Video segment about me, by the school district

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Subitizing Snowmen

Hi all!  I'm in Orlando, Florida today at the NAEYC conference.  I will be presenting a session this Saturday morning at 8:00am, so if anyone's around and wants to stop by for a quick hug, I'll be there.  Also, I put up a new free product on TPT for December, if you'd like to take a peek:

Subitizing Snowmen

I realized that some of my children really need extra practice with subitizing.  When you use these, you just flash the cards really quickly.  It's not a counting activity, it's just for them to visually recognize (from the position) how many are there.

Have a great night!

Monday, November 9, 2015

I Just Became a Grandma!

Hello, everyone! What a fabulous week! I became a grandmother on Wednesday, November 4th, at 7:11am when my daughter gave birth to little Osric! He's SOOOO adorable! Does anybody know any great books about being a grandmother? I would love some titles.

Here I am holding him for the first time. He sure sleeps a lot so far. Isn't he a beautiful baby?

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Almost Halloween Post

Hi, everyone! Happy almost Halloween! My kids have been loving this book that's really the classic 5 Little Pumpkins finger play. We have been using this story for subtraction. Here we are holding our pumpkins over our faces while doing the song (because I have not gotten picture release forms back yet)!

Here's a little video if you'd like to hear how the song goes. My ESOL kids know all the words to the song now. If you leave the pumpkins in Math center, it's really sweet to watch the kids singing and talking with the pumpkins.

So, my county decided that this year we would do addition and subtraction in October! :) Yikes! Some of my kids don't even know their numbers yet! I have to play catch-up and surround them with numbers all day long, especially for those that didn't have pre-K. My kids have also really expressed an interest in all things Halloween-y this year. Hence the creation of my Halloween Addition Cards.

I found that the party store has spiders and bats, and the grocery store has candy corns and pumpkins. I haven't done the ghosts yet (you can see the ghost clip art in the product), but I'm thinking of using white marshmallows. The thing that I like about the candy corns and the pumpkins is that they are not mushy like chocolate candy. I put them in Ziploc bags, ten to a bag, and the kids can use them during math class for problem solving, then take them home and ask their parents if they can eat them.

You can check out the Halloween Addition Cards HERE

I would love to get messages from you and find out how it's going in your classroom!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Captivating Numbers

Hello, everybody!

My curriculum this year for math is very different from every other year. In the past, we've started with shapes and positions. But this year, we started with numerals, quantity, and counting. I found that many of my students that did not have pre-K were calling numerals "letters," "shapes," and all kinds of other terms that weren't numbers. You know what I mean. So I thought it would be really motivating to make differentiated number puzzles for my kids and have them work on them during morning work, and whenever they finish their other school work. After I assessed them and found out what numbers they needed to work on, I differentiated instruction by giving them these puzzles: 

We used Microsoft Publisher to fit the range of numbers on a single page. Then we printed them out on colored card stock. We cut them individually, without guide lines, so that each puzzle would be unique. And the color of puzzle matches the color table they sit at. I put the cut-up puzzles in sandwich bags and had them in the kids' chair pockets by the time they arrived in the morning. They LOVED them!

We also took pictures of the students. I can't put them up yet, because I don't have all my photo release forms collected. But the students really enjoyed having their pictures taken while they were saying the numerals and putting the puzzles together. Teacher tip: You can also use these pictures for your students' portfolios and conferences.

Monday, September 14, 2015

My Super Class

Hi, everybody! This year I changed my theme to Superheroes. I took the advice of a lot of people out there in blog-land who said "Make your theme your own." Since my son-in-law made me kid-friendly superheroes, I decided to use them all over the room and in as many creative ways as I could think of.

To start off with, I'm using them as headings for my ABC word wall. Right now I have the kids' names underneath them, and later in the year, I will add sight words as they come up in the curriculum. I took a chance on this because I've never used this before as a large word wall. The kids LOVE it, though, and seem to be connecting to letters quicker than they have in previous years.

I made a reading poster for the library center which worked out really nicely. I think that all kids aspire to be superheroes, so if you tell them that superheroes are also super-READERS, they'll want to be super-readers, too. The kids really recognize the superheroes on the posters around the room because I play Superhero ABC Matching and Superhero Bingo with them.

I'm kind of getting a lot of mileage out of the superhero theme by using these characters across the curriculum in all subjects. I'm also always teaching letters while I'm teaching values, helping each other, turn-taking, and when someone is NOT doing the right thing, I'll ask them "Is that superhero behavior?" This is the first year that my kids really seem to understand that they're doing the wrong thing. They DO understand that superheroes protect others and take care of others. I really don't believe that the group that I have this year is any different. I really think it's the theme.

Here is a great song that I'm going to use during morning message.

I love action songs where kids can pretend to swim, fly, climb, etc. I just found this song, and it's got a really catchy beat, and her voice is very easy to listen to. Her name is Patty Shukla, and I'll be looking into more of her work now that I've discovered this.

Also, I wanted to make a special present for my daughter for her baby shower. Because her husband drew the superheroes that I'm selling on TPT, I had two of them made into stuffed animals. Take a look at Noodle Ninja and Tough Teddy! Adorable, right?

You can have your own drawings or creations made into stuffies, too. The site is called Budsies, and they'll make whatever you send them. It does take a couple months, though, so best not leave it to the last minute.

I hope you all have a SUPER week!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back to School Songs and Games

Thanks, Tammy, for inviting me to join this Blog Hop!

About a week ago, all of the kindergarten teachers on my team met at my house.  There are six of us this year, more than ever before at this school.  We started talking about the beginning of the school year.  We discussed how we always do rules and procedures the first week, and how we get to know our kids' personalities, likes, and dislikes.  The conversation then moved on to songs, music, and fingerplays that we love to do with children during that first week.  We like to use music because it builds language and team spirit, and it really gets the wiggles out.  My true reason for using music is that it calms me down as well as the kids, and it's just plain fun!  Some of our favorites include:

Chant:  Who Took The Cookie From The Cookie Jar?
Chant:  Bippity Boppity Bumble Bee, Won't You Say Your Name For Me?
Movement Song:  Going On A Bear Hunt
Dance:  Mack Chicken Dance Medley

Since I've been teaching for a long time (shh, don't tell anybody - over 20 years!), I thought everybody knew about Dr. Jean Feldman.  But some people don't.  I was lucky enough to see her early in my career.  I love, for example, how you can tell kids to "kiss their brain" when they do something right.  Former students of mine have returned in their 20's and said "Mrs. Dudley, I remember when you told me to kiss my brain!"  I think Dr. Jean songs are a must-have for any teacher.  For the first week of school, I like:

Name On Your Paper
Scissors Snip
Tooty Ta
Peanut Butter

Over the summer, I've also been watching free teaching webinars from EdWeb.  They're really informative and convenient because you don't have to watch them all at once.  They're usually about an hour in length, and you can even get a certificate by taking a quick and easy test afterward.  I think these webinars are good for veteran teachers or new teachers, because there's always something new to learn.

During the first week of school I introduce a set of gentle superheroes that I had especially designed for kindergarten and pre-k.  I did this because my students kept telling me that they wanted superheroes in the classroom.  I knew I couldn't do things like Batman and Superman because of copyright laws, and also because of the violence.  So I made my own!  Over the summer, I created a new set of alphabet word wall headings using these heroes.  I also recently wrapped up all the superhero products that I made so far into a big, discounted superhero bundle that I think teachers will really love, especially for the beginning of school.

Below is your chance to enter the giveaway for the big K-2 prize pack.  Good luck, and have a wonderful opening week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Newly Discovered Treasure

This is just a quick post about a book that I discovered this summer called Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One by Kate Duke.  I was so surprised that I had never heard of this book before since it was published over 20 years ago!  It's adorable for any pre-k or kindergarten classroom.  It's not just the cute story of two little mice falling in love, but the book explains to young readers how to build a story from start to finish.  The brilliant way in which the author incorporates a conversation between an aunt and her niece about story elements such as characters, setting, problem, and solution is so appealing to me.  The book even has a few moments of danger to add spice to your story time.  I had been looking for a very long time for a book that would really inspire my students to write stories, and I'm so glad that I found this treasure.  I would love to know if you've ever seen this book before, and how you use it in your classroom.