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Keep your kids learning at home!
I have been teaching Kindergarten for 19 years. Never ever did I imagine that we would find most of the schools across the US closed for the remainder of the school year so this virus could stop spreading. I use technology everyday in my classroom with my students, but even so, making the transition to on-line/e-learning/at home learning has thrown me a curve ball!
I use the Seesaw app to push out activities to my students and have just discovered choice boards (that’s a different post for later)! I also wanted to give my students some off-line choices as well because I know my eyes are starting to hurt from looking at a screen most of the day!
I created this “calendar” full of activities that can be completed anytime and reused over and over to help keep your children/students learning at home!
You can download it here and then be sure to head over to Oriental Trading where you can get everything you need (and its not many materials at all!). Use the code SQUAD20 to get free shipping on any purchase of $49 or more!
Click on the picture to watch the Instagram Story I shared showing all these ideas and more! You can also follow my Instagram page.
My students love learning about penguins every year! I think they like them because of our annual field trip to the zoo–we always spend a LONG time in the penguin building! To capitalize on their interest, I created several activities that help them learn more about penguins!
We learn about how penguins stay dry! Each student uses a crayon to color the stomach area of the paper penguin and then we drop several droplets of water on it. The children notice immediately that the water beads up on the paper instead of soaking into it. We learn about how the coating on the penguins feathers helps them to stay dry. Use this collection of books from Epic! books to help your students learn more!
I created these penguin themed ten frame mats so students can practice making groups to ten with these adorable penguin shaped mini erasers!
We also practice making patterns with these cute penguin stampers. My students are able to create lots of different patterns with the variety of stampers that are included!
During our study of penguins, we also create a Penguin “Can-Have-Are” chart so students can share what they have learned about penguins. You can get the printables here to create that chart.
We also write about what we would do if we were a penguin! Click here to get the penguin printable pack for all of these activities!
Want to get FREE shipping today at Oriental Trading? Click this link and use code: SQUAD19 for today’s offer!
Each year, towards the craziness of the first semester, we have a day where we play “Reindeer Games”. Reindeer Games are a great way to review concepts we have learned throughout the semester and make one of the last few days before our Winter Break a little more fun (and easy on the teacher!).
I set up stations for my students to visit throughout the day, however, we have also played each of these Reindeer Games as a whole group, one at a time. Some years my students have been able to move independently to each station and complete it, other years, not so much. 🙂 . Most everything you see pictured here can be ordered from Oriental Trading and has been linked when possible.
This is our Reindeer Sight Word Toss game. I used clear library pockets and adhered them to the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Bean Bag Toss Game. I then used these printables to add our sight words to. I cut them out and placed them into the pockets. You can change out the words as needed to make this game leveled for your students.
My students love to Roll a Reindeer and this version can be played two ways! We like to play with objects. You will need some metallic chenille stems, mini hats, felted wool balls, wiggle eyes, and foam reindeer head cutouts. You will also need a die and this printable. Students roll the die and add the different parts of the reindeer. Alternatively, you can also play and add the materials to the paper itself instead of the foam reindeer heads. You can choose to have students glue each of the materials on, or just place them on the reindeer head for future use.
We have so much fun bowling each year and practicing subtraction skills! This cute set comes with 10 trees and two bowling balls. Students set up the pins (I usually put down 4 lines of tape on the ground to help in lining them up) and then gently roll the ball towards them. They then use this recording sheet and record the number of pins they knocked down and how many are left to create a math sentence.
This is another great game that helps us practice subtraction. You need two game markers, a dice, and this printable. Students roll the dice and move their marker back that amount of spaces. The first student to zero wins!
We also play a few rounds of Rudolph the Reindeer BINGO! Students can read a sight word out loud before covering the space or answering a math question (or you can just play BINGO!). My students also create a pair of these super cute Reindeer Glasses to wear while playing the game!
I also set up a station where my students can review sight words. They grab a recording sheet, pick up a rubber reindeer duckie and read the word on the bottom. After saying it, they record that word on this recording sheet.
In addition to all these fun activities, I wear my reindeer pajamas and antlers! We also read several books about reindeer to learn more about where they live, what they eat, and how they grow up! We spend some time drawing reindeer and work together to create a schema chart showing what we thought about reindeer, what we now know about reindeer, and any misconceptions we might have about reindeer. Epic books has some great books about reindeer you can read for free! (www.getepic.com).
As a parting gift for participating in Reindeer Games, I give each of my students a bag of goodies. They get a set of playing cards, new crayons, a pen, some stampers, a puzzle, and a cute bendy reindeer. 🙂
I hope you enjoy our peek into our annual Reindeer Games Day! My students love it and learn quite a bit about reindeer! It is a fun way to learn about this mammal and give in a bit to the craziness of the holiday season! 🙂
Cactus Lesson Ideas with FREE Printables!
Who doesn’t love a cute cactus themed activity? I created some super simple, super cute cactus themed activities that your students can enjoy anytime of year (even in the summer!) Each of these activities are great for individual practice, center practice, partner practice, or even small group practice!
Just collect a few supplies and you will be ready to go! These printables are FREE!! There are two additional printables that also round out this collection of cactus themed activities that are perfect for anytime of year!
Click here to get your printables and to see the list of simple supplies you’ll need to make these activities happen!
Making CVC Words
One of the skills we practice from the middle of Kindergarten to the end of the year is making words! I want to share one of the ways we practice making words.
I love when my students can become the letters in the words we are making! The Pocket Pinnies from Oriental Trading Company were the perfect tool to help them do that! I love that this activity can be used with any words and you can customize the letters that you need simply by writing them on 4 x 6 sized index cards.
It is super quick and easy to change out the letters as needed and with 30 Pocket Pinnies in a set, there are enough for an entire class to be involved in making words. Students can pair up in groups to create words from the letters they are given in addition to using this activity as a whole group activity.
Click here to see more about how we make words and get ready to make some words with your students!
Kwik Stix Fall Project
Fall has finally hit us here in the midwest and we are looking for someways to decorate our classroom that bring the colors of fall inside!
I was getting out materials of my “fall” file and wanted something quick and easy my students could make, and then like magic, a roll of bubble wrap fell out of the closet–it was the answer to the beginning of our fall project!
You need a few simple materials to make these fun Flint corn ears in no time!
- Kwik Stix
- Bubble Wrap
- Construction Paper (orange, yellow, purple, brown)
Begin by cutting your construction paper into the shape of ears of corn and making the tasseled tops by fringe cutting most of the length of paper.
Next, pick out the colors of Kwik Stix that you will use to color your Flint Corn. I used yellow, orange, brown, red, and purple.
Apply your first color of Kwix Stix paint to the bumpy side of your bubble wrap. I cut my bubble wrap down to a 6 x 3 piece so it was more manageable and so that I was coloring the space I needed and not much extra.
Because Kwix Stix dry so quickly, you will be able to layer two colors at once and then you will need to apply them to your paper.
Just flip your bubble wrap over, so that the size you colored on is now facing down and is on top of your construction paper. Rub the bubble wrap very well to transfer the color to your construction paper.
Lift off the bubble wrap and apply more color as desired. Rub the bubble wrap well each time to transfer the color. Don’t worry if the bubbles don’t line up exactly the same each time, it adds to the beauty of your Flint Corn.
When you are done with each ear of Flint Corn, attach the fringe to the top and display! This was a super simple craft we made and it took us no time at all thanks to the super quick dry time of the Kwix Stix!
Introducing Kwik Stix
Kwik Stix continue to be one of my most favorite supplies I have in my classroom. I think I am currently hoarding 6 to 7 brand new boxes of Kwik Stix in my supply closet!! I just love how versatile they are and because they come in 3 different “flavors”; classic colors, neon, and metallic, there is always a project we can use them on!
Enter the beginning of Kindergarten this year…we needed a way to decorate our letter D as we worked our way through the letters of the alphabet. Kwik Stix to the rescue! The paint surface inside was the perfect thing to help us make dots! Lots and lots of dots to decorate our D’s! We also used them to make zig-zags on our Z’s, squiggles on our S’s, and lines on our L’s! Sadly, I forgot to snap pictures of all those experiences. 😦
This was the PERFECT opportunity to introduce my students to Kwik Stix and how we use them.
Each student took a Kwik Stix and we practiced how to gently twist the bottom up to raise the paint up so they could use more. We also took the time to learn how to twist the paint back down so that we didn’t have any smooshed into the lids that would later bring us sadness. 🙂
Many times if we are all using our Kwik Stix for a project (such as in this case), I will pull the entire plastic case out of the box and leave one set on each table for my students to use. They will have access to a variety of colors that way, (learn to share!), and can easily get another color they need.
We also talked about where to put the caps! This is a perpetual problem we have and to solve this problem, we corral our Kwik Stix in an empty deli food container. Each time a student uses a new Kwik Stix, they place the cap in the container so they don’t lose it (and it can’t roll away)! I also save the caps anytime we have a Kwik Stix that runs out of paint. That way if we really can’t find the cap, we can look to the box of extra caps and find one that we can replace it with.
My students have access to Kwik Stix everyday during our free play time and they will always choose them over traditional paint and markers. 🙂 They get super excited that they can paint and that their paintings will be dry in less than 2 minutes so they can take them home on the same day!
I love that the short chubby size fits my Kindergarten students hands perfectly and that we don’t have to leave stacks of papers around the room to dry overnight! Right after my students are done, they just pop their papers into their mailboxes and go on with their next task–while their paper takes a few more seconds to dry. 🙂
Stay tuned for another way to use Kwik Stix next month–this one is going to be super cute and perfect for fall holidays!
Guided Reading Made Simple
I love anything that will help make my life easier and I stumbled upon two great ideas last school year that have helped make my Guided Reading groups run so much more smoothly!
Just changing up these two simple routines has bought me back 3-4 minutes of time and gives my students repeated alphabet practice along with a simple routine they can follow. When my students see their material baskets out and ready by their whiteboards, they know which routine we will be practicing first and have everything they need ready to go!
In the same way, I used to spend 20 minutes or so every Friday afternoon getting magnetic letters ready for my students so we could make words, but after discovering this idea, my students do all the work and practice locating letters too!
Click here to read more about these tips that will buy you back precious Guided Reading minutes!
Back to School Literacy Centers
This year, somehow, I had the foresight to plan out my beginning of year literacy centers BEFORE I left for summer break. I have no idea where I got that idea or when that idea popped into my head, but it was the best idea. Ever.
Imagine walking back into your room after summer break, and you have one less thing to do! #winning. Seriously. I walked into my classroom and my literacy centers were ready to go. Everything I needed to help my beginning of year Kinders learn the routines and procedures associated with learning the alphabet was there in a tub, ready to go.
I came up with 8 easy literacy centers that would help my students get into the grove of literacy centers on the fourth day of school. Yes, the fourth day of school! That was another brilliant idea! Starting literacy centers as soon as I could. Getting students in a routine as soon as we can gets them started on the road to independence (and frees you up to meet with small groups sooner!). Anyway…
8 great literacy center ideas that take so little prep on your part, you will be amazed (and maybe even a little impressed with yourself!).
My students have been loving these activities this week (and half of them have asked when we are going to start “learning”)!! Find out all the details here and then get your literacy centers going!
These literacy center ideas are PERFECT for pulling back out later in the year to work with ELL students or other students who haven’t quite mastered all their letter names yet. They are appropriate, fun, and help those learners who need a bit of an extra boost!
Dr. Seuss Reading Stations
Anytime of year is a great time to learn about Dr. Seuss! My Kindergarten students love hearing Dr. Seuss’ stories from day one, but it takes them a little bit to engage with rhyming, opposites, and writing on their own. Once they are ready for that, I have 7 great stations that you can easily set up for a fun Dr. Seuss day or for small group or large group review!
Each one of these stations took me less than 5 minutes to set up and create. I rolled out some Red & White striped tablecloth just to set the scene and we had 7 activities ready to go! Read all about them here!