Reindeer Antlers Craft

Luckily, my school still has a Christmas Program on the last day before school lets out for Winter Break. For this year's performance, we dressed up as reindeer and sang Jingle Bells. Here is how I made the adorable antlers the kids wore. 

As you can see they're huge and are secured and tailored to each child's head with a brad and rubber band. 

For girls I put a piece of tape over the brad's legs so that it would create a seal and not pull on their hair. 

I've never used a template for these antlers so I don't have one for you to print. However, with any 18 X 13 construction paper you can easily make one antler set per child. I like to make durable templates out of Manila folders so I can use them to trace and not worry about tearing them. 

You can make a half sheet template and trace it onto a folder construction paper aligning it with the seam. 


You can make a full size template to trace onto a flat unfolded sheet of construction paper. 

 Last add the brads and rubber band. 

To further personalize the size to each child's head you can put the brads further back or use a smaller rubber band. 

Here's the class sporting their look. In years passed I put a little bit of red lipstick on their noses for a pop of color. 

Thanksgiving Day Crafts in Kindergarten

Thanksgiving day week has come and gone. We celebrated all week long by reading non fiction books on Indians, Pilgrims and even turkeys. Now comes our culminating activities... pilgrim hats and indian crowns to wear home at dismissal.

Here is the pattern I used for pilgrim hats for boys. I used a standard manila folder as the material so that the template is thick enough to last for years. I got the pattern from a past teaching partner and have used it ever since. It is too large to trace and scan on a 8.5 by 11 paper so I don't have a link for it. However, through the pictures you can see it takes up the entire size of the manila folder and traces nicely onto a large 18 X 13 construction paper without having too much excess to trim off.

pilgrim hats
Pilgrim Hat Template to trace on black construction paper

pilgrim hat trim and buckle
Pilgrim hat trim and gold buckle

pilgrim hats all prepped
Pile of Pilgrim hats and all the fixin's! Ready for kids to glue.
In order to adjust each hat to each student's head size. I place the hat on their head and then pinch and overlap the excess in between my fingers. I staple that together and it fits like a glove!

Pilgrim Hats get fitted to each head.

Pilgrim hats get the excess overlapped and stapled to fit perfectly.

Here are a few cutie pies wearing the finished product while enjoying some juice.

Pilgrim Hats for boys! 

Now for the ladies. They got to wear bonnets made out of white construction paper and black yarn. It took a lot of folding, one staple, two 12' pieces of yarn, and a hole punch. 

Here are two pilgrims side by side. The little girl looks adorable in her bonnet.

Pilgrims in a bonnet and hat enjoying a snack
Here are the step by step folding instructions for creating that bonnet shown above.

Step One to making a pilgrim bonnet
Step One: Take a standard 18 by 13 paper and fold up an inch from the bottom. This will serve as the cuff of the bonnet.

Step Two to making a pilgrim bonnet.
Step Two: Flip the paper over.

Step Three to making a pilgrim bonnet.
Step Three: Take the left and right top corners and fold inward equally in the same way you would fold a paper plane.

Step Four to making a pilgrim bonnet.
Step Five to making a pilgrim bonnet.
Step Four and Five: Fold the left and right sides inward evenly over each other then fold the top peak down as well. 

Step Six to making a pilgrim bonnet.
Step Six and Seven: Open the flaps and pick up the top peak and the inside squared flaps and hold them in the same hand together as shown above. This is where you will place the staple making sure the top peak and the two squared flaps are in the same staple. See below.

Step Seven to making a pilgrim bonnet.
Now pop that sucker open by square it out. Place a hole punch on each side of the cuff and tie a yarn string into each hole.

Step Eight to making a pilgrim bonnet. 

Pilgrim girl bonnet out of construction paper
One of my coworkers bought doilies from the dollar store and cut them in half. Then she glued one half to the top of each bonnet. I choose not to embellish my bonnets this way because I think pilgrims would have had simple bonnets in "real life." 

I was able to prep the boys' hats in one sitting after school and the girls' bonnets on a separate day. While I fit the kids with their bonnets one at a time, I have them color a pilgrim coloring sheet. Click here for the free download. 

Free Pilgrim Coloring Sheet

We also made Indian crowns the day before. We had each color symbolize a part of the Indian life style we read about earlier in the week. The kids related it to camping as we were discussing the colors. Red was fire for keeping warm and cooking meat. Yellow was the sun for growing plants. Blue was for water. Brown was for soil.

Indian Crowns for Thanksgiving

Indian Crowns for Thanksgiving - Symbolic Colors
As the kids were finishing their Indian crowns I had the early finishers color a cute sheet from Artifex Clip Artist found on TeachersPayTeachers. It is shown below. Click here for a free pdf file.

Free Coloring Sheet for Thanksgiving
We had a busy week celebrating Thanksgiving. Hope that my pictures and freebies can help you celebrate with your own class as well. Enjoy :)

Social Studies In Kindergarten: Maps and Communities

One of the first projects or themes I find fun, simple and engaging is learning about Communities (2 weeks) and making a map as the culminating activity to end the unit. (For a total of 3 weeks on Community)

This week, I started by reading the class a book on maps I got on Amazon. The book was chunked over a period of 2 days to ensure understanding.

kindergarten blog
Maps - Kindergarten Unit

After the story, the students were shown real maps that I had saved from going on little road trips. We sat in a circle and talked about what we noticed on them. I had a few kids share out about a time they used a map with their family.

Real maps - San Diego, San Francisco

I also had some maps from the San Diego Zoo and and some play maps for kids from a teacher supply store. We watched a video on maps and models from the United Streaming's website. Our district purchased user licenses for all teachers to access their videos on our Promethean Boards.

I pulled out our old ELD song for communities from Rigby. The red car is on velcro and sticks to the different places in the community. So we fill in the sentence frames depending on where the car lands.

On Tuesday,  I read the last chunk of the Map book. Then, I pulled out our Writing Web for the power word "go." (The laminated web is from a district purchased program  called Learning Headquarters). I taught the sight words "go" under my own structure however as a part of this writing unit in my TPT Store called Rebus Writing using Sight Words. The word "go" is week 5 of the 8 week unit. With a pointer I pointed to the word web and we orally filled out each sentence frame from the word bank.

I allowed the kids to draw their own interpretation of a map on a half sheet of drawing paper as a pre-assessment to see where they are. Most kids drew standard pictures of places but some surprised me and had some streets and people walking in the map to different places.

On Wednesday,  I read them a book on map keys/legends.

Map Keys and Legends
I put up a class legend on the Promethean board that had four requirements. The sample legend was pre filled and colored and drawn and labeled. I asked the kids to draw a map on a full sized drawing page that had a: school, police station, neighborhood of homes, and a park. The symbol for each was a: building with flag next to it, building with a car next to it, triangles to symbolize a neighborhood, and a slide to symbolize the park. 

I set the kids to work and could see them looking up and referencing the sample key as they drew their maps. I noticed an improvement in their pictures from the day before. Once all the required components from the class key were on their maps I passed out markers and let them fill in the blanks and put more detail in the map. I cut out small legends that were identical to the one I had on the board and had kids glue it on the corner of their map. They were allowed to take it home. 

By Thursday, I brought out the colorful construction paper!

The neat piles of color coded paper soon got a little messy! I had pre cut them into squares or rectangles. The first to go was blue because everyone was required to put a body of water on their map somewhere. It could be a river, lake, ocean or backyard pool. Also, the black strips I precut were the first to go because those were the streets and kids were allowed to use up to four. 

Building community maps 1

Building community maps 2

 Children got right to work. They were so excited. Each map came out truly unique. As the kids were finished up I had them set up on the rug so the glue could dry and so kids who needed inspiration could come do a carousel walk around the rug and get ideas.

Finished maps

One of my late finishers added a church to her map even though we never discussed it. Cute!

She made her map look like quadrants! She added sand to the beach and a church!

The early finishers were doing literacy centers and reading books from the community tub. Building maps was a busy day. On Friday, I handed back their maps and a blank legend key. I asked them to make a legend for their map. Each was different. 

map key/ legend
I had them glue the legends on the back of their maps. I made them a word bank so they could copy. However, some were ready for inventive spelling and didn't need to reference it. If this were done at the end of Kindergarten I would not even offer a word bank on the board. I would ask all kids to use inventive spelling to fill out their legend.

If you'd like the free blackline master for the legend see the link at the bottom of this post. 

IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER AGAIN... I would not have them glue the legends on the back of the maps. I would display it next to the maps because once I mounted them all on the wall I realized they were hidden. LOL! Oh well. Next year I'll have learned my lesson. 

Wall of Maps! Almost done. Just need to add their name tag underneath each map.
After reflection, I wouldn't have just had the kids draw on blank drawing paper. So I created these blackline masters as well. Enjoy!

Back to School Basics - Teaching Good Classroom Behavior

School has started for me! I teach for a modified year round school district. My six week Summer has come to a close. The night before school started I posted this picture to my Facebook much to the amusement of my fellow teachers on there. I'm sure they felt the same way.

Janine Campos' blog
Back to School Napping Thoughts

When my kinders came to me this Monday, July 28, I was excited because last year I taught a kinder first grade split class which meant I had to go fast sooner. I missed the full "kindie" experience a lot. This week, I started establishing routines and procedures as well as practicing those preschool academics like tracing, circling, coloring, Xing out the wrong answer and circling the correct answer.  Most importantly, I am working on teaching good classroom behavior... starting with walking in line.

student behavior for kindergarten
Walking In Line for Kindergarten

Here is my wall of rules. It is right by the entrance and we go over the class rules every morning. 

Kindergarten classroom behavior
Classroom Behavior Posters

Beginning of the School Year Kindergarten
Classroom Management for Back to School Season

I have each poster in a PDF file so I can add it into a flip chart and display on my class' Promethean board for the kids each morning until they master them. To download a FREE SAMPLE POSTER for walking in line (shown in above picture on the right) click here

At the end of the day today, I tried giving them this handout. It utilizes the same adorable clip art from the posters. ( made by Educasong on TPT ) they did very well with it since they had to color to mark their answer and it's a skill we've been covering all week long. 

first 6 weeks of school for Kindergarten
Kindergarten Behavior Printables for Back to School Routines and Procedures

As I was waiting for the clock to strike in my classroom so I can head home,  I managed to get all these beauties copied, cut, collated, and stapled for the second week of Kindergarten.

Teaching good behavior in kindergarten, RTI
Class Behavior No No's

The above booklet helps to give examples of what NOT TO DO. Kids echo repeat the pattern sentences and trace the NO on each page. We will have a class discussion on each behavior and color the cute images.  It's been five days of kinder and I've already had someone throw a tantrum so this will come in handy next week.  

kindergarten RTI behavior strategies
Reminds me of the Marine Corps chants they sing as they run miles

The above booklet covers our walking in line chant. We recite it every time we need to walk as a class anywhere on campus. "I don't know but I've been told, Kindergartners are made of gold!" Just kidding. Our chant is soo much cuter. There are more pages in the booklet but they're not featured in the image above.  

teaching good behavior in Kindergarten
Being a good friend in Kindergarten

The above booklet is the opposite of the No-No's book. It gives all the great examples of kind and responsible behavior.

classroom management kindergarten
Teaching Good Behavior in Kindergarten

To have copies of all of the above handy, dandy PRINTABLES click this title: "Teaching Good Behavior in Kindergarten"