Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fun in the Classroom

Hello friends! Sorry about the posting delay today, it has been a busy one as we prepare for our Easter Holiday. I just wanted to share some fun things that we have going on in class this past week. I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the time you have with your family and friends.
Use a small craft stick to make a spacer for beginning writers. It helps them with keeping their writing neat and clean. These little sticks allow my youngest to slow down while he is writing and notice his spacing but also his writing is cleaner when he stops every word. 
Use your hole punches and colorful paper for the pattern play center of your classroom. These are colorful and fun for making patterns and just general crafting too. The kids love to create their own punches and some even make it to confetti! 
With all the remodeling of the house that we have going on, there were a lot of paint strips leftover! These are perfect for making bookmarks for the Book Exchange Party! We are making some for boys and girls. 

More paint chips helped us make a fun Sight Word Memory Game! I have 80 cards with 40 words on them and 5 black BOOM cards. The idea is to flip a card and say the word, spell the word  and then try again. If you get the match you keep it. If you flip a BOOM card, you lose all your matches. This game has been a lot of fun to play for all the kids, even my big readers! 
In an effort to make all my daily stapling a bit easier on the eyes, I took a permanent marker to my staples. It's amazing how cute it looks and it really does brighten up the page. A silly little update but one that was fun anyway. 
Reluctant writers need to be encouraged in a variety of ways. I change up the writing center often and that always helps attract them back. Change up the types, colors and shapes of paper along with the writing instrument and you will notice that even the most shy of writers will head in to check it out!!
Enjoy every minute!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Moments...

Keep that in mind always.
Lost in a fun moment with my youngest.

Happy Wednesday Friends...

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Read to the FINISH!

I am using a car carpet as a learning tool in the classroom today! I set out Sight Word Cards (from our sight word memory game, information coming Thursday) on the road portion of the carpet, covering all of the roads. The minute he saw this when he came into the room this morning, his eyes lit up and he was eager to learn. 
Roman has to drive his car from start (lower right hand corner) all the way down the paths of the words he knows, collecting cards as he goes. There are options in the road to go either left or right and this helps him choose which words he is stronger on. Eventually as the game goes on, he will make it to all the words and each card will be collected from the roadways.
If he does not know a word and cannot sound it out, it gets PARKED in one of the 6 parking spaces on the mat. These PARKED cards will be dealt with at a later time. If he does not know more than six, he can just double park in a spot. I told him that double parking gets him a ticket, so he has to try his hardest to not double park because it's really not allowed. You should see how hard he tries to sound out words a couple times before giving his final answer!! 

With the PARKED words, he must take them to the RACE TRACK for a lightning round. In this round, We SAY, SPELL, SAY each word 3 times out loud and then place it on the race track. After sounding out all these PARKED words, we are ready to start the game on the race track portion.

He has so much fun driving his car around, that I honestly don't think he believes he is learning!!

Reading opens you up to so many different worlds that it should be a true treasure to know how to read!!

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Classroom Tips

Monday! Wow, I cannot believe how quickly it all just comes to an end. Time to head on with our shortened week. We will be taking Holy Thursday and Good Friday off. I wanted to share some quick tips with you all today.
To save your sanity in the classroom and playroom, change out the dice that come with board games with foam dice!! They are light and quiet and absolutely perfect. The kids like these too, because they feel like they are throwing 'air' Hahahah!!! 
I am also the Mother of 3 wild children that love to throw their dice across the room on their roll! In order to stop this 'delay of game', I popped the foam dice into a mini plastic container. This keeps them contained AND quiet. BONUS!
No matter how organized I am with my magazines, they never seem to get the use that I would like out of them. I put up a small clothesline in our classroom and lo and behold, they are looked at daily! I was planning on putting up a little colorful carpet or something below it but a beanbag chair or even some pillows may work better! 
STOP! Sometimes Mommy and or Teacher needs a little peace & quiet and sometimes it's acceptable to let loose and get wild! I use these 3 magnets in the playroom to symbolize what kind of time it is. I will move the magnet of that time to the center of the board, so that they are aware of how to behave.

Green: GO GO GO! Running, jumping and loud games are okay!
Yellow: Light Chatter is okay, keep the movement to WALKING ONLY .
RED: It's QUIET TIME! Read to yourself, color any kind of quiet activity is acceptable during this time.

Homework Fun!
Do your kids constantly ask how to spell something or what something means? Solve that in no time. I picked up a dictionary from the TARGET dollar spot a few years ago when Autumn entered Kindergarten. (Now I have done the same for the other 2 boys when each started Kindergarten) Whenever they ask what something means or how to spell a word, I refer them to their dictionary.They look for the word and then highlight it once it is found and learned. This way they will have a complete collection of words they know meanings of and spellings when they complete high school. In only 3 years for my oldest, her dictionary is well worn and much loved!
Get creative with your storage on your work tables! I use recyclables and always look at normal household goods outside of the box! Whenever you are about to pitch something, ask yourself if they could be used for something else!
Share any classroom tips you have with a link in the comments please!

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Our Creative Table

Our creative table has been getting a lot of use lately! We've been testing out all of our markers and making a bucket of the ones that don't work. We are going to be making watercolors in the coming week! How fun and exciting. 
Sentence strips took on a new role when they were cut up and turned into crowns! The kids wore these all week in class and they were so proud of them! I love when kids get crafty! They are perfect for class Birthday Crowns!!
Just Rocks are a new addition to our table and they have been getting the most use! The kids are absolutely loving them and you know what? Mommy is too!! Check them out here and you will love them too! They are easy to grip for little hands and they are all natural! 
A variety of hole punches and glue sticks are always a fun favorite that always find their way to the table. I throw glue sticks in this bin, so the kids can glue their punches on paper to make patterns or cards, but mainly it gives them a place to put the punchies and not all over the floor!
Keep sharpened pencils at the ready for children to always be inspired to write. I also keep scissors, erasers and sharpeners near them so that they never have to go far in search of anything. (Updated Monday: I used to keep these in a plastic shower caddy but I got this cute stand for my birthday and it's perfect for now!)
Use egg cartons to section out paint for the kidlets! This is absolutely perfect with no clean up, making it super easy to paint and then toss.

I've been truly Blessed readers and I wish the same for you!

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Break Creative Writing

Hello friends! How are you all doing? Today is going to be a quick post as it's my Birthday!! I am busy celebrating with my family but wanted to share a post with you as Spring is here for many of you! I made this wonderful little creative writing sheet for your Littles to write everything that happened on their Spring Break. They can do one sheet a day or just one sheet for their entire break.

 Draw a photo and write a caption for each day of break to make it a simple assignment or even just let them fill it out daily. You can do it any way and the kids will love it! My daughter said it made her feel like a real writer.
A favorite activity at our house is to draw people and faces, I made up this sheet so that it could be drawing AND writing combined when they fill out what the people are saying.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Sight Search Worksheet

Roman is still having some trouble with identifying IS, so I made up this quick worksheet for him to do. I fill in the line at the top with the word he is supposed to X out. The words he can search for are: (is, if, in, it).
This has helped him stop, slow down and look at what he is searching for! I also love that I do not have to make up 4 different sheets, I just write the word on the line that he is searching for each day!
How do you learn Sight Words?

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Garden Science

We've been having so much fun in Science Lately as we study plants and animals and living and non-living things. There is something to be said about hands on learning. I can stand at the front of the classroom and read from a text book all I want, but when they actually get their hands dirty with soil, explore an animal at the zoo or examine parts of a plant under a microscope, it makes all the difference.  
The celery and food coloring was our first introduction into how the stems of plants work. Watching the stem 'drink' the colored water was so much fun for the kids. They each wrote out what they thought would happen and compared it to what actually did happen. After we had colored celery, we sliced off strips and examined them under a microscope. We even had a taste test to see if the colored ones tasted any different from the one that we left in plain water. 
We learned how easy it was to re-grow green onions and have been able to harvest them once a week!! This has been so much fun to see and enjoy for all of us, even daddy was impressed to see this work! We plan on trying celery and carrots next! 
As we tackled today's lesson, they sampled different roots and were so excited to tell Daddy later that night that they ate ROOTS!!! Plan for this lesson ahead of time and it will be so worth it for the kids to learn that they can actually eat roots like carrots, beets and radishes!

I made up this worksheet for the kids to make sure that they truly understood everything we were learning. It's easy to adapt to different learners. I left the words on the bottom on for the younger two and cut them off of the bottom of the page with my oldest.  
It was time to get our garden started and fit it into our lesson as well! I picked up this magnetic watering schedule at Michael's in the dollar spot and the rest of our stuff was from a home improvement store! We were ready to roll!  
With each step we discussed plant parts and what would happen as they grew. We also discussed all the different seeds and how each seed was different. Some were so tiny and some were so big that it was amazing to think of all the things that these would become. 
The kids took turns trying out all the different jobs I created in the planting process and they got along the entire time. The conversation eventually moved on to just them discussing plants and what would happen on their own, without me leading the way. They were truly involved with every step.
I made up these cute little garden markers and printed them on cardstock. They are not that sturdy or waterproof, but they are perfect for while this little garden sprouts indoors! The kids loved writing out the types of seeds they were putting in and even let Roman have a shot at it. 
Enjoy the weekend my friends!

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