Saturday, March 31, 2012

Literacy Stations for the Week of 4/2/12

Spring Break is coming to an official end - I'm doing school stuff again!  We didn't go anywhere, but I did have a nice break. (Sleeping to 7 or 8 is wonderful!)  And, thanks to a mild winter, the next two weeks are only four days long!  In light of that, this set of Literacy Stations will span the eight days - five days of stations work, and three days of something else (I'll keep you posted on the "something else").

Literacy Station.  I guess we should rename this station "Word Work" because that's really what the students do here - work on words!  In this activity they will use vowel cards to create words on these two-sided work mats.  They will then write the "real" words they make on the record sheet shown below.  (Thanks to one of my teaching partners for this activity!)

Reading Station.  Printed from The Mailbox's website, this work mat will be used as a group activity.  Students will take turns selecting a card, reading the word, and placing it onto the correct space.  Each student will write the word onto the record sheet shown below.  Once this is used as a group activity I plan to place it into a Skill Tub to be used as individual/partner practice.

Writing Station.  Our reading book's stories focus on ocean animals this week, and our writing lessons include using descriptive words.  Students will draw a detailed fish, and then write about it.
Listening Station.
 Math Literacy Station.  This is an activity from my Pots of Gold Skip Counting Freebie.  Students will select a number card and the designated number of coin cards.  Counting by fives they will determine how many coins there are in all, and write their findings on the record sheet.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Buggy about Insects!

Last week we studied bugs - insects, and NOT spiders, thank goodness!  Our reading series, Treasures, does a really good job of incorporating science themes into the weekly activities.  Kinders are naturally drawn to the creepy crawlies, so I planned a number of buggy activities to extend our learning.  In addition to the pictured items, we learned a chant to help us to remember the life cycle of a butterfly, and a little ditty to remember the body parts of an insect.

Life Cycle Chant

Eggs, larva, pupa, adult! (clap)

Repeat as desired.  :)

Buggy Body Parts

(Sung to Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes)

Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen,
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen,
Eyes, antennae, three pairs of legs,
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!

After singing the song several times and looking at pictures of real insects, the students drew and labeled their own insects.  I'm very impressed with their work!

Word Bug.  By listening and following directions my kiddos made these cute bugs.

We brainstormed -ug family words to write onto our bugs, but you could have your students write sight words, insect facts, a poem, etc. on them.  They really liked the hinged wings!
Egg, Larva, Pupa, Adult!  We made these lift the flap books to illustrate the life cycle of a butterfly.
Painted Ladies.  Well, almost...  My Kinders used a sponge painting & folding technique to create these beauties.  They were amazed at how the design appeared onto the other side when they folded the butterfly.  Tip:  to avoid muddy colored bugs, only use paint colors that make something nice  (I didn't put out any green paint).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Organization and Storage

I try - I really do! - to be organized. Here are a few pictures of my attempts at creating an organized classroom. If you have any ideas to share, please do! I would love to hear them.

I know - you've seen this picture before. But I love the way inexpensive dish tubs hold things. They are light weight and easy for Kinders to carry.
My side of the workroom. I share this workroom with one of my partners (our third partner is sadly down the hall and has her own work space.) Our Terrific Teaching Assistant uses the table and desks in the middle when working with students.
In a recent post I stated that I was at school until nearly 5:00 PM. I was organizing this corner. It's amazing how quickly stuff piles up. (Oops! I guess I didn't get everything - the green basket contains various parts and pieces. ...that's for another day.)
These file crates hold all of my file folder & envelope games as well as other things that will fit in a hanging file folder. I have them categorized by subject (Language and Math), then organized by skill.
My craft supply cabinet. One summer day I recruited my college aged daughter to make the labels for each bin. As you can see, I removed some bins in order to fit large items like construction paper.
The space above the cubbies holds tons of stuff! Most of the lower cabinets house my read aloud collection. The high cabinets contain seasonal items.
 Ziploc bags and organizational mainstay in my classroom.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reuse - Repurpose - Recycle

I am a firm believer in reusing, repurposing, and recycling whenever possible.  Not only does it help the environment, but it helps to stretch my teaching dollar!  I snapped a few pictures today of a few of my "RE's" to share.  If you have any interesting ways to "RE" something, please comment below.  I'd like to learn some other ways to use free or cheap stuff!

I admit it - I am a container junkie.  This cabinet holds a variety of containers: drink mix canisters, plastic bowls from noodle entrees, cups, coffee filters, and some little black foam plates that I have been using for years as "trays" to hold sequins, pompons, and other small craft supplies.

A wipes container makes a perfect paint brush holder.
My secret "hoard."  I purchase mushrooms every week and had always tossed the blue tubs into the recycling bin until one day I realized that they make wonderful little corrals for lots of materials.  (And the beauty of them is that if they get ruined I know that I will get a new one every week!)

A mushroom tub in use.  The blue rectangle beneath it is a piece of craft foam left over from a long-ago craft project.
If you know anyone with a baby ask her to save Gerber babyfood containers.  These little plastic boxes are good for many applications.  Here is the die from my Pots of Gold skip counting freebie.  I have also used these containers to "prepackage" small art supplies, and to dole out small manipulatives.  The lids snap on securely, so they are portable!
TV dinner trays make super sorting trays.  This bin is from my Math Center.

 This photo is elsewhere in my blog, but I thought I'd include it to show a use for the wonderfully versitile dish tub.
Glitter Station.  We use lots of glitter in our projects, and needed a way to keep it under control.  (After a particularly messy crafting session one of my students worried about what the custodian would think about the glitter on the floor.  Another student reassured her that our custodian might think that it was just another Christmas decoration!)  Anyway, a lid from copy paper box fitted with a large piece of construction paper makes a perfect glitter station.  The glitter is in a lunchbox apple sauce bowl.  Students place their project into the lid and glitter away.  Simply lift the paper out to funnel the excess glitter back into the cup

Cereal box template.
 These are the abacuses from my Skip Counting by twos activity.  I made them from the backing of a used up pad of chart paper.
Egg carton ten frames.  Simply cut off two egg cups to create a ten frame that can hold a multitude of objects. 

Lids, lids, lids!  So many lids and so many uses.  These "live' in our Math Center for counting and sorting, but they are frequently called to duty to hold wiggle eyes or other small items for craft projects.  They also are great for holding a dab of Tacky Glue or a smidge of paint.
Cheapo plates from Walmart.  (Four plates for 50 cents!)  The raised sides make perfect trays for keeping manipulatives in place.

 Another Walmart end-of-season find.  I have two wonderful Pencil Parents who sharpen pencils for us at home.  What a time saver!  Every Friday I trade out dull work-weary pencils for nice pointy ones.  Students are also able to swap out pencils when needed because we have them everywhere!
I have to give a nod to Dr. Jean for this one.  Repurpose page protectors into wearable signs.  Depending upon what you put into them, you can practice word families, numbers, etc.
Livestock water trough, cookie sheets, non-working fishing rod, and garage sale TV stand create a fun magnet center.
Such a lovely table!  This past summer when my daughter was moving into her new appartment at college someone was moving out across the hall.  He offered her this parson's desk.  She didn't want it, but figured I would.  My hubby sawed off the legs to make it kindergarten height, and PRESTO!  a table for our Discovery Center! 

Another lovely table.  It came from my parents' basement and is now used as a "Skill Spot."  The great thing about Kinders is the fact that they don't care what furnature looks like!  They are happy to have little spaces to work.

On the table pictured above are two more repurposed items - a little trash can (new) and some plastic popcorn containers that hold foam popcorn shaped sight word cards.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Literacy Stations for Next Week

Here are the up-coming Literacy Stations!

Reading Station.  One of my wonderful partners made this activity.  Students will select a card and read the sight word.  If it is read correctly, they place a counter onto a bowling pin.  "Wow" cards score two pins.  The first to cover his/her board wins.  Once the game has been played several times students will complete the balloon sight word page.

Literacy Station.  Students will use this Instant Learning Center from Lakeshore to practice beginning sounds.
This activity features self-correcting cards.
A page from Teacher's Helper will be completed upon completion of the activity.  I like students to do a related worksheet at each station to further practice the featured skill.  Additionally, these sheets help me to assess the understanding of the skill, and give parents a peek into what goes on during our Literacy Stations.
Writing Station.  Students will practice writing sentences by copying prewritten sentences onto lines paper.  They will use "Space Sticks" to help them to maintain proper spacing between words.
Math Literacy.  Students will play a game I found in an old first grade Mailbox.  This spinner game features identifying solid shapes and reading the words cone, cube, sphere, and cylinder.

 Students will complete this page after playing the solid shapes game.

Pot O' Gold Word Family Project

Today we made a Pot O' Gold Word Family project.  It was similar to our Pots of Gold skip counting "pots" in that they were glued onto lunch bags (what a wonderfully versitile product!).  I did use the coins from my math freebie.  I wanted everyone to have fifteen coins, and started cutting them out of yellow construction paper while my students were in the computer lab, but soon decided to simply run off the coin page and give them to my kiddos to color.  They were happy to do so (I have a group of artisits in my room!).
I used pots that I found in a Mailbox magazine some time ago.  I have created a freebie of a Pot O' Gold - click on the link below.

These are the coins from my Pots of Gold skip counting freebie.  The students colored the coins and wrote word family words on the back.  We had brainstormed lists of word family words and wrote them on the white board before beginning this activity.  Students were able to choose five words from each of the three word families onto the backs of their coins.

Reading word family words to a friend.

Fifteen coins with word family words. 

Students shared their words with friends - because we had lists with at least ten words each, everyone had a different collection of words to read.  They were excited read each others' words!
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