KinderGals: March 2017

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Leprechauns, Gold and Shamrocks: St. Patrick's Day Fun

St. Patrick's Day brings us Leprechauns, gold, and shamrocks. Here are some of the fun activities we are doing to celebrate this magical day.
Do You Believe in Leprechauns?
The kids absolutely love doing survey graphs. Why? Because they get to talk to their friends!
Here's how we did our survey graph:
  • First, the children move around the room asking their friends if they believe in Leprechauns.
  • They put tally marks in either the yes or no column.
  • Then, they create a graph to show the results.
  • Last, the analyze their data.
Finding Gold Sight Word Game
I love games that can be used over and over again. Swat is one of those games. You can put anything on the cards and anything on the fly swatters and you have a new game. All you have to do is change the standard and change the clip art and the kids think it is a new game.
To play the game:
  • Spread the cards on the flower.
  • Give several children each a fly swatter.
  • Tell them the target word.
  • They seek for the word.
  • When they find the word, the leprechaun gathers the gold.
Cut a Sentence--Do You Have Gold?
Cut a sentence books are great for teaching sentence structure. The kids learns that the word with the capital letter goes first, the word with the period goes last. They also learn to use the reading strategy, "Does it make sense?" Invite the kids to move the remaining words until the sentence makes sense. Then, they find the picture to match the sentence.
Sharing Gold
This is a fun way to teach fair share:
  • Invite the children to roll a dice and count out that many pieces of gold.
  • Gather the Leprechaun's Pots of Gold game board.
  • The children share the gold so that each pot gets an equal amount of gold.
  • Last, the kids record their results on the recording page.
How to Catch a Leprechaun?
Here's how we made our paper plate leprechauns:
  • First, the kids paint the paper plate. Allow to dry.
  • Using pompoms, wiggly eyes, and paper, create a face.
  • Add hair. We used the crinkle paper you can find in the gift wrapping section of the dollar store.
  • Add the hat to the top.
  • Staple the paper plate leprechaun to several sheets of paper.
  • Invite the children to write the steps for how to catch a leprechaun.
Can We Make Green?
St. Patrick's Day is a great day to explore color mixing.  Here's what we did:
  • Give each child a Ziploc bag.
  • Put shaving cream in each bag.
  • In 1/3 of the bag put red and yellow food coloring, in 1/3 put red and blue food coloring and in the final 1/3 put blue and yellow food coloring.
  • Zip the top of the bag closed.
  • Invite the children to mix their colors together.
  • Which colors made green?
  • The children record the results on the recording page.
Shamrock Shakes
The highlight of the day is making Shamrock Shakes!
To make the shakes:
  • Give each child a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Add "green" sprite-leprechaun juice.
  • Invite the kids to mix them together.
  • Add rainbow sprinkles to the top.
  • Now it's time to drink our Shakes!
  • As a follow up, we invited the children to sequence the pictures of how we made the shakes.
  • Now, they wrote the steps to match each picture.
  • Or, you could do a guided writing lesson where you and the children work together to record the steps.
  • Or the children could sequence the pictures in a booklet.
  • On each page, they cut apart a sentence and put the words in order.
St. Patrick's Day Parade
To create a St. Patrick's Day parade here is what we did:
  • Invite the children to spin the spinner.
  • Whichever picture it lands on, the children locate that clip art and add it to the parade.
  • Keep spinning until all of the squares are filled. (They can land on the same thing more than once.)
  • Sequence the ordinal number cards.
  • Find black and white clip art to match the parade.
  • Invite the children to glue the clip are to match their parade.
  • Label each with the ordinal position.
These ideas are from this unit.
This unit was recently updated. If you already own this unit, go to your my purchases section and you can download the updated version.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Using Assessments to Form Small Groups and a HUGE Giveaway

Is Data Driven Instruction a phrase that makes you twitch? Does it make you think of hours of standardized testing used to rate the effectiveness of your school?  If so, I have some good news for you!  Data Driven Instruction is your friend!  This post shares how to use easy assessments to help you determine what to teach, and to whom!
Small Group Instruction is a part of most classrooms. I use small groups during reader's and writer's workshop and during math and literacy centers.  Anytime my kids are engaged in self directed work that allows them to apply the things that THEY know, I can pull small group. The biggest question I hear is, "how do you determine who is in the small group?" Since I base all of my small groups on assessment, these groups are constantly changing.  The kids are unaware of these groups. I move around the room, while they are working, and collect the kids I want to meet with at my table. 
Recently, while working on number combinations, I made each of my children a necklace.  These necklaces are worn so that the children each know which number combination they are practicing. (And so do I!)
To determine which number combination each child needed to practice, I did this simple assessment, right on my ipad using ESGI.   Here's what I did:
  • Starting with three buttons, some of the buttons are in the open hand and some are hidden in the closed hand.
  • I said, I have ___ buttons in this hand. How many buttons are hidden in the other hand?
  • Repeat with several combinations for the number 3.
  • I want the kids to be accurate (get it right) and automatic (get it quickly).
  • If they are accurate and automatic for 3 buttons, move on to 4 buttons.
  • The great thing about ESGI, is that it will easily move to 4, as you continue the assessment.
  • Once the child is no longer accurate OR automatic, stop the assessment....that is their number.
  • On the child's necklace, use a hole punch to punch out all of the numerals where they were both accurate and automatic with the combinations.
  • The number they will use to build combinations will be the first number NOT punched out on their necklace.
Here's what's cool...if the children are making number towers using unifix cubes, they are doing the SAME activity, but they are each using their own number! This means that some children are using unifix cubes to make towers of  3 while others can be making towers of 4, 5, 6, etc. depending on the number on their necklace!
While the necklaces work well for an easy reference while the kids are working, ESGI will make my small groups for me! The easy bar graph will show me who needs to be in each group! The "green" section tells me who already has mastered the standard, and the "gray" section tells me who has not mastered the standard and who has not been assessed on the standard. Now, I can group all of the kids who need to practice 3 (or any other number) together for my small group activity!
Parents can help us, but who has the time to send weekly parent letters of the things we would like for them to practice at home? ESGI can do that for me, too! Each week, I can easily print out a letter for each child with the things they are still needing to master. This will let the parent know exactly which number their child is working.
But, most parents aren't also teachers. When we send home that parent letter, do the parents really know what it all means or how to help their child?  Again, ESGI to the rescue! I can easily print flash cards for each of the items on the parent letter. This puts something in the parents hand they can use to help their child. 
BUT, my favorite feature of ESGI is that it gives us a baseline of where the child started on each standard.  This allows me to see the growth that each child is making not just where they are!
The good people over at ESGI want you to see for yourself just how wonderful their product is! They are spreading the #ESGILOVE! Here's how you can "get lucky" in March!
  • All teachers who register for a trial account between now and April 10th, and who use the promo code ADSIT, will receive an extended free trial through August 31, 2017! That's right! FREE through August for all teachers who wanted to try ESGI but have not yet done so!
  • All teachers who register for an ESGI trial prior to April 10th will be entered to win a "Pot of Gold" mystery grand prize from ESGI!
  • This will also set you up to receive the $159 price point if you should decide to purchase in the fall.
  • a special bonus from me, all teachers who register for the ESGI trial promo using the code ADSIT, will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card!
Click (here) or on the lucky shamrock heart above, to get started! 
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