KinderGals: November 2012

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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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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Show and Tell…Are you still doing it?

Are you still doing show and tell? I watched Megan’s kids as they were doing show and tell on Friday, totally independent of any adult. They were in charge of the whole event and it was pretty awesome.  I can remember a loooooooong time ago, when I first started teaching we did all the kid’s show and tell on Friday. Can I just tell you that after 25 kids stood up to do show and tell, I would want to slit my wrists! It was long and boring and I hated it! So, then I decided to divide my class in 1/5’s with 1/5 of the class sharing each day. That took care of it taking so long, but it didn’t help the boring part! They would literally stand up and say, “It’s my bear. I got it at Walmart!” I would try to get a conversation going, but they had nothing else to say! I wanted to get them talking.
Then, I went to this: When it was your day, you took your show and tell out of your book bag, placed it hidden inside one of the show and tell bags, and put it in the show and tell bucket. Then, when it was your turn, you came and got your bag out of the bucket. No more time spent digging in book bags looking for that show and tell only to realize that you didn’t have anything. They gave the other children 3 clues about what they had in their bag. After hearing the clues, the other children asked questions to clarify. Oh my word! How that changed everything! Think of all the common core standards you are covering during this, not so old school, show and tell!
So, if you’ve given up on show and tell, think it’s too old school kindergarten, maybe you want to give it a new try! My friend, Bert, has them write their clues the night before. Then, when they get to school. they give her the clues. She types them into the smart board and theywould read the clues! Too smart of her!
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Where do they live? Animal Habitats Sorting Activity and Bookmaking

Kathleen is working on her Animal Unit that goes along with her reading series by Scott Foresman. She made this cute little activity for her smart board to review the different habitats. (Oh no, I said smart board again. Reason 5 I want a smart board-I love all the interactive games you can make!)Slide12
After the review, it was my turn. Kath had prepped the bear habitat book from my Science Blasters Animals Wild and Tame packet. So I demonstrated how they were going to make the step book. First they cut the habitat labels and glued one on each page, along the edge. Then they cut out the clip art pictures and sorted them by gluing them on the page according to their habitats. Next, they labeled each of the animals.
Finally we cut out the ears, glued on the eyes and nose, and added the title. Here’s the display in Kath’s hallway.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Activities for Teaching Thanksgiving

Hard to believe it is already November. I have been living in DC for over 3 months now, that’s nearly one third of the total time we will be there! I can’t wait to see the city during the holidays. For the first time ever I will get to see the Christmas Tree in front of the White House! SCREECH…..hold up! It’s November…so rewind a little and lets talk turkey! Here are some of the pictures I snapped last year in Megan’s room during November.
Thanksgiving Circle Maps
We made a Thanksgiving Circle Map to write all the words we associate with Thanksgiving. While I was writing on the large circle map, the kids were writing on their smaller version. During centers, the children made Pilgrim boys and girls to hold their maps.
All About Native Americans
After learning about Native Americans, the kids make little books to record what they learned. Some used pictures, some used labels, and some used sentences. Then, during centers that made a Native American to hold their books. The cute little Native Americans are made from a paper bag! Yep…just a regular ol’ lunch bag! Inside we glued their little non fiction books. 

Five Big Fat Turkeys
My kiddos love this 5 Little Turkeys song to the tune of “3 Little Angels”. This is a great way to develop fluency to 5 in a way that is fun, engaging and conceptual! We used two different recording sheets, one that was pictorial and one that was abstract. You pick the one best for your kiddos or differentiate your instruction and give each child the recording sheet that fits their need.
Thanksgiving Graph
Here is a fun graphing activity on ways to travel for Thanksgiving. Graphing is a great tool to teach comparisons of sets—more, less, equal, most, fewest, etc.
Ordinal Number Turkeys
We also had a center for this turkey ordinal number activity.
Turkey Glyph
In case you aren’t familiar with glyphs, they are a way to compare data—not just an art activity. Here’s one hint to make sure they are analyzing the data and not just answering the questions about themselves---have them swap turkeys with a partner. Now they must look at their partner’s turkey and answer the data questions! This really makes them pay attention to the glyph and the data!
Compound Word Mayflowers
With this little Mayflower Book we were making compound words by matching pictures that could be put together to make a new word. Then they were stretching out the words.
_at Family Words
For this activity, the children spin the spinner in the pilgrims hat to make new at family words. Then, they recorded the words on their recording sheet.Slide8
Gobble, Gobble Swat Game
I snagged this picture from Kathleen’s blog at Growing Kinders.  To play the game, you spread out the turkeys. Give one child the pilgrim flyswatter and  another child the Native American flyswatter. When you call out a word, they go on a turkey hunt to find the turkey containing the “word”. When, they find it, they catch the turkey by swatting it with the flyswatter. Okay guys, they just love this game! Hope you have fun in Thanksgiving…it’s not too long until another hold on we can make it!

Here are the resources used to write this blog post.
Gobble Gobble Turkey Unit
Happy Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Activities
Turkey Glyph
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