Friday, May 26, 2017

End of the Year Activities

It seems like FOREVER since I have posted.  We've had so many things going on... and it's just plain been busy.  We moved.  Jeff's sweet mother passed away.  And then there's school.  You all know!

I have a few fun ideas if you are still in school like I am... (until June 23).
I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey!

First of all, our writing units are DONE!  We scored our last writing sample.  It always amazes me how far the children come in a year.  Yes- when we read the kindergarten 'sample' and it says something like "Spring is best because the wind blows through my hair..." I shudder a little because I know mine don't sound like that- but I couldn't be more proud of how far mine have come- even if the wind doesn't blow through their hair in their stories...

This time of year, I like to do some "fun" writing- the kind where the kids like it so much, they don't even realize they are writing as much as they are.

One of the children's favorites is directed drawing and writing. It's one of my favorites, too because there is so little planning.  First, I check YouTube to find some fun directed drawings.  We did castles this week. You can read a story to go with your lesson, which I usually do.  This time, we brainstormed all sorts of things we know about castles.  We shared who lived there (princesses, kings, queens, Beauty and the Beast, Disney characters) how it is protected (moats, alligators, army guys, you name it- we heard it!), what they are made of, and what the inside may look like.  Then we did the directed drawing. This is the one I used- it's very simple and was just perfect for my kids. I paused it if anyone seemed to need a little extra time.

After we drew, the children could decorate their castle any way they wanted, remembering to use at least 5 or 6 colors and details. (Most of my children are 6 now, so that's our magic number!)  Then, they wrote about their castle and tried to fill the front and back of the paper.  That was it- and it was so much fun.  Finally, we shared our castles and marveled at how special each one was.

 (My castle is big and colorful because it is special because it is protected by sharks.)

 (I have a castle.  My roof is gold.  I have alligators and sharks surrounding my castle.)

Sticker writing is always fun.  We read lots of animal books to get some ideas about illustrations and facts.  Then, everyone gets a paper with two stickers on it.  Nobody knows which ones they will get. I put them face down on the table, and they turn the paper over and have to draw a detailed background and write something about their animals.  They love this writing!  Nobody even complains.  Last year when I was handing the papers out, someone started saying, "You get what you get, and you're thankful for it!"   I love that little saying.  I love it so much better than "You don't throw a fit."  It makes it so much more positive.

The gorilla was looking for a friend.  The fox was looking for a friend, too.

I live in the jungle.  I know, I know.  I am big and strong, but I am nice.  

Here is another fun drawing activity for this time of year!  The children really WANT to know how to draw different things- and directed drawing makes them feel so successful.  We read Mrs. Wishy Washy's Farm and Otis to go along with our farm drawings.

We drew the pictures after we read the stories, and then wrote about our drawings later in the day.   I printed out these papers from Activity Village and let them go!

I loved that when he added details, he added TEETH to the farmer. 
Loved the wind!

I didn't want to leave you in suspense...  

My class LOVES to play Sparkle!  We play it probably almost every day during those extra minutes we always seem to have.  The game only takes a few minutes and we practice spelling so many sight words during that time. 

If you don't know how to play, here you go!

The children stand in a circle.  You say a word for the children to spell.  One at a time, a child says one letter of the word, as you make your way around the circle of children.  If the word is "at," the first child says, "a," the next child says, "t," then the next child says, "sparkle," and the next child sits down.  You continue right on with the next child spelling a new word:  You say, "The word is 'you.'  And the children spell   "Y," "o," "u," "sparkle," then sit.    I go right around the circle and point to each child as  it is his turn to say the letter to keep the game moving right along quickly. 

I always put my hand on the head of the child that has to sit and make a funny sound as they sit down so everyone is laughing, and it's never sad.  You continue spelling around the circle until only one child is left standing and is the SPARKLE CHAMP!

Well, we love this game for learning sight words so much, so when we did our Opinion Unit in writing and the children needed to know how to spell because,  we played this game and ONLY spelled because around the circle.  "B," "e," "c," "a," "u," "s," "e." "sparkle," sit, "b," "e," "c," "a," ...   
You could use this game to have your children learn to spell any word!

I put together my Summer Journals for my class this week.  It is FREE at my TpT store!  Dr. Jean and I had lots of fun putting this together.  Usually, we do a few pages together before the children go home for summer. Then, I send home the rest for them to have for the summer. These have always been a big hit with the kids!  Here are some sample pages:

Dr. Jean and I also made 20 different designs for 17 sayings for our Gift Tag, Gift Card, and Gift Idea Packet.  Each saying is on both a half sheet of paper to use as a gift tag or a full sheet that can be printed, folded, and made into a card that your class can sign. 
Last year we gave everyone a Thanks a Latte card with a gift card.  You can use them anytime of the  year- and for any occasion!


Thank you for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Five for Friday March 24

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey!

We worked on  these number bonds with gold on St. Patrick's Day!  This worksheet is from The Printable Princess. It was in a packet a while ago- but I think the packet has changed and I can't find it there now.   

Anyway- we worked on number bonds using our 'real' gold.  I spray paint lots of rocks with gold spray paint, and have counters forever.  The leprechauns also left everyone a piece of the 'real' gold, too.  

The leprechauns wrote on our table with dry erase markers, and that gave me a great  idea- so... I made number bonds for the children right on the table!  They loved it.  It came right off with cleaner after we were done.  

Making the number bonds right on the table was a great way for the children to use manipulatives and really visualize the number bonds.  I'm thinking jelly beans are next... Maybe I'll make a bunny face for the big part of the number bond, and then each ear will be the other parts.  

We needed some sunshine.  Upstate NY is pretty dreary all winter long...  These were so easy to make. I did it with the kids one at a time.  I drew the arch on the bottom.  Each child painted that first, then I painted each child's hand so she could stamp it on for the sun rays.

I wrote "You are my SUNSHINE!" on a paper for them to copy.  They did a really great job.

I hung these over the children's lockers, and we made a poster to go over the top.  I always love this saying.  Snow White is so wise... 

I wrote a few weeks ago about my Chit-Chat topics. What I've been loving lately is my new line up activity.  Usually I have the children chit chat for the few minutes after writing, after they wash up, before lunch.  With a couple minutes left, I'll get everyone's attention and have them ask their partner a 'Line Up Question.'  Each child must tell me what his/her partner's answer was before lining up.   These are simple questions like, "What's your partner's favorite color? favorite animal?  favorite ice cream flavor?  favorite toy..."

The first time I did this, I got a few, "I forgot," or "I don't know."  Well- that doesn't get you a spot in line!   I said, "Well, you better ask again and remember so you can line up!" Then I moved on to the next person.  Next time- every single one of them remembered!

It's important to be a good listener,  to really listen to friends and pay attention.  I want them to know that now. It matters.  I feel like with the world moving faster and faster, it's more important than ever to teach children to truly listen to each other. 

If you would like a copy of my topics that I use, just click the picture below.  I print out a copy and leave it on my desk.  Then, I check off the one that we use.  I also use this as a writing prompt sometimes for morning work.

It's my FAVORITE time of year... I got to teach my kids The Water Cycle song.   Dr. Jean and I made a packet all about The Water Cycle, Water, and Clouds!  I posted about it HERE.

We've added all of our FAVORITE activities in the packet.
In my post, I share some of the fun things I love to do when I teach the water cycle that fit into math and ELA. 

Here is the Prezi that is included with the packet. This Prezi includes The Water Cycle song by Steve Songs.  We also love singing  Dr. Jean's The Water Cycle song, (the download is included in the packet)- and WOW- do my kids know all about the water cycle!

Here is my class singing the song after only one week! I think it is impossible to NOT be happy after we do this song.  

I shared this post before, but I just reread it and loved it all over again.  I thought I'd  share it with you again in case  you didn't see it. I love Marc and Angel. They just write practical things that makes sense- and make you go, "YEAH, that's so right."

The post has a great write up about each thing, but here were some of my favorites, with different pictures I put with each one.

There were SO many that I really, really loved.  Which ones are your favorites?
Thank you for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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