Sunday, October 11, 2015

Playing with Shapes

As any early childhood educator knows kids learn best through play. This was proven recently by my class as we were learning about shapes. In addition to our "regular" lessons on shapes my Kinders had lots of hands-on experiences with shapes. The materials were introduced during whole group lessons, but then were placed in our "math baskets" for lots of exploritory play.

Super cheap coffee stirrers are perfect for making shapes with sides & corners. I cut some in half so the kids could make rectangles & various sizes of squares during this whole group lesson.

In another whole group lesson we added some Wikki Stix to create shapes with curves, shapes with straight lines, and shapes with curves & straight lines. 

Once this little guy discovered that the Wikki Stix fit into the ends of the coffee stirrers we had all sorts of interesting shapes. After we were done with this lesson I put everything into a basket & the kids had fun playing with them during our free play times.

We started learning the names & properties of solid shapes as a whole group. But, the fun began once I put the shapes into a math basket. That's when the kids really learned which shapes can roll or can be stacked. They also compared & matched faces while building some pretty interesting structures.

The cool outcome of all this play is that when I tested my kiddos everyone was able to name the flat shapes & nearly everyone was able to name the solid shapes! Even those who couldn't remember the names of the solid shapes could tell me why some could roll & others couldn't & the names of the faces. CCSS standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.G.B.4 Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes ~ check!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Five for Friday


Happy Friday!  This week just flew by! We were super busy with lots of fun and learning. I'm happy that I am linking up once again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's Five for Friday.

 OK, I know this has nothing to do with school, but I wanted to share the mimosa bar we had at my daughter's bridal shower. I made the sign using the Designer's Calender Cricut cartridge and fancy scrapbook paper. It's hanging from gold ribbon with tiny gold clothespins I found at Michaels. I found the juice bottles in the Dollar Spot at Target. 

Inquiry based play starring my darling granddaughters. I have always been a big proponent of open-ended play. It is so fun watching my little cuties explore and use their imaginations.

Amelia is fascinated with the seashells sent by my niece who lives on Virginia Beach. 

Olivia is delighted by the color exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. I have loved that museum since I was a child, had fun visiting with my daughters, and am so excited to be able to share it with my grandchildren. If you are ever in Chicago you need to go there.

Isabella had fun moving magnetic shapes in this hands-on exhibit.

Monarch butterflies! Our county Agriculture vocational program is housed on our campus, and the Ag students do several program for the Kinders throughout the year. In the fall we get to learn about Monarch butterflies in the courtyard. This brave little guy let one walk on his hand before being released. 

 Busy Builders. I have a class of builders this year! We are fortunate to be allowed time for play. During our 20 minutes of free play at the end of the day the Kinders get to use their imaginations ~ no technology allowed! We use the tablets & computers for learning, but not for play. I figure the kids probably get more than enough screen time at home, so I want to give them the opportunity to play with things that run on kid power, not battery power.

This is a pretty impressive structure! I love his proud smile.

This little guy is an airplane builder. He and another little boy make a fleet of planes from these interlocking toys. Once created, they fly all around the classroom.

Building & sorting. 

These girls were having fun with Duplo. 

I traced the kids' hands & asked my teaching assistant to cut them out for the trunks of these cute trees so they sould be true representations of their little hands. The kids cut the green leaves & used their fingers to paint the apples. 

I love my teaching partner despite the fact that she has a big red bird on her shirt.  Go Cubbies!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Five for Friday

It has been sooooo long since I have linked up with Doodle Bugs for a Five for Friday. I really neglected my little blog last year, hopefully I can do a better job this year. :-)


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On Monday morning my phone rang at 5:30 (after I was in the shower of course) informing me of a 2 hour fog delay. (We get them a lot in our rural area,) It was really foggy, but because I live just a few minutes away from the school I decided to go in early to get some work done before the kids came in at 9:35. At 8:05 my cell rang ~ I was horrified to see the caller ID read our central office's number. School was cancelled! On the EIGHTH day of school! We already had a make-up day before some places even started school! But, as you can see by the pictures just outside my classroom the fog never lifted enough to make travel safe in time for the day to count. It really didn't clear up until after 10:00. (Bye bye Friday of Presidents' Day Weekend...)

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I am fortunate to teach in a school where the administration understands the importance of play. We have 20 minutes of unstructured play every day! Here are a few pictures that I took today.

These little guys have been working on perfecting a block ramp for cars all week. Every day it's a little different as they try to figure out how to get the cars to run the length of their race track.

More constructive play ~ domino structures, play doh, and linking "things" (I don't know what they are called...)

Pretend play ~ fishing, farm, and restaurant. The little girls are using books from the library as cookbooks. (Get the number formation posters in the fishing picture HERE.)

Get this free poster HERE to hang in your room to show your support for the importance of play. (Hey ~ if Albet Einstien supported play, then so should school administrators!)

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This past summer I decided that I wanted a low table so the kids could sit on the floor to work. I found this gem for $5.00! The kids love it. It's a popular writing space, and often during our "Book Time" (which is time for enjoying books with friends, not quiet Read to Self) I find 2 or 3 little boys under it with the Spiderman book!

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Yay! My first Donors Choose project was funded! Thanks to an anonymous donor I now have two great iPod Touches for our Listening Center. It's going to take some time to load all of my CDs onto iTunes, but so far I have nine titles with cover pictures I found on Amazon. I'm so excited for this new addition to my classroom.

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We made these cute wormy apples this week to hang on this AMAZING tree that our creativly talented kindergarten teaching assistant made for the wall just outside my classroom. It's hot glued to the wall so it should stay up for a long time. It will be so much fun to decorate for the different seasons! (I'm thinking it will turn into an oak for October, and some sort of flowering tree come spring.)

Now it's your turn to share Five for Friday! Have a great Labor Day Weekend! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reading Buddies

Today was our first time meeting with our third grade reading buddies. The Kinders were sooo excited! Our three third grade classes have been pairing up with one of our three kindergarten classes for the past few years to share books and fun. In addition to reading, we get together with our buddies to do crafts, share snacks, and enjoy each other's company.

It is a great way for the third graders to practice their fluency while they are serving as role models for the little ones. There is always a number of my former Kinders amongst our buddies. I love to see how much they have grown ~ it's especially exciting to hear some of my former struggling readers reading to my current students. And, as the year progresses it is so wonderful to see the excitement of my little kiddos as they read to their third grade buddies!

The Reading Buddies idea has caught on school-wide: first & fourth pair up, as do second & fifth. The kids love it! Here are a few pictures of our first Buddy Day.

Reading Buddy Time gives all levels of readers an opportunity to practice their reading & listening skills. I love to see the happy interactions between the big & little kids.

  A sweet big brother ~ little sister duo. 

Another sibling match-up. I had big brother and find myself calling my current little guy his brother's name. If they weren't different ages you would swear they were twins!

A couple more pictures of some cuties reading.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Classroom Reveal 2015

School started last Wednesday, so I'm a little bit late with my classroom reveal. But, I was So. Tired. last week. (You know ~ there is no tired like the first day of school tired!)

I made a few changes in my room, and am pretty happy with the results.

Meet the Teacher Night was last Monday. I had a great turnout ~ everyone showed up!

Pictures of my little cuties will hang from the little birds on our hallway bulletin board.

I have all round tables this year! Fifth grade took our clunky trapezoid tables. The rounds make my room seem bigger. (I did hang on to two trapezoids for centers.)

My Writing Station with bins lined up at the ready to collect supplies on Meet the Teacher Night.

Our desktop computers are gone ~ we are getting laptops. I kept the computer tables to create a bigger Word Work Station. The bottom picture looks across to my half circle table.

Looking across one of the trapezoids in the Math Station to our Focus Wall. We put card stock on our supply list. That table was COVERED with it Monday night! 

New additions: Check In Board & flower lanterns.

Also new is my fun Leader banner. It's hung from ribbon with tiny clothespins I found at Michaels. The leader changes daily ~ this person gets to do all of the classroom jobs for the day.

Trapezoid #2 is one of our Listening Stations. I am so excited to add two new iPod Touches to our Listening Library thanks to Donors Choose!

I stood in our Library to take this picture.

Looking at the Library from my half circle table. I love the roominess of the seating area with the round tables! There is even plenty of space on the floor in front of the white board for Go Noodle!

I need to remind myself how nice & neat my desk once was as the year goes by!

I made the read banner for the library with some of the same paper from the hallway banner (Leader banner, too).

So far no problems with the blue chair!

I love how bright & cheery my classroom turned out this year!

My little white table got a facelift from a can of teal spraypaint. 

I set out to find a table for $5.00 this summer & I did! I had originally thought that it would be a coffee table, but I lucked out when I stopped by a retired teacher's garage sale. I couldn't believe it when I spotted the tag on this table ~ $5.00! The pink pillow cost more than that at Dollar General!

There is plenty of space at the Magnet Center now that we have round desks. Clipboards under the little desk in the right pictures let the kids work in various places around the room. A friend gave me the alphabet rug for my Cubby Area. I had an old (I mean old) rug there before. It was in pretty bad shape, so I was very happy to get this new one for the space. The kids play with blocks in here, so a rug is a necessity. The colorful bins are their Book Bins for Read to Self. We will begin using them this week!  

Thanks for visiting. I hope you have a great school year!