Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reindeer Toast

Kindergarten cooking projects are one of those things that teach direction following skills, spacial sense and they are just plain fun!
I love doing reindeer toast because it is so easy to prepare and the kids love to assemble the reindeer.
You will need:
A loaf of bread and a toaster. I like to use a 4 slot toaster so that more children can get their toast at a time.
peanut butter or in case of a peanut allergy, chocolate frosting or other spread.
chocolate chips
read candies for the nose.
Toast the bread and cut in half forming 2 triangles. Spread the peanut butter on the toast. Add the pretzels, chips and red candies to make a reindeer face. Eat and enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gingerbread man word families

During the month of December, I like to spend a week using different versions of the Gingerbread Boy during my literacy block. Scholastic even offers a new version called The Gingerbread Girl, which my class really enjoyed. As an extension activity I created these gingerbread -an family books as an adaptation of sound boxes and word building.
To make the actual book I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter as a tracer. I traced and drew the page pictured here. Then I traced a paper with 9 "boy"shapes, copied them, cut them out and stapled them on the page shown to make the book.
I've used this both as a whole group guided writing activity, or as a small group during a guided reading lesson. It is a fun way to incorporate thematic instruction with phonics!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Advent started on November 30th, so for all you fellow Catholic School Teachers out there here are some of my favorite ideas for celebrating Advent in my classroom.
First I like to display the stable on my prayer table and add one figure to the nativity scene per day. One child opens the box and places the figure in the scene. It is a nice way to identify all the characters in the Christmas story.
The manager activity helps to reinforce social skills and kindness. Every time a child does something kind or helpful, that child gets to add a piece of straw to the manger. The Children are supposed to do so quietly but in the beginning they need some encouragement from the teacher that it's okay to add a straw.

The advent chain offers a multitude of skill practice. The students create an ab pattern with red and green construction paper strips. The chain can be any length desired. I like to have the students make the chain the same number of links as children in the class. Then I help the students number the links and send a class list home with the chain that corresponds a number to the name of the child in the class. Then when the student removes the link they pray for that child. The star on the top includes the rhyme: "Each night after prayers are said, take off a ring and hop in bed. When only the star is left to shine, you'll know that it is Christmas time!" I also have a chain in the classroom and we do the prayer chain together so that each child knows that they are being prayed for.

The living Advent wreath is my favorite activity. I got this idea from Mary Jo Thureson. You need a green garland or 2 depending on the size of your class. I made "candles" by laminating 3 blue and 1 white 11 x 16 sheets of construction paper and tying yarn through to make them able to hand around a students neck. I also made flames. Each morning we gather in a circle and four students are the candles and we add the number of flames based on the week. When we are in the wreath we say a special Advent prayer or sing "This Little Light of Mine."

Picture Sort Organization

Sorting pictures by beginning sound is an excellent way to help students develop phonemic awareness, alphabetic principal, and writing skills. It is also wonderful for English Language Learners because pictures help vocabulary development. Pictures can come from any resource, magazines or books that are published for that purpose.

But pictures are useless unless you can find them when you want them. So, take 13 legal sized envelopes, fold them or cut them in half and bind them on a binding machine or with book rings. Label each half of an envelop with a letter of the alphabet and load with pictures. They are within reach whenever you need them!