Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mother's Day Craft

I know Mother's Day isn't for another week, but I wanted to share this cute craft we made for our moms!

Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
I loved our little handprint flowers we made last year.  (Click here to check them out)  But I have a little sibling of a student I had last year.  So I wanted to change things up.
I bought this "Recipe for a Great Mom" craftivity set from Bilingual Scrapbook on TpT.  Click here to check it out.  And one really cool thing about this set and all of Bilingual Scrapbook's sets, is that there is an English version and a Spanish version.  How cool is that?!

First I grabbed some fun scrapbook paper I already had on hand. 
I love buying these scrapbook paper packs from Hobby Lobby when they are 50% off.  So worth it!

First, I printed the patterns on 85% because I realized that I could fit 2 of the skirt patterns on 1 scrapbook page if I did so.  Otherwise I would have had to use 1 whole page per skirt pattern.  I hate keeping up with scraps, so I didn't want to do that.
I picked out my 10 favorite paper patterns and had our kindergarten assistant cut out 20 choices for skirts.  Then the kids were called up one at a time to choose one for their mom.
Next, my assistant cut the top part of the apron out of the pretty pearlescent paper to coordinate.
I love that paper!!! 
It's not glittery, I do have glittery paper but this isn't it.
I love how it shimmers and it's sooo pretty!
So in case you couldn't follow all of the arrows on the above picture.  The pattern the kids chose was used to make the skirt and neck strap (or as my kids refer to it, the handle).  The coordinating pearlescent paper was then used to make the top of the apron and the lace trim at the bottom.
The pockets and the white band around the middle were printed on white cardstock.
I just taped everything together because I knew I was going to run them through the school laminator.

Usually I let my kids put their own crafts together.  But I thought it might be wise to do this one myself.

Then I had the kids write out their recipe for a great mom!

We have been working really hard on our writing this year and my kids are doing so well.
But I was in a bit of a time crunch with my assistant, I only get her 2 mornings a week, and so I needed to get all of these aprons finished before she had to go to the next teacher.  So we were each working with a student while my university practicum teacher was teaching.  My practicum student Miss Kelly is awesome by the way!

And we made a little cheat sheet to help them.

I know my kids can write well and they get plenty of practice, so I wasn't too hard on myself for providing them with the correct spellings.

And they turned out way cute!!
I think having support with spelling really helped my kids concentrate on their handwriting.  Because that is something that a lot of mine struggle with.

The finished products are ready to go!
Now I just have to store them for a few weeks and not forget where I stored them :)

There are also some additional activities included with this set.
I like this one the best, but there were several choices.

I worked on this activity with the kids by myself during center time, so I wasn't rushed, and let my kids sound out their own words.

I wrote on the back of each students paper what they said, just in case my moms aren't as familiar with reading invented spelling as I am.
Her name is Jar "Jessica"
Her favorite food is dorntoz "doritos"
She is the best because I love hr "her"

Here name is Donu "Donna"
Her favorite food is salib "salad"
She is the best because she is nis "nice"

Her name is mom (this cracks me up)
Her favorite food is brwnes "brownies" - I thought that was pretty good invented spelling!
She is the best because she cks binr "cooks dinner"
I hope my moms love these as much as I do when they come for our Mother's Day Tea Party in 2 weeks.
At our tea party:
  • We are going to dress up (full on tea party attire with hats and gloves is a must)
  • Eat Danish wedding cookies and drink sweet tea
  • Read the story "The Night Before Mother's Day"
  • Debut our Kindergarten 2015 Slideshow (I just finished our grade level slideshow yesterday)
  • And give our mothers our apron crafts and writing papers
I'll post pictures of our Mother's Day tea party the weekend after.  I am super excited!
I'm also really excited to show our moms and the kids a sneak peak of our kindergarten slideshow!
We sell these for $10 a piece and use the money to help us with kindergarten expenses (water day, thanksgiving feast, Christmas party, etc)  But they wont go home until after our Music/Awards Program on May 19.
If you've always wanted to make a class slideshow, but didn't know how, check out my six part blog series I posted last May to help.  Each post includes step-by-step instructions.  Click here to check out the first part.
I can't believe May and the end of school are just around the corner.
In the next couple of weeks we are going to work on some report card and end-of-year testing, luckily our testing wont be standardized, and some fun year end activities!
So stay tuned!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Earth Day

Last Wednesday was Earth Day!
So of course I had to sport my fabulous Earth Day shirt that I wear exactly 1 time each year.

Then we read a few stories about Earth Day and worked on our Earth Day books, which you can find here.

Last week we learned about space and the planets.  So my kids were super excited to color our Earth using the "right" colors.  They loved explaining to each other that the blue was water and the green was land.

I love using my document camera for things like this.  It makes life so much easier.

Then Smokey the Bear came for a visit.
I totally forgot until I was seating my kids in the playroom, that one of my girls is crazy scared of people in animal costumes. (She makes her mom do a complete circle of Chik-fil-a before she'll go in, just to make sure the cow isn't out visiting the customers)
So her and I sat in the hallway where she could see, but we could make a quick exit to my classroom if she got too scared.
So this picture was taken while we were sitting in the hallway, and her arms were locked around my neck.  But she wanted to try and stay. 
That is major progress for her.

Then she said she wanted to go and take her picture with him for the newspaper. 
She lasted long enough for me to take a picture, proof of this experience for her mother, before we were back to the hallway.

After meeting Smokey, the rest of my students were supposed to walk down the hallway back to our classroom, but they decided to hang out with me and B on the floor instead.
Love how much these kiddos support one another!

Smokey gave each student a pine tree branch to take home and plant.  And he gave each teacher one to plant on our school property.  But we know that the mowers think their job is the Indy 500, so the poor pine trees probably wouldn't make it.  So they were planted at home instead.
All in all, we had a fun and fabulous Earth Day! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Plant Buddies

One of the great things about spring, other than warmer weather, is seeing all the trees and flowers finally come back to life.  Even though I'm allergic to all of them, I still think they're beautiful.
When I first started teaching kindergarten, almost a decade ago - yikes!, we planted seeds and watched them grow. 
Or at least we tried.
I seriously have a black thumb.  I can keep any animal or pet alive, but not a plant.
So after a few years of will the plants grow or wont they grow, I decided to give this another go.
First, we read up on all things plant related.
Including this awesome set from scholastic.

These are the same kinds of books as my ladybug book that we used for all of our ladybug activities.  Check those out here.
I really love this style of nonfiction text for Pre-K and Kindergarten because the photographs cover an entire page and there isn't too much text.  Just the essentials.

Then we made our monthly "are, can, have" chart.  I forgot to take pictures of the finished products, so I'll add those in later.

I found the cutest idea for planting grass on TpT.  It's a little Mr. Potato Head themed plant from Little Priorities.  Check it out here.  It had little eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and feet pieces.  I copied them on cardstock, cut them apart, and put them in labeled baggies.
I decided that planting our plant buddies during centers would be easiest on me so that I would only have to do three students each day.  So plant buddies was our Art Mart center this week.

I had all the little parts, clear plastic cups, and a sharpie to write names on cups in the center tub ready to go.  And there's a little bit of potting soil down in the bottom too because I make a mess every time I scoop out some soil.

I went to Walmart and bought our other necessities.  I purchased a special seed starting potting mix and grass seed.
I honestly had no idea what to buy in the gardening section at Walmart and was a bit overwhelmed.  I've heard that grass can grow in almost any conditions so I chose grass seed.  Plus, I thought it would look cute for their plant buddy to have grass hair.  Like a chia pet!
In the picture you can also see the cup I used to scoop out the potting soil, a pencil I used to stir up the seeds and soil, and another cup I used for watering.  I'm very savvy when it comes to gardening and gardening tools, not!  Haha!

I just love how they turned out!!
So adorable.
I did used hot glue to attach the paper pieces to the cups, I figured it would be easiest and quickest.

I was getting concerned because we started planting these last Thursday and by Wednesday none had started sprouting!  Plus it rained all week, so there was little sunlight coming through my windows, and our air conditioning kept breaking, so it felt like a tropical rainforest in my room. 

Then on Friday I came in and saw a few little sprouts finally popping up...and MOLD!  Yuck!
I was afraid of messing up the little grass sprouts, so I didn't try to mess with the mold.  I don't really know if I should leave it or try to scrape it out.  But the grass it growing despite the mold.

Yay finally!!  I really was getting worried that I had killed the grass.

The ones planted on Monday and Tuesday still haven't started sprouting, but I'm a bit more hopeful now that I'll see them poking up from the soil when I go back to school Monday. 

On a side note.  We finally were able to work on our April stained glass window art. 
I love these cute umbrellas!
They are perfect the rainy spring we've had so far.

Next week we will be working on Mother's Day!  I found the cutest craft and writing activity, so I'll share all about them and showcase our finished products.
Yes, I like to get things done early.
So stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Activities

Today I thought I would share random things going on in our classroom in April!
First up we had Easter!
I actually came down with strep the Wednesday before Easter.  So I missed our Easter party that Thursday :(  Luckily we had made these really cute Easter crafts earlier that week.
This was actually a combination of two ideas I saw on Pinterest.  You can check the original pins out here and here.  I found both of these pins about 2 years ago and thought they would be super cute together.
And I think the result is pretty cute!

The bunny was made from painting each child's ring finger, index finger, and palm.  This year I added a little glitter, but you can't really see it in the picture.  And then used a sharpie to add the eyes, nose, mouth, and whiskers.
The picture was taken in front of a table cloth I bought from Walmart years ago.  I just hung it up on clips in the hallway and had each student stand in front of it.  I used a fat popsicle stick, three white pipe cleaners, and a big pink pom for the nose and whiskers.

This year I've made it a point to have my students make some kind of stained glass window art to decorate our windows.  The kites are actually from March, but we had two weeks of spring break in March and I got sick with strep last week.  So even though its almost the middle of April, they are still up.  We are going to make umbrellas next week.  The umbrellas are all cut out, we just have to make them and hang them up.

I have two bulletin boards in the hallway.  The big one is switched out each month. This month it has my grouchy ladybugs I blogged about a few days ago. 
The small one is where I showcase my student of the week. 
Well I was pretty consistent with sending home my student of the week pages this week and actually finished all my students before spring break.
So I decided to print out some pictures from our school year that have just been sitting on my computer and showcase them on the bulletin board.
I included an individual picture of each student, along with groups shots from parties, field trips, literacy night, 50's day, 100th day of school, etc.
This bulletin board is a huge hit with my students and parents.  Every time we walk down the hallway, my kids get so distracted.  It's a little better now, but when I first put the pictures up, I felt like I had to drag them away from it so we wouldn't be late for lunch every day.

I just printed out clipart of letters and cameras to make the bulletin board pieces.  It was so easy!
At the end of the year, I'll send the pictures home with my students.
This is my favorite picture from the board!
This is my awesome kindergarten team on book character dress-up day!!
It may be April, but my brain is already in End of the Year overload. 
I have a list of everything that needs to be done before the end of the year.  So many of these things can be completed now, I just usually wait until the end of the year.  So I figured, why not do some of those things now, so that I won't be as stressed at the end of the year.  So for the past 2 weeks, my goal has been to check 3 things off my end of year list each week.  This week I actually checked off five things, and I had bus duty.  Woo Hoo!
First up were pictures for the front cover of our End of Year Memory books.  I found this idea from a super cute pin on Pinterest.  See the original here
I actually found this pin last summer and kept it in the back of my brain for this exact purpose.  I even went ahead and bought cheap sunglasses from the party section in Walmart last summer.
Well, the stars aligned this week, and we had perfect weather, all of my students were present, and one of our kindergarten teachers has a super crafty and artistic student teacher!
So during recess Miss Maggie worked her magic with the sidewalk chalk.
Then I took a picture of each student individually, wearing the sunglasses of their choice, I did have to stand on a chair to get the picture right though. 
But they turned out super cute!! 

Miss Maggie did such a great job that I thought "hmm" we could get a cute group picture in front of the chalk writing too!
So we did!

I ended up using this group picture on our class autograph page that goes on the back cover of our Year End Books.
I will show examples of my Year End books in a few weeks.  They are almost all put together!  But I'm still trying to decide exactly how I want to format the front cover with their individual pictures.
This is basically what my front covers have looked like for the past 8 years.

But I'm thinking it might be time to change things up.
When I make up my mind, I promise I'll show it!
So stay tuned!