Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cast Your Ballots! Election Day Activities!

I can't believe the month of October is already coming to an end.   Halloween is tomorrow and Election day is right around the corner.  Election Day is a good opportunity to teach my kindergarteners about what to look for in a good leader and the voting process.  I introduce the topic of an election by reading the book:

It is about a duck who is tired of doing his chores on the farm and decides that Farmer John isn't cutting it as lead farmer.  So he holds an election with the other farm animals to choose a new leader.  Duck ends up winning the election and moves up the political ladder.  However, he finds that being a leader is really hard work.  We then talk about how leaders who want to be elected for president or any other office usually makes promises to the people in hope to gain their votes.  We make a list of characteristics students feel is important for a good president/leader.  

Here are some videos about the role of a president and current presidential nominees:

Click Here for Brain Pop Jr. Video about the role of a president.
Click here for videos about President Obama and Governor Romney (bios) & More on Scholastic

After watching these videos we will do a mock vote based on the biographies on the scholastic website.      We will graph the results to see who wins, then wait to see if we voted like the rest of the country.

Students will also do an art and writing project about what they would do if they became president.

Click here for my If I were president worksheet.
Click here for my vote for _______ worksheet.

I'm still looking for more activities.  If you have any election day ideas please leave me a comment!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Exploration & FREE pumpkin investigation worksheet

A few days ago I bought mini pumpkins for our class so that each pair of students can share a pumpkin to investigate throughout our pumpkin unit.  It was under a dollar for each mini pumpkin.  While investigating our pumpkins throughout the week, we displayed them on our desks so that it made us feel like we were in a pumpkin patch.  We have gone over the pumpkin life cycle and used our senses to describe our pumpkin.  See my previous post  about that here.  Next week we will work on our pumpkin exploration worksheet.  Carving mini pumpkins are a bit tough so you may want to get a pumpkin carving kit with the saw like knife for easier cutting, especially if you will be carving a pumpkin for each pair of students.  

The worksheet explores the following:
What does it look like?
How tall?
How big?
How many seeds?
Sink or float?
click here to download the worksheet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kindergarten Literacy Centers and Math Centers Management Board

Now that my kiddos are much more independent, I have finally started my literacy and math centers.  I was inspired by  Keen On Kindergarten's blog: Work Center's Board and created my own centers board for my classroom.  The lady bugs cover my students pictures.  I laminated my cards and put velcro behind the them.  It allows me to easily move the cards at the end of each day so they are ready for the next time.  You can also use  the cards in a pocket chart.  That would probably be easier, but I didn't have an extra pocket chart or the wall space.  

Here's how I manage my centers:

Students have partners (2 per center, heterogeneous  grouping).  
Here's how I make my pairs:  First I rank my students by their ability level (high to low).  

Frank (high)
Jim (middle)
Daniel (low)

After ranking my students, then I divide them in half.  I match up my high level student to my middle student, next highest student to another middle student, etc.
Here's how they would pair up the students above:

The reason I pair students this way is to allow the proficient students to help those still developing their skills.  It also prevents me from pairing a very proficient student with a student that is not yet meeting standards.  

Students rotate to 2 centers (30 minutes) for literacy and 2 centers (30 minutes) for Math each day.  All the students have to do is look for their picture and find their centers for the day.  This allows me to meet with at least 4 small groups each day.  My small groups are homogeneous and I work with no more than 6 students at a time.  

My literacy centers are spread out throughout the room.  My math centers are placed in baskets or folders with numbers on them.  Students just grab their numbered folder or basket and work at their desks.  

Center Transitions:
At the end of the first center I ring a bell.  Students are required to clean up quickly and put away their centers (2 minutes). Then I ring the bell once more and students must freeze.   I say "class."  Students respond by saying "yes."  Then I say, "march."  and like soldiers they march to their next center.  

click here for my Literacy Center Cards.

Click here for my Math Center Cards.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Race to 10 & Race to 20 Tens Frame Dice Games

My kindergarteners are learning how to count and recognize numbers.  We just learned the number 10 last week.  I wanted my students to continue to practice their counting, so I created a Race to 10 and Race to 20 game to help motivate them to count.  They absolutely love dice games.

Here's how to play:  
Students play in pairs.  They take turns rolling a die and place the same amount of counters in the tens frame.  The first to fill their tens frames wins.

Click Here for Race to 10 Game

Click Here for Race to 20 game

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Activities & Free pumpkin lifecycle worksheet

Here are some of my pumpkin activities:

We use our 5 senses to observe a pumpkin:
What does it look like:  Color, Shape, Size
How does it feel:  smooth, soft, rough, bumpy
How does it smell?  (you can have them smell pumpkin puree or pumpkin scented candle)  Sweet, Sour
How does it taste:  (have them taste pumpkin flavored pudding)  Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter.

I usually have students get into groups of 2 or 3 and each group has a small pumpkin.  You can do this whole group as well.  

We then read the book:  From Seed to Pumpkin by 

  • Wendy Pfeffer
  • James Graham Hale (Illustrator)

  • We discuss the pumpkin life cycle:
    Seeds:  Plant the seeds
    Seedling:  Seed sprouts into a seedling
    Vine:  The vine begins to grow.  Green leaves form the vine.
    Flower:  Pumpkin flowers grow on the vine.
    Green Pumpkin:  A little green pumpkin starts to grow.
    Yellow pumpkin:  The green pumpkin starts to turn yellow.
    Orange Pumpkin:  When the pumpkin turns orange it's ready for harvesting.  

    Have students re-create the pumpkin life cycle with their bodies through movement and music.

    Click here for my pumpkin life cycle worksheet

    Other pumpkin activities:
    Sink or float the pumpkin
    Carve pumpkin open and estimate the number of seeds.
    Roast pumpkin seeds for tasting.
    Make Pumpkin pudding with graham crackers
    Create water color pumpkin still life paintings

    Pumpkin Seed Recipe:
    2 cups pumpkin seeds
    2 tablespoons salt
    1 tablespoon butter

    Pumpkin Pudding recipe:
    1/3 can pumpkin pie filling with spices
    8oz. whipped topping
    2 packages instant vanilla pudding
    Crushed graham crackers

    Let the students mix the ingredients together.  Mix pudding and milk according the the recipe on the pudding box.  Then fold in the pumpkin pie filling into the vanilla pudding.  Put crushed graham crackers at the bottom of a cup (I use the mini dixie bathroom cups).  Scoop some pudding mixture on top of the graham crackers.  Then frost their pudding cups with the whipped topping.  

    Halloween activities coming soon...

    My Fall Season Activities & Fall Craft Book

    Hi everyone!  Fall season is here and I wanted to share some of my fall activities with you!  My class creates a fall book that explores these questions:

    What happens to plants in the fall?
    What happens to the weather in the fall?
    What do animals do in the fall?
    What do people do in the fall?

    Students create the branches of the tree with brown handprints.  Then they use ripped construction paper for the leaves.  

    Students draw a self portrait with cold weather clothes.

    Students create a squirrel gathering acorns.

    Students use orange construction paper to create a pumpkin patch.

    Click here for my fall book

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Chaperone Letter

    We are going on a field trip to the orchestra in a few days.  This will be our first excursion this school year so I'm a little nervous, but very excited for the kids to see a live orchestra.  I usually try my best to choose reliable chaperones that will be helpful in keeping the kids safe and promote a good learning atmosphere while on the field trip.   In order to ensure this, I like to share my expectations with my chaperones/volunteers so they know how to best help the children.  So far, all of my previous chaperones were WONDERFUL and this letter has definitely helped.  I hope you find this helpful!  Let me know what you think :)

    Here is my letter to chaperones.  You can click here to download the document.

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Freebie Pumpkin Book: Who Took the Pumpkin From the Pumpkin Patch

    It's finally fall season!  There are so many activities to do!  I wanted to share a book that I do with my class about pumpkins.  It's called:  Who took the pumpkin from the pumpkin patch?  Similar to the book: Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?

    Front Cover
    page for each student
    final page (I usually put myself on the last page, and the kids love it!)

    click here for Who Took the Pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch class book.

    More fall activities to come...

    Freebie: Math Apple Activities

    Hi everyone!  Happy Columbus Day!  I just created some apple math activities and wanted to share.  Let me know what you think!

    My kids are going to learn the number 0 tomorrow so I made a number poem flip book.  Fold the worksheet in half to make the book and cut along the dotted lines.

    Click here  to get it!

    I also love doing dice games with my kids!  Here is an apple dice game called RACE TO THE APPLE TREE.  Students play in pairs.  They take turns rolling a die and color the same amount of apples.  First student to get to the apple tree wins.  

    Click here to get the Apple Tree game

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    FREE Kindergarten Common Core Standard Posters

    Woo hoo!  I have just completed making my kindergarten common core standards for posting.  Our school recently transferred over to the the common core standards last year and I have been meaning to make these for a while!  It includes all of the Language Arts standards.  Each standard is on one page making it easy to slip into sheet protectors for posting on your board.  No need to laminate unless you want to.

    Also if you like my work, get my MATH COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR FREE TOO!

    Here are the requirements:
    1.  Follow me on my blog, Teachers Pay Teachers store, or Teachers Notebook store.
    2.  Leave a comment with your email address and how you have followed me.

    After you have done these steps, I will email you the math standards for FREE!

    CLICK HERE to download ELA Common Core Standards

    Let me know what you think!

    For more freebies check out Freebielicious!  They are having a fabulous linky party!

    I've linked up with Teaching Blog Addict!  They have awesome freebies and ideas for your classroom.  Click the button below to check them out!
    Freebie Fridays

    I linked up with Classroom freebies.  So many free ideas and worksheets you will definitely need another hard drive :)
    Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Apple Print Counting Project and other Apple Activities!

    I recently did a whole bunch of activities in my class using apples.  First we read a story called:  The Little Red House With No Doors And No Windows And A Star Inside.  I first heard about this story from my co-worker and thought it was adorable.  This story describes an apple.  I also found the story on The Virtual Vine .  We then cut the apple in half horizontally and we found a star inside.  Remember that when you cut the apple you have to cut it horizontally or you won't see the star.

    We then proceeded to do some apple tasting.  We tasted different colored apples (red, green, yellow) and graphed the one we liked the best.  We also tasted apple sauce and apple juice.  We then graphed which way they liked apples best (apple fruit, apple juice, or apple sauce).  Most of my students enjoyed the apple juice!  My kids disliked the apple sauce because it looked like baby food.  

    We also created apple prints to go along with our apple theme and integrated math into it by adding seeds to our prints.  The star shape didn't come out on our prints so after our initial print we then stamped a star shape on top of it.  We wrote numbers in the center of each apple and cut black construction paper to make the seeds.  The number of seeds on the print matched the number on the apple.  

    Here's the final product:  

    Freebie: Kindergarten Sight Word Flash Cards

    I just created a set of 78 kindergarten sight word flash cards.  I wanted to create flashcards that I can send home with students and also laminate for in class use.  I have a large version and a small version.  My laminated cards are held together with binder rings.  My students need a lot of practice and having their own set at home is very helpful!  It is in black and white so it is extremely easy to photocopy.  All of the sight words you find in the harcourt troghies kindergarten curriculum and dolch sight words  You can download the freebie on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  Some feedback would be very appreciated!

    Pre-K, Kindergarten - TeachersPayTeachers.com   click on my teachers pay teachers button to get it!

    I just linked up with Pocket Full of Kinders and Freebie Friday!
    CLICK HERE to link up or get some sight words and spelling ideas

    Freebie Fridays
    Click the button above to get more awesome freebies and teaching ideas!

    Computer Center Management for Kindergarten: Only 2 Clicks Review

    This is my very first post.  I am so excited to start this blog!  I've recently become an avid blog reader and have been meaning to start one of my own.  I love learning new ideas for my kindergarten classroom and thought I should give back by sharing some of the activities that I do in my own classroom.  


    I recently found this website called:  Only2Clicks .  This website allows you to access your bookmarks from anywhere you have an internet connection.  I use this for my classroom because it allows me to create tabs for different subjects.  It also uses screenshots of the webpages as buttons so kids no longer have to ask, "What does this say?."  It is visual and kids can be more independent when browsing on your school computer.  I also use it on my classroom website so kids can continue learning at home.  

    Here is my only 2 clicks website/bookmarks:   kindergartenkidsatplay .
    I have included some of my favorite websites that my students love to visit!