Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weather Units

I will be using the Weather Literacy Unit for the story Mayday! Mayday! by Chris L. Demarest. I included activities for the book, some lessons about rescue workers and many more about weather. All of the Literacy Centers have weather clip art. Here is the link for the Weather Unit.

I also made some Mathematics Centers with a St. Patrick's Day theme.
Our next book is Messenger, Messenger and I am planning a community/neighborhood theme!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


We concluded our Shapes Unit by using simple shapes to form larger shapes (K.G.6). Our school recently purchased the Investigations Math series to use as a resource. It had two great lessons for this standard and we did both of them this week.
The first lesson was the 'Fill the Hexagon" game. In pairs the students used pattern blocks and a work mat to create hexagons using combinations of shapes. I used a spinner instead of dice. One student would spin and place that pattern block anywhere on the mat, but could not move it once it was placed.  They continued to play until they filled all 6 hexagons (they could use the yellow hexagon once).
The second lesson involved Geoblocks! They loved them!

First, I let them explore with the blocks (see why in the 5E model below), then we gathered in a group and passed a basket around so that each student could get a block. Each student told something about the block (number of sides, vertices, name of shape).

The student put their blocks into the middle of the circle and I used the blocks to model how to "match faces" which made smaller shapes become larger shapes. The students went back to their tables and "matched faces."

For this Geometry Unit I used the 5 E's model to plan my lessons (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate). By adding some time for students to explore (explore) the materials before beginning the lesson (explain) helped with student discussion as I explained the concepts. As an example, when we focused on the cone shape, I put a small cone and a small circle in a baggie and partners touched, experimented with, and discussed both shapes before we made an anchor chart about Cones (K.G.4.) After we analyzed the shape (explain), the students provided examples of real-world objects that are shaped like cones. To provide support, I had a powerpoint of pictures of cone-shaped items. The students were given play-doh to create the shape (elaborate) as I monitored (K.G.5). Students shared and explained their shapes during a "museum walk" (evaluate). This lesson framework really engaged the students and the discussions were full of details and descriptions because of the student exploration prior to the lesson.
We are moving on to Operations and Algebraic Thinking!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writing Freebie

My students (and I) love writing! We write everyday in response to reading where a topic is assigned, we use our math journals to record and label problems and topics of study, and we spend 30 minutes everyday just writing (after a mini-lesson) during writing workshop. My students use the writing process (ideas, rough draft, conferencing, final copy, publishing) to write about topics of their choice in journals. The journals have been 20 blank pages of copy paper stapled together with a cute cover from Kindergarten Rocks!. The students draw one one side and write on the other, then we conference, I edit their writing and they rewrite it on "fancy paper." Most students are now writing 2-4 sentences on one topic. 
My problem was the journal paper. They were writing more sentences and I really needed the sentences to be on lined paper because it was hard to edit. My mom and I were discussing this last week and we came up with a solution- create a special editing paper to put in the journal instead of blank paper. If you would like to try this paper you can get your FREE copy here.
This is what it looks like in a journal. It has 4 dark lines for the students to write on and then a dotted box underneath for editing.
I ran out of "fancy paper" last week, so I made plain paper books for the students to write in. They loved bookmaking and I plan to do more of it. They wanted their books to be placed in the reading center and these books are the go-to books that every student likes to read. I prefer the one page fancy paper and so I have a binder with plastic sheets to place these writings. The binder will be kept in the reading center. If you need fancy paper and planning sheets for opinion, narrative, and informative writing, I have made a "Fancy Papers for Student Writing" packet. Here are some of the pages included:

Here are some activities we are doing this week in reading:
We are moving on to 3-D shapes tomorrow!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Celebrating the 100th Day

Our 100th day of school was last week and we had a great celebration. Here are some photos of the activities:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Brother and Sister Bunny Unit

Just in time for the big sale tomorrow! I plan to use this literacy unit when we read Max Takes the Train by Rosemary Wells. It includes many writing and center activities for Max Takes the Train, Bunny Cakes, and Max Cleans Up. I decided to create this unit about the characters/books instead of a theme.  The next literacy unit will be Weather for Mayday, Mayday!

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