Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Tufted Tree Measurement Treat!

Hi bloggy buddies!  Hope everyone is having a good week so far!  We are busy learning about animals and animal homes, but on Friday we are going to celebrate You Know Who's Birthday!  :)

In honor of the occasion and our new measurement math unit, I made this cute tufted tree measurement freebie for everyone.  Just click on the picture to be directed to the download!  You can use these trees as a sorting activity or the kiddos can measure them with cubes (recording sheet included!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Families & Freebies on a Friday... err... Monday!

Happy Friday!  Er, Monday?  Well, originally I was going to post this on Friday but I had no time (big surprise, right?) so here it is on Monday!  Here's a peek at our fun Families unit from last week, with a few freebies for my bloggy family!  :)


George Washington Color by Number

Many thanks to Maria at Kinder-Craze for this great freebie!  On Tuesday we learned a little bit about what a President does and why we celebrate President's Day.  Pick up Maria's great freebie at her blog by clicking here.

Paper Bag Houses

Love how these houses turned out!  

Family Trees

Some of my kiddos were even able to write most of the names on their family tree!

Magazine Family Hunt

Are you ready for your first freebie?  Click on the picture to grab your own copy of this fun family magazine picture hunt!  The kiddos cut out pictures of people in magazines and placed them in the category they thought fit: mommies/daddies, grandmas/grandpas, brothers/sisters, and pets.


Families Have/Can/Are Anchor Chart (Shared Writing)

Each day this week we added to our anchor chart for shared writing as we learned more about families.  I am so amazed by how much better their letter formation is getting!

I Love My Family Because... Class Book

This book we made together was so sweet!  And it was AMAZING how much I learned/re-affirmed my ideas about my kiddos' love languages.  If you have never read The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman (I also highly recommend the adult version), you should do so!  No, it's not the cornerstone of my classroom management like Conscious Discipline, Positive Discipline and Love/Logic, but it is good to open your eyes to different ways to reinforce children and show you love them (aka make deposits to their account!)  Take a look below for great clues on different way my kiddos' feel loved! 


Physical Affection:

Quality Time/Acts of Service:

What's the Rhyme? Sorting Houses

This great game is from Lakeshore!  It was great to get the kids up and moving while we've been cooped inside for so many days.  They picked up a card from the pile and walked around the table trying to find which rhyming house the word went to.  (After about two minutes I realized I needed to cover up the list of rhyming words on the back... thank goodness for sticky notes!)

This game has got me feeling totally inspired for some sort of rhyming Easter basket/egg sort, so be prepared!  Working on that idea AND finishing up my St. Patrick's Day Sensory table freebie, so expect to see them in the next two weeks!  :)

Dramatic Play:

Kitchen & Babies

This week it was back in the kitchen while we learned about families and homes!  I also grabbed these baby bottles at Dollar Tree.  We talked about how families take care of each other, and then I saw them acting out these skills in their dramatic play.  (Except for one boy that kept carrying his baby around by its' ankle... yikes!)

Here's a look at the great books we read/had available at Listening Center and Library this week.  And let me just say that my kiddos LOVE Robert Munsch.  Alligator Baby and Love You Forever were the definite favorites this week, and you can also download the mp3's for free at Bob's website by clicking here.  Just click on the book you want, then click listen, and right click on the "Download File" button.  Easy peasy!

And yes, most of these books have animal families (but there's a reason for it... next week is Animal Homes!)

If you're wondering where math/science is, I have a confession... there aren't any pictures because we didn't do that block this week!  I have come to the realization that I am not superteacher.  I cannot finish 13 page progress reports for my class, make a summer field trip calendar, prepare to present for a staff training, and prepare for an upcoming corporate visit on top of daily teacher dealios with no planning time and no school breaks.  (Trust me, I tried.  It made me very sleep-deprived and grumpy with my kids, so it wasn't worth it).  SO I let my kiddos have a bit of a "breather" last week (which worked out well since we also had inside recess almost the entire week) and I made some headway.  :)

Are you ready for your last freebie?  I posted this on the blog on Friday but in case if you missed it...

Lucky Lacing Cards!  My kiddos loved the Christmas and Valentine's Day cookie cards from Karen at PreKinders, so I thought I'd make my own for St. Patty's (and Easter, those will be upcoming!)  Click on the picture to grab yours!

Aaaaand don't forget to check out everyone else on this lovely Manic Monday!  :)
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Till later my friends!  Can't wait to catch up on all our upcoming fun Dr. Seuss celebrations!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Treat for My Sweets: Lucky Lacing Cards

Freebie Fridays

Yay for the weekend!  I have got a serious load on my plate right now (the least of which is taxes), so hopefully I can post about our families unit later.  BUT I made this cute freebie for everyone because I am SO EXCITED for St. Patrick's Day!  My kiddos loved the Christmas and Valentine's Lacing Cards from Karen at PreKinders, so I thought I'd make my own for St. Patrick's Day (and Easter; those will be up on the blog later)!  Just click on the picture to be directed to your freebie!

Before I go, let me leave you with some great giveaway news!  I will be hosting an upcoming 100 Follower Giveaway soon (8 more followers to go!).  Some great blog buddies of mine who will be contributing are also having a giveaway right now that you NEED to check out!

That's all my friends!  Hope you have a great weekend!  I'm off to finish those progress reports, plan for a corporate visit next week, work on taxes and all that other stuff on my 3 page To-Do List right now.  And sometime soon I hope to finish re-working my blog image.  Yikes!

And I leave you with a question- during what week(s) are you going to do your St. Patrick's Day and Easter Activities?  Since they both fall on weekends this year, are you going to do the activities the week leading up to the holiday or after?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gearing Up for Easter and St. Patrick's with Dollar Deals & a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Saturday!  :)  I hope everyone got to sleep in late today!  I woke up early to get in some shopping before I took my mom to the spa for a pedicure for Valentine's (it's the only time I can get her to slow down and get off her feet!)  I NEVER want to be stuck like two weeks ago when I found myself scrambling to find cool supplies for Valentine's Day centers because no one had anything left.  Very sad.  So I said to myself, "Never again!" and I went shopping.  I'm trying to consider it as being proactive rather than being a shopaholic.  :)

So I went to Dollar Tree first.  Here are some things I found:

Easter Grass & Eggs

How cool are these carrot eggs?  I can't wait to use them in the sensory table!

Easter Bunny Headbands & Flower Table Scatter

Yeah, you know we're gonna wear these!  :)  I even got blue bunny ears for the boys and pink bunny ears for the girls.  I'm thinking the kiddos can wear them while digging through the sensory bin and for read/write the room.  Can't wait!

St. Patrick's Day Glitter Shamrocks, Hats, Garland and Green Foam Dice

Yay!  I am super excited about the mini hats.  They come with an attached string so they should stay on my kiddos' heads well.  I was sorely tempted by these headband hats at Party City...

And by these...

But you just can't beat a pack of 5 hats for $1.  Sorry Party City!

Here's my sole Target find:

Cute Cupcake Boxes

Target doesn't have anything out for Easter and I was very disappointed by their dismal St. Patrick's Day selection, but I did get these adorable boxes for only $0.30 each since they were on clearance from Valentine's!  Yay!  :)

The pedicure place is right next to Party City, so I peeked in there for a bit and here is what I found:

Shamrock Pails, Shamrock Cookie Cutters, St. Patrick's Day Stamps, St. Patrick's Day Erasers, and Green/Gold Shamrock Coins

I found A LOT at Party City!  Now of course the only thing that was $1 were the pails and the cookie cutters, but I had a 40% off coupon so it really wasn't that bad.  The shamrock coins were $5 for 100 coins but that's really not bad (considering I spent $9 for only 72 coins at Michaels; going to return those tomorrow!)

And here's what I'm ordering from Oriental Trading:

Black Candy Kettles
Can you believe no one else had these?  Well, Party City has some (and green and black in bigger sizes), but they were out.  So I'll just order these online.

Easter Foam Dice
These look so cute and super fun!  I am bummed that they discontinued their Valentine version.  :(

I'm STILL looking for shamrock measuring cups/scoopers and Easter buckets that are just right.  I am really hoping Target gets more St. Patrick's Day and Easter stuff in soon!  These cute felt bunny buckets from Michael's might do.... except they were so expensive!

SO I'm going to hold off for the Target Dollar Spot and Walmart to get more stuff in!  :)   But I hope you got some good ideas for great places/items to shop for your upcoming holidays.  All of this fun shopping got me inspired to think about my upcoming sensory tables, so expect to see some freebies heading your way!

Lastly, I want to leave you with some news about my upcoming giveaway!  I am almost at 100 Followers (9 away as I write this) and some lovely friends of mine are helping me celebrate with a good old fashioned giveaway!  :)  Giveaway prizes will include contributions from Irene at Learning with Mrs. Leeby, Megan from I Teach What's Your Superpower?, Khrys from Keepin' it Cool in Kinderland, and Kimberly at Live, Laugh I Love Kindergarten.

If you are interested in contributing something to the giveaway, please let me know!  I'd be honored!  :)
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Feelings, Communication, Valentine's & Freebies

Wow, what a crazy busy week!  (But then again, what week isn't?)  First of all let me say HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful week with your class filled with lots of love.  Our party was great yesterday, I just wish I had Monday off to recover!  (On Monday we are having a staff training day... and get this... I'm presenting on Positive Discipline!  Super excited but super nervous.  I mean, I don't really feel "old" enough yet to be teaching other teachers on classroom management!)

Before I start gabbing about this week, I need to tell you how much I love the "If You're Happy and You Know It" Song!  We sang this great song all week and substituted different feelings/actions.  The best part is I always end with some lyrics of my own invention, "If you're ready and you know it take a seat/If you're listening and you know it look at me," so on and so forth.  :)  GREAT song for transitions and learning about feelings!

Okay, onto the very busy week we had (with TWO Friday Freebies in store for you!)


Valentine's Day Cards

We made these cuties in the morning before our party.  They turned out great!  On the inside I let kids draw a picture of whatever they wanted for their parents.

TP Roll Heart Stamping

Great fine motor practice!

Stained Glass Hearts

These turned out gorgeous and were easy to make!  I simply folded a piece of construction paper in half, cut out a heart shape, then cut out a heart shape again on the inside (leaving a border).  I put the heart border on   piece of clear contact paper and the kiddos used tissue paper squares to fill in the inside.  Cover with contact paper again and voila!  These little beauties are now adorning our windows!

Heart Critters

This was my FAVORITE art project this week!  We made these after reading My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall, which is a great book with amazing illustrations (every animal is made out of hearts!)  Then I let my kiddos get to work making their own heart critters.  I just love how creative they get with open-ended art projects!  They made cute ducks (above), butterflies...

A caterpillar...

And my favorite- a bear holding a heart!


We started off the week with a shared writing about feelings.  Then we started learning about communication (how can we tell someone our feelings).  We did a mini-lesson in small groups on postcards...

And then I put postcards and stamps in the dramatic play center.  :)

Unbreak My Heart

The kids loved this activity from my "Beary" Sweet Math & Literacy Centers Pack!  In the picture above, my highest group is working on rhyming words.

In this picture, my lowest group is working on matching upper/lowercase letters.  I forgot to snag a picture of my middle group, but they worked on matching letters/beginning sounds.

Writer's Workshop

Here's some of my favorite books the kids wrote about Valentine's Day this week!


Pit-a-Pat Heart Patterns

This week we reviewed AAB/ABB patterns with these fun heart pattern cut and color worksheets from my "Beary" Sweet Math & Literacy Centers pack.  First they had to cut out the hearts and finish the patterns...

And then color them!  :)


Okay, this week I had a major reflective teaching moment.  Here's our sensory table on Monday...

TOTAL CHAOS.  And I'm not sure why I thought scoopers would work in confetti.  Just after I snapped this lovely picture, the kiddos in this group decided to throw everything onto the floor.  Yikes.

Now of course that group had to clean up their mess and be reminded of the sensory table rules, but being a reflective soul I thought about what I could do differently... and came up with this for Tuesday:

MUCH better!  A lot less confetti.  Red/pink colored rice scented with lavender oil for a calming effect.  Adorable heart-shaped measuring cups from Target  White and pink rose petals from Dollar Tree.  And we're back in business!  :)

I hid these cute valentine letters from Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten (pick them up by clicking here, she has a lot of great ideas!  I adapted the cards to fit the needs of my prekinders, but she has included cards for rhyming and beginning/middle/ending sounds).  My highest group fished for letters and tried to experiment and make different words... (which were very interesting!)

Whereas my middle and low group wrote down the lowercase letters they found on a recording sheet I quickly whipped up.  It was a blast!  (By the way, the cute pails are also from Target!)

Later when I had some more time this week I made some different (more beautiful) recording sheets that Marsha was fine with me sharing, and which you can find by clicking on the picture below!


Faces & Feelings Play-Doh Mats

These were great!  Get these blank face play-doh mats from Sparklebox by clicking here.  

Heart Shaped Lacing Cards

These fun lacing cards come from Karen at PreKinders, grab them by clicking here!

Dramatic Play

The Post Office took awhile to get launched this week!  First we had to have our postcard/stamp mini-lesson.  Then I also spent the first day of the post office playing with my kids at the center to role model how to use the money/register (this was my kids' first experience with pretend play money).  

And we also had to experiment with how delivering the mail should work.  I decided it would be a lot easier if my kiddos just wrote postcards to each other, that way the mail carrier could easily read the "To" line and put it in the correct take-home folder.  You can just barely see our Class Names photo album directories in this picture!  These are great, my kids love using them!

So, back to the mail carrier.  In the end, I decided on choosing two kiddos to be mail carriers right after rest time (so the pick-up time on the box is wrong)!  I switched out these two mail carriers each day so that almost everyone could have a turn by the end of the week.  I'm thinking of carrying this center on into next week too... It's just so cool!

By the way, if you're admiring my lovely homemade mailbox, you can easily make your own by following the directions at Busy Bee Kids Crafts.

Here's a look at some great books we read this week:

That's all folks!  Don't forget to grab my super cute Valentine bear number order freebies while you're here...

and check out everyone else's great Friday freebies!

Freebie Fridays

And I'll see you soon with some exciting news about... A FABULOUS FIRST 100 GIVEAWAY!  :)  I'm only 10 friends away!