Blog Archives

Penguin Day

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!

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Reindeer Games

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! 🙂

Get Your Skeletons Out of the Closet!

Friday, September 13th is the perfect day to get out your Halloween skeletons out of the closet and ready for October! I decided to take my skeleton into my classroom this year to help remind my students about the importance of healthy eating choices!

“Skelly” the Skeleton

“Skelly” (as my students later named him/her) greeted my students, dressed up in an apple costume as they walked into the classroom and had a basket of apples waiting just for them along with a sign reminding them to chose their snacks wisely on and after Halloween. 🙂

The best thing about “Skelly” is that he’s completely posable! I tucked some wrapped rolls of paper towels and some blankets inside his apple costume to help plump him up a bit. He was super simple to set up and set the stage to engage my young learners in a fun day of learning about apples! He will be heading home with me to grace my front door step and to hand out some yummy treats to our neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters in October!

Click here to learn more about “Skelly” and to see some other ways you can get your skeletons out of the closet and ready for Halloween! 🙂

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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!

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!

2 ideas to simplify your Guided Reading time!Kristen's Kindergarten

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!

 

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Learning to Write Numbers

In Kindergarten, it’s important to have students practice writing and recognizing numbers as soon as you can.  There are so many other things that students will need to do in the first few weeks of school that involve reading, writing, and recognizing numbers!  With a few simple activities, your students (and mine) will be writing and recognizing numbers in no time!

I’m a big fan of anything that creates a tactile learning experience for my students because its another way to cement the learning in their brain.  In an age where so many things are learned through digital media, it is sometimes nice to just have your fingers interact with another surface. 🙂

I’ve got three super easy activities that your students can use to help them read, write, and recognize numbers.  You can start with the numbers 0-10 and add in 11-20 as you find your students mastering the first group of numbers.

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My students LOVE using each of these activities and its already given me great insight into who knows which numbers.  I sit with my students as they use these materials and am quickly able to find out which numbers they know and which ones they are still working on (check off those number id standards!).

You can read more here and get everything you’ll need to get these easy, fun, and tactile number making experiences going in your classroom!

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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!

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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!

top 10 elegant

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!

 

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Cool Camouflage!!

You know I love all things Science (well almost all things!!) and helping my students explore the world around them is right up there!

I wanted to share this super simple idea that allows students to explore the idea of camouflage and helps them to understand why camouflage is so important to animals, insects, and sea creatures.  With some nature themed fabrics and some super cute critters, my students were able to explore why animals are camouflaged.

Cool Camouflage Pinterest

We spent about an hour exploring all the ways we could best camouflage all of these animals and insects.  It was very interesting to hear my students thinking about why they placed some of the animals and insects where they did to help hide them.  We had fun after this taking those same animals and insects outside to try to camouflage them there!

Click here to read more about our fun adventures in camouflage and to get everything you’ll need!

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