Monday, December 17, 2012

Thankful for my kiddos!

I was so happy to see my kiddos this morning.  They walked in all smiling and happy.....thankfully oblivious to all of the pain and heartache happening in the world around them.  Bless their little hearts!!!

Today was a good day.  

I gave my kids a few more hugs today.  I gave a few more chances.  I listened to a few more stories.  I let them ask a few more questions.  I let them linger at my desk for a few extra minutes.   I really tried to enjoy every second with them, not taking anything for granted.  It was a good day and I am thankful for my kids.  

Our afternoon was all FUN.  We made silly Santa faces!  
I'm pretty sure we didn't cover a single Common Core standard.  LOL  

First, did our best to cut out circles for faces...and triangles for hats!  Wait...maybe we did hit on a standard or two!!

Next we drew 
Santa's eyes, nose, and mouth.  

Then, we started adding the cotton to trim Santa's hat and beard!

Take a look at how cute they turned out!!  

I hope you and your students had a good day too!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Manic Monday Freebie at Classroom Freebies

I am linking up with Classroom Freebies for the Manic Monday fun!  
You can head over there and check out all the other great freebies that have been listed too!

My newest forever freebie is a Christmas Graph the Room activity!  My kids love writing the I combined writing the room with reading a graph and came up with "Graph the Room!"  LOL  I know it's a little late, what with Christmas right around the corner, but hopefully you can use it in your classroom before the break!  

Click the picture below to grab it FREE!

All you have to do is laminate, cut out, and place the graph cards around your room.  
Each card has a letter in the corner that corresponds to a letter on the response sheet. 

The students will read the graph, count the objects, and write the correct number.  

There are 2 sets of graph cards.  Each set has 6 graphs in it.  
The recording sheet can be used with both sets of graphs.  
That way you can use this activity for more than one day!

Hope it's something you and your kiddos enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Card Excitement!

Have you ever visited Jennifer Wagner's site called Projects by Jen?  If you haven't, you need to head on over and check it out!  Jennifer hosts numerous online projects throughout the year, designed for K-6 classrooms.  Check out some of her upcoming projects {here}.  
She's got some really neat ideas!

This year I signed my class up to participate in her Holiday Card Exchange project.  Here's how it works.....After signing up everyone is placed into a group--there ended up being 39 groups!!!  Each group has 29 other participants in it, so my class created 30 holiday cards to send out to other classrooms. (one will go to a local children's hospital)  My kids were so excited to learn that their cards were going to be sent all over the US, and even some to Canada and Australia.   These same classrooms will also be making cards and sending one to us.  In the end, my class should receive 29 holiday cards from other classrooms!  How cool is that???

My kiddos loved making 
our cards.  I had kids begging 
to make more than one.   

I even had kids asking to 
make another card during 
free choice/center time.  

The theme of this years exchange is "snow globes" so our cards had a snow globe on the front that my kids could color.  They wrote 'Merry Christmas' on the front of the card.  On the inside they wrote 'from Ms. Burton's class' and drew Christmas trees, snowmen, or some other holiday picture.  I am definitely thinking I need to add a 'card making' option to my writing center.  Something tells me my kiddos would love that!

Here are some of the cards that my kids made!  They really turned out great!

We are excited to start receiving our holiday cards in the mail!  
Who doesn't love getting mail, right!?!?

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Currently

It's so hard to believe that it's already December!  Here in Middle Tennessee our high today was that makes it REALLY hard to believe that it's almost Christmas time!   All of us teachers are hoping that the unseasonably warm weather right now......... means that we are going to have an unseasonably cold (and snowy) winter.  Not that we're doing any snow dances or anything.  Yet.  

I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her December currently.  
Head on over and let everyone know what you're up to right now!  


Friday, November 30, 2012

Snowman FREEBIE & Jungle Doors!

Do you like freebies?  Head on over to The Teaching Blog Addict's page where you can 
score lots of freebies!  I'm linking up to share my newest freebie with all of you!

I made this Snowman nonsense word game to help my students practice reading nonsense words.    
We are getting ready for Dibels testing next week, so they need all the practice they can get!  
Click the picture below to grab it for FREE in my TpT store!  

There are 36 nonsense word cards & 9 extra game cards.  
I also included a set of B&W word cards, in case you wanted to print on colored paper and save on ink! 

And now in a completely random change of subject....check out some of the cool jungle doors in our Kindergarten hallway!  Our yearbook theme for this year is "It's a Jungle Out There" and there are prizes up for grabs for the best decorated door!!  The kids have loved looking at the classroom doors transformed into jungle animals and scenes!  

I don't know about you, but I am so ready for the weekend!  
Hope it's a good one!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas is coming.....

I just finished making a Christmas Count the Room activity for my kiddos to use during the month of December.  They really enjoyed the Thanksgiving one I made, so I figured I'd make one for the next holiday too!  :-)  Would you like to get a copy of this?  Well read on!!!!

With this packet you can have your students practice counting 1-10 and 11-20.  There are two sets of cards for 1-10 and one set of cards for 11-20.  You could even put two sets up at the same time.....Since each set is bordered in a different color (red, green, or blue) you could just instruct certain groups of students to look for only a certain colored card!  

There are also four different recording sheets that have the pictures in different places.  That way students can do this activity more than once and never use the same sheet twice! :-)

I have just posted this in my TpT store and for the next 8 hours it will be available completely FREE!  Go grab it here while you can!  If you do grab it, I would greatly appreciate your feedback!  Thanks so much and enjoy!!

If you missed the freebie, you can still find the 
Christmas Count the Room pack in my TpT store for only $2.00.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cute Freebie Alert!

I know it's almost Thanksgiving and winter is fast approaching.....but I just had to share something cute & Springy I made this morning to help my kids practice recognizing numbers and sets!  

I received these awesome butterfly graphics in my inbox this morning thanks to the very talented Mel at Graphics from the Pond and just knew I had to make something with them!!

I whipped up a set of Butterfly Cut & Match cards!  

There are two different options so you can use what works best for your students.  One set of cards can be cut into 2 students only have to match the number/tally marks with the number word/set of dots.  For your higher kids you can use the cards that can be cut into 4 pieces...that way they have to match all sections together!!

I hope your kids can use this!   Click here to head to my TpT store to snag this FREEBIE!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving FREEBIE

I cannot believe there are only a few more school days left before Thanksgiving Break!  I am really looking forward to having a few days off.  It seems like this time of year really flies by....before long it'll be Christmas!!

My student teacher found some really cute puzzles this week to help my kiddos practice ordering numbers.  They did really good with them & seemed to enjoy putting them I made some Thanksgiving ones for them to use!

There are 4 picture puzzles to choose from:  a turkey, a cornucopia, a pair of pilgrims, and a pair of Native Americans. You can choose to have your students work on ordering 1-10, 11-20, or 10-100.  I included color puzzles and black & white, in case you wanted to have your students color the finished pictures!  There are a total of 12 color puzzles & 12 b&w puzzles.

You can grab these puzzles completely FREE in my TpT store here!

I also created a Count the Room Thanksgiving activity!  My kids LOVE to write the room!! 

This packet includes:

2 sets of counting cards (sets of objects 1-10)
1 set of counting cards  (sets of objects 11-20)

There are also 4 different recording sheets. Two where students simply write the number and two where students practice writing the number several times.
Having several sets of cards and recording sheets will allow you to use this activity on several different days if you want to!!

You can grab this Thanksgiving Count the Room activity here in my TpT store!  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Currently

Head over to her blog to check out what everyone else is currently up to!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Encouragement needed!!!

Do you remember your student teaching experience?  

I remember mine like it was yesterday.  I did half of mine in Kindergarten and half in 8th grade.  
My 8th grade placement was first and let me tell you---8th grade was NOT for me.   I remember going home just about every day in tears.  The kids were bigger than me, meaner than me, and way scarier than me.  It just wasn't a good experience....for me or for them.  I was not meant to be an 8th grade teacher.  

Kindergarten was my second placement and I'm pretty sure I skipped right into that classroom.  I was skipping with joy because I knew I loved the younger kids and I knew that I was meant to be a Kindergarten teacher.   I was sure it was going to be easy and fun and I knew I would love it.    I did love it.  But it definitely wasn't easy.  And it wasn't always fun.   It was hard work and it took me a while to get used to a room full of 5 year olds.   

Let's face it.  Teaching Kindergarten is STILL hard work.  It's not always fun.  And every year after my summer does take a little while to get back into the swing of managing a room full of 5 year olds.  :-)

I have a student teacher right now.  Today was a rough day for her.  I'm guessing that since today was the day after Halloween, today was a rough day for a lot of you out there!!   That's usually the way it is after kids stay up wayyyyy past their bedtime eating candy & chocolate.  LOL  Anyway...suffice it to say--- today was not a good day for my kids.  They were off.  WAY OFF.  As in....even the normally angelic kids were acting in non-angelic ways.  Seriously!!  

An 8:30am fund raising assembly (the day after Halloween!!!!!!!), may or may not have had something to do with this.  Just sayin'.  

She & I talked after school today and I think her confidence was shaken a little bit.   I'm sure she's feeling discouraged & frustrated and I hate that!  I really feel responsible for her feeling like that....because after all, those were MY kids that acted like that.   :-(   You can bet that my kiddos and I will be having a nice little chit chat tomorrow about respect and appropriate behavior.  

In the meantime, I think a little encouragement would go a long way right now!!  What words of advice would you give to a student teacher who was feeling a bit discouraged after a bad day?  What do YOU do after a bad day with your own kiddos? 

I would love to hear your thoughts!! :-)  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My super observant kiddos!

Today, not once....but kiddos caught "mistakes" in books that we were reading!  While they may or may not technically have been real mistakes is up for debate.....but to my kiddos they were definitely real and shocking.  LOL

The first time it happened was during my guided reading group.   I had my highest group with me and we were reading our weekly leveled reader.  Everything was going along great until we got to this page:

Do you see what my kids saw?  As soon as they saw it they were quick to bring it to my attention it.  Yep.  I spend a lot of time reminding my kids to go to the next line in their writing......keep writing unless you can't fit the next word, and then go to the next line.  And here was a sentence that went to the next line even though they could have SURELY fit the word "a" up there!!!!

It was actually pretty funny to watch them get so excited about it.  They really just wanted to know why the author did it like that and did he not know what he was supposed to do?   I simply explained that maybe the author made a mistake (like we all do) and we should just keep reading on.  I also congratulated them on being great readers and writers!!  <<<honestly I'm not sure why the author did it like that....any thoughts?......maybe to break it into phrases for beginning readers???>>>

Then in the afternoon we were reading this book.....can you see anything that might cause my kiddos' hands to shoot up in the air with extreme confusion on their faces?!?

Yeah.  This book title does not have capital letters.  Some of my kids noticed quickly and asked me why.....because after all Ms. Burton you said that the title is the name of the book and that names need to be capitalized.  So I again congratulated them on being so observant and smart and noticing that detail.  Then I said that most books do start with capital letters, but there are always exceptions, and maybe the author chose not to use capital letters this time.   

That was probably a poor explanation.   Because one of my kiddos then raised his hand and asked 'does that mean we can choose not to use a capital letter in our names sometimes?'  It doesn't.  Sorry.  LOL

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Word Families & A Freebie!

Mine do!  
A coworker brought me this HUGE tub of bubble gum a few weeks ago 
and ever since my kids have been chomping at the bit to get some!

The tub sits up high enough where none of my kiddos can "accidentally" put a piece into their pockets. So far I've given the whole class gum only once.  And it was the single most quietest span of time that has ever occurred in my room.  Seriously.  They were SILENT.  Partially because their mouths were busy chewing and partially because I had warned them that if they were loud, the gum would have to be spit out.  It was awesome.  If gum wasn't so sugary and bad for teeth......and if it wasn't so sticky and messy.......I would LOVE to let my kids chew gum every day.  

Apparently in addition to the benefits to the teacher (ha!) there are also benefits to the student.  
Check out this article on Education Nation that says chewing gum may improve test scores.  
Pretty interesting to say the least. 

Since my kids are so excited about bubble gum these days....I started making some bubble gum 
stuff for my TpT store.  I just uploaded a whole Word Family Sorting Pack that includes 
20 different word families and 93 pages of bubbly goodness!  It's pretty neat and 
I have a feeling my kiddos are going to love it.  


I also uploaded a FREEBIE from the pack.  It's an "-at" word family Write-the-Room activity!  

If you purchase the entire set or try out the FREEBIE, I would LOVE for you to leave me some feedback at TpT!   Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Does this look familiar to you?

Does this photo look familiar to you???

This is a slide from a powerpoint that we use at my school to help students learn their
 letters and sounds.  We call them "sound cards" but I don't know if that's the official 
name or a name we coined on our own.  

There's a slide for each letter and even a few for digraphs & diphthongs.  There is a picture to go along with each slide and there is also a short phrase that the teacher reads for each one.    For the letter Hh above the phrase is "The jogger tried to catch his breath because he is tired."   I read the phrase to the students, and then they make the /h/ sound three times.  

The kids LOVE doing the sound cards each day and it takes only a couple of minutes to run through them.  In the beginning--- the students say each letter name three times, I read the phrase, and then they say the sound three times.   At this point in the year,  students are only saying the letter once, followed by the sound once.  I don't have to read the accompanying phrase at all!!  Pretty soon I will be mixing up the slides so they are not in order and we will start running through them that way.  

The great thing is that students pick up the letter sounds very, very quickly using these cards.  I have students who can name more sounds than letters at this point.  They don't know that that letter is an Mm, but they can tell me that it makes the /m/ sound for sure!!

We've used them for years, but have no idea where they came from or anything about who made them!!  If you use these cards, where did you get them?  Do you know who made them or if they have other resources available?  I would love to know!!!  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Purple and pink pumpkins and a FREEBIE!

Yeah we totally broke with tradition and created non-orange pumpkins.  Because it wouldn't make sense to make an orange pumpkin seeing as how orange doesn't start with Pp.   And we are studying the letter Pp this week!    Our pumpkins are technically  jack-o-lanterns I suppose......but jack-o-lanterns start with Jj so obviously we couldn't say we made those.  

They did not use templates or get any help from me whatsoever.  They did however quickly figure out that it was easier to draw shapes on their paper and then cut them out.....rather than trying to cut them out free hand.  Actually it was one little trail blazer in my class who figured this out----the rest just jumped on board after seeing him work his magic.  It was so neat to see them work together and figure out a better way of doing it.  All I really had to do was sit back and watch them!

I absolutely love doing art projects where there is no template for the kids to follow.  I think it's so good for them to use their imaginations, think independently, and I LOVE to see the finished results.  It's pretty neat to see what they can do when they get some construction paper and some scissors.  Just take a look at some of their creations from yesterday!!  (the writing underneath the pumpkins was done together as a class on the board, and then they simply tried to copy it onto their paper)

I just love the freckles on this one!!  How cute is that???

We have also been hard at work sounding out CVC words, so I made a small pumpkin activity to help my kids with this.   All you have to do is cut apart the pumpkins, mix up the letters, and have your students put them back together.  Each time they create a word they will sound it out and then decide if it's a real word or a silly, nonsense word.   

My kids really enjoyed this activity.  I let my kids do a trial run with it yesterday and quickly realized I should have underlined the letters (so the kids knew which way they went).  So in the download, the letters will be underlined.  This way you won't have kids trying to spell words with an upside down 'n' that looks like a 'u' I did! :-)

There are only 8 pumpkins to cut out (24 total pieces)....but there are tons of CVC combinations that can be made with those pieces!!  I had to be careful which letters I used....didn't want any kids sounding out inappropriate words after all!

There are also two recording sheets included so students can write down the words they created under the correct heading "real" or "nonsense."

Hope your kids enjoy this activity!  Click here to download it for FREE.