KinderGals: October 2012

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Math Time with Kath—Counting, Numerals, “Between”, Story Problems, and Graphing!

So, I already told you that I want to get a smart board, and here is another reason…There are so many cute song videos that you can play! Kath has found lots of counting songs. Last week when she was introducing one of the songs, one of her sweeties made up this cute little dance. You see, he didn’t realize it was a dance, he was just being his active little self. Instead of telling him to stop, Kath noticed he was crossing the midline every time he did it. So she had him teach it to the rest of the class. So now they do the “Tyler” dance every time they play the video. See why I love her?Slide16
Then, it was my turn. I took one of the animals and we thought of all the numerals we could use to describe the animal and I wrote a list on the smart board. (Reason 3 I want a smart board---No more wasting paper!) Then, we gave each child a dry erase board. I ask questions like:
If you add tusks and feet together, how many body parts? (6)
Think of another way you could combine the body parts to make six.
How many legs would you have if you had 3 elephants?
The answer is 8. What is the problem?
Then it was Kath’s turn again. She was reviewing what they had been working on. “Tell me the numerals between 7 and 10.” She used the lions and the numberline on the smart board. Did I say smart board? Yes, reason 4 I want a smart board…There are so many tools that you can use during your mini lessons right at your fingertips!
Then, we divided into two groups. I took a group and Kath took a group. Her group did this survey graph, “Would you want to fly, swim or walk?” and analyzed the data. My group did this story problem activity. The kids read the story problem and then showed me one way they would create their story problem. Then, they wrote the number sentence, to match the animals they had put on their recording page, on the dry erase board. We did that several times before they glued down their final story problem. ***This activity is working at the create level of Bloom’s which is a  higher level of thinking than giving them the numbers in the story problem—Application Level. By saying “some that fly and some that walk” the children had to “create” the story problem and then solve it! 
Then we swapped groups. Both of these activities are from the Science Blasters: Animals Wild and Tame Unit on tpt.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Teaching Writing—Do you give a topic or not?

Here's the question...should we assign kids topics to write about or let select their own topics? In this post I will share my thinking about this question. Here's what I think, In writer's workshop, kids learn to write. This means they learn the process, the craft of writing. They learn what writers do. In other content areas, science, social studies, math, etc., kids write to learn. This means that during these times, kids are using writing as a way to demonstrate understanding of a concept taught. Read on to see what this looks like in a classroom.
I  hung out in Kath’s room for 3 days, so I have lots to share. First of all, how many kids do you have in your room? Kath has over 30 first grades, maybe 32 or 34, who could tell with that many bodies in one room! But, she is doing great things with those little firsties and they are super sweet!
So one of the things we worked on was writing. Here’s the question? Do you assign a topic for kids to write about or do you allow them to write about whatever they want? My take is this…you can only assign a topic that you have provided the schema development for and there needs to be plenty of time for self selected topics as well.
Here are some of the samples from where Kath assigned a topic. They have been learning about animal habitats and watched a video about backyard habitats.
Did ya’ll read any of the posts from the book study this summer using the Katie Wood Ray book, “In Pictures and In Words”? Now that I’ve read that book, whenever I look at writing samples I pay more attention to the pictures to see which of the techniques they are using. While it was often difficult to find the time to read the book and do the posts, it was totally worth it! I do recommend that book.
Each morning as they come in, Kath has a question about their science or social studies unit. She puts it on her smart board and adds a mini word wall below that has some of the vocabulary words they are learning. These are the words that they might use to answer the question. The important thing here is that, she has provided the schema for the topic! After being in her room I am ready to beg, borrow, buy, or steal…well maybe not steal…a smart board for Megan’s room! I loved it!
See the picture on the left? That piece was done by a little boy that didn’t speak any English at the beginning of the year! When I asked him to tell me about his illustration (I was curious about the red on the back of the hippo) he told me that the hippo has “seasoning” on his back. I asked him to help me out, that I wasn’t quite sure why a hippo would have seasoning on their back, and could he explain it to me. He said, “Well, you know hippos like the water. When he gets in the water, part of his back doesn’t go under the water. When the sun shines on him, he get seasoning!” Oh my word, I wanted to laugh! That is why I love little kiddos! I did tell him that I think the word he was looking for is sunburn, but his story made my day!
On Mondays, her kiddos use this Weekend Update journal. Kath found this on tpt.  It is by Christine Statzel called A Year of Weekend Updates. Here is her store:
This serves the same purpose as my Monday Journals. On Mondays, instead of writing in their regular journal, I have them write in their Monday Journals. This makes a great way to see the growth that your children make throughout the year. I don’t give them any help in this journal, so it is a true picture of what they can do independently. Here is another post that I wrote about Journals.
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bloggers and First Grade in Chi-town!

When I left Florida, I headed to Chicago! I was going to meet up with some super sweet, super smart bloggers for the weekend so I decided to go a few days early and hang out with one of my besties, Kathleen Conn. She teaches first grade outside of Chicago! It’s kinda strange how I met her…She flew from Chicago to Georgia to hangout in my classroom for a week. I thought she must be a stalker for sure to come that far just to hang out in a kindergarten class. But, it only took a day before we realized we were going to be great friends! I just love her both as a person and as a teacher! (More about her room later!)  Here are some pictures of some of the bloggers that I met! I was totally star struck! These are some of the bloggers that inspired me to start a blog and that inspire me to be the best teacher that I can! Not to mention, they are totally cute and super sweet! Wish my favorite blogger, Megan, could have been there! I totally miss that girl!Slide33
I can’t wait to share the things we did in Kath’s room…but I will save that for another day…Have fun teaching!
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Another Great School---this time Florida!

I was super excited when I found out that my precious friend Cheryl from Primary Graffiti lives near Jacksonville! I flew in on Monday and met with Cheryl and her husband for dinner. She is a self proclaimed “hippie”! I love her spirit! Be sure and check out her blog with all kinds of great things!Slide2_thumb[1]
On Tuesday I went to Callahan Elementary School to work with the teachers on Common Core! You know how you can just tell when you walk in the front door of a school that you would love to teach there? Well this was that school. The principal, assistant principal and entire staff were so welcoming and they had great snacks! Plus, there were lots of great things going on inside the classrooms! To say that these teachers love tpt and pinterest is an understatement! I would say, “What a cute idea!” and they would say, “I got that from tpt.” or “I saw that on pinterest!” Boy has technology changed the way we share ideas! If any of these ideas are your original idea from pinterest or your product on tpt, feel free to leave the link in the comment section below!
Here are some fall ideas that were hanging in the hall!Slide4_thumb[1]
This activity is from Abby at the Inspired Apple. The apple labeling activity is from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants. The good news...they are both freebees! Here are the links

The cups are used to make numerals to practice tens, hundreds, and just use the number of cups you need depending on what you are teaching. The Venn Diagram is made from flying saucers from the Dollar Tree. They just cut the centers out. This was used in a second grade class to compare and contrast numerals. So maybe one side is two digit numbers and the other side is numerals that contain a “6”. So numerals like 36, 62, 26, 16, etc would be in the center part. Love it!
So, do you recognize the “All About the Number Anchor Chart?” That’s mine! It was so funny! One of the teachers was looking at all the samples that I brought. (Yes, I bring everything but the kitchen sink when I present.) She had no idea who I was so she asked me if I was the teacher who did the Number Anchor Charts? She said she recognized my “style” looking like the same style as the anchor charts. So she took me to her room to show me the anchor chart hanging! That chart is from my All About the Number Packs. There is a different packet for All About the Numbers 11-20. Slide6_thumb[1]
I think these common core standards are from Deanna’s pack. You can find that here. The performance goals chart was super cute. As the children reach their smart goal, they hang their popcorn piece on the chart. The popcorn words chart is for when children reach their sight word goal.Slide7_thumb[1]
Speaking of Common Core, I just loved this idea. The box is filled with the little task cards that you can just pull out when you have a transition or you could pull one each day during your number talk time. Are these on tpt?
Love the clipboards! What a great idea…one of those ideas that you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The teacher has the clipboards glued to the bulletin board. Then, she can just clip their work right on the boards!Slide9_thumb[1]
This teacher covered all of the closet doors (Wouldn’t you love to have all those closets?) with paper. Each set of doors displays the anchor charts for a certain subject. This really supports what we know about how the brain works. The brain is able to make a connection to “that spot” and can remember what is there even after it is taken down!Slide10_thumb[1]
I posted a while back about seeing Lindsey’s popcorn word wall in Karen Stamp’s class. Well, here it is again! Check out this post to see the links for the words on tpt and how Karen displayed the word wall. Slide11_thumb[1]
I saved on favorite picture for last. So why is it my favorite? It’s because of WHO teaches in this room! There are two male teachers at Callahan and this is the room to the Male Second Grade Teacher! I just loved all the sweet touches that were in the room! He was quick to show me his super organized room starting with the rolling storage container. The containers sit on this rolling board “thingy” that he says he got at Lowes. That second grade team was awesome, you could tell they worked well together!
I loved being in Florida…great friends, great school, and great weather! I didn’t want to go back to the cold weather…..
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More About Mississippi…

So yesterday I posted about being in Mississippi and I even talked about a post that I made about being there earlier this year….but, I never put that post up! Yes, I cropped the pictures and made the slides, but never did the post. So here it goes….The first slide shows the hallway where you come in the school. Love the letter and number tiles. I can see taking a small group into the hallway to use these in a game! (These slides were from two different schools in Mississippi!)
Love the bath tub reading area! The kiddos helped this kindergarten teacher make their own number display. Talk about ownership!Slide3
The picture cards in this slide were from a special ed class. Since the kids are coming and going at all different times, she made each child their own task board. When they come in the room, they look at the board and see where they are working first. As they finish one task, they look at the board and move to the next activity. The other picture shows some of the teachers working on making dot plates. I did a “Number” workshop with them.
See the clip on the fish? Below the fish there is a table. The teacher uses the clip to hang a card that has the names of the children sitting at that table. Then, if she wants to write any notes during the day, she has the card hanging right where the children are working. She just unclips the cards, writes her note, and clips the card back. At the end of the day she can collect the cards and record the results and notes in her formative assessment files.Slide5
Loved these maps that one teacher displayed in her room to help the children see their place in the world—city, state, country, world!Slide6
Love all the “cute” touches with the fabric! Just tied the fabric to a rod and “fluffed”! So what’s coming in my next posts….Jacksonville and Chicago! Then, next week I will be going “home” to GA to play in Megan’s room for a few days and to see what’s happening in Pre-K in Ginny’s class! I love my job and so glad that my “girls” are both teachers!
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Check out East Flora Elementary in Mississippi!

Earlier this summer I worked with the teachers at East Flora on Common Core Math Centers.  I was “sure enough” happy when they invited me back! (That’s southern for very happy!) This time we were working on writing related to the Common Core! There’s just something about being in the south! Where every one says, “ya’ll” and “bless your heart” that makes me really happy!
While I was there, the principal asked me to walk through the school looking for evidence of common core standards. I saw so many great things going on.
I have to say, it is such a cute school. Most of the teachers had their doors decorated! Loved their positive plan for catching children doing the right thing and for spotlighting newspaper articles about their school. It was right inside the front door. To me it says, “Look at our kids and teachers. They are the best!”
Here are some literacy ideas that I saw: In a k class they were learning about transportation. They thought of other ways Jack and Jill might get up the hill. They were also learning about word families.The teacher told me that she saw this idea on Pinterest.
Both of these teachers (2nd or 3rd grades, I think) were using literature to teach various literacy standards. Here are some more pictures I snapped of various reading and writing activities. Loved the photos of the kids “thinking.”
This 2nd grade teacher was using the whale theme to teach concepts of non fiction text. And this teacher was using literature, writing and art to help her children understand about bullying.Slide11
Here are some fall ideas that I saw on the kindergarten hall. The lips and marshmallow teeth were from a pre k class. I loved the place value houses. They were from a 2nd grade class.
These murals were made by the kids and their art teacher. They were actually quite large murals even though they look like standard size in these photos. They looked like maybe a group of kids worked on each mural.
Thank you k-2 teachers at East Flora Elementary for a great day of learning and sharing!
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Measurement

I know that we have all done the standard, “How much string does it take to go around the pumpkin?” activity. Over the years, I would give children orange yarn and ask them to pull off how much string they thought they would need to go around the pumpkin. Each child would come up and pull off the yarn, some thinking the pumpkin must surely be as big as a house for how much yarn they were pulling off. And, when we were done, I thought “Do my kiddos really know anymore about estimation and measurement than before we did this activity?” The answer as usually, no! So, I got to thinking….there must be a way to get more out of this activity!
 Here are some things that I did….
1. I invited the first child to come up and estimate how much string they thought it would take to go around the pumpkin.
2. After pulling off their yarn, we would measure the pumpkin with the yarn to determine if they had too much yarn or too little yarn. Let’s say there was too much yarn.
3. Their piece of yarn became the standard. So they would stand beside the pumpkin holding their string and the second child would come up. Looking at the standard, they would then need to pull off less yarn because we knew the standard was too much yarn.
3. If their yarn was still too long, they become the new standard and the first child can go and sit down.
4. If their string was too short, then we had two standards---one that was too long and one that was too short.
5. We kept working at trying to find the string that was just right. If someone’s string was just right before everyone had a chance, then the other children would have to come up and pull a piece of yarn that was the same length.
6. Once each child had a piece of yarn, they would walk around the room and use the piece of yarn to measure different things trying to find something that was the same length as their string.
7. Then on the My String Was…recording sheet, they would record their findings. This recording page is in the Apples and Pumpkins Math and Literacy Activities Unit.
8. Then, we used white glue to make a pumpkin shape. They put their string on the glue and let it dry. Using oil crayons, they colored in the pumpkin.Slide12
If you want to make it a little more challenging, you can use this recording sheet. Here they stretch out the words of the things that were longer than my string, shorter than my string, and the same length as my string. This recording page is from the Measure It Packet! This packet has tons of measurement activities that are great for your math journal throughout the year!
UPDATE: The Measure It! pack has been updated since this original post. Here is the unit for the new cover and the look of the updated pages.
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