Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: I'm a Little Teapot

Today, I want to share a "magical" book in my classroom read aloud collection.  I'm a Little Teapot by Iza Traponi has an amazing ability to draw in and calm down every child.  I use it at the beginning of the year to help the children transition and focus for carpet time.  Later in the year it is one of those class favorites that everyone wants me to read.

Amazon Affiliate Link

 I sing the words on the pages along to the familiar tune for this wonderfully imaginative book.  The children always love "traveling" to China, Mexico, and even space along with the characters.  They never tire of "finding" the tea pot in the jungle towards the end of the story.

Here is a link to Iza Trapani's page for some classroom activities and printables.


A Happy Find for my Classroom Floor

I'm linking up my back to school find with Kickin' it in Kindergarten's Teachers Be Shoppin' Linky.

I found these 23 inch interlocking foam floor squares for 3 dollars each at Five Below.  Five Below is kind of like a dollar store.  Everything they carry is either 1,2,3,4, or 5 dollars.  It is pretty new to me, but I thought it might have something for my classroom.  Did it ever?!!!  I bought 25 (they are sold individually), so I can either set them up in a 5x5 square or a 4x6 rectangle.

I had similar foam squares in a previous classroom but they were in primary colors.  (They came in sets and were a little better because they came with strips to make the outsides straight.)  I love having a square for each student to sit in at carpet time.  Plus, these will cover a lot of the ugly fraying seam in the carpet of my classroom. And, these squares are in the colors that I am using in my classroom this year!  Happy Teacher.

If you are interested in seeing my Target and Walmart back to school finds from last week, check HERE and HERE.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Free Printable Tally Race to 30

I was inspired to make this printable by a Roll and Tally to 100 that I saw on Tales from a K Classroom. Sara offers a treasure trove of free printables on her blog!  I was unable to print her "50" version, so I decided to create one for tallying to 30.  I will have two students take turns rolling a die or number cube.  Each player will draw the appropriate number of tally marks on his/her recording sheet after rolling the die.  The winner will be the first person to reach 30 (or more).  I will be laminating this for use over and over with dry erase markers.  I love simple math games.

Click HERE to print my free printable.

If you print this, please leave a comment.  Hope you are enjoying the rest of your summer!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Free Printable Nonsense Words to Throw in the Trash

Walmart has these cute little trash cans in their Back to School section.  They are intended to be pencil holders and cost a dollar each.

I couldn't resist making some Real and Nonsense Words to use with them.  Just click the link if you would like the free printable words.  I printed mine on colored card stock. The kids will put the "real" cvc words in the pocket chart and the "nonsense" words in the trash can.

The Pocket Chart is from Target's Dollar Spot.

If you find this helpful, I'd love for you to comment here!  Facebook likes are also appreciated!

And. . . . Dr. Jean's Free Webinar is today.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Math Take Home Bag Activities

I am putting together some simple and inexpensive math bags for my students to take home early in the school year.  So many parents think that their kids know their numbers if they can rote count.  I wanted to include simple games and activities for number sense  that my students can share easily with their families (regardless of ability to speak or read English). We will play these games in the classroom before the children start taking turns taking them home.  I have made these activities out of easy to find materials so that I can replace any missing pieces easily.

The first is a game where two players share a set of six (1-6) or eleven (2-12) numbered colored sticks and a die or number cube (two if playing 2-12).  I like to send home the over-sized foam ones from the Dollar Tree so I don't have to worry about a younger sibling putting a small object in his/her mouth.  This picture only shows the number sticks since I can't get to the large dice in my classroom over the summer. I drew dots to support students who do not yet recognize the numbers (especially 6 and 9).  Even putting the sticks in order before play is an opportunity to practice number order.  Another option is to scatter the number sticks, so players have to look them all over when determining if the number is there to be picked up. Later in the year, my students will play the same game with tally marks instead of numbers and dots on the sticks.

Players take turns rolling either one or two dice, depending whether playing the 1-6 version or the 2-12 version.  If the number the player rolls is available, the player picks up that stick.  If the number the player rolls has already been picked up, the player's turn is over.  Play continues until all the sticks have been picked up.  The winner is the player with the most sticks.  Of course, it is possible to tie (3-3).

The next game is a matching game.  I cut "cookies" out of a sheet of tan foam.  I added the chocolate chips with a brown Sharpie. There  must be two (or another even number) of cookies with the same number of chocolate chips on them.  The chips can be spread around in different arrangements to help the children learn that the same number of dots can be shown in different configurations.  As with all matching games, all the cookies are turned face down. Players take turns turning over two cookies.  If the two cookies have the same number of chips, the player keeps them.  If not, the cookies are turned back over and the next player tries.  Of course this game can be accessorized with a spatula, cookie sheet, cookie tin,  plastic cookie jar, etc.

On a completely different subject...

Catherine, A wonderful kindergarten teacher friend shared this link with me:
I used it to sign up for free toothbrushes and toothpaste and dental education materials for my class. The offer is open to grades K-1.  I am a little hesitant to post the information, since some teachers on Facebook reported that they signed up last year and never received anything.  However, since it is completely free, and all you need to provide is an email address and your school's mailing address,  I decided to share the information here.


Adding this to Fourth Grade Frolics- Monday Made It

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday - Wonderful Worms

I am joining Mrs. Jump's Book Talk Linky today.

Amazon Affiliate Link

Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser is an excellent non-fiction book for read aloud in a Pre-K or kindergarten classroom.  The illustrations are lovely and really give young learners a close up view of a worm's habitat.  There are just one or two sentences on each page.  Each provides simple facts about worms.

"And they need food, just like I do.
But they eat dirt and rotting leaves."

The text lends itself easily to shared writing about worms. As a follow up activity, each child could write a fact about worms and illustrate a page for a class book.  Worms are easy to draw!!
Most children can make real world connections with worms, having discovered them in their own yards. Some may not, so I like to bring in some actual worms in a plastic tub of dirt when we read this story.  This makes a very inexpensive item to observe in the science center for a day or two.

Wonderful Worms fits in nicely with a plant unit or Earth Day lesson.  We also talk about words that start with "w" in the book:  worms, wonderful, and wiggly.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It

I'm joining the Monday Made It link up at 4th Grade Frolics today.  While all my ideas are borrowed from blogs and Pinterest...
I'm still really happy that I am making them into realities!  And it is only July 21st!

     The frame for my students to hold while I take their first day photos.  I had this black plastic frame 
            on hand because it had fallen of a wall and the glass had broken.  I also purchased the letters on 
            clearance at Hobby Lobby years ago intending to use them in my classroom.  Well... I finally am.

      Pails for sharp and dull pencils.  The buckets and stickers are all from the Dollar Spot at Target.
            My classroom is going to be a little bit beach this year.  

                     Paper plates with colored dots for subitizing practice.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Walmart Back to School Find

I found a few treasures while stocking up on school supplies at Walmart yesterday.  They were in the back to school aisle.

I know... it is time for an intervention or something...
But they were about two dollars each!
And I love how simple they will be to use in beginning of the year centers.  Actually, I will only put out the puzzles up to ten at first.  I will also use the rhyming puzzle in a whole group activity where I hand out pieces to students and have them pair up if their words rhyme.


Friday, July 18, 2014

More Loot from Target Dollar Spot

In my previous post I shared my excitement about recent back to school finds at Target's Dollar Spot.  I mentioned that I was still looking for some word puzzles that Fran from Kindergarten Crayons had found there.
Well.... I am so happy I persisted.  I have lived in the Dallas area since August.  I have no sense of direction and am terrible at finding my way around unfamiliar places.  Thank goodness there is an app on my phone called Waze.  It is my new best friend.  Yesterday, after using it to find an appointment, I used it to find another Super Target close to the appointment . . . . jackpot!

These puzzles are three dollars each.  I didn't expect too much because the boxes are the usual flimsy cardboard.  I was pleasantly surprised by the sturdy puzzles inside though.  The pictures and colors are fun. Each puzzle is also reversible.  Each picture above shows one side of same set.

The two photos above are from the letters and numbers set. Cute and educational - my favorite combination!

No picture of the reverse side of the four letter puzzles, but I think you get the idea....

I also picked up a few more of the one dollar puzzles.  They are small, but as I mentioned previously, they will fit in tubs.  The pieces are nice and sturdy.  Thank you Crayola!

Two minutes and a Sharpie turn this ocean animal puzzle into an ABC center activity.

And a few more fun dollar items... How cute are the alphabet sticky notes and matching note pad?

One more fun thing to share...
I found this near the check out lane.  No they didn't have Eilis... but they did have Kate.  My college freshman daughter loved it!

I love to read your comments :)


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spotted at Target Dollar Spot

I have been checking my local Target's Dollar Spot without success so far this summer.  Today, Fran from Kindergarten Crayons shared her recent purchases from Target.  I was VERY jealous.  Did I just stew on it?  Goodness no.  I drove to a Super Target in the next community.  It's all good (to quote a smart cat).

Here's my loot:

My favorite color of pocket charts! Thank you Target!
The self inking stamps were $3, but hey- these little things make teachers so happy.
I still need a few more colors of the little buckets (hoping they are available in red and pink....) because I want to do Pinteresty buckets full of one color of crayons.
The puzzles are smaller than they were in past years.  I almost left them there until I realized how nicely they would fit in tubs....  Now I want more of them....
No sign of the connect a word puzzles though.  I guess I'll be trekking back to Target again very soon.

Almost forgot... these cute owls were also a Dollar Spot find:

There were six each of four colors, so I filled in the blank spaces with numbers, number words, tally marks, and dots (1-6).  There is a dice game in the making, but I haven't quite come up with the rules yet....Suggestions welcome.

I'd love to hear about your back to school bargain finds!



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Count to 10 with a Mouse

I'm joining  Mrs. Jump's Book Linky today.  I am currently teaching in a very small school.  You could say that I am the kindergarten team.  One thing I really miss about team teaching is the sharing of wonderful children's books.  I've never had another teacher recommend a book to me that I haven't loved.  This linky has been recharging my batteries and I thought it was time to share a book and activity of my own.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I live near a great Half Price Books store.  On a recent visit, I found a wonderful hardcover book, Count to 10 with a Mouse, by Margaret Wise Brown. It is large and perfect for read aloud.  This is an Amazon affiliate link:

The book is about an adorable little mouse who wants to learn how to count so he will know how to count his nose and his toes.  Each illustration makes it appear that he is actually moving through holes in the book to get to the next page.  Each page features a different number of things (butterflies, monkeys, apples, etc.) There is repetitive text, rhyming, and counting to ten.  I look forward to introducing it to my class during the first days of school.  I feel sure it will become a class library favorite.

Here's an excerpt:

"6 pussycats
And in among the mix.
And in among the mix.
Six little pussycats are all in a fix.

So the mouse ran through the book,
the mouse ran through the book.
He ran onto the next page
to take a little look."

After reading the book, we will make our own class version.  Each page will have a fold out revealing a picture (with a peep hole).

I will fold a 12 X 18 sheet of construction paper leaving about an inch along the left side (note the arrow at the paper edge).
HERE is a free printable page to fill in with the student's name.  Each printed page will be cut in half and used for two students.  A little side trimming is needed before gluing the printable page to the folded construction paper.

I will use one of my favorite scrapbooking tools to cut a peep hole in the front part of the folded construction paper.  I think the kids will love guessing what will be underneath by looking at what shows through the hole.

The students will draw one to ten simple pictures inside the folded paper. (Another option would be to use stickers or stamps.)  They will dictate the number and words (beginning of the year).

I will bind all the pages together on the left side so the folded flap can still be opened up.

And... The GrowinginPreK Facebook page is up to 930 likes.  Looking for 70 more :)


Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Monday Freebie

I LOVE Mondays - during summer vacation...
Don't you? !

I've just finished a cute printable for my classroom and will be offering FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers Shop until September 1.

If you print it, please follow my shop and/or like the GrowinginPreK Facebook page.  I have over 900 likes...please help me reach 1000.

I have long admired the "In our classroom ..," signs all over Pinterest, but wanted a version that my young students would be able to "read" early in the school year. As much as I love the "we do" phrase in many of these signs, I want to model correct grammar for my ESL learners.

I have included 5 of my classroom rules (We are good listeners; We try our best; We follow directions quickly; We are kind friends; We take turns) and two optional signs:  We pray together and We love books. I also couldn't decide between "In Our Class" or "In Our Classroom," so I included both.

Also, you may need to choose "landscape" when printing this file.  When I printed it without choosing landscape, I ended up with a small version on portrait.

I love to read your comments!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Another Dollar Store ABC Center

I have just returned home from a wonderful week in Key West with my husband.  It was a week of firsts for me.  First jet ski ride, first trip on a sea plane... I also got to snorkle, which I love to do!  Can you believe that when my suitcase was ripped badly while checked, Southwest Airlines replaced it with a new suitcase on the spot?!  I have to say that was some pretty amazing customer service!

Back to my new ABC center activity...
I am just crazy enough that I stopped in a a Dollar Tree in Florida to see if they had any different stuff.  I picked up this package of alphabet letters on a train.  Of course, this is intended to hang on a classroom wall. I will be laminating it and cutting the cars apart.  I can use it in a whole group activity where the kids take one letter each and put themselves in the right order.  Later, it will be an abc order puzzle in a center. I may also have the kids put an item that starts with the correct letter on each train car. Simple I know, but it costs a lot less than a commercially made puzzle or printing something similar with color ink...


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Little Critter Books from Kohl's

I picked up two Little Critters and three of their books at Kohl's yesterday.  They were five dollars each in the current Kohl's Cares for Kids promotion.

This is NOT a sponsored ad.  I was happy to find two more adorable "reading buddies" for my plush character collection.  I was also happy to add these  lift the flap hard covers of classic children's stories. Love that the wolf is hiding under the blanket until you pull back the flap. The characters and wording of these fun adaptations make these books less "scary" than some versions.

There were also plush versions of the wolf and a bear (to go along with a Little Critters Bed Time Story Book) but as you can see... I do have some self-control.