Monday, April 30, 2012

Earth Day... Hooray!

Happy Monday!  Here are some of our Earth Day activities from last week.  I would've posted them sooner, but my sweet hubby just opened his latest show (her is an actor and director) and needs the camera and my little lap top for the shows.  So here is Earth Day fun from my little buzzing room!

We started out with a schema chart.

 We started out the week by learning that the Earth is sick and we can help it.  We read this book to help us  understand more about Earth and what's happening to it.

After reading we learned more about reduce, reuse, and recycle.  I taught them a Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle song.

The next day we started putting our knowledge of the three r's to use by making art work from reusable trash.  I had sent home a note the weekend before for families to send reusable trash to school.  We pulled out some of the trash materials and decided what pieces we could use to make trees.  It was completely up to them to pick what they wanted to use.  I got this idea from Michelle at Apples and ABC's.

We also reused a lot of the materials to create monsters, robots, puppets, etc.  

We also learned to recycle.  I found this random "recycle machine" at Walmart on clearnace several years ago and use it every year for Earth Day.  My cuties had to tear or cut old paper and then we placed it in the machine.  We took turns spinning it.

After we finished spinning, we pushed the gooey paper into a mold to shape it like a star.  While it was drying, we did some interactive writing about the steps to make the recycled paper.

We also learned to reduce.  We read this book

which talks about 10 things we can do to help the Earth.  Then we drew and wrote we could do to reduce the amount of energy we use.

We also read this book

and created this chart

which helped us make these

We also turned our plant pots into The Lorax.

On a side note, I just had to share that I met Natalie Grant last Friday!  If you don't know who she is, check out the video below.  She is a contemporary Christian music singer and is my FAVORITE!  I was blessed to meet her because she was in town for a conference called Dare to Be.  I was asked to be at the conference as a volunteer for World Vision.  (My hubby and I sponsor a child so I was asked to volunteer and try to get more kiddos sponsored - anything for the cuties!)  After the AMAZING conference was complete, she came out to say "thank you" to the World Vision volunteers!  Here she is singing one of my favorites:

...and we got 34 kiddos sponsored!  Sprinkles to Jesus!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to Start Daily Five in Your Kinder Classroom - Part 4

Hi friends!  Happy Sunday evening.  I wanted to share more about Daily Five in Kindergarten - in particular - how to start this wonderful management system in your classroom. 

I previously posted the first three {huge} steps to getting your Daily Five in place.  You can find those posts here:

In part three of our journey, I posted about building stamina.  This begins on the third day of school and continues until a predetermined number of reading minutes.  Though, your students are building stamina as their "work", you will still teach mini-lessons to help your students know more about expectations in the classroom.  One mini lesson that is a "must do" is how to choose books from your classroom library.

The Sisters recommend teaching good fit books with shoes.  I started out our lesson by showing my kiddos one of our new favorite books from the first week of school:

I stated to my class that I love my shoes just like Pete and that I brought some of my shoes to show them.
I then pulled out three pairs of shoes that have different purposes.

I held up each pair and asked my students, "What do you think {Mrs. Crowder} uses these shoes for?"  Once they provided responses for each pair, then I asked questions like, "Would you go running in house slippers?" etc...

Then I explained that shoes have different purposes just like our books have different purposes.

Then I showed my students our chart that is now hung in our classroom library and we went over each of the steps to choose a book and related that to the shoes I showed them.

Do I like it? - This one is pretty explanatory.  Does the reader like what the book is about?  You can compare this to liking the shoes you wear.

Does it fit? - Can you read the pictures and understand what's going on in the story?  Is it too easy or too hard?  You can compare this to the fact that you cannot fit into your student's shoes and they can't fit into your shoes.

Does it help me? - Is this the right book for what I want to learn about?  Compare this to shoes help you do different jobs like running, dancing, or lounging. 

The next day we read this book:

It's about a dog who enjoys many different shoes.  We then recalled our lesson for choosing Good Fit Books from the day before.  We also discussed our classroom policy for when it was okay to check out books from our classroom library and how many books were allowed in our book boxes at one time.

In The Daily Five book, The Sisters call the strategy I PICK, which is an acronym.  Here is an I PICK poster:

You can see on the poster what each of the letters in the acronym stand for.  I loved using this acronym when I taught second grade.  It helped my students a lot when choosing books.  Here is a You Tube video with the I PICK strategy being sung by second graders:

Though I loved this acronym for my second graders, I found that it was too wordy and the "K" ( I know most of the words) was not kinder friendly for the majority of the class on the second week of school.  I have found the Good Fit Books poster really helped my K class this year.

So there is how you teach how to choose good fit books.  Keep building stamina and teaching mini lessons.  Some other mini-lessons include how to care for books, how to use your book doctor, and what to do during Read to Self if there is an interruption like a telephone call, unexpected visitor, etc.  I have other mini-lesson ideas on my Part 3 post.

Next time I will post about what to do once you have reached your desired number of minutes of reading.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sight Word Games

Hi friends!  I wanted to show you two new sight word games that my cuties can choose during Daily 5.  The first one is a game in which student stretch out some play dough and then use popcicle sticks with letters on them to spell words from our word wall.  Once the word is spelled, then they record the word on this sheet.

The second one is a bowling game.  I was given several tiny bowling sets.  I added sight words to each pin using a circle label so that I can change the words when I need to.  Students set the pins up on the pin card found here.  Then they bowl and record the words of the pins that fell over.

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Wonderful Week...

This week has been busy in a lot of unusual ways.  My student teacher continued her total teach, so I worked on all kinds of projects for next school year.  This was my first year in kindergarten, so I have spent a lot of the year reflecting on how to be a more effective teacher next year.  I made a lot of graphic organizers to use next year.  Here are some pics.

This one is an idea from Kim Adsit's website.

This one is for our families lessons.  The pieces that you I used are from Kim Adsit's Family Fun Unit on TPT.

More Kim Adsit inspired graphic organizers.

A Story Map
We also had our annual Parent/Student Academy on Thursday night.  It's a night where teachers and community members teach classes to parents or students.  The parent sessions range from how to create a budget to how to make healthy meals.  Student sessions are fun things like manicures or kite making.

One of my fellow kindergarten teachers and I taught a parent class about helping their child with reading strategies at home.  It went really well.  The parents seemed quite happy to know more strategies to use at home that mirrored what we use in the classroom.  I was so happy to wear my strategies apron that I purchased form Lesson Plan SOS.  I don't have a picture of me in it, but maybe I can ask a friend to snap one tomorrow.

One thing that we discussed in my session with the parents was how to help their child retell a story.  I use this graphic organizer with my kinders to help them retell a story, so I showed it to the parents who attended.

I provided the parents with a smaller version to take home with them.  This is the same one that my kinders keep in their book boxes to help them remember how to retell.  You can download it here.

Basically this method of retelling a story shows young learners that they start by telling the "Who", "Where", and "What" is in the story.  That is why there is these three circles at the top of the chart.  I made them into circles so that readers can touch each one as they retell.

Then the reader tells four important parts of the story.  That is why there are four circles on the square, once again for the reader to touch each one.

Last, the reader completes the retell by telling what happened at the end.  The red reminds the readers to STOP at the end, rather than 3/4 of the way through.

I was also blessed to conduct the District Teacher of the Year interviews on Tuesday night.  I am the current district teacher, so it was a joy to interview such talented teachers in my district.  It was also nice to not be the one being interviewed this year.  Phew!

Okay, that's all for now.  If you would like the words for these organizers, just let me know.  They're nothing fancy, so I didn't know if anyone would want them.

Tax Day Sale!

I'm having a sale!  15% off everything in my store for Tax Day!

Click on the pic below to visit my store!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Plants Everywhere {and a little news}

Our district gave us today off since yesterday was Easter and it has been a lovely day.  I wanted to share some of our plant activities from last week.  You can find these activities and more in my new plant unit on TPT.  Click the pic to take a look at it.

We, of course, are growing plants.  We are recording our observations in our plant journals.

We are singing I'm a Little Seed and acting it out.
The song and motions are in my unit, too!

 Labeling the parts of a seed - the experiment and labels are in my unit as well.

We created a model of a plant and labeled the parts of a plant (also in the unit).

Now onto my news...
I have been holding this little bit of news inside of me for a while now until I was given the go to announce it...

I have been asked to help open our brand new campus in my district!  The school is still being built, but will be finished in July.  I am very excited about this opportunity, though I am sad to leave my current school.  I know it will be the best opportunity in the long run.  I am still going to be in Kindergarten {Yippee!!!!} and will get to be in a dual immersion school {how exciting!} 

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Wonderful Word Wall

I just posted my word wall spinners to my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  You can get two word wall spinners to keep your cuties active with using the word wall for FREE.

If you download the spinners, please rate them.  It helps me know how to improve my products.

 Since I am posting about my spinners, I wanted to show you my word wall.  I love my word wall!  I am not sure how you use you word wall, but just make sure you use it.  I know many teachers feel forced to have them and don't really use them.  Sigh... This is not what word walls are meant for.

At the beginning of the year, my word wall is blank of words.  I only have the alphabet posted on it.

By the second week of school, I had all my students names on the wall with their photo.  I also use Bucket Fillers in my classroom, so their buckets are on the wall next to their name.  I place their names below the alphabet.  Their names and buckets are the only things below the alphabet.

Then we start adding our sight words to the word wall.  I add them on Wednesday.  That allows us two days of practice with the word before we add it.  I add it with the class, so they see where it's added so they can locate it on their own.  Sight words are located above the alphabet and are written on white paper that is backed on black paper.  I cut the white paper to the shape of the word.

I also add words above the alphabet that my cuties frequently ask to spell during writer's workshop.  These words are added during our share time for writer's workshop so that the whole class knows we are adding it and where we place it on the wall.  I also add a picture to these words. 

If you are searching for more word wall activities, check out Randi's TPT store.  She has a fabulous freebie about loving your word wall.

Don't forget to enter my give-a-way!  It ends tomorrow night at midnight.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Second Best Day Ever!

Hi again, peeps!  Today was too crazy and fun!  My student teacher returned to continue her total teach time - and what a day we all had together.  I am not supposed to help out during her total teach, but I didn't want to miss out on the fun!
We had our annual egg hunt today so my cuties decorated little Easter tubs that I bought them at Dollar Tree.  We made them look like bunnies.

Then we enjoyed our egg hunt.

Today was also the Kindergarten Egg Drop.  Each child designed a case to protect an egg.  Then we dropped the cases off the building.

Here's one of the cases.

Mrs. Montgomery and Mrs. Ramsour are throwing the eggs off the building.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall...

Watching and waiting...

When we returned to the classroom, Miss Checkley, my student teacher, opened up the cases to see which eggs survived.

Here are the four kiddos in my room whose eggs survived. 

I also wanted to share an anchor chart I created to help us with story maps.  I am not an artist at all, so I was proud of how the little girl turned out. You can print the words here.

 Happy Easter!


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