While Kathy's room has been full of "ar" and "yo ho" and "matey", our class has been growling with dinosaurs. Here are some of the things we've been doing:

We made dinosaur hats that made everyone roar with delight. These hats are super easy to make. First, I traced a dinosaur on a large piece of construction paper, then I had the children trace that pattern twice and cut out two dinosaurs, then we stapled the two dinosaurs together at the top and plopped the growling guys on each kid's head.

We also learned about teen numbers by using rekenreks to play a game I called "Make My Dino". The first child turned over a "head" and a "tail" card to make a dinosaur (the heads were all ten and the tails were 1-9). Then the second child had to show how many squares were on the dinosaur his/her partner made.
I love using rekenrek's because they are a great way to reinforce the 5 and 10 structure that our number system is built on. They've been an especially great tool in helping my kids with the teen numbers because of how the entire top row moves over whenever a number is in the teens. If you don't have access to a set of rekenreks you can make your own really easily. Here is a set of instructions, all you need is some cardboard, string or pipe cleaners, and beads in two different colors.

Pirate Thematic Unit and a Freebie: Linked to Common Core Standards

Arr! Check out our latest thematic unit. And as usual, all lessons are strategically linked to common core standards.

Confidently teach the common core standards!
This 94 page Pirate Unit is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, worksheets,, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading. The activities are clearly written, easy to use, and need limited amounts of preparation. The lessons (games or activities) included are scripted. They are written in a format that can be easily taught by the teacher or readily handed off to a parent volunteer or a classroom aide with complete confidence that objectives of the lesson will be reached. 
Table of Contents:
Scripted Literacy Lessons With Independent Options:
Treasure Chest Words: Writing CVC Words
Dangerous Waters: Naming Alphabet Letter Sounds Fluently
Alphabet Explosion: Fluently Recognizing Various Alphabet Fonts
Pirate Plunder: Fluently Naming Alphabet Letters
Pirate Cove: Alphabet Letter Name & Sound Fluency
Master of the Ship: Reading Sight Words
Independent Activities: 
Pirate Words: Writing CVC Words
Spyglass Sights: Writing CVC Words
Scripted Math Lessons With Independent Options:
Treasure Math: Writing Addition Problems
Jewel Grab: Comparing Number Quantity
The Missing Treasure Chest: Ordering Numbers
Treasure Coordinates: Combining Numbers to 10
Independent Activities: 
Pirate Ships
Treasure Hunt: Identifying and Writing Numbers
Pirate Word Wall
Ahoy Matey
If I had a Pet Parrot
Art Projects
Pirate Hat & Spyglass
Shape Pirate
Parrot Pet
Pirate Ship
Pirate Captain 
Guided Reading Books
The Pirates
The Little Pirates
I Am a Pirate
Twenty Four Pirates

To compliment the unit and to add to guided reading fun, check out our emergent reads.

Arr! Spice up your guided readings with these great pirate themed books!
Book Titles and Levels
I Like Pirates-- Level C
X Marks The Spot-- Level E
The Pirates -- Level C
The Treasure -- Level D

And, here is the freebie, ENJOY!

Pirate Thematic Unit

Well, our Pirate Unit is still about a week away from being posted, but I just couldn't wait to give you a sneak peek!

ARRR Matey!
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Ocean Thematic Unit

We have been budding oceanographers in our kindergarten room!

Check out our Ocean Thematic Unit. It is clearly linked to Common Core Standards.

Valentine Learning Activities

Some of Today's Learning Centers

Reading a Color Word Book

Identifying and Writing Letters of Different Fonts

Playing Valentine YOYO

Graphing Candy Hearts

Fishing For Letters to Spell the Names of Friends

Playing a Segmenting Game

Writing a Note to a Friend (You are Awesome!)

Reading Color Words

Read Across America Celebrates Dr. Seuss

We have just posted our 60 page Dr Seuss Author’s Study: Curriculum Essentials for Math, Literacy, Science & MORE!
Table of Contents:
Scripted Literacy Lessons:
Catch The Cat: Reading Sight Words
Silly Words: Naming Sounds to Decode Words
Race Around the House: Segmenting Words
Independent Activities:
Family Words Worksheet
Scripted Math Lessons With Independent Options:
Creating Patterns: Repeating and Creating Patterns
Battle: Comparing Numbers and Identifying Which is Greater
Shapes Around the Room: Identifying and Copying Shapes
Independent Activities:
Monkey Patterns Worksheet
Art Projects
Patterned Hat
Oobleck: Mixing Ingredients
Word Family Hat Book
Blank “Hat” Writing Paper
Guided Reading Books
I Can Spell
The Cat In a Hat

Valentine Envelopes

I don't think this picture does justice to just how cute these Valentine envelopes came out. Best of all, they were super easy to do. I took two large sheets of white construction paper and stapled the sides and the bottom. Then, the children decorated the envelope (making sure to include their names). Today, the children drew their head, cut it out and glued it to the back of the envelope, then they made arms to glue on the front as if holding the envelope. Now we're ready to pass out Valentines! The best part is that after Valentines have been passed out, I can staple the tops of these babies closed to keep them from being distracting. I love it!!

Valentine Dramatic Play

We are all excited for Valentine's Day! And we are celebrating in the dramatic play area, which has just become our Valentine Post Office! I made a whole bunch of mail carrier hats by using the template that is available at makinglearningfun.com. Then I gave each child a "mailbox" by placing his/her picture inside of a cubby. Actually, I had to squeeze 3 kids to each cubby because I now have 61 kids!!! 30 in one session and 31 in the other (welcome to Utah).

Then I set up a writing area with access to lots of valentine words. Some of which are available through our valentine unit and some I accessed here.

Finally, I made sure to include lots of Valentine making materials: cards, hearts, stamps, stickers, envelopes, papers, stencils, etc. The kids are having a great time making Valentines and delivering them to one another while practicing their emerging writing skills in an authentic way! Hooray for dramatic play!!