Friday, March 29, 2013

Letter E and Easter Activities

Because this was a short week, our study of the letter E was relegated to Easter activities.
Using the Egg template described on Monday, the kids cut out eggs from wallpaper samples and glued them onto an Easter sign.

Not bad, huh? Next time, though, I'll put a bit more space between the letters.

And we did something totally different this year when it came to the Egg hunt. We did it in the classroom! Because the available playgrounds were already taken by other classes, I waited until the students were in another class, and hid all the eggs "in plain sight" in the room. Using their bunny bags we made on Wednesday, they had a terrific time finding the eggs because they had never done something like this before!

And, since it was after lunch, I let them eat some of the candy.

I did have one parent who sent cupcakes to celebrate, although we didn't officially have a party.
All in all, it was one terrific day.

Hope you all have a Wonderful Easter!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our Easter Bunny Bags

Instead of bringing their baskets to school for the egg hunt, we made our own Bunny Bags.
After coloring this template (you can download!), we cut out the ears, eyes, nose, teeth, and cheeks, and glued them to the bag. The ears go on the back of the bag, facing forward.

Until we get this result. (The top is the opening. Don't forget the whiskers!)

And, of course, no bunny is finished until you add the cotton tail!

Monday, March 25, 2013

An Easter Egg Template

With this week being a short week, our letter for the week is E, and we're going to be doing a lot of Easter Egg activities.

To begin with, I needed to make some egg templates.
I started with simple thick cardboard, like the side of a cracker or cereal box.

I found these egg templates on a wonderful site called firstpalette dot com.

Cutting them apart, I taped two on a side. (Three would fit, but two were more manageable.)

Then I poked a hole in the egg, and cut out the center.

Voila! Two palm-sized egg templates!
For our first activity, I pulled out the old wallpaper books, and tore out some sheets.

Laying the template on the back, I traced them, then cut them out.

I now have two eggs I can use for decorating!

Stay tuned to see what we did with our eggs!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Letter J Activities

This week seemed to fly by. We had so much fun learning the letter J.

* We colored a pattern of jellybeans.

And glued them onto construction paper in the shape of a J.

 * We did a dot-to-dot of a jar filled with jellybeans.
* We took jewels and glued them onto the letter J.

They look so beautiful hanging from the ceiling. When the air conditioner comes on, the cards wave in the current, making the jewels glitter in the light.

* We worked on our AABB patterning using jars and jellyfish.

* The most challenging activity was making jellyfish. After coloring half of a paper plate, we punched holes along the bottom edge.

Then we used a rhythm stick to figure out how long to cut our yarn.

We tied the yarn to our paper plates, and now we have jellyfish!

* For Fun Fun Friday, I brought 6 jars of jelly and jam to school. I deliberately chose several flavors that I didn't think the students had ever had, including cherry, blueberry, raspberry, apricot, peach, and of course strawberry.

They got to pick any flavor, and spread them on crackers. They got to eat as much as they wanted (this was in the afternoon, after their naps.) Those kids went through almost two whole boxes of crackers!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fun Food - Octopus Weenies!

I love it whenever I see a creative Mom's attempt to get a picky child to eat.
Voila! Octopus weenies!

Monday, March 18, 2013

In Lieu of Stickers - Other Ways to Reward Kids

Sometimes I get tired of handing out stickers. I know the kids like something new, especially if it's something they can show off to the other students. Here are two other ways I reward children.

Using a Vis-a-Vis marker, I draw happy faces on the backs of their hands. (I use the Vis-a-Vis because it washes off with soap.) Sometimes I'll change up each face to give every student individuality, making some faces wink, stick out their tongue, have hair, wear a hat, have two front teeth, etc.
I've also invested in two lip balms - one in strawberry, and one in dulce de leche, or something the boys won't mind wearing (I'm out of chocolate, but it's quite popular.)

Each child who deserves the reward gets the back of one hand smeared with the balm.

Trust me, you'll catch them smelling their hands the rest of the day!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Print Your Own Alphabet Flashcards

I can find all sorts of alphabet flashcards at the dollar store, but 99% of them have both the upper and lower case letters together. Most of my students can recognize the upper case letters, but have difficulty with the lower case ones.

Enter Worksheetworks dot com and Alphaflash. This website is fantastic! You can print out your own cards, in varying sizes and fonts, with just the upper, just the lower, or paired letters!

Since I save "gently used" colored cardstock (which has been printed on one side only), I can run off as many sets as I want. This allows me to have different colors for different purposes: ex: blue for a matching memory game, yellow for flashcarding, etc.

In case you lose it, I'm adding the site to the sidebar of this blog.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Using Pinterest Pictures in the Classroom - Baby Turtles Hatching

What do you see?
What are they doing?
Where are they coming from?
Where are they heading?
Do you think all the turtles will make it out?
What are those white things?
How do you think the eggs got there?
What do you think will happen to the turtles when they reach the water?
What do you think will happen to the eggs that don't hatch?
Where is the mother turtle?

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Alphabet

Love this old illustrated alphabet. I only wish they would use the hard G as in goat.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Letter Y Activities

This was a looong week. With all grade levels testing, we didn't get our PE time or other classes, and no recess until after 12:00, which meant we had an hour and a half extra time to fill. So we had extra Y activities.
* We filled Ys with Yarn. A traditional activity. Except, in this case, I gave each table a skein of yarn, and they had to cut their own pieces.
* We went outside when the bad weather allowed. So we used that time to find tree branches in the shape of a Y.

* We used pictures of a Yak and a Yo-yo to make ABB patterns.

* I gave each student a sheet of newspaper, and they had to find, cut out, and paste 10 Ys. You can get a copy of the little worksheet here, but you can also adapt it to fit any letter and number you want to review.


* I also hung up a large sheet of yellow bulletin board paper. The kids searched catalogs for anything Yellow, which they cut out and glued to the sheet.

* One of their favorite activities was to make their own Yo-yos. They traced can lids, colored them, and cut out the circles, which they glued to cardboard toilet paper tubes. After the yo-yos dried, they tied a piece of yard around the middle. A few kids could get their yo-yos to roll back up partway!

* And for Fun Fun Friday, we celebrated with Yogurt. (Most of my students had never had yogurt, and some had never heard of it.)

* And finally, I taught the class some cheerleader moves to our school cheer. And then we performed this Yell on the morning announcements, which was broadcast on the TV!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Record Yourself - as a Gift or for the Substitute

Okay. So you think your singing voice is the pits, and definitely won't win you the Grammy. But your class doesn't think so. Which is why you definitely need to look into recording yourself singing the songs you all love to sing together. That way, when you're absent from class, your vocal presence will still give your students a sense of stability.

There are several ways you can do this. Easiest way is to sing via microphone onto a cassette, and transfer it onto a CD. Or you can record it on your computer and burn a CD. (There are several software programs that will work, such as Audacity. You only need to invest in a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone.) You don't need any sort of back-up. Acapella is perfect. Just be sure to announce the title the song before you begin to sing it.

I've had substitutes tell me how much they like the idea. And the kids are less likely to get out of hand when she uses the "be good and I'll let you sing a couple of songs" bribe.

As a bonus, you can burn copies relatively cheap and give them as Christmas presents, or as End of the Year Going Away gifts!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Egg Words

If you're like me, you have stashed away among your Easter stuff some empty plastic eggs. With the holiday coming up, I thought I'd use them to reinforce sight words by making a little game out of it. So I created EGG WORDS.

There's two ways to play it: Up to 4 people can play per game. Basically, one person opens and egg, and they all try to arrange it into one of their sight words. First person to identify the word gets it and the egg. When all the eggs have been checked, the student with the most eggs wins.

Second way to play it: First person picks an egg and tries to arrange the letters into a sight word. If they can't figure it out, they put the egg back, and the next person draws an egg. (Or they can choose the same egg the other person put back if they're pretty sure they know what the word is.) If they get the word right, next person draws. (They don't get to pick another egg. Only one egg per person per round.) Person who ends up with the most eggs wins.