My Favorite Caterpillar Art Project {Freebie!}

Do you have one of those projects that you just love? This Eric Carle inspired caterpillar is one that I look forward to each year. It's like an old folktale... I don't know who created it, but it has been shared from teacher to teacher over time and each teacher putting a small spin on it.

Let me just warn you... this little caterpillar isn't a quick little project.....I span this puppy over a two week time period while we are learning about butterflies (see the unit below)

One of the main reasons I L.O.V.E. it is because the kids get to do some of those quintessential kindergarten activities such as string painting and marble painting! Below you see a break down of what I did and you will notice the one below that is different. (The second one down doesn't have marble painting- I did "gadget" painting instead...the point is..change it up a little...that makes it even more fun!)

This year they were on the memory pockets:

In the past they have been on the board:

The first few days when the kids are painting the solid background colors I don't even tell them what it is for. They love to guess! Yet another reason I love doing this!

There are directions with everything you need- just hop over to go to my Facebook Page where you can grab this FREEBIE!


Open House Classroom Tour {Part Two}

In case you didn't catch {Part One} just click {HERE}.

We're finishing up the tour of Open House that we had last week! I've learned recently that not all schools have an Open House at the end of the year. We do! It is in the evening and it is a chance for the kiddos to show off everything we have been doing all year!

The kids worked in cooperative groups to make these Seasons on the Farm posters. I talked a bit about that {HERE} and I love projects where they have to work together! In this case I gave them enough red paper to make the barn (Sidenote: we had done a TLC art lesson on the barn a week earlier and explains why they look so similar... fun to see they remember things we do!)  other than that, they had to use our scrap box (which is pretty full this time of year) to gather what they needed.

A bit of a closer look for you....
The computer drawings with matching sentences were done individually.

Next up... are our self portraits. I LOVE LOVE these! Don't be deceived by the picture below.... this is a 2 day painting adventure. The kids in the back are on Day 2 painting their face and any details on the  clothes. The kids closer to the camera are on Day 1 just doing the body and beginning part of the clothes. (You know... always a few absent ones who have to make up the next day!)
Next, I take dictation from them. I change it up each year.. but I have a frame that I work from as I call them up one at a time.  It always starts with "In kindergarten I learned ___________, ______________ and ___________." Then it may be something like this: "

Last on the line up is what we had on the tables.

1. In the back is the "Memory Envelope" It is a giant piece of tag folded in half and inside is 1-3 projects and writing samples from each month of school. My next post is going to include a {freebie} for that caterpillar art project!

2. The ABC book is 100% Kaye Espinosa from TLC's book. We make one animal each week of the school year. And ta-da!!!! It is ready to showcase at Open House! Click {HERE} to go to the TLC site.

3. The I Can book is a book I offer on Teachers Pay Teachers. The kids complete one activity per month throughout the school year.  The first and last entry is a picture of the kiddos drawing themselves... it is amazing to see their growth! I love it!

4. The Farm book is also a TLC creation. As you can tell... I am a big TLC fan!

That's all for today peeps! Thank you!

Summer Bucket List Linky

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten, A Cupcake for the Teacher and A Modern Teacher for the Summer Bucket List Linky!

My list is short and sweet: (When I initially wrote that sentence I really believed that to be true... but the list keeps growing!)

Be a fantabulous Maid of Honor for my sister!! She is getting married at the end of July and I want everything to be be perfect!

Ok so what you are looking at below is my wedding day... is that an attractive picture of me? Um, no... but that isn't the point... I chose this picture because you see my sister (on the left) in the trenches of MOH duties. My mom is hidden behind me and one of my best friends is on the right in red.... none of them dressed even though the ceremony is going to start in five minutes! They're just helping me.  Everyone took such good care of me that day... and that whole time period leading up to the wedding.... I want it to be the same for my sis. (She'll kill me for posting the pre-wedding sweats and a strapless shirt look that she is rocking in this picture)
So..... just to be fair... Here she is looking beautiful... I can't wait for her wedding this summer!

TRAVEL (that is always on any list I make!) My husband and I are hoping to visit some of his family in Ireland and England, plus hit up another wedding in England.  That's not all... we are thinking of adding another continent to our plans... but where? Although I am pretty sure I need to also add "Win the lottery!" to this list with all those plans. Oh...I almost forgot...last summer I went to the I Teach K conference in Vegas  {AMAZING!} ... and should I be stateside... I want to go!

It has come to my attention... partially this very evening, that I need to do something about the mess of all of my pictures! So for that reason I am feeling forced to add "Organize Photos" to my                     bucket list. Yuck :(

With all the spare time I am going to have (wink, wink)  I want to work on my blog and finish the 8 million lessons that are currently a work in progress.

And lastly.... I just want to relax.
That's me in Maine in 2011 and for some reason it is the epitome of relaxation to me and so I look at it often.

Holy moly! Summer 2013... Am I ready for you? "Luckily" I have another month of school...plenty of time to prepare, right?

Open House Classroom Tour {Part One}

Open House... as I have mentioned before, I have a love-hate relationship with it! Okay that isn't fair... I really do love it, but it just stresses me out.... even if I try to be more prepared, even if I get help... BUT when the kids come in with their parents and take them on a tour of our room to show off all we've been doing...well, at that point I am in LOVE with the whole evening.

 Above is a shot of all most of the classroom. Yes, I am sooo lucky to have such a big room! And yes, I did share this picture on my Five for Friday... the rest are new!

 Above you see our "Fish Words" which are there year round {you can read more about that HERE} Then we have our chicks... one of the most exciting parts to Open House! The incubator is still out, because yes, there are a few more eggs! And to the right are cute pictures of my little ones- see below for a better picture of that board:
 We do some of our plant unit in the fall with pumpkins and then we revisit it all in the spring when we talk about the different types of farms. Each child plants their own seed and we watch what happens.
On my windows I put up our zoo animals.
Okay... so due to the fact that this picture is awful and the animals are only two dimensional... AND I didn't have room to put up their writing... let me share what it looked like last year:

Much better....right? Each child chooses a zoo animal after our field trip to the zoo. We spend about one to two days learning about each animal. Each child shares the most interesting fact they learned about their animal.

We have 2 different things hanging from the ceiling this year... First up are the "Math About Me" posters. This is a Freebie from First Grade Smiles. If you check out the freebie you will see I changed it a bit by having the kids create their own heads (I'm not sure about the choice I made)

We also hung our "It Looked Like Spilt Milk" clouds! This is such a fun project! This year I had one kiddo say, "I would like to make a knight." And I had to say, "Is there anything else you would like to do instead?" That translates to: Your teacher doesn't know how to sketch a knight for you to tear into a cloud...sorry!

We read the story "The Cow that Went Oink." If you haven't read it, here is the summary I put on the  board:
The kids also used SmartNotebook to draw a picture of one of the main characters. We learned how to use the speech bubble shape (meaning under the shapes tab you can click on the speech bubble)

We also wrote our own farm animal stories... this may be my favorite Open House project for 2013:

Sorry for the slightly out of focus picture! They worked HARD on these little stories!

Last item to share on this post are our two graphs:

What isn't shown in our dairy product picture is the sign at the bottom that says, "Ice cream and whipped cream also come from cows!" I learned long ago to take those off the graph because, Surprise, surprise we will have 100% of the class choosing ice cream! We read Gail Gibbons book, "The Milk Makers." I use so many of her fabulous books!

Last- Would you like to live on a farm? As you can see... for me the answer is no!

Part Two is coming soon!

Five for Friday Linky Party

Five For Friday time.... I'm linking up Doodle Bugs Teaching!
You may notice that my last post was last week's Five for Friday... what is my problem? Oh yeah, it was just a hectic, crazy week! Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Open House... it was last night. I LOVE this night, but man does it suck all kinds of time out of my life. I never can decide which one is more stressful Back to School Night in September or Open House in May??? Either way... it was amazing and even better, it is over!

I'm going to share more pictures about Open House in an upcoming post.

2. Chick Update... we are up to 8! They are home with me for the long weekend. They went on a "field trip" to Michelle at Apples and ABC's classroom this week. It was nice to know another bunch of kiddos got to enjoy them. My kids weren't thrilled to know that three of them were gone for a day..."What kind of field trip? Who took them? Did you tell them their names?" .... Those are just a few of the questions they asked me.

But here they all (names were created and voted on by my little ones): Hazel, Sunshine, Fluffy, Fuzzball, Pepper, Lovie, Chickie and the last one is "New Chick whose name will be decided next week"

3. My Erin Condren planner AND clipboard arrived!

4. Due to my stress levels for Open House my hubby made sure I was fed well all week. Not only did he drop off lunch for me at school twice and help in my classroom he also cooked amazing food. AND we even went out for ramen... my obsession.

5. I planned a Palm Springs trip this week with some of my friends for June... Can we revisit the fact that I was super stressed all week and yet, this is the week I choose to look into something that won't happen for another month?? That is how I cope, I think.... so I booked us a house for end of June which is their "off season" since it will be at least 115 degrees and that makes me smile! I just can't wait! I was going to post a picture of the place... but I thought you may get a little too jealous :) Don't you worry I'll be posting all about that in June!

Five for Friday

Hello! It is Friday again....Woot! Woot!!

I love linking up with Doodlebugs for the Five for Friday Linky!

1. We have 3 little chicks in my class! Just TODAY two of them hatched during the school day! My little ones loved getting to watch them peck out of their shell. I will say we didn't accomplish nearly as much as we thought we would today because it was just too exciting.

Sidenote: There are so many more eggs! I brought these guys home with me, but I'll be checking that incubator Saturday and Sunday!

2. We have been in a farm frenzy from those cute little chicks above to making posters about the various seasons on the farm.  I love this project because they work in groups. We complete these over about a three day period.  Each day I change up the jobs... I kept it simple this year with a group leader, supply manager and the communication director. Fancy name for the only person in the group who can approach me with a question.
Um, as much as I love the winter group's poster it is the least exciting since there is the least happening on the farm and yet I somehow don't have the other seasons available??

Each group has become experts on their season.  We've read Gail Gibbons book and they've learned the Season Songs from Heidi Butkus.

3. I have a Father's Day Unit up on Teachers Pay Teachers. We can't forget those dads!

 Here is one page one of my little ones did yesterday:

P.S. It is only $2.00 right now {Click Here} . I plan to add all the same pages in it now with a "grandpa" version and when I do it will be $3.00 but if you buy it now, you will be able to download it with grandpa pages too in the next week!

4. Staff Bulletin Board is up! Do you have staff bulletins at your school? We take turns as grade levels to do one of the boards in the lounge. This month kindergarten did a "Summer Bucket List" which another teacher found on Pinterest.

Here's the board:
Here is the kindergarten bucket with the most out of focus message ever (oops!) I was the first to stick my summer bucket list on there and it says "to get on an airplane at least three times!" (I purposely chose an odd number because maybe I will end up staying somewhere else?!)

Here is the note we gave to all the teachers:

5. I was spoiled by my class this week. We celebrated Teacher Appreciation this week (due to testing the previous week) and check out this huge, fabulous poster they made me! I told the kids..."How did you know that is exactly how my hair looks when I become a mermaid!" Hmm... I may have confused a few!

Have a "Fin-tastic" weekend