Weekly Round-Up: February 23

Hi friends! It feels like forever since my last weekly round-up post! Here is what we have been up to in our classroom! Scroll to the bottom for the freebie!


I switched up my math loose parts tray and the kids ate it up this week! They are obsessed with gems, so I think the rhinestones helped.  In the tray I put magnetic numbers, dominos, rhinestones and blocks with the words and, make (for composing numbers), numbers with dots (for extra support) and +, - and = signs to encourage addition and subtraction.


We have been working on composing numbers in math so I modelled whole group, then set out this "Roll & Compose" as a math centre.  Students are instructed to roll both dice, place the dice in a box and make the composing number sentence with magnetic letters.

You can find this "Roll & Compose" centre in my "Composing Numbers for Kindergarten" pack on TPT.  Click here or on the image below if you are interested in taking a look!

If you want more ideas for composing numbers you can read my full composing numbers blog post  here.


A few of my kids had questions about bees, so we did a K-W-L chart with the whole class to see what else they were wondering about bees.  We got so many great questions!

We started by reading the book "Give Bees a Chance" by Bethany Barton (which we loved! It is a funny book with lots of interesting facts, great for Kindergarten!) and we wrote down what we learned about bees. I was so impressed with some of their pictures too, I have some amazing little artists!

"I learned that bees have 5 eyes."

"I learned that bees have 2 stomachs."

If you are interested in the recording sheet I use for inquiry writing, you can find it in my "Inquiry Writing Templates for Kindergarten" pack by clicking here or on the image below:


Can you believe it's March already next week!? Since St. Patrick's Day is during March Break, we usually have some of the centres out a bit early.  Here are the tracing sheets I added to the dry erase centre after school today for next week.  

My "St. Patrick's Day Activities" pack got a big update earlier this week so be sure to re-download it if you own it! If you want to check it out, you can click here or on the image below:


Here's another new centre I had out for the kids to try this week! I wanted something that would work on the skills my kids needed most; identifying beginning sounds, blending sounds and reading CVC words! This centre combines all 3 skills.  It was a little challenging for some of my JK's but the SK's were great helpers and many kids worked in pairs to solve the mats together.

I had lots of requests to share these mats, so it's now available in my TPT store.  You can click here or on the image below to check it out if you are interested!


I posted this photo to my Instagram stories and got a request to post the file, so here it is! Print, slice in half and staple these sheets to construction paper and set them out with push pins.  Students poke each dot and peel the copy paper off at the end to uncover their picture! It's great for perseverance, concentration and fine motor development! My kids love it!

You can grab these for free by clicking here or on the image below:

Ok that's it from me for this week!

Have a great weekend!

- Yukari

Inquiry: Animals in Winter - Part 2 - Migration

Hi friends! I'm here to share part 2 of our animals in winter inquiry!

If you're interested in reading part 1, click here.

First here are some of the books I used/had on our bookshelf during our inquiry (mixed in with some Chinese New Year books.. lol).

The books I used in lessons were:

Why Do Animals Migrate? by Bobbie Kalman (not pictured)

First we investigated the question, "Where do whales go in the winter?" by reading the book Migration of a Whale (Amaze) by Tanya Kant.

On the first day, we just read half of the book.  Then we talked about what migration meant and worked on finding the sentence in the book that explains migration.  After the lesson I had a student come and record our new learning.  She drew a gray whale to show her new learning.

The next day we read the rest of the book.  Then, we made this whale migration map together.  I cut out the green construction paper and glued it onto the blue to make the map.  The students helped to make the labels for the various areas of the map.  Then they helped to colour the whales gray and glue it on to the map following the example in the book.

Then, I had one of my kids copy these two sentences from the book to help show what we learned about the migration of whales.

We added these pieces to our inquiry bulletin board:

 Next we learned about the migration of the Monarch butterflies by reading the book "The Migration of a Butterfly (Amaze)".

At centres they were encouraged to show how butterflies and whales migrate using these felt maps and story stones (both handmade by me).

The next day I invited students to create symmetry butterflies with black glue and water colour paint to put on our bulletin boards! I drew an example of what half a butterfly might look like so the students had a model to look at.  Then I also showed them how to only make a design on one side of the paper, fold the paper over gently and open it up to see their symmetrical butterfly.

The next day they could paint their butterflies with brown and orange watercolour paint! They LOVED this activity!

While we were making our butterflies, I had the student who originally asked where butterflies go in the winter time come and record the information she learned from the book.  We referenced the book to record the sentence!

We put her sentence up on the bulletin board and put the butterflies around them.

Next we learned about where birds go in the winter.  I read the students a few pages from "Why Do Animals Migrate?" by Bobbie Kalman and then the kids were invited to draw and label birds that migrate.  They could choose from a bird they learned about in the book or they could use the "Birds that Migrate" card I quickly made up and pick one from there.

Finally, I had students complete this writing activity.  If you were an animal, would you rather hibernate or migrate? Why?

This was a great way to assess their understanding of the vocabulary we learned throughout this inquiry!

If you want to grab this writing paper or the migrating birds labeling recording sheet, you can grab it for FREE by clicking here or on the image below:

Finally, we moved all our inquiry documentation to our outside bulletin board so we could share all our new learning and hard work with the rest of the school! 

Here are some close ups of the final bulletin board:

The kids are so proud of their hard work! We just did a new inquiry brainstorm and their wonders were all over the place so we'll see which one sticks next!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our animals in winter inquiry!

- Yukari

Weekly Round-Up: February 10

Hi friends! I'm back to share a bunch of new valentine themed activities we've been exploring in our classroom.  There's a freebie too so make sure you grab it before you go!


I love adding these themed word charts to my whiteboard centre to spark new writing.  Students can draw and label their pictures or draw a picture and write a sentence about it! If you have any ELL students in your class it can be a good opportunity to just sit with them and introduce the vocabulary to them.

Before I left on Friday, I switched the centre up a little bit by adding in these simple sentence strips so the students have simple sentences to practice reading and writing as well.

This chart, the simple sentence strips and all the printables in this post (except for the freebies of course) can all be found in my "Kindergarten Valentines Activities" pack.  If you are interested, you can click here or on the image below to check it out:


Another literacy centre we had out this week was this letter making centre!  Students were invited to tear construction paper with their hands (great fine motor work!) and glue the pieces on to cover the heart.  Then they could choose to copy (my example) or trace:

Dear _______________, 

I love you to pieces 

From, _______________

My kids enjoyed making these and made them for their family members and friends in their class!


Almost all of my kiddos need at least some practice with letter and number formation, so I kept these printing sheets but switched some of it up.  I kept the number formation ones the same but added a shape and shape word tracing page.

I also put out these 2 sight word sheets to practice letter formation and identifying sight words.


A next step for many of my kids is addition in math so I made up this activity for the students to practice with at centre time.  The kids are invited to pick a number sentence and read it, make it and answer it in the corresponding boxes.  I set them out with some foam heart stickers, pom poms and wooden numbers.  The wooden numbers are from Michaels! I also included some 3 number addition sentences for to challenge my high kids.


I saw these self-inking heart shaped stamps at Dollarama and knew I had to grab them.  They are SO cute and so many of my kids are obsessed with Frozen so I knew they would be a hit.

Then I remembered @kinderpie123 sharing a great patterning printable and knew it would be the perfect thing to use these stamps with! You can see her original one here.

I love that the first two are closed (as in they must make an AB and an ABC pattern) but the last line is open and they can make any pattern they want.  I have a group that really needs practice with identifying the core and naming patterns so I'm using this as a small group activity for that group and it's open to the rest of the class as well as a centre.

You can grab this FREE printable by clicking here or on the image below:


I made this activity this week since my kiddos need practice with stretching, hearing and recording sounds in words.  The kids are asked to pick a heart card, say the word on the card, say the word slowly and write the three sounds they hear.  I wrote the word on the back of the hearts with a black Sharpie so they could flip it over and self-check after they tried stretching on their own.

These heart cards and the recording sheet is also included in my "Kindergarten Valentine's Day Activities" pack.


My co-worker introduced me to this push pin activity (she gave me one of a snowflake to try) and my kids loved it so when the snowflake ran out, I made some valentine themed ones! I added the words on the bottom for some extra spelling practice.

The sheets are cut in half and stapled on red and pink construction paper.  Then they take the push pin and push in on each dash/dot.  When they are done, they peel the paper off to reveal their word and picture! The kids have been loving this and I love how it encourages concentration, perseverance and fine motor development!  I put these on the carpet, but you could also put them on cork sheets or towels to prevent your tables from getting scratched!


In addition to these open-ended heart wand and bead patterning invitation and patterning with valentine loose parts, I also set out these valentine themed pattern strips for the kids to practice extending and naming patterns.  I used them in guided groups first and then set them out for everyone to try.  Again these are included in my valentine activity pack that I mentioned at the top of this post.


We started big buddies a few weeks ago and my kids are OBSESSED.  They love seeing their buddies every week and doing activities with them.  On the first day, I had them fill out these "Getting  To Know My Buddy/Buddies" sheet (some kids have 2 big buddies since there are 26 Grade 5's and we only have 15 students) so the buddies could get to know each other!  

The questions on the sheet are:

What is your name?
How old are you?
What is your favourite colour?
What is your favourite food?
What is your favourite thing to do?

I ran around and took pictures of the kids with their buddies so I could put pictures up with their get to know you sheets.  The 5's are such a nice group and my kids are so lucky to have these great role models visiting our class every week!

So far we did reading from book boxes the second week and a writing activity with them this week.  If you have any good, easy buddy activities please let me know!

You can grab the printable in the photo by clicking here or on the image below:

That's it from me this week!

I hope you can use some of these ideas & that you have a great weekend!

- Yukari

Inquiry: Animals in Winter - Part 1 - Hibernation

I've had lots of requests to share more about how I foster inquiry in our classroom, so I'm here  to share some information about our current inquiry, animals in winter! 

We started with inquiry brainstorm time.  We do these when we wrap up our last inquiry and we are looking for new topics to investigate.  I ask the students what they are wondering about/want to learn about and they can tell me anything they want.  I usually record it by typing it into a word document and I have it projected on to the screen so the kids can watch and follow along as their question get's typed up into the list.  I can also type must faster than I can write on chart paper so it's less waiting for the kids.

After they kids give me all of their questions I go back during my prep or after school and group them into similar categories.  Then I pick the category that generated the most interest.

This month we had a lot of kids asking where animals go when it's cold (or in their words "freezing") outside.  In particular they were wondering about birds, turtles, worms, butterflies, hyenas, coyotes and foxes.  So I decided to plan some lessons around hibernation, migration and weather/climate in various habitats.

First I started with hibernation.  On the first day we read the book "Why Do Animals Hibernate?" by David Martin.  This is a great simple book that explains what hibernate means, why animals hibernate, which animals hibernate and where they hibernate.

At the teacher table I had one student come and find the page where hibernation was defined and copy the sentence to add to our inquiry board.  This works on reading to find important information in non-fiction texts.  You can see it on the bulletin board picture at the bottom of the blog post.

For centre time, I put together this little den building centre! The prompt was "Can you build a den for the bears to hibernate in?"

As they were building we talked about what would make a good den (e.g. has a covering at the top so the snow doesn't get in, has a small hole at the front of the den so the bear can get in and out but not too big so that we can minimize the cold air coming in etc.) There prompts really helped the kids think about their design for the dens!  They loved this building challenge!

On the second day, we read the book "Sleep Black Bear, Sleep" by Jane Yolen to learn more about which animals hibernate.  Then we wrote down the animals that hibernate on chart paper.  During centre time students who wanted to came to the teacher table and used the chart we co-created whole group to write about animals that hibernate.  You can see some of their writing on the bulletin board near the bottom of this post.

Next morning, we had a hibernating bear craft available at centre time.  I saw this idea on Primary Press and knew we had to do it too.  My kids love craft activities so I just put some tracers (always optional) and black, brown and beige construction paper and let them get to work! I didn't provide any instructions, just a sample for them to look at.  Some students followed my sample, some didn't and I think they all turned out great :)

I also encouraged them to either trace the sentence "Bears hibernate in the winter" or use the sheet with blank lines to write their own hibernation sentence.

One of my girls wrote her own sentence "The baby bear is hibernating." (Bottom left on the bulletin board photo near the bottom of this post).

If you can use the hibernation writing strip or the blank writing strip, you can download it for free by clicking here or on the image below:

Here's one that one of my kiddos made.  He said he made a mama bear sleeping in a den with her two baby bears!  I love that he added the cubs on his own!

And here is the beginning of our animals in winter inquiry board!

The inqury writing papers and mini checklists can be found in my "Inquiry Writing Templates for Kindergarten" pack on TPT.  You can click here or on the image below if you are interested!

Here is a photo of our bookshelf with all of our hibernation books! We didn't read them all but the two I read to them that were mentioned in this post are pictured.  Students are welcome to read these during centre time.  I pulled from my own collection, my school librarian pulled some for me (love her) and I got some from my local public library.

We've moved on to migration and we'll probably be working on learning about migration for one more week.  I'll be posting about migration once we wrap up as part 2 of this post!

- Yukari