KinderGals: February 2013

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Are you Ready for St. Patrick’s Day?

Are you ready for St. Patrick's Day? Here are some of the fun activities we are doing.
Slide2We made a paper plate leprechaun and wrote a how to piece for How To Catch a Leprechaun.
We made a "Do you believe in Leprechauns?" survey graph during math centers. The kids ask several of their friends if they believe in Leprechauns and tally the results. Next, they create a graph to match the tally marks. Last, they analyze the data.
The kids made a St. Patrick's Day parade. First, they spin the spinner and add that piece to the parade. If they land on the same piece, they put it in the parade again. They continue to spin until all the squares are filled.
Now, they find the black and white clip art to copy their parade. Organize the ordinal numbers. Write the ordinal number under each thing in the parade.
What a fun time to visit primary and secondary colors. We used our experiment to see which colors mixed together to make green.
The kids mixed food coloring and shaving cream in a Ziploc bag. Then, they recorded the results on the recording page.
The highlight of the day was making Shamrock Shakes by mixing ice cream, green sprite, and rainbow sprinkles!
The kids wrote a procedural piece on how to make the shakes.Slide9
To make the Shamrock _ock books, the kids glued down each picture and wrote in the onset to create the word.
This number line mystery game is super fun. The kiddos pick up a number card. They look at the card and have to determine where it goes on the number line. Once the figure out where it goes, they pick up the card that is laying there and put their own card in it’s place. Now they have to figure out where the new card belongs. They absolutely love this game! 

These ideas have been updated! See the updated blog post (here). The ideas are in this unit.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Building Reading Strategies and Author's Craft in Reader's Workshop

“I think this is the best one yet!" That's what Michele says every time we start a new unit in Reader's Workshop. This unit is all about hitting those word attack strategies! We have worked on strategies all year, but this is the do or die time of  year. It's our one last chance to help our kinders make the connection to what reader's do when they get to words they don't know. We’re kinda over the whole animal themed reading strategies and wanted something new that our reluctant readers, who are mostly boys, would make a connection to! I think we hit the nail on the head with our tool theme…no pun intended!

Reading Strategies

The first day, we brought in a real tool box. We wanted to build excitement!
Then, starting on day 2, we started with the first strategy, "Look at the picture." Each day we tackled another strategy.
On Day 3, we used a real tape measure to show how they stretch out to see the numerals. Then, we used our tape measure game to stretch out words. You can see a video of that lesson here.
On Day 4, we wanted kids to see that good readers don't stretch out every single word. Sometimes they drill through the word.

Authors Craft

We also spent two weeks teaching author’s craft! This is one of my most favorite things to teach during Reader’s Workshop. I love how they start using the craft in their own writing. Each day we look at a different craft that authors use. We would find evidence of that craft in mentor text and then talk about why the author chose that craft. The author writes things in a way so that the reader knows how the author wants us to read it!


We finish the unit with this fun craftivity where the kids make the tools and a little tool box to hold them! To make the paper bag tool box....Cut the edges on all 4 sides of the bag. Put the sides and the front flaps inside the bag. Fold the back flap down to make the lid. Add a pipe cleaner to make a handle. Children add the tools. We keep the tool boxes at school for a while. When the kids come to guided reading, invite them to find a tool in their box. Lay it beside their book. When reading, see if this tool will help you!

These ideas are from the Unit 7 Reader's Workshop Building Foundations.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rekenreks, Smart Boards, and Number Sense

This is a rekenrek…just in case it’s a new term to you. When we started common core, a rekenrek was one of the new tools I learned how to use. They aren’t new, I just had never used one before.  You can learn a lot about where they came from and how they can be used just by using Google!
I saw this idea on pinterest to make a large teacher sized one. It is made with pvc pipe and pool noodles! So, you guessed it….Andy had to make me one…along with about 6 others for friends that put in their orders. The small white card, is the student sized one!
Here are a few things about Rekenreks….
To use them…Always start with all the beads pushed over to the right. The kiddos push their answer over to the left. Then, they are able to read their answer from left to right.
So while I was in Chicago last week, my friend Kathleen wanted me to model how to use them. Now here’s the tricky part…she has a smart board! I never used one when I had my own classroom so this was an opportunity to try it out.  I can’t believe it, but I made a smart board lesson for teaching the rekenrek. It was super funny to make and do. I had made the slides the night before. The next  morning, My friend Kath and I each had a pen and were both trying to add the “movable” shapes at the same time, each of thinking we knew how to do it best!!! We finally got a much younger teacher who was able to show us our simple mistake and we got it all done! Then, during the lesson I used the tool to drag over the shapes and write the numerals. Can I say, I was just a little impressed with myself? SmileIt doesn’t take much, I am so challenged when it comes to technology!
First I modeled how to move all the beads to the right side of their card. (Each of the children had their own card.)
We were working on whether an equation was true or false. (This is a first grade common core standard.) So first I made an addition sentence and we moved the beads to the left to figure out the sum. Then, we put another addition sentence after the = sign and moved the beads on their cards to the left to figure out that sum. Were the sums equal? We did start with “turn arounds”, commutative property, as they had been working on those and I thought it would be an easy place to start.
In my lesson, I had made the first addition sentence using both rows, then the kiddos made the second addition sentence using both of their rows. We compared the sum on their cards to the sum on the smart board.
One teacher suggested having them do the first addition sentence on the top row and the second addition sentence on the bottom row and it would be easier for them to compare the sums! Totally makes sense! (Teachers from Kath’s school were observing while I was doing the lesson.)
The way I did it helps them to see the different equations and her way would help them see the sums…so that would be 2 different lessons!
Then, it was time for Math Centers and Small Groups. I pulled a small group to do a different rekenrek lesson---Make a 10. Here the kids in the small group each had a rekenrek.
Then, we would spin the spinner. Whatever numeral it lands on, the children move that many beads over to the left. Now look at the beads on the right side and that is how many to make a 10! This activity is from my Yeehaw! Wild About Numbers! Unit. (Not the smart board, just the small group lesson.) We practiced, conceptually a few times, then we started writing our combinations on the recording sheet.

Thanks to the teachers at Morton Gingerwood! You were a great bunch to work with…I know good things are going to happen in your school because you were eager, reflective, and fun!
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Teaching Young Children About President's Day

Maybe you celebrated President’s Day last week in your room. but, if it is in your plans for this week, here are a few ideas you can use.
****UPDATE This unit has been updated. I am adding the current pictures to the post so that you can see them.
Abe Lincoln's Cabin and George Washington Craftivities
We made these cute craftivities with “cut a sentences” about George Washington and Abe Lincoln. These are the updated ones. I added easy to use patterns!
Here's what they did...
  1. First, they cut off one sentence.
  2. Then, they cut between the words.
  3. Next, they put the words in order to make the sentence. They put the word with the capital letter first and the word with the period last. Then, they manipulated the other words to figure out what made sense.
  4. Last, they found the picture to match the sentence and glued it under the flap.  
 Comparing George Washington and Abe Lincoln
We compared the two presidents on a double bubble map. Here is the updated version. I added pictures to make it easier for the kids. I read each statement. The kids had to decide if it was true of George Washington, Abe Lincoln or both. Then, we placed it on the double bubble map.
As I was putting the things on the big map, each child had their own map to create.
Where do You Live Graph
During math the children did the survey graph and interpreted their data. They absolutely love doing this center. Here's what they do:
  1. First, they walk around the room and ask their friends where they live.
  2. Then, they make a tally mark in the correct column.
  3. Next, they use the tally marks to create a graph.
  4. Last, the analyze the data.
This is the updated version.
Farmer Story Problem
To complete this story problem, the kids used clip art that I reproduced and cut apart. This allows the children to work at the conceptual level of understanding.  Conceptual means the students are able to manipulate. The clip art pictures become a manipulative. However, she is also showing her answer abstractly by adding numerals to her recording page.  Learning should always begin conceptually! This is the only way we can ensure that real understanding is occurring. It allows children to build mental images of their thinking and not just memorize facts!
Here the child solved the problem by drawing his thinking. He is working at the pictorial level of understanding. This is when children draw a picture to show their thinking. 
I updated this just be using crisper, clearer clip art, fonts, and frames.
Sharing Cherries...Fair Share
For this activity, invite the children to roll the dice and count out that many cherries. Then, they share the cherries between the four trees to see how many cherries can be shared fairly.
President Numbers

For this activity, the children build important numbers associated with president's day on the tens frames. Then, they record their thinking in the book by coloring in the tens frames and writing the number sentence.
Making Words
For this activity, give the children the letters to spell "Washington". Using the letters, the kids see if they can make each word on the recording sheet. Then, they check either yes or no.
Ideas are from the Hooray for President's Day unit.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Easy Steps for Partner Reading..using a Flow Map

You know the old saying, “You can learn something new everyday?”  Last week, I learned that you should take a coat to Missouri when you go there in the winter! Ya’ll I nearly froze to death! So what have I learned this week? First of all, I learned from last week and I took a coat when I flew to Indianapolis. But that’s not all….today I met this cute, young teacher at the training who teachers 12 deaf kindergarteners. We were talking about the Reader’s Workshop and she shared how she has been using them with her kids.
First, here's what I was sharing with the teachers:
I was talking about the flow map and the sticky note folder and how we can use them to mark something we want to share with our partner during partner reading time.

Sticky Note Flow Map

The Sticky Note Flow Map shows the children the steps to get ready to share
with a partner during Reader's Workshop.
1. First, they read by themselves. (The Sticky Note Folders are beside them.)
2. When they find something they want to share with their reading partner, they use one of the sticky notes from their folder to mark it.
3. They either keep reading that book, or lay it down and start reading another book.
4. When it is time to share, the kids are ready! They turn to the page in the book where the sticky note is stuck and share with their partner!
Then, she shared this idea:
She reduced the size of the poster board flow map to fit on a half sheet of paper. Then, she glued the flow map inside their sticky note folders! Oh my word, why haven’t I thought of that? Now the kids have a reminder right there in front of them of how to use the sticky notes! Love it!
We did have the kids make their own flow map, but I love this idea too!
We reproduce the pictures from the flow map in black and white. The children cut the pictures apart and sequenced the pictures to show how they get ready to share with a partner. Then, they pasted them to the flow map.
These ideas are in this unit.
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