Monday, March 25, 2013

We Can Do So Many Things!

Spring break....where are you? Is it really only Monday!? Ahh, it's a little hard to concentrate this week with all this talk by my fellow bloggers who are relaxing and enjoying their break... then there's me... still working.... just a few more days until our break starts!

There are so many things to teach our little kindergarten friends. An area that doesn't get as much press is personal development... you know things like phone number, address and birthday. I will say we don't spend too much time on teaching these skills in class- just a few various projects such as the Famous Family books which reinforce addresses. We also make a phone directory early in the year with our phone numbers. But to learn their address they need a little help from their family.


In the spring I like to make these "I Can Clouds" as way for my little ones to show off the skills that they know.  These clouds include the tricky personal development skills along with some other classroom skills.

I usually use the following strips in my I Can Clouds:

-say my birthdate (in my district they need to know the year they were born too...tricky!)
-count to 100 (so yes, I know, the Common Core doesn't require the kiddos to count to 100 so I may need to take that one off next year, but they are so proud when they can do it!)
-spell my name
-say my phone number
-read the color words
-say my address
-tie my shoes

Sometimes I add skipping, galloping, letter names, sounds or really anything you want to document and celebrate.

I just put them in my room last week. Most kids have between 3-5 strips right now. I try to have at least one time per week that I can reassess. They are a big, fat hassle to hang, BUT once they are up they are colorful and make the room feel like spring! Plus, to add any additional strips is easy- just a quick step on a chair and I can reach.

I will leave these up until May and then send them home. When they go home I leave the fishing line attached so they can re-hang it at home. I also send home any strips they have not yet earned so they can add them to the cloud whenever they are ready.

You can find these in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.... just click on the image below!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bloggy Meet Up in the OC

Oh.My.Word. I had so much fun this past Saturday at the meet up!





When is the next one!?! I had so much fun and was so happy to meet other people who do this whole blogging thing! I got to sit next to Heidi from Heidi Songs during lunch - wow! that was ah-mazing! Thank you again to the organizers Katie from Teacher to the Core and Kate from Second Grade Sparkle. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An OC Blogger Meet Up!

I'm very excited about my first blogger meet up this weekend! Woo hoo! Thank you to Kate of Second Grade Sparkle and Katie of Teacher to the Core for hosting. As they both said.... all these east coast bloggers are meeting up, so it's time for all of us in Cali to do the same! Want more information? Just click the picture below!



I can't wait!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Leprechaun Visit!

This has to be my last post about leprechauns! I want to share what we do on St. Patrick's Day itself... or for this year, what we do on Friday since St. Paddy's day is on a Sunday.

When the kids come in the classroom things will be out of place, the unifix cubes will be spilled all over the carpet and it will just be a BIG mess!

The kids will find a note from the leprechaun. Did you know that leprechauns have really messy writing? Here you can see some of my friends finding the note... and look at that - the leprechaun left the cap off of the marker! The kids go nuts over this since I am cray-cray about capping pens in my room.


They run around and check all the traps! Look at this one! We didn't catch the leprechaun, but we can see his footprints to know he was there!

I make those footprints by using my own fist - like this:

Add a few fingerprints for the toes... and this is what you get:

Another fun thing we do is the leprechaun leaves us a "magical" treat. Inside this bag:
And I will say some years there is a bit more creativity in the bag. Anyway, Inside is this:
Did you know that pistachio pudding is a white powder that magically turns green when you add milk? I didn't either... but I learned this trick from another teacher. I put the powder in a ziplock or tupperware which then goes in the decorative bag shown above. There will be a note from the leprechaun telling us to mix it with milk and that we must use the mini whisk. (That is a random tool I got as a gift on a bag of scone mix a while back. But it's the perfect lil' leprechaun tool!

When we stir in the magical white powder with milk... which of course is white... the kids go nuts when it turns green! It is so fun!

I will say - one box is more than enough because most of them don't love the taste of it and I think they are a bit nervous to eat it.

Have fun! Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Leprechaun Madness Continues



I love St. Patrick's Day in kindergarten! I am sad it falls on a Sunday this year. But that isn't stopping us from getting ready in class!  Last week I shared a directed draw lesson I did on leprechauns {HERE} and now all my little friends are trying to go to the art center to get to draw another one on their own. You can see these little green guys in our poetry notebooks too!

This week we made the TLC Leprechaun. I love, love, love all the TLC stuff. The leprechaun is in her Spring book. My kids are becoming TLC experts and know exactly what to do. TLC is great for following directions, learning about shapes and working on all the fine motor skills.

Here we are in the early stages of the leprechaun:

And we're done!
The kids did a "sloppy copy" for the writing first and then the final drafts on the pots of gold. I actually just remade the pot of gold template and it is available in my TpT St. Patrick's Day Leprechaun Mini Unit.

What about the old school writing paper? I'm not a big fan of this paper, but with a little less supply money it is an easy change to make for just a rough draft... but I still don't like it. 

For an optional at home project students can make leprechaun traps! We read this book in class:


The kids talked about what a good leprechaun trap would have. I love this project and seeing what they all bring in. The rule is that they have to explain to the class how their trap works.




And don't think this is my last St. Patrick's Day post! I have a few more things to share....

Monday, March 11, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky

I'm linking up with Latoya Reed at Flying into First.





This is a get to know you linky where you share things you like or like to do using your initials.
Mine are CAD...here we go!

C is for coffee and cupcakes. Coffee is in my life daily.... And thankfully cupcakes aren't around as often or we'd have a bigger problem. But when I want a special treat it is always a cupcake... and to be exact I like myself a Sprinkles cupcake. Some argue it is all hype, but I really find it to be the best around. I literally may get one tomorrow after just thinking about it!  As for coffee, I'll take it from any place at any time.




A is for airplanes .... as in all I want to do is get on one all the time! My husband and I are big travelers and right now I am itching for a trip! I sometimes just go onto Kayak.com and try out different locations or dates....just to see what I find!  They have this new thing under "Explore" where you can just stare at a map to see how much a ticket is anywhere in the world from your home airport... I'm obsessed. Sadly, I haven't been on a plane in about 7 months. I don't know how people survived without Kayak..... and I am just hoping for some last minute Spring Break adventure to unfold!


D is for.... this is a hard one. If this were just a few years ago I would say Dancing for sure... but it seems I don't do that as much as I used to and I love taking dance classes too, but I just don't do it as much as I should. Hmmm, my next thought was Delicious...yes, D is for anything Delicious... but that is vague. So next, how about D is for Deals... Ok yes! I love good deals. Whether on travel plans or clothes or just about anything else you can think of. Yes, I love good deals and I love how justified I feel spending money on something if I think I got a really great deal!

You should stop by Flying into First and join the linky too!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Our Famous Families!

We learn about our families quite a bit in the beginning of the school year. However, we recently just revisited the topic. Last week my friends made a book called "My Famous Family." We talk about the word "famous" and since each of our families our special and unique we need to make a book about each and every family in our class. We want everyone to learn about our families... and in turn, this qualifies them as famous.

The main new feature of this book is talking about their address. This is one of those personal development skills that is a kindergarten requirement- to know their address including the zip code.... which as you can imagine is the hardest part.

So that brings us to page one of our Famous Family books:


I think you get the idea even with all the blocking out I did to keep this little one's address private. I just love how she put her house number on the house itself!  This time I hand wrote the students' addresses in the top corner ahead of time. Usually I have these printed out on labels... much easier.

The other pages allow the friends to share special things they do with their families. Another reason I revisit families at this point in the year is that they are able to write and express themselves more than they could in the beginning.

I also like to talk about how all families are different. Who is in a family is different, how many people, what they like to do together and more. They get to share with each other.

Here are some samples:
And let me say this drawing looks exactly like the Starbucks drive through down the street.

And look at this, no problem spelling Disneyland... that would be because we are only about 25 minutes from the Happiest Place on Earth and I think most kids in my class think going to Disneyland a few times a month is as common as going to a movie. So needless to say, this wasn't the only Disneyland entry. I just love the tea cup ride illustration!


"My family likes to go to Mammoth" and check out the skis or snowboards...and I love to see the labeling, too!

The last page of the book just says "This is my family!" And my question is - does the child who drew the below picture have a banana tree in their backyard?

Oh and if you are wondering about the weird shapes drawn around all the words then check out my post on Sight Words by clicking {HERE}

We'll be keeping this books in class for a while in our book boxes so they all have a chance to read and share with as many classmates as possible. Plus, I am hoping to really get that address practice in!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Let the Leprechaun Fun Begin!

As I sat down to write this post I realized two things:

1. I haven't posted in a week... um, not sure what I have been doing?
2. I seem to share so many art related activities as I am about to now. I find this a little funny since I don't see myself as artistic. And yes, I do teach kindergarten which lends itself to craft crazy fun, but we do other things to and I am going to try to share more variety moving forward.

Anyway.... March is one of my favorite months! Last week we made our monthly calendar doing a directed draw of a leprechaun. I did this whole group from the Smart Board. The image you see below is further proof that I am not truly artistic.



My husband, who just happens to be Irish, drew a very simple leprechaun for me... he's the artist! I then  chopped it up into steps to teach my little ones.

I always tell them to "use light pencil" so that they can easily erase anything they want to change. Plus a few of the steps require erasing. For example, they make the leprechaun's hat by drawing two rectangles that are touching and then go back and erase the joining lines.

I just love the mischievous face on this one:


Then we colored them in...added a little gold glitter for his pot of gold, of course and that was our calendar ready to go!

I don't know the author of the song that I use. It is to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot."

I'm a little leprechaun
Dressed in green.
The tiniest man that you have ever seen.
If you ever catch me so it's told,
I'll give you my big pot of gold!


The directions to the leprechaun directed draw are in my St. Patrick's Day Mini Unit of TpT. There are both visual and written directions. Just click on either image below.


I'll be posting more leprechaun fun soon!