Friday, December 31, 2010


penguins -

Heidi's Polar Bear and Penguin

If you have not checked out Heidi's most recent post, you should do so. She has patterns you can print for a cute polar bear and Tacky the Penguin. She also has a cute play of The Mitten for sale on her site as well as a cute snowman idea from her Little Songs for Language Arts CD.

Random Winter Ideas

Here are a few random winter things I have done in the past.

snowman ideas -

Marvelous Mitten Madness!!

mittens -

Mama Do You Love Me?

I have been trying for 2 days to upload this activity for the book Mama Do You Love Me? I have attached a picture below of the project. If you would like it, please just email me and I will send it to you. I used this activity for a lesson on nouns. The Eskimo is from TLC Lessons so I can't include the measurements for it, but it would be easy for you to create just by looking at the picture. If you email me, I will send you more pictures, the words, and the animal pictures that go with the activity.

New Blogs I Found!!

I found a few new blogs today and I wanted to share them.

Swamp Frog First Graders
There are some great math game downloads on this blog as well as a bunch of other neat ideas!!Thanks Nancy Bland for sharing your friend's blog with me.

Finally in First
Cute reindeer hats here!! Too late for this year, but something fun for next year.

ABC and 123 Learning
I love the alphabet letters under language arts.

Fabulous in First
Love the snow ideas!

Dominoes, Diphthongs, and Dinosaurs
I love the Candy Land Sight Word version idea!! and great center ideas too!

2nd in 1rst
Love the word word center download.

Not Just Child's Play
This blog is geared towards gifted kindergartners.What a great resource!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day -

Animals in Winter

Animals in Winter Activities -

I did this bulletin board a few years ago. If I did it now, I would add a writing piece to it.

bear coat -

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow -

Saturday, December 25, 2010

MLK Day Ideas

Here are a few of the things I usually do when I celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with my class.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Primary Perspective: A New Blog!!

I am so excited to introduce you to a NEW BLOG!! A former teammate of mine has started a blog and you are all going to LOVE it!! Her name is Brooke Perry and she is a first grade teacher in Mansfield. We taught together for a couple of years and I always got such great ideas from her!! I am so excited to share her blog with all of you!!! She already has several units and activities you can download for free from her page.

Check out her blog at Primary Perspective

This is one of my favorite ideas she has posted!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Handprint Calendar

I make these handprint calendars for my parents every year. I am sorry I am sharing this idea so late, but it took me awhile to find the pictures. If you have questions about how to put them together, just let me know.

using light blue for the snowflake instead of dark blue

using yellow for the sun instead of orange

another idea for March...

another idea for June...

another idea for December...

Christmas Class Book Ideas

Christmas Class Books -

Kim Adsit's Christmas Units

I just purchased a few of Kim Adsit's Christmas units and I love them. She has several to choose from. I bought Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Pack, Rudolph's Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, and On Christmas Tree. They are full of fun literacy and math activities. I think I like the Ho! Ho! Ho! unit the best. You can find the units at her Teacher's Pay Teachers page.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Ideas From Lesson Plan SOS!!

Lesson Plan SOS has posted new December lessons recently and I wanted to tell you about a few that I absolutely love!!

I have found so many great ideas using The Gingerbread Man lately and this lesson is no exception. Students are given money to buy materials for decorating a gingerbread man. They have to create a shopping list, figure out if they have enough money for everything they want to purchase, purchase materials, and put together a gingerbread man using the items they bought. The unit comes with everything you need to implement the lesson including a note asking for donation items, price lists, price tags, recording sheets, colored display signs, and pictures of how the lesson works!! I love the examples of what the students creative. What a great way to learn about the value of money.

They have a great lesson using present wrapping as a springboard for an expository writing piece. Students write a piece about how to wrap a present, then they have to actually wrap a present using the directions they wrote. As the writing ends, a contest begins to see who wrapped the most perfect present. Students will have so much fun with this lesson!!

If you are looking for some how-to writing, they have a great lesson on how to make Rudolph. Students follow simple directions for creating a reindeer out of construction paper, then they write their step by step directions for the project. The reindeer are so cute!

One last great writing lesson they have for sell is a point of view Santa writing lesson. Students write a letter to children as if they were Santa instead of the traditional letter to Santa. What a great idea!!

All of these lessons could be easily adapted to a kinder room by turning them into a whole group lesson. Students could work as a table or a whole class to make one big gingerbread man, they could all make reindeer and do a shared or interactive writing piece as a whole class for how they made it, and they could write a whole class letter from Santa's point of view.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Determining Sorting Rules

Last week, I taught a lesson on determining sorting rules. We focused on "have" and "have not." I introduced the lesson by activating prior knowledge about basic sorting. Then I called several students up to the front of the carpet and sorted them into two groups. Then I had those seated on the carpet try to determine my sorting rule. I made groups such as "has on blue jeans" and "doesn't have on blue jeans" and "has long hair" and "doesn't have long hair."

Then I read the book Liz Sorts it Out. This is a great book for sorting. Next I modeled how I wanted them to sort at their tables. I used two sorting mats and a bucket of fun creepy crawlies. I sorted the critters into two groups- the haves and the have nots and had the students determine my sorting rule. After several examples, they went to their tables to work in small groups with different items. Once they had sorted their objects, they raised their hand and had me join their table to try and determine their sorting rule.

Neat Ideas for the Week!!

a few of my favorite ideas for the week....

The First Grader at Last Blog has a super cute reindeer word sort.

On the First Grade Parade Blog you will find the book A New Improved Santa and some very neat scrapbook santas.

The First Grade Teacher blog has black and white reindeer prints and a job application writing activity where students write about why they would make a good reindeer.

Gingerbread Man Stuff

If you have not already done have to check out the gingerbread man ideas on Mrs. Lee's blog. You will LOVE them!! I love her gingerbread man and the 5 senses activity. She also has lots of great math activities using the gingerbread man.

For more great gingerbread man ideas....go to The First Grade Parade and check out the gingerbread man word sort and estimation activities. You can download the masters from the blog site.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lettering Delights Affiliate

I am now a Lettering Delights Affiliate which means that I get a discount when people purchase items from their site through the link on my if you are planning to purchase some of their alphabets or other products, PLEASE purchase them through the link on my site!! Thanks!!

Heidi Butkus Products and News

I received this email from Heidi Butkus of Heidisongs today and wanted to share it with you. She is offering a holiday discount on a product and has some free downloads on her blog. I LOVE Heidi's stuff!! My kids have learned so much using her songs!! I have cut and pasted her email below.

In the spirit of the season, we want to wish you Happy Holidays with a special deal on our "Little Songs for Language Arts, Singable Books and Seasonal Songs" CD's and DVD's! This set of songs features seasonal favorites like Christmas Countdown, Let's build a Snowman and the Seasons Song, plus many more singable books and other treats. Choose either the DVD or the CD of this special music for only $10, or get both for $20! Add the Printable Projects CD for another $10 and you've got a very special holiday deal for only $30! Use the Discount Code "LangArtSp" in the Shopping Cart to receive these special prices.
Check out all the songs and project fun at our website here:

Also, be sure to check out my weekly blog, HeidiSongs - Creative Kindergarten Curriculum, offering an abundance of ideas and free downloads that are sure to help you glide thru the school year! This week's post includes:
1. A free download with directions for some fun holiday projects, including a Santa, elf, and a reindeer. They make a GREAT bulletin board!
2. A free download of some Christmas tree themed counting sheets that help kids count out quantities from 1-30.
3. Information on the upcoming California Kindergarten Conference in Santa Clara, CA in January.
4. Info on one of my favorite holiday projects that helps kids learn their teen numbers: The Christmas Countdown 20-10 Book! This is a "singable book" that the kids make themselves.
5. Info on putting on a holiday show with my musical plays "The Gingerbread Man" or "The Mitten" that I love to put on at this time of year! Check it out and sign-up for my weekly updates and other discounts at:

HeidiSongs Gift Certificates for your favorite teacher, day care provider or active mom!
We are offering special discounts on our new Gift Certificates just thru the end of December. Make it a classroom gift, or a special treat for your child's favorite teacher! Call for details - 909-331-2090. $30 Gift Certificate - $25, $60 Gift Certificate - $50, $120 Gift Certificate - $100

In other HeidiSongs News:
New! Sing & Spell series workbooks
Includes three different practice sheets for each word to reinforce sight word recognition, such as:
Trace both whole and part of the word and then fill in the missing letters, Visual discrimination- circle the correct word amongst several look alike words, Write the letters of the word in boxes sized to each letter, to help children recognize the general shape of the word, Write the sight words in sentences with a fill in the blank format, Reading comprehension- read the word in a sentence, circle it, and illustrate its meaning, Mini-Songbooks include fun illustrations of the handmotions from the song. Available for Sing & Spell Vols. 1, 2, 3 & 5 (Vol. 4 coming soon):

New! 0-30 Number Pattern Block download
This resource is designed to help children notice the shape of each number from zero through thirty by rebuilding it with pattern blocks and can be used as an open ended math center, or in a directed lesson. You can also give children pre-cut paper pattern blocks and glue them down permanently for an art project. My students also enjoy drawing, gluing, or stamping the correct number of objects onto that page below the pattern block number. The masters are provided in both color and black and white. This resource is available here:

New! Whole Group Games and Activities
I have been sharing so many whole and small group games and activities on my Blog, that we've made a new page to capture them all!
Check it out here:

New Video Contest coming in January!
Warm up those cameras, we've got our annual Sing-Along Song Video Contest coming up in the new year. Capture the fun as your students sing-along to one of my songs for a chance at some wonderful prizes and we'll feature the winners on my blog and website for everyone to enjoy. I can't wait to see your students in action!

Have a great holiday season with your class and a well-deserved holiday break!

Heidi Butkus