Monday, September 26, 2016

Hello Yellow! [Classroom Pencil Sharpener]

When I saw that Classroom Friendly Supplies had a brand new YELLOW pencil sharpener, I knew I had to have one! Yellow is my color!
I already have a blue sharpener from them in my classroom and we love it! 
I first bought my classroom friendly sharpener back in 2013,  and was blown away by how quiet it was and how awesome it worked.  I had to teach my 'pencil helpers' how to use it because it isn't as easy as just sticking the pencil into an electric sharpener.  But, after one demonstration my children knew exactly what to do. 
 Over the years my electric sharpener, that I spent close to $80 on, has stopped working and my awesome Classroom Friendly sharpener is still as good as new!  
I also love how it sharpens the pencils so nicely. My electric sharpener would occasionally sharpen the wooden part of the pencil so then the children were only able to use the lead on one side...the other side was just wood and didn't write at all (do you know what I'm talking about??). 
This is definitely a must have for every classroom!
 You can find this sharpener HERE.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Five Senses BINGO!

We had SO much fun playing Sound Bingo during our five senses unit!  I have all of the sounds included in my unit on TpT.  You just open them up and play one sound at a time.  The kids were so quiet and so engaged that we ended up playing a couple of times! 
I would click on one sound and have the students listen for it...
Then, they would guess what the sound was and I would let them know if they were right or if they had to listen again.  If they had that sound on their card, they would cover it with a unifix cube.
I kept track of all the sounds that I played on my sound board.
We played a couple of times, switching game boards with our friends each time. It ended up being such a fun activity!
This little sweetie ended up winning twice in a row! It was definitely her lucky day! ;)
Head on over to TpT to check out more of my five senses unit.  

You can also get my Five Senses lesson plans by clicking below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Centers the First Two Weeks of Kindergarten

I jump right into centers the first week of school.  They aren't all academic, a lot are play based; however, I really want to get the kids into their daily routine, learning procedures, learning how to rotate, etc.
On the first day of school I make sure to grab students one-by-one out of their centers to snap a quick 'first day of school' picture for their memory books.  This year I used a free sign I found HERE.
In their centers they also work on a page for their memory book.  I pre-write all of the students names so it is ready for them when they get to that center.  They have to write their name and draw a picture of themselves.  This page is AMAZING to see at the end of the year when they complete this page again and we compare!
Some of their other play based (or exploration) centers were unifix cubes.
I know play-doh is always a favorite so I left out these play-doh shape cards from my August/September Math Centers unit.
They definitely enjoyed this center.  They kept asking when they were going to be able to 'do play-doh' again!
Another center was blocks.  I have blocks, legos, cards, lincoln logs, etc., but they were only allowed to use blocks.  I do one activity at a time until I know that they can clean up their centers properly :)
At another center, I left out my writing and word work cards.  These cards are something we constantly use in my classroom (at writing, for 'early finishers, and more) so I want them to know how to use these cards properly.
I always tell my kids that they can draw any picture they want on their white boards, but then they have to write the word that accompanies the picture! Eventually this leads to sentences or a little story.  
These cards help my kids become writers! They are SO proud of their work and can't believe that they 'spelled' these words!
We also learned 'Write the Room' at our writing center
Students loved exploring the room and finding words to write down.  Some of my students were only able to write 5 words in the allotted time and other were able to finish their entire page.
I did introduce our class library, but I didn't give the kids freedom to all of the book baskets.  I told them they were allowed to read any book from baskets 1-4.  This way they could work on putting the books away in the correct book basket.
The students worked together at one of their centers to build their 'Letter Caterpillar'.  I did not give them the activity sheet for this, I just wanted them to start learning how to work together.
Another writing activity that I introduced during the first two weeks of school was color writing.  I let students use the color page in the writing and word work cards to help them spell their color words.  I also show them where the color posters are hanging in the room as another option.
For writing one day we read No David!  Then as a class we discussed things that were a 'no' and things that were a 'yes'.  When we were finished I did a directed drawing of David with them. Their drawings came out adorable!
We also started writing in our writing notebooks.  We only did sight word sentences the second week of school just to get us started on writing.  We either did 'I see' sentences or 'I can' sentences.  The students did amazing at both. 
I walked around the room to help them sound out the last word in their sentence; however, they had to write their sight words by themselves.  (These sight words are also on the word wall for extra help). 
During writing we worked on drawing our pictures with pencil first and coloring our pictures in with the correct colors.
Poetry notebooks are also up and running these first two weeks of school! We do a poem (sometimes two) a week.  The children just LOVE these!! They take their poetry notebooks home on Fridays to enjoy with their families over the weekend.  The parents love to hear their children 'reading' (mostly memorizing right now but that's okay!) their poems. 
During poetry we highlight our sight words and we work on adding settings to our pictures! Throughout the week these poetry notebooks stay in their book bins for students to practice reading when they are in our classroom library.
I'd say we are off to a good start!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Back to School in Kindergarten (With Monsters!)

I always start my year off with my Back to School Monster unit.  It is a great way to introduce classroom rules while still incorporating all of the back to school fun!
At our school we meet our students the Friday before school starts at 'Meet and Greet'.  I found these CUTE monsters on Oriental Trading and thought that they were the perfect way to kick off our monster unit!
I typed up a cute and easy little tag and I was ready to pass these out to my students at Meet and Greet!  They were a hit!
You can grab these editable tags for free by clicking on the image below.
As soon as Meet and Greet was over, I started prepping for the first day.  I leave these coloring sheets out on the table for students to work on when they enter the classroom on the first day.  It is always a little hectic with parents being allowed in the classroom, dropping off supplies, etc. Leaving a coloring sheet out will keep the students busy while you are 'running around'.
I start off our week by reading 'The Day A Monster Came to School'.  It is an awesome introduction to classroom and school rules.
After reading the story, we brainstormed some class rules together. 
Then we get started with our rotations! I do a lot of exploration activities the first two weeks; however, I also introduce a lot of our centers at this time.
We do 'spin' activities a lot throughout the year, so I introduce 'Monster Spin and Graph' the first week. I sit at this table to make sure it goes smoothly.  I focus on teaching the children how to take turns, how to pass the spinner, how to graph from the bottom up, etc. 
I also take this time to introduce bingo dot activities with 'Monster Roll'.  We talk about how if the die gets rolled onto the floor it counts as 'skip a turn'.  By introducing this early on, I can leave center activities just like this out early on in the year and students can work totally independently.
One of my students' favorite activities is this glue activity sheet.  We read Too Much Glue and then we practice making little dots of glue.  If they do a good job, they will get a sprinkle of glitter on top!
Throughout the week we also work on our Monster Rules book.  Each day we complete a different page.  I have found that by having the children make their own rule books, the rules actually 'stick' better with them. 
Throughout the year I refer to these rules a lot and so do they! I overhear them referring to 'walking feet' or even telling their friends that they are the 'boss of me'.  It is great!
To celebrate completing our back to school monster unit, we end the first two weeks of school with a monster party!
We had special 'monster juice' aka apple juice ;)
 I found all of these amazing monster party supplies on Oriental Trading.  Type in 'monsters' in their search bar and the possibilities are endless! So many goodies!
 While the kids were at lunch I quickly set up.  Each child had a plate, cup, napkin, and their very own pair of monster sunglasses (all from Oriental Trading)!
When they got back they were amazed! They loved the decorations and especially loved the glasses!  
I passed out a cookie to each child and told them that we were going to be making monster cookies! 
They had the choice of making either a pink monster or a blue monster (pre dyed vanilla icing found at Publix).
 Then, they got a little cupcake liner with edible eyeballs to add onto their cookie as well!
 SO adorable!
 I don't think anything was left on their plates!
As the students started finishing up, I called them over to come into our monster photo booth! I found these photo booth props on Oriental Trading!
Then, we played 'Pin the Eye on the Monster'.  I think this game is a new class favorite! All of the students kept asking to play again and some were saying how they were 'definitely going to play this at home tonight'! 
 I pre-typed all of these students names onto the eyeballs so we knew who the 'winner' was at the end.
You can grab some editable eyes for your game by clicking on the image below:

The students had a blast ending our back to school monster unit with this awesome party! I think they have already learned so much and they have really gotten the hang of centers, rotations, and classroom rules! 

You can find my Back to School pack by clicking on the image below.
You can also find my lesson plans for the first two weeks of school by clicking below.