Friday, April 20, 2018

Making FUN Class Books. (Tips & Tricks)

Spicing Up Your Writing Lessons:

I like to use a variety of writing activities: 
Journals (daily), 
Guided Writing (weekly), and 
Writing Prompts (monthly).

I use these Writing Prompt templates to create class books written by my students. Or use them to create seasonal bulletin boards displaying their writing.
Click the image above.
I meet with my students in a small group setting to create a class book. Here are just some of the templates included in my "Monthly Writing" set:
Click the template.

A great one to use at the beginning and the end of the year.
Click the template.

I always used this one AFTER Thanksgiving.
Click the template.

We integrated math by creating a class graph with the results.
Click the template.

Perfect for celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Click the template.

Each child gets the same template.  You can do this two ways:

Using the writing prompt on the page, you ask the children to create an illustration that will go with their sentence. 

While they are illustrating, you ask the first child to dictate their  sentence, you write the words they need on lined Post-its, and they copy it.


You can have them use their inventive spelling to complete the sentence on their own or with guidance from you.

You can grab the entire set of 20 writing prompts, many of them integrate science and social studies, by CLICKING HERE.

-I number the pages with each student's classroom number.  
-I glue a numbered class list inside the front cover of the book.  
-Since that list includes their class number, it becomes an instant Table Of Contents!  Students can quickly find their own page in the book by just looking for their class number.
-At the end of the year, it is easy to take the books apart and organize the pages for each child to take home.  I place all of the pages for each child in a folder and glue a cover to it that says, "If you give a kid a pencil..."

Slap Those Sight Words!

So Easy & It's FREE!

This idea is so simple & FREE! 
Just die cut a variety of colorful hands, write sight words on each hand, laminate, and attach to your door. 

 As your class lines up to leave for anything, call out the sight word they should slap.

 Remind them to slap only once and call out different sight words so they don't just copy the student in front of them.

If a student is having difficulty reading sight words, call out the same word you used for the previous child so he/she can simply slap the same word. This will provide practice recognizing the sight word without embarrassing the struggling child. 

You can also find handprints at the dollar store or you can simply use circles, squares, or any shape for your sight words. Students can still slap them even if they are not handprints. 

Those of you familiar with the Houghton Mifflin kindergarten sight words can see that I have mine grouped by trimester.  :)

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Recycle, Re-use, & Remember Mother's Day!

And A GR8 Earth Day Activity Too!

We use recycled colorful magazine pages to create beautiful beads for our Mother's Day necklaces.
Here is a pic-tutorial:  (Is that even a word?)    
 Earth Day & Mother's Day... Together At Last!

This project is almost FREE.

Start by cutting lots of colorful triangles that are about 1 1/4"-1 1/2" wide by 3"-5" long.

Gather some round toothpicks, white glue, and stretchy beading elastic (find it at Michael's).

Begin by rolling the shortest end of the triangle 
tightly on the toothpick.  
(No glue yet.)

Younger students might get better results using a wooden skewer 
instead of a toothpick, but everyone of my kindergarteners were able to do this project using round toothpicks..  

Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the hang of it. 
They need to keep wrapping tightly.
They do eventually get it.  :)
"Keep wrapping, keep it tight!"

Here is where you add a line of white glue.  Keep wrapping and don't worry if the glue oozes out.  
Wrap to the end & add a little glue to the surface of the bead to seal it.  

Quickly slide the bead off of the toothpick and allow it to dry on some wax paper or in a waxed paper cup.

After each student makes 10 beads, have them use elastic beading thread to string the paper beads along with small glass beads to create a necklace or bracelet.  
Use the other little beads to make cool patterns.
Just tie off the end with a few good knots.  

Students like to use color themes, 
like using all blue triangles, or all earth tones.  
Our moms loved these soooo much and actually wear them!

We make these necklaces around Earth Day and save them for Mother's Day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Guess What is Coming on April 25...

 Administrator Assistant Day is April 25!                     

   This is a beautiful addition to any school office.
Administrator Assistant Day is coming up on 
Wednesday, April 25.

The name of my school:  Peachland 

Just get yourself a picture frame with glass.  It can be sleek and modern, or ornate and elegant.

Remove the back and cut a piece of cardboard or chipboard to fit inside the frame.

Spray the chipboard with chalkboard paint.  (Available at Home Depot or Lowes.)

Allow it to dry for at least two days.

Carefully, write your message with white chalk; the school name, the principal's name, the office manager's name, or make one for a teacher at your school and write his/her name on it.

Re-assemble the frame with the glass to protect the chalk writing.

Wrap it all up with clear cellophane and ribbon for a beautiful presentation.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Perfect for Teaching American National Symbols or...

... Memorial Day, Flag Day, or Veteran's Day! `

These were done by my TK students, so they wrote only one sentence. 

This is the time of year we like to teach about our national symbols.

For a culminating activity for my National Symbols unit (and a way to incorporate opinion writing), I ask the children to tell me their favorite nation symbol and why they like it. This is done in a small group setting with about 5 students at a time. I give each student a flag template page

 As they illustrate their favorite national symbol in the small rectangle portion of the flag template (where the stars would go), I help one of the students to  write the sentence: I like the _________.
Click the image.

They write on the the lines that have the dash line down the middle. I continue to help each student and then return to the first student and ask, "Why do you like that symbol." 
Click the image.
Again, I help each child to compose their sentence while the others continue to illustrate their favorite symbol and fill in the background of the small rectangle by using the sides of peeled and broken blue crayons. 
Click the image.
They also color the empty lines between their writing with the side of a broken red crayon. (I have been known to do this part for them after school.) 
This one was done by a kindergarten student.A 2nd sentence was added to explain why they liked this symbol.This was part of our opinion writing experience. 
This helps to make the writing page look like a flag from afar.
Click the image. 

I mount the pages on red, white, and blue construction paper for a dynamic bulletin board.

Click the image to grab your flag template which comes with two different sizes of lines. 
You can find the American Flag Template by CLICKING HERE.
Click the image. 
Here are some samples we displayed at a local conference. 
Click the image.
Click the image. 

We also crated the portraits of Abraham Lincoln. The children drew these with Kid Pix on the computer.  Then, they dictated their favorite fact about Lincoln. The most popular fact was that he had big ears!  Can you tell by looking at these drawings?  :oD

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Spaghetti & Meatball Sight Words + a Sight Word FREEBIE

This Really Happened: (I can't make this stuff up!)

My class won the PTA membership drive for our grade level and the prize was a huge bag of Dum-Dum lollipops. Well, I decided to replace them with organic blueberries and so I was left with a bag of Dum-Dums.  So, when I spotted the rubber bands in the workroom, I got this cool idea...

1.  I grabbed a big handful of rubber bands, snipped them open with scissors, and placed them in the small colander I had in my home center.  (You can use a small bowl or pot.)
2.  Then, I unwrapped the Dum-Dums, cut off the sticks, and covered them with little torn pieces of brown tissue paper applied with Mod Podge.  (You could use white glue and 1" wooden or plastic beads.)
3.  I printed up 2 copies of each of our rightwards (we had 18) and I cut them out. I used more Mod Podge to apply the sight words so each word was on 2 meatballs. I coated them all again with Mod Podge and let them dry overnight.
4.  The next day, I showed my class how to use the tongs to pick up one meatball, read the word, and try to find the matching meatball without letting too much spaghetti out of the colander.  You get to keep the meatballs you can read & match in your own little bowl.
5.  Add a couple of chef hats & a red checkered table cloth and you have a fun restaurant center to use in your home center.
6.  The winner is the one who reads the most sight words.  If there is a tie, the one with the least amount of spaghetti in their bowl wins.

Also:  Students can try to copy the sight words they find.

(I saw the original idea on Pinterest made with string and flat construction paper meatballs.  Being Italian, I knew this just would not do!  Besides, round meatballs gives them a chance to identify spheres, one of the K math standards.)

Skills:  Sight words, identifying the shape of spheres, letter formation, and fine motor practice all in one fun center!  :)

For more sight word fun, check out my 
Sight Word Pocket Lockets by 

You can try 2 Pocket Lockets FREE by 

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

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