Sunday, December 27, 2015


'Twas the last day before break and all through the school not a child was breaking any single rule...

...that is, until our Gingerbread Man escaped the oven!

We baked him and decorated him and stuck him in the oven. While we read our final Gingerbread Man story of our unit, he escaped! 

Video done by our AMAZING literacy coach Leah O'Donnell.

Yes, we are crazy. 
Yes, we did let the kids chase our Assistant Principal in a gingerbread man costume. 

The kiddos had worked hard all week comparing and contrasting Gingerbread Man/Boy/Girl/Pirate/Cowboy stories, learning in their theme-based centers, and generally behaving the week before school let out. So we planned a fun little morning for them. 

We don't have a big holiday party and have a number of students who don't celebrate, so the Gingerbread Man is a fun anchor that we can use for literacy, math, and team-work concepts. 

Anyways.... after our week of Gingerbread stuff, we culminated by joining all 4 Kindergartens into one class to walk through the steps of making a real gingerbread boy cookie (we will use this to into "How To" writing in January). 

Everyone got to decorate our little cookie by putting 1 M&M on him. 

Then we stuck him in the school oven. 

While we read Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, our AP, dressed as the Gingerbread Man created a little chase for us. 

We even had to run outside!

The chase led us back to her office, where our very wonderful AP presented us with our previously-cooked cookie. She was such a doll for playing along with us!

The kids were a little stunned how it had all happened. There was so much chatter about what could have happened and how, so we just let them reconstruct the events as everyone tasted our cookie. 

Everyone was so worn out from all the excitement! After lunch we had a small relaxing celebration of the Gingerbread Man in our own classrooms and dismissed for break. 

Scholastic had The Gingerbread Boy Loose in the School for $1 so all my kiddos got a copy of that to take with them. 

I also use the Gingerbread Man unit from Katie Mense at Little Kinder Warriors.

What GB Man activities am I missing out on? How do you do the GB Man? 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Five for Friday 12/11

Man oh man has December flown by! Here's a sneak peak of what we've been up to!

In the hours and hours of spare time I have ;o),  I LOVE to decorate. Did a red buffalo plaid theme this year and I love how it turned out!

Our gingerbread man unit is coming up next week, so we kicked it off by disguising our own gingerbread people. They turned out too cute!! Here are some of the books we will read for out unit:

Then there is this...which my co-worker and I thought was a great idea last spring. Hah! It will be grand and were so excited, but a little overwhelmed about it!! We love our tech!

Our first little one handed in her BINGO project this week! We showcased it for the class to get the other excited about our iPad BINGO!  Our students take their iPads home and although we love a zillion selfies after each weekend home, we came up with a way to make taking iPads home a little more educational! 

Speaking of iPads... we found this AWESOME app this week! NFL Play 60 gets the kids up and moving while using their iPads. It is a great way to take a shake break and the kids loves to start the morning with it! It is a MUST have for an iPad classroom.

Well that was my week, how was yours? :o)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Too Many Tamales! FREEBIE inside!

For the past two weeks we have been trying something new in our kinder classes - using one anchor text per week to develop our fine motor, math, writing, and reading activities around. This week it was Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto!

We started on Monday by taste testing tamales!! Then we graph who likes/does not like tamales. Next, we read the text, introducing the mini lesson - character expression and setting this week. We also introduce the multi-step writing, which we work on each day during the week.

Tuesday we re-read and introduce the close read - WE ARE READERS! The kids color the close read and put it in their binders. The kiddos use their magic pointer fingers to read every. single. word. And we do it again and again independently, then with partners.  This becomes a daily practice until Friday. Of course, the kids can read it anytime they get into a bubble spot for read to self.

On Wednesday we re-read the text again. It was also day 3 of the multi-step writing, so we took some time going back, editing our last 2 days work, and brainstorming the next two steps again.

Thursday was just a re-read and writing day.

Then Friday, we culminated the experience with a REAL LIVE TAMALE project! The kids read their writing to each other to get really own the steps for tamale making. We used the kiddos writing as our tamale-making directions!

Heres what you need for no-cook, fine motor tamales:
-1/4 canister of yellow playdoh for each child
-cut up green pipe cleaners for chiles
-wax paper for corn husks
-tape to close it


We had boat loads of fun working with our Too Many Tamales all week!! Our bilingual teacher Ms. Gelacio planned most of this unit on the heels of the pervious week's Thanksgiving focus - she is amazing!! She has so many good ideas and is always challenging us to think of new culturally inclusive ideas!

As a team, we are really loving our little week long theme units.  It allows us to incorporate all the literacy themes we need to hit, while giving us opportunities to work on fine motor, social learning, science, and developmentally appropriate skills/topics.  It's a nice way to wrap everything up into a neat little package. :o)

Does anyone else do a tamale unit? What else can we add for next year?
Here are the links to our FREE close read and writing!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five for Friday 11/6

How is it Friday again already?! These weeks are FLYING by! Last Friday, we had so much fun dressing up and making our healthy snack (thanks Pinterest).

Is this not the best costume ever?! Edward Scissorhands is spot on!


We only have enough time for one craft, so we painted pumpkins, which were generously donated to us. I did NOT expect one of my little friends to paint it completely orange. Hilarious.

At home, we dressed up as the decades. I'm, not a huge costume person so forgive my sad expressions of the 20s era. Oh. And Murphy was a squirrel.

Halloween also brought us a foster pup! He is seriously teeny tiny for a boxer and is OBSESSED with people! <3 him

I met with our technology team for the 2nd time this week. They already have projects completed for me! We developed a survey to give to the teachers.  We wanted to find out what the teachers needs with tech are so that the team could help teachers develop their tech skills!

Well that was my was yours?!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

iPad Practice Day 3

Teaching technology literacy can be difficult with little ones (which you can read more about here and here). We are on Day 3 of learning how to use of iPads purposefully and we kindergarteners have some MAD skills!

On Day 3, we opened up our Showbie app again and practiced writing our letters with our new stylus pens. The kids showed me how to zoom in and out, follow 2- and 3- step directions on how to get to the document, and worked diligently on writing their letters. Since we have been doing a lot of paper work, it was exciting to change up our letter practice routine. 

Probably the most underrated feature of Showbie is the "zoom" feature. I love my kiddos are able to differentiate for themselves. Some need to zoom in more than others in order to be super neat with their writing, others like to challenge themselves and work with more control.  When I asked one little guy why he had an empty document, "Because I am trying to make it so nice and I keep wanting to try again!" 

It's nice to use Showbie because the kids can erase, practice an infinite amount of times, reflect on work, and come back to it to edit later! The new portfolio feature is fab for adding pieces to save for later!

Love these two friends! They are at such different places in their educational journey and both using the same medium to complete a task. One friend is showing me how she zoomed in to work and can use color patterns, and the other is challenging herself! Love, love, LOVE!

After we worked on our letters, we saved our Showbie work by pressing the "Done" button. I introduce the "Done" button as the blue word that starts with a D.  Since it is the only word on the page, there is more ease to finding it. I also get to call us all readers because we found the word! Major confidence booster for friends who struggle.

Next, we exited out of Showbie by "swiping out" and opened up Show Me - an interactive white board app. 

I let the kiddos play around for a minute - checking in to see which friends could utilized the similar icons and changing writing color feature. We wrote our sentence of the week "I see a..."

Next up - our friends erased the hand written sentence and opened up the keyboard.

We worked on using the keyboard to type the same sentence we had been able to write. Were all of us writing the whole sentence - absolutely not! But the kiddos who could, did and the kiddos would couldn't got exposure to finding letters in an unfamiliar arrangement. 

This friend wanted to add on! Way to go girl!

I cannot describe how fun it is to watch my kiddos explore working with tech in ways they haven't before. To recap:
Day 1: Explore, teach icons, home button, "swiping out," letting your iPad "sleep"
Day 2: Review Day, take selfies (save to home & lock screens), navigate 1 of your most important apps, show how to screen shot
Day 3: Review, work within 1 of your most important apps, introduce how to submit material, check for understanding of classroom material by using iPads

I am going to work on some video tutorials on how to teach tech literacy but I hate listening to myself talk so... right now I am just working on convincing myself it is a good idea. HA!

How do you teach tech literacy? What do you NEED your kids to know when they work with iPads?