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


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