Leprechauns…better late than never!

It has been crazy up in my neck of the woods and I apologize for not getting this post up when you could have actually used these items!  But, you can save them for next year!  The good news is…I have finished my first draft of my thesis paper and have submitted it for review.  That is a HUGE weight off of my shoulders. I know there are still many hours of work left on it, plus adding all the supplemental ideas and activities, but, phew, I am breathing a sigh of relief.  Thank you to all of you that submitted awesome vocab ideas!  If you have a great idea for vocabulary or oral language, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment under this post.

Onto the goodies!
We had a short week the week of St.Patrick’s day for our spring break (ha! We had a blizzard here last week!!), so I continued the leprechaun fun into last week.  Here is a glimpse into our classroom:

{Many of my centers this week were inspired by the ever talented Julie Lee! Make sure you visit her blog when you get a chance!}

~Math Centers~

This center is super simple to make – you need a cauldron for your pot of gold, (you can find them at party stores or during Halloween)some gold gems, and a sharpie marker!  Write the number 1-100 on your gold gems, and have the children pull one gem out at a time, find it on their number grid, and color it in. 


Subtracting with Shamrocks:



I got this center from a friend last year. I used a clock puzzle that I found at TJ Maxx a few years ago.  The children put together the puzzle pieces and write the time on their clocks.


Adding gold coins:



This is another center from a friend – the children stamp the corresponding coin.  I also had a coin memory game that they played when they were finished.


~Literacy Centers~

This sheet also came from a friend (thanks, friend!). The children pulled out a blend figurine from the pot of gold and then wrote it under the correct “pot of blends!”


This is my lift the flap blend center.  The children lifted the flap, wrote the corresponding word by stretching out the sounds and then wrote a sentence using one of the words.


The children used jumbo letter stamps to stamp the middle vowel sound.


You can’t see it in his hand, but the leprechaun is holding a picture – the children had to stretch out the sounds to write the word on the line.DSCN0721

Yet another one from my fab friend – the children put the sight words in ABC order and then wrote them on the lines next to the correct letter.


If you have any questions about any of the centers, don’t hesitate to contact me! Transportation centers up next!

PS – If you decide to grab any of my downloads, please leave a comment below and become a follower.  It’s a few extra steps (and a lot more time) to attach the downloads, and if no one is downloading, I won’t attach them anymore.  Thanks for your consideration!


Here are some April pages for you…

Calendar songs (from jmeacham.com)

Calendar pages – most of my calendar pages are from Kim Adsit’s and Shari Sloane’s Student Calendar Notebook –  but I made these to supplement them.

And a cover for your April journals:

Need Some Light Reading…

that will make you smile?

Head on over to my friend AnnieB’s blog:


Become a follower and tell her I sent ya.

Gum Ball Machine

I need help!  Mostly because my brain is mush this week.  My four year old sugarbug has been out with the flu all week this week.  Yes, the real flu – influenza! On Thursday, she was feeling better – her fever was finally down, and she was starting to get her spunk back.  I had my first full day back at school on Thursday when we had Kindergarten Round-Up (SO FUN meeting all the little babies coming next year!), she stayed home with hubby.  By that evening, she was crying in pain (up all night) with ear aches.  We brought her back in (took her on Wednesday) to the doctor, and she has double ear infections! Thank goodness those meds work quick, and she was feeling good enough to go back to daycare.

So this weekend is a busy one for me – I still have to finish my thesis paper, and I have another paper for another class…hope my brain becomes less mushy!

So, on to my question…I bought an adorable little gumball machine at JoAnn’s over Christmas break.  It has “smarties” gumballs in it.  I snatched it up! But now, I don’t know what to do with it! The kiddos are eyeing it constantly, but not sure how to use it as a motivator!  Any creative ideas out there?

PS – I’ll be back this weekend with some new blog posts and some downloads too!!


Daily Fix-It & Math Problem Solving

I seriously lack in the area of daily fix its.  I think they are really hard for kinders at the beginning of the year…and they are BORING.   I like to start doing them at this time of the year when the kiddos have a good grasp of sentence structure, and are pretty great little readers Smile.

I came up with this version of daily fix it:



Right now, the children are doing this for morning work while we wait for the other kids (half of my class!) to come from breakfast.  It works out well because there is plenty of time for the children to work on detailed drawings.  When the children work through the fix-its, I have them first try to read the sentence.  Then they circle any errors that they find.  I usually tell them the number of errors.  They then re-write the sentence in their neatest handwriting and add their corresponding illustration.  There is also always a mixed-up sight word as well, so they get practice noticing that and referring to the word wall if they need to. So, we get some editing and handwriting practice in.  The last step is to have a friend check it.  I love this part – the children are harder on each other than I am, and they are so receptive to their peers’ criticism!

The second new thing we have been working on (well, it’s not really new, but this format is) is our daily problem solving book.  In the past, we have done this in our math journals, and I have had to prepare labels or cut out strips.  We would have the messiness of glue and goo…argh..frustrated me to no end.  So, I created the March Problem Solving Book! 

We use this as both a literacy and math activity by circling or highlight words/sounds we know, underlining important information and so on.  It takes us about 15 minutes to get through it.  The children LOVE it, and I LOVE the learning they are getting from it.  They are becoming great little problem solvers!




Vocabulary Instruction

I am starting to write my final thesis for my master’s degree.  I have been reading a TON about vocabulary instruction {which is totally lacking in the primary grades!}. I would love to hear how you teach vocabulary in your Kindergarten/First Grade classrooms or if you even teach it at all!  You can send me an e-mail at growingkinders@gmail.com or you can leave a comment below.  If you have a link to a blog post about vocabulary instruction, leave that too!

Thanks for your help!!

Quick St. Patrick’s Art Idea


Super easy directed drawing of a pot of gold! 

1. Draw the grass line

2. Draw a “u” in the middle

3. Draw a “c” and a backwards “c” on each side of the pot – connect the lines

4. Add the gold

5. Add the lines for the rainbow

6. Go over each line with the corresponding color of crayons

7. Water color!

I also have done a version of this with a leprechaun next to it. I don’t have a picture, but I have my print out of what I did on my Activboard – I will try to remember to scan that tomorrow and post it for you to see! They turn out super cute!

Last day before spring break tomorrow!

Yep, our spring break is 2 days Sad smile - BUT, hey, the snow was melting today, and it was a BALMY 41 degrees! Break out the flip flops and capris!! Summer is here! ha!

*Update* Here is the screen shot of the directed drawing I did last year with the kiddos – we also did the leprechaun in the picture; I don’t know how I forgot him this year!  We might have done 2 drawings – one in which we labeled his clothing.  I can’t remember!! Excuse the mushroom scribble at the bottom, I am having problems getting Picasa to open, so I can’t crop it!


Calendar Book

I haven’t gotten a chance to take photos of our March Calendar book in action, but I think you’ll get the gist of it with photos from February!

My friends convinced me to start doing calendar book in September this year.  In the past, I have started at after our Christmas break.  I was a little hesitant at first, but like always, the kiddos blew me away!  I only started with a September calendar (with the numbers dotted), and the days in school number grid.  Each month I add more pages.

We do our calendar book using our ActivBoard, but it can just as easily be done the “old fashioned” way.  I copy the pages on construction paper each month so they hold up a little bit better.  They are in a small 1/2” three ring binder (Sam’s Club) and each has a pencil pouch that holds a crayon and a pencil.  (I figure the binders last about 2 years – after a while the rings start to open really easily – which equates to a mess of papers on the floor!)

So, this is what calendar book looks like for us:

The children gather on the floor in front of the white board with their calendar books.  We will often start with some sort of song or chant.  In the beginning of the year, it was a lot of alphabet songs that the children could follow along with.




We try to write the numbers in some sort of pattern on the calendar page.  The children have their own calendar page – I generally find these at Jessica Meacham’s site.




We write the day and sing the days of the week and the months of the year.



We write the date in coins.



Practice tally marks (one tally mark for each day).



Check the temperature and track that.



Graph the weather.



Practice counting by 2s and odd/even numbers.



Practice reading the clock and writing the time.


Place value – this one also has a “straw” page that a friend made, I must have forgotten to take a picture!


Days in school 100s grid (we continued onto another grid after the 100th day)

And lots and lots of songs….




And of course the tooth tally and birthday chart (not pictured) as needed.

I like to start off calendar book using a video from Heidi Songs.  We only do about half of the video while we wait for everyone to get their morning work put away and come to the carpet. 

Keep in mind that we didn’t START with all of these pages in their calendar books!  I add a page or 2 every month based on what they need.  The kids get SOOO excited about a new page.  I try to do the page that I want to add for about a month on the ActivBoard before I give it to the kids.  That way they know exactly what to expect. 

Kim Adsit has an excellent resource available on her TpT store if you’re interested in starting calendar book.  She and Shari Sloane will walk you through all the steps you need to get started!  Once you start doing calendar book, you will never go back! The children are SO engaged in calendar every morning, and are practicing all of these skills EVERY day! 

If you have questions, please let me know!  This certainly isn’t my idea – with the help of my awesome friends and some great internet resources (Shari Sloane and Jessica Meacham) I was able to get started and continue to add things that my kiddos need.  Just take it slow in the beginning! You can do it!

Snow, Report Cards, Puppies, and….poop?

My wonderful husband keeps telling me that spring is coming.  My question is when.  I have been waiting ever so patiently, but the snow is not decreasing….rather increasing.  A nice fresh coat of powder fell last night and this morning.  Hubby is excited because he might be able to ski again.

(Background – he grew up in Norway…where skiing is one of the main forms of transportation Winking smile – Norwegians are born with skis on their feet.  (Hence the reason my kids got skis when they were 3) Having moved to FLAT, COLD North Dakota, he doesn’t get to ski as often as he likes.  When there is enough snow on the ground, it is TOO cold. So, he’s a bit giddy at the idea of warmer temps (20) with new snow)

It’s really sad when the kids get excited about being at “purple” when we track the temperature.  It’s been “white” for quite some time.


When we FINALLY got to go outside today (it has to be warmer than –10 {with the windchill}, we had quite an adventure.  A lovely, excited, sweet puppy decided to join in on the fun.  What an adventure – trying to keep 40 curious kinder kids away from the joyful pup. {I was too afraid of the sweet puppy nipping a child! – Although they probably had enough layers that they would be okay!}

Progress reports also went home today.  What a draining process.  Our report cards have SO many entries.  I’m curious to know what others look like….

And, I know you’re DYING to hear about the poop.  Nope, it wasn’t on my floor, I leave that up to my friend and her classroom Winking smile.  It was quite an interesting discussion when a sweet dear one asked why stomachs can hurt. (While I’m conferencing with them during Writer’s Workshop).  I told her that sometimes you just need to go poop.  Can you guess the next questions?  Where does poop come from??….. then it went into a biology lesson….I would like to hear the dinner table conversations of those kiddos tonight…

So, on that note…

Here are a couple of printables..

The first ones are my very first pages in my March Calendar Book – they are originally from Jessica Meacham’s site, but I “fancied them up” a little bit.


Next is a Lion/Lamb sight word page.  March came in like a lion, I certainly hope it goes out like a lamb!



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