Thursday, April 17, 2014

Using permanent ink markers to decorate plastic eggs - Pretty "egg"- citing!

Hello Friends!

I thought I would share this fun idea that I had my kinders do today! You know how much fun it is for kids to color eggs BUT when the fun is over, what do you do with the eggs after Easter? When my own kids were little, I never allowed them to eat the eggs because I was always so afraid of Salmonella poisoning. So, the eggs would sit in the basket, we would enjoy them for a few days, and then I threw them away. What  a waste, right? Well, today I had an "ah ha" moment and it worked - yay!

I gave my kiddos a basket of plastic eggs and permanent ink markers - yes, PERMANENT ink markers! 
We discussed the hazards of getting the ink on our clothes and the table and I made them roll up their sleeves and wear a paint shirt. They used the permanent ink markers to decorate a plain plastic egg and they turned out adorable! 

The ink DOES smear when you are first applying it, so I told them to take extra care when twisting it from side to side to decorate. I showed them how to hold the egg on the top and the bottom and use their marker to decorate. They laid their finished egg on a paper plate to dry. After about an hour, the ink was REALLY permanent and did not rub off! Hurray! 

They opened the eggs, put some jelly beans inside, and added it to their bunny Easter basket. Easy peasy and pretty, too!

That's it! Fun, easy, and inexpensive!

Until next time!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Bright Idea - Flower Power Words

Hello Friends!

I am linking up with another Bright Idea! Yay!

My kiddos have been practicing reading and writing CVC words. We use magnet letters, whiteboards, letter tiles.... all those fun manipulatives that we put in our Word Work centers for our kiddos to use. Since it is Spring and we have been talking about all things spring, I thought I would create another manipulative for them to use to form words.

I have a TON of Popsicle sticks and I mean a TON! I have plain and colored sticks and decided that I would use these to create the stem of a flower. A parent donated foam flower shapes a couple of years ago and I have been hanging on to them in the hopes that I would be inspired to use them in some way. I also have a TON of foam letters, so all these things put together made it possible to create these cute foam letter flowers! I used leftover foam to make leaves and flower centers. I found it easier to have everything ready before I made the flowers.

My  kiddos are also practicing sorting consonants and vowels. I have 2 containers; one labeled "vowels" and the other labeled "consonants." They take 2 consonants and 1 vowel and make a cvc word. A hint: Take out the y's and q's for CVC words; they complicate reading them!

I placed a small basket of CVC pictures next to the flowers that my students use to create words.


Creating the box is easy; just use colored duct tape and use it to wrap a shoe box or other small box. I completely cover the box.

Use a razor blade or box cutter to make slits in the top of the box.

I added a foam sun to the back of the box, but this is not necessary. I added a strip of polka dotted duct tape to the middle of the box and hot glued alphabet letters to the front.

 My students created CVC words with these flowers during guided reading groups and they were proud to show them off!

When they finished, they removed the word from the box and returned the consonants to the consonant box and the vowels to the vowel bucket. (I found that it made creation of the words easier for my kiddos if the consonants were placed in a basket rather than the cute box I made for them in the photo earlier in the post!)

I also thought that I could use these flowers for ABC order activities, spelling words, and CVCe words. They could play a partner game by turning the flowers upside down and taking turns picking one. When they have enough letters to make a word, they add it to their flower box. When all the flowers are gone from the pile, they count how many words were made and see who made the most!
This stores nicely in a basket and is a fun "When I am finished" activity for those kiddos who need something to do when their work is complete.

 So that's my Bright Idea, I hope you enjoyed it!

For more Bright Ideas, browse the link up below. You will find ideas from over 150 bloggers!  Click on a topic that interests you and enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lenten Symbols for Little Kids

Hello My Friends!

Okay.... I have had the religion tab on my blog for many months and have done nothing on it! My resolution is to start using it..... My hope is to share some of the ideas and projects that we are doing in my classroom. I PROMISE that this will not be all about selling, but I do plan to share some of the units that I have in my store.   No pressure, my friends! I am sharing the ideas and you can purchase from me or make your own. This is not about selling, but sharing! Part of the reason I want to do this is because so much of the religious material that we can find commercially is for much older kids and I feel strongly that little kids can also learn about the love of Jesus in a way that is developmentally appropriate for them. Also, even though I am a Catholic School teacher, I am also a Christian, so much of what I will be sharing will suit the needs for any Christian teacher.

So here is what we are doing in religion currently...... We are discussing the Passion of Jesus and his journey to the Cross. My kiddos are creating a booklet that is loosely based  upon the resurrection eggs that you can purchase commercially. I love doing the Passion this way because it cements the journey of Jesus in a simple way that little kids can understand without going into the painful details of His walk to the cross.

We discuss Palm Sunday and Jesus' entry into Jerusalem..... I give my kiddos the step-by-step directions for creating the pictures and they do an awesome job with them! I also use simple pictures that shows the content of each lesson. Here is an example of the picture in the book as well as the student make book. You, of course, can use any Palm Sunday picture as your introduction. I always read from my children's Bible before introducing each page.

Here is the last supper. My students created symbols of the First Eucharist rather than draw all the apostles. It just is a bit more time efficient this way!

This is Jesus' agony in the Garden. I told my kiddos that they just had to make the rock and hands, but most of them wanted to draw Jesus, too.

We do discuss Judas; even though I don't go into great detail with him. I think kids need to know about the betrayal of Judas, though, because it was because of him that Jesus was found.

We discuss the denial of Jesus by Peter. I thought the rooster would be a good symbol for this page.

Here are the suggestions for illustration of the pages....

If you are short on time and would like a black line version of the student book, I have added that as an option....

Here is the link to the pack (only if you are interested!) As I said, I do not plan for this to be all about selling, but about sharing!!

Until next time!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

A rainy day bulletin board, African Jungle Animal habitat unit, Paper mache, and Tooth Fairies!

Hello Friends!

It is Saturday morning and I am LOVING the sun right now! What an awesome change from the horrible winter and the dreary rainy days we had this week. I am starting to feel that maybe Spring might get here after all!

So..... I thought I would share some of our week's project with you today......

First of all, here is picture of my door.... I smile every time I walk in the classroom - love this little guy!

 We do a HUGE kindergarten habitat unit which happens to be one of my favorites. We do a big Polar Animal habitat unit, too, but I LOVE to teach this one because it focuses on Africa.  I like to teach this unit in the Spring because so many of my students go to the zoo in the nice weather so it is nice for them to have a little background information about the animals when they visit. Plus Africa has so many cool habitats; we can learn a lot about them as we study this awesome continent. I also do a bit of mapping in this unit, too which covers another standard! As they do with all their science/social studies units, my students create a book with words that they can read and illustrations that they create. I love to do our units this way because my students can take something home that they can share with their families.

The first African habitat that we study is the rainforest. The African rainforest is not as large as the Amazon rainforest and it is fun to compare and contrast the two environments.

One big difference is that the African mountain rainforest supports the gorillas. Gorillas are only found in Africa.
This little guy came to kindergarten unable to use scissors or follow more than a one step direction. Look how far he has come! I am so proud of him!

Hippos are found in Africa, too, but we discuss the little known "pygmy" hippo because it lives in the African rainforest. It was only recently discovered (early 1900's, I think). In fact, the people who discovered it thought that it was a hippo with a genetic defect when actually it was its own species. We talk about this fact in our discussion because I think it is cool for kids to understand that humans may not know everything there is to know in our world.

Here is an example of a pygmy hippo - don't you just love the "knot" on the top of its head?

We just started learning about the African savannah. We discussed the differences between the two habitats with a BIG difference being water. In the rainforest, they have two seasons - rainy and more rain! On the savannah, they have a rainy season and dry season. We discuss the fires that occur when the rainy season comes bringing its lightening and storms. It is so hard for my kiddos to understand that these fires are healthy for the grasslands!

That is as far as we have gotten with our African animal unit. We will continue this for another week or two. We also are going to do a BIG project on Friday with our African animals. Each child chose an African animal that they wanted to learn more about and are doing a simple research report on it. Then they will be creating a paper mache 3D representation of their animal. I used to take class time to help each child make their own animal form from newspaper and tape. But this took SO MUCH time and they were missing a lot of language arts instruction because I did it during their literacy block. So, our kindergarten team started talking about how we could continue this project without losing literacy time. Here is what we came with and I KNOW a few teachers will not agree with our decision! :)

The purpose of our 3D animal project is for our students to learn how to do some simple research about an animal. We do not feel that this is an ART project; rather a science/social studies project. Therefore, rather than take away from their literacy time helping them to create the shape, we look at this project as a "Paint your own pottery" project. Just like we go to a pottery place, pick out a pre-made shape, and paint it, we do the same thing with our 3D animals. After the kids pick out their animals, the teachers create the shape from newspaper and tape. The students then apply the paste and color to their animal. I KNOW..... many teachers do not have the time to do this on their own time, but the 3 of us commit to this project once a year and it works for us!

Here are a few of the shapes that I have created for my students. This is only half of them. I finished the rest of them a few days ago, but did not take a picture of them. I will share the finished result next week!

If you are interested in my African Jungle Animal unit, click the image below to find it in my TPT store. :)

I know I am WAY behind most of you with my dental health unit... sigh....... with all the snow days we had this winter, I did not get to my health unit until March! Yikes! But I thought I would still share these cute tooth fairy writing projects. My students were totally on their own with this one..... I put it in a Word Work center and they had to create their fairy and do the writing independently. I actually was pretty happy with their results! You can find my step-by-step directions for creating the tooth fairy and the writing page HERE.

Okay, my Friends.... time for me to get to my Saturday morning errands and projects!

Until next time!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Cleaning? Nah! Put the Broom Down and Shop with My TPT Friends!
Hello Friends!
I am joining my TPT friends and having a Spring Cleaning Sale THIS Friday through Monday, March 28 - 31.  Everything in my store will be 15% off - no coupon needed; just shop! Also, remember you get POINTS if you leave feedback on your products! Why don't you find those items on your Wishlist that you have been thinking you need SOMEDAY, get them now when they are on sale, and leave feedback for more $$ off? Yay!

If you read my blog, you know that I am constantly re-assessing my products and revising them to make sure that they are user friendly, crisp, clean, and relevant.  Here are my latest revisions, but EVERYTHING in my store is on sale this weekend!

Peruse the images below to find more sweet TPT sellers who have stores on sale this weekend! Woo hoo!

Until next time!