Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Look Ahead...

Happy Tuesday!!  I hope your day is a terrific one!  Have you started the count-down to the end of the year yet??  I know I have!  There are 14 more days until the last day of school in my district, thanks to all of the snow days we had this year.  Our student's last day of school is June 13th, and teacher's last day is June 16th.  As crazy as it sounds (and yes, it is a bit crazy), I have already started thinking about things I want to do next year.  I have drawn out a map of how I want to rearrange my room next year, and have started thinking of activities I can do in the beginning of the year with my littles.  I know that this year isn't over yet, but I also know that if I post about what I want to do next year then I am holding myself accountable for actually doing it!!  Once I have things implemented next year, I'll be posting about how it actually went compared to how I envision it working out.  :-)

  This is the first year I have done the Daily 5 and my kinders LOVED it!  I started later in the year and have been taking many notes for how I want to do things differently next year.  I have been thinking of new ways to organize supplies, activities for my kinders to do with their 5th Grade Buddies, and how to do the Daily 3 for math.  I have been making TONS of lists and trying to keep track of all my ideas...I need to come up with some sort of system for all those notes.  But that's a post for another day!

  One of the things I want to do differently next year is to kick off the Daily 5 (and the Daily 3 in math) during the first full week of school.  This means I will need simple yet engaging activities to provide during their rotations.  I don't know about you all, but the first six weeks or so in kindergarten are a bit of a blur for me.  So much time spent on setting up routines, rules, and procedures and lots of modeling and practice.  I tend to forget sometimes that I ended the year with littles ready for 1st grade and now I'm back at square one again!!  :-)  Part of our Daily routines will be having them work independently while I am working with a group.  Since many of them are still learning what it's like to be at school all day, the activities I provide in the beginning of the year are simple ones that do not require much direct supervision.  This is a PERFECT time to use some of my 'Color Your Own Match-Up' activities.  I'll let you in on a little secret about me...I am OBSESSED with all things Crayola!  I found these little gems on clearance at Wally World and HAD to have them.  To justify the expense (though they were a STEAL at $5 a piece!!) I created a whole slew of activities where I would get to use my little treasures when I made the samples.  :-)

  During our Daily 5 rotations in language arts, I will be having my students create and use various puzzle-piece matching activities.  Everyone will start with the Beginning Sound Match Up pieces and move on to the Rhyming Words Match Up pieces as they are ready.
For the Beginning Sound activity, there are two puzzle pieces per letter.  One half has the upper-case letter and the matching half has a picture of something that begins with that letter. 
  Students would start out by coloring their pieces during Word Work time.  It seems that, inevitably, every year I will have a few students who only care about being the first ones done.  This means they will often rush through assignments, especially coloring things.  They have a tendency to color every picture the same scribbly blob, sometimes so you can no longer tell what they were originally trying to color.  Next year I am going to try and encourage ALL of them to take their time and do their best work, and I have sketched out a few ideas to help with this.  First I will show them the pieces I colored and discuss with them their opinions and thoughts.  We'll work together to create a class web about 'What Good Illustrators Do" and refer back to it throughout the first few weeks of school.  There will be a coloring contest where my kinders get their work judged by their 5th Grade Buddies.  So many ideas came from just one little activity!!

  I colored a sample set of all of the pieces in this activity and then took pictures of the pages so I could project them up onto the SMART Board.  I want to have a whole group discussion on their honest opinions of the pages I colored.

  I'll ask them if it looks like I took my time and tried my best to stay in the lines.  Someone almost always points out the times I wasn't able to stay in the lines, so we talk about if that's okay or not.  On the SMART Board, I show them examples of trying to stay in the lines compared to ones where there was nothing but scribble-scrabble and they discuss which ones they like better and why.

I point out how I tested each color before I used it so that I would know if I really wanted to use that color or not in my picture.  I explained to them that testing out the colors first helped minimize my mistakes.  We talk about where a good spot to test a color would be, like 'empty white space' on the front of the page, or anywhere on the back of the page.

I show them that I did not use just one color in my pictures, and that I tried to be as creative as possible.  We talk about how the artist of the clip art has provided us with a blank canvas, and challenge each other to try something original and use as many colors in one picture as possible.

Most of the students will say that they want to take their time and do the best coloring they can, and it is always interesting to see the different color combinations and designs they come up with.

I wanted to make this activity available before summer break started, so that you could have time over the summer to color your own.  I will be coloring another set myself, since my darling furbaby Isis knocked over a glass of soda onto the set you see in these pictures.  Her tail is a dangerous thing, and my nephew refers to it as 'a weapon of mass destruction!'.  It's a good thing I enjoy coloring!!  :-)


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