Sunday, April 29, 2012

It’s A Royal Wedding!

We celebrated the wedding of Q and U on Friday.  The kiddos LOVE this day – especially the girls! They love getting dressed up, and the boys think it’s pretty darn cool to dress up as quarterbacks!

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The kiddos marched down the aisle together to “The Wedding March”, and I read the script to our Q and U wedding!

We also read the story I wrote to explain how they met, fell in love, and learned about the surprise ending!

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We reviewed Qu vocabulary, sorted /kw/ and /k/ words and made our special wedding gift – a quilt!

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(They are not quite done with the quilt yet!)

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Aren’t these quarterback helmets great! I need to trace and scan the pattern, and I will add it to the Q and U Wedding pack as soon as I can! You will  just need to re-download!

I have also just uploaded some fun new interactive games for spring! You can take a peek at those {here} if you are interested.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Couple More Behavior Ideas…

This is an idea that I learned from my wonderful friend, Kim Adsit!  She spoke about it at the Minnesota Early Childhood Conference that I attended last summer.

It’s super simple, all you need are some wooden cut outs like this:

4" (10.2cm )Finished Wooden Glittery Yellow Primitive StarFinished Wooden Frog Prince CutoutFinished Painted Wooden Butterfly CutoutFinished Wooden Sweet Ice Cream Cone

You can find them at Michael’s or Wal-Mart, they are about $1 each, I think.  I bought 5 because that’s how many they had! You’ll want all of the same design.  You will also need a cookie sheet, and some magnetic tape (or magnets).

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Put the magnets on the back of your cutouts and place them on the cookie sheet in your teaching area.  (I put some velcro on the back of the cookie sheet and stuck it to my easel!) Focus on one behavior at a time.  I needed to focus {BIG TIME} on blurting and interrupting.  These behaviors got really bad from when I was out on sick leave. ugh.  Each time someone does the negative behavior, you simply take one piece off of the cookie sheet.  I started with all 5 pieces on the cookie sheet, and as they continued to end each day  (or lesson) with pieces left, I started taking them away.  The behavior was improving, so they were getting fewer chances to blurt.

If they kept all 5 smiley’s on the cookie sheet, they got to add a piece to Mr. Potato Head!

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When Mr. Potato head had all of his pieces, the whole class received some sort of incentive – extra recess, extra free choice, a special treat, etc. I found this fun idea {here!}

Kim wrote a post about this system back in September.  You can read it {here}

Two other ideas I use to reinforce positive behavior are Happy Rocks and Power Pellets!  Kim and I must have been on the same wave length with Happy Rocks – I have been using them before I even saw them on her blog! I saw the idea for Power Pellets on Rachelle’s blog! You can read about those {here}.

Here are my versions:

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The power pellets are just skittles ;)  I like to use the sour ones! I just used a paint pen to decorate the jar.

I use glass gems for the Happy Rocks.  Again, i use a paint pen and just draw a smiley face on them.  There is a LOT of gems in a bag, but it goes really fast to add the smiley face.  If a child is caught doing the right thing, or going above and beyond, he gets to take a Happy Rock home!  The kids LOVE collecting them!  Next year, I think I’ll buy them in seasonal colors!

I’m also IN LOVE with this idea from Katie over at Little Kinder Warriors.

She uses these awesome Scentos Scented Bubbles:

 

and a bubble blaster:

Little Kids Blastos! Bubble Blaster

and blasts her kiddos with bubbles when the whole class is doing the right thing! HOW FUN IS THAT?!!  I am heading to Michaels TOMORROW to pick up some scented bubbles!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Loving to Write!

Writing time has always been one of my favorite times of the day in Kindergarten.  It is SO much work and management at the beginning of the year, but the end of the year is SO worth it.  I love, love, love the writing that they can do by the end of the year.  I am SO proud of them.

I started reading this book this year:

imageI am only a few chapters into it – life got in the way, but I love what I’ve read so far.  You should check it out if you’re looking for a book to read this summer!

I’ve used a variety of formats this year for writing, I started with papers in binders, and moved towards papers in folders, and then finally to little books.  My kiddos were loving the little books, but I felt like I needed to move forward – their writing was getting a bit messy, and I felt like they needed more structure.

Here is what I came up with:

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One of the ideas in the book was to create a page like the one on the right so the children can color in a box when they finished a page.  When they start writing, they can open up their journal, look at the “What page am I working on” page and go directly to that number.

I made books with about 25 pages in it. I figured that would be enough even for my most voracious writers. So far so good!

Here are some writing samples from some of my kiddos.

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“My dad is taking me to his work. We are checking places".”

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“Aidan and Easton are playing star wars when we play star wars we are gonna fight.”

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“I like to grow flowers and I like to go to the park.  After April its my birthday”

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“I love my mama. I love my mom because I kiss her and my dad tries to kill the fly.”

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“Karishma was at my house playing go fish.”

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“Football is so fun because football is fun to watch.”

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“The three little bears have a house. Goldilocks and her mom.”

-Not sure what she was trying to say here!-

“She sees a house. She goes into the house and she eats the food.”

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“The bears come to the house. The bears see Goldilocks. They are very mad!”

“Goldilocks was scared. The end.”

{Look at the bears’ angry faces! Priceless!}

I try to start each writing session with a quick mini-lesson or book.  Sometimes the mini-lessons are planned in advance, sometimes they are made up on the spot based on what I see many children doing.  (or even just a few!).

I try to dedicate at least 30 minutes to writing every day. At the beginning of the year, we may not write for 30 minutes, but we do write every single day. (or draw!)

We don’t share every day, but I try to get some sharing in at least once a week.  We all sit in a circle and share our favorite piece.  The children love to look back at all of the stories and share them.

I am always amazed when I look back at their pieces from the beginning of the year and compare them to what they are doing now.  The kids are so excited to see those too!

I would love to hear how you support writing in your classrooms!

P.S. Did I mention how proud I am of these kiddos?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are your students “Bee”having?

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I needed to add just a little bit of positive behavior incentive for my kiddos in these last few weeks.  I found these cute bee baskets at Target a while back, and they go perfectly with our schoolwide RTI-B plan – we have a theme of bees!

“Bee” Safe

“Bee” Responsible

“Bee Respectful

I also found this cute little mystery prize box at Really Good Stuff.  It was on clearance for $3!! I snagged 3 – one for each member of my K team! 

Here’s how it works – the kiddos can earn a ticket for great behavior (in addition to building their rainbow pieces).  They write their name on the ticket and put it in the bee basket.  At the end of every day, I pull out one name from the basket.  That person gets to dig in the mystery prize box for a little prize.  The kids LOVE it!  I love that they don’t have to wait until the end of the week for a name to be drawn – I remember better to give out tickets and the kids are excited every day!

It’s super easy – the kids love the tickets, and it doesn’t take any extra time or effort.  I just throw some odds and ends in the prize box for prizes – whatever I have on hand.

How are you managing end of the year/spring fever behavior in your classrooms?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wild and Wacky Weather!

Oh my the weeks have flown by! But, we had lots of fun with our weather unit a few weeks ago! The kids had a great time learning about many different types of weather.  I don’t have many pictures to share with you, but here are some of our centers!

Practicing with blends:

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Medial vowel sounds:

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Digraphs!

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Writing sentences with our sight words.

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Beginning sounds

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Number combinations to 5.  The kids had little sunshine and cloud coins that they dumped out of a cup.  They had lots of fun with this center!

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Time

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Counting backwards

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Naming and writing the value of coins

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Still practicing counting up to 30! I had a few kiddos that are still inconsistent with this!

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We made symmetrical kites after reading:

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I love the Stuart J. Murphy math books!

We made our own cloud creations after reading these books:

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and looked at this website.

This site also has lots of fun cloud pictures.

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(I was amazed at how many kids never actually looked up at the clouds and saw different shapes!)

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We also used the Pebble Go site to learn about the different types of clouds.  This really is an amazing site!  You need a user id and login to use it – our district is trying it out.  It is fantastic! Lots of great information for our young learners.

We read this book:

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and learned about wind.  We used straws to blow different items across the tables.

I also love this books for teaching about weather:

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These are all from Captone/Pebble books.  I got these as a bundle from Scholastic.  I love the Pebble books! Scholastic has been having more and more in their catalog too.  Everytime I see a bundle, I scoop it up.  Good non-fiction for Kindergarten is so hard to find!

To wrap up all of our weather learning, we watched parts of this fun video:

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We love Sid the Science Kid!!

We are working on our farm unit this week and having SO much fun!!  We will also have our Wedding of Q and U on Friday! We are SOOO excited! This is one of my most favorite days in Kindergarten.  The kids love it and they talk about it for many years after Kindergarten!  If you are interested in any of these weather centers you can check them out here.

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