Friday, October 21, 2016

Five for Friday October 21

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

Here is one of my fall bulletin boards.  I always love the advice different things have to give!

I had the best day ever last week when I got to FaceTime with Emily Kate  Moon in my classroom, and she read her book, Joone.  Oh, I mean- it was all for the kids.  I think I may have said, "I'm friends with Emily Kate Moon, but I've never met her yet either!" too many times, because when I said it, one of my boys said, "Yeah, you told us that."   OK....  Anyway-  Here is my post all about our wonderful day!

AND if you'd like to make fabulous Dr. Chin turtle hats of your own,  click HERE for the pattern.  My wonderful art teacher made these with the kids and gave me his pattern to share.  He printed the hats on green paper, let the kids cut and decorate them, then stapled them into a hat.  They were perfect.

Here are two great directed drawing videos for drawing a turtle.  The kids LOVE these!

Don't forget to end your special Joone Day with ice cream sandwiches, because...  why not?!  

We had our October Random Act of Kindness Day on our calendar last week!

 I wrote about how I love to work kindness into our Calendar Time HERE.  It was a RAK for our playground aides. I love our playground aides, and so do the children.  They're great.  The children took them each an amaryllis bulb.  I LOVE growing these.  They grow SO fast and are absolutely gorgeous.  It's a perfect science activity for the classroom, too, because the children can measure almost daily and see growth!  The kids were so excited to give.  That was the best part.

Dr. Jean and I finished our Brain Cookies packet.  We put together over 90 favorite brain breaks for any time of the day.  We thought the name "Brain Cookies" would be fun because they are little treats to help get through the day- (and these are even healthy!)  We use these all the time in my class.
My kids love it because I store the cookies in cookie containers, and the leader gets to choose one that we do!

You can keep them on a ring or even in a cookie jar!  Just have fun!  That's what it's all about.

One of my favorite ways to get my kids writing is sticker writing.  I guess it's just different enough and fun enough to be a perfect combination.  We use Lucy Calkins for writing- which is fine- but gets to be a little too much too fast for my kids.  There are just too many parts for little five year old brains to remember to put together sometimes.  I find I don't really get much "writing" because they just plain need to learn HOW to write letters, and use those sounds to make words and get down what they want to say.  So some days we just need to back it up a little.  

I buy stickers at the Dollar Store, and cut each page in half.  Each student gets a half page of stickers and an 8 1/2X14  (Legal size) paper.  For some reason, this bigger paper is just exciting!
The children can put their stickers anywhere they want, and then draw more details for the stickers the background.  Then, they can labels and add speech bubbles if they want.  
I use this as an activity to teach early sentence writing.  I have each child write, "I  see  a  ..."  and they can finish it with whatever they see in their picture.  This is a great way to practice writing sight words.  You can use lots of different sentences with this writing:  I can see a...;  I like my...;  Can you see the?...;  Look at the...  My____ can _____....  anything you want!

 We work on neat printing, spaces, stretching out words and hearing sounds, and adding a period at the end of the sentence.  I was so proud of them- and I actually felt better about their writing after this.  Phew!  Some of those "books" for writer's workshop had me nervous...  Now I see hope.

I wrote a post about Sticker Writing that I did later in the year.  They love sticker writing anytime!

Finally- just to make you all feel better about yourselves... in case you had a long week.
I watched this Cooking Panda video to make sugar cookie ice cream cups.  SOOOO easy. Basically... Butter the backside of a cupcake sheet really well.  Cut sugar cookie dough.  Put on top of well-buttered circles. Bake. Slide off.  Enjoy.  

So here are mine. We had sugar cookie crumbs to put on our ice cream.  At least we had ice cream.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Best Day Ever!

I know it's 74 days until Christmas, but today was like Christmas in October, with Joone, in my class!

We had the best visit from Emily Kate Moon via Facetime today!  We've looked forward to it for weeks now, ever since we planned this day. We brought the best of Florida right up to New York- and even Hurricane Matthew couldn't stop it!
Emily read Joone to us, and added some extras in along the way so we could learn even more about our favorite book.

My sweet friend Jen (our STEM teacher) and I are Emily's biggest fans. She was with me for this great moment.  If you haven't read Joone for some reason, you, too, will become her biggest fan. Here is some more about how I use the book before I share our visit!

As a teacher, you would think Emily Kate Moon wrote this just for us.  It's a perfect mentor text for adding details to illustrations and writing.  We talk about adding at least 5 details to our pictures.  We "decided" on this number because the kids are five, so that's just perfect.

Look how great this page of the book is to help reinforce 5 details!  As I read and the children heard a detail, they had to hold up one finger.  This page- with only this much text-  gave us five great details about Joone.  We shared the details after I read the page. When I showed the children the illustration, they could see so many more details from the wonderful drawing!

Joone is also a perfect mentor text for small moments and narrative writing.  It's hard to find good books to introduce this for writing.  This book is full of special, small moments, and it lets the children see that those special, small moments make wonderful stories to tell and write about in their books!

I made some writing prompts to use after you read Joone to your class.  If you would like a copy of them, just click on the picture!

Literally- it's just a perfect book.

But it's also a character education dream.  Joone is the coolest little girl.  She's the girl you want your girls in class to want to be-  clever, creative, caring, strong, adventurous, and fun.  And the best part is- we found out during our Facetime, that Joone is really based on Emily Kate Moon's life! (So actually SHE is the coolest girl ever, I guess!)

We talked about questions we'd like to ask Emily, and the children wondered if she had a pet turtle and liked ice cream sandwiches (like Joone does) when she was little.  Well, she told us that she did base details about Joone on her life. She did organize her grandpa's books in rainbow order.  And she really does love ice cream sandwiches!

That's another amazing thing I can go back to over and over during writing with the kids. "What did Emily Kate Moon write about?"  Details from HER life!

Here are some pictures from our day.

We did directed drawings of Joone, and decorated the room with them.

We all tried to dress in orange and purple (Joone's favorite colors), and we made turtle hats to wear, because Joone often has Dr. Chin, her pet turtle, on her head.

In the book,  Joone puts an ice cream sandwich in the mailbox for the mail lady... which is one of the favorite parts of the book for the kids.  They really "get" that and think it's such a funny idea.

My mother comes to help in my classroom during center time, and today she brought a bag she said she found in her mailbox.  Well, it was cold... and the children knew right away what it was!  Ice cream sandwiches from Joone! You should have heard the squeals.

Later in the day, during free choice time, I put out some directed drawing paper for the children to practice their own Dr. Chin drawings.

Two of my kids were looking back over the book during free choice, and I heard one say, "Where did Emily say she put that little frog in this picture?"  OK-  they are now on the first name basis with a famous author and illustrator.  They don't even know how cool they are.

We just can't wait for more books, Emily!  Thank you for making our entire school year so special with a memory we won't ever forget!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Five for Friday September 30

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

I love all the Facebook Live videos I've seen, but I just can't do it.  I have never been great at speaking in front of people (over the age of 5...) .  Maybe some day. For some reason writing ideas here feels safer for me.  

I love Dr. Jean's Facebook Live videos- because I always get great ideas that I can use right away.  She packs the ideas into Facebook Live, just like she does into her conferences, one great idea right after another.

I loved Dr. Jean's paper bag trees.  She gave so many great ideas about how to use them.  Since we're working on learning letters in our names now,  I found these wonderful letter leaves from TypeInspire.  

After the children made their tree, they cut out the leaf letters for their names to glue onto the branches.  Another fun, easy, pretty, Fall way to reinforce names and letters. 
One way to reinforce those sight words is to write them on... pretty much everything!  This little sweetie had a ball making these blocks say, "You I love."  "I love you."  "Love you I."  Her little group building with these blocks thought it was the funniest thing ever making those silly sentences- and I was thinking, "Now you all know "I," "love," and "you!"  

I always start the year off with this quick little activity. I've shared it before, but it really works for getting the children pointing to each word and realizing they can READ!

We have been working on our sight words and one to one correspondence, pointing to each word as we read. This was a good activity for both.  First, I modeled the activity for the class.  I pointed to each word and decided where I liked to go.  I cut out the environmental print word and glued it onto my paper.  When I was done with the "I go to" side, I pointed to each word as I read the page.      
Then, I turned it over and did the "I like to" page on back.  
This was great practice not only for reading sight words, reading environmental print, and pointing to each word, but also for cutting, using a glue stick, and completing the activity independently.  They had a ball. 

I printed out the writing on one page, front and back, and then gave each child a sheet of places to go and things to do.  They could choose their favorites.  When each child finished the activity, he/she had to read their paper to a friend and then to me. They also had to read it to someone when they got home.  The conversations about the places and activities were so much fun to listen to at the tables, too.  

Click HERE if you would like a copy!

We are also working on learning the difference between a letter, word, and sentence. I had the children come up to the chart and choose one of the cut out pieces I had on the table and glue it into the correct spot after we talked about what a letter, word, and sentence each were.

Later in the year, I like to reinforce this lesson, and have the children write a letter, word, and sentence under the correct heading.  This time of year, I'm happy with them choosing one and gluing it on.   I wrote a post all about my Letter-Word-Sentence lessons HERE.

This picture is right beside my desk at school.  It's me in kindergarten.  It's just a reminder for me to never forget how I felt when I was five.  What was special to me?  What was I worried about?  What made me happy?  What made me sad?  I  think every teacher should keep a picture of them at the age they teach by their desk. 

By the way, that is my favorite nightgown.  I remember being so excited when it was warm enough for me to wear it again. And- of course, I was probably looking forward to the Tooth Fairy visit.  And my hair growing out a little bit...

When I introduce letters and sounds, I use a combination of working with all the letters and sounds, all the time- as well as giving each letter two special days.  We constantly work on hearing letters and sounds in words, and my class LOVES going through flash cards fast/slow/with silly voices and telling me the letter and sound.  I always over-exaggerate "o"- like they are at the doctor's saying "ahh,"with their mouth shaped like an "o,"  "u"- like they got punched in the stomach "UHHH,"  "m" like something is delicious- "mmmmm!" "i" - where they wrinkle their nose and say "iiiii" (like something is icky).  We have lots of fun with this and they actually ask to do it.  I usually fly though cards for letters and sounds each time we gather on the rug.  It's also a good time for the kids to settle.

When I focus on each letter for two days, we really give that letter some special attention as far as learning the correct formation, recognition, and sound.  I made 3 activities that I use each day for letters.

I just redid my Kindergarten/Pre-K Letters and Sounds Prezi.  I use this every day.  I just leave it up on the Apple TV (or Smartboard- we used to have Smartboards!) all day.  I show the videos to introduce the letters.   Then, we use the songs and games as brain breaks to reinforce the letter names and sounds any chance I get.

One of the first apps we use in the classroom is the QR Code Reader.  My children love QR Codes, and I love that it makes videos and stories so easy to access.  Now we are using our Alphabet QR Codes a lot.  I found 5 videos for each letter.  They're from ABC Mouse, Have Fun Teaching, Sesame Street Podcast, Storybots, and KidsTV123.  I've also included 16 other fun alphabet/phonics songs for the children to listen to, learn from, and enjoy!

Last year, I sent this book of Alphabet QR Codes home with a few students who just needed some reinforcement.  They LOVED it.

Finally, I made these Alphabet Poems for the children to illustrate.  They are quick, little poems that give the children practice pointing to each word as we read, finding letters and sight words we know and they can highlight, and drawing illustrations to go with text. I also wrote poems for "sh," "ch," "br," and "wh."  In the packet, I included 2 different fonts, and then one set with no illustrations in the text at all if you'd rather have it plain. 

I really loved this video, because there are times at school that I feel behind already.  Week 3.  And I don't have to.  Neither do you!  

Have a wonderful weekend.  Thank you for stopping by!

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