Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Magic

Playing Bells
Happy Holidays, everyone!  I don't know about all of you, but the last month has been very intense for me.  There has just been a lot of testing.  So, I'm not going to talk about the testing but I will talk about some fun things that really lifted my spirits and made my students very happy.  Hopefully you can use some of these ideas if you're still teaching before Christmas, or even afterward in the long month of January.

I purchased some bells at a conference and then completely forgot about them.  I do things like this ALL the time because I have too much stuff and I'm just a little ditzy.  Organized, but ditzy.  So I took them out and placed them on the shelf in my classroom, and wow!  When I started playing "Doe, a Deer" and "Jingle Bells", teachers would come in from other classrooms to see what was happening.  The music teacher came in.  Now, the funny thing is I believed he was one of my students, and thought "Oh my gosh!  I have a prodigy on my hands!"  After he played the song, he said hi to me, and I have to say I was a little bit disappointed that it wasn't one of my students.

These bells are SO easy to play.  My students started picking up how to play "Jingle Bells."  You just tap the top of the bell and it rings.  It's a little more challenging to play them as a completely blind person, because of course I'm doing it by ear and not by the color coding at the top of each bell that also matches the disc you can buy.  But it worked beautifully and my assistant, who also plays the flute, played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "The First Noel."  I guess the great thing about these bells is even if you're not musically talented you can look at the screen and just follow the colors.

Another really nice thing that happened was a little girl who couldn't count to 8 came over and played the scale with me.  I showed her how to count as she tapped the bells, and the second time we did it she counted by herself.  She doesn't have much English, and this is the first time that she's counted to 8 and back down again with the bells.  Sometimes music really does act as a bridge to other subjects.


Sight Word Christmas Tree
We practiced sight words with this Christmas tree that I made a few years ago.  But if you didn't see that post, here are the ornaments again if you'd like to make the tree.



I also laminated it and added velcro to it so the children could play with it in ABC and Word Center.  It's really amazing to see children who know their sight words use this tree to help those who are having a little trouble.  If you'd like to purchase some easy-to-use sight word coloring sheets, take a look at this product.  I used them all week and the kids said they were super fun.



We were also working on solid shapes and I found that using real objects is so much better than using pictures.  It's just more hands on and the children can actually roll and slide the objects to see how they move.  I think there are so many things we have to do that are just flat; it really excludes those kinesthetic, 3D learners.  I sat the children in a circle and assigned each child a 3D shape.  Then everyone sorted the real-life objects.  Here is a free solid shape book where the kids can color each solid shape on its own individual page.

The last thing I'd like to tell you about is a really awesome solid shape video where a girl, with help from a fairy, is decorating a Christmas tree with solid shapes.  It talks about faces, corners, and angles, and it's really perfect for kindergarten.  It's just so festive and it's a fabulous connection between the holidays and mathematics.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

50th Day of School


Hi everybody!  I wanted to tell you about a really cool day we had at my school.  We celebrated the 50th day of school.  Ok, I know, you're probably thinking "50th day of school?  Most people celebrate the 100th day of school."  I've celebrated the 50th day for the last two years and found that it's really helped my children understand the higher numbers in more depth.  I think that counting by fives and tens really is the basis for so many skills that our students need for mathematical concepts later in life.  It's really essential that we give them a firm foundation in kindergarten.

I dressed as a 1950's girl!  I got the costume from a Party Store right before Halloween, and I danced to a swing song by Elvis Presley with my husband.  We discussed how life was different in the 1950's (sock hops, soda shops, how people dressed) and even made root bear floats with our kiddos!  Here is a video that we showed.  Thanks Stephanie!



My class has also been learning about sorting and classifying, so I combined sorting with grouping by tens by using Fruit Loops to count to 50.  I used the following paper, laminated, and the children placed the Fruit Loops on top of the appropriate colors.  The great thing about laminating the sheet is you can use it year after year.  In the past, I've had them paste the Fruit Loops onto the sheet using marshmallow fluff, but I think that method is just too much sugar.  It's healthier with just the cereal.

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I also made the following 50's chart where the children can trace the dotted font to help them understand how to make the numbers.  My students are constantly making numbers backwards.  I know that this is age appropriate for kindergarten, but my county does expect them, on standardized tests, to be able to write the numbers.



Two super songs that I found on Songs for Teaching are:

"Rockin' to 50" by MMMKids
"The Counting Creatures" by Ron Brown

I had the children hold up a plastic hundreds chart, but of course we only used numbers 1 to 50 so that they could see the numbers as we sang the songs.

One project that I loved doing when I was a girl scout (many, many years ago) was making paper chains.  I have several kids with fine motor problems this year, and I thought it would be oh-so-nifty to combine counting to 50 with patterning and the fine motor practice.  My blue and green tables, for example, used blue and green strips.  Each table made their own chain and we hung them up in the hallway along with the 50th day of school projects that my kids made.

Now my kids are super excited about doing the days in school chart that we've been using, and they can't wait for the 100th day!  I think I'm going to do this every year now.  It was so much fun!  Do you do anything special for the 50th day of school?  I'd love to hear about it.  Write a comment below.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The 13 Nights of Halloween

With Halloween soon approaching, I looked through my holiday books to find something special for this time of year.  I found this spooky tale: The 13 Nights of Halloween by Rebecca Dickinson.  It's perfect because right now we are writing and comparing numbers to 12.  My students also really like The 12 Days of Kindergarten, which I mentioned in my last post.  I made some cards that match this book, as well as sequencing sheets.  Here they are; I hope you like them!

13 Days of Halloween Sequencing by Sharon A Blachowicz Dudley


Dr. Jean also has a song called "Five Days of Halloween" which is done in a very spooky sort of Igor-type voice.  The song only goes up to 5, but it's definitely a favorite of my students.

If you have time, I'd love to hear what special things you're doing for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New House and 12 Days of Kindergarten

I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged!  I've really missed it.  It's been crazy, though!  My husband and I bought a new house.  It's huge because we're going to be adopting more kids.  Many of you know I have a 23-year-old daughter, but I guess I just did not have enough fun.  So we made sure to buy a house with 4 bedrooms so that when we foster-to-adopt there will be plenty of room.  Between electricians, roofers, home improvement people, fixing up our old place to sell, and getting our new place ready for us, it's been extremely chaotic!  Not bad, but just very busy.








One thing that I'm very excited about is that there's a storage room in the basement where I can keep all my teaching stuff.  Over the years, I've just acquired bins and bins of stuff.   As I was sorting through the mountains of teaching supplies, I found triples and quadruples of some things.  For example, I have 4 ABC train puzzles and 3 mother and baby animal puzzles.  I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but do you ever buy books that you've already purchased?  A number of times in the past I thought "Oh, I just have to have to have these weather books.  I guess I'll buy them from Scholastic."  Well, it turns out I now have 4 sets of those!  So I guess over holidays and breaks I'm really going to try and inventory more of my stuff.

Speaking of school stuff reminds me that I made some new things for the book The Twelve Days of Kindergarten by Deborah Lee Rose.



I did a previous post about The Twelve Days of Christmas and The Twelve Days of School.  But I also just put up a free product on TPT that you can use with both of those books as well as The Twelve Days of Kindergarten, which are all perfect for this time of the year!  I like them because they show the quantity, the numeral, and the sequence.  I also prefer books that count up before using books that count down.  It's also funny how the kids have a little trouble with left-to-right sweep when gluing numbers.  I'm sure you've experienced this, where you have them do some kind of paper where they're gluing things from 1 to 10, or 1 to 12, and when you get the papers, you notice that they've done it from right-to-left instead of left-to-right.  So I hope it helps that my sequencing sheets have some filled in for them.  This way, it's easier for them to understand the left-to-right sweep and they get practice with the concepts of "one more" and "one less".

Please leave me a comment below.  I would love to know what you think about the new house and these papers.  And beside that, I've just missed all of you!  :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Music & More


Happy Monday everyone!  This week will be my second week of school, and can I tell you that I am so grateful for the CD "Kids In Motion"?  I always fall back on that music when I have a very active class.  There's a song on it called "Freeze Dance" where I have the children dance around with scarves and then I ask them to identify a letter when the music stops.  Therefore the active kids are getting out their wiggles and I'm still doing something academic.  It's also giving them a great brain break.  Another song that's really great for the beginning of kindergarten is "Show Me What You Feel."  It's so wonderful because no matter what class I try this with, they really get into showing emotions such as angry, happy, silly, etc.  Even kids who normally don't like dancing will act out the feelings in this song.  I think that it's very important for the kids to understand how to verbalize how they're feeling about things.  That makes solving conflicts and problems much easier.

I also read a book in my new Wonders reading series called Animals In The Park: An ABC Book.  I liked it, and the kids sat pretty well considering it was their first week of school.  Of course, the part that was really fun was doing the song "Animal Actions" from Kids In Motion, where the kids got to move like the animal that the singer indicates.  I have the children sit in a circle on the carpet.  I pick four students at a time to do each animal.  For the first try, the kids were being really shy until I got up and started moving like an elephant.  Then they were much more willing to try it themselves.

For science, I love the song by Dr. Jean called "Five Senses," which pairs perfectly with the book My Five Senses by Aliki.  I wanted to also have some guided reading books for science, so I made a complete set of them in color and black-and-white.  You can find them here on TPT.

Music is something that I truly enjoy using in my classroom.  I used the song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams with letter balls to play a kind of "hot potato" game.  I bought the balls from Lakeshore, and each one has an uppercase and lowercase letter on it.  But really you could just use any kind of ball and just write whatever letter you choose on the ball with a permanent marker.  The kids pass it, and then say something that starts with that letter if the music stops while they're holding it.  If you don't want to write on the ball, you could also just show them a letter card when the music stops.

Please let me know if you use any of these songs, or if you have special favorites of your own for the beginning of the school year that you'd like to share.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back To School Sale August 4-5

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I want to let you all know that I'm joining the big Back to School sale on Teachers Pay Teachers, and TPT is adding an extra discount as well!  You can get a total of 28% off all my products during the sale, so please browse my shop on Monday, August 4th or Tuesday, August 5th and see what you might want while the terrific discount lasts.  Here's a link to my shop:

Sharon Dudley's TPT Shop

Make sure to enter BTS14 as the discount code when you checkout to get the full 28% off.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seashells by the Seashore



I'm linking up with Deanna Jump's Book Talk Tuesday to discuss the book Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Berkes.  I went to Myrtle Beach in July with my husband and thought it would be really cool to collect some seashells for the classroom.  I also purchased a collection of shells from a seaside shop - I think they were about $8.  I already have magnifiers in the classroom, and I was thinking this could make a really fabulous science lesson.  The kids can sort them by kind, size, or color as well as make observations about their favorite shells and how they are alike and different.


I searched for a book about seashells and found Seashells by the Seashore.  It just arrived yesterday, and it's going to work perfectly.  It has watercolor illustrations and counts up from 1 to 12.  I think this book is really cool because it's a story that kids can relate to and it also has nice facts about seashells.  The sister and brother in the story are collecting seashells for their grandmother's birthday.  I'm planning on using this book in August, when children's memories of summer beach trips will be fresh in their minds.

I did a previous blog post about the beach last year, and it includes some freebies if you want to take a look.

Earlier this summer I made an Ocean ABC Bingo game and a Warm Weather Writing Folders package that includes a beautiful folder with beach words.

I'd love to hear about your summer vacations, beach or otherwise, if you'd like to leave me a comment below.  :)