menu   Home Religion About Me  

Using iPads to Create a Pumpkin Activity, Fall murals, and Pumpkin Patterning

Hello Friends,

It's been another crazy week (s). I cannot believe that the last week of the quarter is next week! How did that happen? Soon, we will be writing Thanksgiving plans. So crazy how fast time goes!

 We have been doing fall activities. Yesterday, I took my kids out to our school garden. I divided them into pairs and gave each pair an iPad. They took photos of different parts of the pumpkin plant; which by the way, is totally taking over the garden! They found huge leaves, vines, blossoms, little pumpkins, big pumpkins...all sorts of things..... I then took their photos, downloaded them onto my computer, projected them upon my Promethean board, and the kids decided which photos they wanted to keep and which ones they wanted to delete. I sent them to Walgreens to get prints. Today, they took the prints and sequenced them upon a poster. I was thinking that there are all kinds of things they could do with a project such as this... They could take photos of living and non-living things. They could do a scavenger hunt for objects that show the colors of the rainbow. They could take photos of insects that they see. All sorts of ideas are swirling through my head!

We did pumpkin investigations. I only got a few photos of the activities. It's so hard to take photos while trying to keep control and teach at the same time! This photo shows measuring the height of their pumpkin. They also measured circumference, investigated float/sink, and explored the inside of their pumpkin.

 When the investigation was over, they painted their pumpkins!

I know I post photos of our seasons murals every year, but every one is  different and I LOVE seeing them in the hallway!

 I still do patterns in kindergarten. We don't call them AABB or ABC patterns, but we DO create patterns. Here is a fun activity for the fall to do with patterns.

Finally.... These are my Fitbit stats for today. This is just teaching; no extra workouts. Isn't this just plain crazy? No wonder my feet kill me when I get home!

So that's it for now, my friends!

Until next time ...


Apple book, Adapting my literacy centers, scoop rockers, and Five for Friday....

Hello Friends,

I have to say that this year has been soooo super busy. I am not exactly sure what is different this school year, but when I get home, I am exhausted - super, duper exhausted. It's crazy, too, because I gave up tutoring after school this year, so you would think that I would have MORE time.... but... It's not happening yet... maybe it will soon!

It's been a few weeks since I have joined Kacey at Five for Friday, so I thought I would once again join in on the fun.... :)

1. We are very close to finishing our apple unit. If you read my blog, you know that we create an APPLE book every year; encompassing both literacy and science. This year, I decided to change the way we make the book... mainly because I am one of those teachers who cannot do exactly the same thing from year to year! ;)

 I have always done apple tasting with my kids. This year instead of giving each child an apple cutout, I added Velcro dots to sentence strips ( rough side) . Each child picked out a felt square that showed their favorite apple flavor and attached to the Velcro - super, super easy!

 2. We have been working on labeling in our writing journals.  Most of the labels can be found in my APPLE resource, but I also found the labels for the parts of the Apple HERE. The last photo in the collage is "Ten Apples Up On Top." In the past, I have taken photos of the kids pretending to hold apples on their head and then they cut and glued apples in a stack on top. This year, though, I wanted to do something different, so this is what I came up with..... If you would like the printable, I have uploaded it as a Google doc which you can find HERE. If your school does not allow you to download resources from outside your network, you will have to download from home on YOUR personal network.

3.  The fun (and frustrating) thing about teaching kindergarten is that sometimes what has worked in the past for your kiddos does not always work for your present class. That is what has happened to me this year. I introduced Daily 5 to my kinders a few years ago and it has always worked well. This year, though, my kiddos had some challenges adjusting to it and I am okay with that. All classes are different; what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. So, I adapted my Daily 5 routine to a little more structure. I thought I would share with you my changes; just in case there is another teacher like me who loves Daily 5, but needs a little more structure.

First of all......  I am blessed to work in a school that believes in small class sizes in kindergarten. I know that many of you have twice the amount of students that I have and I honestly do not know how you do it... I respect you for your hard work!

So here is what I did.... I divided my kiddos into 4 color coded groups - red, blue, yellow, green.

 I have 4 matching color coded tubs. On the top of each tub, I used Velcro to attach their rotations.They rotate through ONE tub a day.

You can see that I have a DOG word work tag and a CAT word work tag. Inside each box, I have Word Work "have to's. Every tub has a different "have to" and all the supplies they need to complete it are found inside the tub. When their "have to " is finished, they can go to choice tubs. The choice tubs are differentiated with a dog or cat label. I did this to make sure that my kids were not always making the same choices.  So, on their "dog" day, they make choices within the tubs labeled with a dog and on their "cat" day, they make choices within the tubs labeled with a cat. I pull kids out of their rotations for reading groups. If I pull a child out of their rotation, they just miss that rotation. So, if you are like me, you have to let go of the fact that not all kids will complete every "have to." That's why I make sure that I put similar "have to's" within the cat tub and similar "have to" activities within the dog tub. This ensures that each child completes at least one activity within that skill.

For Listen to a Story, we have 2 CD players and 2 iPads. To solve the problem of who gets to do what, each child has been assigned a number which I attached to a craft stick. I found clip art of an iPad and clip art of a CD player which I laminated and Velcroed to the top of a small foam board. Library pockets were attached to the foam board. I divided my kids into two groups and added their numbers to a library pocket. Each day I change the CD/iPad clip art from one foam board to another.

Once again, I KNOW this is not pure Daily 5, but it works for my kiddos this year and that is what is important, right?

4.  We let our Monarch butterflies go a couple of weeks ago. I love, love, love this project!

5.  I ordered a class set of scoop rockers this year. I LOVE these little seats and so do my kiddos! It's such a nice way for my kids to have a comfortable place to sit while at the same time being allowed to "squirm" a little.... I also like that they can place their rocker any where in the classroom during reading or independent work time. They were well worth the expense! Here they are graphing their favorite apple flavors.

So that's it for now, my friends! Make sure that you visit Five for Friday at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Rainbows and bubbles - Adding Science (STEAM) to my Curriculum

Hello Friends,

Goodness.... It has been a very looong time since I have written. We had a few family crises this past month which took priority . All seems to be back to normal, so hopefully, I will be better at posting now!

My goal for this school year is to add more science (STEAM) activities to my curriculum. I have to say that it takes a change in thinking to accomplish. I have had to allow my students to explore on their own without much intervention from me. This has been a little difficult for me because I usually have an end result in my mind which doesn't always match what my students ACTUALLY take away from the activity. Kindergarten activities often involve making a "mess", so I am used to that part. It just takes a little more patience to accept that the mess is part of the learning process!

Our first activity was understanding how rainbows are made.  I used a glow stick to demonstrate light. I held up a glow stick and told my kids that light is like this glow stick. All the light travels together in a straight line and looks white like the glow stick. But when it passes through an object like a prism or raindrop, it is broken up and we can see the colors. I broke the glow stick to demonstrate how light can "break" and create colors. Of course, a glow stick only shows one color, but it still shows the "breaking up" of one color to another.

I divided the kids into partners and took them outside. We were lucky that it was a sunny day! They captured the light with their prisms and saw that the light was broken into a rainbow. We looked at the order of the rainbow colors. They also experimented with creating rainbows with a cup of water. This is a bit more difficult, but when it works, it is an amazing way for kids to see why rainbows can be made on a rainy day.

We looked at how light is made of all the colors and is called "white." But when you mix all the colors together in Art, they create black. They had a great time mixing colors and creating secondary colors as well as black.

 This week, we studied surface tension using bubbles.  First they stirred plain water with spoons and saw that they created bubbles, but the bubbles did not last very long. This is because the surface tension of water is strong and is not "stretchy", so bubbles pop easily.

 Then they tried adding soap to the solution and saw that soap makes water "stretchier", so the bubbles last longer.

After they made bubbles with soap, they tried out different types of commercial bubble solutions. The kids were divided into small groups. They took turns being the "bubble blower." The bubble blower blew the bubbles and the rest of the group counted to see how long the bubble "survived" before it broke. They took turns being the bubble blower and counter.

 The children were given the opportunity to create their own bubble solution using different types of soap and compared the “lasting power” of their homemade solution to the commercial solution. They also added corn syrup to their solution and found that the bubbles lasted a REALLY long time. This is because corn syrup made the bubbles even more stretchy. A warning, though..... If you can do this outside, your clean up will be much less. It was raining on the day that we did our activity and our classroom became pretty messy with bubble solution and sticky corn syrup!

It was a fun activity, though… when I asked my kiddos what they had learned, I was told “Bubbles can have rainbows in them because light bends through them” and “You need to add soap to water to make bubbles stretch and last longer.”
I think these are  pretty awesome BIG IDEAS for five year olds!

 Click HERE for the link to the bubble activity.

So... that's it for now, my friends...

Until next time!


Classroom Reveal.....Almost finished....

Hello Friends,

I met my "littles" on Friday. Even after all my years of teaching, I continue to get excited for a new year. All those eager little faces and apprehensive parents...... There is just something about the beginning of the year that is delightful and exciting.....

I thought I would share a few photos of my classroom. I am not completely finished; but really, really close!

I love this reading nook. I have had this beach umbrella in my classroom for many years. This summer, I ALMOST replaced it with a newer one, but the colors of this one fit so perfectly with this room, that I thought I would give it another chance and I am glad that I did! The letters for READ are simply KG Second Chance font in Power Point that I blew up REALLY big and then copied onto colored card stock. 

This is the first year that I did NOT do a complete overhaul on my classroom library. I am happy with how it worked last year, so there are no changes there. I think I purchased the black plastic shelves from Lowes.

Here is another little reading nook. This is where I will have my CD players set up for my kiddos to listen to a story.  You cannot see them from this photo, but I also purchased 6 scoop rockers that my kids can use when sitting in this nook or actually anywhere in the classroom where they are comfortable and not in the space of another child...... You also can see my "pile" of filing on the bottom right that I must get to before the first day of school.... sigh.... filing is ALWAYS last on my TO Do list..... :)

I moved my reading table/small group area to the front of the classroom.  I don't have it completely organized yet, but my splurge this year is my new teacher cart! I can't wait to have everything I need to teach a lesson right at my fingertips...  and by the way... that is not an outside door that I am blocking with the cart! :)

You can "kind of" see a table with striped place mats on the bottom right of the photo. This is my iPad table. I am hoping to give my kids their own space when using their device. We'll see......

 Here is my religion bulletin board and you can see the iPad table a little better in this photo...

  Here is another bulletin board... nothing really new, but it sure brightens up the corner of the classroom!

I love owls, so here is my little classroom collection of owls.

So... that's it for now, my friends... I need to scoot and spend some time with my family today....

Here's to a wonderful and rewarding year to everyone!

Until next time!


Back to School Decorating and Wish Lists with Oriental Trading

Hello Friends,

Oriental Trading contacted me and asked if I would be willing to do a review on some of their products.  They have a great link for teacher supplies, so I agreed. Here are my reviews...

The first item is this CUTE Chalkboard Safari Animal bulletin board set. I am using black/teal and chalkboard items for my decor and this set was PERFECT for adding some fun to my reading corner. It is not completely finished. I still want to add a little table on which to place a CD player for my kiddos to use for LISTEN TO A STORY. But.... I am loving this little corner and those cute animals, letters, and trim!

This bulletin board set is BIG! I used the extra animals to add some cuteness to my storage shelves.

And...... enough to add some decorations to my birthday door.... not finished, of course. After the circles are all up and once I meet my kiddos, I plan to take photos of them and attach to the circles.

I am also loving these poster sized chalkboard animals with their simple sayings - Be Yourself, Be Creative, Have Courage, Stand Tall, Dream Big, Be Yourself. They are large enough to put above my word wall (My word wall is not finished yet!) and my kiddos will be able to see them. Oriental Trading suggests that you laminate them for durability. I did not laminate them because the glare of lamination sometimes bothers me. Even without lamination, they still have a shiny surface.... :)

I like for my kids to wear name tags at the beginning of the year; especially to their "specials" classes. I also like to have name tags available for any subs I might have. In the past, I have attached name tags to lanyards, but the lanyards have always been too long for my kiddos and ended up being a "spin" toy, so I often stopped using them early in the year. This year, I found these chalkboard safari animal lanyards. I think they will be large enough to fit over the heads of my kinders, but also snug enough that they won't be able to spin them around their neck! (fingers crossed) I added these chalkboard safari labels to the end. I don't remove the backing from the label. Instead I punch a hole in the top and insert the hook. I created name labels by using an Avery template #18660. They are clear labels, so the animal faces show through. Laminating the labels will give them extra durability.
I am looking forward to trying these dry erase markers with ERASERS in my small groups. I like the fact that they have erasers attached. No more looking for erasers or using fingers to erase. Since I haven't used them with students yet, I am unsure as to how long they will last, but using them in small groups should lengthen their life.

I am working on putting together my birthday bags that I give each of my students for their birthday. I still have a few more things to add, but these birthday pencils and Pete the Cat birthday cards will definitely be a part of them. I also found these birthday crowns . I have always given my kiddos a crown to wear for the day, but trying to measure their head and then stapling the ends together has always been a headache... Without fail, I would have to remove the staples and try again causing numerous staple holes in the crown. BUT these crowns have a velcro closure! My kiddos can decorate their crown and when they are finished, I can easily fit it on their head. Yay!

One thing that I am going to try this year is a wish list from Oriental Trading. They asked me if I would like to try it and I said that I would. I was a bit nervous about how it would all work, but it actually is really easy. To create your wish list, you log in (or create an account if you do not have one). Then when you click on a product, you will see two choices - add to cart OR add to wish list. When you click Wish List your item is saved and becomes an online registry. Once your wish list is complete (or even before you are finished), you can click SHARE. A small box will appear. Click and choose "URL" and you'll get a link that you can share with parents or anyone that you would like to see your list. Easy peasey!

Here is my Wish List link. Feel free to visit and get some ideas.... :)

So that's it for now, my friends.

Until next time....


Just so you know.....I was provided the Back to School products featured in this post from Oriental Trading for review purposes. Please know that all opinions offered in this post are honest and completely mine.