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Friday, September 30, 2011

Welcome To School- Science

Hand Washing Lesson: This lesson was inspired by an idea I saw in The Mailbox Magazine. Grab a loaf of bread, a paint brush, and a container of cocoa powder. Discuss with your students why it's important to wash your hands- especially before eating! 
Dust the kiddos hands with a small amount of the cocoa powder to represent dirty hands. Give each child a slice of bread and have them knead it for a minute or so. This should prompt lots of discussion! What happened to the bread? What if the cocoa were real dirt and germs? What would happen to the dirt and germs if we ate the bread? Next, have the students wash their hands. This is a great intro. to teaching your procedures for washing hands.
Here are mine:
  • Use the student sink. (This dramatically reduces the germs you and other adults are exposed to!)
  • Do a quick cleanup check to see if you can help keep the bathroom sparkling!
  • Turn on the water and put 1 squirt of soap in your hand. (I wrap a rubber band around the pump so it's actually 1/2 a pump of soap for those tiny hands!)
  • Sing the hand washing song in a bathroom voice (this changes seasonally- I post the laminated song poster in the bathroom. This keeps the print on the wall from blending into the background, helps promote print awareness, gives a little focus in the bathroom, and builds excitement about reading). Singing a short song also helps to ensure your kiddos are washing for at least 20 seconds. A bathroom voice is a soft, level 1 voice. Otherwise, the kiddos will really put those fantastic bathroom acoustics to work! :D
  • Leave the water on and get a paper towel. (I know, this wastes water, but according to NAVFAC (Navy Health thing) we have to teach the kiddos to turn the faucet off with a paper towel).
  • Dry your hands and turn the faucet off with the paper towel.
  • Throw the paper towel in the trash.
Now, give the students another slice of bread to knead. Compare the two slices of bread. Which is cleaner? Why? What can we learn from this?
**There are lots of different versions of this lesson. Some use glitter, oil and cocoa powder, brown tempera paint, etc. I like this one the best. It gets the point across in the simplest way for me. :)**

Sneezing/Coughing Lesson:

This is another idea adapted from one I saw in The Mailbox Magazine.
Use the nose shaped cutout below to tape onto a mist-type spray bottle. Go around the room pretending to sneeze and cough without covering your mouth and spray water from the "nose" onto common surfaces such as doorknobs, the water fountain, table surfaces, toys etc. This looks extremely funny holding the spray bottle to your face like it's your real nose! As you make your way to your seat in the whole group area, your little ones are sure to be cringing and giggling. :) You may want to "sneeze" once you get settled in the whole group area and give the little ones a spray of water, though some schools may not like this, so be sure to check first. :/

Another option is to pretend to sneeze into your hands while holding a handful of pompom germs. As you sneeze, release the pompoms onto the children to illustrate how germs spread through the air when you sneeze. Be sure to take a moment to gather the pompoms germs or you have lost them for the real message in your lesson! This is my reasoning for not using glitter as the germs as well. Impossible to gather back up and impossible to focus the attention back on you. :D
Next, "sneeze" spray into your hand and offer your little ones a handshake or high 5. Discuss how wet sneeze germs are spread so easily in school and how we can do some things to keep the germs from spreading and making our friends sick. Talk about sneezing into your elbow and washing your hands with soap after sneezing/coughing.

You can close the lesson by singing this song to the tune of "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" (I have no idea where I got this song. If you know, please leave me a comment so I can give proper credit!)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Welcome To School- Developmental Centers

Puzzles and Games
I set out a few, very simple and sturdy wooden puzzles in the beginning of the year. I make sure to explain that if a puzzle is unable to be completed before cleanup time, the pieces should be placed on the puzzle base they belong to and placed on the shelf rather than attempt to slide it in the puzzle rack. Poor little things can get so frustrated with this task! They try so hard to do it "just right". :)

Sparklebox has a fantastic visual step by step for how to complete a puzzle! Sparklebox also includes directions on how to shrink their items so you can print multiple pages on one sheet. This is very helpful if you want to conserve ink and paper. Their items are fantastically full color! I sized this one to print two to a page so I can post them above the puzzle shelf for reference. I may also go ahead and print them full size to make into a book to include in the center for reading across the curriculum! :D

Sand Table
Love me some Sparklebox! They have a set of sand table rules and reminders. Oh yeah!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Welcome To School-Math-Number Formation

Making Learning Fun has a fantastic set of Pattern Block Number Mats. They are so beautiful, not only am I placing them in my Math Work Stations, I'm thinking of using them as a reference display. So pretty! Here's a partial pic so you can get an idea:

The set is also available in black and white for open-ended exploration- and to give your printer a break!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome To School- Literacy

Morning Message

I start off Morning Message REALLY simply in the beginning. I love the examples provided on the K-Crews website for their Buzz Book. I really like having the morning message in a flip chart format so the students can go back and revisit the messages. It's so empowering for them to look back and see how much they've learned!

Another idea I saw somewhere on the internet and really wish I knew where! This teacher made up a Morning Message color code key. She has a color for everything! Black is used for the message, green is used for the beginning of a sentence or capital letters, red is used for punctuation, yellow is used for popcorn words, orange is used for spaces between letters (she called it spaghetti), brown is used for spaces between words (meatballs!), blue was used for interesting words, and purple was used for things that didn't follow the rule. What a great way to spark and mark discussions on grammar in your Morning Message. Of course, you would introduce each of these one at a time and slowly throughout the year. :)

Pointer Patterns: I like to change up the pointer I use while reading the Morning Message to match my theme. For Welcome to School, I just die cut and laminate a school bus, crayon, glue bottle, or pencil to stick on the end of a short dowel or even a themed unsharpened pencil. A little hot glue does the trick or a velcro dot would work if you want to reuse the same dowel as you change themes. Just another way to keep things interesting!

A classic and a must for any student having trouble saying goodbye to family- and there's ALWAYS at least one!

What better way to ease little one's fears than to read a simple, soothing rhyming book that describes the new adult in their lives? I saw this and many other great first day ideas on KinderKorner.

Meet the Teacher Book: This book would transition nicely into an introduction of yourself. You could make a "Meet the Teacher" book by gathering several photos of yourself and adding simple captions. Be sure to include a picture of yourself at their age! Include information such as your kids, pets, family (husband, mom and dad), favorite sports team, favorite food, etc. Print, place in page protectors, and put in a binder for an easy class book. This would also be a great story to read or make available at Open House or Meet the Teacher for parents!

Welcome to School Books WordleHere's a little list of some of my favorite read alouds for Welcome to School. :)
Wordle: Welcome To School Books Wordle

Pocket Charts and Poetry
I absolutely LOVE to use KinderKorner's pocket chart activities from her Back to School theme. The predictable text and humore make the activities enjoyable for all skill levels.

Making Learning Fun has some cute Friends Holding Hands stationery. This would be nice to include in your writing center to entice little authors or you may just want to use it yourself! The options include with and without lines; color and black & white.

Reader's Workshop/Daily Five
Sparklebox has a beautiful collection of posters to introduce book terms.

I use the following songs to help reinforce the roles of Author and Illustrator:

The Author Song
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
The Author writes the words
The Author writes the words
The Author writes the story, oh
The Author writes the words.

The Illustrator Song
(Tune: London Bridge)
The Illustrator draws the pictures
Draws the pictures, draws the pictures
The Illustrator draws the pictures
For the Author.

Letters in Our Name Class Book. Cut up an alphabet line or poster to make a page for each letter of the alphabet. Title each page, "Look who has a (letter) in their name!" Then type each corresponding student's name on the page and highlight the featured letter. Be sure to include a picture of the students for those very emergent or ELL readers. If no one in your class has a particular letter in his/her name, still include the page, but leave it blank!
You could make this book interactive and include it in your ABC Work Station by including a magnifying glass and a deck of letter cards to pull from. The kids have to search through the book (great beginning "reference book" skill practice) and find the students who have that letter in their name. For older kids, you could have them record their findings on this sheet:

Making Learning Fun has a great little flip book for the kiddos to match upper and lowercase letters! Here's a partial pic so you can get an idea.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome To School- Math

My math folders are organized according to area of study/standard on my computer. Since I am extremely visual, this helps me fill in the slots and easily see if I am missing an activity for a certain standard or study area.

So, this area of my post will flow just like I have my folders organized on my computer. I'm not saying it's the right way. I'm just saying it's the way that works for me! :D

Some items may be "filed" under areas that you would classify differently and I may end up moving them around later, but this is what I have so far.

Confessions of a Homeschooler has a bunch of great stuff! Her pattern block printable task cards are great to use as a Welcome to School Math Station for patterning. They allow for exploration of the wooden pattern blocks while focusing those "idle hands". Really great quality printables.

Making Learning Fun has a set of really cute school bus themed shape pattern clip cards. I plan on printing them out and placing a sticker on the back of the correct answer to make this station self-checking. This station is also double duty since it deals with shapes AND patterning. :) Not to mention the fine motor benefit you get with the clothespin action. Sweet!

Check out 2TeachingMommies for one stop shopping! You can get all their school themed resources in one easy cheesy download! This is another site you'll want to clear your calendar for- great stuff! I plan on using their school tools pattern task cards and printable pieces.

As a formative assessment or cumulative activity to go into student portfolios, you can't go wrong with Kindergarten Crayons. She made the cutest pattern strip book for kiddos to create their own school themed patterns.

Data Analysis and Probability
Another great resource from that one easy download at 2TeachingMommies is their School themed Roll and Graph Activity. Partners (or individuals or even small groups as an intro lesson) roll the school themed die and color the coordinating box on the graph. Laminate or stick in a page protector to use with dry erase markers and save a few trees! :)

I do a lot of the activities from The Mailbox resource book Gotta Have Graphs. I couldn't find it on their site, but it is available on Amazon. Some of the graphs we do from this book for this theme are: Are you a Lefty or Righty? and How Many Letters In Our Names?

Gotta Have Graphs

I saw this idea somewhere on the internet: a teacher posted a vertical age graph in her classroom. She listed the ages of her students along the bottom of the display and pictures of the students formed the vertical bar graph. As students celebrated their birthday, they got to move their picture over to the next age level! I don't know about you, but I have a TERRIBLE time remembering the age of all my kiddos! I love the visual display and the fact that the students get to celebrate another milestone on their birthday. :)

Play2LearnPrintables has a nice crayon spin and graph race game on their school theme page.

This is one of those tricky "How do I file this?" activities. I kinda want to file it under Algebra, but for now I am placing it here. Hmmm.... that may change. Anyway, I got this from Education.com. It's a worksheet that is a VERY easy, VERY beginner level school themed sudoku.
I LOVE it! Great logical and spatial thinking skills. I plan on cutting off the directions, laminating, and adding velcro dots to make it a little more interactive and a little less worksheet-y. :)

Positions in Space:
Mrs.Wills Kindergarten made a SUPER freebie game just right for Welcome to School. It's a Positional Words Backpack Hunt. Such a great game!

Childcareland.com has a nice song poster covering Five Little Shapes. This would be a nice focus activity or felt board option.

I cannot get by without my Frog Street Press Sing & Read Colors CD with Little BooksPosters, and Reproducible Books, the Shapes CD with Little BooksPosters, and Reproducible Books, and the Numbers CD with Little Books, Posters, and Reproducible Books. This is one of those "you gotta have this!" purchases you should make if you're a first year teacher. You won't regret it!  :) Pics and links are at the bottom of this post. :)

Making Learning Fun has a Shape Match Flip Book. Here is a partial pic for you.

Size Seriation/Sequencing/Ordering... whatever you call it. :) :
2TeachingMommies and that handy dandy all in one download has school themed sizing cards. Kiddos can put them in order from Big to Small or Small to Big; Short to Tall or Tall to Short. I made some simple task cards to go with this station. Students can pull a card and place the cards in that order, then pull another card and place the cards in a different order.

Click on the picture for the link
Numbers and Operations
1 to 1 Correspondence:
Kindergarten Crayons made a super cute counting dots book for the kiddos to make using stickers, stamps, or bingo dot markers.
Check out Pre-KPages under the math and math printables sections for lots of ice cube tray and muffin tin games. Roll a die and place one object in each compartment to match the set. Also, check out the grid game mats. Roll a die and place one object on each square. Continue until the grid is full. This can be easily differentiated by cutting the mats to smaller sets of numbers or pairing the die to have students add the dots before placing the objects on the mat.

Addition and Subtraction:
Making Learning Fun has a great Roll and Color School Bus for Addition. Use a pair of dice to roll and count the dots on both die. Add the numbers and color the corresponding sum. As a partner game, the first to color their picture completely wins.

Counting and Sets:

We practice counting on skills by counting in the round starting with very low numbers. We stand in a circle and count off to our target number (3, 5, etc) the 3rd person sits or is dismissed if I used this as a transition activity. Play continues with the next person beginning the counting sequence again and again, the third person sits or is dismissed. Play continues until all are sitting or are dismissed. If you do a sitting version, I highly recommend you keep it upbeat by changing counting voices and keep it moving! :)

Kindergarten Crayons made a set of number dot cards for kiddos to make their own set of number flash cards by using bingo dot markers. After making these, I can see partners playing teacher all while increasing their number recogniton fluency!

2TeachingMommies has a set of school themed count and clip cards. Count the set of school themed objects on the card and clip a clothespin on the correct number listed at the bottom of the card.


Number Lines and Ordinal Numbers:

I have a set of School Themed Number Order and Skip Counting Puzzles on my TPT Store for $1.50. There are 5 puzzles in the set. Print them and mount them on different colors to eliminate confusion

This idea came from The Mailbox Magazine: Invite 5 students to line up in front of your group one behind another. Announce an ordinal number; then encourage the rest of the class to look at the line and notice who is standing in that position. Next, sing the following song:

(Tune: "Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?")
Oh who, oh who is the {ordinal number ex.: first} child in line?
Oh who, oh who can it be?
Can you tell me that name of the {first} child in line?
Oh who, oh who can it be?

Repeat the song substituting different ordinal numbers and students/groups. You could make up a set of ordinal number cards to hold up or offer during independent choice time.

Numeral Formation:

I like using large number stencils made from posterboard on the chalkboard. I just die cut them in large enough squares for little hands to be able to hold them while they trace.
I also hole punch the numbers that are left over from these die cuts so the kiddos can make glue dot numbers. This gives great practice at making "just a dot; not a lot" and gives little ones a tangible model of the number for their very own. Clip the number to the paper with a binder clip to keep it in place. :)

Gel bags are great as well. Students pull a number card and form it with their finger. Just take some hair gel, food coloring, and maybe a little glitter to make it extra snazzy and fill the bag about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Seal the bag and tape it extra well with clear packing tape. Be sure to teach students how to handle the bags gently so they don't pop or tear. :)
Place sand, rice, oatmeal, baking flour, cornmeal, salt, shaving cream, etc. in a lidded flat container. Students pull a number card and form the numeral in whatever medium you choose.
Dr. Jean's numeral songs on her Sing to Learn CD and Frog Street Press' Sing and Read Numbers series (mentioned above under Geometry) are also great resources.

Sing to Learn

"Sing & Read" Numbers, Poster Pals, 8-1/2" x 11", 20/pkg"Sing & Read" Number, Reproducible Little Books, 10 books"Sing & Read" Numbers, Little Book Collection

"Sing & Read" Colors, Poster Pals, 11" x 17", 10/pkg"Sing & Read" Colors, Reproducible Little Books, 10 books"Sing & Read" Colors, Little Books Collection

"Sing & Read" Shapes, Poster Pals, 11" x 17", 10/pkg"Sing & Read" Shape, Reproducible Little Books, 10 books"Sing & Read" Shapes, Little Books Collection

Redesign Notice

Hi Bloggy Friends,

I have taken out the Theme tabs on the right side of the blog. Not all posts were getting linked under the correct theme topic= big pain! As I go along, you will see my themes added to the topics list on the left side of the blog. Hope this helps you find what you are looking for when you do a search. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Five Senses

Here's a collection of ideas to use during a study of the Five Senses. This post is under construction. Please check back often! :)
Social Studies
Sparklebox has a very nice biography of Louis Braille. Perfect for discussing the sense of sight!

Do this lesson with your Reader's Workshop Intro!

Saylor's Log posted the BEST idea for demonstrating the concept of fairness! Go check it out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Easy Peasy Tutorial: Making Student Photos with Labels using Powerpoint

Hello Bloggy Friends,

 has made an incredible video tutorial that will save you OOOOOODDDLLLEEESSSS of time in the beginning of the year.
I know, I heard the angels sing, too! :D

PocketChart Photos from Cindy Blakely on Vimeo.
If you haven't been to In the Teacher's Lounge- go now and become a follower. This is definitely one that is well worth your while!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Welcome To School- Literacy- ABC Work

Making Learning Fun has a gorgeous set of alphabet Pattern Block Mats. Another great way to explore these manipulatives, work with shapes (transformations, rotations, etc.), and practice letter formation! The set is available in color as well as black and white. Here's a peek!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jack Hartmann's Letter Sounds Song on YouTube

Here's a great video version of a classic, catchy alphabet sounds song. This would be great to sing during your Ocean theme OR in December when you're dreaming of summer...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mrs. I's Class: Bookmarks with Level (freebie)

Have you started following Mrs. I yet? Well, if you haven't, then this should convince you! She made bookmarks for her kiddos with their reading level on them so they know just where to choose from when 'shopping for books'. Of course, the level can be erased as the kiddos improve. So smart and so stinkin' cute!
Mrs. I's Class: Bookmarks with Level (freebie): "I made up some bookmarks for my kids. I included a spot to record the level of books that are 'just right' for them. This will help them k..."

Hop over and check her out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lego, Duplo, or Building Blocks Pattern Task Cards

Here's another super duper resource from Sparklebox. This is such a fantastic website! How easy peasy can you get for a simple math patterning station?
These task cards are gorgeous!
The fun doesn't stop there! Keep scrolling and you will see tons more patterning resources- including UNDERWEAR! Bahahaha! Wouldn't that be a great math connection to the book What Color Is Your Underwear?  by Sam Lloyd???

I have to make a quick side note mention for the Patterned Socks you will see on the same page. I can see these making a VERY cute count by two's activity and display! :)

Happy Patterning- and Skip Counting!