Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mr. Groundhog is coming!!!

Graphic by From the Pond
This week sure did fly by!  Tomorrow is our last day and then we have a PA Day on Friday (again!).
Since it was such a short week, we wrapped up our unit on The Mitten and focused on Groundhog Day.  With Groundhog Day falling on a weekend this year, we had to change things up a bit.  Here are a few things we did in class.
 
We talked about the word "predicting" (or making a guess) and then we made our own little groundhog craft and used it to graph our predictions.  We will find out whether we were right next Monday morning when we come to school.
 
Also on Monday, we will be getting a "special delivery" from Wiarton Willy (our local groundhog) - a letter complete with a dirt mark on the front envelope to make it much more authentic!!!
HA!!!
(I just love the secretaries at my school - they help me turn everything into such fun times!)
Wiarton Willy will be sending us one of these letters - we just have to wait and see whether he sees his shadow or not!
 
The students were rolling the die and daubing the number they rolled.  First one to roll and daub all the numbers wins!  I had one student sit and play this game for nearly 25 minutes!  She just couldn't roll a 5 to finish! (And yet she was so content to keep on playing!)
 
I have some students who are so good at graphing that I had to get this centre out for them.
First, they make a prediction as to which letter they think they will spin the most of.  Then they spin the spinner 10 times and record their findings.  All I could hear was "Go S!" or "Go R!"  It was hilarious!
 
After reading the book The Substitute Groundhog, we choose which animal we think would make the best substitute.  Looks like this class almost all voted in favour of the penguin!
(Their reasoning was that penguins are good at hunting for fish so they must have great eyesight...which is a trait a substitute groundhog should have...hmmmm, interesting!).
 
You can find these activities in my Happy Groundhog Day mini unit.
 
So I'm packing up all things winter tomorrow since there is no school on Friday and will be in full Valentine's Day mode come Monday morning!  If you are looking for ideas for this "love"ly (mind the pun!) day then be sure to check out my Valentine's Day Literacy and Math Unit and my Valentine's Day Write the Room activity.
 
I have amazing friends in Blogland, you all know that already!  My sweet friend Erin is just getting started in the Blogging world and I would love it if you could check out her adorable blog!
Tell her I sent you!
 
 
Have a great Thursday!  Yippee!  It's nearly the weekend! 
Oh, and Happy Groundhog Day, of course!
(Here's to wishing that the groundhog doesn't see his shadow!)
 

Monday, January 28, 2013

And the winner is....

Thank you, everyone, for entering my FLASH giveaway for my Happy Groundhog Day mini unit.
The winner is....
 

#16 - Julie Sane
 
Check your inbox, Julie, I'm sending over the file now.  Hopefully you can use it this week.
 
I'm off to school in this terrible weather (no snow day for me! BOO!).
Have a wonderful Monday!



Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Mitten, Mr. Groundhog and a FLASH GIVEAWAY!

Brrrrr!  It's so COLD outside!
I am so thankful that January is over.  The month actually kinda flew by but there is something about saying goodbye to January that I think I'm saying goodbye to the snow and cold weather (if only, right?).
All in all, January is actually one of my most favourite months at school (minus the freezing cold weather and all that indoor recess!).  We learned about snow (melting and freezing), clothes we wear/things we do in the various seasons, and this week we are wrapping up our book study on Jan Brett's The Mitten.
Here are some activities we worked on:
 
Practicing our beginning sounds - ALL of my students are so good at this.  Time to introduce some centres that focus on ending sounds!
 
Clapping and listening for how many syllables each word is.  My students make me use syllables for EVERYTHING!  They love it when I say "If your name has 2 syllables, line up at the door!"
 
I got this idea my first year teaching from my dear friend and former teaching partner, Ms. Alves (one of the BEST Kindergarten teachers I know!).  The students have to "sew" the mitten (like Baba in the story) and then they retell the story by inserting pictures of each animal into the mitten (there is an opening at the bottom of the mitten - hard to tell).  My students realized that "sewing" isn't so easy after all!
 
Here is what the finished "sewn" mitten looks like.  The students will be using the mitten this week with their reading buddies to retell the story.
 
You can never get enough practice with those sight words!  I mixed them all up and the students had to guess which words they were.  (I had a list of all the words posted nearby in case they needed to refer to that.)
 
We've been working on rhyming words so I created this little activity for my kinders.  I had the students find rhyming words (yes, they are colour coded to simplify it for my JKs).  You could easily adapt this and print the carrots on white instead of colour so that the students aren't just matching.
 
Here's our pocket chart story from last week.
 
And this is the worksheet that goes with it.
 
 
You can find these activities in my unit The Mitten and from my All Year Long Pocket Chart Fun pack.
 
Isn't this little snowman the cutest?  We made them based on a glyph from my friend and teaching partner, Ann-Marie Parisi's unit Winter Fun.
 
Here's what the glyph looked like.
 
We sorted pictures into the correct season.  You can download this activity, Season Sort, for FREE here.
 
Here's what's to come this week:
 
So it looks like Groudhog Day this year falls on a Saturday.  We will be celebrating Groudhog Day this week by making a cute little groundhog craft and using it to predict and graph if the groundhog will see his shadow or not.
 
I also like to read the book The Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller.  We choose our favourite substitute groundhog and graph our answers.  I also included a cute graphic organizer and writing activity for this book. 
This week we sure will be doing a lot of predicting and graphing!
 
 
You can check out these fun activities and LOTS more in my Happy Groundhog Day mini-unit.  It's only $4!  So if you are looking to do some fun activities and centres this week be sure to check it out.  All you have to do is click print and everything is ready to go!
 
***FLASH GIVEAWAY!***
I'll give it away to one lucky person first thing in the morning tomorrow.  So if you'd like a copy, leave me a comment below and don't forget your e-mail address!  I'll send it to a lucky winner at 7:30 am EST.
 
Have a wonderful week, friends!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Juggling my life...linky party!

I'm linking up with Katie Mense from Little Warriors for tonight's blog post....all about juggling everything life throws at you!
 
I think you all know by now that I LOVE my job!  But I love my family even more!
I have 2 children that keep me very, very, VERY busy!
 
Here's one example...I wanted to take a recent picture of my 2 little ones (I swear, the last decent picture I had of them, without one screaming, the other crying or both pouting was from October).  To take this picture tonight took me about 10 minutes....and....4 pictures later, an ice cream cone with sprinkles each and a movie popped into the TV....voila (this is the best I could get!)...  My kids!
 
 
My daughter (Chiara) is 4.5 years old and my little guy (Luca) is 2.5 years old.  Having children so close in age (they are exactly 2 years and 2 weeks apart) is wonderful but ever so busy!
Life in my house is constantly on the go.
 
During my free time...okay, stop, it's not really free time....it's everyone else's sleeping time!...I work on my units for TpT and school.  But I can't imagine leaving that world!
I started blogging 2 years ago in April.  I was actually on my maternity leave at the time and discovered so many wonderful bloggers out there.  I knew I wanted in even though at that time I didn't have anything much to share since I didn't have my class!  Well, I jumped right on it and it's been addicting ever since.
I think the best part of being connected to the world of teacher-blogs is the amazing, wonderful friends I have made.  Some I have met this past summer and others I haven't met (yet!) but feel as though I've known them for years!
 
I don't really know how to juggle everything.  As I said, my world is a constant go!  But that's me, too.  I love my life and wouldn't change anything about it!  I just say that you should enjoy every minute with everyone you meet in life and cherish every day. 
 
And with that I am leaving to spend another half an hour before their bedtime with my screaming little ones downstairs!



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter Fun!

I am sooooo happy because it's a short week for me!  We have a PA Day on Friday to write report cards (which I should be doing now).  But I couldn't resist writing this little post to show you a little of our week so far....

 My kinders are getting really good at listening for that beginning sound.  This activity was fun for them...even though I threw in a few sounds that are harder (/y/ and /v/).

Since we've been back from the break, we have been working on rhyming words and word families.  This activity focuses on the word families -at, -ot and -it.  We also played a game where each student got a picture and had to find their partner who had the rhyming picture.

Practicing numbers to 10.  This was a quick and easy was to see which children knew their numbers (especially since reports are around the corner!)

All of my students love playing games and their favourite is when I take out my tweezers and stop watch.  So I created this for them.  They have to pick out the "snowballs" (the white pompoms only) and see how many they can catch in one minute.  They record their answers in a snowflake.

You can find all of these activities and LOTS more in my Fun with Frosty Unit.

I've been working around the clock lately to finish off some things I have planned for the next few weeks.
Up next week, our book study on The Mitten by Jan Brett.  And I just uploaded my newest mini-unit on Groundhog's Day (well, it started off as a mini-unit but I kept adding to it!).
Click on the pictures to take a peek.



Have a wonderful week (it's nearly done!).  I'm off to continue get started working on report cards.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Lucky Day!

I am usually not that lucky.
I have tried (several) times playing the lottery but I don't win (not even a free ticket!).
Once I found a "lucky" penny and later on that day I got a speeding ticket - real lucky, huh!?!?

Well, this past week was one lucky week for me!
I came home from work the other day to find a HUGE package at my doorstep.
Look what was inside!

 My dear friend, Leigh Ann, from Tennessee, sent it to me!
I met Leigh Ann last summer at the I Teach K! Conference in Las Vegas and we just hit it off!
I can't wait to dive into my box of goodies (I think the markers are my favourite - I have searched high and low and cannot find them in Canada!).  The taffy is so tasty too!

Leigh Ann is just getting started in the blogging world.  You can check out her blog here.

Then my luck got even better.
I received an e-mail yesterday telling me I won The Polished Teacher's giveaway.
Again, I NEVER win these things!  
Yippeee!!!  I was thrilled!
I won a whole slew of amazing resources, gift cards and clip art!  I have a very big smile on my face!
You can click on the button below to check out her blog.


I don't know about you but there is something about going back to school in January that I love.  It's as though all of my little kinders are so much more mature!  I'm not pulling my hair out repeating things like I did the first few months of school.  I'm loving this!



Here's a little activity we did this week to welcome the new year.  I got this idea from Julie Lee's blog last year.
Don't you just love kid-writing?  I am really starting to "read" my students work now!
My volunteer, Miss Josie, created the 2 adorable characters around the bulletin board display.

I hope you have a wonderful (and maybe even a *lucky*) weekend!  Enjoy!


Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Little Old TEACHER Who Lived in a Shoe!

The last 2 weeks have been wonderful!  I have loved every minute spent with my family and friends.
It's going to be a little hard going back tomorrow - well, waking up in the morning will be!

I don't know about you, but January here in Toronto means snow, snow, SNOW!!!  And it's already here!  And with the snow comes boots, snowpants, hats, mittens, scarves, extra socks...okay, I can go on and on.
Every year (and it's already starting!) I have parents writing me notes saying that their child lost a mitten or hat and when I write back asking if it was labelled the answer is almost always 'No!'.
I invested in Mabels' Label's a few years ago and swear by them!
(You can click on the top right picture on my blog to take you to their site.)
My daughter and son have these labels everywhere - I mean everywhere!  Each mitten is labelled, the inside of their coats, hats, scarves, even extra socks are too!
It's with high hopes that this year every one of my kinders have their belongings labelled too.

So before I go off to bed - yes, bed - I need my sleep, people! - I'm leaving you with this cute little note that we are sending home tomorrow with our kinders.
Do you remember the nursery rhyme "The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe"? 
Well, this poem is similar to that one just tailored for us teachers.
Click on the picture to get your freebie!

Clip art/fonts by DJ Inkers

I've had this in my files for years and have no idea where it is from!  My copy is actually hand-written with hand-drawn graphics.  If it's yours or know who I can give credit to please let me know.
Hope you can use it (and more importantly, if you do use it, I hope it works!).

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Winterlicious Fun and Freebies!

I have less than 72 hours left of Christmas Break. Really? Where did the days go? So I'm going to make the most of it. This weekend I plan on spending time with family and friends, taking the kids to watch a movie and maybe ordering pizza for dinner tonight....hmmmm...that sounds good.

If you are already back at work or are heading back on Monday (like I am), I have some things that might help ease you into the new year.

My themes for January this year are Winter, Snowmen and a book study on The Mitten by Jan Brett. Last year we also learned about Penguins but since we are on a 2-year rotation with our themes, it will have to wait until next January.

Here are a few ***FREEBIES*** I posted last year but thought you might like them. Click on the pictures to take you to the link. 
Yes, they are all FREE!!!!


These are the units and activities we will be working on for the month of January.
Click on the pictures to take you to each item.









And my best selling item last winter...

Have you ever tried Write the Room as one of your Literacy Centers?  I use it every day with my Kinders and they LOVE it!  They always want me to choose their group to go and do the activity.  I hide theme-based words around the room and they search for them and record the words they find using a clipboard.  I have a variety of worksheets so I tailor them for individual student needs.
I have 2 different theme-based ones you can use in January.


Phew!  That's all of it (for now).  I think that will get you through winter and into spring.  HA!  I'm busy with some more fun things up my sleeve!  In the meantime, I hit 1000 blog followers last weekend during my big New Year's Eve giveaway!  I'm sorry I haven't celebrated until now so.....I think this calls for a quick giveaway!!!

The first 3 people to comment below on their favourite winter activity can choose any winter item from my store!  That's it - easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy (sorry, my 4-year old has been saying that lately!  It's kind of stuck in my head!).

Enjoy the weekend (I know I sure will!)!!!!!