KinderGals: January 2014

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Peek a Boo! It’s February Two!

Hey Guys! I added some new things to the Hooray For Groundhog’s Day unit. If you already have it, go to “my purchases” and you can get the updates!Slide1
We are always looking for excuses to wear our pjs to school, right? So we celebrate Groundhog’s Day with a day of hibernation! We invite our kids to bring along their stuffed animal for a visit. I try to encourage everyone to bring a forest animal, but we end up with dogs and cats too! Here are the reproducibles we use to record our hibernation information as well as the graphing and sorting activities.
The other thing I added was our Groundhog’s Cupcake recipe. To tell you the truth, I don’t know why it wasn’t already in there! I totally thought it was! It’s a great segway for procedural writing, sequencing, and sentence structure.Hooray for Groundhogs Day_Page_1
If you don’t have the unit, you can get it here. You can also see another activity out of this pack by going (here). You can go (here) to see the unit.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Trying to Save Ink? and Peek at My Week—Week 2 Winter

When I get ready to do an activity, one of the first things I ask myself is am I going to do this with the whole class, in a small group, or as a center.  This questions helps me make many decisions about planning and preparing for the activity or game. One thing to consider is how large I need the game to be.  If I am doing it in a large group, I probably want the game to be poster size. If I am doing it in a small group, I probably want the game to be paper size.  But, if I am doing it as a center---smaller is better! After a little peek at my week, I will share exactly how to do it!

I did it!!! I did a whole week for peek at my week. Okay, so it is a lot of work. But I have to say, it really made me think through things a little more closely. It also made me look at all of my resources, not just the “go to” ones.
Page 1:
Top Row shows what we do each morning for our morning meeting. We do the calendar and then an activity that works on those reading/writing foundational skills. Good news is that once we had this figured out, it stays the same every week, only changing the words we are using. So this page basically stays the same each week.
Second and Third Rows show what we are doing during our Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop Time.
Bottom Row is our foundational mini lesson before we send the kids off to do centers.
Page Two is what we are doing during Literacy Centers. You can read more about how we organize our literacy centers on another post. You can find that post (here).
Top Row is what we are doing at “the teacher table”.
Middle Row shows what are 5 “have to” activities will be for the week. The kids do one a day. This is all explained in the post mentioned above.
Bottom Row shows what the kids are doing once they finish their have to. These are the traditional literacy centers. I keep them very open ended so that I don’t have to check it! As long as they are busy learning and relatively quiet, all’s good!
Page 3 shows what we are doing during our Math Workshop Time.
Top Row is our mini lesson.
Middle Row is what we are doing at “the teacher table.”
Bottom Row shows the 5 have to activities for the week.
Page 4:
This is the last page. It shows the activities that are available to the kids once they finish their have to math activity. You can read more about organizing that (here.)
I hope these are as helpful to you as they were to us. When you open the google doc, you can click on the title of the unit and it will take you to that unit on tpt. Hopefully that will save you some time searching.
Now on to a tech tip that will save you INK…..
With all the cute color games, I find myself making way too many trips to Office Depot to buy another color ink cartridge. So how exciting when Megan showed me this little trick….
So let’s say you are printing a game, like the one above. The game has three cards, one with “1 syllable,” one with “2 syllables,” and one with “3 syllables”. That’s 3 pages of cardstock and 3 pages of COLORED INK! So what’s a teacher to do???? Instead, print them like the one on the right, two boards on one piece of paper.. Here’s how….
Pull down your print menu and select the page numbers you want to print. Then, click on multiple.
Then, adjust the numbers to print the number of game boards you want on each page. You can print 2 per page, 4 per page, etc. This is great for centers where they really don’t need a large game board.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thrifty Thursday-Target Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree

Cha Ching! Going to the Dollar Tree never gets old for me! Ya’ll, I just love the “hunt” of finding a bargain! Here are some of the things Megan and I found on our recent excursions during our “cold weather” day of no school.
First Up…Workjobs. Love the counting pieces for the Math Attack series. I am loving that set of units on tpt—once the kids know how to “do it” all we have to do is keep changing the game boards and mark on their cards where they need to be working. And “Tada!” they are all working on their own level. You can read more about them (here) in a recent blog post. The hearts and eggs are an alternative to using the clip art counters. For the giraffes we added the brown foam circles to use as counters.
Second up…Centers! We found some great games that we can put in our games center. Now these were three dollars, but it would cost you that much, if not more, for the ink to make them! The lacing cards are great for fine motor. You can put them in your writing center for those kids who are still having problems grasping a pencil correctly.
More centers…We loved the little notebooks for write the room. The spiral bound books are great for our writing center. We have completely worn out a set. The kids love the visa via pens and wet wipes.
Next up…making things! We found these little pack in the teacher section of the Dollar Tree. They are great for making games and labeling things in your room. I love the large set of letters. These are back in the wall art section in the Dollar Tree. They are great for making games---for only a dollar!Slide1
Next…storage! Enough said…you can’t bet the collection of containers at the Dollar Spot in Target.
And finally…here are some fun games that we love to play with our kids. Here’s how you play:
Number Puzzle: Give the children a dice. (there is a 12 sided dice the internet) Have them roll the dice. If it lands on an 6, they take the 6 out. Roll again. If it lands on a 5, take the 5 out. Roll again. If it lands on the 6, put the 6 back in. Object of the game is to get all of the numerals out! Hint: It NEVER happens! So it keeps them busy for quite a while!
Hinged Leprechaun: Take the hinged Leprechaun apart. Use him to play hangman.
Popcorn Boxes: Make popcorn shaped cards with numerals, letters, words or whichever standard you are teaching. Put a few cards with the word pop. Sit the children in a circle and pass the container around the circle. As the container comes to each child, they draw out a card and say what is on it. If they pull out pop, all the cards go back in the container.
Rubber Ducks: Get a large bowl and fill it with water. Have the children roll a dice. If the dice lands on 6, they put 6 ducks in the bowl. Now roll again. If it lands on a 4, ask, “What do you need to do so that you have 4 ducks in the bowl?” (answer: take 2 out) Keep rolling and deciding if you need to put some in or take some out so that the number of ducks in the bowl matches the numeral on the dice.
Happy Dollar Store Shopping!
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Peek at my Week…Day 100? Really? Already?

Can you believe that we will have our Day 100 Celebration this week? Since Megan took the first 12 weeks of school off to be with baby Matthew, it really seems like we just started! We used the unit, “Happy, Happy 100th Day” to plan our celebration.
Here’s the plan if you want to do “All in One Day” celebration. Click on the slide to see the google doc.
And here’s the plan if you want to “Do a Little Each Day” style! Click on the slide to see the google doc.Slide2
Here are some pictures of our celebrations from a previous year!Slide5
Be sure and check out a post we made last week about our Day 100. You can find it (here). Here is the unit we used.
Happy, Happy, 100th Day - A Common Core Activity Pack_Page_1
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy, Happy 100th Day!

Can you believe it? The school year is over 1/2 over!!! This past summer I presented at the Common Core Academy in Chicago for SDE. As part of the tuition for that event, the participants are receiving a series of videos by different presenters throughout the year. When SDE asked me to do the video on Day 100, I was so excited! Now, before you ask, I don’t have access to that video. But, what I do have are the slides from my power point I used to make the video. It was kinda weird to do the video! I literally had to pretend that I was presenting to people, but there was only me and the camera. I guess that is the closest I will ever get to being a tv star! lol
Here are a few of the ideas that I shared in the video. Slide3Slide4
We start the day off with our Zero, the Hero breakfast with a surprise visit from our very own Zero, the Hero and his two helpers. This dad is super cool. He made his own outfit as well as those for his twins who helped by being the zeros! Our breakfast was a graham cracker stick and 2 powdered doughnuts. Now, you can go all “Betty Crocker” and cook sausage and dollar sized pancakes, but I can barely turn on an oven!
He was great to have all the kinders in the whole school participate in activities 100 times! That man has a lot of energy! Once in the class, here are a few of the activities we did:
We made a Zero, the Hero Glyph. We read a recipe and then used our tens frames to make a Day 100 snack.
I hid 100 chocolate kisses around the room. On the bottom of each chick I put a yellow sticky dot and drew the face of the chick. Then the kids had to find them around the room. As they found them, we put them on the wolf’s 100s chart.  This is a great activity for the book The Wolf’s Chicken Stew. You can search on Youtube and find the book being read aloud. We counted 10 groups of 10 different colors of fruit loops to make a necklace.Slide40Slide43
We used number bonds to make combinations of 10 using two different colors of fruit loop zeros.
Then, we used those number combinations to make our hats. We dressed up like we were 100 years old. Yep, that’s me as a 100 year old man getting my groove on!
These ideas, and others, are from the Happy, Happy 100th Day unit that I wrote with my friend Wendy Gilstrap. I once heard a teacher say she couldn’t do fun things because she had to teach common core. The Common Core standards for each of these activities are included in the pack. We have to look outside of the little box and figure out ways to teach the standards in a way that is cognitively appropriate and engaging for our little learners. Don’t let the Common Core rob your joy!
.Happy, Happy, 100th Day - A Common Core Activity Pack_Page_1
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our First Ever, Peek at my Week…MLK Style

 Whether you want to celebrate MLK for one day or for a whole week, this blog post has plans to help you! This post contains lesson plans for a whole week of learning about Dr. King as well as a lesson plan for a full day of learning.
Slide2We are so excited to do our first ever“Peek at my Week” post. Wooza! Our hat goes off to those teachers who have been doing this every week for a few years…it is A LOT of work! But, BOOYAH, we did it, and we are proud!
What are we doing this week? Hooray for MLK Day! We are sharing the way we like to do it, “MLK all in One Day”, and another option “MLK, a Little Each Day”. We like to “do it all in one day”, throwing our regular schedule aside for that day. It makes that day seem special and unique from other days. Our kids will remember and share stories from our adventures on this special day all year!
We know that this doesn’t fit everyone’s style, so we decided to show you another option of doing a few activities each day mixed in with the other activities you plan.
We sure hope you like it!  By us sharing this plan, hopefully it will help you. We know it helped us to organize the unit, because, when you share your ideas, it makes you think through things a little more closely. These ideas are from our Hooray for MLK Day unit.
Hooray for MLK Day_Page_1
Some of the books we like to use to develop that necessary schema are below.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Using Cards and Dominoes to Teach Number

Finding free, or nearly free, items makes every teacher happy.  Cards and Dominoes are two NEARLY free items. They are great tools for teaching number. Read through this post to find some great card and domino games your kids are sure to love.
Talk about a flash back? On Sunday night Megan pulled out all of the Winter things I had given her from my classroom days. When I left the classroom three years ago, I wasn’t sure I was going to like being a full time teacher trainer. So, I held tight to all of my resources. Slowly over the last few years, I have let go of things…some to the trash, some to Megan, some to Ginny, some in my workshops and some to “Gam’s” stash of goodies for my grandbabies. To be perfectly honest, I still have a few tubs that I haven’t gone through! Okay, so I taught the same grade for 30 years! Let’s just say “I boarder on being a hoarder!” Any one identify?
So as Megan, Ginny and I were looking through the tub, we all had a good laugh. Some of the stuff was….well….just ugly! I remember when I thought it was the cutest thing ever! Even though I taught the same grade for 30 years, each year I had a new batch of kids, new resources available, and another year of experience under my belt.  I didn’t teach the same year 30 times!
Since I have been on tpt for about 3 years, I started looking back at some of the first items I published. Okay, some of them needed a little work! I reworked some items last spring, did a few more this fall, and now have done a few more. Since tpt, the clip art artists have come out of nowhere! I am constantly amazed at the talent! I can draw a really cute stick person and a shape dog, but that’s about it!
Here’s the good news…if you already purchased these units, you can get the upgraded download for free in your “my purchases” section on tpt. If you haven’t, even though I added a few new recording sheets or a few new game boards, they are still the original price.
I reworked the What Can You do with a Deck of Cards? pack. This pack didn’t originally have game boards, but some have been added. I also made a few “decks of cards” in case you want to have  a variety and not just the standard deck. AND of course I changed the clip art to Melonheadz! Love her stuff!
One of the games has the kids draw 4 cards and put them in order. I divided the red and black cards. Then, on the red cards I cut off the numeral so that the kids would have to focus on the “number” and not just look at the numeral….subitizing!
Here’s that same game played with one of the decks of cards in the pack.
Another one of the games has the kids draw two cards and add them together. Remember that this is working at the pictorial level. So if your kids are having a hard time, give them manipulatives so that they can work at the conceptual level first. The can count the number of items on the first card and then count out that many counters. Repeat for the second card. Now count the manipulatives to see how many altogether. This is just 2 of the games, there are more in the unit!
Another unit the I reworked was the What Can you Do with a Set of Dominoes?
They love this game….Give the children the game board. Invite them to sort the dominoes onto the houses by combining the dots on each side of the domino. Now, record the number combinations on the tree map.Slide8
Here the kids draw three dominoes and sequence them on the game board. If your kids are having a hard time with this activity, give them a numberline so that they can see where the numerals are. Then on the recording sheet you can have them draw the dots or record the numerals, you decide.
Here are a few more domino ideas:
Invite the kids to draw a domino from the bag.  Write the number sentence and record the story problem.
Invite the children to draw a domino from the bag.  Use bingo dotters or sticky dots to make that domino.
Invite the children to draw a domino from the bag.  Write a 2 digit number using the 2 sides of the domino. Find the number on the hundreds chart and color it in.
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