Monday, January 31, 2011

Groundhog Color A Rhyme

Groundhog's Day is coming up Wednesday.  Here are some of the books we are going to try and fit in over the next couple of days.

We are having a preservice teacher from Western Michigan University join our class on Wednesday.  I created this Groundhog Hog Color a Rhyme for her to do as a reading center to get to know the kids.

Download the Groundhog Color a Rhyme Here

Here is the link were I got the groundhog for the page:
Groundhog Coloring Page

We have a big storm brewing, so we may not have school.  The groundhog would be smart to scurry back in his hole, but I hope he doesn't see his shadow and spring is on the way!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Even More Insect Literacy Activities

We are going into week two of our insect themed literature during language arts.  Here are some the other books we have looked at or will look at during the next couple of weeks:

 I'm glad we do a couple of classic songs.  We can read the book and then get up and get our bodies moving as we act out the songs.

Next, we have a couple of fables.  We discuss what a fable is and how it teaches a lesson.  We read "The Ant and the Grasshopper" out of the version of "Aesop's Fables" by Jerry Pinkney.

"Wonderful Worms" is an  awesome non-fiction book to read.  It goes very well with a science unit that we do later in the year called "Living Things".  I have always thought that worms were not insects and was confused as to why this book was included in this theme.  So I looked it up and I was right.

 Here is one of the poems that we have done:

Fuzzy Wuzzy, Creepy Crawly
by Lilian Schulz.
Fuzzy wuzzy, creepy crawly
Caterpillar funny,
You will be a butterfly
When the days are sunny.
Winging, flinging, dancing, springing
Butterfly so yellow,
You were once a caterpillar,
Wiggly, wiggly fellow.

Sometimes I have my students illustrate the poem, find high frequency words, and whatever letter we are focusing on that week. I purposely don't decorate these sheets with cute clip art or graphics because I want the kids to focus on their own drawings.

Download the Poem Sheet Here
Finally, I noticed when doing assessments for report cards that some students need extra practice with high frequency words, so I created this game.

Download the Insect Sight Word Game Here

Have a great Saturday!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Themed Tardy Note

I am home with a sick kid today :(  There was a cute winter time game posted the the Making Learning Fun Yahoo group and its theme "Warm My Heart"  gave me an idea for a tardy note.  We typically have a difficult time with tardiness this time of year as the weather gets worse and I also think people just generally slack off a little bit as the year goes on.  We do start instruction right away in the morning though and young children need a chance to come in peacefully, use the bathroom, and take care of their outerwear before instruction begins.

Anyway, I am always trying to think of ways to motivate parents to get their children to school on time and here is my latest creation.

The cute cup of coco is a free graphic from

Download the Winter Themed Tardy Note Here

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Insect Lowercase-Uppercase Alphabet Match

I made this to go with the book "Look Closer" by Brian Wildsmith.

I will use this in our letter/word work center.

Download the Insect Uppercase-Lowercase Alphabet Match Here

Hope you enjoy!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Valentines Day's Literacy Activities

I belong to an email group on Yahoo called Making Learning Fun.  If you go to yahoo groups and do a search you will be able to find it.  One of the other members, Debi  posted a challenge to make activities using a custom candy converstaion hearts generator found at

I made two activities, a nonsense/real word sort

Download the Valentine's Nonsense Word/Real Word Sort Here

and a phoneme segmentation activity

Download the Valentine's Phoneme Segmentation Activity Here

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More Insect Literacy Activities

With wind chills well below zero it was a good day to stay inside yesterday!  That and relatively mellow children and I was able to get quite a few things ready for next week.  All these activities are made to go with the book "Look Closer" by Brian Wildsmith, but they could also be used for a more general insect theme.

 Download a Phoneme Segmentation Activity Here

Download a Beginning Sound Activity Here

Download a Nonsense Word/Read Word Sort Here

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Look Closer!

Well, it got down to 2 degrees in freezing cold Michigan, but what is our literature theme next week?  Insects!!  I think I have stated before that I am not a textbook publisher.  I think most of them live in California and Texas.  Anyway, our big book for next week is "Look Closer" by Brian Wildsmith.

This is a really cute story where the reader has to look closer at pictures and identify the insects that are hidden in the picture.  I will be creating some literature activities to go with this story this week.  So far, I have made a rhyming activity and a cvc picture/word match.  You can download the activities below.

Download the Insect Rhyming Here

Download the CVC Picture Match Here



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Trying something new in the classroom library

So I have always admired teachers that are perfectly organized by type of book and labeled, but I couldn't quite wrap my mind around how I wanted to organize mine.  For one thing I have open faced book shelves that I love and am not willing to give up and for all the examples that I have seen of these types of organized library have typical shelves with the books organized into baskets by type.  I cannot put baskets on these front facing shelves.

The students I have this year though, seemed to want to pile all the books on the bottom shelf, so I decided to organize by shelf.  I left two shelves for misc books that didn't fit into any category.  Right now I have favorite authors.  Here are some pictures:

I have to find some good tape though to keep them on, as the kids are pretty rough on them.

Here are some of the labels I made:

Download Classroom Library Labels

Any other good category ideas?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let it snow!

I don't teach thematically due to the demands of our curriculum, but I do try to slip in seasonal items when I can.  So this post shows some of the winter seasonal themed item items we have been working on in our classroom.

Today we read a book that was new to me "The Missing Mitten Mystery"  by Steven Kellogg.  What a cute story!  The kids giggled all the way through.  I bet some future snowman built outside this winter will have a mitten for a heart :)

Afterward, we created TLC snowmen. 

The lesson is from TLC art. The website is here:  I can't remember if this was a free lesson or if it is in the winter book.  There are lots of free art lessons on the website, so if you haven't heard of it, check it out.  I like that they all turn out a little bit different.  I had the kids add the mitten as a heart if they wanted to go with the story.

I like that these lessons teach basic skills such as shapes, colors, and position words, but I especially like the focus on following directions!  It seems like we have been struggling with this a lot lately.  On the end of the year GATES testing, it seems like the kids who have the most trouble listening and following directions do the worst on the test, so I think that practicing and having to do tasks where the kids have to listen and follow directions is important.

I also made a bulletin board of all the snowmen.

Here is the sign I made for the bulletin board, but I couldn't get it to print for some reason.  I will have to ask Other Awesome Kindergarten Teacher to help me as she is our building technology leader .

I love walking down the hallway and seeing all the great, creative, colorful ideas that the other awesome teachers in our building have!  Here are a few:

This is a board made by our Wrap around teachers.  We have half-day kindergarten at our building with an optional free enrichment program for the other half that we call "Wrap-around".  Here is a close up of one of the snowflakes on the board made by one of my students.

Aren't they cute.  I think parents would love to use this as a Christmas ornament.  I love to pull out the ornaments that my kids make every year to put on the tree.

Here is a board of snowman that the kids made in art class with their Awesome Art Teacher:

Here is a close up of one made by one of my students:

Here is some cute computer games we have looked at the last couple of weeks:

This is a fun little game called KTuberling.  It has three screens, a potato head, the penguin, and a fishbowl.  I use the potato head at the beginning of the year, the penguin game now, and the fishbowl when we have some ocean themed stories at the end of the year.  It is freeware and the school district loaded it on to computers when we got them.  Here is the link to download Ktuberling

We also looked at 10 Little Snowmen on good 'ole Starfall.  The link to this game is:

Here are some snow themed items that were incorporated into our literacy centers.

This is a game I got from Shelly Lovett's free printables.  Awesome Parapro did this game with a few of the kids who need to work on letters and sounds.  Here is the website for Shelly's free printables:
Childcare Land Free Printables

Here are some of things that have been incorporated in letter and word work:

Sight word puzzles from Shelly Lovett

Winter friends uppercase/lowercase match from Shelly Lovett

Hat/Mitten match from Shelly Lovett

Mitten Match from Evan Moore.  I inherited this from a teacher that retired.

As always I appreciate you comments and thoughts.

Sarah :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Polar Bear CVC Word Picture Match

I created a polar bear cvc word picture match to go along with the book "A Time For Playing".  If you like it or download it to use, could you please leave a comment.  I get a lot of page views, but no comments so I am wondering if anyone is finding anything useful.  :)

Download the Polar Bear CVC Word Match


Friday, January 14, 2011

Polar Bear Rhyming

Last week I posted a kangaroo rhyming activity and when my parapro did it with the kids, she noticed that they had difficulty matching pictures that rhymed.  They could verbally rhyme very well.  So I created another rhyming activity to work on matching pictures that rhyme for the upcoming week.  It has a polar bear theme:

Download Polar Bear Rhyming Here

Thursday, January 13, 2011

May The (air) Force Be With You

We are continuing our unit on motion.  Today we reviewed pushing and pulling.  We talked about how an object has to have a force on it to move.  Then I asked the kids how they could get a ball to move without touching.  Pretty quickly someone came up with idea of blowing on it.  They also brainstormed using a fan or having the wind blow it.

We made prediction about which of two types of balls would be easier to move by blowing on them, a golf ball or a ping pong ball.  Then I gave each person a straw and he or she shared the golf and ping pong balls with a partner.  They had to find out which was easier to move by blowing air through the straw.  Here are some pictures:

They had a blast!

We came back together and discussed which ball was easier to pong..and why...because it is lighter.  Then we recorded the results in our science journals.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gingerbread Party

Here are some of the pictures from our Gingerbread Party that we held before holiday break.  We always start off by reading a couple of different versions of the story.  Here are a couple that are in our school library:

 We talk about the genre of folktales and what that means.  We talk about the differences and similarities between the two stories.  We also try some gingerbread cookies.  I am always surprised by how many students have never tried a gingerbread cookie!

Here are some pictures from our party:

We decorate paper gingerbread houses.  I got these a long time ago from Jan Brett's website.  I looked and I don't see them there anymore, but she has a lot of other awesome activities to go with her story.  She is one of my favorite authors and she loves teachers and librarians.

Basically, there is a house and separate pieces.  You can cut out the pieces you want and use it to decorate your gingerbread house.

We also did a simple foam craft that I got at Hobby Lobby.  I like to put the kids pictures on the back, so the parents can use it as an ornament or a magnet.  I love pulling out stuff my own kids have made year after year.

We also played gingerbread bingo and roll a gingerbread man.  I have had these activities for many years and I am not exactly sure where I got them :)  There are a lot of them on the web though if you do a google search.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kindergarten In Motion

We are about 5 lessons into our second science unit called "Kindergarten In Motion"  Good title, don't you think?  We use science curriculum from the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center.  It is very hands on and fun for the kids.  They always look forward to science time.

Here are some books that we are reading with the unit:

We start started our unit by observing and discussing how we move when we are out on the playground.  We created this chart:

Next, we observed how different kinds of balls moved.  I gave each pair two different kinds of balls (beach balls, ping pong balls, golf balls, wooden craft balls, bouncy balls) and they observed how their balls moved, whether they were fast or slow, light or heavy,etc.  We recorded our findings in our science journals.  Here are some pictures of us exploring with the balls.

We were definitely in motion!  Yesterday, the guest teacher worked on pushing and pulling an object.  I will review that on Thursday and we also are going to see if we can move an object without touching it!  How do you think we will do it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Polar Bear Short vowel "i" and "a" sort

Today I gave most of the students their DIBELS test.  Most students did great, but I did notice that they are struggling the most with middle, short vowel sounds.  You I decided to create a word/picture sort for short vowels "i" and "a", which are the short vowel sounds we have focused on so far.  You could also just do it with the pictures if you wanted to focus more on phonemic awareness. Here is the link:

Download the Short Vowel Polar Bear Word Sort Here

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Polar Bear Word Sort

First of all, I want to say sorry to my classroom parents.  My intention was to get some pictures of your children doing classroom activities up by now.  However, some other awesome teacher at my building borrowed the USB cord to my school camera and has not returned it, nor can I remember who borrowed it.  So I need to do some detective work on Monday to see if I can figure out who has it.

Next week we will be reading the story:
This is a really cute story about how animals play to learn skills that they will need to survive in the wild.

One of language arts phonics objectives is blending words with -ip and -it endings.  To go along with the story and the objectives, I made a polar bear themed word sort.  I also made pictures to go along with the words.  I left some blank ones, if you want to add your own words and pictures.

 Download the Sort Here


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kangaroo Word Cards

You can always count on kids to be honest.  Today one of the kids asked me, "Mrs. Stoll, why don't you ever do anything with your hair?".  lol

Here is a set of word cards to go with "Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?" by Eric Carle  I put these in my letters/word work center.  The kids like using a variety of letter manipulatives to make the words.

Download the Word Cards Here

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome Back!

So this blog is called "Teachers Cannot Live By Apples Alone" and what I mean by that is that because teaching can be stressful, we need those little moments that make it all worthwhile.  And I had one of those last night!  I was correcting papers and at the bottom was of one was a little note from an older sibling, a former student that I had a few years ago..."Mrs. Stoll, do you remember me?".  And I answered, "of course!"  I am just glad they remember me!  :)  That made me feel all fuzzy inside.

People always ask if the first day back is rough.  Actually it isn't because the kids  are half asleep!  The second day is rougher!  Plus I have young kids and I haven't been able to really sleep in at all during break, so its not like I got used to sleeping in.  Maybe when my kids are teenagers it will be rough.

Anyway, here is another activity to do with "Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?" by Eric Carle.  It is a picture/cvc word match.

Download the Kanagaroo Picture/CVC Word Match Here

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kangaroo Phoneme Segmentation

I made other item to go along with "Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?"  by Eric Carle.  It is a phoneme segmentation activity.  I will use this in a small group to review before DIBELS testing.  There are two sheets, so I thought the first sheet we could do together and then the second sheet I would give them to work on independently.  I always name the pictures first, so they know what they are. You can use whatever small items you have handy for the squares. Hope you like.

Download the Activity Here

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I have been so inspired by other teachers blogs that I decided to create my own!  I also used to have a pretty nice (at least I thought so) website through my school district and they changed everything, so I wanted a space to share information with parents and other teachers again.

We use Harcourt Brace Treasures for our reading program and when we get back to school we will be reading: "Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?" by Eric Carle.  This gives me a good excuse to torment the other awesome fellow kindergarten teacher in the building as I think this is her least favorite story that we read during the school year.  I honestly think it would be better to read it earlier in the year as it is a pattern story, but alas, I am not a reading series publisher and do not make these decisions. :)

I want to assess rhyming this week. For some reason there is like four pages of rhyming on the GATES test in the spring.  So I need to get a handle on who cannot rhyme and start targeting it.  I made a simple rhyming game with a kangaroo theme to go with the story.  I am going to ask my parapro to make some notations of who cannot rhyme as they use this in a small group.

Hopefully this works as this is the first time I have used Google

I also made a beginning letter match featuring animals from the story.  This will be used in a small group with my para pro targeting the kids who were not benchmark on initial sound fluency on DIBELS in the fall.  We have another round of DIBELS coming up and it is time to review.  Hopefully, it will also help impact vocabulary and naming  animals in the story.

The other story we will be reading this week is "Are You There Baby Bear?"

 This story does not seem to be as controversial to fellow awesome kindergarten teacher :)

Also on the agenda is "The Three Billy Goats Gruff".

Not sure which version we will be reading as I will have to check and see what we have in the school library.  Our awesome librarian ordered a bunch of books for me last year as I don't like reading stories out of the anthology the textbook series provides.

Do you detect an animal theme?  Actually, some of my students really need to work on baby and adult animal names...I mentioned this to my reading para pro who is also our afternoon wrap teacher.   Vocabulary is a big deal to me.  I have read that children in poverty come to school with thousands less words than middle class children.  So hopefully we can work on this at some point this week.

Well that's all for now.  I will (hopefully) be adding lots of stuff this week when I get back to school and can add pictures.