Friday, September 21, 2012


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The weeks are flying by and next Wednesday we will celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day.  It sure got here quickly this year.  The kiddos and I have been having a great time with Go Johnny, Go!  We've been reading the big book daily and they're doing a great job of memorizing the text.  This coming week they will get their own copy.  They've been asking for it all week. If you haven't seen it yet, you'll find it right here.

With the cost of everything on the rise and the resources to purchase them on the decline, it's tough finding materials that don't use a lot of paper and ink.  This year I thought I'd try to create teeny, tiny books for my little people using the smoosh book format.  We call them BittyBooks.  The first is a retelling of Brown Bear.  I incorporated Open Court sight words into the book and it turned out really well.  The only problem is that there weren't enough pages to print all of the characters, so I wasn't able to include the gold fish.  Even so, it works.  This week we made a book to complement Go Johnny, Go!  It's a BittyBook and it's about the life cycle of the apple tree.  It's a freebie available at TpT, so check it out here!

The children have already accumulated a large quantity of books that we've made in class.  Storage has always been an issue for me.  I have used gallon-sized zippered baggies in the past and they are such a nuisance, in my opinion.  So this year I went in search of a solution to my book storage problem.  After searching Dollar Trees and 99 Cent Stores I came upon plastic shoe boxes at Target.  They're the perfect size and they're stackable, even when loaded up with books.  At .97 cents each, the deal was sealed for me. The next thing I needed to figure out was how to label them.  I didn't want to put names on them because I'd like to be able to reuse them next year and beyond, if they hold up.  I came up with the idea of labeling them using numbers and characters from Brown Bear, Brown Bear...  In my room, the children are broken up into 4 groups.  The groups are: red birds, yellow ducks, blue horses and green frogs.  

I numbered the children in each group from 1-6, so the labels have both a picture and a number.   I printed out the labels and cut them to size.  Next I brought out my trusty Xyron sticker machine and turned the labels into stickers.

(I have a book box too, and here's a picture of my label.  :)

Finally I affixed the stickers to the boxes.

They fit beautifully on one shelf.  

Now reading is a happier time in my classroom.  No more struggling with book bags.  When it's time to read, the table managers go to the shelf and pick up the stacks of boxes.  They pass them out.  The children take out the books they need and stow the boxes under their chairs until it's time to put them away.  No more ripped bags, no more struggling to place the books back in the baggies properly. No more headaches!  I love happy endings, don't you?

Happy Friday Everyone!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Go Johnny, Go!

Follow Me on Pinterest Autumn is my favorite season, and the legend of Johnny Appleseed is my favorite folk tale.  I loved the books Fran Kramer used to make.  She would make an 8.5" x11" color version for the teacher and a smaller black line book for the children.  I decided I needed to write my own kindergarten-friendly version of Johnny's story for my class.  We uploaded it today and you can find it right here.  

Here are a few sample pages to give you the flavor of the book.

I took my teacher copy to school last week and the children loved it.  They especially like the refrain, "Go Johnny, go!"  I can't wait to pass out their copies.  They like having their own smaller version of the books we read in class.

This is a sample of two pages from the kid version.

And this is the last page in their book.  I want to get as big a bang for my printing buck as I can, so I included a list of the sight words from the book and I've asked the parents to review them frequently with their children.

We begin week five tomorrow.  It doesn't seem possible! 


Monday, September 3, 2012


Follow Me on Pinterest I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a bit nervous regarding the common core math standards. Particularly "composing and decomposing numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones,"  otherwise known as K.NBT.1.  In our assessment booklet, the children are given a number sentence frame that looks like this:    __+__=17  Above the number sentence frames there are two empty 10 frames.  The children are expected to put 17 objects into the 10 frames and then fill in the blanks as follows:  10+7 =17  Oh my!

So last week we got busy.  I made 5 frames to begin with.

I gathered together number tiles and counters and placed them in the little lunch boxes I purchased at Target several years ago.  I put them aside until center time.

When the kiddos got to the table, the first thing we did was review the color and number flash cards.  Next, they placed their number tiles in counting order.  Even though we only went to 5, it was a difficult task for some of them.

Then, using number flash cards and counters, they made groups to match numbers.  The cards were in random order.  Their counters were placed on the graphics below the 5 frame.  After I showed them a number, we counted together.  As we counted, they slid their counters up in to the frames until they had the correct number of counters. 

It was slow going the first day.  The next time we did the activity, some of the children were able to work independently.  They put their number tiles back into the lunch boxes and drew tiles to determine how many counters were needed to make a group.  

We'll do this activity again tomorrow.  We've been off for three days.  I hope they remember something!

I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day!