Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Schedule

Better late than never...  Right?  A reader recently asked if I had ever posted my daily schedule.  Well, I have certainly thought about it, but never got around to doing it.  So, here is my schedule for the next 27 days.

Our corporation is made up of three formerly separate K-12 schools.  Being small, we only have one set of buses per school, so everyone begins and ends their day at the same time.  Our elementary day is long, so we get two 20 minute recesses and two 30 minute specials daily.  This matrix is something I made using Word (this is actually a screen shot - I'm not sure why it's blue) and I fill out one for each day.  At the end of the day I pull out my lesson plan book and transfer everything into the appropriate spaces.  Doing this helps me to keep organized, and reminds me to get out needed materials before going home so I'm ready for the next day.  (This is also helpful in the event of an unplanned illness - sub plans are ready to go!)

 Students are held on the buses until all nine of them arrive so they all get to the classroom within an approximately five minute time frame.  I like this better than having the kids trickle in over a longer period in the morning.  My Kinders are pros at their morning routine - unpacking their backpacks, and getting started on their morning work, etc.  After the pledge, moment of silence, and attendance, we begin our day with a story.  This book is just for fun!  A few years ago I was lucky enough to get to see Lester Laminack at a workshop, and he made the comment that he wished every school day began with a story.  I loved that idea, and have begun my day with a story for the past several years.  

Our day continues to "Focus Wall" & "Calendar."  These are pretty much what they sound like - We review skills on the focus wall and do calendar math skills.  We also read and respond to the morning message (usually taken from our reading series).  The leader gets the first try at reading it, using as many practiced strategies as needed.  These days the leader can rea most - if not all - of the message without needed to us the strategy of "phoning a friend!"  The messages are usually questions that all 18 of the kiddos answer (in complete sentences).  Also included in this time are some exercises and a song or two.

This year my Literacy block was split into two by recess.  It actually worked out - twenty minutes outside or in the gym (luckily indoor recess is not in our classrooms!) is just enough of a break to keep them from getting burned out on literacy.  After recess, we do Literacy Stations, and then Skill Spots & small group lessons.  Because we've been trying out The Daily 5, we do a little read to self during that time after stations.  Specials & lunch rounds out our morning. 

After lunch we have "Developmental Centers" a time when they get to play in various areas of the room.  I frequently pull a small group to my table during this time.  Next comes Math, Skill Tubs, Writer's Workshop, recess, and our final special.  Whew!  It's a long day, but we do get a lot done! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I'm an Indiana Blogger!

I'm linking up with Fifth in the Middle for this blog by state linky. Go Hoosiers! (Well, actually, I should say Boiler Up! But, we Indiana folks are all called Hoosiers...)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five for Friday

Once again, I'm linking up with Doodles Bugs for a Five for Friday linky party.  

1.  Yay!  No school today!  (Don't get me wrong... I love kindergarten, but an extra day off now & then sure is nice.)  We had today off because it was one of our built-in snow days.  We only had one snow day - which was made up yesterday - so today was a day off!  The really nice thing about today was that it was really nice outside!  Not that I did any yard work or anything,  (Some of you may have read in earlier posts that I really dislike gardening:  too much dirt, too many weeds, far too many creepy crawlie critters, etc.)  I did, however, take advantage of the beautiful weather to try out my new running shoes.

2.  Yes, I now own some running shoes!  It wasn't really that long ago that I didn't own any athletic shoes of any sort.  When I taught preschool I subbed for the local elementary schools on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Once I got a call to fill in for a PE teacher, but had to turn down the opportunity because I didn't own gym shoes!  (I do, however, have a bunch of cute heels!)  Our school nurse has organized a 'couch to 5K" program for the staff.  Wish me luck!

3.  Here is my new Decomposing Dinos Number Sense game.  I made it to give my Kinders practice composing & decomposing numbers to 20 using five and ten frames.  We recently read If the Dinosaurs Came Back in our reading series, so I thought it would be fun to have a dinosaur game for our Math Station.  Of course, I had to give it a *clever* name.  (Feel free to groan!)
 PS  Be sure to have your kiddos roll a die on each turn or it will take forever to finish the game.  I forgot to mention this in the instructions.
4.  In addition to working on composing & decomposing numbers with five and ten frames, we spent time working with number bonds this week.  Here's a little freebie for you!

To help my Kinders understand "whole" we put students in Mrs. Teddy's class.  Part of them went to work with Mrs. L. and part of them went to work with Mrs. S.  This really happens - part of the kids leave to work with different people all throughout the day, but they are still included in our whole group.  We aren't done yet with the concept of part-part-whole, but they are understanding the concept!  What lil smarties I have!  :-)

5.  I just finished reading Bowled Over, a cute mystery in a new series.  The next two books I have in queue are Sleeping Arrangements  and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.  I'm not sure which to start.  I love both authors!  All three books are real books.  I have both the nook & Kindle apps on my ipad, and sometimes purchase books to "e-read."  But, my sister and I often trade books, so I am more inclined to select the real deal.  Which type of book do you prefer?

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Swimming with Number Sense

I do lots and lots of activities designed to help my Kinders to develop a strong sense of numbers.  One of the basic principles of Singapore math is to work with manipulatives, practicing skills until mastery.  My kiddos really love math!  In order to keep their interest and enthusiasm up, I like to create fun themed activities.  Here are some pics of one of my newest TpT offerings.

Under the Sea Number Sense Activities available on TpT

 After making five in different ways using counters (darn - I wish I had taken a picture...) the Kinders colored their fish and arranged them onto light blue paper to create a fish tank craft. 

I read Memoirs of a Goldfish earlier, inspiring many of the fish tank designs! 

 Seven seahorses swimming in the ocean.  Two are hiding behind seaweed, five are not hiding.  We had fun acting out number stories with paper seahorses & seaweed.

 Students worked in pairs to create seven in different ways using two sided foam counters on a work mat, and then recorded their combinations onto this number bond page.

  Octopus Eights.  An octopus is the perfect sea animal to use when making eight!  The cute sea creature clip art is from

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kinders Gone Buggy!

We had so much fun learning about bugs this past week.  We did a number of activities based upon The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  (Check out my activity set on TpT)  We read and retold the story, discussed reality & fantasy, compared this book to a nonfiction book about butterflies, learned about the life cycle of a butterfly, wrote about caterpillars, and made beautiful caterpillar and butterfly crafts.  Whew, that was a lot of activities based upon one book!  I'm not sure how many times I read it this week, but the Kinders enjoyed hearing the story every time!  Here are a few pictures of our week.

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Our hallway bulletin board is very busy!  Beautiful painted butterflies flutter above caterpillars, caterpillar writing, and labeled life cycle diagrams.

This next picture isn't a butterfly activity, but I wanted to include it in a buggy post.  I found this cute bug word wheel in a older issue of The Mailbox and wanted to make a record sheet to go with it.  Well, one thing lead to another, and I made a little -ug Family activity for TpT. 
Buggy for -ug Family words

How Many Ways Can You Make Ten?

Our corporation's math series is modeled on the Singapore method of teaching math.  I had never heard of "Singapore math" until we adopted this series two years ago, and I must say I am a fan of this methodology.  Lots & lots of hands-on practice with a variety of manipulatives really does help Kinders to learn and to understand math concepts.  This past week we worked very diligently on making ten in a variety of ways with... a variety of manipulatives.  Here are some pictures of my cuties hard at work.

In the top two photos the students used our trusty number bracelets, two-sided counters, and ten frames from Sparkle Box to make ten in different ways.  The pictures below show students counting on from a given number and hopping to ten.  Get this in my Buggy for Addition set.
 These pictures show Kinders using the bug jar work mat from Buggy for Addition and counters to make ten (some in the jar & some out of the jar).  They recorded their number bonds on this Number Jars freebie.

 Here they are using linking cubes on the caterpillar work mat from the Number Jars freebie and a number bond page from Building Number Sense to continue practicing making ten in different ways.

I'm so proud of my little kiddos!  They worked very hard all week long As a reward for their diligence, they got to enjoy playing a favorite game:  Seahorse vs. Fish WAR!
...Speaking of this game, I am linking up with Teaching Addict for their Ultimate Freebie Celebration.  I was tickled to see my little seahorse - fish game mentioned on their guest list page!

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