Monday, November 16, 2015

Must Have Teacher Tools Week 10: The Best Dry Erase Markers

This weeks Must Have Teacher Tool is both for teachers and students. It is something we use daily in our classroom and I am in #LOVE with.

I first found these wonderful dry erase ones at the I Teach K conference.  I ordered a set and I was hooked.  Last year our kindergarten team  asked for them and we were lucky enough to get them.  We used them daily with our Calendar Notebooks. Here is why I love these so much.

  • They have built in felt erasers at the end of the caps.
  • They are non-toxic
  • They are oderless
  • The tips cannot be pushed in
  • They are long lasting.
best dry erase markers for kids
I also like their colorful dry erase ones too.
best dry erase markers for kids,, classroom dry erase markers
You can see my class using them here with our Calendar Notebooks
interactive calendar notebooks, calendar time
interactive calendar notebooks, calendar time
interactive calendar notebooks, calendar time
interactive calendar notebooks, calendar time
It's not too late to start Interactive Calendar Notebooks.  I buy my binders at Costco. I'm using the ones I bought 2 years ago.  They held up remarkably considering they are used daily.  I buy my sheet protectors from Costco too. 
Calendar Notebooks, Kleen Slate Dry erase markers
Have a great week!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Must Have Teacher Tools Week 9: Ultimate Teacher Tote

I'm back this week sharing with you my teacher work bag. I have a ton of different work bags.  I used to be a Thirty One gifts consultant and really do love their bags, but they are pricey.  My favorite work bag had seen better days and was beginning to fall apart.  I needed a new bag, but didn't have time to shop around and couldn't afford the ones I had found on Etsy.  I took my chances and bought one from Amazon.
Ultimate Teacher Tote bag, teacher work bag
This weeks post contains affiliates links to Amazon.  I did not receive any type of payment of product to write my review.  This review is based on my experience with this product.

I lucked out; the one I bought on Amazon was perfect.  It is big and roomy and very sturdy.  I am amazed at how much stuff I can fit into it.  It currently is holding my laptop, iPad, lunchbox, lesson plan book, two pairs of reading glasses, and my set of work keys, with room for more things.

It has all the features of an expensive bag at a fraction of the cost. I like that I can zip it closed to keep everything from toppling out. The straps are long and durable.  There is an inside zippered pocket, two smaller pockets on the opposite side and one outside pocket too.
Ultimate Teacher Tote bag, teacher work bag
Ultimate Teacher Tote bag, teacher work bag
Ultimate Teacher Tote bag, teacher work bag
The totes come in large and X-Large. They have so many different fabric options.  Just like my laptop case, I had trouble deciding.  I chose the black quatrefoil print, but I almost went with the red chevron to match my laptop case.  Below are just a few of the styles available.

At this price, you could start your holiday shopping early and snag one for yourself and hide it under the tree. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hands On Sight Word Activities

Kindergartners need lots of fun and hands on activities to make sight words stick.  Just reading the words in emergent readers, writing the words on white boards and pointing to them in a pocket chart isn't enough.  They need hands on sight word activities.

Today I thought I would share two of our latest and favorite sight word activities.  I like to rotate the sight word activities; which means I try not to repeat the same one two weeks in a row.  I will use the same list of words, but perhaps a different word order.  You may have seen this image last week on my Facebook page.
sight word beads, alphabet beads, sight word activities
I placed the sight words we have been working on in the word work center.  Students sifted through the tub of beads, found the matching letters then they had to bead, trace and write.
alphabet beads, sight word work, kindergarten sight words

The beads are from Lakeshore Learning
alphabet beads, Lakeshore Learning
Another center we have been using is the play-doh center.  At the beginning of the year I let them just play with it and have fun.  I showed them how to roll it between the palms of their hands to make it into a long snake to form letters and numbers and how to roll it into balls to make the dots on a ten frame.  I wanted them to get the playing part out of the way so they could focus on word building during word work time.
sight word work, play-doh sight word, play-doh letters
In this center they were working on forming letters or words.  Usually it is just one or the other, but this week I put in a mixture of a few sight words and a few letters that could build some of our sight words

You can find all of these in my TpT store.

I have the most amazing play-doh recipe.  It really will last all year long if you keep it in a container.  I keep mine in a ziplock bag. You can  get the recipe here in my post Play-doh Fun for Everyone 
If you have some favorite sight word activities please leave a comment I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Must Have Teacher Tools Week 8: iPad Charging Station

iPad charging stationThis Weeks Must Have Teacher Tool is an iPad Charging Station..  But before we get to that...Did you survive last week with the full moon and Halloween?  We had a costume parade and all.  I was Cinderella right down to the glass slippers- Ok they weren't glass, but they were clear glittery plastic.  I managed to lose them by recess time and trade them in for silver sandals.  We had several singing Elsa dresses and the always popular variety of superheroes present.  Saturday was the school carnival- the fairytale dress was traded in for some ladybug wings.  Much easier to maneuver about in.  

Last week we finally were able to get our technology rolled out. All the iPads are up and running.  That was quite an undertaking.  All of them had to be updated to the latest IOS and new apps needed to be added.  Storing and charging 9 iPads can be quite a task. I needed something to hold the iPads while they charged so I could quickly plug them in and grab then when they were ready.

This past summer I found just what I needed.  It is this inexpensive little gem from Target- who doesn't love Target- It is in the kitchen organizing department; it is a lid rack.
iPad charging station
iPad charging station
It has 8 slots, so depending on the size of your iPad cases it can hold 8 or more iPads.  I have 3 different styles of cases.  I can get 2 iPads in one section depending on the type of case that I have. The ones in the front slot are Otterboxes- I like these, they are new this year.  I can get two iPads in one slot.  I purposefully left a slot open to show you how wide they are  The next iPads can also fit two together.  I don't like these cases, our district bought these.  They weren't what I ordered.  They're not kid friendly at all. I'm thinking someone got tired of listening to me and bought the Otterboxes this year.  If you look at the second picture below, you'll see a different case all together.  I like these cases too, but I had to buy these myself.  They are from Griffen Technologies they are more bulky and only one fits in each slot.  
iPad charging station
iPad charging station
There are different styles of lid racks, so I suggest that you take an iPad with you when you go shopping to see which style of lid rack works the best. This one was also within my teacher budget, it was only $7.99.

I know that other people use dish drainers.  I found these to be a little to small for the larger iPad cases.  like the red and blue ones I have above on the left.  For me this seemed to be the most inexpensive solution and it held the most iPads.  

For more information on managing iPads you can read about it in and older post I wrote about Setting up your iPads.  If you are thinking wow that is a lot of iPads!  Yes it is.  Our school district has a fabulous Education Foundation who works very hard all yearlong to raise money for teachers.  Each year teaches submit grant proposals for various classroom materials. For the past three years I have asked for iPads.  The most they will fund is two iPads per classroom a year.  I've also received a few through Donors Choose.  Without our Education Foundation, my classroom would be empty, I wouldn't even have a document camera, a listening center or classroom library.  

Allright, it's Sunday, I needed that extra hour today, so very thankful for being able to set the clock back one hour.  This girl has a lot of lesson planning to do for the week. It's starting to feel like fall here today.  Who knows I might just be able to wear my new boots that have been taunting me for the past few weeks just sitting there peeking out of the bag.  I't been in the 70's and 80's here not quite boot wearing weather.

Have a great week!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Must Have Teacher Tools ESGI GIVEAWAY

Must Have Monday Teacher Tools, ESGI Giveaway, Teacher Assessments, Time4kindergartenHappy Monday- can you believe it is the last week of October?  Where did this month go?  This week I decided to do a recap of my Must Have Monday Teacher Tools.  When looking back at my stats, It seems that the biggest response I received was during week 3 for my blog post on ESGI.   It wasn't a big surprise to me.  What teacher wouldn't want a time-saving tool that can cut countless hours off their time assessing students and put them back in the classroom where they need to be doing that they are meant to do- TEACH KIDS to LOVE LEARNING!!!!

I don't know about you, but I know this is going to be one crazy week for me. Rain is in the forecast0 yipee- we really need it, we have pumpkin experiments to do and we are bringing out the iPads too. We will be ending the week with a costume parade and our school will have a Halloween carnival on Saturday.

With all the excitement for the little kids, how about some trick-or-treating for us teachers.  The fabulous people from ESGI have generously offered a one year subscription to one of my fabulous Time 4 Kindergarten followers.
esgi giveaway, kindergarten assessments, time4kindergarten
One Lucky Winner  will receive a year subscription to ESGI.
Anyone can sign-up for a FREE 60 Day Trial of ESGI 
Be sure to use the code B9285.  
esgi giveaway, kindergarten assessments, time4kindergarten
You can also use that same code and get $40 off the year subscription- making it only $159.
To enter just see below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are the other weeks in case you missed them.  Week 5 and week 2 were quite popular as well.
I hope you survive the week. 
Be thankful Halloween is followed by Sunday and that Sunday has 25 hours this week.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's Pumpkin Time in Kindergarten

It's pumpkin time in kindergarten. This week it's all about pumpkins in our classroom. I've asked parents to send in pumpkins so we can experiment, measure and look inside.  We will see if pumpkins sink or float and do the same with their seeds too.

Last year, we opened up a pumpkin, poured in some soil and and watched the seeds inside sprout.  However once it started smelling, molding, and rotting into mush, I placed it outside my back door where no one goes. The soil is hard as a rock and nothing seems to grow there, well until this year.  We had 9 baby pumpkins growing in our mini pumpkin patch.  Little did I know the custodian had been coming all summer to water them. He takes good care of my plants.  I never water the planters by my front door either.
pumpkin math, investigating pumpkins in kindergarten
The first grade teachers have been bringing their students to my pumpkin patch to talk about the parts of the plant. It is fun to hear them them get so excited, especially when they say, "I was in this classroom let year! " 

On Wednesday, we will be opening up the pumpkins, we will be using this pumpkin math page.  it is FREE in my TpT store.
pumpkin math, investigating pumpkins in kindergarten
They will work in pairs or triads, depending on how many pumpkins arrive.  This year I asked for 7, but parents usually bring more than we ask for. One year we ended up with one for every child.  That is a lot of pumpkins.   Make sure to get parent volunteers.  You will need a lot of strong hands to cut those tops open. Don't forget the knife.  I have parents come during lunch time to do this part.
pumpkin math, investigating pumpkins in kindergarten
After they measure their pumpkins they can take the top off and explore the inside.  I'll provide magnifying glasses for them to examine the seeds. After they have had a chance to remove as much of the seeds and pulp as possible and have had an opportunity to examine their pumpkins, they are given the task of separating the seeds from the pulp.  I will take the seeds home to wash and bake.  We will enjoy them on Friday.  
pumpkin math, investigating pumpkins in kindergarten
Next up is decorating. Once we've had a chance to clean up a bit, I let the kids decorate the pumpkins using their crayons.
pumpkin math, investigating pumpkins in kindergarten
To help with the mess from all the gooey pumpkin slime I came up with a great solution this year.  Just so you know I do not like carving pumpkins.  I always did it with my kids because they LOVE it- they still do.  Its a sensory thing for me.  I don't even like to cut up fruit- I'd rather a watermelon rot then to cut it up.  I can't stand that sticky slimy stuff on my hands.  but, I'm a mom and that is what we do for our kids. 

Ok, so back to my solution for easy, peasy clean up. Take the containers that the kids will be scooping the pumpkin pulp into and wrap them in plastic.  I use dishpans from the Dollar Store and large trash bags. You probably can ask your school custodian for a few.  Just cut them down the side and across the bottom.  The large bags should cover a few dishpans. Use a piece of packing tape or duct tape to secure.  Then, when you are ready for clean-up.  Just undo the tape over the garbage can and dump the plastic and all.  No more scrubbing out the containers.  Let's face it who has time to scrub off dried pumpkin pulp and ruin a manicure- not this girl.  
easy pumpkin clean-up
easy pumpkin clean-up
Here's a fun video book version of the Runaway Pumpkin to show your students at the end of it all.

Happy pumpkin week.  Be glad Halloween is Saturday.  You have Sunday to rest and an extra hour for the children to get some of the sugar out of their system.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

All About Apples

We are wrapping up or apple unit this week. So what do you do when you have a bucket of apples? You make applesauce of course.
apple, torn paper art, kindergarten art, crockpot applesauce
Last year I bought the apple peeler from Bed, Bath and Beyond for around $15.  It is really easy to use and is suctions to the table.  I bought the clear cutting mats from the Dollar Store and used disposable plastic knives for the kids to dice the apples with.  

Each child peeled and cut an apple to add to the crockpot.  We used a variety of apples. I had asked students to bring in apples the week before.     We had Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji and a few others.  Once all the apples were added.  (I added a few more about 25 total) I added about 1 cup water and a tablespoon of sugar.  I then turned the crockpot on high.  I stirred the apples about every hour.   This year I had to leave school early,  so I place the crockpot into a plastic file crate, it fit perfectly, and took it home to finish cooking.  I used my Braun hand blender to puree the sauce once the apples had cooked.  

I rotated the students through the applesauce making station.  When they weren't busy peeling and dicing apples, they were busy tearing and gluing paper to make their torn paper apple.
apple, torn paper art, kindergarten art, crockpot applesauce apple, torn paper art, kindergarten art, crockpot applesauce
I am so happy with how these came out and my kids had fun making them. 
If you would like to make them, just grab the pattern and directions for free from my TpT store.
apple, torn paper art, kindergarten art, crockpot applesauce

If you need more ideas or teaching materials for apples you can check out my ALL ABOUT APPLES in my TpT store

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