Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What a difference a year makes!

I've had some time this summer to look at some of my old products and revise them a little bit.  The one I've been working on lately is my Nursery Rhyme Unit.  Looking at it, it was the best I could do at the time with graphics available and my growing knowledge base- wow, what a learning curve it's been.  I shuddered as I opened it (it was created in MS Word) and scrolled through the graphics and pages.  The content is not the issue for me, it's the presentation.  Last year, I couldn't find a lot of nursery rhyme products out there so there wasn't much competition.  Now, I see tons of big sellers making Nursery Rhyme product.  I can't even begin to compete with that, so I deactivated the product, took the two strongest pieces out, revised the graphics and reposted them as stand alone products.  I updated the graphics (thank you Little Red, Graphics from the Pond, and Melonheadz) and now I am much happier with the results.  Here are some pictures of the Rhyming Activity Pack.

 It includes three games that my kinders really liked last year (even though it wasn't as cute last year).  Humpty Dumpty's rhyming wall where the students have to determine which bricks have rhyming pairs and then place those to fill the wall. 

 Then there is Old Mother Hubbard's Rhyming Cupboard where students have to sort the bones into rhyming pairs or not-rhyming pairs.  It's meant for the pocket chart.

 Finally, there's Jack and Jill's rhyming pails.  It's designed for a pocket chart as well.  Students place the pails on the pocket chart and try to match it up with a rhyming drop of water.

I also re-made my Read It, Trace It, Put the Sentence Together together pack for Nursery Rhymes.  It includes sentences for about 10 different nursery rhymes.  Here's some pictures.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We Go Together: A Back to School Activity

I am so impressed with the responses I get when I ask clip artist on TpT for help with different topics.  I have made a couple of requests lately and have to say these people are pretty amazing.  Not only are they incredibly talented, but they are so quick and so accommodating.  My requests have been kind of obscure and out of the ordinary.  The first one was for clipart of things that go together.  We are using the Engage NY math units that are out there now Module 1 and the beginning few lessons are all about sorting.  One of the lessons focuses on things that go together and I thought a pocket chart center would be a great ancillary activity to this.  So, I requested some clip art.  Michael Rawls came through for me quickly and with wonderful results.
As I am creating the pocket chart sort I realize that this would also be perfect for other grade levels.  It would make a great ice breaker activity for the first day of school.  Teachers can give every student a card; then students mingle and look for their partner.  Once they find the picture with their match, they can introduce each other and find one interesting fact about their partner.  Then they can introduce each other to the class.  Check out these cute cards and the recording sheets to go with the ice breaker AND the pocket chart activity.

Here's the link to my product at TpT.  Hope it's something you might consider checking out.
Coming Opposite Pocket Chart Activity using the fabulous clip art of PoppyDreamz!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Things that....

I am going to show my age here when I ask if anyone remembers that game show "Pyramid"?  In the winner's circle, you had categories like "Things that are round" and the celebrity contestant had to offer words and phrases to the player to get them to guess the category without telling them what it was.  For example, they might say, "A tire, a pizza, a plate..." and the celebrity would have to keep giving examples until the contestant said "Things that are round."  Then they would move onto a different category and do the same thing.

Well, this game is perfect for teaching the Kindergarten math standard MD 3: Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort by count.  I am still working on how to make this game show idea work in the classroom, but I have a new freebie that is based on this concept.  You have six different categories to choose from: Farm, School, Beach, Kitchen, Forest, and Playground.  You can choose which categories you want the students to sort.  You place the header cards at the top of the pocket chart, and the students can sort each card into the correct category on the pocket chart.  There are even two worksheets that you can use as practice once they have completed the sort.

Here's the TpT link to the freebie and some pictures.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nursery Rhymes

A couple of years ago when we started implementing the Common Core, our district leaders found this website:  It was when the Units they developed were free and you didn't have to buy the book or join the website to get the units.  For Kindergarten, the first one is called "A Colorful Time with Rhythm and Rhyme". This unit focuses on nursery rhyme and color books. To provide us with something that aligned with Common Core, they purchased books that go with each unit.  No training was provided and the units didn't really match our district curriculum maps, but we used some of the books here and there with what we already did.  It wasn't ideal, but the district leaders figured they had to give us something.  And that's where is stands with our district- that's all they have given us to align with Common Core Standards.  I do love my district and I understand budget issues and there just isn't any money to provide a new reading series that aligns better than our 10 year old+ Houghton Mifflin series.  But it gets very frustrating when you have to re-invent your curriculum with very little district support.

So, out of our frustration and time constraints, we began exploring the web for things that people are doing.  I found a lot of great stuff for math on this Georgia website and Tennessee has some great information and resources as well:

But then we discovered New York... Wow, they must have had a huge grant to do what they have done.  Make sure you have lots of time to explore but check out this website:

They have a whole curriculum there that is all digital and all available for download!  It's pretty overwhelming and sometimes a little strange, but WOW!  It has a lot of stuff that can easily be used by anyone!  They also have math units that are coming out as well- some sample ones are already available.

One of their first units is Nursery Rhymes!  It's part of their Listening and Learning Strand and it's all done orally.  I think it's pretty detailed and in depth and really hits the Common Core standards pretty well.  We're beginning with that unit and I wanted to incorporate poetry journals more in my class this year, so I created some journal pages that go with each of the nursery rhymes that are included in this unit.  There are about 20 of them.  Here's the link to the freebie on TpT and here are some pictures.

Do any of you have favorite state websites that have great resources for Common Core? 
I would love to check them out.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


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Summer Planning Giveaway Stop A-1


Thanks for stopping by on the scavenger hunt.  Grab my secret word above and be sure to follow my blog with Bloglovin'.  You can do that by clicking the bloglovin'  button to the right.
Here's the item I've donated:
It has four different pocket chart activities perfect for the beginning of the school year for Kindergarten.  You might also like these additional products perfect for back to school.