Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Liebster Blog

Thank you so much Dee over at First Impressions for giving my blog an award. I love blogging and it is a great distraction from the sadness our school is going through right now! I'm so excited to share my ideas and gain new followers!

This award is given to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers!!

Here are my top 5 blogs that deserve this award!
First Grade Exploration 
A First Grade Fairy Tale
Classroom Creations
Creative Classroom
Pocketful of Centers

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Kindergarten Preview Night - Preschool Pigeon Party!

We are trying to increase enrollment for kindergarten next year, and my principal asked me what I thought we could do.  At that time, I was starting an author study on Mo Willems with my current students, and I thought of having a Preschool Pigeon Party to invite preschool families to check out kindergarten and kindergarten literacy.  I had a literacy board set up as families entered and could see the process and some activities used to promote literacy.  With the help of the first grade teacher and the preschool teacher, we came up with some fun stations for the  Pigeon Party. 

Prior to the party, the preschoolers came to kindergarten and created a pigeon hat with the current kindergarteners and heard some pigeon stories written by Mo Willems!
Here are some pictures of the stations!
Exploration Station!

Game Station!  The children could pick a game piece and try to help the Pigeon find the hot dog.  They also could read a story that the kindergartners wrote about what the pigeon would top his hot dog with.

Cooking Station!  The children followed step by step directions to create a Pigeon cookie.

Writing Station!  I think the Pigeon wants a ... (girlfriend)haha
Along with the stations, I had a video about Kindergarten and my web page slideshow playing.  During our author study, the kids made pigeon blabbers and those were playing on our classroom computers.  The kids drew their own picture of the pigeon and we loaded them on to blabberize.com and the kids became the voice and tried to persuade the audience to let them drive a form of transportation.  They were hilarious!
Overall, I thought the night was a SUCCESS!

A Reason Why You Should Play With Your Food!!

My mind is constantly on teaching no matter where I am!  It is a sickness or an obsession!  At the grocery store I spotted the Cheez-It letters and instantly I thought of building CVC words.  As my kids are getting extremely excited for break and need work on blending letter sounds to create words, I thought these would be perfect to engage them during guided reading!  Whoever said playing with your food was rude!

(Now if they only came in lowercase letters.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


If I had a dime for everytime an employee at the Dollar Store looked at me funny, I would be rich!!  I was so excited about this $1 buy.  Yes, it was Fingasaurs (and I am pretty sure I shouted it out when I saw them)!!  I have some boys that love dinosaurs, but do not care for reading.  When I saw the dinosaur finger pointers, I knew I had to buy them.  The results...the boys LOVE them!
We read an emergent reader about dinosaurs and added some of our own describing words during our guided reading time!  They helped with one-to-one correspondence and word recognition!!  My heart broke when one of the boys asked if they could keep them and I had to say no!  However, we did end up making our own dinosaur pointers.


I am thankful that Cora from First Grade Exploration gave me the Sunshine Award!  This award has brighten my day!!!!

Here are the rules-

1. Thank the person(s) who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award to 10~12 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know I awarded them.

  • Favorite Color? Periwinkle
  • Favorite Animal?  Monkey
  • Favorite Number? 1
  • Favorite Drink?  Dr. Pepper!!
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
  • Your Passion? Getting kids excited about learning!!!!!  Every minute I strive to do this in my classroom!
  • Giving or Getting Presents?  Giving
  • Favorite day? Friday
  • Favorite flowers? Orchid


1. Classroom Freebies
2. Fun in First
3. Kindergarten Smiles
4. Create Teach Share
5. Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations
6. For the Love of Kindergarten
7. Mrs. Spatafora's Kindergarten

Happy Blogging!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holidays Around the World Freebies!

This week we have been traveling around the world, and of course we could not do that without our passport.  Along the way, we have been keeping track of our journey in our Holidays Around the World Scrapbook!

I also created a Holiday Shapes book to go with the Holidays Around the World theme.  I have my students think of basic shapes they see during the holidays.  The book gets them thinking creatively.  It also incorporates holidays around the world.  Click here to download the book.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Going Batty in the Bat Cave!

We go batty at our school keeping an eye out for real bats that like to sneak in.  I enjoy going batty in Kindergarten, because the students love the BAT CAVE!  I create the cave using black garbage bags and taping them together.  I hang the blanket of bags by using a numerous amount of clothespins attached to fishing line that hang from the ceiling.  I add streams to the side to give the cave a spooktacular look!  The students love to read about nocturnal animals and create bats to hang in the cave that go with stories we read.  I hang our KWL chart and our labeled bat in the cave as well.  The students can also match magnetic uppercase and lowercase bats.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Favorite Read Aloud Linky Party!!!

Story time may be my favorite part of the day with my kindergartners!  They make the greatest and and craziest connections to stories that we read in class.  My all time favorite story to read is Wait! No Paint! by Bruce Whatley.   It is a different take on the story of the three little pigs, only the illustrator starts to run out of paint.  It is a playful retelling of the story and it gets the class giggling!  It would also aid in teaching about writing a story from the illustrators perspective.

Join in on the fun!!!  Courtney from Swimming into Second is having a favorite read aloud linky party!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Math Centers Linky Party

Check out some awesome math centers at my most loved site for early childhood educators!  Chalk Talk is having a Math Center Linky Party! 
I wanted to share a math center that my students love and it engages them in predicting and measuring.  In this center, the students create a nonstandard measurement booklet.  I create four-page booklets and place them in my Math Zone with Inch Worms (3 mini green pom-poms glued together with some small google eyes), and crayons.  The students write their name on the cover page and then make drawings of objects they will measure on the remaining pages.  On the top of the page they estimate how many inch worms that object will be.  Then they measure the object and below the picture, they write the actual amount of words.  The students love this activity along with being able to use a clipboard to record their measurements if they would like.  This activity could also be used with various tools for measuring like Unifix cubes, paper clips, etc.
Go check out the other math center ideas at Chalk Talk!

Pet CVC Words

During my pet theme, I include this game in the Writing Zone and the kids love it!!  I call it Doggy Bones and I have glued lowercase letters on medium sized dog bones.  I also made dog word mats to help build CVC words.  They record these words on the Doggy Bones worksheet.  The students have the choice to build words or play a game to be the first to create a real word by picking dog bones one at a time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3...2...1... BLASTOFF!!

 We blasted off learning about space!!  We began our lessons by becoming astronauts and wearing our gallon milk jug space hats.  We created outer space in the classroom including a space ship with many control panels.  The unit was started with a KWL chart.  We wrote many class books and kept track of what we learned in our Space Journals.

Many of our math and literacy centers revolved around space.  We used alphabet moon rocks to create words and the overhead projector was used to create moon words.  Launch Pad and Count the Stars were games to practice number recognition and one-to-one correspondence. 

We concluded with an astronaut snack (instant pudding and milk in a baggie)!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I lOvE mY cLaSsRoOm ThEmE!!!

This idea came to me from the magnetic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree!  My theme this year is construction which is inspired by my 30 mile drive to school, which is lined with orange barrels (the entire way)!  I have created a "Word Work Crossing" sign using a large butcher block paper roll and magnetic paint.  The ABC train cars are used to teach alphabetical order and word building in the word work zone!

Kinder Crew Classroom

TBA is having a classroom linky party!  Here is a slideshow of some of my classroom pictures prior to having students!  I am extremely excited for my construction theme kindergarten classroom!  Enjoy!
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Go PaCk Go!!!!!!!!!!

Each week we keep track of the Packers' score and use tally marks to keep track of the wins (and losses if any occur)!!!  We also track which state they play in each week!  My amazing attention getter that is working well right now is the Packer chant.  Teacher says: Duh na duh, Duh na duh!  Students say: GO PACK GO!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dinosaur Bones or X-rays!!

This can be a dinosaur activity to go with your favorite dinosaur story or a letter Xx activity!  Either way it is a blast!  I set up a bin full of sand and the paleontologists excavate the sand with a tweezers to find the bones.  This activity works on one-to-one correspondence and developing fine motor skills!

Post-It Linky Party!

You can never have enough post-its!!!  I use post-its to track my story stretcher ideas.  Inside many of my picture books you will find post-its with ideas and projects that I come up with for various stories.  My students also give me inspiration on activities to incorporate with books.  This is a quick and easy way to keep track of these ideas.

I have also realized that some dry erase markers do not want to wipe off and it drives me crazy!  I have a poster board story map that is laminated and instead of filling it in with a dry erase marker, I now use post-its.  After reading a story, the students can write the parts of a story on a post-it and add it to our story map.  For instance, each character in the story would get its own post-it and when writing the problem of the story each word in the sentence would get a different post-it.  This also helps with sentence structure!  My students enjoy writing on the post-its and adding them to the story map.  It also tunes them in to comprehending the story!!  The students also enjoy making a pattern on our story map using various colors!

Post-It Linky Party, come and join the fun at http://mrsrojasteaches.blogspot.com/

Back 2 School Bonanza!!

Are you ready to go Back to School?  Erica Bohrer is hosting a Back to School Bonanza Giveaway that should help you get in the mood!  Twelve fabulous bloggers have teamed up with her to give one lucky winner a huge back to school prize pack!  Scroll, down to see the twelve tantalizing prizes you could win.The contest will run until midnight eastern time, on Thursday, July 28th. You have 4 chances to enter HERE!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ABC Rocks!

I found this idea on a few blogs and I love this easy and inexpensive letter manipulative idea!  I bought some river rocks from Hobby Lobby along with some cute puffy letter stickers.  I placed the stickers on the rocks to create word building or abc order manipulative.  I used lowercase letters because I find my students do not like to use lowercase letters and the texture of the puffy stickers makes a wonderful sensory tool!  I also added a border around the vowel rocks with a silver permanent marker.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Day of School Activities- Linky Party

Thinking about the first day already gives me the first day excitement/jitters!!!  When the students come in on the first day of school they have a small Ziploc bag with a ball of uncolored playdough.  Inside the ball of playdough is a few drops of food coloring.  They squish the playdough while it is in the bag.  If the playdough magically turns colors that means we are going to have a fantastic year making new friends and learning!  After it starts to change colors, the students take it out of the bag to blend the color and create the letters of their name.  I love hearing the excitement when it starts to change colors!! 

This summer I taught an Eric Carle class and I thought I might try to do this project on the first day or week of school, because who doesn't like to get messy during the first week of school.  Our ending project for the summer school class was to paint paper using many colors and textures and create it into a name banner.  We started out painting a background color.  Then we chose another color and a tool to add texture (q-tip, cotton ball, stamps, sponge, etc.)  Then the students chose a third color to add with bubble wrap.  When the painted paper was full of their favorite colors and dry, we used stencils to trace and cut out the letters of their name.  The letters were then glued on and decorated to create a wonderful name banner. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We read the story and created an ocean background using watercolor paints and salt, which creates a neat design.  Then add tissue paper seaweed, little fish, and Swimmy!  To finish we added Mod Podge! 

Eric Carle Projects

I enjoyed teaching a summer school class titled The World of Eric Carle!  I completed many projects to go along with many of his stories and the students also gave me some inspiration for projects to use in my classroom!  Most of our projects were created from painted paper.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Alphabet Constellations

The students worked as a team to build the alphabet during my space unit by using marshmallows and toothpicks.

Brownie Points

Brownie Points were created for positive reinforcement.

Mouse Count

Mouse Count math lesson!  The students designed their own snake sock puppet and loved it!!

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July!  We turned these hand print eagles into windsocks for the the 4th, but it could be used for any patriotic holiday!

Mixing Colors Experiment

We mixed colors in this project from the story Mouse Paint. The students loved this and they experiment mixing their own colors on the mice.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me by Eric Carle

During summer school, I am teaching a class on Eric Carle and we did a moon phase activity from CopyCat and modeled the phases of the moon with an Oreo. We also blended colors together to create this beautiful painting.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Story Stretchers

I love extending children's books with fun projects to engage my students in reading and comprehending stories!!! I am so excited to organize the activities that I create on my own and gain from others on my blog!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Love to Learn!!

Welcome to my kindergarten teaching blog!  I have been inspired by others to organize and share my ideas on my blog.  I love to share ideas and I also hope to gain new ideas along the way!  I also hope to connect with others to keep up with current advances in curriculum! My passion is to get my students to love learning as much as I do!