Friday, May 31, 2013

End of Kindergarten Song, Gift, and Poem

These are a few of my favorite end-of-the-year things:

My Kindergarten Graduation Song.  You can download it "HERE".

My Kindergarten Crayon Candle  family gift idea and poem are FREE and HERE.

My End Of The Year Gift for my kids is 'HERE'.  

My favorite Last Week of School Game is "Number Memory 0-30"  <HERE>.

A fun Last Week of School Game is "I Have, Who Has - Numbers"  also here.

And another cool Last Week of School Game is "Number Bingo 0-30"   *Here*.

And yet another Last Week of School Game is  "Addition Memory"   RIGHT HERE.

And I just found this great gift for parent volunteers in another TPT store.  I added these poems to it and plan to frame these for my parent volunteers:

Thank you for
in kindergarten
this year,
You made our class
a better place
all because
you were here!

And here is the poem I placed in the 2nd box:

Thank you for
sharing  Francesca,
She is such a dear,
And thank you for
supporting me
throughout this
busy year!

So, what are you doing during your last week of school?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

End Of The Year Gift For Your Students

Here is a great gift to send home with your pre-school, TK, or kindergarten students at the end of the year.  I made Kool-Aid Play Dough for each child.
I tied these up with ribbon and sent them
home on the last day of school.

I had a supply of plastic baby food containers and they worked perfectly to store the play dough in.

If you don't have plastic containers, you can send it home in a Zip-Lock bag.  Just place the plastic bag into a cute cello bag (the kind you find in the candy making section), tie it all up with a cute ribbon, and tag it with a label that says it's NOT food.  It does smell really good, so you need to tag it with a warning.
Lemon scented play dough.  Smells heavenly.  

Here is the recipe:
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 pagages of unsweetened Kool-Aid powder (4 gram packages)
2 cups of boiling water
3 tablespoons of oil

Mix flour, salt, & Kool-Aid.
Add oil to the boiling water.
Mix with a spoon until cool enough to knead.
Knead until the color is all blended in.
Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

So, what gifts do you give your kids at the end of the year?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Last Open House Post: Our Discovery Center

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?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Open House Part III, It's A Trilogy :)

Here are some more photos of my 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.

See you tomorrow!
Palma :)

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!
Palma :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tonight Was Open House!

We had a fabulous Open House tonight!  So many parents and children came through my room.  We had our Open House video playing throughout the evening with two different songs playing in the background; "What A Wonderful World" sung by Iz and "Forever Young" sung by Joan Baez.  I loved seeing so many of my past students and their families too.  Here is what my room looked like right before Open House began:
View of our batik prints hanging behind the bees
and our writing wall on the right.
Here are the batik prints up close.
Click on the photo to get the batik directions.
Our painting easel is covered with a plastic table cloth & I keep
damp sponges on top of the paint cups.
The brushes poke through a hole in the sponges.
And, yes, that's a giant iPhone.  The kids practice their phone number on it.  
Here is the blog post on how to set up your painting center so you don't have to wash brushes every day.  
Our home center includes a dress up area made from a book
shelf turned on its end.  I added self-sticking hooks to hang
up the surgeon's greens, police shirt, fire fighter jacket, and
caps.  Everything in the home center is labeled with
environmental print.  I also have framed photos of
our class mascot, Boomer the dog.  
You can find Boomer, the dog's take-home book template here.

Our discovery center complete with a white lab coat,
magnifying glass, a ruler with each inch colored, a
variety of plants that we planted from seeds, and
ladybugs waiting to hatch.
 Here is a previous blog post on how to plant beans in a Zip-lock bag so they don't just rot.
Click on the photo to see where to get the flower pot template along with the directions and special tips for successful sprouting.
Our library has its own lamp.  I turn it on
and off each day and it provides a nice,
soft light that cuts down on the glare
from the florescent lights.
Laminate sight words, CVC words, or
phrases and tape to the carpet.
Students read before hopping.
A view from the other end of the room.
That's a giant spider on our ceiling.  
I have too many photos to share in one post.
I'll post more photos tomorrow of my classroom.
See you tomorrow!
Palma :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We'll Leave The Light On For You :)

I Love the lamps I have placed here and there all around my classroom.  They cut down on the florescent glare and make my classroom feel more like home.
My favorite lamp!
The color wheel behind it was
made from paint sample cards.

My students noticed the difference immediately.  One little boy walked into the classroom the day I put up 5 lamps and said, "It feels like my house in here."  I couldn't have said it better.

So this summer, stop by a few garage sales and see if you can pick up a few cute lamps for your classroom.  I usually pay about $2 each.  I have even had parents donate small lamps.  And it's fun to turn on the lamps each morning and turn them off at the end of the day.  :)

My desk.
Complete with tiara and my silver sign that reads:
"One shoe can change your whole life."..... Cinderella

If you like the flag writing templates
behind this lamp, click on the photo
or the link below this picture.  
Here is the link to the flag writing template.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Wonderful World of Color

I like to celebrate a different color each week during the first two months of kindergarten and our new "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" book is fits perfectly with each color week.  We also offer a cute Brown Bear Puppet to help you read this story.

For RED WEEK, we do a variety of red activities:
We make a Clifford puppet, we write about red lollipops, we eat strawberries, and we wear red on Friday for a class picture.  That is also the week we paint the red bird from our new Brown Bear Book.
When I print the student book, I DON'T collate & staple the pages.  We paint one page each week as we celebrate each color.  At the end of the first two months, I re-read Bill Martin's Brown Bear book and the students put their painted pages in the correct sequence, staple it, and take it home to read to their families.

Here are some of the other activities we do for each color week:

Blue Week:  Eat blueberries, make blue slime, write about blue things, write about things that are square and mount the writing on blue paper squares to make a class book, wear blue on Friday.

Yellow Week:  Make lemonade by squeezing lemons, make a yellow crown, write about triangles and mount the writing on yellow triangles to make a class book, wear yellow on Friday.

Green Week:  Eat green grapes, mix yellow and blue paint to make green, lace a green card stock rectangle with green yarn, write about things that are rectangles and mount on green paper to make a class book, wear green on Friday.

Orange Week:  Make orange juice by squeezing oranges, make orange by mixing yellow and red paint or play dough, color fall leaves different shades of orange, wear orange on Friday for a class picture.

Purple Week:  Eat purple grapes, make potato prints from purple potatoes (I find these at our local Farmer's Market.  Search your produce market for other purple foods.), make purple by mixing red and blue paint or play dough, complete The Tale of the Purple Mouse mini book and re-tell the story with a purple puppet
.  Click HERE or on the image for The Purple Tale book.  Click HERE or on the image for the purple puppet.

Brown Week:  We re-visit the Brown Bear Book and read other bear books with our full-arm Fuzzy Bear puppet.  We wear brown on Friday, make individual brownies in paper cups (baked in an electric frying pan), and end the week with a Teddy Bear Picnic where we eat our Brown Geometry Bear Biscuits which we make from spheres of dough.

White Week:  We make white ghosts, eat marshmallows, and where white on Friday for a class picture.

Gray Week:  We learn how to color gray things with the side of a pencil, we make gray by mixing black and white paint, we read elephant and hippo books with our elephant puppet and our hippo puppet, we eat sunflower seeds, and wear gray on Friday for a class picture.

Black Week:  We make black bats.  We all look so elegant when we all wear black for our class picture for Black Week.

You might also like:
Writing About Our Colors
Our Color Day Notes notify the parents about which color to wear each Friday.

Let me know if you have any questions about the colorful activities.
And Remember to Keep the FUN in the FUNdamentals!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Are You Getting Ready For Next Year???

I just made a set of calendar pages for the 2013-14 school year.  Each page has some dotted numerals so your students can trace a few more of the calendar numbers each month.  I added a couple of cute graphics at the top too.  Just click on any of the images to see this product.
     We use these calendars on our monthly folders, but you can also use them by gluing them to the bottom half of a piece of construction paper (12" X 18") and then adding a cute craft to the top half.
I have my students trace the dotted numerals with a fine tip marker and then they color each square to create an AB pattern.  I know that patterning has been removed from the Common Core Kindergarten Standards, but hey, we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater, right?  Patterns are still important.  They are everywhere.  We just don't need to test that skill any longer, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't expose our students to patterns.
My kids love to create an ABC pattern on their calendars and then they discover other patterns that are created by tracing the squares diagonally or from the bottom up.

Here are some ideas for calendar toppers:
(We glued these into their memory books, but you could easily have them glue their "Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom Tree" to the top of their August calendar.

We glued these "Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom Trees"
 in our memory books, but they would
have made a cutecalendar topper.  

These handprint would make a great Feb. topper.

Our American Symbol Writing page is pErFeCt for Memorial Day:
Use their National Symbol writing for the May topper.
You can find our flag writing template by clicking on the photo.
We hope you enjoy using our Ready to Go Calendar Templates.
Remember, keep the FUN in the FUNdamentals!  :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Teaching Subtraction The Common Core Way

Kindergarten teachers have an advantage when it comes to the new Common Core because we have been doing the mile deep, hands-on, internalized learning forever.  Right?

I have been teaching subtraction with manipulative materials over the past few weeks.  Each week, I like to bring out a new set of fun manipulative items to subtract with.  I found these mini popcorn holders on clearance at a party shop and wondered how I could make popcorn for each cup and then subtract with it.

  I was going to buy the plastic strings of popcorn garland used for Christmas trees and cut it apart, but I couldn't wait another year, so I cut up pieces of styrofoam "popcorn" used as packing material, touched them up with a little yellow highlighter, and placed ten pieces in each cup.  I made some extras just in case.  :)

Then, I found this large popcorn holder at the 99 Cent Store to keep my set of popcorn cups in.

When I pass out the popcorn cups, we will discover all of the ways we can from ten.  I use the worksheet from our "Jeweled Math" set to help us set up each subtraction problem.  So if we start with 10-10= _____, we all count ten pieces of popcorn onto the table and then take ten away and put it in our popcorn cup.  When we discover that it leaves zero pieces left, we record that on the worksheet and read the number sentence 10-10=0.  We continue with the next one, 10 - 9 = _____.  We act it out with our popcorn and record our findings on the worksheet.

Jeweled math is meant to be used with plastic jewels and our crown template, but I use something different every week.  You can find our crown template here.

You can also color the jewels on the crown with colored pencils, cross out the number of jewels to be subtracted, and count the jewels that are left.

Enjoy, and remember to "Keep the FUN in the FUNdamentals."

So How Was Your Mother's Day?

Did you take my advice and let everyone know what you really wanted for Mother's Day?
Well, you know I did!  My DH (dear husband) and my grown kids took me to Disneyland!  We were there from 7:45 AM until 9:45 PM!  It was simply magical.  We enjoyed both The Magic Kingdom and California Adventure which has lots of new rides and attractions.

So tell me about your Mother's Day.  :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sale Extended While We Take A Break...

... for Mother's Day.  We are keeping our sale prices through Tuesday so you won't feel rushed while shopping on our TPT store.

And... we are off to Disneyland for Mother's Day!  Yes!!!  Although we have been there many times over the years, it' has been years since we have all gone together as a family.  Can't wait!

Someone told me over 20 years ago that our husbands are not mind readers and that we should simply tell them what we want for Mother's Day.  Well, that's what I did.  I said, "I would love to go to Disneyland with my entire family."  And he made it happen!  Best advice anyone ever gave me!  :)

Wishing you all a wonderful Mother's Day!
What are your plans???