Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Handprint Calendars - Parent Gifts

For the last two years, I have spent the month of December slaving over these handprint calendars. They are time consuming, messy, exhausting... but absolutely darling.

One of those projects that make me say, "What was I thinking?!" all along the way. However, the pride on my students' faces and the happy parents are worth it every time!

I love these calendars. They require simple materials -- cardstock, binding, paint, and hands! But, they capture an amazing little handprint that will never be the same size.

Here's a snapshot of each month:

Front cover [I know you may wipe some away, but these handprints were made to stay. So keep them forever, a treasure they'll be. A special "I Love You" for you from me.]

[That's a ghost on the left. Apparently, this ghost is a partyin' ghost.]

[This handprint tree is upside down... but that's what makes it so cute!]

Well worth the time, cleaning, and paint on everything. Literally. Everything. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Mailbox

There are some cuties today! [As always... translation provided for those of you who do not read kinder writing!]

[I have the best teacher in the world.]
 This one nearly made me cry! Just what I needed to get going on a Monday morning.

This seriously cracked me up. I have no idea who it's from -- but it's hilarious!

[Dear Mrs. A - Do you like my birthday?]

I'm looking pretty good on this sunny day!

Okay... just had to share this adorable book one of my kinders put in my mailbox. It's amazing. So much expression and voice... and GREAT writing! I love how she retold the story. Just adorable.

The cover.

Starting from the right page... [Once upon a time, there was a gingerbread man.]

[Walking on a sidewalk, he met a fox.]

Starting from the right page... [Oh no! A river. The fox said, "Get up on my nose." So he did.]

Starting from the right page... [It got higher. He said, "Get up on my tongue." So he did.]

[The fox gobbled him up.] 

Starting on the right page... [So, the people made another one and they shared it.]

[The end.]

So proud! So cute!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our 100th Day of Kindergarten [in pictures]

Yesterday was the 100th day of kindergarten! It was easily one of my favorite days of teaching - ever. It was fun, exciting, full of learning opportunities -- and overall, a wonderful celebration. 

Here's a wrap-up of our 100th day [in pictures].

100th day small group stations

Click HERE for my post including the snack printable.

[Inspiration from Joyful Learning in KC]

[This was a cheap, easy idea... and a HIT!!!]

[Cut off two sections of an egg carton -- perfect counting trays! The kids counted 10 Fruit Loops into 10 sections = 100!] My kids seriously loved this. Some of them would not quit until it was done! :)
[Inspiration from Growing Kinders]

[A favorite of almost all the kids! Trace and make a crown to wear. The one on the top is my crown I wear every year -- I've saved it since my first year!]

100th day show-and-tell 

100th day art
[Inspiration from Mrs. Maya's Kindergarten]

[So cute! Use bingo dotters for easy gumballs -- 10 of 10 different colors!]

100th day math
[Inspiration from Mrs. Meacham]

[I hid 100 stickers around the room with the numbers 1-100 written on them. The kids raced back to the hundred board with their sticker and avidly searched for where to put it. Challenging -- and fun!]

Awesome day -- on all levels! I overhead many "I wish everyday was the 100th day!" yesterday.
Me too!

The evolution of awesome

I overheard a quite "awesome" conversation at the blocks area during indoor recess today...

Student 1: "Wow, this is getting awesome!"
Student 2: "It's already awesome!"
Student 1: "Yeah, it's getting awesomer by the minute!"

Love it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

100 days of kindergarten! [Snack Mix]

Wednesday is the 100th day of kindergarten!! I am beyond excited to celebrate with my kinder babies. Every year, I try to add more to the 100th day celebration -- and I'm hoping this year will be the best so far!

Each year, we do a 100-piece snack mix. It will be one of the four "100th day stations" during our usually morning literacy workstation time. The kids love making this snack -- and they take such pride in it.

My wonderfully supportive classroom parents donate all the food items. The mix is made with 10 pieces of 10 different snacks [raisins, M&Ms, marshmallows, cheese balls, cookie crisp, goldfish, cheez-its, fruit loops, chocolate chips, and teddy grahams]. 

To help the kiddos count out their "10 groups of 10," I created this grid. I've had a paper in the past, but I fixed this one to include snacks my kids would like -- and of course, I had to make it cuter. :)
Click HERE or on the picture above if you want to do a 100th day snack with your kids, too!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Brain reading

I will do anything to get my kinders' attention. Anything.

It's embarrassing.

I always say I'm 50% teacher... 50% actress. 

I'm loud. I'm theatrical. I'm ridiculous. But, the kids love it. :)

Motivation is key in a classroom. If a child is motivated, he/she will take academic risks. Academic risks = learning!!!

I will do anything to get my kinders' to practice reading. My kids are much more willing to take risks and practice difficult decoding skills when I keep it exciting.

One of my their FAVORITES recently -- "Brain Reading." Here's the scoop...

1. Print a sheet of labels with targeted CVC words. [We're working on short /o/ words.]

2. Print a recording sheet (to increase accountability during the activity).

3. Put a label on each child's forehead [they will giggle!!!]

4. Walk around... read... and write!!

Now, instead of sounding out CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words on flash cards... we are reading and writing from each others' brains!!!

Like I said... I'll do anything to get them "hooked." But, let me tell you -- IT WORKS! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dear Mrs. A...

I love my job. Seriously. Love, love, love it.

This week, we have started working on letter writing. This is a great, authentic way to get kinders engaged and interested in writing. They love writing to their friends and family... and it's extra special when someone writes back!

Today, we discussed the essential pieces of a kinder letter -- Who is the letter to? Who is the letter from? What do I want to say?

To practice, I helped each student write a letter to me. And, if they remember to say who it is from... I will write them back! They are always thrilled to get a letter from me.

I brought my stack of letters home with me to write back. I just about cried they were so cute! I just had to share them.

But, this post is just really for me. Anytime I am having a bad day... I'm going to come back to this post to remind myself why I do what I do -- for the kids!!!

[Translation provided for those of you that do not read kinder writing...]

[Dear Mrs. A - How is Frankie doing?]

[Dear Mrs. A - I like Mrs. A. You are an awesome teacher.]

[Dear Mrs. A - You are the best!]

[This one speaks for itself... adorable!!!]

*** I looooove this one! ***
[Dear Mrs. A - I like you. I have a dog, too! I have a lot of friends. You are my best.]

[This picture was on the back of a letter. So detailed and darling!]

[Dear Mrs. A - I like you Mrs. A.]

Love my job. Love my kids. Love these letters.