Apple Attribute Cards

Hi there!  Just a quick post to share something I made for my up coming week.  I am teaching that FREE NY Common Core math program for the first time this year.  You know the one I'm talking about, right?  The unit on numbers 1-10 starts with learning about attributes.  So I quick like made these little cards to help out.  I don't plan on going through my sock drawer each year to prep for the very first lesson.  Nor do I have room in my classroom to store a set of "teacher made plates, bowls, and cups in different patterns and colors".  I figure that along with my big chunky attribute blocks, these sweet cards will do the trick.  (I probably will go through my sock drawer tonight though ;)

I just wanted another set of tools that we can use to reinforce these concepts with games and activities.  I love using cards because they are easy to store, and easy for little hands to use when playing.  The cards above were sorted by the border style on the cards.

These are sorted by color.

These are sorted by design.  Some have hearts, some flowers, while others are plain.

These are sorted by size.  So that is four obvious attributes that can be identified, compared, and classified by your kiddos.  Plus, this set includes a few odd ball cards with a small heart and stripes.  Those will make students really think about attributes and have discussions about where they should be grouped.  Got to have some juicy discussions and critical thinking to make things fun!

Here are some examples of how I will teach the very first lesson with the concepts "exactly the same"  and "the same but...".  This lesson is all about noticing differences and attributes.  It also supports kids in verbalizing those observations.

These are the same but...  one is big and the other is small.

These are the same but... one is yellow and the other is green.

These are the same but... one is plain and the other one has a heart on it.

These are the same but... one has a squiggly line around the apple (different border styles).

You get the idea.  I printed two complete sets of these cards so that I can match up some cards that are "exactly the same" too.  I hope you like this idea.  You might want to use these in your classroom too.  They would be a great addition to any apple studies going on in your classroom.  This is a simple resource so it doesn't cost very much.  You can go get it in my TpT store by clicking on the image below.

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Happy teaching!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Daisy Designs Blog Launch and 500 Follower Giveaway

Hi there!  Amanda over at Daisy Designs is having a big celebration!  Her entire TpT store is on sale for another week and she is having a huge giveaway over at her blog.  You can enter to win three different prize packs with great products from lots of sellers including me.

I have my Print and Go! Back to School product in Prize Pack #2.  Head on over to her blog to go enter and win!  Daisy Designs 500 Follower and Blog Launch
Good Luck!
Happy teaching!

Five for Friday! 8-21-15

Hi there!  I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for some random Friday fun.  I am in the thick of back to school right now.  My first day back is Wednesday August 26th.  Only five more days, YIKES!

1.  So, I was happy to get these notes out to my new little students.  I keep it simple because it is one thing on a very long list of things to do this week.  You know how it is.  I was so glad to find these fun stamps at the post office to go on them.

They say from ME to YOU.  

2.  Yea!  My last supply order arrived!  Woo hoo!  OK, a girl can never have too many sharpies, can she?  The Velcro dots are sooooooooo handy.  I love the big post it notes with lines.  LOVE THEM!!!
Did you notice the fancy pencils?  Noir  by Ticonderoga.  LOVE!!!  Shimmery silver outside.  Black wood inside.  The most perfect no. 2 lead.  Need I say more?  Pure pencil LOVE.  Those are my special teacher pencils, btw.  The kiddos use the yellow ones.

3.  When I got home on Wednesday, I found the dishwasher  'clean' light on and I looked inside to see all the classroom stuff that I had brought home on Monday inside.  Guess who ran the load for me?  My sweet husband, Duane!   OMGoodness!  He is so darn good to me!  (I think he is feeling sorry for me that summer is over.)

Those are all my magnetic trays, scissors, and my classroom bowl.  The magnetic letters were on the top rack along with all my plastic clothes pins.  Now my tray for literacy intervention in the afternoons is ready.  I keep the other trays stacked without letters and prep the letters as needed for activities.

4.  My new printer came!!!  I ordered this specifically so that I could sign up for hp Instant Ink.  I like this printer pretty well so far.  But, the jury is out.  There were a few little glitches with the paper feed and a few pages had to be printed again.   Hopefully it will work well for me.  I printed some stuff...

... like my new cards for my Kinesthetic Alphabet.  I just put this on TpT and will be doing a more in depth post on it soon.  I am happy with how the cards turned out and I think the kiddos will enjoy learning our alphabet chant with them this year.

I printed my new Classroom Character Posters too!  I think they came out looking great.  The printer doesn't really do perfect photo quality, but they are good enough for me.  I got this printer because I think it will be a work horse and that is what I really need.  But, mostly I am really excited about the instant ink program from hp.

5.  This is my new teacher plan and prep tub.  It's where I keep my current thematic unit files along with all my prep for each day.  There are two full weeks worth of big folder envelopes where I put materials and papers that are prepped ahead.  I try to stay planned out a week ahead and prep the following week each day throughout the current week.   It works pretty well and keeps me a lot less stressed.  I know some people who prep for the next day each afternoon.  That is just a little too crazy for me and I also think it makes it harder to do more prep intense projects.  OK, just one more thing about my sweet hubby... he painted the tub for me because we couldn't find anything this size in colors, so we just bought a cheap clear one and he painted it blue for me.  Doesn't it look cute with the birdies on it?

Hope you are having productive and happy days back at school!
Go check out all the other great blogs over at Doodle Bugs Teaching.
Thanks for stopping by.  
Happy teaching!

Bonus One Day Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Just a quick post to let you know about the big One Day Bonus Sale on TpT.  It is all day Wednesday August 19th.  Everything in my store will be 20% off and you can get an extra 10% from TpT with the promo code: MORE15.  That's a savings of 28% off.

I also wanted to show you some new things that I have been working on...

They are from my new line of Classroom Character Posters.  Motivation and inspiration for teachers and students.   Tomorrow is a great time to go snatch them up for a great price.  They are regularly sold for $1.00.   You can get them tomorrow for 72 cents if you use the promo code.   Just click on the image to go see it in my shop.

I hope you like them.  I think they would be really cute in a kid's bedroom too!  

I finally put these in my store also.  These two items are the single most important pieces of my alphabet and phonics program in my classroom.  I will be doing a more in-depth post on them as a part of my How do YOU teach the ABC's? series.  You can go check it out by clicking on the image.

You will not be sorry if you start using this in your classroom.  I have been using this instructional method for teaching letters and sounds for a very long time.  It's FUN and it WORKS!  And I also made this ABC chart to use with it.  It is FREE.  You can click on the image below to go get it in my store.

Thanks for stopping by.
I hope you grab some great deals on Teachers Pay Teachers.
I also hope you have your best school year EVER!
Happy teaching!

Five for Friday!

I am so excited to be linking up for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!  For me, it is just a small miracle that I remembered to take pictures of five different things.  I am busy getting my room ready for another year.  My first day is Aug. 26th. 

1.  I had to take down the love notes from last year.  Boo hoo!  I had such a sweet group.   I always try to have a little spot in the room for love notes.  They really are gifts in kinder world and they need to be respected as such, ya know...?  Last year they were above my desk area along with all the important calendars and memos from school.  I took a picture of them because I almost posted them on Instagram.  (@mrsbyrdslearningtree)  It was sad to recycle them, but I am sure there will be more to replace them soon enough.  It makes me excited to meet my new sweeties.

2.  I got my weekly communication folders for the year made.  My sweet husband, Duane, came in one afternoon to help me in my classroom.  He taped all the sides of the envelopes to make them indestructible.   They will be decorated on the back by little students on the first day as one of their jobs (that's what I call centers in my room).   Then I laminate them and they really do last all year long.  Duane also helped me by taking apart and completely cleaning my overhead projector.  I haven't used it for three years.  This is the year to either use it or lose it.  I am going to let the kids do open ended activities on it for a choice during center time.  (I took Duane out to dinner to thank him for his help - that's a win win!)

3.  Today I fixed our class book box to get a few more years out of it.  It was falling apart, so it was either duct tape or papier mache and painting it.  I think this was a better option.  I'm not super thrilled with the neon colors, but that's what I had on hand, so that's what went on the box.  We make lots of class books where each kiddo creates a page.  They are great for thematic units, and the kids like to read them.  This is the box where they live in our classroom library.

4.  So this one actually did make it onto Instagram.  I just had to share.  I keep the balls and ropes in a big red bucket/tub/you know...  I took everything out and the bottom of it was DISGUSTING!!! It actually had a layer of dirt in the grooves in the bottom.  I took it outside to rinse it off with the hose.  Yuck!  Thankfully, it was hot today and the tub dried really quickly.   Can you guess my room number and the color of my class' recess equipment?

5.  I did a post yesterday on using your kiddos names for literacy learning in the beginning of the year.  It has lots of ideas and you can get this FREEBIE Name Bingo game too!  You can find this post right here: Name Games! and a FREEBIE!

Don't forget to stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching to see all the other great blogs that are linked up.

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy teaching!

Name Games! and a FREEBIE!

Hi there!  This post is about using your students' names as a beginning of the year literacy theme.  In kindergarten, these little students are babies!  They are just learning to write letters, and names are the most important letters in their world right now.  So, using names as a first theme for BTS is a no brainer.  Here are a few ideas to help you do some name activities in your classroom.

OK, first things first... I do not  put pictures of students on my blog very often.  When I do, faces are obscured, and permission has been given by parents.  THESE ARE NOT PICTURES OF REAL STUDENTS.  They are stock photos of kids that I have a commercial license to use.  I wanted a few "pretend" kids to show you what I do in my classroom without using my own students' names or pics.

Just had to get that off my chest.

OK, Back to learning with names...

 I always start my year with several sets of name cards.  It is really nice to make at least one set with pictures of the kiddos.  Here are some activities I like to do with names using the cards:

This fun student made emergent reader is a favorite with my kiddos all year long.  I take each child's photo early in the year.  I print out one color photo for each child.  Then I make black and white copies of all the photos.  I make sure there are plenty to go around.  For centers, we make the pages of this book using name cards.  I only do a few pages in the books, but you can do as many as you want.  The kids simply glue on a picture of a friend and write his or her name in the sentence below.

I use the color picture in each child's book for the last page, "I see me!"  Since there is no writing involved on that page, I make them, and the kids see it for the first time when they read the assembled book.  It's a surprise and they love it!

These are a favorite all year long.  I love these books because they are a great way to teach all those important early reading skills, especially pointing to the words!  It would be really easy to make these yourself.  I am sharing this idea freely.  So, go for it!  If you don't have the time to make it yourself, you can get it in my TpT shop for a buck.  Friends - Student made Emergent Reader for Back to School

After kids have had practice with writing names in the book, they can continue to practice using a sheet like this.  This is super fun to have in your writing center so kids can do it on their own.  Make sure you have a set of name cards with it so they can easily write the names.  This sheet came from my Print and Go! Back to School (NO PREP) set. 

We always sort the names by the number of letters in each.  This is a fun sheet for each child to do after the name sorting activity.  It is a review of writing, number, tally marks, ten frames, and a little face drawing too.  You can find it here: Print and Go! Back to School (NO PREP).

I also use the name cards to play games with my kiddos during attendance or circle time or whenever I have a few extra minutes with my group.  I like to cover the name and just show the first letter.  Then kids need to guess who it could be.  Once they are familiar with the names in the class, this becomes a great critical thinking activity.  When you have two kids with the same first letter, they can then decide who it is by looking at the second letter, and so on.  It is lots of fun for beginning of the year letter learning.  You can also clap the syllables in each name, do a rhyming game with the names, or phonemic awareness poems like Hickety Picktey Bummble bee, or Banana fanna....  you know those poems right?  Just in case you don't, here are examples of them using my name (Katie):

Hickety Pickety Bumble bee
Can you read this name for me?
Can you clap it?
Katie (with a clap).
Can you shout it?
Katie (shouting)!
Can you whisper it?
Katie (in a whisper).

I do that little poem with sight words too.  It is very useful and can be changed up in any way you like, the clapping and shouting part, that is.  I recommend that you always end it with whisper, that way you have your group quiet and listening at the end of each name.  They can get a little excited with all the clapping and shouting.  But, it is lots of fun.

Here is the other one:

Katie, Katie, bo batie,
Banana fanna fo fatie,
Me, my, mo, matie,

You can do that one with any word or name.  It can get a little tricky wit the long names, but just go for it!  The rhyming and alliteration make it a fun way to play with sounds in language.  Perfect for our little Kinder friends.  Perfect phonemic awareness practice.  And it's FUN!  Woo hoo!

I also do Student of the Day!  It is the ultimate in literacy learning through student names.  I will do a post on that once I get started with my new group of sweeties.  Stay tuned...

OK, were you really just looking for this?

Here is your Name Bingo freebie.  It's a fun and purposeful way to get some name writing practice into your centers time early in the year.  First, kids write their name on the grid one letter in each box.  Then repeat until all boxes are filled.  The photo at the top of the post is an example of how it should look when it is complete.  THIS IS HARD FOR KINDERS!   So, I highly recommend you do this as a teacher supported activity.   After names have been written correctly onto the grid (and traced with marker if you like), then you can laminate, and use these as game boards for ABC bingo with any set of alphabet cards.  If you need some cards and other games for alphabet learning, you can find some here: ABC Games! Fun Activities for learning the Alphabet.

Just click on the image below to go get your Name Bingo FREEBIE:

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you found some helpful ideas for your classroom.
Happy teaching!