Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween and Onomatopoeia

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 puzzle or attach the pieces to a paint stick.
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 kinders hear about this at least twice.  Do they remember?  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.  

I have a freebie to help you do just that.
Grab it here.
You can make a flap book or stick puppets.  I have included several options including instructions for using a paint stick and velcro.

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!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I have learned a lot!

I have only been blogging for three months....but already I have so many great memories and moments of excitements that sends me running and screaming around my house.  My kids are all grown so often I have my house to myself and that may find me running up and down my hallway with just my underwear on.  My hubby doesn't mind when I do that...he'd like to see me in my underwear more often (but that's different story).  Actually he is very supportive and never complains when I am sitting in our bed stalking or typing my own blog posts.

My best memories have to do with the WONDERFUL blogging friends I have found.  Bloggers who have noticed me and taken time to encourage me and given me great advice and tips.  Not only about my blog, but my classroom as well.  Insert Thank-You to Kristin at The Teeny Tiny Teacher (first one to comment on my blog ever!!!!), big screams after that, witnessed by my daughter and grandkids who happened to be at my house that day (no underwear...I had clothes on, although it might have been a swimsuit since we had gone to the pool that day).  Thank-you to Hadar and Deedee and Fran who answered all the questions I posed and gave me great advice both about my classroom (when I thought I would have 31 kinders this year) and my blog.  Blogging has made me a better teacher.  There are such talented ladies (mostly ladies) out there.  I have always said that my talent is recognizing a good idea when I see it.  Blogging has challenged me to come up with my own ideas.

I have always been good at finding something and then enlarge....decrease...cut it up and rearrange...making it my own.  The copy machine was my friend.  I have found so many great things on the blogs I stalked, some for free...some on teachers pay teachers.  I wondered how can I do that?  How can I share cool things I have made for my classroom when all I have is the cut and paste thing I put together with the copy machine.  I had never really made anything digitally.  That is the one thing I have learned to do....well at least I am beginning to learn to do it.  This book is the first thing I have made.  I used it to teach my anti-bully lessons.  You can read about it here.  You can click on the picture if you would like a copy.

If you are new, like me, you might not know how to do anything like this.  Here is what I have learned so far.

First:  Powerpoint is for more than making slide show presentations.  I used powerpoint to create this book.  Each page is a slide.  Powerpoint is easier to manipulate than word...there are other programs out there you can use to create things, but I don't have them.  So I am trying to learn how to use what I have.

Second:  I wanted to have a frame on each page to define my space.  I went to the drawing section on the home tab, where all the shapes are and drew a box.  Next I clicked on shape fill and for this book I clicked no fill.  Then I clicked on shape outline and picked my dashes first, then the line width, then I changed the color.  Actually I did that first, then I realized that even white fill was messing with my final product and I went back and set the shape fill at no fill.  Now I just do that first.

Third:  When I get my frame the size I think I want, I copy it to see if two frames will fit on one page.  Doesn't fit?  I delete it and only mess with my first one...making it bigger or smaller, then copy it again.  When I think I have it right I print it and check to make sure the page will fold the way I want. 

Fourth:  I have one page the way I want?  I duplicate the slide...lots of times.  Now I am ready to add pictures (clip art) and text boxes.  But before you add anything....SAVE IT!  Save it as a blank book or something (otherwise the next time you want to make a book you have to do the first three steps all over again!)  Yup...that would be me.  Starting from scratch for my next little book.  But I have learned my lesson.  Hopefully I get another good idea because my Hide Turkey Hide book is almost done and I have my blank book file just waiting for some brilliant inspiration to hit.

Last:  When you are finished and you want to save your book or activity choose to save it as a PDF.  You will then be able to upload to Google Docs or Dropbox or wherever you want to keep your creation and it will stay the way you made it.

 What do I have to look forward to now that I am on this blogging path??  Lots of friends...linky parties...better teaching and learning how to create a blog button and to use/buy/design a better looking blog. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Today was pink

Today was pink....all pink....all day.  Well, maybe not ALL day. It is my favorite color day and I did up my favorite teacher  for-e-ver  factor by letting my students chew gum.  And then just to cement my place in their hearts, I gave a bubble blowing lesson.

All the kindergartens in my school teach the colors.  We know they are not set out specifically in the common core as a standard.  We know most of our students come to us knowing their colors, but some still do not.  It is good vocabulary practice for our little ELL kiddos and it gives us common vocabulary to build from.  We stress not just the color, but the color word as well.  (I use the very, very old color monsters..."Pink Pink sat in the sink", and Julie Lee's Color and Shapes with Brown Bear unit) The color words are not on our school's list of tested sight words...but…it is a good challenge for those who are ready to learn them, and learning a little extra never hurt anybody.

As we (yes I had a piece too) chewed that pink gum I was reminded why I hate gum in the classroom...26 little mouths all moving up and down at different speeds.  I told my kiddos they were driving me crazy.  My eyes were spinning into the back of my head.  With my giggles growing, I proceeded with my bubble blowing lesson calling out for some help from my high school aide.  He manged to blow us a nice big bubble that then popped all over his chin.  I just about lost control (insert a carpet full of giggles here).  We graphed the results of our practice…and trust me, at 5 years old they are either pretty darn good, or totally clueless.

After graphing, discussing our data, and writing sentences together to tell what we noticed, we worked on pictures of ourselves, complete with a little pink sentence.  I helped add the bubble blowing part.  (if you really want the sentences click here).   All the time we chewed away at our gum…until the flavor was gone and it was lunchtime.  That was the end of gum in the classroom (until next year).

And now the results of our hard work is hanging up in the hallway.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Don't Bully Me!

Do you have to teach anti-bully lessons this month?

We were given a series of lessons and asked to teach at least one of them. I thought about this a lot because bully is such a politically charged word and I really don't think that a 5 year old can be a "bully".  Now don't get me wrong....a five year old can be naughty, they can be mean.  A five year old can hurt someone, and make someone sad.  They are impulsive and lash out when they don't get what they want.  But they can be taught.

Kinder Kids often don't have the words they need to express themselves, so my lessons focused on using our words, stepping outside ourselves to be kind to others.

The first day we talked about why we like to come to school.  What is it about our classroom that makes you happy (several students told me they like coming to school because they can read my books...warmed my heart).  I then introduced the word welcoming and we talked about how to make others feel welcome (happy) in our classroom.  We made a circle map showing all the ways we could think of to be welcoming.

Day two I focused on the different feelings we have.  I read The Way I Feel by Janin Cain, with lots and lots of discussion.  We made faces to show those feelings.  I have the DVD from signing time Family Feelings and Fun.  So we watched that, then we sang to the tune of Hokey Pokey:

You put your sad face in,
You put your sad face out,
You put your sad face in 
And you shake it all about

You let your feelings show 
And you turn yourself around,
That's what it's all about. 

When we had practiced all kinds of feelings I asked my students to pick one.  They were to think of what made them feel that way and what they looked like.  I then asked them to draw themselves.  Under their picture I had them simply write;  I am ______.

Day three I started teaching these little people how to see what other people might be feeling and then how to be kind and help them to feel better.  We learned a big word...empathy.
I think they can understand what this word means.  They can at least understand what it means to be kind.  I use both words when talking with my kiddos.  We have been working page by page.  First page is:  You are sad.  We talked about what makes people sad.  Then: I can ______.  What can you do when you see someone who is sad?  The kiddos told me: I can hold their hand....I can share my candy (we had just had lunch)...I can give a hug.....I can give them a kiss (we needed to talk a bit about that.).  The drawings were precious and reaffirmed my belief that 5 years are sweet and kind.
The pages are placed so that when you make the book You are ____.  is on the left side of the book and I can _____.  is on the right side.

My goal is to help them find the words to describe how they are feeling, and to express those feeling by standing up for themselves.  Maybe they will help others with hurt feelings, stop others from those actions that a bully might take, and lastly stop themselves from doing any of those mean bullying things.  We are working hard on our little books.  You can grab one here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I am excited to be hooking up with Farley for October's Currently.

I have to admit that I had so much fun crafting last weekend with my daughter-in-law.  We each made a countdown calendar for Halloween.  I saw these on Cupcake for the Teacher and fell in love with them!!!  I decided that my little kinders needed one and maybe my grandkids too.  Here is the finished product....I didn't get a picture of the one my daughter-in-law made.  I think it might have been even cuter (her stickers were more like Teri's)
I am giving my mystery helper the magnet of the day.  I will use weekend magnets to make sure every one gets one.

I am thinking the blew in my currently was a Freudian slip.  The skies have been a beautiful blue all day, but the wind has been blowing like crazy.  They say a front is coming through and bringing cold, cold weather with it.  My tomatoes will probably freeze if I don't get them covered.  But even cold weather can be fun when there are leaves to collect.

My sister has become an empty-nester this year.  I think I should go and visit, she might need cheering up.   Plus she lives in a big shopping! 

There are so many books I love, both for the season and for Halloween.  Not so many for Columbus Day (can anyone tell me why we don't get the day off in "the west"?  But that is a whole other topic).  I wasn't sure how to pick so I picked my number one favorite for fall.  (Halloween has another list of favorite books).   Nature's Paintbox is a poem about the seasons. It illustrates each season with wonderful words and using a different art medium.  Winter is pen and ink, spring is pastel chalk, summer...watercolors, and autumn is oils.  The poetry is beautiful and the pictures are fun.  I love this book!

Autumn, my favorite season!!  Only I wish we had a day off to enjoy it.  No Columbus Day in Nevada....but we do get Nevada Day (last Friday of the month for statehood...real statehood is October 31.  I liked it much better when we had Halloween off.  It fooled all my family back in PA!).

Here's hoping you have the holiday off and you get to enjoy best season of the year!