I'm so excited to announce that the ladies of Elementary Entourage and I have teamed up to bring you a great big sack full of Secret Santa gifts. I know you are probably doing the best you can to keep it together this week with the holiday madness, so thanks for taking a minute to stop by and check out what I have in store for you today! I promise you won't be disappointed.

Here are a few clues for you to see what is inside your Secret Santa Gift:
If you follow me on Instagram (@mrsplemonskindergarten) I posted a preview of what I was working on yesterday morning.
It is quick and easy to use and won't require 14 trips to the store to stock up on colored ink.
It can be used for morning work, homework, as a review or in a center.

Do you have any guesses?
Okay I'm  terrible at waiting and keeping a secret especially when it comes to Christmas.  Seriously, the Mr. and I open gifts on Christmas Eve because I can never wait.  I think we even opened them earlier than that a few times.

So here it is! I wanted to share something that would make your January planning a little easier so I put together a sampler from my Snowy Snapshots {Quick and Easy NO PREP Practice for Math and Literacy} Pack.

Click on the pictures above to download these pages for FREE!
And if you love it and want more, Check out the full pack here! Here is a sneak peak at what is included!

You definitely don't want to miss out on all of the fantastic Secret Santa Freebies my Elementary Entourage buddies have in store for you so check them all out over at our blog here.

And don't forget to follow us too so you can check out all of the awesome ideas, freebies and giveaways we share over there.  Speaking of giveaways...we are planning something BIG for January that you won't want to miss.  (Again...terrible at waiting, haha, don't share too many secrets with me!)

It's that time again! I'm linking up with the fabulous Jasmine McClain for November's You Oughta Know Blog Hop.  This month I wanted to share ideas for using QR codes in the classroom.
Odds are you have seen these lovely digital codes somewhere by now...in a magazine, on a soda bottle, or even on TV. So what exactly is a QR Code? QR stands for Quick Response, and is similar to a bar code.  When you scan a QR code using your smart phone, ipad, or computer(with web cam) it links to an information source. This information can be in the form of text, videos or websites. 
So now how do you use these little funny looking codes? All you need to do is download a free QR code reader app for your device.  There are SO many out there and your device may already have one on it. Just search QR Code Reader in your app store.  Now you're good to go! You can open the app and scan any QR code you find to access content.
So how do you create your own QR codes for classroom use? Again it is really easy! One way I like to use is the QR Code Generator website. Simply enter the text you would like to appear, or the web URL you would like to link and it creates a code.  
Then you can save the code as an image for future use, or print it out 
You can also use Google Docs to create multiple QR codes quickly. All you need to do is download this template. (Click use this template and it will open in your Google Drive)
Now you can enter your text, or URL and a Title or Description for yourself and the QR code will magically appear in the third column for you!

After you have the codes you need you can print them, cut them and place them wherever you need or use a snipping tool to copy the QR code image to place on any document you create.
There are seriously a million ways you can use these little gems, but here are just a few ideas to get you started!

1. Create a QR code with your contact info, print on small cards or magnets to distribute to parents at your back to school night, first day of school, or conferences.
2. Have students create video reviews or book trailers for school library books they have read.  Link the videos to a QR code and tape to the back of books for students to scan before choosing which book to read.
3. Create a book response or comprehension check.  Place the QR code inside book for students to complete as they read.
4. Create a scavenger hunt for students to learn new information.  Create QR codes that link to informational websites, videos, and text that you enter on a specific topic.
5. Add QR codes to homework with how to videos from websites such as Khan Academy or text notes that you enter to help when students are having trouble.
6. Use QR codes for directions at stations.  For younger students you could even create a video giving students instructions to follow.
7. Create QR codes for students to self check answers.
8. Add QR codes to assignments for extension activities for fast finishers.
9. Create a QR code listening center by linking to websites or videos of books being read aloud.

Here are a few examples of how I have used QR codes:

These pages are a part of my Apple Inquiry Unit.  Students learn to research to find information and self direct their learning with these webpages and videos.

I also included QR codes in my Interactive Alphabet Readers that link to Alphabet songs for students to practice each specific letter. Even if you don't have smart devices in your classroom, these are great for students to take home and practice!
You can download the letter A reader here for FREE to try it out with your class.

Or check out the Bundles Here:

Do you use task cards in your classroom? Are you curious how to make the most of these awesome learning tools? Great! I'd like to share some of my favorite ways to use Task Cards to meet the needs of my students.

First, when you have a skill that everyone in the class could use some work or review on, try out these whole group ideas.

  Next, if you just have a few students that could use reinforcement or review, try these small group ideas.
  Or if you are looking for productive and targeted practice for individual students take a look at these individual practice ideas.
  And here are just a few more thoughts on how you can make the most of the task cards you have in your classroom.
 If you'd like to try these ideas out but don't have any task card sets. Check out the cute and fun task cards I created for Halloween to practice both math and ELA skills!
Practice counting sets to 20 in Halloween Candy Count.
Practice counting sets of money in Monster Money.
Practice counting base ten blocks to 100 in Place Value Potion.
Practice identifying beginning sounds in Batty Beginnings.
Practice identifying the number of syllables in words in Syllable Spiders.
Practice reading CVC words in Wicked Words.

I'm linking up with some great teachers again this month to bring you teaching ideas that you oughta know about. Check out what they have to share here! 

I'm back with another book to share for Mrs. Jump's Book Talk Tuesday. This week I wanted to share a fun story to get you into the Halloween spirit!

We're Going on a Ghost Hunt by Kris Hirschmann
 This book follows the popular "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" song with a Halloween theme.  I just love using song books in kindergarten.  There are so many benefits for the students literacy development.  They are perfect for repeated readings because the students love to join in. They also become very popular choices for students' individual book boxes. I always smile when I see them rereading and singing to themselves during daily five. 

Here are just some of the reasons song books are perfect for emergent readers:
  • Build phonemic awareness
  • Predictable patterned text allows for students to experience feelings of success in reading
  • Develop fluency and expression
  • Foster a love for reading
Scholastic always has cute variations on common songs related to different holidays and themes.  I'm always sure to grab them because they are such a big hit with my students. Do you use song books with your students?

It's October, which means Halloween and Trick or Treating are just around the corner.  I can't wait to dress Madelynn up and take her out for her first Trick or Treating adventure, but that's still a few weeks away. So for now I'm  super excited to share an awesome weekend of Teaching Tricks and Treats with you!  There are over 4o amazing teachers linked up to share their tricks and treats with you too!
Going to a pumpkin farm in the fall is always one of my favorite things to do and I just love sharing that experience with kindergarteners on our annual field trip.  Field trips are tons of fun but definitely require a lot of planning and thought to make them a worthwhile educational experience for students. Here are some tips for making field trips an engaging addition to your curriculum.

1. Decide on your trip.
Check with other classes in your school to see what trips they have planned. You may not want to repeat the same trip year after year unless you see additional benefit in the having the experience again. You will also want to consider your units of study, the cost, the distance, and number of chaperones needed. Consider visiting the site before booking the trip if you have not been to the location before. Here are some examples of primary field trips that you may want to consider:
2. Get your trip approved.
Districts have to ensure that all field trips are safe, age appropriate, and designed to enhance the curriculum. Check for policies regarding chaperones, costs, money collection, and transportation. Be sure to have safety precautions in place. Use the following checklist to help you prepare:
3. Prepare your students.
Finally, make the most of your trip by preparing students ahead of time. Build background knowledge and read lots of books relating to your location/topic. I love when field trip guides are impressed with how much my students already know! Have a plan for students when they return to summarize their experience.  Here are two pages I created that you can use for any field trip.

1. Freebies
My first little treat for you is all 4 of the field trip resources above FREE. Click here to find the Google Doc.
2. Sweet Deals
I'm marking down all of my fall products to 20% off for the next 3 days, so pick them up quick! Below are just 3 of my most popular items that are on sale, but you can see them all here.
3. A Giveaway
And finally, I'm having a fun giveaway just to thank you all for reading. Here is what you can win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you will check out more amazing tricks and treats from these teachers!
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