Monday Made It- Owl Pillows

On Pinterest, I saw some cutesy owl pillows. I almost bought some on Etsy, but thought to myself that I could try to make some. Something so simple has been a process for me... I am definitely not an expert, but a novice sewer. Good thing I have my seamstress friend Amy. :0) She has helped me with some tips that I would not have done. Later on this week, she will sew them up, and I will stuff them and hand stitch them. I think they will make a nice addition to my classroom library.

I am working on pillow #2. I have four that I plan to make. I think I will leave off the black and white bellies and maybe add some little feet instead.
I will also be decorating some sugar cookies for Meet the Teacher. If you are wondering what shape they will be... owls of course!
I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It Linky! I'm looking forward to what everyone else is making.


Cooperative Learning #8 & Match It Flash Freebie!

I am so excited to be sharing another Kagan cooperative learning structure with you today! This one is called Match Mine. It reminds me of the game "Telephone" that I played as a kid. Below is a picture of some of my kinderkids engaged in Barnyard Friends. I prepared this game from Kagan's book, Match Mine: Language Builder. To play, I prepared the boards and pieces by color coding and laminating them. I only needed 10 sets, since 2 children played the game at a time. Partner A places his pieces on the board in any order. Partner B waits without peeking! Next Partner A uses verbal cues to tell Partner B to put the pieces on his board. Partner A uses directional words such as top, bottom, above, below, next to, left, right, in the middle, etc. Partner B listens and puts the pieces on his mat. When they are done, they check their board to see if they are alike. If so, they cheer. Then they switch roles and play again. In the picture below, my students used farm animal pictures to place in the 9 boxes.

The Barnyard set is at school. However, I am prepping some more games from that particular Kagan book. I plan to put these at literacy or math centers after my students have had practice playing the game with my guidance. Click HERE to see where to buy the book. Here is a picture that I took to show you some of the pages inside. It's a great resource! This structure is great for language building. It hits these Kindergarten Common Core standards:
  1. SL.K.3: Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something  that is not understood.
  2. K.G.1: Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
  3. Florida SS Skill- SS.K.G.1.1: Describe the relative location of people, places, and things by using positional words.
I could see adapting this for older grades with vocabulary. One partner has the words, while the other has the definition. I think math could easily be adapted to this structure as well!

I do not use this strategy at the beginning of the kindergarten school year. I feel that most of my students aren't quite ready for it. Kagan's version is a bit more advanced. There are great examples that can be used after the first months, but during the first months I prefer something simpler. So I created my own version to use during the first months of kindergarten. It focuses on letter and number recognition, and also includes color, shape, and names of classmates. I am offering it as a FLASH FREEBIE at my TPT store for the first ten individuals who would like it! Offer expired.

Click the picture to go to my TPT store to check it out.
Next week is my last week of summer, and so it will also be my last week of my Thursday's Cooperative Learning Linky. Feel free to link up any cooperative learning strategy you would like to share. If you don't have a blog, you can comment or ask questions in the comment section. I would love to read your thoughts about cooperative learning structures!



Monday Made It

I am slowly working on some projects for my classroom. My first project is READ blocks for my classroom library area. This was fairly easy, as I just traced the letters on some pretty scrapbook paper and decoupaged it on. I think I want to paint the back of the wood black and add some embellishment to the letters.
My second project is a new name tag for my classroom. We usually have a rectangular sign out on the window. Last year, I wanted to paint an owl sign, but I didn't get to it. This year, I decided to make a wreath. I used a cardboard wreath wrapped in black yarn and decorated it with some stuff I had.

I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It. Now I am off to see what everyone is creating!
Click here to check out other Monday Made Its.


Chicken in a Cup

I am linking up today for Collaboration Cuties Science Mentor text. One of my kindergarten science skills is to have my students observe how things move (vibrate) to make sound. Sounds All Around is a great text to introduce how sounds are made. While reading the text, we gently touch our necks to feel our voice box as we talk. Afterwards I have my students pluck rubber bands to see the vibrations as a sound is made. I also have 8 mini plastic water bottles- 2 filled with rice, 2 filled with beans, 2 filled with salt, and 2 filled with oatmeal. These bottles were not filled all the way- just 1/4 of the way. I covered them with socks. My students then had to try and match the ones that sounded the same and guessed what could be inside them. This one doesn't show the vibrations, but they love trying to match the sounds and guess what could be inside each one.
Source: Amazon

Click here to join in Collaboration Cuties Science Mentor text or read others who have linked up.
I recently looked up for some sound activities on Pinterest. I came across one called a Chicken in the Cup. I have not done this, but now I so want to do this with my littles! I highly recommend you watch this Chicken in the Cup video. All you need for each child is a plastic cup, paper clip, string, and a wet paper towel... did you click to see the video? I think elementary students would have fun making noise with this one!
Amanda and Stacia are having a wonderful giveaway at their blog. If you love clipart, you should check it out!


Dog Days of Summer Giveaway & Freebie

I cannot believe I only have 2 more weeks left of summer! I am joining Teaching Blog Round Up in the Dog Days of Summer Giveaway by linking up a freebie. Click the above button to join in the great giveaway.
The first week of kindergarten at my school is all about the gingerbread man. We bake a gingerbread man, chase him around school, and create a wanted poster for him. Some lucky teacher finds him, and returns him to our class. Then we get to eat him. During the week, it cracks me up, because kinders really do smell or see him around the corner. Our office staff plays along, and crumbs are left on the table and floors.
Here is one ready to go in the oven.

Here is a wanted poster for our missing gingerbread man.
One of the first skills we start investigating with our kinders is rhyme. Some years, it seems my kinders come into school already recognizing rhyming words, and other years less so. So I created a gingerbread activity to use with my kinders. You may want to use this on a pocket chart, as a Quiz-Quiz-Trade game, or at a literacy center. It will only be free for the next two weeks. Once I go back, I will put it on sale at my TPT store for a buck. :0) Click on one of the preview pictures below to get it free.



Thursday's Cooperative Learning #7

I am off to do a little bit of hiking today... hopefully it won't be unbearably hot or raining. I am also done with my 3rd Reading Endorsement class. Last night was my last one for the summer! Only 2 more courses to go for the fall and spring.
So with that said, this will be a quick post. I want to go over a strategy I use with my kinders that Kagan calls "Sage N Scribe". I pair students up to work together. Partner A has a pencil to write and Partner B tells Partner A how to solve the problem. Partner A writes what Partner B tells him. If he does not agree, he may coach. Then they switch roles. I've used this with our alphasmart projects or making words activities. On the alphasmart Partner A will write Partner B's response. Then they switch roles. Since I only have 10 alphasmarts, this gives my whole class an opportunity to use technology in the given time frame. With Making Words, Partner A has the letters and Partner B has the paper. Partner A explains how to make the word, and then Partner B writes it down. Then they switch roles. Sometimes, my students partner up and use this strategy when working with math problems.
I have my partners write in different colors. This is a management technique with cooperative learning strategies. Each child writes his name in a different color than his partner. That way when I am checking their work, I know who wrote the work.


Fish Philosophy & FREEBIE

Have you heard of the Fish Philosophy? A couple years ago, through one of my previous principals, I was introduced to this concept. It comes from Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market. I have been there years ago, and remembered the fun the fish mongers had there. It brought smiles to us visiting to see them smiling big and having fun. The Fish Philosophy was reintroduced through a conversation with someone recently. So I thought I would see if I could find the video I saw 3 years ago. Here is a preview for it... I didn't realize the program actually cost so much money!

The Fish Philosophy is basically composed of 4 concepts.
1. Play
2. Make Their Day
3. Be There
4. Choose Your Attitude
This philosophy is something that can be used in a workplace, in a classroom, and in our everyday world. The first one, play, is all about having fun. It is important for us to laugh and smile. That's part of building the positive social-emotional classroom environment. Making their day is how we make others feel. Do we make others around us feel good? Do they want to come back? Being there is being in the moment. Am I really hearing what someone is telling me? Am I connecting? Choosing your attitude is something I have to do daily. Is it a positive perspective? It is easy sometimes for some to get a negative nagging attitude. Am I feeding into that or am I keeping it real?
In my classroom, I think the easiest is to be there. My kinders are living in the moment, and I happen to do that so easily with them. However, outside my classroom, when I am at a meeting or conversing with grown ups, I find this to be more difficult. There are many distractors in our world- cell phones, other people, my thoughts, etc. I think the most challenging concept is make their day for my kinders. At 5 years old, they can be egocentric individuals. I saw some other bloggers were planning to do Acts of Kindness jars in their classrooms. I think this may be a fun way to incorporate making their day concept to my kinders.
Here are some fish books that I think I may also use to introduce these concepts.
1. Play- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish or play Go Fish
2. Make Their Day- The Rainbow Fish
3. Be There- Big Al or Swimmy
4. Choose Your Attitude- The Pout-Pout Fish or Fish is Fish
I've created some fish posters with these concepts on them. I plan to introduce and use them as bubble maps to discuss with my new class at how we can use these concepts into our classroom.
Click here to get the fish posters for FREE at my TPT store.

Have you used the Fish Philosophy in your classroom? Does it make you ponder how you effect others? Please share your thoughts as I have not used this particular concept in my classroom. I'm still using the Filling Buckets system, but thought this might be a way to dig a little deeper with my kinders.


Monday Made It- Pennant Banner

I am loving how everyone seems to be making all these beautiful colorful pennants. I was wishing somebody would make some in colors that I needed to match my owl classroom. Then this weekend, I had a realization. I could do it myself! It is really quite easy if you already use powerpoint. So here goes my first tutorial...
You need to be in powerpoint. I made sure my page setup was portrait 8.5 X 11 inches. Then I chose a triangle from the drawing tool box. If you don't have that on your screen, go to the Insert tab and click on shapes. You'll see a variety of shapes. After getting my triangle on the page, I went to shape fill... see where the red arrow is pointing in the picture below... this where all the variations can take place...

When you click Shape Fill, a variety of choices pops up. You can pick different colors. I wanted to use some pretty patterned background pictures I had. So I picked picture and selected the file I wanted. Next, I went back to the Shape tools, and under the Shape Fill is the Shape Outline. I selected the color that I wanted. You can also choose Shape Effects to add shadows or a glow. I didn't do that to mine. Once you have the triangle done, you can overlay on top other shapes or clipart frames. I had fun playing around with a variety of options. I've created some new things for my classroom with the colors and owls of my choice! I haven't printed it out yet, but I am thinking of how it will all tie together in my new classroom! Below is a preview of what I am working on. Click on the picture to get the Welcome pennant for free.
Two of my bloggy friends are having giveaways. Wendy from Read With Me ABC is having a 100 Follower Giveaway and Amanda from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten is having a 400 Follower Giveaway. Congratulations to both ladies on their wonderful blogs! Click below to check them out.

 I am linking up with Tara for her Monday Made It.


Elevator Magic Math Mentor Text

I am not sure if this particular book has been introduced through the Math Mentor text linky yet. I know that Stuart J. Murphy has written many books that teachers love to incorporate into their math lessons. This one is called Elevator Magic. It is about a little boy who uses real world math to figure out which button he needs to push to go down to a certain floor. He has a vivid imagination. He sees farm animals at the bank, cars and trucks at the delivery place, and a rock band at the candy store.
I use this book to show vertical subtraction and addition problems to my students. I saw that Sharing Kindergarten wrote about using number lines today! I saw a great idea there to make a number line using a pipe cleaner, bead, and vertical  number line. I created one quickly to use. I plan to print on cardstock, punch holes, and use string and a bead instead. Following are some numbers to use to make a small floor number line and a math writing page for a classbook. Just click on the below picture to get it free from Google Docs.

I found that I have 2 copies of this book. I have been downsizing my books... to make room for new titles of course! If you would like a chance to win a gently used copy of Elevator Magic, please leave a comment and an email address. I'll pick a winner tomorrow. Otherwise, you could get it at a bookstore or online somewhere.
Source: Amazon
Join Stacia and Amanda for their weekly mentor text on Sundays. It's math today! Click below to visit them, and to read other mentor texts.


Thursday's Cooperative Learning #6

Just a quick post, as I have a couple more assignments to finish for my Reading Endorsement class. At the beginning of the year, with my older students (1st & 2nd) or with my kindergarteners' big buddies, I use Kagan's Find Someone Who... as an icebreaker. This is a fun way to get to know more about our friends in our class. Each child gets one ditto, and finds a friend who can answer one of the questions in a box. Then that friend signs the box. This structure fills the need for movement and social interaction with peers. Below is a slide from my set of Kagan posters that I created with various clipart, the main picture being from Kagan's Powerpoint Pals. These are posters to help guide the process of the cooperative learning structure. Kagan has their own on their site. Click below to go to Kagan Online.
If you put in a search for Find Someone Who on TPT, there are certainly many resources. Here are a few of my favorite freebie finds on TPT.
Other educators have taken this and applied it into the academic area.  Amanda Pauley from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten and Sheree Peterson from Peterson's Pad have offered freebies using this structure while tying in the Common Core standards.
On a different note, I feel honored to be awarded the Liebster Award. I feel I am not a new blogger... been around the past year... I'm just slow like a turtle. :0) The turtle did finish the race though. (The turtle is my running mascot- random fact.) Thanks to Amber from School is a Happy Place, Stephanie from Polka Dot Palace, and Sara from The Primary Buzz for this recognition. I am happy to be part of the blogging community, and having an opportunity to share and learn with others.
To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them
There are a plethora of blogs that I would love to nominate... but I am limited with the guidelines and my time spent here today. Here are a few that I would like to nominate...
Mrs Ehles Kindergarten Connections
Now to the 11 questions (I'm cheating here... as I am picking the 11 I want to answer.)
1. Why did you start blogging? Last year, I began discovering TPT and teacher blogs. I didn't think I had the time to devote to a blog... and I am a private kind of individual. However, I wanted to share and learn from others, so I went for it.
2. What is your favorite outdoor activity? I love the outdoors!! Downhill skiing is my all time favorite... not something I can do where I currently live.
3.Where do you like to vacation? I love to travel. I wish I could go to Greece or to Peru. I haven't been to those places yet. I want to see the ruins and beauty of Greece, and in Peru, I want to hike up to Machu Picchu.
4. What is one goal you have made for yourself this year? I want to spread kindness. I want to help my students find ways to spread kindness through Random Acts of Kindness. I think this goes well with the filling buckets classroom management system I use in my classroom. I also hope to do this outside of school.
5.6. Are you married? Do you have any children? I am married and we do not have any children. Instead we have two little dogs.
7. What is your favorite childhood memory? Riding my tricycle, munching on a pickle, and laughing with my friend. Don't remember his name... we were like 4 years old at the time.
8. Are you a coke or pepsi person? If you don't drink soda, then what is your drink? I love coffee! I associate warm fuzzy feelings with it, as I get together with friends to drink some coffee. I didn't drink coffee for over a year, but back to it again. My other drink is water... I typically have a water bottle with me.
9. What is one teaching tool you can not live without? Lots of books! I can teach anything as long as I have a great book to use. Books open a world of possibilities.
10. Favorite quote? When I had a classroom website, I posted this because I truly believe it goes with my philosophy of teaching: "Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” ― Henry van Dyke
11. Best moment/experience while teaching? Everyday in the primary grades brings wonderful experiences. I can think of quite a few stories. However, I will always remember my very first class. A few of their faces pop up immediately, and I think of a time. I remember the shy Vietnamese girl, I tried connecting with through our culture. She drew and wrote about pho, a type of Vietnamese soup. I was very excited trying to explain to the other children what it was. She smiled at me so proud. I even spoke Vietnamese to her. One day she looked up at me, and asked why I spoke Vietnamese funny. That cracked me up... I have an accent. My relatives like to laugh at me, and they say it's cute...
Which brings me to some random things about me...
1. I used to speak enough Arabic and French to get by. I didn't have an accent in Swiss... many thought I was a native.
2. I love shopping at Anthropologie. Here is one of my favorite dresses I wore to my friend's wedding last year.
That is the Mr. Brinn with me.
3. I have inspired my husband to come into the classroom to help me out. He is great help, and the kids love him.
Thanks again to Amber, Stephanie, and Sara. I feel fortunate to be able to have met and learn with educators all over the place! I hope to have an opportunity to meet up one day. :0) 
Whew!! This was not a quick post with the awards!! :0)
OOPS- For my questions, please pick any that were asked by my nominees... thanks!


Using Yoga to Teach the Alphabet (Flash Freebie)

This past year I incorporated yoga poses into my classroom to teach the alphabet to my kinderkids. I was inspired to do this by my good friend and fellow kindergarten teacher Amy. She is not a blogger, but more of a blog stalker. :0)
I am definitely not a yoga trainer, so I use resources to help me incorporate yoga poses into my classroom. I think this book would be a great addition to the Language Arts mentor text Stacia & Amanda from Collaboration Cuties are having today. I am curious to know what the intermediate teachers think about using yoga in their classrooms.
Click above to see other mentor texts.

I bought this book last year through Scholastic Book Orders. It came along with a DVD too. This book shows each letter of the alphabet and gives 2 or more examples of poses that start with the letter. It is fun and engaging for the children. (It is also fun for me, and keeps me limber!) They get a brain break while learning about the letters with total physical response... great for kinesthetic learners! The ABCs of Yoga for Kids also has their own web site with resources. I printed out the T coloring sheet to pass along to our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom penpals since we had the letter Tt.
Another book, You are a Lion!, is another resource for yoga poses. I don't have this book but I did find it on We Give Books. This is a great site that has different books online. It is free to join. Last year, we had fun using this great book. It seems this book is no longer on We Give Books. I will have to add it to my wish list!
I haven't used my ABCs of Yoga for Kids DVD yet. Instead, I found fun yoga videos for kids by Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube. It is seriously a great program, especially when we have extra P.E. It is so cute to see my kinderkids having a great time doing the exercises. I'm not sure how the older kids would like this, but my kindergartners love it! I have used the first 5 with my kinderkids. They have uploaded 3 new ones since I last checked!! Here is the first one:

Typically, I teach a letter a day. During that day, I teach a yoga move to go with the letter. Amy has had her students make words using yoga poses; I hope to give that a try in the upcoming school year. I recently created a set of ABC cards for yoga poses. This set goes along with the book, The ABCs of Yoga for Kids. The book does a great job having a poetic way of describing the poses with great illustrations of children doing the poses. I plan to use my ABC cards after I have introduced all the letters. It will be a way for us to review our letters and incorporate a brain break too! This will be free for today only... just click on the picture to get it at my TPT store.



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