Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kinders and Veterans Day!

We were out for Veterans Day so we had our lesson Thursday. My Kinders really did not know a lot about the military. I grew up in mostly military communities because my dad was in the Army. I was used to my friends's  fathers and  my own father being away... deployed. This was especially true during Vietnam. It was sad for us though during those days because you did not want people to call your dad names for fighting in Vietnam so mostly you kept your mouth shut unless you wanted a fight (verbal.) So to my dad and all of those Vets that fought in Vietnam, thank you from the bottom of my heart and I am sorry for what you had to go through when you came home.

That was sad. We knew that our fathers were doing their duty, but in the 60's many people blamed the soldiers. I am sure there wasn't a soldier over there that wouldn't love to be at home in the USA, but they were doing their job.

Anyway, my Kinders had a day love filled thoughts and wishes for all of our military. Some of my Kinders had connection to the military, and I let them share with each other.
My Kinders loved thinking about our Veterans and learning exactly what a Veteran is!

I had talked about the pledge many times since we say it every day. We went over the pledge and why we put our hands over our heart. My Kinders are used to the red dots under a word so we said the pledge word by word.

It is nice to have a kid-friendly poem for Kinders to read that is related to the theme. I used this book from Amazon: 
This was a great book for Text Features. I also showed my kinders the correct way to salute. Turns out I had that wrong, my dad would not have been happy!

After the book we made a bubble map of using the word veteran. My little kinders watch so many scary movies, many of them said that they protect us from zombies. I said, well those are not real, those movies are just to scare you. Fiction! We finally came up with some descriptions after going back into the book for Text Evidence!
I had printed out the soldier beforehand but having to lean over and write with a sinus headache I put some of the have's with the are's! This graphic organizer was great for our writing though.

After lunch we did our writing. I used my Veterans Day Writing packet because it involves drawing and coloring as well as writing. This year I am really focusing on the CC standards that say: with prompting and support. I was trying to get kinders to accomplish so much with out really giving them something to start with. We came up with a paragraph that all of us agreed on and I had them copy this on their paper. I did tell them they could come up with some of their own sentences if they wanted. I did stress the writing conventions and our writing rubric.

I love the way they are using their little pointer finger for spaces between words!
During our writing we had a surprise visit from a dad who is a veteran! A marine. I had told them about how marines never leave their buddies behind. It was nice that he came in and talked to us. He also showed us the correct way to salute! 

He was really good at using the anchor chart to explain what a soldier wears and then he talked a little about what a solder does. My boys were really interested in the weapons and tanks!

I was so proud of my Kinders for working so hard! And thank you to all the military and their families for the sacrifices they make daily.

This is my packet which includes graphics and a topper! I took off the year so it just says Veterans Day on the writing page!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Because... Singing it in Kindergarten!

Almost my entire class can spell because. That's 'because' we sing the Because Song daily. My Teacher Assistant sang this for my first Kinder class and I've been doing it each year since then. The pictures are from the first month of Kindergarten so many are just learning what the written word is and how they can write words to make sentences!

This is a quick video of my little learners singing this year!

We write 'college sentences' in our class. This is from Whole Brain Teaching. Since 'because' is such a long word, singing it helps my students write the sentence! I don't really like the clip art that Chris Biffle uses, but I love his strategies! They really work. Here is his book on Amazon if you haven't read it.
I use my smartboard to write because and have different children come up and point to each letter as we sing it. 

Thankfully, Herding Kats had a post about how to download youtube videos and save them. I was having a time trying to keep my videos organized. Now it will be as simple as saving them on a thumbdrive! 

I have this song included in my Sight Word packet. It is a great way to get all your students loving to write the word because!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beginning of the Year in Kindergarten! All Over Again!

This was my post last year about this time.... not much has changed except I have 20 sweet Kinders this year!!!
Well my time this school year has definitely been spent having a great time getting to know my Kinders! I love Kindergarten! I started out teaching K and now I am hoping to stay with this grade until *****Retirement Time.*****

The best thing about Kindergarten is having 27 little darlings who absolutely LOVE their teacher. They hug me and tell me they love me constantly... even when I am asking them to move their color. The second best thing about Kindergarten is seeing students LEARN! You can actually see the progress day by day. How rewarding is that! Some people get their rewards making money, teachers get their rewards by knowing they are helping little people!

One thing we are doing every minute is Letter Recognition. This is Common Core Standard:
Having fun with Letter Recognition is what my students love to do best. We play games, we use flash cards, we do all kinds of things. One of the best ways I have found to help students with letter recognition AND know their color names are my "Letter Recognition Practice - 8 Mystery Pictures To Color!"

My students love doing these. At the beginning of the year I gave these out, but I had to color in each 'crayon' for them. Now that 2 months have gone by, (well almost 2) I printed these out again and they have to look at the color words to figure out the colors.

There are 8 different pictures in this set and by this time most students had completed about 6 of them at various times during the month. They are great when someone finishes up their work or as morning work. I kept all of the completed pictures in their folders and had them pick their best work to put up!
Thanks for reading my Blog! 

If you have any questions about anything posted, please just let me know. My email is

The Mystery Pictures are in my TPT store. Right now the letter recognition set is only $3.00 for the download. I have two sets, one is the Letter Recognition pictured here and the other is Sight Word Practice ($4.00.) Both are fun for students and they really do LEARN while having fun!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Drill and Practice! Oh how students groaned and moaned when they were handed a worksheet with problems to work out. They needed the practice though, Practice Makes Perfect! Right? I use Math Puzzles in my room and my students never, ever turn them down! They are aligned to the Common Core Standard that we are working on at the time. I can use them as an assessment or just as practice. I love color and cute, and these are both, but they are also a meaningful activity that incorporates some higher level thinking by having students think about the numbers and move the puzzle pieces around until they all fit together. 
Math Puzzles CCSS Aligned 4.NBT.4

First I took the regular Magic Squares that we have all used for years and “fixed” them up a bit. My Math Puzzles are designed for groups of 4, with each student getting a different Puzzle Sheet. No more having to cut the pieces out yourself and paper clip together for each student. Also, every 4 students will have a different puzzle and you will have the answer sheet for a quick check. This is how it works for me.

Math Puzzles 4.NBT.4 
In the picture you see a Teacher Answer Sheet #1 and a Scrambled Squares for Students # 1. The fonts match on the TA Sheet 1-4 and the Scrambled Student Sheet 1-4. I put the 4 TA sheets on a Clipboard to carry with me so I can monitor my students working out the problems.

Students working in journals using Math Puzzles 4.NBT.4

The picture above shows two different students' work. After cutting out their squares, they get to work. The math problems align with the common core standard 4.NBT.4. They are working the math problems out in their journals (showing their work.) I ask them to write the answers on the math puzzle pieces because it makes putting the puzzle together easier. 

Notice one Student pasted the I Can Statement at the top of her puzzle page. This is required and is included in the Math Puzzle 4.NBT.4 packet. ( I always include PAM somewhere in the  puzzle.) They love it!

This student went to another page where she had some extra room (to save her paper) and starting working her problems out. The journals are graded every 9 weeks and kept to show students growth.

You can see where this student has written her answers in with pencil.

The 4 different fonts keep the students from glancing over at what someone else is doing. All students have the same 31 problems that match 4.NBT.6 but they are scrambled up!

Some students work methodically. 

These are finished squares from 5th grade.

After finishing, I check their work by just looking at my 4 clipboard pages. Then they glue the squares and color. Some students never get to the coloring part because they might work slower than others. To differentiate by giving some students less problems to work with, just take off the bottom 4 squares from your Teacher Answer Sheet. When the student has cut all of his out, take those bottom pieces away. It gives the same practice but with fewer problems to do which would be helpful with some students who cannot process so many at one time.

Hope this helps with your classroom activities. Email me with any questions for comments! Next time I'll show of the work we are doing with task cards.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Third Graders Reading To My Kinders!

Students get so excited about summer (don't we all,) It seems each year I have the  funniest and most adorable students ever. They all have a great sense of humor and we really have some fun times. At the end of the year my students all want to tell me what they are doing over the summer break!

I am always excited to hear what my students are going to do over the summer. Some of these things never happen, but it is fun to talk about. So if it's fun to talk about, it has got to be fun to write about!

As a writing 'craftivity,' I always give my students a Summer Bucket List Assignment. First of course, I had to explain what a bucket list was. When I knew they had processed this new bit of information we went on to talking about our Summer Bucket List. They were all excited to write their list, but when I pulled out the buckets and shovels, they were ready to roll!

Here are the products of a 3rd grade class at my current school. I think they did an awesome job!

You can see that some of her students really wrote a lot! I've added some writing papers to this craftivity since Ms. Hobbs did this. I love them!

You can't imagine how proud we were of this child. She really came alive when writing using the craftivity! She was really proud of herself and wasn't a bit nervous when she read aloud to my Kinders.

I taught this student's brother in fifth grade AIG. She was so happy to share her writing!

This is a fun packet for any grade level. My Kinders will be doing this next year and I'll let them write or draw and label! My BF teaching buddy, Jodie Yantachka (a link to her TPT Store: sent some of her student work down for my Kinders to see! Jodie is the best writing teacher. 

This is from her third grade class!

Have fun!

You can pick this free packet up from my Teacher Pay Teachers store:

Have fun and let me know how the craftivity goes! 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Study Guide for Look To The North: A Wolf Pup Dairy by Jean Craighead George

Why I use Study Guides in my classes. I love reading about animals and I have always had students that love reading books about animals. The Informational Narrative, Look To The North: A Wolf Pup Diary by Jean Craighead George is the sweetest nonfiction book that tells the story of three wolf pups as they grow up in the north. Jean Craighead George loved animals and this love comes through in all of her books. The book is beautifully illustrated by Lucia Washburn. The lexile level is 580L. (

I didn't choose the book because of a certain grade level, I wanted my students to enjoy reading a beautifully illustrated book, with a clear sequence, and one that they could find details in the text to answer questions and new vocabulary words. I don't think anyone is ever too old to read a story with beautiful illustrations. To make sure that my students were receiving the instruction that followed the Common Core, I made a Study Guide. You can download a preview of this study guide at my teacher store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Student has finished the research section and is now working on connections  to the story.
I made this Study Guide so that my students can get all the information needed, plus work at their own pace. I included some research, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, lots of critical thinking questions and writing. I also included a Science and Social Studies Integration. While students are busy working together or independently, I can pull students in small groups and monitor other student's progress. I always makes sure students have access to a computer, dictionary, pencils and erasers, and always a book and a nice box of crayons.

The Vocabulary section pulls in the vocabulary words that a student might not be familiar with. There is a section at the bottom of this page where students must come up with a word from the text that they think should have been a vocabulary word.

There is a poem with relavent questions to answer and also a section on personification. 

My favorite part of the study guide is the front cover. Students draw a new cover and they must use color and details from the text!

Each student uses a dictionary for the Vocabulary section.

Students reference the text to answer the Comprehension Question. Each question has the Revised Blooms level so students know why this question is important.

Each section has the Common Core alignment. You can also see the Revised Blooms Levels above each Comprehension Question.

The Science Research has the Essential Question and give students a chance to learn more about an Arctic animal. I also post urls and videos on Edmodo so students have a starting point for reference.

Finished cover showing the Alpha pup. 

Finished Cover. This is before I look over the Study Guide. Students will be given a chance to correct handwriting and grammar mistakes before turning the guide in for grading.

Another sweet cover.

All my students wanted their cover on my blog. They did a great job of using details from the story to make their cover. If you have read the book, you know that Talus is smelling the grizzly and alerting his siblings. The blue flowers are Harebells.

Cover showing originality. 

Fast finishers spend time coloring and usually find parts where they might need to erase and start over. Coloring not only gives my students a chance to process the information they learned, it also gives them a chance to check back over their work.

I like the way this student illustrated her vocabulary word. Not only did she draw the harebells she also illustrated that they bloom in July.

I always include a Phonics section. Students in 4th and 5th grade still need phonics instruction, even if it is just reinforcing what they already know.

This is a very creative cover, this student wanted to include the title after drawing so she put it into her moon and clouds.

A lot of pictures I know! My students love seeing their work on my blog. I wish I could show their sweet faces while they are working on these study guides. This guide has 12 pages. This might be daunting if I had given them 12 pages of worksheets. In a nice booklet, they are able to read and study the book without being intimidated by the workload. And I have a product showing their learning and growth.

Study guides can be useful tools teaching the Common Core way. Students are involved, there is a section where they must read a poem to a buddy and then listen while their buddy reads back to them. Students are working independently but can discuss and collaborate as needed. I can monitor, check for understanding and also work individually with a student or with small groups. Students are using the computer and a reference book. They are involved with their learning and delving deeper into the text with the comprehension questions.  This book seems like a nice picture book, but students are learning to infer, evaluate and question the text they are reading.

Let me know if you have any ideas about using Study Guides in your classroom.

As always, thanks for visiting!