Celebrate Christmas Around The World

Celebrate Christmas Around The World

Looking for the perfect Christmas Around the World thematic unit? Looking for books, supporting videos and songs? At Christmas time, I love to take my students on a journey around the world to celebrate all the wonderful and diverse ways people celebrate the holidays. It's a great way to introduce them to important social studies concepts in a playful and celebratory way! We love to read books about the different celebrations around the world as we set out on our adventures. Here are a few good ones to start off the journey:

Gingerbread Houses: The Christmas Kitchen


Looking for a special project to try before your Christmas or Winter break begins? Consider decorating graham cracker “gingerbread” houses!

Recruit a volunteer to make the houses, make them yourself, or help your students put them together. Ask students to bring candy to share...tootsie rolls, kisses, hugs, m&m’s, dots, skittles, red hots, licorice, peppermint wheels, and candy canes are just a few possibilities.

If you make the entire house at school, it’s easiest to construct them during a center. Have the students work with you or another adult to put together the 4 walls. Next, join the 2 sections of the roof and set aside to dry. The roof can be attached to the house when everything is dry and stable.

Whether you make the houses with the students or provide pre-made houses, the fun really begins with the decorating. Some students will cover the entire house with a conglomeration of candy; others will carefully choose candy and strategically place it on the house. Whatever the approach, the creations are beautiful and the students are thrilled with the results!

Although gingerbread houses are often associated with Christmas, you can decorate them at any time of the year. Use candy hearts in February or jelly beans in April! Culminate a gingerbread boy unit by decorating a house for him or make a special house for Hansel and Gretel as part of a fairy tale unit. Whenever you decide to decorate gingerbread houses, they will be a hit with your students! 

Check out detailed directions in our Gingerbread Man Unit.

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There are so many great Gingerbread versions out there, here are a few of my favorite.

You can find many versions of the Gingerbread Man on youtube. Personally, I love the oldies but goodies.

Building Thanksgiving Traditions With Young Children


From memories from my own childhood, to memories I have made with my own children (and now grandchildren), to memories I have made with thousands of kindergarten children, celebrating the traditions of Thanksgiving will never get old.

"Build a Turkey," an alphabet fluency game.

"Build a Turkey," an alphabet fluency game.

Playing a game from our Thanksgiving Unit, "A Feast for All!"

Playing a game from our Thanksgiving Unit, "A Feast for All!"

Make it More Fun With Music

I love the great Thanksgiving songs that are intertwined with those memories such as these: 

HMK Thanksgiving 2013

Thematic Fun!


There are so many great activities, videos, books, and songs that make the season a memory builder as well as a great vehicle for teaching academic and life skills.

Our Thanksgiving Unit is stuffed full of great ideas. This Thanksgiving unit is divided into areas of literature, media, music, art, literacy activities, math activities, worksheets, science activities, creative writing, word wall words, and guided reading. The activities are clearly written, easy to use, and need limited amounts of preparation.


Contents Include: 

Literacy Activities:
Hop To It: Identifying Letters and Sounds
Turkey Lurkey: Producing and Generating Rhymes.
Turkey Twist: Kinesthetic Practice With Letter Recognition
Dinner Rush: Naming & Generating Beginning Sounds
Thanksgiving Races: Developing Fluency
Rhyming Worksheet

Math Activities:
Turkey Guesses: Making Estimates
A Feast For All: Counting Objects to Show Physical Representation of Numbers
Thanksgiving Feast: Counting Forward From a Given Number in a Set of 10
The Turkey Dance: Identifying Numbers and Recording Results.
Thanksgiving Parade: Ordering 1-10 Ten Frames
The Turkey Bowl: Comparing Groups of Objects

Gobble Gobble Gobble
5 Fat Turkeys
I Like Turkey
A Very Fine Turkey

Writing Prompts/Word Wall (Style Choices)
I am Thankful For
Thanksgiving Word Wall

Art Projects:
Handprint Turkey
Easy Construct Pilgrim
Construct Indians
Tangram Indian
Draw a Turkey

Guided Reading Books:
Happy Thanksgiving

Social Studies:
Pilgrim Kids: Compare and Contrast Facts

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You might also like: 

Instructions How to Make an Native American Beaded Necklace from Pasta.

Instructions How to Make an Native American Beaded Necklace from Pasta.


And check out this great books using our affiliate link.

A FREE song poster.

A FREE song poster.

Thinking Outside the Volunteer Box

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I love having parent volunteers in the classroom. It creates such a sense of community and family when children are able to include their family member in the classroom! However, many parents are not able to come into the classroom. I have such a parent whose daughter really wanted her to come into the class, but who couldn't attend because of work. Fortunately, technology affords us many ways to include parents who might not be able to be a part of the classroom otherwise. Here are some ideas:

Record video instructions for a center or activity.

My student's parent recorded video instructions showing the children how to make leaf rubbings. While at the art center, the children watched her video to help them complete the activity. Her daughter loved being able to share her Mom with the class!

Record an Audio Story

Listening to stories read aloud is such an important part of developing fluent reading skills. Parents who can't come into the classroom could record themselves reading a story and the children could listen to it at the listening center. They can record on their own phones and simply email you the audio to play on any computer, iPad, or digital device using iTunes or Windows Media Player.

Record Instructions

I love my little recording boxes that I bought a few years ago, because they can be used in so many different ways! In this situation parents can record a short set of instructions that the students will hear when they press down the button. For example, "Did you write your name on your paper?" Students will love hearing their family member's voice in the classroom!

Facetime, Skype, or Google Hangout

Perhaps a parent can't come into the classroom in person, but might be able to call the classroom for a few minutes to say, "Hello". Student's can receive instructions, hear a story, or visit a parent's workplace through a video call.

There are so many ways to involve parents in the classroom, and it makes such a difference to the kids. I know that my student was beaming all day long the day she got to show her Mom's video to the class!

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How Many Sight Words Should I Teach?

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Reading is a complicated process that involves multiple points of understanding along the way that lead to the connection of text and understanding. These points of understanding include instruction in phonological awareness and phonics. 

Phonological awareness includes instruction in rhyming, sentence segmentation, syllable blending and segmentation, onset-rime blending and segmentation, generating beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words, blending and segmenting the individual phonemes in words, and phoneme deletion and manipulation. If children do not receive the proper instruction in any of these points of understanding, it may lead to issues as reading independence matures, Especially when children are faced with the task of decoding multisyllabic words in content area texts. When these difficult words are encountered, a reader needs to rely on all of his/her acquired reading skills; an understanding of phonemes and their relationships to each other as they are manipulated to form words.

Shaywitz et al. (1999) asserted in their research that students who are unsuccessful in reading words that are unfamiliar to them may also struggle with poor (under-developed) phonemic awareness skills. As without the auditory awareness of phonemes and how they work together students struggle to sound out these more advanced words.


Phonics includes the all-important letter-sound relationships, sight words, reading strategies, vocabulary, comprehension skills, and meaning. Of course, all phonics skills are of paramount importance and this includes sight words!

I have expressed my frustration with current trends in teaching that include an over emphasis on teaching sight words as a means to achieve early reading. However, I don't mean to imply that we should not teach sight words at all, as it is an important part of reading instruction for emergent readers. In fact, most beginning readers can be easily read with the knowledge of a few sight words and the strategy of using picture clues.

The issue I have encountered is, as a reader advances, knowledge of how to attack multi-syllabic (or simply put) longer words, is crucial when it comes to content area reading. In fact I would say that the lack of phonemic/word-attack knowledge plays a part in the so-called 3rd Grade slump. Consequently, it is important to remember that over-loading students on sight words sometimes masks an inability to sound out words. I have especially noticed this problem with students that are visual learners. Memorizing sight words is easy for them, they move quickly up the emergent reading levels until their levels are filled with words that are only decodable. This becomes a hurdle for those kids. A greater amount of phonemic practice would have better served them than a trophy amount of sight words.

The important thing to remember when teaching early reading skills is that ALL of the components of effective reading are equally important and they all should be addressed.


A new study published by Developmental Psychology concludes that the best predictor of student future reading success is the ability to use invented spelling while writing. This study does not surprise me at all, in fact invented spelling is the best way for students to put phonological awareness as well as phonics into practice. During this process, students are able to reflect on how to spell a word (auditory) while making written decisions (visual) and putting those decisions on paper (graphophonic).  Through this process, knowledge is put into practice rather than simply memorizing words. Of course, a bank of sight words helps the writing and reading process, a posted word wall in the classroom is imperative. A bank of sight words that can be easily read, spelled, and written is imperative. But not at the expense of the ability to decode and write.

In conclusion, yes, sight words should be taught. However, a developmental number for typically developing kindergarten age students would be 30 or less. Students that are ready (with advanced phonemic awareness) of course should be challenged with more. 

Students need the knowledge that reading is a mix of memorized words and decodable words not just a regurgitation of memorized words. Face-it now matter how we try, their are simply too many words in our language to memorize. 

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Lego Education Launches New STEAM Product


Who doesn't love LEGOs? Well LEGO is getting even better because LEGO Education is introducing a new line of products, STEAM Learning! Although this product is labeled preschool, it is very appropriate for kindergarten students at well.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) is a growing movement in education globally, and it isn't just a buzz word. STEAM, taught well, includes integration of subjects to deepen meaning and increase engagement. STEAM inspires students to be creative and critical thinkers; explorers of new ideas.

Many products available on the market are very specific and do not allow for multiple solutions. Because teachers have asked for more materials that encourage the open-ended thinking that STEAM awards, LEGO Education has listened and developed a great line of LEGO's that will allow children to be inquisitive investigators, to solve problems, manipulate, experiment with cause and effect, and be scaffold into a love for creation and engineering.

LEGO Education offered Lyndsey and I the chance to review their new STEAM product, and our review is, it is simply fantastic. Here is what one of Lyndsey's kindergartners had to say about it....

Propose a problem, supply the materials, and be amazed at the outcome.

The Contents

In this pack students are challenged to build their own amusement park, building ramps, swings, pulleys, and levers; meeting Kindergarten science standards through play integrated with engineering. This is an excellent tool for fulfilling learning goals in a more meaningful way. Thank you LEGO Education for advancing the thinking of young learners with this great STEAM based product. LEGO Education STEAM Park is available throughout the world today or in the coming weeks. Visit LEGOEducation.com/preschool or contact your local LEGO Education distributor to learn more.


Bring more STEM or STEAM type activities into your classroom.

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It's no secret that one of my favorite parts of the kindergarten classroom is the science center! This year I introduced it to my students through the concepts of magnification and magnifying tools. One of the first things I purchased for this center was a set of GIANTmicrobes. These fun stuffed plushies replicate the look of real microscopic organisms and cells. The children loved looking at these cute little critters under the microscope.

Besides exploring the GIANTmicrobes, I also had the children also look for tiny alphabet shaped confetti at the sensory table using fine motor tools.

One of the children's favorite games from this science center was a bingo game where they drew a teeny tiny picture and had to use the magnifying glass to find out if the picture was on their bingo board.

They also loved playing a matching game with pictures printed at different levels of magnification. They were amazed to learn how vibrant and alive the microscopic world is!

You can find all of these games and activities to start your own science center in our STEM Skills: Magnification unit. It is available here or through Teachers Pay Teachers.

STEM Skills: Magnification
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Recently, I was contacted by GIANTmicrobes and asked to review their products. This was request I was glad to fulfill as I love these little guys already! This time I decided to get some body cells for the children to examine in the skeleton science center. The children have loved looking at the brain cell, red blood cell, bone cell, and muscle cell in tandem with real bones! These little guys are a great addition to any science center!


You can get your own GIANTmicrobes by visiting https://www.giantmicrobes.com/!

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STEM Skills: Insects
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These amazon affiliate links will take you to some of my very favorite GIANTmicrobes!

Skeleton Science in Kindergarten


Lyndsey has put up her Skeletons and the excitement level in her classroom is through the roof! Why? Because the best thing you can do for your students is to bring science into the classroom. Kindergarten students are natural scientists! And with the engagement of a science-based theme, such as skeletons, you are able to teach all cross-curricular academic skills with high engagement!

Because we have seen this science engagement positively affect academics, we have built many of our thematic units in such a manner. Here is what one parent said when receiving a preview of the new science center.

These bones were purchased throughout the years from the neighborhood butcher. Some have been gifted from parents who live on farms, or have simply found bones along their paths.

These bones were purchased throughout the years from the neighborhood butcher. Some have been gifted from parents who live on farms, or have simply found bones along their paths.

"I showed this to _____ and after looking at it for 5 minutes she said "Mom, I'm so excited!! I can't stop looking at it!!" 💀.

That is exactly what we as early educators want, totally engaged students who can't wait to get to our classroom each day.

To get my students ready for our study of the human skeleton, we sing the song, The Skeleton Inside of You. This great song by Joan Sowards is offered free for classroom use here.

This song gets everyone excited, especially at Halloween time. "What?" "We're a skeleton?"


After the song use this free lesson to set the stage for your unit.

Amazing Bones!

Objectives: Children will learn about bones and the skeleton.

Materials: Skeleton model (you can usually find full size paper or plastic skeletons at any discount store), X-Rays (really, hospitals or vet offices will give you some, or you can purchase at stores such as Lakeshore), Sheets of paper, paper plate, counters, animal bones (including one that is broken). *Bones can be purchased from any butcher. In fact, they usually give them to your for free.


I see (number of children) skeletons. (I like to pause with dramatic effect). Guess what! You are the skeletons that I see.

Bones and muscles give our body its shape. Did you know that we have more than 200 bones inside our very own body? The whole set of bones in our body is called a skeleton.

(Show students a real bone). Bones are hard on the outside but soft on the inside. Bones protect the inside of our bodies, the skull protects the brain, and the ribcage protects the heart and other organs. Drinking milk makes our bones strong. Can you feel your bones under your skin? Instruct the children to feel their hand, arm, and rib bones.

Show the children a basket of X-Rays. An X-Ray is a picture of the inside of a persons body. Hold up each X-Ray, one at a time, against the white board. Instruct the children to compare the X-Ray to the skeleton model. Where is the bone shown in the X-Ray on your body?

Show the children the basket of real animal bones. Look at this broken bone! Point out that the bone is porous and hollow.

Roll up a sheet of paper about one inch wide into a cylinder, then place a paper plate on top of the hollow “bone”. Ask a child to add bear counters to the plate one at a time as they are counted. Let's count how many bears the plate can hold before it collapses the “bone”.

Roll up another sheet of paper as tightly as you can so that there is no hollow section. Stand up this “bone” on the table before placing the same plate on top. Add bear counters to the plate until the “bone” collapses. Ask the children Which bone was able to hold more weight? The hollow center gave the bone a better design and made it stronger. The large bones in our body are also hollow, which makes them strong so they can support more weight, but also light and easy to move.

After this lesson, I follow up throughout the week with many great activities that are science, literacy, math, music, and writing based. (See the unit description below for activity specifics).

I also sing lots of skeleton themed songs like the one below, which I sing to the tune of Ghost Riders In The Sky. A tribute to Calvin (my father-in-law) who taught me about this song.

This song is really fun to sing because it is easy to add a lot of dramatic effects. The title above links to an instrumental track for you to sing along to. Below, I sing the song for you so that you can see how I have adapted the song to the tune. To print the song, simply click and drag to your desktop and print as you would any jpg.

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Also, my skeleton unit wouldn't be the same without a few great videos.

Enter the code BONES when purchasing this fun-engaging unit to receive 50%.

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Also available at TPT

Activities include:

Literacy Activities:

Bones is His Name: Metacognition

Six Swinging Skeletons: Naming and Generating Beginning Sounds

Skeleton Town: Uppercase Alphabetical Order

Skeleton Dance: Matching Letters

Black & White Party: Opposites

Skeleton March: Graphophonemic knowledge

Math Activities:

Skeleton Match-Up: Matching Quantity With Numbers

The Bone Yard: Counting Backwards

Skeleton Squeeze: Greater & Less Than

Collecting Bones: Counting & Cardinality

Skeleton Family: Writing Numbers


The Skeleton March

The Ghost of John

Art Projects

Skeleton Construct


Q-Tip Skeletons: Following directions to make a skeleton.

The Human Skeleton: Magnet Skeletons

Guided Reading Books


The Skeleton

Writing Prompts

What I Know About Skeletons

Skeleton Word Wall Words

Label-It Skeleton

Teaching Math Through Play Unit 2: Geometry

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Introducing Unit Two of our "Math Through Play" series.

This math unit is developmentally appropriate and *classroom-tested for early learners. The lessons are geared for a typical Kindergarten classroom and can be easily adapted for Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, or any Homeschool setting.

As a bonus, many of the lessons are scripted to allow for easy lesson delivery without a lot of preparation, and also, it can be easily handed to a teaching assistant or a parent volunteer with confidence that the lesson objective and content will be delivered!

* The table of contents are clearly outlined to make lesson preparation a breeze.
* The unit includes extras such as delivering number talks, number songs, adding play to the math curriculum, as well as ideas of how to use the calendar and manipulatives in your math routine.
* Each week includes four or five lessons to build knowledge and experience in mathematical knowledge.

Each lesson is linked to Common Core standards!

These lessons can be delivered to the whole group, or easily used as small group lessons.


Guided Reader: Shapes

Music: Shape Song

Number Talks: Shapes

Playful Math Across the Day: Spread these throughout the unit and beyond

Dramatic Play:
3 Bear’s Cottage
Dinosaur Museum
The Bakery
Artistic Play:
Triangle Duck
Rectangle Giraffe
Block Play:
Tower Delivery

Week 1 Day 1: Shapes Around The Room
Week 1 Day 2: Bug a Boo
Week 1 Day 3: Spider Shapes
Week 1 Day 4: Under the Haystack

Week 2 Day 1: The Scarecrow
Week 2 Day 2: Shape Walk
Week 2 Day 3: Shape Bingo
Week 2 Day 4: Shape Memory
Week 2 Day 5: 3d Match Up

Week 3 Day 1: Shape Graph
Week 3 Day 2: Touch a Shape
Week 3 Day 3: My Shape Me
Week 3 Day 4: Hiss
Week 3 Day 5: Shape Puzzles

Geometry Workpages:
X The Shape:
Drawing Shapes

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Teaching Kindergartners to Rhyme


For those children that enjoy the 1000 plus hours of lap-time recommended to ensure kindergarten readiness by the National Institute for Children’s Health and Development, the skill of rhyming is usually learned unconsciously and effortlessly. However, for those students who enter kindergarten without that skill under their belt, learning how to rhyme can be a laborious task, indeed!

So, why do children need to learn the skill of rhyming anyway? Does it really matter if they know that Jill rhymes with hill? Yes! Rhyming paves the wave to future reading success.

Rhyming impacts many components of the reading spectrum. It teaches children about patterns and structures in both spoken and written words. It helps children to read with inflection and animation which leads to increased fluency and comprehension. Rhyming is a crucial skill that will lead to enhanced decoding skills, especially when reading multi-syllabic content words. It helps children be more aware of the commonalities in letter sequences which will make them better writers and spellers.

As with any new skill, teaching a student to rhyme takes practice. A typical student will master any new skills with 25 opportunities to practice. But for a children with lack of exposure, speech and/or language difficulties, and for second language learners, this practice may equal 25 times 25! But, it will be worth the practice because learning to rhyme will increase awareness in the phonology and graphology of English, which are imperative to reading, writing, and oral communication.

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If you are looking for games to fill those 25X25 times, most of our thematic units include rhyming activities as well as other important kindergarten skills.

If you are looking for 19 great rhyming activities, look no further! This reading unit is packed with good stuff!

My class needs extra practice and this is a fun packet!
helpful for my intervention kids
Great interactive and varied activities for my little rhymers!
I love the variety of activities that are included, just as wonderful as your syllables unit! Thank you!

This packet includes activities to help your students understand the concept of rhyming. The lessons vary in style and format. Some lessons are scripted, others are designed for independent practice. Some lessons can be used with small groups while others can be completed with a large group. All lessons can be adapted to support struggling students or to challenge high-achieving students. 

The unit is organized into 19 lessons to be spread out during 7 weeks. Many of the Teach Me To Read Units are meant to be taught in tandem, following the learning to read timeline.

Here is the link for the syllable unit: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teach-Me-To-Read-Syllables-833730

Table of Contents Week 1 Day 1: Nursery Rhyme Time
Week 1 Day 2: The Hungry Duck
Week 2 Day 1: Buggy Rhymes
Week 2 Day 2: Apple Tree Rhymes
Week 3 Day 1: Web Treasures
Week 3 Day 2: Roll and Rhyme Halloween (or any season)
Week 3 Day 3: Halloween Rhyme Time
Week 4 Day 1: Picture Pairs
Week 4 Day 2: Rhyming Flags
Week 4 Day 3: Turkey Lurkey Rhymes
Week 5 Day 1: Rhyme Me a River
Week 5 Day 2: Le Revelillon
Week 5 Day 3: To The North Pole
Week 6 Day 1: The Lost Mitten
Week 6 Day 2: Planes Trains and Everything Else
Week 6 Day 3: Match a Rhyme
Week 7 Day 1: Rhyming Sunglasses
Week 7 Day 2: Home Tweet Home
Week 7 Day 3: T-Shirt Twins

Check out more rhyming tips on our podcast!

Nursery rhymes are a very important tool for teaching the pre-reading skill of rhyming. In this episode we discuss how parents can use nursery rhymes, as well as the steps teachers can use to provide remediation for students who are having trouble rhyming.

Thank you everyone for listening, and thank you to bensound.com for our theme music. If you enjoy the podcast and can review us on iTunes that would be awesome of you!

Kindergarten Kiosk is a proud member of the Education Podcast Network, a network of podcasts for educators by educators.

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Teaching The Alphabet

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The alphabet must be strategically taught with purposeful, thorough planning.       

Young children need to know alphabet letters and sounds; in fact, knowledge of the Alphabetic Principal is crucial for a young child to become a successful reader. The Alphabetic Principal is simply the idea that a letter or groups of letters represent a spoken sound. Once young children understand the letters and their predictable sound(s), they are able to apply that knowledge to the decoding of words.

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The best way to teach the alphabet is to teach letters (upper & lowercase) and sounds together, but have the emphasis of accountability on the uppercase letter. I like to introduce my letter using my focus wall above. I introduce everything I can about the letter including the name, the sound, mouth positioning using Lindamood LIPS picture cards (I know there are cards available on TPT).  I like to use the signing cards from signingtime.com, but there are many free cards available if you google it!

I use the pocket chart that is made by Really Good Stuff that is available on Amazon for $29. (I actually bought 2 sets so that I could keep all of my letters in a bag as this set copies A-M on one side of the card and N-Z on the other. This drove me crazy because I am an organized filer that wants everything ready to go. 

One of the resources that I could live without is the alphabet tubs from Lakeshore (also available on Amazon. I use these tubs not only with my focus wall, but with many beginning sound games. I know they are a little pricey, but I started by trying to find my own objects at dollar stores and more and it was adding up really fast so I decided to use some of my budget and just bite the bullet. I do not regret it, because I have now had them for 20 years and they still look as good as new!

The sticks of course are from Handwriting Without Tears, The little letter books are from Rigby Books, and Hameray Publishing. The Alphabet Zoo program is mine that I have used for 25 years. It has evolved throughout the years and I now own a beanie for each letter (thanks to ebay). The letter chart above the focus chart is how I practice the letters and sounds before the new letter introduction. Now, I am doing and A-Z uppercase anchor and so the letters are in order. When I begin my letter focus weeks, I will turn the letters to lowercase and place them in the introduced order. That way, the letters will be ready for me to arrange as we learn to decode words.

Our podcast, The Alphabetic Principal offers more insights on how I use my focus wall to teach the alphabet.

In the podcast I speak of some great books that talk about the Alphabetic Principal, the anchor of uppercase letters, and suggestions of how to set a solid foundation with your students for future reading success. 

This book is the one that was developed by the government to end the so-called "Reading Wars" of the '90s. The other one is the Consortium on Reading or CORE. The older version (the much cheaper one) is the one I love! Actually I have not looked at the updated version.


All of thematic units contain great alphabet games. Here are a few products, specific to alphabet that you will enjoy. The Falling Leaves Game is FREE!

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Are You Missing Out?

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Seriously! If you are not using ESGI, you are missing out! I began using this great program about 5 years ago. Within the first week, I was hooked! Gone was the need for my stacks of testing paper, gone was my home-made "Red, Yellow, Green" spreadsheet!

My assessments had now taken a new digital form. Instead of testing on paper, transferring those scores to my spreadsheet, and cutting and pasting names to allow the data to sort from a high to low range, VIOLA! I was now testing on my ipad or computer with immediate results! All sorts of data configurations were now available to me with little effort on my part at all!

And now, if the amazing assessment tool wasn't enough, ESGI has rolled out a Classroom Management Tool that makes those time-consuming teacher tasks a SNAP! Check out this 1 minute overview presented by the ESGI creator, himself!

If you are not yet convinced you are missing out, simply try it yourself for FREE! Sign up for a full version trial using code B7227 today. 

If you sign up for your free 60-Day trial before September 30, 2017, you will have immediate entry into a raffle for one of ten $50 Amazon gift cards.

If you are a current subscriber, WAIT there is something for you too! The Classroom Management Tool is yours to use free until December 31, 2017, so be sure to check it out.

Be sure to check out my "Best Selling" assessments that are already preloaded to ESGI!

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Clapping Syllables


I have spend the last few days clapping syllables to the extent that I have even found myself breaking up words into parts at home! So why all the clapping? Syllables, or being able to hear the parts of words and the rhythm that makes up our oral and written language is a crucial beginning step in the learning to read process. I love using our easy to prepare lessons from our Learning to Read: Syllables Unit; I think you will love it to! We have recently updated and added to the product making it a complete syllable curriculum of four lessons for four weeks.

Week 1
Clapping Names
Syllable Objects
The Syllable Walk
Syllable Count

Week 2
Color Walk
Off To See The Wizard
Family Fun
Syllable Sale

Week 3
Animal Sort
The Country Store
Squirrel Sort
Race Up the Ladder

Week 4
Counting Syllables
I Can Syllables
Pumpkin Patch
Haunted House Syllables

Jack Hartmann has a great syllable song video on youtube. I would recommend adding this song to the lessons above to get everyone in your room clapping!

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Building a Community of Learners Through Music

If you have not heard of Heidi Songs, you will LOVE what using her music will do for your early learning classroom. The Hexagon one is my favorites! This song is generally stuck in my brain at all times!

We are lucky to have Heidi as a guest on our Podcast to give us some history of the development of her business. She developed her business just as we have developed Kindergarten Kiosk, selling only what we have tried and found to be successful with our very own students. That makes her product authentic in every way!

Listen to this great podcast here and learn some great tips on how to use music in your classroom.

Then visit Heidi's Songs to grab some of her great productions! 

Math Unit 1: Counting And Cardinality

We've been working hard on our new Math Series, Math Through Play, and Unit 1: Counting and Cardinality is now available!

This math unit is developmentally appropriate and *classroom-tested for early learners (*We ONLY sell what we use successfully in our three kindergarten classrooms)!.

The lessons are geared for a typical Kindergarten classroom and can be easily adapted for Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, or any Homeschool setting.

As a bonus, many of the lessons are scripted to allow for easy lesson delivery without a lot of preparation, and also, it can be easily handed to a teaching assistant or a parent volunteer with confidence that the lesson objective and content will be delivered!

The table of contents are clearly outlined to make lesson preparation a breeze.

The unit includes extras such as delivering number talks, number songs, adding play to the math curriculum, as well as ideas of how to use the calendar and manipulatives in your math routine.

Each week includes four or five lessons to build knowledge and experience in mathematical knowledge.

Each lesson is linked to Common Core standards!

These lessons can be delivered to the whole group, or easily used as small group lessons.

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Table of Contents: 

Number Talks (These are to be spread throughout the unit and beyond).
Playful Math Across The Day (These are to be spread throughout the unit and beyond).
Post Office
Weather Man
Block Play
Sinking Ships

Calendar and Manipulatives
Week 1
Counting Calisthenics
Counting Crayons
Bears and Buttons
Chrysanthemum’s Numbers

Week 2
Road Rally
Visual Numbers
Barnyard Nibbles
Basketball Bounce
Stamp Board

Week 3
Shape Count
Object Count
Willy The Wandering Worm
Apple Memory
Bobbing For Apples

Week 4
Which Has More
Dump It Out
Button Match Up
Potato Bingo

Back To School Thematic Bundle

Are you looking for a great start to your school year?

These great cross-curricular thematic units are PACKED with activities. All of the lessons are scripted for easy lesson delivery! 238 pages of quality early childhood learning, and for the first time -- bundled for great savings!

Back to School Thematic Bundle
18.00 30.00

Save Big with this Back to School Thematic Unit Bundle. Includes our Best Selling, Names, Color Theme, Chrysanthemum, and Mother Goose. Please click on the links for the preview of each included unit. For this price you will be amazed with all that is included!

Mother Goose: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mother-Goose-Nursery-Rhymes-Thematic-Unit-269880

Table of Contents:

Shared Reading Activities
Mother Goose Rhymes: Saying or Singing Nursery Rhymes
Nursery Rhymes: Sequencing Nursery Rhymes
Hey Diddle Diddle Pocket Chart Activity

Literacy Activities
Mother Goose Mix-up: Building Working Memory
Humpty Dumpty Rhymes: Matching Rhymes
Blind Mice Chase: Identifying Letters
Mary Goes To School: Using Preposition Words
Mary's Letters: Tracing Letters A-Z
Little Lost Lambs: Hunting For Alphabet Letters

Math Activities
Little Bo Peep's Sheep: Counting Objects to Match Numbers
Under The Haystack: Identifying Shapes
Nursery Rhyme Patterns: Naming and Creating Patterns
Hey Diddle Diddle Numbers: Identifying Number Names
Nursery Rhyme Puzzles: Developing Spatial Reasoning Skills
Fetch The Pail: Counting & Writing Numbers

Humpty Dumpty
Jack Be Nimble
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Little Bo Peep
Little Boy Blue
Jack and Jill
Little Miss Muffet
The Fly and The Bumblebee

Art Projects
Mary's Schoolhouse: Construction Project
Mary's School Portfolio Sample
Humpty Dumpty on a Wall

Hey Diddle Diddle Prewriting Practice
My Favorite Nursery Rhyme

Insects & Spiders: Making Comparisons

Guided Reading Books
Mother Goose Land
Class Made Books
Mother Goose Rhymes

Chrysanthemum: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chrysanthemum-Thematic-Unit-2703281

Table of Contents

Math Activities

Measuring Names: Comparing and Contrasting the length of names
The Numbers in my Name: Worksheet
Chrysanthemum’s Numbers: Identifying and Naming Numbers

Literacy Activities

Chrysanthemum's Alphabet: Alphabet Bingo
Name Traders: Reading and Matching the Names of Self and Others.
Character Study: Elements of a Character

Original Songs

Clapping Names

Social Studies

Words Hurt: Compassion and Caring
Rules Poster: Classroom Rules
Portfolio Sample: A Wrinkled Heart
Portfolio Sample: All About Me

Guided Reading

The Mouse Family


Chrysanthemum word wall card
All About My Name
Name “Entrance” Tickets

Art Projects

Making Chrysanthemum
Guided Drawing: Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum Puppet

Color My World: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-Thematic-Unit-298357

Table of Contents

Literacy Lessons With Independent Options:
Rainbow Road: Matching Alphabet Letters
Tossing Colors:Reading Color Words
Color Walk: Clapping Syllables
Color Bear: Naming Colors

Shared Reading: Whole Group Activity
Brown Bear: Substituting Words In a Sentence

Independent Activities:
Color Words: Naming Colors
Crayons: Matching Colors

Math Lessons With Independent Options:
Crayon Patterns: Creating & Extending Patterns
Crayon Counting: Counting Objects
Dress A Bear: Building a Working Memory

Independent Activities:
Crayon Boxes: Writing Numbers
Crayon Sort: Sorting Objects
Rainbow Roll: Probability

Art Projects

Color Mobile
Abstract Plates: Using Color to Create an Abstract
Stain Glass Window: Tearing Paper
Color Mini Book: Illustrating a Book

The Color Song
Stand up For Colors

Color Word Wall Cards
My Favorite Color
Class Made Book: Color My World

Science Projects
Color Chase: Mixing Colors

Guided Reading Books
The Color Zoo

Classroom Dispays
Color Word Full Sheet Posters

Writing Names: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Names-Learning-To-Sequence-and-Write-Names-of-Self-and-Others-156363

Table of Contents:

Water Cap Names: Ordering letters in names and transferring knowledge. 
Name Puzzles: Building familiarity with alphabet letters and their function when spelling one's own name.
Name Cheer: (A variation of Name Puzzles): Identifying and sequencing the letters in names. 
Shave a Name: Using correct handwriting technique to write names.
Rainbow Names: Spelling and writing names.
The "Nameapillar": Ordering letters in names.
Trace A Name: Tracing names using correct letter formation. 
Name Fishing: Reading the names of classmates, then sorting according to beginning capital letter.
Name Dictionary: Alphabetizing classmates' names.
Names: A Guided Reading Book
Name Fun: Ten Additional Name Conquering Ideas
Name Game: Studying names of classmates
Name Chart: Studying names in a Morning Meeting routine
Mosaic Names: Spelling and writing names
Name Necklace: Spelling name
Spell-a-Name: Spelling own name and names of others.

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Are You Using Your Counting Straws Wrong?

What I've been using counting straws wrong?

Do you have a set of these small counting straws in your classroom calendar area? Do you dutifully add a straw to the pocket chart every day counting the days of school? Do you immediately bundle the straws into groups of ten on every tenth day and then a group of one hunderd on the hundredth day of school? That's what these straws are for isn't it?

Well... not really.

The problem is that using the counting straws in this way is pretty meaningless for your students. It doesn't help them gain an understanding of the place value behind our number system and if you asked a student why the straws are bundled they would probably answer, "I don't know. That's just what we do."

But there's an easy way to fix the way you use these straws that will develop your student's number sense much more effectively...

Don't bundle the straws.

I mean it. Don't do it. Tell the students that you will be using these straws to count how many days you have been in school and then begin counting. 

Let the pile of straws become unmanageable. Let it take a long time to count. Loose count sometimes. And then one day, in front of the students, let yourself get fed up with those stupid, stupid straws. Tell your students, "I'm tired of counting these straws. It takes too long and I loose count and then have to start over! There must be an easier way to count these straws!" Then let your students come up with a better way of counting. If they tell you to count by twos, wrap up bundles of twos and try it. How much faster could you count? Is there a faster way? Sooner or later your students are going to tell you, "Let's put them in a group of ten and count by tens!" This will provide much more meaning to this activity and give students ownership of it. Then, when someone asks them why they put the straws into bundles of ten they will know exactly why!

Here are some fun math activities that students love!

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