Herding Kats Product Swap


I am happy to review a few products by Jennifer from Herding Kats. Not only does she share wonderful resources for your classroom, but she also shares her life stories in a way that draws you in as if you were there along with her. I am always happy to visit her blog and learn something new.

I just discovered that she has this amazing Back to School unit:  Forest Themed Unit for Back to School or Fall.  I was pleased to see that it covers a variety of activities for language arts, math and science. A bonus to this unit is that these activities may be introduced during whole group or small group time. Then, the teacher may place them in centers for extra practice. They may also be used in pocket charts or sent home for review of target skills. Students may work on the activities independently or in groups of two.

Take a look at the activities that you will find in the unit.

1- Alphabet Match Game: These alphabet cards feature a precious raccoon that will go well with The Kissing Hand book. This game helps students identify letter names and become familiar with upper and lower case letters.  Beginning readers can work with two sets of cards. All they would have to do is  to simply match the upper case to upper case letters or lower case to lower case letters. The more advanced students can match the upper to lower case alphabet cards. These cards also come in handy for sequencing the alphabet. Beginners can look at an alphabet chart for guidance. Advanced students can sequence the alphabet cards without support.

Here is a 5 year old matching the upper to lower case alphabet cards side by side.
You can choose either the upper case or lower case alphabet for this sequencing activity.

2- Rhyming Cards: These can be used in 2 simple ways. *You can select 4 rhyming pairs to play a concentration game or match the rhyming cards in the pocket chart. Rhyming is such an important skill. I like how these cards only include pictures without the words. Students can concentrate on naming the pictures and listening for patterns in words. When they hear two words that end the same, they pair them up as rhyming words.

Here, you can see the pairing up of bat with hat .

3- Student book: This book features the words “I”, “see”, “one”, “two”,  “three”. The sight words “I” and “see” are repeated on every page. It is easy for the students to read the unknown words by looking at the picture clues on the page. This makes for a predictable reading pattern that is easy to follow.

My sweet niece enjoyed this book. First, she colored the pictures in the book while naming the object. Then, she counted the number of objects on that page. Finally, she was able to use the repetitive and predictable pattern to read this book independently. She has never been in school before, but felt very proud and successful with this activity.

4- Number cards 1-20: Whether you are working on identifying number skills or number sequencing skills, these cute cards will come in handy. They can be sequenced in the pocket chart, on the table or on the floor. Make sure to instruct your students to name the number as the card is placed in the chart. This will help them keep track of the number that they are on plus practice one-to-one correspondence.

5- Count and Match cards: Students will be able to practice their counting skills with the acorn cards. Then, they will need to match the quantity of acorns to the corresponding number cards. This activity will be wonderful to use as a review in the beginning of the school year. It will also be great as a differentiation activity throughout the year while more advanced students are ready to move on to more challenging activities. I can definitely see this in a center year-round.

6- Patterns: Another skill covered in this unit is working with patterns. Students will be able to read and complete AB, ABC and AABB patterns using these adorable raccoons. Since the raccoons look alike, students will learn to pay attention to detail to find the pattern.

7- Roll and Graph Forest Animals: There is a dice of forest animals provided. Students roll the dice and graph the results. Wow! Dice games seem to motivate the little ones into learning. When using this with a group of two students, you will notice that kids wait anxiously for their turn at rolling the dice but are equally excited at graphing the results with crayons.

8- Science: Students sort diurnal and nocturnal pictures of animals. This is an activity that must be introduced to the class before they are expected to work on it independently in a center. But, once they are familiar with the terms and animals, sorting them out will become a breeze.

If you are in need of small but challenging games to practice target skills, you will be happy with this following product. It provides extension activities that may be used by students depending on their ability.  These include exercises for the terms of more than, less than and equal to. Your more advanced mathematicians might enjoy using the graph results to create addition sentences in the recording sheet that is provided. It’s a nice game for your Apple unit. 

A third product that we were able to look at is the Pirate Roll and Cover. This one is not only educational but also a lot of fun for the little ones. The game can be played by one or two players. This would be a good independent activity once your students are familiar with addition and subtraction. It also includes activities for use with 3 dice for those students who might need something more challenging. Fun! Fun!!
Roll the dice.
Write the addition sentence on the recording sheet.

Add the two dice and cover the sum on this fun addition mat. 

As you can see, Jennifer provides wonderful resources for your Kindergarten classroom. I am very pleased with every product that we were able to review. They cover many of the skills that our Kinders work on all year long. If you like what you see, then head on over to her store and add these items to your wish list.

DIY: Roll A Word Activity

Today, I want to share a Do-it-Yourself center activity. I will include a printable that can be used for making words with -at. This is so simple to make and you can use materials that you already have at home.

Best of all, this is a hands-on activity that your child or students will love to manipulate once you put it together.

Materials needed: colored paper, paper tube, ruler, scissors and tape.
First, you need to measure the width of the paper tube that you are using. Then, you will cut out a long strip according to the width. I did not measure the height for this one.
Next, you will roll the tube into the colored paper and cut out the excess paper. Now, tape it the paper to the tube. It should be a tight fit so that the paper will not come undone easily.
Download this free printable and cut out the letter strips. I have two consonant strips. Simply use one letter strip at a time on your paper tube or make two tubes.
Then, tape the -at strip directly to the paper tube so that it does not move. The letter strips will serve as the beginning sounds.  Assemble these according to the directions on the picture.
 Finally, slip the consonant strips into the tube. It should be loose enough so that children can roll the paper strip around the tube.

You are all set! Use it during guided reading groups or as a center activity. Watch the kids have fun reading!  Options: Students can write each word on a recording sheet or dry-erase board. 
They can even build the words with letter tiles or magnets.

UPDATE: I have included the word families that you requested plus much more. Click on the following picture to get it all.

Motivating Little Boys to Read

Sometimes, it can be a little hard to get our little boys motivated to read. Boys are boys and they just want to do what they do best…play, play, play.

So, I was thinking of how to make reading engaging enough to hold their attention. My son thinks that the ABC chart is just plain BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…..boring.

Personalized Alphabet
I came up with a personalized Alphabet Chart designed especially for BOYS. First, I chose a theme that he loves. He has been obsessed with Super Heroes since forever so this seems like the best choice. Then, I made a list of the things that he and most little boys are interested in and came up with this alphabet chart. It includes words such as airplane, frog, kite, magnet, lion, pirate and robot.

Do you think that he is interested now?

 Oh, yes, yes, yes ūüôā

Super Alphabet cards
I used the pictures from the alphabet chart to make individual alphabet cards for our pocket chart. 

Super Hero cape
I found this old t-shirt. I have no idea who it belongs to. Someone must have left it behind and never claimed it:) So, I cut the front part out and made it into a Super Hero learning cape to match the theme. The length is perfect. He runs around the house pretending to fly and uses his Super Powers to learn:)
Now, he is ready to learn!
Writing Skills
He started out by practicing his writing skills. He was so eager that he did not give me time to laminate and cut the cards out. Laminated cards are better so that  you can use them over and over again with a vis-a-vis marker. By the way, he is wearing his Super Hero cape while he “writes like a hero”
Dice Game
I made alphabet cards to fit in these dice with clear pockets. Angel had fun rolling the dice.  Not only is it fun, but it still keeps with the super hero theme.

Splat game
We used the dice game from above to play a roll the letter, splat the letter game. This is good to review letter names and letter sounds.  So, when he rolled out the letter “c”, he used a fly swatter that we found at Wal-Mart to “SPLAT” the letter. Wow, this fly swatter is perfect for this game. He loves anything with ACTION.

I also made word family cards for the dice. Angel played the “roll a word game.” We worked on making words with -at. 

Roll-a-Word, Color-the-Word
Every time that he rolled a word, he had to identify it on the -at word list and color the box with the word. Like this:

Roll-a-Word, Trace-a-Word
Angel had fun identifying the words. Now, he was ready to work with words. I made him a Read it, Trace it, Build it printable. He rolled the dice to make a word with -at. Then, he worked on that word.  Here, he is tracing the word bat.

Finally, he cut the letters out to build the word.

It was a very busy week, but a lot of fun ūüôā This personalized theme for little boys sure got him motivated. ( I am working on a personalized theme for little girls too.)

If you are interested in these activities, you can find them here:

Super Hero Alphabet

Super Hero Word Families: The cards can be used in the pocket chart. We just thought it was much more fun to use them in the Carson Dellosa cubes:)

These are the cubes that we used.

Make sure to download this 10 page freebie. 
These are the Word Family lists.

St. Patrick’s Day Freebie and a Blog Hunt

Welcome to day 8 of this St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hunt. I hope that you started out on March 1st with Mrs. Jump’s class. If you are new to this blog hunt, we will not let you miss out on any of the freebies. I will add the schedule of all the previous blogs on this hunt so that you can go back to download all of them. We will continue this blog hunt until March 17th.

If you are new to my blog, you are more than welcomed to browse and follow if you would like:)

Now, for day 8, I have a freebie for your literacy centers. Students name the picture and clap the syllables. Then, they can use a clothespin, paper clip or a math cube to select the number of syllables in the word. If you like this activity, head on over to our facebook page HERE and click “share” on this freebie.You may share this with anybody you want:) Remember that direct links to the google doc itself do not always work properly. I hope that you enjoy it ‚ô•

I have another St. Patrick’s Day freebie from my previous post. Make sure to get that one too.
Would you like this activity in Spanish?
Head on over to Kinder Latino to get your free printable:)
Update: You have two freebies on day #9.
Tomorrow is day #9. Click on the clovers to take you to your next two freebies. It will be ready for you tomorrow, March 9th:)

Schedule of blog hunt:
Follow the rest of the blog hunt tomorrow with the link provided on clover #9.
Happy Blog Hunting:)

Dr. Who?

Read Across America is here. I used a Dr. Seuss theme to make you this word sort activity. This can be used in a pocket chart center.  The teacher will place the -an and -at title cards on the top pocket. Students will mix the cards and sort them under the correct word family category. I have included a Recording Sheet so that students can show their work.


Picture Prompts For Young Learners

Picture prompts work wonders when trying to get a little one to talk. It gets them focused and allows them to place their thoughts in order.  This is especially true when the picture cues are relevant and the kids can make connections to their own lives.

I have come up with picture prompts that you can use with young learners.  The little ones will be able to engage in discussions about the topic. Advanced writers will be able to write their responses. I hope that you enjoy this activity.  Just click on the first picture to download the free printables.

I am linking up with The Diary of a Not so Wimpy Teacher blog and Classroom Magic.  Go visit them for more picture prompts. They also have a pinterest board with all of these in one easy location.

Short a sound: freebie

Hi there! I am just stopping by to give you a short a sound freebie. This is a clothespin game for your center.
These are the instructions:
1- Look at the picture.
2- Say the word.
3- Choose the correct vowel that completes the word.
4- Place a clothespin on the correct vowel.

*Option: Instead of using clothespins, you can circle the vowel with a wikki stix or dry erase marker.


‚ô•Valentine’s Day Printables

On a previous post, I shared ideas for books to use for your read alouds. I also had two shared reading chart ideas and printables. Today, I have the rest of the Valentine’s Day printables ready for you. These are just a few more that you can incorporate into your thematic unit.

Calendar Time
We practice pattern skills on the calendar. You can use this one for a simple AB pattern. I usually add the number cards one day at a time. When we have enough cards, the students identify the pattern and each day tell me what is next on the pattern. This calendar uses strawberry and chocolate cupcakes. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Yummy.
Word Bank:
I use a thematic word bank that the students can refer to during centers and writing activities. My word bank includes pictures and words. By the way, we write in our journals every day and this word bank comes in very handy. If you would like my Picture/word cards for this thematic unit, you can find it in my Valentine’s Day Literacy Centers unit. I use the word bank to create center games for beginning sounds, syllables, play dough mats, writing and picture to word concentration games. I think that this is a good way to increase vocabulary and practice on reading skills. Anyway, if you are looking for a word bank list, you can add these words.
Reading Center: Your reading center can include a thematic story, class book or an emergent reader. I like to make my students accountable for their reading. This free printable can be added to your center. Students can read a book and show comprehension skills with this simple activity. You can choose a specific book that you have read previously. Then, draw or copy pictures of what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story. Now, you can place the picture cards in the reading center along with this activity. Students read the book, order the picture cards in the correct place and retell the story accordingly. You can make a printable for each student or make it into a center activity.  Simlply print on card stock and laminate before you place it in the center. You can add magnets to the activity sheet and picture cards and use on a magnetic board or filing cabinet. —Advanced students can definitely write/illustrate their responses on their own printable. Click on the picture to get it.
Writing Center: During whole group instruction you can talk about conversation hearts.– Bring a box of the candy and help students read the messages. Then, students can help you come up with a list of new messages that they would like to see. Write them on a chart tablet. This could be a shared writing activity. Now that the students are familiar with conversation hearts, you can add this activity to your writing center. Students can use the messages that were written on the chart tablet or come up with more new ones. Click on the picture to get this one. 
Math Center: Use this activity to practice on making patterns.
Oh, I almost forgot about the poems. You have to click here to see what I have for you:)
I hope that all of these free printables help you. 
If you happen to need center activities, take a look at my 
Valentine’s Day Literacy Centers unit.
Make sure to follow this blog for more ideas and resources:)

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Fine motor practice

Reading, writing and math are very important skills to develop. But, did you know that fine motor skills are usually overlooked? There are many ways to develop fine motor skills.  Once in school, a child’s little fingers and hands must be strong enough to perform certain tasks. So, let your child play and experiment with picking up objects with tweezers, lining up little cars and paper clips, putting puzzles together, threading beads on string, squeezing a spray bottle, etc. You can also let your child use scissors, glue, paint and tear little pieces of paper. These are just a few examples of materials and activities that you can do with your child at home to prepare him/her for school.

For many more ideas, please visit Teach Preschool. 

Love and ‚ô•Hearts‚ô•

February is finally here and love is in the air. I love holidays and thematic units. I like to choose a few thematic books for the week and incorporate the theme into my centers throughout the week. Today, I will give you a couple ideas of which books you can use for your thematic unit. I have also included shared reading samples.

Read Alouds can include these books:

Shared Reading: I usually just choose a poem or make my own predictable sentences to write on a chart tablet or use on a pocket chart. 

Click on each picture above to download your free pocket chart sentences. 
I have free Frebruary calendar pieces to give you on my next post. Make sure to come back and check it out. In the meantime, if you would like my Valentine’s Day Literacy Centers unit, click on the following picture.