Number Awareness

One of my besties at work gave me these number punchers.  My aide and I thought it would be great to have the kids practice punching the numbers in order on a strip of paper, during math centers.  At first, we were just letting them punch the numbers out, but it was more academic to have them punch the numbers in order.

This activity helped us noticed counting and fine motor skills.  Some kids had extreme difficulty punching the numbers, so now I can work with them in smaller groups to strengthen their hands.

The students worked quietly when punching the numbers on their strips of paper, and worked well together to share!

This would be a great activity for the beginning of the year, or even to have the numbers written above, and they a have to punch the number below.

Once the students practiced punching the numbers, they were able to work on writing and reading numbers.  I used printables from Printing and Recognizing Numbers 1-50.

The students love these number printables because they are repatitive and they can feel confident while being independent, because they know what is required of them.

Happy counting!


Maternity Photos

I am thrilled to share some of my favorite maternity photos that my sweet friend Melissa Vossler took!  I can't even begin to describe what an amazing photographer she is and how WONDERFUL she is to work with.  It's always awkward having your photo taken (at least for my husband and I) but she makes it feel like a walk in the park!  If you live in California, she would be a great option if you are looking for a photographer!  She is going to take photos of our baby boy too, once he is born.  :)

Take a look at some of my favorite photos.  

If you have been following my blog, you know that this pregnancy has definitely thrown some twists and turns our way.  The fact that I was even able to get out and take maternity photos was such a blessing.  I am due September 8th and the doctor thinks he will come a bit early!  If you want to read a little about my pregnancy, you can over on the Teachers Pay Teachers Blog!


Cricut: Back to School Teacher Campaign

First and foremost have you heard about the HUGE Cricut giveaway?!?!?  They are giving away 70 different Cricut prizes over the next 7 weeks!  You MUST go to their Facebook page to enter to win.  Click on the photo to enter!

I recently have been learning how to use my Cricut to make cute projects for my classroom.  The possibilities are seriously endless with this machine.  It seems if you can think it in your mind, you can create it!  I started with some basic projects as I was learning to use the software, and I am excited with the results.  Take a look...

 I wanted to make a pennant flag to have the students hold for a first day picture OR to hang in front of my desk.  I LOVE taking a first day of school photo of each student.  I try to think of a fun prop for them to hold each year!

You can see I started the banner by cutting little flags and apples.  The next step was to glue them together and then to cut "Kindergarten" using the Cricut letters.  

School doesn't start for another month AND I will start the year off on maternity leave, so I couldn't display a cute kid holding the banner.  But the idea is, they will each hold the banner for a photo!

For my second Cricut craft, I made little pencil toppers for the kids!  I thought it would be a fun and simple treat for them to take home on the first day of school.

One thing I want to encourage you with, is don't be afraid of your Cricut!  There are so many helpful tutorials online if you are stuck on a project (or just trying to get started).  I sat down and watched a couple tutorials to get myself started, and now I know the basics!  Here are is the YouTube channel that I watched to get some basic tips.

Don't forget to enter to win the Grand Giveaway hosted by Cricut to win 70 prizes in 7 weeks!  Click HERE to enter to win!


Classroom Management Ideas

With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, I wanted to share some classroom management ideas that I use with my students.  These simple ideas really do help maintain order and set expectations for the kids (aka everyone is less stressed and can enjoy learning!)

 The first idea is having classroom rules posted up for the students to see and review.

At the beginning of the year it is SO important to explicitly teach the classroom rules and how you expect them to behave.  This is done through modeling, practice, repetition, praising them, and more PRACTICE!  These posters are great visuals to display in the room to teach the rules, remind the rules, and to improve behavior.   :)

Print the rectangle OR circles, whichever you want! 

I also want to make a little decodable over the first week of school, review the classroom rules, so I included that in the pack as well!  The students illustrate a picture for each classroom rule!

For more details, check out my TpT Store!

Transitioning the students from the carpet to a beautiful line at the door is sometimes a struggle.  I created a simple and engaging way to create a structured
Line Up Buddies...

Do you ever want to rip your hair out dismissing your kids to line up?
This product is to help you dismiss your kids to line up in a calm and organized manner.  After teaching Kindergarten for several years, I learned classroom management tricks through trial and error.  I could that it was challenging telling 30 (or more) five year olds to line up at the door without running, pushing, and sprinting to get there first.  Then I discovered if I dismissed them in small groups, the while process went a lot smoother.

Here is where Line Up Buddies come in:  Pick a stick and fill in the blank with different answers.  The students get to line up if what you say applies to them.

One stick says: If your favorite color is __________.
You will then say different colors and the students get to line up when you say their favorite color.  Once there are about 4 students left sitting, I just dismiss the rest of them to line up.

There are 24 different buddies for you to print out.  I just hot glued them onto popsicle sticks, but you could leave off the sticks, and just keep them in a little basket near you.  You could also use these to help transition the students from their desks to the carpet, or various parts of the room!

You can pick these up in my TpT Store!

The next idea is helpful when calling on students to participate or give answers in class!  This by far, has been the best method of pulling sticks for volunteers in the classroom.  In order to ensure that everyone is participating and that I am not calling on the same children over and over, I use these sticks to make sure that everyone gets an equal turn.  Here is how it works:
Each child has a popsicle stick with their name on it.  The ends of the popsicle sticks are painted red on one side and blue on the other.

To start out, all of the sticks are pointed up with the blue end showing.

Blue means that those students have not had a turn yet.  I pull out one of the blue sticks and read then name.  Then I flip it over to the red side when I put it back in the container.

It is easy to spot the blue sticks that have not had a turn yet.  Once all of the sticks are read, then I flip them over to the blue side.

I explain to them that once I flip them all over to blue, then anyone's name could get pulled again!  It works like a charm. ;)


All About the Alphabet

Two of the biggest goals for teaching Kindergarten is to have the students end the year reading and writing basic sentences.  Before any of that can happen, the students need to know how to recognize, read, and write the letters.  I created a pack that focuses on each letter of the alphabet.  

There are several ways to teach the alphabet.  One way is to teach all of the letters at the same time, teach the sounds first, teach the letters first, or to teach one letter at a time.  My students enter the year not knowing ANY letters.  That's right, most of them don't know the difference between a number and letter and don't know ANY sounds.  I chat with other teachers and in some cases, their students enter Kindergarten knowing letters and sounds and are ready to start blending!!!!

I created a Letter of the Week pack to teach the same skills for every letter:
-beginning sound

You can purchase the letters individually or as a whole bundle!  Take a look at what's inside!

For each letter the students have a fun page to practice tracing and recognizing the letter.  It is important that the students have an awareness of the letter they are studying and that they can pick it out in a group of letters.

The "S" sheet requires the students to trace the letter first to try and master the correct letter formation.  Next the "N" page asked the students to write the letter on their own.  This is a great assessment tool to see if the students are able to write the letter independently. 

When I teach the letters, I teach the sounds at the same time.  Our curriculum introduces the letters first and then by around Christmas, we are supposed to introduce the sounds.  I can't wait that long!  I teach the sounds and letters at once so they can have the best chance at reading by the end of the year.     Below, the students color the pictures that begin with the letter we are focusing on.

I also included a little decodable reader for the students.  The words follow a pattern so you only need to teach them the repeating phrase ____ is for _____.  My students LOVE when they feel successful reading their own book, even if they are following a linguistic pattern. ;)

Head over to my TpT Store to check out my Back to School items and this Alphabet Bundle!