I think little furry squirrels are just the cutest! I am using squirrel books to help my students learn more about the season of fall. One of my favorite squirrel songs is on an old tape. I haven't been able to find it the past few years when searching for a digital version. I was absolutely thrilled to find one online for FREE! I found it on NAEYC's song and activities list. Scroll down to The Furry Squirrel Song. I use it for a fun morning meeting song as we do silly actions with it.
My students observed squirrels on youtube videos. This one is great.

They kept track of their observations in their squirrel journals.

Squirrels play. Squirrels climb trees.
 They also added notes from what they learned from books read in class.

Some people eat squirrels. Squirrels can be red.

Here are the covers to their journals.

In math, we worked in groups of threes or twos to make ten with an assortment of brown cubes. Typically I use real nuts to sort, count, and use as manipulatives, but I have one peanut/tree nut allergy. No nuts this year!

Previous years, I have made number lines and my students show the amounts using peanuts.

Before the Thanksgiving holidays, after reading The Squirrels' Thanksgiving, my students wrote text-to-self connections.

I have just completed my Furry Furry Squirrels unit. It is on sale now. You can check it out by visiting my TPT store: just click the first picture below.

Click above picture to get a Fantasy/Real Quiz-Quiz-Trade activity for FREE.
I am excited about getting my shop on for tomorrow's TPT sale!

Thank you Krista Wallden for sharing this sale button!

I am adding a couple of the Teachers Helping Tornado Victims into my shopping cart. Looks like lots of great units for a great cause. What will you be adding to your TPT shopping cart?



Turkey Trouble Freebie

Just a quick post to share a little freebie with you for Thanksgiving. One of my favorite stories for Thanksgiving is Turkey Trouble. It is a sweet story about a turkey disguising himself as different animals. It has a fun ending for young children to enjoy.


I will be using this book to help practice retelling the story and working on numerals 11-20 with my students before the Thanksgiving holidays. I also like to use this book as a prelude to making our own classbook about how the turkey disguises himself. I will update on TPT once I get the photos taken.
Click on any of the pictures below to get it free on TPT. Enjoy!






Five for Friday (Saturday)

I meant to post sooner... but other things kept me busy! We said goodbye to my intern and a classmate. Then we got a new student. We celebrated the 50th day of school. My kindergarten team and I threw a baby shower for our teammate. I had Reading Endorsement classes. We started a running club for the kids in the mornings. My husband and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary. We had our annual costume parade and festivities. Now November is here!
1.) One Wednesday afternoon past, I was grouped with other teachers from other teams to work on a scarecrow. Each group of teachers worked on a scarecrow. The kids are suppose to vote for their favorite. Do you know which one I helped to create? Make a guess in the comment section below and the first person to make the correct guess can have one item free from my TPT store.

2.) My kindergarten team and I threw a baby shower for our teammate Jen. She is due late November, but we predict she is due earlier. She is having a little girl, and is not fond of pink. I looked for pastel colors of M&Ms and did not have luck. I ended up getting yellow candy melts to put over the white popcorn. It tasted like kettle corn. I added sprinkles too, but it cannot be seen in this particular photo.
 3.) We used a floor ten frame- made of green construction paper squares and hooting owls to figure out ways to make ten. I got this idea from April over at Chalk Talk. She gives a great description on how to make the owls and do math with the book, 10 Hooting Owls.
4.) We had our annual costume parade and festivities. So much fun! Here's one group all ready for the parade.
5.) Halloween night, we dressed up our dogs and met up with our friends to go trick-or-treating with their kids. Their little girl got a kick out of the dogs being dressed up. Last year, we bought these costumes on sale. Poor little guys.  

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for her Five for Friday. Click below to check it out! :0)




Ghostmallows Graph, Count, & Add

Yesterday was a teacher workday filled with a variety of activities: conferencing, waffle making, putting skills into the gradebook for the team, lesson planning, creating buddy activities with my 3rd grade buddy, remembering a previous co-worker with a plaque/tree presentation, helping with paperwork for the new running club, and organizing my clutter. It was a great day! So tonight I finished grading some paperwork and created a Ghostmallows sheet that my kinders will do with their big buddies. We'll have an intern read the story, We're Going on a Ghost Hunt, and have our students sort and graph their ghostmallows. Afterwards they will add different combinations of their ghostmallows. Click below to get it if you want it!


Stretchy Snake

What do you do during CAFE's mini lessons? The last two weeks, I focused on Stretchy Snake with my kinderkids. There are so many cute freebies on TPT about Reading Strategy buddies. However, I am using what I had found originally before I discovered TPT. I still use Christina Bainbridge's mini posters (free) and now I have included Deanna Jump's Guided Reading activities ($) to help with introducing and practicing reading strategies using little stuffed animals. I only introduce one at a time. So far, we have Eagle Eyes, Lips the Fish, Stretch Snake, and Chunky Monkey. I post my CAFE menu on my cabinets.
I created my own strategy cards. April Larremore has a great freebie that inspired me to make my own

I found the colorful CAFE headers on TPT for free from Rachelle Rosenblit.
Two weeks ago, with our Reading Street series big book, Flowers, I took out some bean cards made from Growing Kinder's Math & Literacy for Little Sprouts. I dispersed the 12 green bean cards around the room and had my students work in pairs. They folded their papers into quarters to make 4 boxes. They worked together to use "Stretchy Snake" to sound out CVC words. Then they numbered the box to match the bean's number, wrote the word, and drew a picture. They looked like they were having a good time, and they did such a great job working together!

While they were working, some of my kinders finished quickly, so I had them do 4 more on the back. I thought to myself about doing this activity again, but differentiating it for my students. So this past week I created another version using fall leaves. Some of my kinders needed more challenging words, so I moved to using some blends and sh- words. Many need practice with CVC words, so I had those out as well. We colored a yellow or red dot on top of our papers to help us remember which words we were going to try and read during this mini-lesson.

 I made a fall packet of words that can be used for kindergarten or first graders. There are short vowels, long vowels, and blends. I also included black and white patterns so you can print on colored cardstock and write your own words on them. You can find this 70 page packet at my TPT store for $2. Click below to see more about the packet there.


Currently October and a Reading to Self Freebie


Hubby and I went out this morning to the farmer's market and picked out some yummies for our dinner. I have completed my Reading Endorsement assignments for the week, and getting involved with a little blogging. In the background, it's just the humming of the dryer, reminding me I have more laundry to do!
I am so proud of my little kinders when they are reading to self. They use their book boxes (IKEA cardboard magazine holders) to store their reading materials. Inside, I have them keep their Reading Street Buddy Reader, a couple of Reading Street easy readers, a couple leveled readers, and their own books made. They also have a ziplock bag that holds their reading tools: "Keep Your Eye on the Words" pointers and bookmarks for sharing with partners. This was the first year that I incorporated Kim Adsit's Blasting Off with Reader's Workshop. I am loving the anchor charts and ideas for mini lessons! She even has mini anchor charts that I have used for my students to glue into their reading journals for reference.
This week will be a sad, yet happy week. It will be my intern's last week with us. We are going on a field trip to the zoo on her last day! Should be fun!
I am in need of a teacher work day to catch up on paperwork! Luckily we will have one on an upcoming Monday. I was going to rearrange my classroom furniture then, but yesterday morning, I was inspired. So glad I did. Because of the smaller space, I tried 3 tables of 6 kids. My kinderkids are flexible and great at moving themselves around for different projects requiring space. So I squeezed another table in, and I am loving how much table space they have for themselves. I just don't have a table to catch my clutter!
I'm leaving you with a little treat. My reading bookmarks needed some revamping, as my previous ones in the above photo were made over 14 years ago!! I pass them out to my students when I want them to share about something particular about their reading. For example, we have used character and setting bookmarks. While reading a book, they find a picture of the character or setting in the book. When it's time to share, they can turn right to the page and share the character or setting. It's a great way for me to also observe who knows characters and settings.
Click picture to get FREEBIE.


Five For Friday

Five for Friday... and it's on time! My class and I just finished 6 weeks together! I am starting to feel back on track, and human again. :0) Kindergarteners have lots of energy!
1. Even though this happened last week on Thursday, I wanted to share. One of my kindergarten parents came into the classroom with a surprise package for me. I wish I took a picture of the beautiful bow she made. I thought about it after the fact. So I just wrapped the brown ribbon around the box... not the same. Oh well! Now I have my very own Erin Condren notepad for my table. :0)
2. All 5 components of Daily 5 have been introduced and practiced with my kindergarteners. This year, I am using some ideas from Kim Adsit's Powerful Partnerships for Reading With a Partner. They just look so cute when they are reading to themselves back to back. They are doing a great job sharing with their partners. 
3. At the beginning of the week, we worked on sorting objects and pictures. I used Kagan's Rally Coach structure for this picture sort by categories.
4. I used some alphabet cards from my Alphabet Vacation unit to do a Kagan Quiz-Quiz-Trade to practice identifying initial sounds and letters.
5. Today, we had our Alphabet Vacation. The kinders dressed up and we had a great time pretending to go to the airport, traveling, and landing onto Letter Island. Then they shared their suitcases and bags filled with items starting with their assigned letter. They also had passports which they used to keep track of the letters they learned about from their friends.
My brain seems a little scattered. This week has been exceptionally busy for me, as I spent Wednesday afternoon helping to bag books in my school's new leveled book room. Then on Thursday evening, I spent some time in my 4th Reading Endorsement class. It's a differentiated instruction class. I am excited about learning more about that!

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