Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Very Bright Idea? Brights on Black Spring Paint Craftivity

 I am so happy to be part of the Bright Ideas Blog Linky this month! Here is my bright idea, and get this: it can be cleaned up in a jiffy with NO staining of clothing or hands! Win-Win!!!

First off, I posted last summer about the cornstarch sidewalk paints, so I began to wonder, "What if I do this with black construction paper?" I thought I had a major new idea until I looked on pinterest and found others who have tried cornstarch painting on black paper.

Here is my version of the craft painting activity with a butterfly template that I cut by folding, then cutting out a shape (like cutting out a paper doll).  We talked about how my shape would be symmetrical because I had folded the paper to cut through two sheets.  There is a lesson in everything we do, isn't there? :)
After cutting the butterfly shapes out for my students, I mixed the paint:

Mix 1 c. corn starch with 2 c. hot water for one minute.
Pour equal parts into three or more cups.
Add 3 or 4 drops of neon food coloring, stir well.
Put a drop cloth on the floor and let the fun begin!
I loved all of the designs, but one little kinder figured out you could sling the paint to get a trailing dot effect.  So clever!!!

When all butterflies dry, spray with hairspray.  This will help keep the flaking down a bit, but there will be flaking!
We have already had tons of compliments from passers by who have viewed our creations.  I can imagine bunnies, bugs, raindrops...just let your imagination go wild! We will be painting the sidewalk after testing week because we cannot end the year without doing this again! Try it.  You'll love it! 
 If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, consider joining me on 
Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  Thank you!

For more bright ideas from 150 different
bloggers, please browse through the link-up
below and choose a topic/grade level that
interests you. Thanks for visiting!

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Journeys Aligned Slideshow FREEBIE for Sight Word review! How We Do It

After learning about which reading series our district was going with last year, I developed animated power point slideshows to help us learn the enormous list of words expected in Journeys 2014.  As the year has progressed, we have utilized this method of review every morning, and during reading or transition times.  I am very pleased with the results.  Every year is different, and some years I have more students practicing at home, but this year is not one of those years, so I have to be diligent in presenting these words at every opportunity.  Along with writing and making the words, this has helped us to pass each list of five or six words every week.  I initially created the slideshows with a list view only, but found students were memorizing the order of the words.  I then added single words on the slides and mixed the order so it would be different than the list view.  Here is a free sampler of words we teach after January with the words:  make, them, give, play, say, new.  
If you like this sampler, you can find the entire series here:

Sight Word Slideshow--The Next 24 Words
Sight Word Slideshow--The Last 24 Words with Entire 88 Word Review  
And, for those who teach standardized tests (I know, I know...we shouldn't have to do this!!!), here is a sampler of my standardized test practice packet.
Standardized Test Practice and Assessments Sample
Standardized Test Practice Assessments  
You can find links to these products in my sidebar! Suggested use for bubbling in practice:
Have these sheets in one of your centers.  Kinders need fine motor with pencils, so have them to try messy bubbles, then beautiful bubbles! My kids love to fill in bubbles! 
I know there are people who disagree, as I do, with even having to give these types of tests to kids younger than third grade, but it is what is mandated, and I for one will not have my students unaware of the process.  It wouldn't be fair.  
Please respect the teachers who must do this.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

It's time for a little Spring Cleaning! And a little Spring reader :)

 Do you have a wish list going at Teachers Pay Teachers that sits there waiting for the next great sale??? Well, it's time to clean it out, move it over to that shopping cart and take advantage of the Spring Cleaning SALE that a few of my bloggy friends and I are having!  Check out these fabulous sellers' products.  All of my store is on sale for 15%.  There is no need to put in a coupon code.  Just fill the cart and get the sale price at check out.  Here are the participating sellers:
                                                                             post signature

An InLinkz Link-up
And, if you missed it, here is a link to my little spring reader for April! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Recognizing beginning, middle and ending sounds...are you pulling out your hair too?

It shouldn't be this hard, should it? Every year I wonder if I am working with aliens when I begin to assess sound placement in words, lol.  Most get the beginning sounds, but usually over half look at me with a blank stare when I ask what the middle sound is.  I think much of it is appropriateness for kinders.  They are still sorting out where letters belong.  Being a discriminating listener and sound "identifier" takes a lot of practice! This week, I devised a centers set that I hope will address the concept of sound placement, especially that elusive middle vowel sound.  Students are to match the sound picture to the sound that begins its name, is in the middle of its name, or ends its name.  Obviously, it would be good to feature the three separately at first, then later on put them together to make it more challenging.  What do you do to practice sound placement? What listening games do you  use?  
Our district uses the Michael Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Exercises.  We begin the year with the pre-k manual which takes only about five minutes of your day, and when repeated each day it can help with rhyme, initial, middle, and final sounds, syllables, and more.  The kinder manual is pretty difficult for the beginning of the year, but is very helpful toward the end (March-June).  Here is a link to a sample page:
 The complete pre-k and k set is a little over $100, but is totally worth the cost.  

If you find yourself in need of centers for beginning-middle-ending sounds, you may be interested in this set with a spring theme:

I inserted a unique "3 dot" code to help little people know which sets are for beginning, middle or ending sounds.  The recording sheets tie in letter to sound recognition with writing practice of the letter sounds.  I am anxious to implement this next week! Happy Spring!
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ready...Set...Split!!! It's a Bright Ideas Blog Hop

I am so happy to be part of the Bright Ideas Blog Hop this month! Over 200 bloggers from K-12 have featured their best ideas to make your life as a classroom teacher a little less stressful and a whole lot more fun! After you finish reading my post, be sure to visit the next blog with another "Bright Idea"! I can't wait to read them all!

I absolutely love this time of year! My kids are really beginning to grasp the concept of number, so we are taking off with addition and subtraction.  If you are not familiar with the use of number bonds, 
Donna from Math Coach's Corner has written an excellent blog post regarding number bonds.  Read it! You won't be disappointed.

My post is directed toward the "kinesthetic" aspect of working with number bonds.  Kids in general, especially in kindergarten, learn by acting out concepts.  Because they are more attentive during times we play games, I invented a game based on number bonds for my class that has taken off like wildfire! They ask to play it all the time.  Of course, they think it is just a game.  But it is much more than "just a game".  It gets them to think on a higher level without getting them confused.  Here's what we do:

You need one of two possible things for calling out numbers.  Either set up the 3-D dice from your smartboard toolkit with numbers 1-6 on it, or use a set of large number cards to use as a card deck you can draw from. 

You also need to make 3 large circles in 3 different colors.  Ours are green for the whole number, and pink and blue for the parts.

Step 1:
I choose a student to roll the dice and choose however many people the dice says the group will be made up of.  That student can choose the next one to roll the dice when their turn is over.

 Step 2:  Student who rolled the dice (or drew the card with the number on it) picks ____number of students to stand by the 
green group dot. The student then announces, "Ready, Set, Split!"

 Step 3: Students run to the part dots (remember part, part, whole).
Teacher:  Stands by each group and says, "You can choose to 
write 2+3=5, or 3+2=5.  What will you write? 


Step 4 and 5:  After writing the number sentence, the student who rolled the dice says, "Ready, Set, Group!" Students move back to the group dot and discuss what their small groups were, and how they are part of the original whole.  *If you want to use this same group to "split" again, you can demonstrate how other combinations of parts will also make the whole number 5, etc.  If not, the game can continue
by having the student who rolled to pick a new student to roll the dice.

There you have it! I extend this lesson by using manipulatives on the smart board and have students to write all of the possible parts that can make the whole on white boards or paper.  We also use part, part, whole game boards to practice with partners at tables.

I like to arrange the part dots to reflect whether we are adding or subtracting as in this picture from a great New York State publication with examples of problems using number bonds:
Click on the pic to see the publication.  

Another one of my favorite sites is this one:
Count Hoot Addition Number Bond Game

And here is a great resource pool for all things math:

There are so many great resources on the web, so do your own searches too! I hope what I have written here is food for thought, and always remember:  

Make sure your students take part in "hands-on" learning 

Now, for the next Bright Idea...

These ladies have a fabulous blog with so many ideas! They have a cool way to practice sight words! Go see what I mean!

If you would like to hop by grade level, just choose from the K-2 or 3 and UP Linkies below! Have fun!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's Bubblin Practice Time! Get your littles ready FREEBIE!

Believe it or not, those of us who give a standardized test to kinders are ramping up the exposure to filling in bubbles in preparation for the "big test".  I have found over the years that kids just naturally want to do their own thing, no matter how much you explain the proper way to bubble when administering the test.  Because of this, I spent a lot of time tidying up bubbles so the machine that grades the booklets can read and score them.  This is a task I no longer need to do since beginning bubbling in practice in March each year! Our test is usually administered the second week of April, so now is the time to put extra bubble practice copies in your writing centers.  My kids want to do these as early finisher work too! It's almost as much fun as popping bubble wrap!
If you need an easy to prep bubble practice set, download my FREEBIE by clicking on the thumbnail.  

If you are as serious as me about having students prepared for the format of a standardized test, I've got ya covered for that too! I have created ELA and Math Standardized Test Practice packets that have been a big help to my students for the past two years.  Having taught kindergarten for 18+ years, I have developed a sense of  what question types  may show up on the test.  If you are interested in something like this, here is a sample test.
You can find the full packets here.
Kindergarten Standardized Test Practice for the "Un-Common
Kindergarten or 1st Grade Standardized Test Practice for ELA
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wow! 3 Million Teachers Interacting with Teachers Pay Teachers??? March FREEBIE and a SALE!

When I joined Teachers Pay Teachers more than five years ago, it was a site with the unique concept of providing affordable teaching resources to teachers/by teachers--the very people who know best about what teachers need! Five years later, Teachers Pay Teachers has grown into one of, if not the best resource locations on the web.  Gone are the days when you have to buy a whole book from a teacher store that may contain a few pages you need for instruction.  Now you can buy resources that are classroom tested, common core driven, and just plain fun! Learning should be fun, and again, teachers are the best people to determine classroom needs.  We eat, breathe, and sleep school!
I have already begun to fill a cart it is...the Big 3 Million Member TpT Sitewide Sale on Thursday, February 28, and Friday, February 29.  
During the sale you can get many items at a discount, and if you use a code, an even bigger discount!  Click on the button below to begin planning and filling your cart!

 This month's highlighted FREEBIE!

And, it's time to step it up in Math, so I created a little
March "Madness" Themed Game with recording sheets for addition
sentence practice.  Grab it in my store, and take a moment to see other products I have created while you're there! Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hey George and Abe! We'll see you tomorrow! Really we will! Presidents' Week Freebie and New Products

After over 2 weeks of snow days we are finally going back to school tomorrow! This will be a jam packed week for my class with double math lessons, some serious sight word review, and lessons about our forefathers.  
I heart teaching about the Presidents, and with kinders it is important to not delve too deeply into the history while still planting a seed that these were important people.  They were people who had a vision for our country, acted on it and made it possible for us to live in this free United States of America.  There you have it, all about the Presidents in a nutshell.  I will be using various books to teach about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but I will also use the following booklet that I made a few years ago to plant another seed:  Students should understand they are no different than those famous Presidents.  "I can be President too!" Grab this little freebie if you will be teaching about
Presidents' Day.
 I am planning-planning-planning for a super busy spring.  If you are needing a simple quick print and ready writing center activity, you may want to look at my Magic Writing Activities for February, March and April! Just put a white crayon and water colors in your writing center and you're good to go! My students ask for this center each month, so May-August are in the works to help finish out the year in this series. Stay tuned!

Leave a comment if you would like to win one of these packets.  Your choice! Thank you for reading my blog.  I appreciate my loyal readers and fellow teachers more than they know! 
Let's hear it for Spring! I'm ready.  Are you???
Here is a beautiful spring pic of my sweet bullies Mozart and Olivia.  They love a good romp in the grass!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's snowy outside...time to begin planning for next year's theme! Bucket Seats and a Splash of Chevron!

Two years ago I made my version of the bucket seat.  Hubby had them with a plain black plastic lid (shaped like a barstool top) in his welding shop for several years, and I always thought how neat they would be for guided group seating.  They are the perfect height, and you get some bonus storage to boot! Here is a photo of the original bucket seats that I still use.  The new versions will be blue and gold, or actually yellow (our school colors).  Other elements that will change will be my poms hanging from the ceiling.  Those too will be blue, white, and yellow.  I like to change things up every two years or so, so I can't wait to get started! I have already found some cute clip art that will go into the design, and just think, I have all summer to work on it too. :) 
Here is my first clip art find.  This store has some great clip art that I have used in products I have made.  She gets my first vote for next year's design because her little cheerleaders and ball players are in the right color!

The bucket seat design will remain much the same.  I will paint the buckets a pretty primary blue, then use yellow/white chevron fabric covered in clear contact paper on the lids (lids will have a cardboard disk that has been covered with fiberfill).  The clear contact paper covered fabric will be secured on the bottom of the disk with gorilla duct tape (the original bucket seat lids are still secure after two years of use so I know what I say when I recommend gorilla tape).  The covered disk will be secured with loops of sticky side out gorilla tape.  That's it! I will likely post a photo tutorial of the process as I redo the buckets this summer so stay tuned :).

The table skirt is made from a queen size flat bed sheet.  It can be sewn, or you can just get some tacky glue and glue the seams.  I attach the skirt with velcro tape.  It's easy to remove to bring home and wash, and I love the hidden storage below the table! 
I highly recommend making your own planning board as a visual for your next great room! Mine will change many times, but I am happy with the initial idea.  Your room design and functionality should be something that you consider for quite a while before actually executing the room redo.  Trust me, it will go more smoothly and you will love the results! I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the workings of my "brain".

Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Sunday SALE at Maggie's Kindergarten Printables!

I just wanted to say thank you for following my blog! My shop will be on sale all day Sunday.  All items are 20% OFF! Have a great weekend! Just click on the graphic below to browse items from my store.

It's time to transition to lines in kinder! Are you Ready for Lines? Sunday Sale :)

That January "magic" is happening, and I am beginning to see my students' writing become more uniform and ready for transitioning to lined paper.  It is amazing what just a few weeks of maturity will do.  I use the tall, small, fall terminology when describing letter placement, so these cute little owls placed just right really aid kids in seeing where writing should "live" when it is put on lined paper.  We begin this process of transition by tracing/writing tall, small, and falling letters (tail letters) on customized lined paper.  Once we have worked on the letter types we are ready to try the paper out as we write our own stories.  There are no mistakes in our class, just tries.  Trying over and over is how we learn.  We see where the letter shape didn't work the first time, etc., then try again and again.  We also have a class meeting to give helpful letter forming "advice" to our classmates.  The kids are essentially becoming the teacher, and they love it.  This team building really comes into play when students are busy writing at their group tables.  Every child's efforts are celebrated!  Students will have time to hone skills as they grow, but in kinder it is our responsibility to make writing fun! I also use this paper on my smartboard when we do an editing activity where I write a sentence incorrectly and ask students if they think my writing is just fabulous, or does it need help??? They love this!
If you are interested in this packet, it is going to be on sale at 20% OFF on Super Bowl Sunday, along with select items from my store.
 Are You Ready For Lines? Writing Transition Posters and Practice  
If you are interested in the Are You Ready for Lines pack, I will be choosing 3 winners from comments left on my blog on Sunday.  Be sure to get your name in the mix for a chance to receive this useful resource!
Also, if you are predicting what the groundhog may see, you may need this quick freebie for making a prediction hat.  Just color, cut out the pieces, put on a sentence strip, and add the sun or the cloud.  This is a fast way to get a little science lesson in that covers winter weather predicting and the approximate time left before warmer weather returns.  Grab this if you need it!