Saturday, August 4, 2012

Star Student Badge!

I just made a totally BLING Star Student badge.  Instead of assigning different classroom jobs to students, in my classroom the daily star student gets to do all of the special jobs like being the line leader and helping with all of the calendar routines.  (Though some years, I also have an Energy Ranger who helps with turning all things OFF and lines up at the end of the line.) To make the Star Student job just a little more special, I repurposed my name badge from the I Teach K! Conference into a fun and colorful badge for the daily star student to wear.  

Magic Reading Wands

Yesterday I created new magic reading wands with materials that I found at Michael's!  They sell these pre-painted wood shapes that I glued onto dowel rods with some E-6000 glue.  I covered the back with some felt, though there's still some glue showing.  I'm so excited about using these as pointers during instruction and for kids to use while reading the room

Monday, July 2, 2012

Neatness incentive!

I love this idea that I found on the Kindergarten Rocks blog.  As an incentive to encourage neatness instead of rushed work, students earn the chance to use the "My Work Rocks" box filled with twistable crayons and other art supply treats.  They also get to take a home an Outstanding Work Award to share with their parents.  I think I will try this out next year and see if it helps with the kids doing their best (rather than their fastest) work!   

Birthday Idea

I love this idea for making birthdays special in a cheap way.  I found this on the Kindergarten Kindergarten blog.  This would be a fun summer project! 

Phonics--Getting Organized!

I have been motivated this summer to work on getting organized with my Phonics materials.  I actually feel more creative in the summer when I have more time to brainstorm ideas that work!  Our Phonics K curriculum involves a lot of hands-on materials which can be very time consuming to create and organize throughout the year.  I've been working on figuring out ways to do all the work now, so that during the school year it will be ready to use.  Ideas include:
*a phonics file box that includes a folder for each section/unit of our curriculum.
*labelled bags of materials or stacks of papers for each activity within each unit.
*some of the materials are color-coded so that they will be easier to divide into sets for students to use at center time.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Study: In Pictures and In Words

I just learned about an online book study of the book "In Pictures and in Words," by Katie Wood Ray.  This book looks perfect for supporting the teaching of writing to Kindergarten students, especially at the beginning of the school year.  I just ordered a copy from Amazon and though I missed the beginning of the book study, I'm hoping that I can join in late.

Here's the LINK to the blog post on Mrs. Jump's Class blog where I learned about the book study.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book: Awakened!

I have often felt that STRESS is the one thing that keeps me from being the best teacher that I can be!  I'm pretty good about being positive and calm in the presence of students, but some days I take a long time to recover and get re-inspired once the school day is over.

This book that I recently discovered addresses how to overcome this from a different perspective than most books, which often focus on better time and classroom management.  This book shows you how to change your thoughts so that situations do not end up feeling so stressful.

I'm reading it over the summer and working on trying to change my mindset.  I feel like there have already been positive changes, though I know the real challenge will come when we are back in school!  Either way, I'm finding it very inspiring and would highly recommend it to any teachers!

Classroom Secret Storage Seats

So I discovered this idea from another teacher blog.  You basically create seat cushions that fit right into the tops of crates so that you can convert them into little stools.  Plus, there is storage underneath.  You can add tabs to lift the lids easily if you want kids to have access to what’s inside.  Here’s the link to website where I discovered these, which also has directions for how to make them:

How to Make Colorful Pasta!

Food Coloring
Rubbing Alcohol
Ziplock bags
Wax Paper

Mix 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with about 10 drops of food coloring in a ziplock bag.  Add 1 or 1 1/2 cups of pasta, seal the bag, and gently mix.  Put together as many different bags (and colors!) as you want. Lay the bags flat, flipping occasionally, for 1-2 hours.  Open the bags and dump the contents out on waxed paper lined cookie sheets.  Let the pasta air-dry over night. I like to use this pasta for a Phonics activity at the start of the year where I write students names out on a big sheet of paper, have them (or a grown-up) trace the letters with school glue, and then students can build the letters of their name with colorful pasta! 

Kool-Aid Scented Play-Dough

This recipe is the best home-made play-dough recipe I’ve come across.  The final product looks and smells like a giant wad of bubblegum!  It’s safe to eat, but has enough salt in it that kids won’t want to.  This year I made enough 6 different batches (flavors).  
Ingredients for 1 batch:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar or Alum
2 packages (unsweetened) Kool-aid
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups boiling water
Mix the dry ingredients.  Then add the boiling water and oil.  Stir quickly and then set aside to cool. When cook knead with hands.  Store in an airtight container.