Thursday, September 27, 2012

Youtube Music and Videos


Music is as synonymous with a kindergarten classroom as peanut butter is with jelly. I've yet to find a kinder teacher who doesn't LOVE music and understand the true power of getting kids up and dancing and singing!

When an older grade teacher asks me how I do it- how I teach kinder (which happens remarkably often), I always respond with, "Music along with lots of singing and dancing is the key!" I love it - it keeps me young and makes going to work everyday FUN!

I consider finding new songs/videos treasure.......I am seriously giddy when I find a new discovery! So, I thought I'd share a few of my kiddos' favorite songs. The following songs/videos are on youtube. Here are a few really good transition songs and activities - perfect for when other children are getting a drink or putting things away or the group just needs a stretch.

Jorgeembon is the channel where these songs are found on youtube. I love each of these songs (and my kiddos do too).....but they have over 380 video songs on youtube including English and Spanish versions. 

 

Bummer it won't let me embed this, but I'll share the link to it anyways!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes




HaveFunTeaching is another youtube channel that I adore. They have fantastic learning videos in lots of areas. Here is the alphabet song....but they also have individual letter videos too!







Shapes--



Sight Words --



Counting --




These are just a few of the song/videos we play everyday. It just helps make learning fun and engaging!

Oh and just one more! Here is our latest favorite!!!



Do you have any songs/videos on youtube you LOVE using? Please share!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little Quack - Big Composing/Decomposing Lesson

Whew!!! Some week this has been!! I had my evaluation today and I gotta say I LOVE the idea that I have that behind me. Do you get all worked up come evaluation time like me?

For nine years I've always had really good evaluations...but each year like clockwork - I start freaking out coming evaluation time. I wonder....."Is this going to be the year that I fall apart?", "Will my kids act like they've never been in school before", etc. Now - mind you - it's never happened, but it's my personal fear. I act like a crazy person until it's over and then I go back to normal.

For my evaluation lesson I was doing math problem solving with my kinders using the book "Little Quack"

If you haven't heard of this book - you are missing a super sweet book that your little ones will ADORE and it is perfect for both counting AND composing/decomposing the number 5. It also lends itself to lots of good higher-level questions you can ask...

This story is about a Mama duck and her 5 ducklings: Widdle, Waddle, Piddle, Puddle, and Little Quack. Mama duck decides it's time for the ducklings to go for a swim for the first time. But the 5 little ducklings are scared of the water and want to stay in their nest. One by one each little duckling gets brave enough to join in the water... The illustrations are perfect - showing both how many ducklings are in the nest and how many are in the pond as each duckling jumps in. 

I have the kids helps me act out the story as I told it. I used a large brown circle of bulletin board paper for the next (big enough to fit 5 kids) and a large blue circle of paper for the pond. We followed along with the book as each child (duck) moved into the pond. The kids had a blast (gosh I wished I had pics:0) Perhaps I should have asked my principal to take pictures (hahaha! :0)

Of course the hilarious part of the story is that my promethean board died 5 minutes into the lesson - so I totally had to wing it "old school"! :0)

So - what is your most memorable evaluation lesson???

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Writer's Wokshop Update - Week 3

Last week I posted about our writer's workshop at the beginning of school. I love sharing what I do AND it's great for me to be able to go back and see my own process. If you missed my previous post click HERE.

I promised I would keep updating how our writer's workshop is going so I'm back today for a little update......before it starts to looks very different. EEEKKKK!!!!! I'm excited for what's coming up. But let me share with you the new routines we put in place this week.

Last week we got our writer's workshop folders. I LOVE these folders. They are called Nicky's folders and they are made from a soft plastic. They have a clear pocket on the front and back of the folder - plus the pockets on the inside. My grade level bought these for our take-home folders - but I had to buy more to use for my writer's workshop folders. They last all year. They bend and mold so easy. I tell my kids they are "magic writing folders" and they need to have their folders under their paper as they write (really it's to keep them from losing their folders all over the place, but it does help make their writing more clear)........ok, so maybe I'm falling for my own story a little :0) Anyways, they believe it and LOVE their "magic folders".

When it is tidy up time after we've shared (super important to have them share), kids place them in their chair pockets. They fit perfectly sideways and don't fall out. I gotta tell you that I LOVE these chair pockets too. They aren't the regular size - they are "mini-sized" just like my little ones. I got them at Really Good Stuff HERE. I love that they are really holding up extremely well. I was so afraid they would tear, but I haven't seen any of that! LOVE THEM!


We also stopped using community crayon tubs for writer's workshop this week. We received our own "green pouches" where we keep our individual crayons and pen. This is an important step in writer's workshop for my room because they are no longer tied to sitting at the tables.


NEXT STEP: We will begin talking about how all writer's don't sit at tables to write. They find nice, relaxing places to perfect their craft. I will do lots of modeling how I  choose a good spot to write and which spots are not good. We practice finding spots to write and in time it becomes like second-nature.

I love this time for 2 main reasons:

1. I like when they are spread out around the room because they generally talk less and it a quiet hum begins indicating thinking writers are at work.

2. I love the feel of the room  - lights are turned down, calm music playing, and kids spread out (some slouched over a low table, some laying on their bellies, some choose to sit at a table) - it's about choice. Controlled choices. THIS IS WHEN THE REAL WORK OF WRITER'S WORKSHOP CAN BEGIN TO UNFOLD!!


Visual Schedule
This is something I've toyed with using for years, but I am such a forgetful Nelly I've never really kept up with it. I always figured I'm in charge of what we do in the class so why do the kids need to see our schedule?

I am a total convert! I made the decision I was going to use a schedule this year and I am so glad I did. I even employed the kids to help me with it and keep me on track. THEY LOVE THIS SCHEDULE! If I forget to flip a card over after we've done it - they remind me. They also use it to help them understand our day internally. If we have 2 more activities before lunch - I no longer get a ton of "When is it lunch time?" questions anymore. They look to the schedule and determine for themselves. I often hear them say, "It's not too long before lunch. We just have big book left." I love hearing this talk! I am now convinced of the importance and benefits of using a visual schedule. If you don't currently use a schedule - listen to me. I didn't used to "get it", but now "I totally get it". Use one for Pete's Sake! :0)

QUESTION: Do you use writer's workshop? Do your kids sit at tables or choosing their own writing spots??

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beginning of the Year Writer's Workshop

Being a kindergarten teacher is like giving birth I swear. We ALWAYS forget the process that gets them to where they are in May. It's sometimes scary when we are confronted with where they came from (in August/September)......If we remembered what they were like at the beginning of the year - we probably wouldn't agree to teach it again! Just kidding!! :0)

I'm always in shock every year to see where we are beginning. "I know we will get there! I know we will get there!" is what I continuously repeat to myself. I do love, however, hanging their writer's workshop pieces outside in the hallway. It's easy to lose sight - so I have to really focus on the work they are doing.

During writer's workshop I stop by a few children and listen to the stories they are telling. It's so important to treat everything they attempt as writing masterpieces and the most interesting stories EVER! ........"Oh my goodness - you got to cook dinner with your mom? That is so cool. I bet it was fun!" Once you add in that kind of enthusiasm, they will expand upon their current stories and all stories they draw/write.




Notice that we have not begun to talk about labeling their pictures yet. We will start that this week....EEEKKK!!! I'm excited for that!

But for now I will relish in what they ARE capable of doing! Those pictures tell us so much about what the kiddos can do AND how they see the world! It will be an exciting year!

*Currently we are still sitting at our table seats and using communal crayons and pens during Writer's Workshop. We also have our Writer's Workshop folders and continue practicing using those.

*Beginning this week - we will begin to branch out to other places to write in the room. Before I do this - they will have to have their own crayons and pens. So many routines and procedures still to learn.

I love teaching the kids how to choose a quiet place to work. When they sit at their tables it tends to be noisy and their attention isn't always on their work as you can imagine. But as we learn how to choose our writing spots - the room quiets to calm hum and we get alot more writing work accomplished!

I have also prepared my students' writing portfolios and we've already put in their first writing pieces!! Here is my Writer's Workshop Portfolio. Click Here to check it out!


This portfolio is a great way to organize a writing portfolio throughout the year by months and to keep fantastic documentation on kids' writing progress.