2017-18 Calendars are here!

Are you starting to think about next school year yet?  I hope not!  If you are a teacher, I hope that is the last thing on your mind.  But, honestly, this is the time when we reflect about went well, what we want to do better, and new things we might try next year...  or maybe you are thinking about vacation, baseball, and beating the heat. 

These calendars are the first thing I do each summer for back to school because I have so many teachers who depend on me to make calendars for their students each year.  We all use these for kids to learn and practice writing numbers to 30 in our classrooms.  This is an activity teachers have been doing for years and it is one of the few things I have NOT kicked to the curb since common core came along.

When CCSS came along, there were so many new activities to try, new curriculum to implement, and I felt like there was not enough time for everything...  especially in a partial day kindergarten.  There were so many old activities that just had to go.  But this activity is still my go to for monthly number writing.   There are so many concepts we work on each time we do this...  of course the actual handwriting of numbers, which is TRICKY for little learners.  And of course there is the rote counting and remembering the number order.  We also do a lot of work on the order of numerals in the two digit numbers.  We look at patterns that can help us remember.  Kids also learn to use tools in the classroom to help themselves.  Many students work on perseverance, focus, and time management as well.

Even though I really do like my adopted math curriculum, it doesn't give the kiddos as much practice with number writing as they need.  So this is an important area to supplement.  If I don't send them to first grade knowing this, then I have failed.  My friend next door teaching first grade still does this in her room every year too.   The kids benefit from fine motor practice and double digit number practice.  Did I mention that the families LOVE getting these at home each month?  I have parents comment on them all the time.  I even have kids tell me where they put the calendar in their homes.

OK, so... clearly this is a tried and true learning activity.  Are you doing these in your classroom?  If not, why?

Is it because you don't have time to think up an art project each month?  I've got you covered!  My calendar product comes with art ideas for the entire year with details about how we did the project.  I update it each year with new projects.  It also has links to my Pinterest boards so you can search for new ideas.  Is it because you don't want to have to buy a new download each year?  Got you covered there too!  My calendar product is perpetual, so you automatically get a new download each year.  Just go into My Purchases on TpT, find the calendar product and download again!  Easy Peasy!

So, if you own my Calendars for Number Writing ~Perpetual~  go download it and grab your new calendars.  If you don't have it yet, you might want to consider investing in it.  I have a commitment to make these calendars through 2028, and will probably make them well after that.  The price will be going up when the school year begins, so I hope you get it this summer to save.

Let's look at some adorable seasonal art and then I will show you the new calendar set for 2017-2018.

This apple is adorable!  We did an apple unit that year and we talked about the variations in colors even on apples from the same variety.  I thought it came out beautiful!

This baby jack-o-lantern is so cute.  This little guy didn't want to do lots of cutting, but I thought he was really creative with how he did the eyes and the tiny vampire tooth.  You can find more fun and funky jack-o-lanterns on this blog post: It's Pumpkin time!

This was a fun project for November!  We just did a construction paper collage on cut paper plates for the pie.  The napkin is construction paper too.  We glued on a fort to make it complete!

This is one of my favorite projects for December.  I always have several colors of paper available so kids can make candles any color they like.  That way we honor any family celebrations or lack thereof.  The greens are just ripped paper glued on in two shades of green.  You can do ripped red paper for berries, or glitter berries too.  The flame is gold glitter.

This is my new favorite winter art project.  We did these last year for December and they all came our just beautiful.  This was a two part project.  First, kids make a tissue paper collage on card stock using a glue-water mixture.  After this dried, they cut out triangle shaped trees and glued them on the dark background paper.  Lastly, they dotted on white tempera paint using cotton swabs to make snow.  Each one came out as unique as the child that made it, but they were all lovely. 

This project was a water color resist using white oil pastels on white paper.  Kids cold draw trees, houses, snow people, snowflakes, etc.  It was an open ended winter drawing.  Then they painted over the drawing with winter sky colors like blue, purple, etc.  It is always an experiment doing water color resist with young kids.  They have to press hard with the pastels.  I just loved the way this one came out.  I like the colors and how it isn't "perfect".  It is beautiful.

I just adore these love bugs!  They made great art for our calendars a few years ago.  I used Ellison die cuts for the hearts and circles.  I cut some of the circles in half for the wings.  We had lots of different colors available for our little artists.  We also used googly eyes and oil pastels for details.

This spring calendar was also done with Ellison die cuts.  We have the flower die at school.  I made lots of those in yellow and white and the kids used tissue to make the little centers for the flowers.  They are supposed to look like daffodils... even though they aren't really accurate, they are still pretty flowers for March.

OK, this is the last one...  Earth Day art for April!  This earth template and the little Everyday is Earth Day sign are FREE in my TpT store.  They are part of an Earth Day writing activity  You can grab them right here: Earth Day FREEBIE!

Oh my goodness... that is a lot of art!  So even if you don't use my calendars in your classroom, I hope you found some ideas that you can use!  Here are my Calendars for Number Writing 2017-2018:

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy teaching!

Eggcellent ideas for Spring and a GIVEAWAY!

 I have ideas for activities with eggs for you.  The #kinderfriends are doing a give away too, so be sure to enter! I also have a sweet freebie for you. Keep reading so you can grab it.

I love doing a mini unit on spring with my class right before break.  Part of that unit is learning about all the baby animals being born.  It is really fun to learn about how many different animals come from eggs!  That's why I made this sweet little emergent reader:

My kiddos LOVE this book!  You can grab it right here:  Emergent Reader: Oviparous Animals - What Comes From an Egg?   We really enjoyed learning about a new animal each day for the next page.   I did a Google search each morning to show the kids real images for the eggs.  I projected the images on the big screen in our classroom. 

I also had some great books to read to my sweet students on this topic.  You can find lots more ideas for books and other activities about eggs and spring here:  Baby Birds! Spring ideas from Mrs. Byrd   You can also grab some tips on coloring eggs in your classroom and grab a FREEBIE for spring word work with plastic eggs here: Coloring eggs in the Classroom .

It's fun to have your students design a colorful egg for spring.  This is my teacher example that I show my students as I explain the art project to them.  You can see how we made these eggs on this blog post: Melt Art Fun!  I had a cute little bird in my egg.  But, it's fun to let your students pick whatever animal they want to come out of the egg.  

It's also really fun to hatch real eggs in your classroom.  Last year, some kids at school found these little yellow eggs and we hatched  them in our room.  We watched them go from eggs to larvae to pupae and finally we had live adult ladybugs.  It was an adventure every day finding aphids.  I am so glad I happened to have a great little habitat for the buggies!  I posted pictures and videos about the ladybugs on Instagram.  I try to post something on Insta from my classroom each day.  You can find me on Instagram here:  @mrsbyrdslearningtree

This year a sweet parent brought in some tadpoles from her pond.  It's been a learning experience keeping them.  None of us had ever tried to watch the frog life cycle in a classroom before.  Thankfully another sweet mom brought in a great bowl to keep them in.  

I was worried about how they would do over spring break and I was THRILLED today when they were still doing fine.  Yay! 


 Isn't this little guy cute?

OK, it's FREEBIE time!!!
I wanted a fun little number, counting, and number word review for my class this spring.  So I put together this little math station activity.  It is FREE this week only!  Grab it by Thursday April 13th 2017.  It will turn into a regular priced item on Thursday night.  The link is below.

I have kids work collaboratively to put the numeral cards in order first.   Then they take turns matching the nests and word cards to the numbers.    This set also has two worksheets to reinforce the concepts.  One is to practice the number words and neat handwriting.

The other sheet is a cut and paste matching numerals and number of eggs.  It's a cute one:

I hope this is a big help to you!  You can grab it in my TpT store here: Spring Eggs Number Match

Don't forget to enter the #kinderfriends giveaway.  Some buddies and I are giving away some "EGGSTRA" special spring products.  One lucky winner will get all 7 packs!  Woo hoo!  Hope you win:)

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Thanks so much for stopping by!
Happy teaching!

Spring is in the Air FREEBIES blog hop!

I am so happy to be joining my #kinderfriends for another blog hop!  This one is loaded with lots of FREEBIES for you to use this spring.  We are having a sale too!  Just search on TpT using #kinderfriends and you will find all of our special spring deals.  Make sure you read through this entire post so your grab all the freebies I have for you.

We just had our first warm week last week and I am so ready for the warm weather.  But this week is another filled with cold and rain.  Spring is here, but it may be a while before it totally kicks in.  Spring fever in my classroom has kicked in, though.  Oh my goodness, we have been working on behavior!  If you want to grab a free printable that I use in my classroom to help with spring fever, you can grab it right here: Spring Fever FREEBIE!

The kiddos are excited and I am too.  I am getting excited for the fun spring themes coming our way.  Flowers are popping up everywhere, so I made a little hands on center activity for subtraction practice.  It is FREE through March 23rd only!  Check it out...

It's a subtraction sorting activity.  Kids sort the leaves onto the flower with the answer to the problem.  My kids will have manipulatives to do the problems hands-on if they need them.  I will encourage mental math, but subtraction can be tricky for our kindergarten darlings, so here is an example of the additional support using manipuatives:

The problem on the leaf is 8-4, the child starts with 8 flower erasers on the ten frame, and then takes away 4.  She is left with 4.  Then she places the leaf on the 4 flower.  The ten frame in this photo is perfect for those little erasers that we all love to use as math manipulatives.  They are a part of a ten frame cards set I made to help with math and number talks in my classroom.  You can grab those right here: Ten Frame Number Cards 0-10

The subtraction sort activity has problems with answers 2, 3, 4, and 5.

It also has two cut and paste worksheets for students to do as homework or extra practice.  I hope this is helpful to you!  This subtraction sort is FREE until March 23rd only!  You can go  grab it right here: Spring Flower Subtraction Sort
Spring means active learning is more important than ever.  Subtraction is such a big math concept for kindergarten kiddos, we will need fun ways to practice for the rest of the school year.  So I made a fun little recording sheet to do subtraction bowling in your classroom.  I wanted to start with only 6 cups in the beginning because that's what my students needed.

 After making this for 6, I decided to make it for 10, 15, and 21 as well.  That way, I can differentiate for my class and my first grade friends will be able to have fun with this activity too.  I make double sided copies of this sheet and kids have them on clip boards while doing the activity.  I like to do this as a small group station.  Kids can write number sentences for every turn or just their own.  It is a fun way to practice math facts and solidify those subtraction skills.

This is another spring FREEBIE for you!  You can grab the number 10 recording sheet right here: Subtraction Bowling FREEBIE   If you want the recording sheets for all the numbers, you can grab it in my TpT store right here: Subtraction Bowling ~ Number Sentence Recording Sheets

Don't forget that we are having a Spring SALE through March 23rd.  Just search the #kinderfriends hashtag in the TpT search box at the top of the screen to grab some great things to make this your best spring ever!

Hop along to my friend Cara over at Kindergarten Boom Boom
for more FREEBIES and fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Teachers love Tieks GIVEAWAY! Yay!

I am thrilled to team up with some great teachers to bring you this BIG giveaway today.  You can enter to win a FREE pair of Tieks! (A $200 gift card that will get you a pair)  This event runs through February 16th.

I just ordered my first pair of Tieks.  My mom gave them to me for Christmas and I am so happy to finally have a pair.  I have really tried to change my buying habits lately.  Less is more.  You get what you pay for.  I would rather have fewer choices in my closet so that everything can be high quality classics that I wear for years.  Tieks are definitely quality. 

Ok, so here is the boring part.  I got black ones.  I know... so incredibly boring and predictable.  True.  But I actually DID NOT have a pair of black flats in my current wardrobe.  Plus, I figure black ones will be easy to polish and keep looking nice for years to come. 

So, here is your chance to try a pair for yourself.  Which color will you choose?

You can enter to win those Tieks right here:

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Good Luck!
Thanks for stopping by!

Will you be my VALENTINE?

Valentine's Day is a fun, exciting, and sweet holiday in the classroom!  I have some ideas and a FREEBIE to help you have a great day with your kiddos.  This Love Bug bag is a quick easy project that kids can do independently.  I used Ellison die cuts in heart and circle shapes in lots of different colors.  Kids glued them onto the bag and added details with googly eyes, oil pastels, and stickers.  I buy these bags each year at my local craft store.  I consider them an investment for a smooth day at school.  They are big enough, sturdy enough, and EASY!  If it saves me time, it is usually worth the money. 

We are working on number bonds in the classroom.  When you do math on or around Valentine's Day, make it fun!  I used more heart die cuts and some washi tape to make some number bond mats for hands-on problem solving.  We used fun heart erasers too.  Here are a few ideas of ways to use them.

We are learning to use number bonds for the first time.  It is a great graphic organizer for numbers and math.  Above is how we used them with objects only to show the two parts making the whole number and visa versa.

This is a another way to use number bonds to compose/decompose numbers.

After kids have enough hands on experience with the concept, they can transfer this knowledge to the abstract using only numerals to show the relationship.  Using number bonds helps give a strong visual reference for the number concepts students are learning.   With young students, it is crucial to have the hands on along with the abstract.  Don't skip the manipulatives!  Some kids really need them to "get it".

Here are my kids using the heart number bonds to decompose 7 hands on and the partner is writing it with numerals on a dry erase number bond.  They make it one way and then trade jobs to make it another.  Kids keep switching until they have done it all 4 ways.  Yay!

Are you working on number bonds in your classroom?  You might want to check out this product - It's my Memorable Math Number Bonds, Addition, Subtraction. It's an absolute life saver in my classroom.  I made it to help my students with these big concepts and I hope it helps your students too.  Here's a peek:

This also helps make Valentine week go smoothly.  It's my Print and Go! Valentines pack.
Here's a peek:

Great books are a must have in the classroom.  These books all have affiliate links to Amazon so you can grab them for your classroom too.  Here are some of my favorites for Valentine's Day:

This book is so adorable!  My kids LOVE it and it has a sweet message about fitting in and the need to be loved unconditionally exactly how we are.

This is a fun sequel to Love Monster.  It is about being kind and generous to your friends and doing the right thing even when it's hard. 

This is a sweet story about a lovable dog who wants nothing more than to be loved by the people in her life.  She makes mistakes, though... just like kindergarten kids, but her owners love her anyway.  A good story for kids who may make mistakes now and again.

This book also addresses the idea that love is big enough to forgive every day mistakes.  My kids love the dinosaur books.  This is a sweet one.

This is an oldie but goodie!  Such a sweet simple story about collecting hearts when they rained and using them to make valentines.  There are so many fun ways to extend this story and inspire kids for creative projects and imaginative writing.

Just one more thing...

I am PROUD to teach in a public school. My school is a model for how public education should look.  The community and the school work together to make our school great.  I feel well supported and have the tools I need in my classroom.  Teachers work hard to do great things in the classroom, and parents work hard to raise money for the extra programs we want to provide to our students.

The image and hashtag above were going around on social media the day Betsy DeVos was approved as Secretary of Education.  You can see my post here on Instagram.  Many teachers were sad and frustrated by this choice.  I believe the secretary of Ed. should want to work within the system to improve it, not undermine it.  DeVos is not a supporter of public education.  She is one of a small group in our country who support ideas that would minimize public education.  This is a VERY dangerous proposition.  Just think about it...  who would benefit from an uneducated electorate?

There is a reason that most folks in our country value a free education for all children.  We need educated independent thinkers to question authority and hold those in power accountable for their actions.  Our country was founded on these values and I will speak out to preserve free education for all.

I know that many public schools are in desperate need of repair and reform.  The larger social issues that impact education are complex and will require hard work and creative solutions to overcome.  Teachers are an amazing, resilient, and talented group of professionals.  I have HOPE that we can work together  to improve public education for the future of our children and our country.

Oh my goodness!  I just had to get that out there and even though I don't want my blog or business to be political...  I just can't sit by and say nothing.  This is the one place I have a voice and an audience, so THANK YOU for reading my little rant. 

Ok, you came here to grab a freebie...
The truth is I am all about spreading the LOVE.  I hope you will be my valentine even when I feel the need to speak MY truth.  I also hope this helps you spread the LOVE in your classroom.  Just click on the image or link below to go grab your freebie:

This is a simple printable and it makes a great independent art project for your kiddos.  The week before Valentines day, we had an emergency school closure due to a storm, and I had half my class out absent on another day.  So, I needed something quick and easy for family valentine cards!  I printed these on card stock.  Kids wrote a message to families on the back and then glued ripped construction paper inside the heart to decorate.  This idea is not new... just my take on it. 

The freebie also has two cute valentines you can use to give to your students.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy teaching!