Saturday, September 28, 2013

Five for Friday {September 27}

I'm a day late, but I'm linking up with Doodlebugs' Five for Friday to recap my week!

1. The story for my reading curriculum this week was Plaidypus Lost.  
You know how some books just grow on you over time?  This is one of those books for me.  I didn't love it when I first read it a few years ago, but I've grown to really enjoy this story, and the kids always love it.  The skill for this book was SEQUENCE, so completed this page from Kim Adsit's Reading is Fun comprehension pack together.  
This little one's drawings of Plaidypus were so sweet!

2. Literacy Stations are up and running!  I was anxious and feeling unprepared to start this week, but I knew it was time.  I thought that I'd have to take things really slowly and would pull my hair out for the first couple of days getting everyone used to it, but it actually went sooooo smoothly this week!  I remembered right away why I LOVE literacy stations so much.  Head back over to this post if you want to know how I run my lit stations.

3. The Young Fives/Kindergarten team for our district uses a program called Project 64 to focus on things like pencil grip, handwriting, following step-by-step directions, etc.  We use a box of 64 crayons and really celebrate the art of drawing!  It's so fun to see these ideas and skills spill over into their writing!  We are really talking about adding details and telling stories with our drawings right now, so focusing on the details of drawing during Project 64 ties in perfectly!  Check out these dogs we drew last week!  Adorable!

4. We are learning about our five senses in Science.  This week, we went for a walk outside and each student found a treasure to bring back inside with them.  We drew the items, then used magnifying glasses to look for details!

The kids were soooo excited when I introduced the magnifying glasses!  They were ooohing and aaahing.  It was hilarious!
 Science is so fun.  When we finished this page, each student ran back outside to put their "treasure" right back where they found it.  They loved this lesson!

5. We have about 10 minutes of quiet time every afternoon where I turn down the lights and play soft music.  The students can read a book, color a picture, or just rest quietly.  This little guy has fallen asleep a few times.  He is just so sweet wrapped up in his frog towel.  He's just a baby at 4 years old, and gets so sleepy!  I have let him stay sleeping a couple of times, and he'll sleep for over an hour!  Sweet boy!

Hoping I can rest up this weekend too.  YAY for weekends!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Do you BOOK-IT???

Hey there!  I feel like it's been a while!  I guess that's what happens when your camera battery dies and you can't find your charger!  I finally picked up a new one over the weekend, so I can take pictures and upload them to my computer again!  Yay!

It's so hard to believe that next week is October already!  One of the things that starts up for me in October is Book-It.  I used to set my students' reading goal as a certain number of minutes each month, but I happily changed my plan last year when my teaching partner suggested that the goal be a number of books read per month instead.  Can I tell you how much time I wasted totaling minutes read at the end of each month???  Seriously.  This is way better.

Since I switched so last-minute last year, I ended up using some old monthly reading logs that we had on hand.  
This is the one for October.

I'm not sure who made them or where they originally came from, and I'm sure they were made with loads of love back in the day so I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I just could not bring myself to copy these off and use them again this year.  It's like a slap in the face to cute fonts and clip art everywhere.

So I whipped up a new sheet and in case you are still looking for something to use for Book-It, I'd love to share it with you.  I bumped the goal up from 20 to 25 books read.  As the year goes on, that goal will increase.

I copied the pages back to back on bright orange paper and will send them home next week Tuesday, the first day of October.

CLICK HERE if you'd like to snag them for yourself!

Happy reading {and pizza eating} to all Book-It students!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five for Friday {September 13}

Happy Friday!

1. It was Brown Bear week for us!  So, so FUN!  I worked on and off all summer long on this Brown Bear pack, and I was excited to use it with my class.

Seeing as we are only in our second week of school, pretty much everything is still being done whole-group.  I introduced a couple of games whole-group this week, and then turned them into free-choice activities for the students to do on their own.  One of them was this Brown Bear graphing activity.  We used pocket dice.  I have a serious love of pocket dice!
We worked as a class to complete this graph.
That same afternoon, the students did the same activity independently.
Look at the sweetness of this boy's work.  Counting and recording the numbers just like we had done earlier.  Love it!

 2. Brown Bear patterns.  Again, done whole-group.  Everything is whole group.  Everything.  E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.  My voice is ready for a break!

3. We learned how to partner-read with a Brown Bear student reader.  Oh my, was this sweet!

4. Our first science unit covers the five senses.  Today, we investigated popcorn using each of our senses.  We learned how to be respectful as we investigate like real scientists!

5. I'm finally developing the photos I took of my class for the birthday board.  Each child has a photo like this (just got rid of the sweet face for the blog) that will get posted in the classroom.  They'll be up on Monday!
This is best pic I have of where the photos will be going.  The kids love seeing their photos up on the birthday board.

Happy, happy weekend to you!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday Morning Journals

One of my favorite take-aways from the "DI for the Little Guy" conference with Kim Adsit that I attended in the Spring was the idea of the Monday Morning Journal.  This is such a simple idea, but so great.  

Each student has a journal (mine are just spiral-bound notebooks), and each Monday morning we'll take time to write in them.  One page per week.  

I introduced these yesterday with my class.  They spread out around the room and then they worked quietly for FIFTEEN MINUTES.  On the 5th day of school.  I just turned on quiet music, set my most favorite time timer, and away they went.  There was very little talking, very few unfocused distractions, and a whole lot of writing.
 It's an absolute free-write.  Draw or write about any little thing your heart desires!  These will be awesome to show parents at parent-teacher conferences, or to document growth (or lack thereof) over time.  I used my date stamper to mark them with the date.

In our first Monday Morning Journal entries I saw familiar text, sound spelling, emerging writing...and everything in between!

I just know that this will be an awesome addition to my weekly plan this year.  I think it will be a time that my students will love, and it will be a great formative assessment for me.  Win-win! 

Do you do anything like this with your students? 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Five for Friday {September 6}

I'm happy to get back on the "Five for Friday" train this week!  

I had a great first week of school!  I am loving my sweet new crew of students.  Some of them DO make me a tad crazy during the day, but I keep reminding myself that by the end of the year I will wish I could hang onto them forever!  It ALWAYS happens that way!

1. Free Choice time is a very, very good thing the first week of Kindergarten.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It's awesome ALL YEAR LONG!  But, this week, we all NEEDED it.  By 2:00, my students and I were both ready for some down time.  
The first couple weeks of school, I run Free Choice time in stations that I organize.  Students rotate through the stations with their table groups.  Eventually, I will give up control and the kids will get to choose their own free choice activities.  We still have lots of expectations to cover before that happens!

 2. Speaking of expectations, don't you love when you're in the middle of something and all of a sudden it hits you that you haven't taught your expectations for that certain thing yet???  I had that this week with glue sticks. 
WAIT!  WAIT!  You don't have to twist the glue stick out this far to use it!
 And WAIT!!!  PLEASE don't put the cap back on it until you twist it down!!!
I was too late to save them all.  Glue stick mini-lesson in the plans for Monday morning.

3. We completed some activities from Growing Kinders' Backpack Boogie pack this week.  Cutting practice is a must at the start of the year.  Gotta spot those kiddies who hold the scissors wonky.
(This little guy is good to go, but I do have some who need some good practice.)
Oh my preciousness!

4. My OWN two kiddies both started school over the past week as well.  Both kids are LOVING their teachers and classes.  So fun!

5. My first week WAS great, but it DID include an unexpected phone call yesterday morning that my son had gotten sick at school (felt reeeeeeally bad for his sweet teacher with that one!).  SO...I had fun making sub plans for my fourth day of Kindergarten.  Why not??!?  Thinking about my students RIGHT NOW, and hoping that their day is going well!  I hope my guest teacher brought extra patience and energy along for her day today.  Fourth day of school kindies don't mess around.  Well, they do, actually.  You know what I mean.

ANYWAY...all in all, a good first week.  Back at it with a five-day week next week.  Pretty sure it will kick my butt, but bring it on!