Kindergarten Writing + FREE Writing Checklist

 

 

Teaching writing in kindergarten starts on day one and is a major focus every day.  Writing involves a variety of different skills: letter identification, sounds, letter formation, fine motor and handwriting, sentence structure, and more.  And because it is so complex, it is important to be consistent with how you teach it, the time devoted to it, the structure of your writing workshop, and how you edit/review students' writing.


A couple years ago, I began using a simple writing checklist that my students are able to successfully use themselves.  There are five points to our writing: beginning with a capital (we normally use the term uppercase), using finger spaces (we start in the beginning of the year with two finger spaces, and some move to one once they become strong writers), sounding out words, ending with punctuation, and having a detailed picture.  When we review our writing, we use our fingers to count and see if we have all five points. 


This writing checklist is a part of all of my Kindergarten Writing resources including my Personal Word Wall that I use in the classroom digitally (and my students have a hard copy they keep at home).  I LOVE how my journals, my Personal Word Wall, and my Writing Checklist flow seamlessly together and allow for my students to write (mostly) independently. 


And you can get my Pencil Writing Checklist for FREE below!  It's a large-format poster in the shape of a pencil for easy access in the primary classroom.  It also has picture supports for students learning to read.  It also includes small bookmarks for students to keep in their writing folders or at home.



My kindergarten writing bundle has everything you need for successful writing instruction throughout the year.  It includes my Personal Word Wall, a creative writing journal for narrative writing, an opinion writing journal, an animal journal for expository writing, and a feelings journal for narrative writing.  And it's majorly discounted for the bundle of five resources!


CLICK HERE to access the Pencil Writing Checklist for FREE!

 

Happy writing!

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Name Craft FREE Download!

 

 

Last year, I began doing monthly name crafts and we all LOVED them.  They were successful both during distance learning and in the classroom and helped to create amazing bulletin boards that my students adored.


All of my name crafts focus on the same skills: name recognition and spelling, handwriting, letter recognition, and fine motor (cutting).  I simply print and my students take it from there.  I typically print on colored cardstock, so my students can focus on letter formation and spelling their names.  I also love printing on colored cardstock because it really helps to make our bulletin boards pop.

 

I also included a Google Slides™ option for all of the name crafts so you can type and print!  This is a great option for younger students who might only be tracing their letters and names.


I have a year-long Name Craft Bundle that is always 30% off!  It includes eight different name crafts for the year: ice cream cone, apple tree, pumpkins, acorns, snow globe, candy box, pot of gold, and butterfly.


And I just added this adorable Ladybug Name Craft as a bonus to the bundle, but you can access it below for free!  I love how the ladybug sits on the leaf with students' names.


CLICK HERE to access the Ladybug Name Craft for FREE!

 


 

Happy crafting!  :)

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Father's Day Picture Books + FREE Craft!

 

 

Father's Day is such an important holiday that unfortunately does not always get celebrated in the classroom (my school year ends at the end of May).  Every year, I try to be organized enough to get crafts done and read some wonderful books featuring dad and grandpa relationships, but it doesn't always happen.

 

I'm trying to get better about organizing my books by theme, so are ten of my favorite books all about special dads and grandpas:


Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour

Grandad's Camper by Harry Woodgate

Drawn Together by Minh Lê

How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler

Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer

Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley

Papasaurus by Stephan Lomp


And a F R E E craft for you and your littles!  Inspired by the book, Papasaurus by Stephan Lomp, this craft includes a build-a-brontosaurus and a build-a-tyrannosaurus rex with hearts with different phrases like: You're the best papasaurus in the world!  Phrases included for dads, grandpas, uncles, and loved ones.


CLICK HERE to access the Dinosaur Father's Day Craft for FREE!

 


 

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Kindergarten Summer Activites + FREE Summer Journal!

 


 

After a full year of hard work and getting my students ready for first grade, it can be difficult to say goodbye for the summer without worrying about the dreaded "summer slide".  Typically, the summer slide refers to the loss of reading and math skills in young students.


So every year, I send my students off with my Kindergarten Summer Handbook and my Summer Writing Journal.  I love my Kindergarten Summer Handbook because it's for both my students and their parents; it explains every skill and provides parents with essential information and tips for practicing each math and literacy skill included.  

 

My Summer Writing Journal is also a fave because it includes all three types of writing: narrative, expository (how-to), and opinion writing.  It includes 40 summer-themed writing prompts to help keep students writing throughout the summer and an easy-to-use writing checklist for independent editing.


But the most important things students should be doing over the summer is reading every day.  This should be a mix of reading what they want plus reading at their level.  They should have access to a diverse library filled with many different types of texts.  Local libraries are a great source for summer reading books and incentives.  I also recommend for students to have a designated "reading area" at home: a quiet, peaceful space where students can read with little distractions.  My students also love reading incentives, so I send them home with a special 100-book reading log (it's a free download in my TpT store).

 


 

And as a special summer freebie, CLICK HERE for access to my Summer Writing Journal for FREE!

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Mother's Day Crafts + FREE Download!

 

 

Kindergarten students always love making crafts for their loved ones.  There's something so special about working hard on a special gift to take home.  And because not all of our kindergarten friends have moms or grandmas, both of these crafts can be used for ALL loved ones!


My "You're a gem" Mother's Day Craft is so universal it can be used for a large variety of purposes: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, birthdays, or a fun just-because craft!  It's also really easy to cut out and can be done in one sitting.  I even had someone mention they want to use it for Pirate's Week in their classroom--so fun!


CLICK HERE for my Gem Mother's Day Craft!


And if you already downloaded my Koala Valentine Craft, re-download or revisit the resource in your Google Drive because it got an update!  It now has hearts to say "You are a koala-ty mom!", "You are a koala-ty, dad!" and "You are a koala-ty loved one!"  


CLICK HERE to access my Build-a-Koala Loved One Craft for FREE!

 

Happy crafting!

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Literacy Centers in the Classroom + FREE Download!

 

 

Now that half of my kindergarten students are back in the classroom, I have rediscovered my love for hands-on literacy centers.  Even though I LOVE Boom Cards™ and Google Slides™, there just isn't anything like the experience of a literacy center in kindergarten.

 

We have about 15-20 minutes every morning for drop-off.  This is a huge chunk of time that I needed my students to work independently.  So as my students come in, they choose a literacy center and get started.  I love this routine because it also allows me to target specific skills for students.


My literacy centers range from letter matching (for letter recognition and fluency) to CVC segmenting.  I'll also be adding more this summer and next year to the growing bundle.


And I wanted to give all of you a FREE download!  Now that we have a solid foundation of letter sounds and blending and segmenting CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, I wanted to teach my students a trickier literacy skill: digraphs.  Consonant digraphs are two letters that together make one sound.  I often teach my students digraphs during writer's workshop and guided reading, as the need comes up.  But this year we are more than ready to all tackle these sounds.  And if you're in need of a digital center, click here for my Beginning Digraph Boom Cards™!


CLICK HERE for a beginning digraph literacy center download for FREE!

 

And click the image below to find out more about my Kindergarten Literacy Centers Bundle:

 

 

Happy {literacy} centering!


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Unicorn Day Activities + FREE Download

 

 

April 9th is National Unicorn Day.  Who knew?!  But random days like this are just so fun in kindergarten, so I'm here for it.

 

Just like most activities and special days, I love to begin with picture books.  There are so many fun unicorn books to read to celebrate the occasion.  My absolute favorite is Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima, which is a book about being yourself, no matter how you look on the outside.  I love this one so much that it was one of my first interactive read alouds that I posted to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  A couple more good ones are Unicorn Day: A Magical Kindness Book for Children by Diana Murray (another about acceptance and being yourself) and How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace (perfect for any expository/how-to writing units).


And to make National Unicorn Day even more special, we'll be writing about what makes us unique, how-to catch unicorns, and making unicorn crowns to wear (crowns are always a classroom fave of ours).  


CLICK HERE to download the Unicorn Day Activities for FREE!


Happy Unicorn Day!  :)

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Love Tails Interactive Read Aloud FREE Download

 

Interactive read alouds are my all-time favorite lessons in kindergarten.  They are the purposeful read aloud of a story to focus on specific content, central theme(s), and vocabulary. They are an essential component to balanced literacy that provide many opportunities for all students to engage with rich texts. 

 

When I first read Love Tails by Rob Sayegh Jr., I just knew I had to create an interactive read aloud for it.  The text is simple, but the theme and illustrations are strong.  Absolutely perfect for primary grades and can even be used as a mentor text in reading and writing workshop.

 

And this interactive read aloud is complete with an adorable dachshund craft and clip art from Rob Sayegh Jr.!  The dogs are sooo cute; they definitely give me all the cute aggression.

 

Interactive read alouds are typically done whole- group with pauses throughout each read to: discuss the text and theme, discuss the illustrations and meaning(s), make predictions, make connections, and have meaningful conversations centered around the text.

 

Typically, interactive read alouds are above the students’ reading levels but the texts are age-appropriate and high-interest.  The read aloud builds community through reading with shared knowledge. 

 

My Interactive read aloud lesson plans are on one-page and have many components that include: story introduction, identified themes, read aloud of the story with pauses for discussion (“We’re wondering”/sticky notes), vocabulary introduction and discussion (before, during, and after the read aloud), and a discussion of the theme after the read aloud with think-aloud extensions. 

 

For this specific interactive read aloud, we will discuss and write about our own "love tales" after the read aloud.  And of course, color and craft our own dogs, just-for-fun.

 

I'm currently working on many more interactive read alouds with new + diverse books, so stay tuned in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  And to visit my library of 88 (and growing!) titles of interactive read alouds, click here.

 

CLICK HERE for my Love Tails Interactive Read Aloud lesson for FREE!

 

 

And CLICK HERE to buy Love Tails by Rob Sayegh Jr. from Amazon (not an affiliate link)!

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St. Patrick's Day Activities + Free Download

 


St. Patrick's Day is one of those silly little holidays that don't bring much meaning, but are fun to learn about in the classroom.  Over the years, my favorite crafts have been my leprechaun hats and my I'm Lucky Pots of Gold.  The pots of gold always turn out so cute, and are an amazing family gift.  Students most often writing about how lucky they are for their family.  The best.



But the other night, I went down a rabbit hole of leprechaun folklore.  And because my students absolutely love readers, I thought it was the perfect way to learn about leprechauns.  So I created a new resource that includes a The Legend of the Leprechauns reader in both color, black-and-white, and Google Slides™ plus a super-fun build-a-leprechaun craft.  I posted it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but I wanted to add it as a freebie, exclusive to my blog!

 

CLICK HERE for my Leprechaun Reader and Craft FREE download!

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FREE Valentine Craft


 

Valentine's Day is such a fun holiday in the primary classroom.  Unfortunately, we are still learning remotely so we won't be having any Valentine parties. 


But I wanted to give my students more options to make valentines for their families and friends.  In addition to my new fave Dinosaur Valentine Crafts, I'll add these koalas to my virtual classroom for my students to print at home.


This is the same koala I have in my Australian Animals Crafts and Writing, and I'm so glad I found another fun way to use him!


This download now includes a version for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and for loved ones.


CLICK HERE to download the Koala Valentine Craft for FREE!

 

Thank you all for being KOALA-TY friends!  And for more fun valentine crafts, click below!




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Chinese New Year FREE Download

 

Chinese New Year has increasingly become one of my favorite holidays to learn about in kindergarten.  There is so much history, and the Zodiac animals are so interesting.


Over the past few years, Ruby's Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee has been my favorite read aloud for the holiday.  It has a great plot while also teaching about the 12 zodiac animals.  And it gives me fun fairy tale adventure vibes while reading it.  And who doesn't love a classic "going to grandma's" story?!


My FAVORITE craft is my Chinese New Year Lantern.  It's so easy for kindergarteners to complete, and almost no prep for teachers!  It includes student-friendly picture instructions, all 12 zodiac animals, and comes in both color and black-and-white!  I print on cardstock, with the handles on red cardstock.  But any type of thick paper would work as well.  

 


And it's time for another F R E E download!  In December, I worked on a new Holidays Around the World bundle.  I wanted my students to learn, read, and write about various holidays (other than Christmas).  They loved them, and you can get the Chinese New Year resource for free at the link below!  It includes a fact page, various writing pages, a word bank, and a reader.  It also has a Google Slides™ version to share easily with students and their families at home.


CLICK HERE to download the Chinese New Year unit for FREE!

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Groundhog Day Free Download

 


 

I'd be lying if I didn't say that whenever Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see his shadow, I'm a little hopeful for an early spring.  

 

Groundhog Day is such a silly little holiday.  But I love it in kindergarten.  It's the perfect excuse to do fun themed centers and activities and to talk about the weather and seasons.  And I have a free download for you!


A few weeks ago, I worked on some Groundhog Day printables and Google Slide™ activities for my students while we are distance learning.  I wanted them to have opportunities to craft, learn about groundhogs, talk about the weather, and predict the outcome of the day.  And one activity we always love are our emergent readers.  This one is great to teach about Groundhog Day and to record the outcome.


I was also working on more intervention activities for my students who are still working on letter naming, so I created some fun themed centers.  In the free download, you'll get both a color and blackline version of a Groundhog-themed letter match game and a Boom Card™ digital task card game.  


CLICK HERE to download the Groundhog Day Literacy Centers for FREE!


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100th Day Free Download

 


The 100th day of school is such a fun milestone in kindergarten.  It's a day to celebrate all we have accomplished in the school year, to count to 100, and to have fun.


I don't do too many special projects or centers during the day, but I do have a few favorite crafts I like to do.  My three favorites are my 100th Day Poster, 100th Day Crown, and my 100th Day LanternYou can get them all in the bundle HERE.


This year, we are still learning remotely, so I created some 100th Day Digital Slides with high hopes that I would remember to send them to my families.  I wanted my students to take pictures, draw, or show off a collection of 100 things.  But of course, I forgot to send them.  Maybe next year.


CLICK HERE to download my 100th Day Poster for FREE!

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Google Slides™ Literacy Center Free Download

 

I love Google Slides™ for a few reasons: they're free, easily accessible, and easily customizable for most teachers.  During distance learning, I have learned so much about Google Slides™; how I can use them for distance learning, and how my students can use them independently.  They have really changed the way my distance learning curriculum has gone, and I'll never look back.


I have worked on a few Google Slides™ bundles: 

  • Back-to-School Digital bundle where you can find a digital calendar, Zoom expectations, digital rewards classroom management, and more
  • Digital Literacy Bundle where you can find letter formation slides, letter sound slides, a digital version of my Personal Word wall, and literacy centers
  • Digital Literacy Centers Bundle where you can find a matching set of adorable crayon-themed centers for essential skills: sight words, CVC words, letter matching, letter sounds, rhyming words, beginning sounds, middle sounds, and ending sounds

 

And if you haven't seen how Google Slides™ can work for your kindergarten classroom (or kindergarten student at home), I encourage you to do so!  Most of these slides have audio, and when played in Present mode, the audio plays automatically!  The below link will take you to a full freebie of one of my new crayon literacy centers.

 

CLICK HERE to try my Crayon Letter Match Google Slides for FREE!

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New Year's Activities for Kindergarten

 

 
The first day we come back from winter break, I always spend some time talking about new year's resolutions.  In kindergarten, many students don't understand what a resolution is and what it means.  I love to do an interactive read aloud of "Squirrel's New Year's Resolution" by Pat Miller to help with this.  It's such a great story about helping friends; a trait we are always talking about in school.


This year, as we come back from break while still in distance learning, I created Google Slides™ for all of us to complete.  After reading "Squirrel's New Year's Resolution", we will quickly brainstorm more ideas on what we would like to resolve to do in the new year; both in school and at home.  I anticipate a lot of my students saying their resolutions are to "help friends" and "help family", and that is just fine.  I love getting more creative, but making a resolution as a five-year-old is a tricky task.  


I anticipate it will take us a few days to complete a slide for all of us.  I'll screen share my slides and type in what they would like to say.  I love when my students share their ideas and goals with each other, they really are the best.  


Click here for my New Year's Resolutions Google Slides™!  Happy New Year, friends!

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