Instagrams of the Week 11

Instagram Posts of the Week 11

We had another amazing week at school filled with so many fun activities and centers. Here is a look back on some of my posts from this past week (I try to post everyday, so if you want to see everything, make sure you follow me!)

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Our students were finding potato bugs (as they call them, but they are also called roly-poly or pill bugs) and were asking lots of questions about them. So we made a habitat for the bugs in our classroom, and set up an inquiry center (the “I See, I think,  I wonder” page  can be found here). We watched videos, read books and looked up more information on them. They’ve also had to feed them (they take leftover vegetables from their lunch and cut them into small pieces to add to the container). It has been awesome seeing how much they learned about these little crustaceans!

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We introduced watercolor paints to students, and encouraged them to try and paint different lines. I put up some Van Gogh paintings to inspire them to create something  with lines. Students did really well with this, and loved creating colorful paintings!

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At the end of the week, we watched a video about Van Gogh (this one) and read The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock. Then students had the opportunity to paint their own masterpieces inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. Before they began, we discussed being mindful of what we are painting and to have a plan of what we wanted to create. Then we discussed the tools we were going to use. They had paint (red, blue, purple, yellow and white- note there was no green, this student created it herself!), a paintbrush and a plastic fork. They had to paint their picture first, then use the fork to create lines and movement in their paintings. They had so much fun with this activity, and it was great to see their thinking and the process they used to create their art pieces.

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Our letter loose parts center from this week. This month we are focusing on the letters S, A, I, T. Students could pick the letter and how they wanted to create it with loose parts. I love the book Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming. It goes through each letter of the alphabet and constructs it in different ways to match the letter (for example, Buttons the B).

Come back next week to see what we get up to. We have lots of 10 Black Dots activities happening and we are going to start looking at 2D shapes so I will have lots to share!

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A Tour of our Construction Site

Construction Site- Pinterest

This year I really wanted to have a construction site set up so students could build and play with different materials. I love having students use their creativity and problem solving skills to make structures. We have dedicated a small corner of our classroom to our building materials, and we are going to keep adding new materials throughout the year.

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The wall has pictures of students working on their structures. We are changing them out as we get more pictures. I also hope to start putting QR codes with their pictures that will link to videos of the students showcasing what they built. They love seeing their picture up there, and ask to have their picture taken so they can be on the wall too.

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The ledge has a few items on it, including two real construction hats that they can wear, a box of dowels and posts, and a book about construction sites.

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The “I Can…” statement poster helps students understand what they can do at the center. We have added some planning sheets that students can use to make their blueprints, and a class book that they can use to record what they have built. For the first few weeks we have let students explore the materials, but we want to bring more math and literacy into this center using these items.

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And of course, the building materials! So far we have straws and connectors, marble run, wood burned building blocks, and the colorful blocks I made over the summer. I plan to add alphabet blocks and other items as the year goes on.

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I’m so glad they like this center and I hope they continue to make amazing structures and have fun working together!

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Pick it! Build it! Write it! Work Mats

Pick it! Write it! Build it!- Blog

A new activity pack was added to my store. Pick it! Build it! Write it! includes 3 simple work mats that can be used in a number of different ways.

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Students can pick a letter, build it, and write it. You can use a variety of materials for the “build it” parts. Any of your loose parts would be fun!

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This activity pack comes with all the letter cards in two different versions: with just the letter, or the letter and the picture.

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The next version of this work mat has students building sight words. The 40 Pre-Primer Dolch sight words are included, and there is also a few blank cards that you can us to write in your own sight words.

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The last version in this set also works on sight words, but encourages students to use the sight word in a sentence.

I love how so many different levels are included in this simple activity, and that you can differentiate it for all the students in your classroom. It is available now in my store:

Pick it! Write it! Build it! Facebook

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A Look Back on Instagram

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My “Instagram Friday” post is a bit late this week. There is lots happening at school, so I got a little behind with my blog posts but I hope to be back on track by next week. Here is a look back on some of my Instagram posts from this past week:

instagram11 (8)This invitation to draw allowed students to closely look at the roses and to draw what they saw. I love their creations and it was a great way to introduce the art supplies to our students. They were able to use pencils, pencil crayons, crayons, or oil pastels. If there was a colour or supply they wanted, but was not at the table, they were encouraged to get it from the art shelf. I hope to be able to continue to encourage our students to create and draw using a variety of materials.

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During the first few weeks of school, we focus on students writing their names. This center encouraged them to use the different alphabet materials to build their name. In this tray: braille alphabet tiles, letter rocks, letter wood slices, and alphabet lima beans. I made name tile cards for students to use to match the letters in their names (from here), and these helped a lot with students who do not yet know how to spell their names. They also use them when they have to write their name on their work, they can bring it over to the table to help them remember how to write each letter in their name.

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Since it is the beginning of the year, we started off our math loose parts center with simple items and simple provocations. The number formation cards were great for helping students make each number and they can be found in my Number Sense activity pack.

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After working on simple number sense activities, we moved on to showing numbers in a ten frame. After a large group discussion about what a ten frame is and how to fill one in, students were invited to fill in ten frames on their own. The ten frame cards can also be found in my Number Sense activity pack, and the Number 1-20 Posters (numbers 11-20 are on the back) are available in my store also.

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3D Shapes Kindergarten Math Centers

Copy of Copy of Copy of Easy Print & Prep 3D Shapes- Pinterest

I am continuing to add to my Math Centers growing bundle. So far it includes: 2D Shapes, Measurement and Time, Symmetry, Addition, Subtraction, Number Sense, and Sorting. I have just added the 3D Shapes activities and it is perfect for working on shapes recognition and knowledge. So far it has 5 activities, with more to come!

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Spin and Build! has students use 3D shapes to build structures, and it includes a recording sheet that students can use to draw what they create. You can also have students make the 3D shape that they land on with different materials (toothpicks, clay, pipe cleaners, etc).

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Cover the 3D Shape! is a game board that has students move around the outside edge and cover the shape that they land on. It can be played in pairs or on their own. A great activity for identifying shapes.

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Sorting 2D/3D Shapes gives students the opportunity to differentiate between 2D and 3D shapes. There are 12 cards that students can sort using the sorting mat.

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Spin and Cover! comes with 2 different versions. The other version (also included) is called Spin and Color (or Colour) and has students spin and then find that 3D shapes and either cover it or color it in.

Easy Print and Prep 3D Shapes -Facebook

Also included in this bundle is a write-the-room activity that has students find 3D Shapes in their classroom, school or outside. All of these activities were made for easy print and prep. They are all black and white, and need limited amounts of materials for easy set-up. Get it today on its own or in the bundle:

3D Shapes Preview     Bundle Preview

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Instagram Friday #9

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Now that school has started up again, I am going to start my Instagram Friday posts again! Here is a small snapshot of what is happening in our kindergarten classroom and from my Creative Kindergarten store:

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Our back to school sensory bin is filled with colorful rice and my Match the Pair! Letter matching activity. Students have to find the uppercase and lowercase letters. I can switch out the letters when they have had a chance to match all the ones that are in there.

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Our back to school bulletin board is up on the wall outside the classroom. This is great to start the school year until I have some student work to post.

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My Easy Print and Prep Symmetry Pack is up in the store and it has 5 great hands-on activities for students to practice line of symmetry. You can see more of this activity pack in this blog post.

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Our name making center has been going all week. Students use the different letter loose parts to build their name. These cards have been helpful for the students that do not know all the letters of their name. They can use them at their writing centers also! I got the template for them here.

If you want to follow along with all the great activities that we will be doing this year, make sure you follow me on Instagram!

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Wood Car Tracks for Outdoor Play

DIY wood car tracks- Blog

I am continuing to make new DIY projects for the classroom, I started small with these literacy and math loose parts, then made some colorful blocks. After seeing this awesome post for making your own outdoor tracks by Buggy and Buddy, I knew I had to make my own wooden car tracks. I wanted a set that students could use while playing outside since we do not have a lot of outdoor games. I know students are always excited about building with blocks and playing with cars, so this seemed like a great summer project!

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I started off by having my amazing SO cut me the boards out of old palettes. He used his table saw to cut the pieces all roughly the same length. Then his imagination and inner child took over and he made me smaller pieces, some straight and some curved. For the curved pieces, he made himself a template and then cut each piece using a clamp and a hand-saw. This is not something I would not have tried doing this on my own so thankfully I am with a handy-man that was really excited about this project!

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Then we sanded each piece. I was able to use the handheld sander to do the long boards, but the smaller pieces had to be done by hand. We watched Netflix (if you haven’t seen Ozark, you should watch it!) and sanded all the pieces. We took our time and did this over a few days.

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Then I waited for a nice, non-rainy day (which was a while since it rained almost every day this summer) and brought the pieces outside. I put masking tape on the long pieces for the lines in the road. Then I spray painted. Then I ran out of spray paint and had to go back to the store to get more. In total, I used 4 cans of this spray paint. I painted the front, the back and the sides of the planks, and I did two coats.

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Note: do not make the same mistake I did the first time I spray painted- WEAR GLOVES! You will look like you have some weird hand disease after you spray paint most of your hand black if you don’t. Even when I wore gloves, the fingertip tore and my finger was black for a few days.

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Once all the pieces were spray painted, I took the masking tape pieces off and hand-painted the lines in the road with white paint. You could leave them without paint, or you could figure out a template to stick to the board to spray paint the lines to make this faster. I chose to hand paint them. Again, Netflix is your friend (have you watched Atypical? No? Go watch it now!)

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And there you have it! Car tracks for students to use in your outdoor play space (they can also be used in the classroom, we just need more activities for outside) that students will be excited to use!

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More Easy Print and Prep Math Centers

Copy of Copy of Easy Print & Prep Symmetry- Pinterest

I have continued to add new math strains to my Easy Print and Prep Kindergarten Math Centers. When I first introduced the Bundle to you, it included 2D Shapes, Addition, Number Sense, Patterning and Sorting. Since then I have added Subtraction, and Measurement and Time. Now, I have added another strain; this time it is Symmetry! So far it includes 5 activities and an easy assessment sheet.

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These pattern block task cards have students complete the picture so that it is symmetrical. There is a work mat that is included so students can use it when completing the picture or they can use it to create their own symmetrical images.

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With this activity, students have to draw the line of symmetry on each of the pictures. It includes pictures, numbers and letters. It can be laminated so that students can use a white board marker, or you can use any straight object to make the line of symmetry (I used small wooden dowels).

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My favourite activity in this pack are the symmetry circle worksheets. The pack has two of these worksheets and they can be used as colouring sheets or with loose parts. Students have to make each slice of the circle symmetrical and they can use so many different materials with it!

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This sorting activity has students looking at different letters, numbers and pictures to figure out if they are symmetrical. Then they must sort them by symmetrical or not symmetrical. There is a work mat that is included that students can use to sort the different cards.

Easy Print and Prep Symmetry -Facebook

There is also a colouring sheet that asks students to draw their own picture with a line of symmetry and an assessment page to keep track of students’ progress and knowledge. You can get this activity pack on its own or in my Bundle! I will be adding 3D Shapes soon and I am putting the finishing touches on a Money bundle. Take a look at it in my store:

Bundle PreviewSymmetry Preview

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Colorful Blocks for Building Center

DIY colorful blocks- Blog (1)

Our school provided one set of blocks for our 4 kindergarten classes. One set for 4 classes. That means that we rotate who has the blocks each month, so there will be 3 months of no block center. I think that we should have a block center all the time, so I decided to DIY my own set. After making the small DIY projects for our math and literacy centers, I took on another project!

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My awesome SO (and hand model) came to my rescue for the power tool stuff and he cut up a whole bunch of different sized blocks for me, and we sanded them together. Binge watch a funny TV show on Netflix to pass the time (the Office? Community?) and sand away.

Once all the pieces have been sanded and washed, you can use a combination of rubbing alcohol and food coloring and paint the blocks with a Q-tip. This will give the blocks a slight color but you will still be able to see the grain of the wood.

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For the blue, green and orange blocks we did two coats of the paint and the red blocks only needed one coat.

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This is a messy project, and you will want to make sure you have a well-ventilated room or do it outside (the rubbing alcohol smell is STRONG!).

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I love how these turned out and I can’t wait to keep adding different blocks to our building center to see what students create!

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DIY Classroom Projects

DIY classroom project- Blog

This summer, I spent some of time making some classroom projects. These are some of the smaller things I worked on, but things I thought would be fun to add to our literacy and math centers.

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Letter and Number Rocks– These will be great during literacy and math centers and will allow students to show what they are learning with some hands-on materials. We can add these to sight word building, making names, showing numbers in different ways, making number lines. The possibilities are endless!

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How I made them: I found the stones at the beach. I am lucky to live near a beach that is covered in these smooth, flat rocks so I did not have to buy them. Once I cleaned them, I simply wrote the letters, numbers and dots with white paint first. Then I went over them again in bright colored paint. My last step- spray them with clear matte coat finish to keep them nice all year.

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Letter Wood Slices- Another great manipulative to add to literacy centers. I like to have a few different types so that students can mix-and-match when they are building words.

How I made them: The process is exactly the same as the rocks. I had these wood slices that I bought from a store a few years ago, so I wrote the letters with white paint and went over them again with the bright colors. I do the white first so that the letter really pops. If you just use the colored paint, without the white base, the color is not as vibrant.

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Story Stones- I love having these out during literacy centers, during small world play, at the block center. They can go anywhere and give students a chance to add story elements to their play. They help work on character and setting, and help students create their own stories with these different elements. I will add more story stones as the year goes on, I love making them!

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How I made them: I also found these rocks at the beach, I cleaned them to make sure there was no sand left on them. Then I went on Pinterest to find lots of inspiration. I can draw from examples, but not when I have to come up with my own pictures. Then I drew each of the pictures in white paint first. I tried doing it without this step, but the images did not look very nice. It’s worth it to do this extra step. Then I painted all the colors, and added clear coat to set everything.

Note: This is the clear coat spray that I used, you could find any finishing spray at the craft store.

Stay tuned for some more DIY projects for the classroom. I have some awesome car tracks and colored blocks for the building center that I am excited to show you in some posts coming up.

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