March 30, 2016

Fairy Tale Writing in Kindergarten


I truly believe in setting expectations high! Truly a kinder can do ANYTHING if you give them the resources to be successful. This week I started having my students write a class book. It is one that we will PUBLISH!

Published Authors


Talk about writing for a purpose! I showed my class a book that was written by the 2nd graders when they were in K. They couldn't believe it! So of course they wanted to write one too.

I will be using Student Treasures, a FREE book publishing company. Parents have the option of purchasing a book for $19.95, but really just need to sign the form to release their child's work. Then we get a FREE class book! Monumental for them. Memento for me! Win-Win.


Research


So, of course we need a plan of action before we beginning writing. I had my students do a little Fairy Tale Research before we began writing. We are discussing how fairy tales have certain elements. In class we are reading as many fairy tales as I can get my hands on! I am also reading fractured fairy tales that would interest my boys. Such as, Little Red Ninja Hood.

For homework they were asked to read a fairy tale. Then, they were to discuss the different elements by completing this graphic organizer.


Up next - writing our own Fairy Tale!

This was not something I could just give to my students to start writing. They are 6 and do not yet have their author's voice. To get them excited I got a little help from the Resource Ranch. 


I purchased her Fairy Tale Writing product on Teachers Pay Teachers. I gave my students one card from each category: character, setting and problem. They had the option of using that idea or creating their own. 

They then filled out their fairy tale plan. They were so very excited to get their creative juices flowing!



The next day they began writing their fairy tale. The filled out the sheet below. It was so exciting, for me and them, to see their story coming together!



They then take their plan home (with their story mostly written) and complete a rough draft as a family. In class I will complete their final copy with them. That will be sent in to be published. 

Learning should be fun and engaging! Even if you do not have time to have it published you can absolutely do an author's chair and let them all read their own fairy tale. The look of pride and accomplishment is the best! 


 I mean just look at that concentration! 

She is so into her story! 

I could literally see (and hear) her thinking!

Giving my students a purpose, gave them drive. 

Even those that struggle with writing were off and running!

This is why I teach!


Freebie!

Click here to get a copy of my graphic organizers. 

More Ideas

Check out some of my activities I made to go with my fairy tale unit! 
Click on the image to go to my store.



Cinderella Flip Book for Google Drive

March 25, 2016

Book Character Day



How have I never done Book Character Day?! My poor previous students have been missing out! Well, not this year! I am jumping on board and celebrating International Children's Book Day. It is in conjunction with  Hans Christian Andersen's birthday on April 2nd

I can not wait to have my class participate. A few weeks ago I sent home a letter explaining to my parents what we were going to be doing. My goal was to have the students come to school dressed as their favorite book character. (I am going as Pete the Cat!)


How adorable is that clip art from Edu-Clips?! I just love Sarah's work.

 I am having my students complete the book report below. Next year I am going to have them describe the character traits of who they picked. I made sure that I sent this all home early to allow time for parents to prepare any outfits. This activity is taking place of our March Family Project.

Costumes

Let me tell you, my mom is the best! She is very crafty and always made my Halloween costumes, So naturally she has made the ones I wore into my classroom. I have been Miss Frizzle, the Cat in the Hat (purchased) and Dorthy from The Wizard of Oz. 

You would think I'd be simple and wear one of those. NOPE. However, I am totally going to wear Dorthy when I do Wizard of Oz day with my kids in May. By the way, I came up with that idea when I purchased this adorable flip book! Click on the image and it will take you to her Teachers Pay Teachers store. 
Wizard of Oz *double sided* Story Elements Flip book

Now, back to my character...we all know my obsession with Pete the Cat. He is by far my favorite character. I love the lessons he teaches. So I am going to dress up as Pete and His Four Groovy Buttons. 

This is where pinterest just rocks. Click here to go to an awesome book character board. 

My mom is just the best and helped me get my shirt together. I NEEDED blue pants! Okay, obviously not needed. But I wanted them really bad! NY&Co for the win! (as always)

Buzzfeed also shared some awesome costumes here

More Ideas

While writing this post I had a difficult time finding different ideas on teacher blogs. So, I reached out to the fantastic teacher community and this is what they shared!
1- A few teachers did a whole class celebrations. For example - G.P. had her students dress up as the 101 dalmatians. How cute is that! I love that idea, and actually did that for my students for the 101st day of school!
2 - Sticking with the class theme - you're going to love this one! R.J. created her classroom into an Eric Carle Museum and had her students dress up as characters from his books. Then, they ate pancakes for lunch! I think I need to do an Eric Carle day next year!
3 - Some schools can not have their students dress up for Halloween. C.N. Shared that they had their students dress up as their favorite character. Fun and creative!
4 - Finally, Jessica shared her blog post where her students made characters come to life! She had them do a book report where they presented as the main character. LOVE! Click below to go to her post. 
Joy in the Journey

Why Do It?

We do a lot of crazy and fun things as educators. And the reasoning is simple - it gets kids excited to learn. Days like this give our students a chance to show their creativity. We can also learn a lot about them by seeing which characters inspire or resonate with them. 

I highly encourage you to celebrate books with your students before the end of the year. I'd be happy to help in any way! I am all about getting kids excited to read. 

Schedule it for towards the end of the year to send them off with a blast. Or, plan it for next year and begin to create a fun learning environment. 

Whatever you do - get your students excited to read! Remember teachers, you are all rock stars! You are doing amazing things inside the walls of your classroom. Keep going strong until the last day of school. Your kids need you!


March 10, 2016

Holy Week in Kindergarten





Can you believe Easter is literally right around the corner!? AHH! I am so not ready! Well, with the coming of Easter comes a very special time for us Christians - Holy Week. This is a time when I get to teach my kinders the true meaning of Easter - and it is not the Easter Bunny! ;)

I have compiled some of the ideas I have come across in hopes that it will aide you in your planning for Holy Week. They are low prep activities - because I need to start teaching this next week!
During the season of Lent we have be walking with Christ with some activities from Catholic Icing.
                                                       
Catholic Icing

You need to check out her website, she is truly a blessing to us Catholic School Teachers!

Free Resources


I am so beyond grateful that many of the resources I use to supplement by Catholic teaching are FREE. WOOHOO! But I would also gladly pay for products that people like Kinder Craze share.

Kinder-Craze

Maria shares so many amazing ideas. Be sure to check her out! She  creates wonderful sight word readers that I am obsessed with using in my classroom.


Click here for her Holy Week version. 

Palm Sunday



I modified this quick little project from a resource on Oriental Trading. I will make it will my students and we will dance and sing Hosanna! I LOVE to teach my students praise and worship songs! As they say, singing is like praying two times! We need to teach our little ones that praying is just talking to God. There is no wrong way to do that!



Good Friday

I was SO excited to have one of my students ask WHY is it called GOOD Friday? It was a bad day! AMEN! She got it! I love this song for that reason. Yes, it was a bad, sad and mad day. But it is a GOOD day because we were given a new life!


Resurrection Eggs


A few years ago I scored these Resurrection Eggs for my classroom. I got them at Hobby Lobby for half price! (I always shop after holidays) I use them in my classroom by opening one egg each day. I will begin this next week, as there are 12 eggs to get through.

I love being able to read verses from the Bible. We quiet our bodies and our hearts in order to hear God's word. There is nothing more POWERFUL than watching a child pray.

FREE Art Projects

This is an art project that I am very excited to do with my students! My kiddos love to paint! We will draw on our crosses with crayons as we discuss Good Friday.


Idea from: 
Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections



Another project I have done in the past was a great way to discuss the Stations of the Cross. 

This little craft from Charlotte's Clips is a great visual sequence of the events of Holy Week. 


I have not made this wheel yet from Brittany Brune, but how fun and interactive is this!


Over Break

I believe in sending home work that extends the learning from the classroom. I have found that many parents are not entirely sure of how to discuss some subjects. What a wonderfully important job we have as educators! I create a little packet to send home with my students over Easter break using these printables from Teaching Heart Colleen Gallagher


Here is another resource you could utilize. Create a mini book and send it home with your students and have them work through it with their families. 


Books I Use

(Personal Photos of books to come)

Below are some books that I have collected and LOVE to use with my students. Click here to go to a page that contains an abundance of books to utilize for Easter. I am pretty excited that Scholastic Book Clubs has some great books for us as well!





Looking for More?

Visit:
 Catholic Tool Box      The Story of Holy Week      Loyola Press    When in doubt...Pinterest!