Thursday, April 26, 2012

Freebie And All That Jazz

One more day until Friday!  One more day until I meet Giada De Laurentiis!!!!  Cheer Cheer!

Now onto the educational fun! 

My students continue to struggle with short vowels.  Ahhhhhh they are almost first graders!!!!  On a surface level they know what the short vowels are and can point and say 'a' says a (zoo phonics) but they have a very hard time taking that knowledge to the next level.  When spelling a cvc word they still get stuck on the vowel sound.  They still get short vowel 'o' mixed up with 'a' etc.  It was time for some intensive yet super fun vowel work.  Hence, Vowel Owl and this entire freebie package was born.  Click on the picture below to head straight to my TPT store and download your freebie!

In the freebie there is this cutie Vowel Owl craftivitiy.  Loved how they turned out!  The students went gaga for these.  After they finished making them they pretended to fly Vowel Owl around the room and "ooooooooooo-ed and ahhhhhhhh-ed" at the Vowel Owls their classmates made.  They were even more excited to lift up each other's feathers to find out the hidden short vowel words hiding underneath. 

In the freebie I made this little story to go along with Short Vowel Owl.  The kids got a kick out of Short Vowel Owl's friends! 

In the freebie there is a recording sheet.  Students took their Short Vowel Owl around the room to classmates and exchanged short vowel words to record on their sheets.  The kids must have spent a solid 15 minutes doing this.  I made the signal to clean up and they GROANED!  THEY GROANED!  I played along.  "Ok, I guuueeeessss we can spend more time with Short Vowel Owl...."   In my head I was thinking YES YES YES!!! They are loving short vowels and getting great practice!  

Farm Animal Jigsaw/Expert Groups/Whatever Ya Wanna Call It!

Back when I taught second grade I loved doing this activity with my students!  In the years that I have taught kinder I have doubted whether I could pull this activity off with success.  This week, with our farm unit winding down, it was the week to make jig saw magic happen!

I knew an anchor chart was going to be critical.  I needed a full prove Jigsaw system with visuals that would speak to kinders. 

Back before spring break students were split into four farm animal groups, hen, pigs, cows, and sheep.  In these groups students made posters (see picture below) They used books and parent volunteers to learn and research interesting information about habitat, food, ways these animals provide for us, and descriptive details about these animals.  This week students got back in to their Expert Groups and reviewed the information they learned and organized this information into a graphic organizer (the graphic organizer can be found in my farm unit on TPT)

If you scroll back up to the anchor chart, you will see that expert groups are symbolized with a light bulb!  As soon as students got into their groups I hear a few start using the word experts.  One student even said to another that was distracting him..."Shhhhh I am trying to be a cow EXPERT!"  Expert groups record one or two facts in each section of their graphic organizer.  For students in the beginning stages of writing I differentiated and had them draw symbols.  Once the graphic organizers were filled in, I gathered all students back to the carpet to check in with the anchor chart.  We had completed steps 1, 2, and 3 and were now on step 4! I redistributed students to form cooperative groups.  There were one or two experts from each animal in these new groups.

This is when the MAGIC that is a Jigsaw really came to life with my little kinders!  Each expert had a turn sharing with the rest of the group facts from their graphic organizer about their animal.  The other students used the back of their folded graphic organizer to take notes or draw a symbol.  The experts were BEAMING!!!! They had the power.  They were in charge!  They were the teacher!  For some students who struggle with academic confidence this was their time to shine and they did.  Beaming from ear to ear they were successful.  They had a nugget of wisdom their classmates needed.  I was also impressed with the note taking.  Yes, some of the information was very obvious like cows have 4 legs, but the rest of the group needed to practice listening to a peer, and quickly jotting down a quick note.  My little kinders looked so grown up and I was amazed that for a first time try; they GOT IT!  

When all experts had a chance to share, we met back on the carpet for one last debrief.  We went through our Anchor Chart again and this time we reached number 5!  We stood up and did a YAY We Are Experts On 4 Farm Animals Dance!!!! We talked about a puzzle and how each of us had a piece, but together we were able to put the pieces together and learn even MORE information!  I had a little kinder cutie come up to me at recess and ask when we were doing Jigsaw again. I said I wasn't sure and she responded that she wanted to be more of an expert than her brother.  LOVE IT!!!! 

 Bubble Gum Graphing Bonanza!!!

I wish I could take credit for this next graphing activity but alas it is the creative works of Mrs. Lee.   She is always filled with such great ideas!!!!  Such an inspiration!

One last picture of a few of our other graphs during the Graphing Unit. 

Thank you for stopping by my blog on this fine Thursday evening.  I hope you all have a fantastic Friday!    Giada book signing here I COME!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Drum Roll Please... We Have A Winner!!!!!

Your $50 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card will be waiting in your inbox later tonight!  

Here is a photo tour of some recent kindergarten happenings:   

We finished our silly Mother's Day Flip Books.  Students gathered on the carpet to share their silly mom faces with classmates.  Lots of laughter was had by all!  There were alien mom faces, scuba diver faces, queen bee faces and much more! Shenanigans I tell ya! ABSOLUTE kindy cutie shenanigans!  


Let The Flipping Of Pages Begin!!!

Click HERE if you would like to check out my Mother's Day Unit in my TPT store. 

We also kicked off our Community Unit!  Let me start by saying I have a very large collection of Happy Meal Toys (debating whether to elaborate....slightly embarrassed).  When I was little my mom and I used to collect these toys at GARAGE SALES.  I felt the need to capitalize garage sales to make sure you did not picture a childhood where all I consumed was Happy Meals.   GROSS!  These toys really come in very handy during the Community Unit.  Students build a community outside on the blacktop.  We use chalk for roads and Happy Meal Toys for community members, cars, trains, and places.  

Our Farm

Every community needs a ZOO!

Big community planning going on here!  We had an airport, Disneyland, lake, jail (students sent Cruella De Vil to jail), school, train and much more! 

Reading Comprehension Strategies
Throughout the year I introduce students to Beanie Baby Reading Comprehension Strategies.  Last week students made a Top Secret reading strategy pop up file with some of our favorite strategies!

The Questioning Owl helps us remember to ask key questions while we are reading. Spinny Spider reminds us to make connections from text to self. Eagle Eye reminds us to look at the pictures for clues if we are stuck on a word. Fishy Lips reminds us to get our lips ready to sound out a word.  Stretchy Snake reminds us to stretch words out slowly! 

Happy Belated Earth Day Teacher Friends!!!!

Do these come in my size????

 All I crave recently is frozen yogurt!  My new favorite flavor is Red Velvet.  Ohhhh goodness me it is delicious! Girls night frozen yogurt outing last week! 

This weekend Mr. Wine Maker and I played around on my new computer!  We are ridiculously silly and spent an embarrassing amount of time taking random pictures of ourselves!    

Happy Monday!!!  I hope this week brings you silliness, laughter, and kindy cutie giggles! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Did You Say? A $50 Gift Card To TPT!!!

A happy early Earth Day to YOU!!!!  My kinders could not contain themselves any longer and HAD to wear their Earth Day gear home TODAY!  Check out the latest and greatest in Earth Day fashion!

There is still time!  Pick your Earth Day bundle up HERE and squeeze these fun activities in tomorrow!!! 

Hip Hip Hooray!!!! This little Sprinkle Teaching Magic blog is ALMOST up to 50 followers!!!!!  In honor of the fabulous number 50 and possibly taking that follower number 50 to infinity and BEYOND... how aboutsssss we have ourselves a giveaway PARTTTTT--AAAAAY!  One lucky winner will win a Teachers Pay Teachers $50 GIFT CARD by email!!!!  That's right.  You heard me!  It is time to get your teacher shopping on!!! If you are anything like me you have your eye on a TON of fantastic TPT loot... AND just in time for the end of the school year!  

Here's what you need to enter....  There are 6 ways to enter PLEASE leave a comment for EACH ENTRY.  Don't forget to leave your email!

*Become a follower of Sprinkle Teaching Magic

*Follow me on  Pinterest

*Like Sprinkle Teaching Magic On Facebook

*Follow my shop on Teachers Pay Teachers

*Blog about this giveaway on YOUR fabulous blog and comment with a link to your post!

*Blog about this giveaway on your Facebook page!

Tooty Ta Ta-DA!!!!

The giveaway ends on Sunday at 11 PM PST.

Good luck!  I will announce the winner Monday evening!  Woot Woot!  Tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Reflection

Warning!  The next two paragraphs are a bit long and I am galloping on my high horse but... if you stick with me I promise some cute and very fun uplifting photos to follow!

Did anyone read Deanna Jump's post yesterday Butterflies and Vocabulary?  If you haven't it is worth joining the discussion.  To summarize she received a negative comment on her TPT store claiming the vocabulary in her units are not kindergarten appropriate.  Ridiculous!  This topic really hit home for me.  Recently, I was questioned when I introduced the word biologist to my kinder cuties.  I was kicking off the plants and animals unit and wanted students to get in to the biologist mindset.  My students were thrilled!  They practiced letter sounds by helping sound out the word for our classroom Dictionary board.  I overheard students saying, "WE are BIOLOGISTS!?!?!"  "Ms. Chako I love plants and animals I want to be a biologist when I grow up."  At recess students would go on 'biologist walks' studying the playground for interesting plants and looking for animal tracks and clues.  Introducing this word was a success.  My kids were hooked, wanted to learn more, proud that they knew a scientific word, and eager to be the best biologist they could be.  This word and vocabulary introduction technique came straight from a 6 day G.L.A.D training I attended.  The message of the training was expose expose expose!  Expose students to vocabulary!  They are at the perfect age for new language acquisition and language retention.  G.L.A.D is all about EXPOSE EXPOSE EXPOSE!  Students will rise to the occasion when presented with a higher level vocabulary words.  Vocabulary words can teach children about parts of speech.  When a child see's -ist at the end of the word they know it is a suffix, and that the word is a noun etc.  When a student learns how to find clues within a tough word they will use the strategies for other difficult words.  This vocabulary problem solving carries with them from grade level to grade level and increases standardized testing scores.  By the time a student reaches college they are not intimidated by text books but instead see that daunting black and white text and tackle it head on.  I could go on and on about the benefits of exposing children to rich vocabulary and the learning benefits, but I digress.  The point is when I used the word biologist someone questioned me.  They metaphorically stomped their feet and made a bit of a ruckus.  How could I?  This word was not appropriate for kindergarten?  At first I let the incident get under my skin.  With support and encouragement from fellow educators I held fast to my G.L.A.D. techniques and vocabulary strategies.  Hello!?!?!?!  These strategies have the Stanford and UCI stamp of approval!  They have been researched, analyzed, studied and field tested!  You go Deanna Jump!  And hey while I am at it, Go Me!!!  AND GO all teachers who believe in what is educationally sound for students and persevere!

Sticking with the Deanna Jump post from last night I would like to quickly discuss comments on TPT.  This morning I woke up and checked my email.. Hurray I made a sale on TPT!!!  Next email I checked said I had a TPT Comment.  Hurray my first comment since opening my store a little bit ago!!!  The comment read, "Thanks."  Hurray, I thought, this is a good comment!!!  I logged in to my TPT store and was shocked.  The person that bought my product, and left me the ambiguous one word "thanks," gave me 3 out of 4 stars?!?!  Booooooo!  Because I am a new TPT store and this was my FIRST review and comment not only was my product rated three but my ENTIRE TPT profile said 3!   3 is not bad I know, but I feel the rating system is a bit skewed when one comment appears to define you.  And yes, I am a bit of perfectionist, and people pleaser by nature.  Aren't all teachers???? So I took this 3 rating to heart.  If only the comment giver had left me a helpful tip, or a reason for the three rating, or a way I could improve I would happily take the feedback to make the product even better.  Unfortunately, I was not given this chance.  At least I take solace that the guru herself, Mrs. Deanna Jump struggles with comments and TPT stuff as well.  There is comfort in that.  Anyone have any TPT tips?  Ways to get feedback on your store?  Way to brush off the negatives?  Stories?  I would love to hear from you!

Now on to the juicy stuff!

Fun spring classroom mural that always brightens my day in my classroom!

In the concrete jungle that can sometimes be outside a kinder classroom I embrace potted plants.  I use the bright chalk paint from Home Depot and decorate the bins.  I have had the same rose plant since my first year of teaching years ago!  Such a treasure!

Fun way I spice up science journals.

Farm Quilt!  Inspired by the AMAZING Kinder By Kim!

During the Farm Unit students brainstorm and bring in items that come from pigs for homework...

And cows.... See the Mochi?  Yum!!!  Thank you cows!

To go along with the kinder science and Foss my students make snail races!  These are a big hit that I put out for open house.  Students drag their very apprehensive parents to the racing table and compete to see which snail can make it from the center bullseye to one of the outside enticing destinations.  Watch out for the bee and lady bug!  I LOVE the encouraging cheers written to the snails! 

During the spring study of plants it is always fun to have dirt cupcakes!  

I like to call this Sight Words Chalk Talk.  Students decorate the outside of our classroom with all the sight words learned this year.  I also did  'Book Graffiti' today.  Students draw pictures of characters, write key words and phrases from some of the favorite stories read throughout the year.

Mother's Day workshop is well under way in our class. I figure a little bit each day with the kinders and we will make some adorable and amazing gifts for our special mothers! 

All the rage on Pinterest and the web seems to be Rainbow Cakes!!!

Thus the idea for our Mother's Day Cards were born.  Students LOVED making these cards and were very proud of their hard work.  I overheard one student say, "My mom is going to go gaga for this!"  Gaga is his new favorite word and I love it!  As we draw closer to the end of the year I am trying to give students more and more tasks where they have to listen to multiple step directions and then work independently.  They must rely on peers to help solve problems that arise and they must have peers check their work.  This card was perfect for students to practice these skills!  

The front of our yummy cake cards!

Yum!  Don't these slices look absolutely delicious?

Inside students wrote mom special sentences or words describing why they love her!  I can't wait for our moms to get their hands on these!  

 This cute rainbow card craft and other fun Mother's day activities can be found by clicking the picture below!

You must watch this video!  ***Love*** ***Swoon*** ***Adore***  ***Tear*** Amaze-balls!


Cheers to you teaching friends!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Talking Tokens

Pablo Picasso Art Project:

Talking Tokens:

Last week was spring break and I knew my students would come to class anxious to share their spring break adventures.  Instead of the usual sit down and draw and write about your vacation...yawn... I wanted to come up with an activity that had a little more zip and incorporated more of the common core standards.  Thus, Talking Tokens was born and boy was it a huge success!  I have never seen my kinders more engaged and having such detailed conversations with each other.

First, students brainstorm events that happened to them over spring break.  Then they drew a quick picture for each event.  A picture that would serve as a symbol to remind them.  They wrote one word on the line to sum up the event.

They colored in their tokens, cut them out, and put their initials on the back of each token.  As students finished they gathered in groups on the carpet and took turns sharing their tokens.  I left the expectations for the parter sharing very loose.  I was amazed how students structured the share to meet their needs.  This group below shared and put their token events in order! 

 Each kinder in this group shared one at a time.  While a person shared, the others listened carefully and asked questions.

I constantly struggle to get my kindlers to share with each other, stay on topic, ask meaningful questions, etc!  Talking Tokens was the greatest success I have had making this expectation list happen.  Students who normally don't talk or are ELL's had  a picture to use as a starting off point.  Students who have a hard time retaining information and remembering events had a visual to jog their memory.  No joke my students sat for a good 10-15 minutes chatting with each other, and as I walked around I could see the tokens in their hands and hear them staying on topic!  Later in the day we turned our tokens in to a Spring Break Art project.  Students glued the tokens down and made a flower scene.  

I love the symbols this student used (the slide from pump it up, play date, camping tent with thunder outside, campfire and talking around the campfire, going to the park, and an Easter egg hunt)

Here are some freebies!  Click on the picture!

For more Talking Tokens and very detailed directions for implementation I made a unit for sale in my TPT and Teachers Notebook stores.  Check it out! Only $3 for a 21 page packet!  Click on the picture below.  

Non-related to school but fun nonetheless!  Have you heard of Mixbook?  It is a very fun online scrapbooking program.  2011 was a big year for me and I wanted to put all my favorite photographs in to a scrapbook.  I received my book in the mail and wanted to share with you how it turned out! 


My boyfriend and I met on eharmony!  It works!  Anyways, I included our profiles and all the juicy emails we sent back and forth to each other.  

This was my profile:

Our Emails

I loved experimenting with the different backgrounds and stickers.  

I was even able to use photos from my iPhone and make one big photo collage.  Drag and drop it was seriously that easy!

Mixbook has tons of layout options!

Photography is a fun hobby of mine and it was exciting to showcase some of my more prized photos as very large images. 

I did this Mixbook in a week!  Over 100 pages!  Yes, I went cross-eyed, and developed a claw hand from hours at the computer.  My goal this year is to create the scrapbook a little each month so that at the end of the year I have a gift to give myself.  I was even thinking a Mixbook could be a great end of the year gift or memory for students.... hmmm...