Tuesday, January 29, 2013


It's Cowboy Poetry time!!  Yee Haw!  I love it!

I love it because I can wear jeans all week and really old cowboy stuff and no one will say anything.  I love it because we get some top notch entertainment coming to town and to our schools.  I love it because cowboys are real and even the town kids can get a taste of what living on a ranch is like.

Now don't go thinking that rough and tumble cowboys would never write poetry.  Where do you think those old time cowboy songs came from?  A man has a lot of time on a horse to ponder and think and make up stories and rhymes. 

Here is just a peek at some of what we will be doing.

I found this poem at the Virtual Vine:
Isn't that just too cute?  We will perform it for the other Kindergarten classes and our Reading Buddies.  Hopefully some of my students will make it to the open youth session and perform it for a "real audience".

We have already started our learning about cowboys.  We had one assembly today (Italian cowboys) and another tomorrow, we have a dad singing for us on Friday and one student is bringing his horse.  A buckaroo breakfast with our reading buddies and a picture taking session is also on tap for this week. 

We are working on our anchor chart, beginning with what we already know, our schema  (yay...this year no one told me that cowboys shoot Indians....so I don't have to worry about fixing that misconception).

We will add lots of new information to this chart.  Using what we are learning we will label a cowboy, build a tree map with Cowboys...have, can, and are.  Then each day we write and draw about cowboys using our new information creating a little non-fiction book that hopefully will go home on Friday.

We will put cowboys into just about everything.  I will be using this from the Resource(ful) Room
and this from homeschoolcreations.com
and this. 

I love this website from the National Cowboy Museum, lots of fun for the kids, especially the songs.  My kiddos begged to hear them again today.  Maybe we will have to try singing a song along with our poem.  They almost have I Love To Ride My Pony memorized.

But this is us....National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.  There are live podcasts and YouTube videos so everyone can join in on the fun.  I am still working on a couple of things for my own centers.  They are not quite done...so stop back tomorrow for a Race to the Top and Missing Addend cowboy style freebie. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

This is me....Melonheadz style

If you have ever wondered what I really look like....this is me.
I have been working with The Honey Bunch Blog Design to give me a "real" blog.  I am soooo excited.  They have been great to work with.  I really wanted something that reflects my belief that kinder kids should be having fun while they are learning.  That they should be dancing their merry kinder capers. 

I also love Nikki's Melonheadz graphics.  I get to benefit from her amazing talent as well.  This is going to be part of my design.  And it looks just like me.  I love going outside and I love bringing the outside into my classroom.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I need to buy stock in cheap white paper plates.  I use them ALL. the. time.  Not fancy ones....the cheap ones that stick together and you have to be careful or you use two at once.

I use them to make snowmen.  Here are some of the snowmen we just made!  Aren't they CUTE!!!!

I use them to make seasons spinners.  I think I forgot to blog about them when we made them last fall.  But I still have a couple in the classroom (long story but the kiddos wanted me to hang them up in the room)

I use them for peas and carrots.  Do you do peas and carrots when composing and decomposing numbers?  I've been doing peas and carrots with each number as I introduce it.  I even made a bunch of recording sheets to go along with my lessons.   You'll be able to find them in my brand new store soon.

I used cheap white paper plates for Zero the Hero masks.  My kiddos made these masks today for the 90th day.  I saw the picture of the ones Crystal from Kreative in Kinder made and I just knew we needed to make them too.  You can see her picture here.  They were our special 90th day project.  When we counted, the students raised them high for every 10th number.  I wish I had a video camera. Just made me smile every time those empty eyes were raised toward the sky.

Do you use cheap white paper plates as much as I do?  What do you do with them....either size?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thinking about Martin Luther King

Isn't it wonderful that our students look at us so funny when we talk about racial inequality.  They cannot understand why someone would have to drink from a separate drinking fountain or not be allowed in a restaurant.

But they do need help remembering that being different on the outside is a good thing.  That is what makes us unique and special.  One activity I use is Find Your Potato.

I have ready access to potatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors too.  Give each student a potato, Make a big deal of naming their potato, examining it closely, generally getting to know their spuds.  After a few minutes (or stretch into half a day and let their potato sit on their desks), place all the potatoes into one big pile.  Then make the students find "their"potato.  Good discussions can occur about how they know which one was theirs, cut several open and talk about being the same on the inside even if we are different on the outside.  You can also talk about how important we are to our families and those who love us.

Next if you have access to the multicultural construction paper, have each student trace their hand.  You could them have them cut it out, and create a banner like the one I pinned from the Activity Village.  I typed up some quotes that I thought would be a little easier for my Kinders to understand.  You can grab them here.

Finally I also plan on having my students work on empathy. I made this little interactive book to help my kiddos be kind to others.  I wanted them to reach out and help each other.  You can click on the pictures or here to grab it.

When you make this little book you fold each page in half with the fold on the right and the open ends on the left.  Staple the open ends together and add a strip of paper for good looks.  I have even made a cover using blank page and cradled the book inside the fold of the cover.  When you do it this way....You are sad is on the left and I can ______. is on the right.  It can look strange when you see it printed out, but when you make the book it all makes sense.

Because I think that my students can never have enough books to take home I am also planning on making this little book from Simply Kinder.  You can grab it here...it's free!  And isn't it cute!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Project Groundhog

This is just a quick note....an email came to my inbox yesterday.  It said that Project Groundhog registration opens tomorrow!

Have you ever participated in Project Groundhog before?  You should go check it out here!  It is simple, it is fun, and it includes things you might already be doing.

You create a class groundhog, name him, and then check out his prediction on February 2nd.  You share that information online with your team.  Everything is easy to do.  Then you keep track of the weather for six weeks to help you decide if your groundhog was correct.  Each week you post your weather and connect with the other schools on your team.  Easy Peasy.

I always look forward to this....lots of opportunities for graphing (we always ask the whole school if the groundhog is going to be right and post that graph on the wall outside our classroom), science lessons on shadows (we track our shadow all day long one day during the six weeks), lessons on groundhogs.  I teach my kinders how to read a thermometer.  We collect data.  We write emails to our team.  Of course there is always a little craftivity that goes on.  I think we may do this from Just Wild About Teaching.  She has a whole unit of things to do.

I may also do this simple paper plate shadow and pop-up puppet.  I saw it here....but A Mommy's Adventures didn't mention exactly where she got it, except to say her daughter's pre-school teacher did it.
Michelle at Teach 123 has a nice list of books you could read and she has created a great resource too.  Check her out here.

Random facts...Did you know that February 2 is exactly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox?  That's how (or why) Candlemas Day started.  Farmers needed to check their hay supplies to see if they would have enough to last the rest of the winter (hopefully spring would come early?).  People would go have their candles blessed to last them until spring as well. Lots of other good random things like if you found the little baby in your Kings Cake on Epiphany you are supposed to bring it to a Candlemas gathering. But I keep thinking it only gets better from here....no matter what, the days are getting longer, we are half done, and spring is on its way.

Have some fun with the groundhog and join me (we may even get on the same team)!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I {heart} math!

Yikes!!  I have been running around trying to get my classroom ready....getting back in a routine...trying to keep my New Years resolutions...reading lots of blogs...making stuff in powerpoint, that I didn't realize how long it had been since I last posted.

I have been having so much fun with missing addends.  Between the jingle bells at Christmas and snowballs this week,  look what I found for February!

I've had these jewels for counting for awhile....but when I was at Target (yay...it's a 3 hour trip to the nearest one) I found the hearts.  Then I went and altered my recording sheet for February.  You can grab a copy of it here.  I just love the DJ Inkers graphics. I've added several options for recording.  Some of my kiddos are ready to add signs and make number sentences, but some still need help following along across the page.  For those needing some extra scaffolding I added a table.  Don't forget the game is great thinking even without the  recording sheet.  I've included a math talk page to help organize their thinking.



I'm still working a year's worth of recording sheets.  This game never seems to get old.  Just change up what you are hiding and/or the number of objects you give for the students to work with and this center could go all year.  Can anyone say shamrocks?  But before I do that I want to link up with Manic Mondays over at Classroom Freebies.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


It is still vacation and there is still time to party!!  This is my favorite party.  I am linking up with the always wonderful Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her fabulous Currently.

It is still Christmas at my house.  I think I like the Finnish tradition of waiting until the 13th to take down your tree.  It has an official name that I can never remember.

I love sitting in the quiet of the evening with just tree lights.  On Christmas Eve we light a bayberry candle (an old New England tradition), light all my various oil lamps, sing carols and read the Christmas story from the bible. 

I have been reflecting these past few days and setting some goals too.  My faith is strong and that helps me get through tough times.  I'm not sure I deserve it...but isn't that what is wonderful about having  faith?  I am truly blessed.  Mostly with a wonderful family and fantastic friends. I have met some new friends this year and reconnected with some old ones.  My family is for the most part healthy and doing well.  They all live sort-of close and we get together often.  So far we have been able to get all of us together a couple of times each year (that may get tougher as the grandkids get older).  I've shared this picture before...but it is my current favorite.

I love creating things...I get it planned out in my head, sometimes on scratch paper, and then go to powerpoint to start making the magic happen.  There are beautiful graphics out there...but often not exactly what I am looking for.  Can I just say that it was easier when I used to steal pictures for my own classroom things by printing them and cutting and gluing them to my worksheets.  I was very good at trimming pictures and taping so the outlines didn't show.  Rest assured my ethics are stronger and I promise I don't steal pictures any more.  But my digital skills need work.

I have a serious clutter problem.  I confess to liking being the teacher everyone comes to, to find a book (sometimes before they check the library) or supplies, but I don't like how cluttered my room always looks.  I need to pair down, stop keeping all the 2nd and 3rd grade stuff (I really want to stay in Kindergarten), make my stuff fit my room (or okay...find a room at home to help me out).  In one word:


That is going to be motto.  When I am cleaning....going through my things...I want to remember less is more.  Having less stuff will give me more time to spend with my family.  Having less in my classroom will help me find the things I really want do with and for my kiddos (so often I run across something I either forgot I had or just couldn't find when I really needed it).

So here's to a SIMPLY Wonderful New Year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Snowball Fight!

My school outlaws snowballs....but I think the administration won't mind this kind.

My students love playing this game...we played with jingle bells in December.  Now I just need some big white pom-poms.  I have little ones, I have white unifix cubes, I could use ping-pong balls or styrofoam balls.  And look, my cotton balls are pretty big too.

First we count how many snowballs we have.  Then everyone will close their eyes and I will hide some in a cup...or maybe a hat, or even a mitten.  Once everyone opens their eyes we will try to figure out how many are missing.  We will practice our math talk.  That math talk is important to the common core, and important for these little ones to understand their thinking and learning processes and to find the words to express that.

We play this whole group a few times before I turn them loose.  Then I will help them record their game on these little handouts.  The first one is a recording sheet for their games, the second page is to help with the math talk.

I am going to link up with Freebies on the First, so be sure to follow me and leave a comment if you find this useful.  Just click on the picture to download or here 
for your copy of the recording pages.