The Gingerbread Man

Thanksgiving is almost here which means the Gingerbread Man will be visiting our classroom as soon as December arrives. With so many Gingerbread Man books available, I barely have enough time to read all of them.  Each year I seem to find another book to add to my collection.
 Gingerbread Man, Gingerbread Boy, Gingerbread Girl,  Gingerbread Cowboy, Gingerbread Pirate, Gingerbread Bear, Ninjabread Man, and morea All Gingerbread themed stories
Now We can't read all these great stories without ending with A Gingerbread Man running through our school.  Every year.  My class receives a gift.  Inside is a freshly baked Gingerbread Man with a note reading to eat him after snack.  However, when we return from snack- he has leapt from the pan and is nowhere to be found  All that is left are a few crumbs and a note.
Gingerbread Man chase through the school.
We follow the trail of notes through our school which eventually leads us back to our classroom where we find him taking a nap.

You can find this resource in my TpT store here.

The following section contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, to purchase the product or any other products from this website, I'll receive a commission

With all of these books and talk of Gingerbread- now I'm a bit hungry. Maybe I'll make some gingerbread today.  Have a great week.

The school year is off and running and I am TIRED!!!!  We just marked day 22 in our Calendar Notebooks.    My 24 little friends are all at different levels of phonemic awareness, but I have just the plan to get them all where they need to be by our first benchmark.

Detailed Lesson Plans
6 weeks of daily teacher directed lesson plans.  These are perfect for whole class, small group,  or RTI remedial groups.  Everything you need to teach these lessons is included in this set.  Just print and go.
Daily Letter Naming Fluency
Practice letter naming fluency quickly each day.  Simply have students all follow along saying each letter name. Helps to increase Dibbles scores too.
First Sound Recognition
Using picture cards helps students associate the words to the letter sounds.  This is also a great vocabulary builder for your ELL students too.
Quick and easy picture cards- again another way to help build vocabulary skills for your ELL students and build rhyming skills at the same time.  I know that some research says that rhyming isn't important in the development in reading skills, but ....  let's agree to disagree.
Sound Blending and Segmenting
A skills that can be so difficult for our little friends.  Why is it no matter what word you give them there will always be one friend who say "cat" for every word.   These cards have dots under the pictures and the letters to help students know that there are three distinct sounds for each word.
Phonemic awareness instruction for kindergarten: Teach letter names, sounds segmenting, blending, rhyming and handwriting
Sneaking in some proper letter formation whenever possible is always good. Let's face it our little friends need a lot of practice.

Does this sound like something you could use?  This was a labor of love.  It came out of need for my push-in help in the mornings.  I had little friends who needed extra help keeping up.  Each week lesson plans for my assistant to use with my small group.  Eventually it snowballed into this.  
If this is something you can use-then you are in luck- it is on sale!!!

I hope your school year is off to a great start.  I have 24 little friends. They are adorable and full of energy.  We start parent teacher conference Thursday- no rest for the weary.  Have a great week.

The Best Play Doh Recipe

I have the best play doh recipe, no lie.  If kept in a ziploc bag or airtight container, it will last all year long. I actually just threw away the play doh from last year. It was still soft.
easy play doh recipe that last all year long.
This week we will be starting centers and play doh will be one of them. To help keep the table clean, I use placemats form the dollar store.

At the center this week, students will be forming the shape of letters we have already learned. They will be using my Alphabet Play Doh Mats Resource.  Playing with play doh is fun, but it is also a hands-on multi-sensory activity.  This week, students will be working on fine motor, letter identification and letter sounds.
multi-sensory hands on alphabet play doh mats
Learning the alphabet is fun with these alphabet play doh mats.  Students can associate the letters sounds with pictures on the cards in this hands on multi-sensory activity.
Now for the recipe
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • Food coloring

1. Mix the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot.
2. Mix water, a few drops of food coloring, and oil together in a bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. 
3. Cook the mixture for 3–5 minutes on low/medium heat while stirring constantly. Make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the pot as you stir. Add more food coloring if needed.
4. The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the pot and form a ball.
5. Take it out of the pot when it begins to have a VERY faint brown skin. Place it on a counter or cutting board.  
6. Knead the dough until it becomes soft and smooth. 
7. When the dough is cool, store it in an airtight bag or container. I like to use frosting containers with color-coded labels.

Need some labels for your containers? 
These are free in my TpT store.
play-doh labels, play-dough labels FREE
You might also like
sight word play-doh mats
Bigger Mats
alphabet play-doh mats
play-doh mats, play-dough mats for math

All About Apples

I live in a beautiful part of California where we are fortunate enough to have  apple orchards.  Each year I collect several types of apples and study them with my class. Today I have collected some of my favorite apples videos,  and apple books that you can share with your students. along with links to my past apple blog post of apple crafts, activities and resources.
Apple videos, books, crafts and resources for kindergarten
Way Up High in the Apple Tree
Planting an Apple Tree
Apple Tree Life Cycle Animation
Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed Reading Fluency
The following contains Amazon Affiliate Links- by clicking on these links you will be directed to amazon.  

Each year I seem to add a few more books to my collection.  I just ordered Applesauce Day.  I can't wait for it to arrive.  

This is a free craft in my TpT store
Apple Resources

I hope you find these resources helpful to start your apple unit.  Have a great week-

Kindergarten Round-Up with ESGI

Kindergarten round-up or pre-assessment day.  How does your school  do it?  Last year we tried something different.  What we were doing in the past wasn't working.  Instead of having students come a few days before the start of school for an assessment, we waited for the first day of school.
Use ESGI to assess the incoming Kindergarteners.  We have a different approach to kindergarten roun-up we do it after school has started.  We take the first 2 days.  Read more to find ou.
Here is how it worked.  First we assigned each student to a group;  yellow circles, red squares, blue triangles... Then the groups were rotated and mixed up throughout the first two days of schools. (see at the bottom for more details) I might have had the circles and squares in one session, but then the next session would be the squares and triangles and so forth.

Our goal was for all four teachers to see all of the students and for all of the students to have an opportunity to be together at some point during the rotations. During the rotations all of us taught the exact same lessons.  We had worked together during the summer to design the lesson and prep them.  Then, while we were teaching the lessons and the students were completing their tasks our support staff were assessing and evaluating our students.

All of our support staff were given an iPad to assess each student using ESGI.  We had created an assessment within ESGI to determine where our students were academically.  With ESGI the support staff could quickly tell if a student had already been assessed or not.  As teachers, we were able to observe and take notes on students behavior and social skills or anything else that we had noticed becasue we weren't focussing on the assessments.

At the end of the second day, we printed out the assessments to create our class lists.  The goal was to create balanced classes academically, and behaviorally.  The next day- day 3 we tried out the classes in the morning to see how they worked.  If there were any huge problems, we discussed at lunch, made changes.  The students then took home a letter telling their parents who their teacher would be beginning on Monday.  We start school on Wednesdays, so this is a Wednesday-Friday program for us.

Having ESGI makes this work I don't think we could do the assessment portion without ESGI.  Last year we had almost all the kids assessed the first day.

If you haven't tried ESGI now is the time.  You can get a 60 Day free trial just in time for Back-to-School.

(Rotation Explanation) Our groups always began and ended at the same classroom so parents knew where to drop off and pick up their students.  For example, I had yellow circles,  The yellow circles came into my room, after picking up their name tag from the pocket chart outside my door.  We quickly took attendance and got right to work.  On the first day we did 2 rotations with the same groups because it is the first day and it is scary.  After that, we mixed the kids.  Day two we did three rotations. On the third day we did a trial mock class of what we thought our class would look like.  If there were any problems we fixed at lunch.  Then the students took home a parent letter with who their permanent teacher would be.

Take Home Folders

Home to school communication is vital, especially in kindergarten.  Establishing that connection between home and school in the early years is so important. As a kindergarten teacher I feel it is my duty to hook those parent and real them in.
Studnet take home folders for school to home communication.  Build the communication lines between school and home early on .  Start in kindergarten with the take home communication homework folder
My take-home/homework folders are jam packed with everything a kindergarten parent needs to help their child be successful.  I put a lot of time an energy into these becasue I want my families to use them.  I want my students to be proud of them; and they are.

Every folder has a personalized label for the front.  Inside is a pencil pouch to hold their flash cards and then all of the resource reference pages follow.

personalized homework folder labels
kindergarten take home folder resource pageskindergarten take home folder resource pageskindergarten take home folder resource pageskindergarten take home folder resource folder

take home school communication homework folders
I use the basic 3-prong poly folders found at Target or Walmart and I buy the sheet protectors at Costco.  This year I was smart and bought a double set- Now I can prepare  at the end of the next school year and have them all ready to go before school is even over.  

You can find these in my TpT store Just click the image above or the here.

Have you signed up for my email list- Get exclusive email offers and FREEBIES just for being a subscriber.

Have a great week- I'm off for a mini vacation to my favorite beach..and to spend some time with my 100 year old grandma- yes that's right she is 100 years old and she ROCKS!!!! she lives by herself- drives and is the best lemon pie maker there is.

Back to School Freebies

Who doesn't like free?  In our family we have a saying Free is always within budget.
back to school freebies for the kindergarten classroom: start the school year off with some useful free names, calendar numbers and more.

With Target and Walmart putting out those school supplies so early, its hard not to pass up those good deals.  Let's face it those Target Dollar spots items are sometimes too cute to walk past. That's why I thought I'd share a few things today that are well within all of our budgets.  Free is always within budget- right?

Do you need name tags for the first day of school?  These name tags are easy to use. Just type your students' names, print and insert into the badge holder.
Free editable name tags for kindergarten.  Print and insert into name badge holders from Time4kindergarten.

Next up is calendar numbers.  These can be used for more than just the calendar. Last year I made an extra set and used contact paper to adhere them to my floor to create a line-up strip.   Print two sets to create a memory game.  
free chalkboard calendar numbers several styles to choose from
If you teach pre-school, Pre-K, TK or Kindergarten, this next Freebie is an absolute MUST HAVE!!!!!!  We all know our little ones have accidents.  It's even worse if they don't have a change of clothes on hand.  I now send home a ziplock bag with the note for extra clothes ready to go.  I then keep the clothes in a tall laundry basket from Target.  I bought it during back-to-school time when all the dorm room stuff came out.  It fits perfect in my hallway and it holds all the clothes. The kids, office staff and yard supervisors all know where it is, in case I'm not there.
Send home an emergency clothing kit request form to keep an extra change of clothes at school for unexpected accidents.

This next freebie. is similar to an emergency card, but I keep it in the classroom. We hand these out at Kindergarten orientation.  This gives some quick and very important information about a child that so often parents just forget to tell us.  For example, the name on their Birth certificate may be Michael Ryan Smith; however, the child has never been called Michael and doesn’t even know that Michael is his real first name.  This is something that the teacher needs to know from day one. You could be sitting there playing guess who this child is.  Believe me I’ve been there, it isn’t fun. 

It is also important to know how the child is getting home the very first day of school and each day there after.  Often on the first day the parents make special arrangements to pick-up their child, then after that day-care will pick up.. Or, the child might not have any idea of who is picking them up and the parent didn’t bother to tell the child,
Free Download of student information card.  Great to hand out on the very first day of school or at kindergarten orientation.
I know some of you are still in planning mode or organizing so here are some labels to use on your center tubs,  I used the red for Language Arts and the blue for Math..  I printed on cardstock, laminated and then used double sided tape to adhere.
I use the Sterilite Large Clip tubs for all of my centers. (affiliate Link)

Starting out each year I begin with my six simple rules from Whole Brain Teaching.  If you haven't read the book- you should. and you can download my FREE WBT poster too.

Last is my Letter Naming Fluency Freebie- if you are new to my site I encourage you to sign up for my email list and you can try out several weeks of my Letter Naming Fluency pack for FREE.

Dibbles Practice at home- Letter Naming Fluency Homework

I am flying down Saturday morning to Anaheim for the week for the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference.  I hope to learn lots of great things, meet new people connect with old friends and most of all have a wonderful time.  You can follow my shenanigans- on IG and FB.
Have a great week!!!!!

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