Tuesday, December 3, 2013

She's Back! Elf on the Shelf: Days 1-3 2013 & A Land of Letter's Video

Day 1:
Our dear elf has returned and she loves kinderland! As always, she arrived from the North Pole in her fancy, glittery box. By lunchtime she was on the lookout!

Day 2:
Elf-abet decided that it would be fun to celebrate my birthday with us! She must be fonder of the little nuggets, because she called me an old lady. It was still quite thoughtful. *Yes, that is me when I was in kindergarten*

Day 3:
On her peppermint stick swing, Elf-abet was flying high! It also made the perfect perch for watching our choices!

Be sure to check back on Friday for the next two days and a special freebie. To check out last year's elf posts, just click HERE.

Last, just because it is silly, here is a video that I created to introduce the Land of Letter's character, Pam the Lamb. I simply recorded it in brief clips using the "My Talking Pet" app for the iPad. I then downloaded and merged the clips in iMovie. It is super simple, but the kiddo's LOVED it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Let's Celebrate BIRTHDAYS! Lots of Freebies!!!

Celebrating a birthday in kindergarten is too much fun (sometimes they are so fun that you need an extra cup of coffee to get through the day)! I try to keep birthdays in my classroom simple and fun. I hang up a pennant banner that I made a few years back and tie a chair tag to the back of their seat. I reuse the chair tags so I had them printed at COSTCO and then I laminated them. Each student gets a birthday button (I make these with my button machine, but you could make them out of cardstock and pin them on) and a birthday Smencil from me. I prep all of this before the school year begins, so I can just grab it and go. Below is a link to the files for these items. Just click on the photo to download.

I also use my Silhouette to ease the cutting of these items. If you would like a Silhouette file for the graphic, just click on the picture below to download it.

The birthday tradition that is cherished most in my class is the birthday book. Each student completes a page during work on writing. At the end of the day I bind them and we present it to the birthday boy or girl. The kids LOVE it and can't wait to look at each and every page. I have different versions of the birthday page so that when students are more confident with writing they can write their own words.
Below is my birthday book freebie for you! There are a variety of pages to meet the needs of your little learners. If you download it, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

As for birthday treats, my approach may be different than some. I don't allow sweets (GASP)! I do allow parents to bring in something to share with the class, but it must be healthy. I let parents know about this at the start of the school year and I also give them a link to my Pinterest board with healthy treat ideas. To check out the board, click HERE. Surprisingly, most of my parents are happy with the rule and the kids love the fun healthy treats that have come in.

I hope that you have enjoyed this birthday post. If you are not a follower already, please follow my blog and visit my Facebook page. It is the best way to keep up with ideas and freebies that I share.

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Land of Letters {FREEBIE}

 What a busy week it has been! I had the pleasure of spending my weekend+ Monday in Salt Lake City at an IB workshop focusing on IB and the Common Core. Our facilitators were the bomb dot com and I came away with a greater level of comfort in regards to implementing the Common Core within the framework of the IB. On Tuesday I was back in the classroom ready to get my glitter on! We continued inquiring into stories and making connections.
Retelling stories with a puppet show twist!

Our guest reader, Officer Mike even shared a few magic tricks!

We read stories from a variety of genres, recorded our connections, and compared and contrasted stories. Guest readers have graced our classroom to share stories that they have connections to, we worked on telling stories through song and dramatic play, and last, but not least, we journeyed to The Land of Letters. This is how we teach our students letters and their corresponding sounds. Each letter of the alphabet is given a character name and has a story (using lots of sound specific vocabulary).  We try to use "real" characters as much as possible. We launch The Land of Letters with an official request from the King of The Land of Letters asking us to help rescue some lost letters.

We put together a "magic carpet" (foam letter mat), climb aboard, and fly to the Land of Letters. When we arrive we search for letters needing help. We have 4-5 characters in different places on the campus with a problem. For example, Rosie the Robot has rusted in the river and she needs her rivets oiled. The students help the characters and then go to the "Rescue Center" (our school library) where we have a party to celebrate the beginning of our Journey in The Land of Letters. After the launch, the characters visit our classroom one at a time, engage the students in sound specific dialogue, and teach them the letter name, sound, and action. We typically have 1-2 characters per week, going in order of frequency instead of alphabetical order. After the character leaves, the students work in their Land of Letters journals and practice the sound and action. Most letters also include either an activity or a craft. The students LOVE the Land of Letters! The best part is that we launch it during our storytelling unit. It is fabulous learning engagement that adds value to the unit and continues the inquiry beyond the official end of the unit.  Below are pictures from our visit with Susie and Sally the Sizzling Sausage Sisters. They sizzled savory sausages in the sunshine for students. It was sensational! I bet you can guess what letter we learned!

Next week Ping and Pong will be visiting. We have convinced a few fun teachers on campus to don afro wigs and 80's sweatbands for a powerful ping pong playoff. We will have popcorn while they play. I can't wait!!

For your freebie today, I am going to give you the letter "S" pages from The Land of Letters journal. If you would like the entire journal, please visit my TpT store! It will be discounted to $4.00 for the next week (CLICK HERE). To download your freebie, just click on the picture below.

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Portfolio Freebie

I am in Utah this weekend at an I.B Common Core workshop and I am having a blast. I truly love the opportunity to learn and collaborate! Even though my weekend has been full, I did not want to miss posting a quick freebie for you. As the year is underway, I am sure that many of you are starting portfolio's with your students. Portfolios are an incredible way to document learning, growth, and reflection. Today's freebie is a cover for kindergarten portfolios. Just have your students complete the self portrait and place it on the front of their portfolio.

If you would like additional portfolio freebies, check out my other post on portfolios.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Quick Pumpkin FREEBIE!

I have a super busy night ahead of me, but I wanted to share a quick freebie with you! Last week my class spent time reading lots of pumpkin (and farm) books for our current I.B. Unit, How we express ourselves. To work on our lines of inquiry, we determined the difference between books that are real and books that are pretend and we recorded our connections to the texts and what we learned from them. To add more meaning to the experience, we spent one afternoon doing pumpkin science and creating even more connections to what we had learned. It was a BLAST! Below are some pictures from our science explorations as well as the Pumpkin Science FREEBIE. I have also attached some pictures of our Silly Pumpkin Portraits and a few of the books that we read.
Have a fun Halloween week!

Here are some fun pumpkin books to share with your kinders:


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Playing with Numbers {FREEBIE}

Math in Kindergarten is SO much fun and I love helping my littles discover math in an exciting and engaging way! Our school uses Everyday Math, which for kindergarten is very inquiry based. It is all about exploring their environment, playing games, and working with numbers. Most of the time the kiddos don't even know that they are learning. In addition to the ascribed curriculum, I also do math workstations at least twice a week. I successfully used Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations in my second grade classroom and have modified it to make it work for my kinders. While the little learners require a lot more structure and practice than the older students, they have finally got the hang of it and it is going great! My favorite part of math work stations is that they allow me to work with small groups of students. Through my small group work I have discovered so much about my students, especially the span of abilities.  Some of my students are right were they should be, many of my students are ready for advanced math concepts, and some of my students lack the most basic of math skills. For example, I have some students who can count to 100 with ease and others who cannot identify the numeral 7. Because of this span of abilities, I have had to really differentiate the workstations. This is still a work in progress, but I feel like it is going in the right direction. Below are a few pictures of math in action in (and out of) my kinder classroom!

Finding numbers in our school:

Finding similarities and differences:

Making ABAB patterns with chunks of pool noodles:

 Identifying, comparing, and counting coins:

Comparing height by tracing our outlines with sidewalk chalk:
 Of course we had to finish by adding some details!

Going on a shape hunt!:

The FREEBIE today is a number book. I created this to use at the start of the year when we were making daily number posters as a class. We would make one together as a class and in small groups they would make their own for the given number. I gave them different tools to use, paper punches, stickers, bingo markers, crayons, etc... and they chose what they used to represent the number. For example, they might choose to draw four rainbows on number four day or place two apple stickers on number 2 day.

What does math look like in your kindergarten classroom? I would love to hear about it!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


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