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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Peek at my Week

Hey guys! Just a quick post with the plans for this week. I’m traveling today! Had a great weekend with the family so not much time left for blogging! Can’t wait to spend the week with one of my favorite CA teachers—Kimberly Jordano! Two friends, 25 kindergarteners equals tons of fun!


We are starting the Food unit in Kristie’s room this week.


Love using the nonfiction book in the Food unit.


Working in our counting unit. Even though this is Unit 1, we did shapes first. You can download these plans to get links to each resource. Download them here.

Hop over to Deedee’s blog to see what others are doing this week.peek at my weekbutton 2015

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

How Good Are You At Asking Questions? Peek at My Week

questions for hots
Ever find yourself not really knowing what kinds of questions to ask your kids? I mean, like you just read a story and you want to ask some really good questions. How do you get past, “Who are the characters? What is the setting? What happened first, next, and last?”
Several years ago our school decided we wanted to get better at asking questions. It was our “project” for the year. We spent some time during our planning visiting other classrooms to tally the questions the teacher was asking. I know, I know…you don’t want anyone to listen to you when you are trying to ask questions much less tally them! But, really it wasn’t like that AT ALL! We had picked the project, we ALL knew we needed to improve. Then, we went to work. We posted Bloom’s Taxonomy where we could all see it—more for us than for the kids. We made flip books, dice, spinners, rings…. Then, at the end of the year we visited those same classrooms! WOW! What a difference!
Here’s what I took away from that experience---
  • First, I did get better at asking questions.
  • Second, when you have a focus you can see improvement.
  • Thirdly, you need a plan.
  • But, most importantly….it is okay not to know! It’s just not ok to not do anything about the fact that you don’t know.
Recently, I was working in a school district in Louisiana. They wanted me to work with the teachers on this very thing! They each had a bag of supplies and we went to work!
First we made these sticks. You can put these sticks in a can. Then, after you read a story, any story, you can pull a question from the can to ask the kids.Slide5Slide1
You can download the reading questions by clicking on the page of questions to the left.
One “eye opening” thing that we did was to read the questions and sort them by the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  It wasn’t the sorting, per say, that was the most helpful…it was the discussion. It made us to start thinking about the levels and what kinds of questions would be at each.
Then, we made a flip book for our Math Questions. You can download these by clicking on the first page.
The last thing we made was a ring of questions we could use during the share time after literacy centers. These questions are part of Centers Made Simple Unit 2.
Here’s a peek at Kristie’s week:
You can download the plans here.
We loved making the Pet Glyph last year. Here are a few pictures:Slide1
Reading the glyph to make our dogs.
Made our own little books to analyze our data.
Made a class chart to analyze the data of the class.
Here are the resources I used to plan this week.
Be sure and hop over to Deedee’s blog to see what others are doing this week.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Teaching Kids to Love Science: Learning About Stars

So let’s be honest….I’ve  never had science as a top priority! Teach them to read. Teach them to write. Teach them to count. Teach them to add. You get the point.  But this year, we are really trying. And…..WE LOVE IT…and so do the kids! Here’s the plan…Use a structure we believe in and teach the science standards! So here’s what we are doing:Slide1
We start each science lesson with a mini lesson….A mini lesson lasts only 10 minutes so we have to be quick and focused. Here is our anchor chart that will guide our unit on Stars. Then, we break of the physical attributes into more detailed points. We started with Star Brightness. Wow! I didn’t know there was so much to know about Stars!
Slide28Each lesson starts with a quick connect to yesterday’s learning. “Remember yesterday we we said….” When I am scripting my plans, I always bold whatever I am going to say, leaving the rest of the text not bold. This makes it easier to use as a script. You can get a copy of this plan (here) as a free download.
The “teach” portion of the plan  is where you quickly teach the concept. Kids learn by doing, yet we spend the majority of our lessons worrying about what WE are saying instead of what the kids are saying!
I keep the structure of the workshop the same—same sequence in the structure and same wording to introduce each of those steps. For the teach I say, “Today, I am going to show you…”
You can read in the script exactly what I said for the teach so I’m not going to take up space here typing it. These are the cards that I used to do the lesson. You can get these in the same download as the scripted lesson.Slide17
I start this section of the lesson by saying, “Now, it’s your turn.”
Here’s what we did. We gave the kids cards with different groups of colored stars. Their job was to figure out which group was the hottest group.We gave them tens frames and unifix cubes to figure out the value of each group. The lower the number—the hotter the star. Now, this is a very simplistic way to explain a very complex idea. But, guess what!? They got it!!! Insert teacher happy dance here!
For the link we say, “So remember boys and girls, today and everyday, scientists know…” This is where you are repeating the focus of the lesson.  It is important that you leave the lesson with the REASON you did the lesson being the last thing that they hear!
Application is often referred to as work time. This is when the kids move to centers or stations, or whatever you have set up, to apply all that they know about science. Here’s what we are thinking….How can we set up the centers for stars when we haven’t taught them about stars!? So, we set up our centers for science tools. Our Application time is going to be whatever we taught in the preceding weeks.
We love using the task cards. This makes it super easy for our kids to know what to do in each of the areas. Here are a few of the science centers that we have going. We run these centers for 20 minutes each day. It is really about enough time to do one activity. Then, we have tubs of science books they can read if they finish early. We set up 5 centers, they do one each day.  This makes our science block 30 minutes each day.  One of the centers---measuring with bears.  Slide3Slide7
Another one of the centers was using magnifying glasses. They looked at the tiny picture in the circle. Then, on their recording page, they drew what they saw.Slide8Slide9
In this center they had to “find” the science tools in our nonfiction Science Tools book. Then, they recorded the page number beside the tool. Easy way to model how to make an Index.
Can I just say that we are really excited about science? It has been a ton of research, but it is worth it!  For the first time we feel that we are really teaching it! 
Here are the science resources that we are using:
Simply Science - The Scientific Method and Science Tools v1.0_Page_001Simply Science - The Sun and Other Stars v1.0_Page_001
We just finished planning for our next unit The Moon.
Simply Science - The Moon v1.0_Page_001
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