Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ladybug Addition and Word Building

Happy Wednesday! Hope your week is going well so far. We have had a great week and we are sooooo excited about our student teacher starting TOMORROW! Yay!! This week we have been reading some Eric Carle books and moving onto some additional springtime fun activities. Our new reading series (Houghton-Mifflin) unit includes a big book on beetles. My boys LOVED this book! So, since I was planning on working with Eric Carle books a bit we tended to focus on ladybugs and The Grouchy Ladybug more than any other of his books.  If you've never read The Very Lazy Ladybug it's a great book to compare and contrast to the Grouchy Ladybug.

Here's a sampling of some of our ladybug and Eric Carle center activities this week. We are not quite finished with our writing center project, but so far I am loving it! I will be sharing those soon....they are so funny. 

For our abc/word center we are playing a word building game.  Each player chooses a vowel (red card) that they keep the entire game.  They draw two consonant letters from the cup (black cards) and try to build a word. If they can build a real word they are able to take a ladybug card from the stack. If they build a nonsense ladybug card. Whoever has the most ladybug cards when the cup is empty wins!

Our math center also had a new ladybug activity


Here's an example from my class, however I had some extra recording sheets from a previous year that we are using up. I updated the form for the link above.

My kids seem to love putting sentence cards and sentence strips together. In our chart and big book center they are making their own sentence chart using word cards related to Eric Carle's characters. There are also some of our popcorn word cards for them to choose from.
At the end of The Grouchy Ladybug story the fireflies come out to play! This seems to be one of my class' favorite parts! Today we read The Very Lonely Firefly and I put the book in our art center. I'm sharing some of the wonderful firefly works of art that were created today!

Well I hope you have enjoyed our ladybug and Eric Carle projects! On another note, I pinned the "meatball and spaghetti - leaving spaces in writing" chart that I posted about earlier this week. When I checked earlier today it had 444 repins! Wow! This blog has also had some new readers/followers.  How exciting! Thank you for reading, commenting and makes writing the blog even more fun!

                                                                                    Mrs. M

Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm getting a student teacher!

Here we are! Twelve years later!
I love Spring! Our weather has been beautiful and it's making all of the Springtime classroom activities even more enjoyable. But what I am really excited about is that I have a student teacher starting later this week!  I have had some wonderful student teachers and I always really look forward to the experience. I had such a great student teaching experience and want to be able to help someone else have this as well. I was fortunate to work with my very first student teacher twelve years ago (can't believe it's been that long!) Mrs. B and I had so much fun together that it was difficult to remember that she was still a student! We've been teaching together now for eleven years and really enjoy sharing ideas with each other.  The kids seem to confuse us all of the time even though I am way taller than her! Your can check out the link to her classroom website on margin of my blog. She recently included a page just for teachers!

I wanted to post about a few Spring time activities happening in my room and also share an anchor chart that has been very helpful with my kids lately.  My students' writing is really flourishing! They are adding lots of details to their writing and their spelling is really improving. One thing we are having difficulty with is LEAVING SPACES! Ugh! They are leaving little spaces between their words and thinking it is enough. However their words are still smooshed together. So, we've been discussing "spaghetti and meatball" spaces. I'm not sure where I got this idea but I've been using it for a while now.  The "spaghetti" spaces are the little space between letters in a word  and the "meatball" spaces are those between words in a sentence.  As we have writing conferences and sharing time they are beginning to remind each other to leave their "meatball" spaces between words!

Pinned Image

We finally got around to planting our seeds last week! I'm a little behind everyone else. Mine may not be going home on Mother's Day but they will be beautiful by the end of the year.  I started by reading Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed. We are moving on to some other Eric Carle projects this week so it was great timing.  We also borrowed some extra marigold seed pods from Mrs. B's garden to observe in our science center. They loved opening the pods and seeing the same seeds on the inside as those that came out of the pouches from Wal-Mart! In fact some some of them were quite astonished that they were the same.
In the science center they also completed a cut -n- paste on plant needs.

Here is one sample from our writing center "must do's " on planting seeds.

   We will be observing our seeds in our plant journals each week as part of our literacy center rotations. You can click on the link to see the entire journal.

                   Well we finished the planting! Now the waiting begins...we can't wait to see our flowers!

Make sure to check out the "It's a Spring Thing" linky party at Mrs. Lirette"s Learning Detectives.
Lots of great ideas to help you with your spring planning!

Have a great week!

           Mrs. M

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dragon Tales and Some Sight Word Fun

My student's interest in outer space and castles has continued even thought we've moved on to other topics during our reading activities. I love the art project pictured above! It's an alien and her pet dragon! Yes we LOVE dragons in my room! Since the interest was obviously not going to go drift away I decided to let them have some fun with a dragon writing project.  Our school has an annual "Dragon Parade" where our second grade students make very elaborate dragons and parade with them through the school.  My kids were in awe of the dragons! I had each of them create their own dragon with construction paper before we even discussed writing about them.  The dragons hung out in our art center looking very scary for a couple of days! Then we began discussing "What do good writers do?", by using this anchor chart.
I LOVE anchor charts and always seem to be making new ones. After some pre-writing in our journals they were ready to begin their dragon stories. I think they turned out great!
"I like when dragons play boxing. Wish me luck!"
"If I had a dragon we would play outside. But when he blows fire at me it is really hot. But then he got muddy. We had to take a bath. He blew fire at me. I had to go to the hospital."
"My dragon can blow fire. And he can play dead."

Now onto a little sight word fun! I'm joining the sight word linky party on Wolfelicious!                       

I happen to love working with sight words with my kiddos and I'm always on the lookout for new activities to help them learn their popcorn words easily.  In an earlier post I blogged about my word wall evolution and this included my popcorn word wall.  

But of course there is more to teaching sight words than just putting them up on a wall. Here is an activity I've planned for my word center next week. Yes, I did just post a math activity using these same egg cut outs! I have oodles of them and am trying to find new ways to use them.   For this activity I wrote a popcorn word on the front but left out a vowel. The idea is to match the egg with the correct vowel to the word. The students can self check their work by looking on the inside of the egg where I have the vowel written.

Today I worked with a small group on this next activity and it will be added to our word center next week.
Although this is a store bought puzzle activity you could easily make your own pieces.  I asked the group to make the sentence "Come play at the park." With the exception of park these are all sight words for us.  After they formed the sentence we discussed sentence structure and why they used the come piece with the capital letter and which the  piece should they have used. Some wanted to use the question mark and then they agreed this really wasn't a question.
To extend this activity I asked them to add two new sight words to the sentence. This is what they came up with!

Happy almost Friday! This weekend we are off to Mizzou  with my ten year old for the state youth wrestling finals! We are sooo excited and are keeping are fingers crossed that he does well.  After that I have some exciting things happening in my room next week! I can't wait for the fun to begin! Have a great weekend......
                                                                                           Mrs. M

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Time Math Fun!

My favorite subject to actually teach and work on with Kindergarten kids is WRITING!! However, with changes due to the Common Core I'm finding myself focusing more on MATH. I'm loving love2learn2day and the Math Monday Blog Hop! .  I've linked a couple of my own math activities and I love looking for new ideas each week! 

Along with my literacy centers I'm trying to focus more on math centers and small guided math groups this year.  It's had it's ups and downs depending on the time of the year, but overall my kiddos LOVE their math partner center time. I love that I can focus on the math skills that individual students need to have extra practice with! I just wanted to share one of our anchor charts that I use for voice levels during our literacy and math center times. 
We use hand motions to indicate a BIG outside voice, a not so big center time voice, a whisper ABC/123 (literacy and math centers) voice and a hallway/listening time voice.  Before starting our literacy &/or math centers we review with the hand measurements how loud we should be.  If I have to give any reminders during the center time I ask them to self check and show me with their gestures how loud they think they are and how loud they think they should be.  

Here is a sampling of some of this week's math centers. I do have the kids repeat some of the games for a couple of weeks in addition to adding new seasonal or thematic activities each week.

"Fact family eggs" is our matching game that allows the kids to self check their answers. They read the equation first and try to put it with the correct numbered egg. Then they can look on the inside to see if their equation is listed. I also put spring stickers on the back of each egg to show each equation. The one above shows 1 + 4 = 5.

I'm sure you've seen many different variations on this activity before, but here is my take on it.  I have numbered stickers on the bottom of the egg carton and the students shake the egg carton with two beads ("eggs") inside. The students record the numbers that the two beads land on and then use the extra beads as manipulatives to help them solve the equation. Here is a link to my recording sheet. I still can't seem to get this Scribd thing figured out yet! Uugh!

It's the first day of Spring and we began our Spring addition flowers! The kids choose 10 petals in two different colors. They number each set separately and glue them onto the center of their flower. Finally they write their equation for the two different colored petals.  (4 purple + 6 orange petals = 10 petals.)  Viola! Spring flowers to brighten our room!

Lego math! I saw something similar to this on Pinterest! Love Pinterest! Anyway, these are legos from my light table in our math area. The large circles are misleading in this photo because they are on the bottom of the lego. We only used the raised circles on top of the lego for our equations. Below you can see one of our recording sheets from this activity.

Hope you can find something you can use! Thanks for stopping by...have a great rest of your week!
                                                                               Mrs. M

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Castle Project

March is flying by in my classroom! I wanted to squeeze in some of my castle/dragon unit activities before I started SPRING (can't wait!) activities in my centers.  The castle theme is not a huge unit that I spend a lot of time on, but the kids really do enjoy it! As with most units I begin by reading a book on the topic. Usually our next step is to create a thematic word list for the word wall, but with castles I have them begin with representing their previous knowledge of the topic through drawings, paintings and playdoh sculptures.

We read a book about the changes made to castles over the years and then the kids sculpted their own castles.
One of our early castle paintings. I love how the drawbridge ended up looking like a smiley face.
Another castle model made from various materials and LOTS OF GLUE! 

Finally we write our castle words for our word wall and begin some of our writing projects.  We wrote a castle story together before doing any individual castle writing.
For this story I wrote "One day at the castle the queen saw____."  One of my students then wrote the next sentence about the princess getting out of the castle.  We finished the story with the kids telling me their story ideas. They would verbally tell me how to spell our popcorn words and took turns writing some of the sentences on their own using their kindergarten spelling.  Over the next couple of days they worked on writing their castle words in their word rings and began planning their own castle stories in their journals.  Once they had their story planned they could begin decorating their castle cut out and writing their final copy.
"I am a princess. I am trapped in a castle. The dragon is trapping me in a castle. It is big! I am in the highest room.  It is scary but then the knight finally got me in the castle and the dragon was dead."
"The dragon lives in the moat when the king is doing his business." ( I love this one!)

One of our former Scott Forsmann reading series units contained a blank black line master book that featured a queen and a duck.  My class had a fun time creating their own stories!

Our castle project wouldn't be complete if we didn't use "stickies" in some way!! This time it is for math story problems.  We have been working on addition up to 5 recently. I let the kids choose five castle themed stickies on their own and asked them to write their own story problems and equations.
"The frogs are running to the castle.  1 + 1=2"
"The frogs were flying. One more wants to fly.  2 + 1 = 3"

We had a few additional thematic center activities.  Four kids worked on a castle mural together. You can see the finished project at the top of this post. I love having kids work on murals! It requires them to plan, discuss and really work together.  

This group planned the colors and their placement together. They also decided who was going to paint what areas. Their only discussion that was not solved was whether they should put flags on the top of the towers.  They decided they could talk about it some more and add them later.  I chose four kids for this project who typically do not work together. They did a great job!

Now that my youngest child is in fifth grade I find myself raiding the toy closet at my house on a regular basis!! For this project I scored a very cool castle floor puzzle and some model castles for the block center. My class LOVES the fact that there is a boy castle and a girl castle. I love watching the stories they make up while working with the castles!
Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting my blog!
                                                                                        Mrs. M
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