Thursday, January 18, 2018

Penguin Craft (Informational)

We LOVE learning about Penguins!! It may be one of my favorite units to teach too.  As we read our informational penguin books, we add all of our learned info onto a KWL.
I ask my kids questions from the KWL every morning before we read another book to make sure that they are remembering all of the info that they have learned. For instance, 'raise your hand if you can tell me three different things that penguins eat.' My kids LOVE showing what they know!!
So we decided to make this cute informational penguin so students can really show off everything that they have learned!
We make one page a day so students don't rush through their work. 
Then when we are done, we staple our books onto the belly of our penguin craft.
These cute penguins make an amazing bulletin board display. We have gotten so many compliments from not only fellow teachers (who are very impressed with our work) but our principal too!
You can grab this informational penguin craft by clicking on the image below.
You can also grab this similar informational bear craft.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Kindergarten Holiday Party

We had our holiday party on Monday and had so much fun!! It was the same day as our field day...talk about tiring! But, somehow we survived it.

I know I've said this before, but things change when you have kids of your own. One thing that has changed for me is that now I am all about keepsakes!! 

For our first center we made these cute snowmen out of socks.  We cut the top of the sock down a little then filled the bottom of the sock with rice (this weighs the snowman down).  We filled the rest of the snowman up with filler then tied it on with a rubber band.  The second sock then became the snowman's hat.
We decorated the snowman with accessories from Oriental Trading.  I left pom-poms, buttons, and fun googly eyes at the center. The kids used fabric glue to adhere everything; however, I ended up reinforcing it all with the hot glue gun later that day.
Then we made these cute and simple decorations (you can turn them into ornaments by adding a ribbon when they are dry). We used tongue depressors, stickers, and sequence from Oriental Trading to decorate. The kids loved this one!! I think next year I will have to take pictures using a fun SnapChat filter or cute props!!
I left out a couple of 'easy' centers for the students to do while we were busy with some of the more hands on centers.  This activity my kids have done before so they were able to play independently.  This center is from Oriental Trading as well and is all set and ready to go!
I do this center every year, reindeer food.  It is a must for the little ones!
I didn't take many pictures in class because I was busy making the salt dough ornaments with the kids.  At this center the kids can't do much, so I called them back one at a time here when I was ready.
They pressed their hands into the dough then I pressed a hole in the dough for a future ribbon.  
I took all of the prints home to bake. The recipe can be found here.
After they were done baking I ended up painting them at home instead of letting the kids paint them (just no time!). In the future I would let them paint their own.
I sprinkled them with glitter and painting a layer of mod podge on top.  When they were dry, I hot glued some cotton balls to the bottom to make them look like mittens and tied a string on to turn them into ornaments.
Then, I wrapped them up and they are ready to give out as parent gifts!

You can see last years holiday party HERE.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

DIY Ornaments

I wanted to host a little DIY ornament night at the house and needed an easy ornament for the kiddos and one ornament for us moms to make!! We picked up these ceramic ornaments in the Target Dollar spot for the kids to paint.
 We told the kids they were like little elves in their ornament workshop. They loved it!! We gave each one of them a cute elf hat they I picked up on Oriental Trading. The table decor and the hassle banner I also found on Oriental Trading.
I still need to get the kids to go back and decorate their ornaments. I was thinking of having them add more color when this layer dries.  Maybe using paint and a q-tip.
 Then the kids sat down for some ice cream while the moms got to work on their ornaments!
 I am SO glad I tested these ornaments out at home before trying them in the classroom.  First of all, I thought I had the clear ornaments that came apart into two pieces, but I didn't. So it was very tricky getting the kids pictures inside of the ornament and into the place where we wanted them.
 It was basically impossible to get the tree where we wanted it because even tweezers were hard to maneuver in the top of the ornament. 
 But, we finished and I love them! I think they will look cute with a big bow on the top to add some more color! 
Next time I make these I will have to use the clear ornaments from Oriental Trading that you can find HERE. Those come apart and would be way easier! You can also find the fake snow HERE

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Centers (Parent Activity)

Every year before Thanksgiving I invite the parents in for  Thanksgiving centers.  At our school this is not considered one of our three school parties, so this is NOT a party, instead it is a culminating activity.  If you know what I mean...  ;) You can relate any of these activities to reading or social studies standards if you need to!!
I set the tables up with these awesome Charlie Brown Thanksgiving table cloths. I also left plates, napkins, and silverware there so we could taste pumpkin pie at the end of the centers! The decor is all from Oriental Trading.
I usually have about 5 centers going on. At each center there are directions on what to do.  The kids rotate through the centers with their parents.  But, just like center time, they can't rotate until I ring the bell.  I also leave directions for what to do if you finish early. Even with parents there, when kids finish early they feel like they can get up and wander around or do cart-wheels across the floor.  So early finisher directions are a must!
At the first center we make edible teepees.  Who doesn't love ice cream cones, frosting, and candy!? This is always the kids favorite center of the day! I used to do making butter, but I always had a ton kids that wouldn't try it.  
Standard- SS.K.A.2.1 Compare children/families today (their houses) with those of the past
At our second center we made Native American noisemakers. Students had to color in the picture and cut and paste it onto a paper plate.  Then, they fill the middle of the plates with beans and staple together! They love this! I leave a little poem at the center from my Poetry Pack for them to sing to as well! 
Standard- SS.K.A.2.1 Compare children/families today (their music) with those of the past
At our third center we made these cute turkey handprint keepsakes from Oriental Trading.  I LOVE anything that my kids bring home that I can store in their memory boxes--so any and all handprint crafts are a must for me!! This center was a stretch to make it 'academic'. I had to leave questions there for parents to ask their child as they were working recalling the Thanksgiving book we read that morning.  It actually turned out cute! 
Standard- R.L.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. 
I never made it around to take pictures on my other centers, but we did a Thanksgiving story retelling bracelet and a writing prompt activity of what we are thankful for!

Later that day we had our book buddies over to read with us and make these cute turkey hands!!

Thanksgiving at home this year was great! We continued our Thanksgiving breakfast tradition and this year I added in a new surprise! 
 My new creation was these little Mayflower donuts--they were a huge hit!!  You can also see the 'acorns' at the bottom of this picture, another breakfast favorite!
 Last year was the first year that I made a big breakfast and the kids loved it so much that we definitely will have to continue this every year. I think they look forward to the breakfast more than the dinner! (I may too, haha!)
Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for YOU!