Pumpkin Roll, Spin, Count, and Color

Do you have a set  of these wonderul clear gameboard spinners? We got a set with our new math series last year and the kids LOVE using them! Did I mention that my kids are so quiet when they are using these on their own?!?
You can bet your bottom dollar that anything that keeps my little darlings quiet while learning is something I just have to make more of! They love dice games and using the clear gameboard spinners but they actually enjoy working alone with them rather than work with a partner. During our farm unit last week, they used the spinners to "spin a farm animal and then graph it" during our farm unit.

Next week is our Pp week and field trip to the Pumpkin Patch so of course it was the perfect invitation to create some of these games using a pumpkin theme. They are FREE so come get yourself a set by clicking on the link or pictures below!




Turtle Observations

On the positive side of Common Core...I am loving the nonfiction portion of the standards! I am truly a nerd! I honestly don't remember my students loving to learn as much as this group! They absolutely telling me what they know about a particular topic before reading the nonfiction book. After we read the book, we go back and check to see if what we knew was accurate or not. If we are still unsure about something then we get to do a little more "research" to find the answer...they love that part too!

We did a small unit of Turtles when learning about the letter. We used alot of the activities that we found on Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten blog. Now how convenient is it that we have a student in our school that has two very large tortoises?!? 

Look at this thing!

The little guy in the blue shirt in the photo below is a reptile NUT! He adores anything reptile so it was great that the turtle kept walking towards him even after the owner would "redirect" the turtle. It was true love for these two! Well, at least until "nature called" and the tortoise left a "deposit" on the pavement!

After our visit with the turtles and the kids were officially experts on turtles and tortoises, we did a turtle craft & labled the parts of a turtle. The kids then wrote all about turtles using all that new knowledge they had learned.

Here is my teaching partner, Mrs. Workman's bulletin board of our turtle observations.  It was a great day indeed!

I can't wait to see what topic and nonfiction books we get to study next!

Fall in Tennessee!

Can I just say I LOVE fall?!? It is my favorite season of all and there is no better place than Tennessee to experience fall in all of its glory! I know that many people think of Tennessee as hillbilly country but we really do have some sophistacated people here in these parts of the hills. We do wear shoes and not too many people still wear overalls (although I don't personally own a pair of overalls,  I am sure I could find a pair in a hurry if I needed to). Yep, Tenneessee is right in the middle of the bible belt where you can find a church on most every corner, people ALWAYS stop and pull their cars to the side of the road when a funeral procession passes by even if they don't know them, and we wave at people we don't even know and say "how you doing"...no, I didn't accidently leave out the word are...that's how we say it in TN.

Nope, we don't have hurricanes and I didn't even feel the 2 or 3 teeny, tiny earthquakes that we have record of. Up until a year and a half ago, tornados weren't much of a cause for concern and flooding isn't much of an issue in most areas, thanks to the many dams we have.  But can I please tell you about the fall leaves in Tennessee?! In the next couple of weeks, the leaves will begin to turn the most gorgeous colors of red, orange, yellow, and purple. Weekends will be spent taking a drive to the mountains (20 minute drive no matter where you start from in TN) for camping, hiking, biking, and looking for the perfect spot to take family photos while watching the deer (and bears) come out of hiding as they prepare for the winter. And if the chill in the air doesn't make you happy enough, then a visit to the Harvest Festival at Dollywood (thank you Dolly Parton) is sure to do the trick! Yes, fall in Tennessee is the best. I can't imagine living somewhere that doesn't have visual evidence of the four seasons. If you are looking for a place to get away from it all, come on down to Tennessee! 

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post....syllables! My kids love clapping the syllables in words....they seriously don't know the importance of this skill but boy can they do it well! We start by clapping the syllables in everyone's names and then they try to find big words to clap...hippopotamous, watermelon...seems that the more syllables the word has, the smarter they think they are! To extend this skill, I turn my housekeeping area into a Syllable shopping trip. I add a basket of all of the play foods and paper bags labeled 1 syllable, 2 syllables, 3 syllables, and 4 or more syllables. The kids clap the syllables of the food items and put them in the correct shopping bags. Their partner will check them out at the cash register by taking items out of the bag and "checking them out" to see if they are in the correct bag.  They love this activity and it is a super easy way to add some literacy skills into the homeliving center.

While we are working on early literacy skills, I also made this learning center game to practice recognizing spaces between words. Common Core K.RF1c. Click on the picture below to check it out!

Never Under Estimate the Power of One Child!

One of the most rewarding parts of being a kindergarten teacher is watching my "babies" grow into young adults even after they leave my classroom. My first class ever graduated in May and I have been blessed to be able to keep up with many of them over the years (a benefit of small town life). I am anxiously waiting to see what they choose to do with their lives.

The following article is about a former student of mine that has made a great impact in the lives of others but what makes her special is that she is only 10 years old! I couldn't be more proud of Lainy! Read the newspaper article below to see how one child is making a change in the world around her! Although she doubled her goal, the need is still there. If after reading the article you are interested in helping others in Lainy's name, just click on Lainy Baxter's St. Jude's Ways to Help Page. She is a precious child with such a sweet heart and I would love to see her efforts to continue to grow.

Lainy Baxter

Birthday celebrations normally consist of special food, loved ones and presents — lots and lots of presents.

Ten-year-old Lainy Baxter must not have received the memo.

“This year I turn 10,” read Lainy’s blurb on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s website. “I’m very thankful to be healthy and have a great family and friends. For my birthday I want to celebrate by doing something special for others. Please help me reach my goal by supporting the kids of St. Jude.”

The original goal was for Lainy to raise $1,000. Her mother, Laura, reminded Lainy $1,000 was a lot of money. The final amount astounded the family when it doubled the original goal.

“The point was to give in lieu of birthday presents,” Laura said. “She wouldn’t normally get $1,000 worth of birthday presents, but she said she really thought she could do it.”

Friends, family members, and anonymous donors gave to the cause. A link set up through Facebook was repeatedly shared by loved ones. Lainy told her friends and teachers at her school. Money continued to be deposited into the account.

Several times a day Lainy asked her parents how much had been collected. Laura and David, her father, finally cut the information flow off. They wanted the final amount to be a surprise. Lainy waited with growing excitement.

“I felt like this year she got more excitement out of what she was doing than the anticipation of gifts,” Laura said. “Usually when it is time to open presents it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s time for presents.’ She was really more excited about this than any gift ever.”

Donations soon exceeded the once-lofty $1,000 goal. Laura and David watched in awe as the number climbed toward $2,000. The final donations came in as the Baxters walked through Tako Yaki’s door.

“We went out to eat for my birthday,” Lainy said. “I was so anxious to hear the amount and Mom said, ‘Lainy, you didn’t raise $1,000, you raised $2,080.’ I just couldn’t stop smiling.”

A large smile graces Lainy’s face. She is still clearly excited from the cash drive’s success. According to Lainy, the idea began with a song.

“There was this song on the radio and it said, ‘We can make a change from New York to L.A.’ I was listening to it and I liked it. I wanted to make a change.”

The song is called NY2LA by the Christian band, Press Play. The lyrics spoke to Lainy while she was driving in the car with her mom. Turning to Laura, she told her mom that is what she wanted to do: make a difference.

“It was cool because Press Play has a Facebook page and they shared her link to St. Jude’s website,” David said. “They found out about the cause and advertised.”

The family then brainstormed about how Lainy could accomplish her birthday wish. Ideas were tossed around, like a clothes drive, before St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was selected. Lainy enjoyed the idea of families being helped by the money raised.

“As a parent, my heart just burst with pride and my eyes just filled with tears,” Laura said. “We are trying to instill good values in her, so I was very excited and happy to realize maybe some of that had caught on.”

David said family members try to practice good, Christian values every day in their home. These values included how to treat others and how to love others every day, no matter what. It seems to be a mixture of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you,’ and ‘Turn the other cheek.’

Experience shows these lessons are hard to learn, but, according to her proud papa, Lainy is a straight-A student in the field of consideration and love.

“She will pray with her friends at school,” David said. “She has been a real shoulder for her friends. Lainy doesn’t ask for anything. She just wants to do and help.”

Both Laura and David are heavily involved with their church, the latter being a licensed minister, and the former a children’s minister. They carry out their Sunday lessons in their daily life.

“We have very strong faith,” Laura said. “We believe God is our everything and we try to teach Lainy the same through example. We have a very loving church family who we enjoy doing activities with.”

Lainy never thought to raise money on her own before. This first-time experience has been so invigorating and successful she is eager for round two. Right now she is considering heading a clothes drive for children in Haiti.

Rest assured this 10-year-old going on 80 is taking time to enjoy her childhood. Lainy enjoyed “The Hunger Games” movie (she is not old enough to read the series) as much as the next kid. Saving the world is occasionally put on hold for a good “Goosebumps” read, as well.

The Baxters said they send their thanks to everyone who was a part of the St. Jude experience. Lainy received the gift of knowing others cared and shared in her vision.

10-year-old aids St. Jude’s on birthday: Birthday celebrations normally consist of special food, loved ones and presents — lots and lots of presents. Ten-year-old Lainy Baxter must not have received the memo. “This year I turn 10,” re...

I Like Me! Who Am I?

Fall is almost here and my school year has now hit that glorious time when the kids have fallen into a routine and rules and procedures have now become automatic.  I am now beginning to feel like a normal person and no longer collapse from exhaustion after a long day at school! 

We worked on the letter Mm last week and one of the stories I read during my math time was Mouse Count. My kids love this story because I read it once and THEN, I pull out an empty jar, 10 plastic mice and a rubber snake and we retell the story again using the props. Oh how they love this story! It works on counting forward and backwards from 1-10. Halloween decorations are showing up in stores so this is a great time to look for plastic mice to go with this book.

We also talked about "Me" during Mm week and what makes us special. The kids made a picture of themselves using the correct color of eye, hair color & then complete a "Who am I" paper by writing in our eye and hair color and if they are a boy or girl. They will then open up the paper and write their name on the inside. Click on the picture below to grab your FREE patterns!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you all have a nice long weekend and will have a change to rest up on your Labor Day holiday! I have been running behind on my many projects so I am looking forward to a day of rest! My Teachers Pay Teachers sales have been very steady since the TPT sponsored Back to School Sale several weekends ago and my followers have really grown! I have already exceeded my goal for this quarter so I made a new goal and to help me get there quickly I am throwing a one day Labor Day sale for 10% off everything in my TPT store! Head on over and check out my store!

I am also excited that I have finally updated my Colors Science Stations! These are my favorite science stations that we do and the kids really love the activities. The kids truly believe they are magic when conducting these experiements! Click on the pictures below to check it out!