November 20, 2014

Colored Baggies... Oh My!

Are you seeing this picture correctly?
Yeah buddy.

A wonderful parent brought a pack to school last year for their student's school supplies.
When we opened the box, my assistant was like...
"Mary, have you seen this?"
If you know me you know I have this "thing" for color coding everything. 
So this was huge news.

Well, I have been looking for them and looking for them.
I have been saving my special colored baggies in a safe place and 
only using them when I really needed them.

Then, this past week at Walmart, guess what I found?
 So I bought a box...
Or two...
or a lot.
And no this isn't all of the baggies I bought.
They are like $2.48 a box of 80 baggies...
and I have to have a stash at home AND school

When you open the box, this is what you see.

There are yellow, red, green, and blue baggies.
They look darker in the box then they actually are.

Here are the four colors when you lay them out. 
{The background is gray here.}

So how do I use them?
First, I use them to sort student activities.
When my students get to a center,
 they can each grab a different colored baggie and do the activity in the bag.
These cards all contain the exact same greater or less than comparison cards, 
but they have different images in the middle. 
In the colored baggies, these activities are even easier to grab and organize.

Here is another example.

  Every year we spend some time learning about mixing colors.
I found this AMAZING book at Barnes and Noble last weekend, 
called Magic Colors.
There are others in the series too, but I don't personally have them... yet.}

Check out the colored pages...

 and you turn the page to this...

Do you "see" the magic page?

Here is another example...
 and this...

I am thinking we can use these baggies to make our own color magic book!
At the very least, 
we can take the baggies and perhaps our light table and make some secondary colors.

Check out the yellow and blue baggie together...
 and the yellow and red baggie...
 and the blue and red baggie.

What about these additional ideas?
I also have plans to make reading strips with these.

Sorting activities would also be easy! 

What if we made colored "nets" to and added them to a sensory table???

Could we create special color coded glasses to "read to room" with?

I also have this idea to use BLUE baggies to make cool fish bowls with.
{Add some clear hair gel and some plastic fish counters... 
then have your little ones count the fish in the baggie.

I think I can create some amazing colorful pocket chart activities with this as well...
with fake magnifying glasses to "find" particular thing on the pocket chart. 

What ideas do you have to utilize these colored baggies in your classroom?

November 16, 2014

Thanksgiving Fun in Kindergarten

The gift of a good kindergarten teacher is to make learning
 exciting, engaging, and interactive.
We make learning memorable and meaningful.
We make learning hands on. 
We hide the learning in playing.
We make learning FUN.

I like to make 
All of these types of activities require teachers to work harder, longer, and to get more creative.
Therefore, I can't wait to share with you some of the ways to make Thanksgiving Fun in Kindergarten.
One of the initial activities are patterned headbands. 
This activity allows my students to create decorate headbands for our feast, 
but also to extend patterns and review flat shapes.
We cut out the pieces uses construction paper die cuts in a veggie sorting tray.
{If you don't have these types if die cuts, here is a link to some.}

I set the table up just like you see. 
I also give my students the choice of which pattern card they choose to follow. 
{I did not provide them the AB pattern card. 
I specifically told them they had to make a different pattern than AB.}

I also encouraged them to put one dot of glue down for each pattern piece.
Once the headbands dry, I add their Native America name and laminate them. 

Another FUN activity we learn through is making Native American pasta necklaces.
 I take the same sorting tray but this time I added dyed pasta and yarn.
 I use masking tape to tape one end of the yarn and twist it tight to make a shoelace ending. 
This allows little hands to thread the yarn through the ziti pasta.
For this station, I allowed my class to create their own pattern without a prompt. 
I also wanted them to work on those OT skills. 
Additionally, this task takes a little bit of patience, so diligence is needed.

Some tips that help this station work include taping the other end of the string to the table
 and using a sharpie to write their name. 
They can easily create their pattern and not move the string incorrectly 
causing them to destroy their pattern.
When they filled their string with the pasta, 
I tied it up the string for them and folded over their masking tape name.

We also create Native America vests/dresses.
I take large and extra large men's t shirts and dye them in the washing machine.
I LIKE the look you see in the bottom left corner of this picture.

I want my shirts to look "leathery."
 I do not aim for a plan tan shirt.
So here is what I do. 
I fill my washer with HOT water and add half a container of BROWN fabric dye.
{I find this dye in the laundry section of my store by the laundry detergent.}

Then, I add my shirts one by one into the water. 
{You are suppose to add the shirts when they are already wet. I add the shirts when they are dry.}

Once all the shirts are in the colored water, I push them down with a plastic hanger.
{Real fancy I know, but it totally works.}

Then, I add SALT to the top of the water. Then I stir the water and let the machine run.

Can you see the look I got here?

I take craft paint and paint foam stamps. 
My students help me stamp their shirts.
We talk about how the Native America people would create these colors in nature 
and what the symbols would mean for them.

I fray the sleeves and bottoms of each shirt.
I cut the boys' shirts up the middle in the front to make a vest, 
but leave the girls' together as a "dress."

Of course I love to use literature to meet more educational needs and ideas.
We use this sheet and crayons to complete a listening and following direction activity.
 I love to record the directions and set the audio file on a CD so this station is independent.
It makes my students follow directions the first time and move on.
This can be tough for little ones, but also a great challenge to rise up to. 
We also did some writing activities using this book.
Since I provided a word wall and sequencing cards that can support weak writers.

We also use the sequencing card

to complete this sequencing sheet.
 And we loved creating 4 word sentences with these sentence scramble mats.
My students are doing amazing at looking for the capital letter
the ending mark
and then to create the sentence make sense.

There are six sets of sentences in this pack and 
each student in my class MADE SURE they created and read each sentence. 
They loved every minute of it.

We also colored them cute Color by Number sheets.

 I also found this amazing CUTE Thanksgiving Little People set on Amazon.

I have never seen this in a store, but it absolutely exists online.
I love to place these pieces at a station with Thanksgiving books 
and have my students use them to retell the story or act out a new story.
Of course they are not complete accurate,
 as most of the Thanksgiving stories or items are...
but we also discuss that as well.
 For example, we talk about things the Pilgrims actually ate for Thanksgiving, 
but that it was most likely not a turkey.

These Little People pieces make excellent
 THEN mental images when you need more resources than a book. 

I also provide NOW people and furniture to make another mental image in my little learners minds.
We can also use items to sort and compare Thanksgiving past and present

We also complete this FUN Now and Then Secret Code Word set.
This activity allows my students to practice number and 
letter recognition and develop the idea that letters make words.

 We make these NOW and THEN Thanksgiving readers as well.
We use the social studies concept of NOW and THEN, 
as well as the sight words NOW and THEN.
Additionally, we practice reading the top sentence left to right.

 I hope you can use some of these ideas, tips, and activities in your classroom.
And most importantly...please make