Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hats Off To Reading!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a Party City representative offering me 'Read Across America' themed items to use in my classroom if I was willing to share how I used them on my blog so that other teachers and parents could help join in the celebration! 
Party City wants teachers to celebrate the 113th birthday of America’s favorite author, Dr. Seuss and the “Hat’s Off to Reading” campaign

And just this week I found this waiting for me on my doorstep...

There is still time to grab some of these goodies from Party City to help you celebrate in your classroom!
Party City’s Party Kits are an easy and stress-free way for busy teachers and parents to put together a Dr. Seuss celebration!  From decorations and serveware featuring all your favorite characters, to costumes and accessories (including the iconic red and white hat)--Don’t just throw a party, Throw a Party City Dr. Seuss Party

I took some pictures of what I received and how I plan to use them so that you have time to do the same in your classrooms (or in your home) before Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2nd!  After I use them with my class this week, I plan to add some more pictures to the post!
(***This post was updated on 3/5/17 to include pictures from this year's celebration!***)

To get started these are the things I received:
*Decorative Cut-Outs
*Pencils
*Stamps
*Loot Bags
*Notepads
*Paper Hats
*Socks
*Thing Patches
*Cat in the Hat headbands
*Thing 1/Thing 2 headbands
*Cups, plates, napkins

I have matched some of the items above to popular Dr Seuss books and also added in some additional activities I have done in the past for each book to give you tons of options!

****Cat in the Hat****
This is a 'staple' book when celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday!

The paper hats are fun to just wear, but I also like to turn them into a 'learning tool' to display something we are working on!

Prior to receiving these hats, I have used a 'Cat in the Hat' template I have found online and/or drawn one myself (in my early teaching years) to do this same activity:
You can give students a word family (ex -at) and have them generate words or have them pick a picture card and then think of words that rhyme with that word.
Do be sure to alter your choices so that there are enough words that rhyme with it to fill the 5 spaces on the hat!
(You can download the egg picture card pictured above FREE later on in the post!)

Here is one we used last year from a hat I drew and copied onto cardstock:


Another fun thing to do for Cat in the Hat is a directed drawing:
You can find AWESOME and FREE directed drawing directions from First Grade Blue Skies for the Cat in the Hat HERE!

Look at how adorable our '2017' drawings came out:


Last year we did some Thing 1 and Thing 2 directed drawings:
I don't have awesome step by step directions for this one because I did it from a picture I had of a thing!  We used finger paint to fill in the red and blue, yet I saw a fun idea on Pinterest using a straw to blow the crazy hair onto the paper!

We also did some interactive writing about those crazy Things:

And it made a super cute bulletin board display:


We always seem to be in the middle of our 'how to' writing unit right around Dr. Seuss' birthday, so we talk about the steps on how to make this Cat in the Hat snack:

Here is what you need for them:

(You can read more about 'how to' ON THIS POST)
***I saw a healthier version on Pinterest using bananas & strawberries which might also work better for food allergies!***

For the life of me I cannot find the picture I took of our cute Cat in the Hat simple craft but will try to explain it:
*1 white paper plate
*1 hat template
*1 piece of red crepe paper
*red & black crayons
*white scraps of paper to make ears

Kids draw a cat face on the plate and color the outside edge ('bumpy part') black.  They color the hat the traditional way and glue it onto the cat's head (plate).  Add 2 ears and tie a piece of the crepe paper into a bow and glue it to the bottom of the plate.
It comes out SUPER cute!

****Green Eggs and Ham****
Every Dr. Seuss birthday has to have this book...and some green eggs!
For years I made eggs for my kids (add blue food coloring to the yellow eggs- it'll come out better than adding green!) but after a few years of egg allergies in my class I had to think outside the box!

So I started making these green 'eggs' from chocolate!
(I even pack some up for my boys lunches!)

Last year I made them on little pretzels:
(because I could only find 1 bag of white chocolate and didn't have enough for the big eggs!)

Our Cat in the Hat greets my kids with a platter of eggs in the morning:

We also play a green eggs/ham CVC game and spell some CVC words using green eggs throughout the week:
(You'll find this FREE later in the post!)

I also am planning on using some of these green eggs with the Party City goodies I received:

My kids LOVE writing in mini notepads when we do 'read the room' center, so I figured they will love using these Dr Seuss notepads and special pencils to practice sounding out and spelling CVC words: 

I am finding my students are having a hard time distinguishing between vowel sounds (especially e and i) so I plan on using the green eggs for some vowel sorts.  The Dr Seuss loot bags are perfect for holding the eggs!  I used post-its to label my bags (so that I could re-use them again for something else) and will lay out the eggs for them to sort.  I will also have them record the words on a printable.


We also use this 'green eggs and ham' CVC word/picture sort throughout the week:
(You'll be able to download this for FREE later on in the post!)


 ****Fox In Socks****
I will admit...I first picked out these Dr Seuss socks for the teachers on my K team to wear but when they arrived they said 'child size' and I didn't think they'd fit us!
BUT...I had a fox rhyming game I have used for years to practice rhyming that I knew would be even more fun with the addition of the socks!
 So the foxes get stuffed into the socks...students pull out a fox, ID the picture, draw it and then think of something that rhymes with it and draw a picture.  I am also going to encourage them to label their pictures.
(The recording sheet will be FREE later in the post.  The foxes can be found HERE.)


****Bartholomew and the Ooobleck****
This books is super long but the kids LOVE listening to it (especially if you change up your voice!).
We always end Dr Seuss week with some oobleck!
It's SUPER easy to make and it's A TON of fun!
I have tried the cornstarch method...NO..too messy...do this one!
The recipe and how to can be found ON THIS POST.

This year I remembered to take a video of the 'ooohs' as it turns into oobleck! Turn up the volume and enjoy:
   
After this I pour off the excess water and then rip pieces off for each of them to play with!

Here are some pictures of us enjoying our oobleck this year:

Here are a few other things that can be done during Dr Seuss week to go with a variety of his books:

FIND THE CAT!
We do a lot of pocketchart 'find the hiding___' activities with each theme/season, so I knew we needed a Dr Seuss one!
For this one I used the Dr Seuss cut-outs and some Post-It removable tape to write CVC words (you could use sight words, spelling words, letters, numbers, vocabulary words, etc!)

I cut the cat out of one of the cut-outs...
These cut-outs will be in our pocketchart.
The kids hide their eyes and one person hides the cat behind another cut-out.
The kids ask 'Is the cat hiding behind __(insert CVC words)__?' and the person who hid the cat checks under that word.
If the cat is there, the person who guessed correctly gets to now be the hider.
If it isn't, children continue to be chosen to guess until the cat is found.

I got 2 sets from Party City so I was thinking of also doing a matching activity with them and/or using them as math manipulatives for addition/subtraction!

Speaking of addition/subtraction....
We'll be using these Dr Seuss Stampers!
 They are SELF-INKING so no need for stamp pads!
You can call off a number sentence for them to solve and/or have them use dice to roll, record and show!  All of them ink in 'blue' but there are a few different pictures to choose from!

Here is how we'll use it for subtraction practice:

We used them for subtraction practice on Dr. Seuss' birthday this year as our 'math lesson' for the day:
As a reward at the end of math, each child who used the stamps the right way (aka didn't ink up and down their hands and fingertips!) got to put 1 stamp on their hand!

And as I was writing this post I thought about how 'making 10' is coming up, so it would be fun to use the stampers to show different ways to make 10!
 (in both composing and decomposing ways!)

We'll also be reading books from this rhyming readers pack throughout the week

In case you were keeping track of what was in my picture and what I have shared...
The 'Thing' patches are for the 9 teachers on my kindergarten team (it was perfect- the pack had Thing 1 to Thing 9 in it!)
We all purchased red t-shirts from Michaels to iron them on.  Some of us will wear the Cat in the Hat headbands and some of us the Thing 1/Thing 2 headbands.  

Here is how ADORABLE my kindergarten team looked in our shirts and headbands:
The patches were easy to use...they ironed right on!

At the end of the day we will be gathering all of our classes for a Dr Seuss read-aloud in the gym.
Each child will receive one of the paper hats to wear and will go home with a pencil!
I even have a Cat in the Hat costume I found at a yard sale years ago just in case  our principal wants to join in on the fun!

Here are some pictures of our reading celebration at the end of the day:
All 115+ kids sat in a HUGE circle in the gym.  One of the teachers read The Cat in the Hat while the rest of us sat inside the circle holding copies of the book so that each child could see the pictures.
A few pages in our PE teacher came strolling in...as The Cat in the Hat!
He acted out parts of the story as added entertainment!
We even found some 'THING' 'patches' online and had each kid wear one all day!

The kids enjoyed it SO MUCH we are planning our next grade-level reading celebration for Friday April 21st- National Kindergarten Day!  Stay tuned for the fun we have planned for that day!

We'll be using the plates, napkins and cups to enjoy our green eggs and cat in the hat treats!
I can't wait to share pictures of our fun day and all the fun things we'll be doing!

Here are our treats on the special plates!
Each child got a 'green egg' (chocolate), Lorax cookie, Cat in the Hat fruit kabob and Red Fish, Blue Fish crackers!  We also enjoyed THING JUICE! 

The Cat in the Hat approved of our treats!

What is THING JUICE?
Simply blue Hawaiian Punch with a special label!
Then there is a squirt of whipped cream on top and some red & blue sprinkles!

As exciting as the snacks were, when they opened the napkins they discovered ALL the characters we had read about all week!

And my boys lucked out too because they had this fun Dr Seuss inspired breakfast and lunch too:
(Sometimes it's REALLY great to be the kid of a teacher mom!)

At the end of the day each of my kiddos took home a goodie bag filled with a pencil, notepad, stamp and special cut-out thanks to Party City:

Some other fun things we did included:
Dr Seuss video thanks to Scholastic Let's Find Out

Dr Seuss video thanks to Brain Pop Jr.!

And although the door on this year's celebration is now closed, 
you can still get ready for next year's celebration...

Since I feel SUPER honored to have been gifted all these WONDERFUL things from Party City, I think it is only fair I 'pay it forward' and gift my readers with some things they can use during 'Read Across America' week, so click HERE:

To find all the recording sheets shown in this post, as well as the green eggs and ham center pieces!

It was a SUPER FUN celebration from beginning to end!
and a day I know my kindergarteners are sure to never forget!

**********
Some of the other bloggers that received materials from Party City are sharing what they are doing to!
Be sure to check back to find links to their posts:

Stories & Songs In Second:

Easy Teaching Tools:



Hope you have a super fun week!
Until next post,

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Winter Alphabet Activities

Yes...it's true...
We had our first 'brush' of snow yesterday- we read A Snowy Day and then I filled plastic totes with snow for the kids to explore and watch melt!

And today we are housebound with 12 inches on its way:
(my current view)

So it's only fitting that our centers and morning tub activities reflect the season!
If you didn't already read my Winter Math Centers post, be sure to head there too:

But today's post is all about ABC Fun!
Our school uses FUNdations and we are required to give the unit tests.  If 80% of our class does not meet benchmark, we cannot go onto the next unit.
Next week is our 'assessment week' for FUNdations Unit 1- which we have been in since the beginning of school.  The test requires you to meet 1:1 with each student, so I needed some activities for my kiddos to do independently while I conducted the assessments (we don't have full time teaching assistants in our district).  Since I will be doing them during my 'Word Work' block, I wanted my kids to still participate in 'word work' activities.

Here is the list of what we will be doing!  
The first few are not seasonally based but are goodies I can't give up!

1. Letter Locks
These are from Lakeshore and the kids L-O-V-E them!
I put a binder ring on each lock and they have to collect all the binder rings to show that they were able to match all the upper/lowercase letters (they haven't figured out how to 'unclip' a binder ring yet so shhhhhh!  It makes it easier for me to set-up because I don't have to unlock each one!)

2. Leaping Letters
We got this game from our classroom elf this Christmas and it is SO MUCH FUN!
It's like Perfection (am I dating myself knowing that game?!) but with letters!
And the letters don't actually FLY like they are on the cover...so no worries about chaos!
The elf told me he got it from BJ's Wholesale Club but he also said he saw it on Amazon!

These are FABULOUS because the kids LOVE using the links!
This is a freebie from Jennifer White on her blog.
These were a morning tub activity, along with the locks, since about October.  I would just add the letter(s) we learned the previous week into the bucket until we had all the letters in there.

3. ABC Ice Fishing
I found this on Pinterest!  It is from Joyfully Weary and it's FREE!
She gives you the ABC fish in both lowercase and capital.
I had the fishing poles from a Lakeshore Phonics Game (although I have made additional poles using a dowel, string and a magnet) and I snagged 2 copy paper boxes from the copy room to make the 'frozen pond!'

I copied the lowercase fish on white cardstock and put 2 staples in each one as she suggests. 
(So smart!  I have used paperclips before and they always pull off & kids have a hard time getting them back on!)

I copied the uppercase set on blue paper and put them into sleeve protectors.  The kids are going to work in pairs to fish out the lowercase and match them to the uppercase fish.

4.  Snow Globe Letter Matching
This was another Pinterest find!  It is from Mom Inspired Life and she has an uppercase letter globe, lowercase letter globe and blank globe for you to download for FREE!

She has her child cover the letters with white stickers, but I wanted a reusable activity.  My magnetic letters were too big but my letter beads were the PERFECT size!
I have both capital and lowercase letter beads but chose to only use the lowercase ones for now since that is what most of our FUNdations work has focused on.

I put all 26 letters into a bowl for matching:

I printed the globes front/back so I could differentiate instruction:
To the kids its looks like they are completing the same activity, but you know you are giving each one what they need to practice at the time.


5. Roll and Cover

I got these alphabet dice while at the I Teach K! Conference in Las Vegas last July from a booth hosted by a company called 'Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks.'  They have an online catalog that sells them for both US and Canada.
The dice are $1.50 each- I have used them for a few activities already this year and the kids LOVE them.

I made a mat, grabbed some Target Dollar Spot erasers, the dice and little plastic baskets.
These dice TAKE OFF when rolled on the tables...so having them roll them in the basket helps keep it in place and on the table...and less noise!

They roll a letter, say it's name and then find it on the mat and cover it.
I printed the mats front/back for upper and lowercase, but for now we're just using the lowercase side.  After some practice, they'll be allowed to choose a side for morning tubs.
You can grab the mat for FREE at the end of this post!

6. ABC Winter Express
Each kid has a train...they find the upper, lowercase and a picture for each letter.  
Click the picture to find it in my TpT Store.

7. 'Snow' Writing

I love sand/salt trays...but they are usually bulky and inevitably always get knocked over!
I filled 5 plastic crayon boxes with a mixture of salt and glitter (well not so much 'FILLED' but poured enough in to cover the bottom!)

I put letters a-z on a word ring (in FUNdations you only practice writing the lowercase letters for the first 12 weeks- after our Unit 1 test we will learn how to write uppercase letters) and in each box.

They open the box, take the word ring out, find 'a' and write it in the salt.  They GENTLY shake the box side to side to erase the letter and flip to the next letter.  They continue to write, shake, turn until they have practiced all 26 letters.

This was an inexpensive center to set up- 1 container of salt covered all 5 boxes and I only used a little bit of glitter in each!

DO be careful to keep the boxes flat...the salt is so fine it 'leaks' out the seams if put on it's side!

You can find the writing snowballs in both capital and lowercase for FREE at the end of the post!

All 7 of these stations will be set up and they can travel freely to any they want to do as long as their is room at that table/area.
I do want each of them to visit the salt tray station because they each need handwriting practice, so there will be a 'sign-in' sheet at that table.  After they complete it they will write their name next to their printed name so I can remind those that haven't done it yet to do so.

Want to grab the roll/cover mats and snowball writing cards?
Click HERE:

and if you didn't already visit the Winter Math Center freebies, head there now:

I have been pinning a lot of cute ideas to my Winter Pinterest Board too:


If it's snowing where you are...stay warm and safe!
If not...send some sun our way please!

Until next post,
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