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Friday, July 22, 2016

Frog Street SPLASH!

Left Vegas last night and flew to Dallas for the Annual Frog Street SPLASH Conference! If you have never been to this event, you have to come! These girls know how to throw a party! I know, I know....IT IS professional development, lots of good quality sessions, but they know how to make it so fun that it feels like a party all day!
I am here for the next two days! Watch social media! I WILL be posting lots of pictures throughout the event! For those of you who couldn't make it this year, this will be your little taste of the sessions I am presenting. This blog post will contain a snippet from each session, a FREEBEE, and links to units on sale! All units mentioned in the sessions, PLUS any back to school items are on sale! (If you mention this to Andy in our booth, you can get the sale price!) Each day I am repeating the same sessions, so this blog post is for Friday and Saturday sessions.

Science Blasters

My first session today is Science Blasters! Science is something that is often put on the back burner in kindergarten, right? We are so busy teaching the literacy and math standards it often leaves very little time for science. However, as a country we lag behind in science.  So what is important about science? We need to build excitement, teach the scientific process, and show the connection to reading, writing and math!
 In this session, I share various pieces of children's literature and show how easy it is to connect to science. This darling little book is about a duck family going to the grandparents for Sunday breakfast. Baby duck is miserable in the rain and the parents don't understand why the baby doesn't like the rain.
BEFORE, reading this book to your kids, you will want to read a nonfiction selection on ducks and their feathers. This will allow your children to understand why baby duck shouldn't worry about the rain.
We follow up with the fun little science experiment! Super simple and easy, BUT it teaches the scientific process and has the children work through each step!

Math Centers

My other session is Math Centers. We really don't need to hear ANOTHER math idea! If you are looking for ideas, go to Pinterest, facebook, Instagram or teachers pay teachers! They are loaded with ideas! So, why then, do some teachers struggle with centers?  MANAGEMENT! In this session we explore how to set up an effective Math Workshop including centers!
One thing I did was to set up just 5 center areas. Each area contains a "have to" activity and then some "can do" activities for early finishers.
Each day they rotate to a different area. This means by Friday, they have been to all 5 areas.
Establish centers that are independent. Ones that the kids know how to play and have mastered the standard. Centers are to maintain learning! New learning occurs in your small group.
Here are some things to think of when pulling small groups. Instead of calling a whole center area to your table, go to each center area and pull the kids with a common need based on your assessments.
Trying to meet with every child every day can be stressful not just for you but also for the kids! Do not call your intervention group to your table first.  Instead start with the kids you are pretty sure will get it! That way you can practice your delivery!
Also, this allows the intervention children to have peer support in the centers.

Freebee

You can download this fun math game here. Directions are included in the download.

Resources


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vegas 2016 Day 3

It's day 3 and I am over at the kindergarten conference! If you haven't ever attended this conference, put it on your bucket list! Start saving today! There are tons of sessions, tons of teachers, tons of learning, and tons of energy! You will go home ready to start a new year!

Each day I am presenting, Monday-Thursday, I will do a blog post.  For those of you who couldn't make it this year, this will be your little taste of the sessions I am presenting. Each blog post will contain a snippet from each session, a FREEBEE, and links to units on sale!

Simply Science

My first session today is Science. Science is something that is often put on the back burner in kindergarten, right? We are so busy teaching the literacy and math standards it often leaves very little time for science. However, as a country we lag behind in science.  So what is important about science? We need to build excitement, teach the scientific process, and show the connection to reading, writing and math!

The first thing is to build excitement. Here is a picture of Megan, dressed and ready to be the made scientist. Each week we have a science box that contains our experiment of the week.
On Fridays, the kids wear their scientist jackets, nametags, and goggles as we open the science box to see what's inside.
The first time we opened the box we had this experiment. Over the course of the week, we worked through the scientific process, learning each step, as we conducted our experiment.
As we were learning the scientific process, we used our nonfiction readers to help us learn more. This is a great way to connect nonfiction text features to scientific information. By doing this, we are able to teach our children how to read scientific materials and use the features to help them.  When I wrote this Science Tools reader, I wanted all my kids to be able to apply what they know. I made 3 levels of text (level 3 is great for the teacher). All 3 levels have the same pictures and the same nonfiction features. The only difference--the level of text!
During this session we also learned how to develop a science workshop. We start with a mini lesson that lasts about 10 minutes. This is where we teach the new concepts that slowly build over the week. Then the kids move to centers for 20 minutes. The centers are on a rotational system where they visit one center area each day. By the end of the week, they have been to all 5 centers.

Games Galore

My second session is always a crowd pleaser! Teachers love to play games! Here's my best secret...it isn't important to have a million games. If you teach the kids a few basic games, you can simply change the standard and change the clip art and they think it is a new game. This means that more time is spent learning the standard than how to play a new game.
 One game we play a lot for sight words is hangman. BUT, it doesn't have to be theh traditional game. You can build anything...make a snowman, make Mr. Potato Head, etc!
Here are a few things I think of when I am playing:
  • Children need to have a visual of the words you are choosing from. Place them in front of the word wall, give them a printed copy of the spelling words, etc.
  • Each child needs a dry erase board to record their guess.
  • Tell the children how many letters are in the word.
  • Invite them to draw that many lines on their board.
  • Read through the list of words with the children identifying the ones that have 3 letters.
  • Children record their guess.
  • Invite a child to guess a letter.
  • Once the letter is recorded, or not recorded, the children must look at their word to determine if it still fits.
  • Read through the list of words again. Identify the 3 letter words, with or without, the guessed letter.
  • This means that more time is spent actually reading the words and looking at the features than at just random guessing!

Group, Partner, Team: Small Groups for Math Success

My last session for today is all about making the most of your small group time during math!
During this session we talked about how to establish an effective math time using the structure on the slide above.
Then we shared examples of each step. For example, this shape sorting activity is an easy mini lesson.
Then, the children move to centers. I set me room up with 5 centers. They visit one center each day, by Friday they have been to all five centers.  Each center has a "have-to" activity like this button graph. To make the graph the rolled a dice and counted buttons. After making the graph, they wrote their analysis.




Then, the children can select from a few "can do" activities that are located in their center area. Manipulative and card games are great for the can do centers. In this card game, the children draw 4 cards and put them in order. You might be wondering why the numerals are cut off of the cards. I want the kids to focus on the configuration for the number, not the numeral! So, I just cut the numerals off!
While children are working in centers, I pull small groups using a schedule like the one above. These groups are very flexible from week to week depending on what standard I am teaching. Each group has a common need.
This is an example of a game I play with my kids when we are learning to count! Super easy. The kids just toss a pom pom onto the game board. Then, they count up to the numeral where the pom pom landed.
One thing we don't want to do...plan a million activities. So it is super easy to adjust the game. Just use a different board with higher target numerals, or instead of playing the game as a small group, invite the children to play the game with partners.

Freebee

Today's freebee is our anchor chart for The Scientific Method. Click here to download the chart.
Scientific Method

Resources

Here are the resources I used to plan these sessions.




(The individual units are also on sale)




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