"Snow" Painting

A few weeks ago, I pinned this cute picture. I knew I wanted to try the activity in my classroom but needed to "test" it out first to see how it would work.  I had my four year son and seven year old niece test it out for me!  It turns out this activity is great for all ages!

To get started, you will need:

 Step 2:

Let's create!

End results:

Need book suggestions? Check out these

Happy Teaching and Learning!


January Book Picks - Linky Party

I can't believe a new year is upon us.

Here are the books that I will be use to teach during science and social studies.

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

These books are great for all grade levels.  
I try to teach about the many people who
influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

Let is Snow. Let is Snow. Let it Snow.

No, snow in my parts of California!
But with these books we'll have "snow" much fun.

Celebrating Chinese New Year

The New Year begins January 23rd.
It's the year of the Dragon!  

I plan to share ideas, pinspirations and perhaps, a freebie or two to go with these book picks. 

Happy Reading!


Do you Fold?

Have you used foldables in your classroom?  Recently, some of my students created these foldables during our study about Friends.  Here is how we created them.

Here are some uses for this activity. 

We used the graphic organizer above to help us organize our thoughts.  Since the kids were writing about a friend and needed to present it to their classmates, we practiced the vocabulary and the sentences many, many times as we made the Foldable.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Counting My Blessings

During the holidays, I am often reminded how blessed I am.  Today, I would like to share with you one of my favorite Christmas stories.  So, I created a movie using my Flip camera.  (Sorry, if it is not the best quality.  It is hard to read and videotape but I tried my best.)  Every time I read this story, I cry.  So, please excuse my crying.

As I read, I am reminded of my mother who was a migrant worker and the tough childhood she endured.  But I also think of my students; many of whom live in poverty.  Some, may not have any gifts to open this holiday season except for the one I gave them.   I think of my former student, who sleeps on the floor because he has no bed of his own.  I can't help but wonder if they are okay.  No child should be without.

So, as I sit here, enjoying the warmth of my home and the wonder that the holiday season brings to many of us, I like to stop and count my blessings.  I am lucky!  I could be just like Panchito or many of the students that I teach; but I made it.  I overcame the hardships in my life.

Are you blessed?


Hanukkah idea....and More

Whew!  Assessments and report cards are finished!

We are performing for our families a collection of winter songs including The Driedel Song by Raffi.  Here are few Hanukkah activities we completed during our learning.

We made these pattern candles found here.  I used them to decorate the door. 

My students learned how to play the Driedel game which they loved.  Look at that smile! The kids could not get enough of this game.  

I also made a little book for my kids to read based on the song.  Unfortunately, I can't share because of the graphics but you can find the Hanukkah graphics here.
And totally, unrelated, we are participating in a Gingerbread Exchange.  This kids enjoy looking at the map to find where our Gingerbread is from.  They are eagerly awaiting getting a Gingerbread Girl. Here is our display. We made gingerbread houses after reading Gingerbread Baby.  It was a great independent activity while I finished testing.  

Five more days until vacation!  Yeah!

Happy Teaching and Learning!


I'm Busy

It's the busiest time of the year.....ASSESSMENTS!

I convinced  suggested that we purchase ESGI to use with our assessments.  I love it!  And, so do my teammates.  We are able to use some on the system tests and create our own assessments.  No more shuffling papers, gathering supplies, etc.  Just click and go.  Data in an instant!  (And, I don't know about your school....but we are all about data.)

Here is the problem! TESTING TAKES FOREVER!!!!!!  It is 1-1.  In the pre-reading section, there are 4 tests times 21 kids.  There are 3 sections. You get the drift.

My poor kiddos!  They loose valuable instruction time.  :(    I try to only test during center time.  But I still get those kids who want to show you their work or just stop by to chat.

So, I've created this little sign to remind them that I'm busy.  I plan to insert it into a little frame and display at my computer where I am testing.

Click image for your copy.
What are some of your tricks of the trade to keep kids at bay while you assess?  Let me know.  I hope I'm not the only one who has this problem.

Happy Sunday all!  I'm hoping to watch a lot of football while planning for the week and getting some report cards started.

Happy Teaching and Learning!


December Book Picks

I can't believe December is almost here!  Where did the time go?  I will spend much of the month assessing my students and then, reporting out to parents about their child's progress.

In the meantime, I hope to be able to share with them a few favorite books that bring a little winter into our southern California lives.

Although, I love Christmas and so do many of my children, I try to teach children about other traditions that are celebrated during the winter months.  Instead, if time permits, I will spend a little time teaching about Hanukah and/or Kwanzaa.  Children will have access to Christmas theme books at the listening center or in the library.

Do you like this?  It is a slideshow widget from Amazon.  Go here to get yours.

What will you be reading this month?  Link up here. I'm always on the lookout for more books to add to my Gingerbread collection.

Happy Reading!


Thankful For...Linky Party

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I would like to stop and reflect about the many blessings that I have in my professional and home life.  I hope to share throughout the week including a special thank you to my Followers.  :)

Weekends are family days.  My son loves breakfast and pancakes in particular.  This has become a standard favorite in our home; in fact, we had it today.  I love that my four year old can help prepare this meal with me as he helps to peel, measure, and whisk.  :)
Click image for your copy.

What are you thankful for?  Link up here.



Thankful Turkeys

Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving card, my students will be taking home a Thankful Turkey to adorn their home.  Pinterest inspired, I love how cute they look.

Together, we brainstormed what we were thankful for.  Here is a typical sample.  (Is it ever to early to be thankful for presents?)  Afterwards, I assembled the feathers for them.
Click here for your copy.
If you grab a copy to use or tuck away for next year, leave a comment about what you are thankful for. Today, I am thankful that I survived our walking field trip. One more day until Thanksgiving break!

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Anchor Charts to Support Comprehension

Do you use anchor charts to support students understanding?

Here are a few charts to help support my students understand basic comprehension skills.  The key words are color coded so that the kids can make a connection between these words.

Be sure to include animals, people and diversity. 

We are putting these skills to practice during our read aloud time. It has also helped my speech students who have difficulty understanding the W words (who, what, when, and where).

Using familiar text will help students connect to these comprehension skills.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Math in Pictures

I love how these stations can be a part of our math time for as long as necessary.  I change them as needed but many can be adapted.  How are your math stations going?  Any suggestions to make math even better?  Comment away.  I love to read them.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Pumpkins and More

When I saw the brace map on Chalk Talk's blog last year, I knew I wanted to create it with my students. The kids were thrilled when they had a chance to paint with our volunteer mom.  We used their painted orange papers to make all the pumpkins displayed.  The brace maps and life cycles were created over a period of several days due to time.  I love how this bulletin board is visually pleasing but all "packed" with learning.

Today, in our attempt to have a little fun, we created this Pinterest project during math time. I must say, the kids were so highly focused on the project that there was almost no talking.  It always amazes me when silence arises because they are "into" their learning.

And, now, I can look forward to the hustle and bustle of November.   What are you looking forward to most about this month?   For me, it is Thanksgiving (and a week long break).  It is my favorite holiday; a celebration of food and family.  If you'd like to find out what I'm planning on reading or join my linky party, read the post below.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

November Book Picks

For the past few months, I have shared what I am planning to read to my students.  I have loved the ability to collaborate with you on your book picks.  As a result, each month, I will host a monthly Book Picks Linky Party where you will have the opportunity to link up and share your favorites, too.

This month is a smorgasbord of literature focusing on nutrition, Veteran's Day, and Thanksgiving. 

Come back soon for a few ideas to go along with some of the stories I will read this month.

Happy Reading!

What is Working

Today was our 36th day of school.  The kids are growing as learners academically and socially. But sometimes, it can feel like I/we run a marathon; our pace is fast and almost non-stop. There is such rigor in kindergarten and I am thankful each day that I have a full day to teach all the content that students are expected to master. An additional stress this year, is that my school is in Program Improvement Year 2. :(

Despite the challenge, I am pleased with some of the changes that I have made because of you! Blogging has opened my world to a new professional learning community. As a result, I can see my students benefiting from my learning. I have changed my word wall to look more like this. We worked on patterns using Fran's wonderful resource. (I may never staple a book the same way again!) We sing and dance away our sight words using HeidiSongs (click on the side bar for more info.).

Here is a little thank you gift to all the wonderful teachers who are supporting me; sometimes in ways I never imagined.  This game was created to help my students continue to count and master numbers to 10.  I like how as students work on this, they are also beginning to learn about "making a 10."  The kids love it!  To play, place 10 red/yellow counters in a plastic container.  We use these.  The child counts how many red and how many yellow and colors the amount onto the Ten Frame.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

A Very Busy Week

This week has been a whirlwind week of learning.  
Here are a few pictures of the week thus far.

Readers Predict

Teddy Bear Day in honor of the letter B.


It has been a week of discovery.
Here's hoping your week has been as productive as ours!

Happy Teaching and Learning!


Roll A Sight Word

For the past four years, I have used Daily 5 as part of my literacy system. It is always challenging for kindergartners because five year olds usually do not have a lot of "skills" under their belt yet.
 My Daily 5 Pocket Chart

The pocket chart shows which options are available to my students during Daily 5.  We currently have 2 rounds of Daily 5 which last about 20 minutes.  Students complete Independent Reading first thing in the morning.

One of the options that I use during Word Work is Roll A Sight Word.   

Roll A Sight Word

Who doesn't love dice?

During this activity students can practice their sight words by rolling the dice and writing the sight word based on their roll. I like that I can accommodate this activity based on our learning and/or student need.

Would you like your own copy?  I have left it as a PowerPoint document so that you may change the words to fit the needs of your students.

This download is only intended for classroom or home use. It is not intended to be sold, reproduced or duplicated.  

Happy Learning and Teaching!


Math Work Stations

Here is what our Math Work Stations look like.  
The I Can chart is based on our learnings thus far.  
It will be revised as we continue to grow and learn as mathematicians.

There are 11 Math Work Stations in our room.

Most games involve one of the three topics from our I Can Chart.

On average, our work station time is 15 minutes long.

For now, I am monitoring groups. 
Soon, I plan to meet with students.  

Happy Teaching and Learning!

My Favorite October Book

I use The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything for shared reading each October.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is about a little old lady who is being followed by two shoes, one pair of pants, and "other parts." The book lends itself towards having others join in the reading.   

This book is a great book to teach prediction.  Many times, in kindergarten, this is the first time that children are listening to this story.  Towards the end of the story, the author asks the reader a question.  We pause to make our predictions.

Click here for your copy.
Here are other ways you can use the story.  Last year, my first graders and I recorded ourselves reading the story.  The class had so much fun listening to themselves.  I found a Reader's Theatre that I would use with older students or could adapt with my class this year.  Make Learning Fun has an array of literacy activities.

Do you have a favorite book for October? Please share.

Happy Teaching and Learning!
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