Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Little Pumpkins - Hands on

Halloween is fast approaching and I'm squeezing in some last minute activities.  I wanted to do the poem "5 Little Pumpkins" with the kids and I wanted it to be more hands-on than felt or paper pieces.  My lower kiddos really need the hands-on, "real" practice.

My original intention was to get some mini pumpkins for the kids to use but I couldn't find them in the grocery store this year.  I went to the farmer's market but I couldn't justify the price they wanted for the little ones.

Instead I ended up using a bag of clementines.  It was only about $4 for a bag and I got a couple of sets of Jack-o-lanterns out of it.  This way I could have a couple of children doing the poem at the same time.

Use a sharpie to add a face to the clementines.  Tip: Do this when they are warm.  The marker doesn't write well on cold clementines.  

I used a piece of wood for the "gate".  A large block from the block center would work too.

As I read the poem I had the children pick up each of the "Jack-o-Lanterns" in order.

5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said "oh my it's getting late"
The second one said "there are witches in the air"

The third one said "but we don't care"
The forth one said "we are ready for some fun"
The fifth one said "let's run and run and run"

So ooooow went the wind and out went the lights.
And the 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

At this point I push all the pumpkins off of the gate and have them roll on the ground.

After a few adult readings I found the children were able to do the poem on their own.  I placed all the materials in an accessible location for them to go to and act out. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Free Pumpkin Counting Mat

Do you have children who need to work on their fine motor skills as well as counting and one-to-one correspondence?  Then this is the perfect activity for you.

Print out the colour version and laminate.  I printed out a few of them and ran a group activity.

I used play-dough and had the children roll ten small balls before we got started.  If you don't have play-dough, don't worry.  Use blocks, counters, or poker chips. 

I had each child roll a dice and then put that many balls on their pumpkin.  The first child to fill their pumpkin is the winner.

I also included a black and white version.  This one is great for putting letters, shapes or numbers on. Use a bingo dabber or crayons and dice that you can put what you want on them.

Click on the picture below to grab it for free.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Free Kindergarten Halloween Alphabet Match

Halloween is just around the corner and we are working on the alphabet.

We have been putting the alphabet in order.


And lowercase

We have been matching the uppercase to the lowercase.

We have also been playing a matching game.  Depending on the level the children are working at, we have done this with matching lowercase to lowercase, uppercase to uppercase and uppercase to lowercase.

You can pick this up for free by clicking on the picture below.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Science Saturday - Bouncy Popcorn Kernels

For today's Science Saturday I thought I would highlight a science experiment that is easy to do, doesn't require a lot of items and is easy to incorporate some core vocabulary into.

Bouncy Popcorn Kernels  are fun to watch.

You will need:
A clear container - I used a vase
Baking Soda
Popcorn Kernels
Communication Board - this is one I used from Minspeak

I started by showing the children the items we were going to use and asked them "what", "do", "this"?
"What are we going to do with this?"

It's important to use a communication board yourself so that the children see one in use.
We can't expect children to do something they don't see us doing.

We start with the container (It doesn't matter that we don't have the exact picture of what we are using.  We use what the children have to describe what we are using/doing) and fill it with water.

We added a tablespoon of baking soda and stirred it up.

We talked about what we needed to use to stir the water up.

We "put" in the kernels.  Just enough to cover the bottom.

Then we added some vinegar.  I found using a small measuring cup easier than a spoon for children with fine motor issues (less spillage).

We "look"ed to see what happened to the kernels.

We took "turns" looking a the popcorn and seeing what was going on in the container.

Everyone said they "like"d it.

We let it sit and kept looking at it throughout the day.  After awhile, the popcorn stopped moving and most of it settled on the bottom.

Even an hour later, the odd kernel was still going up or down.

Keep your words simple and model for the children the vocabulary you want them to use.  Before you know it, they will be using some of the words on their own.  Try doing an activity of own.  What simple combination of words could you use to talk about what you are doing?

Have Fun!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Free pumpkin calendar numbers

October is just around the corner.  Are you ready?

If not, here's a little freebie to get you started.

Use the numbers on your calendar.

Use them in your math work stations by having the children put the numbers in order.

Make two copies and have the children play a memory game.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Three worksheet hacks for children with poor fine motor skills and learning disabilities

Do you have students with poor fine motor skills?  Is their printing so messy and/or big that they run out of space or you can't read what they have written?  Well my son was that kid.  Diagnosed with a learning disability, his printing was often sloppy, full of spelling mistakes and letter reversals, and he often ran out of room before he finished his sentence because his printing was so big.

Last year I found the app Snaptype and it changed his life.

Here's how it works.

Using the program, take a picture of your worksheet. He's 12 so he can do this himself.  If you have younger children, you can do this part beforehand.

Rotate it the way you want and crop it.

Tap anywhere on the screen and start typing.  You can easily change the size of the text by sliding the ball across the top.  You can also move what you have typed around the screen to get it in the perfect spot.

Once you're done, the page can be emailed to the teacher or printed out.  The yellow highlighting does not show up in the printed copy.

The best part is that the app is free.  The paid version has more features but the free version is great to find out if it would work for you.

The second amazing feature that we use is the word prediction.  It's built right in to the iPhone and iPad. Word prediction anticipates what you want to write and gives you suggestions.  Tap on the full word and it will insert it.  This feature dramatically speeds up a child's writing.

The third trick is the microphone option.  It helps speed up writing when having to do long sentences or paragraphs. As long as your child has good speaking skills, it should be fairly accurate.

Both of these can be combined with Snaptype to make filling in worksheets a breeze.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway

I'm so excited to be announcing that TpT is having a boost back to school sale on Monday.  To celebrate I'm joining up with several other bloggers to give away $10 TpT gift certificates.

The contest runs all day today and on Monday I will announce a winner so you will have a chance to use it during the sale.

To enter my contest, visit my store and tell me what you would buy if you won.
While you are there, I hope you choose to follow my store.

Here is the entry form.

A Special Kind of Class

Once you have entered my contest, click on the picture below to head on over to the next blogger.  The more blogs you visit, the greater your chances are of winning.