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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Senses Assessment

We had a great time learning about the Five Senses this week!
Here are some of our students taking the assessment. The students needed to match the pictures with the correct sense. They did a great job!

The Senses assessment you see here is part of our Science Assessment Set available at TPT.

October Sight Word Freebie

Our students have just been introduced to the sight words: the & go.
This is a fun sheet to help students remember and read the two sight words. For those students who are capable of doing more, we have them turn the paper over and write 2 - 3 sentences using the two sight words.

Get the October Sight Word Coloring Sheet freebie over at our TPT store!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Fun!

We can't believe it is already Fall! It sure doesn't feel like it with the 90 degree weather we have been having the past few weeks!

If you are looking for some fun fall ideas to do with your kiddos, take a look at our Fall Theme Pack! It comes with 6 classroom projects with blacklines and instructions for the Scarecrow, Handprint Turkey, Owl, Apple Man, Acorn Man & Family Tree.
It also comes with 3 home projects and bulletin board signs to put up with your student's work.

The Fall Theme Pack is available at TPT

Bulletin Board Sign

Blackline for Owl activity

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Five Senses Freebie

We just found this great freebie from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Blog!
It has some worksheets that would be a great follow up to some of our Five Senses activities that we did with the class and includes some extra ideas you could try!

Freebie from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Blog

We Use Our Hands to Touch!

Today we learned about our sense of touch. We followed the same format as yesterday, except did a "Touch Test" using the feely bag.
We placed an object in the bag (plastic fork, key, stuffed animal, shell, rock ) and had the students pass the bag around the circle. Students were allowed to only use their sense of touch by feeling the object in the bag and then passing it on. Once everyone had a chance to feel the object, they told us what they thought was inside, and we revealed the object to see if their guesses were correct. 
The kids had so much fun!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Taste Test

The kids loved our "Taste Test" today!
We had the kids sit in a big circle around the rug. It makes it more fun when they can see each other's faces as they are tasting the different foods. The kids were asked to wait until everyone had a sample of the food that was being tasted. When I gave them the go ahead, they were to taste their food and think about how it tasted and shared out.

We tasted foods in this order:
1st Sour: Sour Patch Kids
2nd Salty: Potato chips
3rd Bitter: Dark chocolate . . . this was a surprise, many anticipated it to taste sweet and were really surprised!
4th Sweet: M & M's . . . saved the best for last!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Five Senses Fun!

We are learning about the Five Senses in class right now!
Each day we are introduce a new sense in these steps:

1. Watch a Discovery Video to build background knowledge.

2. Get a little more in-depth with our learning using a Notebook lesson on the SmartBoard.

3. Do an experiment like a "taste test" where the students taste different foods and identify which taste buds they are using.  We love when it's time to give the kids bitter chocolate . . . they think it's going to be sweet but when they taste it they realize that it does not taste as expected! The faces they make are hilarious!

4. Review with a Five Senses Song watching YouTube on the SmartBoard.

 When You Use Your Senses by Harry Kindergarten

 The Five Senses Song by Dr Jean

5. Make the corresponding pages in their My Senses Books during group time.
This book is available at TPT.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Optimal Window for Learning

Over the summer we attended a two day conference called the Direct Instruction Summit.  It was based on brain research and one of the best conferences we have been to in a while.   It has changed the way we are running our classroom and planning our lessons this year.

All students have what is called an OWL or an Optimal Window for Learning.  This OWL can take place many times throughout your day.  You need to identify the prime OWL spots and make sure to introduce your new learning objectives or review what has been previously taught during those windows.  

How do you know when your OWL is?
The first 10 minutes of school is an Optimal Window for Learning.  If you are like us, you are used to bringing the students in, singing a Good Morning song, taking roll and doing the calendar.  We came to the realization that if you follow this routine then you waste your student's OWL.  So this year we will no longer be coming in and working on the calendar first thing unless there is one new learning objective tied to it.  We have a clear goal to teach our learning objective and do so within 10 minutes.  That is no easy task, especially in kindergarten where you get interrupted quite frequently.  

 Both after recess and lunch are also Optimal Windows for Learning.  As soon as the students come in to class it is a great opportunity to introduce a new concept or review an old one.  Some teachers let students come in and get water or have them read independently.  If you do so, then once again you are missing your opportunity to hit the OWL. 

Can you reset the OWL?
Yes, yes and yes!  All you need to do is get your students up and moving.  A couple minutes of vigorous movement with no new concepts will do the trick.  Dancing is a great way to reset the OWL.  It gets the blood and oxygen flowing through the body and the brain.  A few of our favorites are:  The Boogie Walk by Greg & Steve and The Freeze Dance by Greg & Steve,

How many new learning objectives can Kindergarten students take in a day?
Only introduce 2 to 3 new pieces of content a day.
 Kindergarten students optimal learning time is only 5-8 minutes.  That means you should keep your teacher talk short or they will not absorb the rest of the information.  You need to be done with your teacher talk and into your modeling within 10 minutes. 

And Don't Forget...
 Closure at the end of the day is Super Important.  Take a few minutes (under 5) to revisit the big ideas of the day.

Look at this cute OWL timer we found at Vons.  What a great way to remind yourself to reset your student's OWL.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School Night

We just had our Back to School Night last week and we were so impressed with the turn out.   Out of 48 families we had 45 show up.  We think this is a positive sign that it is going to be a great year.  A few days before our presentation, we sent home a packet for the parents to look over ahead of time. On the night of our meeting we used a notebook file we created on the SmartBoard to guide our presentation. Not only is it visual, but helped things to flow more smoothly. 

To download a copy of our Back to School Night packet
go to our KLG website.

Here is what our SmartBoard presentation looks like.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Teaching Blog Addict

Happy Sunday to you all!  Please make sure to head on over to TBA today and check out our Teacher Feature.  We are super excited that they asked us to be a guest blogger!  Just click the link above.