More ABC Activities

I’m excited to share with you some of my favorite (and easy!) alphabet activities that I use with m,y kiddos at the beginning of the year.

#1 Leap Frog Letter Factory

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I found these cards about 8 years ago when my oldest daughter was young.  I am a HUGE fun of the Leap From games and DVDs.  These letter cards correspond with the Letter Factory videos.

I was happy to learn that you can still buy these letter cards at Amazon! Just click on the image to go and check them out!

#2 Alphabet Treasure Hunt

We also have a ton of fun with this game from Lakeshore.

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#3 Kagan Games

  My kids LOVE playing quiz quiz trade and once they learn the basic directions, you can play with all sorts of skills.  This game is from the Kindergarten set of ELA games.

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Here is a little peek inside of my ABC cupboard – I have two big cupboard spaces filled with ABC games and activities!  I always pick up ABC puzzles when I find them…I try to purchase 1 or 2 (or more!) games during the year to add to the selection.  The children do not choose from this cabinet! I pull out activities for centers that the children will work from.

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I love taking things that I already have and turning them into an activity.  It makes for an easy, and CHEAP way to keep the kids engaged.  These are my go-to activities when I don’t have a lot of time to prep, or I need something that is pretty simple for the kids to figure out.  They’re also great for Daily 5 rotations!

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I’ve organized all of these games into a packet for you. There are 20 activities total.  They are available as a bundled package or 10 in each set.  I hope you like them and that they will make the beginning of the year easier for you!!

I’ll be back soon with more of my favorite ABC activities!

Alphabet FUN!

I love the beginning of the school year – all the fresh faces coming into the classroom just eager and ready to learn!  I also love all of the fun learning games we play at the beginning of the year!

Today, I’m going to share with you a freebie game that I found on Making Learning Fun.  There are TONS of free resources on that site, so go on over and check it out!

One of the freebies they had was this super fun crocodile game:

I first saw this little fella last year, and told my husband we needed to switch our dishwasher detergent!  It’s a cascade pouch container! (BTW, I LOVE these!)  You can download everything you need from the Making Learning Fun website, but I wanted to spruce it up a little ;)

So, here is my version:

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I used craft foam for the top and also wrapped it around the entire container.  It was too hard to get off the Cascade label!

I retyped the poem, and fancied up the alphabet cards.

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The game can be played in a large or small group.  It is played like the classic game “bam.”  Children reach in, pull out a letter card and say the letter or sound (or both!).  If they have said the letter correctly, they place the card in the middle.  I like to put it in the middle so it is a class effort, rather than an individual effort.  If a child pulls out a snap card – all the children put out their arms (like an crocodile mouth) and say “snap! snap!” and all the cards go back inside.

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You can print off as many letter cards as you need if you need to focus on certain letter for kiddos.  Just put the letter cards that those kiddos need to work on inside the crocodile.

I love playing these fun games with kiddos! I’ve made up a bunch more whole group games like this if you would like to check them out! Just click the image below!

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Would you like to make the crocodile game for your class?  You could either head on over to Making Learning Fun and download the simple game for yourself.  Or download the fancier version here!

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Have fun!

Target Learning Goals and #create2educate

I gave a little glimpse of my other Michael’s project on Instagram, but I also wanted to share it here, because I am super excited about it.

Our district adopted the Marzano Teacher Evaluation System last year, and we are slowly easing into it. This year part of our focus is on posting target learning goals.  There are ALL sorts of ways to post target learning goals, and I hope that this method works for me.

In our Marzano training, we have learned that it is best to write your learning goal in front of and with your students.  Teaching Kindergarten, we all know that this can be a bit tricky! So, here is what I have come up with…

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It’s super easy to make…I purchased these magnetic dry erase boards from Michaels.

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Michael’s has TONS of ribbon in all sorts of patterns and widths, so I picked up a few spools, some letter stickers, and check out that chevron Washi tape!

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The project is SUPER easy.  You can whip it out in about 15 minutes! (Less if you don’t add the ribbon flowers)

You can also use dry erase markers to write your learning goals directly onto the board. Super easy,  colorful, and fun!

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Here are a few other examples for posting target learning goals. 

Click on the image to go directly to the source!

(Love the portion of her whiteboard where she posts the supplies the students will need)

I’ve always loved this one – it’s so clean and simple!

Since this is a BRAND NEW thing for me, I would LOVE to hear how your school requires you to post your learning goals.  Do you write them in front of the kids, while your write your lesson plans?  HELP!

Link up below with how you manage your target learning goals!

 

What you learn in Vegas…gets shared here!

Wow! What an amazing, whirlwind week! Not only do I have my very first SDE presentation under my belt, but I was able to hang out with some of the coolest people around!!

I attended some AMAZING sessions, and I can’t wait to share some ideas here.  I found some AMAZING vendors, and I will share their products here soon.  and I met some AMAZING people.  Overall the week was…..you guessed it….AMAZING.

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My session was such a great experience.  It was so fun sharing ideas with all of you! I hope that if you came to my session you walked away with one or two ideas that you could use in your classroom in the fall!  If you weren’t able to get in, I’ll try to share some things here throughout the year! I was so sad to hear that they were turning people away! I would have loved to have you just plop right down on the floor! Next time, right?!

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My friends.  Oh, how I love my friends.  This blogging gig opened up a whole new world of friends for me.  It’s been amazing.  Not only are they an incredibly talented group of women, but they are absolutely….yep, here’s that word again…amazing :)

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Me, Deedee Wills, Kim Adsit, Shari Sloane, Kim Jordano, Natalie Crockett

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Me, Deedee, Natalie

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Rachelle Smith, Natalie, Kim, Elvis, Erica Bohrer, Me

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Me, Shari, Kim J.

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Cheryl Saoud, Me

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Deanna Jump, Hope King, Me

Getting a breath of fresh air! Ha!!

And then we have the blogger meet-up….SO FUN.  There were SO many people there – way more than last year – I can’t wait to see how many people will be there NEXT year!!

We had SO many amazing sponsors that made the night possible…


A huge thank you to our sponsors :

SDE (Staff Development for Educators)

Thank you to those who donated some fabulous prizes!
Check out these links to see some amazing products just for TEACHERS!

And we LOTS of wonderful winners!

{Thank you to ALL of our amazing sponors!}Vegas 2013 Collage 2Vegas 2013 Collage 3Vegas 2013 Collage 4Vegas 2013 Collage 5Vegas 2013 Collage 6Vegas 2013 Collage 7(1)

These wonderful photographs and collages were all made by the fabulous
Natalie of What the Teacher Wants!

These two fabulous people came all the way from New York to sped the evening with us!  John Yoo (TpT Partner and CEO) and Amy Bernell (Community Manager at TpT) shared with us that TpT has many new and exciting adventures planned!

and WOW! Look at all these bloggers!  So much talent in one space!  I can’t wait until next year!

Thanks Jennifer for this pic! It’s so stinkin’ cute!

Until next year, Vegas! Thanks for another year of memories!

Now, head on over to What the Teacher Wants for more awesome pics and blog posts!

Michaels! #create2educate #sweepstakes

Oh, how I love to craft! I love making things for my classroom and home – although I rarely have the time to do it these days.

When Michaels contacted me and asked if I would participate in a crafting contest, I wholeheartedly said YES!

So….I went SHOPPING!  I ended up with 4 (yes FOUR) projects that I am going to share with you this week!

First up, upstyled cork boards!

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These are super simple to make, and you only need a few supplies:

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I used my Silhouette Cameo electronic cutter to cut out a letter/number pattern, but you can also use different sized stickers.

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Just stick it all over your cork tile.  Make sure to rub down all of the corners so the paint doesn’t seep under the stickers.

Next, get out your paint and your little spongy dobbers.

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Cover the WHOLE cork board with paint and let it dry thoroughly.  When the paint is completely dry, carefully pull off the vinyl letters – I used a sharp knife to pull up a corner.

Add some cute embellishments (I found all of these at Michael’s) and you’re good to go! It’s almost too pretty to hang any note on! (and I might not!)

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Want to play along and craft with me?!

Create a back to school project and upload your creation to Instagram using the hashtags #create2educate AND #sweepstakes (you have to use both). Your project could be featured on Michael's "Classroom Ideas" Pinterest board, and you could even win a $50 gift card to Michael's for your future creations! 

Be sure to follow @growingkinders and @michaelsstores on Instagram! 

Sweepstakes Details:
Michaels knows that creative teachers work hard all year to captivate their students, to making “boring” things come to life, and to create environments that fuel education. Join us in keeping the inspiration going as we kick off the 2013/2014 school year with the#Create2Educate sweepstakes!

Create your own Back-to-School project—anything from classroom d├ęcor and organization, to a learning activity for your students. Then, enter the Michaels sweepstakes by uploading a photo of your creation to Instagram using #Create2EducateAND #sweepstakes.

Each day we’ll feature our favorite Instagram photos on the Michael’s “Classroom Ideas” Pinterest board, and we’ll randomly pick one lucky teacher daily to win a $50 Michael’s Gift Card. Create as many Back-to-School projects as you’d like and upload photos of them to Instagram for more chances to win. #Create2Educate opens for entries on July 21st and closes on August 3rd. Head to Michael’s and get inspired today.

Don’t’ forget that teachers get 15% off of their purchase all year long at Michaels! 

Happy Crafting! And be watching for my THREE other projects this week!