Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween is Noisy

Whoooooo went the wind
And out went the light

Halloween is the perfect time to teach about 


And 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

 Ghosts go BOO!  Doors squeak, chains rattle, leaves rustle and crunch.
The season is full of sounds.  None more than the ones in this book:  

I love this story.  It is a great can add all your own sound effects.  You can do it as a classroom reader's theater and spread the fright around (other classrooms are generally always up for a little presentation and short distraction).  You can make a foldable or attach the pieces to a tall paint stick for retelling.  You can make stick puppets.

And you can show students what a big word like onomatopoeia means.....don't you just love saying that word?  I do!  My kinders do too.  Between Halloween and our unit in the spring about farm animals, my kindergarteners learn about this at least twice.  Do they remember?  YES!!  Well, some do...some will remember when they hear it again...others will begin to recognize it in stories, even if they don't remember the big long grown-up word. Some will begin to use it in their writing, and SOME will tell you all about it when they are back in your class as 8 year old second graders!

I have put this together to help you do just that.  It's free on my facebook fan page.  There are stick puppets and an open the flaps book in two different sizes to help you retell the story.

Try it!
It is great language development for ELL, for young ones, for those with speech and learning disabilities.  It is good for oral language and comprehension. is good fun for everyone!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Getting My Feet Back

I think I am finally getting my feet back under me. So it is time for a Five for Friday post.  I love linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share what is happening.

I was asked to go back to second for a year.  I have taught second for most of my teaching career so, I wasn't surprised when they asked.  Now I have been trying to remember how I used to teach second grade....except this time, no desks and no grades, using rubrics and standards and my too small cubbies.  I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into.

But I have learned a few things....second graders are not that different from Kindergarteners.  They like to move, they like to be silly and use their imaginations, they like hands on, and they LOVE to read.  I don't think I have a single student, when given free reign of the library, doesn't love it.  This breaks out in my classroom often.

When we were exploring the math manipulatives, what was their favorite??  The counting Bears.  I was surprised.  They really loved all my kindergarten maipulatives and I plan on using them often. 
There have been challenges (tables and no real place to keep books and all our interactive journals), but there have been wonderful surprises too (along with reading, they LOVE to write).

There are lessons I loved to teach, but gave up when I moved to Kindergarten.  Lessons, like how fossils are made, and our field trip to Fossil Hill.

There are lessons I taught in 2nd, took to Kindergarten with me, and now I have brought them back to 2nd.  A bonus....students I had in Kindergarten and now are in my second grade classroom, they are  excited about doing them again.
Seasons 2nd and 3rd I have them label with the months for each season (it always surprises me how many do not know this.)

I am still working on putting routines in place.  It is taking longer than I wanted, but we have begun both Writers Workshop and Reading Workshop.  I am using the Kindergarten programs I loved so much to set the routines and procedures.  The work I am expecting from my second graders is, of course, much, much more....but the routines are the same and many of the skills are as well (just on a second grade reading level).

I think I have a couple of new ideas for keeping these kiddos (and myself) I am off on this beautiful Saturday morning to work in my room.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and more Pumpkins!!!

Ask this question for creating a science experiment:  Does the largest pumpkin have the most seeds?

I do not give my students spoons.  I like that they have to touch the inside and truly get to "experience" the pumpkin.  All the seeds go on a large baking sheet where I have taped a piece of their paper as a label to identify the group.  Pulp goes on the paper, then it all goes in the trash.  I don't worry about bits of extra pulp. me, let the seeds dry overnight before trying to count them.  They won't be totally dry, but they will be significantly less slimy and easier to count.

We always take time the first day to talk about what we saw, smelled, felt, and heard (we save tasting for another day) as we were observing our pumpkins.  We record our describing words on an anchor chart and use that to write about pumpkins too.

Every time I have done this activity it has gone smoother with parent volunteers, one for each group.  Even second and third graders have a hard time keeping track counting. 

If you liked this bright idea consider following me on TpT, facebook, and here on this blog, KinderKapers.  There will be more tips on what to do with your leftover seeds and how to keep your pumpkin from molding (not forever....but longer)

For more BRIGHT IDEAS, check out the link-up below.  More than 100 bloggers are sharing their bright ideas today.  Browse through and find a grade level/topic that interests you.  Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Number Sense with Peas and Carrots

How do you establish number sense in Kindergarten?  I like to go about things from a slightly different perspective.

I like the one number a week model.

We play with it too.

We look at all the ways we can make our number.  We do this with Peas and Carrots (green and orange connecting cubes).  Once the routine is established it is not hard to increase the numbers each week.  And then move from using the word and to using the symbols + and = .

We stop at five and play some more....trying to get plenty of practice to begin to establish fluency.

Then we stop again at ten.

I made this:

to last the whole first semester.

I made this as well for day three or four of our number week....More or Less.  That is another tricky concept for Kindergarteners and we practice it each week with every number.  You can grab this for free.  Just hop over to my facebook page and it is a free gift for you.

Each week we follow the same routine.  Introduce the Number, Peas and Carrots, More or Less.  We take longer at the beginning, and as the routine is established students do get quicker.  That leaves more time for other concepts (like shapes), and more time for centers.  By the time we get to the tricky teenagers, my kinders are ready to shake it up and start some new routines.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School with a BRIGHT IDEA!

It's that time of the month again...... Bright Idea time!!

I so look forward to this, because I can find so many great ideas from so many of the BEST bloggers.

I have an idea this month that solved a problem in our computer lab and made my year run smoother.

Here was my problem.....the headphones were always in various states of disrepair.  We do not have a dedicated computer lab person, so each teacher is responsible for helping to take care of things and making it work for their own classroom.  It seemed that you never knew which headphones were working and which were broken or about to fall apart.  Even when we bought new ones, it didn't take long until there were many that were not working.  It was a hot mess.

Problem number two....students could not remember their usernames and passwords (and neither could I).  It seemed that the weeks I forgot to bring my printed off cheat sheet were the weeks that that nearly every student forgot their username.  It was a huge pain to find it....and it was all time not on task for them while I worked my way through the maze of clicks and passwords to get the information.

Here is what I did....I spent a little money at the dollar store and gathered these supplies.

Now I know that each of my students have headphones (I tell them if they break them they will have to replace them).  I know they have their username and password with them. 

When we go to the computer lab they have no excuse to get right on task.

Headphones....25 for $25
Ziplock baggies....$4.50
3x5 cards..... $.25
Peace of Mind....priceless

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider following me here at KinderKapers, on Facebook, or my TpT store.

For more Bright Ideas from more than 100 bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 11, 2014

HELP!!! It's a SHARK attack!

Baby,,  I think the sharks got me!!  If you saw this post yesterday, it was empty.

But I took care of that shark and I am back!  I brought reinforcements!

Teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!


I like to keep my students engaged by bringing in "stuff"  (realia).

I like to bring in things that relate to the lesson.
Cooking in a dutch oven and making butter during a Thanksgiving lesson.
I like to bring in things to touch and handle, and gain experience.

I bring my kids to our butterflies....outside in a screened tent.  They can get up close and personal.  Check it out here.

I am lucky to have a lot of "stuff" to share.
My nephew's luge sled.  It comes to school during the Winter Olympics.
My husband's saddle.  It comes to school during Cowboy Poetry Week.

Of course, picking topics the students are interested in always helps, too!

And what student wouldn't LOVE to touch these??
I bought mine on Amazon.

Slide 10.png

Try this little game with your shark teeth.....a little missing addend fun.
Grab some teeth, count them
Player one hides some (while everyone else hides their eyes).  Try under a shell or in a treasure box.
Now player two (or three and four) open their eyes and many do you see?
Figure out how many are hiding.   Check.   Write your equation.

Click HERE to try it out!
What about the shark eating these little guys??  Same game, only now there is food and the shark is doing the eating.

Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  : )