Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sight Word Fun with PRONOUNS???

This week our sight words were HE and SHE and we were talking about the letter P so...Why not introduce students to PRONOUNS?  Yes, I know it's reaching a bit, but my philosophy is- expose them to the higher level stuff so when they hear it again they have some sort of clue what it might be about.  They might say, "I've heard that somewhere before..."  Anyway, that's my hope.  At the very least, they practice the sight words for the week and are able to recognize them... I feel like it's OK to do the "hard stuff" if it's delivered in a "fun, kindergarten way."

Well, we started with this song from youtube called Kid Dance. Kid Dance Song by HarryKindergarten  (love all his videos, check em out!)

We decided to change the word "boy" to "he" and the word "girl" to "she."  So it sang, "If you're a he, a he, if you're a he, clap your hands..."  I would call out an action for the "he and she" to do...  Hey, those are pronouns.  Everyone said, "What are pronouns????"

I asked students to put up their muscles and say "PROOOO- NOUNS." Then we whispered, "It's a secret way to say someone's name."  I would call one student up to the front of the room and say- I want to use a secret way to say Zack's name in this sentence.  "Zack is jumping."  (Zack is jumping like crazy as we are talking!)  "What word would I use instead of Zack?"  Yep!  "HE is jumping."  This continued using he and she for student's names.  We did this perfect pronoun book working on the sight words and pronouns- HE and SHE, writing classmates names, and the ending "ing."  One page was a "she" page and the other was a "he" page, students wrote- I see Billy.  He is running.  Then, they drew a picture of Billy running.

Download Free Perfect Pronouns Book- Sight Words He and She

Friday, October 28, 2011

P is for Pajamas and Popcorn!

P is for of my favorite snacks!  We made a popcorn word web to introduce and practice the sound letter P makes.  Students thought about what starts with P and then drew a picture on their popcorn piece.  We used this web all week when we wanted to write words that started with this letter sound.  It was great to use for writing the room activity!  We also acted like popcorn-popping up every time we heard the P sound in a word...I had students popping all over the place.  Too much fun!
On Friday, we wore our favorite pajamas and had a popcorn tasting...We counted popcorn pieces (one to one correspondence) and put them in groups of 10 to count and eat.  We talked about who had the most/least at each table.  I have Love For Kindergarten today, we had a blast!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dry Erase Markers On Desks?

I LOVE using dry erase markers with my class, but I always disliked the transition time it took to pass out individual whiteboards to students for a quick activity.  So in our class, we use dry erase markers to write on our desks! (You should see the kid's faces the first time I ask them to do this...priceless!)

Playing a sight word game...this student was giving herself check marks if she got the word right!

We do this as a part of our calendar time routine.  We write letters, sight words, sentences, numbers, name it!  

We play-  "What's That Sound?"  
A student calls out letter sound and the class writes the letter that makes that sound. (Covering their letter with their hand, it's very secretive!)  I walk around to check for understanding (they show me a quick peek at their letter, giggling like it's a big secret) and then I ask, "What's that sound?"  They say- "It's X!" (or whatever the letter may be...)  We play this game with sight words, calling out 3 letters to blend sounds to make a word, numbers, adding, shapes, name writing, etc.

It's such a great way to check for understanding in a short period of time and the kids get a kick out of it.  The students erase with a "clean sock" eraser that they keep in their pencil boxes and whatever does not come off 100%, we get at the end of the day when we wipe down the tables.

Go ahead!  Try it! Happy desk writing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guided Math Groups- Pumpkin Cards To Practice Number Recognition- "Smashing Pumpkins" Game!

When pulling guided math groups this week, I really tried to hit the students that were still having trouble with some of the teen numbers (only a select few.)  I made these pumpkin math cards and printed two sets-  Then I pulled two students at a time to play "Smashing Pumpkins!"  (It's amazing how excited students get when you name an ordinary game something special...that always cracks me up!)
I laid the number cards out face up and called out the numbers for the students to smash (hit with their hand.)  Since there were two sets, each child could find a number pumpkin to smash.  We took turns calling out numbers and smashing pumpkins- giggling and laughing all the while.  

Then, I called out the numbers for the students to collect in their hands starting with 11 asking, "What number comes next?"  When they got to 20 we mixed up the pumpkin cards and I asked them put them in number order.

I had one child close their eyes and I removed a pumpkin card from their number line.  "What's missing?"  After they got the hang of this, I let them partner up with each other and play together.  They were begging to play this game again the next day!  I say, "Smash on, smart pumpkins!"

Five Little Pumpkins and Ordinal Numbers

Pumpkin Fun In Kindergarten...I use the song Five Little Pumpkins Sitting On A Gate by Raffi to introduce and practice ordinal numbers in math.  

Five Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said, "Oh my, it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air!"
The third one said, "We don't care!"
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run!"
The fifth one said, "I'm ready for some fun!"
WHOOOOOO, went the wind
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins
Rolled out of sight!

They were so cute and giggled at seeing their friends as pumpkins!

We sing the song and act out the sequence of the story using math vocabulary for ordinal numbers.  I found these cute pumpkin masks at Michael's for 50 cents each and made the ordinal number necklaces from plastic sheet protectors.  The students loved singing and acting out the story!  When it was over, to choose new characters, I asked "Who is 5th? 3rd? 1st? OR What place is Jim?  What place is Jane?"  When a student answered correctly they got to go and get the mask/ordinal necklace from that child and it was now their turn to sing/act out the story.

One of our objectives is to order objects according to height.  So, I gave students a blank piece of white construction paper and asked them to draw the five pumpkins from the story.  “Start with a big pumpkin and make each one smaller as you go.”

Unfinished project, but you get the idea!  We still need to add the words... :)
We made a gate with brown construction paper and added the ordinal numbers to talk about the position of each pumpkin on the gate.  Later, we went back and added the words, details and practiced telling the story to a friend.  Pumpkin fun!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spider Facts and Song

Since spiders were on our minds this week, the class and I decided to learn some spider facts.  We read this National Geographic Spider book and talked about what facts are...real vs. imaginary.  Many students were surprised to learn that most spiders have EIGHT eyes, two body parts, and have fangs to suck liquids out of their prey!  "EEWWWW!" they all said.  This book also has great pictures that foster wonderful conversations about spiders.  They loved it!

After reading, we sang this song to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes using a movement with each word...

Head, abdomen, and eight legs
Head, abdomen, and eight legs
I have eight eyes and fangs too...."slurrrrpp" (sucking sound)
Head, abdomen, and eight legs

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Storyboard

More spider fun...October would not be complete without The Itsy Bitsy Spider!  We read the nursery rhyme every morning as a part of our calendar time.  I used a video clip from youtube of the animated nursery rhyme/song.(which fit nicely into the calendar notebook/mimio calendar file for the month) I wrote the words to the nursery rhyme under the video clip so students could see both.  Each day we would talk about something finding sight words(we were working on the sight word and), looking for words that start with s, rhyming words, tracking print as we sang the song together, etc.  

By Wednesday, students were reading the rhyme on their own and acting out the story.  On Friday, we made this cute storyboard using a straw for the waterspout and a plastic spider ring as our main character.  We colored the sight words and and the with yellow.  As we read the story, I asked what the storyboard was missing.  Students told me that we needed to add the rain and sun. (adding details, making sure that pictures match your words when writing/reading)
We then practiced reading to our friends- retelling the story.  
Kindergartners are so stinkin' cute when they tell stories! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

S is for Syllables and Scarecrows...

S is for syllables and scarecrows...In October I read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro to lead up to this Scarecrow Glif activity.  Students love sneezing "AAACHOO" with the reading of
the story.  They giggle every time they sneeze and love looking at the animal characters expressions as the old lady eats crazy things.
We predict what will happen at the end of the story.  Then when I reveal that the old lady made a scarecrow, we have a discussion about what a scarecrow is and why they are used.  

We also read The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams.  Students make connections between these two stories. "They both have an old lady and
a scarecrow." etc.

One of our objectives is to make comparisons between ourselves and others so we use this Scarecrow Glif as a perfect opportunity to make these comparisons visual.  In small groups, I use the mimio file to project the scarecrow  and questions up on the whiteboard as students have the questions and scarecrow at their seat.  We read and answer the questions together and make our scarecrows according to the glif directions.  As students are coloring/gluing, I ask them to look at their friends scarecrow.  Does it look like yours?  What does that mean?  "Bob and I both have birthdays in the fall."  "Jimmy and I both have brown eyes and two syllables in our name but I have 4 letters in my name and he has 5."  We then go back and add raffia to the hands, feet, and hat area of the scarecrow.  Fun, fun, fun...Happy Fall! :)

Click here to download Scarecrow Glif

Click here to download mimio file (must have mimio software to open this)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Very Busy Spider Story Sequence Activity

I use the story The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle to focus on story sequence and character identification.We read the story and identify the characters together.  Then I select students to be the characters- acting out/retelling the story as we go along.  We then use the story sequence graphic organizer to draw a picture of each character in the story and practice retelling it in partners.  The students have so much fun making the sounds of the animals and retelling the story in order using the graphic organizer using the repetitive text patterns.   Happy spider week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spider Rings To Practice Position Words

A fun way to teach/practice position words in October...SPIDER RINGS!  In reading groups I give each child a spider ring and call out position words having them practice placing the spider ring in that position.  "Put your spider above your head."  "Put your spider below your chin."  "Put your spider ring beside your face."  The kids loved it!

Then we used the spider ring on our pointer finger to track print as we read this student reader.  Students use their yellow crayon to color the position word and then draw the spider in the correct position to the web.  What a fun way to spend a reading group!  Click Here To Download

Hiccup! Hiccup! Skeleton Hiccups!

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler is a great book to read in October!  This story is about a skeleton who wakes up with the hiccups and all throughout the book he is trying to get rid of them.  At the end of the story, he scares HIMSELF by looking in the mirror at his reflection and the hiccups go away! 

Before reading the story I ask if anyone has ever had the hiccups...How did you get rid of them? (prior knowledge)  As I read the story, I ask the students to hiccup when the skeleton hiccups in the story.  They have so much fun giggling and hiccuping!

Right before the part of the story where the skeleton holds up the mirror, I stop and let the students predict what they think will happen...How will the skeleton finally get rid of the hiccups?

After reading, we made this cute skeleton and wrote about what happens at the beginning, middle and end of the story. Click Here To Download

Monday, October 17, 2011

Say Goodbye To Boring Calendar Time...Hello Mimio / Calendar Notebooks!

This year I said goodbye to boring calendar time in my room.  I trashed my wall calendar and said goodbye to the days of students gathered around me during traditional calendar time wiggling and struggling to pay attention.

Now my calendar time is fun, interactive, full of songs/movement and is technology based!  I created an interactive mimio/smartboard file for each calendar month and students use their own calendar folders (which change throughout the year as skills progress) to follow along, sing, and help ME with calendar time.  All students are engaged and eager to participate!  No more wiggles!  I LOVE IT!

The calendar notebook is a folder with brads that holds clear page protectors.  I fill the page protectors with pages that match each mimio page.  So whatever the students see in their calendar folder is projected up on my whiteboard!  One of my students thinks we are playing a video game each day... :)  Each mimio page is interactive and as I write on the mimio,  students use whiteboard markers to write on their own calendar pages.  The whiteboard marker can then be erased from the student pages and are used again each day!  We sing songs, play games, practice letter sounds, sight words, counting, number recognition, number formation, practice labeling sets, tens frame activities, patterning, recording data, coin names, addition, graphing...and so much more.  What a great way to start the day!  It's amazing!  Calendar folder pages and matching monthly mimio files will be posted soon! :)

Ok, so here it is...a sample of a calendar folder page along with song suggestions/activities to use in your classroom.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fun With Environmental Print

This fun environmental print activity is used in September to jump start our reading.  Most of my kindergarten students say "I can't read!"  And I prove them wrong with this environmental print project.  It gives them the confidence to understand that letters come together to make words and that you can be a good reader by looking at the picture or symbol that goes along with the word to figure it out.  These are environmental words/symbols they have seen and are usually familiar with.  They CAN read!!!

Environmental Print Parent Letter
I send home a parent letter (click here for free download) asking for examples of environmental print.  We use these to make a chart to use in our classroom.  We talk about the beginning sounds of these words, how many letters they have, and practice sorting them by color, beginning letter, places/food/toys, etc.

Students cut out their own environmental print pictures and practice reading/sorting them independently.  They talk to friends to tell how they sorted the pictures.  Then we make an environmental print student reader.  Students pick the environmental print cards they want to glue onto their paper and use writing skills to write "I can read" and glue the environmental print picture into the box provided. 

This activity is great for working on the sight word can!  Then, students find a friend to "buddy read" their sentences to.  They loved this activity!  Click here to download