Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vowel Tiles

This little ditty is something I have had in the works for quite some time.

And it is silly that it took so long as this is just a short and sweet little number. A quick little c-v-c game that helps reinforce those short vowel sounds.

Yep, there it is. CVC Vowel Tiles....

So what is this you ask?

Well, the little ones have their own set of vowel tiles which includes one of each vowel. And then they rotate through six different cards to practice their short vowel sound knowledge. There are two different recording sheets to choose from.

For some this is a teacher directed sound blending lesson. For others it is independent review... like this little guy below:
vowel tiles CVC literacy center

This next friend is using the same recording sheet, but is writing out the entire word:

vowel tiles cvc words literacy center

For some of my early finishers I have them write a sentence using as many of the c-v-c words from one of the cards! Here is a sample that is included in the packet itself.
vowel tiles CVC words literacy center crayons and whimsy
This picture isn't the best..and his final sentence probably wasn't spelled quite the same... but you get the idea.

As for the tiles... there are some included in the set that you can photocopy. Otherwise there is a list of how to get/make your own.

I use some of the letter tiles I have from Lakeshore Learning, but you see those green little circle ones up there.... well, those are just random counters that were sitting in my cupboard and may as well leave their math life for some language arts action.

The kids enjoy manipulating the tiles and I love fitting as much vowel practice in as I can!

If you need some vowel practice....this pack of fun is just $1.50 for the next few days.

Monday, April 21, 2014

An Earth Day Giveaway!

Last week I told you all about my new Earth Day mini unit.  And this week I want to give it away to one of you!! And I'm not alone, sweet Aris at Sailing into Second is in on this action.


Let me back up.... my Earth Day Book is just a small little flare of Earth Day fun! Sometimes you have a full unit going on and you can't implement another theme....BUT you don't want to bypass the event or holiday all together.... and that is when you just want "a short and sweet" little action added to your existing program.

Now if you are delving in deep with Earth Day then you need all my friend Aris has to offer! Her All About the Earth! unit is 47 pages of writing, poetry, vocabulary and more!

And you can enter below to win a copy of BOTH of these!

This is a quick little giveaway....it runs from today until Wednesday... so hurry and enter now!
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Every BUNNY Saves Sale!

Happy Easter friends!! I am here today to let you know that I am having a SALE!! 20% off everything in my TpT store today  and Monday.

{thank you Molly for this adorable button!!}

And guess what… I am not the only one….. So are some of my sweet bloggy friends:

Aris at Sailing into Second

Molly at Lucky to be in First

Jaime at Bright Concepts 4 Teachers

Deirdre at A Burst of First

Angela at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade

Vera at the Tutu Teacher

Sarah at A Sunny Day in First Grade

And before I let you go let me share one of my many items you can grab on sale!

Time to shop people!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peter Rabbit with a Freebie!

The story of Peter Rabbit eating all those "lettuces" just holds a special place in my heart! It is an April must-read in my room. Last year I found the story of Peter Rabbit in the Dollar Spot of Target and bought each little one in my class a copy... this year I wasn't as lucky.

Here's a taste of what we did:

We started with a shared writing lesson in the form of a letter to Peter. The little ones helped me with some of their sight words and they scripted the whole thing and of course, we all signed it.
peter rabbit kindergarten shared writing

{Another idea is to have your little ones write a letter to Mr. McGregor. When I taught a K/1 grade combination class my kinders did the letter to Peter together and my firsties each wrote their own letter to Mr. M... those are very entertaining to read!}

We made this darling craftivity of Peter in his famous blue jacket. The craft if from TLC in her Spring book.
Peter Rabbit craft TLC shared writing
Then we made a beginning - middle - end flip book. I love this because I think it hits so many of those Common Core standards:

Kindergarten: RL.K.2 and 1st grade: RL.1.2 -Retell stories including key details

Kindergarten: RL.K.3 and 1st grade: RL.1.3- Describe characters, settings and major events in a story using key details

I take a whole week to do this little ditty. We verbally talk about what the beginning middle and end of this story is.

Next, introduce the flip books {at the end of this post is a simple FREEBIE if these flip books seem like too much prep}
This is just a full size piece of construction paper {12x18} folded in half horizontally with 2 slits cut to make 3 flaps. I used labels for the "beginning, middle and end" titles {because I am lucky to have had a ton donated this year- sometimes we just write that on instead} I also glued writing paper inside each of the flaps {see below} and yes this is a hassle that takes a while.

I glue the paper in for them this time, but we will probably create this flip book in the future and then they can glue it in themselves!

Then we write the beginning together...this will be the only writing part that is done 100% guided by the teacher- using their idea for what to write, but I sound it out and write it for them to copy into their flip book.

When we get to the middle I ask them to discuss the various things that happened in the middle of the story...always reminding them that the middle is when something goes wrong!


And now time for their very own ending...sort of like a Choose Your Own Adventure!  I ask them to refrain from using Beatrix Potter's ending and to make up their own... this is HARD, but fun!
{Mr. McGregor was chasing Peter halfway home, but Mr. McGregor....
was getting a little bit tired. Peter wasn't getting tired} 

And sidenote: I love the problem solving for running out of room! And I am guessing we can rest assured Peter got home okay!

Yes, some of them will say that Peter does get caught and is put in a pie just like his dad....sad, but hey, it was the O.G. author who even opened that can of worms by having Mrs. Rabbit tell her baby bunnies that happened to their dad.

And some of their endings will be almost identical to the real one, but hey, they may be able to manipulate just one little thing and that is awesome for now.

Here is one with all three flaps open for you to read:
This one is similar to the real deal, but hey, he gets a hug from his sibling Cottontail!

And in this ending {and this child had a conference with me...which I only do some of the time, but explains my purple writing} Mr. McGregor trips on a log!!!

I let them meet in groups and share their different endings to each other. I like to hear them give compliments about another person's writing!

And if the flip book seems like too much to tackle, you can download this little freebie which is the same concept.... just easier to prep:
Oh and if you are learning about bunnies... you may want to make a bunny bonnet! Grab the free template HERE!

And I'm linking up with my friend Molly for her Fabulous Freebies on the 15th! Hop on over there to see more freebies and fun!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Earth Day: Simple and Green!

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22...just one week away!
It is one of those holidays that I think is so important for our little ones to learn about, but it always seems to fall to the back burner because of...well, I'm not sure why?!?!

This year I will not let that happen.

However, with that being said....we are on Spring Break now and have what seems like eight million things going on that will be back to full speed once we get back to learning next Monday....aka the day before Earth Day... so, we are keeping it simple.

In the style of simple - we are going to read this book:

It's short... and to the point. Summary: Our planet is beautiful...let's take care of it!

And then you see you get a little choice regarding your earth... you see, this is always my issue... I want things cute! BUT sometimes I think, hmmm, maybe we need to get a little more realistic! So I give you a  choice...cute or "real-ish." As for me... I printed one of each.... because I can't commit to either side of the debate!

Then we are going to make our own mini version of this book, too!
Once again, simple and once again...a choice for your cover.

And in case you are curious.... I went "cute" on this one:
We started to watercolor paint the covers before we left for Spring Break so we will be ready to tackle the book itself when we return to school next week. You can click HERE to read my post about making your own watercolor paint.

And then there is this cute little bit of fun.....
I will let the kiddos choose green or blue {or a combo} for the tissue paper to put around the edge of their Earth along with their idea of how to help our Earth.

And you don't have to pull out the tissue paper... you can keep it simple {to follow the theme here}
Or even simpler.... by making it a class book rather than a bulletin display:

The idea is for you to be able to supplement and add a little Earth Day fun to your classroom without committing to a whole unit. And if you have time for a whole unit that is awesome and important...unfortunately, I don't have that choice, but I want a little Earth Day in my life!
My goal is to create more of these small "short and sweet" ultra-mini units that can give you a small dash of fun in whatever category!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five For Friday

People it is FINALLY my turn! Yep, that's right...Spring Break is just about to start.
I have been waiting for this moment and reading about various spring breaks for the last month.

Five for Friday is even more glorious today just for that reason. So let's get started!

1. My school has annual fundraiser and one of the things auctioned off is "Teacher of the Day." It is a silent auction and parents place bids for their child to have the chance to be the Teacher of the Day...and there is Principal of the Day and even Custodian of the Day. Sometimes you get a child who is in your class or an older student may come on down to kindergarten for the day... which works out great!

I had the cutest teacher ever this past week. She is one of my current students and she was awesome....and I love that I got permission to post this picture so you don't just see an ugly circle blocking her out...because she is too cute for that!!

This is us just leaving the staff meeting she had to attend which included donuts and fruit and things I have NEVER seen in a staff meeting {which is probably a good thing!}
She came up with a few lesson plans.  One included monitoring our "Incredible Equations" for the day.
I let her finish and then I did go up there and fix that 12-2=9 equation.... and added a few equal signs. I didn't want to interrupt too much though!

For those of you who think... how can I lose a full day of instruction...well, we don't. It is a modified day and she has a special staff lunch for the last hour where I got in a few things I needed to do....and the teachers work with their "mini teachers" to make sure it is a meaningful {and fun} day.


2. Speaking of math, I used the most fantabulous book from sweet Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory! It is a little book called Five Little Bugs. Best part? Well, it comes with a song so your kids are reading, singing and doing math. It's amazing!

Here is a sneak peak of one page.... there are different versions of the book provided, but I chose the one where the students only draw the one new bug that comes along on each page {not sure you can see that in the picture} but the bottom line is that you can pick what is best for your class.
They love the song and ask me to keep playing it! I am going to have to see if she has other little song and book combos! Love them!

3. Yesterday my class had a little egg hunt to celebrate spring.... and did so in a cute little bunny bonnet! I shared about that HERE if you want to download the tracer!

4. I just put together a little Earth Day reader. It is a simple little ditty with a short original poem too! It is on sale for just $1.00 right now! And I will blog more about it next week!

And #5 for this week.....I am desert bound. Yes I am! Can't wait for a pool and some sunshine and nothing else! My college friends and I try to do an annual trip to Palm Springs each year. We missed last year, which makes this year even more exciting.... no pictures to share....yet!

Enjoy your weekend! And if you are on Spring Break like me...ENJOY it...we've waited a long time for this!
And stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching for so more Five For Friday fun!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bunny Bonnets

These little suckers are one of my favorite little accessories to dress my kiddos in! Most of them love it and are hopping all over the classroom... naturally, because they are bunnies.
And there are a few {more and more each year it seems} who aren't as excited to wear this adorable-ness... or at least don't want to be first to put it on! And I always think...stop it! You look perfect and cute and I would love to wear a bunny bonnet, but people would think I am crazy...so enjoy it while you can!

And seriously how cute are they on their egg hunt?
The bunny bonnet materials include: white construction paper 18x12 and pink tissue paper {plus white glue and a pencil}

Students cut this out first {tracer at the end of this post for you!}
Then they need to add the pink tissue paper in the ears. {You can do marker, crayon or paint instead} But I love the fine motor involved with this tissue paper action. The tissue paper is cut to approximately one by one inch squares.

They wrap a tissue paper square around the eraser end of the pencil, put a dot a glue on the white paper and stick it down....sometimes counting to 5 before pulling the pencil back up will help. If you need a little more visual for this click HERE to check out a Thanksgiving craft using the same "tissue paper skill."

Tip: Have them alternate doing a piece of tissue on the left ear, then on the right ear, etc. That way if time is up they don't have one barren, white ear!

I'll be honest, they are a bit of a pain to assemble- just because of the hole punching and the yarn, but it isn't that bad.

Once they dry, you add yarn.... hole punch the bottom corners {for example: about where the letter "N" in "Crayons" is in the picture above.} Tie a short piece of white yarn on each side... that is the hassle part.

Then super quick you just fold in the center and the two sides....and voila! you have a bunny bonnet!


Notice in the picture above how the middle bunny's ears are tilted in...well, that has to do with how the paper was traced {or how accurate his cutting was} So test one out before you trace a full class set.... see the tracer I am sending you is half or one ear of the bunny.... and you will "double it up." But since this PDF file is 8.5x11 vs. 9x12 {which is half of a construction piece}...well, it just means be careful. Did that even make sense?

Here it is - just click on the image {or HERE} to download it:

And here is just one last shot of us working as bunnies...yes, they had them on for a full hour today...because I can't handle the cuteness!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Faking it with Food Coloring

Today's post is short and sweet. Just a little tip that I learned a few years back that saves me.

I had plans for a grander, more exciting Sunday edition here at Crayons and Whimsy.... but it's been busy 'round here and Spring Break STILL isn't here!! And I can't tell you how many things I have decided, "Oh, I'll do that over Spring Break!" {Let's see what actually happens.}

As some of you know I will be spending my summer {or at least 6 weeks of it} in Louisville, Kentucky. The good news.... we just finalized our place we will be living in!! YAY!!

The bad or maybe sad news is that I still do not know one single person in the entire state {or neighboring states}, nor does my hubby. In fact, neither of us have ever set foot in Kentucky! But we are both excited to live somewhere new for a bit...but a little nervous too!

Are we allowed to use the word "live" if it is for only 6 weeks?  And sidenote: I will still be going to Vegas in July for the TpT conference so I will actually only be in the Bluegrass State for 5.5 weeks.

So that bit of fun has been taking up my time....and one of my "Over Spring Break" projects is to look into some fun weekend trips we can do while we are there! Hubby will be working Monday through Friday...as for me, I see myself in some nice little coffee shop hanging out and blogging all day. This is my vision at least. So if you are a Kentucky expert please share with me any tips or advice!

Anyway.... this quick little post isn't about Kentucky...it's about paint.... watercolor paint to be exact!

I was sick of my watercolor paints being destroyed in two uses.

I have to be honest, in my kinder world we stick to tempera paint when possible. But I like them to try different mediums and watercolors can be beautiful.

We seem to use blue and green ALL the time... the sky, the grass, the water, etc.... and so what you are left with is two holes where those paint colors should be.

Right? The orange color is still that perfect oval of color, the yellow is there, but maybe a bit darker than it should be because we haven't quite learned how to properly rinse the paintbrush..... and the green and blue are just gone!

Don't believe me?  Go look at your paints.
So my solution.... is to make blue and green watercolors whenever possible..... and with Earth Day approaching I thought this would be especially handy.

I buy that huge thing of food color at Smart and Final. This is the third school year with the same bottle. I don't use this every time, but if we are doing Earths.... or even anything where they will be painting the sky or ocean then I will make the blue and put it out in addition to the paint sets.
The color does sit on top of the paper more than the paint would... because it has a higher concentration of water, but like I said, I like them to have experience with different mediums.

Oh, and one more warning... if you are used to washable paint... well this is food coloring so it isn't going to be washable... nothing wearing an apron doesn't fix though.

So there you have it...my short and sweet tip for you.

By the way, this Earth Day Book is a little goodie I have on Teachers Pay Teachers... and it is only $1.00 for a short time only!! Check it out HERE!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An I Can Cloud Throwback

I'm linking up with Primary Possibilities for the Throwback Thursday linky!

I thought I would find something from this time of year in 2013 so perhaps it is useful for you now. Plus these I Can clouds are one of my favorites....PLus... in case that wasn't enough reasons... when I read my first sentence "Spring Break.... where are you?" I laughed because that is EXACTLY what I am thinking now!

So sit back and let us begin the post from March 25, 2013:

{Click HERE if you would like to go to the original post}

ORIGINAL POST STARTS HERE:
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!

And you should hop on over to Primary Possibilities to see some other Throwbacks!

P.S. I have a giveaway ending TONIGHT: Enter below and/or click HERE to read more:

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