Sunday, August 26, 2012

Run, run, as fast as you can...

Well, I we have survived the second full week of school.  My class is already settling in nicely.  Most of our kids go to half-day preschool before coming to Kindergarten.  Preschool kids go home right after they eat lunch.  So...for the first week or so of school the kids always expect to go home when we return from lunch.  They are so sad when they figure out that we have to stay for 3.5 more hours!  This is a rude awakening to some of them.  Because it is such a LONG day for me them, I always plan the first three weeks to introduce new things daily to keep them excited.  I always save the most exciting "thing" for right after lunch b/c we always need that little "boost" to get through until we go to special class.  I am SO thankful for a principal who understands that we must have special class in the afternoon.  That is such a small thing that makes such a big difference!

Our school using the Treasures Reading Series.  This week's Read Aloud Anthology was "The Gingerbread Boy".  This is one of the kids' favorites of the whole year.  They just love hearing this story and participating when we get to the "Run, fast as you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"  They nearly squeal in anticipation each time.  Even though I do my big Gingerbread Unit right before Christmas, I do pull out a few activities for the kiddos after we read this story.

 Activity 1 - First, color your gingerbread man exactly how you would like it.
Next, cut out all the pieces and glue them together on a piece of construction paper.
Finally, glue the poem to the bottom of the paper.
To grab a free copy of my poem - CLICK HERE!
*Sorry I didn't get a picture of the final products posted out in the hallway.

Activity 2 - Here the students are playing Cookie Connect Three!
This activity came from a great packet on TpT by Deedee Wills.
You roll the dice, count the spots, trace that # somewhere on the page.
Then, when you get three in a row, up or down, you circle the group.
The kids absolutely loved this game.  I know that it was the highlighter that really did it! 

Activity 3 - This was a page called Ginger's Walk where the kids traced the letters.
One page had uppercase letters.  The other had lowercase letters.
I also had a 3rd page of counting gingerbread men and writing the #.
These pages came from Pocketful of Centers.  CLICK HERE to see unit.
Pam, from PofC, makes the greatest creations.  :)

Another group of boys - one working on upper and one working on lowercase letters.

Activity 4 - Oh, my!  Yes, I did it - I pulled out the dotters on Day 11!
The kids went bananas over this activity.
You would have thought I had a million $s over at that station.
Kids would roll the cube, identify the letter, and dot it on their page.
Who knew this could be SO much fun...and educational...all at the same time. 

Some of my little ones still need lots of practice writing the alphabet.
They also need to see the alphabet in order without singing it aloud.
This is an oldie but goodie!  I don't know what I did before Write-n-Wipes!
Oh...the power of a dry erase marker and a tissue!  HA HA

I am looking forward to Week 3 with my class.  This is our last week of Start Smart.
SS lessons are shorter giving time to teach routines and procedures. 
When we return after Labor Day, we will kick it into full gear.

Hope everyone is having a great start of the school year.

Leaving you with a FREEBIE - just a little something I made for my class.
We are going to use this to review the Gingerbread Man.
I am also going to use this to introduce magnifying glasses!
Enjoy - please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School FREEBIE

Well, I survived the first full week of school...BARELY!  It is amazing how tired a person can feel after just one week back in the routine of things.  I slept late this morning and even took a nap late this afternoon!  I have 24 kids in my class.  Thank goodness they are 24 great kids because that is a whole lot of little people for just one adult to entertain teach all day - especially at the beginning of the year when they do not know routines and procedures.  Whew - tired just thinking about it.  We did accomplish a lot this week.  We learned several how to work with several different activities.  I was very proud that by Friday we knew how to rotate through our four areas with very little confusion.  This might be a record folks!  Here are some of the things we worked on this week in stations.

Here the kids are learning to work with Play-Doh.  I have three main rules when working with Play-Doh.  #1 - DO NOT MIX THE COLORS.  #2 - Only roll out snakes (at the beginning) to form letters.  We are not making snowmen or other really cool things right now.  Once they got started they were perfectly fine making only snakes.  #3 - Put every tiny bit of your color back in the container when finished and SNAP the top on tightly.

OK - what is it about a dry erase marker that makes kids so happy?  I really do not understand it, but every time I hand them out, it is pure joy!  :)  We learned how to stay ON the gray rug (notice how close to the edge that this little guy got - ha ha, but he was ON the rug).  We learned how to snap the lid on the end so it doesn't run roll away and how to drive like a granny or grandpa with the marker and stay on the road (lines) when tracing.  I love what a great job the kids did when tracing in these Write-n-Wipe sleeves.

We also learned how to look at the color board if we don't know our color words yet.  The kids loved coloring the Chester Colors Book that I got from Jayme Pierce at  Check it out because it was FREE and has LOADS of activities.

 We learned how to recognize a title (usually on top) and how to read from left to right.  I think we all know that using a pointer made this a very fun activity!  Kids learned how to pass the pointer (without whacking someone) and how to point to the word they were reading.  Students loved reading about Chester.

We also learned where the Pocket Chart Station was located and how to maintain it.  Kids loved counting Chester and matching the picture with the number.  I was surprised how many kids could already count and knew their #s up to 10.  I have to say that I am totally impressed with this BIG group b/c not one time did I find my cards scattered on the floor (even though they did leave a book on the floor - ha).  The kids did a wonderful job keeping this area clean and orderly.  (This activity also came from Jayme Pierce.)

This was a favorite - color words for colored Chesters!  
It is funny to see a purple raccoon!  Just sayin'.  :)
 (Another activity from Jayme Pierce)

The students were also introduced to the Computer Station where they learned to log in to Reading Eggs.  If your district doesn't purchase this for your kids, you are missing out.  The kids love it, and it is a wonderful literacy station with a variety of fun, educational literacy activities.  We have used this program for the past three years and it is a favorite of the kids.

As you can see above, I put out too many cards to start with in this pocket chart.  The kids were confused and had cards here, there, and everywhere - seriously, upside-down and backwards!  I didn't really mind b/c they stayed in their station area and that was one of the main things I was trying to teach at the time.  I did take out the cards and only put five back in - one for each row and that made it much simpler.  (Again - Jayme Pierce activity)

Here is one  of my little sweeties working on a "red" page which was our color-of-the-week for the first week.  We were all about red this week!  This is a page where the kids write the word three times, find and color the word in the boxes, and finally find and circle the word in the sentences at the bottom.   All in all we had a wonderful first week of school!  I love how excited my kids are and how receptive they are about every little thing. 

 I see great things happening with this bunch!
Many people have asked me how I organize and store my Treasures Reading materials.
I use these wide-three-drawer storage units from Wal-Mart.  I have four of them, but the other one is on the other end of my counter by my reading table b/c it is the one that I am currently using.  I have EVERYTHING for the unit in the labeled drawer.  This includes student activity books, sentences strips, cards, games, activities, teacher's manual - EVERYTHING fits in this drawer.  I can't tell you how much time this little system has saved me.  I LOVE it and can't imagine using anything different.  If you use Treasures and would like a copy of my drawer labels, please CLICK HERE.

I needed something else to use when kids finish up b/c we all have those little speedsters in our room!  This activity had to be something that everyone could do.  So I made this little packet of pages for every letter of the alphabet.  I made a D'Nealian set for those of us that use D'Nealian handwriting, and I also included a set of ABC Print (Zaner-Bloser) b/c I hate when I see something I want to use and it doesn't come in the style I need. 

 If you would like a copy of my creation - CLICK HERE.  

If you pick up my freebie or have any comments on stations, organization, or just have a back-to-school tip -
 please leave a comment!   :)