Common Core App

Thursday, June 26, 2014

From Caterpillar to Butterfly and Plants (Growing and Changing)

I'm just now getting around to sharing with you the excitement in my classroom the last few weeks of school. We were reading stories about living things and growing and changing. Then our wonderful instructional coach ordered live caterpillars for every kindergarten class. I had never experienced this process myself, and I think that I was almost more excited than the students to enter the classroom each morning to see what change had taken place overnight or over the weekend.

Excitement was in the air when our FIVE caterpillars arrived in this clear, small, plastic cup. 

Students immediately said, "Yuck! What's all that stuff in the bottom?" Well, that stuff was their food they needed in order to survive until they attached themselves to form a chrysalis. The caterpillars were very small when we first got them, and they ate and ate and ate until they were so much bigger. 

After several days, all five of them finally made it to the top of the cup and attached themselves to the paper disc. This was so amazing to watch. We had to make sure we did not disturb them while they were hardening into their chrysalis.

After they had hardened, we took the paper disc out of the cup and pinned it to the inside of the butterfly habitat. When I took the paper disc out of the cup, two of them were shaking back and forth like crazy. I guess they didn't want to be bothered. The students thought it was hilarious!

It took several days for the first Painted Lady Butterfly to emerge. Of course it happened during the night or early morning before we arrived at school. I was very excited, :)  I mean the students were very excited when they came in and saw the butterfly.  

Their wings had to dry for a while, and then they started fluttering around in their habitat. The directions told us to put sugar water on a paper towel in the bottom of the habitat so that they would have something to drink. We also read not to put a container of sugar water in there because this may cause them to drown. If you look closely, you can see 2 of the 3 butterflies that have emerged.

Now we are waiting on the last 2 hanging at the bottom of the paper disc. During this entire process, we never actually caught a butterfly coming out of the chrysalis. One day after walking the students to activity class, I came back to the room and two more had emerged. It all happens so quickly! Their wings were never crumpled/wrinkled when we saw them. I actually thought it would be a slow process. 

The students LOVED observing the caterpillars and butterflies on a daily basis. I allowed the students to take turns observing throughout the day. It was so precious watching how careful they were not to touch or knock the habitat when they went to observe. Finally all 5 butterflies had emerged. It was so neat to see the butterflies drink the sugar water with their proboscis. The students were 
so excited! 

After observing the butterflies for a couple of days, it was time to release them outside. It took them a while to find their way out. I think it would have helped if the whole top would have opened, but it only unzipped halfway. You can see one at the top about to fly away into freedom.

The other butterflies still didn't seem to want to come out, so we turned it on its side. 

Finally all 5 butterflies flew away to freedom. This one below flew to the grass and waited a few minutes. I think it was enjoying the warm sunshine. The students were amazed and had so much fun with this activity. I might have enjoyed it a little also! :) 

While learning about butterflies, students enjoy "Butterflies Read and Write" and "Emergent Reader: Butterflies."

In "Butterflies Read and Write," students read a cute short story about butterflies, color the pictures, and then read 10 sentences about the story and fill in the blanks with the correct word at the end of the sentence. This helps check for reading comprehension, and it's also great for introducing Close Reading! 

You can find "Butterflies Read and Write" HERE!

The "Emergent Reader: Butterflies" focuses on a variety of sight words including: will, some, in, the, get, my, help, me, with, is, pretty, are, too, of, and like. These emergent readers are great for guided reading groups. 

You can find the "Emergent Reader: Butterflies" HERE!

While we were learning about growing and changing, we also planted some sunflower seeds. This shows our plants after we put them outside in the sunshine one day. The students had so much fun observing the changes in our plants also.

On the last day before taking the plants home to share with their families, they made their last observation and writing about sunflowers. 

A couple of other activities that are great for learning about plants are "Plants Read and Write" and "Emergent Reader: Let's Plant!"

In "Plants Read and Write," students read a cute short story about plants, color the pictures, and then read 10 sentences about the story and fill in the blanks with the correct word at the end of the sentence. This helps check for reading comprehension, and it's also great for introducing Close Reading! 

You can find "Plants Read and Write" HERE!

The "Emergent Reader: Let's Plant" focuses on a variety of sight words including: will, some, in, the, get, my, help, me, with, is, pretty, are, too, of, and like. These emergent readers are great for guided reading groups. 

You can find the "Emergent Reader: Let's Plant" HERE!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our caterpillars/butterflies and plants growing and changing. I also hope you have found something useful you can use in your classroom. Do you have any exciting ideas for these topics? If so, please share below. I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Markdown Monday Linky Party!

Thanks to Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations for hosting this link up! 

Every Monday I will feature one of my products in my TeachersPayTeachers store and offer it for a discounted price!

This week, I am featuring my 
I am offering it for $2.00! 
Wow! That's a 56% SAVINGS off of the regular price!
This morning work could also be used for July or August since it uses clip art relating to the summer/ocean.
Click on the image below to get it at this great price for a limited time only! 
June 23rd-27th

For more Monday Markdowns, click the image below to visit the link-up and find more SAVINGS! 

6 Months 'Til Christmas Sale! June 24-25

Santa checked his list (and checked it twice!)-- 

here's a sale for all those who've been nice!

We're teaming up to give you a fantastic giveaway and sale to 
celebrate the date- we're 6 months away from Christmas!
                   This link-up and GIVEAWAY is hosted by 
                                The Learning Highway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

All stores listed below are on sale 
June 24-25. 

Are you a TPT seller? Start a sale, link up, and join the party!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Georgia Bloggers Blog Hop (FREEBIE included)

You can still grab my FREEBIE HERE, but the rest of the GA Blog Hop has ended on June 22nd.

It's time to teach the country about yes ma'am and y'all.
Down here in Georgia, we talk with a drawl.
We're bringing you some freebies as sweet as our tea.
Enter our contest, you might get some things free!

I have lived in Fitzgerald, GA all of my life. Fitzgerald is a unique town. What other town is known for wild chickens roaming the streets? The abundance of wild chickens makes Fitzgerald home of the "Wild Chicken Festival" each year.

 The Blue and Gray Museum shares the history of Fitzgerald and showcases a rare collection of Civil War relics and artifacts.
Fitzgerald's streets are named for northern generals on the east side, southern generals on the west side, southern rivers on the north side, and southern trees on the south side.

How about a peach ice cream recipe to go with all of this South Georgia talk? Click on the photo below to view this lip smacking peach ice cream recipe from The Vintage Mixer.

This weekend, we've paused from our peach picking to give you a taste of Georgia. Twenty-five teachers invite you to take a road trip through our southern state. Hop through our blogs to get freebies.

We'd also like to give you a chance to win a bushel basket full of our products. To enter from my page, you just need to follow my blog and Facebook page. You can enter once from each person's blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Goodness gracious, what are you waiting for sugar?! Time's a wastin'. Go get more free stuff and sign up to win!

Guided Reading and Managing Guided Reading Groups with Literacy Centers PLUS a FREEBIE!
What better time to get ready for the next school year! 

Everyone thinks that teachers take the summer off, but many teachers spend their summer getting ready for the upcoming school year while relaxing a little along the way.

How many of you conduct guided reading groups? Guided reading groups is a great way to differentiate reading instruction for your students. Managing guided reading groups can be difficult. While my students are in my guided reading group, one group is out of the classroom with the EIP teacher and another group is involved in literacy centers. Literacy centers include independent activities (sometimes monitored by my paraprofessional) so that the students do not bother the teacher while conducting the guided reading group.

I have five literacy centers set up for each week for these independent activities. Students have a chart to look at to see which center they are going to for the day. Each center is color coded. Some of the activities in literacy centers may include a making words center (magnets, letter tiles, letter cubes), a writing center, a computer center, a stamping words center, and maybe a puzzle of some type with letters and words.

Here are some pictures of a few of my literacy centers in action.

These first few photos show different "Making Words" activities and the recording sheet they use to hold them accountable.

Making words with magnetic letters

Making words with block letters

Making words with letter cubes

My students love the computer center. Their favorite websites are and

My students also love the stamping center. At the beginning of the year, we focus on sight words, and then we move to word family words. This year, I must invest in some new stamp pads or put them on my wish list for parents to send.

After they stamp these words, they write a sentence for each word on the lines below. If you are interested in these stamping pages, you can find them HERE.
The word family sheets are located HERE.

The writing center is a must during literacy center time. Sometimes they have free choice writing and sometimes they are given a topic to write about relating to the season or theme we are working on.
These sentence stem activities are great for the writing center at the beginning of the year. You can find them HERE.

During my guided reading group time at the beginning of the year, I use emergent readers focusing on letter sounds and sight words. This Emergent Reader A-Z Bundle includes 26 emergent readers. There is a reader for each letter of the alphabet including vowels for the medial vowel sound.

You can find this Emergent Reader A-Z Bundle HERE!

You can also find each individual emergent reader HERE!

This BUNDLE includes an emergent reader for all 26 letters.

During this guided reading time, we focus on tracking print, letter sounds, and sight words. Each of these emergent readers provides for DIFFERENTIATION. The last three pages of each reader has sheets that can be included or taken out depending on the need of each student/group. One page requires the students to circle the uppercase and lowercase letter of that particular reader. The next page requires students to write each uppercase and lowercase letter for that particular reader 5 times each. The last page requires students to write 5 words beginning with the particular letter. Students could look back in the book to find the words to copy or write their own 5 words using invented spelling (more differentiation).
The following pictures show each of these pages in action.

Tracking print

You can also have students circle the sight words you are learning.

You can also have students color/highlight with a yellow crayon the letter/sound you are focusing on for each reader.

Below are the three pages that provide for differentiation. You can leave all three pages in the book or take out sheets not wanted depending on the need of each student/group.

For an even greater challenge, you can have your higher level students turn to the back of their book and write sentences for each word they wrote on this last page.

The possibilities are endless. I hope you find these guided readers useful. I am giving away one of these 26 emergent readers at the link below.
Look for the pink SUMMER STOCK UP image!
Emergent Reader: My Mm Book

Later in the year, I use other books for guided reading. We begin our group by making predictions from the cover page. Then we read the title and discuss the roles of the author and illustrator.

Taking a picture walk is a MUST to guided reading. This allows you to introduce words that students may have difficult with as you discuss each picture. I always let students verbalize what they see on each page and what they THINK is happening. Then we check our predictions as we read. 
Then we review decodable words included in the reader and practice sounding them out as well as any sight words in the reader through the use of flashcards.

We also discuss reading strategies (such as use picture clues, stretch the word, skip the word then come back to see what would make sense, and look for chunks in the word) for them to use while reading if they find a word they do not know.

After this, I allow students to read through the book by themselves quietly. Then we take turns reading through the book so that I can hear each student read daily and sometimes we have time to hear some students read the entire book independently. I try to listen to as least one student read the entire book each day making notes of successes or areas in which they are struggling.

After reading, I ask questions about the book and have students ask questions they may have about the story. Then, we may complete a story map with title, character, setting, beginning, middle, and end or we may just write about the book or choose a favorite part to write about. There are so many things you can do during guided reading.

What are some things you do during guided reading time???
Please share in the comments below.

Don't forget to click HERE to GRAB YOUR FREEBIE!

***The giveaway has ENDED!***
Enter this GIVEAWAY for YOUR CHOICE of $10.00 worth of products from my TPT store.
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Thanks for stopping by!