If I Were President Writing Craft (Presidents' Day)

Crafts with photos make the cutest keepsakes! I absolutely love to send these home throughout the year, and the parents are so proud to stash these photo crafts in their keepsake box. This photo craft will be used for Presidents' Day. The kiddos will write about what they would do if they were the president. I created the craft to resemble Washington and Lincoln, two well known presidents that we teach about in early elementary. These crafts only have a few pieces, which is an added bonus!

I take a head shot of each student, and then print them on landscape, with each picture being about a 4 by 6. We add a neck, bow tie, and hat! Simple as that! I also let them add cotton for hair if they choose to give them that George Washington look.

They then write about what they would do if they were the president. For Kinder, we write a rough (very rough) draft on writing paper first, and then I help them make edits and changes before they write their final draft.

This is what the Abe template will look like.


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Crystal McGinnis

Word Family Strips for Guided Reading

I was searching for a quick "warmup" activity to use at the beginning of our guided reading lessons, and decided to create these word family strips to do just that. They are easy to prep, and can be used multiple ways over and over again.

Here are a few ideas on how to use them....

*Say a word off of the list, and then see if your students can find it.

*Choose a word off of the list, and let your students write the word on a white board. After they have written the word, let your students find the word on the list to check their work.

*Ask your students to write a sentence using a word from the list.

*Provide your students with letter tiles. Choose a word from the list for your students to build. After they have built the word, let the students find the word on the list to check their work.

*Have your students read the words, and then draw a picture of the words on the list.

*Let your students see if they can think of any other words that could be added to the list.

I also created them using cvc-e long vowels and digraphs for my higher groups. It is amazing what those little minds can do if you really push them!

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Crystal McGinnis

Valentine Activities for Kindergarten

Candy Heart Math

My kinders love using candy during math, and I LOVE that they are learning with such engagement. Valentine's Day or Valentine's Week, is a perfect time to incorporate candy into the curriculum. Candy hearts are a favorite candy for Valentine's Day learning. I ask each student to bring in a bag of conversation hearts so that we have more than enough to complete all of these candy hearts math activities in the days before Valentine's Day. Here is what we do with those hearts.....

We measure using candy hearts. We measure each of these Valentine arrows. We also measure other objects with candy hearts including our pencils, glue, crayons, and more!

We practice estimating and counting using candy hearts. We estimate how many candy hearts it would take to fill each heart on the provided printable. We then use candy hearts to actually cover the heart. We then talk about our estimates and how close or far off we were. 

We practice sorting and graphing candy hearts.

We play a game of add and cover using candy hearts. The kiddos will roll two dice, and then add the numbers. They will then cover the sum. The first person, in pairs, to cover all of the numbers is the winner.

We create candy heart patterns.

We play tic-tac-toe using candy hearts.

We practice counting and building teen numbers on ten frames using candy hearts.

We practice interpreting and building number sentences using candy hearts.

We use a balance scale to measure the weight of classroom objects using candy hearts.

As you can see, you can practice a lot of math objectives using candy. If you would like to use these printables in your classroom, you can get my candy hearts printables to use in your classroom by clicking here!

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Valentine Pop-Up Cards

We will also create these Valentine pop-up cards the week of Valentine's Day. They are pretty simple to create, and the pop-up feature makes them a little more engaging. The kiddos will make the cards for family or friends. I will let them choose! I love that they will get to create a gift while they are working on their writing skills. 

Valentine Sight Word Poems for Shared Reading

We use sight word poems throughout the entire year to introduce our new sight words. We will add these Valentine poems (AND MORE) to our poetry collection during the month of February! These 2 poems introduce the words is and my.

This poem "My Mom" would make a perfect poem for the kids to read to their sweet moms on Valentine's Day.

Valentine Add & Color

My kids love to color, so I created these add & color math printables for us to use for morning work, math time, centers and more. The kids are practicing their addition skills, along with a little holiday coloring. Grab these printables FREE here!

You might also like my February Emergent Readers. Click here to see them!

Crystal McGinnis

Sight Word Success for New Readers

Teaching sight words, along with all of the other foundational reading skills, is crucial for new readers. Throughout my years as a kindergarten teacher, I have found some effective strategies for teaching sight words successfully. Here is what has worked for me.....

Establish Routines

Establish sight word routines that you complete EVERY SINGLE DAY with your class. One of my favorite routines is building our sight words each day with magnets (as a whole group). After we build our sight words, and say each letter independently, we SNAP, TAP, and CLAP our sight words. My kids LOVE this! Here is what we do..... (I used the word like as an example.)
We say LIKE     L-I-K-E     LIKE   (Snap on each letter as you say it out loud!)
              LIKE     L-I-K-E    LIKE   (Clap with each letter as you say it out loud!)
                        LIKE     L-I-K-E     LIKE   (Tap your toe on each letter as you say it out loud!)

We repeat this with each of our sight words. We do this every morning during our morning meeting, and the kids really learn to recognize and spell the words quickly.

Be Consistent

If you want to consistently expose your students to their sight words each day, create a powerpoint slideshow of your sight words and flip through it daily when you have a few extra minutes. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, but just using the projector and letting your kids chant the words will keep them engaged. I add our new words to the slideshow each week, and then mix up the slides to keep the kids "on their toes." I use this kindergarten review powerpoint, and add my sight words to the end.

Teach Sight Words In "Text"

Use poems to teach your kiddos their sight words in text. My kids LOVE learning new poems, and I love that they are learning their sight words along with so many other important reading skills including fluency, tracking print, and rhyming. I create a poetry notebook for each student which includes my 40 sight word poems for shared reading. These poems are full of sight words. We choral read them, chant them, highlight the sight words, read with partners, and more! I add to the poetry notebooks throughout the year to include back to school poems, fall poems, Christmas poems, spring poems, and more!

Sometimes we use the same poems in our pocket chart center. The kids enjoy putting them together and "playing teacher." I love using highlighting strips to highlight the sight words we are learning.

Keep It Hands-On

Young learners need to be provided with hands-on activities to keep them engaged. Set up a sight word center that is devoted to your new sight words for the week. Provide hands-on materials that can be used with any sight words (to keep your prep minimal.) Using plastic cups to build the sight words is always a hit! You can also use play-doh, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and magnets, just to name a few hands-on manipulatives. 

Make Your Sight Words VISIBLE

Your students should see their sight words EVERYWHERE! Here is an idea.....create sight word "table names" for each of your tables. Hang one sight word above each table. Call the tables to transition by sight word instead of table numbers. Change the "table sight words" each week as you introduce new sight words. Don't forget to save them for the next year!

You can also ensure that your kids see their sight words EVERYWHERE by using anchor charts. Let your kids help you create anchor charts using their sight words. Hang the anchor charts around your classroom for the students to use as a visual reference at a later time.

Another way to make sure that your kiddos are SEEING their sight words everywhere, is using pocket chart activities to display your sight words. Let your students build predictable sentences using their sight words during center time. Keep the sentences displayed for a future reference. Pocket charts are a perfect way to display sight words! This set comes from my predictable sentences pocket chart bundle.

Assess Your Students Often

Keeping track of your students' sight word progress can be key to ensuring success. Assess your students as often as possible, and teach the words that your kids NEED. I assess my students when I pull them over for guided reading. It is very quick, and makes a great "warm up" for the guided reading lesson.

Your young readers can learn their sight words successfully if you establish routines, practice consistency, teach sight words in text, keep it hands-on, make the words visible everywhere, and assess your kiddos often.

Pin this picture to come back later and get my poems, pocket charts, or powerpoint.

Crystal McGinnis

20 Interactive Sight Word Poems for Shared Reading

The last few years, I have been incorporating shared reading into my daily sight word routines. Shared Reading is a perfect way to teach kinders the basics of reading.... including tracking print, fluency, concepts of print and more. I love to use shared reading to teach sight words as well! Students learn their sight words in text, instead of "isolated."

 My newest set of shared reading poems are called interactive poems because the kinders do more than just read the poems. They read the poems, highlight their sight words, write the missing sight words, glue the poems in order, and write about the poems. This is a perfect way to have a sight word poem activity each day of the week. Here is what it looks like in my classroom.

Monday....I introduce the new poem. We choral read it, chant it, and highlight the sight words. I use a projector to show the poem whole group, or I write it on chart paper.

Tuesday.....The students fill in the missing sight words. We re-read the poem together, and then partner read the poem.

Wednesday.....We re-read the poem, and then we glue the poem in order using this mixed-up version of the poem.  We then go back and highlight the sight words if we have time.

Thursday.....We re-read the poem, and then we write using the provided writing prompt for each 

Friday.....We read the poem one last time, and then either take them home for reading homework, or tuck them in our book baskets for a familiar read. Each student has their own poetry folder in the basket.

Crystal McGinnis