KinderGals: August 2015

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Leader In Me: The 7 Habits

Have you heard of the 7 Habits book? Megan’s new school is a “Leader in Me School”. Each year they pick one of the habits to be their focus. This year they picked Habit #2: Begin with the end in mind. We did this goal setting activity with the kids. There is a link to the reproducible and pattern in the post.
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Here’s what we did:
Day 1: What is a goal? What would I like to see happen by the end of 2nd grade? The kids made a list of possible goals.
Day 2: How can you make it happen? The kids each picked one of their goals. Then, they had to think of three things they could do to make it happen.
Day 3: We made the craftivity to hold our goals.
Scroll to the bottom to snag the reproducible and the head pattern as a FREE download.
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Now, back to kindergarten. Here are the plans we are using in Kristi’s room this week!
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We are starting our new unit, Family.  Reader’s and Writer’s…just keep on keepin’ on! We are really working on building that stamina and encouraging the children to work longer. We aren’t pulling small groups, instead we are moving around the room making notes about what we see happening. We are also doing some abc assessments and a few running records on some of the kids who we think are actually reading!
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Can I just say….adding the mini lesson before Centers has made a HUGE difference. This has worked great to scaffold our kids to become more independent in centers. It has also helped to remind us to SLOW down! It keeps us from getting ahead of ourselves!
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In Math we are beginning our unit on shapes. We really didn’t do a unit the first two weeks. So we are excited to get going! Last year we started the small group DI lessons! So we are excited. Super happy that we can plan one activity, tweek it and do that same activity with all of our groups. You can download a copy of these lesson plans here.
Here are the resources we used this week to help  us plan.
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Now hop on over to Deedee’s blog and see what others are doing this week.
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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peek at My Week: More Back to School and Literacy Centers

What causes you the most stress with centers? I bet, if you are like me, it isn’t finding enough activities! There are tons of ideas out there floating around. So…you prep your centers and you are ready to go. They look good, you’re proud of them. You bring them out and…..it’s a disaster. I mean you feel like just crying. All that hard work, and it didn’t even work! I bet if you are like me, at some point you have felt that.  So what is it that makes centers so challenging? The Management!  So here are a few tips that might make your center time a little easier to manage!

  • •A center is never a new teach.
  • •Centers practice previously taught standards.
  • •Center activities have been taught in a mini-lesson.
  • •Sometimes an activity requires further explanation in a small group setting before it can become a center activity.
  • •Some centers are “have to” activities. These are activities that you expect all children to complete. These are the ones that maintain previous learning.
  • •Some centers are “can do” activities. These are activities that the children may choose from once they finish their “have to” center.
  • •“Can dos” are open ended and student led.
  • •“Can do” activities are modeled in mini lessons.
  • •Children may create their own learning in the “can do” centers.

Here are a few of the “have-to activities from this week.

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We sorted the letters in our names.

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We drew picture cards and then added detail to our pictures.

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We found two pictures that started with the same sound. All these ideas, and that all important management component, are in this resource.

So here are some other things going on this week:

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This week we are introducing the word family journal (for some kids this is just rhyming practice), practicing with the abc chart, and starting the book of lists.

We are still developing that all important stamina! They get tired out pretty quickly. I’ve added in some guided reading books. We aren’t going to pull some groups quite yet. But, we are going to use these whole group as read a louds and start that “Look at the picture.” strategy as well as introducing the concept of a label. This will be great for both reading and writing!

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We are going to concentrate on those center time mini lessons! These are really super important. This is where we are laying that foundation for the rest of the year!

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The kids are still free exploring some of the manipulatives.  I’,m just rotating them through these for now. We are pulling small groups to teach some of the basic games that will become our “can do” math centers. I love these easy to play centers! We are also doing some basic assessments…..I know, I was going to share those this week, but I just don’t have them ready quite yet! So excited to be partnering up with ESGI to get some math assessments to match the units Michele and I wrote for our small group math units! (You can find a link to them in my sidebar.)

Here are the resources I used this week to plan:

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Have a great week! Be sure and hop over to Deedee’s blog to see what others are doing this week.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Little Scientist Wishlist

Every year we try to pick something to concentrate on. This year...it's all about science. To be honest, science is an area that I might not feel as confident teaching as I do when I'm teaching  reading, writing and math! That's all the more reason to focus here, right? I have to really study to teach science. It isn't something that I was ever really interested in as a child.  My husband eats it up! So here's how the conversation often goes, "Andy, how does a star explode?" Andy's reply: "greek, greek, greek, greek." I then find myself on a science for kids website looking for an explanation, an explanation where I know all the words!
As we were developing our first science unit, The Scientific Method and Science Tools, we found that we didn't have all of the tools we wanted to explore. We had some, but others were either broken, missing, or there just wasn't enough of each one. So...enter Andy....again. He came to my rescue and helped me compile a list of everything I needed to order. I thought I would share the links with you in case you were looking for any of these tools.  It will make it easier than shopping all over Amazon!
My goals this year:
To instill a love of science in our little ones. They naturally love it!
To become more confident as a teacher of science.
To develop some super fun, informative units using the workshop model of teaching.
To do something that is challenging and rewarding!
To blog about our journey.
Happy Shopping!
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Developing the Scientific Method with Weekly Science Box: Easy Science Experiments!

If you didn’t read yesterdays post, STOP…..back up and read it first!  So here it is! Here’s what was in the box this week. The Mad Science Boxes had all the needed supplies to conduct the Gummy Bear experiment.
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We want to teach our kids how “scientists really do it” using the scientific method. We made this anchor chart which we later posted in our room, but we also converted it to a smart board slide to use during our lessons.  As we introduced each part of the scientific method over the course of several mini lessons, we revealed that part of the anchor chart. Once the chart was fully revealed, we posted it in the room for future use.
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  • First, we named the problem in the form of a question: What happens to Gummy Bears when you put them in liquids?
  • Then, we invited each child to use words and/or pictures to show what they thought would happen. They made an hypothesis.
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Day 2:
  • We conducted the experiment. I guess you could do the experiment while the kids watch,  they wouldn’t have been as well behaved if they were just watching!
  • CAUTION: Don’t, use these cups!!!!! I found these bathroom cups, CHEAP at Target.  All went well until the next day when we came in! The cups had leaked EVERYWHERE!!!
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Here’s the experiment card the kids used to read each step. We want our kids to have authentic practice with nonfiction text. We want them to see that we read for a purpose. We have many reluctant readers, so it is our job to find ways to show them how reading is sooo important, beneficial, and fun!
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Day 3:
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  • Observe. What is happening?  We encouraged our kids to talk about their observations. They sometimes have difficulty getting their words and thoughts on paper, so we spend lots of time just talking!After a lot of discussion, then we went to the paper to record.
  • Now, here’s a confession.  I did this experiment 3 times at home. I was trying to figure out how we could have the kids graph their data. So I kept doing the experiment, watching what happened and thinking what we could do. The gummy bear in the vinegar always disappeared by the end of the first day, the one in water was smaller, and the one in the baking soda water was the same or somewhat larger. This continued with the water one getting smaller and the baking soda one staying about the same. This.same.thing.happened.every.single.time!!!  THEN, when we did it at school we didn’t have the same results!!! At school, all 3 bears increased in size. WHAT!?!?!?! My husband is an engineer and quite smart about science so I called him in a little bit of a panic. He said it could be that different brands of gummy bears are made differently, but for whatever reason, this is what science is all about. So, we are setting up just one experiment (since we dumped the others) and seeing what happens over 5 days as the graph requires.
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Once we have gone the full five days, we will complete our graph….
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And write our conclusion.  
We already have the science boxes ready for this week. Next week, we will share that experiment with you.
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This is the unit that we are using to teach the scientific method. (It has the gummy bear experiment.)
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