Video segment about me, by the school district

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quick and Easy Math Idea

"6 Sticks" by Molly Coxe
Things have been pretty hectic lately, but I wanted to share with all of you a very easy activity that my students really got into.  We were focusing on the number 6 today (part of the new Common Core curriculum that really digs deeper into numbers).  We wrote the number 6, made 6 tally marks, drew a picture of 6 things, sang Dr. Jean's song "Chant and Write", and read a great book called 6 Sticks by Molly Coxe.  The book basically shows 6 sticks arranged in many different configurations to produce a variety of designs.  I was going to have the children glue popsicle sticks onto a sheet of paper, but I decided to just let them manipulate the sticks on their tables to make whatever designs they wanted.  This worked really well, because the children got to make their design, break it apart, and make another design.  I was able to walk around and talk to each student about what they made.  How many times do we get to do that?  By the way, I have 25 students, and some of them don't speak any English.

Since our county's math test (which will be given in about a week and a half) has the children writing numerals, I made this book to help the children understand quantity and how to draw the number:

My Number Writing Book

If you like this book, please leave me a comment below!  It's always wonderful to hear from you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Super Science and Social Studies

"What's Alive" by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

I really enjoy writing posts about science and social studies, because it's so necessary for logical thinking and problem solving, which are big parts of the core curriculum.  The book What's Alive by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is beautiful for kindergarten.  It's appealing and factual at the same time.  It talks about similarities and differences between us (people) and plants and animals.  It very clearly states what living things need to stay alive.  I also like how the girl in the story has a wall display of living and non-living things at the end of the story, and how she talks about things that were once alive but not anymore (such as a plant that has wilted, or a bird that has fallen from a nest).

A fabulous song to use with this book is Dr. Jean's "Basic Needs".  It's sung to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes", but it talks about different animals (including people) and what we need to stay alive.  I don't know about you, but I love matching books to songs.

Here is a graphic organizer that I will use as an assessment for my students after I do some sorting of magazine pictures.

Living Nonliving Graphic Organizer

Please let me know what you think of this graphic organizer, and if you'd like me to make more for units dealing with needs and wants of living things.  If you'd like to look at other graphic organizers in my TPT shop, check out my Animal Graphic Organizers or Motion and Matter Graphic Organizers.

I just remembered two other really great songs for a living things unit: "Growing" by Hap Palmer and "I am a Flower" by Jack Hartmann.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Perfect Position Books

As my children would say, these books are all "awesome"!  They completely match common core standard K.G.1: Describe objects in the environment using names and shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.  They're also loads of fun!  My children never get tired of them, and especially in the beginning of the school year, when they don't have the stamina to sit for a long time, these books really keep their attention.  I also have them show the position words; it keeps the read very exciting.  They also know that when the story is done, we will most likely do a song that matches the book.  The songs I have found to match these books are:

"Cool Bear Hunt" by Dr. Jean
"Going on a Picnic" by Dr. Jean
"Lion Hunt" by Melinda Caroll
"Goin' on a Treasure Hunt" by Jack Hartmann
"Going on a Turkey Hunt" by Mister Q

I recently found a very cool web site called that does a great job of asking the children to identify position words.  In fact, there are lots more than just papers for position words.  There are games, printables, and worksheets for a wide variety of subjects including alphabet, math, science, nursery rhymes, geography, hand writing, and more!

My last two weeks at school have definitely presented some challenges, but one simple activity that I tried worked remarkably well.  I placed a tape square on the floor and gave a child a Beanie Baby bear.  I told the child to stand inside the square and outside the square, then had them do it in different ways (slower, faster, crawling, standing, etc.).  Every child wanted to do it, and they waited patiently for each other to take turns; I couldn't believe it!  I also had 23 kids that day (2 were absent).  So, I guess it goes to show that sometimes simple is best.

I also used my Superhero Bingo game that I talked about in an earlier post, and it really is helping my kids to identify more letters.  On Friday, they asked me to make an Animal Bingo game, so of course I did and it's now available on TPT and TN.

I found myself eating chocolate a lot last week.  I'm just wondering, do any of you have tips for lessening the stress of these first weeks of school?