Monday, October 31, 2011

Pets Unit & a Giveaway!

This week we will be doing Pets. I know, I know, how random. First Pumpkins, now pets. And after Pets, it's leaves. I don't know how I came up with sticking Pets in the middle of everything, but the kids have so much fun! Last year we did Pets for 2 weeks. I have it planned for 1 week this year, but my MWF AM students absolutely LOVE cats & dogs..so we'll see what happens!

I have put together a pets unit that includes the following activities:

Dog Bone Counting. Students either look at the number on the dogs collar and count out small bones OR you can roll a die and the student finds the card with that number, then counts. Cards go up to number 6.


Beginning sound clips. Look at the picture. Match the clothespin to the beginning sound. If you are the lucky winner of this unit, there is also a a recording sheet for this activity, where students write the correct letter for each picture. 


Capital matching. I will be using velcro for this game, it's just not pictured. Students find the matching capital and velcro it on the right card. This too has activity sheets. Students must draw a line from one side of the page to the other matching picture & letter.


The unit also includes a writing/tracing practice sheet, or cutting practice. Use to your preference. There is NOT a dramatic play set included. I have a vet's office set from Lakeshore that I will be using along with some stuffed animals, food bowls, food/treat bags, and collars.

Doesn't everything automatically become a million times cuter when DJ Inkers is involved?! I purchased their critter craze CD on sale this summer & LOVE all of the animals. *light bulb* use these pet images for our Pet's Unit! (must have been a bad light bulb because...I CAN'T SELL ANYTHING WITH DJ INKERS CLIPART!!-doh.)

Maybe one day they'll offer a license. Until then, perhaps I can squeak in one FREE unit giveaway? Is that wrong? It's a .pdf no one can take the images. (let's hope it's ok, because here goes a giveaway!)

Enter this giveaway 3 possible ways:
1. Follow my blog. Leave a comment letting me know you do.
2. Follow my TpT store. Leave a comment letting me know you do.
3. Favorite my TN store. Leave a comment letter me know you do.

Act fast! This giveaway will end Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 at 11:59pm. (Eastern Time)
WInner will be chosen at random via a random number generator and posted Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011! Good Luck!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free November Calendar Cards

WELL, Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching beat me to it, but I have also made November calendar cards to share. I loved the ones that Kacey made for October, but I wasn't sure if she would be making them for November too so I made some last week. Kacey has 4 different designs with hers, but mine are a little simpler with just two.


We're working on patterns with our calendar so I did a turkey, tree, turkey, tree ABAB pattern for my cards.

Visit my TpT or TN store to download these for free! And also, be on the look out for a post about my centers for this week. We will be doing a Pets Unit...and there might be a little giveaway posted!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

You've Been Booed!

A week or so ago I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it was so cute. I was going to suggest to our "Sunshine Committee" to start it at our school, but figured there was already enough going on.


To my surprise, I had a boo treat on my desk Wednesday morning! I should have taken a picture of "my boo" but wasn't thinking blog post at the time! If you've never heard of this, someone will "boo" you with this note and a picture of some ghosts or something Halloweeny. (Ours was a picture of some ghosts, but there are tons of cute ones on Pinterest!) Then you make 2 copies of the ghost and the note, and then "boo" two more friends. Be sure to place your ghost (or halloweeny picture) outside your door so someone will know you've been "booed."

It didn't take long for me to think of a cute boo treat. I made chocolate doughnut spiders and I promise, they are as easy to make as they look! 





I remember when I was younger, my mom always made these for my class. She would even personalize each spider with a kiddos name. Such a super cute Halloween party idea!

I suggest using the entenmans chocolate donuts (but NOT the softees!) The pipe cleaners stay in the doughnuts and the google eyes are attached with a little bit of icing!

Is anyone being booed at your school? What are some cute boo gifts you've seen?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Candy Corn Cookies

I found this idea on pinterest from Kathie Cooks. They are super easy to make! However....here's the photo I pinned:


And here's a photo of my cookies:


Someone explain to me why her cookies look perfect and mine don't. Let's be real. The oven is going to "golden brown" your cookies. Can you even avoid that happening? Is it because her cookies are sliced thicker? SOMEONE ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS!?!?!

Anywho, Kathie lists ingredients to make your own sugar cookie dough. I cheated. I bought 3 bags of sugar cookie mix.

You will need a loaf pan and some wax paper for this as well. I made my white first and put the cookie dough into the loaf pan.


Then the orange was next and put that dough on top of the white in the loaf pan.


ORANGE PHOTO WHY ARE YOU MISSING?!?!

Last, came the yellow.


Next, refrigerate your cookie dough in the loaf pan for a few hours or overnight as Kathie suggests. I didn't have that kind of time, so I put my dough in the freezer for less time. Either way you choose, I wouldn't advise skipping this step. You need your dough to be firm to remove from the loaf pan and slice.




So, now go and make your own candy corn cookies and let me know if YOUR edges turn out brown?!!? These are perfect to make and take to a party, get together, or anything of the sort. That's what I did with mine. This recipe makes a lot of cookies!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Puppy Chow.

Yes, you read that correctly and no your computer is not broken. Here is a recipe for PUMPKIN puppy chow. It's delicious and addicting. (If you like pumpkin of course) It would even make for a great mix with some peanuts, pretzels, and M&Ms.


Even better, there are only 3 ingredients! I was so excited to try this that an ingredient photo slipped my mind, but they are: 9 cups rice chex cereal, 1 bag of pumpkin Hershey Kisses, and 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.

First, prep your powdered sugar and cereal. Second, using a double broiler method, melt your Hershey Kisses, stirring constantly. The kisses will reach a nice creamy consistency.


Third, pour your melted kisses over your cereal in a bowl and mix and stir. Once you feel your chex are covered, dump into a bag with your powdered sugar and shake. (Or give the bag to your pre-schooler to shake!)

Print out the recipe card below and give this one a try! (2 pages so you can print front and back!)

Puppy Chow Recipe Card

P.S.- I'll save you from searching a gazillion grocery store chains. Go to Target for Pumpkin Hershey Kisses.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm still here!

Sorry  for the unannounced blogging hiatus I decided to go on this week! I had such a busy week this week that finding the time to blog just didn't happen, and Saturday, as much as I tried to be productive, really just turned into a day to catch up on sleep and rest! Oh how those days are needed!

But I'm back and ready to share some of the activities we did this week! I thought I had more pictures of some of the various activities I found online from other blogs and how I used them, but turns out I only had a few!

Here we are enjoying our pumpkin patch! You see where I have the pumpkin patch dramatic play set up!

We also painted some pumpkins in the art area. After these pumpkins dried, we put them in our house area to be the pumpkins in our pumpkin patch. This was a perfect idea! We had plenty of pumpkins for the house area and I didn't spend an arm & a leg on buying mini pumpkins.













I printed off the calendar numbers that Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching shared. I already have pumpkin calendar pieces for my calendar so I put these in our toy area to create a counting activity for the kiddos. I laminated sentence strips and added velcro. Voila, done! You could easily come up with a recording sheet and use this idea as a math center for your kinder kiddos too!


We also practiced writing the letter P in the writing area using a practice handwriting sheet shared from Musings of Me! Check her out for tons of great activities and...FREEBIES!


I don't know if you can tell, but in that red bucket are expo markers and laminated orange pumpkin cut outs. Using expo markers students could make their own jack-o-latern faces. They love these! We're doing pumpkins again next week, with some fire trucks/ fire prevention added in so hopefully I'll get more photos of our other pumpkin activities this week!
(Yes I know, it's not fire prevention week, but the fire truck is coming to visit on Friday at our school, so I planned it for this week!)

I have a three baking recipes coming up so be on the look out! (Part of the reason I didn't have time to blog this week!)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Dramatic Play has made it!

I finally finished my pumpkin patch dramatic play set! It's a little bit different than the previous sets, but I think it's fun and love how everything turned out!

The set includes:

Word cards of various items one might see at a pumpkin patch or fall market-


Some pricing signs to hang up for hay rides, pumpkins, corn, and scarecrows-





And, some tickets for hay rides-


Here are my suggestions to help turn your house area into a pumpkin patch along with this set. Add some corn stalks-either fake ones, or draw some on butcher paper and hang them up. Add a cash register and notepad for "purchases". Add pumpkins- I usually add fake and real ones (the minis) and then tape a green piece of butcher paper to the floor for the pumpkin patch. Add pumpkin patch signs (I found mine at dollar tree), and lastly, a wagon if you're brave! :) Last year the kids LOVED the wagon and they weren't even allowed to MOVE it, but sitting in it with some blankets did enough of the "hay ride" trick!

ALSO! There are acorns listed on the word cards and right now walmart has a small box of fake acorns and pine cones for $2.97 in their fall section! :)

Head over to my TpT store or Teacher's Notebook Store to purchase this set! I have also uploaded a "Pumpkin Pack" that includes all four of the recent pumpkin activities I have uploaded. Purchase the pumpkin pack and save $1.00 on all four! :)

Click the picture to purchase the pumpkin pack!

P.S. CANNOT BELIEVE I FORGOT THIS!! If you love the clip art used in the pumpkin pack and pumpkin activities, visit Just so Scrappy to purchase their Happy Fall Yall set and Just Treats Please Set!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Poll & Pumpkin Activities

Well the results of the poll are in and the people have spoken. Individual activities it is. I was actually surprised by how many people preferred individual activities over a whole set. I have uploaded 3 individual activities so far...still working on that dramatic play set for a pumpkin patch. (Sorry to those who have been impatiently waiting ALL WEEK for that!)

You can visit my TpT store or Teacher's Notebook Store to find the following activities for sale:

Pumpkin counting cards.
Students use a small pumpkin manipulative (pictured erasers found at Target) to count out the number for each card.

These cards aren't sold with the background. I laminated them onto scrapbook paper to save on color ink!

Pumpkin alphabet activity: Aa, Bb, & Pp.
Students use the small pumpkins (pictured in the baggy) to match up to the big pumpkin. Small pumpkins include capitals and lowercase.

Please ignore me draining the ink out of my color cartridge.

Pumpkin number matching.
Students apply one to one correspondence to find how many pumpkins are on each card. Then apply number identification skills to find the correct number.


And I promise that dramatic play set is on it's way. I need it for my own classroom by Monday, so that's the deadline! :)

One more quick question: How would you feel if I offered activities individually for those who were interested, and then ALSO as a whole set? Thoughts?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh hey Lakeshore materials...

Thanks for stopping by. Uninvited. Oh you're staying? I can't get rid of you? OR send you back? (Not that I honestly want to) But how do I have the room? Where will you sleep?

We did not have students on Thursday or Friday--parent conferences and professional development. As I walked into the lobby to pick up my lunch I ordered on Thursday I noticed our lobby filled with boxes. A good portion of them sporting my name on the side. WHAT IS THIS?! A mild panic attack set in, and thankfully I didn't have students. Before I knew it I was re-arranging my classroom all over again.

Last spring special ed teachers were told there was grant money and that we could make a wishlist of absolutely anything we wanted for our classrooms. It sounded too good to be true. I went to Lakeshore.com, made a wishlist on the day it was due, printed it out and turned it in. That was it.

A few more months later I found out we were GETTING everything on that list. Holy cow, where am I going to put this stuff? More importantly, what stuff am I even getting? I don't remember!

Beginning of the school year we were told all "non-instructional" items were removed from the list. I figured I'd lost some stuff. NOPE. NO WAY. NOT AT ALL. NOT. A. SINGLE. THING.

That brings us to Thursday when THESE items showed up in my classroom:



I told the custodians they could bring the rug in, but to turn around with everything else. They didn't listen. I'm still waiting on a ton of games/manipulatives I ordered too. I also ordered a new computer table and 2 horse shoe tables I didn't have pictures because they were still in boxes.

So here's my new look. I have an extra, VERY LARGE table, that I know I won't really be using, but I didn't want to get rid of it (because it is actually new- every teacher got one this year) and it also helps fill space to prevent running.





What do you think of the new do? After many trial and errors, I actually LOVE it. I love all the color and the fresh, clean, and new look of everything!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Poll!

I have been working on some pumpkin themed activities for our upcoming weeks of pumpkins. So far I have put together some counting cards to use a small pumpkin manipulative with, an alphabet game with the letters 'Aa', 'Bb', and 'Pp', pumpkin counting cards with finding the correct number, and a dramatic play set for a pumpkin patch.

I was wondering your feedback on selling these items in one Pumpkin Pack, or listing them individually so you could purchase just the ones you would like to have. Let me know your opinion by voting in the poll below! If you have any other ideas or suggestions, leave a comment! Thanks for your help!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Spooktober Guest Blogger!

Head on over to Frogs, Bees, and Under the Seas to check out today's post!

I am so excited that they asked me to be a guest blogger for their Spooktober Idea! Head on over to check out my post, as well as, all the other great posts for Spooktober!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

On the Hunt..

So last night, while checking out Classroom Freebies, I came across this post. Colleen from Teaching Heart came up with an activity using these Halloween themed Easy Mac Noodles.

Picture courtesy of Colleen's post.
As soon as I saw these I knew I had to have them! I just recently was inspired to dye black and orange pasta noodles for our sensory table and put in some small pumpkins, instead of sand and pumpkins like I had originally planned. Seeing these noodles sealed the deal for me! Here is what inspired me to do the black and orange noodles:

Click the link to see more GREAT Halloween ideas!

Insert dilemma here. For those of you who are new followers, I don't live near a Target & that's where Colleen found these. I checked 4 different grocery store brands today and all I found were Spongebob and Cars noodles. I'll keep looking, but I'd love to NOT make a 40 minute drive to Target (and still not even know if they have them)!

I'm not above bargaining/trading of goods to get my hands on these noodles by the end of the week! HELP! Have you seen them anywhere besides Target?!

P.S. Head on over to my classroom blog to check out some of the Apple activities we did this week!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Purple Sparkly Pom-Poms

These things are where it's at in my classroom right now! Out of the 17 students I had come to school yesterday, 16 of them were able to earn one.

Yes, there are 2 regular purple pom poms in there. I think every child reminded me of that.

As an extension of my behavior fish chart (you can see it here if you haven't already), at the end of the day, if students are on green or purple, they can put a green or purple pom pom in their class jar.


When the class jar fills up, we earn a treat! I will give them a choice of two different treats to earn. We haven't hit this point yet, so I don't know exactly how everything's going to work. But we've been working on counting numbers and determining which number is bigger, so they might be able to handle a vote as long as it's made very visual!

I needed to put some additional awesomeness to a purple pom pom. I was thinking a bigger one so they fill the jar sooner, but then I saw the sparkly pom poms. I should have had my camera out for the look on my students faces when I showed them a sparkly pom pom!

If you're looking for something to add an extra kick to your behavior management, or bucket filling, you need to get yourself some sparkly pom poms! I just wish I could find a BIG bag of sparkly purple ones because I need more!!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

BOO!

So, I know I've mentioned this before, but Hobby Lobby overwhelms me. There are so many fun things every time I go, BUT there are also so many fun things that I know I could also make!

The last visit I made, I had to take a few inspiration photos in the store. (Sorry anyone who works at Hobby Lobby-- I'm sure I'm not suppose to do that!) This one inspired me for this project:


I loved the idea of the sparkly circles as the frame. I knew I wanted to do Halloween colors, so I picked orange, black, purple, and lime green. I knew I had 3 canvases and knew I could hang them together with ribbon. With those thoughts, I came up with this:

The window clings are from Art Skills, if you were wondeirng! :)
It all just came together as I was making it, but I love how it turned out. I thought BOO would be perfect to do for halloween. Not too much, just right! I started with my circles on each canvas. Painted them, let them dry, added the glitter. I opted for some black ricrac instead of painting another line frame, but I didn't glue it on until near the end.

Here's a close up to show the glitter. I love Glitter.
At first I was going to paint the letter on with black paint to tie in some more black, but then I noticed that cute scrapbooking paper just staring at me and the colors were PERFECT! I used the Cricut machine and the Alphalicious font to cut out the letters. I used spray adhesive to attach them.

To add a little more black, I added some detail around the letters with puffy paint. After the puffy paint dried (always leave time for that! It's SO EASY to accidentally hit & mess up!) I measured out my ric rac and hot glued it on. Yep, that's it, just some hot glue on the back side of the canvas.

Next I cut ribbons to hang the canvases with. I cut separate ribbons, but you could always do one long one if you felt better with that. Again, some hot glue! (I'm telling you, hot glue is a crafter's BFF)

Now I have an adorable sign for my classroom door! It's been hanging up for a week now and hasn't fallen down once. It's hanging on the hook of a suction cup to the window, and all of the hot glue is holding!

What are your decorating ideas this year for Halloween? Either at home or in the classroom?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Currently I am for October

I hope it's not too late to join the party! (I had already posted the day Farley put this up!) Still loving the Currently I am... linky parties!

Here is mine for October:


Here are the links to the blogs on my stalking list:

School Girl Style- she will seriously make you want to redecorate your class RIGHT.THIS.SECOND. I promise you that- so be careful if you check her out! :)

Welcome to Room 36- she has great ideas to share! She recently posted about Pete the Cat, who we all know, recently stole my heart, and I am in love with all of her activity ideas!

Head on over to see Farly at Oh Boy 4th Grade! So you can join in on the linky party fun!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

After a sudden scare of the idea of the pumpkin shortage actually being true, I finally came across a can of pumpkin puree. Well, my dad did & he stocked up for me because I have A LOT of pumpkin recipes to try this fall!

I picked pumpkin crunch cake for my first one to try. I suppose pinning it on my recipe board 3 times hinted to me that I really liked the sound of it...

This was so quick & easy to prep! It bakes for a while, 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees, but totally worth it. The original source for the recipe is from The Picky Apple.

Ingredients:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter, melted

Start by mixing pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Your batter will probably look something like this:


Next, pour this mixture into a greased 9x13 pan:


Add your bag of yellow cake mix to the top of that:


Then add your pecans, this is 1 1/2 cups, but maybe you want more:


Then add your melted butter over top. I forgot to photograph this step, but we all know what melted butter looks like! :) Here is my pumpkin crunch cake's debut from the oven.


It is SO delicious especially when warm. In fact, I think I would always serve it warm, and in a bowl, because it's really nothing like a cake. I don't even know why that's in the title. Really. I don't. Have any new name suggestions?! I bet it taste even more delicious with vanilla ice cream!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Apple Bakery Dramatic Play

I try my hardest to switch out our dramatic play center about every 2-3 weeks. Despite how exhausting/time consuming/stressful it can be. It probably wouldn't be that stressful to most people, but for some reason I feel the need to really carry the ideas all the way out.

This time last year, we actually did pumpkins AND THEN apples, because we were taking a field trip to a pumpkin patch. Therefore, our dramatic play area was a pumpkin patch. I was even brave enough to put a wagon in there!

This year, since we are doing apples first, I thought I would do an apple pie bakery. I already have a lot of fake apples, so I put them all out. Bought some pie tins, added plates, spatulas, rolling pins, and some empty spice containers.



I also made a dramatic play set similar to the one I made for a picnic. It includes menus, ordering cards, small item pictures, and some food word cards to be displayed.




Do you have a dramatic play area in your classroom? (probably only if you teach pre-school :) ) If so, do you do anything special for apples or change out the area much?

P.S. I added a touch of Halloween to my blog for the month of Oct. with a Halloween inspired background!

P.S.S. This set is now available for purchase in my TpT store and Teacher's Notebook Store