Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Fun

Hi there, I wanted to pop in and share some fun ideas for celebrating Easter and Spring in your classroom.  

Every year I have my kinders and their families make a hat for them to wear in our spring hat parade. The cool thing about this project is that there are no rules. Well, maybe one rule... be creative and most of all have fun! 

I love to collect books to read for the holidays, but I must admit sometimes it gets out of hand. I have absolutely no room to store anymore books, and yet, I still buy them.  The books pictured above are some of my favorite Easter books.

We estimated how many marshmallows are in the jar and recorded their guesses on the chart below.



I decided to use some of the MILLIONS of plastic eggs that I have acquired to make a game to practice sight words. First, I wrote out each sight word and cut it into a puzzle then placed it into an egg. One way to play this amazingly FUN game is to have the class sit in a circle on the floor with their interactive journals or some type of recording sheet.  I gave each child an egg and had them pass the eggs while I played the song Here Comes Peter Cottontail.  When the song stopped they opened their egg and put together their sight word and recorded in their journal.  The second way to play this game is to put an egg on each of their desks and have them walk around until you stop the music.  When the music stops they sit down and put the sight word together and record it.  My class had a ball playing this game!

I read this cute book to my class and had them design their own egg for the Easter Bunny. 
Once their egg was finished they wrote about what it looked like.  The picture above shows their first draft (I forgot to take a pic of the final draft). 

The Easter Bunny was a popular topic for journal entries.  

I inherited quite a few strawberry baskets, and I thought it might be fun for my kinders to turn them in to Easter baskets.  They turned out pretty darn cute!  They also dyed eggs to put into their baskets along with candy treats that the parents donated.

These are the baskets that I had my kinders weave last year.  These are my favorite!



I thought this bunny craft turned out adorable.  The bunny is made out of their handprint... so cute!

Look at the face on this bunny... so sweet!
We read many books about spring and used our new knowledge to make this chart.

With the help of the chart above they wrote two sentences about spring.  The first sentence we wrote together and the second they did independently.
Here is a close up picture of one of my kinders writing.

I had my class watercolor spring flowers and glue butterflies and ants on their picture. 

Then they filled out their math word problem based on their picture.

The Easter Bunny hopped thru our classroom and left his footprints.  My class got a kick out of this!


I'll leave you with a cute video.

Happy Easter!















Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Space


Hello! 

Welcome back to my blog!  

For the last few weeks my class has been going crazy over space! They absolutely LOVE anything that is space related, and are truly excited to learn as much as they can about the topic.  So, me, being the nice teacher that I am, gave them what they want... 

We started our journey into the world unknown by recording our schema on the chart above.

I read many books about space these are some of my favorites.

I used this book to introduce the planets.  

My class loved this chart! We added facts below each planet as we learned about them.  We also learned about the sun, and decided to add it to the chart (even though it's not a planet) to record the information that we learned.

Next, I recorded their new learning on the chart, and found a few misconceptions (things we thought were true, but turned out not to be).   An example of a misconception (this will make you laugh) was that penguins live on Pluto.  My little kinder truly believed this, but the rest of the class knew that this didn't sound right, especially because we just learned about penguins.  Ah, 5 year olds say the funniest things!



Next, we read the  book Life in Space and learned all about what astronauts do.   We filled out this anchor chart as we read.  This anchor chart came from here

My class used the chart above to write about astronauts.




To top it off, we made ourselves into astronauts! They turned out amazing, if I don't say so myself!



We read this book about the Moon.


I made this fun chart to put our Moon facts on.  The idea for this chart came from here.

Here are a couple of Space units that I added to our center rotations this week. I rolled up foil, and called them Moon rocks.  In the Moon rocks I put stars that have CVC and CVCE words written on them.  The object was to read the word on the star, and sort it under long or short vowels.  Then, write and read all the words in each category.  

This is one of my older centers that is in desperate need of an update! The object of this center is to fill in the blanks of the sentence, and write it on a white board.  I heard A LOT of giggles coming from this center!

I did a directed space drawing. I found my inspiration for this here.
We drew with a pencil first, and colored it in. Then, we took black watercolor and painted over it.

Here is the finished product.


One of my talented students made me a list of all the planets.  I love this!

Here are a few YouTube video that my class enjoyed.



Thanks for stopping by! Hope this post was out of this world!



Sunday, March 15, 2015

National Symbols


Need some ideas for your national symbols unit?  You have come to the right blog! I have compiled  some great resources to breathe new life into your national symbols unit.


When I begin teaching about national symbols the first thing I do is go over what a symbol is. I introduce the word "symbol" by passing around a heart and a four leaf clover to get them to start thinking about what each means.  When I start to hear chatter I know it's time for a think-pair- share otherwise known to my class as a turn and talk.  Giving the kids ample opportunities to discuss their thoughts with another child is a powerful way for them to make connections.  This short activity helped introduce the definition of a symbol.
I created this simple anchor chart to introduce some of the national symbols they would be learning about.  The first time the kids see this chart there isn't any pictures on it.  I glue each picture onto the chart telling them a little about each.  We also have our map out to discuss where each of these national symbols are located.
One amazing resource I purchased this year is the American Symbols Chit Chat Messages by Deanna Jump.  You can find them here.  I loved the books that you make for each of the national symbols pictured above. They contained good information that sparked their curiosity.

I added their new learning about each national symbol to this chart.  This resource is called America Math and Literacy Fun by Deanna Jump. You can find it here.

My kinders made American flags.  They turned out so cute! 




My class learned the Star Spangled Banner and The Grand Old Flag.

In the district I work in we are teaching Common Core Standards but our report cards have not yet caught up to that, so I'm still teaching coins in kindergarten.  I started out by giving my class time to explore each coin with a good old fashion coin rubbing activity. You can find this activity here.

My class learned about the presidents on each coin.


I made these anchor charts while I introduced each coin. 

I came across this amazing product from Jessica Travis it has many different coin activities to choose from.   My class made the adorable hats and the wallet for practicing identification.  You can find this product here.  The All About a Penny, Nickel, Dime and Quarter books can be found here.


My class liked this YouTube movie called Money, Money, Money.  We also watched a BrainPop Jr.  movie about coins.

I found these President flash cards in the dollar bins at Target! 


This YouTube movie about the Presidents was great for Kindergarten.

We wrote a class report about the national symbols.  This from Deanna Jump's American Math And Literacy Fun unit.
              





While learning about the Bald Eagle we were able to watch this Bald Eagle Live Cam from Pennsylvania.  We are still checking in everyday to see if the eggs have hatched.

We learned about the symbols of the state we live in.  I got the idea for this anchor chart from The First Grade Parade you can check it out here.
I have 10 learning centers in my class weekly and this week was all about our national symbols. These four in particular my class loved.
1. Deedee Wills  -Super Sentences here
2. Caitlin Clabby - February Word Work here
3. Deedee Wills - Writing Work Stations for February here
3. Maria Manore - Color by Number George Washington  here


Lastly, I found this American Symbols Interactive Pocket Chart Game from Growing Kinders find it here

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Have a great day!