KinderGals: September 2012

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Revving Up-Unit 5 Reader’s Workshop


It is so good to be back in the south this week! I worked with some great teachers in Mississippi for a few days and then flew over to GA to go HOME for a few days. While there, I was able to meet up with my partner in crime, Michele. Here’s how it goes….we go to our hang out, Mellow Mushroom, eat a little pizza, and then get to work! We have to triple tip that poor server as we take up her table most of the afternoon! While there, we hammer out our next unit, the overview! Then, we go our separate ways and get busy working. So what will be be working on this month…our Unit 6. It will be all about Non Fiction! I love that unit!

But for now, we have finally finished Unit 5….Revving Up.

The unit begins with lessons that teach students the importance of getting ready to read a book before actually starting to read the words. After students understand how to get ready to read, you will teach them lessons about using letter sounds to figure out words. The importance of rereading and partners as teachers are both addressed in this unit.

The unit is broken down into four weeks:

*Week one- “Revving up to read”- You will be teaching students to warm up before they read by taking picture walks, telling a story through pictures, and thinking about words they may see as they are reading.

*Week two- “Letters help us read”- Students will learn to use pictures and beginning letter sounds to read words. They will also learn how to “switch it up” if a word they see does not match what they think it should be. You will teach your students to look all the way through a word to confirm their word choice and how to stretch out and blend letter sounds to read words.

*Week three- “Back up and reread”- You will teach your students the importance of rereading to figure out a word, to understand what they are reading, to sound like a good reader and to have fun.

*Week four- “Partners can be teachers”- During this week you will teach your students how to actually become like a teacher, helping their partners with picture walks, figuring out words and asking and answering questions.


This unit contains an overview of the month, a monthly spreadsheet, a weekly overview and prep sheet for each of the 4 weeks, 20 mini lessons written in ready to use lesson plan form.


…4 anchor charts with all the pieces made and ready to reproduce, revving up bookmark and chart, 2 brainstorming charts, 2 teacher made books for modeling,…Slide3

…a student book for active engagement, 2 sets of retelling pieces for the stories, switch it up cards, stretchy the word snake puzzles…Slide5

…student recording sheets, and a super cute craftivity to use for the end of unit celebration.

Here are the other units in the series:

Unit 1 Blasting Off

Unit 2 Powerful Partners

Unit 3 Digging Deeper

Unit 4 Discovering Patterns

Unit 5 Revving Up

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Columbus Day is Coming!

Teaching young children about Christopher Columbus can be fun and exciting. Not only can you teach children about Christopher Columbus, but you can also build in many science, social studies, language arts, and math standards. When you teach your kids about Christopher Columbus, there are two different ways you can approach the topic:
All in One Day
Or..A Little Each Day
All In One Day is a "blow out" day. We completely forgo our regular schedule and the whole day is about Christopher Columbus. It is a crazy day, but it is one my kids talk about all year. By doing it this way, it is something different and unique. The brain loves novelty!
Or...A Little Each Day. In this format, you could do a different activity each day stretched out over the week.
Here are some of the activities we use to celebrate Christopher Columbus.
 Here are the float and sink activities that we did. The children made predictions, checked their predictions, and made their bottle books!
For this game, the children rolled a dice and moved the boats toward the water. They can move one boat or divide the roll between two or three boats.Slide3
This is our earth! The kiddos painted “land” on the sphere and on the back made a circle map of things that are spheres.
This was the highlight…to say the least! The kiddos had so much fun making the coke floats! This was a fun way to teach predictions, doing the experiment, and graphing the results of the experiment!
Here is where we made an all about Christopher Columbus Book! They loved the toilet paper roll telescopes! The chart is one that I found on someone else’s blog that they used while making the book.
Here is where we made a large Santa Maria and then each child made their own. We were working on labeling.
We talked about characteristics of Christopher Columbus and then the children drew and wrote about their connections. Then we shared them with our buddies.
Here are some photos from where some other bloggers posted pictures from the packet! Love to see how people use things a little differently!Slide10
All of these activities are from the Hooray for Columbus Day Unit. What are you planning for Columbus Day? Do you have a blog post about Columbus Day? If so, leave a comment with a link to your post! Would love to see them as we will actually have time to do it now BEFORE Columbus Day!
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Monday, September 24, 2012

How Do You Display Birthdays?

When I saw  Erica’s post for how to display birthdays, I started looking through my pictures to see what I had. This watermelon display was the last display I used. I cut the watermelons from paper. The vine was made with  door knob pulls, buttons, and ribbon. The ants were the wooden cut outs. This was a picture that I took when I was setting up the room. After I found out the birthdays, I added their names to the seeds. Some months I had to add more seeds! The picture below shows some other displays from previous years. On the birthday cakes, I added candles with their names.
Here’s how my friend Bert displays the birthdays in her strawberry themed room and below is Megan’s jungle themed display. As I was looking through these pictures, it was very clear to me how technology has changed the way we do things! Not only does the computer allow us to use various fonts and clip art, it also allows us to see how others are doing things. Whether we copy the idea, as is, or it inspires us to think “Oh, I could….”, the internet has allowed for this exchange of ideas.
Speaking of inspired by others, Pinterest has totally changed everything! When my sweet daughter in law, Ginny, asked me to help her get a few things ready, I was more than willing to help! She showed me a photo that she saw on pinterest for how she wanted to make her birthdays. Well, who knew that this was Erica’s original idea? I posted the picture in an earlier blog and never mentioned Erica’s name only that is was from pinterest. The picture Ginny showed me didn’t track the idea back to her. I guess in this day and age, we must be careful to give “credit where credit is due”! It’s so easy to snag a photo and never seek out who was so willing to share that idea! So….”Thanks and Sorry, Erica that I didn’t say your idea was super cute!” So what is Eria’s idea? Well, here’s Ginny’s picture. To read about it hop over to Erica’s blog and read all about it!Slide5
Erica’s Birthday Board
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Are You a City Girl(Boy)?


As many of you know, in August Andy and I moved to Washington DC where he once again is a student. When, Andy told me he was going to take me away from my southern roots, I was less than thrilled! After some tears and looking at this more as an “extended vacation” I finally gave in to the idea. I have lived in my home town for over 40 years along with all my sisters, my mom, my nieces and nephews, and most importantly both of my kids and their spouses! Now, I am living right in the middle of downtown DC! We live just a few blocks from the National Mall with all the monuments and a few blocks from the White House. There is always somewhere to go, something to do, and another quaint little restaurant with outdoor dining for dinner—all within walking distance. So what is missing? Well, how about a Dollar Tree, a Hobby Lobby, a Michaels, a Walmart, a school supply store? Nope…none of them in DC. What’s a girl to do? One day while Andy was in class I did a little internet search to find a craft store and a school supply store. Let’s just say when he got home, he was greeted by one very excited teacher who had set the adventure for the evening! After over an hour of driving in traffic we arrived at the Michaels. I was like a crazy woman trying to decide what I needed to get! Then, off to the Lakeshore, just a quick 10 minutes away.Slide2

See all my purchases! I think I bought all the scarpbooking paper they had! Another issue with DC is the whole grocery shopping thing! We have a CVS right out the door of the apartment, so simple things are there. But when we need REAL groceries, it is quite an ordeal. We either have to drive, and then if you can find a place to park, pay $20. Or,take the metro! Either way, quite an ordeal. So while we were out, I wanted to make a grocery store run. I was looking for food items that could be the parts of a fire truck.Slide3

So here’s what I came up with! And here’s what it looked like when I got home and put it together!


I wanted a concrete way to show the parts without doing an art activity!  I made a poster brace map and used the “craft/cooking” as the connection. The parts on the right side of the poster, are attached with velcro.  I did make a recording sheet where the children can then draw the parts of the fire engine to make their own brace map. BTW, I had them frost the fire trucks with either red or yellow frosting. Since not all fire trucks are red, I wanted to be able to turn this into a graphing activity. “Did you make a red or yellow fire engine?”


The fire engine brace map is part of my new Fire Fighters Unit. I am putting the finishing touches on it and it should be ready by tomorrow! So I’m off to the National Mall. Target is sponsoring some reading event with lots of different authors! Can’t wait to see if I get to meet any of them.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Building a Word Family Word Wall!


In the past Megan and I would work to have everything hanging up for the first day of school. But, this year, Megan is slowing that down a little. Now, her room is still super cute to start the year, but some things she is going to hang up as she introduces them. Here’s is her word family palm trees. We do a different word family each week. She will hang the tree up as that family is introduced. I think that will give the kids an ownership to the items on the walls. Good idea, Megan! So, first she started with the onset and the rime covered in two different colors of post it notes. Each child has a word family notebook.Slide2


She had the children write “---at” at the top of their page. She removed the post it note off of the first onset and had the children write that in their book. Then she removed the rime. As she did more of the words, she talked about the pattern and encouraged the children to use that pattern to figure out what might be under the blue post it notes. It was the first time, so they were a little slow getting started, but by the end of the lesson they were catching on.


Okay, so the picture below has nothing to do with the word family study! It was just too stinkin cute to see those little boys reading to those stuffed animals. THAT is why I love being a teacher!Slide5

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