Thursday, May 29, 2014

Keeping The FUN In The FUNdamentals & A FLASH SALE

Making Learning Fun:

On Wednesdays, we have a "letter study" session.  The children place a cube on each item that begin's with the letter we are studying.  This allows me to re-use our old (and expensive) Letter Books year after year.  

They also get to dot the focus letter with a bingo marker and copy the focus letter 3 times.

Then, they get to trace the laminated letter cards with a dry erase marker so I can check for correct starting points and correct letter formation.  I made tracing cards for number formation too.  You can find them by clicking right HERE.

I'm having a FLASH SALE on these Number Formation Cards, 
so grab them while you can.  
Here are the number formations cards.
Just print on card stock & laminate. 
Click the image to see the download.

Last, they get to use a pushpin and poke holes in the dotted letter.  This is great for their fine-motor development.  
They even get a color-coordinated pin.
They push the pin into the rug so they don't stick themselves.

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What Should I Call This Post???

Any suggestions for a name for this post?

Read on and let me know what you think I should call this post by leaving your suggestion in the comments.  :)

Small Group Learning Stations:

Each child get their own color coordinated learning station when they come to meet with me at the small group horseshoe table for homogeneous group instruction.  I have 5 colored learning stations: Red, Orange, Green, Blue, & Purple.  
Everything you need for today's small-group lesson.
The child from the Red Table gets to sit here and use the red cubes,
the red bingo marker, and the red dry-erase pen.

Each station has a laminated placemat with lined dry-erase contact paper on it, a dry-erase pen, a bingo ink marker, a cup to hold tools, and a set of Unifix cubes.  The color of each item matches the placemat and the color of the table that child came from. 
The purple learning station.

The Orange learning station.

The Green learning station.

The table groups (Red, Orange, Green, Blue, & Purple) are heterogeneous, so when I call up all of my high kids, I call one from each of the colored tables and they sit at their table color learning station.
I also keep their color-coordinated supplies in these cloth bags.
I marked one of the crescents on the front of each bag with its color.
And they get a color-coordinated cup to store small items like their glue stick and eraser.
I attached a pom-pom to the tiny dry-erase pen
with a hot glue gun to create an attached eraser.  

That's it for today, folks.
See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

OpEn HOuSe: The final episode :) Plus a FREEBIE

Here are my last (I promise) Open House photos...

Open House 2014Our Science Discovery Center, Jack's beans growing up to the castle in the clouds from our flowerpots, and baby quail in our little barn.
You can find our Flower Pot template by clicking HERE or on the photo above.

Our Garden Shop Center

Our chicks will hatch next week.

Our Farm Center

Hatching chicks count down.

Our progressive writing folders.Students choose a noun, a verb, and an direct object to help build a complete sentence.

 You can find our Instant Writing templates by clicking HERE or on the photo above or the one below.

A closer view of our cumulative writing folders.  Just pop these pages off of the wall at the end of the year, staple them together, and you have a year of writing!

Butterfly life cycle made with 4 types of pasta!

When I Grow Up, I Will Be...
You can find our "When I Grow Up" template by clicking HERE or on the photo above.

You can see our egg carton school buses at the top of this photo.
You can find the FREE School Bus template by clicking HERE or on the photo above.

We had a GREAT Open House!  
Now, I'm chillin' at a B&B in northern CA.  :)

See you all tomorrow!
Palma :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Part 4 In A Four-Part Series (& a question I have been wondering about)

The Series Continues!

Thank you, to VGW for the title:  "Four-Part Series"  :)

First, here is the question:
Where are my followers from?  Please post the name of the state or country you are from in the comments.  Thank you!  :)

Here is another sneak peek of my classroom:

Our eggs are waiting for their big day.  

And Here Is Another Open House Post From Last Year:

The following post is from May 28, 2013:

I just returned from a wonderful long weekend in and around the Santa Cruz mountains.  What an amazing place!  My family and I went on a great hike where I collected things for my discovery center.

"What is your discovery center?" you ask.  It's a long counter where kids get to explore things.  There are no directions, requirements, or rules (except you must stay safe) and children are allowed to explore and "discover" all sorts of things.  I even have a child size lab coat that a colleague gave me!  :)

Our flower pots have lima beans growing in them.  
 You can find our flowerpot template to grow lima beans by clicking HERE or on the photo above.

Tiny sprouts we grew from seeds.

At the beginning of the year, I filled the discovery center with non-living scientific items to explore like magnets, tubs of water, and lots of things to explore.  Students discovered which things floated and which things didn't, which things were attracted to magnets and which things weren't.

They also had tools; lots of tools.  I set out magnifying glasses, rulers, balance scales, cups for pouring, cups for sorting, shaker jars for listening, colored glasses for looking, and lots of things for touching.

At this time of year, I have bird nests, wasp nests (empty), leaves, pine cones, rocks, plants, and ladybugs ready to hatch in our ladybug enclosure.
At the end of the day, we reflect and write about something we did in our class journal.  The students come up with the sentences (which get more complex as the year goes on) and I write them.  Find our Daily Journal HERE.

So, while I was vacationing with my family, I still had my "teacher eyes" looking for things to share with my class.  They loved the wasp nests I brought back, the lichens, and the leaves.  I had them smell the forest today as they sniffed at the tiny branches of redwood trees that I collected from the ground.  They were so excited to get these treasures, you would have thought I brought them back a new iPad for the class!    Do you have a discovery center too?  What's in your center?

Tomorrow, May 22, 2014, is my REAL Open House.
Palma :)

Open House, Part 3 AND Do You Know The Answer???

Today's Open House Sneak Peek:

Egg carton school buses and "When I Grow Up" writing.

Our Garden Shop where kids get to "buy" plants, flowers, and garden tools.
Check out the sentence building on the closet doors.
Click on the picture to see our "Instant Writing" pack.

Here are some more photos of Last Year's Open House Tour.

Career Writing:   I took photos of the kids dressed like what
they will look like when they go to work in the future.  
 "When I Grow Up" bulletin board.  Parents loved this!  Click on the photo or here for the template.

Life Cycle of a Butterfly in pasta.
Being Italian, I can teach almost anything with pasta!  :oD  Here is the life cycle of a butterfly represented in different types of pasta.

The eggs:  pastina (Found in major grocery stores or small Italian grocery stores.  If you can't find it, you can use orzo style pasta which is also small and looks like long, pointy rice.)
The caterpillar:  We painted curly pasta with green acrylic paint.
The chrysalis:  Small shell pasta painted brown with acrylic paint.
The butterfly:  Bow tie pasta painted orange with acrylic paint.  Add dots with White Out.

The front of the room:  I like to use a seasonal piece of fabric on the front table.  
Laptop & digital camera hooked up to a SMART board.
 CD player, calendar, shape apron, bucket of pointers and a magnetic board are all essential:
The front of our room; always a bit messy.

This is what I have on my magnetic board.  I post the sequence of directions for our table work with magnetic clips.  Red clip first, next green, then purple, and last blue.
Below each action card I place a sample of the work to be done in the order it is to be done.  
We call this "Our Order Of Operations!"
What should I do first?  This is our "Order of Operations!"

Here is a closer look at the keyboard center that
I blogged about yesterday.
"We are the music makers.  We are the dreamers of dreams."
Willie Wonka

Here is another view of the library center that I blogged
about yesterday.  I got this furniture free with my
Scholastic Book Club points.  

Our writing center includes the names of each students printed on a list with a photo of each child by his/her name.  The lists are kept in page protectors and are attached to a metal ring.
Students write seasonal post cards to individual students in the class:
Our Writing Center.

Do You Know The Answer?

I might add a 4th part to my Open House trilogy, but then it won't be a trilogy!
What would it be then?
Leave your answer in the comments. :)

See you tomorrow!
Palma :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Open House Part 2, the sequel...

Getting Ready For Open House:

Here are 2 more sneak peeks of this year's Open House prep: 
We planted grass seeds in eggshells.  

 We also planted a variety of beans.  This year we added the straw with the castle in a cloud to go with our Jack and the Beanstalk unit.
Click the image to see the flowerpot template.
The set includes 2 templates & complete directions.

Here Is Last Year's Open House Part II:

Here is our Rainbow Writing Wall.   We collect the students' writing all year long.  As they complete a writing assignment, we double hole punch the page (top middle) and attach the page to the file folder fasteners.  You can see a close up of the fasteners in the photo below.  
The metal fasteners are the same type that
are used in medical files.  

The 12" X 13" construction paper is mounted with a
12" X 11" piece of black construction paper.  I
laminate it and add the fastener .  Names are below
the writing and can be changed each year.  
At the end of the year, we remove all of the pages from the fasteners and send them home in a folder with a cover page that says,  "If you give a child a pencil... "
We have a variety of writing templates in our Monthly Writing packet.
It doesn't include the template in the photo, but it has writing prompts about things that sink & float, apples, and whether you would like to have a beard link Lincoln or a wig like Washington; just to name a few.  

Our listening center and keyboard.  The keyboard has a
headset so the player doesn't disturb the class.   

Our puppet stage in front of our Rainbow
 Writing Boards and our Angry Verbs where the birds
 are all doing something that made them angry.  

Come back again to see more pictures from my classroom tour!  
Tomorrow, I'll post the final part of this Open House Trilogy :)

See you all tomorrow.
Palma  :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Open House "Throw back" Week

Here Is A Sneak Peek...

This year's theme was The Farm :)
Our chicks should hatch soon.

This is one corner of my classroom this year for Open House.
But were you following my blog last year?  I ran a 3-part trilogy of my Open House last year.

Remember This?

Click the image to see Part 1 from last year's Open House.

CLICK HERE  to view last year's Open House pix.  This was part 1 of a trilogy.

Come back tomorrow for part 2, the sequel.  :)

Check out all of my goodies on my TPT store by CLICKING HERE.
See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday That's Worth Waiting Until Friday For :) + A FREEBIE

Do You Celebrate Kindergarten or T.K. Graduation?:

Even if you just have an end-of-the-year celebration, this is a cute song to sing for the parents.  
(See how to change this song for Pre-K or TK graduation below.)

I bind my books at the bottom so I can just let the pages fall when I need to go to the next page.This works great when you are holding the book up in front of the entire class and you don't want to have to fumble with 2 hands, to turn the page.  
Print a copy of our cute song, download an instrumental version of "It's A Small World" from iTunes, and you are ready for your kindergarten graduation.  Kids love this familiar tune.

Find The Music On iTunes:

You can find an instrumental version of the song on iTunes for $1.99 or less, but try to find one that's not too fast.  The one I use is pretty fast and the kids love it, but I struggle to turn the pages fast enough for them!  That's why I like to bind the book at the bottom and just let gravity help me to turn to the next page by simply dropping the page we are on.  :oD

You can download the words to the song here on our TPT store.
Here are the first two pages of the song:

You can see the rest of the song by clicking the image
above and downloading it from my TPT store.  :)

And here is the chorus:

Changing it up for Pre-K or T.K. Graduation:

You can simply change the line that says "We will soon be in 1st grade!" to "We will soon be in grade K!" or "We'll soon be kindergarteners!"  Have fun with it.  :)

An End-of-the-year FREEBIE:

You might also like our FREE End of the Year Candle Poem.  
We attach the poem to a candle made from their kindergarten crayons.

See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)