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Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's A Secret

I won't even tell you what it is but grab a lounge chair at Cindy's site and don't forget to wish her a HB. I am heading for Utah and need to send her some gifts because she is a BFF. If you do not know this site you need to check it out. Grab this little wrapped up gift right here. Now click on this picture to check out Cindy's work.
Have a great Sunday.

Who Loves to Shop?

I am finally finished putting this packet together and it is now available in my TpT store. It is chock full of games and activities for teaching high frequency words. Blank templates are alsoavailable so you can tailor it to your own needs. Got ink?.....better check. Click on this picture to ZOOM over to my store. I hope you love it! It was so much fun to create.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Words Are Spinning In My Head

Spinner games make learning sight words a lot more fun. When my students play these games I want them to read the word and put it in a sentence. I need lots of BANG for my buck! Partner games can be a big hit in the classroom. This is great for first graders at the beginning of the year too!

Now for the younger set of doodles:

My Star Word Packet Has Exploded Into the Universe

My sight word packet is almost finished but ended up exploding in size. So now I am breaking it into two parts in order to be more manageable. What a monster! There are games, headbands, cut and paste activities, word searches, writing practice and even certificates of achievement. These are geared for kindergarten, early first grade, and special education. I hope I have covered it all. I am providing blank templates for those additional words you might want. This grew into a much bigger project and I hope it helps blast you off to a great year of teaching! Countdown 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,...

Friday, July 29, 2011

If You Need A Good Laugh

Do you know this story? If not please check it out and see if it appeals to you. I absolutely love it and it makes me laugh so much as a mom and a teacher, both. Adventure Annie is thrilled to be going to kindergarten and comes to school decked out in a "costume" of her own choosing. She has her own ideas about school and what should happen there.As she goes through the day she learns about the Gold Star Rules which temper her behavior a bit. This is the mentor text I use when we have been in school for a few days and I want the class to help me come up with a few simple rules for the classroom. I love all the mean, negative things they remind each other not to do (Don't kick your friends... Don't scream at your teacher...etc.). I always have to restate it in a positive way. Even so, they come up with such far fetched ideas that it is hard not to LOL. Everyone has had an "Adventure Annie" in their classroom-right?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Words, Words, Words

Okay... just a little more to go and this packet will be finished. My grade level team is gonna love me lots for this little project! Wait- did I say little? It has grown a bit out of control and at some point I will need to WALK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER and be d*o*n*e. I'm trying but I keep leaving things out. If you want this little gift I am offering it up for my blogging friends. Why do I like this? It is another way to visit letters and work with students on letter identification. I am giving you all the letters in this package. If you like this know that  it is a great preview of the packet I am working on. Enough fun. I have to go back to work.
PS: If they can't recognize the word "small" after working on these pages I will pull my hair out!

Is There A Knuffle Bunny In Your Life

Why should every kindergarten teacher have these books?

If you have never come across these books head over to a bookstore because you are in for such a treat. Mo Willems is the author and these stories are about his daughter Trixie and her mishaps with her stuffed bunny. She has a stuffed animal (Knuffle Bunny) that is her all important cuddle toy. Any five year old can connect to the text and relate to these stories. I am so in love with the fact that the settings are in black and white in the form of photographs and the characters are drawn by the author in color, like cartoons. This is the B.E.S.T mentor text to use when teaching about story elements and you want them to understand character and setting! I love these so much! The stories are tender and loving and every single child has the background to connect to them. As a parent you will laugh out loud and be reminded of all the crazy things you did out of unconditional love for your own kids. Mo Willems is a rock star author. The last book will make you cry. My partner adores these stories and I love to open up my trainings with them so all teachers can fall in love with them as much as we have.

I know others have talked about these books but it is just a reminder that these are stories kinder kids will ask for over and over again.

Kathy and I are in this book together. Isn't this idea adorable? Wouldn't this be great to use in your classroom? Kids would love taking a picture with a friend inside of a giant frame. Kathy  is so full of life and has a real passion for teaching. Her material was fantastic and I really loved meeting her. My friend Amber from Kindergarten Rocks was in this class with me. We had a blast! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guess Who Showed Up At My House?

OMG this book is adorable and I can't wait to create another packet about Pete at school. I am so excited to work on this and read this to my kids during the first week of school. Get out your ipod and be sure to download this adorable song.  You can find it at . You can also get the first song too if you have never downloaded it before. Life is good.

Here it is for your enjoyment. If you bought my first packet I hope you liked it. Now it is time to work on the new one and get it ready for my team before school starts. Pete is sitting next to my computer watching me type this post. It would be so cute to send him home with the children so they could write about him at their house and take pictures with Pete... Hummmm. I love this blue cat. Look for some freebies soon. The cats looking out the school bus window is hilarious. Okay go over to Amazon if you haven't ordered this.

I bought this for my friend Val's grandchildren for our trip to Vegas and I swear it entertained them for a ridiculous amount of time. What is it about this book that children adore so much? Wait a minute, I love it almost as much. I feel like buying this for our first grade so my kinders from last year can hear this story. They would be so jazzed! If you have little ones at home it is a real winner.

Words Are Everywhere... Including My Floor

Do you love words as much as I do? I love when a parent tells me their child is obsessed with star words and is constantly pointing them out! Even cuter is when you ask a group of kindergarten teachers what they call these high frequency words and I hear" heart words", "star words", "popcorn words", etc. The kids learn to love  these words and and are thrilled when they can read them with automaticity. By the end of the year I want my students to be able to identify these quickly and easily, as well as spell them. This has a huge impact on their writing. Obviously we call them "star words" and we introduce them within the first week of school. Our kids see them in our emergent readers, read them in our pocket charts with repetitive text, cut and paste them, and even create them with play-doh. I am always looking for creative ways to build their fluency. I even have them on a PowerPoint!

On another note- thank you for the enormous support you have provided. I am so glad we all had this conversation together. We are truly a community of friends and my faith has been renewed. This blogger needs to be more aware of copyright laws and appropriate etiquette in the blogging world. She knows she is using materials created by someone else. I know this has happened to many of you (based on your emails) and many people are aware of her site but now it's time to move on. Call this another bump in the road...

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Need Help From My Blogging Friends...

Tonight another blogger left a comment on my blog and led me to her site. She had created materials exactly like mine and was giving them away as freebies. This would be no problem except that she did not even bother to link this back to me. Okay , then I looked at her download and she was selling my freebies and copied many of my ideas exactly. Wow, that is not okay with me at all. When did some of us turn into this? Aren't we suppose to support each other. I feel so disillusioned by behavior like this. It feels so bad to me that someone would make a profit off of another individual's creations. Am I being unfair? Has this happened to you? I need help with this. I am really struggling with this and need your feedback. In my world this is totally unacceptable. Since it's the internet we can do as we please?What do you think?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Headbands Are Hilarious

Why do headbands make me laugh so much? I love doing these with the kids. I have made a headband for 35 high frequency words. Students trace the word and then get a chance to practice patterning. Once again, I use sentence strips since we have easy access to these and they fit any child's head. So, this year we are "wearing"

 our star words on our heads as an accessory. I think they will L*O*V*E these so much! If you want a sample from the packet I'm creating here it is. I hope you like it.

I Work So Slowly

When I started this packet I thought I could knock it out pretty quickly because it's a topic I am pretty familiar with. However, the challenge for me is what to do when these little ones come to school for the first time and have very little experience with letters or words. My job is to work on building their background and creating activities that will cover a huge range of skills they have not acquired yet. Wish me luck! I am tackling it all day today...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Keep It Super Simple (KISS)

Soon summer will be behind us and the leaves will start to change color. Fall will be upon us and we will be back at school. Here is a simple worksheet I like to use as a simple cut and paste to build sight word knowledge. We really stress that the children not say "a" so they understand the difference between a letter and a word which is one of our kinder standards. When the kids practice reading this they are convinced that reading is easy as pie!

I hope you are not getting tired of these little strip books but I use this one a bit later when the kids are working on writing sight words and often we practice on wipe-off boards first before we go to this little book. After we fill it in students like to practice reading it together. This goes in their literacy bag to practice at home. If you want your own copy click here and just leave a comment. Let me know what activities you have success with.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What Are You Doing With Those Scissors?

I am fairly rationale when I am in my classroom but have you ever put scissors in the hands of a child who has never used them. It is a true leap of faith. I have seen children handle them in the most unusual and "creative"
way. .We need to give young children many opportunities to use scissors (under supervision) to build their fine motor control so every year I take a deep breath, model the activity carefully, and walk around assisting children who are unsure of themselves. Keep your eye on the four year olds since you will not enjoy sending anyone home with a new haircut or shredded clothes. This is a hard skill for our little ones and they need lots of opportunities to practice this skill. Practice, practice, practice. This is just one activity I provide but at the beginning- KISS (keep it super simple).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Woohoo: How Cute Is This!

Today I came home from a long, long, training and felt drained and tired. Then my husband handed me a package and after finally opening it I looked  inside. It was a sneaker pencil case from my friend Cindy over at
In the Teacher's Lounge. How fabulous is this! It reminded her of  Pete the Cat's shoes. I don't even know what to say about this. With it I got a beautiful note (yup, not an email) that really meant the world to me. She is a great friend and blogger and if you don't know her site head over there ASAP. Thank you for bringing so much sunshine into my life and guess what? " I love my red shoe." I'm just walking along, singing my song. I love my blog friends so much. By the way, she bought this from Staples if you must have one. I am putting my color words or sentence strips for the mini pocket chart in my little shoe. The kids will love this so much.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Realize You Need to Contextualize!

Sometimes we get so carried away with teaching the sight words that we forget to put them in context to build print sense with our little ones. I have used this "right out the gate" with my kids and I make a huge fuss about having turned them into readers the first week of school! I am a super drama queen so they walk out with this book and most of them are convinced that they have become scholars. I love 5 year olds. If I say it, it must be true... Now tell that to my family. On the last page they draw a self portrait. Cute, huh? I put dots below the text so they have some clue about where to put their "reading finger". I forgot to mention that we 'highlight the word "the" on each page with a yellow crayon. I will post a link later today. I am off to an ELD class! I am back and glad to be home so here is the link. Click here and enjoy this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stars Are Falling From the Sky

The teachers in my district loved this activity that I created last year. I thought you might like it too. I teach the kids how to do this in a systematic way with each sight word I introduce. It helps to make them independent learners since I have them going through the same process over and over again. First they trace the sight word (we call them star words), then they take colored pencils and "rainbow write inside the word", and finally they cut out the individual letters and glue them in the box  in the correct order. Now, here is what happens in my room. Students glue these in the wrong order (as hard as that might be to believe) and the children who are four glue them upside down or go from right to left. When I see this I know it is going to be a long year ! They have very limited understanding of print.  If you like this you can grab it here. I hope you like this little freebie. If you take it maybe you can tell me something you like to use to build  sight word knowledge!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Pocket Full of Learning Fun

I decided to make some very simple activities for young students to use as math and literacy stations at the beginning of the year. I am always looking for simple things to reinforce the skills they are learning. This is designed to be used with the mini pocket charts you bought at Target and I will be selling this on  TpT. I have provided labels to go with these activities so you can stay organized. See if this will help you in those early months when you start wondering when their independent skills are going to kick in! Where did summer go and what have I been doing with myself?

I am so excited about this packet. I hope it is something all of you can use. I just finished it tonight and it's 35 pages! YIKES! Some of the ideas I included are simple sentence building work, matching upper and lowercase letters, class sorts, color work, a shape activity, and number fun. I hope this helps to build academic vocabulary too. 

The Rock Star of the Conference

Have you ever had the pleasure of hearing Kim Adsit present?  She is the rock star of  kindergarten! Hands down.  I love her southern drawl but don't be fooled. She is smart, funny, and real about our grade level. I signed up for a few of her sessions and found myself coming back over and over again. As a presenter her pacing was perfect and she offered up a ton of information, along with funny anecdotes from her classroom.  She gave teachers  so many strategies for organizing your classroom, creating literacy and math stations, and assessment tools to use with children in a meaningful way.Some of her ideas were so clever and simple that I was speechless. Okay that was a lie but I was amazed. I was in awe of her PowerPoint and her ability to keep her audience engaged.After she suggested an idea she would show you what it looked like in a kindergarten room. This was so helpful. The time flew and she answered questions in a thoughtful manner, asking for the opinions of others in the room. I filled an entire notebook with her ideas and now I have a lot to think about...  It was a pleasure to meet her and look at all the charts, books, and centers she brought with her to support her trainings. A big shout out to this KINDERGARTEN DIVA! She has a website  and lots of treasures on TpT. Y'all- She is one of us. By the way I added the tiara and pointer for fun! If you are having a hard time deciding on how to set up your classroom check out her classroom tour for some ideas. The woman is a powerhouse! She has retired from teaching and works in her daughter's kindergarten classroom so she can still be with little people.

At the end of one of one of her sessions someone told her I was" Kindergarten Crayons" and she got off the stage to shake my hand. She told me she knew my blog really well. What? The Kim Adsit has been here. Seriously, it doesn't get any better than that! Wow.
That was the best part of my day.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Easy-Peasy Reading

Remember those mini pocket charts from Target that you insisted on purchasing? Here is another simple activity to use at the beginning of the year. Students practice reading this and building academic vocabulary. It is simple enough to release as a literacy station, early in the year when you want to get them started with concepts of print.
They can use a pointer and practice with a partner. You can introduce this same activity in a large group setting, using your regular pocket chart. It's also provides a great opportunity to do choral reading work.
Laminate these sheets, cut them apart, and store them in an envelope. Students can build these and work on their first sight word for the year. If you would like these beginning activities click here to find them. Please leave a comment and if you have other ideas share! Have a restful Sunday!

Creation Station: Oh How I Loved You!

Do not freak out. Stay calm. Prepare yourself. These markers are refillable and they were $1.49 each. OMG.

This was my favorite purchase at the "I Teach K" conference. My friend Val got just as excited about these as I did but what happened to my yellow? Oh well. Just call me greedy. This booth was "Creation Station" and is owned by Frank and Joy Knight. I think I scared Frankto death with my enthusiasm but he put up a good front. If this makes you "over the moon" happy I will give you the link (cause I'm just that generous). and tell Frank I sent you! He had so much stuff that you'd love like giant coffee filters, magnets of all kinds, bugs that fit on your fingers but looked real, etc. I was worried about getting home and did not buy as much as I could have. Did I mention his prices were really reasonable?  However, Frank gave me a tip and told me these dot marker containers work fine when you fill them with watered down tempera paint. That was worth the whole trip! Kuddos to Frank.

Excuse Me... Are you Kindergarten Crayons?

This was the B*E*S*T part of the conference! I met, in person, these 3 wonderful women and it was so much fun for me. I actually sat down with Amber and had lunch and we chatted away like old friends with her partner Lou Ann and my wonderful friend Valentina. Anyone watching us would have thought we were life-long friends.
Amber, I hope you see this post because you are the best and so much more beautiful in person. Thank you for making such a wonderful connection! Later the following day I met Ms. Lopez and found out she lives in the district I teach in! Seriously, what a small world. It was so much fun to chat with her and we have so much in common. She was sitting right next to me in one of the sessions! I got an email from Mary Ann who told me she was not leaving the conference until we met each other and gave me a time and place (smart lady). She was adorable and could be my BFF. You better start that blog ' cause I'll be watching you! Can you imagine how  special this was for me?  I hope all these amazing kinder teachers stay in my life  forever! Teachers referred to me as Kindergarten Crayons during the whole week which I thought that was hilarious. Now I am my blog.

Dice from Vegas

Lots of bloggers wanted to know where I got the dice and I finally found the flyer in a bag. It pays to unpack your suitcase and look for stuff. So now you can have the spinning tops because I love them and will have the kids spin them in a shallow box top that I "fancy up" for them. The color dots are pretty fabulous too. Wait, I love all of them.

Sing It and They Will Listen... Maybe

My friend Hadar (she teaches up the street from where I live and I almost died when I found out) is having a linky party about songs you use in your classroom. I am going over to her site (Miss Kindergarten to print out all the songs since I am so sick of mine!) What songs do you love to use. Be sure to link up with her and share! If you want this song you can download it here.

Dr Jean has many different transitional songs you might like. Try them!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fill Your Day With Fun and Songs!

How does she do this so well? Listen to this song and I know it will quickly become a favorite in your classroom along with all the others. Picture 1,500 teachers doing this and having a blast. It was so hilarious and reminded us all to just have FUN! Breathe. Smile. Love the kids.

If you are not using her Cheers yet, you might want to add them to your repertoire because kids adore them.
Scroll down and check out her cheer cards. They are so clever.

They Take Dice Seriously In Vegas

Okay, who loves to use dice in their classroom? The vendors at I Teach K were selling all kinds of dice and I went a little crazy over the possibilities and my friend Val was not helping as she piled more into my basket!
Now what to do with them? Well here is one idea.

So a student rolls the die with the colored dot and another one with dots (1-6) and the child finds the matching numeral and makes it the color of the dot on the die. Easy-right?  I need easy.

Pocket Chart Pete

Did you buy a million little pocket charts in the Target Dollar Spot? I have been purchasing them for several years now and I love using them for a variety of purposes. Our kids love to play "teacher" and this provides an opportunity to do just that. I create "mini" sentence strips for them to build sentences that we have practiced whole group. They can read these with a pointer (bet you bought those too) to a partner in a soft voice. This also goes with other pieces in the big packet I have on TpT. I love how this teaches them concepts of print and ending a sentence with a period. I will be posting other ideas for those mini pocket charts soon because I love them so much. Don't you? Here is a free download of this activity.Click here and check out the other freebies!

A Week To Remember: I Teach K

I am back from the conference in Vegas and ready to share some of the highlights (and there were millions) of this fantastic week. First off, can you image being with 1200 kindergarten teachers? These women (a few men) come from all walks of life and from all over the country. Most of them came on their own dollar and were thrilled to be at this conference. Their generosity and kindness overwhelmed me in general since it was crowded and noisy. I made so many friends and although I am glad to be home I will never forget this week. I know how lucky I was to have this opportunity and I filled  an entire notebook with ideas.

Day #1: The keynote speaker at this conference was Dr. Jean Feldman and she was everything I had hoped for.
She was inspirational, silly, funny, and very aware of what teaching kindergarten in 2011 was like. She reminded us of the huge responsibility we had as educators of young children and begged us not to let anyone take the fun out of our classrooms. Honestly, she had us up and dancing every fifteen minutes and as my eyes scanned the room I got a lump in my throat. Everyone participated fully. We all turned and made a new friend and loved being a part of something so much bigger than our district problems, our crowded classrooms, or the pressure of meeting standards with 5 year olds. It made me stop and appreciate how lucky I was to be a kindergarten teacher surrounded by loving educators. Talk about a moment in time...

My friend and I walked over to just hug Dr. Jean and this kind lady (she is a little, bitty lady) suggested we take a picture and I almost died! She never rushed us through but gave us all the time in the world and then told me how much she loved my sandals! If you never meet another presenter in your lifetime- she is your person. She is a true kindergarten teacher who loved her job and cares deeply about the children in our care. Thanks Dr. Jean for making me laugh so hard, hug another teacher , and "Tooty Ta" till I dropped! If you do not know her website please leave mine and check it out: and her blog is
You can really appreciate her when you watch her You Tube Videos! I am putting her on my blogroll today as a favorite.

Dr. Jean reminded us of these Cheer Cards that celebrate children and good thinking. She suggested that you run them off, laminate them, and put them on a ring to remind yourself to change them up often. Kids love these but I need to mix it up more often! I am a big fan of "Kiss your brain" but the best is when a student says it to another child in the room! If you want these cards click here and go to her site.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Am Back and My Brain Is Full of Kindergarten

I am back at my home in California tonight and my head is buzzing with all the things that I learned at this conference. I will tell you about it tomorrow. I learned that kindergarten teachers are the best people on this earth and they never stop loving the lives they touch. I am blessed to be part of this community and I need some sleep. I can't wait to share tomorrow. Good Night. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vegas...Making All Kinds of New Friends

I am sending a quick note today from Vegas to let you now that this conference is fabulous and I have made new friends from all over the country. I had my picture taken with Dr. Jean and my heart was pounding just being so close to her and she turned to me and said, "Can you help me with a problem I'm having with my blog?" I almost died! I have met her many times but the power of this little blonde lady never deminishes for me! I will share lots of activities at the end of the week but so far the highlight for me was meeting another blogger and I went crazy when she told me who she was. I will post an adorable picture when I get home. So she says, "I can't believe you're kindergarten crayons!" and five more people turn around to see who I am. I was so embarrased but everyone was so sweet and there was a lot of hugging and chatting.
I took a blogging class the next morning and she shoots my blog up on her screen! Seriously, I could not believe it and I finally had the guts to tell her that was my blog. Today is Wednesday and I am going to meet Kim Adsit and listen to her presentation. I can't wait! So I will post photos when I get home...promise.
Miss being a part of Blog Land but I can't wait to share.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Change It Up!

Your students will enjoy doing an innovation on this story and drawing a picture of what Pete might have stepped in. A class book is always fun to make and usually ends up being  a class favorite that is read often. On the last page you can have the children sign their names as the authors! This is easy to create and we all need easy-right?

When I put all the pages together I just bind it with a strip of folded construction paper at the top. This is a cute way to practice reading and writing color words. For the kids that are not ready to write color words just use a yellow highlighter, write the word in the space and encourage the child to trace it with a pencil. Feel free to click here for this class book.