Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolution Solution Linky Party

Teaching Maddeness

Amanda Madden over at Teaching Maddeness is hosting a terrific linky party to encourage bloggers to choose (and stick to) New Year's resolutions!  I thought I would join in with some resolutions of my own.  Here goes:


1. I like to have one-on-one conversations with my students to learn how they're doing and what really interests them, so that I can make motivational books, worksheets, books, etc.  But it always seems like there's a time crunch, and there are a few kids that I just don't get to because they're really shy or hard to approach.  I'm resolving to start the New Year off by finding out a little more about those hard-to-reach kids.  I think in the end it will be very beneficial for everyone.

2. My second resolution is to help my four lowest students to learn their numbers to 20.  Sometimes I feel like I've already explored every option, but the truth is we know that there's always something else that we can try.


3. I have a difficult time relaxing.  I always feel guilty on weekdays if I'm not doing schoolwork all night.  My New Year's resolution is to take one hour a day to listen to a book, or watch an episode of "Chopped" or "Cupcake Wars" - these are my two new favorite shows!  :-)  They describe everything really well, and being blind, some TV shows are hard to watch.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread Friends and More

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett
I'm not sure if all of you know, but Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett is the sequel to Gingerbread Baby.  It picks up where the gingerbread baby is living in the house that Mattie made for him, and he's happy except for when Mattie goes out with his friends.  So the gingerbread baby goes out into the wide world to find somebody to play with.  This is such a cute story!  He goes to a bakery and sees many decorations, but none of them are alive like he is.  When he comes back home, Mattie shows his love for him by baking him many gingerbread friends.  This book is really lovely for this time of year.

I always make gingerbread houses at this time of year.  Here is a little gift to you, if you'd like to use a guided reading book.  This is one of my children's favorite books, because they really feel like it connects to what we're about to do.  We discuss the sequence of building the house before we actually make it.  It helps SO much!  I think it's really important that kindergarten students have a clear picture of what we want them to do.  Years ago, I did this project without using the book, and I can honestly tell you the houses come out much nicer with the instructions.
My Gingerbread House Big 2

Another thing I like to do at this time of year is make sight words really fun and accessible to my kids.  So I made this Christmas tree where the children have to match the sight word ornaments to the words that are already on it.  I did it first in large group, and they went crazy for it.  They begged me to put it in the ABC center!  Since it's laminated, I did put it in the center, and they've been recognizing sight words all week.  Below are the ornaments in PowerPoint format so that you can make it your own.  What I did was cut a green tree from posterboard and put it on black backing for contrast.  Then I printed the white ornaments on sticker paper, cut them, and attached them to the tree.  Next, I laminated the finished tree and then put velcro above each of the words.  I printed the colorful ornaments, laminated them, cut them, and then put velcro on the back of each one.  Then it was ready to go!

Sight Word Christmas Tree
Sight Word Christmas Tree

I also wanted to tell you that I just put up Christmas Guided Reading Books and Winter Sight Word Board Games on TPT, and I think they're two of the best products I've ever made, mostly because they were inspired by the wishes of children in my class.  If you have time, take a look and let me know what you think.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas

Sometimes I struggle with how to make counting and sequencing numbers fun for my children.  I mean, seriously, how many times can we count to 12 in interesting ways?  Well, you all know that I love using music.  So, how about teaching your kids the twelve days of Christmas using this sequencing paper?
Twelve Days Sequencing

I made this paper to help my little cuties to be able to count each set with one-to-one correspondence.  Of course, I also play a version by Harry Belafonte.  There's also one by Burl Ives, and many others.  This song really brings back sweet childhood memories for me.  There's also a very cool version of the Twelve Days of School by Dr. Jean which uses the melody from the Twelve Days of Christmas.  So, why not do a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the different things in the songs?  Think of all of the Common Core standards you're covering:

K.CC.2:  Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
K.CC.4:  Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
K.RL.5:  Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
K.RL.9:   Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series).

These cards can be laminated and placed in a center on a cookie sheet for an independent sequencing activity:
Twelve Days Cards

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.  I also made larger pages, for books.  If you think you'd be interested in Twelve Days books, mention that in your comment.  If there's enough interest, I'll post those files too.