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# Monster Letters

I just uploaded a new kit to my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Letter Monsters! This kit includes capital and lowercase letters AND a picture card to match the letter sound. Many of the images are Halloween based. Perfect for this week’s monster fun as well as next week for Halloween.

And… as an added bonus, today is the last day in my sale. Everything in my store is still 10% off today… yes including this new kit, which retails for \$2.50.

Click on any of the images to be taken to this new product!

# Monster Math!

This week is all about MONSTERS! This is such a fun topic for children as they can be both fun and scary. But we will focus on the fun side! Today’s story Monster Math by Anne Miranda… read by Anne Miranda! This is a story about a Monster’s birthday and how many monsters join the fun!

So … it’s time for a favorite activity and character: Shape Monster! Shape Monster Shape Monster munch, munch, munch? How about about a (color) (shape) for your lunch! This is a common kindergarten shape activity, but can so easily be adapted!

I’ll share with you a few ideas on how you can use the shape monster today.

Create simple shape monsters (or complex if you want). Put them onto bags or onto empty boxes to make the shape monster’s lunch bag/box. Label each monster with a shape. (circle monster, square monster, rectangle monster etc…). Have your child find items around they can put into the shape monster’s lunch bag.

Provide your child with construction paper, either already cut into shapes or have your child cut his/her own shapes. Use the shapes to create a monster out of shapes… a shape monster! Or if you do not have construction paper, they can just draw a monster out of shapes!

Want more shape monster fun? I have two kits in my store that use Shape Monster!

Shape Monster’s 2D lunch time mini book (\$2)… Help shape monster find the shapes he wants to for lunch. Each page focuses on one shape and provides a color for each shape. And, Shape Monster himself describes the shapes attributes.

Shape Graphing with Shape Monster (\$1)… This kit has your child(ren) sorting and graphing shapes. The kit includes four different graphing pages (spin and graph, color and graph, grab and graph and find and graph)

# Scarecrow Direct Drawings

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I love doing direct drawings with children. While I wholly see the value of open ended art projects and suggest them on a regular basis, there is much to be learned and gained by following along with direct drawings!

Art for Kid’s Hub has THREE different scarecrow drawings! Check them out here, here and here. While they are not the only direct drawing available on-line, I used their links with my classes often and even my pre-K kiddos could follow along with the drawing steps, with limited support! I love that he encourages the students to try and reminds them it is ok for all the final products to look different… it’s about having fun.

But, let’s talk through how to draw a scarecrow step by step together! Directions inspired by First and Kinder Blue SKies Scarecrow Direct drawing freebie

hold you paper vertically (tall)

In the middle of the page draw a large smile line

On top draw a flat rainbow line touching the tops of the smile line

from the ends, connect back to the smile line with slight curves

now draw the top of the hat, I like to open this up to let the children be creative. I point out where the line should start (where the smile and rainbow lines connect)

draw two parallel lines at the bottom of the smile line, making the neck

from the bottom of that, draw lines parallel with the bottom of the page all the way to the end of the page

below that draw two shorter parallel lines to make the arms

from the end of those lines, draw perpendicular lines going to the bottom of the page

Now for the fun!

Add eyes, nose, mouth (ears if wanted)

Add straw coming out from under the hat

Add a flower, patch or other embellishment to the hat

Don’t forget clothes!

When you are done drawing, go over all the lines in marker or crayon and create the coloring book lines… then color!

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# October learning in my TPT store

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you know that I also have a store at Teachers Pay Teachers. Click here to visit my store!

I have put out some new fun kits that are perfect for the month of October! All kits are \$3 or less! These are perfect for pre-K, kindergarten, and homeschool learning!

Magical Words– Beginning Sounds Mystery CVC Words. There are 5 pages, one for each short vowel sound. Children will use the beginning sound from picture cues to make new CVC words. They then draw a picture of the new CVC word in the cauldron.

2D shape graphing with Shape Monster. Included you will find four shape graphs. Shapes used in graph: square, rectangle, triangle, rhombus, trapezoid, hexagon

• spin and graph
• color and graph
• find and graph
• grab and graph

Shape Monster’s 2D Lunch Time Mini Book. This kit is a mini book in which the children will help Shape Monster find the shapes he wants to eat for lunch. Shape Monster describes each shapes attributes and tells you which color to color the wanted shapes on each page.

• Red hexagons
• Yellow trapezoids
• Green circles
• Blue squares
• Purple triangles
• Brown rhombuses

Count the Room Fall Items. Count the room is a fun active math activity. You put number or ten frame card around the room and the children need to find the cards and record the matching number or set to match the number on a recording sheet. Kit provides sets of 1-10 and 11-20

Non-Standard Measurement for Fall. Included you will find acorn “rulers” and fall images to measure. (scarecrow, maple leaf, gourd, oak leaf, fall tree, pumpkin, squirrel, apple, chipmunk) as well as two different style recording sheets.

Fall Predictable Pattern Stories. These are simple fall stories based on familiar story book patterns.

If you give a squirrel… book 1 has tree names and book 2 has leaf colors

Chipmunk, chipmunk what do you see… book one has item names, book 2 has item names and color words

# Count the Room

This week we will discuss scarecrows! To start off the week, here is a favorite story: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro. Make sure you check out the live stream I did on Facebook on Friday. Click on the button below hear hear me read the story The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything!

Ok… onto math! This week lets work on a number sense, counting and number recognition activity…. count the room. Count the room can be done a few different ways…

The first way is to have cards around the room that show quantities of object, 1 scarecrow, 2 pumpkins, 3 hay bales etc. Then your child will find the cards around the room, count the quantity of items and record the number to practice numeral writing.

The second way is to have number cards around the room, then have your child fill in a ten frame(s) to show how many that number represents.

Suggested items to draw/print out to make the cards: scarecrow, pumpkin, leaf, apple, hay bale, candy corn, crow, squirrel, pinecone, sunflower, or any other fall items. Or you could do things with a scarecrow: shirt, pants, patches, hat, pole, straw, leaves, shoes, crows etc… you pick!

While it might seem that these are the same they are actually working on different skills. The first works on conservation of number, counting, and writing numerals. The second works on number recognition and number sense (how many a number means). These are both important and often over looked math skills! So… have fun with your kiddo doing this activity. I would suggest give him/her a clipboard or whiteboard to take around, it adds to the enjoyment level.

If you are looking for a quick way to set this up and have recording sheets, consider purchasing my Count the Room Fall Items kit at Teachers Pay Teachers. This kit costs \$1.50 and contains number cards for both sets of activities as well as 3 different recording sheets!

# Beginning Sounds and the Five Senses

Recognizing and naming words that begin with specific beginning sounds is a key phonics skill (when done totally orally it is actually a phonemic awareness skill!).

I will share with you how I would do this as a phonics activity as well as a phonemic awareness activity… two for one!

As I have mentioned in the past, phonemic awareness is how sounds work in words orally. So a great place to practice these skills is in the car! For this one you don’t need anything resources other than what you can see around you, or in this case see, hear, taste, touch and smell! Think I spy. I spy with my little eye something that starts with the sound /m/ (mom, mouse, money, movie etc). But, instead of looking for just one thing, see how many you can list. I smell with my nose something that starts with the sound /f/ (flower, fart, fish etc). You can do this with I hear with my little ear. I touch with my little fingers, I taste with my little tongue.

If your child struggles, then give an example and see if that spurs them to think of more. Often children need a word cue to help them think of words that begin with the beginning sound. I hear with my little ear something that starts that same as bird (bells, bongo drum, boys playing).

To make this more of a phonics based activity, lets get out a sheet of paper! Here is a quick classroom tip, when making activities that you want your child to do over and over, put the paper into a sheet protector (or laminate) then have your child use dry erase makers. Now you can do the activity over and over and not use more paper!

Take a sheet of paper, create a circle in the middle to put the beginning sound. Around the outside divide the paper into 5 sections and label them — see, hear, taste, touch, smell. (Now put it into the page protector or laminate if you want)

Have your child pick a sound to work on. Some fun ways to do this is to roll a letter die, pick a letter out of a hat (magnetic letter or letter flash cards), or any other way to pick you can think of!

Have your child write the letter in the circle. Now illustrate words that begin with that sound in each section. Encourage them to sound out the words to match the pictures.

Looking for more ways to work on beginning sound and the five senses? Check out my kit at Teachers Pay Teachers for a one page chart and a mini book you can make!

# All Kinds of Apples!

More apple fun! Today let’s talk about apple products. Here is a short video showing how apple cider is pressed and another that shows how applesauce is made.

Time to graph! I have two suggestions for fun graphs. Favorite apple type (yum… time to taste test) or favorite apple product. Collecting information for a graph is the beginning of understanding data.

Create a graph for your child to use, I often make my graphs with a table in a word document. Having your child “help” while you create the sheet is a great way to incorporate a bit of technology too. (Or go old school and draw it out on a sheet of paper!) Choose the items you want to graph (types of apples: red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith etc) (types of apple product: applesauce, apple juice/cider, apple pie etc). Make sure to add a title to the graph.

Graphing is a great excuse to call grandparents or other family members. The more data points you have the better the graphing information you will collect. When making the graph provide on row for each member you will ask (in the graphs I made I would ask 5 people for the apple types and 8 people for the apple product).

Ok you made a graph… now what? Now you talk! Ask questions. “What can you tell me about the graph?” “Can you compare granny smith and red delicious?” Use terms such as more than, less than/fewer than, same as, least, most, compare.

One more thing for today… since we talked about apple types and apple pie, check out another zine I made! (Directions to fold the zine can be found here) You can hop over to my Teacher Pay Teacher store and get two versions of this story free, or you can make your own!

# Decoding Fun

Recently, Teacher Mom Talks blogger/vogger asked me about ideas for working on short vowel words for her daughter. This got me motivated! So, today I created a kit for her, yes for her…. if you inspire me to create a kit for my store in Teachers Pay Teachers, you get a copy for free!

In this kit, you will find 2 sheets for each short vowel sound. The sheets can be cut into strips that show the word. Each word is broken down into the phoneme (letter sound). Then you will find the whole word and a picture cue.

• Print out pages
• Cut the pages into strips
• Fold the last box (with the picture) over the word box
• Clip with clothespin if desired
• Have child say letter sounds while pointing to letters
• Have child blend sounds together to form a word
• Open flap to read the whole word and check the picture

Decoding is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. Understanding these relationships gives children the ability to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t seen before.

Once children have a strong foundation of understanding letter-sound connections, they begin to see that when you put letters together they make new sounds and words. We often work on the blending of sounds together orally before ever attaching it to the written letter, this is part of phonemic awareness.

When your child is ready to start blending sound with the printed letters, have your child point to the letters individually while saying each letter sound. Then have them start saying the sounds faster (together) while sliding their finger under the word.

With this tool, I would have the child sound out the word, blend it together with the picture clipped down. Then have the child open up the flap and read the word again pointing to the word in the 4th box. The picture is there to check that he/she read the word correctly.

Work on one sheet, then add in more of the same medial vowel. Once they are comfortable, go onto the next vowel. When they are comfortable with those words, go back and review the two sets… and so on. Always going back to continue to review the previous vowel sounds.

Looking for more short vowel work? Check out my kit for Word Family Cloze sentences.

Thanks again Teacher Mom Talks! Hope we can work together again soon.

# Apple Pie Tree

This week we will talk about all things APPLES! Who doesn’t love this tasty fall fruit?

This week’s story is The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall. Two sisters discuss the life cycle of the apples on the tree in their backyard. The story takes you through the four seasons from the bare tree of winter to picking apples to make apple pie.

After reading this story, lets do some apple tree math! I am going to share two simple math activities that you can easily do at home, and your child will enjoy!

Roll and Draw

• paper
• crayons/markers
• dice

Have your child draw 4-6 apple trees (without apples). Roll the die and write the numeral on the trunk. Draw that many apples on the tree. If your child is ready, you can add in a second die. I would suggest using two different color dice if you have them and then have your child draw two different color apples.

• paper
• markers/crayons
• number cards (either create your own or use a deck of cards)

Again have your child draw apple trees without apples, I would draw less trees this time because they need more space, or use both sides of the paper. Have your child choose two cards, one card for each addend. They will write the number fact on the trunk and draw the apples on the tree. Again use two different colors for each addend.

In the picture, I show three ways to add to count. The first picture shows the base skill counting each apple from one to seven. The second tree illustrates counting on, I circled the six red apples and started counting up from there 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. The final tree is more of a first grade skill, but one worth looking at or showing your child. It is the concept of making know facts. In this case I made a doubles fact that I know. I found a group of five, and another group of five then added on the 1. I already know that 5+5 is 10 so I can count on from there. (This is also a make a 10… these are math strategies that are taught typically in first grade)

Looking for more apple math activities? In my Teachers Pay Teachers store, you will find:

Apple Tree Ten Frames: practice using ten frames to practice number sense and addition.

Apples Abound: includes a variety of apple activities for both math and literacy (graphing, patterning, apple parts, Johnny Appleseed extension and more)

# September Self-Portrait

If you have been following my blog for a while, you have seen that I have my students draw… a… lot! Yes, draw pictures. The developmental range of drawing is very diverse in this age group. You can read about the development of drawing here.

The drawing of a self-portrait is often used to show developmental levels in children. As a teacher, I work hard with my students to help them progress through these stages. I have my pre-K and kindergarten classes draw a self-portrait every month and then send them home as a book at the end of the year. Parents are usually shocked with the progress from Mr. Potato Head to a fully recognizable person.

So… I encourage you to have your child draw a monthly self-portrait. You can use a sheet such as the ones I have in my teachers pay teachers store that provides a place for your child to write his/her name, the month and draw their picture in a frame or just draw it on a white sheet of paper. The most important thing is for your child to draw him/herself!

Children who are young 4s often draw a head with arms and legs. At this age, it is totally developmentally appropriate for this level of drawing. But, I encourage you to point out things that he/she might be missing. Simple additions at this age: hair, hands, feet, ears.

As your child progresses you will start seeing the addition of more body parts. One of the big things I push with my students is the addition of a torso. I’ll say do your arms and legs come out of your head? Nope! What are you missing? You are missing your torso the middle section of your body. How can we draw a picture including your torso?

Have your child look at him/herself in a mirror to see what else they can add to the picture.

I drew mine on a whiteboard, but I would have your child draw with crayons on paper. If you have multicultural crayons, that’s even better as you can get better representation of skin tones. You want the picture to be as realistic as your child can make it!