Blog Archives

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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Trivia Night

For the last 2 years, the AMAZING PTO at my school has hosted a fun Trivia Night to raise money for our school.  With the profits of each Trivia Night, the PTO is able to do special things for the teachers and staff in our building!  Last year, they funded 10 teacher grants and installed a brand new playground for our students to play on!

A local sportscaster donated his MC services for the night and that made it super fun and totally HILARIOUS!!

With a little help from my friends at Oriental Trading, we were able to make the night SUPER fun and each guest was able to take home some special treats!

When we arrived, there were these cute treat bags and black glasses for each of us to take home (or snack on throughout the night!!)

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Everyone had fun wearing the glasses to help them be “smarter” during some tough rounds of trivia (and trust me when I say we needed all the smart we could get!!)

We had 8 rounds of trivia that were each themed (movies of the 80’s, famous houses, celebrity eyes, etc.).  During each round, each table of 8 worked together to answer the questions.

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There were lots of teachers there and MANY of our fabulous parents!  Unfortunately, because the venue was so dark, most of my pictures didn’t turn out so well, but I think you can tell we had a great time from those that did! 🙂

If your table was great at trivia (mine was not!), and you won a round, during the next round, your table got to host the Candy Buffet!! Extra cellophane bags were provided with the candy buffet, so you could stock up on candy before it left your table.

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After the Candy Buffet had made the rounds, pizza showed up (sponsored by a parent) and after that Jack’s Donuts!! Add that to the taco bar that was available for dinner and we were stuffed by the time the night was over!

After 8 long rounds of trivia, the winning table was awarded $250 (which was donated back to the PTO) and they got to take home the coveted Trophy of Awesome!

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Our trivia night was very successful and we surpassed the $9,000 goal easily! Many thanks to Oriental Trading for their help in supporting my school! We had SO much fun and we can’t wait to do it again next year. 🙂

 

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Seasonal Changes

With the change in seasons this week, I decided to share some activities with my kiddos that help them understand that there are different changes in each of the different seasons.  These are all great activities that I can get out at the beginning of each new season and my students can learn new information each time!

We used the Earth Science File Folder Games, the Season Readers, and Create a Seasonal scene sticker activities from Oriental Trading to help us learn about and document our learning of the seasons!

 

My students ABSOLUTELY loved changing out the clothing options on the weather dog; one of the game options that is included in the Earth Science File Folder games.

Want to read more? Click here and find out how you can get your own seasonal supplies to enhance your students’ learning of the seasons!

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Snowflake Science

You all know how near and dear to my heart teaching science to my Kindergarten students is! One of my favorite science concepts to share with my students is weather!  If I weren’t a Kindergarten teacher, I would have been a meteorologist.  I’ve always loved the weather and I’ve taken several classes in high school and college just for my own knowledge.  It is neat to me to understand how weather works and how we can tell what the weather is going to be like just by understanding what the sky is telling us!

In Indiana (where I live!), we have a saying…”Wait 5 minutes and the weather will change!”  It is SO true!  So a few days ago, we were going about our day and when we looked out the window, the weather had gone from a wonderful sunny winter day, to snow!!

At the start of every winter, I get out my winter kit, so that when we get a snow happening while we are at school, we just pull it out and go!  We do get outside to collect snowflakes on black paper, and then we come in and have some fun creating our own:

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I got a class set of these fingerprint snowflake kits from Oriental Trading, just so we could talk about how each snowflake is unique, just like each and every one of us!  We also created our own snowflakes out of pipe cleaners and beads, and we sorted some sparkly snowflakes!  Click here to read more about our snowflake science fun!

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Not so scary Halloween ideas!

In my school, we try to stay off the topic of Halloween if we are able.  We are a very diverse school, so not everyone celebrates.  We do incorporate fall themed crafts and projects and I thought I would share what we’ve done so far!

1I got these bracelet loops from Oriental Trading Company and they were EASY for my young students to put together and to help practice their patterning skills!  I also purchased the “s” hooks from OTC so that we could just snap the first and last loops in and continue our patterns!

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Next, (and also from OTC), I got these magic scratch off leaves!  We had SO much fun with these!  Some of my students decided to scratch all the black off the leaves, but as you can see, some were more artful with their designs.  We could have scratched lots more of these, so we will definitely need to get more for winter!!

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We practiced our fine motor skills by tying these cool wrap bracelets!  First you tie the three cords together, string three beads on the orange cord, tie a knot, you then repeat that with the black and green cord.  Next, you repeat the stringing of the beads up to 5 times and then tie all the cords together.  The cords are super long, so you can cut them if needed and still have enough.  They are great for adults too!

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Lastly, we got these ceramic leaves and used paint markers to paint fall designs on them.  We also tried regular markers and those worked great!  A crayon and water color paint resist would be fun to try on these as well. 🙂  Acrylic and tempera paints would help make these into fun fall gifts for families!

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*Thanks so much to Oriental Trading Company for providing these amazing crafts for my students and I to try out this fall! All opinions expressed in this article are my own. *

Halloween Costumes for year round use!

I know sometimes I look at Halloween costumes and think that I will use them once, but I’ve thought ahead this year and our Halloween costumes will be getting several uses this year! We got all of our costumes from Oriental Trading Company!!  img_9648My husband and son had so much fun dressing up as Gingerbread people!  We will use these costumes for Halloween and then again during our winter musical about the Gingerbread Pirates (see below!).  They will get another use when our Kindergarten students put on their Gingerbread Play! I can’t wait!!

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Next up are three different versions of Pirates that will also make an appearance in our Gingerbread Pirate play.  We have also already used these costumes to help promote our pirate themed school book fair this year!  Hilarious!! img_9652 I love that these costumes were so easy to put together!  A white shirt, some long cargo pants, the pirate hat, cutlass, and eye patch and our quick and easy pirate costumes are done!!img_9653

Check out some other ways to use these costumes here and think ahead when you purchase your costumes this year for Halloween! 🙂

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Graphing Activities Galore!

Raise your hand if you create graphs with your students! We do!! I try at least 2-3 times a week to create and collect some sort of data from my students so that we can talk about it and learn how to compare, contrast, and most importantly; make sense of the information we are looking at.

I got this AWESOME graphing pocket chart from Oriental Trading Company this summer and I’ve been using it every chance I get!

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Our new math adoption includes a question as part of our daily routines and this pocket chart was perfect for capturing that data.  I love that I can take the number cards out if we need all the columns and that there are pre-printed cards included.  When one of those don’t work, I just turn one of the header cards over to the back and write my question there!  There are also 50 picture/word cards included so that you can ask all sorts of interesting questions.

Check out some more fun ways we used this pocket chart and how we incorporated our first science lesson and graphing!

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Creating a Classroom Community

Setting up a classroom community is one of the SINGLE MOST important things you can do to ensure a smooth classroom year.

I spend the first 4-6 weeks getting those rules and procedures in place (before we get into the real meat of Kindergarten!), so that the rest of the year will be smooth sailing!

We love using simple getting to know you activities to make each of the children feel welcome and for them to have an easy way to share a little bit about themselves.

In addition, we have a special “Take a Break” space where students can go if they need to calm down, take a break, or reflect on a situation.  You can read more about what I do to set these up here and get these ideas going in your own classroom!

 

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Amazing Alphabet Ideas

One of the skills we practice constantly in Kindergarten is the recognition of letters.  During the beginning of the year, we practice naming and identifying letters and move towards putting a sound with each letter.  We eventually end up using those letters to make words and sentences.

When I introduce alphabet activities to my students, I try to make them as fun and as engaging as possible.  I also try to build in as many learning styles as I can so that my students will have a way to remember the letters in a way that makes the most sense to them.

Here are a few ways that I introduce letters to my students at the beginning of the year or anytime I see that a student needs to review the letters.

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You can read more about these ideas here. 🙂

I’ll be back soon to tell you why I’ve been so absent from blogging soon. 🙂

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