KinderGals: 2018

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Monday, October 22, 2018

6 Ways to Use the Pocket Chart in the Fall

The pocket chart is one of those centers that teachers like more than kids! I think a lot of it is because kids just don't know what to do when they go there. I decided to create a set of 6 activities that I could change from season to season, but the activities would keep the same framework and rules thus making it easy for kids to be independent. Here are examples of those 6 activities:
1. Poem
This poem has quite a story....I dreamed it! I woke up and typed it in my phone because I knew I wouldn't remember it in the morning! The teacher dreams...we all have them.

  • First, I typed the sentences and printed them on white cardstock. 
  • I made the 4 picture cards to sequence. 
  • Then, I made each sentence on a different color of cardstock. 
  • This makes it easy for kids to know which words go together.

To play:

  • The kids sequence the pictures.
  • Using their reading powers, they match the sentences to the pictures.
  • Now, they build each sentence by placing the colored cardstock words over the white cardstock words.

As a follow up, the kids can make this "The Scarecrow" book. To make the book:
  • Staple the cover to 4 blank pages.
  • Invite the children to cut and sequence the pictures.
  • Glue one picture on each page.
  • Cut the 4 sentences apart.
  • Using the pocket chart work, the kids glue the correct sentence with each picture.
  • Invite kids to place this in their bag of books to read again and again!

You could also use the poem all on one page. Invite children to add the poem to their poetry journal.
2. Sorting
To develop vocabulary (naming pictures), we created a sorting center.  To play:
  • The kids, or you, select the sorting cards to place at the top of the pocket chart.
  • Then, they sort the picture cards into the correct category.

It is always acceptable for kids to create their own sorting strips to put at the top!
To record their work, the kid write the different ways they sorted the cards. After their final sort, they select one of the ways to illustrate.
3. Rhyming (phonemic awareness)
To play the rhyming game:
  • Invite the kids to put the baskets in the pocket chart.
  • Spread the acorns on the floor or place along the bottom of the pocket chart.

Invite the kids to select the acorns and find the basket with the rhyming word.
Using the pocket chart work, the kids can complete the recording sheet. It doesn't have all of the matches, but it has enough to determine if they understand rhyming words.
4. Word Making
To get ready:
  • Invite the kids to make a column of the pictures.
  • Match the word cards to the pictures.
  • Using the individual letters, invite the kids to make each word.

We are making the words by using the word cards. But, if you kids are ready to stretch words, you may want to eliminate the word cards.
5. Sound Matching (Phonics)
To begin the game: 
  • Place the word cards in the pocket chart. 
  • Place the letters along the bottom of the pocket chart.

Invite the kids to name the picture and find the beginning letter. Place the letter in the box beside the picture.
On the recording page, the children cut apart the letters and match them to the correct picture. Not all of the pictures are on the recording page, but there are enough for you to check their work.
6. Find the.... (Letter Identification)
To get ready:
  • Place the letters in abc order. Create an array.
  • Hide the crow behind one of the letters.

To Play:
  • Invite the children to take turns identifying a letter.
  • As they name the letter, they look behind to see if the crow is hiding there.
  • Turn the card over so that we will know we already looked there.

The object of the game is to find the crow hiding behind one of the letters.
Give each child a recording page. As the letter is turned over, invite the kids to place a chip on the letter. This gives every child a chance to identify the letter. The last time you play, you may want to let kids use a bingo dotter!
All of these activities are included in our Pocket Chart Activities for Fall Unit.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Teaching Float and Sink with Coke Floats

This past week we celebrated the 50th Day of School. While most kids, or even their parents, have no connection to the "50's", we still celebrate by making coke floats. I told the kids it was a way to celebrate them coming to school for 50 days!
I wanted to connect this fun activity to science and math, so here is what we did. Be sure and read all the way to the bottom where you can grab everything needed to do this lesson with your kids! It's FREE!
First I read the kids a book about float and sink. The book was great to explain why things floated (air pockets).
Then we read the Coke Floats Recipe Book. This is also a great introduction to nonfiction writing (how to.)
You might want to consider NOT reading the title page as this might give away the point of the lesson. I just told them we were going to make a special snack.
I made the recipe into a book with each page have one of the steps.
After reading the book, I asked them if they thought the ice cream would sink to the bottom of the cup or float to the top. I wanted the kids to see we were being scientist. I told them that scientist had questions, and that they used all they knew to make a prediction about what they thought would happen (hypothesis).
Since I did this activity in both prek and k, I made some simple modifications.  In Prek, we made a group graph. I asked each child what they thought would happen to the ice cream.  The teacher and I worked together and she added their photos to the ice cream as they made their predictions.
In the kindergarten class, we divided the class into groups. I worked with one group at a time.  In each group, I asked each child what they thought would happen to the ice cream.  As they answered the question, they put tally marks on their graphing paper. Then, we used the tally marks to create our graph. With both the kindergarten and prek kids we talked about our predictions and what the class thought.
Then, we made the coke floats. I put a scoop of ice cream into their cups.
Then, they each poured their own soda, SLOWLY, into the cup.
After everyone had soda in their cups, we looked to see what had happened to the ice cream. It' floats!
Now for their favorite part...drink it up!
With both groups we came back together and talked about our predictions. I wanted a book about making ice cream, I do have one but could't find it, to show kids how ice cream machines add air particles as it whips the mixture. Since I didn't have the book, I just told them about it.
You can grab the recipe books and both types of graphs by filling in the box below! Happy 50th Day!

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Monday, October 15, 2018

5 Easy Ways to Retell Stories

I remember when I first became a teacher we had Objectives instead of Standards. One of our Objectives read: "The student will retell a story." We don't have a standard that says that, so is retelling still important?
First, we must look at exactly what retelling is. Retelling is an accounting of a story's key points told in sequence. A retelling usually includes characters, settings, problems, and solution or the main idea of the text.
Does that mean it is important or not? YES, it is important! Often retelling is the first question asked when we are checking for understanding, "Can you tell me what happened?" Retelling allows a child to monitor their understanding. By retelling a story, a child has shown evidence of comprehension.

There are many ways to provide retelling experiences for your kids. Here are a few of our favorites.
Cup Stacking
Cup stacking is a fun way to sequence the characters or the settings in the story. Invite the children to use the book to sequence the characters and place the cups in a line. Then, as the child retells the story, they stack one cup on top of the other.
We then let our kids make this easy retelling strip so they would have one to take home to retell their parents.
Story Necklaces
Necklaces are another great way to sequence characters, settings, or events from a story. Invite the children to cut out the animals and punch a hole in each one. Next, use the book to place the animal in order and lay them in a line. As the child retells the story, they lace the animals, separated by pasta, onto a piece of  yarn. Tie the ends together and wear the story necklace!!
Paper Bag Stories
Paper bags provide an amazing retelling tool because they provide the kids with a place to store the pieces when they aren't in use.  For this story, "There Was an Old Monster", we glued a monster picture to the front of a large paper bag and cut a slit for the mouth. After I read the story, we sequenced the characters into the pocket chart. Next, we retold the story as we fed the monster each character.
Then, the kids made their own retelling prop using a lunch sized paper sack. After making the retelling props, we add them to our bag of books for repeated retelling during read to self and read to others. After a few weeks, we take them home.
To retell Ten Timid Ghosts, we used a paper bag to make a haunted house. The children add the characters to the bag as they retell the story.
We also used a paper bag in "Bear Snores On". We used the large bag to create a cave and used paint to add some details. After reading the story, we once again sequenced the characters into the pocket chart, always referring back to the text. Then, as we retold the story, we added the animals to the cave.
The kids each made their own caves using the lunch sized bags.
Retelling Headbands
Retelling headbands provide a great way to keep parents informed with the things that we are doing at school. How many times do kids bring their book-bags back to school with EVERYTHING you sent home still INSIDE? Did the parents check? By wearing the headbands home, the parents SEE it and ask, "What is that on your head?". Now the kids have the opportunity to retell the story again!
We made headbands for both "Big Pumpkin" and "Where's My Mummy?".
Popsicle Stick Puppets
Who doesn't have a supply of Popsicle sticks? Stick puppets have been around FOREVER! To make this fun retelling for "The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything", we glued the events from the story to popsicle sticks. The kids store the puppets inside their baskets to retell again and again.
We also made stick puppets for retelling "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". As the children turned the pages in their books, the characters interact with the picture.
All of the pieces, patterns, and props are included in this unit that I wrote with my good friend Kimberly Jordano. You can find it here:

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