Red Ribbon Week Doors!

It's Red Ribbon Week and we've been having fun with door decorating! I thought I'd grab some pictures of the cutest doors in school to share with you! I think we had a lot of great ideas this year:

From our fabulous cafeteria:
 Loved the scrapbook paper they used on the candy corn!

Our T-1 Room:
 Each heart has a picture or a personality trait and the sign reads "Stay true to yourself. Don't do Drugs!"

Our 3rd grade:
 The kids had a lot of fun making the little skulls into clowns!

Our 5th grade:
 Who knew the 5th grade teacher was so talented at drawing/painting?!

One of our Kindergarten classes:
 Each kiddo has their own spaceship!

Our 2nd grade:
 It says "Don't Get Hooked" and that cigarette is too much!

Our other Kindergarten class:
Love that tree!

And finally, my door, which I am so pleased with, I have to say it turned out better than I thought, and the kids loved making their Olafs!
Here's a close-up, the large snowflakes have Frozen song titles that were modified with an anti-drug message :)
These Olafs were adapted from a  Pinterest pin that just led to a picture, no template or instructions. Still, remarkably easy - the only things needed were 2 styrofoam cups per child, black chenille stems, and white, black and orange construction paper! The kids cut out their own mouths (I just free hand drew them on black paper) and colored in their own eyeballs, but I cut out the nose and teeth. The chenille stems were cut in 4s and stuck into a hole poked into the top with a pencil - if the kids got overzealous with the holes I just used the glue gun to secure the stems. The kids glued all the pieces on with glue sticks and I used a glue gun to glue the cups together and to the door :)

Tomorrow I'll share pictures of our Book Report Pumpkins - they turned out fabulous!

Sunday Summary: What We've Been Up To

Wow the time has been flying! October is almost gone which means its time for Red Ribbon Week and Halloween! Here's a look at what we're doing:

We've been getting a lot of mileage out of our Halloween themed erasers! I bought more this year, and along with my pumpkin ice cube trays (which are perfect ten frames!) we have been having fun counting to 10, sorting and patterning!

 Here's an ABC pattern  - most of my kiddos have caught on to patterning very easily this year!

Some of my kiddos are going on to higher order math skills "If we have 4  cats, how many bats will we need to fill up our tray to 10?"
Some are still working on one to one correspondence so the erasers are fun counting practice for them!

I needed a Halloween craft idea for our bulletin board, but the K class down the hall did torn paper pumpkins and put them on display before we could! I love torn paper art projects because they're such good fine motor practice, not to mention easy on prep! I thought on my feet however and turned our pumpkins into a shape/positional word activity! We painted our pumpkins with these texture brushes:

Then the kiddos cut them out and glued on the shapes to make their jack o'lantern faces. We created the face template on our Smartboard first - discusing which shapes to use for which facial feature and where it would be placed in relation to the other shapes. 

Next time I'll make our arms and legs shorter, but I think they turned out super cute for a last minute change!

Our Red Ribbon Week doors are starting to pop up along the hallways. Unfortunately we have run out of most of our butcher paper, there's no more black or blue so our dedicated teachers have had to get creative!

This one is from our Special Ed. Coordinators door - she painted the pink paper black and then added her galaxy. Her students created the stars that form the border and each had a reason for being drug free on it.

We have plenty of yellow paper left, so our Title I tutors made this door with a bunch of drug-free rhyming quotes. I have a feeling they will inspire some great doors next year:

I love this door from our Title I Coordinator and Counselor! Those owls are precious and might be a future craft in my room!

My door is not finished yet - that's our Monday craftivity! I'm still torn between two ideas so you'll have to wait and see which one I go with!

Our Sand & Water table has corn in it now:
I bought a huge sack of corn at our local feed store. The kids have gotten very good at sweeping up any spills, so we aren't bringing down any custodial wrath :)

However, even though this looks cool, and the kids were ultra proud of themselves, it is NOT a good idea to stack the full buckets on top of each other:
Two seconds and one excited jump after this picture was taken and those buckets tumbled, spilling corn everywhere!  

That's all for now - off to work on those Red Ribbon Week door ideas and make sure I have something red to wear for tomorrow!

Top Ten Classroom Management Tips

Here are my Top Ten Strategies for Classroom Management in Kindergarten:

I'm joining up with the Bright Ideas Link Up again this month! I'm on Fall Break, and I'm taking the time to think about what's working in my classroom and what isn't! Fall Break is the perfect time to "Recharge, Reflect and Reset Your Classroom Management!" 

I hope these tips help you head back to school with a positive spirit! Head on over to these blogs for some other Bright Ideas:

Documenting Play Based Learning!

We've had a great week learning about Fire Safety! We got a visit from the firefighters, watched that fire safety video that has  to be as old as I am, and did a bunch of fire safety activities! Alas we did not get to see the fire truck shoot water as a) we are in a drought and b) there are so many pre-k and K friends that logistically it was impossible to take them all outside around the truck safely in the time allotted. We now have 40 pre-k kiddos and almost 60 kinders!

I did get to grab a pic of a firefighter in uniform...and yes, they did send the cute ones! Made my Wednesday morning :P

We only have a 3 day week next week (Monday to Wednesday) and then we have Fall Break! Can you believe it is here already?! On Friday we were doing calendar time and when we got to the "Days in School" part and I realized it was day 40 I looked at my assistant in shock. Time is flying! We are a group of high flying learners though, and luckily I took a ton of pictures this week to document it!

We do at least 90 minutes of free choice centers daily (sometimes more depending on whether we can get out of the cafeteria/bathroom ahead of schedule :P ) During that time my assistant and I are floating between the centers, assisting & extending learning. How do I justify that amount of "play time" in my day? Anecdotal records! I take pictures and make notes as I walk around, this is not the time for me to catch up on emails, filing or record keeping, this is serious learning time! Check it out:

This little guy was in Math Center using our foam shape blocks to build a wall. You can see he sorted them by color first, and then figured out how to stagger them to overlap them. I snapped this pic and then had a quick convo with him about how he sorted the blocks, how many green blocks there were and what shapes he used. Bam! I now have data on his sorting, counting and shape identification abilities!
Next I hit up the Pipe Builders. These things are so popular in my classroom! Usually we try to make a stack that will touch the ceiling, but look what I caught this little guy doing: sorting by color! He was picking out all of the yellow ones and putting them back into the container. We had a quick convo about what he was doing and why ("Because the yellow ones are cool") Then we counted the pipes in his stack and voila! I have data on his sorting and counting skills!

Also in Pipe Builders, was this little guy who created AND NAMED his ABB pattern! How fabulous is that in pre-k?! I also had him count how many pipes he used to make his pattern and got data on his one-to-one correspondence skills!

Over at our Letter Center, this little cutie was playing my Fire Safety beginning sound match-up game. I only put out a handful of letter Fire Stations and sound fire trucks at a time and she was able to successfully match all of them! Bam! Data on which letter sounds she knows!

In Math Center a group of 3 kiddos were playing with my Fire Safety Counting activity by clipping clothespins over the correct number for each set of pictures. One little sweetie is still working on one-to-one correspondence within 10 and the other 2 cuties are working on 10-20 (those dratted 15, 16, and 17 are so hard to get in order!) So now I know who needs to work on rote counting, and who needs more one-to-one correspondence practice!

We first played this Fire Safety Positional Word game as a whole group. Then I put a set out in our Felt Board Center and listened in to the conversation that ensued. Although we're still iffy on identifying the extinguisher and fire hydrant, the two cuties at this center knew "in between", "on top of", "under", "next to" and "in front of"! In case you're wondering, "The big fire truck is in front of the house that's on fire. The firefighter is next to the fire station and he's going to get in the fire truck that is between the two firefighters. Then they're going to get the hose and put out the fire! The other firefighter is going to get hit in the head by that thing on top of her! Then an ambulance will have to come!"

I got these Magic Boards and Printing Practice cards from Lakeshore Learning and my kiddos love them! I control this center by only putting out 6 letters at a time (we have 4 boards). I get to check pencil grip and fine motor skills while they "play" and as we talk about the letters I get to see who can identify which letter and who knows the sounds.

Of course, the learning doesn't stop in the classroom. We get an hour of recess daily - 2 30 minute blocks. (jealous yet?  I love my district!) I think people would be amazed at the amount of learning that takes place on a playground. Not just the social skills aspect, although that certainly applies, but tons of math and science too! Lately we've been seeing some migrating Monarch butterflies, so we've had great conversations about seasons and migration. We found an ant hole the other day and a group of kiddos spent 10 minutes observing the ants, placing leaves and small twigs in their paths to see what they would do. I might have to get an ant farm for our Pet Center!

Our playground is surrounded by pecan trees, so we know all about squirrels and hibernation now. My rule is that we can gather the nuts and play with them as long as we a) don't smash them and b) leave them outside for the squirrels at the end of recess. 

Generally the kids will come with a handful of nuts and want to count them, but the other day they decided to combine all of their nuts and count them altogether. We had about 5 kids running from tree to tree and bringing the nuts back to our bench. It was difficult for them to count the nuts since they kept forgetting which nut they had counted. Then one kiddo noticed that the nuts fit into the pattern on the bench and that if they put them in a row it would be easier to count! By the end of recess we had over 30 nuts and I knew who had one-to-one correspondence and who could (& could not!) rote count correctly above 20.

We're going to continue with our Fire Safety theme this week since we only have 3 days. I have to turn in report cards on Wednesday, but after going through my pictures and notes I have a ton of ideas for writing those pesky notes on the report card, plus I can confidently fill in many of the items! The rest of my assessments will be done on ESGI since I won a free year long subscription on Twitter! You have to check out #teacherfriends on Tuesday nights! Tons of fun and great guest speakers - last week it was Steven Spangler!

For those wondering how little Sullivan is doing, He's already 1 and is almost a walker! He can cruise while holding onto furniture and has hit all of his physical milestones which is fab since he's still only 17lbs due to his allergies. Here's a picture of him getting ready for school in the morning: 
  Look at the wild hair!

Alright, I'm off to do lesson plans for my short week - hope you have a great Columbus Day tomorrow!
Oooh! Just found this giveaway from ZipADeeDooDah Designs! Head over to her FB page to enter to win!

Fire Safety Freebies!

Well apple season is fading fast and next will come Fire Safety, Autumn, Bats, Scarecrows and Pumpkins! This year there are no religious concerns, so I might even sneak in some Halloween!

Here are a few things that have been happening in my classroom:

We made apple play dough by combining Apple scented conditioner and baking soda! It took about 2 bottles of conditioner for one large box of baking soda.

It smelled delicious and was so fun to mix up - cold and squishy!

My Kats had a great time with it - this was purely sensory play as it wasn't the right consistency for a lot of molding. Just feeling the texture and smelling it was entertainment enough though! Word of warning - this is a messy activity! After we played we had to wash our hands and tables and sweep the floor! Thank goodness for my assistant who did the table washing and floor sweeping while I took the kiddos to breakfast and bathroom break!

We did an easy peasy torn paper apple craft - great for strengthening fine motor skills and darned if these pre-k kiddos didn't knock it out of the park! I was really impressed with how quietly and studiously they worked at tearing up the paper and gluing it - although in future I think the purple glue sticks will have to come out for this kind of thing - with the white glue sticks they couldn't see where their glue was as well which made for a LOT of glue being used lol.

We've been hitting letters too! So far we have formally done E, F and L but they are picking up many letters just from eachother's names! One of our favorite activities is making our names with playdough.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, this is how you spell "I love my teacher because she's beautiful!" This little guy is a charmer and the biggest lovebug!
We've been using activities from my Alphabet Letter Sounds pack and my Alphabet Emergent Readers. We use the activities during center time and so far I have to say we are rocking it! Look what one of my sweeties did during free choice centers:
 Gotta love it when they practice on their own and think its fun!

In other news, some of my sweet Kats are wearing out our Dot Markers! 
Can you guess what his favorite color is?! For about a week straight he would make at least 2 of these all-red papers each day. Meticulous attention to detail, not a white spot to be found! When he wore out all our reds he started on other colors. Unfortunately, now our markers look like this:
They're still about 3/4 full and I hate to throw them out. Call me a hoarder, but there's got to be something I can do with them, right?!

I've been working on a bunch of Fire Safety stuff for October! It's our first theme of the month, and I can't wait. We'll have the fire department visit next Wednesday...I always cross my fingers that they send the cute ones....its the least they can do for making me watch the same old fire safety video again. I swear it's been around since I was little! Here are the three new packs I made: 
 This Fire Safety Math & Literacy pack has 10 Math Activities and 4 Literacy Activities - including 2 Emergent Readers! There's two freebies for you in the Preview too:
 Just click here to check out my Fire Safety Math & Literacy Pack and download the Preview!
And a Fire Safety Rhyming Match-Up! These are great for center time activities!

I'll be bringing out my Fire Safety themed Ten Frames too:

Consumer Safety also has some FREE tips and checklists for fire safety as well as this fun Fireman Says game:

I can't wait for next week! Now I'm off to pick out an outfit for Picture Day tomorrow! Have a great night!

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