Monday, April 30, 2012

Boosting that brain

My kiddos are rocking with the Brain Boosters! It’s a really nice way to review ELA skills in a consistent format on a daily basis. Wheww. That’s a mouthful!

The May Brain Boosters set is available from my TPT store. Whoohoo!


20 daily review pages are included in this packet. Each page has 5 questions/themes.


Want to save some moolah? Act quick! Don’t forget your e-mail!


p.s. I went a little crazy and bought some new digital scrap papers courtesy of Sassy Designs! Check out

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Are We Going To Graduation Today?

Kinder Graduation is a pretty big deal at my school – and a few weeks ago we took pictures of the kiddos in graduation caps and gowns. We don’t actually wear the caps and gowns at the ceremony – just to save our sanity time! We take pictures of the kids though and print them out for parent gifts as a nice little memento. My kids were definitely thinking they were going to graduation that particular day though!

I can’t believe it (procrastination is seriously my middle name) but I have Graduation Gifts together – yeahhhh! Last year, I gave them a very similar gift (you can read about it here). It was really easy but meaningful – and inexpensive! This year I found some great items and revamped the label (frame courtesy of The 3AM Teacher – awesome!).


Inside: Puzzle, Smarties candy, (and for added fun) Play-doh and bubbles.


I got the puzzles from Dollar Tree – 3 for $1. They had boy and girl versions. I loved the box puzzles that I had last year, but the variety at Dollar Tree this year left a lot to be desired!

Each puzzle fits perfectly in a snack size bag. This is probably overkill, but I cut the picture out of the back of the package and placed it in the baggie so the kids know what the puzzle looks like.


You don’t have to do this next step – it just saves a little time. I bought full-sheet labels( from Wal-Mart) to use. They stick right to the bag.


Voila! I’m figuring my cost was around $.75 per kiddo – not including the bags/labels. Not too shabby. I don’t mind spending money on my kids or classroom but it’s always nice to have a gift that is cute but didn’t cost a crazy amount!

Want to make it? Awesome. :)

Click on the pic below to grab your copy of labels. Labels for Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and a generic next year are in this freebie. Enjoy!


Cute background graphics on this pic courtesy of Sassy Designs, Inc. If you haven’t been there, check it out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How Can May {Almost} Be here?

This year has flown by – but dragged at the same time! I can’t believe it’s almost the end of our school year.

We are at 22 days (uh, who’s counting right?!?)…

How many days do you have left? What do you do to make the end of the year fun but academic?

We are still going to plug away at our math journals. I really feel that these have helped my kiddos immensely this year – with so many skills. I’ve been able to introduce and review skills and build on the knowledge that they share during journal time. Next year these will definitely be in full effect – from day 1.


Have you used these? Are they helping? Any thoughts, suggestions or feedback you have I would love to hear!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Bug’s Life

We’ve been talking about insects for about a week. It’s funny – I seriously detest bugs of any size, shape, color, etc, but this is one of my favorite themes to teach! I especially love sharing new bug facts with my kiddos – they get so impressed haha!

We made a circle map and recorded our prior knowledge.

After reading a few pages of an Insect book, we added our new learning. I liked adding it in a new color – it helps the kids see how much information they learned from reading a non-fiction book!

We measured partners with butterflies and recorded our findings:

We also measured insects with a fly ruler:

This week we are starting to talk about specific insects – whoohoo! Today was ant day…

We made an Ant schema chart, completed an “Ants can/have” chart and made the cutest little ant headbands. I added a simple sentence for them to put in order and paste to their ant crown.

We are reading all about bees, dragonflies, caterpillars and butterflies this week. I ordered these fun guys too – can’t wait to bring them in for my kiddos tomorrow!

I have the insect think maps below. These are popping up all over the web – but I really like them! :) If you’re interested in the ant headband pattern, I have that too. Just let me know!

Here is the ant headband! 
Students cut 3 circles and antennae, glue onto a sentence strip and then glue the sentence as well.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grab Your Running Shoes...Quick!

Okay, technically you don't have to put your running shoes on. (Uh, let's be honest. This body really doesn't run anywhere - not something I'm proud of - just sayin...ha!).

It's a giveaway but the finish line will be here fast - tomorrow night at midnight to be precise! 

The awesome Anna from Kindergarten Khronicles asked me to join the fun and I am loving it!!! The fabulous Nicole from Rowdy in Room 300 is also on our giveaway team - and our super gracious host is the amazing Pam from Can Do Kinders! 

It's not hard to enter - and the prizes are

Here's what you could win.... 
5 math and literacy packets, an amazing ELA Review pack, and a super cute Froggy Fun math pack!! 

Let your fingers do the running for this one (okay, promise I'm done with the running analogy)...

Head on over to Can Do Kinders to find out how you can enter this giveaway.

Can Do Kinders

Monday, April 16, 2012


Does anyone have a Wii Fit? I cannot say “measuring” without hearing that little voice from the Wii. It’s like a little robotic voice while you are standing there waiting for your whole life to be analyzed through the Wii.


My kinders have been measuring for a few days now – mostly a lot of guided practice. We’ve used square tiles, small paper rulers and links. Today we busted out the linking cubes and {cue suspense music} Beanie Babies! Woot.

We had so much fun. The kids watched me measure my stuffed animal – a turtle. We talked about measuring the entire animal – and how some animals or insects can be tricky depending on tails, claws, antennae, etc.


After I measured, I drew a picture and wrote my sentence.
Please excuse my pitiful drawing…

The kids then got to decide which animal/insect they wanted to measure.
We drew name sticks to make it fair.

After they had picked their buddy, they got to measuring.
And were uber serious about it. Ha!

I totally forgot to take pictures of their recording sheets (duh) but you can see a tiny bit of the crocodile drawing from one student in this pic! Students drew their buddy and wrote the sentence.

All in all it was a fun and informative lesson. After we finished measuring and recording, we shared all of the sheets on the document camera. It’s amazing how KinderKiddos make their own connections and learning happens without the teacher saying a word (hard right? I know!!).

Things I heard:

“Mrs. Ketchen’s turtle was longer than my animal.”
“Wow – that is how long my animal was.”
“Whoa. It was that long? I thought it would be shorter than that.”

Up next, we are going to be measuring each other using butterfly cutouts.
Most everything this week is very hands-on.

Want to check out my plans and grab some measuring freebies? Click the picture below!


One of the activities I am using is from Kindergarten is a Hoot. Sara offered some great freebies on a Measurement post –and they fit perfectly with my insect theme! Check it out!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Does your Brain need a Boost?

My brain definitely needs a boost! We had a super long spring break and I think that makes it harder to get back into the swing of things!

I've been working on these for awhile and am in a large debate (with myself) about where to go with them. TPT, Teacher's Notebook, Giveaways, etc. I'm not putting any of my regular freebies on those sites - so don't worry bloggy friends. They will always be F.R.E.E.! These Brain Boosters are definitely more time consuming and more of a product in general though - hence my debate!

Brain Boosters are a daily review for Language Skills. Some questions are based off of our Kindergarten objectives. Some are based off of similar questions on NWEA tests. Some are just plain good to review in Kindergarten when our kinderbabies poor brains are on overload. ;)

I have monthly Brain Boosters packets and the skills get progressively harder throughout the year. I have a scope and sequence so that no skills repeat and objectives are scaffolded as they are introduced.

I'm offering a free copy to the first 10 people that comment! All I ask is that you send any feedback you have after reviewing the pack! If you use it in your class, I'd love to hear about that too!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

New Blog Alert!

Quick post - I've been creating and Pinteresting all day and stumbled on this super cute blog.

Nicole @ Rowdy in Room 300 is having a giveaway - where everyone wins (best kind right?). Hop on over to follow her blog and TPT store and she'll send you a free ten frames resource that can be used year round!

Have a blog? Show her some love by blogging about her giveaway and she'll send you a super cute Farming Math and Literacy pack. All for free. (and some typing and clicking - which I'm sure we are all doing anyways right?!?)

Rowdy in Room 300

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Math Stations–April Style

Warning - super long post. But pictures will make it go quick and freebies are part of your reward!!!

I could get used to this whole being off work thing. I’ve had so much time to relax – which makes it easier to complete stations, journals, centers, etc. I’m not coming home at night with a billion things on my mind that typically take over my brain and leads to me picking the super important tasks from my to-do lists and not the whole list. Like when I didn’t create/change out February Math Stations so we just repeated the rotation (whoopppss).

Next week will come quickly though, so I’m just enjoying it while I can! I finished my April math stations – they are a mix of bugs, rain and a tad bit of Easter. I always get a little fidgety about putting too much holiday emphasis in my centers/classroom in general (anyone else?!?).

Planning Guide: Click the picture to see a PDF of this document! My teammates don't know it yet, but I'm going to teach just math to all the Kinders next year (my Principal doesn't know this either - it's all just in my head hahaha). I love reading, but for some reason this year has really got me interested in Math! Who would've thought.


My Centers:
April Math Stations

Number Writing: Race to Trace Garden Style: Students roll a dice and trace the number word.

Number Recognition – Roll and Cover with pattern blocks. My kiddos really like the roll and cover games – so I’m hoping this will change it up a little bit and keep them interested! Simply roll 3 dice and cover up the number with the correct pattern block!

p.s. This  is my first attempt at pattern block pictures - I don't know if my dimensions are right. I don't have any at home - but as soon as I go to school I will check the block size. I feel like these are super big - but can't really tell for sure?!?

Number Representation – Check out the fabulous Marlana @ Lil’ Country Kindergarten for this fun (and free) station! It’s an Easter themed ten frames count and match.

Lil' Country Kindergarten

Number Order – A pocket chart station to practice number order with numbers 11-25. My students always put the long rectangle pieces into the pocket chart first and then lay out the numbers in front of them. This helps them to stay organized and focused. :)
Buggy for Numbers

Games – Just a roll and move your piece game! Something simple yet fun. This has the 10 frame dice as well if you want to change it up a little.
Rain Gameboard

Patterns – This isn’t a new idea – I just added some Spring clipart to refresh it. Students create patterns with linking cubes and then color the page to match the pattern they created.

Free Explore - Don't worry. If you hear screaming next week, it's just little old me in my K classroom. We are free exploring geoboards next week. Wish us luck!

Tactile/Count & Create – This station will need some type of manipulative for students to create the number. I have an umbrella accu-cut at school – so I’m just going to cut a big pile and place them into the box. Students count the number on the ten frame and create it with the umbrellas. I include an example card so they remember what to do!
Count and Create

Graphing – Have you seen Tammy’s Live Laugh Love Everyday in Kindergarten blog? This girl is awe.some.! Lots of ideas, pics and freebies – just like this Easter Monster Spin and Graph.

Live Love Laugh

Geometry/Drawing – Remember how I stalk visit Marlana @ Lil’ Country Kindergarten often? She has these great 100’s charts that are color by number. I’m going to *attempt* to have my kiddos do these at a station! I think to start out, I’m going to only put the crayons that they need in the math tub…that way they don’t take creative liberties with their hidden object pictures!

That’s all folks! Truth be told, I’ve been working on this post I had a dentist visit this morning that required some numbing (uh, no, I don’t drink sweet tea by the gallon, why do you ask Dr. Mean Dentist?!? lol), had me shedding a tear (I swear to goodness white coat hypertension is for reals) and just chilling at home the rest of the day. (Happy Spring Break…not).

As always, I heart your comment love – it makes me smile. Even if my smile looked like Elvis today because half of my lip was numb.
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