KinderGals: September 2014

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 8-Food-Peek at My Week

Is it a theme? Is it a unit? Is it an integrated curriculum? Is it a study? These are all words that have been used to describe basically the same thing. Sometimes, the words become negative, mostly because the strategies aren't executed correctly. This often leads to principals making blanket statements that we are no longer doing______. You fill in the blank. Here are a few guidelines that I like to use:
  • Pick "units" based on your science and social studies curriculum.
  • Think of how you can teach more than one standard at a time.
  • Be sure your activities are content rich, provide for higher order thinking.
  • Just because you are matching capital and lower case letters on pieces of bread, that doesn't mean you are integrating your curriculum.
  • Use your unit to develop high interest activities.
  • Use science and social studies as a way to teach reading and writing.  We read and write so that we can learn about the things that interest us, right?

Week 8? Really? Fall Break is almost here!
This week finds us on our last week of unit 2 in Reader’s Workshop. All week we will be working on retelling using The 3 Bears as our text.
Writer’s Workshop has us reviewing all the things that good writers do.
Foundational skills: vowel sounds, poetry, how to writing, blending phonemes and sight words!
They loved this sight word soup pot game! Megan took our large soup pot to use to play the game.
Now how about printing? I know, I know, color ink.  Here’s what we do…
  • We print everything using “multiple” in the print menu.
  • We are able to choose how many pages we want to print on each page.
  • For this game, we printed two pages on one piece of paper.
  • This cuts ink, cardstock, and laminating in half! Plus, now it is ready for next year!
We are finishing up our food unit this week.
This is actually one of our centers from last week. They are doing well at the “cut a sentence” books. These books are great practice for sight words, for sentence structure (Does it sound right?), for reminding readers to look at the pictures, and for reminding them to look at the first letter in the word.
Last week we played the grocery store beginning sound sort during our foundational skills time. This week they are doing the cut and paste version as one of the centers. Looking for a little more of a challenge? Have the kids stretch out the words.
Our “can do” centers are the same as last week---no changes.Slide4
We have moved Math Attack to one of the Have To areas. They did great with this last week and are ready for more independence.  The kids are loving the games in our DI Math Small Group activities. So simple….so fun! Our “can do’s” are the same as last week. No need to change these every week. Remember I only have my kids visit each of the five areas one time a week. So, keeping the same “can do” centers for a few weeks works well for both me and them!Slide7
They loved this game from our food unit. Here’s how you play.
  • Roll the dice. So let’s say it lands on 5.
  • Put 5 pieces of pepperoni on your pizza.
  • Now, roll again. Let’s say it lands on 3.
  • What do you have to do so that now you have 3 pieces of pepperoni? Do you need to take some off or put some on? (Take off 2) How do you know?
  • Roll again……
  • Keep playing until time runs out.
Now hop on over to Deedee’s blog to see what other bloggers have posted for a peek at their week!
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Have you Heard of Little Free Libraries?


I had a great week of training in Ripley, WVA with a group of teachers that I just love! They are so eager to learn and to share ideas with me! Cheryl, one of the teachers, was excited to show me the newest project in their town…Little Free Libraries! Have you heard of them? I hadn’t, so I thought I would share all about it.

So here’s how they started… “In the beginning—2009–Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.  His neighbors and friends loved it.  He built several more and gave them away.  Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS.”

So the Boy Scouts in Ripley and the shop class at the high school joined ranks to put them in Ripley…organized by the public librarian.Slide10

This is the one at the school. Cheryl and her teaching partners already have it stocked and ready to go. She has seen many parents sitting at the picnic table reading to their preschoolers. The first graders visit it during recess! Books are flying off of the shelf and new ones are appearing!

So what about the rest of the town? Well, Cheryl took me to see a few that were just erected this week. These Little Free Libraries are going to be operational after their “dedication” and delivery of a starter set of books.Slide13

This is the one at the bank.


And this is one at a church. Remember the Sunday School rhyme, “Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the door and see all the people.”? Well, that was the inspiration for how the church decided to decorate their Little Free Library. We actually saw 2-3 more the next morning on our way to school!

If you want to know more about how to get this project started in your town you can go (here).

Any of you already have them in your town?

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Peek at My Week-Learning About Food

Maybe not the best unit for 2 girls who are trying to lose weight! I mean really…talking about food all day can make you hungry even when you aren’t! That said, we are having a blast with this new unit!
So here’s what’s happening…
In reader’s workshop we have finally built up enough stamina to start calling guided reading groups. While during centers we work with all of the children, during reader’s workshop it is a little different. In the fall, we work with those kids who truly are ready to read. We have found that this push at the front end of the year really pays off. One reason…by January we are only meeting with these kids one time a week. Now, those kids who needed a little extra time are ready and we can meet with them more often! It seem to pay off in the end!Slide11
In writer’s workshop this week Megan set up a conferencing schedule. This way she was sure to check in with all of her little writers.Slide9
During our literacy centers we played this fun little game for segmenting sounds.
Last week I talked about how we have moved the Sound Off as a have to center for the beginning sound sorts and that during the foundational time we are working on those vowel sounds.
We are loving our Non Fiction study on food with our little leveled readers! We will snag some of those pictures next week.
We’ve started moving some of the things we have introduced into our “can do” centers. This week we introduced the playdough letters. They are a freebee in my fan freebee folder on facebook. You can get them (here).
We also introduced Deedee’s Overhead Center.
If you are wondering “What is an overhead?”, you are REALLY young! Smile
We introduced our Math Attack this week! I love this activity. It is so easy to DI! Each kid can work right in their “sweet spot” of learning. You can read more about them (here) and (here). The picture you see shows the game in color. But, if you don’t have a color printer or the $$$ for the ink, we made the games in b/w, too!
The big news is we finished our Geometry Unit. We are now starting our counting unit. Now that might seem too easy…but…here’s my thinking…We want our kids to not only be accurate with their work, we also want them to be AUTOMATIC! What is automaticity? It is getting it right without even having to think about it! The only way to develop this fluency is through repeated meaningful practice!
So now, hop on over to my friend Deedee’s blog to see a peek at the week of some other bloggers. 
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Ahoy Mates! It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy, me Hearties!
Today is 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day'! To celebrate, I wanted to give you some pirate booty,a FREE label a pirate. Scroll to the bottom of this post to snag this FREE Label a Pirate download.
Our kids love making these treasure chests. We put a tens frame under the flap where the children can glue their “gold”. Then, they write clues about their number. For example, they might say… “It is less than 5. It is more than 3. It is an even number. It’s how many legs are on a chair.”
You can’t have Talk Like a Pirate Day without singing Jack Hartmann’s fun “Silly Pirate Song”. You can get his music (here) and the music book (here).

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peek at My Week, Updates, and New Math Unit

Hey Guys! I finally got around to making some requested addition/changes to some of our units. The first additions are to Let’s Get Cooking. A teacher sent me an email about the peanut allergy epidemic! She has several kids in her room that can’t have peanuts, peanut products, or anything made in a factory that makes peanut products! So I ADDED a modified recipe for these four cookbooks and follow up activities. The peanut versions are still included, this is just another option. If you already have the unit, go to your “my purchases” tab on tpt and you can download the updated version.Slide8
The next change…Reader’s Theater Units. When I updated these units sometime ago, I added a colored background thinking it made it more attractive. However, I had several teachers who expressed a concern about the backgrounds making the text too hard to read. So…I have added a script without the colored background. The colored background script is still included, if you prefer. If you already have the unit, go to your “my purchases” tab on tpt and you can download the updated version.Slide6
Last week I posted the Pets Math and Literacy Activities Unit. I mentioned in the post that I was going to add some nonfiction information this week. So here it is….I have added two nonfiction texts—one of them is simple enough for early readers. We used these this week in Megan’s room and her kids did great. We worked on labels, photographs, bold text and cutaways. I can’t believe how many features of non fiction text we already have under our belt.  We made the tree map about dogs to record our learning. We practiced reading sight words and looking at the picture and first letter to figure out a word. WOW! 30 days in and her kids are doing great! If you already have the unit, go to your “my purchases” tab on tpt and you can download the updated version.
Now something new…Michele and I have finished Unit 3 for our Small Group Math Lessons. This unit focuses on teaching counting sets to 10 in a random configuration and sets to 20 in an array, circle or line.  It also works on numeral writing. Then, we move on to comparing sets for greater than and fewer than and end the unit on comparing numerals for greater than and fewer than.
When Michele and I finished up our Reader’s Workshop Units, we put them all in a bundle. BUT, this time, we are making the bundle NOW!
If you want to get the entire series, this is the cheapest it will EVER be!  You can prepay for all ten units for a 50% discount! Then, each month we will update the bundle on tpt and you will be able to download the newest unit by going to your “my purchases” tab. Each month, the discount will decrease, until at the units have been added. It will then be it’s full price.

UPDATE: After a few questions last night --"What about if we have already purchased Units 1 and 2"--here is what we decided to do. We have made a second MEGA bundle that contains units 3-10 ONLY. So if you have already purchased Units 1 and 2 you will want to get that bundle. It is also 50% off of the cost of those 8 units. We will make that option available for a limited time to give everyone a chance to get it that previously purchased units 1 and 2.  You can get the bundle with units 3-10 ONLY here....

So now…what are we doing this week in Megan’s room….We are finishing up Pets. Next week, we will be moving on to Food!Slide1
Our morning meeting is in full force! We added our academic vocabulary this week. That was the final piece to our morning circle time!
So it looks like this:
Monday: We introduce our new sight words for the week and put them on our “parking lot”.
Tuesday: We do our “word family” of the week. At this point, it  really is all about the auditory rhyming, but many of them are picking up the phonics.
Wednesday: Unit Vocabulary. Since we started our list of pet words last week, we are adding more words to that SAME list this week.
Thursday: Book of  Lists. This gives us an opportunity to review math, science and social study standards while working on stretching out words and the sounds we hear.
Friday: Academic Vocabulary. This is where we add any new words that we have learned that week. Then, we pick a word from LAST week for our anchor chart and in-depth study.
Reader’s Workshop has us teaching our children what kinds of things they can share with a partner, and Writer’s Workshop has us reviewing all the things good writers do.
During our foundational time we are starting on vowels with our Sound Off unit. We are still doing the beginning sounds, but our kids are pretty good at those so we are using them as a center and moving to vowels for our anchor chart work.
We are using mostly items for the new Pets Unit that we just finished up for our literacy centers and our science and social studies time.
ONE MORE TO GO! Next week we will start “beefing up” our centers. Be sure and check next week to see what kinds of things we are going to ADD now that our kids have the general idea of how each center works!Slide4This will be our last week working on shapes. Next week we will move onto our Counting Unit. We have moved many of our shape activities into the “can do” part of the math workshop. We are also continuing our in-depth study of each numeral. This really has helped our kids in the past to know all about each numeral. I can’t wait to make the Pet Glyph with them! So fun!
Be sure and hop on over to my friend, DeeDee Wills to see what kinds of things others are doing this week!
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Peek at My Week—Week 5 Pets

We are on day 25! Things are really starting to settle down and we are getting into a routine. Megan has the sweetest class…and she is loving it! This is a quick post this morning as I’m off to spend the day with my son’s family. You can always check back to the other Peek at my Week posts for more details about the different parts of our plan.
The big news…Unit 1 of Reader’s Workshop…DONE! We celebrated Friday and now  on to Unit 2! In Writer’s Workshop we are working on the “I’m done” syndrome! You know…where as soon as you turn your back they all start saying, “I’m done!”  In our foundational time we are working on letters, sounds, and labeling.
We are almost done introducing all of our literacy centers. Just a few more to go. Next week we will start introducing more items to put in each of these areas so be sure and check back to see that next week.
We are starting our first science experiments this week. I really love our little Science Blasters Unit. The experiments are simple and easy to do. I like using this as a way to use non fiction text! The text is simple and picture supported.
We are also using our Tacking Transitions Unit quite a bit. This unit is packed with daily ideas to keep your class in control and manageable as well as some interactive anchor charts, flap books, and other ways to keep them busy during those transitional times. BUT, these activities can also be a lesson that you can now use for transitions!
In Math we are almost finished with our geometry unit. Megan had the most fun last week using a set of ipods that her school library has. She gave the ipods to groups of 3 kids. Then, she assigned them a shape. They walked around the school looking for those shapes and snapping pictures! So much fun.
Our can do areas are really taking shape. We have introduced many of the activities that we can now just change the clip art, change the dice or deck of cards or spinner, and now it’s a new game. We are also moving some of the “have to” activities here for the kids to revisit again.
You can download our Peek at My Week plans (here).
I was on the computer for 15 hours yesterday. Now that was crazy and not recommended, but I was determined to finish this unit! You can see from the slide all of the activities included so no need for me to list them again here. The unit is $8 but on sale for $6 this weekend. Another note, I do plan on adding some non fiction information to this unit in the next few weeks. I just didn’t have time to get everything added. So I am introducing this unit at a reduced price from my normal units. Once I add that nonfiction information, the price will match that of my other units. HOWEVER, remember once you purchase, you get all the new additions for no extra charge! So it is a real savings right now. Slide6Slide7Slide8
Now be sure and hop on over to my friend Deedee Wills to see what others are doing this week.
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