Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Lovin'

Phew... the long awaited summer has finally arrived! However, my poor blog has been a little neglected over the past few weeks. I'll just backtrack a little and fill you in a little of our end of the year fun! 

Our last week was c-r-a-z-y busy but tons of fun. After our zoo field trip, we had our End of the Year celebration, field day, move-up day, and all the usual year-end fun. Here's a look at our finished self-portraits and writing that we hung in the hall!

I am saving their advice pages to put in a book and read to next year's group. They were very insightful :)

My team and I also made some thank you's for our students and all our volunteers. The tags came from A Cupcake for the Teacher and the Flavor-ices were $8 for 200 of them at Sam's Club! Cheap and easy... my favorite!

For the parent volunteers, we filled these cute summer cups with Starburst and added a little tag I made up. You can grab a copy here! I taped a thank you note to the back of the tag for a personalized addition. 

More to come about the end of the year soon! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

We're Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo...

Happy summer to all you out there who started their break already! We on the other hand go all the way until June 12, so vacation feels like a loooooong way away. But, this week is going to be PACKED, so it should fly by. First off, we are going to the ZOO tomorrow! I made up this zoo bingo worksheet (download it here) to keep them busy, but for the most part my kiddos get to explore the zoo, see the animals, and just enjoy with their chaperones. The weather forecast calls for sun (AMEN!) so as long that holds out it should be a fantastic day.

Also up on our calendar this week is Kindergarten Graduation! We invite all the families to come and begin with a program and certificate presentation. We sing some of our favorite songs from the year, recite the "Goodbye Poem" and pass out certificates. Then we go out to the playground for ice cream sundaes, games, crafts, and play time. It's always a blast! I'll be posting more on that later, though...

In the meantime, we have been making new art projects for the hallway. On Friday, we did a guided drawing activity with self-portraits. We traced the pencil lines with Sharpies and will be painting them tomorrow. Here's a peek out how they're going so far...

Does this one remind anyone else of David from "No David"??

We will also be writing our advice for next year's kindergarteners too. Grab it here! After they hang in the hallway, I'll put them in a book to share at the beginning of the year with my new kinders.

That's all for now! Have a great Sunday!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Deck the halls with... flowers and flags

Who else is excited for a long weekend and a Sunday that just might not be filled with lesson planning and preparing for the week? Just BBQs and sunshine and family and friends... it doesn't get much better than that. This girl can't wait for the weekend to get here! (I know, it's only Monday...)

So, I've been guilty of keeping our last art projects up in the hallway for waaay too long. Like, embarassingly long. At least they were super cute, so I feel a little more justified, I guess. I found the idea at Art Projects for Kids and decided to give it a try. Look at what my little artists created with some guided drawing, Sharpie tracing, and watercolor painting! I was impressed.

A few more, because I love them so...

But down these had to come. And next up in the hallway? A little patriotism for Memorial Day!

We made these cute tissue paper flags on 12x18 white construction paper. First, we studied the flag and noticed the blue square in the corner, the white stars, and the red-white-red-white stripes pattern. So we took our yellow crayons (so that the lines wouldn't be as visible under the tissue paper) and drew our flags. Then, we glued. and glued. and glued. It took a long time, I won't lie. But, so worth it. 

Drawing our lines with yellow crayons - not the straightest here... :)

Tomorrow we'll be doing some writing to go with these. I like to tell myself that every art project can be justified if there's some literacy linked to it, right?? This is what our prompt and writing paper will look like... Here's a copy for you too! (both color and black & white versions)

Have a great night!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sight Word Rings

I LOVE good teaching conferences. Like, the kind that makes you want to rush home and start up so many projects because your head is just spinning with all the great ideas you learned. Last Friday was just that! I had the chance to go to Kim Adsit's "DI for the Little Guy" conference on differentiated instruction while she was here presenting in Michigan, and I'd dare to say it was the B-E-S-T PD I've had the opportunity to attend, well, ever.

Kim (you've probably seen her on TpT or her Kindergals blog) was such a great presenter and really just says it like it is when it comes to all the little daily moments in our classrooms. I laughed and nodded my head in understanding all day long, and the best part was how many great ideas she shared that I can take right back to my own classroom. 

I also met another really great Kim that day too! Kimberly from Funky First Grade Fun is a Michigan blogger and was so kind to answer my questions about blogging and encourage me to give it a try. I was so thankful to get to meet her!

Ok, back to the conference... and a freebie for you! Kim talked about using sight word rings with daily practice for differentiating sight word learning. I have a few kinders who are still struggling with mastery of all their 40 kindergarten sight words we teach (we use Scott Foresman Reading Street and all our words come from there) so I made up some cute word rings to help. You can download it free at my TpT store.

Every morning (or during our rest & read time after lunch), I call my Tier 2 & 3 kids over one at a time to read me their words, practice any they missed, and add more words as they've mastered all words on their rings. They keep these in their book boxes so they can read and practice them throughout the day. My kinders are loving their word rings and reading them all the time, and I'm happy to say many of them have already been able to add new words to their rings. Woo hoo!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mother's Day Tea (a little late!)

Thanks for stopping by! I'm so excited to finally join the blogging world.... I have been so inspired by all of the ideas I've found through others' blogs, and I'm hoping mine might be able to do the same for others. 

The last few weeks have been B-U-S-Y!! Although, it seems like that's the case every year after spring break, so I'm not sure why it surprises me every year. Last week we had our first annual Mother's Day Tea, and it was SO much fun. Every single student had someone come (our first 100% attendance I can remember at any event!), whether it was a mom, a grandma, or even a dad in one case. We spent a lot of time preparing the week beforehand, and it was well worth it. Here's a look at some of our projects:

First, we made personalized invitations to send home. Students drew a portrait of their special someone on the cover, then completed the invitation on the inside. (I forgot to take a picture of a finished product, but here was one in the works!) 

If you would like to a copy of the invitation and RSVP template, you can download it here!

For the placemats, we cut out and painted these teapots, inspired by Kindercraze (see her posting at http://kindercraze.blogspot.com/2012/05/placemats-and-letters-to-mom-more.html). My kiddos made one for them and one for each of their guests. I did the tracing, then they cut out the teapots and used cookie cutters to stamp the flowers on the teapots. Here's what they looked like on the tables!

For the centerpieces, we drew flowers on colored construction paper and decorated them with bingo markers. We attached them to kebab sticks and added cute hearts for the leaves. Students dictated why they loved their moms on those. I laminated them so they would stay standing. (in case you can’t tell, I am just a teensy bit obsessed with laminating!) Then, into some Styrofoam inside of these cute flowerpots from the Dollar Spot at Target they went. Some brown gift basket filler covered nicely as dirt!

On the day of the big event, my kinders greeted their guests at the door, escorted them into their seats, and visited until the program started. They had practiced a song in our Integrated Arts class that they performed, and then we did a choral reading of the precious rebus book "I Love You" by Jean Marzollo. We wrote our own version of the book too, using the repeating line from the book "Every ___ loves a ___." and I videotaped the students' performance. So cute... and no papers rattling around by those waiting their turn like when we tried practicing a live performance :)

Grab your own copy of the class book page to accompany it here!

Our performance ended with a grand finale that happened to be one of those last minute, it's-midnight-and-I-can't-fall-asleep-because-I'm-thinking-about-school-again ideas. I took my kinders out for an extra recess and called them over to answer the following questions about their moms on camera: What is your favorite thing to do with your mom? What is the most beautiful thing about your mom? What is your favorite food your mom makes? Why do you love your mom? I threw all the responses together in iMovie and VOILA! a really adorable, honest, and memorable video. I wish you could all see it!

After the performance we enjoyed some lemonade and treats and did a cute butterfly handprint craft (once again, forgot to take pictures... oops!). When it was time for our guests to leave, I could tell they really enjoyed themselves... and so did my kinders and I!