With Mother’s Day coming next weekend, I’ve been thinking about what kinds of cards and gifts to make with my class this year. Tired of the same old coupon books and handprint cards, I was looking for something new. Inspired by this L-O-V-E frame that is all over Pinterest,
I came up with a cute, easy project that costs next to nothing! My kids just finished making theirs, they came out great and I think the Moms will love them!
Take a look at the directions and you’ll see how easy it is! If you want to give them a try, you can download the photo template down below. Just insert your own pics and they’ll be ready for the kids to cut out. Let me know how they come out - Enjoy!
Hi there gang! Could somebody please tell me how tomorrow is May? Where did April go? I have exactly 38 school days left to get all of my kiddos ready for first grade - yikes! Getting them all to an F&P Level D is my biggest challenge - I have a whole bunch who are digging their heels in at Level B. Time to step it up and hope all of the little light bulbs start coming on. Here are my May calendar cards if you'd like to use them - just click below the picture to download. Happy May!
Shame on me! I did a horrible thing on Monday. It was April Fool's Day and my class and I have a relationship that includes a lot of humor, so I thought a light-hearted prank would make us all laugh. So . . . I changed our daily schedule to show a whole day filled with Writers' Workshop.
My kids love writing and they are always eager for Workshop time, but when then hour's up, they've had enough. So, I explained that the kindergarten teachers decided that we needed to really start getting ready for first grade and a day of writing would be our first step. With a chorus of groans, moans and one very excited, "Oh good, I can totally finish writing my whole book about Star Wars," I knew I had them fooled. I ended the drama quickly and let them in on the joke. They were very relieved and cracked up like I'd hoped they would, and then they spent the rest of the day trying to fool me. (Do you know how hard it is to feign fear when you hear for the 17th time, "Ms. C, you have a spider in your hair?")
Once the dust settled from all of the pranks we got back to business. Our current Readers' Workshop unit is "Thinking and Talking About Books" and we're doing a lot of work with partners. The give and take of conversation can be a bit tricky for kindergartners, with one of the partners often doing most of the talking. So, this year I tried something that a colleague uses called a talking stick. You give each partner a handful of unifix cubes, with each partner having their own color. The first person starts the conversation and puts his/her first cube on the table. Then the second partner gets a turn to say something and he/she adds a cube to the first one. The conversation goes back and forth until all the cubes are used.
Before we used the talking sticks to actually talk about books, we did a few trial runs with topics such as, "What did you do this weekend" or "What are some of your favorite TV shows." Thanks to Ms. N for the tip because the talking sticks work like a charm!
This week we also started doing something really cool. One of my kids broke his leg skiing, is in a thigh-high cast and will be home for six weeks. The district is providing a homebound tutor for him an hour a day, but that's not a lot of time to cover everything we do in a day. So... we're Skyping him in for some of the day and it's awesome! Not only does he get to be a part of the lessons (it's so cute - he even raises his hand) but he also gets to stay connected with the class. When we "turn and talk" his partner quietly goes to the computer and talks with him. This pic shows him holding up the talking stick he made with his Mom after the Readers' Workshop mini-lesson. Isn't technology great?
The snow has finally all melted, the birds are chirping and the little purple flowers in my yard are poking their heads out of the ground. Boy am I glad that spring is here! You may have noticed that my little ol' blog has been quiet for awhile. It's been a tough couple of months for me dealing with a health scare that came out of nowhere, knocked me down for weeks and left me more than a little shaken up. The good news is, I'm back on my feet, back at school and back to blogging. There is potentially a Round 2 to face in a few weeks, but we'll deal with that if/when we have to.
So, this is a just quick post because it's so late, but I wanted to get my April calendar cards to you in time for tomorrow. You can click below the pic to download. (I'll post the months we missed while I was MIA later so you can tuck them away for next year.)
I hope all has been well with all of you - I'm glad to be back!
It's that time again! I love being a part of the Magical Product Swap! Not only do you get to meet some new bloggy friends, but you also get to review some great products. This time around I was paired with Jennifer from Simply Kinder and Mary from Sharing Kindergarten in our own little "Ring-around-the-Rosie" three way swap.
I was thrilled when Mary sent me her Little Detectives Top Secret Number Files packet. We have a Detective Station as one of our literacy stations and my kids are obsessed with it, so I think they're going to LOVE this one.
Mary has created the cutest way for the kids to to work on building, creating, and gaining number sense while learning their numbers. As Mary explains, the number itself doesn’t mean anything to a child unless they can use and utilize it properly. Boy, does this packet cover all of the above. Using detective files like the one below, the kids are encouraged to show their number in a variety of ways.
By using tally marks, tens frames, place value and 1 to 1 correspondence, there are a variety of ways to reinforce the concept of number sense. By laminating and using with dry-erase markers, these could be used over and over again in a center. I plan on using some paper copies for morning work or homework. To round out the packet, Mary includes a fun card game that is played like the classic game, Bang! The students turn over a number and if they can read it, they keep it. If they get a hiding detective card they have give all of their cards back - bummer! When someone draws the "Solved" card, the game is over. Sounds like a great game to add to my numeracy station!
If you think your little detectives would like to "work the case" you can check out Mary's packet here.
Have a great night!
Happy New Year, everyone! As I get myself ready to go back to school in the morning, I'm finding myself much more at peace than when we left school for the Winter Break. Spending time with my family, reflecting on the year gone by and making plans for 2013 have all really helped to refuel and re-energize me.
First, I want to take a minute to thank everyone who has gotten involved with our project to help the Sandy Hook teachers (see original post here). The response has been amazing - so much more than Karen and I imagined when we got started. Through the "Give Me 5" part of the project, we've had over 100 teachers sign up to adopt a Sandy Hook teacher and send them 5 items from their TPT stores. (Because we don't to to overwhelm the Sandy Hook teachers with too many choices right now, we've capped the project at 100.) Through the "Honoring Angels" part of the project, we've received over 20 TPT gift certificates for the Sandy Hook PTO to distribute as well. If you'd like to donate, please see the original post for details. Being a part of a community that is so supportive and generous is truly inspiring and Karen and I are incredibly grateful for all of your contributions. You guys rock!
Now for some goodies that might help you ease back to school tomorrow. Here's a new set of calendar cards for January. We're launching our non-fiction reading and writing units this month, so I went with some cute little baby arctic animals, and the cards make an AABB pattern.
If you're looking for a cute yet meaningful activity to do with your kids this week, take a peek at this craftivity I'm going to do tomorrow. Baby New Year's hat opens up for the kids to write their resolutions inside; "In the new year, I will..." I think it will be good a introduction to the concept of resolutions and make a cute bulletin board to boot!
I haven't blogged since the tragedy in Sandy Hook. I've started to write a few times - to post my 12 in 12; to show a really cute craftivity that I can't wait to do with my class; to share a new set of January Calendar Cards. Each time I've tried, however, I've found that my heart just hasn't been into it. At all. I've been feeling almost guilty worrying about what I should add to my math stations next week when the Sandy Hook teachers are facing the overwhelming challenge of getting themselves and their new classrooms ready to welcome their beloved little ones back to school. I've been stuck in a place somewhere between really wanting to do something to help, but not knowing what to do.
Then I spoke to my oldest friend, Karen, who I've known since we were about 10. Karen's also a teacher and she and I have been partners in crime for years. She's the one that I volunteered with at a special needs camp every summer growing up. She's the one I tasted my first beer with. She's the one my parents caught me on the roof with trying to sneak back into the house. She's the one who got me an interview at the school where I've been teaching at for 14 years now. She's the one I've cried with, laughed with and endured with. She's the one that just reminded me that sometimes the only thing that can comfort you when you face something this tragic is to do something good with it.
So we put our heads together to come up with a plan to help the Sandy Hook teachers. (A plan which, I have to say, is much better that our infamous Food Fight of 1987 plan...)
The Sandy Hook community has been overwhelmed with donations, both of money and materials. Newtown is making plans on how best to use donations such as these to help in the near future. I think the long term is covered for the teachers having what they need, but what about the short term? How can we help those teachers and their kids have the least traumatic return to the classroom? The boxes of donated materials that the teachers have waiting for them are great, but were all selected by somebody else. Especially in a crunch, who knows what we need for our kids better then we do? If it were me, I'd want lessons, station activities, classroom decor, etc. like the ones I used before the tragedy to make things as familiar as possible - the shiny new textbooks can wait. For these teachers to get up and running next week and to just get through the first couple of days seems insurmountable, and having the things that THEY think will best help them do that is crucial. How can we get materials directly to the teachers as quickly as possible?
After bouncing some ideas around in the TPT forum, we've came up with the "Give Me 5" project. TPT teachers are signing up to "adopt" the Sandy Hook teachers that teach at the same grade level that they do. The Sandy Hook teachers can then choose any 5 items from each store at their grade level and they will be sent to them via email for immediate download. Maybe Mrs. Smith thinks a Monster Truck Math game will make her returning first graders smile, or Ms. Jones thinks that turtle name tags will make her kids feel at home. With over 60 TPT teachers signed up already, each Sandy Hook teacher should be able to choose at least 20-30 new goodies for their classroom. Since Sandy Hook is right down the road from where Karen and I live, we have some contacts in the district who are helping us to make the connections we need to, and we're looking into getting printing and/or laminating donated for the teachers as well.
We know it's not a lot, but it's something we can do to lighten the load of our Sandy Hook counterparts by just a little. By taking some of the prep work and planning off of their plates, we hope to give the Sandy Hook teachers the gift of what they need right now - time to be with their kids and help them heal.
If you're a TPT seller and you'd like to join the project, you can read more about it here or fill out the form to get involved. We have mostly K-3 teachers signed up and could use some more 4th & 5th grade teachers as well as Specialists (Gym, Art, Music, etc). We're hoping to get the list of donors to Sandy Hook by Tuesday so the teachers will have some time to choose materials before they start back later in the week. Feel free to grab the graphic if you'd like to pin, blog or post to social media.
Thanks so much to everyone who is getting involved - you guys are awesome!
If you're not a TPT seller but would like to help, we're putting together a way to donate TPT gift certificates. Check back for an update later tonight.
Update 11:30 pm
The number of people who have been emailing about wanting to donate gift certificates has been amazing! I think we;re going to be able to send a lot of help to the Sandy Hook teachers. We're calling this arm of the project "Honoring Angels" If you'd like to donate a gift certificate, this is the plan we have in place:
Kim, another childhood friend of Karen's who lives in Sandy Hook, is serving as our liaison to the teachers. Kim's children thankfully survived the tragedy and she is very active in the PTO's efforts to get the kids and teachers back to school. She is thrilled about the project and will work with school officials to distribute the gift certificates amongst the teachers.
If you'd like to donate a certificate, you can do the following:
1. Log on to TPT and purchase a gift certificate in the amount of your choosing.
2. Download your certificate and email it to Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Karen will send the certificates to Kim for the PTO to distribute to the teachers. (She will cc you so can be sure your certificate went through).
Please contact Karen at the above email address if you have any questions.
Thanks again for supporting this project!!