Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where's My Mummy?? - Kindergarten Faith

Hi everyone! :0)  I am Faith Rucker from Kindergarten Faith, and I am super excited to be guest blogging with Kindergarten Lifestyle!  Jeannie has so many exciting ideas, and I am glad I get to share some of mine with you too.  

Kindergarten Faith
Here is the HTML for the post. Today we read the book, Where's My Mummy.  This is such a cute story!  Baby Mummy searches everywhere for his Mommy Mummy.  :)
I had a room full of excited little boys and girls when I told them that we were going to turn some of them into mummies.  Wow!  All you need is a little roll of toilet paper, and you can change the world into one exciting place.

After we cleaned up the room.....lol.....we had to do a little work.  I created these fun little Where's My Mummy counting worksheets to accompany the book and our fantastic activity.  One page works on numbers 1-10, and one page works on numbers 11-20.  The kids have to count and match Baby Mummy with his Mommy Mummy.
I like this activity because I can challenge my kids that are ready with numbers 11-20, and my other students who still need practice on 1-10 don't feel like they are doing anything different.  :)  Click here to download this great little freebie, Where's My Mummy Counting, from TPT.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

5 Little Speckled Frogs Composing/Decomposing Number Lesson

Hi friends! Have you noticed that I'm going longer in between posts lately? Sorry.....but I am swamped this year and October is such a busy month! Is anyone else already looking forward to Christmas break?  

I did want to give you a peek into a FAB lesson I did that my kids loved - SCORE!!

So, we were working on composing the number 5...
I found this adorable video for the song 5 Little Speckled Frogs on youtube:



How stinkin' adorable is that??? Well, not only is it a super fun song to sing and act out - it's totally FABULOUS for teaching composing number 5. Don't cha just love it when you can teach with a song? I know I do!

So, of course I introduced this song the day before we started our lesson. I wanted to make the kiddos knew the song well so we could sing it but still concentrate on our learning. I even came up with hand motions to go along with the song and that really "hooked" the kids.

I happened to have the Frogs on a Log Counting Kit from Lakeshore Learning, so we were ready to work with some numbers! :0)

Frogs on a Log Counting Kit

Each child got 5 frogs (we counted several times to make sure that it was 5 no matter how many times we counted -- 5 is 5 is 5)....

Then, we started singing the song.....
5 little speckled frogs, sitting on a speckled log - eating the most delicious bugs -- YUM, YUM! 1 jumped in the pool where it was nice and cool! Now there are 4 speckled frogs -- Glub, Glub!


As we sang the song, the kids would act out the song -- by helping the frogs "jump" into the pool. When each frog jumped in we would stop and say, " 4 frogs on the log and 1 in the pool makes 5, 3 frogs on the log and 2 in the pool makes 5"........ as we continued on they really started noticing that no matter how we separated the frog, there would still be 5........

The kids love doing this and asked me repeatedly, "Can we do the speckled frog song?" So, of course, we sang the song dozens of times this week :0) I love when a song really hooks the kids!

Now, this activity is in our math tubs, but it would also work really well in a retelling center too!

A few other books/songs that are great at teaching young children how to compose/decompose numbers is:



In fact, any 5 Little Monkeys books work great and I also love using Halloween-ish poems like 5 Little Pumpkins, Bats, etc........sooooo fun!!

Question: Do you have any books that you just LOVE using for composing/decomposing books??? Tell us about it below :0)

Oh, and on a sadder note: We were informed that our district (which had been a long time proponent of "traditional home and blocks centers" ) is no longer allowing them in the classroom :0( So, here is a picture of my sad little home center in the hallway.......Rest in Peace.......Why do we feel a need to push children out of childhood????? Anyways......makes me sad :0(

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Behavior Log

One piece of documentation I HATE keeping track of as a teacher is student behavior. It's a time-consuming daily routine that I'd personally rather not deal with. I mean....I got kids to teach. I know parents like knowing how their child behaved at school and I totally appreciate that...and I want my parents to know. (Of course it seems like the parents that actually check the behavior log nightly are the same ones whose children behave and the other ones have never even seen a behavior log (rolling my eyes).....


I use a pretty standard clip chart that I first learned about from Clutterfree Classrooms HERE a couple years ago. 
I LOVE it -- it really motivates those kiddos that are constantly doing the right thing just as much as those that don't. 

Basically, kids start each day on green "Ready to Learn" and if they end the day there - Great!! But, wait for the magical part..... Kids can clip up or "climb the colors" as I call it by going above and beyond what is expected. If a child cleans up extra well or is following directions when others aren't, or any other reason -- just having a great day - - you can have him/her "climb the colors"! :0) It is super simple and that is the beauty with the system! It's easy for the kids to understand, easy to use, and self-motivating!

Like I said - I've used it for a couple years now - and I'm sold -- LOVE IT!
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So, right before school began I was searching for a simple, yet cute behavior sheet (yes it's the kinder teacher in me that craves cute-ness). My friend Michelle from Apples and ABC's was just the sweetest and gave me her A-Dor-Able behavior sheet. It is a weekly behavior sheet that I tweaked just to fit my own classroom better. I threw in some cute alligators and added a parent explanation on back. Thanks Michelle!!




Here is my behavior sheet that is working perfectly for me this year....it's a combination of what Michelle shared with me and my own twist. :0) 


                                                CLICK HERE TO GRAB!
I love this behavior sheet because my students actually do their own behavior sheet (with lots of modeling and supervision near the beginning:0) The only time I have to do anything with the behavior sheet is when a child falls below green. Then I accompany it with a note to mom and dad. I love how it helps teach responsibility of completing the sheet AND helps children take ownership for their behavior. They feel so good when they "climb the colors"!



QUESTION: What kind of behavior log do you send home to parents?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spidery Letter Sorting

I want to share this fun and simple letter font sorting activity I made and I am giving to you :0)

It's called ......



Each letter is on a large spider web. I chose 3 letters to focus on and placed those webs inside of Halloween trick -or-treat baskets. Then I filled a spider bowl with matching letters in all sorts of fonts. This activity then went in the ABC center. Next week we will focus on 3 different letters.



It's so important for kiddos to not only know a letter, they have to know that letter no matter how it's written....In today's world children see thousands of fonts. My kiddos had a ball with this sort!

I hope your kiddos enjoy it too!!
If you like this freebie please let me know :0)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Writing Folders

Student writing folders do an important job - they house our students' precious pieces! They have the potential to do much more, however... Here is how I use my students' folders to help them find ideas, improve their work, set goals, and measure their progress! First, I like to use poly folders with pockets and prongs. Over the years I have given up on paper folders, as writing folders really take a beating in the early grades. Poly folders stand up to so much more! The prongs are necessary to the tips that follow. I start by inserting several page protectors in the prongs. I use three, as this really allows us to store up to six extra items, which is more than enough! Some of the sleeves will remain empty for a while, but that is fine. The first thing that we put into one of the sleeves is an inspiration page. This is a homework assignment early in the year. I ask the students to work with their families to create a page full of ideas. They can be photos, magazine clippings, drawings - whatever they like. The purpose is to give them a page full of ideas they can access if they ever feel that they do not have something to write about. I find that photos are the best, because they really help me to get to know the students as well. I might never have known that someone did a crazy science experiment, was a ballet dancer, went on a trip to Mount Rushmore, or has three sisters, but with the photos on the inspiration page, I know that I can call on these experiences to help students develop ideas. You can download the inspiration page assignment that I send home if you are interested. The next tool that we place in the writing folder is an alphabet anchor chart. I recommend using whatever chart you use in the classroom, so the students have some consistency. I find that having a chart right next to them as they are writing really encourages them to use it. They use this chart both as a reference tool for hearing and recording sounds, but also for correct handwriting. If you do not already have an alphabet anchor chart, you can download the one I use for free! After we have worked with our word wall, I add a mini word wall to their writing folders as well. Once again, having it right next to them when they are writing encourages students to use it as a reference tool. I have a standard word wall chart that has the first twenty - five words my district uses. I often write in a few specific words for each child that I know are important for them. For example, if I know a student often writes about their soccer games, I might add the word "soccer" on that student's personal word wall. Here is my free word wall words reference page. You can make it your own by downloading it as a Word document. Finally, I have each student keep a goals/focus page in their writing folder. This is how it works. When conferencing with a student, I take note of my major teaching point. I draw a quick picture that will remind the student of that goal, and we place it on their strategies page. The plan is for them to practice this strategy until it becomes a habit. Any student may have up to four strategies on this page (fewer for students that have a harder time focusing). Then, when a student "masters" one of the strategies and is consistently using it in their work, I can remove the sticky note from their page. This page is multi-purpose. First, it encourages each child to think about him or herself as a writer. It forces them to notice what they are or are not consistently doing in their work. Second, it provides a concrete reminder about what they are working on as they write. Finally, it is a great record keeping tool. When I remove a sticky note from a student's page, I quickly write their name and the date on the note, and save it for record keeping purposes! This lets me know what they were working on, and when they mastered it. For example, in the photo below, "Katie" mastered adding setting to her drawings on Oct 16! Because many teaching points are so global, I do have some pre-made sticky notes so I do not have to draw the same things over and over again. If you are interested you can download a sticky notes template for some of these sticky notes, and you can download the free file for the strategies and habits tracker. There you have it! Writing folders have so much potential to be a huge resource for our young writers, and a tool for us as teachers as well! What tools and anchor charts do your students have in their folders? This blog post was written by Karen Langdon, author of the Teaching Ace blog at teachingace.com She is also the creator and sole owner of all free downloads offered in this post. Thanks for reading!