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!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Five for Friday September 2

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! HOW is it September? 

I use my  Character Education Prezi a LOT in the beginning of the school year.  I added some fun clean up songs, so I can have them handy whenever we need to clean up- AKA always.   

I got carried away found lots of songs I loved, so I added all of them for variety- so we can choose a different one each day.

And then, I decided to add a "Be Kind Friends" section to the Prezi- because we always in case we need reminders. 

 THEN- I found some relaxing guitar music that I liked- and thought there may be days I would need that playing peacefully in the background as the children worked, so I added that.  Basically, what I'm saying is that I redid the Prezi.  It's free at my TPT store if you would like a copy of it.  I leave it up all the time- and we visit and revisit videos all the time for reminders.  

PB Works Collaborative Learning Site is an awesome site where people have shared online activities to go with each Common Core Standard.   Here is a sample of what the Kindergarten Math Page looks like:
The Web Tools each go to a site that goes with the standard.   It has a lot of web tools for K-3rd grade. I wanted to share it with you if you haven't seen it yet!
We get right into Writer's Workshop when we're back to school.  This post has some of my favorite mentor texts that I like to use for teaching different mini lessons.  

And this post has some great freebies from TpT for primary writing.

Angela Watson from The Cornerstone had a great suggestion to help when students answer, "I don't know."  Her idea is to respond with , "If you did know, what would you say?"  Or, "What would be your best guess if you did know?" "You can read her article here.

Responding with that answer takes the pressure off the student to have to have the "right" answer, and allows the student to respond with what he/she was thinking- which often times is the right answer or at least gets the child thinking and participating.  Participation is a great start to growing risk-takers in the classroom, and provides a lot of information about the student's thinking.

Have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Calendar Time Kindness

Hi! It's back to school time, and I thought I'd share some ways I like to use my calendar in the morning.  Sometimes people say calendar time gets boring, redundant, and feels like something you just "get through."  BUT there's so much learning that can happen in those minutes!

As you can see, I just have a regular, simple calendar set up.   I start with my calendar showing the days we don't have school.  The other days are turned over on the calendar.  Each morning, I turn over the number of the day, and we say the date together. Probably like all of you do!

We read the name of the month. I have the kids notice the capital letter that begins all NAMES (people, pets, street names, months...) I see if my students notice any other words that begin with capitals on the calendar (names of days of the week).  

Sometimes we spell the name of the month.  We might think of words that begin like the name of the month or clap the syllables of the month and the days of the week. 

We sing our Days of the Week song in the beginning of the year until everyone knows the days of the week well. Here's one of my favorites. 
 Then, we move on to Dr. Jean's Macarena Months and learn those. 

We always add a straw to the counter and keep track of ones, tens, and hundreds by counting them each day. The children really seem to understand ones and tens when we do this. It's and oldie but goodie, I think.

We also add a dot to a ten frame for each day.  This is great practice counting by tens. And basically, the kids like to see if my dot is a perfect circle on the ten frame.  (They will be like, "You made a really good circle dot last week!"  Some days... not so much I guess.)

Once we turn over the number of the day, we count to that number and then cover our mouth to stop. Here is where the fast math begins.  I have the children show me the number of the day with their fingers.  If it is the 6th , they can show me 4 and 2, 5 and 1, or 3 and 3.  We write these addition facts to 6 on the dry erase board as a great review.    If the number is 14 or 17, we take the ones number and use that only.  So I'll say, "Let's look at the 7, show me 7 on your fingers."  

After that, I may say, "How many more days until we get to # 10?"   "What number will come after #11?"   "Can we count backward?" "  

Other times, I randomly turn over a  number on the calendar, and ask questions about that number.  "What number comes before?" "What number comes after?" "Let's count on from this number to 50."  


Another fun activity is our Kindness Calendar.  Randomly, I'll put a little sticky note on one of the numbers that will be turned over.  It says, "Random Act of Kindness Day."   

You can do this several ways.  I usually have some prepared, like a little bag of Hershey kisses to take to the nurse for all of her help, or to leave for our room cleaner at the end of the day with a note. Sometimes, I'll have the kids make cards at center time to deliver to the cafeteria workers, secretaries, bus drivers at the end of the day, or anyone they want.  

Other days, you can suggest the students do a Random Act of Kindness for a friend sometime during the day.  Take a few minutes at the end of the day to share what was done.  I like to have the children share if anyone did something special for them first, rather than having them share what they did. 
You can also have them do Cafeteria RAK, so they pick up garbage if they see it and take care of that. Or Playground RAK where they share or play with a new friend on the playground.  You can have several RAK ideas written on paper or popsicle sticks, and draw one if you want.  OR if  you have something in mind, have it prepared for when the day arrives. You can bring in donuts for the custodians or office staff if you may know a RAK is coming up, so you're ready for that. 

Sometimes, it will say, "Random Act of Kindness at home."  Then, the children have the day to think of their RAK  for home:  making their sibling's bed, helping with the dishes, giving the cat water, cleaning their room.  Before bus time, I take those few minutes to remind the children what special day it is, and ask what RAK they have thought of doing at home.  In the morning, I take a few minutes after calendar to let the children share what they did and their happy reactions.
"Grandparent RAK" is another fun one.  The kids call or facetime their grandparents when they get home to talk about their day or share a song with them.  

The list goes on!  It's just another fun way to incorporate the habit of kindness into the day.  Children are so excited to help and be kind, and need to be taught how important it is and how good it makes them feel.  It makes them feel good in a different, special way so they realize it's not always about "getting" but about "giving."
Here are my latest books I just got that are quick and simple ways to reinforce kindness.  I love quick books that encourage discussion and get the kids thinking of kind acts they can do. 

My 8th grade English teacher would cringe at this title, since she never let us use the word "nice" in our writing, saying it was "trite and overused." HOWEVER...  This book is right at the kids' level-simple and straight forward... Be nice to each other, and here's how!

This next book is a board book. It's a simple circle story of how Hen starts a string of kindnesses when she gives her egg to Pig.  Pig appreciates it, and decides he would like to do something kind as well, so he gives Rabbit a carrot...  finally the kindness makes its way back to Hen.

These books both have simple text and simple illustrations, focusing on the them of being kind in a way that kids will remember.

This next one...  is so precious.
Here is a little sample of the sweetness:
This book made me think of this saying that I love.  I made this  little picture for it. My students are really good about not calling names or being mean.  I think it's because we do so much talking about kindness, that they know it would break my heart most of all if they were mean to another student in the class.  

NEXT is the SWEETEST book.  
  I found this video to share with you so you can see it-

What a great way to bring up topics like being kind and including EVERYONE.  How would you feel if you were the invisible boy and nobody chose you or asked you to play?  What is one way you could think of to include someone who may feel left out?  

My Character Education Prezi is free at my TpT Store, if you'd like it.  I use it a lot especially in the beginning of the year. It's got a lot of videos about being kind friends, as well as classroom rules. AND I love the clean up songs!

I wrote ALLLLLLLLLL about my favorite Character Education ideas HERE if you'd like other ideas. It's so easy to fit these important lessons in throughout the day.  Have fun!

I hope you're all off to a wonderful school year if you're back. If you're like me and don't go back until September, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy this next week!
Thanks for stopping by!

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