Friday, November 29, 2013

Five for Friday November 29th

Happy Black Friday!  I am linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

 I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It is so special to have some time to reflect on what is important and the blessings of the year.  Today is all about Christmas music (on Pandora as we 'speak'), a little fun shopping- aka people watching on Black Friday cause we don't really need anything, visiting, puzzles, burning my Christmas scented candles, and some funny TV shows (I mean OLD ones, like Will and Grace... love that show), maybe a movie, oh- and fun food.  P.E.R.F.E.C.T.

Here are my favorite five of the week- not all schooly because it's THANKSGIVING!

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful.  It was a little different this year. My parents went to Florida, so we snuck in a quick dinner with them Wednesday night before they left.  I think our new tradition on Thanksgiving Eve may be Chinese food and bowling.  Sounds good to me! I hadn't been bowling in such a long time. It is so much fun. Plus, you can always blame getting the 'wrong ball' for your score.

(I know this is a complete and total 'tablescape' fail, Sandra Lee- but we had so much food the centerpiece would just get in the way.  Priorities...)
My wonderful 'kids'!
OK this may be my favorite.  Matt was 'photobombing' his girlfriend, Emily, and Ellie.  Then when I looked at the picture on the computer, I realized that he was shown up by the real 'photobomber' on the right- on all fours on the stool.  What in the world is THAT?!
After our big night out, we played games.  Matt got us this game last year as a joke- but turns out it is actually a really fun trivia game.

Maybe it was so much fun cause I won one of the games. Not bragging- just bragging being honest... I am usually so horrible at trivia.  Apparently, my mind doesn't remember the 'important' trivia only the really trivial trivia.

Here are some other games we love.  We play in big groups, so lots of times we don't use the game boards and follow the exact directions. 

My friend Susanna, from Whimsy Workshop has been sharing her fabulous clipart with her  "12 Days of Christmas Freebies."  It is truly like Christmas each day. I can't wait to see the next one.  Go over and check it out if you haven't!  You will fall in love with the personality she gives to all of her characters.

Here are two bulletin boards that I put up at school.  My brother-in-law Ray made me these GORGEOUS snowflakes.  Each one is so beautiful that I can't even pick my favorite. 

The idea from this first bulletin board came from The Butterfly Jungle. I loved it.  Not only did the idea come from her- but so did the bear. I tried my unartistic best to draw my own, but they kept coming out like giant white rats, which are NOT as precious blowing snowflakes, by the way. Finally, I just enlarged her wonderful bear.  She described drawing the bear as "easy-peasy."  :( Nope.
Anyway, here they are!

I posted all about reindeer.  ALL about reindeer. I included links to crafts, food, ELA Freebies and Math Freebies.  I kind of like reindeer.  You can click on the picture below to go have a look!

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Letter-Word-Sentence Lesson

We had lots of fun learning about letters, words, and sentences. This is a good time of year for these lessons, because some of the children are really ready to be writing sentences in their stories.  I am always  having them answer questions in complete sentences, too- so we have that L.K.1f CCSS all set here!  Oh boy...

I teach the class that (with hand motions) a letter (hands close together and small) is a symbol that stands for a sound. I put a "c" on the board.  A word (hands a little bigger) is a group of letters put together to mean something. I put "cat" on the board with a beanie baby cat beside it. A sentence (hands wide apart) is a group of words put together that mean something.  I put the sentence, "The cat is here," on the board with the cat beside it.

The students teach this to each other using hand motions.

The first day, we read The Alphabet Tree by Leo Leonni. 

This is a great story to reinforce letter/word/sentence.  I like how the letter bug tells the letters they will be stronger as a word, and then the caterpillar comes along and tells the words that they will be stronger as a sentence. It is a great representation, even with size.

We talk about how a sentence isn't just a group of ANY words, but that it has to mean something.   I have some kids who, bless their hearts, are trying to write words in their story, but will write four random sight words.  This visual helps them to understand that the words have to go together and mean something.  I show my own caterpillars, and we talk about which one is a sentence and which one is just a group of words.

We also talk about how our sentence needs to match our illustrations.  I show them some examples that they like... (Don't judge the artwork... please...)

The wonderful "I Can" statements are from Erin Dowling's TPT store. I got all of her "I Can" statements, because I just love them.

I made a Letter/Word/Sentence chart.  We talked about each, and then I drew a name and had that child come  to the front and choose a letter to glue on, then another child to glue on a word, and finally a child to glue on the  sentence.

At Center Time, the children each made their own Letter/Word/Sentence chart so I could see if they understood the concepts.  I just put a bunch of letters, words, and sentences on the table, and each child had to choose two of each to put onto their own chart.

The next day,  we read Max's Words, by Kate Banks.

I always have the children tell me in a complete sentence what the author's job and illustrator's job are.  "The author writes the words. The illustrator draws the pictures."  I explain to them that a complete sentence  gives the listener so much more information than if I just said, "writes words." 

In this story, Max's brothers both collect something, and Max wants to have his own collection.  Max decides to collect words.  After we read the story, I tell them that they have their very own collection of words in their head!  All the time!  They can create any story they want with that wonderful collection.

I put some magnetic letters on the board. (The magnetic letters were under the chart- and when I flipped the chart over, the kids all gasped.  When THAT is magical, you know you have the best job!)

 I have different students come up to make the words "can," "go," and "in."  As they make the words on the board, I have the other children think how to spell the word, and then spell it out loud.

 I choose another student to make the sentence, "I can go in." We praise the meatball spaces between words to make the sentence easy to read. 

I change it around to so we can use that question mark...
Then comes the exclamation point.  They LOVE reading with expression to match the punctuation marks.  I am training them well. They love punctuation marks already.  
We say our Punctuation Poem.  The kids love this poem, and just randomly say it all day. I sort of completely love that!

We read through our Sight Words, just as a reminder that those are great words that we know how to spell, to include in our stories.  Other big words are great to use, too, and we can write the sounds we can hear in those which is wonderful.  

Throughout the day, we do lots of activities from my Primary Writing Prezi on the Smartboard.  The children LOVE the Smartboard games. I have been reinforcing sentences with the Writing Sentences games.

I share a few of the students' stories who have used sentences , to reinforce what it should look like.  Here are a couple of my favorites so far- not because they are the "best" ones- but because these children have come SO far!  This first little boy wasn't writing ANYTHING at all- and was only grabbing one crayon to scribble a quick picture.  Here is his story all about his dad shooting a deer. 

 He even heard the "sh" "oo" and "t" all. by. himself! 
 Look at that deer hanging up in his garage- and the "camo" on all the boys looking at the deer.  He even made dad bigger- and gave them some hair. That was huge for him!
(He also wrote "he cut it up"- I know it's there...  :)  

This one was just too sweet/sad.  Her kitten died.  :( 

Hopefully we can keep up the good work using real, live sentences in stories.  They all have the best intentions. It is just what happens between the intention, the ideas, and the actual writing down on paper that doesn't work out as well as planned sometimes.  But it gets better every day most days!  (OK- not EVERY day-  some days it seems like landslide backwards and I think- WHAT?! ) 

Thank you for stopping by!  Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Small Moment Treasures

The books I am using next for Writer's Workshop are all about treasure.

These books help the children think about what  things they treasure in their lives. I thought this fit in well for Thanksgiving, too.  Treasures don't have to be big  to be treasures.  That is the exciting part.  Sometimes small moments and memories are the most special treasures.  Thinking of ideas for stories is still tricky for some of my kids, so having them think of a special thing or time that they 'treasure' is another way to help them think of ideas.

What a Treasure by Jane Hillenbrand and Treasures of the Heart by Alice Ann Miller are very sweet books, about 'treasure' being what is most important to you.

Will Hillenbrand, who wrote What a Treasure, has a great website.  He has a  matching card game, sequencing game, and literary activities to go with this book FREE at his website!

 Alice Ann Miller helps the children think about the special things they treasure.

Poetic author Alice Ann Miller brings sentiment and importance to the treasures a child holds dear as he ever so cautiously shares them with his mother: "It's buried deep and very safe. I have it in my special place. Come along, it's through this door." Combining perspective with intricate detail and fanciful style, artist Kate Darnell allows us to envision our own treasures and to experience sharing them with those we love: "A yellow sock, my lucky favorite car, my cricket jar."

Another good book is The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz.
Here is a synopsis of the book:
Three times a voice comes to Isaac in his dreams and tells him to go to the capital city and look for a treasure under the bridge by the royal palace. Feeling a little foolish perhaps, but determined to see for himself if the dream is true, Isaac sets out on his long journey. What he finds makes a surprising and heart-warming ending to this retelling of a well-known folk tale. In a few words, Cadelcott Medal winner Uri Shulevitz draws a man who is innocent enough to have faith in a dream, and wise enough to understand the greatest reward of all.

These books would work really well when I do  My Favorite Things unit.  You can read what I do in this post.  I have each child bring in their favorite thing to write about, and we learn and LOVE the song.  We also watch version after version of the song on my Prezi
If you would like the Prezi, it is free at my TPT store.  We have a ball with it. I think I will revisit the books during this unit.  Maybe next year I will work it out so we do this all at the same time, but sometimes it is fun to go back and reread some favorite books.  
After we read our treasure books, it's perfect time to send home this Shape Treasure Hunt that the children complete at home and bring back. It's a great way to get the parents involved, and to let parents know the shapes we are learning in class. If you would like a copy of it, just click on the picture below!
I have little prizes for the kids when they finish. I have gotten shape books from the Dollar Store, or a bag of different shaped prizes- like a sphere super ball, cylinder of Smarties, a rectangular pad of paper... 

Of course it is also a great time to get out treasure (aka rocks spray painted gold) at Free Choice!
A Special Kind of Class has some cute Pirate Math Work Stations that would be a great tie in with all this talk about treasures.
  Pirate Math Work Stations - Aligned to Common Core - FreebiePirate Math Work Stations - Aligned to Common Core - Freebie
And the kids go on a Treasure Hunt for words in the classroom for Write Around the Room.
I  wrote Sight Words on these precious cards from JK Curriculum Connection's Pirate Game.  It is FREE at TPT and adorable!
Pirate Game Arrrrgh!Pirate Game Arrrrgh!
Fredia Shumway  has some cute treasure chest sight word cards  FREE at her TPT store!
Pirate Themed Word WallPirate Themed Word WallPirate Themed Word Wall
Finally, this was part of my devotion the other day- from my favorite devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.  It was too perfect for this post- and also a great reminder for me to look for and "collect" all of those treasures throughout the day!

As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way.  I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day.  Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one.  When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet.  Offer it up to Me with a grateful heart.  Receive My Peace as you lie down to sleep, with thankful thoughts laying a lullaby in your mind.

Have a wonderful day!  Thank you for stopping by!

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