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Feature Friday 12/11: Big Ideas for Little Hands

Hey guys! Julie here from Big Ideas for Little Hands. We love using technology in our classroom and I am always looking for fun new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. 

It's been pretty easy to incorporate technology into Math and Reading with fun apps and online games. The struggle was how do I get technology into my writing time. The answer was this amazing app that I found, ChatterPix Kid.

We have been practicing writing stories during Writer's Workshop. Once the kids were done with their stories, I had them draw a picture of the main "character" of their story. These stories were information stories so they drew a picture of what they were inform the readers about. 

Once they drew their picture, I quickly snapped a picture of their drawing using the app. Then, on the app, you draw a small line where the mouth is. This will allow the picture "to talk." 

Once you have a mouth, the app will count down and the students will record their stories when it says "Go." Then you hit save and you are done. This app makes it so easy to create a talking picture. Once I showed my kids how to use it, they were able to do it on their own without my help! Perfect!

Come take a look at a few of our stories my kids created!

So simple to incorporate and a great way to motivate students to write. At the end of each week, the students that have finished their stories and created a video have a chance to share their video with the class. Definitely a highlight of the week! Head over to download the free app and let your kids' imagination run wild while they write and create!



What Worked Well Wednesday: December 9th

Hi friends!

This is Yukari from A Pinch of Kinder.

I'm excited to be here to share my first ever What Worked Well Wednesday post!

I'm going to keep this super short and sweet because I know a close third to back to school teacher tired and end of the year school tired is right before Christmas break teacher tired.  Am I right!?

Since my kids are in full on holiday mode I threw together this holiday themed sensory tub with a task.

The students are instructed to

1. Find a sand timer.
2. Start the sand timer.
3. Tweeze as many peppermint candy erasers out as they can before the timer runs out.
4. Count how many erasers they tweezed out and record their answer in the correct column.
5. Repeat until they have filled out all 3 columns.

My kids work on counting strategies, identifying and writing numbers, fine motor skills and develop an awareness of standard measurement tools (sand timer) all while playing and having fun!

If you would like to do the same activity in your class and would like the recording sheet I made up you can click here to grab it!

Any fun activities you tried out that worked well in your classroom this past week? Link up below with your What Worked Well Wednesday post below!

Linky Guidelines:

1. Grab the W.W.W.Wednesday image from above (the 2nd image from the top in this post) and include it in your post

2. Link back to this blog post (you can link the WWWW image that you included in your post)

3. Optional, but we highly recommend visiting the two posts before you and leaving a meaningful comment on their post.  Nice comments make the blog world go around! :)

Feature Friday: Sarah from Kindergarten Alphabet Soup

Yeah, friends! We have made it to the end of another week! Let's celebrate by having another Feature Friday!

Today we are featuring Sarah from Kindergarten Alphabet Soup! She has some great ideas on how to set-up your elf on the shelf! Take it away, Sarah...

Hi all! I am Sarah from Kindergarten Alphabet Soup. December is my favorite month at school because it is full of Holiday fun, and who doesn't love a good holiday! I wanted to piggy-back on the previous post that Molly from Miss K's Little Rays did on introducing the elf, and show you some ideas for what to do with your elf in the classroom!


I want to preface by saying that I teach in a private, Christian school, therefore Holiday time around here is very Christmas oriented. However, many of the ideas that I have used for the elf antics are very universal and can be used in public or private schools, as well as at home!

The following are some of my favorite ideas:
1. Zip-lining on the Christmas lights.
2. Sleeping in a tissue box.
3. A Marshmallow fight with some buddies.
4. Fishing for Goldfish.
5. Hiding in classroom decorations.
6. Kindness Challenge Day!

The following are some more ideas that can be used in a private school classroom:
1. Shepherd Elf
2. Elf and the Advent wreath.
3. Elf admiring the angel.


The elf really helps to motivate students to come in to school in the morning excited and curious about what we're going to learn about that day! I try to always utilize what we are learning about during the day in the elf's activity, as well. (i.e. this week we're talking all about angels therefore a lot of Elfie's antics involve angels.)

Where are you and your class finding your elf in your classroom? Have a happy Holidays! :)

What Worked Well Wednesday: Staying Organized

Hello again, teachers!!! I hope you're having a fantastic week!

I'm Emily, from Carnes Corner, and I'm SO GLAD to be popping in again today, for this week's What Worked Well Wednesday link up.  I've definitely missed you!

I've been known to be a bit OCD, and that tends to overflow in to my classroom and the way I "try" to stay organized.  I wanted to share with you how I keep all of my center materials organized.

I have tubs (from Target, similar to these) for each month/or two months that hold all of the center materials for that time frame. (Of course, they're a teeny bit of an investment, but it's SO worth it!)

 Within each tub, I have the center materials divided by a big ziploc baggie if they'll fit.  So, for example, in my November tub I've got three big ziploc bags with all of the smaller things inside for each of the weekly themes: Community Helpers, Scarecrows, and Thanksgiving.  December is a bit of a different month for me, since it's basically one big theme.  (Plus, I've got some of the center materials for this week already out).  Here's a peek inside December...

As I mentioned previously, when it's time for that center, I just pull out that baggie, make the necessary copies that I need to, and stick the individual centers in my FABULOUS rainbow tubs.  

We call these our "center tubs" in the classroom.  The first four (red and orange) are my literacy centers, and the next four (green and blue) are my math centers.  All of the materials they'll need for that particular center is in the coordinating tub, so the group can just grab and go.

This makes it easy, because I can just say "group one, grab the circle tub and take it to the carpet."

The bottom two drawers (purple) are my Word Work and Work on Writing material tubs for Daily 5 rotations.  

I've found its easier to take my Daily Five materials/centers and keep them in a storage bin all on its own because not all of my Daily Five items follow along with our weekly themes.

So, how do you organize your centers? Have I given you any ideas?? I'd love to hear!!

Oh, and make sure to link up below with what's working well in your room. :)

Monthly Freebie Linky Party: December 2015

Hi everyone!

This is Yukari and on behalf of the admin team I'm here to bring you another Monthly Freebie Linky Party!

Each linky will be open for a month and the the linky for the new month will be posted on the 1st of each month.  If you have freebies that you have made this month that you would like to share with the Kinder Tribe members please do so here! 

If you are in the Facebook group please refrain from posting freebies there and post your freebies here! You can post more than one freebie a month!


1. You can either link to a TPT product that is free or a blog post but please make sure it is going to a specific product or a specific blog post.  Your link will be deleted if it goes to your TPT store front or your blog homepage.

2. Please ensure you only post freebies that you have posted this month.  That means for this post you can only post freebies that you have posted in November 2015. (Nothing from December 2014, October 2015 etc. pretty please! Again links that do not follow this guideline will be deleted!)

3. You can link-up more than once a month but again please make sure that you are providing a link to your newest freebie and not just your generic blog or store address.

4. Links to blog posts with paid posts are ok as long as there is a freebie in the post as well.  If your post only contains paid products it will be deleted.

Happy sharing Kinder Tribe!

Our Classroom has an Elf!!

Happy December (almost!) It is Molly from Miss K's Little Rays!!

There is no better time of year than the HOLIDAY SEASON!! I am a lover of Christmas and all that it entails, so obviously going the extra mile at school was a must ;)

Last year, I read my students Georgie the Gingerbread Fairy and had a gingerbread fairy that visited our room daily. She watched for students who had awesome behavior and displayed our school's core values!

To add to the mix, this year our class got an elf! And like any elf, he was delivered STRAIGHT from the North Pole! I had my teaching bestie (Beginnings with Baer) deliver the wrapped package this afternoon. We spent quite some time guessing what could be in it. I had a lot of students guessing it was a rock (not sure why we would get a rock!!) but the look on their face when they saw the elf on the shelf was PRICELESS! Unfortunately I was not thinking and didn't capture that exact moment! I read them the letter he had written and we read the classic book to go with it. We went over how we CANNOT touch the elf or he could lose his magic! I even explained to them that some of my teacher friends had elves that needed to go to the doctor after they had been touched by a student! That got their eyes big and bold!

We then gathered on the carpet and did a partner talk about possible names. We then came together as a class and discussed what we liked best! It came down to Ben, Twinkles, and Candy Cane. And the winner was....

We left for the day wondering of ALL the possible places Candy Cane could be when we return tomorrow. As long as he doesn't mess with my caffeine, I will be a happy teacher ;) Before leaving, I did have one student look at the Elf and say, "Hey, could you let Santa know that I am really a happy kid?"

Tomorrow we will begin our Elf Journal where we will document each day where we found Candy Cane and what he was doing!

Stay tuned to hear more about the Elf in Room 103!

What do you do for holiday fun in your room??

What Worked Well Wednesday: Writing Offices

Hello friends!  Heather from Learning with Mrs. Langley here to share what worked well for me this Wednesday!

This week I tried out something new in Writer's Workshop.  I read a great article about writing offices and decided to give them a try.  I had an alphabet resource and some other things but I've never put it all together in one easy place to use for my kiddos.  So I gave it a shot!

 I had a bunch of folders in different colors so of course I had to use those!  I color coded them so I would know what table they belong too.  I loved that they immediately worked as a privacy folder too.  My kiddos were not too caught up in playing with them either...which I was worried about. 

With the introduction of this new resource I had a new problem.  CROWDED tables.  Gosh they got crowded fast.  So to fix that I introduced writing around the room (which I did last year, but had forgotten about it!)

Here is how it works.  
Students. work. around. the. room.  
That's all.  
They don't have to sit at a table at all! 

Doesn't she look comfortable?  Oh my goodness the difference is amazing.  They are completely focused on their writing and they work the whole time!  That was happening before but it is even better now!  We use rugs to give us a designated spot.  If they want to work at a table they can still choose to do that.  It's all about choice!
Ok, what did I include in the stations?  I updated this freebie file with what I have included so far and you can get it for free HERE.  

Thanks friends!
And you can link up too!  Follow the Inlinks tab to connect the Kindertribe to your own blog post!  We'd love to hear from you! 


What Worked Well Wednesday: Successful Parent Teacher Conferences

 Oh, parent teacher conference time! Just thinking about them has always made me feel like...

Some are parents you've never met before. Some you've interacted with for years. Some will be incredibly protective and have their defenses up. You will have to have some difficult conversations about the most important people in their world. This is scary for all involved.

But over the last year or so, I've found ways to make conferences run smoothly and successfully for all involved. Today is our fall conference day, and I am using some of the things that have made conferences successful for me in the past.

Just like we spend time setting up our room for seamless learning for our students, put in a little time to set up for your parents.

The environment sets the stage, so make sure it is pleasant. I put on some soft classical music and ensure that the room is tidy and smells good. These little things can make a big impression. I swear by fragrance plug-ins. These Air Wick plug-ins are inexpensive and permeate throughput the room (a huge room I might add). When you walk in and notice that it smells great, you are already at ease.

I always set up a table and chairs outside my room for those who are waiting for the previous conference to end. On the table, I put some of our class books for students to read to their parents, and give them  a sense of what their kids can do. Our class books about our field trips (which include pictures and students writing about their experiences) are always a big hit.

When you walk in, I have a sign in table. I use picture frames from the Dollar Tree for the signs- it looks nicer and keeps the signs in good condition so they can be used again.

At each child's spot, I have a pile of all of their papers that I will go over with parents. It is easy for me to grab when they get there, and helps me make sure that everyone has a copy of everything. There are always a few parents who can't make it, and now I have everything ready for when I can meet with them. There are always several notes to go home, as well as student journals and portfolios. Our district kindergarten "report cards" are very basic, so I supplement with parent reports from ESGI and a talking points sheet.

I love this format because it reminds me of all the positives. When I sit down to fill them out, I think about what I've seen each child improve in, what they are really strong in, and what they struggle with. I leave the "goals" section blank and fill this out with parents. I love hearing what they want to see for their child, and what they are willing to put into this.  This helps solidify that we are a team, and helps us focus on what we want for that child.These talking points help me stay focused  as we confer. 

 Before leaving, I have a little treat for the families who came. Who doesn't love a little something sweet?

Doing these things has allowed me to make conferences seamless and productive. Going into it today, I feel at ease and well-prepared, excited to see parents beam when I tell them the great things their kid can do. Do you have any "must-do's" for conferences? I'd love to hear about them!

What's going well in your classroom? Link up and share with us!

An InLinkz Link-up

Simple Thanksgiving Craft

Hello, Everyone!
This is Kelly from My Fabulous Class. We have been have been learning all about Thanksgiving.

We have been reading all of these fun turkey books. You can find all of these books on Amazon. 

We made a Thanksgiving bubble map. I was hoping to get more out of them, but they were all distracted by the surprise snow storm.

Then, we made this adorable Thanksgiving book. It was so simple. The brown paper in just a piece of construction paper cut in half. to make the nose and waddle, we just cut scraps from the feathers. I had to help a few kids with this. You can get the feathers and the writing template FREE HERE.

Looking for more Thanksgiving ideas?

Hide That Turkey - Literacy Ideas for Turkey Trouble and Turkey Claus

Turkey, Turkey, Turkey -Math and Literacy Centers
Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Math Center Management

I don't know about you, but it seems that every year I am trying to streamline my math centers.  I want to not only make my life easier, but I also want to make it more manageable and meaningful for my students.  

This year I tried something a little bit new.  

First of all, I have my math center rotations on a SMART notebook so I can easily put it up on my SMARTboard.  No more finding a spot in the room for a rotation chart that we use once a day.

Each day I just move the circles to the next center and then save the changes to the notebook before I close it after center time.

Secondly, I bought these drawers last year and decided they would be perfect for my math centers.  I have them numbered.  They also easily come out.  I have my students take the whole drawer to their table.

Lastly, in order to make things easier for myself.  I have kept the centers somewhat similar in each drawer.  Here is what my math centers look like:

Center 1 - pattern blocks
Center 2 - matching game and/or CRASH
Center 3 - changes each week
Center 4 - iPads
Center 5 - roll & color games
Center 6 - spinner games

As you can see, my students know instantly what they are doing at each center each week.  I don't keep the exact same activity in the drawer every week, but they are somewhat similar.  In my pattern block drawer, I use Elizabeth Hall's pattern block activities from her B.U.I.L.D. math centers.  (You can grab them here)

The centers change with each theme I am teaching, but the way to play the games/centers is usually the same except for center three.  I like to have one that I can change up.  I always teach that center whole group before I ever expect my students to do it on their own.  

During the time my students are doing math centers, I am pulling small groups.  I pull a group who needs some reteaching and I pull another group for enrichment.  I love having the opportunity to pull these students.  

Do you do math centers?  If so, I would love to hear how you manage them.  Sound off in the comments below!