Thursday, November 29, 2012

Elf on the Shelf Linky Party!

If you have an Elf on the Shelf and want to link up, head over to Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations!
I just linked up my blog!

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Rosabelle is keeping us on our toes!

Rosabelle has been keeping the Kinders on their toes!  She brought a note from Santa with her today.  It gave specifics of those who had done something naughty and a few had had done something nice.  Santa also reminded them to be on their best behavior at all times!

Yesterday she was the eye in the sky!  We also wrote the first page of our journal.  We took some suggestions on what Rosabelle likes to eat.  The answers were cute!

Here are a few samples:

Can't wait to see what Rosabelle has in store for tomorrow!
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Elf Has Arrived!

I waited until today to introduce the Elf on the Shelf to the class.  One of the main reasons I waited was because I knew our volunteer would be coming in today.  I just knew that she would enjoy watching the Kinder's reactions!  I had decided that it would be a good idea to set the package up somewhere while they were at lunch.  So, our volunteer, our para and I put our heads together and decided to put the package in the basket on one of the tables.

  I then grabbed the gold glitter and marked a trail from the basket to the back door of the classroom.  When the students came back to the room for rest, we waited to see what they would do.  There were only three students at the yellow table today and they all noticed the box, but none of them said anything.  One of the Kinders started to push the glitter away from him so we started to ask him what was wrong.  They finally said there was something on the table and it was "sparkly".  We asked if they had done any arts and crafts today with glitter and they said no.  We asked if there was anything different about the table and they finally said, "There's a box in our basket."  Too cute!

  I went over to the table and picked up the box.  Our volunteer asked what it said, so, I read it out loud.  When they heard that it had come from the North Pole they were VERY excited! I asked them what "fragile" meant.  One of my Kinders said "It means it can break."  Awesome!  I them told them that it said "Open Immediately" so they all started to yell, "Open it!  Open it!"   I invited them all to the rug so we could open the package. 

Here I am peeking before showing the kiddos:

The anticipation was building and then I finally showed them!  They were so excited!

I explained that we should read the book so we can find out all about this little elf!

After reading the book I told them that we needed to give her a name, so they had to put their thinking caps on.  I also kept having them repeat the one golden rule!  "Do not touch the elf!".  I handed the chair over to our volunteer who then started the name game!

Some interesting choices there!  We then tallied the votes which lead us to a tie:

So, we voted again on the top two names!  Here is the results:

Mrs. Sommer's class would like to introduce Rosabelle the Elf!  I put her in her hiding spot already for tomorrow:
 She took down the fall decor and hung some snowflakes.  Can't wait to see the Kinder's reactions tomorrow!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Living vs. Non-Living

I'm not too fond of the week in between Thanksgiving and December.  I feel like it is too early to start Winter Holidays and it's too late to introduce anything new in the Autumn realm.  So, this year I decided we would focus on Living vs. Non-Living.  I found an adorable flashcards on Kindergarten...kindergarten... to use as a sorting activity.  I first discussed with the students the difference between living and non-living.  I asked them, "How can we tell if something is alive?"  Wouldn't you know it; they gave me some great answers.  One of the first answers was, "They need air."  YES!  I just knew this was going to be a great lesson and a topic they would be sure to get the hang of!  We finally boiled it down to:  breathes air, eats and drinks, grows/changes, and moves.  We also discussed that somethings don't move but if they did the rest, they were sure to be living!

On a pocket chart we put a "Living" label on one side and a "Non-Living" label on the other side.  I took out the flashcards and we discussed the first few pictures together and decided if they were living or non-living.  Once they seemed to have the hang of it, I handed each student a flashcard of their own.  They each took a turn coming up to the chart, showing their peers their card and then telling us if they thought it was living or non-living.  Here is our chart:

The one picture that really stumped the kiddos was Elmo!  I mean, he moves, talks and eats and drinks on TV, so why wouldn't he be alive?  One of the Kinders told us that Elmo was a puppet and that puppets aren't living things. We had a few minutes left before dismissal time, so, I gave each Kinder a piece of paper folded in half.  I instructed them to draw something that was living on one side and non-living on the other.  They really enjoyed doing that and their pictures were pretty cute!  I didn't get any pictures of them before they took them home.  :(  Bad blogger mistake!

So, if you're looking for some cute Living vs. Non-Living Flashcards head over to Kindergarten...kindergarten... and download them for free!
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Elf is Ready to Go!

Over the Thanksgiving break, I wrapped up our Elf on the Shelf!  I can't wait to see the reaction the Kinders will have when they see this box in school!

  I thought about having someone deliver the box to the room and I'm not sure if I am going to do this yet...I might just have it waiting on my chair in the morning so that I can incorporate it into the morning message.  Are you doing Elf on the Shelf?  Tell me all about it!
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Currently Link Up!

Here is my first Currently Link Up!

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The Liebster Award!

I just found out that I was nominated for the Liebster Award!  I am very new to blogging so this was something I hadn't heard of yet! The award is given to new bloggers with 200 followers or less and I think that's great!  I was nominated by Rae at Mindful Rambles; thank you so much!  Her blog is wonderful and she has some great activities on her TpT page!

Ok, here is how this works:
And the rules are:
1. Post 11 random things about yourself
2. Answer the questions the nominator set for you
3. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them to your post.
5. Leave a comment on this post if you were nominated so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate

My 11 randoms:
1.  I was born, raised and still live in the same town; that's 29 years!

2.  I live in New England and I do not like seafood.

3.  I've wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little girl.

4.  Despite number 3 I chose Social Work as my major when I entered college.

5.  Number 4 wasn't what I wanted, so, I have my BS in Psychology and am currently working toward my MA in Elementary Education.

6.  I have a strangely, vivid photographic memory and it's scary how well it works somtimes!

7.   I participated in Disney's Magical Music Days when I was in the high school colorguard.  Awesome memory!

8.  I am only two days younger than my husband and four days younger than my best friend!

9.  I love, love, love to cruise.  It's my preferred method of travel.

10.  My daughter is my mini-me.  She's a spitting image!

11.  I'll be celebrating 7 years married in July; oh my!

Rae's Questions:
1. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I'd love to be able to travel at the speed of light.  I don't like to fly, so this would be a great alternative!

2. If you weren't a teacher/educator/your current occupation, what would you be?
I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else!  But, if I really have to choose, I'd say I'd be a travel agent.

3. You had to choose: sense of smell or sense of taste.
Taste...There are plenty of things out there that I'd love to avoid smelling!

4. What is your favorite genre of book?
This is a hard one.  I don't have much time to read books anymore...I'm just going to go with a real broad answer like, fiction!

5. What is your favorite genre of music?
Oooo, another tough one!  I appreciate lots of different genres.  I'm usually drawn to Pop, Hip-Hop and Oldies.

6. If you could visit any place in the world, and money was no object, where would it be?
I'd love to take this sailing:  18-Night Transpacific Cruise.

7. What was your favorite subject in school? What was your least favorite?
Psychology was my favorite.  Math is my least favorite.

8. What is one way that you do to ensure a healthy lifestyle?
I don't smoke and I try to avoid it at all costs!  I also try to drink lots and lots of water!

9. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
7 or 8.

10. What is your favorite drink, alcoholic or not?

Alcoholic:  Strawberry Daquiri, Non-Alcoholic: Lemonade

11. Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what?  
 This may not be hidden and it may not be too great but my husband is amazed by my ability to solve scrambled word puzzles so very quickly.  He says the way my mind works is "strange". lol

Now, for my nominations:
1. 2 Preschool Pals
2. Mrs. Jones Kindergarten
3. Mrs. Jones' Junction
4. Carrberry Creations
5. Cindy's Curriculum Corner
6. Club Kindergarten
7. ...and they all fall down...
8. Teaching is a Gift
9. There's a Party in the Art Room
10. The Tennesee Teacher
11. Kinderbear Blogger
Make sure you check out these great blogs! They all have a lot to offer fellow educators :)

For my nominees -- My questions:
1.  What is your current favorite article of clothing?
2.  What is your dream car (obviously, money is not an object)?
3.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
4.  What is your most memorable teaching moment?
5.  What is your favorite lesson or topic to teach?
6.  Do you prefer to read books or magazines?
7.  What made you want to get into blogging?
8.  What was your most favorite vacation that you ever took?
9.  What is your favorite pizza topping?
10.  Why did you decide to become an educator?
11.  What is your favorite holiday?

To my nominee's copy and paste my instructions and questions into your blog and then nominate another 11 bloggers out there!  Make sure you come and leave a comment here so I can go and read your responses!  Happy blogging!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

In our district we have very strict rules about food and cooking in the classroom.  If we want to cook or consume anything in the classroom I have to send home permission slips, clear it with the nurse and with the principal.  Anyone else's district that way?  It definitely makes holidays a little more drab.  With that said, the only feast these kiddos get is the school lunch feast.  So, we celebrate the holiday in other ways.  I shared earlier last week our I am Thankful pumpkins.  We also made these adorable handprint Mayflowers today.  Here is one in progress:

Here is the sample/finished product:
I love making handprint crafts.  As a parent, I love receiving them from my daughter as it marks a time and size in her life.  I also love seeing the Kinders reactions to having their hands painted.  Some love it, some are ticklish and some do not like it at all!  As you can see these are very simple to make.  All you need is light blue construction paper, brown paint, blue crayons and some sails cut out of white paper.  The process is easy!  Paint the Kinders hands and then let dry. Once dry they can glue on the sails and color in the ocean!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Elf on the Shelf!

  Last year I bought my daughter the Elf on the Shelf.  She was only 2 at the time but caught on to the concept quickly.  Here is Elfie causing mischief in our home:

  Today I was on Pinterest and saw a great Elf on the Shelf Classroom post.  So, tomorrow I will head to Barnes and Noble and pick up an Elf on the Shelf kit for school.  I plan on wrapping the box just like Amanda from First Grade Garden did.  I also downloaded her journal template and plan on keeping a daily journal with my students through the month of December as part of their Before School Work.  I'll try to post every Friday about where our Elf has been, what he's done and how the kiddos are progressing in their writing!
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I Love Starfall!

  I was first introduced to Starfall when I was still in Graduate School.  I thought it was an excellent resource and I couldn't wait to use it in the classroom!  Today we had some extra computer lab time, so I set the students up on Starfall and they were working away.  I find that this website is especially great for those of my students on the spectrum.  Watching one of my ASD students was singing along to the alphabet song and was guessing all of the letters correctly in the alphabet maze; it was great!

  I also love the Starfall ABCs iPad/iPhone app.  My daughter has been using it for a while and she loves it. It is just the alphabet portion of Starfall but it the exactly the same as it is on the computer!  They also have a Learn to Read app as well as 4 other themed apps that are also on the Starfall website.

  Another neat thing about Starfall is that they have free downloads.  I love to use the ABC Printouts with my kiddos when we are learning letter sounds.  It's really great because the correspond with the pictures and words used on the website/app as well. 

  If you haven't already go check out Starfall! You'll love it!
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Quick Classroom Update

  These still aren't the most recent pictures of the classroom.  But, I promised to show more recent pictures in my last classroom set-up post.  So, without further ado:

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Election Day!

  I know that this is a little past due.  But, here is how we learned about Election Day and what we voted on in our classroom.  Explaining the election to Kindergarteners is anything but easy.  It's a difficult concept to get across.  Even trying to explain what the President does to 5 and 6 year olds can be a little daunting.  We watched a video of Arthur Meets the President to introduce the concept of the President.  We then showed the students pictures of President Obama, Mitt Romney, the White House, the Presidential Seal, the American Flag and the Statue of Liberty.  Once they were familiar with these, we explained that, today, the adults in American would be able to vote on who they wanted to be President.

  To moonlight this we had a mock election of our own.  Instead of voting on the Presidential candidates, we voted on an extra recess or a movie and popcorn. Here is what our voting booth looked like:

  The students had a great time voting and they even got an "I Voted" sticker.  We voted in the morning and in the afternoon, we tallied the votes.  This was the first time we introduced tallying to the students.  They caught on quite well and were very excited to read the read the results.  As for the winning vote, it was movie and a popcorn!
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finding Something They Like

  One of my ASD students is a repeater.  He was with me last year as well.  He came in without any language/communication skills, distracting stims and no basic preschool knowledge/skills.  By the end of the year last year, he was carrying conversations, wasn't stimming and was able to identify shapes and colors.  Unfortunately, he needed much more than that to go on to first grade.  This year I knew that we had to get him to master letter recognition, letter sound recognition, number recognition, etc.  I first wanted to tackle letter recognition. Last year, I had sent home a set of flashcards.  They were just handmade oaktag flashcards with just the letters on them.  This year, I had a great idea.  He loves superheros; all of them!  From Spiderman to Batman to the Incredible Hulk; he knew and loved them all.

  So, I jumped on Google and started searching.  I was very excited to have found a wonderful set of Superhero Alphabet Flashcards on TeachersPayTeachers!  If you'd like to check them out yourself, click here.  I printed and laminated two sets of the uppercase set.  I kept one at school and I sent the other set home.  He has been using them for almost a month now and he has gone from recognizing only 3 letters to recognizing 16 letters.  It has been AMAZING!  I am pretty sure he's going through a growth spurt because he can also recognize numbers 1-6 (numbers we have covered thus far) and he can also recognize all of his color sight words as well as the word "the".

  Myself as well as the other support staff keep marveling at how much he has changed over the last year.  It has been such an amazing transformation and he often brings tears to our eyes with his accomplishments.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Are You Thankful For?

November is a month to reflect on what we are truly thankful for.  I center my Thanksgiving lessons around this as well as the history of the holiday.  Every year I have done a "Thinking Thankful Thoughts" lesson.  I begin the lesson with reading Thanks for Thanksgiving.
  Then, I discuss with the children what I am thankful for.  Once I have given them my list, I have each student tell me one thing that they are thankful for.  Sometimes this can be a difficult concept for the students on the spectrum, but, with the help of our para and some visual cues from the book, they can usually tell us.  After we have all taken a turn, I introduce the craft that we will make.  It begins with a piece of white paper that has been cut into a circle to fit on the inside of an orange paper plate.  This is where the students will draw what they are thankful for.  Once they have drawn their picture, they will then explain to the teacher what they are thankful for.  We write in their responses and help them to glue the paper into the middle of the paper plate.  When they are all completed, we put them out in the hallway into a pumpkin patch.  It ends up looking like this:

  So, there you have a fun and simple craft to display what the students are thankful for! 

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day!

  Today is a day to honor all of those who served and those who serve our country.  On Friday we spent a bit of time talking to the students about Veterans.  We discussed who they were, what they did and if we know anyone that is a Veteran.  One of the students in my classroom this year has a father who is a Veteran so it was a great example.  As I was perusing The Mailbox I found an adorable worksheet. My lovely volunteer adapted the worksheet to our classroom and here is what it looked like:
Here is the adapted version: 

  As you can see my volunteer added the wording: "On Veteran's Day we salute all soldiers and thank them for protecting our country."  She also found a clip art picture of two soldiers; male and female.  The students colored in the boy and girl to the left and then they glued on the soldiers once they were finished.

  I'm a bad blogger though, because I forgot to take a photo of the finished project. :(
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