Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elf your students+freebie

I know, I know....Christmas is over! :( But, I never got around to posting this. Maybe you'll find something that you can save for next year:) These little elves are one of my favorite projects that we do all year. It is one that parents love.
Aren't they adorable?! Yes, those are their own ears:) I use the distortion tool in Paint Shop to stretch out their ears. If you look closely at the first one, you can see that she has earrings in:)
If you ever decide to do this, you will find that some kids have GREAT ears for this and some kids have TINY ears that seem to be stuck to their heads.  You will need to make sure hair is pulled back and out of the way. For the kids with those kind of ears-I have found that sticking cotton balls behind their ears makes them stick out just enough to be able to grab them with the distortion tool  and stretch them into elf ears:)

On the day before X-Mas break, we always wrap up our parent gifts to take home. Before we wrap our gifts, we make these little elf hats:) These are equally adorable!! I don't remember where I originally saw this idea, but we have been doing it for a couple of years now. So cute watching Santa's little elves wrapping up their gifts!!

And, here's your freebie:) Hope you enjoy this little elf book page! You can print out your kiddo's elf faces to stick on these. click on the picture below to get your copy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Grinchy Kind of Day

I'm sure you've all seen the adorable Grinch Day activities that everyone's posting!!!;) Mine are really nothing new-but we had such a fun day, that I thought I'd share my pics too:)
We compared the Grinch at the beginning of the story and how he was at the end of the story and came up with adjectives to describe him. (P.S. I decided to laminate this grinch poster and used dry erase markers to write the adjectives:) I'm tired of re-making these things and wasting paper:)
Then, we used these pages that I found from Primary Graffiti to write sentences about the Grinch.

 I shrank them down to fit them on one page. While we were working on them, we did one side at a time. I had the kids fold them in 1/2 so they could only see the side we were working on. (Sometimes, too much print on the page is just too overwhelming for some of my little ones, so this strategy helps:)

We also made these cute little grinches from Deanna Jump's Grinch Mini unit. They say: "to make a Grinch grin I would". (and they draw a picture of it.) I also found this cute little writing page for free here! (thanks, Mel D!;) It matches perfectly:) Here are 2 different samples that come from kiddos at very different ability levels. The first one goes on and on about things she would do! LOL! The other one has a very simple sentence...but, what an artist he is!!!!;)
I got a tip from Eberhardt's Explorer's that these grinch foam stickers were on Clearance at Michael's, so I went and bought them up!!! The kids loved them! I was a really bad teacher, though and went for the store bought cookies instead of making any super cute cupcakes:(....soooooo busy! I still think they turned out pretty cute:)
I also did these grinch candy canes. This is something I've done for years, but I just LOVED the tags that Cara made over at 1st grade parade MUCH better than the ones I used to use!!! That border is ADORBS!!! Doesn't get much cuter!
Last, but not least, here I am with my FABULOUS Kinder aide, Erin with our Wal-mart Grinch shirts on:) LOL!!
What a fun day! Thanks for the ideas, everyone!!;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Organizing "Can-do" Centers

I get lots of emails and questions about how I set up and manage my centers and what the kids can do when they are finished. For the first few months of centers, I just make them stay at their center. I tell them to "keep busy". That might mean coloring the graphics/pictures on their paper, doing some more problems on the back (if the center is about rhyming, they draw more rhyming pics on the back, etc.), they might write a sentence on the back about what they worked on, etc. Once I am VERY confident that the students can work independently, take care of center materials, work cooperatively and the general centers process is running smoothly, I allow them to start doing "can-do" centers.
Here's how I set it up:
The kids have a "Can-do menu" for Literacy Centers and a "Can-do menu" for math centers. There are 6 Can-do centers on the menu each week. Here's what the Math menu looks like:

This is the Math Can-do Menu. There are 6 shapes(sorry, 2 of them are not visible in this picture. I have a velcro dot on each shape to hang my can-do centers for the week. In this picture you can see play-doh, Calendar, puzzles and games. Each student has their own little menu card. One side of the card has their picture on it, while the other side has a little menu on it. These cards are laminated and have a binder clip attached to the top.
When students are finished with their work station work for that day, they can pick one of these can-dos to stay at until center time is over. When they decide which can-do that they want to go to, they use a dry erase marker to mark off the center that they chose for that day. (the X's stay on until the end of the week...this way they get to choose what center they are going to-but they can't choose the same center EVERY SINGLE day:)

Then they hang the menu on one of the 4 hooks on under that center on the big menu. (with their pic facing out so we can see who should be where) When all 4 hooks are filled, that center is full, so no one else can go to that center that day.

Here are a few of the math can-dos we've had recently:

As you can see in the picture above, most of the can-do's are portable centers. They are inside of totes. I have them labeled with the same pictures that I Velcro to the menu-so, once they choose on the menu, they go grab the tote with the matching picture on it.

Games: (we played candy land for our gingerbread unit:)
For the calendar center, I use this page from Eberhart's Explorers  and I use these calendar pages from Growing Kinders on the back. My kiddos LOVE this center:) Thanks, Erin and Kathleen for these GREAT pages!;)
Computers-math games
I use these awesome playdoh mats from Kindergarten Works!

Here is my can-do menu for literacy centers:

Here are some of the Literacy Center Can-do's:
Sound Munchers:
Writing Table:

(this writing work station is from Mrs. Wills-LOVE her monthly writing work stations with different writing options!!! I made little books out of her December words for the that the kids to take down and look through to find words.)  Here's the link to read more about Deedee's FABULOUS writing work stations!;)  
 ****PLEASE don't mind the giant mess!!! I had just taken down bulletin boards and there was art work overflowing everywhere!!!;)
Write the room:(with giant pens/pencils, glasses and pointers to choose from:)
Magnadoodles: (these are from Lakeshore and are called "magic boards". They have little stencils that lay on top of them to practice writing letters, words, etc.)
Reading Tent: They can grab a reading buddy from one of the pockets and a book to read inside of the tent.
Letter builders: they use these to build letters, names and words.

Did this make sense AT ALL????? LOL!!! Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you have any questions:)
That is all....MUST. GET. TO. BED.....:)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gingerbread Centers and activities

I'm so sorry that I haven't been the best blogger lately:( Just so darn busy with my class, my family and with school and trying to balance them all can be a bit crazy some times!!;) Anyway- here are the gingerbread centers we did last week:
number match-tally, number and number word
labeling patterns:
sequencing numbers:

greater than, less than or equal to:
Here are our literacy Centers:
short vowel sounds:
building sentences:

You can find all of these centers in my Gingerbread Math and Literacy Centers pack.

I just LOVE the gingerbread unit!!! It's so much fun reading all of the different stories!!! I purchased Deanna Jump's Gingerbread pack and it's one of my FAVORITE ever!!!!!  We made her Gingerbread Journals and wrote about all of the different story endings!!!Here's the cover:
So sorry this one's upside down!!! We didn't have time to make the little gingerbread men for the front of our journals, so we just stuck a gingerbread picture on the front:)

 Here are some of our journal pages from the G-bread baby and the G-bread girl:)
I also love to read this book at the end of the week. It's just a generic little G-bread book that I got at a yard sale. It doesn't have an just says "As retold by Dandi".
But, I LOVE it because the g-bread boy has peppercorn eyes, which makes the fox sneeze him out into the little old ladies arms and they live happily every after!! Doesn't get much better than that!;)

We did the fun experiement of what would happen to GBM if he would have swam across the river;) (Deanna Jump)  They LOVED this!!!
Here are some response sheets:


 We decorated Gingerbread Men:

Then we graphed which part we ate first using a pie graph-(activity from Deanna Jump:) We have always done this activity, but I LOVE this pie graph and the giant gingerbread man to display it on!!!;)

Sheeesh! Kinder life sure would be boring without Deanna Jump, wouldn't it?!;) Thank you, Deanna for sharing your ideas and making my classroom so much more fun and fabulous!!;)