KinderGals: September 2013

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Interactive Post It Note Anchor Charts

Just had a  “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” experience. Two weeks ago I started revamping some of my older presentations when I decided that my comprehension session needed a serious facelift.  One of the things that I share in that session are some anchor charts that I made for teaching reading comprehension. Well, to say the least, they were looking pretty bad. Old, worn out, faded, “ugly” clip art, and **GASP** parts of them were handwritten!  Well two weeks later and I finally finished up my set of Interactive Post It Note Anchor Charts. In all I made 21 interactive post it note anchor charts for teaching various comprehension strategies. There are charts for: Story Elements, Retelling, Story Maps, Making Predictions, Inferences, Connections, Vocabulary, Fiction/Non Fiction, Characters, Partner Work, and Questioning.
Now, these charts do require assembly and are full color. And while it does take some time to put them together, once completed they can be used over and over again with various pieces of text…no more wasted chart paper. I took a full color photo of each chart so that you can use it as a sample for easy assembly. Also, on the same page as the photo, I  suggested some ways to use each chart.
So why do I use these charts? Well, they provide a framework to model the comprehension strategy. It gives the brain a safe place to rest, a predictable format that allows the brain to focus on the new material. It is a connector, a link for the brain.  They provide the teacher a framework where you can share your thinking as you model how to go through the process. They also allow for active engagement, an essential part to any mini lesson. You will invite the children to record their thinking on post it notes and then organize them on the chart.

Here are a few comprehension anchor charts:
Stories Have a Beginning, Middle and End
This  chart can be used with ANY story. After reading the story, have a discussion about what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story. Record the thoughts on post it notes and stick them to the frames. You may want to do the beginning and ending as a group. Then, give each child a post it note and have them write, or draw, something that happened in the middle. You can stick post it notes on top of each other that recall the same event. More frames are on the chart for the middle to show that most of the story is in the middle.
Text to Self Connections
After reading a story, write the title on a post it note and stick it to the chart. Be sure and pick a book that MANY children will have a connection to. There may be a book with various events so that children may make connections to different things. Model, using the chart, how you made a connection to something from the story and how it helped you as a reader. Discuss possible other connections. Now give the children a post it note. Invite them to record a connection to one of the events in the story. Ask, "How does that help you as a reader?"
Making Predictions
Before reading the story, write the title on a post it note and stick it to the chart. Invite the children to follow along as you turn the pages to discuss what you see happening in the story. Record your ideas on post it notes and stick them to the chart. Remember you can stack the post it notes if you have more than two things you whish to write. Now, model for the children how you can use that information to make a prediction about what is going to happen in the story. Or, give the children a post it note and have them record the information as you turn through the pages.
These ideas are from The Interactive Post It Note Unit.
You can get the anchor chart pack (here).
The anchor charts were designed as a companion for the Reading Is Fun! pack that contains reproducibles for student reading response. Once you model on the anchor chart, these reproducibles can be used as a center, reader’s response, or as an entry to their reading journal.
You can those reporducibles  here:
Or here is the bundle:
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Using Interactive Charts in Math and Literacy

Do you use interactive chart? They have been around for a very long time. I was thinking it was a good time to revisit interactive charts and how to get the most bang for our buck!
Here are a few things about Interactive Charts:
  • Interactive Charts are usually songs or poems.
  • They have pieces that are attached with velcro or magnets that the children can take on and off.
  • They can be used as an “attention getter”, a shared reading, a center, a math lesson (All the 5 little this and the 5 little that type songs are great for numbers to 5)…..
  • Pick songs and poems that you do often, your favorites. If you pick ones that you don’t love, you won’t use them.
  • Close your door and SING! I have a terrible voice. And to make matters even worse, my sister was a voice major in college and actually sang opera and taught music for many years. She absolutely dies when I tell her that I sing in front of teachers. But, when I am at a conference and I am talking about charts and songs…I do it! Now it might make your ears bleed, but the kids don’t seem to mind! The advantages and the benefits far outweigh how bad I sound!
When using charts, decide your standard. Are you going to work on spaces between words, tracking print left to right, some words we know fast. Or, are you going to use them during math and focus on combinations for 5, subtraction, addition, one more, one less. Then, after singing the song for enjoyment, revisit the song during your literacy or math block with an intended standard.
I also made the songs into a flip book. Wonder why I need both? See here’s what I know…when you are reading the kids a book about 5 little monkeys and you turn the page and now there are 4 little monkeys because one fell off the bed….the kids see those as 4 different monkeys—not 4 of the same ones as on the first page. This is because children don’t have conservation of number, they also lack cardinality. So by making the flip books where the monkeys sit along the top edge, they can see the monkeys “leave” as you flip down the page.
Hope this helps explain the idea of interactive charts a little bit better. Each of these charts are on tpt and you can find them by clicking on the photographs. If you already have them, go to your My Purchase and download it again. The clip art is way cuter and the number flip books weren’t in the original pack. And in case you just need them is a bundle! :)
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Using 5 Little Ducks to Teach Math and Literacy

Five Little Ducks is a song that I think every teacher knows. When I first started teaching, I learned lots of fingerplays and songs. But it wasn't until much later that I knew the power of songs and chants in the kindergarten classroom. Here's a few things that makes songs and chants powerful.

Five Little Ducks



  • When singing with kids, children develop prosody. Prosody is the natural rhythm in fluent reading. The only ways to develop prosody is through songs, poems, and chants AND through repeated reading.
  • Charting your songs is also beneficial. By charting the song children see the text to talk connection. You can use the chart to teach any concepts of print--letters, words, directionality, punctuation, capital and lower case, etc.
  • When the chart is interactive, children can take an active role in the reading.


  • When using songs and charts in math, you must first decide on the standard. Do you want to teach counting, one less, combinations for 5, subtraction, etc.?
  • Be sure the standard is kept front and center. As you are singing the song, keep using the language to teach the standard. For example, after singing the song you might say, "There were 5 ducks but one went away. What number is one less than 5?" OR " There are 4 ducks in the pond, how many have gone away?"
  • Making the song into a little book is also useful. When children are learning any new mathematical concept, the learning should begin at the conceptual level. Conceptual level means to manipulate. Think about this: When reading the library book "5 Little Ducks" the children think that when you turn to the page with 4 ducks, these are 4 NEW ducks---the 5 ducks are still on the page before. This means that children at the conceptual level truly don't understand the mathematical concept that you are trying to teach. (Reading the book is at the pictorial level.)
  • When reading the song book and turn the pages, only one duck is moved. The 4 other ducks remain at the bottom.
  • Does this mean that we shouldn't read library books with math concepts. NO, not at all. However, think of how you can work at the conceptual level so that the children understand. Think about having 5 plastic ducks or 5 clip art images. Then, as you are reading the book, manipulate the ducks to show the kids what is happening.
You can find this chart and book in the 5 Little Ducks Interactive Chart unit.
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Technology Tip: Enlarging Games

Let's say...You find this perfect game. You download it. You go to print it, and it is 8 1/2 x 11. That's a perfect size if you are using this activity with a few kids, but if you are using it for a larger group of children, it just isn't big enough! Read this post to learn a great printing tip to make any game the right size  to use with a larger group of children.
A teacher recently sent me an email asking if I could enlarge all my math attack game boards so that she could use them to demonstrate how to play the games so that the whole class could see.
So, I told her to try this tip (below)…and she did! These photos are ones that she sent me of the school bus themed board enlarged. See the photo with her hand? This lets you see just how big the game board is.
So how did she do it? Well, it’s really quite easy.
Step 1: Open up the “Print” box.
Step 2: Click on the circle beside the “Pages”. Type in the page number you wish to print.
Step 3: Change the tile scale. We changed to 200% and that took the page over to 4 pages. You decide how large you want it to print.
Now, I know there are some of you who are probably saying, “I can’t believe that she really just did a blog post on something so simple!” So let me defend myself….I am really quite proud of myself Smile. I am very, did I say VERY, challenged when it comes to technology and I was surprised that I was actually able to help someone. And second, this is for my fellow “older” teachers who might struggle just as much as I do! Keeping on learning…we can do this…..
Here’s the pack where you can find the school bus game.
Math Attack! Learning the Facts Vol 1
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

These Teachers Love Them Some TPT! Do you see any of your ideas?

I love to look into the classrooms of other teachers….don’t you? While in Durant, I went down the first grade hall, and holy moly, these teachers love tpt! Now, I don’t know who’s store all of these cute items came from, so….that’s where you come in.  If you see one of your ideas, leave a link to it in the comment section! That way, others will know where to find it.
I’ll start…Love those punctuation people! I know they are by my sweet friend Michele Oakes. Here is the link for them:
Slide11Slide12Slide8Slide7Slide10Slide6Don’t forget to leave links in the comments if you recognize any of these!
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Have you heard, “I don’t know how to write?”

So what do you say when kids say "I don't know how to write?" Well, I’ve said a lot of “hmmmm” and “ oh really”. After reading lots of books and watching lots of kids, I kinda made up my own ideas about what writing really was….So instead of looking at writing as something that had to include words, letters, or sentences, I started looking at where the meaning was coming from. I know there are lots of stages of writing development, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about where does the meaning come from?
So I now say this “ALL children can write!” As early as they hold a pencil or crayon, scribble on the paper and say “look, this says….” they are writers.  These are two of the slides from my Launching the Writer’s Workshop Session. This session really helps us learn how to get the writing started I our classes and how to have them write those things that they hold in their hearts.  After presenting this session over the years, teachers have wanted my anchor charts. So I finally finished putting these into a pack. The new “I Can Write!” unit includes:
10 Anchor Charts
Various paper styles including different sizes of illustration boxes and lines and no lines.Slide2Slide3
Brainstorming papers
Full color pages for instant print and laminate use! I made large and small spacemen so that I could use the large ones to model with on chart paper and glue the small ones to popsicle sticks for the kids.
A reproducible page with text boxes for making the individual writing folders.Slide7
And a rubric….including the individual student rubric, the class spreadsheet, the student rubric and the large anchor chart rubric.
THERE ARE NO MINI LESSONS in this pack like there are in my reading units.
I Can Write is on sale for today only for 20% off!
If you like this unit, you might want to check out my two other writing units:
How To Writing
Informational Writing
All the units are aligned to the common core standards.
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Friday, September 6, 2013

I knew you before tpt!

I started presenting in 1998 at a conference in Atlanta, GA with my friend Wendy Gilstrap! A few wrinkles, a little more gray hair, and a sweet grandson under my belt….and I am still “hitting the pavement”. I bet some of you were IN kindergarten in 1998! I love presenting and meeting teachers, especially when I meet someone who says, “I knew you when….”
Well, I met one of those teachers in Durant. She took me to her room to show me some of the things she had made from a conference she had attended in TX many years ago. Then, she went on to show me some of the things she had made using my ideas as her inspiration. Here’s what you see above:
Pig Pink Colander is for retelling The Three Pigs. Both Greg and Steve and Jack Hartmann have super cute songs that you can use for retelling.
Fish Back Scrubbers is for the song “5 Little Fish”. (here) The song is sung to the tune of “Five Little Speckled Frogs”
The other creations were hers. Love the wolf made from the toilet scrubbers! The fish sponge has little pieces of sponge in the netting and she uses it for the rainbow fish books.
This bug song is from my “Frogs and Butterflies” unit and has been modernized since this picture to have text box words to make the chart and a flip book.
The booboo binder is from “Jazzin Up Journals”. It is a book that Kimberly Jordano and I wrote for CTP long before the days of tpt.
The number cards are REALLY old. She had found the picture on my website and made them for her room.
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