Welcome to my Kindergarten...where we are growing and learning and blooming everyday!

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Wedding of Q and U

Have you ever planned an entire wedding by going to The Dollar Tree? I am always glad I have this store nearby to fulfill my teaching wish lists. On my recent wish list were special items for The Wedding of Q and U.

In the past I have shown the super cute videos of other classes acting out the ceremony for these two letters. This year I decided to take the leap and do this in class. I had to start from scratch and Pinterest provided many resources. I took a little of this and that and designed my own ceremony.

First I began with making the Q and U. I got black for Q because it is a consonant and for the black tuxedo look. Then I chose red for U because she is a vowel. I decided that Q was the male and U the female. Just made sense to me. I cut out the letters on put them on a foam poster.

Then I needed flowers and ribbon and
bubbles and cookies and napkins. I also got white crepe paper and bells to decorate the door.

I made invitations from pretty stickers and the blank side of a 4 x 6 index card. These were handed out in the morning.

I used music from a Mozart CD and we were ready. I asked for two volunteers to help "hold up" the Bride and Groom.

Following the ceremony the class blew bubbles as Q and U recessed down the aisle. They had the first dance - Mr. Eric's Big Silly CD - and then all joined in for dancing on the carpet.

I did write out vows and there is a photo of that below.

I highly recommend this fun activity! They will remember that QU together make the sound of /kw/.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Non-Fiction Labeling

I really like the idea of labeling in Kindergarten. At the beginning of the year we use labeling in as part of Writer's Workshop. It is an important part of pre-writing.

Now that it is Spring, labeling is so easy compared to writing a whole sentence! As part of our Non-Fiction Writing Unit, I am teaching my students to label ~ just like in Science Books.

Today is the second time we have
labeled the parts of a flower. The first time was in conjunction with our Weekly Reader. That was simply filling in the blanks. This activity is so much more meaningful because they are "building" and labeling their own flower.

They did a great job!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Answer is ???

Thanks to Pinterest I saw an idea that I just love! Imagine this...as the teacher, I get to give my students an "answer" and they have to give me the Math Sentence ~ either addition or subtraction. It is genius! And fun!

I have found that students get addition very quickly and need more time to think about subtraction. This simple idea has really increased my students' skills with thinking about Math.

Here is my Answer Board. I change the "answer" daily which is easy to do because I can just slip in another number. We began subtraction last week and we will continue this until the end of school.

Yesterday the "Answer" was 1. Currently, the rule is to use numbers
0 - 5. I will increase the highest number to 10 next week.

The possible combinations are:

0 + 1 = 1
1 + 0 = 1
2 - 1 = 1
3 - 2 = 1
4 - 3 = 1
5 - 4 = 1

Give it a try!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Today we celebrated Earth Day by reviewing our pledge to save water while we brush our teeth. We reviewed the 3 Rs ~ Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce and how we try to do this at home and in school.

We can't have a celebration without making a headband! Then for snack I brought in our Earth Day Snack ~ Dirt and Worms, of course!

I made it even easier this year by getting unrefrigerated chocolate pudding snack packs, gummi worms, and chocolate graham crackers. Last night I crushed the crackers because I wanted to show my students and tell them that it was "dirt".

I love this age! Even as I was eating the "dirt" they believed me and then they loved that trick! Each student sprinkled "dirt" on their pudding cups and added the worm.

So simple and so fun!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Field Trip to the Zoo

On Friday, our anticipated trip to the zoo finally arrived. We had perfect weather which was cloudy and cool for the day. With our school sack lunches and enthusiasm and a bumpy school bus ride, we were ready!

Prior to the trip, I prepared the class by looking at the zoo website and by looking at the 4 classifications of animals provided ~ mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians.

This trip was also an introduction to our non-fiction writing unit. Students will choose one of these animals to create a non-fiction project and presentation in class.

Here is a photo of my awesome class sitting on a sculpture of a Komodo Dragon.

And...that was the best PBJ school sandwich and chips ever!

Fairy Tale Bulletin Board

We have just completed our unit on Fairy Tales. Here is our Bulletin Board for this fun unit. I downloaded a free castle template and then added a photo of each student. Using oil pastels, students designed their own castle. I like the bright colors.

I think it turned out quite nice! We all liked this unit!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Morning Message

Do you have a Morning Message? I could not begin or end our day without this little jewel. It is very easy and requires about 3 minutes of your daily time and attention and it delivers quite a punch in my students' literacy skill development.

Several years ago I attended a Professional Development Workshop that presented this idea. I believe I may have changed the name to "Morning Message", but, the content is rich and full and your class will benefit from this simple idea.

I prefer Zaner-Bloser paper because I like the lines. The top line is blue, the middle line is dotted, and the bottom line is red. I purchase the 1/2 chart size and it fits perfectly on this board.

I write the plan for the day. I use a different color for each sentence. Then during Circle, we read it together. We also stop and talk about letters recognition, letter sounds, sentence structure, and more. I have a Morning Message Helper who gets to circle words that classmates know. Finally, the helper gets to take the chart home and read to their family.

At the beginning of the year, start slowly and carefully. Then increase and introduce skills as needed.

Skills and Concepts:
Letter recognition
Letters and Sounds
Sentence structure
Reading from left to right
Begin reading and writing at the top left
Intro/Review Reading and Writing rules
Guided Reading
Morning Message Helper

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Earth Day Pledge

Earth Day is approaching ~ April 22nd

My challenge was trying to find a new idea or concept that my class could relate to. I wanted my class to have a more "hands on" experience this year. How could they make a connection with Earth Day? How could I raise their awareness of Earth Day this year?

I found this link: Www.apartmenttherapy.com/simple-green-turn-off-the-water

The result ~ turn off the water ~ while brushing your teeth!

I created a Family Letter and included the facts about how much water would be saved. Did you know that an average faucet flows at 2 gallons per minute. Turning off the water while you brush can save 8 gallons ~ if you brush twice a day.

After introducing the idea and after much discussion ~ love Kindergarten discussions ~ the class signed Our Earth Day Pledge. We will try to stick to this water saving project through the end of April.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Peep Obsessed

I admit it! I am a little obsessed with the cute and colorful chicks and bunnies. I like the Peeps at Halloween and the other holidays, but in my opinion, Spring Peeps are the best. I even have a Pinterest Board devoted to these marshmallow cuties titled Peep-a-licious.

I am glad to know that others share in this obsession. I have even found folks who create dioramas - so clever! I wish I had thought of that!

This Easter I made a recipe that I saw on Pinterest for dessert fun. My daughters are in their mid to late 20's and they enjoy and appreciate Peeps more now than when they were younger, too.

Here is what to get:

1 box of Berry Blue Sugar Free Jello
1 cup of Berry flavored Carbonated Water
Yellow Chick Peeps
Whip cream in a can

This recipe makes 4 - 1/2 cup servings

Follow package directions for Jello. Then instead of adding cold water, add the Flavored Water. Divide into cups and chill until firm.

Just before serving, add the whip cream and Peep.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cute Easter Chicks!

Here is a simple and cute Easter craft for the classroom. This year I am pressed for time and I decided to use colorful plastic eggs. All the other years I have asked parents to send in real eggs that we painted and glittered and made these cute chicks.

Honestly, I like how these have turned out. What really matters is what my students think ~ they love them. I just love teaching this age!

You will need:

Plastic eggs
Easter grass
2 yellow cotton balls per student
Plastic punch cups
Black construction paper
Orange construction paper
Hole puncher
Clear plastic bags
Yarn to tie at the top

P.S. Don't forget to write their name and the year on each egg!

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Letter from the President

Today we received a letter from the President!

Every President's Day, my class writes the President of the United States. Since the holiday is in February, we are learning how to write a letter for Writers Workshop, so it works out well.

This year each student drew a picture and wrote a sentence on journal
paper. The drawings are so cute. I always hope that the President actually gets to see them.

I have done this for many years. Both Republican and Democratic Presidents always respond.

It is a wonderful activity and I like how we can make this connection to a real President. The package has several pictures and includes fun information about what the dog, Bo, does all day. Very cute!

The Three Little Pigs

We all know the story of The Three Little Pigs, but do you know The Story of The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig?

My students love this story ~ hands down ~ probably their favorite story in the whole year. There are a few parts in the story where they laugh out loud. It is such a great lesson for comparing and contrasting and using the Venn Diagram.

Then, the next book that must be read is The True Story of The Three Little Pigs. It is the whole story from the wolf's perspective ~ he is innocent. My students love this too.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pattern Blocks

Just when I thought my students had had enough of pattern blocks and had made every possible design a Kindergarten student could...a student created this today during Center time.

This was created by a boy and I love the intricate design and the use of the empty space.

I think I will continue to encourage pattern block design!

Fairy Tale Story Mapping

Last week we began a Language Arts unit on Fairy Tales. After all the years that I have taught Kindergarten, I have never purposely created a unit for Fairy Tales. I have read them but not discuss them in depth.

I love it and so do the children. I began with The Three Little Pigs. First, we talked about the storyline which they all know. Then, using a link titled Speakaboos.com we watched a version of this beloved tale. Last, we created the story map (see below). I did look at all the great ideas on Pinterest and settled on this version.

Keeping the main ideas and comprehension in the forefront, I applied the use of Post-It Notes. It is a wonderful interactive process that I want to encourage any teacher to try.

Give a student a Post-It and they draw on it. They love seeing their work go up on the chart. We are into the first week of Spring and this is very age appropriate and it is great for their comprehension.

Next we tackled Little Red Riding Hood. See the story map below. This week we will create a Venn Diagram.

Following Easter Break, we will take a look at and map Rapunzel and The Princess and The Pea.