Friday, March 18, 2016

Five for Friday ~ I'm on Spring Break!

I'm officially on spring break! Yay! We aren't going anywhere, but I'm looking forward to not having to get up at 5:25 for a week. We were so busy this past week with finishing up report cards, St Patrick's Day & our spring party.  A few years ago our PTO decided to run a day before spring break party instead of the Valentine's Day party. We teachers plan activities for Valentine's Day. It works out pretty well ~ the kids were pretty much checked out & a party was a fun way to end the week.

Here are a few pictures of my busy week for Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday link up.

1. Our day before spring break party was so cute! I have a great group of moms this year who have planned some really fun parties for the kids. This one was a camping theme ~ complete with a teepee, campfire, scavenger hunt, craft, and dirt cups!

 Singing around the campfire.

School-safe campfire! The fire ring is made from paper towel tubes strung together with yarn. So creative! The kids had fun gathering more tubes for firewood.

Nothing is more campy than a craft made from wood!

These little cuties are showing off their nifty necklaces.

The kids went on a scavenger hunt around the room. Of course, TP tube  binoculars helped them find the objects!

A teepee was set up for anyone who needed a little break from the camping fun.

The kids loved using hammers to crush Oreos into dirt! They topped chocolate pudding cups with their dirt & a couple of worms for a tasty treat.

2. We made these colorful rainbows by tearing paper & arranging them ROYGBV (no indigo paper). It took a while for the Kinders to tear their paper strips. I'm always surprised by the fact that so many kids have difficulty tearing. I guess I need to do more torn paper projects.  

They really turned out cute! A little glitter for gold adds just the right touch. I really like the little leprechaun that one little guy formed from paper scraps on the lower left picture. 

3. We did made these cute leprechauns using the directed drawing instructions from First Grade Blue Skies. My kids love to do directed drawings. They are always amazed at what they can create!

4. As you may know from earlier posts we use Guiding Readers by Deanna Jump & DeeDee Wills. This week we studied long e spelled ee & completed this page. One of my kinders wrote the sentence on the left. My granddaughter who is in kindergarten wrote the one on the left. (My daughter Sarah is her teacher & also uses Guiding Readers.)

5. March in Indiana comes in like a lion, and we hope will go out like a lamb. But, being in the Midwest sometimes March waddles like a penguin. (Fingers crossed that the little lambs will come frolicking along soon!)

Bonus item #6! Have you tried Face Swap on Snap Chat? It's fun, but a little unnerving. My daughter Sarah & I posed for this picture. Look at the photos of our real faces, can you tell which features were swapped? This swap is OK, but the one my husband and I did is downright frightening! It really confused my 2 & 3 year old granddaughters. (It's too creepy to share on social media. lol)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Five for Friday

I know it's Saturday, but I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her fun Five for Friday post. It's been a while, so I'm happy to be part of the fun. (even if I am a day late...)

1. Have you read this book? If so, you are one of many ~ this book has spent been on Amazon's top 100 list since mid February. The reason I have included it in my post is because Emily is my daughter! Yes! I'm the mother of an internationally best selling author! Emily's latest book made Amazon's top 100 list in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Pretty amazing for a girl who grew up playing Barbies & riding horses in Indiana. But, then I guess most authors had normal childhoods... If you haven't read this yet, click HERE to purchase it.

As Emily's book rose in its rankings I took screen shots. Check out some of her numbers ~ pretty awesome, don't you think?

I recently came across something Emily wrote in third grade. I  didn't realize back then that she would grow up to be "famous!"

2. My survival kit for tough days. Starbucks coffee in a well-loved cup, salted caramel chocolates form Albanese candy factory, strawberry eos, and doTerra essential oils. Most days in kindergarten are fun, but...  It's good to have these things handy. :-)

 3. My littlest granddaughter was recently baptized. Dear little Madelyn and her family.

 4. Cousins! My three older granddaughters: sisters Olivia & Isabella, and Amelia (Madelyn's big sis). We all get together every Friday for "Friday Night Craziness." These girls have so much fun together. Amelia was so funny ~ even after everyone changed into PJs she wanted to wear her ner BB8 bike helmet.

5. The Gruffalo. I bought this book today while at Barnes & Noble. I went to there to purchase books for a gift. Buuuut ~ being a serious picture book junkie I couldn't leave without getting something for myself. I'm a fan of this author/illustrator duo and needed (really, I did need it) this book for my collection. It's a cute story and I'm thinking of using it to create another close reading product. I recently posted about my first close reading experience ~ click HERE to read it.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Close Reading

I'm sure you have have heard of Close Reading ~ it's one of education's latest buzz words. You know how things tend to come and go in education... But, this is one that I think is worth hanging on to. Recently our building had some in-house PD on close reading. I was really interested in it because I knew a little bit about close reading, but wasn't completely sure of exactly what close reading was.

Our sessions included homework, or should I say "class work." The first week we used Oreo cookies as our first & second read ~ the students were first given a cookie to eat quickly and their thoughts & observations were recorded. They were then given a second Oreo and instructed to look, smell, and feel the cookies before eating them slowly. Their observations and comments included many more details than the first "reading."

This tasty lesson pretty much illustrates how close reading works: the first reading looks at the text on the surface, noticing things like characters, setting, and other key details. The second Oreo ~ or reading ~ digs a little deeper, noticing things such as vocabulary, the roles of author & illustrator, and genre. The third+ readings dig even deeper than before noticing how the illustrations relate to the text, making text to self connections, and making inferences.

Our next assignment was to teach a close reading lesson. After a little more research on just what close reading entails, I came up with some fun close reading lessons using The Sky is Falling! by Mark Teague. It was really fun & engaging ~ my little students enjoyed the process & I do believe that by reading closely they got to practice important comprehensions skills that will help them to become good readers. 

Click HERE to purchase.

After our first reading we named the characters. My set includes picture & header cards for making this chart. Once the kids named the characters (they were surprised that I had ready-made picture cards) and discussed traits. They did a pretty good job of naming traits, which we wrote onto sticky notes. We did this on Monday, and today (Thursday) I had a couple of cuties who were still thinking about traits ask me for some more notes so they could add to the chart.

Our second "Oreo" included picking out some interesting words from the text. The kids helped me to create this chart after discussing what the four vocabulary words meant.

After we discussed the words they got to choose two that they liked to complete this page. The page includes a sentence writing section. As you can see it required that they understand what the words mean.

I'll translate for any non-Kinder teachers who may be reading this post: "I am annoyed because people aren't being nice. I am curious to see what is in this box." I was pretty impressed by this one!

In our "second Oreo" reading we spent time working with some vocabulary words that just happened to appear in some of the books I read today. They were so excited when characters in today's book squawked!

For our third reading we looked at picture clues to see if we could figure out Fox's scheme. This book has wonderful illustrations that really lend itself to this activity well. I lead the class on a picture walk to look for evidence and then passed out pieces of paper so that the kids could draw some evidence. 

This one was done by one of my tier 3 kiddos! Even though he wasn't able to write about the evidence he was able to illustrate the clue where Fox uses a slingshot to launch the acorn that caused all the panic in the barnyard.

In this picture Fox is holding a menu.

Here Fox is holding a knife and fork (another example of a tier 3 kiddo).

"Evidins of Foxis sceem" Fox had a sling shot but Chicken Little was smart she kicked an apple on Fox's head.  OK ~ this little gem taught me that I shouldn't have pointed out Chicken Little knocking an apple out of the tree & onto Fox's head until after we write/draw about our evidence. Several kids wrote about that even though we discussed the clues that illustrated Fox's scheme. Oh, well, it still was fun! I have to say I'm a fan of close reading.

If you're interested in giving Close Reading a try please check out my product.  Click HERE to purchase it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dr. Seuss Week

Like most kindergarten classes we celebrates everyone's favorite doctor's birthday with a week of Seuss~tastic activities. I snapped a few pictures of our fun to share with you.

We began our week with the Cat. For fun we made these cute hats ~ a simple project, but the kids loved them. As I was stapling the bands onto them I had to laugh at the fact that little kids like to wear paper hats. This little troop took the craft a step further ~ they used scraps to fashion cat-like bow ties! The little guys on the right made tabs to hook their ties onto their shirts, the two on the left started to glue their ties onto their shirts. :-) I quickly gave them a piece of tape...

In the background you can see our hallway craft tree bedecked with some pretty awesome directed drawings of the Cat. I found the directions on Forever in First. The kids were so surprised at how much like the Cat their pictures turned out (for the most part). They are all so cute (I'm particularly fond of the last one).

There's a Wocket in my pocket, and a ____ in my ____. After reading the book my Kinders worked in pairs to create their own silly combo. Can you read the first one? If you hang around little kids long enough I'm sure you know that the Zore is in their drawer. The last one is a great illustration of the sweet innocence of littles.

Finally, we made these cute little Hortons The faces are painted paper plates (who doesn't love a good paper plate project), and the ears & trunk are printed on card stock. (This pattern was given to me & it has no markings as to who made it. Is it yours? If so, please comment so you can get credit for this fun craftivity.) I always seem to be drawn to the less than perfect creations, which is why I took a pic of the little guy with VERY close-set eyes.

Well, that's another Wacky Week for the books!
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