ABC Come Learn with Me! Environmental Print!

abc come learn with me
Raise your hand if you do some fun stuff with environmental print during the year?
Why not combine environmental print and alphabet fun!
Here are a couple of fun ideas I found via Pinterest.
mtsofan 5009170911 in photostream from flickr
It is from a flickr photo stream.  {HERE} is the original source.

I LOVE this display!  I tried to do it last year, but it was a bit of a flop!  I couldn’t get my parents to send in any labels! (Tips?!) I think it’s a fantastic time filler while you are waiting at the door.
I whipped up a sheet that your kiddos can do during free choice time or center time to SPY letters.
My friend and co-worker came up with this awesome idea for the kiddos to use when they are “spying” letters.IMG_4136
All you need to do is die-cut some O’s, attach a little handle to it, and run it through the laminator.  Trim around the outside, but leave the film in the middle of the O.  Brilliant!!  I cut this one on my Silhouette Cameo – I am going to make them in all sorts of colors and make a BIG one for whole group I Spy games! Fun!
WARNING: Don’t buy these Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreos---they are DANGEROUSLY good!
How do you use environmental print in your classroom?

VersaTiles– Product Review

ETA Hand2Mind recently contacted me and asked if I would take a peek at one of their long-popular products – VersaTiles.  I had heard of VersaTiles before, but I had never had a chance to play with them.  My husband’s company actually did some programming for VersaTiles, and he TRIED to explain what they were to me, but I never really understood.
So, I was excited when they told me they would send a Readiness Starter Kit my way.
I put my 5 year old to work on them…
IMG_3735Here’s what you do…open up the tiles, and place the tiles numbered side up on the lid, and the “open” blue section on top of the answer key.
The top 8 boxes have the questions…(see the balloons)…So for number one, she needed to figure out the letter that comes next..(D) – she would find the D on the answer key, and place the number 1 tile on it.  See the R there?  She would put the number 8 tile there.  Make sense?
Boy, was she focused!!  (She did catch her mistake, by the way!)
After all the tiles were in place, she closed the lid, flipped it over and checked to see if the design matched the one on the page.  
This is a great independent activity, but does take a little time to master.  She was easily confused with the activities with numbers.  However, I do think with continued practice it will be a cinch for her.
I really liked this readiness pack because it had many many skills that kids at the beginning of kindergarten could use such as vowel sounds, rhyming words, beginning and ending sounds, colors and shapes, numbers and counting, and so much more! (You can even make your own activities!)
I would like to purchase a few more of the tile sets so I can use them as a morning center for my kiddos! I know they would LOVE them!
Here’s a video that shows a bit more about Versa Tiles


ETA hand 2 mind would like to give away a Versa Tiles Readiness Starter Set to one lucky follower.
To enter the giveaway...
1) LIKE Growing Kinders on Facebook!
2) Check out ETA's hand 2 mind Facebook page and "like" them.
Please leave only ONE comment for both of these items.  Extra comments will be deleted  :(  (Be sure to leave your e-mail address – if there is no e-mail address, I can’t contact you to send you your prize!)
(Please be honest, and actually do these 2 requirements before you enter, I do not check, but there have been incidences in the past when people don’t follow the contest rules)
The giveaway ends Tuesday night July 31st at midnight. Thanks for entering and good luck!

PLEASE leave your comments on the BLOG, NOT on Facebook. I read them all, but can only count the ones on the blog! Thanks!!

Christmas in July Sale!! Be Quick!

When it is hot and humid outside, sometimes you have to think cold!
So here is the deal:  Seasonal items have been placed on sale for JUST ONE DAY!  Grab some Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter fun!

A huge thank you to Babbling Abby for making this adorable picture!

In Pictures and In Words–Ch. 9

So sorry about the delay with this chapter! We just returned from a family vacation to Niagara Falls – there were a few hiccups along the way….a couple of broken bones, stomach flu, car sickness…just another average family vacation :)

First things first…

The winners of the giveaway from Chapter 8!


On to Chapter 9…

This chapter is about “wholeness of text.”  What the heck does that mean?  Basically it’s the consistency of the illustrations throughout the text.  It is all about creating a tone and a visual narrative that maintains its integrity throughout the book.

Here are some samples…

Technique 23:  Keeping Static Details Consistent – the static details of characters, objects, and places are consistent throughout the book.

I think that this technique is one of the hardest for our kindergarten kiddos.  When they turn the page and draw a new picture, it’s SO fun to put a new hair color on their mom, or different shoes on their sister, and so on.  We want them to realize that when they are writing a story about one event or idea and when they turn the page, the details still need to stay the same.

Katie suggests when teaching this technique to deliberately stop and take a minute to check the details in the drawings and  notice what stays the same in each picture and what changes.

Here is a well-loved book that you can use to show how the illustrator keeps an important item (character) looking the same throughout the book.

IMG_4108   IMG_4109IMG_4110   IMG_4111IMG_4114   IMG_4118

With this book, you can guide the children to notice that no matter the setting that Corduroy is in, his overalls still stay the same color – that beautiful green. :)

Technique #27: Crafting Artful Repetition : The composition of an illustration may be repeated as a way to show change.

Circular books are a great way to show this technique. One of my favorites is Plaidypus Lost by Susan Stevens Crummel. The children ADORE this book!

Plaidypus stays the same in every setting in the book. 


IMG_4121  IMG_4122

This poor little girl….she keeps losing her Plaidypus, and then find him again…looking the same as he did before. 

IMG_4123  IMG_4124

Technique #28:  Crafting and ending that pulls multiple text elements together:  An ending illustration may pull visual elements together from across the text.

The text that immediately came to mind was…


Now, it’s your turn! What are your thoughts on this chapter? {I thought it was a bit tricky!}

Head on over to see Cheryl at Primary Graffiti and link up your blog post or leave a comment with book suggestions for this chapter’s techniques.

Primary Graffiti

How To Follow A Blog

How do you follow blogs?  Do you bookmark each page and go to the page to visit?  Do you type in the URL?  I follow my blogs through my Google reader.

After visiting with some new friends in Vegas we realized that many people did not know how to actually follow a blog.  My brilliant friend, Deedee of Mrs. Wills Kindergarten wrote this great tutorial on how to actually follow a blog. 

Take a peek: (all credit for the great images go to Deedee!)

If you do not have a Google account you can create one.  (I highly recommend a gmail account – you can save tons of stuff in google docs and use the reader there too!)

Then you can view those blogs you follow in one place.

You go to your blogger dashboard (see #6).


You can view them with Google Reader (#7)

Got it?

News and Updates!

These last 2 weeks have been cuh-razy!  As soon as I got back from Las Vegas, my in-laws from Norway arrived, and then we left on our journey to Niagara falls.  This trip has been quite an adventure…

It was a rough round of mini-golf…


She’s been a trooper though!

Other updates…

I met sweet Alessia from Mrs. Albanese’s Kindergarten when we were in Vegas, and she has put together a great give away from some bloggers that were in Vegas.

Stop on over to her blog and check it out!

and, I finally have a Facebook page!!  Come find me, okay!? Click on the Facebook icon below!


I also have been working in the car and finished the first installment of a new series of activities to use in your dramatic play center!  Who says kids can’t play in Kindergarten?  Keep your dramatic play center and add these fun activities, and your principal will not be able to tell you that you need to get rid of it because of all the activities for common core you have placed in the center! Yay!! 

First up – Fun in the Kitchen!



I will release a new set each month for you to add (change) to your dramatic play area.  Each kit will have a different theme. Sounds fun, huh? I am super excited to add these activities to my dramatic play area!

What do you think?!