Sunday, April 6, 2014

Subtraction Action! Fun Games to Play in Your Classroom...with a FREEBIE!

Hello, poor, neglected little blog. It always inevitably happens at various busy points during the school year. We've been super busy here in our little kindergarten class, working hard at learning how to do subtraction! I've got a sharp bunch of kiddos this year, so they've picked up on it fairly quickly. One of my favorite videos to show to introduce subtraction is "When You Subtract With a Pirate" by Harry Kindergarten. They LOVE this song... and so do I! My neighbor teacher and I can never get it out of our heads once we start showing it in our classrooms. I love how he uses subtraction vocabulary in his song and includes some fun pirate word problems as well. If you've never seen it before.... it's your lucky day!

My students were literally singing the chorus at the top of their lungs on Friday. It was the cutest thing.

We started out by doing some activities to help practice taking "one" away from a certain number. I paired the kids off and we played a game called "Lose a Cube!" To play, one student has a train of cubes with a specific number.

Then, their partner says, "Lose a cube!" and they take away one cube from the train.

After that, the other partner writes the number sentence to show and solve the subtraction problem they made with their cube train.

They continue to play the game with different numbers of cubes on the train; taking away 1 every time. My students enjoyed it so much that they asked me if they could play it as a fast finisher activity later in the week if they ever finished their work early! Music to this teacher's ears!

After a few days of putting our subtraction skills into practice, I was feeling a bit stagnant in how we had been practicing creating and solving number sentences, so I came up with a fun little game called Flower Power Subtraction! I made a flower with 10 petals and labeled each one with numbers 1-10. Then I created a stem and made 10 leaves to go it. 

Every number sentence created with this game is taking away from 10. One student throws a beanbag onto the flower. Whatever number it lands on, that's how much we subtract from 10.

Whoever threw the beanbag removes that many leaves from the stem. Since this one landed on 8, this student is taking 8 leaves off of the flower to see how many we have left over.

Then, using whiteboards, they wrote the number sentence to show their work! (I realize this isn't the number sentence that matches the picture above, but you get the idea).

They had SO much fun playing this game... they begged me to play it again! So for the next day, I whipped up a quick little recording sheet to go with it. You can download it for free by clicking on the picture below!
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To switch the game up a bit, we also played it so that one student threw a beanbag on the flower and another rolled a dice. They had to decide which number was more, then create a subtraction problem using the 2 numbers we landed on. It was a quick little mini-lesson on how the bigger number always has to come first in our subtraction problems!

I'll probably roll this game out a few more times during our math time this week. I love when a new idea works out with the kids so well! They are getting faster and faster at solving their number sentences. Happy Sunday, everyone! Hope you have a great week.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Show Us What You Bought & Currently Fun!

Happy March 1st! It just occurred to me that I will be turning 30 in 25 days. Yikes!

Did you all take advantage of the TPT 3 Million Strong Sale like I did? I bought 9 items... WAY more than I usually do in one fell swoop, but totally worth it from all the discounts I had. I'm linking up with the fabulous ladies at Blog Hoppin' to share all the great items I bought!

To prepare for some upcoming monthly units I'll be making, I stocked up on a bunch of clip art and border sets! Here's what I snagged:

Educlips Signs of Spring Clip Art
Ashley Hughes 777 Patriotic Set
Teaching in a Small Town Twinkle Doodle Frame Bundle
KPM Doodles Day at the Beach Clip Art
Cara Carroll Font Set #2
Creative Clips Easter Buddies Clip Art Set

I also picked up some great packs that I've had on my wishlist for awhile:

Interactive Math Packet Addition to 20 and Spring Math and Literacy Packet by The Moffatt Girls
Monsters Back to School Activity Pack by Kindergarten Smiles

It was all I could do to keep a couple more items from my cart, but I figured they could wait till the next sale, haha.

Link up with everyone over at Blog Hoppin' to see what others bought during the sale! I've discovered a lot of new products this way. Click on the picture below to join in!

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Since it's March 1st, I'm also linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for the monthly Currently linky! It's been awhile since I joined in this one, but it's always a fun one.

{Listening}: The song "Glory and Gore" by Lorde. Her album was on sale on Amazon mp3 for $1.99... really! So I figured that was cheap enough to try it out, and it's a fun driving in your car album... love it!

{Loving}: My aunt introduced me to the Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich, and I am totally hooked! In fact, I may or may not have read 2 1/2 of the books (there are 20 in the series so far) over the span of a few hours today... the books are so funny, and I love the characters!

{Thinking}: This is the first Saturday in a LONG time that I had absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to be. It was the perfect day for such a thing because it rained for the first time in ages and it has pretty much been pouring all day. Perfect for staying in, being lazy, and reading the books mentioned above! This week was especially busy and exhausting, so it's been nice to just stay in.

{Wanting}: Spring Break. Enough said. My students and I have spring fever!! 1 week left to go.

{Needing}: I have got to find some time this weekend to finish my lesson plans. With the crazy busy week I had, they kinda took a back burner, but it's Dr. Seuss week for us so I pretty much have most of my activities nailed down. I can't wait to introduce my kids to all of his books and all the fun activities that go with them.

{???????}: Coyotes, Diamondbacks. If you've ever read my blog, this one should be fairly easy to guess what my question is. ;)

Click here to join in the fun! I'm off to do some more reading....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Big News... TPT is 3 Million Teachers Strong and they're having a sale to celebrate!

Good evening, friends! Have you heard the news? TPT just surpassed 3 million teachers strong! What an accomplishment! They're celebrating by offering up a huge discount February 27th-28th... and we're all joining in the party! My entire shop will be 20% off... which means, by using the promo code TPT3 at checkout, you can get 28% off everything! Such a great deal! I just posted my newest pack, March into Sight Words {Sentence Building Activities for March} filled with St. Patrick's Day, baseball, and spring themed sentence and sight word activities. You'll find tons of printables, centers, recording sheets, and more!

I'm excited to clear out some of the things I've been wanting to buy off of my wishlist, so this sale is coming at the perfect time! Click on the picture below to go straight to my store!

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Valentine's Flashback!

I never got the chance to post about our classroom Valentine fun, so I'm doing a little flashback post tonight to share some of the activities we did! We participated in Valentine's themed centers all week both in math and reading and the kids were loving every second of it. I used a couple of activities from some fantastic units on TPT from Julie Lee and Growing Kinders - love them! Here's a photo peek at our math stations:

I'm cringing at the fact that I didn't get a picture of the finished product from the bottom right corner - this was the beginnings of the gift they were making for their families. They created a pattern with paper squares to make a frame; then I painted their handprints in the shape of a heart and attached a cute little poem at the bottom. They turn out adorable every year... wish I could share!

For our annual Valentine's Party, we ended up having to make a few changes from our usual plan. Every year we have a pancake party to go with the story If You Give a Pig a Pancake, but this year our district just made a new rule that there could no longer be any cooking in the classroom. So we had to nix that idea and we came up with a donut decorating station instead. The kids loved it and it was so much simpler than finagling cooking pancakes on the griddle!

At our party we have four stations that the students rotate around to. Normally I have set times and switch the groups at the same time, but for this one, since we were more strapped for time, I let the kids rotate to a different table on their own whenever they finished each one. Luckily I have a great group that can be trusted to handle it! The stations we had were:

1. Donut Decorating
2. Valentine's Heart Hat
3. Candy Heart Sort and Graph
4. Valentine's Writing Center - "Who do you love?"

Graph courtesy of Teacher Bits and Bobs

The kids also had decorated their own Valentine containers, which always turn out so adorable and creative every year. I had the kids put their mailboxes on their desks so that it would be easier for the kids to find the mailbox they needed to deliver their cards to. They were so excited! I got spoiled by my sweet little class with the most thoughtful gifts.

Such a fun day... and I love when Valentine's Day falls on a Friday... sugar the kids up and then send them home for the next 2 days!! ;)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Journey Through HM Journeys for Kindergarten...

So this is my first year with a new reading curriculum; and my kinder team and I have been roughing our way through Houghton Mifflin Journeys as we figure out what works, what doesn't, and what we need to make to supplement our curriculum. While we were thrilled to finally get a curriculum that fit with the Common Core Standards, no reading curriculum is ever really one-size fits all. By and large, we do really like the stories that came with this edition, but there really isn't anything that came with it to use as a reading comprehension piece. Now, the good thing is, we have been making and creating our own resources for YEARS, so this is nothing new for us! My team has been collaborating all year as we all try to create things to kind of boost what are, um... shall we say... less than stellar "workbook" activities the curriculum comes with. I thought I'd share a few of those activities that we've come up with in case any of you were in the same boat with needing a few ideas and resources to make it a little more exciting!

A few weeks ago, we read the story "Dear Mr. Blueberry" by Simon James. This actually was one of my students' favorite books that we've read this year. It's a story about a girl who imagines she has a whale in her pond and proceeds to write letters to her teacher asking questions about whales. Her teacher writes back to her with answers and facts about whales.

After we read the story, I had each table group get together and decide on one question they wanted to ask about whales. I gave them a bit of discussion time and these are the questions that each table came up with:

Since the story is in letter format, I had each student write their table's question in friendly letter format using a little template I created.

Every year my kindergarten students seem to love all things non-fiction, so they ended up with some really great questions! I got out my stash of books about whales to see if we could use informational text to find out the answers.

We were able to find most of the answers to our questions in the books, but I wanted to present facts about whales visually too. I used one of my favorite animal non-fiction resources, the National Geographic Kids website!

Their "Creature Feature" section has tons of animals to choose from and every one I have gone to has had a video, fact pages, photos, and even sound bytes. The kids loved being able to watch a real whale in action. After we found the answers to our questions, the kids filled out another little page to show what they had learned, like this:

Then we put those two items, along with a super easy whale craft, to create the finished product to show what we had learned about whales!

I absolutely love how they turned out and I can't even tell you how much my students enjoyed this activity as well! Love it when a new idea turns out well... cause as every teacher knows, they don't always! Haha!

Fast forward to this week, where we read a story called "Atlantic", which was about the Atlantic Ocean. One of the comprehension focuses for the week was identifying Author's Purpose, which isn't always the easiest thing for my little kinder kids to understand. Throughout reading, we continually discussed what information the author was telling us, and used the big word "WHY" to think about why he would be telling us about such things. I wanted just a quick little activity for my students to show their thinking after reading the story, so I quickly made up these little labels for their interactive notebooks that helped them write and illustrate about the author's purpose.

As for sight words... hoo boy, there are a lot of words for them to learn in this program. As of last week, my students are now expected to learn 6 different sight words a week... SIX! It's hard to dive in and help the kids master them when we have a flurry of words all of a sudden, so I've had to come up with some new and creative ways for my kids to practice their new words. Some of them are tough for them to remember, too, like "who, what, with, how, where"... since they are all so similar. Back in December, I started putting together monthly sight word sentence activity packs to help them practice reading the words, writing the words, and building sentences in a fun way. I've since released a January/Winter pack and now have recently put my newest one for February, "Sweetheart Sentences", in my TPT store! It's been great to see my students using them and building their confidence with reading the sight words and putting mixed-up sentences together. Here's a sample of one of my January mixed-up sentence stations:

In my February pack, there are three different sets of these mixed-up sentences and two different sets of predictable sentence activities, all with various recording sheets! I've also included 22 different Read It, Write It, Build It, Draw It! printables that review every sentence used in the pack.

To make these sight word sentence building packs, I am following the sight word list from Journeys. However, you do NOT have to have Journeys to use these! All of these words are from regular Dolch lists as well, so you can use them however you can to best fit your needs. Click on the picture below to check it out in my little shop!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

100th Day of School!

Oh my word... I have disappeared off the face of the blogging earth since December. You know how crazy it gets at the end of the semester.. we had 2 huge kinder events, then the holidays, plus I went out of town for New Year's! To make it up to you, my lovely readers, there will be a freebie in this post!

Today was our 100th Day of School... I can't believe it's already here. The first half of the school year went by SO fast. To celebrate the day, every activity we do in class is related to the 100th day. I introduced the "100 Word Challenge" to my students right at the beginning of the day. Any student that wrote 100 different words by the end of the day got a special 100th day sticker! Since they love all things write the room, they were all over it. It became their go-to fast finisher activity!

This friend decided to go with a more phonetic spelling approach on some of his words... oops!

Next we did our big "What I Think I Will Look Like When I'm 100..." craftivity. I got the idea from Deanna Jump forever ago on her original website and I absolutely love how they turn out. I wasn't able to get a picture of the ones my kids made this year (cause they were still drying in the hallway) but here's a favorite from last year:

Gotta love the hair and the pearls! After they dry, I'll cut them out, glue them to another piece of construction paper, and have the kids write their name into the phrase "_________ at 100!" They did such a good job creating them this year.

For the rest of the afternoon, we completed four different 100th day themed centers.

Froot Loop Necklace

100th Day Hat (template courtesy of Fran at Kindergarten Crayons!) The kids are given a sheet of 100 stickers to decorate the hat with.

100 Skittles Sort and Graph

Stamp to 100! They use bingo daubers to count and mark the gumballs all the way to 100.

Here's the freebie for you... if you'd like to grab this Stamp to 100 activity, click on the link HERE!

It really was an enjoyable day with my kinders. The centers ran so smoothly... I chalk that up to me having a small class for the first time ever in life (20 kids)! I think it's going to be a great second half of the year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Show us what you bought and Giveaway WINNERS!!!

I don't know about you, but I definitely scored at the big TPT sale that happened this week. I'm so excited about the things I bought! It made it all the more sweet using the $50 TPT gift card I won from the wonderful ladies at Blog Hoppin', who I am linking up with today to show you what I bought!
I tried to plan ahead on some creations I'll be making in the next few months, so I stocked up on Winter, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day clipart from the amazing Creative Clips and Ashley Hughes! I also got 3 new activity packs -- Let's Get Crackin' Math and Literacy Centers from The Printable Princess, Winter Math and Literacy Packet from The Moffatt Girls (I have the Fall pack and used it ALL the time!), and Filling in the Gaps {The Ultimate CVC Practice Packet} from Cara Carroll! I'm so, SO excited to print everything and get it ready for my students to use. I think they'll love every bit of it! And now that I'm armed and ready with some new clipart, I'm ready to make some new stuff!

I held my first little blog giveaway a few days ago to celebrate my blog redesign, and the winners have been chosen courtesy of Rafflecopter! Here are the lucky winners -- if you see your name here, you should be expecting your prize shortly! :)

Congratulations everyone! And thanks for entering. :)