Friday, September 25, 2015

Five for Friday: Biscuits, apples, & differentiation!

Maybe not quite 40 but 24 little kiddos will still give you a run for your money =)

The apple biscuits were a hit! Before we devoured them, we became little scientists and tested to see if they would float, measured the circumference and height, counted seeds, tasted the difference between red, yellow, and green apples PLUS so much more. The kids had a blast!

I started these text evidence packs I made with the my kiddos in the middle of last year but designed more simple ones for the Fall since it is our first time learning about it this year. I made two different versions to meet the diverse learners and it went much better than I had anticipated. We did them together as a group this time to help with the understanding. The higher level kiddos took off with it and asked for more. You can click on the link and download this sample for free =)

We are wrapping up our apple unit this weak after reading many informational and fictional texts. We labeled the parts of the apple and sequenced the cycle from seed to core. These were great in developing our fine motor skills.

In our Wonders Reading program, we have covered a handful of high frequency words and I included the -at and -am word families. I made this interactive differentiated high frequency book for the kids to practice these words in a repetitive format. This particular one reviews the words "I, can, the". I stapled them upon completion to be practiced further at home. I hope they help build their fluency skills along the way. I have three distinct levels of abilities in my room.  The couple of kiddos that are struggling a bit needed some assistance so I took a yellow highlighter for them to visualize the letters they were supposed to put together in the words. It made it much easier for them to understand that letters make words.

You can't learn about apples without including Johnny Appleseed! We read a couple of stories and compared his lifestyle to our own. They replicated his hat (the pot) and had him holding his apple tree =)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Five for Friday: Testing, apples, & a recipe!


You will see where I am going with this quote from my weekly wrap up =)

We are going to really dive into our apple theme next week so we did our KWL chart today. I was surprised with how much information they already knew that I might have to doing some additional research this weekend! Nothing like keeping a teacher on her toes =)

I have to tell you that I am thrilled I have finished all of my testing. September is a very difficult month as so many things have to happen: hazardous training videos, professional growth goals, staff and grade level mtgs, KRA and iReady testing. PLUS, I had to do my own assessments since those two tests don't give me any of the important information I need to tailor my instruction. I really have never felt the pressure of the testing until this year. I think it is crazy that my lil kinders had to take two exams back to back and one will be used for the third grade guarantee. First, most of these kiddos use tablets and rarely use a desktop. I can't tell you how many times I had to go adjust the test because they were clicking the wrong mouse button. Second, they are only five years old and taking a state test on a computer in the first month of school. I actually had two little friends just stop and put their head in their hands crying.  How horrible is that? This will probably be my longest post for the week because it has consumed my every moment for the past two weeks. I saw the pic in my heading and the one below and felt they were very appropriate. Isn't it the truth? I was and still am a horrible test taker. I feel sad for these kids. OK, rant over. I am SOOOO excited to dive into the curriculum and have some fun NOW =)

I had to interject a little bit of fun to relieve testing drama (plus my tables were a gluey mess!). I got the shaving cream out and we practiced printing our names, letters, and high frequency words. The decibel level in the room was a little crazy but I think they needed it!

This is probably the most precious thing I have ever had made. I always pass this little quilt shop near my school and think to stop in because of the numerous cars parked there. I have kept a bucket of all of the special clothes my three boys have worn as babies: outfits home from the hospital, visiting special people, gifts from others, etc. I took this tub of clothes and the lady from the quilt shop turned it into this beautiful blanket. I almost cried when I saw it! I think it came out great and will always hold so many precious memories for me. I could tell you what pics I have of each square and who was wearing it. I will treasure this forever!

Now that we have finished the first week of school, I retired all of the back to school books. I have to admit that it felt pretty good. I think the first month is by far the most challenging and I simply love the Fall! I have an apple kicked cooking in the oven right now for the staff tomorrow morning. It smells delicious! These are some of my favorite reads that we will be doing along with some baking. I am just tickled that we don't have any allergies in my room this year (first time in several years) so I plan on doing some recipes with my kinders!

We will be making apple biscuits on Monday. I tried to find a picture that sort of resembled what I make and this was the closest I could find. I will definitely post some of the real products next week. My kiddos love these treats and they are super easy. PLUS, they make the room smell delicious!


light brown sugar 
apples (I use Gala) : 1 apple per two kids
1can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers Butter Tastin'® refrigerated biscuits ( yields 8 biscuits)


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. I unroll each biscuit container and allow each student to grab one. Remember to have a piece of paper nearby so that you can mark where each kiddo is making their biscuit on the tray.
3. I have already taken the skin off the apples, diced, and put into a bowl. The student will place their biscuit onto the baking sheet, smash it down gently in the center, and then scoop a bit of the apples onto the center of their biscuit.
4. They then sprinkle a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. 
5. I add a small slice of butter over the brown sugar.
6. Once you have filled the sheet up with the completed biscuits, follow the baking directions on the container.

These are very easy and a fan favorite. My own family loves them too!! Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Five for Friday: A walk in our shoes for the week!

This is the truth!
Here were my goodies from the week....

I finally bought hooks to hang up our punch cards! I call it our "I Can!" wall because it is all of the standards that we can do.  I also have the kids practicing their full names everyday using nameplates but noticed that many of them were not even using them as guides. Ugh! I had them still using uppercase letters in the middle of their names. I wish the hospital would send a manual home with parents at birth telling them to teach the kids the appropriate upper and lowercase letters in their names because it is SO hard to break.  I thought I would be smarter and create their own templates to trace everyday.  I laminated them so that they could use the dry erase markers and reuse them from day to day. I had them hanging on the 'I Can' wall when they arrived Tuesday morning. I was very disheartened when I realized that they were having a very difficult time getting the marks off.  This led me to putting them in page protectors and it went MUCH better! Things are slowly starting to come together!

Who doesn't love Pete the Cat? We read all four of his stories and made a Venn diagram to compare/contrast them.  I found a cute converse shoe template and enlarged it for the kids to create their own decorative shoes. They then placed their shoe above their favorite story. I was pleased with the outcome of the graph and they did an awesome job analyzing the data. 

We have continued with our Superhero theme and the kids created their very own images using construction paper. Lots of time and effort went into these. I was planning on hanging them from our ceiling but found that some imaginations ran a bit too wild (a bit large to hang from a single clip =). The kids really need practice with their scissor grips and cutting skills which made this a perfect activity. 

We have moved passed the 'just making illustrations' in our journals to labeling and trying to compose a sentence. Thank goodness I have a couple that really have the hang of it. Others, not so much but those will be the ones that show the biggest gains =)

Are you ready for Constitution Day? It is next week already! I have some great activities (vocabulary, writing templates, literacy activities) in this little pack that I am putting on sale this weekend if you want to grab it!

Have a great weekend!