New Year's Writing Activity

I can hardly believe that 2017 is almost here!  This past year has had plenty of ups and downs but I'm choosing to focus on the positives of 2016.  As we look at the new year ahead, many of us are beginning to set goals and make resolutions for the new year.  When we return to school in January, I love to talk with my Kindergarteners about their own hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

Here are a couple of my favorite books for talking about the New Year.  Just click below to find them on Amazon!


As a class, we love to share our goals with each other.  I write students' ideas down on chart paper to help spark ideas for those who are having a harder time coming up with a goal.

We love to make class books!  Once our goals are set, we write about them and put our pages together in a book.  

You can grab this freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers shop by clicking on the image below!
There are 3 different sentence frames and a book cover in color or black & white.

What are your goals for 2017?
Share them in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.


Teaching Kindess

With everything that we are expected to teach in a single school year, it's hard to find time to focus on the social-emotional skills that our students so desperately need.  I have found myself pushing these lessons to the bottom of the list over the last few years to make more room for writer's workshop, reader's workshop, math instruction, science, and more to make sure I am hitting all of the standards.  What I've noticed is that the population I work with needs these lessons more than ever and I miss teaching them.

As I drove in to school this Wednesday, I thought about my lesson plans for the day.  I thought about my phonics lesson and the teaching point I had ready for reader's workshop.  I thought about the math games I had prepped and ready to go.  Yet, none of it seemed as important as talking to my Kinders about the meaning of kindness.  So, I pulled into school, threw my lesson plans for the day out the window (which anyone who knows me, knows that's unheard of!), and decided to give my students what I thought they needed the most in this moment.

We started our discussion about kindness with this amazing book!

You can find it here!

It sparked a wonderful discussion about the ways in which we can be kind to others, both at school and in life.  I was so impressed with the compassion, thoughtfulness, and empathy that my students demonstrated.  We brainstormed a list of ways we can show kindness toward others.

I created this writing page for my students to share their ideas.  I just adore the way they represent their thoughts through drawing.

You can grab the writing pages for free in my TPT store, here!

How do you encourage kindness in your classroom?

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.


Hands On Pumpkin Science

It's pumpkin time!  I absolutely love this time of year.  Routines and procedures have been established and my kindergarteners are ready to dive head first into our science units.  Our pumpkin theme is spread out over two weeks in October but it could easily be done in just one.  The prep is minimal.  All you need are a few different pumpkins (many grocery stores will donate the funnier looking pumpkins to teachers!), a tub of water, something to measure with (we use linker cubes), and some carving tools.

Week 1

Investigating the Outside of the Pumpkin

We begin the unit by observing the outside of the pumpkin and talking about what we notice.  Students discuss size, shape, color, texture, temperature, similarities and differences, etc.

As all good scientists do, we record our observations and investigation results in our Pumpkin Journals.

We also count the ribs (lines) on the outside of the pumpkin and measure the height using linker cubes.


Then comes the real fun!  Will the pumpkin sink or float?  We always make a prediction before testing it out.


We also learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin.  I love these's Read and Find Out" books for science topics.

Week 2
Investigating the Inside of the Pumpkin

Students love to get their hands on their learning.  They can't wait to get inside the pumpkin to find out what's in there!  Estimating the number of seeds is always a ton of fun.  It's great for counting to 10 and skip counting.  We use counting mats to help us keep track.


It's amazing just how many seeds can be inside a pumpkin!

Last, we work on labeling the parts of the pumpkin that we find.

After 2 weeks of pumpkin fun, we celebrate by roasting pumpkin seeds!

You can find all of the activities and journal pages in my Pumpkin Science unit.

What are your favorite pumpkin activities?

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.


Teacher Week 2016

Happy Back to School!  I hope you're having an amazing start to the year.  I joined the bloggers of BlogHoppin' this past week for Teacher Week 2016.  Check out my photos from the week below to learn a little more about me!

Meet Me Monday

These are a few of my favorite things!  My family and my girls are the most important thing.  I can't imagine not having them in my life.  I absolutely LOVE live music!  Though being a full time working mom doesn't leave me much time for going out, we do enjoy getting to concerts when we can.  Our city has many opportunities to see some amazing artists.  The beach is my favorite place on earth!  Um, pumpkin...'nuff said.  My favorite accessory is my bracelets.  I have many Alex & Ani and I'm loving my Keep Collective from Stella & Dot.  What teacher doesn't love Target!?!  Oh children's books...they're like shoes, you can never have enough.  GIANTS baseball...can we say 3 time World Champs!  Kindergarten teacher...yeah, it's who I am.  And I love it.

Teaching Tuesday

When I started teaching, science was the subject that scared me the most.  I had zero idea how I would make scientists out of 20 something 5-year-olds.  Now, it's my absolute favorite thing to teach!  Hands on science is engaging, real, hits so many common core standards and is just plain fun!  You can check out my science units here.

Where I Work Wednesday

Have I every mentioned that I get to teach in the most beautiful city!?!  San Francisco is my home and I'm so blessed to teach in an amazing public school.  My classroom is HUGE!  I have two walls of windows and an amazing view (see that sunrise above!?).  There's no way I'm giving up this amazing learning space...I plan on retiring here!

Threads Thursday

I really do enjoy dressing up.  Most days I'm dressed professionally.  I typically wear capri pants, a blouse, cardigan,and ballet flats.  But let's get real.  Kindergarten teachers need to be comfortable.  We are up and down, back and forth, covered in Kindergartener, all day long.  Some days, it's a cute t-shirt, jeans, and my chucks.  You will never find me without a wrist full of bracelets though!  I just love them.

Friends Friday

My Team: I have the most amazing team to work with every day.  These girls are my rocks and they make coming to work so much fun.  They are dedicated, supportive, and loving friends.  I can't imagine the day to day without them.

The Punchbowl Girls:  My Tribe!  The ladies of The Primary Punchbowl have been so great on my journey as a blogger and TpT author.  We are all on this road together and they are my village.

Bloggy Loves:  These girls!  I can't say enough good things about them.  Molly (Lucky to Be in First) is my Fairy Godblogger.  She has encouraged me since the beginning of this road and is my biggest cheerleader.  I'm so blessed to have her in my life and to call her my friend.  Greta (Learning with Mrs. Leeby) and Vera (The Tutu Teacher) were virtual friends until this summer when we finally met in real life in Orlando.  I hate that we live so far away because these girls are my jam.  Just the best!

I hope you had fun learning a little more about me!  Do we have anything in common?  Let me know in the comments below.

Then hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to check out the others who have linked up!


Fall Math & Literacy Centers

Hooray! September is here.  I absolutely LOVE fall (and not just because I'm a fall baby).  There are so many fun themes this time of year...apples, seasons, pumpkins, just to name a few.  I love to incorporate our themes into all parts of our day.  My Fall Math & Literacy Centers do just that!

Here are a few of the activities that are included:

Apple Pickin' Rhymes

Fall Letter Match Up

Gobblin' Up Shapes

Apple Seed Count & Match

There are 10 activities in all, 5 for math and 5 for language arts.  Other skills covered in this resource are color words, ordering uppercase and lowercase letters, sentence building with sight words, non-standard measurement, numbers 0-20, and matching number to quantity to 10.  You can see the complete unit by clicking here!

How would you like to win a copy, just in time for fall!?!
I've linked up with my friends Jennifer and Sara for Winner Wednesday!

All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below!  Then head over to A Dab of Glue will Do or Sara J Creations to see some of the other fabulous products you can enter to win this month.


How Important Is Creativity?

We are all born with the ability to be creative.  However, somewhere along the way, many of us seem to gravitate toward a more prescribed way of life.  As adults, we have jobs, responsibilities, families to take care of.  There is little time left to be creative.  Yet, as teachers, it is our responsibility to create opportunities for our students and for some, our own children, to foster their creativity.  Children need to be encouraged to explore, ask questions, make mistakes, and find their own answers.  When children are given the opportunity to be creative, they are building problem solving skills, using critical thinking, and increasing their self-esteem.  

To be creative, all children need is the freedom and space to explore.  In the classroom, it can be as simple as laying out recycled boxes and masking tape and giving students the freedom to create using their imaginations.  When children are allowed to figure things out on their own, they are able to then solve more complex problems down the road.  If you simply show a child how to do something or do it for them, all they have learned is that you can do it better than they can.  Allowing a child to express themselves in their own way gives him or her the freedom to build their own understanding of the world.  It's about the process and the play, not the product.

When you think of creativity, most automatically go to art, music, dance and the like.  The skills learned through the opportunity to be creative carry over into all aspects of a child's life, including the core subjects in school.  Scientists discover cures for diseases through exploration, engineers create new technology, business owners come up with creative ways to increase revenue, teachers find ways to read all of their students.  If not given the opportunity to explore and create freely as children, these adults would not have developed the skills to achieve these goals.  Unfortunately, so many of these programs are the first to go due to budget cuts and core curriculum demands.

So what can we as teachers do to foster creativity in the classroom?

At the beginning of the year, I make it a point to allow students to explore manipulatives before asking them to do specific tasks with them.  Here, the students are exploring with plastic animals.  They naturally began to sort them by animal.

During our color unit, students explore what happens when you mix primary colors in different ways.

For Earth Day, we collected recyclables and the students worked in pairs to create their own art.

One of my favorite books to read at the beginning of the school year is Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg.  The story is about turning a mistake into an opportunity to make something beautiful.
You can find it here on amazon

One of the most important things I can teach my students is to appreciate each other.  At the end of many of our activities, we do an Appreciation Circle.  I ask my students if they have an appreciation about someone else or the group that they would like to share.  We celebrate each other in this way to validate the work we have done.  When we build a learning environment where children feel safe, they are more comfortable to take risks.  Our appreciations help to express the value we place on what students think and what they do and help to strengthen our classroom community.

How do you foster creativity in the classroom?

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.

Tell All Tuesday 2.0: Summer Snapshot

Today, I'm linking up with my good friends Jayme and Diana from Teach. Talk. Inspire. & My Day in K for Tell All Tuesday 2.0!

This week, the topic is: Summer Snapshot

If you read my blog, follow me on Instagram, or know me at all, you know I absolutely LOVE Giants baseball!  So it's no surprise that our family spends much of the summer at the ballpark, cheering on our boys in the orange and black!

AT&T Park is such a beautiful ballpark and we are blessed to have wonderful friends who give us the opportunity to go to games often.  We each have our favorite players and love to cheer them on.  

How do like to spend the summer?  
Let me know in the comments below!

Or link up and share!  Here's how to join the fun:
1. Grab the picture and banner above and use it to link back to this post on your blog.
2. Write a post about the topic of the week.
This week is: Summer Snapshot
3. Add your link below.
4. Advertise your post using any social media of your choice.

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