Sand Table in Kinder??

Everytime I tell someone I have a sand table in my kinder room, I get funny are you serious???? I love the sand table!!!! Normally, I start the year using it as simply a "play" center. I teach in a school where kindergarten is typically the first experience my kiddos have with school (very limited pre-k program and even that is half-day). So, the sand table is something they can do and enjoy from day one.

I usually leave the sand table open for the first month of school. At the end of the first month, I make a HUGE deal about how much they've learned and we close the sand table (with the table closed the top becomes our word study center). The kids quickly forget about the sand.....and life goes on.

But, I have decided to pull out the sand again! I placed a whole bunch of letters in the boxed and covered them with sand.

Now, the kids use the sand as a choice in our word study center. Basically, they have a   recording sheet. 

1. They choose a word wall word and hunt for the letters they need to make that word wall word. 
2. Then once they have made the word - they write it in a cute bear! 
3. Finally they get to grab a Teddy Graham and make it disappear!

Hope you enjoy!

Sight Word Videos

A few months back I found these fantastic sight word videos on youtube. They are from a company called HaveFunTeaching. HaveFunTeaching also has fantastic letter videos as well. You can check those out here.

I was so happy when I discovered HaveFunTeaching also makes great sight word videos. These sight word videos are absolutely wonderful!!The kids love them and the beat of the videos really stick with the kiddos! So, in case you haven't stumbled upon them - here they are.

There are lots more, but I wanted to give you a little taste of how great they really are!!

Hope you enjoy!!

Retelling Center

One of the centers that drives me the craziest in kinder is the "reading" center. It's hard to find books the kiddos can read and it's hard to keep them engaged.

So, I decided to turn my "reading" center into the retelling center. It has worked out wonderfully. The kids really love it.

Before introducing this center, I took some of our beloved fairy tales and folk tales like Three Little Pigs, Little Red Hen, and Three Billy Goats Gruff and really focused our read aloud time on them.... We read them over and over again! In whole group, I had the kids help me retell the story and act out the different parts with great details. These were great lessons in and of themselves. However, I had a higher purpose for them.......These lessons were to become the foundation for the new retelling center.

At first, I took 2 folk tales and modeled how to use the retelling pieces as a way to "read" the story. This helped the kiddos be super successful!

Over the next few weeks (as they got really good at retelling), I slowly added in some puzzles that matched the stories. I have a Three Little Pigs puzzle the kids adore. As they complete the puzzle they are retelling the story. (I love listening to little ones retell a story with excitement:0)

After the kids were really good at retelling and using the story puzzles.....I decided it was time to add in the puppets:0) Oh yeah! You heard me right! Now the kids can make their own stick puppets for retelling. This activity made an already great center into a fantastic center! Each week kids can't wait for their turn to make puppets so they can retell great stories.

                                                                                                 (sorry about the sideways photo - I can't figure out how to rotate it :0(

PocketChart/Listening Center...a compromise!

Two of my least favorite centers are pocketchart and listening. (I know, I know....don't stone me.....) I think there are great activities for both but they often seem to be overwhelming for the kiddos.

PocketChart center tends to get boring...(sorry it can) and Listening center doesn't provide enough for them to do. So I compromised! I put these centers together.....

I have a little nook for my PocketChart center.

In this center kids can do the normal things: match student names and pictures, sort words and names into how many letters they have, how many vowels and consonants, syllables, etc.

Here is my fun twist! I placed a stereo with headphones. I love nursery rhymes and I find kids in 1st and 2nd grade have a hard time recognizing them. So I spend extra time in kinder with nursery rhymes. (They are great for oral language, vocabulary, and retelling).

Each week we read a nursery rhyme, discuss it, act it out, etc. I have a CD with funky versions of many different nursery rhymes on it. My FABULOUS friend, Sherry, recorded each nursery rhyme song on a blank CD 3 times.  I have 1 nursery rhyme song on a CD by itself (so kids cannot just listen to whatever). The kids love ROCKIN' out to the nursery rhyme each week.

But....that's not all. As the kids listen to the nursery rhyme they are busy coloring, cutting, and making a sequence book that correlates to the nursery rhyme. They can use the pocketchart to sequence the pictures and retell the story before stapling it (with a non-staple stapler of course).

PocketChart center is now a BIG FAVORITE in my room!

Have you ever tried combining a couple of centers to provide more flexibility and choice? Let's discuss below :0)

100th Day of Kindergarten!!

The 100th day of kindergarten was Thursday. It really was an incredible day to remember! I have tons I want to share so I'll get started! We decided to do this LOUD activity in our kindergarten P.E. portable (I didn't want others to think gun shots were going off :0)

Our day began bright and early with 100 Balloon Popping Party. Now this activity wasn't just about having fun and popping balloons, there was real learning going on (imagine that!). We went popping in groups of 10 and counted/recorded each balloon we popped - all the way to 100. The kids really got a sense of just how many 100 is because this activity took about 30 minutes. Everytime they popped balloons - there were more... 100 is a very large number. I can testify. I came into school about 5:00a.m. to start blowing up balloons!

We also made fruit loop necklaces. Each table group had a paper plate full of fruit loops. Before we began the activity we taped a string of yarn on the table where each child sits. (Note to self: do not ever use yarn again, instead use a thick string). The yarn began to unravel for some kids. We did place tape around the end of the yarn to make it easier to thread the fruit loops. The kiddos then got to choose a color and place 10 fruit loops on the yarn. At the end of each group of 10 - kids placed the corresponding number on the necklace (10, 20, 30, etc.)
The kids LOVED this activity. It took a long time (over an hour), but the kids actually counted to 100 and stayed engaged the entire time!. They were so excited about making the necklace they didn't even think about it being a learning activity!

This was only a couple activities we did for 100th day..... We did so much more. I'll add that in another post :0)

Whew!!! I'm tired.....................