Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring, Plants, and Garden Bulletin Board

I love this time of year.  I walked outside today and saw a few blades of green peeking through the yellow and brown grass.  It's that time of year to start talking about the life cycle of plants, flowers, and gardens.

One of my favorite bulletin boards that I like to do with my students is our "How Does Your Garden Grow" board.  We read the book Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens along with informational text about plants and gardens.  Then we make a T-chart to list the different plants we would find in a garden.  You can see a picture example at end of this blog post for the T-chart explanation. After creating the chart, we are then ready to use art to show what we have learned.

How to make this bulletin board:

1.  The blue back ground is actually material that I purchased.  I use material for my bulletin board as it holds up better by not wrinkling, tearing, or fading.  I try to choose material that will complement the different themes that I do throughout the year.  This material actually has clouds on it which lets me use it for many different bulletin boards.  Plus the soft colors make the other colors pop.

2.  The bottom part is plain white butcher paper.  I tear off a long sheet that is the length of one of my long tables.  The children use brown finger paint to create the soil.  My students LOVE this part and it is a great sensory activity that promotes cooperative learning too (staying in your space).  One suggestion is to have them wear old paint shirts because they tend to lean over on the table.

3.  I use card stock to cut out the patterns for the vegetables.  The children paint the shapes then stick color tissue paper  on top of the wet paint.  This gives it a textured look. You don't have to glue the tissue paper down because it will stick as it dries.

4.  For the corn, I purchase green raffia ribbon from a local craft store such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  It usually lasts me two years.  I untwist the ribbon and let the children glue it to the back of the corn patterns.  The yellow part is actually dry corn from a local feed store - Atwoods.  This part is great fine motor practice as they pick up the kernels and glue them to the paper.  I set out large cardboard lids (copy machine paper lids) so the vegetables can dry.

Here is a picture of our T-Chart.

Did you notice I used real photographs in the chart above? I use real photographs when creating informational charts because it helps young children connect the picture to the vocabulary word. Clip art is fun, but using the "real photograph" will help your students with comprehension. Of course, bringing in the actual items that are on the chart is an added bonus. One of my favorite places to get open domain - copyright free images is  Enter the photo you are looking for in the search box, then download to your computer.  I create separate folders by theme, so I have real photographs readily available.  

Here are some of my favorite books from Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 28, 2014

It's All About Spring

Who is ready for spring?  Me!!! And my house is too! The last 8 months have been an emotional roller coaster for me and cleaning my house has not been a priority.  If you follow my blog, then you know I lost my mother to cancer a few days before Christmas.  And two weeks ago, my first granddaughter was born.  Talk about a wide range of emotions to experience in a short time.  My Mom loved angels, and she would have loved the newest little addition to our family. I am sure she had the best view from heaven the day this little angel was born.

OK focus Nana K. Back to my neglected house.  My husband surprised me with a day of cleaning help.  But I needed to clean my house in order for someone to clean my house.  Does that make sense?  I had to move the junk get things in order, so the floor could be vacuumed and the furniture could be dusted.  My husband had to reschedule 3 times for me to be ready. He seriously did not understand this whole process.  But in my defense, I was a little sidetracked from holding my precious new granddaughter.  

Now that my house is clean, I have two more challenges:  Get my computer files in order and clean out my wish list on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Do you put things on your wish list?  I do.  In fact, I may have a big little hoarding problem :)  I didn't realize how many things I had put on that list until some fellow "TpT'ers" suggested we have a "clean out your wish list" party.  Surely I didn't have that many things on mine.  Guilty.  

If you are like me, then my solution/plan might help you too. 

#1.  Leave feedback on all of your purchases.  Yes!  You get TpT credits for every single feedback comment/rating that you leave, and they add up quickly.  Only about 25% of buyers leave feedback. If you are one of the ones that doesn't,  visit your "My Purchases" page. If the feedback link is blinking, click on it and fill it out. You can check your balance after each one.  I get really excited watching it build. It will be like Christmas in March!

#2.  Go through your wish list and start cleaning.  Add those items you really want/need to your cart and use your TpT credits to purchase them.  Then clean out the ones that maybe don't fit your needs anymore. Some of you may have changed grade levels.  Some things may have been on there for over a year.  My goal is to have it cleaned out by Sunday.

#3.  Check and see if the items you are purchasing are on sale. GEORGIA GROWN KIDDOS is having a Linky Party for sellers who are participating in the Spring Cleaning Sale.  Scroll on down to the bottom to see if your favorite sellers are having a sale and maybe find some "new favorites" to follow too.

In celebration of the arrival of spring and my first granddaughter, I'm joining in the party  - 20% off of everything at my store.  I will be loading my Flip the 5 and 10 Frames April pack on Saturday, possibly sooner.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Favorite Fairytales on YouTube

How many of you have seen the YouTube videos from "Ms. Booksy?"  I LOVE them and so will your students.  What a great way to discuss the art of storytelling using pictures and props!  I could go on forever and ever about why you will love these stories, but I will just let you check them out yourself.  Have fun!  And thanks Cool School.  While you are there, subscribe to their channel.  You'll be glad you did.

These cute Golilocks and the 3 Bear graphics are from Scappin Doodles.

And there are so many more.  Subscribe to their channel so you don't miss any new ones :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Number Sense with 10 Frames

I just love teaching with 5 and 10 frames.  But sometimes I do not love all of the pieces that come with them.  That's actually how I originally designed these handy little Flip the Frames when I looked around my classroom  and found apples, pumpkins, footballs, etc.  all over my room as I was preparing math stations.

I just loaded my new set for March and am excited about them! Here are all of the choices that come with this set.  You also have a black and white option if you need to save the ink.  I laminate 5 sets and place velcro in between the individual frames.  This helps them latch to each other.  I use these for small group instruction.  They take up little space which is wonderful in the early childhood classroom.

Sample Frames for March
If you want to see how these frames work, I've given you a FREE sneak peek.  You can download my Flip the 5 and 10 Frames Button Set and let the fun begin.  There are more games and activities along with some story problems in the original sets, but the FREE Button Set will give you a chance to work and play with frames and do many of the activities.  I use the black and white option for whole group, math centers, and as homework.  Your families will are then able to see how math frames are used in the classroom.

Have fun with this FREEBIE.  Click on the picture to get your FREE download.

Use can teach counting, quantity recognition, addition, subtraction, and even place value with these frames.  The bottom right square was a 1st grade addition problem of 16 + 13.  We built both numbers with the frames, then added them together.  We grouped the tens together and then added the ones.  It's a concrete way to learn an abstract concept.

Click on the pictures to see the other Flip the 5 and 10 Frames available for your classroom.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pete the Cat Reading Comprehension and a FREEBIE

It's Day 5 of Groovy Cat Week!  Today we are going to talk about the book I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean.  Yep!  It's my favorite all time book.  I am a HUGE fan.  In fact, I remember the first time I saw the book.  I was perusing the book shelves at Barnes and Nobles one summer when I notice the store clerk putting a new book on the display shelf.  And the sign said free song download.  Of course, that caught my attention immediately because I love to teach through music.  I grabbed my iPhone and quickly downloaded the song right there in the store.  The rest is history.  I walked out with 2 copies of the book in my hand.

There is a lot of discussion these days about text dependent questions with the Common Core and kindergarten or 1st grade.  Early childhood teachers are awesome at reading books aloud and asking text dependent questions.  We just need to up our game some and have the children use the text as the evidence when answering these questions.  Here is a way to use evidence from the text to answer questions.  All you need is several post-it-notes and a piece of paper.

Read the story to your students.  Ask them about the character Pete the Cat.  Most students will discuss that he is always happy and he never cries.  When this conversation occurs, I ask them how they know?  Their answer can't be "because I just know."  Ask them to look into the book at the pictures and the words to help them prove their answer.  Use strategies such as "Turn and Talk" to get the students discussing the story.  Pass out clip boards with post-it-notes.  Students can sequence the story showing how Pete the Cat is always happy and has a good attitude.

I also created this game to play during whole group instruction (teaching procedures of the game), guided reading or small group instruction, and as a literacy center.  Directions are included in the download.  I included ABC's which can also be included as sound identification cards along with CVC or short sound 3 letter words.  Choose the skills based upon your students' needs.   I am the type of teacher who likes to transfer games and those procedures over into other content areas.  Once you teach a game, you can change the skills, content, and level of differentiation.  Copy the cards and laminate for durability.  Place in a container.  I use a small blue trashcan to store our words.  Each student will have a game board to place their drawn cards.  Students draw a card and read the word, say the letter, say the sound, name the number, or name the shape depending on the skill you are teaching.  If they draw the "qualifying cards" - "Oh NO," students must put all of their cards back into the container.  If they draw the "It's all good" card, it works like a get out of jail free card.  The student can place that card back into the container but keep all of the other cards.  The player who covers all 5 cards on the game mat wins.  You may choose to play without the game mat.  I use it as it helps the students keep track of how many cards they have collected.  For older students they can fill up 2 game mats.  I do not laminate the game mats.  They can be copied on white paper or colored card stock too.

You may download the FREE game packet HERE.

Don't forget to drop by PreK Pages for some more Groovy Cat ideas.

Here are links to the other posts about the Groovy Cat:

Day 1 Five Days of Groovy Cat Fun and a Pete the Cat Pocket Chart
Day 2 Measuring with Pete the Cat and a Freebie
Day 3 Pete the Cat Math Song and Flip the 5 and 10 Frames Freebie
Day 4  Groovy Cat Sight Word and Math Fluency
Following Directions with Pete the Cat

The clip art from the game comes from:

Click HERE to visit Graphics from the Pond
Click HERE to visit Doodle Dot Illustrations by Stacy Johnson
Click HERE to visit Whimsy Clips