Video segment about me, by the school district

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sweet Treats


Happy February, everybody!  The kids in my class asked me to make a cupcake sight word board game for them, so of course I did!  I think this idea was so attractive to the children because they love cupcakes.  These Cupcake Sight Word Board Games are free on TPT, and made for two different levels: kindergarten and first grade words.  I also made them as cards on a ring, which you can cut out, laminate, and cut out again:

Sight Word Cupcakes by on Scribd


My students love them so much that whenever we have a free moment they ask me to test them on their cupcake sight words.

I did some searching, and I found the book If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff.  This book is very much in the style of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and I think it's really good for building short-term and long-term memory.  The places that the cat visits are really fun and well-known to the children, including the beach, the gym, and the park.

I placed the ring of sight word cupcake cards inside this cupcake for easy storage:



I also tend to lose my sight word rings, and I thought if I put this one in a larger container I would be able to ask the children to look for it and find it, and they would bring it right to me.  Whether you're a blind or sighted teacher, it really helps to include the students in finding things that you need for the daily life of the classroom.

I hope these sweet-treat ideas are helpful to you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Cassie's Quilt

Book Cover of "Cassie's Quilt"

Happy New Year, everyone!  I am going to try to be much more consistent with my blog posts this year.  It's my New Year's resolution!

In December, I read a wonderful book for my list-and-label unit that I wanted to share with all of you: Cassie's Quilt by Faith Ringgold.  This book is really cool, because it's very much on the kindergarten level and it really inspired my children to write about their own homes.  What subject is closer to our kids' hearts than where they live?  My students were eager to draw pictures of and label their living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms with great detail after reading this book.

This book worked so well, I decided to make a writing folder with additional items that are better suited to modern times.  If you want to take a peek, here it is on TPT:

Home Folder

It's always a pleasure to hear from you!  You can leave a comment below.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas Bingo

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everybody!  Before the holidays, I was playing Superhero Bingo with my students and one of my little boys said "Mrs. Dudley, why don't you make us a Christmas Bingo game with letters?"  So even though it will be more for next year, I made it.  I'm certainly going to show it to the kids who wanted it, but here is the link on TPT if you're interested:

Christmas ABC Bingo

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Fun With Education.com

Good morning, all!  I'm interrupting my Donald Crews author study to talk about Education.com.  I'm a member of the site, and when I'm too busy to make my own paper, games, or activities, I turn to this website.  I like how when you're looking for something, you can really zero in on what you want by narrowing it down by grade level or type of resource.  A representative of Education.com sent me the following game.  Take a look:

Activity: Play the Rounds of Sounds Game



​For early readers, the printed page is so tantalizing. Kids can see words they know, interspersed with ones that have them stumped. It can be a challenge for parents: while you don't want to discourage your child with books that are too hard, you also want to help him stretch his “decoding” skills so that when he does run into new words, he's ready to take them on. Here's a kindergarten activity that teaches this skill, wrapped into a cute take-anywhere game.

What You Need:
Nothing — just a kid who's learning phonics

What You Do:
Remember that old chant, “Concentration!” (snap, snap) “Are you ready?” (snap, snap), “If so…” (snap, snap), Let’s go!” (snap, snap)… This game has a major educational component—it works on beginning sounds, but kids love to play it. Why? Giving games rhythm makes them more fun, not to mention, challenging.

In the game Rounds of Sounds, you’ll clap your hands, snap your fingers, or slap your knees to a slow beat. Then, after you’ve set your rhythm, say these words: I’m thinking of the ______sound/Now let’s try a round/Ready/Set/Go!

You can substitute any blend into the rhyme, whether it be sh, oa, ing, ee, or fr. It’s your pick! Let’s say you chose the sh sound. First, you’d explain to your child that you’re going to go back and forth coming up with sh words. The sh can be any part of the word, beginning, middle, or end. So words like brush, mushy, and shut are all possibilities.

Set your rhythm, and try it. Here’s how a sh round might sound:

I’m thinking of the SH sound/Now let’s try a round./Ready, Set, Go!

PARENT:Shut!
(Wait about 4 beats and then point to your child)

CHILD: Shout!
(Wait 4 beats)

PARENT: Shin!
(Wait 4 beats)

CHILD: Shampoo!
(Wait 4 beats)

PARENT: Bush!
(Wait 4 beats)

CHILD: Bash!
(Wait 4 beats)

PARENT: Pushy!
(Wait 4 beats)

CHILD: Mushy!
(Wait 4 beats)

Keep going with other sounds. You can pick anything you’d like to play this game. Just make sure you set a slow, steady beat when you start, especially when introducing a new sound. Take this game outside, to a party, or on the road. No supplies needed—just your own two hands, and a child that’s game!

I like this game because kindergarten kids love to slap and clap, and no materials are needed. I can picture myself using this as a whole-class activity, small-group activity, or when we're waiting to go to lunch.  I don't know about your kids, but mine are very talkative when we're lined up unless we're playing a game.

One additional feature that I appreciate about Education.com is that when kids go to a particular game, everything is read out loud to them.  This is particularly wonderful for ESOL kids.  When they're reading a story on the website, each word is highlighted while it's spoken.  When they answer comprehension questions about the stories, there's a particular sound if they get it right, and a different sound if they get it wrong.  I think this is a good feature because it gives the child immediate feedback about how they're doing, and they can think about it and try again to pick the correct answer.  I also like how the illustrations for the comprehension questions name the character or item when you hover your mouse over it.

The games on this website are interesting, filled with developmentally appropriate activities such as songs, puzzles, matching, and drag-and-drop games.  Finally, it's cool that you can do one-shot activities or a whole series of connected activities for any of your students who need extra help with a particular skill.

Have fun exploring Education.com!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Two Great Train Books

Book Cover of "Freight Train" by Donald Crews
Book Cover of "Shortcut" by Donald Crews

Happy summer everyone!  I'm continuing my Donald Crews author study because I think it was a very valuable unit.  Today, I'm going to talk about my students' two favorite train books: Shortcut and Freight Train.

Shortcut is a book in which Donald Crews talks about himself as a young child visiting Bigmama's.  A dangerous situation occurs in the book when the students are walking on the railroad tracks and there's a train coming.  My ESOL students were really able to describe how the children felt when the train was coming, and how they felt when they jumped off the tracks.  We also discussed, after reading the book, how it is unsafe to walk on a railroad track.  In fact, my children were telling me, when we read the book for the first time, that you don't do that because it's so dangerous!

I used this paper to talk about what happened before the train came, while the train was going by, and after the train passed the kids:


Freight Train was also written by Donald Crews, and it mostly describes colors of different train cars.  There's a song by Dr. Jean Feldman called "Color Train" that really works well with this book.  I use laminated pieces of construction paper with the color word printed on each car.  This is a great way to get kindergarten kids spelling their color words.

The students really enjoyed talking about trains from long ago and today.  I was surprised by the great detail my students could give me about the similarities and differences between different kinds of trains.  We talked about speeds of long-ago trains being a lot slower than they are today.  The kids told me that you had to shovel coal into a furnace.  I was pretty impressed with that!  They also told me that cowboys used to jump onto the trains and rob them (they must be watching old movies).  And one boy told me that trains now don't pollute the environment as much as they used to.  I nearly fell off my exercise ball when he said that!

Just to let you all know, I don't sit on a classroom chair.  I sit on a large exercise/yoga ball.  That was the best money I've ever spent for my classroom!  My back feels SO much better, and the kids really don't touch it.

Here's one more paper I made for what we've learned about trains:



Have a great time reading!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Flying

Book Cover of "Flying" by Donald Crews

The second book in the Donald Crews book study that I would like to talk about is Flying.

This is a great book for discussing sequencing.  It also illustrates, through pictures, the process of boarding a plane, lifting off, what you see when you're flying, and the landing process.  The book is a little old-fashioned, because of course it shows the plane from Donald Crews' perspective when he was little.  My kindergarten kids really thought it was a cool book, though.

I made two papers for two different days that were very successful.  The one idea was a writing paper with a picture and a word bank, where the students could use sentence starters to write their own story about getting on a plane:

Airport Writing Prompt by Sharon A Blachowicz Dudley on Scribd

I came up with some easy-to-read sentence starters that my kids have used since January to help them in their writing.  I laminate these posters for each table, and they keep them in a bucket in the middle of the table, that they can pull out at any time.  It really helps them to not keep writing "I see" a thousand times:

The second paper that I came up with is for them to write about a place they would go to on their airplane.  This was so open-ended, it made for great conversation!  Some kids told me they would fly to Mexico.  Some told me they would fly to an island in the middle of an ocean; that was very popular.  Others mentioned locations such as New York, Texas, and Florida.  One little girl told me she would fly on an airplane to see her grandma, because that's the person she loves the most.  That was so sweet!  The conversations before they wrote were so rich that it was actually hard to get to the writing.  The kids wanted to keep talking about where they wanted to fly!

Donald Crews Flying Prompts by Sharon A Blachowicz Dudley on Scribd


Here are some samples of my kids' writing:



I'd love to hear from you about your favorite Donald Crews book!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Parade

Book cover of Parade by Donald Crews

Happy June, everybody!  We've been doing a Donald Crews author study, and I'm going to start this series of blog posts with a wonderful book called Parade.

I like this book so much for kindergarten since Donald Crews takes us back to his childhood, where he was a young boy experiencing a parade.  I use the word "experiencing" because you can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste things at a parade.  I wanted to help my students to write more colorfully and explicitly, so I made up this "Moment in Time" poster to help my students think about what they could experience with their five senses:
I also made this picture graphic organizer so they could collect their thoughts before making their own Parade book:
I added a Parade writing folder to my package of Warm Weather Writing Folders that you can purchase on TPT.  Here are just a few samples of my children's writing:



More Donald Crews books to come!