KinderGals: July 2016

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Organize Your Group Time with Carpet Bags

That Back To School rush can be very overwhelming. Too much to do and too little time to get it done. If I don't get it done before the kids showed up, sometimes it never gets done at all.  I am a super, organized person and can drive my family, and even some of my friends...absolutely crazy! I like things put away in the right place...I like things to be cleaned up as soon as you are done…you get the point. Now, I have tried to lighten up a little, but I still think the ability to organize maximizes teaching time. The Carpet Bag helps me organize my circle time!
So what can you do now that will make the most difference when you start back? Get that carpet bag done!
Here are the items in the carpet bag...
*word families book
* unit vocabulary notebooks
* alphabet charts and yes/no sticks
* Book of Lists
* Nursery Rhyme Books
* traveling word walls
* working mats
* literature journal
* student calendar notebook

Carpet Bags

You can find the actual carpet bag in lots of stores! These are some that I saw at the Dollar Tree. You can also use the recyclable grocery bags and just tape the three sides so they don't open all the way.


Carpet Bag Storage 

The bags are stored in these three baskets. In the morning, the children get out their bag and place it on their spot in the large group area. We leave them there all day! At the end of the day, we return the bags to the baskets.
Carpet Bag Contents
We keep a small bag of supplies in each of the bags. In addition to the items mentioned below, the children also keep a small plastic container with 10 of the 2 sided counters. No more passing out supplies. Passing out supplies is a major time sucker!

Yes/No Response Stick

A yes/no response stick is as great way to get children to show their understanding of the concept. Again, no passing out. Just say, "Get out your yes/no stick." and they are ready to go!

Student Calendar Notebook

As I am doing the calendar, the kids follow right along. This is a perfect way to develop number sense. It also holds the children accountable for their learning!
Here are some of the pages from the student calendar notebook unit. 
Traveling Word Wall
As I add  new words to the word wall on Monday, the kids add them to their traveling word wall. The real purpose of the traveling word wall is to teach how the word wall is organized. Some kids will be able to read all the words on the word wall and others will not. The important part is, do they know how it is organized and how to use it!

Word Family Book and Book of Lists

We add a new word family to our Word Family books each week.  This is a great way to introduce spelling patterns, chunks, short and long vowels.
We also add a new list to our book of lists each week. This is a great way to practice stretching words while reviewing concepts taught in science, social studies, and math.
The Literature Journal
Since we do most of our comprehension work together, I have my kids keep their literature journals in their carpet bag as well. Again, no passing out. Just invite the children to pull their journal out of their carpet bag!

Working Mats

The newest addition to our carpet bags is the working mats! Boy have they saved us some time. We took all of our math tools and our graphic organizers and bound them together into one notebook. Now the kids can easily get that out of their carpet bag. The problem...finding the right page. We added a tiny animal clip art in the corner of each page. Now we can just invite the children to turn to the page with the "bee"!
 What is the purpose of the Carpet Bag?
  1. To optimize teaching time! No more having to collect and pass things out.
  2. Assessment: We do all of our large group teaching with the kids on the carpet. This makes it easy for us to see who is catching the concepts and who will need to pull for small group. 
  3. Takes advantage of that "teachable moment."
  4. Makes students more independent. Each child is responsible for the contents of their bag.
Here are the resources to make your carpet bag.
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Friday, July 22, 2016

Making the Most of Math Centers and Science Experiments

Trying to figure out how to organize your math centers? Then, this is the post for you. This post will give you tips to easily organize and manage your centers.

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!
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

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!
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.


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