Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Place Value Matching Game Freebie!

What are you teaching lately? I'm gearing up to teach place value to my little kinders. I created a simple matching game to work on this skill.

It focuses on numbers 11-20 - students match the base 10 card to the numeral.

For simple prep print the pages on cardstock and cut apart. My plan is to print 3 sets on different colors of cardstock so that "sets" are on matching paper. Store them in durable baggies. Then my kids will play this game either individually or with a partner.

This could easily be added to math centers, or in my case, to supplement the workplaces in my Bridges in Mathematics program.

Grab this FREEBIE here!

To grab your free fonts like the one on the hearts head to: Rowdy in Room 300!
To grab free graphics like you see in the game head to: My Free Graphics!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Must Read!

Sometimes do you ask yourself, "Where has this been all my life?" Well that happened to me just yesterday. I was at home going through my fresh load of picture books that I picked up at my local library. (I am working on my final graduate class and my focus is on social justice and children's literature). I found the sweetest book called, Carmen Learns English. If you haven't read it, stop everything, run to the local library and check it out. It is such a sweet story, and has glorious bright illustrations that capture the very essence of the title character in the story. Below is my book review for this story. I plan on sharing this book with my Kindergarten class as we have several "Carmen" like friends in our class. I think this will be a great way to open up a discussion of how to be a great friend to all students.

Not only is the book great, but I emailed the author last night to get a bit of background on this story and she wrote me back by this morning. She was a kindergarten teacher for years and had many students who struggled to learn English like Carmen. She is represented by the teacher in the story that tries many strategies to help Carmen feel welcome and find her place in the classroom. 

To learn more about this book read my full book review below:

Carmen Learns English.
Judy Cox. Illustrated by Angela Dominguez.
New York, NY: Holiday House 2010.
28 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2174-9
Kindergarten-grade 3/ Ages 5-8.
Themes: immigrants, language barriers
Review by Laura Martinez.


Carmen Learns English is a beautiful picture book that tells the story of a newly arrived child from Mexico who is starting kindergarten in the United States. The story is told from Carmen’s perspective as she remembers her first year in school. It begins when Carmen has to leave her home, and the comfort of her Spanish language. She is nervous about school and laments over how her peers don’t speak her language and how “muy fast,” they speak. She bubbles with frustration at not knowing basic words or even how to ask to use the bathroom.

            Later that day, I had to be very brave. I didn’t know where the bathroom was. “¿Dónde está el baño, por favor?” I asked. The niños who sat at my table shook their heads because they did not understand. Just in time, la Señora Coski showed everyone el baño. “ ‘Restroom,’ ” she told me. I nodded. In my head, I repeated the word over and over so I would not forget.

            Carmen’s teacher, la Señora Coski, speaks broken Spanish, but is able to help Carmen make sense of her learning by translating words and phrases. She also points out real objects like the bus to help Carmen understand new English words. In this story la Señora Coski is Carmen’s anchor, and Carmen repeatedly imagines a future where she will be a teacher. She sees her teacher as someone who exudes power.  At recess the teacher blows the whistle for kids to line up and Carmen exclaims, “I wanted a whistle like that so everyone would listen to me!”

            In Carmen Learns English, we watch Carmen face many struggles trying to navigate the classroom as a child who is learning English for the first time. She draws on the strength of her mother and teacher to be brave. As she is teased on the playground she is able to gather strength to stand her ground to head off bullies. Her main goal is to learn as much English as she can and transfer it to her younger sister who will start school the following year. She wants to help her sister have a head start when she steps into the classroom. At the end of the story, the illustration shows Carmen wearing a whistle around her neck. Readers might infer that her teacher passed it on to her as a gift of strength. This book would be a delightful read aloud to help all children understand the frustrations that some immigrants face when they enter school. It could also be used to highlight ways that students could help newly arrived peers ease their way into the classroom.

Highly Recommended.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Place Value Freebie

I created this place value set of worksheets for my kindergarten classroom. I hope you can find a use for it in your kindergarten class as well. The common core standard K.NBT is for students to work with numbers 11-19 to gain foundations for place value. This can be tricky for kids who are just learning to count one to one objects. I suggest practicing this with real objects like unifix cubes and doing a lot of hands on modeling before giving students these practice sheets. 

Click HERE to grab this freebie!
For MORE practice pages like these - check out my $3 bundle of Place Value Fun in my TPT store. It has many other options for practicing place value and is full of printable practice pages. 

The cute frames used in these freebies are free from Krista Wallden.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chinese New Year - Year of the Snake!

It's almost February so that makes me start thinking about all of the celebrations that are coming up! One of the celebrations we will recognize will be Chinese New Year. This year is the YEAR OF THE SNAKE! Chinese New Year starts on Feb. 10th. To honor this tradition in my diverse class I plan to read aloud a book to my class like this one: My Chinese New Year. This book is in my personal collection and it's a great non-fiction book with lots of real pictures. I'm not sure if this series is still around, but you could substitute it with any other read aloud that you like that fits the theme. There might be more current books around, but I haven't checked out the bookstores lately.

Great Read Aloud

There are some great coloring sheets at this link.

I created an easy to make craft for my kids. It's simple cutting and gluing. I copied the format for the pattern from First School. They have 2 super cute lantern freebies - but I really wanted a "snake" one for this year so I made my own. I also know my kids cut through everything so my guide lines are a bit easier for my kids to know where to stop.

Here's how to make the lantern:
1) color the snake and letters
2) fold the snake on the dotted line (from tongue to tail) - now the paper should be a long hotdog paper with the dashed lines on top
3) then cut on the dashed lines (from the snake body to the stop signs) - this will also cut through the letters because the paper is folded
4) apply glue on the entire gray shaded area and curl the lantern around, then glue closed
5) using scrap paper or paper you pre-cut to size staple or glue on an extra strip of paper to the top for a handle.