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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Need A Gift For Your Secret Pal At School? Shhhhh...

Right now things are crazy at school but I am having a blast picking out or making gifts for my secret pal. Why not make the gingerbread play dough for your kinder friend or a teaching friend with young children. I have even made this for parent volunteers in my classroom and wrapped it with a gingerbread cookie cutter. It's homemade and much appreciated. If you want to add in these simple mats for a little something extra from the elves you can grab them right here but be sure to leave a comment just to add some Christmas cheer. The students in your room could certainly enjoy them at a math station too! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Okay so I forgot the recipe... I'm on it!

This is not my recipe. It comes from the most amazing site for cookies in the world. If you visit this lady she will make you feel bad about yourself. Your cookies will seem pathetic by comparison so don't say I didn't warn you. I could spend all day on her site and Facebook page. She is truly a cookie artist. Remember that I warned you. Do not lash out at me...Check out her elf cookies and leave me a comment once you stop drooling over her work...

Monday, December 9, 2013

What's Cooking At Your House?

As if you aren't busy enough... I hope you squeeze in the time to make Gingerbread Playdough for your classroom. Your students will love you so much. My recipe has you cook this on the stove and add all the delicious ingredients used in the cookies. The house smelled delicious and the poor husband thought I was making the real deal. Boy was he disappointed! Anyhow, it's a secret  (shhhh)  but this is for some of my kinder teachers who want a little fun sprinkled into their classroom. Who better to deliver this gift than the elf? I will post these mats if you leave a comment about what special holiday fun you infuse in your classroom that still meets our rigorous academic standards?  Have a wonderful week and squeeze in time to do this. You will not be sorry. Your students will love the smell and have fun with this special holiday dough!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Don't Miss Cyber Monday On TpT: I Am So Excited to Have a Sale!

I am so excited to finally put some of my packets up for sale this week. You can "gobble" up any of these sets to help you plan for the upcoming weeks or put them away for next year at prices you won't want to miss! How cute is this sale button? My amazing, smartie, techie friend Traci created it and I love her creativity. Her blog is Dragonflies In First  and she is wildly creative.

Here are the bundles I think you will be interested in for this time of the year:

T is for Turkey and Turkey Leftovers: These packets are perfect for young learners at this time of the year and are filled with activities to use if you do a celebration just before you go on break. You can find these here in my TpT store.

A Bundle of Alphabet and Number Foldables:  My kinder teachers love these mini books and their students are having so much fun practicing the letters of the alphabet and saving them to review. The number books work on number sense, allowing students to count, use ten frames and store all their understandings in a little book to save and use for review. Teacher posters are for guided instruction and for use in centers.Doing RTI? Grab these as a perfect resource for this time of the year.

Gingerbread Holiday Joy In Literacy and Math: Are you getting ready for December? . Who does not love the many versions of this holiday story? You will find a wide range of activities in this bundle. Students read their own emergent reader, practice retelling the story in a pocket chart with cards, and even make their own bracelet. Also included is a headband for number counting fun, working on teen numbers, and number writing work. These are perfect for your activity days and you can grab this here.

There's An Elf In Our Room Bundle: Do you need some academic activities before you go on your winter break? This bundle was a huge hit in my kindergarten classrooms last year.  These packets provide an opportunity to make a classroom elf who loves watching students work on letters, sounds, rhyming and reading! An adorable cut and paste emergent reader is provided for students to share with their families. Students work on counting by two's and even create a jingle bracelet to add some holiday bling! You can purchase this Common Core aligned bundle right here. 

Hanukkah Readers for Young Learners: This is an amazing deal to grab for your young students who need Common Core aligned readers just right for this time of the year. In this packet are two teacher books that are interactive and engaging. One is perfect for building math concepts, while the other is informational text which teaches about the of traditions of Hanukkah with repetitive text and cut and paste fun. This is a great package for this time of the year. 

 So my friends- I putting all of these on sale for 20% off and TpT is offering an even bigger discount with the code CYBER. This is my first big sale ever but I am full of gratitude for all of you who read this blog, leave thoughtful comments, and continue to show your support for Kindergarten Crayons. Have a wonderful week of teaching. Click on each title to grab it from my store and I hope you fill your cart up with wonderful products.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Light Up Your World With Hanukkah

This is a new product that I am really excited to present to you. I spent a long time on it since I wanted emergent readers that provided information about the holiday of Hanukkah. I think I pulled it off and I am really happy that it is Common Core aligned. The first book is entitled Hanukkah is Here.

It is important to me that my students be exposed to culturally diverse literature and these books provide them with that opportunity. They will also build academic vocabulary while they practice important foundational skills. The teacher reader is perfect for a literacy station once students have completed their own version. 

The second set of books are for building math concepts and the title is Light the Menorah. Teachers will have a colored version to read to their students and to use as a model during small group instruction. Students work on counting skills, ordinal numbers, and reading number words. This can be challenging for young children but this book contextualizes these numbers so children can make sense of this. 
Are these only useful at this time of the year? No! These have valuable content that children can explore throughout the year. If you want to take a peek at them you will find them here.  Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Turkey Fun On the Run... some extra ideas recycled

Thanksgiving is almost here and this is back by popular demand!
I am posting this since so many of my followers have asked me about these ideas. Here are some freebies, packets, games, and ideas for Thanksgiving. I am even thinking about holding a special sale to celebrate my favorite holiday!
My students loved this game and it is a great way to continue to review those kindergarten sight words that they still need to practice. When they go on break they often come back with very little memory of these crucial words. I should send a version home for parents to play and keep!
More and less is a challenging concept that is clear as mud to little ones. I made this very concrete version for students which they loved to play! Just slam a turkey or Pilgrim on a card and they are convinced it has to be fun!
The concept of more and less shows up in our math program right around this time of year and our kids struggled with this so much. So I tried to make it more concrete for them and using Thanksgiving graphics to convince them it was so much fun. This is perfect to do in collaborative groups to meet CCSS standards so I am showing this to my kinder teachers.

My BFF teachers next door to me last year showed me this idea last year and it is such a keeper. I adored it since I make headbands for everything possible. This is the best trick I have ever seen and you need to remember it! It's a real keeper!

These are my Thanksgiving retelling cards that I use in a pocket chart to build a flow map of the story. I practice it with the kids for several days and then move on to the bracelet activity that Dr. Jean taught me, right before they leave for vacation. You can grab them here but please leave a comment and any suggestions you have for this holiday.

Please try this pumpkin activity if you have never done this. 
1. Scoop out the pumpkin but leave the seeds in the bottom.
2. Add soil to the pumpkin, filling it to the top.
3. Water it and leave it in the sun.
4. It will grow very quickly and your students can use a science journal to record 
    the results. It was a huge hit in my room. 
This is not my idea. I found it on another blog called Growing In Pre- K. You can see her fabulous version here. Can you think of a better way to teach the life cycle of a pumpkin? My teaching friends did this for the first time this year and adored this project. 

I have used the retelling bracelet that Dr. Jean created for many years now. However, I found that my English Language learners needed more support because the language of the story is so demanding. Finally, about six years ago I simplified the language a bit, created the flow map cards to practice the story whole group, and came up with a little strip book to support their learning. You can find it here.Why was this such a big hit? My kids could go home and tell the story to their parents at their own Thanksgiving table and feel so successful. A big shout out goes to my friend Dr. Jean who understands young children and their developmental needs better than anyone I know! Visit her blog if you are a kindergarten teacher and you will truly learn from her.
She has a more difficult version for first grade or for students who can handle more complex language.

Finally, these are packets I have created to support their learning at this time of the year. In Turkey Leftovers I have included an emergent reader that is a poem that you can also sing and is precious. Sparkle Readers #5 have a turkey reader about the food we eat at our Thanksgiving meal and focuses on beginning sounds. These are all at my TpT store and at Teachers Notebook. They can be used after vacation too as you get ready for your winter curriculum. Click here for T is for Turkey.
This is a card I created this year for students to make. They pick out the pictures that reflect what they are grateful for. I love the great conversations you can have around this! I think it is so important that we stop and remind each other of how grateful we are for all that we are blessed with. I have posted this before but if you still want to grab it you can find it here.
I love teaching about this holiday, making the costumes, cooking cranberries, creating pasta necklaces and all the other projects. What are some of your favorite activities to do? 

I got this idea off of Pinterest and completed the whole thing in just a couple of hours. I sent the Hubs out to find Bugles and Runts and he finally had to look on the internet for them. Wal-mart has these but ran out so he went to Walgreen's and hit it big. The man was my hero and they were so cute. I brought them to school on Friday and was super popular that day! Hint: bring treats to work to feel the love. Here is a set of these labels so you can be everyone's favorite teacher. Click here.
Leave a comment and share!
Have a wonderful holiday with your family. It is so well deserved.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

You've Been Framed!

 So here is my latest product and I think it's really a winner. It is a series of mini books that hit many of the Common Core Standards for Number Sense. In addition I made guiding posters to use when teaching these concepts. Students get a "Number Expert" award when they have mastered these concepts.If you are interested in these you can purchase them here. Ten frames are a crucial concept and this is addressed in these mini books. You can use a bingo marker, highlighter, or crayon to fill in your frame. The teacher posters are laminated and can be used in a math center, using play dough to represent the appropriate number. Students need lots of experiences with this concept and this packet will bring it home! Easy-peasy.

Here is a DIY teaching tool that will really help your students understand ten frames and can provided them with hands-on practice that will keep them engaged. Follow the directions and you can make them quickly and easily so get your "craft on." The teacher tray and student trays (smaller) are available at the Dollar Tree.

The glass beads were purchased at Dollar Tree but the glue and all the magnets were purchased at Walmart for just a few dollars. When you use a circle punch it saves you massive amounts of time since you can grab scraps of cute paper and punch your circles in seconds. Place the Modge Podge right on the bottom of the glass bead with the right side facing up when you turn the bead over!  Is this clear as mud? Add the heavy magnet with this glue called Amazing Goop.

The mat has adhesive magnets on the back so it doesn't slide around and can be changed to use with other concepts. The little trays are also available at Dollar Tree and can be used by students in a small group or at a math station. They go perfectly with my Number Books and students can save their little books in a baggie to use with a partner. These are perfect for homework. Stay with me because the magnets on the little trays can be purchased at Walmart but I used adhesive dots to make them in the color I needed... BRILLIANT right? Applause, please. I hope this makes sense. Kids love little foldables and I love playing with magnets, don't you? 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Growing Vines and Having Good Times: A Freebie

My teaching buddy loves growing pumpkin vines and did this right after Halloween when pumpkins were easy to find. She scooped out all the gooey stuff while the kids watched and helped and left all the pumpkin seeds in the bottom. Then she added soil. After a few days of sunshine and water this pumpkin sprouted and the children exploded with enthusiasm. This is so easy and your students will love this simple science. I swear it grows bigger each day and the children look forward to coming to school to watch their pumpkin grow! I hope you try this with your class. It is the perfect activity to use with the sequencing cards I provide as a freebie in the previous post. Grab them if you haven't had a chance.
We always continue to talk about pumpkins through the month of November since young children love measuring them, predicting if they will sink or float, etc. Don't forget to do a guided drawing of the life cycle if your students are ready for this. If not, just teach them how to draw a pumpkin. 

Kindergarten students are learning many sight words that are needed for them to build fluency with their guided readers but many continue to need additional practice learning those crucial works. This is one of my favorite games and it takes no time to put it together. I hide a slice of pumpkin pie behind a word and the game is over when the winner can read the word, removes the card and finds this card! I have a little chant that the children do before a child picks a card! Most children figure out that I place the special card behind a more challenging word and it motivates them to learn these quickly. I have been playing this game for years and it is a classroom favorite. If you want to have a copy you can find it here. If you take a copy please leave a comment telling me a favorite fall game you like to play with your class. We all love getting new ideas!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

From Seed to Pumpkin ( A Common Core Retell)

I love this time of the year but for me I am busy working on writing units of study with my team at the district office. We just finished a Thanksgiving packet and I am so glad to move on after looking at curriculum maps, content and language objectives, informational text, and still slamming in some games to make all this look like fun to the kids! The rigor is going to kill me (just sayin").

So what have I learned in all of this? Materials for teachers need to be simple and easy to put together. So here are my "famous" retelling cards that form a flow map in a pocket chart. Teachers in my district are probably sick of seeing these for all kinds of topics. This time I did it for the growth of a pumpkin. How are these different? Let me share my thinking.

I did not include the transition words because I want students to practice this orally. They need to use words such as first, next, after, last, finally... you get the idea. Some of your students might be reading by now and that's why sentences have been provided to challenge them.  Common Core is all about offering differentiation. The language is still simple and repetitive.Be sure to model the language you want them to use and do this over several days. Now you can hand out the cards so students can have an opportunity to retell the growth story while the others watch. I often do this during my morning opening. Listen for those crucial transition words. Can they do this? This can be a great assessment for oral language, but teach it first! 
Retelling is an important skill and is part of the CCSS. However, what makes this truely a Common Core activity? Yup, doing it in collaborative groups of four, practicing academic language. Run the cards off  so that each group is provided with a set and store in a baggie. Students sit in a small circle and each one finds the next part of the sequence and continues to tell the story, using those important transition words. The teacher walks around and listens carefully as students work together. Your administrator will be impressed with your collaborative academic conversations and the kids will love working together to build their understandings. Are you willing to try this? This is what Common Core is really about!

Do you want these cards? I have them right here but be sweet enough to leave a comment and tell me what pumpkin activities you love to do! I forgot to mention that I sometimes prefer to make these cards magnetic and if you have a bookcase or file cabinet at the level kids can use this makes a great independent science/literacy center. I bought the magnets for just a couple of dollars at Walmart and they are self adhesive!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Don't Be A Turkey... Some Fresh Ideas

By the end of October I am screaming with happiness if my students know all their letters and sounds. This makes a huge difference when it comes to reading and writing. Not there yet? Are you sick of working on this constantly and do you feel like you are spinning your wheels? Welcome to my reality! This is a Fall Beginning Sounds Packet (seasonal images) that might be what you are looking for. It is filled with interactive and differentiated materials to meet the wide range of needs in your classroom. Click on the picture to find it in my store on Tpt. I promise you won't be sorry. My students love it and need more practice, and more, and more... so i need to make it fun!

Stick with me and I will solve all your problems this week...
Don't start screaming but did you know about this? Stop screaming. 
So Pete is in a school play and it is all about the story of Thanksgiving kindergarten style. It is really cute and a bit interactive with flaps. I might have to create one as a Big Book for my kindergarten classrooms. Easy to teach the story if it has my buddy Pete in it. Look for freebies soon. Check back and leave me some some suggestions!

Finally we get to my Turkey Packets if you are trying to stay ahead of the curve:
These are filled with math and literacy activities for your students with the famous Fran Kramer emergent readers. They are two of my best sellers. Take a look at T is for Turkey and Turkey Leftovers if you want some meaningful work at this time of the year. I don't think you will be disappointed. Trust me. Check back for some fall freebies.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

More Washi Tape Wonderful Projects For Your Classroom

Many teachers shop in Ikea for all kinds of inexpensive containers, carpets, picture frames, etc. to fill their classroom with attractive pieces that make it more homey. They are know for having goods that are simple and clean in design. I love their plain white pots that often just have a little texture. They are only a few dollars so they are affordable for a classroom. These have horizontal lines which made them perfect for washi tape decorating! Here are the results. Really nice looking and a cute pop of color... right?

Where I live we have little dollar type stores everywhere and I was cruising around and found this clear plastic box which I use when I need to take supplies with me on the run. Once I added a label and colorful tape it become this adorable box and my name is right on the front. It only took me minutes to make. As I was cruising around I found a white plastic binder. I grabbed it and made it so much cuter with some tape on the outside and inside. The pages are color coded so I can find information quickly and easily. 
Helpful Hint: I like washi tape best on white products or clear ones since the tape is a bit transparent.  Have you washi taped anything lately? I would love to get some other ideas from you so leave a comment if you want to. Now go have a "washi wonderful weekend."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Here Are Some Delicious Apple Activities

 As we approach the end of September (Can you believe that?) it is time to start thinking about progress reports which are crazy to do with kindergarten students. Those of us with 31 kiddos want to pull our hair out since any assessment for this age is done individually. OMG, what does a teacher do to maintain her sanity or what's left of it? Bust open this packet. laminate the pages and set up some math and literacy stations for your students to do independently. Does this sound like a plan?

These are easy enough for your students to do with a little modeling and screaming  training. It is packed with apple activities in both reading and mathematics and I even included the famous Kindergarten Crayons emergent readers that you are constantly asking for. Don't work harder... be smarter and have fun with this packet. Many of these activities can also be done in whole group as part of your morning meeting. I hope you love this as much as I do. Click here to grab this applelicious treat.
Have a great day of teaching. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Color Your World With Common Core Posters

Have you seen these Common Core Number Posters for your classroom? Once you have printed them, laminated, and hung them up they are really gorgeous in all their rainbow colors. What makes them super special is the fact that they are free in my TpT store. Do you want to grab them? You can click {here} to make them yours. If you appreciate having them I would love for you to leave a comment and follow my store.

So many of you asked me to make the numbers 11-20 so you could have a full set. This took me some time and I hope you like the results. I decided to make this a freebie too. If you want them you can grab these {here}. 

How do I show my appreciation?
1. Leave a comment on the blog which will show up after I approve it.
2. Follow me on Bloglovin' which is just a simple click on the right side panel.
3. Follow my TpT store to hear about other CCSS products I create.
4. Follow my Pinterest Boards which are filled with amazing teaching resources by
    clicking on my right side panel too.

Have a great Sunday and I hope these numbers brighten up your classroom.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dear New TK and Kindergarten Teachers: Get Them Under Control

When an administrator walks into your classroom he is looking for many things but you can bet your last dollar that your classroom control is what he will notice first. Forget Common Core, Big Idea, Curriculum Maps, room environment, your highly engaging lesson, etc. if the kids are hanging off the ceiling. I hope new teachers are looking around for strategies that might work in their room so they can rock out behavior management. It is crucial. Set the tone now, while you can. Read on and see if this might be a solution!

So mine is a little different than most but I made sure I was using academic language to stay consistent with Common Core. Right? You can put this together in no time but the real work is in modeling this until you feel like screaming. When students are not doing what you expect, refer back to the chart. Ask them, " Are you on task?" " Are you being a learner?" No matter what, expect a five year old to say yes, regardless of what he is doing! Anyhow, this is far more explicit and will be a good management tool if you use it daily.  For very young children you can use a small photo on the end of each clothespin, as well as their name. This will serve as a scaffold for them. It is important for them to recognize their own pin and care about its placement
Allow children to make mistakes and the Oops can be a warning. If  behavior improves move their clothespin or students have nothing to gain by getting back to workand making better choices. Forgive them. Students at this age can be really impulsive and often give little thought to the consequences of their actions. What system do you like to use in your classroom for behavior management? If you like it you can grab it {here} and leave me a comment if you want.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Look Who Joined Our Staff!

After twelve years of watching teachers receive "pink slips" and leave our district we finally had the opportunity to welcome two new, male teachers to our staff. They have changed the climate of our school and bring so much passion and enthusiasm to their job. Both are upper grade teachers who cannot wait to get started on this wild and crazy ride known as teaching. 

Aaron was hired before school started so he joined me for the Common Core trainings. He participated in all the activities and the staff loves having him on board.
Why is this such a big deal?
Both of this young men were born and raised in this community. One even attended this elementary school and was dearly loved by this staff. They watched him grow and mature and now he is joining the ranks as a teacher. Talk about successes. It brings tears to my eyes. The second grade teacher brought him lunch for the first day and I watched his family help him set up his room. They feel so much pride in his achievements.
Mike was hired a few days later and I set up his room so he wouldn't walk into a mess. I cleaned it, set up the desks, loaded his book cases with the right materials and put up a few boards, just the basics. He came in with two friends and within hours the room looked beautiful and you could sense his excitement about starting the year. He is a product of our school district and loves the idea of making a difference in his community. Listening to him, sensing his passion, makes me feel so much hope for the future. 
How lucky is my school and my district to have these men? Both of them bring so much to the classroom. When I stand in the doorway and watch them teach I get a lump in my throat. They move around the room constantly, teach with passion, and talk to students using quiet voices, always validating who they are. They understand.
What changes has your school had?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Washi Tape Wonderful

So that was super easy and "cutified" a plain tin container. Realize that a white container gives you the best results since the tapes are slightly transparent. I love that I can match any colors that I want and now all I need is a label on the front for the final touch. How about you? Do you like washi tape and have you tried it? I would love to see what you have done. Have a great week at school.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Do You Love To Shop? Come and Visit My TpT Store

We all love to shop for materials to help us in our classroom. I have not purchased anything in a retail teaching store for years because of  Teachers Pay Teachers. Today and tomorrow they are running their big Back to School sale and I put together a fantastic bundle for you to purchase of some of my new back-to-school packets. Here are all the packets I created to help you start the year off:
These packets will be easy to put together and are all aligned to the Common Core. I am selling them as a set for just $21.60 and that is a steal at 20% off. I spent the entire summer making them and I think you will love the content. There are lots of cut and paste activities to build fine motor skills, students have an opportunity to practice numbers and letter skills and all of these can be made into books to send home on use as part of a portfolio. 
When I created these packets I really tried to minimize the prep time since this is such a busy time of the year.So grab this "bundle of joy" by clicking on the Back to School sign my friend Traci made for us to celebrate going back to school. You can get this bundle on TpT by clicking any of the images you see!  Remember that TpT is offering their own Promo Code BTS13.

If you already bought some of these packets or you don't need all five, you can also get each one for $5-6: Silly Sound Circles: Simple Cut, Paste, and Trace Fun, Counting in Circles: Building Number Sense, Putting the Pieces Together: Matching Upper and Lowercase Letters, Putting the Pieces Together: Letters and Sounds, Putting the Pieces Together: Number Sense Work.  They'll help you make a great start to the year.