Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Behavior Chart Freebie

Do you have a parent that has asked for a way to receive a daily or weekly behavior report for their child? This is a form that can be kept in a homework folder and go home each day. My students each receive this in their weekly Friday folder. I use it to write about any issues a child may have. I also use it to report wonderful and exceptional behavior a child may have. When students do well with any of the goals, I color in the happy face. If they have made really poor choices with any of the goals, I will color in the sad face. If a child has struggled a bit with a goal but has made some effort to respond, I color in the face in the middle for that goal. I'd love to hear your feedback on this form. Kindergarten Weekly Behavior Report

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Topographical Map for Landform Study

In January, my kindergarten class spends a number of weeks studying landforms. We do many hands-on activities that bring this concept to life for the students. One of the ones they love the best is when we build salt dough topographical maps of the continental United States.

We use a paper copy as a template.

This paper template is glued onto card stock with a glue stick so that it can be popped off after the dough dries out.

We use this recipe:
2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of cold water

Mix together by hand and add a little extra water if it is too dry and salty or add a little extra flour if it is too sticky.

Give each student a fist-sized ball of dough to begin spread over the paper template.

As the students work with the dough, their hands will become "salty" and a bit dry. Encourage them to finish with the dough before asking to wash their hands. (They are also tempted to wipe them on their shirts.)

If the students work from the center and "smoosh" the dough to the sides and tops of the map, it will thin out. If it is spread too thickly, it will take over a week to dry. If the layer of dough is thin, it will dry in about 5 days. 

Give each student a small extra ball of dough to be used to make the Sierra Nevadas, the Rocky Mountains, and the Appalachian Mountains. They then use the back end of a small paintbrush to carve out the Mississippi River.

Also encourage them to use their fingers to flatten out the plains in the middle of the country.

As this project dries, the students will then paint the map with water color paint. I have tried tempera paint before, and it comes out too dark and not as pretty looking in the end. We paint on this card stock because the students WILL drip some paint and mess up the background a bit.

As the project dries, it can be "popped" off with the white template attached to the dough. I then use wet Elmer's white glue to glue this to a rectangle of poster board. The students then add a paper cut out of Alaska up in the left hand top corner and a paper cut out of Hawaii in the lower left hand corner. They also add a map key on the lower right hand corner with the following categories: 
Water 0
Mountains 0
Plains 0
Desert 0

They then color code the circles after the words the same colors they painted each land form. The maps are glued onto blue poster board to represent the ocean and I do show them how the United States is not entirely surrounded by an ocean on a real globe and map. Finally, have them use a white crayon to add a title at the top, something like "The United States of America" and sign their name somewhere small on the project.

This project may seem complicated, but I do it by myself with all 23 students. It is not as difficult as it seems. Those that get the hang of how to work with the dough and finish early are welcome to help those who are having a harder time working with it. This project is always highly enjoyed by the students each year. The picture below is small but it gives you an idea of what they look like when done and I will add some larger ones when we have painted the new ones.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

100th Day Stamping Dog Dalmation

Some of you were asking about the dog template I used for our 100th day activity. I inherited this drawing when I began teaching in my classroom 8 years ago, so I do not know who to give proper credit to for it. I found some small stamp pads a few years ago and I bag them up and keep them just for this activity each year. They have already lasted well through four years of this activity. I give each child a copy of this dog, a small stamp pad, and an unsharpened pencil with a flat top eraser. They are to stamp 10 dots onto each part of the dog that is labeled with a 10. After each 10 dots are stamped, they stamp the 10's at the bottom so that they can keep track of how many dots they have done. This doesn't end up being a very beautiful project, but they absolutely love having their own stamp pad and stamper and always highly enjoy this activity.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kindergarten Chinese New Year Art Project

Today, in honor of Chinese New Year, my students began working on their plum blossom paintings. I like this project because the black paint for the branches look somewhat like Asian characters. Students use a small, thick paintbrush to create this project. I had the students paint the branches with black tempura paint and they dry overnight. The next day, I place a small blob of glittery red tempera paint on a paper plate with a smaller blob of white tempera paint in the center of that red blob. The students simply poke their paintbrush into the center of the two colored blobs and then poke paint dots in small clumps on the branches. When this project dries, it looks like the petals have a small, shiny red coloring around the white-pink center. I have them paint on cream-colored paper to mimic rice paper. I also cut it sort of wavy on the sided. I then mat them on white and then mat those on black. The students write their names from top to bottom on either side of the branch. These look really beautiful in the classroom. Plum blossoms are collected and used as decorations during Chinese New Year because they celebrate new life coming from seemingly dead branches at the end of winter as spring comes on the horizon. The two books below are excellent resources to read with younger students. They explain a lot of the symbols that surround Chinese New Year. Thanks to my wonderful friend, Lori Lee, a Pre-School teacher at my school for this idea.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!  Pin It

Free Weekly Reading Log

Weekly Reading Log
This is the Reading Log I use in my classroom every week. I do actually insert a different picture each week as a means of keeping track of which ones I am expecting back from parents. I think they see a different picture easier than they see a different date on the paper. I really love the feature that allows them to circle the picture if the student enjoyed reading the book because it tells me what children are really enjoying reading right now and it also lets me know what they don't enjoy reading as much. I do ask them to be honest and not just circle the picture just to circle it. If you like this, please consider following me over to my new TeachersPayTeachers store and become a follower to see what else I will share with you: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-Log-for-Students On the store site, I did make it so that you can alter this Reading Log to suit the needs of your own classroom. Happy Reading!Pin It

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Free Snowman Graphing Sheet

All to Graph a Snowman(5)
 My kindergarten students were introduced to graphing last quarter. As often as we practice graphing, it seems many students do not easily grasp this concept. As a result, this is a concept I re-visit often throughout the year. When we graph in class, we use manipulatives to see how graphing works and what it looks like as it grows. This week, the students enjoyed playing a game to graph. They each had a cardstock graph labeled across the bottom with the numbers 1-6. They worked as a table group to help keep each other on task with the graphing. Each child at the table took turns rolling a die. Whatever number came up on the top, each child would take a teddy bear manipulative and place it on the corresponding graph bar. For instance, when a 2 came up, they would place a teddy bear on the 2 bar. With this graph, I reminded them it was important to start at the bottom and grow the graph up.This game ended when one bar of the graph was completely filled. The students could then clear their board and play the game as time allowed. This game is kept in the afternoon math center area so that students can play it again throughout the quarter.
As my students learn new concepts, I like to incorporate themes we are working with as I make worksheets for them that allow them to practice these concepts. I made the snowman graphing sheet above and copied a set of 6 sheets in color. I then laminated the sheets and we use them in the math center in the afternoon. Students will use whiteboard markers to color in the boxes as they complete the sheet. They will then compare these sheets with others that they are working with to determine if they have completed the sheet correctly. Once they feel they have, they bring the sheet to me and I check it. They can receive a sticker for each math center sheet they complete correctly. Students can then wipe the sheet off and put it away to be re-used another day.
If you download my graph, please leave a note letting me know. Enjoy!  

Angela Watson of http://www.thecornerstoneforteachers.com is having a linky party that lists the best new freebies of the month. Come on over and see what her friends are offering!

Pin It

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kindergarten Tours

 January is the time when parents are making the decision for where to place their children in kindergarten. Often, as they tour our school, parents bring their children to see the classrooms. Many times, young children are very shy when I greet them. However, I have found that when I bring them to my fish tank, they are instantly at ease and enthralled with the five fish I currently have. One of them likes to hang out in Sponge Bob's house, and that is always a hit! I like to have examples of student writing up on the wall for parents to see as they walk the room. This was an activity we did immediately upon returning from the Christmas vacation. Students were encouraged to share about what they did over the holiday. I simply copied a winter border onto a blank paper and wrote the prompt: "During vacation I...." and had them fill in the bottom part after they drew their picture. We then met at our circle time and each student took a turn sharing their "story" with a focus of speaking in a complete sentence, which in turn, helps to develop their oral language...one of my pet projects for kindergarten. I also took a picture of each of their drawings and put them together for a digital storybook. I shared it with them on the LCD projector at rest time. They were very proud to have their work shared with the entire class this way.
This student went to "Lost Vegas"!
This student enjoyed going to Winter Wonderland. I was excited about this student's writing because this student has just really begun to write and did such a wonderful job.

Here is an example of a student who has a strong phonemic sense and is doing a great job with phonetic spelling.

Some students felt they didn't have a very exciting Christmas because they stayed home. We used this opportunity to talk about all the truly wonderful aspects of getting to stay home for Christmas. In turn, many students were then stating that they had wished they had gotten to stay home and these students who had were pretty pleased in the end!  

 We are also writing in journals every day. I place those at the back of the room right next to my fish tank so that as the new child stands there looking at the fish, my new prospective parents can look through more examples of what student writing looks like at this point in the school year!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Here are some of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s that my students made while learning about his life this week. Please refer back to my 1-4-12 blog entry to learn how your students can make this. A 4th grade buddy noted that she loved the fact that kindergarteners can make "the same" art project, but none of them really look "the same". As mentioned in my previous post, these projects really do help the students to easily identify him. As they are able
identify him, they remember many more facts about him. I was really amazed at how many things they remembered about him after the time we spent learning about his life (and death) these last two weeks. Teaching the children about things that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for always breaks my heart a bit. I can see confusion and disbelief on their faces as I share with them some of how our country used to behave on a large scale. Truthfully, I don't have the heart to share with them that things haven't changed 100% to this day. I focus on the good changes that came about as a result of his peaceful efforts. I feel I can't teach about his life without teaching about his death as well. I explain that not everyone wanted things changed for the better and that one of those people did kill him. I am curious to know how other teachers of kinders and first graders teach about his life and what he stood for. If you do, please leave a comment to let me know.We will be following the art project up with an "I Have a Dream" writing project this week.Pin It

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So Many Ways to Use This Game Template!!!

Phonics Baseball I was trying to find a way to teach reading simple CVC words and sight words more engaging and active a few years back. I wrote words on cut out pieces of paper shaped like feet and had students walk as far as they could across the feet while reading the words. The object of that game was to see how many they could read. However, most of the "observers" were bored silly and getting antsy while waiting for their turn. Since many of the boys were just beginning T-ball, I came up with the template above. It also happened to be while the Olympics were happening and many students were watching. They were getting used to hearing a term (DQ), so I began to implement it into this game. I used to draw this out on my whiteboard. 

Now I have an LCD projector and the program KidPix. KidPix is a fabulously interactive drawing/paint program that has so many uses, I'd have to devote a separate entry for it. I draw the above template using thin paint with the program.

Phonics Baseball Rules: 

1)Divide the class into two teams (something you can draw easily and quickly into the bases on the template like my blue square and green triangle). 

2)I choose one player from each team, they stand up and face the back wall, away from the screen. 

3)I tell them that a hush falls over the crowd and if anyone calls out the answer or whispers it, they will be DQ'd and their team can lose a point or for frequent infractions, the player will lose a turn. As soon as the word is read and the next two players are "up to bat" not one word is allowed to be said or I DQ them. This allows for the players to be the only ones making sounds, especially if they need to sound the word out.

4)Depending on what I am working with for that day, (simple CVC words, sight words, digraph words, etc) I write the word in the middle of the baseball diamond. Teammates are encouraged to SILENTLY read the word to themselves (now everyone has something to do). 

5)At the count of 3, the players turn around and see who can read the word first. The first person to correctly read the word advances to first base. For instance, if the blue team gets to first base, I draw a blue square in one of the boxes ( you have to decide which side of the base will be for what team.) On the next round, if the green team wins the word, I put a green triangle on their side of first base so I can concurrently have both teams running around the bases toward home. I love that KidPix has an eraser option. When a team moves from one base to the next, I simply erase their icon out of the base box and then paint them into the next one. As you work with it you can do it with minimal effort. (This can also be done on a whiteboard). 

As each word is read, choose the next two players and erase and write a new word.

6)As each team correctly reads 4 words, they make it to home and I award a tally mark to the scoreboard for them. This activity teaches so many things at once: ordinal numbers, tally marks, adding (and subtracting for DQ's). 

It is extremely important to fairly pair up your players on each side of the room. Don't simply go around the table and let a super fast reader play against someone you know struggles to read. I always spread my students out so I have the same amount of students who struggle on both sides of the room. 

Encourage good sportsmanship at all times. When students are really struggling to read a word, help them sound it out a sound at a time. Be the cheerleader and really encourage the teams to get behind their teammates. Use baseball terminology, "The next two batters at the plate...." If one team scores four in a row, call it a "home run". Remind them that you are the "Team Manager". 

You can use this activity for every single subject you teach. I have used it when teaching math facts, shape recognition, and number recognition for math. I have pasted clip art of famous Americans or landforms to be identified for science and social studies. For older grades, you can use vocab you are going over in any subject or you could simply write a multiplication problem that they should know the answer to. There really is no end to ways you can use this fun game.
The students LOVE this game and as long as you encourage great sportsmanship, be a super cheerleader, and find ways to make the students see how fun learning can be, you can bet this is one game they will constantly ask for!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Penguin Art from Casa Camacho

Just a quick entry, last night through Chalk Talk's larremoreteachingtips.blogspot.com 
I saw bobbicamacho.com/2011/01/book-project-penguins.html 
idea for this project. Among other regularly scheduled items that we are learning about, some students have exhibited a high interest in penguins. I am working on an http://www.animoto.com 
presentation with penguin facts for the class. In the meantime,we went ahead and tried these out. They were a big hit with the students! They thought it was clever that they could use their own hands to make penguin feet! This is a great example of how useful ideas you put "out there" can be to a teacher somewhere else! Thank you for the fun idea!

Writer's Workshop (Snowflakes)

Today, Mrs. Huff http://www. mrshuffsstuff.blogspot.com came to do a Writer's Workshop with my class again! She does this once a month and the children LOVE it! Using her template of The________  _________ snowflake falls ________________, she reviewed adjectives and adverbs that the children could use for their writing. Probably the most exciting part for the class was the opportunity to cut their very own snowflakes for this activity. After trial and error, we discovered that regular copying paper is probably the best option for this part of the activity. If you try to fold 
a piece of construction paper and have a five year old try to cut designs into it, the paper is too thick. The best link I found for easy snowflake paper folding is http://www.marthastewart.com/276331/how-to-make-paper-snowflakes/@center/307034/christmas-workshop#/187452. 
Yes, our students cut these all themselves!If you don't have 4th grade (our heroes!) buddies like we did today, (they came in JUST in time to help us out today), you may want to consider doing the snowflakes one day and the writing another day. We allowed the students to embellish their project with little foam snowflakes, crayon, and glitter. When coming up with adjectives, the class was fairly creative. We kind of balked at one child's choice of yellow for "The big, yellow snowflake....."...can you see that....yellow snow? Of course they were sweet to defend it by saying that when the sun sets, it can turn the snow yellow. Oh to think to like a five year old!

These are being collected and saved for the end of the year. It is so fun to see HOW MUCH their writing and understanding of adjectives and adverbs has changed in only 5 months! We are seriously loving having Mrs. Huff with us to do this. You should see her "act out" some of the descriptors we are using. It makes for such a fun and engaging way to learn writing!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Kindergarten Art Project

  After Christmas, I spend a good portion of January teaching my students about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are so many reasons I love that we celebrate his life in January. One of them is that it makes for a nice transition from the celebration of peace in the gift of Jesus to the world to the celebration of peace that surrounds everything about positive about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Yes, I do insist that my five year olds know how to say his entire name. While some may feel it is "hip" to say "MLK" I do not feel it is respectful to do so. At the end of January, so many times, I would find that my kindergarteners could remember some aspects of his life, but not all or most of them. About five years ago, I began having them create this project and I immediately saw a spike in what they were able to remember about him! I think in spending time creating a project that accurately portrays him (sort of), they were able to remember more key facts about him and what his hopes for all humanity could be. By the way, as I am making my own at the board, all of them are at the table creating their own project step by step. These are amazing in that they all turn out similar but like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. I mat them on yellow paper to make him stand out and sometimes re-mat those on black paper. When I hang these up in the room, we receive tons and tons of compliments! Below are our step-by-step directions:

Materials per student:
1 8x11 piece of light brown construction paper
1 8x11 piece of black construction paper
1 4x4 piece of white construction paper

With a brown crayon have them draw an oval head that takes up almost the entire light brown construction paper. Add an ear on each side. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to also draw a neck. Cut this out with scissors.

Next, turn the black construction paper the long way (hot dog) and snip of the top two corners (to make his shoulders). Only put glue on his neck and stick his black jacket to the neck. If you glue all across the back of the black, you will end up with glue all over the table.

Take the white paper and cut out a very tall triangle. Turn it upside-down and glue it so that the flat part of the white triangle lines up with the flat part of the black jacket, right under his chin. Put away scissors and glue.

With a brown crayon, draw an L shaped nose in the middle of the head. Directly above the L shape, draw two large circles. If you don't tell them "large" they WILL draw itty-bitty ones. I show them how to do it before they do it. I have them color these circles black or brown. I then have them draw an oval around the black circle and color the inside of this white. Color fairly dark with the white and it looks great. I make sure to tell them that the oval has to touch the black circle at the top and the bottom. I spend some time explaining about adding detail whenever we draw, so I show them how to make eye lids with their brown crayon by just adding some layer to the top of the oval. We then use black to make eyebrows. Under the L shaped nose, we use brown to make the lips. I told them they can make the lips by drawing a slightly bent hotdog bun. Sometimes, we add a bit of pink to them.  Right above the lips, we add a curly black moustache. Then, I show them how to start at the top of one ear and make his curly hair all the way across the top of the head to the other ear. 

Finally, we add the tie detail. With a pencil, I show them how to go about a third of the way over to the top of his white triangle and draw a straight line down toward one shoulder. We then do the exact same thing on the other side of the white triangle. In the middle of these two lines, we make a U shape (the knot of the tie). Directly under the U shape, we draw a straight line down (in line with the two lines above) on each side. I then allow them to decorate his "tie" anyway they'd like to...being careful to only color the U shape and below, otherwise, they end up coloring in his white shirt.

I have done this project many times now, and always end up changing it a bit each year. By doing this project, my students end up with a great memory maker to take home (once it has graced my classroom walls for a bit) and ALWAYS seem to be able to remember many more important key facts about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

I will come back and post a picture of them hanging once we have completed them!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you to Michelle at http://www.inspiredbykindergarten.blogspot.com and Louanne at http://www.louabc.blogspot.com for awarding this to my blog! I sincerely appreciate that people are taking the time to look at my new blog. I am enjoying meeting many new people through this process and feel that I've gained A LOT of new ideas over the Christmas break. 

Now on to the blog award rules... 

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them. (Thank you again to 2 wonderful bloggers!)

2. Tell 7 things about yourself. (see below)

3. Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that they’ve received an award!  (This took me a long time as I spent a lot of time looking through each of the blogs I am nominating below! I chose specific ones that all had things I'd like to do in my own classroom) I hope you enjoy looking through these blogs too. It would be nice if you took the time to become followers as well!
Seven things about myself:
1. I have been teaching in my own classroom for about 8 years.
2. I homeschooled my own children for about 4 years before I taught in my own classroom.
3. I love learning new ways to use technology in my classroom (yes, I'd love to hear your ideas on how you do this!)
4. I LOOOOOVE the beach. Sea Bright Beach in Santa Cruz is my favorite!
5. I enjoy reading autobiographies from WWII.
6. I am very involved with the Junior High youth group at my church (6 years now)
7. I like to tell people that teaching kindergarten is like a line in the Forest Gump movie: "...like a box of chocolate, you NEVER know what you are going to get." (when the front door opens)...every day is a new box! 
Here are the blogs I am awarding this to: Please go see how great they are!
teachingwithsight.blogspot.com  (a TRULY amazing site,wow!)
Enjoy! Happy New Year!

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