Category Archives: Oriental Trading Company

Forces & Motion

For those of you who visit often, you know how much I LOVE Science!  When I was asked to help write the new standards for science in Indiana, I knew right away that I wanted some Force & Motion standards in Kindergarten because there are lots of fun toys out there to help students understand how Force & Motion work.

Using a few very simple toys, I was able to help my students understand how they can affect Force and Motion. We used pinwheels, tops, spinning wheels, and several ramp kits.  While working with these materials, my students not only had fun, but they learned about Force & Motion.  We talked about how we can move the pinwheels with our breath, push the tops and spinning wheels in different directions, and help cars move more quickly or slowly down ramps by changing out the texture of the ramps!

Check out the fun we had here!

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Painting Like Eric Carle

One of my favorite things to do is to tie in an art project with a literacy study.  As we studied Eric Carle’s books, my students were interested to know more about how he created his art.  I did some research online and found a few videos that gave us some ideas to help us create art like Eric!

The art we created was AMAZING!!! From start to finish, this has to be one of my favorite projects we’ve ever done and it was EASY! Can you believe we had 25 Kindergarten students all creating their art at the same time and there were no spills, accidents, or mishaps? Check out all the supplies we used and some details about making our art come to life here!

Cool Coding ideas!

I am lucky enough to have 2 Sphero SPRK robots in my classroom.  Recently, we got them out to participate in the Hour of Code.  My students had two opportunities to try Sphero out and test their coding skills. Using the robots is fun enough on its own, but I decided to step it up a little bit and add in some extra details! We also practiced retelling one of our favorite stories with a bit of a coding twist!

What you’ll need:

The first thing we did was create a grid on one of our classroom rugs with Colorful Masking Tape.  We were working on retelling stories and so I challenged my students to use paper arrows to help get the Gingerbread Man through the grid and to stay away from the fox! I placed the characters from the story into different boxes on the grid and then let my students work their way through as they placed the arrows.  They then took the Gingerbread Man and tested out their path to determine if it worked or not.  We used Sphero (posing as the Gingerbread Man) later to follow the path and I forgot to get a picture of that!! 😦  The best thing about this grid is that its still stuck on our rug! My students begged that I leave it on the rug so they could use it again and even with all of us walking on it each day, its still there!

Next, we used some more Colorful Masking Tape to create a bowling alley! I taped off a section of the floor with red tape and then added in some white tape to show where the pins should go (and to create an “x” for my students to stand on).  My students set up the pins from the Small Bowling set on the white lines and started bowling! They loved trying to see how many pins they could knock down.  We played just like real bowling, they got two chances to knock down the pins, but we did not keep score.  Eventually, we will add the number of pins knocked down in each turn together as we work on adding to ten, but for now, we are just exploring!  We also left our bowling alley taped to the floor and we cover it with the rug (from above) when we are not using it.  So far, the Colorful Masking Tape has not left any residue on the carpet, so our housekeepers will be happy!

Finally, to make things a little more challenging, I set up an obstacle course with Colorful Traffic Cones for my students to maneuver the Sphero through.  To begin, we set up a simple in and out weaving pattern.  Later, we added in a turn to the in and out pattern and that made it a little more difficult, so we will be practicing that for a little longer!

These ideas could be used with any robot that you might have or if you don’t have any “bots”, you can always have your students “program” each other through the challenges!

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The Three Little Pigs

Around this time of year every year, my students and I read at least one version of The Three Little Pigs.  I love that this story is one that my students immediately connect with (mostly because of the Big Bad Wolf) and are easily able to retell.

I generally have my students try to build houses out of the three materials from the story (sticks, bricks, and straw), and this year was no exception, but I wanted to take the experience up a notch by transforming the space around them, so that they felt like they were in a forest where they might actually run into the Big Bad Wolf.

I’m always a little intimidated by room transformations, but I have to be honest when I say that I’m not anymore! This was so much fun to do and it didn’t take me long at all! I think I spent about 30 minutes prepping the materials and another 30 to hang and decorate the space.  The key is in thinking out what you want the finished space to look like, and in collecting all your materials so you can knock it all out in an hour or so!

My students felt as though they were in the woods building their homes! We had a great time and were able to talk quite a bit about what materials we should and should not build homes out of.  Check out more details about our fun day building with The Three Little Pigs here!

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Fine Motor Fun in November

This month, I decided to bring a little fall to our fine motor drawers! Each month when I introduce the new activities to my students, I am purposeful in telling them what skills they will work on developing and how those skills will help them in the future. I also remind them of other things in our classroom that they may find themselves struggling with and share with them that using these fine motor activities will help those tough tasks become a little easier with time.

I used some very simple materials and some easy ideas to bring these to life! Check out lots more pictures here!

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Exploring our 5 Senses

We recently had one of the most fun days ever in my classroom exploring our 5 senses! I transformed my classroom into a Mad Scientist Lab so that we could learn more about our 5 senses.

In under 30 minutes I had my classroom transformed into a lab! I set up 5 different stations to help my students explore more about each of the 5 senses.  Read more here about how the transformation took place and for more details about each of the stations.

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October Fine Motor Drawers

Last month, I shared a post all about setting up our new fine motor drawers.  My students need as much practice as they can get developing their fine motor skills.  Each month I change out the activities in the drawers to keep them new and exciting, but also to continue to strengthen and challenge the skills they have.

Here’s a look at this month’s activities:

My students love each of these activities! Click here to check out the full description of these activities and to get what you’ll need to set them up in your own classroom!

What else would you add to these fine motor drawers? I have trouble each time narrowing down the activities to share with my students each month!

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Starting STEM Early

Instead of having my students work on papers or worksheets when they come into our classroom each morning, I have them use STEM boxes.  These boxes help my students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.

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My students loved using these boxes so much that they would race down the hallway each morning to grab their favorite one!  Read all about them here and get your own supplies to create some! 🙂

 

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EDITED TO ADD: You can download the labels for these STEM Boxes here. 🙂

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Sight Word Practice

Raise your hand if your students need to learn sight words each year!! Mine do and practicing them can get boring…quickly, so I decided to find a way to engage my students in the learning and practicing of the sight words!

Hands-On Sight Word Practice

I used truly active learning to engage my students in the learning of sight words! We used these three fun activities to amp up our learning (and to review) sight words.  Once these activities were introduced, I kept them out so my students could keep enjoying them!

Click here to read more about the fun we had (and are STILL having!)

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Fun on the Farm

I’m so excited to share this post with you!! Its an idea I’ve had in my head for months and I am so thrilled to finally have been able to execute it!

As part of the unit we are in, we learn about where our food comes from and it gives us a chance to learn more about the habitat of the farm.

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We put on a very simple “production” for the other 4 Kindergarten classes and the Farm Backdrop and Stand-Up Cow (Maggie Moo as we call her!) all came from Oriental Trading!

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Click here to read more about our fun on the farm!!

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