Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Match Literacy Center!

Happy Saturday, Friends! Kerri here...
I can't believe that one week of Summer Vacay is over already! Let me tell you what I did last week....

a whole bunch of NOTHING! and it was glorious!! Well, I did manage to find time to read, work out, go shopping, sleep in, and make green smoothies for breakfast, but my baskets of clean laundry DID NOT get folded for the entire week-HA! In your face, laundry!! :)

I have a little something to share today that is EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY to make, and my kids ABSOLUTELY love doing (both Kinder and First Grade)! I call it "Book Match", but really what a boring name! I have never been able to think of a more clever name for it, but anyways, all this center requires are emergent readers (with 1-2 sentences per page), sentence strips, and gallon size Ziploc bags!

Okay, all you need to do is write out the story on sentence strips, cut the words apart, and store the words and the book in a large ziploc baggy, labeled with the name of the book on it, of course. During centers, my kidlets work in pairs to put the story back together correctly. I used this center ALL THE TIME in Kinder, and it is perfect for the beginning of First Grade too! 

A helpful tip: write a letter or word in pencil on the back of each word card for each book, so you know which baggy the word card goes into when your students inevitably come up to you 10 minutes later with a word card they have found! (DRAT!!) 

I don't even laminate mine, I have used these for years and they are still in perfect condition!

Another thing I have is varying levels of books for my different levels of students. Some of my books are VERY basic with only 1 sentence per page, and others have 2 longer sentences which makes it MUCH more difficult because there are so many more words to sort and put in order. 

In Kinder, I taught my kids to sort their cards by word, especially if the books are predictable, and this helps them manage all of those words cards. In First Grade, I let them just go for it, and use whatever strategy they want to!

I have used Sunshine books, Phonics and Friends books, and the Phonics Readers from Houghton Mifflin for this center, but really ANY emergent readers that have predictable text would be PERFECT, so get crackin' friends! Your kiddos will LOVE LOVE it, and this costs you NADA! 

P.S. Why are Yoga outfits so flippin' expensive?? I mean really, $79 for a pair of stretchy pants? Ridiculous! I'm gonna try TJ Maxx and see if I have better luck, cause LuLu Lemon is WAY out of my price range! :/

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

MORE Punjammies, Pictionaries, and HOBBY LOBBY!

Happy Wednesday, Peeps! Kerri here...

I made something new for TPT!! But first, there's this...

Aaaahhh, Summer is GLORIOUS and it's only been 3 days! Guess who else can rock the Punjammies?? My teenage girl, that's who! Looky here...
Aren't those ones ADORABLE?? And, guess what else? The Punjammies office is located in my very own town! Oh, this could be very very dangerous, friends! Fabulous, comfy PJ's that help free women from sex trafficking in India, available to me a mere 5 minutes from my house?? Heaven! (Sshhh, don't tell my hubs!) 

Also, did you know that you get a bonus gift for every pair of Punjammies that you purchase? A nifty matching bag!!

Lindsay and I also had fun today going to this place...
OH. MY. SNAPS. They FINALLY opened a Hobby Lobby in So. Cal!!!! That place is GINORMOUS!! We took my daughter, Katie, AKA the baby whisperer, to keep Lindsay's Baby Jack entertained and we just walked the aisles in AWE and WONDER!

Look what I found there (50% off of course!)...
Are these not totally rad?? I am going to use my Fancy Schmancy camera to take Fancy Schmancy pics of my girls and my pooch and make a Fancy Schmancy collage on my living room wall!

Finally, I just uploaded my "Pictionary from A-Z!" Alphabet practice pack to TPT! (Click picture to go to TPT!)

The Pictionary Center was a staple EVERY SINGLE WEEK when I taught Kindergarten, and I also used these at the beginning of First Grade when we reviewed our ABC's! Here's how it works...

Here are a couple of previews of what the inside looks like...

Obviously, every letter of the alphabet has 2 pages like this. When I taught Kinder, my students LOVED this center and it was a GINORMOUS asset for my ELL's, because they were able to learn new vocabulary every single week, as well as write the words and draw the pictures. This center was also fabulous because it could EASILY be done independently, so my students had a great deal of pride and ownership over their books by the end of the year. In First Grade, we make these books the first month or so, as a review of the ABC's, and ESPECIALLY to practice our "printing nicely inside the lines" skills!

Well, I'm off to Trader Joes. I will be wearing my Punjammies, of course! I'd love to know, did any of you order some??
XOXO Kerri

Friday, June 22, 2012

Punjammies and Purple Crayons!

Happy Summer, Peeps! Kerri here...
Well, it's officially summer for me here is So. Cal! FINALLY! It is always so bittersweet, isn't it? I am always desperate for summer to get here, but then it does and I immediately miss my kiddos. Sigh...

Have you heard of Punjammies? Well, my AMAZING room mom got me some today and I immediately came home (after our End of the Year work party at the Yard House, where I most definitely had a raspberry cider-Yummy!) and put them on...
These pj's are roomy, soft, and ADORBS! And here is the best part...just read their story from the Punjammies website:

PUNJAMMIES™ are created in after-care facilities for women who have been rescued, released or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. Their lives have been marked by a message – you are a commodity – to be used for others' gain.
Whether sold by her own family, trafficked from another country or driven by desperation, she was a slave to this life. Each story is as unique as each woman.
When a woman escapes from this life, she has few options. Beyond their emotional and psychological trauma, women in India who have been forced to work as prostitutes cannot easily enter schools, return to family systems or secure jobs to support themselves. A high-quality after-care center is one of the best options a woman has for rebuilding her life.
Holistic aftercare involves quality medical care, emotional safety, education along with the tools and community to create a new way of living.
PUNJAMMIES™ is the vehicle used to empower each woman.  Instead of the vicious cycle of her former life, the making of PUNJAMMIES starts her on her own virtuous cycle of self-reliance and dignity.  A simple thing like making pajamas is what it takes.  With the brothel behind and opportunity ahead in a new, supportive community, she is gradually restored to health.  When its time, she is trained to sew -- and more importantly, to contribute as an integral part of an inter-dependent team.   Here is where she learns that she is valuable, to take pride in her work, and to trust again. To trust again--in herself and in others!  Her past diminishes and her future brightens.  She is becoming the kind of person she was made to be!
When one woman was asked about how her life has changed, she said, "In the brothels, I was alone. But now I have sisters."
Every pair of PUNJAMMIES™ tells the story of a woman who was, once, voiceless. When you buy her PUNJAMMIES, you are key part of her path, out of modern-day slavery, into a life of hope, dignity and freedom.
Wear PUNJAMMIES™. Wear hope.

Is that not AWESOME?? I was so excited to receive this amazing gift that I came home and got myself these...
and then I saw this...
well, and maybe this too!

Guess what?? They are having a CLEARANCE sale, girls! Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about! I love this company because it is helping women have hope again. I hope you will check it out, and then feel comfy all summer long in your new punjammies!

In other news, we did something fun today, on our last day, that is straight out of my mom's teaching vault! We read Harold and the Purple Crayon this week, and then we watched it on United Streaming (Don't you just love the scholastic version?). Today, in order to kill time provide one last meaningful, fun learning experience, I gave my kidlets a sharp purple crayon and let them draw their own Blank (Insert name) and the purple crayon picture. They LOVED it! Here are some of their creations...

Fun, right?? My mom used to do this project with her Firsties and then display them for Open House!
After they finished their creations, we had an art show and they all got to show the class their pictures while they told one thing about it into my microphone (best teaching tool EVER...more on that later!)

Okay, I'm gonna go start my summer! Hope yours is fantastic so far!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Origami and End of the Year Art Projects!

Hi Blogging Buddies! Kerri here...
Oh. my. word. 3 days left! 16 report cards left (I am on a strict schedule-8 a night for 3 nights!), plus about a brazillion other odds and ends (including cleaning my room. Let's not go there-it isn't pretty, peeps!), but I can actually see summer in my not-so-distant future! YIPPEE!

Today we had origami day! I showed my kids parts of this AMAZING documentary... Girls, (and boy?) if you haven't seen this, then you MUST watch it this summer! It is SERIOUSLY BAD@$$! I cannot believe what these people create using only one piece of paper with NO cuts and NO tape or glue. If you have netflix, you can watch it for FREE! 
After we watched it, my kids were all jazzed and they were trying to fold paper into shapes all day long! It was too cute! At the end of the day, my wonderful room mom came in and taught the class how to make a box that you blow into to make it puff up! They were SOOOO proud of themselves! I highly  recommend Origami Day!

We also made these end-of-the-year art projects today. I found 8x10 canvases (the flat kind) at Dick for like $15 for 24! Isn't that a steal?? Then we mod-podged them with tissue paper and put our 50's kids self-portraits that we made on the 50th day of school over the tissue paper. They are SO cutey McCuteness!! Check them out...

Okay, I gotta stop the procrastinating! I still have to do my 8 report cards tonight!

See ya, Peeps!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Video hilariousness!

Happy Father's Day, Peeps! Kerri here...
Hope you are having a great Father's Day! I found the cutest idea on Pinterest for my husband, so I just had to try it out with my girls. Here is our version of the "DAD" picture...


We had so much fun making it!! 

And, you just HAVE TO watch this little video! We watched it today at church and I about peed my pants right there is the house of the Lord! Seriously, it is AWESOME!! I think my husband is a cross between the gardening dad and the dad who takes his kids to the pool...which one is your husband/dad like??
Middle-aged  rappers are the BOMB! Check it out...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day and Pirate "Aaaart!"

Happy Weekend, Friends! Kerri here...
5 more days, but who's counting? My To-Do list is RIDICULOUS, (hence the reason I am blogging...procrastinator) but come this time next week, I will be SUMMER LOVIN' like most of the rest of you already are! (Insert giddy dance!)

We took our chitlins to the CDM Tidepools this week. It was NOT awesome. 
Imagine, for a moment, 100 first graders climbing all over WET, SLIPPERY, JAGGED rocks, next to the raging sea, while a light mist and chilly wind made us shiver. Got a good picture?? Yeesh, my hair was a wreck when we got home, and if you know anything about me, than you know my hair and I have issues that require a straight iron and copious amounts of product. 
HOWEVER, the good news is that I was able to use the fancy new camera my hubs bought me (well, after much begging and pleading on my part) for my birthday to take WICKED pictures of my littles. I just have to share!

I am no camera expert, but I think these are pretty good for my first try! I also edited them on pic monkey. Have you heard of it? I think it is AWESOME and it is totally FREE, which I think is even awesomer!

I had some B.A.D. news this year...Costco did NOT have my beloved 3 for $2 wooden frames for our Dad's project! The Horror! I had to buy $1 frames from Michaels (which actually would have cost me 85 cents with my teacher discount, which I forgot to give the girl and she forgot to remind me about until I had totally finished paying...grrrr!), and they are okay, but NOT as great as the Ikea ones. Here are our finished products...

Pretty cool, right?? 

We also made a Pirate Card for our dads, because it was Pirate Week this week!
Here it is, the boy and girl version...
The girl has scraggly hair, but that's a pirate right?

We made the card generic, because some of my kids don't have dads, so I told them they could give the card to whoever they wanted to in their families (makes me so sad...)

Here are the dimensions, if you want to make these just for a fun art project, or save them until next year for the dads!

Background: Yellow- 9x12 for art, or 12x18 folded in half for card

Shirt: White- 6x4

Head: Peach- 5x5

Ear: Peach-1 1/2 x 1

Eye Patch: Black- 2 x 2 1/2

Bandana: Red- 5x4

Bandana Knot: Red- 1 1/2 x 1 1/2

Bandana Ends: Red- 3 x 3

sharpie and black crayon for details!

Well, I'm off to jog on the treadmill. You know it's bad when I would rather workout than get my schoolwork done! P.R.O.C.R.A.S.T.I.N.A.T.O.R!!

Hope your weekend is full of fun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Open House Rainforest!

Oh. my. SNAPS, Peeps!! Kerri here...
Lindsay and I STILL have 8 more days of school left! We are LITERALLY hanging on by a thread, friends. Like, for reals. And, we both have BUNCHES of stuff left to do! Like testing, report cards, end of the year certificates and what have you, FATHER'S DAY gifts. Seriously....Calgon take me away!

We will be doing a DUAL post tonight, so we can show you pictures from both of our Open Houses. Ours was last Thursday and here are some pictures of the RAINFOREST madness! Most of these projects are from my Rainforest Art and Writing Pack

Check out the rainforest in my room...
Toucans and Fun with WORMS pictures!

Toucans and Leaf-Cutter Ant projects

Sloths,  flowers,  and Monkeys!

This is just a big old rainforest Party right here!!

Rainforest Animal Research Reports and clay snakes

Rainforest Acrostics and Sloth Stories

I just love their sloth drawings! We step-drew them together!

Step-draw Macaws

Jaguar stories

Mini-Me's, jaguars, and red-eyed tree frogs

Rainforest Guide projects and another Rainforest Wall

Layers of the Rainforest

Self-Portraits and Autobiographies

Big, fat, hairy caterpillar (I'll let Lindsay tell you about that one!)

My front door!

Aren't these toucans so fun??
A boy teacher that I work with, who shall remain nameless, but has something in common with a certain LARGE PURPLE SINGING DINOSAUR, told me that one of his kids had an ACTUAL seizure when walking through my room, and the other kids all came out with their eyes going wonky, like they were in a cartoon. 
HARDY HARDY HAR. Doesn't he know that Open House is all about FIERCE and FABULOUSNESS? Whatevs... :)

I know I promised you directions on the Toucan art and I will give it to you for FREE (dimensions and directions!) but not tonight, I am T.I.R.E.D. and Lindsay wants her turn to share! 

Hope you had fun visiting the rainforest!! G'Night, Peeps!

Happy Tuesday friends!  Its MY turn!!

Luckily for me, my Open House was a week and a half ago . . . whew!  The rainforest madness about did me in - but the look of pride on the kiddos faces as they take their parents around the room is ALL worth it!  Our room was jam-packed full of rainforesty goodness!  And there was SO. MUCH. WRITING.  It was actually a wonderful way for me to focu on non-fiction writing with my kidlets.  Ya know, instead of writing about a roller-skating Sloth named Sprinkles . . . my students had to use our anchor chart and think of some facts they knew and could put into sentences about sloths . . . and other rainforest critters! 

Here is a look at the whole room.  Holy Rainforest Batman!

Here are our fabulous step-draw macaws in their 3-D frames.  I was so proud of how well my kidlets did with oil pastels!  

Here are our rainbow fish with . . . yes, a pirahna right in the middle.  

Here are the Mini Me's all dressed for the Rainforest, along with our jaguars and butterflies.

One of my FAVORITE projects is our 3-D ABC art that we do with our Big Buddies. Each student brings in an item (or items) that are used to cover their assigned letter.  Then my kiddos write about things beginning with that letter.  They got SO creative with their letters this year!

Isn't this R adorable??  Covered in ribbons, rocks, rainbows, rubber bands . .

Sloths and monkeys and flowers . . . oh my!

Our Rainforest Guides and layers of the rainforest.  I love, love, LOVE the little animals with each Rainforest Guide.  Isn't that grey gorilla the cutest?  

Sloth stories.  Lots of great writing on this wall!

"Sloths never groom themselves.  Then they grow their algae.  It takes one whole day for a sloth to take him to another tree to another tree."

Wonderful Me writing and our tree-cutter ants and more writing!

This cute idea came from A Cupcake For The Teacher's TPT store here.  We brainstormed a HUGE list of things we had learned this year, and the kids did a great job of writing about one thing each.  This little guy says "This year I learned to write new words.  I sound them out by myself." Sigh.  Insert proud teacher face here.

And last but not least, here is the cover of our A to Z art book.  I didn't get a shot of all of the books on the tables, but I loved their little self-portraits in their hot air balloons floating off to First Grade!

It is SO fun to look back at all of the wonderful work my kiddos accomplished.  They are ready to leave me and become fabulous little firsties! 

I had one mom share the sweetest story with me at Open House.  She said her daughter was in the backseat talking with her little sister (not knowing that mom was listening), and the following conversation took place:

Little sister: Who is your best friend?
Big sister: Does it have to be a kid?
Little sister: Nope.
Big sister:  Good, cuz Mrs. Messner is my bestest friend!

Ay yi yi - how cute is she?  I will miss my lil enchiladas! 

Well friends, that is it for tonight.  I promise to be back with some Father's Day things to share soon!  G'night!