Monday, July 28, 2014

Copycat Center

One of my kiddos' favorite centers is the "Copycat" center.  It's perfect for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and even (beginning of the year) 1st grade classrooms.  With a few basic supplies, your students can work on several skills- letter/number recognition, shapes, colors, spatial awareness, and handwriting.  In most schools, kiddos are required to "copy" from the board or copying down homework assignments, etc.  Some kiddos really struggle with that, and it's probably due to their visual-spatial processing.  Activities like "Copycat" will help promote visual-spatial awareness in a fun and easy way.  
I created various shapes and figures with popsicle and craft sticks.  At the "Copycat" center, the kiddos get a blank mat and recreate what they see using popsicle/craft sticks.  There are several extensions for this center.  Students can draw what they see on a Magna Doodle or piece of paper.  Students can create their own figures, and have a friend "copy" them.  You can start with basic letters or shapes, and simply mix up the colors.  My students LOVE trying to recreate the abstract shapes and figures.  
Here's how to set up this center in your classroom...
You can print out the "I Can" statements for FREE by visiting my TpT store.  
I love this center because the storage is simple...everything fits right inside of the poster board envelope!  You can store it on a bookshelf, and then kiddos can work on it ANYWHERE in the room, and clean it up easily!  Win Win!!
Have fun!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Back to School Goodies!

Welcome your sweet new students to your class with one of these goodies!
These goodies will be great to pass out at Meet the Teacher Night! I found packs of Extra gum and Ring Pops at the Dollar Tree (4 for $1). Woohoo!  Can't beat that! 
POP the question to each one of your students...
Which one is your favorite?  I'm pretty sure your kiddos will think you are the coolest teacher ever!  :) Download these goodies for FREE by clicking on any of the images.  
Leave a comment, and let me know what you think!  :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to School Communication & Elapsed Time

Building relationships and establishing an open line of communication with parents is essential to a great school year.  All the teachers at my school are REQUIRED to make a phone call to each and every parent during the first week of school.  It may be a requirement, but it's something that I actually love doing!  I enjoy touching basing with the parents and giving them a positive update before the year really gets going.  On the flip side, as a parent, I love hearing from my child's teacher...and he's only attending Mother's Day Out!  :)  I created this simple form to use at the start of the new school year.  Pass out the note at "Meet the Teacher" night or send it home in students' folders on the first day of school. The letter will give parents the opportunity to share vital information with you about their child.
Download it for FREE by visiting my TpT store.  

Elapsed time...who likes teaching it?  It's such an important "life skill" that kiddos REALLY need to understand it conceptually.  I've created sets of task cards for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders to use to practice elapsed time.  Here are a few ways I use them with my students...
Using task cards is wayyyy more fun than a worksheet.  If you use them as a "Scavenger Hunt" or "Scoot" activity, then your kids will really love you because they will be allowed to get up and MOVE!  I'm included a student recording sheet for student accountability, and so you can take a grade if you wish!
Let me know what y'all think.  Leave a comment (with your e-mail) and I'll choose a few winners of these Elapsed Time Task Cards.  

Speaking of time, I can't believe my little guy is 15 months old now!  My good friend, Samantha, took these beautiful pictures of Reed at the park last weekend.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to School: Transportation Tags

 The first week of school is CRAZY, amiright?  Getting kiddos to the right place at dismissal during the first week of school is even crazier!  I may or may not have "lost" a Kindergartner during dismissal on the first day of school in my first year of teaching...Oops!  
I've created these handy dandy Transportation Tags to help you manage dismissal time during the first week of school.  There are two different with colored clip art and another black/white version that can be printed on colored card stock. 
I've also included a blank template.  
Kiddos can wear the tags around their neck or you can tie them to their backpacks so they can be seen easily in line.  :)  I found this twine at Michael's.  So cute.  
For added durability, laminate the tags!  You can also write on them with a vis-a-vis pen.  You never know when you are going to need to make changes.  I also keep a set of these for when I have a substitute teacher.  It really helps out with dismissal.  Download them for FREE by clicking below!  
Hope these tags make your first week of school a little easier.  :)  
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Kindergarten Memory Book

Kindergarten is such a special year for children and their parents.  It's the first "official" year of school, and it's a year of friendship, learning, fun, and memories.  As a Kindergarten teacher, I wanted to create a Memory Book for my students and their families to remember this beautiful time.  This is a TREASURE that I guarantee parents will keep FOREVER!  Take a look at a few of the pages included in the ultimate Kindergarten Memory Book...

I think you will love this Memory Book for a few simple reasons...
1.  Printer Friendly- Blackline masters won't eat up your colored ink!
2.  There is space for photographs and for students to write, color, and draw.
3.  No prep!  Just print, copy, and bind.  

Kindergarten parents love to volunteer, so grab a couple of parents to help out with this project.  
If you'd like to win a FREE copy of the ultimate Kindergarten Memory Book, please leave a comment below (include your e-mail) and I'll choose a couple winners by the end of the week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Class Book: Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?

As a primary teacher, I've always loved creating class books with my students.  A class book is special to the students because they each contribute their own page to the book.  These books are undoubtedly the favorites in our classroom library.  Today, I'm going to share a book idea called "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?"  It's ideal for PreK, Kinder, and 1st grade students.

I was going through my box of goodies from my FIRST year of teaching, which was SEVEN whole years ago.  You are going to laugh when you see the pictures of this old book.  I mean...the fonts and graphics are so dated!  I've created a brand new template for the book, but for your entertainment, I'll show you the original version my teammates and I used "back in the day!"
Keep in mind, there was NOTHING wrong with this when we used it back in the day, but graphics have come a long way since 2007!  :)  Without further ado, here are some pictures of the newly redesigned "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?" class book!  
I've included three different templates so you can decide how much coloring you want your students to do (if any!).  Take a look...
I've also included suggestions for use and a note to send home with parents, asking for pictures in the TPT product.  To download "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?", head on over to my TPT store!  

I'd like to give away a few copies of this class book to a few loyal readers!  Leave a comment below (include your e-mail), and I'll pick some winners by the end of the week.  :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Have a BALL this summer!

 What says SUMMER more than a beach ball?  I love using beach balls in my classroom.  They are cheap, and they make the kids happy!  Today I'm going to share an idea for using beach balls in the classroom to master sight words and an easy end-of-the-year gift idea for your students.  

Sight Word Beach Ball Toss
Pick up a few inexpensive beach balls at Target or the Dollar Store.  Write sight words all over the balls.  Take kiddos outside or have them spread out around the room.  The kids can throw or volley the ball to their classmates.  When the student catches the ball, they have to read the sight words that their fingers are touching. 

This activity is great because you can easily differentiate.  Here a few ways:
1.  Break students into groups and write different words on each wall.  One group of kiddos may be ready to start practicing next year's words, while another group needs some remediation.  
2.  Have students use the words in a sentence.  Have students make up a QUESTION using the sight word.
3.  Have students read the sight words and then give a rhyming word.
4.  Have students read the word, then close their eyes and spell the word.  

Kids are sure to have fun because they will be up, moving, and PLAYING with a beach ball!  
This also makes a great end-of-year gift idea for students.  Provide a sight word list for each student, based on their individual needs.  Ask parents to help their child write the sight words on the beach ball at home with a Sharpie.  (If you have parent volunteers in your classroom, they could easily knock this out in an afternoon!)  Sending the kiddos home with a sight word beach ball will be a constant reminder for them to practice their sight words over the summer.  It also gives parents a fun and easy way to reinforce these words at home, without flashcards.  

I've created a little "card" to go with the beach balls, and you can download it for FREE here!   

Monday, May 5, 2014

Birthday Books & Currently May!

Birthday books are one of my favorite classroom traditions!  It's a super EASY, FREE, and SPECIAL way to make every child feel loved on their b-day.  About a week before a child's birthday, I send home a blank birthday book in the student's folder.  Then, the parents and child create a simple "scrapbook" to share with their classmates on their birthday.  I share my personal birthday book at the beginning of the year so that kiddos know what to expect.  They can use pictures, stickers, drawings, etc. in their books.  All of the birthday books go into a special basket in our classroom library.  These are CLASS FAVORITES.  The kids love to see their friends' pictures and read about themselves.  :)

Here is what my birthday book looks like:

The kids love seeing baby pictures, family pics, and "dress up" pictures of their teacher!  :)

How to make the birthday books...
During the summer, I laminate and cut out construction paper (about 30 pieces so I have some extras). Take the laminated piece of construction paper and staple it together with TWO pieces of white paper.  I always use two pieces of paper because once it is folded, we will have eight pages in the book (front and back), which is the perfect amount!  Creating all of the books before the year starts is key!  It takes all of 20 minutes to get these assembled, and it's worth every second.  Trust and your kiddos will love this classroom tradition.

A few days late for Currently May with Farley, but what's new  :)
Listening: Laundry day is EVERY day at my house.
Loving: So many cute ideas all over Pinterest for end of the year fun!
Thinking:  We just found out the Baby #2 is going to be another BOY!  I always thought of myself as a "boy Mom" so I'm very excited.  I'm thinking navy, gray, and white NAUTICAL theme for the nursery...
Wanting: Can't wait to shop and get some good deals!
Needing: Messy desk.  Ugh.
Surprise:  You've gotta check out my friend's TPT store and blog: Primary Essentials.  Fran and I worked together as instructional coaches before I became a Mommy.  She has some amazing products that will get your kiddos up and moving around the classroom!  Here is a link to her Facebook page too! 
Before I go, here is a pic of baby Reed.  I still can't believe my baby is ONE!!
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