Thursday, February 12, 2015

Growing Readers

This is the time of year when Kinders tend to really blossom in their reading skills.  It's so exciting to see them with their cute little noses in books!  I usually have several kids following me around with a book that they want to read to me.  :-)

In order to best support student learning I am always thinking about ways to improve and add to our literacy block.  I am fortunate to have two amazing teaching partners ~ we collaborate and share ideas every day.  We all do Daily 5, which has been a great factor in helping our kiddos to become readers. "Read to Self" is such a powerful way for students to practice reading.  Here are a few pictures of some of my little readers.  They are free to choose where to sit ~ as long as they are able to read without getting (or being) distracted.

The little guy in the corner in the upper left picture really likes that cozy reading spot ~he goes there almost every day.  I was a little hesitant to bring in that blue chair ~ I thought there would be squabbles over who could sit in it, but to my delight the Kinders have been great about taking turns!

 More readers.  (I guess the kids in the lower right are reading to someone, not self.)

Another component of our literacy block is writing.  The Kinders in these pictures have chosen "Work on Writing" as their Daily 5 choice.  In addition to writing in their journals I have lots of writing activities and materials available in our Writing Station.  

My latest find is the WONDERFUL new reading program from the fabulous DeeDee Wills & Deanna Jump.  OMG!!!  I am sooooo excited about it!  As I mentioned earlier, I am always trying to improve upon what we do.  For the kids, but also for myself.  Our adopted reading series is so boring, and I found myself supplementing so much that I felt that I was writing my own curriculum.  Well, no more!  Thanks to the work of such talented ladies I now have a comprehensive reading program with trade books that make sense for the month in which they are taught. ( I could never understand why our reading series had My Garden  for the unit we do in late December/early January.  Yes, I know it is warm in some places in those months, but it is still winter...  Why not have a book like The Snowy Day?  Sorry about my little rant.)

Anyway, Guiding Readers is now available for January & February and contain everything you need to teach all the skills with quality trade books.  The units are full of easy prep lessons and materials.

One component I really like is the response to text writing.  Here are some pictures of some of my little cuties' writing in response to The Snowy Day.  (Hey, that's a great book for January!)

I copied the writing pages I wanted to do with my kids & stapled them into booklets.  By keeping the pages together the kids are able to go back and work on a a previous day's writing if they want to.  In this lesson we talked about visualizing as we read the book together.  They shared what they visualized with their partners, and then got their booklets and wrote about it.  This page not only helped my little students, but it served as a "light bulb moment" for me ~ as I was walking around conferring with my students, I came to the little girl who wrote the piece on the left.  I was about to ask her why she drew/wrote herself into the story.  Luckily, I caught myself.  She not only visualized what was happening in the story, she visualized herself into the story!  Pretty cool, huh?

This page is the writing activity that turned "DS" into a writer!  Really.  Up until we did this page, his writing went kind of like this:  scribble, scribble, bother the person near him, walk around looking for words (not ever really sure which words he wanted, but on a word hunt never-the-less), make funny noises, and say "I'm done!"  But, something clicked with this response to literature.  His paper is the one on the right.  

I like that this set has pages for opinion writing.  These kids made me proud ~ they didn't say they liked sunny days because they "like it."  

My little Cutie Pies.  Of course, no post on reading would be complete without some pictures of my darling granddaughters.  Eighteen month old Amelia loves to "read!"  (And she should, her mommy is author Emily Goodwin!)  Sisters, Olivia 2, and Isabella almost 5, share a book.  This was taken one morning after a snowy sleepover at Mimi & Papa's house.  I texted the picture to their kindergarten teacher mommy Sarah of Kinder Cakes ~ of course she loved seeing her girlies reading in the morning!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

100th Day 2015

We FINALLY got to have our 100th Day of Kindergarten.  It should have been last Wednesday, but with snow days, it was pushed to yesterday.  But, you guessed it ~ another snow day!

Snow Day!

My driveway & the street ~ not much difference!

We had two of our little sweeties stay with us over the weekend.  We built "Jeremy the Snowman" on Sunday.  By Monday he looked "a fright!"  Soon to be five Isabella said that he reminded her of the snowman in the book (Snowmen at Night).  Her mommy (daughter Sarah) is also a kindergarten teacher, so I was sure to text her ~ being the teacher nerds that we are, Isabella's text to self connection made us very excited!  We had an extra day of fun yesterday.  

Well, back to 100th Day...

100th Day shirts. 

100 cup structures.  Who knew red Solo cups could be so much fun empty?  ;-)

The kids had fun creating gumball machines with 100 gumballs!  

Counting 100 small items & 100 piece snack.

Writing their name as many times as possible in 100 seconds, writing 100 tally marks, creating books with 100 rubber stamp imprints, and doing 100 exercises.

It started snowing shortly after school let out.  The weather man predicted another 1 - 3 inches over night & maybe a little freezing rain mixed in...  
Crazy Indiana weather!  I'm so happy that we finally reached our 100th day of kindergarten!  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sequencing ~ How to Writing

Just in time for cold & flu season!  Before Christmas break my Kinders worked on sequencing ~ ordering cards, completing pages, and finally creating collaborative posters on How to Wash Your Hands.  Perfect for this germy time of year!

Here are some samples of the pages the kiddos did ~ there are two versions for differentiation. 
 I forgot to take pictures of the actual cards, so I just pasted on the images.

I always am amazed at how well Kinders can work collaboratively on a project.  It does take a bit of training, but they usually get really good at sharing materials and ideas.  This little trio had to work a little harder at dividing up the workload, but their poster turned out well.  

These girls used their sequencing pages as guides for their work.  The kids completed the pages during Writers' Workshop the day before creating their posters.  They worked independently to complete the pages, but did have time to share with their partners to be sure they had the pictures in the correct order.  

The Kinders love having lots of different spaces to work.  This little table is a cast-off my daughter found when moving into her college apartment.  She didn't want it, but knew I could use it in my classroom.  Hubby cut the legs to kindergarten table height for me.  It's been in lots of different places around my room & is getting a little wobbly. But, it should hold up for the rest of the year.  Once summer rolls around, I think I'll bring it home to shore up the legs and maybe give it a new coat of paint.  (I'm thinking pink or purple.)

Here are three examples of the completed posters.  We hung them by our sinks and in our classroom restroom.  Hopefully they will serve as a reminder to wash hands!  (Fingers crossed!)

If you would like to purchase this, please click HERE.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Baby it's Cold Outside!

It was just about one year ago that we were in the middle of the Polar Vortex.  I'm not sure what they call the crazy cold weather we're having now, but it is the perfect weather for a $1.00 Sale!  I'm joining some of my fellow Indiana blogger friends for our second dollar sale.  If you are going to be cold, you might as well grab some bargains.  :-)

Here is what you can get from my store for $1.00:

Click HERE to purchase.  ($3.00 savings!)

Click HERE to purchase.  ($5.00 savings!)

Click HERE to purchase.  ($5.00 savings!)

Click HERE to purchase.  ($5.00 savings!)

If you like these products, please be sure to check out my other items ~ everything else is on sale, too!  Kinder Doodles TpT store.

And, now for a little more savings:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Last Sale of 2014

Don't wait until the new year to get some bargains!  Check out this great sale ~ the last one of the year.

 My entire store is at least 20% off!
(Look around ~ there are a number of products with discounts more than 20%!)

One of the products on sale for 50% OFF is my new Penguins science & writing unit.  
Check it out HERE.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Christmas vacation is finally here!  YAY!  Last week was lots of fun, but it felt sooooo long!  We did lots of crafts and had fun going around the world to learn about how Christmas and other holidays are celebrated using Caitlin Clabby's fun Holidays Around the World.  The week ended with Polar Express Day ~ we watched the movie, wore PJs, and had a fun Christmas party.  Boy, was I ready for a break by the end of the week!

 Every class decorated their bulletin board like a different Christmas carol.  We did "Oh, Christmas Tree!"  We made the little trees and snowflakes in class.  The ornaments on the big tree were made at home.  I like to have the kids do an at-home family project ~ it's fun to see what they make!

We made frame-worthy art work for our parent gifts.  I like to have the kids make something from scratch (not a kit) whenever possible.  These pretty winter scenes took a few days to make.  First, they painted the background using a mix of blue & white paint.  Next, they traced and cut out trees.  Once the trees were in place, they used Q-tips to paint snowflakes.  Finally, silver glitter was glued in swirls to create frosty winter winds.  

Chippy the Elf watched over the class all December.  Here, he is sitting in a little sleigh that one of my students made for me.  The kids were amazed that the sleigh was in a different place that day!

 Craft Day with our third grade book buddies!  The Kinders had so much fun creating these cute reindeer with the big kids.  And, the big kids liked being able to help their little buddies.

Not exactly Christmas ~ but, getting six new tablets for our classroom certainly felt like Christmas!  Every kindergarten class in our district got six HP tablets for use in our classrooms!  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Black Friday ~ What's in Your Cart?

I don't know about you, but I have never gone shopping on Black Friday!  That's the day we put up our Christmas tree & start decorating.  But, with Thanksgiving being so late this year, we started decorating this weekend.  Our main tree isn't up yet, and only my kitchen bird tree is decorated.  With a good head start on my whole-house Christmas decor, I may just hit a store or two.  But, if I do decide to stay at home, I can still get some great deals ~ and so can you!  I'm joining a group of TpT sellers for a $1.00 Black Friday Sale.  (It goes live on Friday.)

Get ready for some great $1.00 Bargains!  

Click HERE for my Christmas Literacy Centers.

Click HERE for my Christmas Math Centers.

Click HERE for my Jolly Snowman Number Sense set.

Click HERE for my Hibernation Mini Unit.

Here is the link up to more savings: