Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Primary Writing/Editing TPT Freebies!

I wanted to share some fabulous FREEBIES from TPT that I found and have loved using with my class during Writer's Workshop.
My children needed some more practice with conventions (well- of course, because they are five...), and so we are working on more small moments stories.  The children really enjoy and seem to understand writing small moment stories. 

I read Every Friday , which is my new favorite small moment mentor text.  Kathy Griffin introduced me to it earlier this year, and I just love it.
It is a sweet, simply written story.  The children really see that one memory can turn into a story. Here are some pages from the book.

from Amazon:
All week long, a boy and his father look forward to their Friday ritual—breakfast at their favorite diner. The leisurely walk through the neighborhood is just as good as the pancakes at the end.

This makes the book even more special:
Author Dan Yaccarino Talks About His Inspiration for Every Friday I guess the Friday breakfasts came about because like most dads, I sometimes didn't feel like I saw my son enough. Some weeks, our Friday breakfasts were the only time he and I had to talk or just share some time together.
I look back on when we started what became our little tradition. He was in preschool and had to start sharing his mom and dad with a new little sister. I wanted him to have some time when he didn't have to put up with a crying baby who yanked his ears, which he patiently tolerated. He and I soon looked forward to Fridays and the diner's owner, Nick, as well as a variety of regulars, warmly greeting us. To their continued astonishment, he consumed an entire adult-size order of pancakes and a side of bacon, of which I was very proud. I have fond memories of us watching people trudging through the snow and rain as he and I were cozily nestled in a booth, a little oasis from the outside world. As much as we loved Nick’s Diner, I think we both preferred the small journey we took each week to get there. It may have been a mere four blocks, but it was full of adventure: greeting familiar faces, window shopping and monitoring the progress of a building on the corner going up story by story. Nick's Diner has since closed, so our breakfasts have been relocated to another and like that building, my son is now tall and strong. I look back on his wonder of the world and fascination of even the smallest things. Even though it was only a few years ago, life seemed a bit less complicated. My hope for Every Friday is for dads, and moms, to set aside some time to be with their children. It doesn't have to be breakfast on Friday, but it should be some time that they can count on to be with just you. And perhaps many years from now, they will carry on the tradition with their own children.

Not only is this a great mentor text for getting the children to start thinking about special memories, but it's good for the teacher, too!  One of my very special memories when I was young was getting to visit and stay over night with my grandparents and great-grandmother.  I wrote a story to share with the children about some of the special things I did with them on our visits.  I remember how we played Bingo for special prizes that my grandmother had saved for my sister and me, how my grandmother painted my fingernails and I always chose light pink like her nails, and how she would make waffles for us for dinner sometimes with a waffle maker right on the table! We came up with a title for my story together.

 I also had them help me write a good ending for my book, so they reviewed good beginnings, middles, and endings. Sometimes coming up with endings is tricky.
For some reason, coming up with titles is also  tricky for many of my kids.  They want to write a whole sentence.  I try to tell them that a title is just like a name for their book.  "Sadie" isn't called "The girl with short, brown hair who likes to read."  Her "title" is "Sadie."  I am going to do another mini lesson about coming up with titles- just reading short stories and asking for some ideas for title- just so they practice creating titles.

I have noticed an improvement in the children's independent writing during Writer's Workshop because we have been doing more guided writing activities.  However, there are some days when I am not looking at a particular child's writing (because I am conferencing with other children) and I think the ones I am not working with just assume I will never be seeing their books!  Yikes!

We have been practicing together writing sentences in whole group guided writing lessons.  We review beginning with a capital letter and not putting random capital letters in the rest of the sentence, leaving spaces between words, writing neatly, rereading to be sure no words are left out, and ending with a punctuation mark. 

I found some wonderful (and FREE!)  resources on TPT  that I wanted to share with you.
Krazy in Kindergarten shared this cute poster for remembering those all important spaces.

I LOVE Samantha Richardson's  4-Star Kindergarten Rubric.  I printed out and laminated one of these for each of my students to use.  It is a wonderful visual for the children.  They "get" it. This was a great mini lesson and is a great review before I send them off to start writing, too.
4-Star Kindergarten Rubric
This fabulous packet from Amy Morgan is perfect to show the children how adding details to writing adds so much to a story.  I got more excited as I saw and read more sentences on each page, and so did the children. We had so much fun with this.  We counted the sentences.  We found the periods, and  noticed that sentences don't just end at the end of a line but at the end of a complete thought.  We talked about how much more interesting the illustrations were with details and color, too. 

These are some writing packets with some great printable writing papers for the children to use. They have reminder rubrics right on the papers for the children.
Mrs. Lindsey has a great Writing Rubric K-2 Packet at her TPT store. 

Lisa Sadler shared this journal page with editing at the bottom. It is easy for the children to use!
Journal Page with Editing Checklist at Bottom
Karen Langdon shared a great Writing for Readers Packet of writing papers.  Her reminder rubric has real photographs.
Tanya Dwyer shared such a great Mini-Book Writing and Rubric with a fairy tale and a Star Wars  mini book writing activity. This looks like so much fun to use. The kids will love it.

Miss Jacobs' Little Learners shared this WONDERFUL  What Can We Write About? poster.

I have my  Primary Writing Prezi  up every day during Writer's Workshop so I can zoom in on reminders about topics, editing, or conventions, or just so we can sing a song about being brave about writing!

Thank you for stopping by!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Five For Friday- February 21

I am linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching, for Five for Friday. 

I love this linky. Thank you, Kacey.  I find myself about Wednesday thinking, "What five things am I going to write about this week?!"  or "Ut oh- have I done five interesting things this week?!"  
This week was a busy one. 


We had a lot of fun with the book Here Comes Jack Frost.  The children liked noticing that the illustrations were only blue and white, and we talked about how they made the story feel "cold." In  the story, Jack Frost tells the boy that he may not mention anything hot, or Jack Frost will go away.  The boy is careful not to mention anything warm, until one day when he finds a snowdrop (one of my favorite flowers by the way) and says, "It's almost spring..."

I had each child tell me something else warm that could have made Jack Frost go away.

Next, we reviewed writing conventions and practiced writing a sentence.  The children had to write "I like to play in the snow." beginning with a capital letter, using spaces between words, rereading to be sure they did not leave out any words, checking for neat letters resting on the line, and ending with a period or exclamation point.

Then, I gave each child a white crayon to draw a snow scene on the paper.  After that, I called groups of six to a table to turn their paper into magic Jack Frost pictures, by painting over the white crayon with blue paint. 

I found this rug at... TARGET Dollar Spot! ($3 Spot, actually- but still... LOOK at it!)  It is perfect for...  oh so many things. It isn't big at all, but called a doormat, which made me laugh a little. Maybe a doormat for leprechauns. That's probably it.  I am going to use my sight word gold for some activities.  This would be a perfect "something" for the leprechauns to leave.  I like when they take over watching the behavior of the kids.  There is quite a lull between Santa and the leprechauns. 


I wrote all about what I do with the gold at my post called  Literacy GOLD!
Holy Cow- I can't believe the icicles I have seen this past week. (That is a doctor's office by me, by the way. I would think someone might knock those things down!)

I need to remember to do my Dragon's Teeth poem later in the year. It would have been perfect this week.  We did revisit the poem, and the kids have been on the look out for dragon's teeth when they are out and about.
We finally had our 100th Day of School! 

It is so late this year! (I am afraid we are going to be feeling like there are 100 Days of June...)  We had so much fun.  Here are some highlights:

We made 100 cups structures.
 We had a fun snack!
 We  shared our collections of 100 things.

 We each brought in 100 of something to eat and made a delicious trail mix!
We wore our 100 day hats.
 We collected the names of friends we have been with for 100 days.
We wrote about what we would do if we had 100 dollars.  (I had about five children say they would save it?!  WHAT?!  I am thinking that was probably easiest to write.  Although, my son was quite a good money saver, so maybe it is for real...)
 We compared what life was like 100 years ago and today.
We did 10 sets of 10 exercises, filled in 100's charts with missing numbers, and  found special numbers on the 100's chart.  I have lots of fun 100 songs and games on my Counting and Cardinality Prezi .  If you would like all of my Common Core Math Prezis, click on the picture below.
My smart board has been down for a week and a half.  BOO.  It's funny how dependent I am on it now- not even for lessons, but for quick activities and brain breaks. 

Here are a few bulletin boards I put up in the hall because I am READY for Spring. 

I also posted LOTS of ideas about clouds and the water cycle this week.  Just click on the picture below if you would like to go to the post.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Water Cycle

This post goes along with my All About Cloud post.  It's sort of Part 2- I guess- The Water Cycle!

These are my favorite books to teach about the water cycle. 

I use a poster on the smart board to explain the parts of it, but the children really understand the sequence once we read these books. These books are great for retelling, sequencing, and even acting out. Once my kids realize it is a circle story, they  love it even more.  They just love circle stories!

Don't Be Afraid to Drop by Julia Cook

from Amazon:
This book is for anyone who is at a transitional point in their life. Boy Raindrop is afraid to let go of his cloud and drop to the ground. He doesn't want to take a risk, he doesn't like change, and he is happy with his comfortable life. His father encourages him to jump out of his comfort zone and see what he is missing. This book provides all who read it with a positive perspective on change, taking risks, and giving back.

The Drop Goes Plop by Sam Godwin

from Amazon:
Mama and baby seagull follow the journey of a drop of water. Learn about the water cycle by following the drop when it falls from a cloud as rain, lands in a river, and eventually returns to the clouds.

Small Cloud by Ariane
from Amazon:
As Small Cloud is born to Singing River and Big Sun, travels across the country, and evolves into rain, the hydrologic cycle is symbolized.


And my very favorite... 

The Falling Raindrop by Neil Johnson, illustrated by Joel Chin
from Amazon:
As a storm rumbles and flashes, something wonderful happens up in the clouds: a raindrop begins his journey to earth, thrilled and delighted to be flying. But when flying begins to feel like falling, the raindrop can’t enjoy himself for fear that a big change is coming.

It isn't much to look at from the cover, and that is the beauty of it.  Here is a little synopsis from Random House:

As a storm rumbles and flashes, something wonderful happens up in the clouds: a raindrop begins his journey to earth, thrilled and delighted to be flying. But when flying begins to feel like falling, the raindrop can’t enjoy himself for fear that a big change is coming.

After hitting a campfire on the ground, the raindrop begins his journey back to the clouds as a wisp of steam. Readers will cheer for the little raindrop, experiencing his joys as well as his worries. This simple story uses spare text and art to explain the science of the water cycle, while happily showing that good things can result from change.

The illustrations are my favorite part. They are so simple, and really highlight the expression of the raindrop.  Chin uses motion lines (like on the cover).  I think my class thinks motion lines are my favorite things in the whole world because I must comment every time I see them in books! Now when we see them in a book, the kids say, "OH- Mrs. Kisloski will LOVE this book!"  The children also see that very few, well placed details in an illustration can make a huge difference in story telling.

When I teach the Water Cycle, I use my Earth Day Prezi videos and charts to explain the cycle.  You can get it FREE at my TPT store. Just click on the picture below.
We listen to the Water Cycle song (which is of course on my Prezi)  and sing along. There is another cute version -same song, different pictures- on Youtube, but it can't be embedded.  Here is the other version.

 I may have mentioned that I love that song- once or a hundred times.  Once the children know the song (because we play it so many times- snack time, clean up time...) we add hand motions- hands going up for "evaporation,"  making a cloud shape in the air for "condensation," and fingers raining down for "precipitation." Arms go "round and round" for the water cycle part. You can have fun with arm movements.  The second time through we dance and sing.  All by themselves, the children just grabbed hands and started going around in a circle for "the water cycle goes round and round."  It was so sweet.  Those are the little things that you really don't "get" unless you work with children. 

I demonstrate the water cycle with a tissue and a spray bottle.  I just gather the sides of the tissue to make a cloud. 

I spray the tissue to show that when more and more water evaporates and then condenses into the cloud, the cloud gets heavier and heavier (more and more sprays with the bottle) until finally, the cloud is SO full, that precipitation occurs. (Once the tissue is saturated, I walk around and it rains all over  the children sitting on the rug.  You can't see it here, but it is "raining!" :)

Another fun activity that an adult could demonstrate at home, is to hold a cotton ball over boiling water (using tongs because it gets hot), and let the steam saturate the cotton ball.  When it is saturated, it will "rain" from the cotton ball.
I like this poster because it is simple and easy for the children to understand. 

My children love to learn "grown up" things.  For our Interactive Writing lesson, I tell them they are going to be able to spell some huge words that they would never think they could spell.  We bring our friend Chunky Monkey out to help us. First, I tell them we will write:  "evaporation", "condensation", and "precipitation." 
We start with "evaporation."  We clap and count the syllables.  We say it very s l o w l y.   I prepared the chart with the lines for each syllable. I tell them about the crazy "tion" syllable in each word- (because that just isn't fair at all!)  I write that in the blank.  
One little boy actually remembered that chunk in writer's workshop when he wrote "action"- except I think it was "aktion"  - but I was still  impressed with the ending! 
I want them to realize they can chunk words and tackle words one syllable at a time for writing. Here is our completed chart.  I wrote the words without spaces after the child wrote the syllables.
Everyone was so proud!  We celebrated by dancing and singing  to ... you guessed it! 

The children write these grown up words on their own Water Cycle paper to take home. We did this activity together as a listening activity,  so the children knew where to write each word, but they had to hear the sounds to write the words.  I had the children write the words first , then illustrate each section after all the writing was done.  Last, they drew the arrows to show the cycle.  Here are some examples:


As you can see, it is a very simple paper labeled "The Water Cycle" with lines for the children to write.  The bottom corner is labeled "collection" for the water source (pond, puddle, lake...). We wrote that word together.  You can also label it "accumulation."
I like this Water Cycle Chart from Aparna Varadharajan's TPT store.   This would be a good chart to print out for the children.
 Water cycle chart
Meaghan Kimbrell has a wonderful Water Cycle Chart freebie at her TPT store for the children to complete. (Much more "professional looking" than my paper!)
The Water Cycle Kindergarten Chart and Activity
Meaghan also shared a Water Cycle Bracelet Activity that helps students remember the parts of the water cycle with beads.
The Water Cycle Bracelet Project

Dr. Jean (I may have mentioned one or a hundred times that I love her, too) has a great Water Cycle Song .

Jenna Rupp has a cute Water Cycle Hoe-Down freebie at her TPT store!

Water Cycle Hoe-Down Water Cycle Hoe-Down
I like this Water Cycle Song from Jaya Maharajh's TPT store, too.
The Water Cycle Song Handout

Years ago I got this Water Cycle Book from
I must have paid to join. I don't even remember.  I have had it for years. It is a great book the children can read themselves, so that is what I use.  I am not sure how much I used edhelper. I did get some good activities there, and they last forever- so if you do join, get anything you think you may want!
Later, just to tie in the water theme, I do a quick whole group math assessment using raindrops for my word problems. 
It is great to use raindrops for word problems, because the children can draw them easily.  I try to always use something that can be quickly drawn as a circle, stick, or rectangle.  We do lots of problems about balls, cookies, pencils, crayons, presents, bricks...  If I use something like, "Two birds were on a branch. Three birds landed on the branch with them.  How many birds are there altogether?" I will have some children drawing one bird for five minutes no matter how many times I say, "Just draw quickly!" So I stick with basic shapes for my word problems. 
I have so many glass stones, that I can also let the children use them as counters for math problems, which is always fun.  They work great for ten frames.
By the way, I had to look up altogether vs. all together. That always gets me.  Here is what I found, just fyi for a bonus:
altogether = in total

all together = every one gathered in one place

You probably never have that problem. And I probably still will have that problem, even though I just looked it up.  Hmmm.   I hope you found some ideas you can use! 





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