Sunday, January 29, 2012


This week we made these SUPER cute snowmen using torn paper!  I found this idea on Pinterest,  I can't find the link anywhere now, but I know it is on there somewhere! =)

We also did some writing about snow!

Here is the class book we made this week... our theme was "snowmen."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

More Anchor Charts

I am now addicted to making anchor charts for things we are learning in class.  I posted our action word poster earlier this week, so sticking with the same story we discussed naming words too.  We were still on the story,  The Sleeping Pig.  We went through the story and picked out words that named people, places or things.  We added those words to the watermelon.  After we found the words in the story, the students brainstormed other naming words.  Those words went around the watermelon.  We then posted the action word chart and naming word chart by one another on the wall.  We discussed how in good sentences we need a naming word and an action word.  The students picked a naming and action word off our charts and created a sentence with them.  They thought it was so fun because they could make up silly sentences.

Big Book...Day 3 and 4

So sadly we did not get to all 5 days of activities that I had planned.  The 100th day cramped my plans but still so proud that I got 4 days in!  I have to say, this style of teaching is so exciting and engaging.  I look forward to helping our district implement moving away from basal instruction and heading in this direction, if all goes to plan.

Day 3...We reviewed the parts of the book and yes we actually took the large Post Its off and read the book.  The students had 3 options while we read the book:  1) listen     2) read with me     3) read it in their head.
I was surprised to hear a few students actually reading with me since this was our first time doing this activity.  Yay!  I had picked out 3 vocabulary words that we would discuss with the reading of the book.  The 3 words I picked were spyhopping, breaching, and spouting.  The students did a great job of picking the words out for me, even though they were the ones I had planned on using.  When we pick out vocabulary words we come up with a definition, a motion to help us remember the word, and use the word in multiple sentences.  We then add the word to our Words to Treasure wall. (A picture of this wall can be found in the classroom tour of 1st grade)  Anytime someone uses a word to treasure, the class gets up and does our motion that we created for that word.  This also become a nice quick brain break for the students.

Day 4...Our purpose for reading today was to recall facts from the book and record them on our chart, Whales...Have, Can, Are.

We did add Humpback to the top of the chart since that is the only whale the book talks about.  We were running short on time so I would read a page and have students tell me what I needed to record on our chart. When they told me the fact, they had to tell me where it went on our chart too.  Next time I do this activity I will have students use Post-Its or Wikki Sticks to mark the facts in the book.

My day 5 activity was to have students write a paragraph about the Humpback.  We have been practicing how to write a good paragraph so this is a great way to see what they remember about the parts of a  paragraph.  I still plan on doing this activity next week.  :)  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

100th Day in Kindergarten!

Whew! What a fun 100th day we had! We spent the whole day doing different activities related to the 100th day...and when I say the whole day....I mean literally the! We had a blast!  We made fruit loop necklaces with 100 fruit loops, walked 100 steps in the hallway and recorded where we ended up, wrote about what we would buy with 100 dollars, made a 100 day art project of how we would look when we were 100 years old, went on a "scavenger" hunt and searched for 100 Hershey kisses in the room (when they found them, they put them on a giant 100's chart), made 100 day trail mix, did 10 different exercises 100 times, read MANY stories about the 100th day, played a guessing game to see what 100 items each student brought in (kind of like a show and tell, but only their 100 items where hidden in a brown lunch bag and they had to give us clues to figure out what 100 items they brought), wrote our numbers 1-100, counted to 100 by 1's,2's, 5's, 10's and 50's.....I am sure I am forgetting something....but my brain is tired....all the 100 activities are starting to mush together!  Here are a few photos of our day!

Groundhog Day FREEBIE!

We can't wait for Groundhog Day to get here!  We are hoping for spring to come early, even if our Winter has not been that bad here in Illinois.  Luckily I have still been able to wear my flip flops on most days.  I'm ready to bust out my capris and spring clothes.  Our classes did their Groundhog Day predictions.  Below are pictures of our ADORABLE groundhogs.

 Click HERE to see how we made our groundhogs.   

Click HERE for a FREE Groundhog Day Time Match Game.

Spring...we hope to see you soon!  :)

Hip Hip Hooray, the 100th day was great!

I can't believe how excited my kids were for the 100th day.  You would have thought they won the lottery.  We did 100 exercises, wrote about what we would do with $100, made a 100th day trail mix, and made construction paper portraits of what we would look like when we are 100.

For our 100th day trail mix we used popcorn, small Ritz crackers, pretzels, small Teddy Grahams, marshmallows, m&ms, Cheerios, Fruit Loops, mini Oreos, and packs of fruit snacks that had 10 pieces in them.  Each student got to take 10 of each item so they had 100 pieces in their trail mix.  If the students did not like an item I let them pick one of the other items.  

Below are pictures of a fun 100th day project we do.  We ask the parents to send in black yard sale dots.  Each student gets 100 dots.  We talk about what type of picture we can make using the dots.  The students got to pick white or black paper.  This year I used the small construction paper because I wasn't thinking, usually I have them do it on large construction paper.  They have to use all 100 dots to create a picture.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Valentine Packet Freebie!

We created a Valentines Day packet filled with all sorts of goodies to help kick of your Valentine's Day celebrations in your classrooms!  Included is an even/odd sorting activity, long and short i rhyming sort, a contraction match up activity and a Valentine's Day word scramble game. You can get all of these items for FREE here!

Valentine Love Bug Glyph Freebie!

Here is a super cute FREE love bug glyph we created! (click here for the pieces you will need)  Our little lovelys did this activity together and really enjoyed making it!  We talked about what a glyph was and how to decide which way their bug would look.  It was neat watching them read the glyph and figure out which colors they would need and so forth.  Such cuties!!


Polar Animals Anchor Chart

We have been learning like CRAZY about different polar animals these past couple weeks.  Here is an anchor chart we created after Reading the story, "Polar Animals" by Wade Cooper.  Of course I pre made the chart with all the cutsie little polar animals.  When we finished reading the story, we worked on summarizing and remembering different facts from the story about each animal.  I already had the blue rectangles pre-cut and just filled them out with the different facts they told me.  They had a BLAST with this activity! (of course, this is something wonderful Christie, from LEARNING ROCKS, has been working with us on)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Big Book...Day 2

So now the kids are very anxious to get to our big book tomorrow.  They couldn't believe that we still did not read the book today.  I love keeping them in suspense!  Today we reviewed the different parts of a non-fiction book and discussed why we would read a non-fiction book.  We went back on a picture walk and discussed how many of the pictures had labels showing us the different parts of a whale.  On my wonderful drawing of a whale we recorded our labels.  We only had about 10 minutes today by the time we got to our book so I had to work really hard to stay on focus.  By the way...the kids loved the big Post Its too!!!  I almost feel like the kids in the class, I am so excited to get back and actually read our book tomorrow.  Come back tomorrow for a Day 3 update.  Toodles!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Anchor Chart

We created a new anchor chart today to go along with our reading series story, The Sleeping Pig.  We use the Houghton Mifflin series.  We were finding verbs in the story as we were recalling how the different animals tried waking the pig.  Once we found the verbs in the story, the students gave me more examples of verbs.  Check out the pick of our anchor chart.  Now don't laugh, my kids told me that I was best artist they had ever seen.  LOL!

Big Books!

There is a group of teachers in our district that were picked to do an intensive training through the NEW

  Learning Rocks Educational Group!  Check out 

their WEBSITE and you can find them on Facebook . 

 Of course Katie and I quickly put in our app to get in the group...and we made it!    We love Christie our trainer!!!!  She has been with us through our Debbie Diller training and now she is giving us more information about better ways to use big books, read alouds, and guided reading groups.  We had our 2nd training last Friday.  We had time to plan lessons to do with the big books that we brought.  This week I was so excited to dive in head first and get started.  I want to share with you my experience.  So today I introduced the big book we would be using, Our Whale- Watching Trip.

Day 1 of the lesson...We discussed what a non-fiction book was and discussed why we read non-fiction.  We started a KWL chart about what we know and what we wanted to learn about whales.  We also did a book/picture walk to look at the different parts of a non-fiction book.  I covered the words in the book so the students would not be reading about whales while we are discussing the parts of the book.  

This is what the book looked like once we got inside.

This time I just used construction paper and tape to cover the words.  At our training, Christie introduced us to large Post It notes...LOVE THEM!  So of course, tonight I ran out to Target and picked some up.  Now I'm excited to rip out the uneven construction paper and replace with my cool new large Post Its!  My kids were so interested and engaged in our discussion today, especially for a Monday, that I can't wait to get back tomorrow and start our Day 2 plans.  Point to remember...only spend about 15-20 minutes on this a day.  You keep using this book for about a week and can incorporate so many different activities in the book each day. 
 More to come tomorrow...stay tuned!  :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fun with maps!

My 1st grade class had so much fun learning about maps and their special place on the map with the reading story this week.  We use the Houghton Mifflin reading series.  If you are familiar with our series, we read the story, Me on the Map, Theme5 Week 2.

One night as I was logged into Pinterest, it has become so addicting, I saw this amazing activity that went right along with our story.  You can find the directions at My Place in the World Project.  I did not have the maps printed out because I thought it would be cute to see how the kids would draw the state, country, etc.  We did one circle at a time, I had the students label, color, and then cut out the circle.  When we got to our town, I had the kids draw something that they liked or something that reminds them of the town.  As we got to the state, country, etc. I put a picture of each thing on the Promethean Board so they could see it as they drew it.  Let me say, their pictures were pretty hilarious.  I really believe that the kids had a better understanding of how big the world is after we did this project!  Click HERE for the circles to run on construction paper.             

We also discussed how to use a map and the compass rose.  The kids really enjoyed seeing a big map of the United States and practicing their directional skills.  I would point to a state that touched Illinois and asked what direction the state was.  Next I let the kids pick a state, point to it, and ask what state was north, east, south, or west of it.

Here are some pics...

My sample

Student projects

-Katie and Sarah

Brrrr.....Polar Animals!

What a fun couple of weeks we have been having!  The kids have REALLY enjoyed learning about the different polar animals and how they survive in the freezing cold temperatures! 

For art we made some super cute penguins and walruses, they are ADORABLE!  We did some neat hands-on science too- we discovered how flubber keeps the animals warm and how the oil on the penguins feathers help repel water.  We also explored blue salt water and ice, learning how the salt water melts away ice burgs.  (I didnt bring my camera to school these two days so I don't have any pics!) During kinder-cafe we made some cute little oreo penguins one day and  yummy rice cake polar bears on another day.  Our classroom book we created was, "Our Favorite Polar Animals."  The kids had to write about their favorite polar animal.

 Here are some pics!

Oreo Penguin- 1 1/2 oreo cookie, 2 mini m&m's (eyes), 3 candy corn (beak and 2 feet), little dab of icing to "glue" m&m's and candy corn

Polar Bear- 1 plain rice cake, 2 slices banana (ears), 2 mini oreos (eyes), 1/2 regular size oreo (nose), coconut (optional) and white icing

- Katie and Sarah

Discovery Bags!

In our kindergarten classroom, I send home a different discovery bag every Monday and the students return them on Thursdays.  These bags are packed with tons of fun things for my kiddos and their parents to work on at home.  They contain books, games, flash cards, puppets, journals, ect.  At the beginning of the year I sent home a letter for parents to sign in case any of the materials should be misplaced, stating that they will replace them.  I get a lot of positive feedback from parents while using these bags and the kids LOVE taking the activities home.

I store the bags in SUPER large ziploc bags...I think they are 2 gallon.  Here is a picture of what the bags look like when all the materials are in the bag.  I have 2 crates I use to store all the bags when I get them back on Thursday.  I bought them for $5 each at wal-mart...SCORE!

Here is a list of all the bags I have in our room.

Monster Bag #1

Monster Bag #2

Candy Land Bag

                                                                       Candy Bag

Ocean Bag

                                                                    Sea Life Bag

Frog Bag

Hermit Crab Bag

                                                                          Shapes Bag

                                                                   Earth Day Bag

                                                                      Rainforest Bag

                                                                        Christmas Bag

 Super Hero Bag

                                                                    Space Bag

                                                                    Wild Animals Bag

                                                                       Cookies Bag

                                                                      Garden Bag

- Katie and Sarah