Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Week FREEBIE!

Have you been having as much pumpkin fun in your classroom as I have? We've estimated, tested predictions, counted seeds, voted for our favorite jack-o-lantern face, carved a pumpkin, made pumpkin diagrams, and used our 5 senses. We have been BUSY!
Here's some pictures of us counting the pumpkin seeds with all the PULP! My kinders last year wanted nothing to do with all of the ooey-gooeyness, but my kids this year could not get enough of it!! We put 10 seeds in each cup to connect to making groups of 10 during calendar math. Then, we put 10 groups of 10 together to make bundles of 100!! 
Here are just two of our bundles of 100. They lined my whole bookshelf! Could you believe that our pumpkin had 660 seeds in it?! We were astonished!
We've learned SO much during our pumpkin investigations, and we've had tons of fun doing it! If you want to join in on all the pumpkin fun, grab my pumpkin investigations FREEBIE on TPT! Just click below!
Happy Pumpkin Week!
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Tracking the Seasons' Changes

Have you been looking for a great way to compare and contrast the changes that come with each season? I was tired of having my students draw what fall means to them, or why they like the spring.  I didn't feel like they were really learning about the season or the changes that take place. So, I set out to look for some new ideas. I found a fabulous and fresh idea on Pinterest, and created my own template. That's how "exploring the seasons" was born!
Seasonal changes was something that I rushed through last year. I would remember at the last minute and rush to photocopy some leaves for my kids to draw what fall means to them. That was be that. I hung them on the door and hated how they looked, but I was "meeting" my science curriculum.
We read Leaves by David Ezra Stein, an adorable book about a little bear who tries to keep the leaves from falling off the trees.
We also read The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons which got us talking about the changes that take place each season.
We talked about what we see outside in the fall, as well as things that we like to do in the fall. I made a big anchor chart, and then we started our project.
For the fall, we used red, orange, and yellow paint. We dabbed the paint on with Q-tips to create a "leaf" effect. I did A LOT of modeling how to use the Q-tips and the paint because we all know what disasters can take place when you give paint out unsupervised!! Surprisingly, my kinders did an amazing job! There was not one spot of paint on any table or anyone's clothes! **WOOHOO** I displayed our fall trees with our fall anchor chart, and I am planning on updating it with each season!
As you can see from the picture above, during winter, we will glue cotton balls on and around the tree to represent the snow. In the spring, we will tear and glue pieces of bright tissue paper to look like the tiny buds on a tree. For the summer, we will use the same Q-tip painting technique, but this time with green paint to represent the healthy green trees in the summer!
I LOVE how this project will let us compare and contrast each of the seasons and talk about the changes that take place. I can already tell that my kinders are learning so much more than they did last year!
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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Whole Brain Teaching!

I'm blogging over at The Primary Pack today about Whole brain Teaching! You can read my post below, but don't forget to follow The Primary Pack so you can keep tabs on all of the amazing teacher-bloggers in our group!
I'm here today to blog about classroom management. I mean, what teacher DOESN'T need a classroom management refresher every once in a while!? The conversation never gets old, and the ideas are always plentiful. My favorite (and new to me!) classroom management tool is Whole Brain Teaching.
I am by no means an expert on WBT, but I have seen first hand the amazing effects of these strategies in my classroom. My students are engaged, excited, and energized even during the simplest of lessons! Why? Because WBT is based on brain research. As teachers, we know that each of our students learns in a different way. Well, WBT targets all types of learners at once!
There is SO much to learn connected to WBT, but that would mean I would be blogging for hours!
Even though I'd love to share it all with you, I'm sure you don't want to be reading this post for that long! So, I will share with you the most recent change that I have made in my classroom and the one that I have found to have one of the greatest impacts.
First, I have to tell you that I was absolutely positively against the super improvers wall when I first heard about it (from my lovely friend Ashlee who hosted a WBT workshop for our district. Hi Ashlee!). I hate displays that show students in comparison to one another. I just think that it is so hard to have students thinking of themselves in a positive way when they may always be falling behind their peers. The kid who's always on red on the clip chart, the one who only has 2 stickers on the sticker chart.. you know who I'm talking about. But, I was on such a WBT high when I left Ashlee's workshop, that I started doing hours of research. I watched a video of the creator of WBT talk about the super improvers wall and how it worked for his most challenging students. I realized that the most important thing about the super improvers wall is that the students' only competitor is themselves. Here is the basic premise of the super improvers wall:
Sound complicated? It's not! All you have to do is post the levels and all of your students names on WHITE paper. Then comes the star-giving. I started out by being very stingy with my star-giving. They REALLY had to earn a star. This made my students become very aware of their behavior. I would say things like "Oh! One person was just SO close to getting a star!" and everyone would think I was talking about them, so they would try even harder! I also started with a general goal for my whole class. We were ALL working on rule number 1 (follow directions quickly). I am now getting ready to move into individual goals for my students. For example, one of my special friends is going to work on transitioning quickly throughout our day. Another one of my friends is going to work on raising his hand to talk. The most important point about super improvers is that you really want to give out stars for OUTSTANDING improvement. The creator of WBT says that you may only give out 5-7 stars a day! Here's the video I watched incase you want to take a look:
Lastly, are you wondering what "leveling up" means? It means that instead of having their name written on a white piece of paper, they will have their name written on a red piece of paper (or whatever color comes next on your SIW). That's it. Seriously. I never thought construction paper could have such an impact on students! The pride that my students feel when their name changes color is UNREAL.
So… are you convinced? Want to make your own super improvers wall? I found my super improvers wall (the levels part) for FREE on TPT! There are so many cute free ones! As a FREEBIE to you for making it all the way to the bottom of my post (kiss your brain!) here is a letter to send home to parents when your students level up! Just click the graphic below to download the file.
I hope I've been able to share something new with you today! Thanks so much for stopping by the Primary Pack, and don't forget to come visit me at Miss Peluso's Kindergarten for some more WBT (and other!) fun! Happy Saturday, friends!
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Keeping My Promises!

Well, I promised you all photos of my newest fall math pack! Here they are! If you spotted Let's Make an Apple Pie: Combinations for Numbers to 10 on my Sunday circular, come see what all the fun is about!

Let's Make an Apple Pie is a fun, hands-on way for your students to learn combinations for numbers to 10. At this time of year in kindergarten, we are focusing on numbers to 10 as we build our foundation for addition and subtraction later on in the year! I was trying to think of a FUN way to share this concept with my students, and I wanted it to be something that they could relate to. My class loves sweets as much as I do, so I figured, why not pretend we're baking an apple pie! Seasonal and delicious! {We may or may not bake a real one at the end of this math unit. Shh! ;)}

How does this cute little game work? I thought you'd ask!
I use a cute little basket (like the one you would use to pick apples in!) for my students to shake and spill the number we are working on. In this photo, we are working on combinations for the number 5.
They LOVE to guess how many of the other color apples there are while the shaker is sorting them out.  I love hearing their math thinking!
Recording your math thinking and observations is always important. We began doing this in a small group, and now my kinders can do it independently. I love hearing them think of other ways to make a number now that they understand the concept! My guided math groups ask my every day if we're going to be working on our recipes. It is great to hear them EXCITED about math!

Think this activity would work well with your students? Check it out {here}!
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Monday, October 6, 2014

My Teacher Ate PAINT!

I'm sure you're wondering just what this post title is all about!? Well, eating paint of course!
Have you ever read this darling book?
That's right, Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. This fantastic book is about three little mice who jump into jars of paint and then mix together colors as they dance around in paint puddles. The mice discover that red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green, and red and blue make purple. Well, if I'm talking about mixing colors, we might as well try it, right?! Good thing I have some handy dandy jars of mouse paint in my classroom!
I introduced this mouse paint to my kinders and told them that of course, I didn't have a paintbrush, so I used spoons instead. I needed to see what colors were made when we mixed the paint together! I grabbed a piece of paper and taped it to my easel. Then, I started to mix away!
Whatd'ya know… the mice were right! Well, now I had this itty bitty dilemma. I got some mouse paint on my fingers and didn't know what to do! The sink was too far, and we were out of paper towels. So… I had to lick it off! I wish that you could have seen my students' faces when I licked the mouse paint off of my fingers. They were horrified! Do you think they wanted to try? Yes they did!
I gave each student a little dollop of each color of mouse paint and they mixed away exploring the different colors that they could make. Then, I told them that they could try it if they wanted! One of my kinders said.. "Miss Peluso, this tastes like my sister's birthday party!" That's when I let them in on the secret… mouse paint is really frosting! {Also because I didn't want them to go home and tell their parents that I let them eat paint!} Well, there was no stopping them from there. They were LICKING their plates clean- hardly any of them wanted the animal crackers that I offered them to scoop up the frosting with!
I have to say, mouse paint is one of my favorite activities {I really like sugar :)}! It is a blast and the kids LOVE it- especially when they think you are eating paint! Go ahead and try it with your class, no matter the age. It is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Savings! A New Linky Party!

If you know me, you know that I LOVE shopping! The only thing I love more than shopping is SALES! Well, I found the perfect linky party for all of you who like sales just as much as me! I'm linking up with All Things Apple in 2nd for her Sunday Savings Linky Party! Check out my circular below to find out what's on sale in my store until midnight!
Want to know more about each product? Let's start with Write the Room: October.
Write the Room: October is the perfect print and go activity for a literacy center, the Daily 5 work on writing, or early finishers. Differentiated to work for all of your learners, Write the Room: October comes with 9 word/picture cards and 3 recording sheet options (search and circle for pre-writers, search and write the room for beginning writers, and search and complete the sentence for advanced readers).

Next up, one of the most loved activities in my classroom right now… Let's Make an Apple Pie! Combinations for Numbers to 10. I am sad that I don't have real life pictures of this product yet, BUT that's because we have been having so much fun playing it that I've forgotten to take my camera out! I promise, pictures will be coming this week!
Use this product to help your students understand the concept of decomposing numbers with this real life application! Includes double-sided apple cards and recipe books for numbers 3-10. This hands on activity will have your students shaking and dumping red/yellow apple cards to see what combinations of numbers add up to the numbers of apples they need to bake their apple pie!
Finally, All About Numbers 1-10. This product was created out of NEED for my own kinders! It is full of fresh ideas to help your students master number identification and number writing. Classroom tested and approved by my own students! I've even had some of my kiddos asking to play the games for indoor recess!!! No joke!

Click {here} to head over to my TPT store and take advantage of these savings! Happy shopping!
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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Johnny Appleseed Day FREEBIES!

Hey there! Well, I'm a bit late to this party, but I wanted to share with you the cutest idea for celebrating Johnny Appleseed's birthday! Johnny Appleseed's birthday is on September 26th, which just so happened to be a Friday this year! {I feel much less guilty for doing fun things on Fridays!}

So, I first had the task of explaining to my kinders who Johnny Appleseed was. Luckily, I had just gotten this book from Scholastic:
This book was much better than the ones that I read last year. Every Johnny Appleseed book that I find seems to be old, very wordy, and for a much older audience. This book was PERFECT! It explained exactly who Johnny Appleseed was in a way that my kinders understood. And it had great illustrations!

We had a great discussion about WHY Johnny Appleseed wore a pot on his head, and then it was time for the fun part- making our own Johnny Appleseed hats!
They are such cute "pots," just like the one that Johnny Appleseed wore! The photo is too far away to tell, but the apples say "Michael Appleseed" and "Jody Appleseed" after the students' names! Love it! After they created their hats, we read a poem about apples and highlighted our sight words!
We didn't do any apple baking this year because of our schedule, but our fabulous neighbors across the hall made apple pizza and shared some with us! It was delicious!
We will be doing more apple-themed activities once we go on our field trip to an apple orchard on October 15th!
Want to grab your own Johnny Appleseed hat template and a copy of this poem? Click below to grab them both for FREE!
{*To create the hats, you will need two 6"x9" pieces of construction paper for the hat itself. These will be stapled together to fit around your head. The pot handle is one 3"x9" piece of brown construction paper that I just rounded the edges of. This is glued right to the hat itself!}

I hope you can use these freebies to celebrate Johnny Appleseed's birthday next year!
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Big Announcement!!!

I am so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to work behind the scenes with the fabulous bloggers of The Primary Pack!  We are collaborating to bring you a rainbow of ideas!  Make sure you follow along to grab a bunch of colorful freebies, as well as enter our giveaway with $300 worth of prizes!
http://theprimarypack.blogspot.com/
Hi! I'm Gina blogging from Miss Peluso's Kindergarten. I am a Connecticut teacher who loves dogs, classroom baskets (you can never have enough!), and the color pink. I graduated with my Master's degree in 2013, and started teaching that Fall in the best grade in the world.. KINDERGARTEN! It was my dream from when I was 7 years old to become a teacher, and I am so thankful that I am able to have my dream job.
I live with my boyfriend of six years, and we are soon expecting a new addition to our family… A PUPPY!!! (did I scare you?! ha!) We met on move-in day our freshman year of college and have been together ever since! We love to sleep in on the weekends, watch TV, and eat FroYo. 
I am happy that I got my Master's before starting to teach because I am INSANELY busy doing things for my classroom at all moments! It is very rare if you see me without my computer on my lap! However, I would eventually like to go back to school to get my Master's in reading. Who knows! We will see what the future has in store! For now, I am perfectly happy in my kindergarten world.
To celebrate our new collaborative adventure, The Primary Pack is hosting a giveaway with tons of fabulous prizes!

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway AND here's my "colorful" freebie!  Just click on the image!

 Hop along to meet our other bright bloggers and to grab a rainbow of freebies!
 
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