Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Cleaning SALE on Everything!!!

It's {finally} starting to feel a little bit more like spring here so I decided to throw a Spring Cleaning sale in my TpT store.  All of my items are 20% off!
 
 
The sale runs this Saturday and Sunday (March 30-March 31).
My cart is loaded and I can't wait to shop too since there are so many others joining in on the fun!
Thanks to Krista Wallden from The Creative Chalkboard for making this adorable graphic.
You can check out her blog for a list of all the other bloggers joining in on the fun!
 
Wishing everyone a wonderful, happy Easter and....happy shopping, too!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Giveaways GALORE!

I am helping some amazing blogger friends celebrate milestones by participating in 2 HUGE giveaways!
 
My sweet friend, Erica Bohrer, is celebrating reaching 4,000 Facebook fans!
What an enormous accomplishment!
You can win my Spring Literacy and Math Unit and lots (I mean, LOTS) more things too!
 
Click on the picture to take you to Erica's giveaway....
 
And another sweet friend, Greg Smedley, from Smedley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten is celebrating reaching 1,000 followers!
Yippee!
You can win any one item (non-bundled) from my TpT store!

Click on this picture to take you to Greg's giveaway....
 
Good luck everyone!
Up next, a special Easter surprise!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's almost Easter....and a FREEBIE!

Yup, one more week! And then it's Easter!

We were busy, busy, busy in our classrooms this week getting ready for this special holiday.
 

We have a wonderful (and artistic!) volunteer in the KG classes, Ms. Josie.
I've written about her before because she is just so amazing!
She made these cute little lambs with the students and turned them into a fabulous display!
(Oh, and she drew the large Jesus coming out of a tomb FREEHAND!)
 
The students made adorable palms to celebrate Palm Sunday (which is tomorrow).
These were so easy to make...we used a strip of tag manila paper down the middle and we glued on strips of green construction paper in the shape of a "V". 
 
 We also made these marble paint crosses.  Another fun and easy craft! 
 
We discussed the many symbols of Easter.  We cut out the pictures and wrote the words beside using our very best "kid-writing" in our journals.
 
Here is our Write the Room Easter activity.  This student is working on finding words and sorting them according to the number of syllables.
This activity is from my Write the Room Easter pack.
 
 This is my student teacher, Ms. Bucci, reading Mouse's First Spring to the students as she discussed the first day of spring.  She just started with me this past week and she is doing such a great job!
I love how she asked the children to act out various parts of the story with her!
 
Finally, I want to leave you with an activity we will be doing next week...for your pocket chart.
The students will read the sentence, find the colored egg and count the dots on it.  I have included everything you need, including a follow-up worksheet, FREE!
Click on the picture below to download your freebie!
 

 
I linked up with a bunch of other teachers also sharing Easter freebies through Elementary Matters.  Be sure to check them out!
 
 
Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Digraphs - ch, th, sh {FREEBIE!}

We have been learning about digraphs all year - the "th", "ch" and "sh" sounds.
Now that my kinders are getting really good at "kid-writing" we have been putting these sounds to work!
 
When teaching, I refer to the various sounds as follows:
th - I tell the students to bite their tongue and think of the word 'thumb' or 'think'
sh - I put a finger to my lips and say the sound, which looks like I am asking them to be quiet
ch - I move my arm up and down like I am riding a train and say "choo-choo"
(I didn't want to use a picture of train for the "ch" sound because students might get confused with the "tr" sound)
 
I love it when we are sounding out a word, say "chicken", and one of my students says, "Hey, I hear the "ch" sound....hmmm".  I wanted to create a set of simple posters where I could display these sounds and some pictures of things that begin with the digraphs.  That way, students can easily refer to them when they want to write a digraph.
 
 
If you'd like a copy just click on the picture above.
 
I've been hard at work this week (it was March Break for me!) creating and updating some units.
Here's a picture of my new unit, Spring!
It's packed with lots of fun things....now let's just hope the spring gets here soon!
 
 
And for those of you who already own my Down on the Farm unit, I gave it a complete makeover!
 
 
Re-download it from TpT if you have it already.
I added over 100 pages full of literacy and math centres!
 
 
I also put my St. Patrick's Day unit on sale until tomorrow night HALF OFF!
Be sure to snag it before the end of the weekend!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Good Apple Behaviour: Are You a "Green" Apple?

I have been getting a few e-mails recently about how I deal with behaviour issues in class.
My Good Apple Behaviour management is a strategy I have been using since my second year of teaching and it works wonderfully!
In fact, all of the Kindergarten teachers at my school have now put this method to use in their classrooms.
 
 
I have my Good Apple Behaviour chart posted up in my classroom for all to see. 
This idea orginated from Kinder Korner but I modified it slightly.
 
Each student has their own special spot on the pocket chart (from Lakeshore) with their name underneath and 4 different colours of apples in the slot. All the students start off as "Green Apples" each morning.  If they misbehave, their apple changes colour and now they are a "Yellow Apple" which means they have a 5 minute time out.  I don't call home for a yellow apple.  My students know that they made a silly choice and will now have to sit out and think about it for 5 minutes.  If that student's behaviour persists, I change the apple to "Red" and they now sit out for 10 minutes and I either call or write a note home.  Finally, if the student continues to make silly choices and misbehaves, that student gets a "Blue Apple" which is a 20 minute time out and results in a trip to the Principal's office.
 
At the end of the day, if everyone is a Green Apple, we all get stickers!  Horray!
This really motivates the students to take accountability for their actions and think twice before doing something that might not be right.  They never like it when they are the "Yellow Apple" and cause the class to miss out on getting stickers.
It's also like giving the student 3 strikes.  My principal (and I) truly believe that involving the administration shouldn't happen right away.  You need to show the steps you have taken to work with the child and allow him/her to have other opportunities to show how smart choices are being made.
 
So here are some of the questions I get when I explain this method to other teachers:
 
1.  Do you change the apple back to green throughout the day if the student is behaving well?
No.  Once the student gets a yellow apple, he/she stays like that for the whole day and can start fresh the next school day.
 
2.  How do you keep parents informed if poor behaviour is consistant?
I create a log book that goes back and forth from home to school each day with the students that need it.  The student is responsible for colouring in the apple on the top of the page and I check off how the day was.  There are spaces for both myself and the parent to write and the parent also signs each day.  By having the student colour in his/her apple at the end of the day, they reflect on how they behaved.
(Sorry - forgot to take a picture!)
 
3.  How did you make the pocket chart?
As I mentioned, the pocket chart is from Lakeshore Learning.  You can find it here.
I add in a label with each students name and used my Cricut machine to cut out apples in 4 different colours (I use green, yellow, red and blue).  Students can easily remember the colours as they are the same as a stoplight.  Green means "go", yellow means "slow down", red means "stop" and blue....well, nobody wants blue!  Besides, I tell them, have you ever seen a blue apple?!?! I don't want to see one either!
I also made a large chart that clearly explains this system to the students and parents/supply teachers/admin. or anyone who comes in to my class. 
 
4.  When do you introduce the Good Apple Behaviour Management?
I start this on day 1, first thing in the morning.  I teach Senior Kindergarten so the students remember this way of tracking behaviour from their JK year.  It only takes a minute to explain and it's pretty straight forward.  I love their expressions that first day when I go through the colours and flip the apple to blue!
 
5.  Do you ever skip colours and give the student a red or blue apple right away?
No.  Even if a child does something terrible, like throwing something at someone, he/she starts with a yellow apple.  I have the student sit in time out and talk to me about the choices made.  If the act was intentionally made to hurt another person, I still change the apple to yellow but I might need to get the administration involved.
 
I know there are many ways to implement good behaviour strategies.  I have been using this way for nearly 8 years and it really works for me!  Happy Sunday friends!


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Such a silly week!

We had such a silly week!
It's nearly March Break ... yes, only 1 day left ... so we decided to have a lot of fun to celebrate!
 
We read a few Dr. Seuss books and worked on these centres:
 
All of my kinders are getting really good at reading those sight words!  I wanted to make sure that they understood that sight words are built with a certain number of letters....they caught onto this centre really quickly and loved it!
 
We keep working on rhyming sounds...this is definitely a challenge for some students!
 
Working on beginning sounds.
 
I think this was one of the most favourite centres this week...spinning and colouring fun!
 
Because we are off for March Break next week (and will be missing St. Patrick's Day) we talked a little about it and worked on a few centres for fun:
 
Clapping and listening for syllables.
 
We started learning about symmetry.  Students had to decide if the picture was symmetrical or not.
This is definitely a concept we will continue to work on in the upcoming months!
 
I had a game similar to this one out a few months back.  My students go crazy for games that involve dice!  Here they are rolling the die, reading the number on it, and bingo dabbing the matching number.  They have to keep playing until all the numbers are dabbed.  One group today played for nearly half an hour...no one seemed to be rolling a 3! HA!
 
Working on counting and writing numbers beyond 10.
Our expectation in Kindergarten is identifying and working with numbers to 10.  But I believe that if students are capable of doing that already (which most of them are!) then why not challenge them and introduce numbers beyond 10.  This centre focused mainly on the teen numbers.
 
You can see what else is included in my units by checking out the previews below:
 
 
 
Wishing you a very happy March Break!
 
Coming up next....EASTER!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Wrapping up our Nutrition Unit

This week we wrapped up our Nutrition unit.  This unit does tend to go a little longer than some of the other units we cover in class, mainly because there are so many fun things we are doing and the students are loving it!
 
 
We read the book Today is Monday by Eric Carle and sang this song that I found on You Tube.  I love that the video shows the corresponding pictures in the book!
You can find this video by clicking here.
 
Here are our math centres this week.  You can read about our literacy centres that I posted last week by clicking here.
 
I introduced basic addition over the past few months.  We have been working on numbers to 10 and I showed them various ways to make and break 10.  Many of them were able to complete this activity with little to no help! *(I had counters out at the table, too, for those students who wished to use them and cover the dots as they counted)*
 
Learning about numbers that come AFTER.  It helped that I had a number line on the bottom of this worksheet!  Most students could say the numbers orally but writing them was a bit more challenging.
 
Counting by 10's all the way to 100!
Again, all of my students can count orally but identifying and writing the numbers was the challenge here.
 
The expectation in Kindergarten is to identify, count and write numbers to 10.  I like to challenge my students and here they are counting beyond 10.  It's a great way to get ready for Grade 1!
I had counters on the table so that they could cover up the dots as they counted.
 
This is our pocket chart centre for the week.
 
Here is one of my students "Writing the Room".  He grabbed a clipboard (pencil attached) and I gave him this worksheet because I knew it was a bit more challenging than simply writing any word he finds.  He is sorting the words he finds into Healthy and Unhealthy columns.
 
We sorted foods from the grocery store flyer into the 4 food groups.
 
My JK's worked on this placemat where they identifies healthy foods and glued them in the correct category.
 
Most of these activities come from my Nutrition Unit and my Write the Room Literacy Centre Nutrition Theme.
 
I even have a cute Going Shopping! game where your students have to turn over a card and match it to a picture on their shopping list so that they can place it in their carts. So much fun!
(Sorry, forgot to take a picture!)
 
Happy weekend!