I am a lucky lady…Chicago

Because I can call these amazing bloggers my friends…


I’m sure you’ve seen the photos on all of these wonderful ladies blogs.  I had the best weekend with them in Chicago.  Many of us met up at the Las Vegas Kindergarten Conference and have been chit chatting ever since!  All of them teach me something new and inspire me every.single.day.  They are an amazing group of women, and so inspiring as educators.  I am so thankful to have them in my life.

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Be sure to check out all of these amazing blogs – I know they’ve posted more pics!

Cheryl from Primary Graffiti
Kim Adsit from The Kinder Gals
Lindsey from The Teacher Wife
Michelle from Fabulous in First
Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class
Amanda from One Extra Degree

Oh, and the other awesome thing about Chicago….I got to see my favorite singer for the 3rd time! (and it was at the STUNNING Chicago Theater!)

That’s the ever-fab Sarah Cooley from First Grader…At Last.  She was one of the.very.first teaching blogs out there! She’s a big Brandi fan too, and it was SO FUN seeing the concert with her! 

Wonderful memories. Amazing women.  Inspiring Educators.

Rocking and Rhyming!

hip hop alphabopWe love to sing and rhyme in our classroom.  One of our favorite songs to jam out to is Jack Hartman’s “Make a Rhyme, Make a Move” from his Hip Hop Alphabop Volume 2 CD.

As a quick time filler, I put some of the miniatures from the Lakeshore Vowel Teaching Tubs into a basket and pass one out to each child.  Make sure that you have enough sets of rhymes for the children in your class.  So, if I have 18 kids, I will put 9 rhyming pairs into the basket.

Vowel Teaching Tubs

We sing this song:

rhyming basket pic

Yes, it’s kinda corny (ok, really corny), but you have to be corny with Kinders! (You can download it by clicking on it!) The cute clipart is by Lauren Thompson of the First Grade Diaries.

We also rocked out with a little Queen-esque rhyming.  Yes, really corny, but the kids LOVE it.  Channel your inner Freddy Mercury and sing on.

rhyme time song

I pass out the cards to the kiddos (you can use the little miniatures too) and have them find the person with their rhyming match.  I call up groups of 2 and we sing the song with their rhymes.  Oh, and you totally have to get the rhythm going with lap slaps and claps! (You WILL hear them chant it for the rest of the day!)

Click on the image for the download!

What’s your favorite activity to practice rhyming?

Whisper Words

This is a super fun idea that I learned from Kim Jordano last weekend!

Grab one of those free lanyards that you have laying around from a conference you’ve been to.  You can fancy it up a bit – I didn’t have time, but I think I’ll hot glue some gems around the edges! 


Slip a word that you are working on in the pocket, and choose a kiddo to wear it.  Children can whisper the word into that child’s ear throughout the day.  (Obviously, you’ll have to teach when it’s okay to do it!)  Then they write the word and their name on a piece of paper and put it in the whisper word box!  They practice identifying the word and writing the word!  The child that is wearing the word will know that word REALLY well by the end of the day.

At the end of the week, pull a name out of the box for a special prize!

Fire House Dramatic Play

It’s finally done! Sorry for the loooong wait! I know your kiddos will love this one though! Pull out the fire hats, grab some flashlights, dust off the phone and have fun! (oh, and do some learning too!)

cover fire house

and here’s a little freebie for you too!

extinguish sight words

3 Cheers For Kindergarten!

Today our district’s kindergarten team hosted our state conference.  It was a blast!  Thank you so much to all the teachers that helped pull this conference together – you guys are awesome!  IMG_4708

Kim Jordano was the featured speaker, and if you haven’t visited her blog or website, you MUST!  She has some super ideas!

Here are a few that she showed us!





Be sure to check out her sites for more details on these fun ideas as well as resource materials that you can purchase!!


Thanks for coming Kim! Hope you enjoyed your time here!

Fire Safety and Fall Centers

Here’s a quick peek at our centers from this week:



This fun game is from my friend and Vegas roomie Deedee Wills.  The kids had a blast with this game – I think it might be a regular in our math bins!  You can find it in her Fire, Community Helper and Rescue Math Workstations packet.

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This is a little ditty that I made up last year.  The children enjoy walking around with clipboards, and at this center, they were walking around counting acorns!


This one is also from Deedee – the children the picture based on the color code.  I had them roll the dice for a little more fun.  When they finished, they sorted the number cards.


This one is from Julie Lee. I don’t remember which pack it’s from -- Julie can you help me out?! The children practiced making fall patterns. They really enjoyed this activity!


This one uses the fill-in-the blank phonics stampers from Lakeshore.  LOVE these stampers!  I own both sets and use them quite frequently.  This time the children were writing in the beginning sound.


At this center, the children rolled the dice and wrote the beginning sound.  Great handwriting practice!  This one is from my It’s Fall Y’all Math and Literacy pack.


At this center, the children played Memory with upper and lowercase letter cards.  The cards are included in the packet, but I made it into a flipchart.  The kids had a blast with it.  (Sorry, I can’t share that flipchart because of clipart copyrights!)


And at this center, the children rolled the dice, read the color word, found the matching word and colored it.  I couldn’t find my master of the color words, so I had to quickly just write the words!  It works!  (This one is also in my fall pack).

Here’s some freebies to get you through the rest of your week! Hope you can use them!  Thanks for being such amazing readers and supporting me SO much!

sound scarecrow     roll a scarecrow

acorn count the room

download the signs {HERE}

Gator Grabber Winner!

The winner is Mendy!  You didn’t leave an e-mail address – please contact me by Friday or I will have to choose a new winner.

I’ll be back soon with this weeks centers and some freebies!

Thanks for playing and for all the great fine motor activities and ideas!!

Fine Motor + A Giveaway

So many of our little kinders come in to our classroom with weak fingers and hands.  Our school OT says part of it has to do with fewer babies spending time on their tummies and/or crawling. With the invention of exersaucers our kiddos are sitting upright more often.

It’s important to do lots of activities to encourage fine motor growth and hand strength.

Here are some ideas:

  • Making play dough balls with the forefinger and thumb
  • Tongs, tweezers, and clothes pin activities
  • Clipping paperclips on paper
  • Picking up small items like buttons, gems, and pom poms
  • Threading beads on pipe cleaners
  • Placing small stickers on paper

Here are more fantastic ideas for fine motor development:

One of the centers that my kiddos enjoy is this sorting center:


These little tweezers, aka “Gator Grabbers” are from Learning Resources.  They are sized just perfectly for little hands and have just enough resistance for the kids.


Here are the “specs” from the Learning Resources website:

  • Helps develop the pincer grasp needed for writing and fine motor skills needed for daily living: e.g. buttoning, zipping a zipper, holding a toothbrush, picking up finger foods etc.
  • Great for children who are hypersensitive to textures: they can participate in tactile play using tweezers to hold and move objects
  • Assists in development of eye-hand coordination (visual-motor integration)
  • Incorporate puppet-like conversations to enhance communication and social interactions (Gator can speak to or try to gobble up the other person, increasing direct contact with another)
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    These adorable tweezers look like little alligators and come 12 to a pack (2 each of red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and purple).  You can purchase here {HERE} for $10.99 (what a steal!) or you can win a set!!

    Simple do the following:

    1. Find Learning Resources on Facebook and “like” them

    2. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite fine motor activity! Be sure to leave your e-mail!

    PS- This giveaway will end on Friday, October 5, 2012