Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh the Weather Outside... {Weather Themed Activities for the Common Core!}

We are in the middle of our three week weather unit and I am very excited to share my newest TPT product with you all: Oh the Weather Outside... {Weather Themed Activities for Math, Literacy, and More!}. It has 101 pages and is packed full of hands-on, weather themed literacy, writing, and math activities for your classroom! It meets the Common Core standards and includes literacy and math stations, writing activities, games, and more! Here's a little preview below:

My kids have been loving the activities we've done so far. I took a few pictures of some of the writing activities my kids have completed to share with you! I was so proud of their writing -- one of the writing prompts included in my weather unit is "On My Favorite Weather Day..." and my kids used this prompt in their writing center last week.

We also have been pretending to be meteorologists! Every day I have been taking my class outside with a makeshift microphone (AKA: styrofoam ball on top of a pencil) and they report the weather each day. Then we come back inside to record our observations in our weather journals, which are also included in this unit! We choose one "weather word of the day", record it in the box at the top, and the rule is, they have to use that word at least once in their journals.

Here's a few of the pocket chart activities included in the unit in action from last year.

You can find all these and MUCH more in my new weather unit! Click on the picture below to go to my little store! And I know I don't have all that many followers yet, but the first person to comment will get this unit for FREE!

 photo WeatherCoverPicture_zps5e480629.png

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five for Friday {Linky Party January 25th}

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for the weekly Five for Friday linky party! Here's 5 random things from my week:

1. Tuesday was the 100th day of school! Half of my kids thought that meant that it was the last day of school and they would be going to 1st grade. They kept telling me how much they were going to miss me, but I assured them they'd be stuck with me for another 80 days. ;)

2. This week my school kicked off our participation in Rachel's Challenge, which is the movement started by the family of Rachel Scott, one of the students killed in the Columbine tragedy. It encourages everyone to start a "chain reaction" of kindness. Our school is making a giant "chain of kindness" where the students write about either something kind someone did for them; or something kind they did for someone else. Here's some of the things my kinder kids wrote about (which melted my heart!):

3. One of my favorite shows, The Office, is in its last season ever and this week's episode left me so sad at the end! I won't post about what happened so as not to spoil it for anyone, but let's just say it's not something that is supposed to happen on the show. And yes I am invested since I've been watching for the last 9 years of my life. Haha.

4. We had a 3-day weekend due to the MLK holiday which gave me time to finish my new weather unit, Oh the Weather Outside... {Weather Themed Activities for Math, Literacy, & More!} My kids have been loving doing all of these weather activities, so I'm excited to share them with you all! Here's a preview picture of the unit below; and you can find out more by clicking on the link above to get to the product in my TPT store!

5. Last but not least, if you'll permit me to shout it to the mountains... HOCKEY IS BACK. HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY. Booo to the NHL lockout for taking half of the season away from us, but I've been able to reconnect with my Phoenix Coyotes this week... go Yotes! I just love hockey, what a great sport. I took these pictures at a free scrimmage game they offered to the fans.

Link up with Doodle Bugs' post here and share your own 5 random things from the week! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

100th Day of School!

Tuesday was our much anticipated 100th Day of School! The kids were so excited. For the past 2 weeks leading up to it, every day I heard, "Is today the 100th day?!" "Is the 100th day the last day of school and then we go to 1st grade?!" Haha. We didn't get to everything that I usually have planned for the 100th day because we had a school-wide assembly that morning for our new initiative called Rachel's Challenge (which I'll blog about next time) but we had fun with the few activities we did get to!

Our schedule on the 100th day usually looks like this: 100th day stories and activities in the morning; 100th day themed centers in the afternoon. For our shortened morning, my kids completed a bellwork activity where they had to color 100 items based on the color word code provided. After that, we read the story Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten and we compared and contrasted all of the things they did to celebrate in the story to the things we would be doing that day.

Our big activity for the morning was something that I first saw on Deanna Jump's website a couple of years ago before I even knew the teaching blogging world existed on such a vast level! My kids created an art project to show what they thought they would look like when they were 100 years old. To give the kiddos some background knowledge, I showed them a powerpoint my neighbor teacher made that had pictures of 100 year old people! They got a kick out of that, and their projects turned out so cute! This year a few of my boys added beards and mustaches to their old selves -- too funny!

         The hair on this one made me laugh so hard!

In the afternoon, we did four different themed centers:
1. 100 Skittles Sort & Graph
2. 100th Day Necklace
3. 100th Day Hat
4. "Stamp to 100"

Here are a few pictures of our activities... unfortunately all of my pictures of the hat were taken when kids were wearing them, so I can't post them here! But I got my hat from the wonderful Fran at Kindergarten Crayons -- she has it for a free download, so go back and check out her 100th day post from a year ago!

Our day was so fun! I can't believe this year is already 100 (well, 102 now, officially) days over! The year is absolutely flying by!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Mission of Addition

We're 2 weeks into the second half of the school year and I gotta say, my class this year is kinda rockin' and rollin' with themselves. It is so cool to see how much knowledge they've soaked up in half a year. Math used to be one of my least favorite things to teach, but as I'm trying out different things, I actually have found that in my 4th year of teaching I am enjoying it more and more.. dare I say, math is actually (gasp) FUN?! (By the way, my high school self just had a hernia at those very words I just typed. Math has never been my forte!)

I'm knee-deep into teaching my kiddos addition and they are loving it! They are so proud when they are able to solve an equation "in their minds". Even though I didn't officially introduce addition into our curriculum until now, little did my kinder babies know that they've been doing it all school year! I found a good routine that's worked well with this particular set of kiddos, who are pretty high academically this year. This month we added in Daily Math Practice to our math circle time - for those of you unfamiliar with that line of books, we are using the first grade edition in the picture below. There is no kindergarten version, but the first grade one is perfect for the second half of the year!

I scanned all of the pages into a PDF so that I could shine it up on the projector instead of making copies every day. The kids have their own whiteboards that they solve the problems on. When we first started, I kept it whole group in the sense that we solved every problem together and walked through each one step by step. Now that they've gotten the hang of it, I tell them that they can choose to solve the addition problems however they feel most comfortable - at this stage, their three options are:

1. Draw a picture.
2. Use your fingers.
3. Use your mind.

My students usually use a good mix of the three to solve their equations, and they have gotten SO good at it! The activities in this book are the perfect warm-up to our main lesson; and we do it right after calendar time ends.

Once my students got more comfortable with creating and solving addition problems, I came up with this little game for them to play called Piggy Bank Penny Addition. I made up these little addition mats - nothing fancy! - and split up my kids into groups of three. Each kid gets a job: one is the dice roller, one is the recorder, and one is the 'penny pusher'. The dice roller rolls twice to get the two numbers that they will be adding together; and the penny pusher counts out that many pennies in each bank for each number. The recorder is then responsible for writing the equation and then they all solve it together. They did so great at creating and solving their equations and loved playing it! It's great when something so easy to set up can keep them so engaged in their learning!

I'm hoping to finish up my new weather unit this weekend in time to get you ready for your spring/weather themes, so keep an eye out! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January Currently!

Another year gone by... it's always nice to start fresh every new year, and I'm hoping 2013 proves to be a great one! It's time for another "currently" linky from Farley ...go to her blog and link up, it's tons of fun!

{Listening} : Imagine Dragons happened to pop up on my playlist while creating my "currently" list.. love them! I'm going to see them live in February and I am super excited. My favorite songs are Radioactive and It's Time.
{Loving} : My friend got me the someecards 2013 daily calendar for Christmas, and it is HILARIOUS even on the first day! Best gift ever! Love the card they had for January 1st! Ha! 

{Thinking} : I can't believe how soon school is going to begin again... I need to go in one of these days to get a few things prepped before Monday!
{Wanting} : It's been so fantastic being able to spend time with so many friends and family during the break that I don't want it to end, even though I do miss my kiddos.
{Needing} : A haircut, my hair is too long and has been neglected for far too long.. haha.
{OLW} : Positivity. This school year has definitely been full of its trials and difficulties so far, but instead of complaining or going on about things, I just need to be full of positivity and see the bright side of things, or work to come up with different solutions! Positive, positive, positive in 2013!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Rewind and New Year's SALE!

I have been MIA for awhile! The last two weeks of school were crazy between having benchmark testing, our cute little holiday show, and gingerbread house building party. The minute school got out, I dove right into all the Christmas festivities, so I haven't had much of a chance to sit and update my little blog until now! I've got pictures of activities to share, so hopefully they will be useful for you to log away some ideas for next year! We did the Elf on the Shelf again this year, and the kids absolutely loved it, but this year I had some skeptical friends that took some convincing on my part to believe in the "magic"! To introduce the fabulous candy cane graph activity from Deanna Jump's Christmas Math and Literacy Fun unit, I had our elf deliver candy canes to the students one morning:

Then we used our 5 senses to brainstorm as many words as we could to describe candy canes; then completed the cute Christmas tree graph to see how many of us liked candy canes or not. As you can see, "yes" won in a landslide!

We participated in a ton of fun holiday themed centers during the month of December.

1. This one is called "String the Lights" and the kids LOVED it! I strung two huge pieces of yarn across our big carpet - one line was to build -at family words, and the other line was to build -an family words. Then they wrote their words on the recording sheet and drew the picture to match!

2. "Bakin' Up Sight Words" - the students chose a Christmas cookie card, read the sight word, and recorded it in the matching space on the response sheet.
3. "Elf Number Order" - I gave each student a number card out of order and they had to work together to put the cards in order from 1-20. Once they completed that part of the activity, they ordered the numbers themselves for independent practice.

All of these centers and much, much more can be found in my Deck the Halls {Christmas Math & Literacy Centers} unit on TPT! There are sight word games, labeling activities, counting on, more/less, and ordering numbers math activities, sentence building games, and MORE! And it's on sale for today only! So even though Christmas is over, you can get it now and be really prepared for next year. ;)

 There are so many great holiday books to read at this time of year, and one of our favorites is, of course, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We used Deanna Jump's fantastic Grinch unit activity to brainstorm all the ways we would make the Grinch grin.. and let me tell you, my little kinder babies melted my heart with some of their responses. My favorite? "Give him a mom." Love. Here is a web we made of some of our ideas (and can I just say how proud I was of my Grinch drawing? Yeah, it turned out kinda awesome).

We also made a list of adjectives to describe what the Grinch was like before his heart grew 3 sizes.

Here were a few of my favorite craftivities my kiddos came up with. And let me tell you, even though they are young, after reading the 1st ("give him a family") and 4th ("give him a mom") ways they would make him grin, it makes you realize that sometimes kids are pretty astute.
Another favorite story, among many, is Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. After reading the story, I told the students I had made them gingerbread cookies, but when I got the container out to show them, they were GONE! Of course, they had run away just like the cookie had in the story. ;) To make the gingerbread baby come back, the boy built him a gingerbread house, so we did the same in hopes that our cookies would return to us! We made little houses like this, left them on our desks, and thankfully it made the cookies come running back while my littles were at P.E.! What impeccable timing!

There you have a little snapshot and rewind of some of the activities we participated in this holiday season! Now that the New Year is upon us, I have a gift for you! For today only I am throwing a sale in my TPT store - 20% everything until midnight tonight!