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!)




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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. 

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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...

Winter Poems:




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!


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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:



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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!

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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!



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