Friday, November 21, 2014

Five for Friday November 21

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

We worked a lot on leaving spaces between words in our writing this week.  In fact, I had my observation, and did my lesson about leaving spaces.  I MAY have debuted our newest song, "All About That Space," during my observation.  I KNOW... I don't know what got into me.  I thought of it in the car on the way to school, and I thought the kids would love it- and I hoped it would work.
It's pretty dumb  brave to teach it to the kids when your principal is watching- not knowing if you can get them back after the song- but they were awesome, and he's always loves to see new things- so there you go!  Phew.  Probably not Top 40 this week, but...  fun, none the less!

The lyrics are not too tricky. You should learn them in thirty seconds or less. Ready?
"It's all about that space, bout that space- NO CROWDING! It's all about that space, bout that space- NO CROWDING.  It's all about that space, bout that space- NO CROWDING! It's all about that space, bout that space. Clap. Clap.  

However, here's an unrelated observation moment for you. In the beginning of my lesson, one of my little characters had to go to the bathroom.  So, he went.  About 7 or 8 minutes later, I thought to myself, "I  wonder if my principal notices that he's not back and I should send in the cavalry to go retrieve him- or if I should enjoy the calm in the classroom and hope my principal doesn't notice anyone is missing for way too long?" Well, I sent a little friend to go get him.  (The kids have to go down the hall to the bathroom. We don't have them in our rooms-)  And the friend came back.  Alone.  With a story.  So - my principal went down to get him- and called his name into the bathroom.  My little guy in the bathroom said, "Grandpa, is that YOU?!"    Oh my goodness.  Luckily the rest of the observation went well. Never a dull moment...

Anyway- spaces.  
Here are some ideas I use to try to help the kids remember to use them.  There's so much to remember when you are learning to write, that they just need reminders all the time, until that one day when it clicks!

- Each day we write some 4 Star sentences to practice using and reviewing conventions.  We talk about beginning the sentence with a capital letter followed by all lowercase letters, leaving spaces between words, writing neatly and a good size,  rereading what was written so no words are left out, and ending with a punctuation mark.  Phew!  A lot!  Here's a sample. It's not pretty. It's just a random day of sentences.   I knew you would understand that you just can't be fancy all the time!
-I use my Primary Writing Prezi during Writer's Workshop everyday. I like to talk about and  leave up an editing anchor chart before the children write, so that is on their minds.

I love  this self-editing checklist from Owl Be Teaching You.

- Each day for three days we read one of these books:
Image result for who sank the boat

Then, we compare and contrast the books.  We finally decide that one way the books are the same is because the animals in each book didn't have enough SPACE.  We talk about how important it is to have your own space:
 on the rug,

 when mom or dad parks a car,

 or when we walk in a line.

This also is a good time for me to remind them that we don't leave TOO much space and end up spaced out all the way down the hall! I tell them that spaces between words are  sort of like "Goldilock's Spaces" - not too big, not too small, just right!

- I show some samples of different sentences  on the white board so we can talk about them.
- I give six children each one word on a piece of paper.  They stand in front of the other children and make their words into a sentence.  "We like to go in here. " (or something) Then, I squish them together so there's no spaces between them, or spread them WAY far apart to show that this isn't right either.  Finally, we decide on a "just right" space between the words so it looks right. My kids love to do hands on activities to help remember different concepts.  (This is a good time to sing "It's All About That Space," too, by the way!)

-When it's time to write, I remind the children that they were born with a built in spacer to help them if they need it:  their finger!  It's a perfect size and with them all the time.  Our meatball spacers and spaceman spacers are fun, but they may not always have one, so I have them practice using their finger if they need a spacer.    

- I tell the children that after Writer's Workshop, they will be given a bag with 10 Cheerios in it.  They will be checking their own writing to be sure that they have left just right spaces between their words.   One Cheerio should fit right between each word if there is enough space between the words. 

 (She erased because she remembered to use a space! YAY!)

 I remind them that even if they only hear one letter in a word, that is their word, and it needs to have a space after it. This little one wrote, "Then we went to the finish line."  We heard the sounds in 'finish' together. 
 This is a fun self-assessment, and gets the kids to focus on leaving spaces as they write.  We had fun!
I always look forward to our Penny Cleaning Day!  The kids love it.  

This is a great book to introduce the penny- with some really nice photographs. We talk about Abraham Lincoln being our 16th president, and of course, the penny being worth 1 cent. 
Here are some fun penny facts from Fun Times Guide. com. and  I put these on a paper for the parents, too, because I thought they would enjoy them. 

-The penny was the first US coin to have the motto "In God we trust."  (I love that one.)
-There have been 11 different designs featured on the penny.
-The Lincoln penny was first minted and circulated in 1909, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
-The average penny lasts 25 to 30 years. If a penny is no longer good enough to use, it is melted down for metal. 
- Pennies were the very first coins minted in the US.
- The US Mint makes about 30 million pennies every day, about 1,040 created every second.
- The penny represents about half the coins made by the US Mint. 

I put some vinegar and salt in a bowl.  When the child drops in the dirty penny, he/she counts to 10 and watches it magically become clean!

I always like to hold one penny half in and half out to show the difference.
The children put their penny under their "recipe" and color over it with crayon to make some crayon rubbings. 
We investigate the penny with our magnifying glasses to notice all the details that we can- Abraham Lincoln, the date on our penny, the words we see...

We look for  Lincoln inside of the Lincoln Memorial on back.  It is much easier to see him in newer, shiny pennies (after 2000), so I have some of those just for this "research."

I just made some papers to use on my Penny Day, if you would like them!  The first page is the
"recipe page" where the kids would do the crayon rubbings at the bottom.  The second page is fun facts about the penny.  On the third page, the children write what they would spend their saved pennies on.  I usually tape their shiny penny to the top of the piggy bank on this page.  That way, the penny gets home safely.  Just click on the picture if you would like a copy!

This week I shared a post about how our Kindergarten team is using ESGI to meet our district's 
request to use more technology and more data.  Assessing students using ESGI is such an easy way to do both!

We almost feel guilty  are so excited that we were able to address using both more technology and more data AND  make our assessments so much quicker and more efficient for us. Our screenings have never been easier and more useful to us.  

We are also able to send home 5 week reports that our district wants us to do, with just a click of the "Parent Letter" button, that generates a parent note with all the areas the student needs to work on at home. 
If you or your district are interested in trying ESGI, you can try a 60 day free trial.  If you decide you would like to buy it- (or better yet- the district decides to buy it for you!) you can save $40 off the subscription cost for the first year by using my code: PROMO CODE B1119.   Instead of $199,
it will cost $159 for that year. The district can save $40 on each subscription by using this code.  If you haven't tried it, try it for free and see what you think!

Some of us decided we needed a little pick me up- and went painting on Wednesday.  We had such a great time at The Party Studio!  A local art teacher named Danielle just started it last March.  She had these little countdown to Christmas elves all outlined for us (bless her heart), and it was still hard, nerve wracking, tense, frustratinghumbling, fun!  I think every so often it's good to something to remind you how 5 year olds must feel trying to do something that is challenging and different!  We had lots of laughs.
We each had aprons with names on them.  I started out as Goofy, and ended up as Lucky.  Worked 
for me!  Here are some of my sweet, sweet friends- Trouble, Sassy, Loveable, and Stylish.

We practiced writing using some writing prompts after our read alouds this week.  Here were some of my favorites.
When I get scared, my mommy calms me down when I sit on my mommy's lap.

(I love her lollipop!)

I'm not even showing you my FAVORITE Wemberly Worried writing.  My little guy wrote, "My mom givs me sex to mak me fel betr." He meant SNACKS.  I wrote it all correctly underneath in RED and hope she has a sense of humor.  I sort of wanted to save it forever.

 When I see Emily because she is funny so  she makes me  happy.

When my brother makes me laugh in the snow.

These prompts are from my Author Study Writing Prompts Packet.

We LOVE Kevin Henkes and we LOVE Mo Willems.  I use both of their books all the time, so I do lots of writing prompts with their books.   I love these other authors, too.  

My Author Study  Writing Prompts Packet is on sale this weekend! I love using them. I hope you can use them, too!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Thanks for telling me about the editing checklist, the Cheerios idea, the penny sheet, and your packet on sale. I read your post this morning and used the space song today. SUCH fun! I love adapting songs like that. We did little hand motions since we made spaceman on our fingers a few weeks ago. Worked like a charm! Excellent, helpful post, Carolyn! See ya later,
    Kathleen Kidpeople Classroom

  2. ok I am not sure why I laughed so many times reading this...must be the song and the sex and grandpa!!!!!!! I just bought your author pack this afternoon and I absolutely love it!! Thank you for the great ideas!!!!

  3. Finger spacing will be my students' NY's resolutions (they just don't know it yet!). I'm totally borrowing the "All about the..." song, thank you!
    I'm sure I've already told you how much I appreciate your author pack, but in case I didn' rocks! Have a wonderful week, Jen

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    I nominated you for a Liebster Award! Head over to my blog to read more about it
    Teaching Voracious Learners

  5. Love the song...except for the fact that I know it will now be stuck i my head for I am going to introduce it next week during our writer's workshop to help my kiddos remember their spaces. They love songs so I think it will be a big hit. Love the penny cleaning experiment. Another idea in my file for my american symbols unit in February. You rock! Thanks for always sharing such great ideas my friend!

    Luv My Kinders


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