The Write Stuff!

Hello Friends!
I don't now about you, but I am ALWAYS on the hunt for great writing tools; and by tools, I mean writing techniques! I love to watch the progress that I see in my students when they have finally figured out what happens when you put letters, words, and punctuation marks together! I am always on the lookout for fun and new ways to teach writing. 

Before my kinders can begin the HUGE process of writing, they need foundational skills. These foundational skills include listening to sounds in words and writing the sounds they hear on paper, reading and writing CVC words, and understanding that words are separated by spaces in sentences.  And throughout this writing and reading journey, they are practicing those tricky sight words that are the glue that holds their sentences together! The journey is long, but by this time of year, I always start to see the fruit of their labors shine! 

Here is a close up example of the snowman writing activity that I posted last week. This little one still is writing capital letters in the wrong places and the letters are not sized properly, but I see a great beginning to sentence writing! 

I am so proud of the growth I have seen in this little girl. Writing was such a mystery to her in August. She came to kindergarten as a reader and my first impression of her was that here was a little one that would have no trouble at all with our kindergarten curriculum. Well, come to find out, that although she could read MANY words, she was a sight reader and therefore if the word was not in the word bank in her head, she had no idea as to how unlock the sounds in the word and read it. Her Mom told me that when they read with her at home, they would tell her the word as she read. They didn't work on blending sounds together to read the words because she picked up on reading so quickly. When she came to kindergarten and was told to write the sounds that she heard in the words, she really did not know what to do. So, despite the fact that here was a little girl who was reading at a DRA level J, she still needed basic word structure skill practice. Nonsense word reading was difficult for her because she did not have those silly words in her bank! She is a smart little girl, though, and as you can tell from her writing above, she has picked up the writing process and is doing really, really well! The biggest problem she has now is that because she KNOWS what a word is supposed to look like, she has a lot of trouble writing it down if it isn't spelled correctly. So it takes her a VERY long time to complete a writing activity

 Here are a few more writing samples from another student. This little girl writes TOTALLY by sound and I love it!

None of this writing can occur without the foundational skills that I mentioned above. Writing and reading go hand in hand; you cannot have one without the other.  Which is why I am excited to be a part of a new Educents bundle. 17 sellers have joined forces to offer a bundle package titled "THE WRITE STUFF." Included in this bundle are some amazing resources to teach both foundational and writing process skills. There are 27 resources included - wow! I am so blessed to be a part of this bundle! My part of the bundle is FOUR FANTASTIC JUNGLE  LITERACY CENTERS. Here is picture of a few of my students working on the ABC order center.

 In my packet, students do a jungle animal CVC word search, put animal pictures in ABC order, search for tiny sight words with a magnifying glass, and sort pictures into 1, 2, and 3 syllables. All these activities work on skills that kids need in order to build their sentence writing.

Click on the image below to take you to this wonderful writing resource!

For a limited time it is $29.99 from Educents which is over 71% off!  (They even have $10 off for first time customers… so it can be even cheaper if you have never bought anything from Educents!)

So that's it for now,  Friends!

Until next time!


Wintry Projects, bulletin boards, and bracing for another Polar Freeze!

Hello Friends!

We had a most beautiful day this past Monday. Our kindergarten team rotates Monday recess duty and I am so happy when it is NOT my Monday for duty. But this Monday DID happen to be my day and it was delightful! The sun was out. The air was above 40 degrees. The kids were filled with joy to be outside! But as with all good things, this beautiful weather passed and we are presently awaiting another polar FREEZE.... sigh..... That groundhog better not see his shadow on February 2!

I DO enjoy Winter projects, though! Snowflakes and chilly colors are some of my favorites. Here is my door and my religion bulletin board. (These are not my original ideas!)

On the final day of our "What Do Animals Do in the Winter?" unit, we discussed what people do in the winter. We talked about warm clothes and fun in the snow and then the kids created these cute mixed media posters.

Here is how we made them:
1.  Cut a hill shape from construction paper. Glue to the bottom of the page. This is the body.
2.  Cut a paper circle from skin colored paper. Glue the head to the top of the body.
3.  Cut 2 rectangles from scrapbook paper. Glue under the chin to create a scarf.
4.  Draw a winter hat shape onto the top of the head using pencil.
5.  Use crayons to draw a face UNDER the hat shape. 
6.  Paint the hat with bright colors.
7.  Finger paint snowflakes with shaving cream.
8.  Sprinkle with diamond dust glitter.

Here  is another wintry project that we did this week. My kiddos made this sweet snowman based on THIS  CUTE TPT freebie. I added a writing addition to it that you can grab HERE if you wish.

So that is it for now! Have a happy and healthy weekend! Oh by the way, my friend and I joined Curves yesterday. We were members over 3 years ago and then we stopped going for "who knows for what reason!" It felt good to take this step towards good health!

Until next time!


Snow, Winter, and 3D Shapes

Hello Friends!

This post is going to be short and sweet as it is Saturday morning and I have SOOOO many errands to run and things to do! Because of our snow days at the beginning of the week, I was unable to get to the grocery store which really cramped my resolution of eating whole foods! Oh well, that seems to be behind us now - yay!

Here is a picture of the front of our house during the storm. It wasn't the snow so much that was the problem, though, it was the COLD! Yikes! We were so very lucky that our furnace was a faithful friend and our pipes did not burst. Some people, unfortunately, had to deal with these types of problems as well as handle the extreme temperatures. We were blessed, indeed!

Here is a picture today..... You can see the snow is starting to melt. The temperature is supposed to be in the 40's today, so that will help the melting!

Since we were only in school for 3 days this week, we, of course, were unable to get everything covered that I had planned. We did, however, start our Winter unit. It is always a nice way to transition back into school AND since we live in Illinois, it is usually a typical Winter scenario when we return! We do our scientific instrument experiment during this unit. This year we were able to use SNOW to hypothesize and gather our data for how thermometers are used. After watching the temperature in the snow go down, we then put the thermometers into really warm (not hot) water and watched it go up! This is such an easy experiment to do! If you don't have snow, use ice - it works just the same!

We also started our "What Happens in Winter?" book. I WANTED to get this book finished this week, but of course, did not have the days to get this goal accomplished! We discussed how the tilt of the Earth causes us to have seasons. We discussed the differences between the Northern and Southern hemispheres and we discussed how some animals hibernate to survive the winter. My Winter packet was highlighted in the TPT newsletter this week and a sweet buyer gave me a suggestion for a change in my definitions of hibernate and adaptation. Her idea was absolutely correct so I changed my definition of hibernate to "In the Winter, some animals hibernate. Hibernate means to sleep for a very LONG time." My original definition was "Hibernate means to sleep." She felt that this did not give children a strong enough feeling for what happens to animals when they hibernate and I totally agreed with her! This is why I LOVE writing for teachers! Teachers are always encouraging others to be the best they can be; even their peers!

So this is one of my students creating their illustration of hibernate. (I love this time of year when I have to do is show my students the step by step illustrations and they create their illustrations independently!) We make a bear; even though I tell my students that bears are not true hibernators. I tell them bears experience something called topor which is like hibernation, but animals that in a torpor state will wake up at times; especially on warm winter days.

Another unit we started this week was 3D shapes. I know some teachers have already covered 3D shapes, but I like to wait until after Christmas to introduce these shapes. My kiddos seem to be more prepared to understand the differences between 2D and 3D shapes now than if I had introduced them earlier. I am so happy with how this unit is going! I have been working to tweak this unit for the last couple of years and finally am pleased with it. I wanted something that was fun for my students to do, yet rich in content. A big part of this unit is understanding the differences between 2D and 3D shapes. Here are the definitions that I use... 2D shapes have a front and a back. They have length and width. They are flat. 3D shapes have length, width, and depth. 3D shapes have many sides and space in between. My kiddos TOTALLY got this! We are creating 3D shapes from toothpicks, marshmallows, paper, aluminum foil...... and then creating a book about 3D shapes. I have been showing them how to DRAW 3D shapes, too, which has been a hoot watching them try to envision the process!

Well, that's it for now... I will try to share more later in the week! I wish you all a glorious weekend!!
 If you are interested in my Winter and 3D Shapes packets, click the images below to take you to them!

Until next time!


Welcome 2014! Crafting and Creativity Linky on Blog Hoppin!

Hello Friends!

I am hosting the linky today on Blog Hoppin - crafting and creating! Click the linky image below to take you there! And don't forget to link up! I am always inspired by the stories of other! 

And my trekkie self just had to share this image!

Until next time!


The Year in Review........ Fun and Family

Hello There!

We at Blog Hoppin are taking some time to reflect upon our accomplishments of 2013 and our goals for 2014. Today the topic is FUN and FAMILY.
 Above all else, my family is THE most important part of my life! Despite the fact that my 3 amazing children are all grown, I am blessed to continue to have them as a constant part of my life. 

 In fact, we just returned from a wonderful vacation in Wisconsin. My husband's family has been traveling to Wisconsin since HE was a little kid and we continued the tradition once we were married and had our children. Of course, most SMART people travel SOUTH for a winter vacation, but not us..... we aren't so smart........ we go where there is MORE cold and snow! But, we do have fun and this is a tradition that I plan to continue in 2014!

I am so lucky to be able to continue to spend time with my parents. I am thankful everyday for their health and the times we have been able to get together with them. This summer we will be spending some quality time with them in Michigan - Yay! Warm weather sounds delightful right now!


Until next time!