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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Make Your Own Musical Instrument

Our Painted  Boxes
Art Journal- Mixing Primary Colors
Completed Musical Instrument
Who knew all you needed was a box, paint, textured pieces of fabric and some rubber bands to make a musical instrument that you could see, hear and touch?  We have been working on mixing primary colors to come up with a secondary color.    We have also been working on learning our five senses.  Students each brought in their own box.  They got to mix colors and choose what color they wanted their instrument to be.  As you can see, we have some very colorful instruments. 

Spider Web Number Stories

Spiders from Target
Students love Halloween and they especially love to use our pretend spiders to tell number stories.  You can pick up a bag at Target for about $4.  Each student gets their own large Spider Web Number Story Mat that we mount on construction paper and laminate so we can reuse them from year to year.  We also give each student a cup full of 10 spiders.  They get to make up their own spider number story.  We do this a few times and when we see that the students are understanding the concept, we have them record their number story on their own Spider Web Number Story Recording Sheet.   On this sheet, they draw in their spiders and they write the corresponding number sentence on the line.  You could also use this for subtraction stories.  Click here to get these freebies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Halloween Fun!

This is the spider page from our Hooray for Halloween! book. On each page students create a different Halloween related objects/creature and write the sight words I & see. When they are finished they will have a wonderful book to read at home!

Didn't these paintings come out great? Students added details with pens & crayons after the paint dried.  They also wrote sentences about their pumpkins on strips of purple paper which were added to the paintings.

Batty Bat Hats!

We watched/heard a wonderful reading of Stellaluna by the Screen Actor's Guild on the SmartBoard today. As a follow up activity the students made these Batty Bat Hats and will be wearing them home on Friday just in time for Halloween!

Click here to get the patterns for the bat hat.

We had a parent call students over to paint their hands.

Look how cute the finished hat looks!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Great Halloween Read!

This is one of our most favorite books to read this time of year! Not only is the story great it lends itself so easily to practicing the reading comprehension strategy: sequencing. After we read the story and practiced sequencing the order the "spooky" objects that appeared using the SmartBoard, the students completed a sequencing worksheet. We have an easier version and a more difficult version depending on the ability of the group of students.
Click here to get these freebies.

Easier Version: Students write numbers 1 - 6 in boxes and color the objects to match the story.

More Challenging Version: Students draw lines from the object to the words describing what the object did. Then they  number each object from 1 - 6 in the sequence they appeared in the story.

Back of the worksheets for the students to color when they are finished with the front.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Introducing Sight Words

This is our first week teaching a sight word and we are starting with the word "I".  We first introduce the word by singing our sight word song and then students get to wear their Sight Word Necklace home.  This communicates to the parents what our sight word is and it serves as a flashcard to practice spelling the word at home.  Then, we build sentences in the pocket chart and we do our Sight Word Writing Worksheet.  We do this worksheet guided using the overhead.  When we are done with the front side we then turn it over and practice writing sentences using the word.  (For example:  I run.  I jump.  I skip.)  The students are practicing to spell the sight word correctly but we use phonetic spelling for all of the other words in the sentence.  Toward the end of the week we make our Sight Word Book.  We do this using the overhead as well.  Students practice writing the word of the week on each page.  When we are done with the writing we read the book together as a class and then students buddy read it.  The text is predictable and students have a book they can read to take home and keep in their library. 

We also work on our sight word during small group instruction.  When students are in guided reading groups they are practicing to read a book that has our word of the week in it.  To make this easy for us, we have organized all of our guided reading books by sight words.  Within each sight word we have different level books to accomodate all of our groups.  This week our groups are reading Swing and I Want Ice Cream by Joy Cowley.  After we read these books we write sentences in our journals that start with 'I".  We continue this routine throughout the school year introducing one new word per week.  With all of these fun activities students are successful at mastering their sight words.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Sale at Kinder Learning Garden!
Come see these products and more:
Language Arts Homework Set 1
Math Homework Set 1
Alphabet Ring
Math  Journals Pack
Good Number Writing Book to 20 
Sight Word Books Set 1
Writing Prompt Journal Set
Go here to visit our store.

Fall Pack
Fall Theme Pack
I Am Thankful Thanksgiving Book
I Am Thankful Book
Hooray, it's Halloween! Book
Hooray It's Halloween Book

Sight Word Bundle
Sight Word Bundle
Monthly Read-Aloud Pack
Monthly Read-Aloud Pack

Friday, October 14, 2011

Teaching the Alphabet Through Names

The beginning of the school year is all about the basics: colors, shapes, numbers to 10 and the ABC's.  Upon meeting my new students I learned that I had a small handful that knew very little of the alphabet . . . not even some of the letters in their names.  The first month or so of school this is my "Alphabet routine":

1. Introduce the letter of the day by using our "magic pointers" to write the capital letter in the air, erase w/ our "magic easers" and then write the lower case. (our reading program starts w/ a daily intro. of the alphabet and then switches to a letter a week)

2. Play the Name Game: Student names are written on cards. Students come up and put their name under "yes" or "no" if they have the letter of the day in their name or not. Once all the names are in the pocket chart we count the "yes" side and the "no" side and discuss which side has the most, least or if they are equal. I later outline the letter we found on the student cards with a high-light marker. This game is played daily until be reach the end of the alphabet.

3. Students go to the tables and do a worksheet that focuses on the letter of the day.
That little handful of students who were still having trouble recognizing the letters in their name got to do a fun activity with me to help them.  I blew up the letters in their name beforehand and cut the letters apart. I asked each child what the first letter in their name was and whether it was upper or lower case. Once they answered, they received the letter and got to decorate it with various things (dot stamps, markers, paper squares and beans). When they finished the first letter, we continued with the next and so on until all the letters were finished.  The letters were mounted onto black paper. The kids were so excited to do this with me. Not only did it help reinforce the letters in their names, it looks fantastic!  For additional practice later in the week we had the students build and glue smaller versions of the letters onto a piece of paper.  I've added the blown up letters to our Freebies section under Language Arts for any of you who want to try this with your students. Let me know how it turns out!

Click here to get this freebie.


Alphafriends Help Us Learn the Letter Sounds

Every year I am amazed at how quickly my students learn the letter sounds.  I start off by introducing only five letter sounds a day.  On Day 1 I only introduce a-e, Day 2 f- j, Day 3 k-o, Day 4 p-t and on Day 5 u-z.  I believe the key is that you are only introducing a few at a time but reviewing everything you have taught up until that point.  The students need a great deal of repetition.

On Day 1, I start off by telling the students that they are going to meet some of my friends.  I hold up a picture card showing the letter and the friend that goes with the letter.  We use the Houghton Mifflin Language Arts program so our letters are called "Alphafriends".  As I am showing the letter, I tell the students a short story about the letter and then I make the kinesthetic movement and sound that goes along with it.  For example, Benny Bear loves to eat honey.  He reaches up high with one hand to get the honey and he brings it to his mouth.  When he brings the honey to his mouth he says /b/, /b/.  It is not important to stress the name of the letter while you are doing this.  You need to focus more on the name of the Alphafriend, the movement and the sound it makes.  By the end of the week you will have introduced all of the letter sounds.  The next week I review all of the letter sounds each day modeling less and less for the students.  You don't need to use Houghton Mifflin to teach letter sounds this way.  You can adapt whichever program you have to make it work.  You will be amazed by how fast your students pick up letter sounds and start using them in their reading and writing.

Pumpkin Sight Word Bingo

Help students to learn the sight words: I, a, & see by playing this fun Pumpkin Sight Word Bingo game.
Use Halloween plastic spiders for students to use as "chips". The first student to get 3 in a row wins and gets a fun Halloween sticker to wear home!

Click here to get this freebie.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Addition

Pumpkin Addition fun with stamps!
I just came up with something new . . . Pumpkin addition!  In our math program we have been orally telling number stories. We thought the students could use a little more practice so we came up with the following lesson to do in our small math groups.  

First, I will use orange unifix cubes to tell several number stories: I have 2 pumpkins and I get 1 more . . . how many do I have all together? 

Next, I will pass out unifix cubes to the students and they will answer several number stories using their own cubes. 

Lastly, the students will make their pumpkin addition books by stamping in their books using a pumpkin stamp to add pumpkins and complete the number story.  Students read the number story written below and trace the sum.  Our students love using ink pads and stamps so this should be a fun book for them to make and a good introduction to addition and number sentences.  Look in our Freebies Math for the blacklines for the Pumpkin Addition Book and Pumpkin Subtraction Book. Just run on copy paper, cut in half and staple together.

Click here to get your free download.

Class Website

We have been using the free Shutterfly website service for our class website.  It is a terrific way to communicate with your kindergarten families.  The possibilities are endless.  Once you have it all set-up then you don’t need to change anything from year to year except for the pictures of your students and your class address book.  Having a class website is a great resource for parents to obtain all of the information they need pertaining to your classroom.

Here are some of the reasons why we like it:

Easy to set-up and change.
Secure so that you can invite who you want to join your class website.   Only the parents in your class are able to view the pictures of your students.  This will make parents feel safe and then they can share them with relatives.

You can add your class address book and/or roster and parents always have access to it so they can set-up play-dates or coordinate class parties.
Parents can order and pay for pictures right from the website.  We have even had parents make kindergarten scrapbooks using the pictures we have posted.
You can add classroom videos and links to favorite sites.  Parents can log-in to your website and the students can play educational games using the links you have posted.  Here are a few of our favorites:  Starfall, ABC Ya!, Math Worksheet Wizard, Spelling City.
You can add your parent volunteer sign-up schedule, school calendar and important dates for your classroom.  Shutterfly will send out reminder e-mails about events, minimum days, etc.
Upload monthly newsletters, homework and practice worksheets.
We even have our Letter of the Week Alphafriend pictures on our website with the songs that go along with them. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Columbus Day

Look at this great Columbus Day Snack!

Primary Colors and Piet Mondrian

One of my goals this year is to try to incorporate more of the VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) Standards into my teaching.  Last week our theme was on Colors. Everyday I read a book about a different color and sang the color song using YouTube videos shown on our SmartBoard. Each day the kids made a different color "project" from our Back to School Theme Pack.  After all the colors in the rainbow were introduced, I did my "art" lesson on primary colors and the work of Piet Mondrian. The students also created their own Mondrian Art!