Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shape Books

We just finished our unit on shapes. (Don't judge.) My favorite part of this unit is stamping the solid shapes to see what shapes appear. It's like magic and really the best way to learn this concept. I just let them paint flat side of some wooden shapes and stamp away. Don't let them dip, it doesn't work as well.

A gripe: We do Harcourt Math and my biggest complaint about the newest version of the series is a switch in the language. For instance instead of SHAPES we are supposed to teach the word FIGURES. GO FIGURE. This is ridiculous and I secretly refuse to do it teach both terms. Another ridiculous one is saying FEWER instead of LESS THAN. What? What???? Who says this? FEWER is not a useful word unless you are looking for something to rhyme with... oh never mind.

Anyway, we stamp our shapes on cardstock and this becomes a book cover. Usually I make a number book with this cover but this year I decided to make a Shape Book instead. On each page there is the word of the shape and an example to color. Then they cut out examples of the shape from magazines and practice pasting things on the page without a) covering the word and b) letting anything hang off the page. Results will vary.

Our books had triangle, rectangle, circle and square pages but of course you could add more. And if I only had a brain I probably would have made it the Solid Shape Book and they could've found spheres, cubes, cones and cylinders.

But I will NEVER call it a Figure Book. Ain't gonna happen.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Come On Feel The Noise

This Noise O Meter is not even a little bit original.... it's been flying around the blogosphere for ages, but I thought you might like to see my version. The arrow is taped to a clothespin. The first thing my class wanted to know is how that arrow was able to move up and down and stay on the chart. They are so funny.

When I use this I ask the class to show me with their fingers what number the Noise O Meter is on. Then I ask them what that means. The pictures I used are just random Google Images. Nothing special but the pictures give the right impact.

One of my favorite times I like to use the Noise O Meter is transitioning from recess to indoors. I take it outside and show them the arrow on 4. Then they watch me move it up to 2 or 1. It gives them a clear sense of my expectations. For about a minute.

Question: How much noise do you tolerate in your classroom? Is it whisper quiet all the time? Or do you mind a little on - task, active learning noise? Don't mind the roar? I admit I am pretty tolerant of more noise than most teachers. It is at Big Boss's request that I ask for less developmentally appropriate volume rowdy banter most of the time. Asking Kinders to be hush hush all the live long day would wear me plumb out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Managing Just Fine

Miss T is having a managament linky party so I thought I'd play along.

Here is the good ole "chart" that I use every. single. day. in my classroom. I find this to be a simple and straightforward approach that the lil darlin's can understand easily. At the beginning of the year we discuss the stoplight concept; what each color means, and how to apply that to their own behavior. If you are on green you are GOING, learning, and where you are supposed to be on the road. If you are on yellow, SLOW DOWN, you might get in a behavioral wreck. If you land on red, STOP, and head on over here:

At the beginning of the year I did not have this special little chair. My principal asked me to create it. I really could use several of these. However, I have mixed feelings about it. Unless I take the time to really review WHY the child has been sent there (after a significant period of time sitting in it) it is pretty meaningless. I also have a handful of kids for which ANY attention is great and they are actually HAPPY about sitting there. As in, when I ask them to leave, they say "Yay!" Effective? Probably not. That in combination with the fact that it is not nailed to the floor and so the perpetrator is apt to slide it around, fall off it or other similar antics depending on their personality. Yeah, you know the type.

Do you have a "Thinking Chair"? Do you think it works?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Valentine's Day Remix

First of all, how much does this girl's mother love her? This hair was TOO adorable.

This activity was an extension of the This Heart Says little book. I just drew a big jar, the kids chose a candy heart, copied it and cut it out and glued it in the jar. Then they got to eat their heart. Repeat. They LOVE this and the more they ate, the more they loved it, naturally.

Let me tell you there was a LOT of sounding out happening as we wrote, glued, and viewed our handiwork. This had every ingredient for a great language arts lesson: writing, reading, engagement, excitement, and candy. Yep.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Mitten

We've read the story a bajillion times and so, now that we've committed it to meaningful memory, we get to act it out! I found all of the animals online so very very long ago. I printed them on cardstock and the lil darlin's colored them oh so carefully (no purple rabbits here puh-leez) and cut them out. We lay them out and I play the story on CD because if I have to read it one more time I'll scream it's fun and special to hear a different version, complete with music.

We put the animals in one by one... make sure the badger goes in the thumb... and... wait for it.....

AAAAAAACCCCCCHHHHHHHHOOOOOOO! The best part is letting them throw all the characters up in the air when the bear sneezes; of course we don't lose any because we've put our names on the back of every. single. one.

And now the mittens have been retired. The animals are still snug inside and they look adorable hanging above our windows.

Do you do a mitten activity with your class?

Monday, February 13, 2012

All You Need Is Love

Bracing myself for a crazy sugared up kinda day tomorrow. If today's rainy indoor escapades are any indication I am in big trouble. It sure didn't feel like there were four people absent.

Last week we made Valentines with our third grade buddies. I just threw a bunch of doilies and stickers and paper at them and said go for it.

This is a very special group I have this year. I think they are probably a typical class but few non teachers could grasp what happens in this room, day after day: the laughter, the tears, the confusion, the synthesis. The good days are incredible and my heart bursts with love; the bad days are well, badder than you could imagine. The noise, the mess, the chaos can sweep you away if you are not awake and aware to the beauty and uniqueness of being five. Because beyond the projects and activities, we are making memories. Everyone remembers their Kindergarten teacher, right?

I always wanted to be a celebrity.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another Day Another Dime

Guided reading with a little Valentine book called This Heart Says. It's all about conversation hearts. Been doing this one for about 100 years.... it is darling and basically goes like this:
This heart says HUG ME
This heart says BE MINE
This heart says CUTIE PIE
This heart says COOL DUDE
This heart says GOOD BYE
This heart says THE END

Dutifully we stamp, stamp, stamp our letters. We are going to know our capitals and lower case for sure thanks to Fran. I have bought so much of her work now and it is all excellent. This was a freebie from a ways back, sorry for the link lack.

Excuse me but this is THE cutest Valentine word work activity ever. I put a little card with the word inside each heart box along with letter tiles to spell it out. Read, build, write the word. LOVE (got it here)

Our mittens are all painted and hanging, waiting for the parade of animals when we re - tell The Mitten tomorrow. We can't wait!

Hope you had a great week.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Currently February

In a feat of uncharacteristic technology, I bring you my Currently February post, courtesy of Farley.

I was so excited to make this work that 1. I used really boring font and 2. I didn't think about the answers a whole lot so sorry if it seems a little ho hum.

A big thanks to Jen for explaining the process. Yay me!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Did You Do At School Today?

Another busy day in room KE. We do LA Centers Mondays and Wednesdays. Along with some old favorites we whipped out Fran's little syllable flip book. We practiced clapping our names first before I spoon fed them this book on the pocket chart. The adored the pictures and you should definitely grab your own here.

We are cutting out and lacing up some big mittens for re - telling the story of The Mitten. On Wednesday we will paint them in patterns and color the animals that go inside.

My students love to roll for sight words! Found here.

What did you do at school today? Always scouting for new Centers ideas.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cooperative Learning in Kindergarten

Today I paired up my class and in honor of Groundhog's Day we drew each other's shadows.

My class has been pretty wild this week and the end of yesterday was absolute chaos so I did not have very high hopes for this activity. Surprise! It was so beautiful. They were amazed, enthused, engaged, and didn't want to stop.

I let the leader for each group (remember my five colors?) choose their own partner and then I paired up the rest randomly. Somehow, this worked: it seemed fair to everyone that the leaders got to choose, and I only had to make six more pairs to finish off.

Each person took turns tracing the other's shadow, and then they switched. Next they filled in the outlines with details. When it was over, they had a terrific time walking around trying to guess who's was whose.

Someone edit that last sentence please.

I highly recommend this game. (I introduce just about everything to my class as a "game" - it makes everything sound more appealing.) The only thing better about today was delicious muffins in the teachers' lounge.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012