Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Costume Review

I love my school and I love Halloween.....

 And one of the reasons I {heart} my school sooo much is because we get dressed up for Halloween and we have a parade! A school wide extravaganza of FUN!

So today's post is just some pictures to show you what my day was like.... and maybe give you some ideas for easy Halloween costumes.

Every year each grade level dresses up together. This is great because it takes the pressure off each individual... but it also prevents you from EVER repeating a costume...which can add up. But every year people impress me their creativity {or perhaps just their ability to use Pinterest..or both!}

Let me share my awesome coworkers:

First up, my kinder team and me {I'm the one holding the yellow Pete the Cat book}:

 First grade... as the four seasons:
 Second grade...a BLT sandwich... great idea!
 Bees! And I have to say, genius idea by 3rd grade to use duct tape on a black t-shirt:
 Guess who.... it is fourth grade:
 And I think the winner this year is 5th grade with the Magic School Bus...
Our amazing office staff:


After our photo shoot it was time for the parade! It is a tradition that includes fun Halloween tunes and everyone parades around to show off their costumes. Who doesn't want to dance around in their special outfit to Monster Mash?

As for rain.... in my 14 years at this school it has NEVER rained on Halloween... did I just jinx us for next year? Hope not! Today not only was there no rain... it was HOT!

Here my little ones and I are are waiting for the fun to start:
Time for kindergarten to enjoy the limelight:
 And once all the kids go... it is time for the teachers.... Best part, you gotta have a special song to parade to. That part is always fun and there seems to be a song about everything.... Today I learned there is a song about a BLT sandwich. Seriously, there is....

Last Friday I shared a picture of last year... we were Zero the Hero.... here it is again:
And I'm not going to go year by year with you people... but last one is one of my favorites from 2009 {it is Thursday, so a little Throwback is in order} And I will say that I feel like I look 10 years younger in that picture as opposed to just 4. Hmmm...

Play-doh! so fun, so easy.... and so perfect for a kindergarten teacher.
Happy Halloween peeps! Have a safe night!

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Truth Monday - Creepy Edition! {Flash FREEBIE!}

Last week was the first week of a 12 Part Series hosted by Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade. The topic last week was about fitness... so isn't it convenient I missed that one?


But here we are on Week 2. With Halloween approaching this week has a CREEPY theme!

That sums it up for me. I don't watch scary movies. I can't stand sandwiches and please hit the mute button when a cold medicine themed commercial comes on.

But while we are talking about creepy... what's your thoughts on haunted houses...for me... NO! And apparently Andy from the Ellen Show agrees with me. This video is hilarious!!!


And because it is Monday.... and  I want to make it a bit better. I am doing a FLASH FREEBIE! My Pattern Block Animal Unit is FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers for the next hour.... ready, set, go!!

And stop by Sunny Days in Second Grade to read more about what creeps all us bloggers out!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Riddle Me This {October Edition}

Riddle Me This! That is the title of my latest item on Teachers pay Teachers. I have already mentioned it a few times, but I wanted to tell you ALL about it today....
First off, you can win it for FREE if you enter my giveaway {here} but hurry... it ends Friday night at midnight {Pacific Time}

So, I want to start with why I love, love, love this little riddle book. The kids love it... that's why. They think it is a fun game. And although the riddles aren't terribly hard... what can be tricky is getting them to use language to explain HOW they knew what the answer is.

I start with the pocket chart looking like this:

They go from being covered.....
to uncovered.... 

Once we have done them all the kiddos get their own book to make. They love taking these home to read and share the riddles with their families.

I ask them to use the pocket chart when writing and drawing in their own book.

If you don't want to do the whole group activity first, they could just solve the riddles on their own... especially if you have true readers. In this case, I just put the words in the pocket chart and have them figure it all out solo.

These always turn out adorable!

And one last one....

I share this one because I am really not sure what those costumes are and I {heart} that.... What do you think? A mummy and Snow White holding a ??? I really don't know!

Remember.... you can still enter my giveaway for THIS book and some other fun goodies...
just click here so you can enter!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spider Math for Math Monday

Right now I am surprised by how mad I am that I lost my Fantasy Football game this week.

Yep, my team Gridiron Glitter lost... by a lot.... when I was projected to win. And now I am can barely blog because I am mad!

This is especially funny because I was never really an NFL person until I joined this league and now the NFL is a big part of my weekend.... and my Mondays. But I don't have anyone playing tonight.... nope, lost it already on Sunday..... Also funny is that I would never say that I am competitive, but man am I into this whole thing. So Dear Ray Rice... I need you to get me more points next week and DeSean Jackson...what happened? I really hope your leg is okay because it made me sad when everyone came out on the field to check on you.... but bottom line, I will have to drop you if you are injured.

Anyway, I'm not going to think about that.... let's talk about MATH!

This my first time joining in for Math Monday - thank you Deirdre at A Burst of First for this fun linky!

This week I thought I would share some of the math I am doing for Spider Week. And spoiler alert... I am going to giveaway some of these things I am sharing at the end... so keep reading....

We start kindergarten practicing numbers to ten.... counting to ten and writing the numerals correctly, etc... Now we are moving on to also reading and writing our number words to ten. I am starting with numbers 1-5 and then will tackle 6-10 {although this spider book does go to six.}

I start by reading my version....
And just as an FYI, we spent a whole lotta time on color words too in September... so this book serves as review in that area.

Then the kids made their own... but I don't have any pictures to share....oops!
And just as an FYI ..... in my Spider Unit there are 4 versions of this book so you can choose: Have all the text with no missing words, missing the number word {like me!}, missing the color work or missing the sight word "see." This allows you to choose what is best for your littles.

And next up... we will be patterning with spiders too!

And yes, I am aware that patterning is not a direct Common Core Standard. I don't know about you, but many kinder teachers in California are going crazy over this one. Here is my personal opinion:

The Mathematical Practices for the Common Core, which are meant for ALL grade levels... from the littles to 12th grade, states in MP8 that students will "Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning." {You can read the Math Practices further here}

And as far as I see it, that is WHY we do patterning...we want kids at a young age to see how math does repeat itself and understand that it is important. Plus, all over the standards and the Math Practices the Common Core wants kids to ask the question, "Does it make sense?" And I find that patterning is one of the first math concepts where students can EXPLAIN their reasoning when choosing what comes next in a pattern. In other words, they can figure out.... does it make sense?

So there you have it.... why patterning will remain in my kindergarten classroom in the beginning of the year as an important stepping stone to Common Core.

So back to spiders and patterning....
We are up to our eyeballs in patterning and so I am adding the extra component of having them name the pattern. They take a pattern card, read the pattern and add one more spider to the end to show what comes next. Then they find the correct pattern name {i.e. AB, ABB, ABC etc.}

I'm even tricking them a bit with ones like this:

We haven't done this yet... but I think I will get a few naming this one AAB.... but see I am throwing size into the pattern mix too.

Now these are all in my Spider Mini Unit and if you don't want to be tricky like me {and for the record I am not mean.... I just think we are ready for this level} there are 18 pattern cards and some are a bit easier if that is what you need.

There is also a recording sheet we will use.
And I apologize for having to share my sample... way less exciting than their fun work.

These math ideas are in my Spider Mini Unit

And hop on over to A Burst of First to see what Deirdre has to share and who else is linking up for Math Monday! But before you do....


To celebrate me being a part of Math Monday for the first time I am going to giveaway my Spiders Mini Unit to one person... see my Facebook page for more information..... I will randomly choose a winner on Tuesday.

And while we are talking about giveaways.... I am also hosting a fun giveaway.... click HERE to hop on over and enter that too! It ends in 4 days!


It may be Monday... but I am trying to make it better by giving stuff away to bring smiles to your faces!!! {and not thinking about Fantasy Football!}

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Five for Friday.... on Saturday!

Well hello there Five for Friday.... I haven't participated in a while and although it may be Saturday... I am happy to post and play along!


1. I just finished my Riddle Me This book for October. I used in my class this last week and the kids loved the challenge of figuring out the riddle! Little did they know we were also working on our sight word "am" and rhyming words and just literacy in general... but shhh! life is good when they think it is all fun and games!


I'm going to post more about this soon..... but here's one little picture for now:



2. I was in Europe over the summer and had picked up some goodies for a giveaway! Yes, I am thinking of all of you on vacation :) Not sure how it is already October and I still have all this fun stuff.... but I am hosting the giveaway NOW.... click {here} to enter!! You will receive a free copy of  Riddle Me This that you just saw above as well as all of this:

What is that you see? Some jungle alphabet stamps, an adorable French placemat that reads "When I grow up I want to be a teacher." and the mustache stamps that I so love and want to keep!

3. This happened:
Um, that is a child in my classroom..the one on the ground!

Let me explain- every fall my school holds an Olympic Games as our fundraiser. The students are sponsored to participate in various events. Apparently, this year we added skateboarding and one young lady, who we will call "Dare Devil" volunteered to be jumped over. Luckily I wasn't there... I was with a different group of students doing a much safer boring activity like the long jump.

Anyway, all is okay and maybe I am overreacting, but it made me nervous when I saw this clip for the first time.

On a happier note - this is the Olympics flag my class had {the theme this year was Reach for the Stars} And please don't think I made such a beautiful and creative flag... oh no, I had a very talented volunteer help me out.


4. I am excited that my kindergarten team and I chose our Halloween costumes for this year! I will share more about this soon.

To give you some history, at our school we have a big Halloween Parade and I {heart} it! I know many schools can't/don't celebrate Halloween anymore and I am happy we do! The pressure is that each grade level is supposed to get dressed up as a team. It is so much fun...but the pressure is on! It needs to be something the kids like, not too expensive and something you can still teach and move around in......

Plus we need some song that we parade to that matches the costumes....

Soooo Last year we did Zero the Hero! This is me {on the right} and my sweet pregnant coworker. It was a kid favorite!


We just chose what we will be this year.... but I can't tell you yet :)


5. Last night I enjoyed this sunset with my hubby! We have had beautiful, HOT weather lately and although this picture didn't come out that well, it was such a nice sunset. So this is what I was doing when I should have been getting my Five for Friday done....hence the Saturday post.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Stampin up a Little Love from Europe!!

So quite some time ago I had promised a giveaway...



I was just part of a Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway.... and congrats to the winner, Rachel May! But that wasn't what I had been promising.....

So now that giveaway is done.... let's start another!!

Here I present some Euro treasures for some lucky follower! Over the summer I was in a few Euro hotspots and I picked up a variety of fun stuff and I would like a few of my favourites with you! {I'm even spelling like a Euro!}

First up.....
I am giving away this set of mustache stamps....um, I secretly want to keep these! The possibilities are endless....
 And a jungle alphabet stamp set.... which I don't secretly want to keep.... because I did buy myself a
set to keep!
And just when you may have been thinking.... um, neither of those things are specific to Europe.... let me say this.
A. I've never seen them here
and
B. Below is a true European treasure

This is a placemat that reads, "When I grow up I want to be a teacher." Funny enough Michelle, from Apples and ABC's was also in Europe this summer and had posted it on Instagram. So when I arrived in France a month later I was thrilled to find it in some little, local shop... I mean, it wasn't something I saw everywhere... oh no.... but when I did find it I had to 100% copy cat! {And, again, I definitely have my own one to keep of this as well!}


And just for fun I am throwing in my new "Riddle Me This" mini book....It has nothing to do with Europe, but has everything to do with October.
 Here's a sneak peak.....
And oh yes, the littles make their own...which is the best part!

Please enter if you want some "stamperfic" Euro fun mailed your way. And who doesn't like getting old fashioned, real mail!?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stained Glass Pumpkins {Well, sort of....}

The stained-glass jack-o-lantern {or it can be just a pumpkin...whatever rocks your world} is one of my favorites!! I love this! And I am lucky enough to have big windows in my classroom and these sun catchers look amazing when they are all finally up on display.

So this project is agressive. It is not one of those quick numbers.... I love it though. It practices a variety of fine motor skills and it is just festive and fun.

But, c'mon..... look at the personality on these faces... and the endless options for writing prompts that could accompany these little guys!

Step One:
Your kiddos need to "paint" strips of tissue paper onto wax paper using liquid starch. I make the wax paper pieces about 14 inches long.


As for the tissue paper... I have also done squares of tissue for a more mosaic look, but I think in kinder the strips are where it's at....unless you would like them to take the whole school day to do this.  I asked my kids to make a pattern, too.

If you don't want this part of the project to take that long then make the strips of tissue wider .... and the pieces of wax paper shorter :)

Let this dry- oddly, it is fast... as in only about an hour or so... Also depending on the brand of tissue it may bleed so I'd put a double layer between the project and your table to avoid stains!

Step Two:
The kids are going to add yarn.... This is the down and dirty part. Are you ready?
You need to dip the yarn in white glue. As in dunk it in there. As in I take almost a whole bottle of Elmer's and put it in a bowl. The entire piece of yarn needs to be doused in glue- not just the side that is being glued. Once the yarn is in place I have them go around and press it down {good muscle development, right!}

I don't give the kids a stencil of any kind because I want the pumpkins to be all kinds of shapes and sizes!! But if you wanted them a similar size then I'd suggest cutting a pumpkin on black paper and placing it under the wax paper and they can try and outline it.

You can see I have the names on masking tape on the edge of the wax paper and ask them not to tissue on top of it. After everything is dry in from Round 2, we cut them out and I add their name with sharpie  {I don't have them write it because it is too easy to tear the tissue paper when writing on it.}

Have fun if you choose to make these guys - I always adore them.

Here's one more... because they are cute:


Next week, we will do some pumpkin writing to go with them.

P.S. I did a February version of this little ditty last school year and you can read about that {here}

P.P.S. You have 2 more days to enter The Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway I am doing with 5 other bloggers.... check it out {here}

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our True Colors

Somehow this post never got posted in September....hmm, not sure how that happened.

Colors! Love teaching about them and that is how I start my year! In fact.... we learn about colors the entire month of September during which time we also talk about our citizenship, names {both our own and our classmates} and of course, apples...this explains how/why the color extravaganza lasts all month.

Every once in a while I have a parent inform me that their child already knows all of their colors to which I respond. Yes,  I think most of the friends in our class know their colors, but we start the year with something familiar to them as they learn about this new school and environment. Plus we work on reading the color words, writing them, finding them in text and more!

This is when I introduce tracking. We read these simple poems:
We sort things by color as well:
Not only are we working on classifying objets, but we are also learning how to use scissors, glue and crayons in one activity {oh my} AND we are learning how to work in  a center like environment independently...or sorta on the road to maybe being independent soon {right!?}

My most favorite thing we do for every color is create a color book. Each one is shaped as an item appropriate for that color.

 Here is our pink book... and in case you can't tell - it is in the shape of a pig!
The books have three pages in them with text followed by one blank page {shown above.} Although you can put as many blank ones in there that your little ones can handle.

You can download the Yellow book for FREE right HERE!

Another favorite is the Color Mixing experiment! It is a BIT hit with the kiddos. 

We read the story Mouse Paint {and maybe Little Blue and Little Yellow} AFTER we have had fun doing this ...What is that? A little shaving cream and food coloring! Plus my Color Unit includes color mice cards and a recording sheet for the little ones to build color equations after they gather their data.

And if you want to put a little more of that non-fiction in your color unit...you know, all that Common Core focus on Informational text!? Well, you can show {This Video} on how crayons are made. I wasn't sure how this would go over because the speaker is the manager of the crayon facility and although he is knowledgeable, I am not sure he is captivating to kinders. The kids were interested though!! I will say that I was talking during the whole video too... trying to explain it to them... not sure if that was the best plan?? Maybe next year I will show it on mute...because apparently I think I am a crayon expert? {Sidenote: You can go old school and show a Mister Rogers on Crayon Making - link here... I have watched the video, but never shown it to a class...and last note, Crayola's site itself has a short video, but I felt it was more of a commercial than informing kids.}

There is also this book:


My entire All About Colors Unit INCLUDES all of the color shape books shown above and many more activities...

Or you can just get the Color Shape Books on their own:


And one last MUST have for teaching colors is this CD. Click on the image to go to Amazon.