February + Teachers = Love

Teachers, you have so much on your plate during the school year, I just don’t know how we all do it!  I know we do it for the love of learning and seeing kids grow, but sometimes it is hard to do everything that we are required to do during the school day.  This is why I have teamed up with some fantastic teacher authors to give one of you lucky teachers a $100.00 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway will run February 1-5. You can enter below:

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Thank you for all you do for students!

Lots of Love,

Cindy

Groundhog Day in K!

Groundhog Day is celebrated in America on February 2 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The legend is that the groundhog comes out of his burrow and if it sees it’s shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather.  If it is cloudy and there is no shadow, it is an indication of an early spring.  Each year we create crafts and make predictions about groundhogs in my kindergarten class.  Here are some ideas:Slide22

  1. Pass out sticky notes and have a chart to make predictions on if the groundhog will see it’s shadow or not on February 2.
  2. Go to the Groundhog Web site to share the history of Punxsutawney Phil and watch the video LIVE STREAM of Punxsutawney.   http://www.groundhog.org/ (You can see the replay here also.)
  3. Use this FREE coloring printable for students to engage in for fine motor skills.
  4. Sing Groundhog Day Poem (Tune: Frere Jacques)Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day

    Is near

    Is near

    Will he see his shadow

    Will he see his shadow

    And disappear

    Disappear

  5. You can make the whole day relate to groundhogs by using activities in all subject areas in this GROUNDHOG DAY UNIT.

Make it a fun day! Students remember connections, not lessons.

Mastering Sight Words

Previously, when I taught kindergarten, 34 sight words were standard for students to master before they went into first grade.  So when the standard went from 34 to 86, I was stressed about how to teach these words to kids who continue to struggle with retention and application.  Sight words are important to being successful at reading.  The goal put a lot of pressure of me to find new ways to help my students learn these words.   Here are some strategies I tried successfully.  I put 5 to 10 sight words on the class Word Wall each week.  Students learned how to use them in sentences, practiced writing with them and are encouraged to use the Word Wall Words during all writing activities.  The most effective way I found to get them to remember sight words is to make the activities fun.  During centers, students use paint dabbers to create sight words, play sight word games and sing sight word songs found on You Tube.  The Sight Word Necklace has been a huge hit with motivating students to learn the words in class and at home.  Start the students sight-word-necklace-coverout with a few words on their necklace.  By the next week see what they know.  If they know it, they keep it.  If not, the word goes off the necklace and home for practice with the parents.  For every 20 they master, they get a special card that rewards them with a treasure box treat in our room (you can use anything… a certificate, a hug).  When they reach all the words they get to eat lunch with the teacher and a friend.  Another game they like is the Fly Swatter Game.  Two groups of students a picked, the teacher calls out a word and whoever swats the word on the word wall first get a point for the team.

You can get the Sight Word Necklace printable for ONLY $1.00 for 24 hours.  A group of teacher authors are also having a hashtag sale #2017DollarDeals .  Just type it into the Teachers Pay Teachers search box to find the deals.  Happy New YEAR!

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TPT GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY AND 2-DAY SALE!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you!  You all deserve this winter break to relax and spend time with your family.  To make your holiday sparkle a little more, we are offering a couple $25.00 TpT Gift Cards to some lucky winners.  In addition to the gift cards, we are having sales in some TpT stores taking place on December 25-26. Follow this link to see the store link ups – APPLETASTIC LEARNING

Click the image to visit my store!

Christmas Sale

Click here to find the raffle to WIN the gift cards.

School Holiday Door Decorating Contest

This year our school decided to do a door decorating contest.  Although I didn’t win, the contest made the school look festive, challenged teachers to a little friendly competition, provided a fun tour of doors for the kids, and inspired me to share some of my favorites in this blog post. Enjoy!

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Oh Deer Holiday Door Decorating Contest
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Gone to the Beach – First Place Winner – $100 Gift Card

 

 

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Read Your Way Through Some Snowy History Door Contest
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Elves At Work Door Contest
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My Door – Let It Snow Sight Words – Students made sight word snow flakes for the walls and windows.

 

 

Transform Your Classroom into a Movie Theater

I always like to go “all out” during the holidays for my students.  Transforming your classroom is the easiest way to create a magical day for your students to remember forever.  In the past, I used the Polar Express theme for the holidays, but this year I looped up with several of my students from kindergarten to first grade, so I wanted to change my theme to provide a different experience.  I thought about Frozen or WIMG_5905inter Wonder Land, but when I thought about making my classroom into a Movie Theater, it felt perfect!   I could incorporate any movie with the props that I would design or get donated this year and save for future years. The first thing I did was have my students brainstorm ideas for a holiday movie theFullSizeRender (23)y
would like to watch.  They decided on classic holiday movies, like Rudolph, Frosty and The Muppets.  The Muppet’s Christmas Carol was a great fit for the day.  I then found a version of the story on YouTube to show the students the day before of movie day.  I use the story to compare and contrast the story to the movie.IMG_5982

Next I asked parents to for donations by sending a letter home. They donated boxes of various large boxed candies, water bottles wrapped in movie thIMG_5917emed labels, and plastic popcorn holders for the movie theater concession stand.  Our PTA let us borrow the popcorn maker they use at their events, and donated the popcorn. IMG_6112

I called the local movie theater, a local beverage distributor and several sign companies to donate props for the inside and outside of the room for the day.  They all easily said yes.  Just a phone call sometimes will work.  I had one parent agree to help the day prior to the PJs at the Movies Day.  Students always like to wear their pajamas to school, so I wanted to incorporate it.  Decorating took about 4 hours.  Of course you can skip several decoration ideas to make it less time consuming.  We used red bulletin board paper around the movie screen to look like a curtain, but then found cheap red plastic table clothes worked better.  We tied fishing line from the ceiling to hold them up.  The sign companies donated static window clings to stick to the FullSizeRender (21)windows which looked like movie posters, banners to hang in the classroom and Hollywood movie starts for the ground.  We used clear contact paper to write student’s names on and stuck the names on the stars in order to be able to peel them off and reuse them next year.IMG_6070

A parent donated PVC pipes they painted black with a base on the bottom to use and make an aisle.  The students loved waiting in line at the window (Ticket Booth) to get their ticket.  You can make tickets or just buy them from Oriental Trading.  I bought them and used them to pull thrFullSizeRender (22)oughout the day for special trips to the treasure box.  I also found a backdrop, camera center piece, gold starts to hang and a red carpet to roll out there for minimal cost.  At the “ticket booth” students are asked how they are going to pay for the ticket.  I quickly suggest something I see in their hands, like a backpack, folder or their shoe.  This takes about 10 minutes and provides photo opportunities for the parents.

The couple weeks prior to the PJs at the Movies Day, I had students work to create Bios for our Movie Star Bulletin Board.  It made a nice addition to the theme and we could leave the bulletin up for January also.  You can find the free Bio Sheet at my TPT store.

Students wore pajamas, brought a stuffed animal, blanket and enjoyed the movie with a concession/bathroom break.  After the movie we did a Venn diagram of the book and the movie to compare them.  A student said, “This is the best day of my life” at the end of the day.

Teachers Pay Teachers Giveaway

If you would like a chance to win 1 of 4 $50.00 Gift CARDS to Teachers Pay Teachers, here is your chance!  I’ve teamed up with some great Teacher Authors to bring you this chance to win and make your teaching life easier!  Enter HERE a Rafflecopter giveaway  Good Luck!  I hope it’s you!

Cindy 🙂

15220181_10208198726025619_4038056673391126204_nEnter HERE a Rafflecopter giveaway and choose your action. (For example, Follow TeachersBrain)

Thankful for Teachers $550 Giveaway

Thanksgiving break is just around the corner, and it’s safe to say most of us are ready for a break with some great family time!  Several of my Teacher Author Friends have teamed up to bring you a chance to win $50.00 in Christmas CASH!  The Give Away is HUGE!  Just click the link below to have up to 50 chances to enter the raffle.   You may enter Sunday, November 13th through midnight on Tuesday, November 15th.  Prizes will be awarded on Wednesday, November 16th.  Please share this on all your social media sites with you teacher friends.  There are plenty of chances to win!  11 winners will get $50.00 in Gift Cards.  Good Luck!  I hope it is one of you!

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Thanksgiving Play

Every year I love teaching my students about Thanksgiving.  I teach them songs and funny poems all month.  We talk about traditions from the past that are still here in the present. Students perform for their families on stage or in the front of the classroom.  We invite the parents to bring food thankful-fest-long-pinin after the performance and share our classwork with them during the feast.  After having many teachers ask me to share my play, I decided to write it out step by step to help them learn the program without having to have me right there beside them.  I wrote every detail!  It has sign language, poems, posters, programs, editable invitations, headbands for pilgrims, Native Americans, turkeys and so much more!  It includes music by Jack Hartmann with his special permission.  Check it out if you want your class to shine this holiday season!