Kindergarten Lifestyle

Big news… I posted about my homework kits as a guest blogger on Kindergarten Lifestyle! If you found my blog through Kindergarten Lifestyle and are looking for a homework kit, I will be posting a new one on February 1st. In the meantime, feel free to browse my archives for kits I’ve posted in the past. Sign up to follow my blog and you will be notified when I post a new homework kit. Thanks for visiting!

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Mice and Beans

I found a new book at the PK1 Conference, completely unexpectedly, that I adore- Pam Munoz Ryan’s Mice and Beans. This whimsical, charming book captivated my three-year-old son with its engaging plot and detailed illustrations. Beyond being a super cute story, it teaches days of the week and a bit of Spanish, and includes a recipe! Oh, and it’s totally becoming part of my “Cat’s and Mice” Literature Response in the spring.

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PK1-derful

As in… my experience at the 2013 PK1 Conference was wonderful. Exhibiting at a conference is not about making money, it’s about making connections. I must have told 200 TK, kindergarten, and first grade teachers about my reading curriculumand given away just as many Monaco Lane business cards. Some smiled and said, “I already have a lot of puppets.”, but others listened intently as I carried on about how my students fall in love with Teacher’s Creatures… how the motions they teach are related to the letter sounds and make sense… how I teach handwriting with clear, simple instructions without the use of metaphors like ‘the sky’ and ‘the water’… why I created my own font after years of being frustrated with the traditional manuscript font used in every language arts workbook on the face of the Earth… and how my curriculum is now available in digital form at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Not only did these teachers listen, they were impressed with what they heard and agreed with my strategies! In addition to sharing my methods I was able to get ideas from other teachers and PK1 board members about making my current curriculum even better and adding new components (blog posts coming soon). And the people: I talked extensively with my friendly neighbors; a rep for Discount School Supply and a vendor for Barefoot Books and her 12-year-old daughter who adored my 11-week-old son. I met the inspiring founders of KFUNdamentals and ESGI, both kindergarten teachers who, like me, ventured out of the classroom to share their ideas with the world. The eighteen hours I spent in the Santa Clara Hyatt’s Ballroom B were well worth it, and with all of that being said, I will add: Thank goodness I sold enough product to cover the cost of my table, because although it’s not about making money, no one likes to lose money! Thank you, PK1, for the opportunity to share and connect with some wonderful people in my profession. And what a profession it is!

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Literature Response

Every spring, when my students are reading and writing more independently, I do a project with my class called Literature Response. This is a collection of written and illustrated responses to thirty story books that we read over the course of thirty days (that’s ten books for each of three different themes). This spring, when I return from maternity leave, the themes will be “Cats and Mice”, “Frogs and Fish” and “Wonderful Wings”. I will come back to school with a bound book for each student containing thirty pages that they will fill with sentences, illustrations, and interpretations for each story. (Actually there are thirtyfour pages if you count the front cover and each theme’s cover sheet.) I will have the title and author of each book and the date pre-printed at the top of the page. There will be two “kid lines” (solid top and bottom lines with a dashed middle line) at the bottom of the page for their writing. I always look forward to Literature Response. We get to enjoy the stories as a class and compare the books in each theme. I get to watch my students as they interpret what we’ve read and I am always impressed with the amount of writing and spelling they can do on their own. I also get to see them apply what they have learned about capitalization, punctuation, and spacing. The finished books are a treasured collection of student work. If you would like to do a Literature Response project with your class, visit teacherspayteachers.com and download my FREE template.

The themes and stories are of course up to you, but here are the books I chose for 2013 so you can see an example:

For the “Cats and Mice” theme: Millions of Cats by Wanda Ga’g, Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Rich Cat Poor Cat by Bernard Waber, Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman, Pete the Cat by James Dean, Frederick by Leo Lionni, Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff, Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse by Leo Lionni, and Lost and Found House by Consuelo Joerns.

For the “Frogs and Fish” theme: It’s Mine by Leo Lionni, Bullfrog Grows Up by Rosamond Dauer, Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London, The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg, A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson, About Fish by Cathryn Sill, Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, Swimmy by Leo Lionni, and The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.

For the “Wonderful Wings” theme: Tico and the Golden Wings by Leo Lionni, Abuela by Arthur Dorros, About Birds by Cathryn Sill, Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert, Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies, Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, Busy Buzzy Bee by Karen Wallace, Eliza and the Dragonfly by Susie Caldwell Rinehart, The Glorious Flight by Alice Provensen, and Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub.

The Garbage Can

Why am I featuring The Garbage Can Homework Kit for January? Because I “threw out” bread, tortillas, crackers, and pasta for my New Year’s Resolution. I’m not going to stop eating these items, I am just going to stop buying them and start making them (with whole wheat flour). Just one attempt for a purer, healthier diet in 2013. Maybe you would like to try something new this year as well. Why not start by making The Garbage Can Homework Kit for your students?

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Would you like instructions for making The Garbage Can, related worksheets, and an activities list so parents will know how to use it with their children? You can request them through the “contact” tab on my website and I will send you the PDF files via email. My kits make homework magical for children. I hope you will take the time to make one and experience the joy and excitement they will bring to your classroom (or your home)!