Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Cutest Thing Under My Tree

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays with their loved ones and reveling in some much needed R&R. I'm halfway into my break and I feel like a new person.  Sleeping past 5:00 is such a treat!

I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family and there was a whole lot of laughing, gift-giving and merriment.  I have to admit, while I LOVE to give great gifts, the kid in me still also really loves to get gifts. There. I said it.  It just really means a lot to me to know that someone who love knows me knows me so well that they think of just the perfect gift (with the exception of the orange sweater from my mom - really Mom... orange?)  Anyway, my twin sister, Danni, is an avid, talented knitter. Every Christmas brings beautifully handmade mittens, socks, etc. that she spends a lot of time crafting.  While I always appreciate the time and love that go into anything she makes, this year she really hit a home run!  How cute is this scarf she made me?  I already have visions of me on the playground doing recess duty in my new cozy scarf.  It almost makes thinking about going back to school a little less painful to know I'll be all decked out. Almost. Thanks, Dan! 
I hope that the kid in you was thrilled with some heartfelt goodies this holiday season, too!

(Danni, if you're reading this, stop here.)  

To be honest, the scarf was actually the 2nd cutest thing under my tree. First place goes to my sweet Sally.  She likes to curl up near the heat register under the tree and nap amongst the presents. (And drink the water from the tree stand!)  She was and will always be the cutest thing under my tree...
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Business of Sugarplums (Freebie)

It's Sunday night, a week before Christmas and I'm gearing up for a fun and busy week at school.  We go all the way through Friday the 23rd and our administrators like us to keep things "business as usual" as much as possible to keep Holiday Fever at bay.  Try as we may, those visions of sugarplums sneak in and take over - there's nothing quite like the week before Christmas in kindergarten, right?  So, in an effort to merge business with sugarplums, I'm going to stick to my regular schedule and learning routines but do so in the holiday spirit with holiday materials.  I'm not planning any fluff, just meaningful learning, so I think I'm in the clear.  We're learning about many winter holidays and family traditions and I've created a bunch of emergent readers (you might recall that I'm a little obsessed with making my own since there are so few out there to meet the needs of our kiddos) and activities to use throughout the week.  I can use them for shared reading, guided reading and independent reading and I think the kids will really like them.  If you're looking for something to help get you through the week, here's an emergent reader starring the man of the hour, Santa.  I'd love it if you leave a comment and let me know how you're planning on surviving this crazy week!
(If you purchased the original from my TPT store, it is now updated to include extra goodies and you're entitled to a free download so check out the link at the bottom of this post.)

Focusing on other winter holidays, I also created a Hanukkah Emergent Reader and a New Years Emergent Reader available in my TPT store.

Get all three for the price of 2!
Have a great night!

Friday, December 16, 2011

He Did What??

     One of my favorite things about teaching kindergarten is reading the inventive spellings that the kids come up with. One thing I've noticed over the past couple of years is the replacement of "we" with the now popular "wii." Thanks a lot for that, Nintendo!  Well, this week I came across a sentence that should earn a spot in the Inventive Spelling Hall of Fame.
     One of our technology curriculum goals is to "Use a computer to draw illustrations to convey meaning."  So one of my kiddos (we'll call him Fred) has been working on a digital story about going out to eat with his family. Each page describes what a member of his family ordered for dinner.  I bought spaghetti. Mom bought chicken and broccoli. You get the idea...  Well I was already chuckling after reading the page where Fred wrote that his sister bought a booger (burger) when I got to Dad's page and did a complete double take!  He did what?? Fortunately, on second glance, I could see that the object on the table is clearly a S-A-L-A-D so I immediately knew what Fred was really trying to spell.  Otherwise I would have been wondering exactly where Fred and his family went for dinner!  Too funny!!!
    Now here's my dilemma...  I don't usually correct the kids' spellings because I want them to feel totally successful as writers.  Take a look at his work and tell me what you think.  Should I break my rule on this one and help him change it or should I send it home as is?  I would love some advice!
Have a great night!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some Cheesy Math Stations

     Well, that should pretty much do it.  I have guaranteed that my sister will never go to Target with me again. Ever.  Now keep in mind that this is the same sister that embarrassingly witnessed the theatrics in Target when I spotted the Halloween Boo-Mallows that would perfect for sorting and graphing.  "It's a kindergarten teacher thing."  I explained to her then, after my squealing had subsided.  She wasn't amused then, nor was she yesterday when we were in the same Target and I found Kraft's new "Tis the Chees'n" winter shaped pasta.  As I chuckled at the name and excitedly cleared the shelf not only for my own class but also for the other 3 kindergarten classes (I might have been dancing a little, too) she just ducked her head and mumbled, "A kindergarten teacher thing?"  I mean, come on - little snowmen, snowflakes, boots and candy canes.  How could I not flail around a little??  She rushed to the stationery department to put a little distance between herself and the "crazy kindergarten teacher" while I was already planning the math stations I could come up with.  So, I came home, scanned the pasta shapes and made a Graphing station, an Addition station, a Patterning station and a Spin & Count station.  If you are a fellow "dancing in the aisles of Target" teacher and would like to have some cheesy math fun, you can download the stations below the picture.  Have a "cheesy" evening!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Have You Seen This Great Freebie?

     Happy Holidays from 50 TpT sellers who have come together to create this book as a gift to TpT customers. Each page comes from a different TpT seller and includes a holiday teaching tip or activity and links to one or more freebies.  I spent 2 hours yesterday downloading so many great holiday goodies!  Download your own copy by clicking below the picture.  Many thanks to Rachel Lynette for putting this together!