March 21, 2015

Center Saturday

 This was such a fun week at school.
We wrapped up St. Patrick's Day.
We started talking about pets.
We also covered the letter Xx.
I am loving the variation of skills my students are able to practice.
We introduced subtraction using manipulative.
I insist on practicing BOTH addition and subtraction skills.

After teaching kinders for ten years and doing these skills over and over again,
I discovered that when I teach subtraction, 
I should STILL have my students practicing addition and subtraction
This helps my students to not "lose" the idea of addition.
 Plus they work constantly on both skills. 
They are able to connect the two concepts.

Do they confuse which concept they are suppose to be doing?
But I am getting them to pay attention to the math symbols NOW 
and continue to focus on it. 

Let's face it.
Whenever you mix addition and subtraction, they confuse the two then as well.
It is gonna happen to I chose to head off the issue from the beginning.

Any who...
Let's get on to some fun, engaging math centers.

Yellow table
this station was a typical tens and one station we use often. 
Since we covered the letter Xx this week, we used this box themed sheet.
My students read the number and fill in the ten frame to make that number.

Since we do this often, my students are really getting good at this.
They are getting fast.
And they are learning about ways to make the numbers instead of just counting the number of boxes.
This friend was counting by rows of 5's to make her numbers.

Another friend WRITES her numbers into each box.
Because she is a hard worker and she likes to write numbers in all the crayons because it is pretty.
Who am I to complain!?

 Our theme this week was all about pets 
so we had to find these cute doggies their addition sum homes. 

Red table
This was fun. The goal of this station was to get my students to MATCH bone pieces.
On one side was the equation and the number picture.  
The other side has the solution.
As I love to do, 
I made 4 sets of these with different colored bones for each student.

My students liked this station because they didn't have to write anything.
And I liked this station because I like to show my students multiple ways to solve math problems.

Purple table
This table was a writing to 100 card. 
One side of this page protector had a sheet with numbers 1-50 
and on the flip side was numbers 51-100.

Breaking it down into two parts helped my students to not get overwhelmed.

We still don't write all our numbers correctly.
We still flip numbers.
But man are we working hard.
We are making progress.
Blue table-
 This table was hard.
It was larger addition problems to practice,
using pet themed notepads.

Why was this station hard?
No counters and the numbers went higher than their ten fingers.
This is my secret trick to get students to put the BIG number in their head and add on.

{Why do you automatically hold up 5 fingers without counting them, 
then you count them again to find the solution to 5+2? It makes no sense!}
Here was some frog addition problems.
You can see how this student put eight in their head, 
then added 7 dots to the bottom.
They started counting at 8 then counted on using the 7 dots.

These cats were at the same table, but just for another student.
This student needed to circle the bigger number
then add dots for the smaller number to find the solution.
 And check out the fish.
This student did the same addition strategy.
 But he started understanding that sense 11 is made with one set of ten and a one,
 then 10+1 is 11. 
He didn't need to use counters.

Our last math center was at the green table
We used these pots of gold to work on subtraction problems.
These pots gave them their initial amount,
 then each student needed to take away the amount to find the solution.

I hope these ideas and activities help inspire engaging math activities in your classroom.
If you want links, I included many of them in this post.
These are the products I used this week.

March 19, 2015

Daily 5 Necklaces

You asked...
you guys wanted to know about my idea to use
 self management necklaces.

Game on.
This idea is a good one.
It is working wonderfully with my class.

First, how do I use a classroom management necklace?

I use these self management necklaces for free choices in my classroom.
{Examples include Daily 5, 
which I call Great 8 because I run 8 stations, 

My necklaces are two sided, just to take advantage of their greatness.
Each student has their own and they wear it around their necks or clipped to their shirts.

Here is a picture of the clip option.
Each student is responsible for their own necklace 
and they cross themselves off.
They keep their necklaces in their own book boxes. 

One side of their card is used for Sight Word Stations. 
It is pictured above.
All my stations are at color coded tables in my classroom. 
When a student finish that station,
 they take a Vis a Vis Marker and check their colored boxes on their own necklaces.

Why do I like these neckaces for my students?

 My students get a picture of ALL the activity choices they have 
as well as the ones they have already finished.

I still use a choice board like the one pictured below to MAKE the choices
but the necklace is their tool or resource.
It hold them accountable.

At the end of the day or week,
one student who is deemed the cleaner takes ONE baby wipe and 
wipes off the tags for all the students in the class.
This takes 2 minutes or less.

 Now, let me show you how I make them.

You will need:
Scotch Self Sealing Pouches. {They come in packs of 10.}
A Lanyard or clip for each student 
{You can make a set yourself. 
Here is a link to the file I sell with my literacy workstation card.}

First, I print the cards out.
These are the actual real Daily 5/ Literacy Station version.
10 print on each page.
{I print a Sight Word Stations on the verse side.}

Then I cut them out.
{You can see both sides of mine here.}

This is where I write my students names on the cards BEFORE I place them in the pouches.

 Now, I place the cards inside the pouches.

Here is the finished result.

After the cards are sealed,
 I use a strong hole punch to punch the whole in the BOTTOM of the card.

Why at the bottom?
At first I punch the hole at the top too!
Look at this punch on the top.

When your students wear the necklaces,
 they will hold it up to see it by the lanyard.
And it will be upside down for them.

It works best for your students to view if you punch the whole on the bottom.

Lastly, I have a few friends that may need some extra helping making choices.
How do I handle this?
I take a Sharpie and write a number choice ON TOP OF the pouch.

The permanent marker will not wipe off daily, 
but it will wear out over time

I like this because I want them to get weaned off the support 
and make their own choices.
This is exactly why I do not mark the cards with Sharpie before I put it in the pouch.

 If you want to read more about my Daily 5/Literacy Stations, click here.

And if you want to know more about Sight Word Stations, click here.

March 15, 2015

The VERY fun Letter Vv

When I get to certain letters in our letter order, Recipe for Reading,
I cringe.
I just don't always have a lot of FUN materials to cover those tough ones.
I mean letters like V, Y, Z can be tough to make fun, can't they!?

This is exactly why I made my letter packs... 
for all the letters...
 not just the easy ones.
 Check out our Vv Learning from last week. 

Once we introduced our letter and sound, 
we spend some time in Daily 5 doing a sound sort.
We sorted the Ff and Vv initial sounds.
My students always confuse these, 
so it helps to start the week off with eliminating as much confusion as possible from the start.
Since we did the sorts together and exaggerated the initial sounds 
like all good kinders and kinder teachers do...

I have to make sure each
 actually knew the difference between the sounds, 
so we did a quick check using this sheet.
Many of the pictures are the same, 
but there are more images here to make sure make sure they understand.

We also practice our handwriting using these vacation kids sheets.
Here is one of the vacation kids sheets.
And here is another one of my
working on a different kid.

I love using different images for the same activity.
If a student needs to practice this skill again,
they can grab a different page with a different kid.
And they don't mind doing it again. 

Another math activity is this Valentine ten frame sheet.
The number is given in the Valentine...
Then the student wills in the ten frames to make the number.

And my
 also put all these vegetables in ABC order.
Somehow adding fun graphics to the cards adds so much excitement to the activity. 
And we had to discuss the veggie pattern too!

These are just a few of the pics I snapped from this past week, but there was so much more for us to do.

You can enter below to win this pack for free!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 10, 2015

Top O' the Learning For Little Learners

We know  
March 17th 
is coming.
And we know our little learners 
are getting more and more excited
 about St. Patrick's Day.
So let's embrace their excitement... 
harness it... 
and use it for the greater good.

Let's talk about ways to make Saint Patrick's Day
more fun and engaging in your classroom.

Get ready... this is a HUGE post full of
products to enhance learning...
and freebies to grab up. 

Sight Words

Kinders can not ever have enough opportunities to work with sight words.
Our job is to expose them to these words as many times as possible, in different ways, and sneak learning into their little brains by making it fun.

Check out this Secret Code Word activity that allows learners to break the code to make sight words and words similar to sight words. 
They use the code breaker sheet to match the numbers to the letters, making the words in the pots of gold.

We practice using the colorful pots in small groups to learn how to do this task.

Check out their amazing work!

Then we use the printable in independent groups to master the skill.
They worked perfectly in our word work stations.

Reading Comprehension

Literature has provided us with so many outstanding books to cover this holiday with.
Here are a few of the books I enjoy using.

We love that Old Lady who keeps eating things... like CLOVERS.
We love to sequence the story.
 And this printable reader allows your readers to fill in the color word before the object.
 We have a reading comprehension game to go with the book.

And a FUN sequencing activity as well.

And I adore the book Leprechauns on the Loose.
{This is an amazon link, but I would buy this from here
The Scholastic Teacher Store. It is under $4 right now.}

 And we use this game board to review our reading comprehension skills.
When a student answers a reading comprehension question correctly,
the roll a die and move around the board.
This game is a HUGE hit in my classroom because 
My kids have no clue they are learning and review skills.
They know they are playing a game and they want to win!

I love to keep data on these games too.
I write the student's name and mark slashes or checks for their answer.
After dating the paper and writing the name of the book, 
I have great data for RTI if I need it.


Speaking errr Writing about the Leprechaun on the Loose book leads us to writing tie in.
I love letting my students choose writing prompts that appeal to them. 
So I like to give them a few choices.
I also like to write about the Beginning, Middle, and Ending parts of the book.
 It is rare for two students to sequencing the story the same.
{Also, insider hint here, 
I start with the beginning of the story, 
then we move on to the end.
We complete the middle story element LAST.}

I also use the 1 2 3 sheet in a few different ways. 
We can pick three characters to write about, three different endings
or even three ways to describe Cindey or the leprechaun.

Honestly, since my goal is to get my kids writing, 
I am not that picky about what they write about.
I want them to have input.

And who wouldn't want to write about leprechauns using this prompt and word wall.

 Since these little writers are supported with the word wall, they can easily do this activity independently.

But let's not forget that OLD LADY.
Check out these amazing {in my eyes at least} sentences and matching pictures.

My students LOVE using word wall or the book to help them write the words correctly.

STEM Activity Idea

Since we used the book Leprechaun on the Loose,
 and Cindey makes a trap, 
so we also make a trap!
We use the clues the book gives us to estimate his size. 
In the story, the leprechaun hides behind a box of crayons...
 so we use an empty box of crayons as our height measurement. 

We also will entice that tricky guys using a pot with one piece of GOLD in it.
Here is what each team gets to work with:
They can collect almost any trap building tools from the classroom.
Here is an example of a team's trap planning.

And the final product.

This group measured the container and determined that 
if they could get the leprechaun INTO the trap,
he would not be able to get out
So their "design" is to have the toys around so he will come play... 
then he will see the gold and try to get it. 
{Insert evil laugh here.}

Was my room a mess for 24 hours? Yep.
Was my custodian surprised? Nope.
Was it worth it? Absolutely.

I loved stepping around 5 different sets of traps.

And we were all surprised when the GOLD pieces were missing out of each pot,
but there wasn't a leprechaun to be found.
That guy did trash our classroom though.

Here was a little message he left us in our art center last year.

Math Games

I love to add the novelty of St. Patrick's Day into math as much as possible.
Here is a time worksheet I turned into a game.
I make copies of the worksheet and glued them down to a notepad.
Then I laminated them and cut them apart.
Now we can write on the shamrocks instead of a worksheet.
And I get to reuse it year after year.

We also use these rainbows to write the numbers
BEFORE and AFTER the given number.

And there are several versions of this...
 the set above uses purple numbers in the middle.
This set below uses DIFFERENT green numbers.

We also used these erasers
to make a fun themed graph.
This is a freebie so grab it here.

I also use the old pots from previous years to make a fun addition game.
I take a silver sharpie and write the answers on the pots.
 Then I take some two sided counters and write math equations on them.
 My students solve the math problem and put their gold coins into the matching pot.

I also LOVE this addition activity.
{It is a little tougher to grasp and it gets my kids thinking...

We lay out one side of our rainbows and try to make the missing number in the middle..
BOTH sides added together make the answer.
Do you see it?

How about now?


We love adding FUN elements into our classroom.
One of the ways we do this is by baking.
I love to make these rainbow cupcakes with the class each year.


We love to make a ton of art...
After all, isn't ART what parents want to keep for years and years?

A simple art project we make is this Irish flag.
Since we just talked all about the American Flag in February,
 it seems right to make this flag as well.
Plus this helps little ones understand why we wear orange and GREEN for St. Patrick's Day.
And this art was so easy to make!
Three colors... easy cuts.


We also have a special visitor... SILLY MCGILLY.
{Read this post here to see all about this cool idea!} 
Check him out in our window.
 He comes to play tricks on us.

Here he is with our Daily 5 necklaces.

The next day, he confiscated ALL our green crayons.

 And what is Ireland famous for?
So we grow a potato in our room.
It provides a great bridge from March to April when we discuss plants.
We journal our potato once a week to see how it changes.
This is also a freebie pack I know you will want to grab asap.