August 14, 2017

Back to School


Happy August - Happy Back to School!
My Kinderfriends and I have gotten together for a blog hop. I hope you will join us!
Kindness. It sure matters. It matters in a very BIG way. I am in such dismay over the events of this past weekend. It almost feels hopeless. But I can only dwell there for a moment and then I want to do something to help, to make a difference. Teachers can do something.  We can continue to teach acceptance. We can continue to teach kindness. We can continue to teach tolerance and we can continue to teach love. Isn't it wonderful how books have a way of making big concepts just a little bit easier for young students to understand? It makes them relatable, meaningful and are terrific conversation starters which can lead to big ideas and powerful activities!
Here is one of my favorites books about kindness:
Here is the link to a read it online.
It is a fabulous story! I know you will love it and your students too! There are tons of ways to extend this story. How about creating a kindness bulletin board? Get your students involved and brainstorm specific ways to show kindness to one another at school. Why not print them (or write them) on hearts and hang them up! 
Teaching students to chose kindness above everything else will make a difference! I created a free reader and it is available in my store to you. Please use it with your students and continue to make time to teach kindness....because it truly matters.
Hop on over to Pocketful of Centers! Pam has a great blog post waiting for you.  
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March 20, 2017

Spring Is In The Air with Kinderfriends!

Welcome to the KINDERFRIENDS Freebies Blog Hop! This is Hop is going to be filled with terrific Spring resources and fun freebies too!
Spring is in the air and with that brings warmer weather and for us here in Florida, bugs! This year my class is SO fascinated by non-fiction text. They can explain many of the non-fiction text features that make it so, but I still hear...Mrs. Harrington, is that really "REAL STUFF?" Whether it is a trip to the school media center to browse the non-fiction books, or reading our Scholastic News Magazines, or a close read of informational text…they are in awe! And as a teacher, I am in heaven…because they are hooked! Teaching Kindergarten and First Grade has its challenges and among them are finding cool, interesting, non fiction text that is at a level where they can feel successful as readers. Like many teachers, if I can't find exactly what I need for my students…then there is only one thing left to do - CREATE IT!  Just  this past week, St. Patrick's Day was upon us and among the excitement of that little, green, leprechaun fellow...I decided to feature something else that was just as exciting and intriguing…and well, GREEN! So, I introduce my friend praying mantis. There was a quiet, collective gasp as I projected this picture of him on the screen in the front of the classroom….you might say I had their complete and undivided attention (and that my friends, doesn't necessarily happen every day!)
 
I followed up with a few more photos and a little discussion, then gave them a short & sweet close read about this fascinating creature. The students were anxious to get their hands on the information and off they went to read. After reading, I asked for them to turn and talk about something that they learned. I could hear things like "It said it can be green BUT it can be brown too" and "I read it eats its prey head first" (ewwwww!) and "It got its name because it looks like it is praying!" 
The discussion lead to another task which was rereading the information to answer
questions about the praying mantis. I've taught them to find the evidence in the text with a yellow crayon. I like to call it "buttering" which is better known as highlighting; but for Kindergartners and Firsties, I make the analogy - "it's like when you butter toast." So, off they went to read the questions on the front of the flip book, reread, butter the evidence, and write the answer in their own words.
Talk about being busy…and super engaged! WOW. I SO love that!
Do you have a special way that you like to share non-fiction/informational text in the classroom?
We would love to know your secrets and tips of how you hook your students and get them excited about ….the "REAL STUFF."
Speaking of bugs, how about a little Caterpillar Math FREEBIE from my Class of Kinders store? Perfect for morning work, homework, or even consider laminating them and putting in a math station or center to be used over and over again.
I hope you will enjoy! Now, hop on to Mrs. Byrd's Learning Tree for more
 RESOURCES and FREEBIES too!




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February 10, 2017

Sharing the Love with YOU!

It is no lie, being a teacher is one of the toughest jobs ever. I do LOVE it - but I tell you without my teacher BFFs I can not even imagine how much more difficult teaching would be. Can I get an amen?! With that being said, some of my teacher BFFs are rallying together to spread a little love this February. What does that mean to you? Well, if you comment below on my blog with something you LOVE about teaching, you will be entered to win ANY resource from my store. That means if your name is one of the 2 randomly selected from the comments below, I will notify you by mail (on 2/15) that you may pick any 1 item from my store...at no charge. I will then send it to you via email to use in your classroom. Not only that, but I will be donating 10% of my earnings from my Teacher Pay Teacher Store from 2/10-2/14 to Suncoast Hospice.
This organization has helped many people in my family, three just within the past year. I will be making this donation in loving memory of my Brother in Law Jim, my Uncle Barry and my friend Jeff.

The inauguration of a new president sure did prompt me to spend some time in my classroom promoting the ideas of peace, love and kindness. I felt like it was one way I could channel some of my disappointment in what I was seeing on television and reading in social media. So my students and I used several of the resources from my Be a Peacemaker Pack. 
We came up with this little directed drawing using crayons and paint too. The kids loved it....we added what peace meant to them and hung them in the hallway.
I followed up with compliment writing. Teaching the children in my classroom to look for ways to make friends feel good...sort of "catching" them doing kind works and writing to tell them so. "I like the way you..." "You are really good at...." "It made me smile when you..." After teaching my students how to use one of my writing compliment pages, I then put several others in the writing center and that love spread like wildfire. I want to give you one to use with your students.
My hope is that you will find a few minutes during the upcoming week to share the love of spreading kindness, by writing compliments with your students. The only "rule" is, if a student writes a compliment to a student, then that student must write back. Please grab one of these compliment pages to try with your students from my store and open up the preview. It is there for you. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will continue to let us share the love by hopping on over to Cara's Kindergarten Boom Boom blog

January 13, 2017

Warming Up With Sneezy the Snowman!

My kinderfriends and I have gotten together this month to bring you some stories to warm your hearts! It is a January blog hop of sorts and we hope you will enjoy.
Living way down south (even in the Winter) we have plenty of warm days. We had some cold weather, it lasted 2 days and then we were back up to 80 degrees. So my students can only share experiences of being in the snow, dream about being in the snow ...or read stories about being in the snow. After all, we are in Florida!

Last month, I stumbled across this book Sneezy the Snowman! The illustrations caught my eye first and then well... I bought it! (The life of a teacher!) It tells of a snowman who is cold and all he wants to do is warm up! So his friends help by doing all sorts of things to keep him warm. They give him hot cocoa,  a cap,  a jacket,  a scarf, etc. But each time - he gets too warm and melts! It really is a cute story - just perfect for teaching and giving students practice retelling and sequencing story events.

You can get the book from amazon just CLICK HERE. If you would like to read it to your students online you can just CLICK HERE.

I have created this little freebie to go with the story! I hope you and your students will love the story and this activity too! Stay warm!
To grab it from my store CLICK HERE.

Thanks for stopping by....please continue our #kinderfriends blog hop by heading on to Cara's page at KINDERGARTEN BOOM BOOM! I am sure she has another story that will warm your heart too!

December 12, 2016

Holidays Around the World



I have joined together with some pretty fabulous teachers to bring you some Holiday Around the World ideas. It is our December Blog Hop! We also have put some items on sale in our TeachersPayTeachers store. Just search #kinderfriends to find those resources quickly! Need a vocabulary activity to help with your studies of Holidays Around the World in December? Here is one perfect for Hanukkah!

It's FREE from me! Merry Christmas! Grab it here from my Class of Kinders Store on TpT!

Now, click on over to check out Wendy with First Grade Fireworks, she has something for you too! But before you go, scroll to the bottom to enter to win a $25 TpT gift card from all of us at #kinderfriends! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

October 10, 2016

What a Treat!

Happy October! Today it is all about TREATS for TEACHERS with #Kinderfriends!!
Why not? Afterall, it is October! This is the month of Costumes. Candy. Pumpkins. Jack-o-lanterns. Treats. Who wouldn't be excited??! Well, maybe not teachers as much. Halloween is on a dreaded Monday this year! Yes. A Monday! Well, for me...it doesn't HAVE to be October to give my students treats! I don't exactly call them treats, but that is basically what they are! Treats are fun, they are positive and they are motivating. Throughout the year, I do a math fluency weekly check. It's called Gumball Math. When a student masters a level, in a given about of time they earn a real gumball. What a treat!
My daily behavior is a light system (star, green, yellow or red.) And as a bonus, if a student earns three stars in one week, they get to pick from the classroom Star Jar. Inside there are little folded cards with things like: shoes off for the day, a new eraser, bring in a small stuffed animal for the day, extra ipad time, a new pencil ...and even the coveted school lunch date with the teacher! What a treat!
I also use a mystery walker incentive when we travel in the hallways. Basically I randomly choose a stick (with a student's name) from a jar as I exit the classroom. Students don't know who it is and I watch this person all the way to and from. If they were a fantastic example, they get one of these items on their desk until the next mystery walker earns it. Then it gets passed on. (These are random little things - some seasonal. Some not...it's like gold to my students!) What a treat!
I also have this old wood teacher chair that I gave new life to with some paint. I sit in it in our whole group area. This chair is up for grabs in my room. It can be traded for a student's chair as a special reward too. What a treat!
 On Friday, we have FROG time, which is just an acronym for Free play Rewarded On Good Behavior (it is tied to returning homework too.) I bought these Jelly Beadz on amazon and put just 4 teaspoons (which was not even a 1/4 of the bag) in a container with water for 6 hours and they all swelled up to be the size of a small marble. Tons of beautiful colors and absolutely irresistible to not touch! Place them inside a good size clear plastic tub with some spoons and small bowls, even perhaps a few oversized plastic tweezers and it instantly becomes a sensory tub with an opportunity to strengthen fine motor. Why not sort the colors? Throw in some plastic letters and now there is an academic twist. What a treat!
 I try to keep seasonal things in my Literacy Centers to keep them interesting; like these Halloween pencils from the Target Dollar Spot. Now they all want to write, write, write! What a treat!
And finally we have a birthday spot in the classroom. It is the place the birthday boy or girl goes on their special day and chooses a crazy balloon straw and a birthday bracelet! What a treat!
Treats! They are fun and the kids really respond well. I also have a treat for all Teachers today on my blog! A chance to win a $25 dollar gift card to teacherspayteachers.com. All you have to do is follow my store to be entered for a chance to win it. Please enter the rafflecopter below and the winner will be announced on the 15th of October. So check back to find out who wins this teacher treat!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Lots more Blog Hop Giveaways with my other #Kinderfriends. Next check out Cristina with The Primary Besties! Don't miss her giveaway.

September 12, 2016

Swinging into School: Let 'Em See You Be Silly!

I don't know about you but that Back To School season gets me every single year. Seriously, it is pure exhaustion and once that last darlin' leaves my room,  I am not good for much. And guess what my family wants when I get home? Dinner. Can you believe that?! Well, I would say this qualifies as such, but they are not buying it.
Safe to say, the Back to School season pretty much takes over my life. And while I try to pace myself by using part of my summer to prepare, it is always a mad rush to finish - which usually ends up with me shoving a few things in the closet and closing the door the night of Meet the Teacher. Anyone with me?That first day of school is a whirlwind which I have over planned for! But really I just have one goal; to have fun with my students and wanting them to come back on day two for even more! How? I let them see me be silly with a few strategic songs.  And who is the silliest, Dr. Jean of course! Once the madness of the first day has started (and I have gotten the kids "settled" and the parents on their way) I bring them to the carpet and teach them Dr. Jean's song "Hello, Neighbor!"
It goes something like this:
Hello Neighbor (wave)
What do you say? (shrug your shoulders, palms up)
It's going to be a happy day (snap your fingers right then left above your head)
Greet your neighborhood (shake hands with someone close)
Boogie on down (do the twist and get low)
Give a bump (hip bump *gentle* with a partner)
And turn around (just like it says, turn around)
Then it repeats 2 times and ends with ....And then sit down!
THEY LOVE IT! Promise. I then read a little first day of school story and do a little activity that goes with it....and then once they get wiggly I bring them back to the carpet and we do Wally Ache! ...another Dr. Jean Song. And I let them watch me be silly AGAIN! This one looks so crazy that I had to video myself to show you how the movements go.
Watch Me!
Sorry about the quality...and I am half asleep but you get the gist of it. LOL! The motions "cross the midline" and help the brain become more alert! It is the perfect brain exercise if you ask me. At first, the kids just stare at me like, huh? Then they can't help themselves....and they try it. It is everything I can do to not giggle because their hands are all over the place as they process the moves ...and reach for their nose and ear in every which way. It is not long and they get it. And they beg for this one over and over again. Promise. We move on to specials or lunch and when we get back we read another story, or I teach them how to get a drink from the fountain, push in their chair or line up (those are things you can never take for granted Kindergarten - or First Grade for that matter.) Once we finish that....I get silly one last time!
It's an oldie but goodie....Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I tell them I can ONLY do it 3 speeds. 
Medium speed. Fast speed. And Sloooooooow - mo  speed. And I go soooooooo slow it is painful.
By the time I finish on slow-mo speed they are like, who in the world is this lady, and where is the real teacher? It is hilarious. We have fun on that first day, silly and all ....and they can't wait to come back for day two! My teacher mission is complete! You can download any of those two silly Dr. Jean songs on iTunes. Just search for the titles. It is the best .99 cents you have ever spent. Promise.
Thanks for hanging with me through this long post. I have a Back to School FREEBIE for you too!
My Kinderfriends and I have put some of our Back To School resources on sale. To find them on Teacher Pay Teachers, just search #kinderfriends and they will come up.
Here is one of a few you can find on sale in my store this week.
Now, click on over to Elaine's - Kitty Kitty Kindergarten blog for even more ideas to get your school year off to a swinging start! She has some lifesaver tips and tricks, don't miss them.
Thanks for visiting my blog, my kinder friends and I thank you!
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