Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Thrifty Thursday: Lightbox Letters And Sounds

Ya'll know how much I love me some Dollar Tree.  And ya'll know how much I love my DIY lightbox.  So you know I love combining the two loves into fun, hands on, differentiated, engaging, rigorous centers/workstations/hippopotamuses for my 'staches!

I really love little plastic shot glasses from Dollar Tree!   They're $1.  They're bright colors and they're useful for many things!  And when you buy them in large quantities and the Dollar Tree workers get all excited because they think you're having a party and you tell them the "shot glasses" are for 5 year olds...the expressions are priceless.  (PS  It's even more fun to not explain...just say they're for 5 year olds and leave!)

So...if you don't have a lightbox in your classroom, you now have a summer assignement from Mr. Greg.  MAKE ONE!

I made mine for about $20.  It's a huge hit in our classroom.  And you need one!  To see how I made my lightbox, click the picture!

Now you need manipulatives for your fancy, schmancy greg-tastic light box.  HELLO DOLLAR TREE SHOT GLASSES!

And you'll need some labels (or you can use Sharpies to write on the cups...but I have the worst teacher handwriting labels it is!)

Now you need to download the PDF files for the uppercase and lowercase letters and the beginning sounds pictures!

Print your labels!

Stick your labels onto the plastic cups.

I did all uppercase letters on one color, lowercase on one color and beginning sounds on one color just to keep them organized and neat!

Now your students can match uppercase and lowercase letters.

Or they can match letters to the beginning sounds pictures!


BUT WAIT!  That's not fall!   Call now and we'll send you another  set for $19.99...oh wait...this isn't an infomercial!

You can have students put the letters in ABC order and write the letters.
You can have them match the uppercase and lowercase letters and write the letters.  

And of course, you can use the recording sheets!

They can match the letters and color the letter!
They can match the letter and picture and color the letter! 

Just click the pictures!

So much differentiation.  So little work!  


I've also done this same activity with numbers!

Click to see the post about lightbox numbers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Teaching With Intention Book Study Chapter 5

I am super excited to be teaming up with From Kindergarten With Love for chapter 5 of our book study!

Who's loving this book???  The shift in my thinking about so many things has been huge!  I am so ready to implement new ideas/techniques and strategies!!!

I LOVE this chapter because I love getting to see the reasoning and research behind schema maps/charts! 

I started using these schema charts in my class this past year and loved how the 'staches responded to them.  I love the visual...I love the discussion...I loved using post it notes (ummm I have a Post It Fetish and claim over 10,000 Post Its as my own...)...I love how we can connect learning and address misconceptions!  

I also noticed that using the schema maps compared to KWL charts had a bigger impact on my 'staches remember our new learning!  

In Teaching With Intention, Debbie writes about making a giant file folder and using that as their schema chart.  I love this idea because it connects so well to what our students already know about files on a computer.  I love how she connects our learning to using a computer!  In our tech savvy classrooms, this is a fantastic way to help students understand and make sense of their own learning!

As you can see in our schema charts, I draw a picture of what we're studying and label areas of the chart for our schema (what we think we know), our new learning and our misconceptions.   The Post It Notes allow us to move our thoughts around and adjust our learning.

Some take aways from this chapter:
Give students more power/opportunity to write/illustrate their learning and place it on the chart
Write students learning/thoughts word for word
Add illustrations to our learning
Moving our new learning to connect it to our schema (making connections visible to our students)

In an effort to incorporate more non fiction/informational text into our classroom (#commoncoreisfun) we're doing a lot of research projects in our classroom and our schema chart becomes the focus of our research.  We're doing research with books, videos and online.  We're recording our learning, discussing our learning and then we use that learning to create our research journals which includes writing!    The schema maps help us organize our thoughts and learning!

I am already picturing a large file folder (laminated) to use next year.  Maybe even bigger than the one Debbie uses in her lesson!

What are your take aways from chapter 5?

Do you use schema charts/maps?

How do you and your students conduct research in your class?

Be sure to link up with us for chapter 5 of the book study!  We would love to hear how you do research in the classroom and how you use schema and mental files to record learning! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Monday Made It: Gold Magnetic Letters

It's time for another fun Monday Made It!  I love linking up with my friend Tara at 4th Grade Frolics each week for a super fun project.

You know how much I love things to SPARKLE!  So why not make my magnetic letters sparkle!!!!

I found this idea on Inspired By Charm and just new I needed gold magnetic letters in my classroom!

You know I also love taking regular objects and jazzin' them up a bit!  I mean, who doesn't have thousands of magnetic letters floating around?!  Why not jazz up the letters to jazz up your centers and word work activities?!

And you know I like to make learning fun and hands on...

You need:
magnetic letters
gold spraypaint

Put your letters in a box or on a cloth to protect your surfaces!

(TIP:  Spray painting things in a box is the perfect way to keep the paint from getting every where!)

I put my letters all face up first.

Then I sprayed the letters with the spray paint!  I sprayed over the letters a few times to get a good layer of gold on each letter.

After the letters were dry, I flipped them over and painted the back!


Friday, June 26, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard of Math Strategies You Can COUNT On!

I am so excited to be teaming up with these amazing teachers to share some of our favorite math strategies for numbers and counting!

Strategy 1:  QTips and playing cards!

You can use QTips for colorful manipulatives!   I did a whole post on how I made these colorful QTips!  You can use Uno cards (or regular playing cards).  Students choose a card.  They identify the number and count the correct number of QTips!   

Strategy 2:  Spinners!

My students LOVE spinners!!!   I love spinners.   It's a win-win.  Spinners can be differentiated so students can work on numbers and counting.  They're low prep. win!

Strategy 3:  Dice!

Who doesn't love dice?!  They're fun.  They're colorful.  They can be big and little.  They make a great math tool!  They can be used to differentiate learning!


Dice are also great for Roll And Color games!  We use roll and color all year long.  It's easily differentiated (do you see my theme?!  EASY DIFFERENTIATION!) and fun!  You can even add in fun markers to make these games more engaging and smelly!

Strategy 4:  Paper Plates

This is a simple, fun and engaging numbers and counting activity.   I made this center 7 years ago and these are the exact same plates I made then!!!  Yeah...they've lasted that long!!!

This can also be differentiated.  You can give students numbers to 5...10...20...  

Students count the dots and match the number!  

Strategy 5:  Number ID

This has been one of the most effective number recognition strategies that I've used in my 7 years of teaching.   

It's simple.  Use construction paper to make a number grid.  I made two different sets.  One with numbers in order and one with random number order.  Then I wrote numbers on index cards. 

Students choose a card.  Say the number and match it.  After we play a few times, we time ourselves to see how fast we can do it.  Then we play again to see if we can beat our time!   My 'staches LOVE LOVE LOVE this.  And it makes a huge impact in their number recognition!

(I have even sent these home with parents to practice!)

These work mats can even be used for counting practice!

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Mad Science Friday: Elephant Toothpaste

It's time for Mad Science Friday!

This week we're making elephant toothpaste!   My 'staches LOVED this!!!   It was super easy, super fun and made a big mess!  Ya'll know how I love a mess!  #messyissuccessful


plastic water bottles
dish soap
food coloring
warm water
hydrogen peroxide

In the cup, mix 2 tbsp of warm water, 1tsp of yeast.  

In your bottle, mix 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide.  Add food coloring if you want your elephant toothpaste to be colorful.  Add about 1 tbsp of dish soap.

Pour the yeast and water mixture into the model.

Watch the magic happen!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Thrifty Thursday!

Popsicle stick centers!  Who doesn't love a good popsicle?!   I mean...there's nothing like a good popsicle melting all over your hands....Now I want a popsicle...

So why not use them in your classroom to make differentiated, engaging, hands on centers?!  (And you don't even have to eat all of these popsicles!)

Materials:  popsicle sticks.
$1 at Dollar Tree.

Total cost:  $1.

Letters And Sounds!

Uppercase and lowercase letter matching!

Uppercase and Lowercase letter recognition!

Pick a stick.  Identify the letter.  Color the letter on the recording sheet.

You can also give them a dry erase board and have them write the letter!

Pick a stick.  Identify the letter and the sound.  Color the picture for the sound!

You can click on the pictures of the recording sheets to download the recording sheets!


Popsicle stick number order! 

Pick a stick.  Say the number.  Color the number on the recording sheet.

Pick a stick.  Say the number.  Color the ten frame.

Click on the pictures of the recording sheets to get your recording sheets!

Be sure to link up your Thrifty Thursday post to share your cheap and free ideas for the classroom!

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