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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thanks to my Blogging Buddies for these Great Ideas ...

     Last week was finally our first week of school. It was great!! I was thinking about posting some of the cool things we did and realized that almost all of the things I wanted to share came from ideas I found on other teachers' wonderful blogs.  So this post is really a thank you note to those teachers for being so generous and sharing their amazing ideas. Here goes...
     On Talk Like a Pirate Day, we had a wonderful Pirate Letter Hunt that  Sandi from Rubberboots and Elf Shoes created.  The kids had a so much fun running around, helping each other, and marking off the letters they found.  As one student said, "It's like every letter is a treasure!" Now that's music to a teacher's ears.:)
     I used Sandi's answer sheet and gave each child a clip board and a pencil  The Kindergarten class taped Amanda's free Shiver Me Letters around the playground. It was simple, fun and as Sandi pointed out, "the kids didn't even know they were learning."
Marking off letters (and talking about the alphabet!)

There was lots of movement...

and collaboration!

Sandi was also the inspiration for my Chicka Chicka Boom Sensory Box.  I am committed to creating lots of different Sensory Boxes this year and I'm off to a great start.
The box included colored rice and pasta letters. plastic and wooden magnetic letters,  pompoms, dollar store coconuts and  a palm tree water bottle, rakes and brightly colored detergent caps for scooping and collecting.
The kids LOVED it!
        We also created a beautiful puzzle that was inspired by Tammy at Forever in First.  I thought her idea of a puzzle was a great way to begin talking about how our class was special because we are all part of the class. I began by going online and finding a universal puzzle piece on the Community Puzzle website.
I enlarged the piece and then made copies on card stock.  I had to make some modifications so that the edges of the puzzle would be straight.  I saw Tammy's idea before I went to bed and was able to get all the pieces copied and cut out before school the next morning.  
some of my traced pieces
Tammy had each child draw a picture on his or her puzzle piece.  I was worried that the pieces would be too small for a full portrait by my little ones so after numbering the back, I drew a chin on each piece.

The kids then did a wonderful job of making the piece their own.  I LOVE the portraits and how we all fit together!

I drew a pencil line an inch from the right side and the top of a piece of poster board so that I could call each child up to add his or her piece to the puzzle.  I think it would have worked well but I ended up putting the puzzle together myself because we ran out of time.  I also ended up tracing around each piece with a colored marker (which added a little color to the edge of each piece) so it was clear it was a puzzle (I was afraid we might fit together a little too well and the puzzle effect would be lost:)

       In addition to Sandi and Tammy's ideas we also played with magic play dough.  I'm not sure where I first saw this idea but I've done it every year on the first day of school.
The homemade play dough is turning orange! (perhaps helped by the squirt of food coloring put into a finger-poke hole in each ball of play dough:) We all put our magic play dough together to make our first batch of play dough for the classroom.
So far the magic play dough has always changed color and has always correctly predicted an exciting and fun year.  I'm sure this year will be no different thanks, in part, to all my blogging buddies.  Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas!


  1. Your puzzle is adorable. It turned out so well. Thank you for sharing a picture!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Thanks for the inspiration Tammy!

    2. By the way, I'm honored to be called your Blogging Buddy. :)

  2. Your CCBB bin looks awesome. As does the puzzle. I want to try the changing colour playdough one year. The look on the kids' faces when the colour changes must be priceless.


    1. Thanks Sandi,
      I just made a fall bin that I love. I can see this could get to be a bit addicting:)

  3. The kiddos look like they are having a blast! Love the sensory bin idea!


    1. It was a great week:) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. I love learning from others:) Thank goodness for blogs and Pinterest!!
    Connie Anderson:)
    Welcome To First Grade Room 5

  5. People who point at their wrist asking for the time... I know where my watch is pal, where the hell is yours? Do I point at my crotch when I ask where the toilet is?
    - survey website


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