Sunday, December 11, 2011

Free Countdown Calendars

So I got a little carried away.  I wanted to make just one countdown calendar for my little guy because he keeps asking when Christmas is.  And I thought what a fun freebie for you all!  One turned into two, and two turned into three... before you know it... I have a ton and I promise to keep adding to it.  Stop by to get yours!  Click the images to get the file containing all!  (And comment any requests and I will add them!)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread Crazy! (And a Gingerbread Freebie or Two!)

We made two fun Gingerbread crafts this year I wanted to share!  Because they are super cute and have a little bit of spin that I have not seen before! 

First is these cute Gingerbread Ornaments for our parents.

1.  Mix 3/4 cup apple sauce (plus a dash more) and 1 cup cinnamon with about two tablespoons of  glue.  I would suggest buying 2 of the tall Cinnamon's and 2 of the large jars of apple sauce.  That should get a classroom of about 30 very easily. 

2.  Knead the dough.  It's important that there is NO creases or folds in the dough.  You definitely have to work it.

3.  Roll it out onto wax paper. 

4. Then stamp with a gingerbread cookie cutter.  Poke a hole with a toothpick for the string.

5.  And lastly place to dry. They will have to dry for several daysTurn them over every half day or so.  I would also suggest prewriting your students names on the wax paper so you know whose is whose!

6.  Decorate with students' faces, hot glue works best.  Ribbon hot glued through the ornament's hole, a sequence, and anything you want to add!  Make adorable holiday gifts that will smell delicious for years!

We will wrap them by putting them in brown paper bags with just regular old paper towels to keep them protected.  We will write on the backs of old Christmas cards I collected from last year, staple them together and they are ready to go!  (The trick is to ask for them now so no one throws them away before they return from break... and save them for next year!  The kids also love using these cards in the writing lab!)

Next is the gingerbread men we made for a Gingerbread Man Exchange.  We made just regular old gingerbread men... cut out clothes and other trinkets for them.  I let them cut patterned paper to do this part.  I even set out tracers of close so the kids could put pants etc on them.  The fun part was when the students put the glue on, I let them sprinkle cinnamon on the glue directly so they smell AMAZING!  I know the kids who get them are going to love them!  This was the best picture I took without a student in it. 

Essentially how they were made use I gave the students this copy AND a brown piece of paper stapled together.  I showed them how to cut both pieces so they got the brown paper with no image on it (but you very easily could just copy it onto brown paper and tell them to use the back to make theirs.)  then I gave them a half sheet of pattern paper to cut as they wanted, buttons, and small pinch of cinnamon in a Dixie cup, and of course wiggle eyes!  I basically let them get creative... some came with tie's and others had watches on, and others wore dresses.  This kids really had a ball!  (Sorry I could not post more creative pictures, I took pictures with their gingerbread men for our scrapbooks not thinking.)  Click the image of the gingerbread man to get your free copy to place over the brown paper!

Also, don't forget you can get your Free Academic Gingerbread Houses Activity!  Have students build graphs then use those graphs to build their milk carton gingerbread houses!   It's a great academic twist to that fun project many of us have had taken away!  Click the image below to grab it if you have not done so yet. 

And also a Gingerbread Man Colors and Positional Word Practice Book.  This kids love this as they manipulate the gingerbread many "inside the red hot oven" or "next to the blue river" or "below the blue bird."  Click either image to check them out.

Students will actually move the gingerbread man into the oven 
(you attach the front door to the oven to the books!)

And I also have two supplemental products as well... Gingerbread Math Centers - students spin a spinner (or they can roll a dice or pick cards from a bag) to determine how many candy's to put on a gingerbread house.  It's very similar to the project, just in a game/center they can play for the next few weeks!  

OK that's all for today. 


More and More Freebies!

So... I have been sorting and organizing some freebies for you!  And of course I added to them!

So click the pictures below to go to...

December Pattern Hats:

I will be updating them throughout the year so that they become a year's worth of poems and pattern hats all in one place!  Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kindergarten RIGOR (Ahhh) and a Sight Word Freebie!

Afternoon all!  (Sigh)... I am so excited... my major paper is completed, not submitted but completed and so it is a HUGE weight off my shoulders!  It's time for a grad school break I think!  (I technically am not really going towards a specific program so in the long run it's probably better I not waste my money!)

Anyways!  I did a post for the PreK and K Sharing blog about increasing rigor in Kindergarten!  You should stop by and read it.  It has practical ways to increase the pace and expectations in your classroom!  And... the REAL definition of RIGOR... it's a must see! 

Along in that post is a Freebie that I am SO excited about!  Sight Word Motions!  Seriously.. how could I have taught 10 years and not thought of this?  Basically, I have specificed a specific motion for each word... why not, we do motions for everything else!  Let me tell you... IT WORKS!  My kids are saying these words on their own in centers and using them more appropriately in writing!  And every time they do, they do the motion.. it makes me cry!  So here is about 20 words as a freebie!  I promise to add more as I go! 

Lastly I wanted to share with you one of my FAVORITE winter projects!  (And guess what, it meets the expectation of RIGOR!)  We always make snowmen this time of year, but about 5 years ago when 'arts and crafts' was taken way I had to get creative.  So, we make these super cute snowmen, the students write stories for thier bodies, and they assemble in about 20 minutes TOPS!  (Which too if you write the directions on the board is reading and following directions.) 

But the best part about these snowmen is their noses!  I take break off the kids orange crayons and hot glue them on!  They are abosuletly adorable!

So if you want to make these, here are my tips. 
1.  Staple the plates together before hand.
2.  Create tracers (mittens, hats, and boots.)  Show kids to trace them on the backs of pattern paper.
3.  Let kids glue on all the peices except the story, that part is probably best you do.
4.  Hot glue the noses yourself too for safety reasons (just to state the obvious.)  Apply the glue, blow on it, then put the crayon.  If you do this it won't melt and fall. 

Ok... I am off to edit.  Hopefully you found something to use!  Really though.. the sight word thing will change your life!  =)

Linked up for Holiday Crafts, click banner for other great holiday crafts:


Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Family Project Freebie

I am about half way done with my Grad research paper... will be so happy when it's over!  I am taking a semester off so I am really anxious for this to be over!  So another freebie to keep you tied over until I have some better content to post. 

This is a family project that my son's preschool teacher does each year and I really enjoy as a parent.  It requires NO prep-work, no planning, and is super simple!

The first time I did this with my son I learned so much about my husband's side of the family which is 100% Hungarian.  It was so fun to learn about Santa leaving candy in their shoes instead of stocking and about how the Christmas tree is put up on a certain day when the kids are asleep. 

It will be fun to learn about all the traditions!  Have fun!


December Incentive Card Freebie!

So I am knee deep in grad school homework today.  Only 2 weeks left and I only have one assignment complete.  So I am just going to hit some freebies this weekend.  I do have a few really great December projects coming out soon so you will want to stay tuned... just need to get this major paper written!  Ugh!

So here are 4 incentive cards if you need them!  Enjoy!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

CVC Nonsense Word FREEBIE Center!

A couple weeks ago in kindergarten we took out the CVC dice to start practice reading words nonsesne words.  Fall benchmarks are coming up and so it's important to give students lots of practice.  These dice make a great center for word work.  I also like to have my students kill time with them.  For example, if they are sitting at my table waiting for a group to start, they play these.   Click the image to download for free!

I provided you with two consonant dice in blue and a vowel dice in red.  Students roll the dice, place the vowel in the middle, and read. 

I tried to give it to you in word so you could alter the letters, but Google Docs kept moving the boxes. (They even went a little askew in PDF... technology... ugh!)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

BOGO Free Sale TpT This Weekend!

Since shopping is my FAVORITE thing ever and since I love a good deal!  How about a BOGO free this weekend.  Here's a listing of my favorite items.  Purchase one, email me a request for the second for free!  Click here to visit my entire store!
Buy Number Formation Poems 
(0-9 number poem signs and worksheets)  
          Get the Kindergarten Assessment Checklists free!
         (Checklist assessments to get a class picture of data.)
                          Or buy Gingerbread Math Centers                             
(Includes center to build a gingerbread house)
         Get the Gingerbread Positional Book free!
           (Student book manipulating man to different places)

Offer only good on an item of lesser value.  You do not need to pick and item listed here, it applies to my whole store!  Please email me your user name on TpT, what you purchased, and what you want for free!!  On my end I can only see your user name and purchased item so I will need your help to get your free item!  Offer ends midnight on Sunday, November 27th, 2011!

Thanks and happy shopping!


Glad I'm Not a Turkey Freebie!

A teacher in my grade level taught this song to her kids and it was the cutest thing ever to see them singing it!  So here it is as a freebies so maybe next year you can do it too!

Click image to get it for free!  I am so thankful to have discovered the world of blogging and that you all actually read what I write.  So thank you and I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving day!

Free Academic Gingerbread Houses!

I am SO excited about this! 

With the times changing in education, it is our job as educators to fight to keep learning fun.   But don't tell me I can't do something!  So I have taken the very traditional milk carton gingerbread houses and turned it into an academic experience for students! Every year I have fought to do this project with my students and won! Now you can do it too!

With this project students will work through counting, addition, subtraction, or division problems to create a graph. They will then use the graph to count out specific items to be placed on their gingerbread house, creating an exact model of their graph! Yum!

I also provided you with directions, a parent letter, several versions of the content areas listed, and blank graphs to meet your specific academic needs.

Click here if you are interested in some centers to go along with this activity!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I am linking up with What the Teacher Wants and Oh Boy 4th Grade to share with you all the things I am thankful for!

1.  What are you thankful for in your classroom?  I am so thankful that my school reorganized about 2 weeks ago.  It ended up lowering my class size to 25 and just losing 3 kids made such a HUGE difference.  I am also SO thankful to have had the opportunity to observe a teacher last Tuesday who inspired me to just keep trying to do what is best for kids!  I am a happy teacher all around!

2. What person are you most thankful for?  I am very thankful for my husband!  If you would have known me 3 years ago you would have NEVER heard me say that comment!  I have a new perspective, a more productive perspective on life and I am so thankful to have him.  (I married my high school sweet heart!  There is an older picture at the bottom in Mexico!)

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for? 

Debbie Clement at Rainbows Within Reach!  Let's be truthful, I have seen this crazy lady dressed all silly at conferences before and thought to myself... who is she?  Then I met her at Teaching Blog Traffic School and answered that question... she is one AMAZING lady!  Just love her and I am inspired to be just like her!
GeeGee Comes to School
Carolyn at Wise Owl Factory!  Again, amazingly smart and always willing to share and offer a hand when you need.  The world needs more people who give unconditionally like she does!

Wise Owl Factory Blog
And lastly Mrs. Ayala's Kinder Fun!  Again, amazing teacher who is always willing to share and offer a hand.  She is the kindergarten teacher I always thought I'd be and am seriously considering moving so my own son can be in her class next year!  If you have not visited Kinder Fun yet, you are missing out!

Kinder Fun!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?  Chocolate.  Need I say more!

5. What are you most thankful for?  In life I am most thankful for my son Braedon!  I just love him dearly!  I know I am not the best parent all of the time and that he is not always the best behaved child on the block, but he is AMAZING and I LOVE HIM!

I know it's hard for some of you to understand, but I will be thankful when the holidays are over.  I don't like stress and drama and for some reason my family is full of it.  I don't know... maybe we will do the holiday's in Mexico!

And of course, I am VERY thankful for you for reading my posts!  I love blogging each day I am thankful that someone actually reads it!

I have some fun freebies planned over the next few weeks!  Be sure to follow so you don't miss a beat!

BTW - for those of you looking for a recipe, I am sorry... but I am THANKFUL my husband cooks (because I don't!)  However, I am looking forward to sharing some of those great recipes at Oh Boy 4 Grade with my husband.  Hehehe! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Teaching at a Plump & Perky Pace... and Kinder Business!

So I decided that each Saturday I am going to take some time and share my week AND the freebies I made to go with it!

On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to get to go see a fabulous teacher in our district during her reading time.  She kept what our district calls a 'perky pace' and kept kids engaged at all points in the lesson.  These are things I strive to do all day long so it was inspiring to see another teacher pull it off successfully!  She has inspired some changes that I am really excited about!  (Whenever they say perky I think of the Plump and Perky Turkey!)

One quick tip I picked up was integrating those fun finger plays and rhymes into transitions.  So, she would have her kids clean up and then say their turkey poem.  It gathered their attention listening wise immediately and has been working great with my kids all week!  I have always wanted to do those and just never really had time to fit them in but now I do.  =)  Then, ironically during our Wednesday staff meeting we were presented on the idea of doing something quick to capture listening attention first and it all made perfect sense!  I even added a place on my lesson plans for the Quick Management Rhyme to ensure I continue to do it!

Another thing I have really been thinking lately about centers!  I have not been allowed to do centers for about 4 years and so managing it has been a challenge for me this year.  How do I group kids?  How many centers?  What centers?  And what do I put in them?  Ugh!  We have centers in our teachers manuals but they are NOT rigorous at all and so not useful to me.

One thing that I implemented this week was center folders.  This will help my student collect work and reflect on learning.  On the outside of the folders I taped on these alphabets and a set of Alconan boxes so kids can practice if they have a spare moment while waiting for me to start a group or something.  I plan on putting something on the other side (maybe sight words or letter naming fluency) but I am not sure yet.    I will share that too when I create it!  

Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business is having a linky party about behavior management systems.  This too is a very challenging part of teaching.  How do you apply the rules fairly and consistently when all kids are different.  Here are some pictures of what I have typically done as a kindergarten teacher, but I have been inspired to change by that classroom observation (I will share that a little later.)  

First thing I do is the stop light system, except we move clips.  Through the years I have added picture clues, timers, and a positive place to land behavior wise.  Overall a good tried and true system.

Next thing I do is team points.  This works great for getting cleaned up and working at tables because you reward what is expected and the other follow along.  

Last thing I do is treat points.  This is for outside of the classroom.  At recess, specials, or anywhere we go students have a chance to earn treat points as a class.  When they get all 10 treat points they get something special.  Sorry I don't have a picture... it's just a sentence strip with numbers and a paperclip to move up.  

A key element is my good listening anchor chart.  We made this (or copied it from Pinterest) about a month into school.  Many times throughout the day I will ask students to look at the good listening chart and think about what rule they may be breaking or what rule they may be doing well.  

Outside of the classroom I have been working on my Kindergarten Checklist Assessment Pack!  I am really excited about this because it is a fantastic comprehensive sit of checklists for kindergarten!  I have used checklists my entire teaching career and feel like they really help me to focus on what gaps the students need filled in.  I can quickly pull groups and really target in on skills they are missing!  
Included in this set thus far is: Letter Names, Letter Sounds, Lower Letter Sounds, Upper Letter Sounds, Writing Letters, Number Idenfication (0-10), Number Idenfication, Math Writing Skills, Can Count To, Counting Objects, Concepts of Print, Colors, Color Words, Shapes, Drawing Shapes, Shape Words, Oral Language, First Sound Fluency DIBELS, Phoneme Segmentation Fluency DIBELS, Non Sense Word DIBELS

So I have preloaded this set with over 20 checklists and will update it as the year goes on!  I hope you will stop by to see!  

So I plan on posting like this from now on.  Hopefully you found something of value!