea from my fabulous coworker and team leader Beth.  She is so creative!  
Before starting with the experiment I used Deanna Jump's What Do Scientists Do? freebie on TPT.  You can grab it here!
What Do Scientists Do?
It's a great way to introduce the steps of the scientific method and get that academic language working in a very easy peasy way!  My kids already know what a hypothesis is and that after making one we test it!

This week has been all about colors, so we experimented with a little color mixing.  On Tuesday we filled up 3 water bottles with water and hypothesized about what would happen if we put in drops of food coloring.  Then we did the test and watched the drops mix in with the water.  The kids loved the colors!  On Wednesday I asked a new question- What will happen if we put 2 colors into the water?  So we filled up 3 more water bottles and had students give a hypothesis and did our test.  They LOVED watching the colors mix!! We did orange first and I actually got a "Bravo for orange!" out of one of my kids (one of my ELLs!!!)!  They went crazy and clapped and cheered for orange, green, and purple.  Very exciting!  And here is the finished product:
Don't they look beautiful in the window!

Book Giveaway!!
I am VERY excited about this!  I got 10 free books from Scholastic with my September order and when they came I realized I already had some, so I figured I would share the wealth with my very first giveaway!!!  All you have to do it become a follower either through Google OR Bloglovin!  Here are the book you can win:
 Use the rafflecopter below to enter!  The winner will be announced on Thursday, October 3.  Good luck!!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crayon Box Easy Reader Freebie!

We are focusing on colors this week and of course reading the fabulous Brown Bear Brown Bear!
 I LOVE this book!  So simple and easy for the kids to learn the words.  It covers colors AND connects to the 5 senses, which we are still talking about.  

I made a wonderful EASY reader to adapt Brown Bear and read about just colors.  I capitalized easy because we have ALOT of English Language Learners at our school.  I now have two level 1's, which means they are just learning English- "fresh off the boat" as a coworker put it!  It's a great repetitive book and the kids are able to color in it (yay! you can use it to informally test color knowledge too!!).  Take a look:

If you would like a copy you can pick it up here!!  Don't forget to leave a comment so I know if you like it :-)  Happy hump day!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peek at My Week and a Freebie!

I'm linking up with Deedee Wills over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten to share what I'm doing this week with the kiddos! (and yes, I am still in awe that I am linking up with Deedee!!! How fantastic is she?!?!) 
 As I said last week- I'll get the awesome visual plan thing down by Christmas time... between teaching, grad school, and my hubby, I just don't have time to learn it right now...  Does anyone know of a good How To that can help me??

Reader's Workshop:
This week we are reading about colors and making text to self connections- Have you ever seen anything that is red? blue? orange?  We will be reading a color poem written by my ELL Coteacher and 2 books:
 We will be focusing on Brown Bear most of the week and the students will end up acting it out! Super excited for this!

Literacy Centers:
I'm starting my new center system based off of Deedee Wills' system and I am very excited!!  Mostly because it helped me realize that its OK if not every kid sees every center- in the end it doesn't really matter.  Here are my centers for the week:
1,2, and 3 (I will have 3 groups of kids, 6-7 kids, using the computers at a time.  We have laptops, which makes this possible!)- Computers- I will be manning this center for the first round of visiting until they get used to it.
4. My para will do 3 different activities throughout the week because she will see the groups 3 times (she will see 2 groups at one time which mean 4-5 kids).  She will do: wikki stix, and 2 activities from Marsha McGuire's Back to School Word Work.
         Back To School Work Work Galore-Differentiated and Aligned
5. Letter lacing- they will spell names and color words
6. Rainbow writing- my friends are either working on using lower case letters after their first letter OR learning how to write their last name
7. Uppercase/lowercase letter puzzle
8. Uppercase/lowercase memory- except they have figured out that the paper is see through and all they do is cheat... But at least they are still learning!!! I will make sure to fix this for the future.

In math we are going to continue counting and matching to numbers, and we will begin comparing quantities.  I'll be using a number of activities for this, BUT I am really excited to do some Read Read Trade for the first time!  Students will use the following 10 frames for this activity:
Students will count their card, tell their partner how many they have "I have ___ stars", give each other a high 5, trade cards with their partner, and then find someone else to do it with.  Such an easy activity to get everyone up, moving, counting, and most importantly for my many ELL friends- TALKING!  I also made cards with the numbers on them.  You can pick up this freebie here!

We will continue using our 5 Senses and will be exploring with colors!!

Social Studies:
Our classroom jobs will be introduced this week because "good citizens" have jobs :-)

Make sure you head over to Mrs. Wills Kindergarten to see more fabulous plans!

**I'm officially blaming any typos to the fact that I spilled water on my computer a little while ago :-(

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five for Friday Sept 20

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for some random Five for Friday!
1. We started talking about the 5 Senses this week! I love teaching about the senses!  We did 2 special activities today:
First, we went out to the garden with the "garden lady" (there's really no title for her that I know of... but she takes care of the whole area).  She did a great sense of smell lesson with the different plants!  I had so many scents on my fingers by the time we were done.

Second, we did a taste test at the end of the day- there's nothing better than watching the reactions to the taste of Baker's Chocolate!!  HILARIOUS!!

2. Our art teacher made an amazing sign for the special parking spot for the Minute to Win It winners!  Awesome!

3. Have you ever heard Shape Song 2 on youtube??  It's really cute!  Some of our classes sang it at graduation last year and did a great performance.  Well, we started listening to it last week and my kiddos are already getting it!  Here is the link if you want to watch the amazingness:

4. We took our first "test" today.  We have been working on counting with 1 to 1 correspondence and number recognition and writing so I wanted to see who could do all this independently.  They were sooooo quiet during the "test," it was almost eerie...  And they really enjoyed the walls that I put up!
5. Epic fail?  That's what I think...  I tried to start a linky on wednesday called What?! Wednesday.  No links :-(   I think it was just too ambitious for a newbie blogger.  Maybe next month it will just be a "leave a comment" party...  Any tips??

Happy Friday everyone and enjoy more randomness over at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WHAT?! Wednesday Linky Party September

Alright friends- you know we all LOVE those funny or ridiculous stories about our wonderful students that make you and your partners in crime coworkers say "What?!"  (or "EWWW" or "You gotta be kidding me!" You get the idea...) Well, I think it's time to start sharing with each other so we can all have a good laugh!  

I'm starting a monthly linky party called What?! Wednesday where you can link up and share your funny stories from this year or the past!  To start, I have two of my favorites from subbing 5 years ago:

1. I was working with a 4th grade class for the day.  We were watching an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy (who doesn't love him??) about plants, how they grow, and how water moves through them.  Of course, being Bill Nye, it really encouraged safety while conducting the experiments.  They stressed the importance of using a plastic knife to cut the celery for the experiment.  The video must have said it 4 times and this one boy kept grumbling.  Finally they got to a part about a tree section and in the most sarcastic voice in the world the kid says "Are they going to use a plastic knife for that too?"  I couldn't help it- I bust out laughing in front of the whole class.  It cracked me up! 

 2. I was subbing in a kindergarten class and the kids were out at recess.  One of the girls, who had a cold, runs in the door crying with her nose and mouth covered.  I went over and asked her what was wrong and she uncovered her face- there was SNOT hanging from her nose across her mouth and onto her chin!! And not just a little bit of snot, I'm talking SNOT!!! If there's one thing I can't handle, it's snot.  I started gagging instantly and had to turn around and walk away while this poor little thing was crying! I finally reached for a box of tissues and held it out to her without turning my head.  When she reached for it I actually dropped it! YUCK!!!

 I would love to hear 1 or 2 of your favorites!  Make sure use my graphic and link back to me :-)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Peek at My Week (for the very first time!)

I'm linking up with THE Deedee Wills (gasp!! I LOVE her!) from Mrs. Will's Kindergarten for my very first Peek at my Week!

Now, I haven't had time to figure out this visual lesson plan thing, but I promise by Christmas (ha! yeah I said Christmas. Girl needs some time!) I will have it up and running and under control.  

Here is what we are doing this week:

5 Senses

We are starting the 5 Senses this week! I LOVE covering the 5 senses.  We will use a 5 senses poem, read about a new sense each day in Reader's Workshop, and do a taste test on Friday.  The best part about the taste test is the Baker's Chocolate- the kids are so excited to have chocolate and then they all spit it out after tasting it!

Literacy Centers

We are using some of Marsha McGuire's Back to School Word Work Centers.   
 Back To School Work Work Galore-Differentiated and Aligned This week will include uppercase/lowercase memory and write the room for uppercase letters.
We are also doing some rainbow writing with our names, matching letter clips onto names cards, and an uppercase/lowercase letter puzzle match.

This week we will continue to learn number names and start learning how to count items in an organized way to make sure they don't count anything twice- a lot of my kiddos were not able to do this on their Math assessment.  
For centers we are using some of Marsha McGuire's Back to School Math Centers.
Back To School Math Stations Galore-12 Activities To Get T This week we will use write the room for school supplies, Lost my Lunch (for number recognition), linking up number order, and I Spy.
We are also making our own pictures with pattern blocks and we will be going on a number walk around the school!

I'll be more prepared for this next time with pics of my own activities and eventually I'll get to those visual lesson plans! ;-)

Join up with Deedee's Peek at my Week linky and give us a peek at your week!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shapes and Kinesthetic Learning

In math this week we are learning about shapes!  On Tuesday I asked my students to try to make certain shapes with their body and this led to one of my students getting some volunteers to lay on the floor as he explained how to lay down and make a triangle!  It was awesome!  So, we split up into groups and laid down to make shapes:
 Circle (or at least an attempt)
 Not really sure why my pictures all turned upside down when I added them into blogger... Sorry if it's messing with your eyes!!

Then today I took out some long circles of string that I use every year for this activity.  Small groups used the string to make different shapes! It was really fun and one of those perfect lessons that you wish your assistant principal could walk in and see- well, she did! YES! ha!
Rectangle (they couldn't figure out how to have the 3rd person help with this...)

A Beautiful Triangle!

 We had a great time, did some kinesthetic learning, and learned to work with others!

In other news: a huge THANK YOU to my coworker Kristen who gave me an idea for transitioning between centers.  Those boys of mine were great at cleaning up when the timer went off, but would end up wandering around instead of staying at their center and pointing to their next one.  SOOOO Kristen's idea was to have them put their hands on their head and freeze when the timer goes off, then listen to directions, then clean, then point.  We started today and IT WORKED!!  They handled the transition very well today! It's Amazing what having them freeze and listen before cleaning will do!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Made it through the 6th day of school, but finally realized that this year is definitely going to be much harder than last year!  

I have 9 boys and 7 girls in my class right now.  Not so bad.  BUT 6 of the boys are chatty chatty chatty!! They are learning to keep their hands to themselves, so I'm not really concerned about that (well, still concerned about 1...) but these boys just won't stop talking!  All day long, even when I'm trying to teach...  So here is what I'm doing:

1. LOTS of brain breaks!  This will help made sure they can get out some energy.  I printed my brain breaks on labels and put them on tongue depressors and keep them in a very cute $1 tin from Target! I am starting with some easier breaks and will add in more involved ones throughout the first few months.  The class is loving this already!

2. My Voice Level chart!  I made it last year but them didn't really need to use it, but this year it is up, already introduced, and we are using it a lot!! I even had to go to a level 0 today after cleaning up centers because they were so LOUD...  YIKES!

3. Different tables!  I have 5 different tables in my room- if only I had 6! Ha! But this is really helping during snack, art, writing, etc.  I am able to split them up in a way that works for me.

4. Smaller groups at math and literacy centers!  My groups have always been a little bigger, 4-5 kids, allowing me to worry about less centers.  I will be changing this!  I was thinking about changing anyway after hearing great ideas from Deedee Wills (from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten) about how she works her centers and now I will definitely be doing this and I'm excited for it! 2-3 kids per center should be perfect for me.

I'd love to hear how to take care of your chatty friends!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Five for Friday- Sept 6

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!  

1. I MADE IT THROUGH THE FIRST WEEK!!!  I just felt the need to celebrate!  I have a good (not GREAT like last year, but good) group of kids to work with and I am excited for the year.  Note: last year's group was seriously the best group of kinders in the world! Or at least in my world.  We just gelled instantly- love those kids!  But these ones will be great too.

2. You would not believe it but 2 of my kids were lost on Tuesday!!! LOST!!  I called transportation to double check their bus numbers and they gave me the numbers and I made sure the kids got on those busses.  THEN in come one set of parents about 30 minutes later- Parents: Wheres my kid??  Me: WHAT?!?! (this was of course my reaction in my head, I was calm, cool, and collected in front of the parents).   The parents were totally fine waiting for the bus to come back with their little one.  THEN in walks another set of parents- YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!!  UGH…..
Well, everyone was returned and the rest of the week was smooth sailing, thank goodness!

3. Read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and did this name activity that I found on Pinterest??  Another blog??? Yall- I have to get better at remembering where I found this stuff so I can give them props!!

I love how they turned out!!  We got to learn how to glue- they are superstars at it! We got to play with letters, spell our names, and count! WOOHOO!

4. Did a little writing from our own experiences for the first time today.  I have some pretty good artists!  We practiced writing our name, the date, and "Me" on top of our head in the picture.  

5. We started on day 1 with literacy and math centers!  They are great at working at centers and are getting the hang of switching to the next group!  Here are some pics and the link to where you can find the item (if I know where I got it):
 Playdough letter mats from Marsha McGuire's Back to School Centers. You can find them here!!
I Spy Back to School also from Marsha McGuire.  It's in the same pack- here
 The Kissing Hand Uppercase/Lowercase match and write.  Great set of math and lit centers for free! I blogged about it back in August but don't have time to find the link because I am literally walking out the door to catch a train to catch a plane!!  Will find it and add it when I'm back! 
Lowercase magnet letter matching (there are uppercase ones too).  I don't know where I found these- they were free though!  If you know- please help me out :-) 

Now I'm off to Michigan for my best friend's bachelorette party!!  Am I going to be the first one asleep- you bet!!  Happy weekend!