Saturday, January 25, 2014

What should my child know to go to Kindergarten?

This is the time of year where the parents of my Pre-K kiddos start asking me if I think their kiddo will be prepared for Kinder and, if not, what do they need to work on and, 9 times out of 10, my answer is always the same... INDEPENDENCE!

I always seems like a difficult thing to tell parents to work on. "Let your child do more things on their own so it boosts their self-esteem and they are able to take on more challenges without being discouraged."
I see it a lot at conference time. Parents want to know if their child will be academically ready for Kinder when, in all actuality, their child being independent and able to work on their own is just as, if not more, important than some of the academic skills that they may have been working on at home.
So when parents come up to me and say "What do I need to work on with my child so they will be ready for Kindergarten?" I almost always give them one of the following suggestions:
~Give them some simple chores to do at home without being supervised so they build a sense of responsibility
~Let them help you pick food to put in their lunch box to encourage good choices
~Take them to the park without setting up a playdate so they can work on making friends with new children
~ Help to make their at-home space more child-friendly in terms of organization to encourage them to keep it tidy
~Set up a rewards system to encourage them to make good choices without being reminded
~Take them to a class or story time where they are required to sit quietly and listen to a book or instructions without you sitting right next to them to keep them focused

To help with fostering independence and growing self-esteem, I usually read this book to my kiddos.

It's all about being brave and facing challenges (like the first day of school) on your own!
Need more wonderful book ideas and ways to get your kiddo ready to move up to the next grade level? Check out the awesome linky party over at Smedley's Smorgasboard:
And take a look at this great pack of preschool/Pre-K/Kinder activities that your child can do at home!
Lots of great activities for only $29.99. Plus, if you enter the code SALE10, you save 10% off site-wide for this weekend only!

Assessments, assessments, and a Freebie!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for their Five for Friday party! (yes, I know, it's Saturday but, better late than never, right?)

There was just so much going on this week that I thought it would be easier to share using this amazing linky party! So, here we go!

1. My kiddos are learning about bug nursery rhymes this week (specifically spiders) so I made up a little sight word game for them! I just used some leaf clipart and added sight words to them to make word cards then cut out a little spider to hide behind them. The kiddos took turns coming up, pointing to a word they knew, reading it, and then checking behind to see if they found the spider!

2. I also wrote the Little Miss Muffet rhyme on the board for us to discuss. We are talking about rhyming (obviously), patterns, prepositional words, writing sentences with uppercase letters/word spaces/punctuation, and, of course, sight words so we used different colored markers to kind of label our poem. We started by finding the rhyming words and underlining them which helped us label the AABCCB pattern of the poem. We then circled the prepositional words in blue and drew red rectangles around the sight words we have learned so far. We then talked about when to use an uppercase letter and circled them in green. Finally, we finished up by talking about periods and exclamation points, when to use them, and reminded ourselves to use a finger space between words so our writing doesn't look like one big long word.

3. This week has been all about assessments. (yep, it's that time of year) So, to make my assessments a little easier (and much more motivating for my kiddos!) I made up a little skills tracking set. It's designed to assess early skills like handwriting, letter and number recognition, phonetic reading, and even behavior!!

I actually laminated the assessment pages and bound them into a book so I can reuse them over and over!

Plus, I put the record sheet inside the front cover to make it easier to record when one of the kiddos makes it into a "club".

Once a kiddo passes an assessment, they get their name on a little tag that goes up under the club poster for all to see! They get so proud!!

Plus, for each club they get into, they get a little membership card that they get to keep with their name and the date they made it in!! Makes for GREAT motivation to keep working!
4. This is an example of the writing assessment that I use for the Writing Rockstars club. I simply have them write each uppercase letter, lowercase letter, and single digit number in the blanks and, when they are able to do so legibly, they are in! Although I have this one laminated and in my assessment booklet, I still copy it off for each child. Having it in the book just helps me remember where it is ;)

5. If you want to check out this assessment set for yourself, you can find it in my store or you can check out the Educents bundle that it's in right now with 27 other amazing products!!
My product included will surely be loved by your students!
For a limited time it is $29.99 from Educents which is over 71% off! It also includes lots of other great products so there is sure to  be things you love! (They even have $10 off for first time customers… so it can be even cheaper if you have never bought anything from Educents!)


Sunday, January 19, 2014

A New Name, a New Design, and a Giveaway!

Yep, if you haven't noticed, I got a new blog design (from the AMAZING Barbara at Ruby Slippers Blog Design) a few days ago and have changed up my name from Random Craftiness to Kindergarten Craftiness. To celebrate these changes, I thought I would throw a little giveaway with some help from some of my incredible friends!
The giveaway will run until midnight on Friday, January 24 and I will announce the winner Saturday morning. Be sure to check out all the great prizes below!!
Any item from my store.
A t-shirt from Teacher's Closet!
Winner's Choice from Em Hutchison!
Winner's Choice from Sticky Notes and Glitter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Craftiness and 2 FREEBIES!

As if I wasn't getting crafty enough with the Rekenreks and Listening Phones last time, I thought I would throw out another little tutorial for you all. This time for a number-line made from a paint stir stick. It's a fast one, I promise :)

So here's what you'll need for each number line you'll be making:
~a paint stir stick (you can usually get them for free at Lowe's or Home Depot if you ask the paint counter)
~a drill with a 1/32 drill bit
~craft paint in whatever color you like and a paint brush
~my number line template (or you can just write your numbers on there when you're done if you would rather)
~Mod Podge (I used the gloss finish Mod Podge)
~a pipecleaner
~a bead
~a strong glue (I used E6000 glue)

First of all, drill a hole in each end towards the top. Just be careful to not drill too close to the corner or your stick will split.

It should look something like this.

Then paint the stir stick whatever color you want. I had to do two coats of paint because, as you can see, the print on the stir stick was still visible after one coat. 

Then, simply cut the template, paint some Mod Podge on and stick the template to the Mod Podge (since it acts as a glue). I also did a second coat of the Mod Podge to seal it up so it would last a long while. Then I just added the bead to the pipecleaner, put the pipecleaner through each hole, glue each end of the pipecleaner to the back to secure and done!!

We actually used these in my class when we played our Count Your Stones game. Some of the kiddos had difficulties with counting on so, when they drew a card, they could move the bead to that number on the number line and it helped them see where to start.

Want to try the game yourself? You can find it here:

But if you really want good resources than you are going to love this amazing deal over at Educents! I have teamed up with 17 other amazing sellers to load your classrooms with 19 resources!

My Rhyming Mega bundle is included and will surely be loved by your students!

17 rhyming activities that can be used as small group activities or even as assessments! And that's only one of the great packs included in this Educents bundle!

For a limited time the whole bundle is $29.99 from Educents which is over 70% off!
It also includes these other great products so there is sure to be many things you love! (They even have $10 off for first time customers… so it can be even cheaper if you have never bought anything from Educents!)

As always, let me know what you think and enjoy!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Notice anything new? I sure hope so!! I just got an amazing makeover! A blog makeover that is! It was a special gift from an amazing friend and I think it looks great! To celebrate, I plan to have a little giveaway happening in the next few days so, keep your eye out!
In the meantime, I thought I would share a little freebie with you all, just in time for Valentine's Day! We happen to be working on CVC word reading for the next few weeks and, as a part of that, we do a lot of real and nonsense word reading to encourage actual sounding out rather than just memorization. To go along with my Valentine's unit, I made this simple little color-by-real-word activity where kiddos simply read the "word" in each box, decide if it's a real word or not, and, if it is, color in the box! Nice and simple!! I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Yep, that's right... 2 posts in 2 days! I think that's a new record for me. This will be a short one though.

I got some wonderful advice from a fellow blogger. She suggested that I change my blog name a bit to something a little more... "teachery" but still "crafty". Hence, "Kindergarten Craftiness". The content will stay the same, but the name changed. Plus, to complete the transition, I'm getting a blog makeover at the end of the month!!

Through the course of this transition, I didn't realize that, if you followed me with Blog Lovin', you might have to re-follow me to continue to get updates. So, if you would like to continue to read all my adorable, witty posts, be sure you have me followed!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new... 2014!

Wow, I cannot believe 2013 is over already! It seems like the year had just started and now we're in 2014. It was such a great year with my brother getting married, our family vacation to Denver and California, and, of course, lots of time with my hubby and kiddos!
For the first time in a few months, I'm linking up to Oh Boy 4th Grade's monthly Currently link up to share a bit about what's been going on with me.
The majority of the things above are pretty self-explanatory... my daughter wanted a treat, hence the root beer float, what better way to spend winter break than in your jammies, having no motivation to do anything over break (who does?!?), needing a maid so I have one less thing on my crazy long to-do list....
However, there are a few things that obviously need some more detail. My goals for next year being one of them. As I was thinking about resolutions yesterday, I had pretty much decided to not make any so I didn't have any disappointment down the road (yeah, I'm not so great at keeping up with resolutions). But then I got to thinking about the crazy long to do list I mentioned above and realized something... Does it really need to be that long?!? So I have a whole ONE resolution this year... prioritize!
Instead of trying to do a million things at once, feeling overwhelmed at the long list, then feeling guilty when I don't get anything done, I'm going to get better at prioritizing. So, instead of a long list of resolutions, I'm going to instead make a list of priorities... and stick to it!
1. God (finding some way to improve my daily worship)
2. Family (making sure to spend *meaningful* time with my hubby and girls every day)
3. Friends (setting aside time with friends at least twice a month)
4. Work (using my time effectively so I am able to spend more time on the first of my 3 priorities without my job suffering while still being as good of a teacher, if not better, than I am now)
5. Online work (I have very lofty goals here like blogging 4-5 times a week and creating 2 new products a week but I'm not going to stress myself out by trying to do that and ending up neglecting one of my higher priorities)
6. Housework (yep, this is on the bottom of my list because, frankly, I have a wonderful hubby that helps A LOT with the daily work like dishes and laundry so, thankfully, that helps immensely!!)
Now, on to the memory for 2013... my first AZ Blogger Meet Up!
This was so much fun and I met a lot of truly amazing ladies! They set such an incredible example of leadership and success. I am so proud to be part of such a great group. Now we just need to set up our next meeting!
Have a wonderful New Year's Day!