Pumpkin Fun

Happy Halloween!

I am blogging while jumping up and down to give candy to the trick-or-treaters.  We never had more than 2 or 3 at our old apartment, so I am in LOVE!  

We aren't allowed to celebrate Halloween at school.  We aren't even allowed to mention the F word.  FUN!  Get your mind out of the gutter, okay?  If we do, we might get arrested by the fun police or something.  I hateeeee this rule so much!  I do, however, sneak in some pumpkin themed math and science activities.  Hey, it's pumpkins not Halloween (do you hear me, fun police?).

I apologize for the quality of these pictures... apparently my phone hates low lighting!

First we passed around a pumpkin, felt how heavy it was and guessed what might be inside.  I loved some of the responses :)  Tomorrow we will cut it open and check our predictions.

 Next we made a pumpkin snack.  First we made vanilla pudding.  I loved the vocabulary my ELL's learned from this!  After it thickened, we spooned some pudding into cups and topped it with a dollop of pumpkin pie mix.  They stirred it up and tasted.  Yummy!
PS.  I am obsessed with the google+ photo editing.  Hence the pirate face :)

 Last we made a graph. The little ones made observations about the data, then we numbered each post-it.  They said things like "More people liked the pumpkin because there are two lines, and the people who didn't like it only had one line" and "There are five in the no spot, and a lot more in the yes spot" (that was before we counted).  Pretty good for four year olds!

I can't wait to do more pumpkin activities tomorrow!

Fabulous Thanksgiving Book

I know that it's not even Halloween yet, but I can't wait to share my new Thanksgiving project!  I am SO excited about this unit I whipped up yesterday as I was locked inside for 36 hours thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  We were so fortunate to have power and no significant damage to our house or cars.

My Thankful Book is a book your little ones can make to truly help them understand the meaning of being thankful.  The lesson starts out with generating a class bubble map about things we are thankful for.  Each child can also complete their own individual bubble map.  Then, students complete pages about  things they are thankful for, ranging from family to school to friends to the earth.  There are four fun cover choices so that each little one can personalize their book.  This is a great opportunity to integrate literacy in a meaningful way, as well as an adorable keepsake that parents will adore!

Version 1 is geared toward older or more advanced students.  It has more lines for writing and a smaller space for illustrations.  You find it {HERE} on sale for $2.50.

The second version is geared toward the littler ones.  It has larger lines for writing and a bigger space for pictures.  You can find it {HERE}.

If you need lots of differentiation in your life, you can purchase both together as a bundle unit {HERE} on sale for $4.50.

I hope you like them as much as I do!
  Gobble Gobble!

I will give one copy away (either version 1 or version 2... your choice) to the first person who can tell me the thing they are the most thankful for this year.  Be sure to leave your email address!


These word cards and word rings work perfectly with the My Thankful Book.  Here they are in action:

They also come in Spanish!  Click {HERE} to check them out in my TPT store.

The Name Game

 We officially teach one or two letters per week at the beginning of the year.  However, all of the latest research points to the importance of learning letters in context rather than in a certain order.  This is why I am obsessed with teaching letters through names! 

I start playing "the name game" during the second week of school, and I go in alphabetical order.  This order is listed on our "Star of the Day" chart.  The Star of the Day runs morning meeting, is the line leader and is the first to pick their center.  It also teaches alphabetical order in a meaningful context.  The star clothespin tells us whose turn it is.

We play The Name Game every morning during Morning Meeting.  It seems like a lot, but in reality it takes less than 5 minutes and is SO worth it.  It is priceless to hear my little ones say "Oh, John has a J.  I have a J too!"  or "Bianca and Camila both have six letters!"
 Here is how we play the first round of the Name Game.
All you need to prepare is a laminated sentence strip for each child with their name and picture on it.

  1. Have the Star of the Day come up to the front of the circle and hold their name strip.  Ask the other students to notice things about the name (What letters do you see?  Is that upper or lowercase?).  I usually let the Star pick children with their hands raised.  After a few times modeling this they pick it up very quickly.
  2. Lead the students in counting how many letters are in the name.
  3. Do The Cheerleader Chant.  The teacher says "Give me a J!" and the kids yell J.  "Give me an O!" etc.  After the letter, yell "What's that spell?" and the kids shout "JOHN!!!"  I am sure that the teacher next door loves me for this one!
  4. Do a chant of the child's choice.  Some examples include: old lady, lion, cat, dog, ghost, monster, person with a cold, etc.  Anything that they can dream up, we do!  This is done in the same call and response style as The Cheerleader Chant.
  5. Next, cut the name strip into a puzzle.  Show children each letter after cutting and ask "What's this letter?"
  6. Hand each piece to the Star of the Day, who will assemble it in a pocket chart.

After being on display for a day, I place the sentence strip puzzle into an envelope with the child's name and picture on it, and place it on our puzzle shelf.  They love doing their own and their friends' puzzles, and I LOVE how much they learn from doing them!

Here is a puzzle that has been cut and placed in the pocket chart (above) and one that will be cut tomorrow (below).

On the left is an example of a puzzle with it's matching envelope.  On the right are three name puzzles ready to play with!

Helpful hint:
Use as many colors of sentence strips as possible.  Also use multiple colors of markers.  The goal is for no two names to be the same color marker and paper.  For example, I used 4 colors of sentence strips with 7 different colored markers to create 28 unique combinations.

This way, if you find a stray "a" lying on the floor you will be able to figure out whose it is. If you wanted to get really fancy you could do the same on the outside of the envelope for even easier matching (I was too lazy to do that!)

This idea is based off of the amazing Mrs. Meacham's name game.  You can check it out {HERE}.

I'm Alive!

I cannot BELIEVE how long it's been since I last blogged.  So ridiculous!  Time has not been flying, it's been absolutely positively zooming lately.  Mr. Man and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to visit some of my favorite family members in our nation's capital...

 We visited Abe,

and the Monument.

And we even dressed up as Washington Nats baseball players for a last minute Halloween costume.  So fun!

Now we are hunkering down and hoping that Hurricane Sandy doesn't hit us too hard.  On the plus side, school AND my night class are both cancelled tomorrow, so I get to stay up late, watch TV and blog :)  I hope everyone stays safe and dry until Sandy passes through!  I will be back up and blogging this week (as long as I have power... knock on wood!)

Apple Letter Recognition {FREEBIE Alert!}

Happy Fall, y'all!  We have focused on the letters M, S and T so far.  I noticed that some of my littles were having a  hard time with them, so I whipped up this little worksheet to help them.  They LOVED finding and coloring all of the apples. 

 Click {HERE} to snag it!

Clip art from Scrappin' Doodles.

Also, here are some AMAZING apple themed freebies that I snagged from other blogs {and yes, I do realize that it's October... whoops!}:

Apple Matching Book from Kroger's Kindergarten
Upper and lowercase matching book with fun apples and pumpkin graphics

Apple Fun Freebies from The First Grade Parade
Love Cara.  Love her amazing freebies.  The end!

Apple Sequencing from The First Grade Parade
LOVE this sequencing activity and the applesauce labeling worksheet

Halloween Math Unit GIVEAWAY!

I am giving away a copy of my brand spanking new Halloween unit.  You can enter to win below!  In the meantime, be sure to check out this awesome {FREEBIE}.

The giveaway ends on Friday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Boo! Halloween Math Centers {and a FREEBIE!}

I am SO excited about my super fun new math unit, "BOO!  Spooky Math Centers."  It is packed with 70 pages of awesome centers that teach patterning, ten frames, numeral recognition, estimation and so much more.  I might be a tad obsessed with the clipart and papers I used too :)

You can check it out {HERE}.  It is on sale for $5 (usually $7) for this week only!

You can also grab a great patterning freebie from this unit {HERE}.  I would LOVE it if you could leave feedback after you download :)

Fire Safety Week and a Freebie!

Fire safety week is next week {October 7th to 13th}!  This is one of my very favorite things to teach.  We are lucky enough to be within walking distance of a very cute little fire station and it is our first field trip every year.  

Here are a few of my favorite Fire Safety books:

And here is our favorite video from last year...the kids were OBSESSED (and I loved to pull it out on indoor recess days)

  For a bunch more awesome fire videos click {HERE} to see my fire safety post from last year.

Because Fire Safety week is coming up in just a few days, I am throwing a FLASH SALE of 20% off of these great units until tomorrow night at midnight.

Also, I whipped up a firefighter labeling mini-unit.  You can grab it for free {HERE}.