Friday, September 19, 2014

Five for Friday September 19th

I am linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Happy, Happy Friday!

Here are some of my favorite moments of the week.

A teacher at school shared this site of  Math Tips for Parents  for all grade levels, and I wanted to pass it on! These are great to send home so parents know what types of activities you are working on in the classroom. They go along with the modules, but are good even if you aren't following the modules, and just want to share the CCSS information.

We worked on sorting and classifying this week.  We made our anchor chart, and sorted all "sorts" of things.

The kids loved the tangrams.  We made puzzles and sorted them by shapes. 

I'm doing some assessments this week, and noticed that naming shapes isn't a  very strong skill for lots of my little guys.  (Well, neither are numbers, letters, sounds, fill-in-the-blank-with-any-other-skills...)  But everything will come in time! I know it will.  

I found this idea from Fran at Kindergarten Crayons.  It was a perfect quick assessment to show who knew (and didn't know) shapes.  The only thing I changed from Fran's Pete the Cat, was that I made a hexagon nose, because I wanted to get a hexagon on there somewhere.  I love how different they all came out when they all started with the same bag of shapes!  I had the bags pre-made, with all the shapes they needed.  They had to follow my directions and put Pete together like a puzzle.  We did this in a small group.  At the end, they added the black dot in the middle of the eye, whiskers, and their name.  It was also a great activity for practice using glue sticks.

I also decided we would make a Shape Town to share different objects that are different shapes. I had the children bring in different shaped items to live in our town.  I have this out at our exploration table, underneath the "I Can Sort" anchor chart, so the kids can talk about shapes, touch them, sort them, and "get to know" them.  

If you would like a copy of my Shape Town picture and the parent note that I sent home, just click the picture below.  I printed my Shape Town picture on cardstock.

I  have several children who need LOTS of help with letter recognition this year.  I am working with a small group of children on a small group of letters.  I started with four letters.  I got all sorts of magnetic letters, rubber letters, and letter squares for the four letters we worked on this week. Any chance I get, I call up my little group to sort the little letters onto the big sheets as quickly as they can.  They have to say the letter each time they put a letter on the big paper.  
They do this right before recess, too- and surprise, surprise that is the fastest sort ever because they want to get outside fast!  We have so much fun with this. As they sort and say the letter name, I say the sound each time, so now they are saying that, too.  I hope it sticks.  It's fun- and seems to be working- until one of them throws out a "P" or "W" when we have been only saying "A,B,E,G" all week.  I try to end when one of them says a correct letter- so I feel good about myself.  Because, the next letter they say, may be "seven."  They are trying SO hard and doing so well.  

Does anyone else ever feel behind already this time of year?  I sort of felt behind on Day 2.  OK- Day 1, when I of course didn't get to all I wanted to get done.  I feel like there are so many demands on these little sweethearts to pass a Level D in reading, write four different genres of books, have a voice, form those letters correctly, add more details, add, subtract, compose numbers, decompose numbers, etc. etc.  that taking time to slowly enjoy a story or song doesn't feel "schooly" enough.  I have to constantly remind myself that my children are four and five years old.  They should not rush through these wonderful experiences and moments.

 I need to let them feel calm, relaxed, unrushed, loved, and happy.  I tell them EVERY DAY, many times, that all I want is for them to do their best. I really mean it.

But inside I feel like I should always be doing more- teaching them one more thing. If I feel good about a writing lesson (well, drawing and labeling with a letter at this point) then I haven't gotten to reading yet...  

I do know children are amazing.  They grow and flourish not only with the lessons we teach- that's only a part of it, but with love, patience, and time.  Oh- and laughter and fun.  Those are the best part. 

Here was one of my FAVORITE moments this week...

Our monarch hatched RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES!  Oh, what a miracle we got to experience.  The children were absolutely in awe.  We let his wings dry all day long, and then took him out to fly away.  You cannot put any price on the sweetness of the children spontaneously clapping as he flew away.  THAT is what they'll remember. 

The children were fascinated to learn how to tell the girl monarch from the boy monarch.  We watched all of our videos about monarchs on the Fun in Fall Prezi.
Our monarch had very distinct dots and thin lines on the back part, so we knew it was a boy.  We named him Milky, just in case you wondered...

We made some of our own monarchs to fly above the lockers.

Finally, here are a few more fun things we did with colors this week.  Of course Pete the Cat was Blue Day, and our monarchs were Orange Day.  (The chrysalis even turned BLACK on black day- right on cue!)

Ten Apples Up on Top for Red Day was a perfect introduction to 10 frames.  We had lots of fun counting and making different amounts on our magnetic ten frame.  We even did some adding and subtracting.

Look what wonderful Mrs. Leeby shared at her blog this week!  A perfect freebie to go with 10 Apples Up On Top.  I'm going to make this when we work on Aa and do some more activities with apples.  Thank you, Irene!  You can get your freebie HERE!

For Yellow Day, I had the children draw what they would like to be if they had a magic new yellow shirt after we read this story.  This was a great way to see where the kids were with drawing and writing.  Lots of the children know what they want to write, and some know the letter they want to write, but they just don't know how.  That's exactly what I wanted to see.  This one wasn't the norm... Honestly.  
Green Day is always my favorite.  I love reading Go Away Big Green Monster, and having he children draw their monster as I read, without seeing the pictures.  Then, I read the story (usually over and over and over) on the rug so they can see the pictures.   Finally, the children do their first sharing time, showing the monster they drew.  The great thing about this share is that there is always at least one fabulous part of each drawing- the big yellow eyes or the long bluish, greenish nose...  It's a great way to have the children start noticing good things about each other's work- (and not saying, "HE SCRIBBLED!")

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Blue and Little Yellow

We always start with mixing water after I read the story.

I love this idea from my sweet friend  Sandy at Kinder-Gardening.  I think I actually gasped when I saw this idea on her blog!  

 (I found it worked better for the mixing to make Little Blue a little smaller-otherwise the blue sort of dominated.)
This is what happened when they hugged

I put these right in Ziplock baggies and into the mailboxes so they made it home!

And of course, you can do  color mixing with paint!  Suzi has this  FREEBIE at her TPT store ready to go for mixing colors! I use cotton swabs and the kids have a ball.  We didn't do the paint mixing this year. 
I always make these great necklaces for the kids, because they love them. 

Finally, what would Purple Day be without Harold?  After we read some Harold stories, I have the children draw their own Purple Adventure.  I had them try to label some of the things they drew, or write about it - just to get them thinking about using letters.

Each day, I take a picture of us all dressed in our color.  I put these up beside our door in the hall.  I also make a Colorful Class Book- and a CRAZY Colorful Class Book with our silly face pictures. These are always favorites.
I hope you all had a colorful week of your own! Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Your color days ideas are wonderful! Love the green necklace!

    Learning at the Teacher Table

  2. I loved reading this post! I feel behind all the time, too. My little guys don't know all their letters either. You know you're in trouble when they ask what numbers they need to write their name. I like the 4 letters/week and sorting game. Your color week is wonderful. Go look at the color wheel experiment on my blog (it's not mine), it's sooooo much fun! I sure wish you and Susanna lived near by for weekend walks and laughs! I need more help with facebook!!! HA!

  3. I am so glad I came across your blog on the link up for Five for Friday! I love your ideas for learning and sorting shapes. Your anchor charts are great! I had to smile when you said the next letter a student says may be "seven" because that happened to me during letter sounds assessment this week. I think I got a "three" .... but it will come, we can do it! :)

  4. Carolyn,
    It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels constantly behind and like there's always more I could be doing. As you said, there's just so much kinders are supposed to know!
    I love all your color activities. Our color unit has already passed this year, but I'm pinning this post, so I can remember for next year. Thanks for all the fabulous ideas!!

  5. Carolyn, me too, me too on feeling behind and that I need to be more rigorous. But I look at all these ideas and things you've done with your little ones this week, and I can't help but be amazed at what learning you have done with them! Those kiddos are so blessed to have you for a teacher! Sara

  6. I know where you're coming from when you say there isn't enough time to relax and enjoy learning but I think your pictures show that it isn't for want of trying - they are lucky to have you :-)

    Special Teaching at Pempi's Palace


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