Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Of Test Tube Math

OK people...I admit it.  I have a problem.  

You see...I see an idea...I try it...and it works and I love it.  Then I get this uncontrollable urge to do more of that idea or find ways to tweak that idea for other uses.  That often leads to hoarding of random objects.

Case in point:  Test tubes!    Weird, right?!  (Don't ask about the beach balls!)

So I might have a couple bags of test tubes and 10 or so beach balls laying around.  Don't judge me!

So, I did a sight word activity with test tubes after seeing it posted on HeidiSongs.   It was such a HUGE hit in my class...I wanted to use more test tubes.  After all...the brain loves novelty and test tubes in centers is definitely novel! we are with test tube math!

You need: (Click the pictures to see the items on Amazon!)

Test tubes (I used these colored tubes for more fun!)

number cubes  (7mm white cubes)

Now the easy part!  

I choose two numbers.  I made sure that they only added to 10 or less.   This can be differentiated to 5 or  higher than 10 to meet the needs of students!  SEE!  DIFFERENTIATION!

Place the numbers in the tube.

Add water.  Fill to about 2/3 full.

Put a little glue around the top and place the cap on.  BAM!  Test tube math is complete!

Here's how I used the test tubes:

We have to write an addition equation AND subtraction equation with the numbers in each tube!  This was great practice for remembering to put the bigger number first when subtracting!  (To differentiate:  only add or place the numbers in the tube with the larger number on top and only subtract)  For higher grades you can multiply or divide!  


And here's the free recording sheet:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Greetings!  Today's blog comes to you LIVE from the balcony of the Kindergarten Smorgasboard World Headquarters!   We've been in our home for two years and we finally have our balcony complete!!!!   You know where I'll be this summer!

(Does anyone get my reference to How To Get Away With Murder?!  LOVE THAT SHOW!)

One question I get asked almost daily is how do you get away with doing so much art.   First things's beyond sad that we have to think of art as something "we get away with" in our classrooms.  I mean...really???   Is there a downside to art in the classroom???

Here's my favorite quote on art and creativity in the classroom:

“creativity is as important in
education as literacy and we
should treat it as such.”
-Ken Robinson, creativity expert

Here are my tips for "How To Get Away With Art"

Alibi 1:  Writing!

My first answer is always this:  tie it to a standard.  The easiest way to do that ??   WRITING!!!!   Do an art project and then have a writing activity to go with it.  BAM!  You did writing and the art is how you published your writing.    Common Core even mentions publishing writing so there ya go!

Alibi 2:  MATH!

That's right!  Do art in math!!   Patterns...shapes...colors...all are natural elements of art and math!  BUT if you need something more specific.... many gingerbread men did you eat.  Let students create gingerbread men...then write a subtraction story.

OR making 10!  Hearts on a rainbow...or petals on a flower...or seashells on a beach...leaves on a tree...all fun, simple art projects that can be used to practice making 10!

Alibi 3:  Following Directions (Speaking and listening standards!)

If you're like me...I forget that Common Core has speaking and listening standards...but art is the perfect way to meet those standards.  Especially following directions!

Following directions and allowing students to do authentic art (fewer patterns and craftivities...) is perfect for following directions.

This lobster for example...I gave them paper and gave directions for each piece.  They had to listen and follow directions to make the lobster!  BAM!  

A great art project is to use Draw Write Now!   There are 8 books in the set.  You give directions and the kids draw the pictures.  There is also a handwriting component that has students writing a fact about the picture.  So you get speaking and listening and some informational text!

Alibi 4:  Comprehension

Use art to practice comprehension. We make little art projects from our stories and use them to retell the story!  BAM!  

Or use art to record learning (comprehension!) 

Alibi 5:  Community

Art builds community and teamwork!

We created these by working as a team.  These led to great discussions about teamwork, helping out, and what makes us special!

Alibi 6:  Assessment

We use art projects to assess our learning!

We make turkeys to assess sight words!

And Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Trees to assess letters!

Our most recent example:  Sheep In A Jeep.   We made a Jeep and then had to write ee words.  Art.  Assessment.  Literacy.  BAM!

Same concept but with AR words.  Make a pirate.  Write AR words.  Art.  Assessment.  Literacy.  BAM!

And we all know the importance of research to support our decisions so here are some links to some great articles on the benefits of art in the classroom:

“certain forms of arts
instruction enhance and
complement basic reading
skills, language development
and writing skills”.
-Ruppert 2006

Students who study art are 4 times more likely
to be recognized for academic achievement
and 3 times more likely to be awarded for
school attendance
• Art and music programs are mandatory in
countries that rank highest for math and
science test scores
• In Chicago, a study found that schools
participating in an art partnership made huge
strides in closing the gap between high and low
income students

If you want to see a PD session I did on art you can click the picture to download the PDF file of the presentation!  Lots of ideas to integrate art and lots of fun art ideas!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard of GLITTER BOMBS!

People.  You know my love of all things glitter.  I would use glitter on everything if I could.   I am considering some glitter shoes.  Just sayin....

So you know, it's a highlight of my year when G day rolls around and the glitter bombs make their annual appearance.  Yes, glitter bombs.  

Now, I know there are two camps here.  Some of you are totally on board with my unnatural excitement for glitter bomb day.   Others just broke out into hives and are popping the Benadryl.   I get it.  And it's OK if you don't love the glitter.  I get it.   And we can still be friends...but just ask Ms. Stuffin...the glitter will find you....when you least expect it.

So....I set about preparing the glitter bombs.

It's rather easy.  Just pour glitter and sequins into a ballon using a funnel.  Inflate the ballons.  BAM!  GLITTER BOMBS!

Hand said glitter bombs from the ceiling of your classroom. 


Googles?  CHECK!

Amazingly stylish shower caps? CHECK!

(Side note...5 year olds LOVED the shower caps....The extras definitely went into the prize box...)

Give instructions.

Use your pin to pop the balloon.
Have self control.

People...look at those can't beat that joy...


And clean up!

Yes, we clean up.  As you will see in our video, that meant swimming on our bellies in the glitter pond.

We even made glitter angels ....much like snow angels...but the glitter is forever...unlike the snow here in the south.

And for the real highlight of the evening...DogPound strapped on the GoPro for the Glitter Bombing...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Schedulin Sunday!

Well folks, it's here!  The very last Schedulin Sunday for this school year.  And, the last Schedulin Sunday for my amazing two years at Fall Hamilton Enhanced Option School!    It's such a crazy time...happy for summer...sad to let go of the 'staches I've worked so hard to mold into glitter loving, mustache wearing, book reading, story writing, friend loving little geniuses...sad to leave my TBFF and my amazing team and faculty...excited for a new adventure (that's much closer to home!)...

So, who wants to help me pack and move?!?!?!?!

So here's our week....


Monday-Solar System hat

Starting our planetary expedition with Mercury and Venus

Flyswatter painting!  And fruit!

Flyswatter painting?!  Yep.  Flyswatters.  Paint.  Paper.  EPIC MESS!

I told you it's messy...he had it in his hair...and down his back!  But guess what?!  WE HAD A BLAST! 

#messyissuccess  #artiscommoncore

Earth and Mars
Make planets with finger paints and tissue paper and glitter!


Wednesday-Field Day

Jupiter And Saturn



Uranus and Neptune (poor Pluto!)



Wrap up space with some writing:  My favorite planet.

Space Measurement!

B-Bubbles and Beach Day!

Did I also mention report card assessments all week?!?!

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard of SHEEP IN MY JEEP!

Happy Friday!!!  I am super excited about this post!!  Ya'll...if you're learning EE words...and drive a JEEP, it's a requirement to dress as a sheep and be the sheep in your Jeep!

Here's how we worked on EE words this week....culminating with yours truly as the sheep in my

We created a Sheep In The Jeep anchor chart!  Each 'stache chose a sheep, read it and put in our Jeep!

We wrote ee words on our mini white boards.  I said a word and they wrote it!

To assess our EE words, we made Jeeps and wrote EE words on our Jeeps!   This was our assessment piece.  Art and assessment.  BAM!

#artiscommoncore  #commoncoreisfun

And finally....The Sheep got in MY JEEP!

The kindergarten classes went to the playground.  I snuck out... and drove my Jeep around the block like a mad man...beeping the horn the whole time.  (PS  It's hard to see with a sheep mask on...and I'm surprised no one called the cops on the sheep driving the Jeep...)

Each kid got to choose a "sheep"  (a white balloon) and read the EE word  and put the sheep in my Jeep!  

Each time they put a sheep in, I BEEPED at them!  


Then I drove home with a Jeep full of sheep!

And a freebie!  Anchor chart labels and a JEEP JEEP SHEEP Game!

(Click to download!)

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