Saturday, December 24, 2016

Kindergarten Holiday Party!

We work right up to December 23rd this year so these past couple of weeks have been so hectic! Planning, prepping, holiday parties, Christmas shopping, parties, etc. AH!!  My go to party planning stop is always Oriental Trading! Makes planning super easy and they ship quickly! 
I ordered all of my ceiling decor from Oriental Trading.  I ordered lanterns and garland.  I also ordered their roll of table cloths.  I was able to cover 6 tables and probably still have enough to use for a couple of years.  I can even use it again at our Valentine's Day celebration which is nice! Or even Apple Day! (These thoughts are all just coming to me, haha)
At our party we made these delicious Christmas trees! 
To hold all of the tree decor I used these little Christmas trays from Oriental Trading.
We also made these old school ornaments. I know I made one of these when I was little too!
 If you look in the image above, you can see the reindeer necklaces that we made. These were a huge hit! Oriental Trading has all of the beads and string needed to make the cute center!
Look how much they give you on these awesome table cloth rolls! These also fit write into the plastic storage bins for easy storage 'til next year!
I wasn't able to upload my Photo Booth pictures yet, but Oriental Trading has amazing backdrops and Photo Booth props! 
I ordered enough elf hats for everyone to take home too! They LOVED them!
I can't wait for Christmas to get here already!!
Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gingerbread Hunt in Kindergarten [Free Gingerbread Hunt Cards Included]

Last week we spent the week reading TONS of gingerbread books. We read the Gingerbread Man, Gingerbread Boy, Gingerbread Girl, The Gingerbread Baby, Gingerbread Cowboy, the Gingerbread Bear, the Gingerbread name it, I have it!! I probably have and read WAY too many gingerbread books this week.  Is there such thing of too many gingerbread books?
Well, on Friday we had a guest reader (a student's grandmother) in for our 'book and cook'.  We read, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
When she was done reading we talked about what we would do if a gingerbread man got loose in our school.  The kids said, ' no way that could ever actually happen!' I agreed ;)
Then, each table was given a gingerbread cookie kit.  They had to work together to create a gingerbread man, girl, baby, boy, pirate, anything their little hearts desired!
I found the kits at our local Publix; however, you can also find them HERE.
When they were done, we had 4 delicious looking cookies! But, it was our playground time so we went out to the park and I promised the students we would be able to eat our cookies as soon as we got back!
On our way to the park we realized we forgot to tell our gingerbread cookies to stay put! So we turned around to tell them, just in case they were going to run!  
(I had our guest reader hide them for me in the classroom next door).
But, when we got back to our room to tell them, they were already gone! We found a clue on our front board and followed the clues around the school.  The kids LOVED it!
You can download these gingerbread hunt cards for free by clicking on the image below.
While we were on our 'hunt' the grandmother put our cookies back into our room.  The last clue led us back to our classroom and there they were!  We ate them as fast as would could so they wouldn't run away again!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Asking for an Elf on the Shelf

Have you been debating on whether or not to have an Elf in your classroom?  Well, I absolutely LOVE having an Elf in the class during this time of the year.  It adds so much excitement to our school day! The kids can't wait to get to school in the morning to see what the Elf has done or where the Elf is next.  They talk about our Elf throughout the day and all night at home too!

We watch the Elf movie as a class (with parent permission) then we talk about whether or not we want an Elf for our classroom.  Of course the kids all say, 'YES!'.

For our writing lesson that day, we all write a letter to Santa asking for an Elf.  Now I do have a mix of students in my class- some celebrate Hanukkah and some Christmas.  I get parent permission beforehand and I explain to parents that we will cover ALL holidays throughout the month and we will respect others traditions and beliefs.
After everyone has written a letter, we add them into envelopes so I can mail them off! 
Then I wait a couple of days before introducing our Elf to the class!

I want to incorporate the Elf more into writing this year so I made these Elf writing pages/journal. 
Click below to download yours for FREE.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Writing Collaboration on the Mayflower [Freebie Included]

I LOVE collaboration projects in the classroom.  I start them very early on in the year and by now, they are awesome at working together, sharing, talking, making sure everyone in their group 'agrees', presenting, and so much more!
During the month of November we spend a lot of time on the Mayflower and learning about Pilgrims and Native Americans.  One of my favorite books to read (I read it throughout the week because it is lengthy) is ...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
Throughout the week we add all of our 'learned' Mayflower facts onto our KWL.  On Friday during our writing block we do a collaboration writing project.  
Each table group has to work together to think of at least 3 Mayflower facts and record their facts, working together to sound out their words.  
They can use our vocabulary word cards from the unit to help them spell as well (vocab cards provided HERE).
Since there can be up to 5 students in the group, we always want to make sure that everyone has a 'job'. The kids are great at coming up with jobs for one another and sharing their responsibilities.  One of their favorite jobs is tracing with a sharpie.
As the groups finished their facts, they went to the carpet while they waited for their classmates to finish up.  When all groups were ready, we presented our Mayflower facts.
They read what they wrote and when they were finished we made sure to celebrate their success!
After each group read their facts they were allowed to go over to our Mayflower and tape their facts onto the ship!
This is always one of my favorite bulletin boards! You can also add little pilgrim faces into the Mayflower from my craft HERE. You can also see a picture from my Instagram page HERE.
'There was a poop deck.' is a fact that makes it onto my Mayflower EVERY single school year! Definitely a class favorite!
Now for a little freebie!  We only have school Monday and Tuesday this week so I wanted to have a little fun with the students before we leave for Thanksgiving break.  I thought this dice activity would be perfect for a little 'bonding' activity.
We are going to sit in a circle and take turns passing the dice.  Students will have to roll the dice and answer the questions that they rolled. 
This freebie includes a make your own dice template as well as inserts for the pocket dice seen HERE. Download the freebie by clicking on the image below.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Holidays Around the World (Kindergarten)

Holidays Around the World is probably my students favorite unit of the year! This is a unit that you can really customize.  If you want to teach it yourself and not go too wild decorating the room, you can. Or if you want to involve parent volunteers, decorate the room, and go all out, you can! Either way (and I have done both) the kids LOVE it and learn SO much!
At the beginning of December, the children complete their boarding pass.  I make one boarding pass for all of our journeys and just write in 'around the world' for our destination; however, if your children can handle a little bit more, then you can make a boarding pass for each country that you will travel to.  Before beginning we also get our suit cases ready, bag tags, and passports!
Even our elf has to get in on the action!
When it is a travel day, the children grab their boarding pass, passports, and suitcases and wait in line (in the hallway) to go through security.  I (or you can have a parent volunteer) check their boarding pass, I make sure their passport matches up to who they are (they love when I ask them to state their full name), and then I pretend to scan them with an old remote. Occasionally someone sets off the alarm and needs to be pulled aside and scanned again! 
If you have an old box that you can cut holes in, you can put it on a table and have students send their suitcases through the box and down the table- pretending to run it through the x-ray machine.
Then, they board the plane and take their seats!
Once all of the students are aboard, I close the door and give the official airline announcements- I tell students to place their carry on luggage under the chairs and buckle up for safety! We then watch a real airline safety video from YouTube found HERE.  It is great! We watch the same one everyday and its so funny to hear the kids start to memorize what they have to do, haha.
I then put on a flight simulator (found HERE). It is quick and basically just simulates a plane taking off. 
Once we are 'in the air' I read them the slides that are included in my Holidays Around the World pack.  The slides have tons of kid friendly info and will really explain the country you are traveling to- their holiday, traditions, etc. 
When we land, we are officially in another country! I have centers set up that are all based around the country that you traveled to.  Below, you can see us in Israel!
We made dreidels to eat!
We played a dreidel math addition game.
Spelled our CVC words on the menorahs for our 'Festival of Lights' activity.
And even played color dreidel with real dreidels! They loved this! Whichever color their dreidel landed on, they would 'check off' on their white board. The first player to land on all of the colors, won! But at the end, everyone was a winner and won a bag of gelt to take home in their suitcase!
The next day of school we would follow the same procedure all over again! This time, traveling to a new country! The students even started to read their books as their entertainment while the plane took off!
Reading their science textbooks on the plane ;)
When we landed in Mexico we made pinatas for La Posada!
I let students choose one item from our class treasure box and I had parents donate candy for the inside of our pinatas. 
Then we closed them up and they were ready to take home. Students LOVED sharing this Mexican tradition with their family.
Throughout the week we continued our travel.  Our next stop was China! Here we made Chinese lanterns for the Chinese New Year.
We even made dragon puppets!  When our lanterns and puppets were finished we walked around the classroom and through the office at school on our own Chinese New Year parade!
My Holidays Around the World pack contains everything you will need to take this journey in your own class! You can read a little bit more about what I've done in the past HERE.
This pack travels through Mexico for La Posada, China for the Chinese New Year, Germany for Christmas, Holland for Christmas, and Israel for Chanukah. 
There will be a second Holidays Around the World pack (with 5 new countries) coming soon!