KinderGals: 2012

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

It's almost that time! Most of us will head back to work on Monday. I love having a "Happy New Year's" party my first day back. Here are some pictures from last year. Instead of starting right into a new topic, we spend that first day back learning all about the customs of New Year's Day.
Hockey or Football Survey Graph
For one of our math centers the children did a survey graph. They asked their friends if they would rather watch football or hockey on New Years Day. After asking their friends, they create a graph to show the results. Lastly, they write their analysis.
Ordinal Number Trinket Cakes
The children create ordinal number trinket cakes. I folded a piece of long construction paper in half. Cut slits in the top half. Invite the children to glue down the color cupcakes onto each flap. Under each flap glue a trinket that is hiding inside of the cake. The children complete the recording page by lifting the flaps and recording which trinket is in each cupcake. The cool thing...everyone's will be different depending on the order they placed their trinkets.
All About the Number 12
In the morning when the kids come in, we pretend it is New Year's Eve. We count down until 12 noon. That is our New Year's Eve Celebration. This is a great way to connect the number 12! We talked all about 12, tally marks, dominoes, ordinals, etc.
What Do You Eat on New Year's Day?
Maybe it's a southern thing, but on New Year's Day we eat black eyed peas, cornbread and turnips. The truth is, I must not be southern, because I don't really like any of those foods. But, my kids would never know it! We make cornbread at school using the Jiffy mix cornbread. We either have canned (if I'm in charge) blackeyed peas, or fresh ones (if a parent is in charge)!
The kids really amaze me. Some don't want to taste either...I never force it! But, most love it! After eating the cornbread and black eyed peas, the children make a face. In the mouth, they draw peas, cornbread, both or neither. We used the faces to create a double bubble map.
The kids made theirs as we went along.
Countdown to New Year's Day
On a strip of black paper, the children sequence the numerals 10-0. I glue the strip onto a horn like in the photo above. When we count down to New Year's, the kids blow their horns.
New Year's Day Party Hats
But, we don't just blow our horns. The kids each make a face like the one above. When it's time to count down, they put the face in front of their face and place the horn in their mouth. Now they are ready for a party!

New Year's Day Circle Map
It isn't a celebration without a little bit of glitter. The kids each make their own mirror ball by covering a circle with silver glitter. On the circle map, we write all the words that define New Year's. Then, we glue the circle map onto the mirror ball.
Our Year In Review Tree Map
We made a tree map by thinking back to each month we have been in school. We thought about something we did each month to record on the tree map. 
Firecracker Cut a Sentence Book
In one of the literacy centers, the kids did a firecracker cut a sentence book.
These activities are from my Hooray for New Year’s Day Unit.

Here’s to a great year!
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

So where have I been…..

Oh my goodness…It has been nearly 3 weeks since I did a blog post. This has been a crazy few weeks. Right before Christmas, Andy took me to NYC for the weekend! We are only a 3 hour drive away, so this GA girl wanted to see Christmas—New York style. And let me say, they didn’t disappoint!  We went to see Wicked and Mary Poppins (Wicked has to be the best play I have ever seen!), walked through many parks all decked out for the holidays, ate way too much food and did a little shopping (well maybe more than a little!)
Then, we headed to GA to spend the holidays “at home”! It was great to spend some time with the kids and my mom and sisters as well as catch up with a few friends. The time just went by too quickly and I kept thinking it was almost over! On Christmas morning Andy made our traditional breakfast—pancakes! I’m glad I married someone who could cook. If they waited on me to cook something…we would starve!
For those of you who don’t know, (Is there really anyone I haven’t told?), Andy and I are going to be first time grandparents. So after the holidays, we went to “First Glimpse” with Megan and Nick to see if they were going to have a baby boy or a baby girl. When it was time to reveal the gender of the baby, we all hid our eyes so we couldn’t see. We had the results sealed in an envelope and gave the envelope to Megan’s best friend, Jaime. That was on Thursday. So for 2 long days we waited, And then yesterday, we hosted a Gender Reveal Party at the house and invited Megan’s friends, family and a few of our close friends to share in the good news with us. We had everyone wear pink or blue as to which they thought we were going to have. I thought boy, but voted girl (I need to buy some hair bows.). We had people graph their guess on the clothesline and took their photos with “bows” or '”mustaches”. We ate pink and blue treats! Megan and her friend, Jaime, decorated the box. Friday night Jaime took it home and filled it with balloons to match the sex of the baby! She was the only one who knew. So, at the party, Megan and Nick opened the box. And, they are having a…..
BOY! We are all beyond excited!
Slide5TToday, I got back to work and met up with my partner in crime, Michele, to work on Unit 7 for Reader’s Workshop. We went to Panera Bread, had lunch and then took up their table space until 5:00! I love to work with her. After catching up on girl talk, we spent the afternoon talking about reading and how we think children learn to read, how to sequence the next unit, what the mini lessons should be, and what “pieces” do we need to make for the new unit! The new unit, yet to be named, will focus on ways to figure out words and  author’s craft! We will now set to work, with us each doing our part. We then put it all together and check to see that everything flows like we want it. It is a long process, but I think it really makes for a great unit!
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Look who I got to see and what’s new in reading…

Slide1What a cuh-razy two weeks! Last week I was in IL for the Kindergarten conference and got to see Jack Hartmann. “I love me some Jack Hartmann music!!” He was the keynote speaker and brought the house down with his upbeat songs including the Vowel Sound Hound Dog and the Penguin Dance. You can find his music (here). I love his “Vowel Sound Hound dog” song so much I made a little music book to use along with it. You can see it (here).


Slide4Also, at the IL kindergarten conference I was able to connect with my good friend, Kathy Griffin. Now ya’ll know I am not a technology queen. In fact I am quite challenged in that department. But, Kathy is beyond smart! She has made multimedia files for smart boards or any type of digital projector. If you are looking for ipad activities, songs, books, or games…she has those too! You can check them out in her tpt store (here).

This week I started in TN for the Destination Common Core! When I checked in the hotel there was this beautiful tree in the lobby.


Then, I looked up and look at what I saw!! Loved it, a cowboy hat for the tree topper! Yee Haw!Slide6

If you came to any of the conferences when I first started presenting, you might recognize this girl! This is my sweet friend, Wendy. We actually presented together for a few years. Then, Wendy stepped back from presenting while she raised her young family. But, she is now living in TN, so she made the trip to Nashville to hang out for a few days. This is one super creative teacher! She has started a blog called Outrageous Fun in Room 321. She is also selling her things in tpt. She has a new super cute Christmas Pack that is way cheap! You can check it out (here!)


I’m loving my new Destination Common Core Workshop! Those Tennessee teachers rocked it! Look at all the teachers that came! We spent two days together and they were a blast!


Next week I will be in San Antonio and Dallas for my other seminar…DI for the Little Guy! If you haven’t registered and are looking for a fun day—you can check it out. Maybe you can even teach me a “Texas Boot Scootin Dance!”


And last, but not least, Michele and I have finished Reader’s Workshop Unit 6! We are super excited about this unit because we both love to teach non fiction text and this unit is all about non fiction! During the holidays we will be getting together to hammer out Unit 7! I just love working with her and all the brainstorming that we can do over pizza! These are just some of the things in Unit 6. Click on the picture to see more.


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fun with Fire Trucks in Ginny’s room!

October is Fire Safety Awareness Month. This is a perfect activity for learning the parts of the firetruck!

A few weeks ago when I was home my sweet daughter in law sent me a text asking what she needed to make the fire truck cookies from the Fire Fighters Unit. I was quick to send back, “Want me to come and do it with them?” Of course she said yes! So I went to the grocery store and got all the things we would need for the next day! That night, I made individual baggies for each child with the pieces they would need to make the fire truck. (Ginny teaches prek and we were all going to be doing this at the same time.)
So when I got there, I had all the pieces to make the fire truck brace map. Pieces for the map are (here).  I told her kiddos that I found these pieces laying on the floor in my living room and was wondering if they could help me figure out what it was suppose to be. After gluing the parts of the fire truck on the map, I showed them the labels. We talked about each part of the fire truck and what letter we thought it would start with. Then, we matched up the labels with the correct part.
Then, I read them a book about fire trucks. On each page the part of the fire truck was written in bold text. I talked to them about how the author had written the word really dark, bold, so that we would know that it was the most important word on the page. They helped me find the other bold words in the book.
Then we got busy making the fire trucks. We used popsicle sticks to spread the frosting and the kiddos put on each of the food items as we talked about what part of the fire truck it could be.
After eating the fire trucks, we got back together on the carpet and looked at our fire truck brace map again. I introduced the recording sheet (here) and demonstrated how they could draw the various parts of the fire truck. I told them that sometimes writers used letters to help the person reading their paper know more about what they were drawing. We talked about what letters we  could use and I demonstrated.
Then, it was their turn. I love how they all look different!Slide9
Thinking back to how children convey meaning…through illustrations….this was hanging on the wall in Ginny’s room. Do you see the “T” on the drawing? That is the bed. Below the T he drew the things that we under his bed and above the T he drew the things that we on his bed. . I just loved it!Slide5
While I was there, Ginny had some first grade visitors. They were learning about scarecrows and poetry and came to perform their poems for the pre k kids. What a great way to practice prosody! They were so flippin cute!
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Adding ing to words and onsets and finishing the lions project! (Plus a freebee!)

Research shows that incorporating art and games into academic content increases a child's potential to learn that information. This blog post shares how to use this lion craft and dice to build words.
Yesterday I visited my friend Kathleen's classroom. She was working on chunks so we decided to tackle adding ing to words and onsets. First we read the book “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”. We thought of other things the Monkeys could do besides jumping. I made a list of the words on the smart board, stopping after each one so that they could do the movements.
Then, I got out Kathleens’s “king of ing” crown. This cute little item is from my friend, Julie at Katie and Company. There’s a great little song that we sing as they are wearing the crown. It is to the tune “The Farmer in the Dell”
I am the king of ing.
Just listen to me sing.
I find the words that end with ing
Like ring and swing and zing!
During small groups, we used these onset and rime dice to make _ing words. Grab these dice by scrolling to the bottom of this blog post.
As we rolled the words, the kiddos wrote each word on a brown strip that we cut 6 x 1 1/2. We are going to use these to make a lion to assemble our nonfiction writing. You can read about that here.
Then, we made the lions by rounding off the corners of squares and rectangles. Next, they rolled the _ing word strips on their pencil and glued them around the head to make the mane. Finally they glued the tree map on the lion's body. I tied a piece of rafia to the tail for the “tuff” of hair on the lions tail.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reading and Writing Nonfiction Text...with a Freebee!

Ever panic? I mean REALLY panic? I think we all do every year. We start off the year remembering where our kids were last year or we begin a new unit of study only remembering what our kids could do at the END of the unit.  Ever hear yourself saying, "These are the lowest kids I've EVER had"? In this post I was in my friend Kathleen's room. We were developing readers and writers of nonfiction text!
My friend Kath is a fabulous teacher. When I arrived in her room, she was in full panic mode. Her kids weren't writing nonfiction text like she remembered her kids last year doing. I also love that she is a true learner, always seeking a new and better way.  She handed over her class and let me give it a try. Here's what we did:
Activate Prior Knowledge
Before I arrived, Kath was teaching her kiddos about jungle animals. I decided to build on that theme and use lions as a topic to explore nonfiction text.  As the kiddos came in that morning, Kathleen posted the question on the smartboard, "What do you know about lions?" We had them think about the things they already knew about lions and enter that information in their journals.
Mini Lesson
I collected a few non fiction books about animals. First, I had them turn and talk with their partner about everything they already know about lions. For the teach, I wanted the kids to see how I didn’t have to read the whole book, just look for the parts I wanted to know about. I modeled how I could look through the books and look for pictures of lions. Then, I would read the information about lions. After doing that for a few books, I told them that sometimes authors make a table of contents to help the reader find the information more quickly. Then, I had a few books with table of contents and we found which pages were about Lions and just turned to that page! For the active engagement, I provided the kids with the remaining animals books. They were to look at pictures or use the table of contents to see if they could find more information about lions. As we were reading and locating the information, they were using a previous lesson—when they came to something that they already knew from other readings, they said“I know that!” or when they came to something that is new they said, “I didn’t know that!” If you have my Powerful Partnerships Unit 2 Reader’s Workshop, in that unit we teach the kids how to share these items with a partner using post it notes. Find it here:
Writing Mini Lesson
Later in the day we gathered once again on the rug for the writing mini lesson.  My instructional focus was, "Writers get organized to write." To model this concept, we made a tree map together. I made it on the smart board and the kiddos each had their own tree map to record our thoughts. I did make a large one on paper, too so that we could display it. While I liked making it on the smart board, I want to be able to have that finished product up for the kids to see.
Application Time
Each child now made their own non fiction book about Lions. They selected one item under each of the tree map headings to record in their books. Different children selected different items. Some children elaborated while others simply recorded the fact straight from the tree map.
Here are the blacklines we used. Click on each to download the freebee.
Lion Tree Map Student Version
All About Lions Title Page
Lion Tree Map Teacher Version
In my next post I am going to show you how we displayed our lion tree maps on a super cute lion craftivity while learning about ___ing words!
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