August 31, 2012

Making Maps (Part 2}

Here are some student examples of the map activities we did this week. 

We talked about and created a compass rose. This was so much fun.
Once we created it, the students could remember it. They need that hands on step to make it memorable.
We created map keys using a neighborhood map. Here are the actual sheets my students made. {They thought this was hard until we got going. THEN they didn't want to stop!}

We had some more Mapping fun... but you will have to wait until another post to see it all. And today was my favorite day of all!

All these ideas and activities are part of my Making Maps unit.
Here on TN, Here on TpT

August 30, 2012

Making it Better!

Since we are using a new letter order at school, my former awesome files are almost useless to me. For example, I never taught Dd until February. Those files had addition games, sight word matching, and other GREAT games to teach older K students with. (We went from Saxon to Recipe for Reading.)

I am now teaching Dd next week. I am focusing on the numbers 0-10, learning number and color words, and sequencing a story. 

Now, I am revamping some of my units to make them useable for me this time of year. 
Here is my NEW unit for 'If You Give a Dog a Donut" by Laura Numeroff.

It contains:
-Sequence Cards
-Letter D phonics activity for whole group and activity for students
-Writing Activities- 4 leveled writing sheets
-Reading Comprehension Game with answer key
-Memory Game
-Sequence Sheet
-Donut sounding out words game (you will LOVE this!)
-Dog Art Project with Tracers

Grab it here on TN and here on TpT.

Anyone using Recipe for Reading this year? I am creating some phonics sheets for my students and want to know who else would be interested in them.

August 29, 2012

Making Maps {Part 1}

This week my class is learning about maps and globes. It is our first social studies unit of the school year. We started the week by learning what maps where and what globes where. Then we had to think about why we need maps. We filled out this chart.
 We also investigated maps to see what is on a map and how to read a map. I put extra maps in our classroom library. These are my boys exploring the maps. They could not get enough! I also put the maps in their reading baskets for read to self time.
We also learned about land and water on maps and colored where land and water. Here are some student examples of practice with maps. We wanted water to be blue and the land colored green for grass, brown for trees and such, and yellow for sand.


I can't wait to share with you our map keys and other fun ideas we are learning about the rest of the week! We got some great stuff lined up and planned out.
All these ideas and activities are part of my Making Maps unit.
Here on TN, Here on TpT
Do you learn about maps and globes in your classroom? 
What do your students LOVE about maps?

August 27, 2012

Made It Monday!

I know most blogger talk about crafts and such they make for "Making it Monday."
Well, I am not craft. My stuff always looks like crap, so I am changing the idea to "Made it Monday" so I can tell you about all the cool things I made for my classroom.

Here is my newest idea... Little Detectives Top Secret Number Files!

The idea here is to build number sense in a FUN way! You can use these "secret case files" to discover number sense.

Alright... truth time! HOW do you teach those tricky teen numbers?
(meaning those numbers 11-19)

August 26, 2012

Guest Blogging with Math

Hi, my name is Mary and I have a problem...
I am addicted to using food to teach my students. 

You are reading this correct, I have abused food this week. All for sake of teaching my students all about solid shapes. 

Head over to my newest guest blog post on
{go to the blog here}
I hope you LOVE the ideas and can use them in your own classroom soon! 

I can't wait to hear your solid shape food ideas so I can add them to my shopping list for next year. 

August 25, 2012

Center Saturday

This week, our centers looked like this:
Math- We ordered numbers 1-30. This was tough for them, but we have been talking and talking about number patterns and many "got it" during this activity. {here is the link to the number cards.}
Handwriting- We practiced making BIG and little Oo and Ll. 
Phonics- we sorted number and letters since this is ALWAYS hard... then the light comes on.
Unit- We sorted Community Helpers. I love sorts and so do my students.
Reading- we put together There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books puzzles. each student only had to create one. They loved it! {grab the puzzles here}

I forgot to make a pic of the other center we did... it was making police hats. I wanted to get a shot of just the hat without the kid, but I forgot. Can you every forgive me?

One of my goals this upcoming week is to open more fun centers. My kids are doing great in centers, but they need to "spread out" so much more. I have to get around to updating my chart.

I always work so hard all summer, yet August still kicks my booty!!!
What about you?
Exhausted Yet?

August 24, 2012

Color Science Experiment

Check out this Color Science Experiment!
I am so excited to share with you an awesome
wonderful activity all about colors!
We read the book...
White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker.
I talk with my students about how I read about things in books like mixing colors,
but sometimes I think it is more fun to try them myself.
My kids in school agree.
Then I ask them if they want to create colors like White Rabbit does in this book.
They, of course, agree again!

So, we DO the science experiment with colors from the book... 
but we use cookies and frosting.
I get three cans of cheap frosting and food coloring. 
{I made a boo boo and got the frosting without BoxTops, which I normally don't do.}
I also buy three packages of the break and make sugar cookies in the cold section of the grocery store.
 Each package has 24 cookies in it. I need each student to get 3 cookies, so it works well. 
{And they do have BoxTops on the cookies.}

Then, we pass out the plates that are prepped for each child and a plate for me.
{See the middle picture above.}
Each plate need a blob of each color frosting, three small white cookies,
and something to mix the colors with like a plastic knife or even a Popsicle stick.

Next, I explain that the each child WILL GET TO EAT everything on their plate...
but they have to follow all the directions first.
 I show them that they have three primary colors on their plates,
just like the rabbit had the three primary colors of paint.
Each cookie will be a white rabbit.

Now, re-read the book to the class while they DO the experiment with their food.
When the white rabbit {cookie} dips into red, put some red frosting on your cookie.
Then the rabbit goes into the blue paint.
You add the blue paint.
Then you mix red and blue together to make purple.
{When you mix the red and blue frosting, it does make purple!}
When the White Rabbit takes a bath in the book,
you lick the plastic knife, Popsicle stick, or what ever else you have on each plate. 
Repeat this while reading the book out loud to create each secondary color.
You will create purple, green, and orange.

Lastly, the White Rabbit can not take a shower,
but mixes all three colors together to make brown.
I let my students create these color on their plates, not a cookie.

Once we are done creating, we eat!
 I made FREEBIE labels to send home to let parents know what to ask their children about.
grab it {here} for free!

August 22, 2012

Requests Granted!!!

 I had a sweet request from a lovely lady named Pam to create these folder covers with zebra and pink and green. SO... here they are! (So everyone should be saying THANK YOU PAM for the suggestion, esp if you can use these folder covers!!!)
Someone, not Pam, told me the "today" part didn't make sense to her and therefore she wouldn't be using them. I totally get her point and not ALL of the covers state "today," 
This is just something that works for me in my room, and it is a FREE download!
Taking into consideration this request, I did change one of these folder covers to say "that day" instead of "today."
My intent is to give away LOTS of great stuff for all the great teachers out there to make your lives even better! I hope this new cover helps you with that.
Get this download {here} free!

In case you didn't read my former post about these folder covers {shame on you!}
Head {here} to see ALL my freebie folder covers AND to read how to use them.

Lastly, head over to see Mrs. Stanford's Blog to try to win a giveaway from me.

August 21, 2012

Cupcake Ideas

We are doing a new letter order this year, but I made a unit last year for this book.
It is more themed around cupcakes that this specific story.
Here is my unit I created to teach this letter later in the school year.
My class LOVED making and eating the cupcakes IN the class. 
We played the ordering cupcake game while they baked.

What FUN ideas do you use to teach the letter Cc?

August 20, 2012

Pattern Idea

My students create patterns ALL the time.
I usually have the pieces ready to go so assembly goes smoothly.
 I recently brought one of my dip trays at the dollar store
(I guess that is what you call it?)
to school for another activity.
 BUT... I saw it while I was prepping centers.
My students did so well at this center.
Clean up was even easier!
I highly recommend trying this the next time you make patterns with your kids. 

We used this tray when we read the book
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
by Bill Martin Jr.

I look these Brown Bear inspired pattern pieces.
I copied them onto the correct colored copy paper and had them precut in the tray.

Check out how easy it is for the students to USE.

Okay, now help me out.

August 19, 2012

The Old and the New

That Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Book got a facelift thanks to the new graphics from Scrappin Doodles. If you already purchased this pack, go under "My Purchases" and redownload it. I added both pen and pencil versions. (I only use the pencil version.)

Now she is looking new!

AND I finally finished my Grandparents Day Unit!!!
This is different from what I usually publish because it has a lot of time savers and ideas for you to create an easy and FUN Grandparents Day Celebration! I updated and wrote down what I use for my Grandparents Day Celebration each year... then tried to do as much of the work as possible FOR YOU!

Here is What is Included:
1. List of FUN resources and books– page 3
2. Hand print art- pages 4-8-
(for preschool, PreK, K, and 1st grade)
3. Invitation to classroom- pages 9-10
AND a Programmable version in zip file as a PPT
3. Idea and resources to create an AWESOME grandparents day video– page 12
AND a pre-made Template attached file as .wlmp file
with a separate 32 png pictures are in “Quote Picture” folder
4. Grandparents day fill in reader– pages 13-20

Because of all the technical components, please know that Movie Maker may not work on your computer. For example, Macs use iMovies instead. I also used Movie Maker Live to create it. BUT I provided all the quote cards and title as pictures so you can easily create your own Movie on YOU OWN PROGRAM for your computer.

Blogger will not let me insert a link to existing text today for some reason... but here is the link.
I am putting it on sale for today ONLY... so grab it now.
I hope this will put a new spin on a great celebration!

I can't wait to hear how some of you guys can use my Grandparents Day unit to save you time!
Have you ever used Movie Maker in your classroom? 

August 18, 2012

Center Saturday

Welcome back to Center Saturday!
Since school is back in, I can share with you what my students are working on during their centers this week.
{Just a quick reminder that I always do 6 work centers and a TON of free centers during the week. By the end of the day and esp towards the end of each week, each student has their work centers done and is allowed to play. I feel it is important to play everyday.}
Math- shape graph using dice. Roll the dice and record what shape it landed on.
Writing- handwriting practice of sight words using spacing. One sheet was NOT dotted, but the rest were dotted to show letter and word formation.
Reading- put the cars in ABC order. We sing the song and use the ABCs in the room to do this. They did awesome, even though it was a little tough.
Phonics- My students created color words using the brown bear mats I created. They had an easy and a hard version to choice from. They liked the easy side.  {Grab it here}
Unit- I put all my brown bear pattern pieces in my sorter and provided sentence strips. Students created AB patterns. FUN! The sorter made a HUGE difference in the ease and cleanup time involved. I highly recommend it. {Grab it here}
I also created this gingerbread pan and man sort a few years ago. Students match the number on the man to the pan. The numbers are 0-10.

We did only play centers the first week of school, so the SHOCK of work centers this week hit them hard. Once they got going and knew they were not boring, many of my students completed some of the centers 2 times or more! This has never happened. I laughed so hard at them!

What reaction do you get from students when you explain work centers?

August 17, 2012

5 Things I Miss About Summer

I am not normally one to dwell on all the summer time joys teachers have, because... well... I REALLY like my job. I look forward to the start of school every year. But... there are some things that I do miss about the summer too.

1. Sleeping in. I hate waking up so early. It sucks. Why can't school start at 9am everyday?
2. PJ Days at home with my sweet little one, S. We stay in Jammies a LOT, esp since we dress up as a Princess all day, every day. Jammies make dress up so much easier. (And I don't have to do a lot of laundry either.
3. Pool time. a great day at the pool always means a great nap at home. (AKA blogging time for Mommy.) I love quality time together and quiet time to recover.
4. Trips. We travel often in the summer since I am not "working." It is nice to grab stuff and go.
5. Staying up late to create or finish something I am inspired to work on. When my mind gets flowing, I like to go with it. Lots of times during the school week, I have to crash before my creativity allows me to... sucks.
I am linking this up with Nancy from

What do you miss about summer?


Today at school, we read and listened to this FUN new book....
Here we are listening, turning pages, and following along with the story.

We worked in small groups to create a gingerbread man puzzle.
 And we made our own Gingerbread Men!
When we went to get them out of the oven... the escaped and we searched for them all over the school. They were waiting for us back in our classroom.

We also used these two books today....

So I made this pack of sorting cards for both these books.
grab this here
I planned to make this a longer, more detailed unit... but my "free time" at school just doesn't permit it, so instead I am giving it away!
When do you use the gingerbread themed books? Christmas or Back to School?

August 16, 2012

Smaller Class HURRAY!

 Today, my school was able to add an additional teacher to the K team
to help us with our LARGE class sizes.
 I went from 24 students to 18!
WHAT a HUGE difference 6 kids can make.

After actually shifting students, stuff, and materials around...
I was able to take a deep breathe and actually TEACH today.
 (Verses the feeling of maintaining that I have been feeling lately.)
e knew this shift was coming, so I have been putting things off until it happens.
 I can't wait to get rocking and rolling towards a GREAT school year now!

Today, my students read the book....
This is always a class favorite.
We are using the CAFE reading strategies
- Checking for Understanding
- Using the Pictures
- Go Back and Reread

 We also used my little unit...

We were able to use these materials in small groups.
One group sequenced the cards in the story, then completed this FUN activity.
My aid was shocked at how well the students actually did.
She thought this would be TOO big of a challenge.
They LOVED it and rocked the sequencing.

Here is some of their work.
My group played the reading comprehension game and
worked hard on moving the correct number of spots as they rolled.
 One to one correspondence is a tough for some of these kids.
The last group played the memory game and
worked on matching pictures, taking turns, and learning to win and lose. 

*I wish there were more student pictures to show,
but it is kinda hard to *capture* game playing when you are trying to teach them how to play a game.*

We also introduced my iPads into the classroom.
Of course, they were an instant hit for all my students.
I can't wait to give them more time to learn and build skills with the devices. 
{I will have to work hard to get the devices ready to rock and roll as soon as they are ready.}

What tasks are left on your to-do list?