Friday, November 28, 2014

Veteran's Day & Thanksgiving Activities

What a month!!
I always say that the busiest times for a teacher are the first month of school, the last month of school, and the time in between Halloween and Christmas.
Throw in the fact that I've been sick, twice, and took a weekend trip to Disney for a race, and I'd have to say this November has been quite exhausting.  Thank goodness for Thanksgiving Break!
I plan on doing a pretty lengthy post later this week on my Disney trip.  But for now, I want to share what my class has been doing in November.
First let's start with our November stained glass window art.
Fall leaves!
In case you don't remember me saying before, I got the idea from Maria Manore's blog, Kindercraze.  What a great idea and so easy!  I have an entire wall of windows, so I thought it would be fun to have the kids make different ones for each month of the school year and display them on our windows. 
Click here to see previous month's window art.
Veteran's Day
I love these cute Veteran's day craftivities I found from Miss Kindergarten.  Hers are always my favorite.  I love that I can work some thematic art and writing into my day. 
I love, love, love invented spelling and think it is the sweetest thing ever!
 Thank you for saving the day.

Thank you for keeping the world safe.
Sweet words from innocent hearts.  Love them!
We also started working on identifying and writing complete sentences.
 First we learned about the tools to construct a great sentence.
*Begin with a capital letter
*Leave finger spaces between each word
*Use correct punctuation at the end
I found the cutest construction worker clipart from Creative Clips.  And when I saw it, I knew that it would go perfectly with this set.
I also made some punctuation anchor charts to match.
Then we practiced.
A Lot!

My kids have done so well with this set.  Click here or on the picture to check it out.
Now let's get into some Thanksgiving activities.
We started off with a little I Spy - Thanksgiving Words.
I've LOVED making these I Spy sets.  It's a great opportunity for my kids to work independently on identifying letters, good handwriting, and seasonal vocabulary.
I did buy 6 jumbo magnifying glasses from Lakeshore at the beginning of the year.  So that may or may not have had anything to do with why I made these sets.  My kids had been eyeing them, so I figured I'd make them a fun paper to use them with.  One set quickly turned into 6, with more in the works.
What can I say, my kids love 'em.

I have no idea where this turkey pattern came from.  Probably left in a file from a teacher long ago.  But I love it, so I use it every year.

Love this next activity. 
I think I may have seen it on Pinterest but I'm not completely sure. 
I made a template to match whatever I originally saw.
We made these right after we read "A Plump and Perky Turkey."  I love that story!  If you haven't read it, you need to like now.  And this activity goes perfectly with it.

I made these Save a Turkey posters to go on our bulletin board.  I like to change my big bulletin board out each month.
So cute!
Next up is another Miss Kindergarten craftivitiy.  I told you I love these.
I let my kids pick which pie they wanted to make, apple or pumpkin.  Then they wrote 3 ingredients for their perfect pie. 
I love their answers...
 sugar, cream, powder
seeds, cream, crust
 apples, seeds, cream
 caramel, chocolate, ice cream
So precious!
They were so cute that I knew I had to display them as well.
So this happened...
This bulletin board looks like a hot mess! 
But I don't care.
Next up was the story of the First Thanksgiving.
I found this bracelet activity my very first year of teaching, nine years ago.  It came from a website that was my go-to website for fun seasonal, thematic, literacy, or math related activities.  Basically I stalked this website.  I haven't been to it in awhile, because I've printed out everything I want, but you should totally check it out.
Turns out the teacher who originally created it decided she was going to take it down.  A to Z Teacher Stuff stepped in and is now maintaining it.  Thank you! 
I guess they knew what an awesome resource this website was as well.
Click here to go to the main website.
Click here to check out the Thanksgiving story bracelets.  (You'll have to scroll down a bit but the content is still there.)

I just copied and pasted the content onto a word document and then printed it off so that I could keep it with my Thanksgiving activities.
I forgot to take pictures of how I prepared these bracelets.  Whoops!
I had a parent count out enough of each colored bead for an entire table, I have 5 kids at each table, and put the beads into a ziplock baggie.
Then when it was time to do our activity, I emptied each bag onto a paper plate and put a plate in the middle of each table.
We used black pipe-cleaners for the bracelets. 
I've done this activity for nine years and I've used plastic cord, yarn, and pipe-cleaners.  Pipe-cleaners are by far the easiest for little ones. 
They lay straight, hold the beads in place so they don't slide off onto the floor, can easily be snipped and twisted to make the shape of a bracelet, and are easy to take off.
The idea behind this is that each bead represents a part of the story of the first Thanksgiving.  We tell the story together as a class, while we build our bracelets.  Then I let the kids practice telling each other the story and challenge them to go home and use their bracelet to tell their parents the story of the first Thanksgiving.

We made these on Monday and most of my students wore theirs again on Tuesday.
My first year of teaching I had a little boy who still wore his in the spring.  I used yarn that year, so he was able to slip it on and off his wrist.
The story of the First Thanksgiving would not be complete without an actual feast.
This is an annual kindergarten event at my school.
The kindergarten teachers make the turkey and we send home requests for other Thanksgiving food items.  I may not be domestic in the kitchen, but after nine years of making a turkey in a crock-pot, I've got this down.  And it's really, really good, if I do say so myself.

A few days before our feast, I write Native American and Pilgrim on slips of paper and have the students choose a paper out of a cup.  Then I send home a note telling the parents which one their child picked.  I try to make the numbers even.
This year I have 20 kids, 10 are girls and 10 are boys.  So it worked out perfectly for the feast that I had 5 girl pilgrims, 5 boy pilgrims, 5 girl Native Americans, and 5 boy Native Americans.

 My Native Americans wore feather headbands.  Gotta love sentence strips, they are so multi-purpose.
One of my kids asked why Indians wore leaves. 
Cracked me up!
 These pilgrim girl hats are so easy to make from a long sheet of white construction paper.
And then pilgrim boys of course. 
We had a fabulous classroom feast.  I had awesome parent volunteers who made food and showed up to help. 
Thank you to all the parent volunteers.  This feast could not happen without them.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Now let the Christmas chaos begin!

Monday, November 3, 2014

What are we learning? - Fall 2014

I'm always curious to see what other kindergarten classes are learning about at any given time.  So I thought it would be fun to periodically post what my class has been learning.
Have you started using interactive journals?
I just started this year and my kids LOVE them!
They actually request math journal time.
So here are our math journals.
I bought these fun colored composition notebooks at Walmart back in July.  And of course I bought them the week before they went on sale. 

I decided we needed some fun labels for our journals. 
So, once again, using my fun clip art, I made some for our math and alphabet journals.
Then I printed them on shipping labels.  These are sheet sized sticker paper.

I cut them out, peeled off the paper backing, and stuck then on our journals.  So easy.
I'll post these as a freebie in my TpT store soon!

I bought some different math journal prompts, but then decided to just make my own so that I could make sure it covered our current standard.

I love these math journals.
They are great as a quick review of the previous day or as a quick assessment at the end of a lesson.  I also pulled them out during conferences in August to show parents their child's growth, or in some cases lack of growth.

These fun interactive ABC journals are from Cara Carroll's TpT store.  Click here to check them out.

These are also great for conferences.

Most people think we just learn about letters and numbers in kindergarten.  WRONG!
We do learn those, but we also learn so much more.
Like nouns.

Here we sorted nouns into different categories.  We did this whole group.

Then we practiced by coloring the different types of nouns with different colors.

Then we made a book about nouns.

We spent three weeks practicing nouns and my kids are still pointing out nouns all the time.
You can check out this nouns set here in my TpT store.
Or click the picture below.

We've also been working on composing and decomposing numbers.  I didn't spend much time on this skill last year, probably because I didn't really understand what it was.  Then I learned what an awesome skill it is to help students with number sense.  So this year, I made a very conscious effort to practice composing and decomposing numbers 1-10 as we learned each number.
I even taught composing and decomposing numbers to 10 using "Ten in the Bed" for my formal evaluation.  It was way fun!

This day we were working on decomposing the number six.
I put my kids into partner groups.  While one partner was counting out the manipulatives, the other partner was getting the recording page ready.
I forgot to take a picture of the recording page, but this is what it looked like.

I made several different versions of the workmats, but purposely used the version with the ten-frame at the bottom.  I wanted the student who was counting out the manipulatives to put them in the ten-frame, that way they could check to make sure they had the correct number and I could make a quick lap around the room and see that everyone had counted out the correct number as well.  It's a little difficult to practice decomposing the number 6 if you counted wrong and have 7 counters instead.

After counting out the manipulatives, Partner A would push some counters to one fishbowl and the rest to the other fishbowl.  Partner B would then record this on the recording page by drawing the correct number of counters in each bowl and labeling them with the numbers.
Then the partners switched roles and Partner B would show a different way to make the number six while Partner A recorded.

I did make cute little fish counters for this activity, but I just used the regular old foam counters in the beginning.  We used the fish counters later on once I knew they could be responsible for math  manipulatives.
This set is also available in my TpT store and includes lots of different workmats and counters.
Click the picture below to check it out.
Then we learned about verbs.  I used some of the noun sorting cards along with some new verb cards so we could sort.

Then we colored some more.  My kids love coloring.
Forgot to take pictures, but this was one of the pages we used.

We made another book, this time about Verbs.
We aren't finished yet, so I don't have pictures.  I'll post them when we finish.
Click the picture below to check out my Verbs set.

I would love to hear what your students are learning about!