Monday, June 30, 2014

Made It Monday!

I had so much fun linking with 4th Grade Frolics last Monday. I decided I wanted to do it again. This week I am being a copycat with a twist. A couple of weeks ago one of my favorite bloggers wrote a post on 3-D Ten Frames! My first reaction, OMG I need to make those. They are just what I have been looking for! If you want to read Smedley's Smorgasboard's (#smittenwithsmorgie) original post, here is a link .

3-D Ten Frames

I loved them so much, I wanted to make sure I would have enough for every student in my class to use during whole group instruction. Well, that raised a problem. I would need at least 30 (yep, I plan for 30 each year, last year I started with 22 the year before, 36). Storing that many would be a BIG problem. What to do? What to do? Easy - don't put on the bottom foam board piece. My biggest concern, they wouldn't be stable enough. BUT, they were. Here is how I made them.

Super easy and yet so useful. Happy crafting! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Teacher Tip

After 21 years of teaching, I have come up with a few little tricks. One of my favorite is how to get my carpet from this:
to this in less than 2 minutes:
Simple! Magic piece of paper. All I do is choose a piece of paper, tell the kids go, and whoever picks it up gets a Magic Bean (a jelly belly). Simple and works EVERY time. On a management note, at first the kids will run up to you and ask if they have the magic piece. I won't tell them yes or no. I never tell what the piece of paper is until ALL the paper/garbage is picked up. Works great every time. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014


My administration is insistent that our Kinders learn 100 sight words by the end of Kindergarten. Let me be clear, THIS IS NOT what I would normally expect in my class. However, my admin is very, "If you expect it, inspect it!" So since they expect 100 sight words, they are constantly inspecting to see that you are teaching those 100 words. I would also like to say, next year they are going to be even more involved with inspecting our data! That led me to building celebrations into reaching academic milestones. I had three major celebrations this year attached to learning. First was Top Bananas. Every student who knew ALL of their letter names and sounds by our 100th day would earn the Top Bananas party, a banana split party. EVERY one of my students attended this party. Second was our Sight Word, Race to the Castle, incentive. For every 50 sight words learned, students would earn lunch with the teacher. I provided the lunch. 

These boys were the first two to earn lunch with teacher. "J", told me this was the best day ever!  These two boys earned lunch with me 5 times! If you do the math, that's over 250 words a piece. 

My finally celebration of the year was our Math Wizard party. Again my administration had something to do with the goal, count to 100 by 1's and 10's by November. Well, my Cubs did not meet that goal. But, they did by the end of the year. This party was the best one because of the magic potion. It was also the cheapest. Basically, a cupcake with special topper and magic potion to drink. 

What is magic potion? You may notice that of the three drinks shown, all are different colored. WHAT? All students were given a cup of ice and a small can of lemon-lime soda. Students opened cans and poured their soda into their cup. The soda went into the cup clear, all of a sudden it turned green, red, blue, yellow, or purple. HOW? So simple the day before, I put several drops of food coloring on the bottom of the cups and let it dry overnight. When I placed the ice in the cup, it covered up the food coloring. So, when the soda hit the bottom of the cup, colored soda. That my friends is Wizard's Magic Potion! 

Final note, I spent way too much this year. Most of my kids earned at least one Happy Meal. So, next year I will not be doing the Happy Meal thing. Think I'm going to sick with simple like the Wizard Party. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's Happening Wednesday

I tried my first linky party on Monday. I had so much fun, I thought I'd do it again. I HAD to link up with Smorgie. I am a BIG BIG fan of Smedley's Smorgasborad!!!!!!

I only have 1 day left of Summer School! While I have really enjoyed working with these soon to be kinders, I am READY for a break! 

Today I am blog stalking and making things for my classroom. I am changing things in my room again and need to refresh some of my decor. At first I was going with a space theme, but just couldn't get into it. So, I went with Neon Colors and Chalkboard!  First up, my new weather chart. I found one on TPT that I loved, but it wasn't in my colors so I modified it to go with my room.

I also just finished my clip chart.

I use different categories for mine. All students start on star and work their way up to Mega Star and down to Rock Star (because what happens to a star that has fallen to earth, it becomes a rock). 

Finally I made my Welcome to Kindergarten sign!

And of course I'm waiting for 

Guilty! I love Big Brother and I am so happy it starts tonight :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fast and Easy Ocean Craft

Summer school is quickly coming to a close. Only two more days. It has been a great experience. I think all of us have had a great time! This week we have been doing all things oceans.  I am pretty fortunate, my grandmother was a well known shell collector. She and her husband traveled all over the world collecting shells and other things they found while diving.  While they left the majority of their collection to a museum, we were fortunate to get some shells and coral. After showing my Cubs the real thing, reading books, and a couple of video clips, we made our own coral reefs. 

Step 1

While I have always used salt dough to make my coral reefs, this year I was fortunate to have all of my crafting supplies provided by a grant. So, I chose to use Crayola Model Magic. Great colors and makes this craft a one day craft vs two day.

I have provided a salt dough recipe in case you want to use that instead.

Make Salt Dough 
(Salt Dough Recipe - this is for a single recipe. Double, Triple as needed)
1/2 c salt
1/2 c water
1 c Flour

Add the 1/2 cup of salt and 1 cup of flour to a bowl. Stir in the water adding it slowly- you may not need all of the water. You want the dough to be somewhat dry.

Step 2

Go on a stick hunt. We have some great trees on our school grounds. We are always sure to find the perfect stick. You need one that has a lot of small branches.

Step 3
Cover the stick with Model Magic. If using salt dough you have to let it dry over night and paint it after dried.
(not a big stick but it does have several little branches)

Step 4 

Use ocean themed foam stickers to decorate. 

There you have it, a quick and easy coral reef. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Made it Monday!

I have been quietly working away on things for my classroom and thought I would start sharing some of the things I have made or will be making. I have been a big blog stalker for years and Made it Monday has always been one of my favorites. I have to say that most of what I make I find on Pinterest so it won't be an original idea. 

Every year I take a picture of my students on the 1st day of school. Last year I made a prop for them to hold. I went with a K for Kindergarten but also for my last name. In fact, my husband was mad when I took it from home. He thought I had made it for the house. 

It's cute but, I wasn't thrilled with how the pictures turned out. So I decided to make a picture frame for my cubs to hold. Simple and easy. I bought the "frame" at Hobby Lobby. It really isn't a frame. It's a mat that goes inside the frame. But I felt it would be easier for my cubs to hold. I already had the letters. I keep them in a 3x5 photo album with top loading pockets (Walmart - $1.50)

Frame $2.50
Letters (I already had from another project)
Total Cost: $2.50

 Finished product! I think it is really cute.

So that's my first Made it Monday! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Letter a day

Summer school has been a blast. I hate to say goodbye in 5 days. It has been a great way to reset and get ready for August. At first I wanted to go to the office and tell them, "I want this student, I don't want this student!" However, I would be thrilled to get any of them. They are such a good bunch of kids and have adjusted to my expectations very well. I only have these guys for 3 hours. I spend an hour on learning about one letter, an hour on math, and then an enrichment hour. One of the favorite letter of the day activities so far has been silly hats. Every day my students can't wait to find out what they are going to make. But what I didn't expect is how much everyone else enjoys seeing them also. Everyday a staff member or parent comments on how cute they are. Well, I didn't create these hats. I found them about three years ago and fell in love.

I mean, how cute is HE!!!!! 

I don't know if Simply Kinder has plans to do it again, but I know she has offered these hats as a freebie at least twice. I was lucky to get them one of those times. However, I would have paid for them if they hadn't been free. I provided a link to her TPT page. It is right above the picture of her cover. Hope you enjoy this easy-peasy letter activity. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

California Dreamin'

When I said I'd post a freebie, I forgot I was leaving for California. Had an amazing time! Went to the beach, shopped 'til I dropped, and celebrated Father's Day. Well, I'm back and that is a good thing. I was able to edit my freebie and I added a few extra letters. Here's the freebie:
 I am giving the letter's a-h away. I am making a-z. My student's love this activity. We have done a-c so far. We are at the point where it is now an independent activity. I use it as word work BEFORE I send my kids to centers, small groups, or computers. Hope you like it and use it. IF, you find an error, please let me know, I will fix it and resend to those who like the product. I will eventually have the entire pack on TPT when it is complete. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pre-K to Kinder Day 2

So today was day 2 of summer school. Not so stressful. We are settling in to a nice routine. In fact, we even made it to lunch. OK, so we were 5 minutes early. Better than the 15 minutes late we were yesterday. 

Today was all about learning the letters in our names, letter Aa, sorting by color and shape. For our enrichment hour we are doing Space. Today was all about the sun and we did an AWESOME sun art project. 

We made these adorable name rockets. I have two examples, one done the right way and then there is R's. He had it done correctly, next time I looked he had peeled off all but one of his letters and decided he wanted an astronaut in his rocket. We've all been there. So, I shared a good one and one that's not so perfect. 

I think they turned out super cute. Even the one that is not done correctly, it says a lot about his personality. After they finished their rockets, we brought them to the carpet and compared rockets and had a great discussion about why some were so much bigger than others. Love mixing math and language arts. 

Our enrichment time has been a lot of fun. We did these awesome sun paintings. When I was trolling Pinterest, I found some cute sun painting. They were pretty much the same as the one I did with this one little difference. I used colored sweetened condensed milk instead of paint. Why the change, well when it dries, it dries shiny! Doing the same project with paint is fine and cute, it just isn't shiny. And shiny is awesome and makes the suns look very realistic! 

When my son saw this, he made the comment, "That's great mom, but won't it stink?" NOPE! It dries and doesn't smell at all. Here are the steps to making these realistic suns.

Step 1: Color Sweetened Condensed Milk with food coloring - One bowl yellow, one bowl red
Step 2: Drizzle SCM over a pre-cut circle that is glued on black construction paper
Step 3: Cover paper with plastic wrap
Step 4: Spread the "paint" over the circle. We just used our fingers and spread like crazy
Step 5: Pull the plastic wrap off and throw away. If a little gets on your fingers, no big deal, just lick it off. YUMMY! The picture in step 5 is after is dried. Nice and shiny. I think they look like the sun. 

Tomorrow look for a freebie. My plan was for today, but when I had my editors take a look there is a mistake (got to love 5 year old editors, they are NOT afraid to tell you something is boring or wrong). 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer School

Today was the first day of Summer School. I don't know what I was thinking!!!! First off, I have the little ones going into Kindergarten. Hello, I just said goodbye to the highest group I've ever had and NOW I have kids who can't sit still, write their names, match letters, or use scissors/glue. Secondly, my mind, body, and soul think I need to be on summer vacation. Getting up at 5:30 in the morning is CRAZY! However, the good news is, I get to push the reset in my brain and get ready for the beginning of the school year. 
After I pick up my new batch of kids, we got right to work. I needed to see what they could do and not do. So, I gave them a sentence strip with their name on it and a tub of foam alphabet stickers. The assignment; find the letters of your name and place them on top of the letters on your sentences strip. Sound pretty simple right?! NOPE! It was so hard for them. So, now you have a sense of where we are starting. Next, we started math. I have been given permission by my administrator to use:
I am so excited to  do this unit with my summer school kids. But even more excited to teach these units with my Cubs next year. One of the activities we did today was to sort their shoes. Well, I don't know how the kids are where you teach, but my littles did NOT want to take off their shoes and put them in the circle. Not sure why? Maybe they didn't think they'd get them back. I did decide I better take a picture of them with their shoes so everyone would leave with the same shoes they came with. 
I am happy to report, we all left with the shoes we came with! 

After math we do an enrichment hour. We are doing all kinds of things with space this week. After reading a book about space we did a fun art project. Wish I would have taken a picture. We placed space foam stickers on black paper then used silver and gold paint to marble paint. They turned out really cute. 

Tomorrow, we are painting with Sweetened Condensed Milk...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Woo Hoo!!!!!

Woo Hoo! Summer has begun... Well, almost! I said my goodbyes to my little cubs on Wednesday. To say that was a tough day is an understatement. We laughed, we cried, we ate donuts! So many donuts. I am not kidding when I say we had at least 15 dozen donuts. I loved this group of kids more than I can say. I said some big ups and some really big lows. In fact, today is the funeral of one of my little ones mother. In my 21 years, I have never had a student lose a parent. It was so sudden and unexpected. One day she picked up her daughter, the next she was in a coma awaiting family from Mexico before they turned off life support. Tough to say the least. But enough of that...

Here are my little cubs on the last day just before our program. I love how they are all dressed up. They were so sweet. The program went off without a hitch. They sang, they danced, they laughed at the movie. One of the highlights was after the program before I started handing out the awards, my parents gave ME a standing ovation. ME, I've never had a stand ovation in my life. To say I was touched is an understatement. This was a very special group. 

As I stated in my opening statement, summer has begun.. ALMOST! I signed up to teach summer school and for the next 3 weeks I will be teaching Pre-K going into Kindergarten kiddos. I have to say, I am excited! It will be nice to get a little head start on my kiddos for next year. YAY! Although, I may not get all of them in my class, I will get a few and they will help with the transition. 

So, what are my plans for the summer? Work on opening a shop on TPT, lots of freebies, and maybe a give away or two. Plus, CAMPING, CAMPING, CAMPING!!!!!! Hope you all have a great summer and check back to see what is going on with Mrs. Katzman's Kinder Cubs!!