October Centers for Kindergarten (and 1st and 2nd) and a quick giveaway

October is around the corner! We did some festive decorating in our house today. And I mean festive! We are all about the Halloween/fall decorations. Starting a little early this year, but that's just more time to enjoy our fun decorations. Plus Shawn has been asking me about decorating for weeks already!

I wanted to give you all a little peek at my October literacy centers for kinders. I'm working on these with my son Shawn, and I will be using these with my groups at school. These activities would also be great for some first graders too. 

Two menus: one has an extra column of word work. The other just has letter work, writing, and word sound columns. I gave two options because the full menu would be overwhelming for many kinders. The full kinder menu would be perfect for first graders or kinders who are ready to sound out words. You could also use the word work for your small group activities. 

Letter Work

Spider Sound Match: matching letters to pictures (first sounds- next month I'll throw in the last sounds)

Leafy Letter Sort (sorting letters with different fonts)

My set up: I glue the cover to the folders. The worksheets go on one side and the hands-on pieces go on the other side. The cover picture matches the student menu picture. 

Monster Match Up: matching lower case and upper case

Word Work

Patch of Words: Making CVC words 

Making words by matching onset and word ending

Sorting letters and words

Word Sounds:

Beginning Sound Match

Spooky Syllable Sort

Rhyme Match (not printed yet so here's the preview shot)

Writing: (I didn't print that out yet)

and some extras that are not on the menu to prepare for later months:

There are also directions for setting up the centers

and directions for the actual centers

You can get this kinder menu here:

You already saw these last year, but in case you want a refresher, here are my first grade centers:

You can get the 1st grade here:

Here's Second grade:

You can get these 2nd grade here:

If you want both the 1st and 2nd, you can get the COMBO pack. I made the combos because there is some overlap between 1st and 2nd. Most centers look the same, but the second grade uses harder words   or more of them. 

Want a chance to win all three? Enter the rafflecopter below! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just for fun....

Apple Activities

Let me start by saying I do love my new job. HOWEVER... I SO miss seasonal fun activities. I LOOOVE fall and this is always the time when we do fun apple activities. We even took a field a field trip to an apple farm and plant. LOVE that field trip. I walk into the first grade class and I just miss that part so much. But, I still wouldn't trade it this year. :) To make myself feel like I'm involved in this applicious fun, I thought I would post some activities that I used to do. Some of this stuff was posted last year and some in 2011, but  I thought I'd repost just in case you missed it. 

Life cycle of an apple:
I read this cute book called Just a Seed. It's actually guided reading level E, so a good portion of your kiddos can read this themselves. We read it as a class. It's a cute book about a girl who throws out an apple seed and the book follows the seed until it becomes an apple tree. At the end an apple is picked from that tree and the seed is thrown out again. What a cute way to illustrate the cycle of an apple.  

Last year I made this Read and Sequence page for my students.


If you have an Edhelper subscription, (which I totally recommend), they have the cutest apple life cycle project! It illustrates the life cycle of an apple better than I could.  We made these in years past:

There are tons of cute crafts for sale on TPT for apples too!

 To teach students about what an apple tree needs to grow, I made this PowerPoint. I have to say, that I actually enjoy watching it myself. Ha! I have never been one of those people who grasp concepts quickly, so I made this PowerPoint with a young Sarah (that's me) in mind. So, I tried to get really basic and to the point. 

(Please let me know if you have trouble downloading. I was having issues earlier.)
On this slide, the bee actually flies from one tree to the other. :) 
I know there is better technology out there but I made this a while ago and it works for me, so why go searching for something shiny and new, right? Give it a try- it really is a kid pleaser!

My students LOVE this one! They watched it 3 times in a row. I tried to use basic fonts so that it wouldn't get all messed up when you all tried to download it on your computers (since it's not pdf). So please don't laugh at my font choice! :) You can cringe like I do though. 

 After the PowerPoint, I had my kiddos show what they learned by filling out this sheet:

 I also made one where the words were already written for them. They just have to illustrate. This is for kids who need a little more support at the beginning of the year. 

Next, we go over the seasons of an apple tree. After reading about it, students color, cut and glue in the correct spot.

We review the scientific process with this experiment.

First, we observe what happens to an apple that is sliced and left out. Then we ask the question, "What could we put on an apple slice to keep it from turning brown?" Students make a prediction (hypothesize). They show their hypothesis by coloring the apples brown or yellow to show which liquid they think will keep the apple from turning brown. We test our hypothesis. I gather the class and pour the liquids on different apple slices. We wait, check, wait, check. Then we record our results and draw our conclusion. 

At the end of our unit, we all bring in an apple for our apple celebration. We use this little apple journal to record  some of our activities. 



For math, we play this simple addition game. I love it because it's little prep. All I did was print out the trees beforehand. We use two color counters to be yellow and red apples. Players spin or roll dice. One dice is for yellow and one for red. They make addition sentences in their math notebooks and build on the tree. 

And one more math game:

I copy red and green apples with numbers on them. Students match the apples to the board to make sums of 10.

You can find this unit at my TPT store. 

UPDATE! This unit has been updated and have several additions. 

Short and Long A Fun

Have I mentioned how much I am LOVING my new job?  Being a reading teacher has been so fun so far. I get to meet with small groups or individual students for 30 minutes each. Did I mention this was uninterrupted time? It is so refreshing to get through 30 minutes of solid, engaging instruction without any disruptions.  I'm in love. It's amazing how much you can accomplish. I already feel like I'm making strides with these kiddos. And it's only been 2 weeks! 

To help my students improve their reading skills, I split my 30 minutes up this way: phonics activities/instruction, shared reading/fluency activities, sight words or vocabulary practice, guided reading (teaching and practicing strategies and comprehension skills), and writing. This is for 1st-3rd grade students. I haven't started teaching my kinders yet. When I get them, I'll probably split it like this: phonological awareness activity (syllables, rhyming, phoneme work, etc.), alphabet practice, and writing. 

I took a few pictures this week. Most of the pictures were taken after the kids left because it's distracting taking pictures while we work. 

With my firsties, we focused on short a in phonics. My first graders all know their letter sounds, but are at that point where they are ready to start sounding out words but it's tough for them. This part is so exciting. I try to give them a lot of opportunities to practice this skill. The more interactive and hands-on, the better! (At least for most kids.)

I added this story and a few other goodies to my short a pack. If you already bought it, you should go back and download again. There are about 15 extra pages now!

These are also included in my short a pack.

With some of my second graders, we worked on long a words with silent e.

I'm working on making a long vowel pack similar to my short vowel packs.

We moved on to long a words that have ai. I ended up doing these activities with my 3rd graders too. I found that my third grade group needed to revisit these phonics concepts.
That sorting ai/ short a activity is from my 2nd Grade September literacy center.

I'm pleasantly surprised at the progress I already see! 

For the guided reading portion, I use books from our reading series, books from readinga-z.com (LOVE this site), and random collections of books I've acquired over the years. I'll post more about the guided reading portion soon!