Saturday, August 6, 2016


Hi! It's Carolyn from Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together.  Happy August!   I know many of you are getting ready to go back to school- or are already back.  We don't go back until after Labor Day.  I hope you all have a fabulous year!

I was going to do a back to school post- until I saw this:

In fact, my husband is a superintendent of a school district near mine, and here is part of his graduation speech to his graduates this year:

At this point, I want to ask you to play along for just a moment.  Suspend everything you know for one minute and let yourself imagine that the stars come out at night, only once every hundred years. Once a century.  One night in a lifetime, if you are lucky.  We would certainly plan for years to stay up all night.  There would be world-wide celebrations, festivals, and parties.  All over the planet we would collectively marvel at the beauty, the mystery, and the majesty of the stars.

But, since the stars come out most nights, we might, occasionally, make a passing comment for conversation, that, "the stars are bright tonight."

As humans, we have a natural tendency to take things for granted, like the stars, like our friends and families, like our freedoms, and even the gift of education.

I think of that situation a lot, and realize that it is so important to celebrate the beauty we are blessed with and not take things for granted.  

The meteor shower nights  are some of my favorite nights of the year.  We get our blankets (and our list of wishes!) and sit outside on our deck, watching and waiting.  This year, the best time to see shooting stars and make those wishes is August 11-13.  So, get ready!  

Since children love stars, too- I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite star activities that I like to do with my class- and lots of freebies.  

I couldn't decide between "Oh My STARS" or "Learning with the Stars," for the title.

It's sort of bad when you can't even make a decision on the title of a post! I have so many ideas to share, I just want to get "star"ted.  (wow... sorry.)

First, I'll start by telling you that my  kids love this Pirates Say AR song!


Now for the stars of the show...

The Stars Will Still Shine is a sweet book by Cynthia Rylant .  It's sweet for the New Year- or a new school year!

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee is a beautiful, sweet book.

After we read this story, I focused on the part of the book where Mary Lyn Ray talks about how sometimes we feel shiny, and sometimes we don't feel shiny.  This is a great turn and talk- and then a great classroom discussion topic. 
I gave the children each a glow-in-the-dark star to keep by their beds, to help them remember that each of them shine in a very special way! Don't you remember how magical anything that glowed in the dark was is ? 

This is a fun little star activity that I found on Dr. Jean's blog. She shared it from the Highlands Florida K Team.  The kids were amazed! It actually worked (which was really nice...).  I practiced before I did it with the kids.  I learned that you have to have the toothpicks bent just right, pretty clean (without little splinters and without breaking). I did it on the projector on the Smartboard.  (Does everybody call it an Elmo?  I wasn't sure. I think that is just what it's called. Right? Not just a 'pet name' that our school calls it.  It sort of makes me laugh every time I say it, thinking of the 'real' Elmo.)

Bend 5 toothpicks as shown. Put the points toward the center. 
Drop water in the middle and watch it turn into a star!

Of course I love to use Eric Carle's Draw Me a Star.
After I read this, we learned to draw stars.  Eric Carle has a "how-to" page in the back of his book.

I do copy this page on the side of an 11x17 paper with the other side blank, and have it out during free choice time with markers so the children can try making these stars.  They are a little trickier, so we don't start with them.  We start with some basic star drawing.

While Wearing High Heels shared a wonderful way to teach children to draw stars!

Start with a capital A with the horizontal line extended out on both sides.

Connect one end of that line to a opposite bottom point. 

Connect the other end to the other bottom point.

I also made this sheet for my class to practice stars with dot to dots. You can see it is pretty s.i.m.p.l.e.  The kids had fun with it!
 If you would like a copy of this paper (with a couple other star papers), just click the picture below!

It was fun to watch the children practice using dot to dots and the capital A method.  Soon, you will have an entire class of super star makers.  And... stars on EVERYTHING.

After some practice, the kids made their own star pictures. I took a picture of each of them pointing up, printed them, cut them out, and that was it!

You could have the children write what they would wish for if they saw a shooting star, to go along with this picture, if you wanted a writing activity.  We just had fun drawing stars this day.

I found some great freebies at TPT that would be fun to use with a Star Unit or Star Day, for centers or other activities. 

Klever Kiddos made a cute Star Studded Alphabet Center.
Star Studded Alphabet Literacy Center {FREEBIE}Star Studded Alphabet Literacy Center {FREEBIE}Star Studded Alphabet Literacy Center {FREEBIE}Star Studded Alphabet Literacy Center {FREEBIE}

Elementary Lesson Plans has a fun Shoot for the Stars Alphabet Game.

Shoot for the Stars Alphabet GameShoot for the Stars Alphabet GameShoot for the Stars Alphabet GameShoot for the Stars Alphabet Game

Angie Adez made a Twinkle, Twinkle Letter Star Game that is great for letter names, sounds, and fluency. 
Twinkle Twinkle Letter StarTwinkle Twinkle Letter StarTwinkle Twinkle Letter Star
Miss Kindergarten Love made some adorable Star Sight Words.
 Star Words- Sight Word PracticeStar Words- Sight Word PracticeStar Words- Sight Word Practice

Live, Laugh, I Love Kindergarten has these great Rhyming Stars. I have a couple children who still just don't "get" rhyming. This will be great for them!
Rhyming StarsRhyming StarsRhyming Stars

Kelli Wodrich made this Star Sentence Poster that I really like.
Star Sentences
 I love this Counting and Writing 11-20 Stars activity from Michelle Stoker.

 Counting and Writing 11-20 stars
This is a fun Happy Stars Roll and Cover Game by Elizabeth Hodge.

 Happy Stars Roll And Cover FREEBIE!Happy Stars Roll And Cover FREEBIE!Happy Stars Roll And Cover FREEBIE!

Kids are fascinated with stars- drawing them and learning about them.  When my kids were little, we would camp outside in our yard and look for the constellations.  THEN- before all of today's technology, the technology we used was... glow-in-the-dark paint and flash lights!  I printed out the constellations we were learning about. The kids went over the stars with Q-tip dots of glow-in-the-dark paint.  I put the constellation papers in a bin with a flashlight turned on and a blanket covering the bin (so it didn't interfere with the darkness outside).  We would take out a paper and look for that constellation.  The kids really learned a lot about how each constellation looked by making it with paint.

Today- there are LOTS of great options for star gazing. Here are some apps that look great for kids, and got great reviews.

I liked this game online, too.


Anna, from The Imagination Tree shared an idea for black playdough with silver glitter that would be so much fun when studying space! The kids would LOVE it!

I am guessing they would get out the aliens (from Toy Story)  from our play area to play with this. My sweet friend Amy who teaches across the hall from me brought me these from Disney World for my classroom. They are always a favorite!

No Time For Flashcards made an adorable glow-in-the-dark star activity. I love this! You paint the paper with glow-in-the-dark paint, and let it dry.  Put on star stickers.  Paint over  the picture with black paint.  Then, peel off the stickers when the paint is almost (but not completely) dry. You can check out her post about  it if you click on the picture below.

I hope you found some fun new star ideas. And don't forget to go outside and enjoy those shooting stars. Start thinking of your wishes!
light shine2.jpg

shooting star gif photo: Stars Star Stargazing Night Nightime Shooting Comet Meteor Smiley Smilie Emoticon Emoticons Animated Animation Animations Gif 7_2_205.gif

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