August 22, 2014

Sensory Bag Idea & Freebie

 I saw this AMAZING idea on Pinterest all about sensory bags using sight words and rice.
And I was inspired.

I wanted to make a sensory bag for the beginning of the year fun... 
and do it my way. 

So I look some white cardstick and crayons and wrote letters on the paper.
{I did trim the paper beforehand to make sure it fits into the baggie.
I made 6 versions of this... 
all with the same color letters on each one.
The color was the same, 
but the location of the letters was not the same.

Then I put each sheet into a gallon size baggie.
I had some colored rice, so I added it to each bag.
 At small groups today, 
each learner looks through the baggie to find the letter buried in the rice.
When they find their letter, 
they take the SAME COLOR crayon and 
trace over it or color that letter on the answer sheet.

How much fun is this?

I also tried the same thing with white rice.
The colors really stick out this way.
This is def the way I would go next time using the colored crayons if you opt to use rice.

We did discover two problems.
Some of my little learners had trouble with the rice and 
one friend did poke a whole in the bag.
{Accident or intentional? Who knows}

We also had lots of the rice getting under the paper, 
thus making the project not as much fun.

So I tried the same idea with elbow pasta...

 It also worked great and I got NO HOLES in the bag.

I also took a few minutes to TAPE down the card stock to the bottom of the bag FIRST.
{I put tape all the way around the paper so no pasta could get behind it.}

 This created the ultimate success for me and my students.
 I also think laminating the sheet first will help too.

I made this printable in uppercase and lowercase letters for you to grab for free.

I can't wait to try this again with my class.
Do you think you will give this a try in your classroom?

August 21, 2014

Each year, we start the year off with the Gingerbread Man.
{I know many of you do this unit for Christmas, 
so read this post now and get ideas for later.}

I love to use the book, 
It is a seriously CUTE book all about a gingerbread man who is made by students 
and then ESCAPES in the school.
He visits all those important places in the school.
{Hmmm... kinda like WE do?}

Here is my group doing a LISTENING to READING activity.
We worked on turning the CD on and off.
Taking on and taking off our headsets.
Turning on and off our headsets.
Adjusting the volume on the headsets. 
Listening to the story.
Turning the page when prompted.
I mean... we worked on everything! 
 {Turn the page little love... catch up!}


In the world of Kinder, 
you have to teach them EVERYTHING.

We also took our {cleaned} play dough tools and ready made cookie dough
to create our own cookies.
With a little flour, we roll out the dough and make our cookie.
 Many of my kids have never made cookies before.

 And to cut it out with a cookie cutter.
 {Who cares about the mess?
Not me.
As long as we are learning!}

We decorated the cookies with mini M&Ms.
We write down each child's name by their cookie on the parchment paper. 

We also looked on some FUN Gingerbread puzzles.
 This is a great time buffer between the groups.

We take our cookies to the lunch room to be baked.
We remind the ladies to NOT OPEN THE OVEN.
When we do to get our cookies out of the oven the ESCAPE.
We have to chase them all over the school, 
discovering all those important places like 
the nurse's office,
and lunch room.

Those cookies find their way back to our classroom and 
we eat those legs off those sneaky guys asap.

This is a fun and meaningful day at school that my kids NEVER forget.
I love it too!

August 17, 2014

Letter Cc is CRAZY!

This week my had some engaging learning activities
call about the Letter Cc.

Here is a sheet we made this week.
I asked each kiddo to color the Cc their favorite color.
Then, we glued elbow pasta down on the lines to show the direction the Cc goes.

Although this was easy to do for my class, 
before this activity many of my students were facing their Cs the opposite way.
After the activity, I am happy to say, 
I think we "got" the direction of the Cs down.

We used the book If You Give a Cat a Cupcake 
this week to reinforce the Letter Cc and tie in literacy.
{It was $4 a copy in my September Scholastic Book Club Order forms.}

I also wanted to work with amazing
on using word walls.
Sometimes I forget that many kinders don't know what a word wall is or 
how to actually USE it in the classroom.
{Teacher use it year after year, but my kinders have not!}

During small groups, I showed them the word wall and how it related to the story.
Lots of the group sounded like a discussion, because that is what it is.
We had to talk it out. 
Then... we read the sentence started on their writing sheets.
I showed them how I could use the words on the work wall to assist my writing.
the word "a" wasn't on the word wall, but the word cupcake was.

Here are my
working away. 
I was doing the activity WITH them using the read marker. 
I helped many students form letters by dotting them with the red marker on their sheet.

This activity wasn't about indepenet writing, 
but about using what we can to write with confidence.
AND we have to be able to read what we write about.

After we finished our sentence or sentences, 
depending on the group and ability level 
{because YES I differentiated this to set my students up for success,}
we drew a picture to match what we wrote about.
 This is the word wall and two writing prompts I used.

Here are some student samples:

I was MORE than impressed with their writing.
They loved it because of the word wall and because it was about the book.
Tying in those two elements made this activity a HUGE success for start of the year writing.

We also did a letter Cc chart on Friday.
I used my projector and did this as an out loud activity.
I gave my students the OPTION to fill in their own chart if they wanted to.
{We had never done a chart together, so this was going to be HARD for some students.}

3/4 of my class volunteered to do a paper chart at their seats.

I wrote the words the class offered up on the projector and we talked about each word.
They gave me a word. We clapped out syllables. We sounded out the word if we could.
We also talked about the meaning of the word.
So, this chart takes a lot of time... but it is meaningful time.

Then, my little ones wrote the same word on their page.
{Notice how many of the Cs are facing the correct way?
JUST SAYING... the pasta worked!}

I used the cards above if my students got stuck and can't think of letter C word.
When my kids can do these charts more independently, 
I can use these cards for a write the room activity.
Also, some of my students get pulled for EIP, 
so I send a copy of the cards with them for guided support.

We also sequence the book,
using these cards.
One thing I love to do is talk about what of the cards are places and which are THINGS. 
{You can never throw in too many standards right?}

You could also use these cards for writing support as well... just saying.

And we played our FIRST reading comprehension game...
which is always a HUGE hit in my class. 
I didn't collect data on this game since we just started off...
but I usually collect instant data on these games to see who needs extra support with reading comprehension.

This game as a board and tons of reading comprehension cards, based on the book.
 There is also an answer key, making this an ideal game to play with a parent volunteer or
to send home in a literacy pack.

 And to complete our sensory experience, we made cupcakes!
 I found these colorful mixes for cake at walmart for $1
I got a different colored pack for each small group. 
 We read and follow the recipe, just like anyone would...
but then we cook the cupcakes with our cupcake maker, like this one,

Here are our orange cupcakes cooking.

And here are the purple cupcakes that are done.
{No one thinks they cook all the way through with the cupcake maker, 
so I broke one open to show you they do!}
Of course we did a million more Cc activities.
But it was the start of the year I just didn't have time to snap pictures.

You can grab these packs to help make the Letter Cc more fun in your classroom.

And if you want this letter Cc sheet...

Click on the picture or {here} to grab it.
It isn't anything fancy, but it is FUN and it worked.

August 16, 2014

The Return of Center Saturday

What What?
 Did you read the title of this post correctly?
Center Saturday is back. 

Here is my center chart.
I made by center chart using a piece of black poster board, velcro, 
and my Versatile Center Chart pack. I use the same color velcro as my poster board to help hide it.
Here is my favorite type of velcro.
I print out the charts I want and add colored circles to the sides.
I put a circle for each student I want at that center.
I find what position I want them to be on the center chart before I add the circles.
This way the circles are around the outside of the chart,
 which is where the the clothes pins will be.
{This helps little hands grab the correct clip quickly and easily.

My work centers get 4 color coded circles.
{Yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green circles for the matching table color.}

My play centers get 2 color coded circles. 
{These are usually OTHER colors like black, brown, pink, gray, light blue, etc.}

 I also add a color coded clothes pin to each circle for the center.
Here is how I MAKE my colored clips...
They LAST so long this way. 

I clip the wet clips onto a basket to dry. This is a great tip that will help you out.
I add Mod Podge to them twice.
Once to attach the colored construction paper.
After that layer dries, I added another layer of just Mod Podge to the top.
My school started back on  August 6th.
For for that Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
we worked on using our center chart and clips to move from center to center.

Since I am blessed with a TA,
I have on person stationed AT the Center Board.
Another person walks around.
Since this was the first full week of school,
I added just a few FUN "work" centers.
At the blue table, which is our UNIT table, we made Brown Bear Patterns.
For this center, I printed out pattern pieces onto colored copy paper and cut them out.
I placed all the patterned pieces in to veggie tray server I bought at a dollar store.
My little wonderfuls use sentence strips to attach the colored sheets.
You can see this friend making an AB pattern.

The yellow table, we used these math maniplatives to sort by color. 
Since we are reading Brown Bear, we are working with color words, hence this activity.

My students naturally wanted to sort these by shape, 
but they got the idea with the color words written on the page.
I just took a sheet of construction paper and 
divided it into 4 parts and wrote the color words in each section IN that color. 
You could easily differentiate by having some with the color words written in black ink too. 
I knew my kinders weren't ready for it though. 

Although we didn't do a lot of "work" we worked on procedures.
We also opened up the kitchen center.
Each of my students have to cycle through a play center correctly 
before I "open" it for the whole class.
I am hoping to open the computer center, sensory table, and art stations soon.

All my other table colors hold a play activity right now instead of other work. 
I hope this helps you with starting your school year off with success,
esp with center time.

Happy Back to School!