Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Substitute Time

It's Tuesday, and it's REALLY cold where I am this morning!  Thought for sure we would have a delay, but this is the second day in a row we've shown up on time for school!  Hopefully my littles all wear their winter jackets!

Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment, so I will have a substitute in my room.  Whenever I have a sub I like to leave some sort of writing prompt that the students can use to respond to a story as well as practice sounding out their responses.  For tomorrow I'm having my sub read one of Karma Wilson's books, Bear Snores On.  I LOVE the simple text and the awesome onomatopoeia that she uses.  Like most of my classroom books, I got my copy from Scholastic.  You probably already have this book, but just in case you don't here's the link to Amazon.

In my room we have been working really hard on learning the 5 Main Parts of a sentence, as stated through the 'Sentence FUNdamentals' program my district is using.  We have been working on making sure our sentences start with a capital, end with punctuation, have a noun and a verb, and make sense.  After listening to this story they are going to write about what they would do to try and wake up Bear.  They have to remember to have their sentence start with a capital letter, have punctuation at the end, contain a noun and a verb, and it must make sense.  They are going to work on this with the sub tomorrow, and we will discuss their writing when I come back on Thursday (I'll share some pics of my faves).  In case you ever need a super-quick and easy activity for a substitute, you can grab the simple writing prompt I made for my sub to use.

I hope this little freebie can come in handy for you!  Have a Terrific Tuesday!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

First Five-Day Week!

Happy Monday fellow bloggers and blog hoppers!  Today is the first day in two weeks that we have reported to school on time!!  Crazy weather we're having in my neck of the woods!  The forecast isn't calling for any more snow this week, so there is a chance that we will have our first five-day week since 2014 started!  I won't know how to act!!

In my district, we have started working with a program called 'Sentence FUNdamentals', where students learn about the 5 main parts of a sentence.  They are learning that all sentences must start with a capital letter, end with punctuation, contain a verb and a noun, and they have to make sense.  We have been working hard on learning about nouns and verbs.  The littles in my room seem to be understanding what a verb is more so than what a noun is.  We're doing a review today on verbs, and discussing how they are actions words, or words that we can DO.  We have been reading stories and identifying the verbs in them, and then showing those verbs using our bodies.  We have been reading stories all about the weather, and today we are reading the story Little Snowflake's BIG Adventure by Steve Metzger.  I got mine through Scholastic, but you can follow the link to Amazon.

We will be identifying the verbs in this story as we read it, and acting out the ones we can.  After reading, the students are going to work on a writing prompt where they have to write about an adventure they would take with the snowflake and they have to use a verb in their sentences.  Here's the writing prompt we're going to use, if you can use it please feel free to grab it!

I hope you all have a great week, and I'm gonna try to get used to being here for 5 whole days!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

What Crazy Weather We're Having!!

Happy Purple Friday everyone!!  In my little corner of the world, this week has been FULL of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.  Due to the weather, our district had three days off this week!  Yesterday was our first day back with a 2 hour delay, and today there is another 2 hour delay.  I love snow days as much as the next teacher, but I am ready for some warmer weather!!  Since our area has been a Winter Wonderland lately, and since we're very close to switching marking periods, my very Pinteresting team mate Heather found some awesome Center ideas themed around winter.  So for the next few weeks, until we switch themes, there will be some really cute and fun winter centers in my room.
  At the Sensory Table, my Pinteresting team mate found an awesome idea to fill it full of 'snow'.  More specifically, Diaper Snow!!
I bought some generic diapers (when did diapers get so expensive??) and then took about ten of them out of the package put them into a dish pan.
I filled the dish pan full of water and let the diapers soak for a while so they could absorb all the water.  Then, I used scissors to cut each one open and dump out the gel-like snow into the sensory table.
This is a very sensory-based activity, as the wet gel feels a lot like snow.  It kinda grossed me out a little bit when I was filling up the Sensory Table, which meant my littles would LOVE it! 
After I had emptied all of the diapers, I threw in some small toys and some cups and spoons.  So far, my kinders have been OBSESSED with the 'snow'...I haven't told them yet where it came from!!  Oh, and we did have to have a class chit-chat about how this isn't real snow so we DON'T eat it!!

Another center in my room that has been visited by Jack Frost is the Dramatic Play area.  Soon I'll turn it into a farm, but for now it has become a Winter Wonderland.  This was another awesome idea my Pinteresting team mate Heather found, that took a little prep work but the kiddos are IN LOVE!  First, I took a large piece of white bulletin board paper, cut it into fourths so it would fit in the laminator, then reassembled it when it was laminated.  I taped this down to the floor, and it became  an 'ice rink'.
The students take off their shoes and they can 'ice skate' in their socks.  It has been SO FUNNY to watch them 'skate' and then pretend to slip and fall, just like they would on a real ice rink! 

Next, I had our totally awesome Cafeteria Manager save me three boxes of varying sizes.  I covered the boxes with white bulletin board paper and made some pieces out of craft foam.  Using this, the students can build a snowman.
The foam pieces include an orange carrot nose, two black coal eyes, a red mouth, and three green buttons.  My team mate Heather used Velcro to attach her pieces to her snowman, but she said that the paper rips when trying to take the pieces off.  So I thought about it, and remembered I had some 'ticky-tack' (I don't know it's real name, but it's that sticky putty stuff that resembles gum), and if you look closely in this picture you can see the tiny blue-blob of it.  The students put the ticky-tack on the craft pieces and can then stick them on the snowman once they've built him, and then they can remove them easily for the next group.

By far the most favorite part of this center was definitely the easiest to make!
I crumpled up some of the extra white bulletin board into 'balls' and the students can use them to have a snowball fight.  This part of the center can be tricky to manage because they get SO EXCITED that they can migrate out of the center and all of a sudden there is an all-out snowball war going on in the classroom.  So we had to have a class chit-chat about the best way to have a snowball fight inside. 

Changing centers takes a lot of prep work and we spend a lot of time changing them around, but the students totally love getting to go somewhere new.  What are some Pinteresting ideas for center activities that you have found?  I would LOVE to hear about them (and probably copy some of them too!!)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Green School

It's finally Friday!!  Well, technically, my Friday was on Wednesday since we haven't had any students yesterday or today!  Yesterday was an AWESOME day that we got to spend planning with our teams and working in our classrooms to get stuff done.  How wonderful is that!!  Today is a day full of meetings, and there is NO SCHOOL on Monday for ANYONE!!  :-)

One of the meetings I will be attending today is for our Green School Committee, otherwise known as The Green Team.  We are trying to get our school to qualify for our state's BayWise Program.  Since we live so close to the Chesapeake Bay, many of our streams and waterways dump into the Bay.  So, we're trying to teach our students the importance of caring for our environment.  One of the ways we're doing that is by assigning each grade level environmentally friendly activities.  For example, in kindergarten we will be planting native Maryland trees (including an AWESOME butterfly bush), we will be building butterfly houses, hatching chickens from eggs in an incubator, participating with our first grade classes to identify the trees around our school for a Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt, and collecting Entenmann's Little Bites Pouches as part of their Tera Cycle Brigade.
All of our  students will be bringing in their pouches and our kindergartners will be responsible for the collection and counting of the pouches so that they can be sent out and our school will earn some money!!  I think my favorite part is going to be building butterfly houses for our butterfly bush.  We've never done that before!!
See how HUGE our butterfly bush got over the summer?!?!  It has been trimmed down and is in the process of regrowing, which has provided awesome lesson opportunities in our classrooms!

On a separate note, since we only had a three-day week for the students this week, my Art Center became a 'snowy field'.  How, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you!!  I took shaving cream and covered the entire Art Center table, and the littles were allowed to use their fingers to write any words they wanted to our to draw whatever pictures they wanted.  Bonus: it was a great way to get the table cleaned and the room smelled pretty good all week, too!
They had SO VERY MUCH FUN with this simple activity!!  Whelp, gotta get back to my meetings!  We have a three day weekend, so I wish you a very happy weekend for however long yours is!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So Many Snowmen!!

Happy Thursday!!  In my district we are approaching the end of the second marking period.  So today and tomorrow are Professional Development days.  We were given ALL DAY TODAY to work together on planning and getting things done in our rooms.  How often does that happen?!?!?!

Since we are in the season of winter, and in my area of the world we have a definite four seasons.  During winter we get lots of cold weather, snow, and ice.  We have had FIVE days of no school due to weather so far this winter, and we haven't even gotten to our snowiest month yet!!  Since there's been so much snow lately, that has been a huge topic of conversation in kindergarten.  SSOO, we are taking advantage of their interest and have been doing a lot of talking about snowmen.  We have been reading the books by Caralyn Buehner and the kiddos LOVE them!!  I'm sure you're familiar with her work!!  They just LOVE to look for Mr. Pickle Nose!!  Since we are learning about seasons in Science, we chose to read one of her newer books Snowmen All Year.  We discussed the different seasons and the activities you could do outside during that season.  After reading, the students were to choose a season and then write about an activity you could do outside during that season.

They were to draw a snowman on black construction paper using white crayons, and they were to use the regular colors to add details to their pictures.

Here's the bulletin board in the hallway that is displaying the work of my kiddos.

The students were to copy their season word and then stretchy-snake spell their outdoor activity.

It was neat to see the different seasons they chose as well as the activities they would do during that season.

We've been working REALLY HARD on sounding out our words and writing the sounds that we hear!

I LOVE all the details they used in their pictures!  How cool is this snowball fight during the winter!?!?

Last one!  This one is from my team mate Heather's class.  I just loved the swimming pool!!

If you'd like to complete this activity with your littles, I'm sharing the writing prompt that we used with this activity.  I hope your kiddos have as much fun with it as mine did!!

At the Art Center Table, my littles are working on using white paint and scraps of construction paper to create an abstract snowman.  We told them it didn't have to look exactly like a snowman and that they should just be as creative as possible.  They have been LOVING it, though I'm thinking part of that has to do with getting to use paint!

Here's the materials they were allowed to use to create their snowmen. (We're working on cleaning up the areas we are in before we leave them!)

Here are some of the finished snowmen that my littles have done.  I think they are SO SUPER CUTE!!

Finally, we have been using snowmen in our math activities.  My Pinteresting team mate Heather found the snowman art activity and the mat activity while surfing through Pinterest.  In math, we have been working on the terms 'greater than', 'less than', and 'equal to'.  The students were each given one 'snowball' (a white paper circle) for each letter of their first name.  They were to write each letter of their name on a snowball and then glue it down to make it a snowman.  Finally, they were to think of a math sentence that would compare their name to someone else in their group.  They could say their name had more, less, or an equal amount of letters as someone else in their group.
We used speech bubbles to write the comparing sentence (because they were small, I wrote the sentence for them).

This is one of the groups from Heather's class.  Apparently I wasn't listening very closely when she explained this activity because I missed the part where they were to use an extra circle as the snowman's head.  My kids have headless snowmen!!!

I hope you and your kiddos are enjoying the weather wherever you are! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Talk about long time no blog!!  I'm going to get better at posting on a more regular basis, honest I am!!  Our district had a two hour delay today due to fog, so I've got time to post!  We've had a lot of crazy weather in my area lately, and have missed a few days because of it!  I'm always as excited as the kids when school is canceled because of weather, but I'm never excited when it comes time to make up the days!!  So very much has happened in the last few weeks, I have so much to share!!

    Today's post will be about the activities we did to celebrate New Year's.  My totally awesome and amazing team mate Heather is an incredibly 'Pinteresting' person.  She finds the coolest ideas on Pinterest!  For New Year's, we tried one of the ideas she found.  I don't know where she originally saw the craft idea, so if it's your idea please let me know so I can give you credit for your awesomeness!!  The idea involved students creating a New Year's Resolution.  This is a very big word for our kinders, so in order to help them understand what it means to make a New Year's Resolution we read the book Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller.  I got my copy through Scholastic Book Clubs, but you can follow to pic to link up to the book in Amazon if you're interested!

We had the students choose a skin-tone color of paper to make their faces, and we told them if they couldn't find their skin-tone they should choose white paper and color it with the skin tone crayons.  They students added a party hat that they colored, and they wrote their resolution on a speech bubble that they added to their picture. Some of their resolutions were ones the characters in the book had (which happens a lot in my room!), but some students had some really cute ideas.  I have a few pictures to share of the work done by the three different kindergarten classes.
This is the hallway bulletin board display for my class (you can always tell my stuff 'cause of my Dr. Seuss obsession!!)  My class cut out a shape for their head and glued it down to a different sheet of paper.

Here's the hallway display for my Pinteresting team mate Heather.  Her class drew their faces on the construction paper.
This is the hallway display for my other awesome team mate Danielle.  Her class used LOTS of details in their pictures.  They even cut out their hair from different colored construction paper.  Isn't it interesting how three different teachers approach the same activity?

This is a close up of one of my little darlings.  My phone was shaky when I took this pic, but it says 'My New Year's resolution is to learn to split.'  We're working VERY HARD on sounding out our words and writing down the sounds that we hear!

One of Heather's littles.  How much do you LOVE those lips?!?!  Her's says 'My New Year's Resolution is to eat healthy foods.' Not a bad idea!!

A close-up of one of Danielle's muffins.  Love the details with the earrings and make up!  Her's reads 'My New Year's Resolution is to help my sister Aree with her homework.'  What a great resolution!!

We've been having so much fun in Room 130, and I can't wait to tell you more about the things we've done!  Check back tomorrow to grab a freebie!!