Monday, January 28, 2013

Homework is Fun! Take-Home Kits


If you stood in front of my school on a Monday at 2:30 in September, you’d see my kindergarteners skipping happily out to their cars toting such items as a picnic basket, a garbage can, a paint bucket, a pillow case, and a diaper bag. What’s inside? Their homework of course!


I have been creating and using what I call "homework kits" in my kindergarten class since 2003. Each kit is housed in a unique container and filled with books, language arts activities, and math activities that are based around a theme inspired by the container. In my class, each student takes home one kit at a time, and keeps it for a week, until they have experienced each and every kit. 
On my blog I feature one homework kit per month and offer instructions for making the kit. I also include any worksheets that go with the kit and an activities list so parents will know how to use it with their children. The instructions, worksheets, and activities lists are in PDF format. I will send them via email to anyone who requests the curriculum through the "contact" tab on my website. 
My kits make homework magical for children. I hope you will take the time to make one (or all of them!) and experience the joy and excitement they will bring to your classroom!
Happy Teaching,
Andrea Randall



Below is a picture of The Diaper Bag, the kit's instructions and the related PDFs you'll need.
And below all that I included pictures of two more kits. 













The Garbage Can

The Pillow Case

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MLK and Shape Party!!


Happy Tuesday everyone! We finished up our study on Martin Luther King Jr. and the impact he made on our country. The kids really seem to "get" his importance (as much as can be expected from 5 and 6 year olds). Here are a few snapshots I took. The lower right one shows students dancing to one of our "new" favorite songs we found on youtube after we made our MLK hats... You gotta hear it -- it's awesome.
Trust me - even your little ones will be bobbing around happily!



We also topped off our study by watching an amazing movie called, "Our Friend, Martin". You can actually watch the entire thing on youtube. I will say there are times in the movie they use language that I wished they didn't. But, overall the kids LOVE the movie and see things that really happened 50 years ago. It shows those events in real life clips and also in cartoon form. It's an hour long.... Please watch it BEFORE showing it to the kids. It isn't inappropriate - just things you want to be able to explain (like the use of the word negro). It is an awesome movie though and help young children understand how life was not the way it is now. Kids from today travel back in time and meet Martin Luther King Jr. in different parts of his incredible life.



We used lots of stuff from my "Celebrate MLK Day!" pack. You can find this unit HERE on TpT or HERE on TN.






















In addition to our study of MLK Jr. we also had a "Shape Party"! Woo-hoo!! Who doesn't love to party and eat? I sent home a sheet requesting that children bring in a particular shape of snack food. If you are interested in see my letter HERE IT IS (I promise it's super un-fancy, but it does the job!) We include both 2D and 3D shapes. As you can see we had LOTS of goodies.....oh and shapes :0)








As a class, we went through each kind of item that was brought and categorized it. Is it a 2D shape or a 3D figure? Then, we would determine exactly which shape or figure it was. Can you tell which shape category had none???? (Someone forgot to bring their shape snack until later in the day :0)


Are there more spheres or cones? How many cubes and cylinders altogether?


Then, we PARTIED!! They got to choose up to 20 items, but had to count on their own!













It was TOO much fun! I love using food (sparingly) to motivate and drive home how learning is applied in real life. I know that some teachers are not allowed to teach using food. I think that is a shame. I understand about obesity and allergies. I've had children with allergies and simply do what I have to do to ensure they aren't getting anything that could hurt them. This year I don't have any kiddos with allergies so it's been pretty easy to use food -- and totally fun! Can you use food in the classroom?

Monday, January 14, 2013

More Math Tubs pics -- Set-Up and Rotation

A few days ago I posted about some of my math tubs. If you missed that post - you can see it HERE.  I received several questions about where I keep my math tubs and how they are set-up, rotated, etc. I promised to return with a few pics.....so here I am.

Here is my Math Tubs shelf.....I have 10 math tubs which is perfect with 20 kiddos. They work in partners during math tub time. I am uber anal when it comes to my shelf and all the numbered tubs must be turned where we can see the number. It's great for teaching number id to 10 and number order early in the year.  Also each lid has a matching number so we can make sure each tub has it's correct lid.



This is my center chart. You can see there are 2 kids that work together as partners. The purple cards are literacy centers and the blue cards are my math tub cards. I love using one chart - it's all right there in one spot! The number 1-10 corresponds to the math tubs themselves. (Yes they are out of order :0) I teach the kids to simply rotate the math tubs by removing the bottom card on the lower right side - and rotating all other cards down one.....then the "holding card" goes at the top left side. It's a super simple, easy way to rotate. I teach the kids to do this so even when there's a sub - centers and math tub run smoothly. I choose 2 kids to rotate -- one is the "holder" and holds the "holding card" so it doesn't get mixed in with the others. The other kid is the "rotator" and rotates the cards. :0) Creative names I know :0)


Here is what our math tubs shelf looks like when the math tubs are in use. As you can see here, we had a couple kiddos out sick today (flu) so tub #10 is still in there. The bottom tubs contain manipulatives and other math tub items not currently in use.


Here are some "live action shots" of my kids during math tub time today. :0) You can see they are allowed to choose a spot to work as long as it isn't too close to another group. They do such a good job! We work on learning about boundaries early on in the year. If you put both arms out, you shouldn't be able to touch anyone except your partner.




How do you organize your math tubs?


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Get Your Booty Moving!!


Since we've been back from Winter vacation my kiddos have been sooooo sllleeepppyy in the mornings. I mean....seriously.....it even makes me want to fall asleep. Since my school's not "down" with "New Year's Nap" (I wished) we are really having to get up and MOVE IT MOVE IT MOVE IT!!

I figure I should share some of my kiddos' favorite MOVE IT videos. Disclaimer: my school allows us to use youtube videos so yes these are from youtube.

First, here is an oldie, but goodie! It will definitely get your kids up and moving!

















Well, those are some of our favorites..... I hope you found something you and your kiddos might like. It's so important to keep those bodies active and brain breaks really help keep them more focused and alert during instruction -- PLUS it's so darn fun!!!