Video segment about me, by the school district

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gingerbread Bear

Book Cover of "The Gingerbread Bear"

Hi everyone. and Merry Christmas!  A wonderful friend came into my classroom last week and handed me The Gingerbread Bear by Robert Dennis.  She knows that I collect gingerbread books and couldn't have given me a nicer Christmas present.  My students were really enthusiastic about pointing out all the similarities and differences between this book and other gingerbread books.

I don't want to give away the whole story, but I want to tell you a few of the funny things that happened when we read the book.  The setting of this story is a national park, and there's a park ranger and his family that make and chase after the gingerbread bear.  Kevin asked "What's a park ranger?"  Giyhana said "You know, like a Power Ranger, except he's a Park Ranger.  Get it?"  After I stopped laughing, this led into a great discussion about what park rangers do for a living.  I thought this was really neat, because this usually wouldn't come up in a community helper lesson.  Also, my students this year are so ruthless when it comes to gingerbread stories!  They always want the gingerbread character to get eaten at the end, and that is so different from every other class I've had before.  When I asked them why, Matthew spoke up right away and said "Mrs. Dudley, you do know they're just cookies, right?"  Seriously, his tone was so full of concern about my "misunderstanding".  Like, why would I not want to eat a gingerbread cookie?

Two songs that would go really great with this book are:  "Goin' on a Bear Hunt" by Greg & Steve, and "Cool Bear Hunt" by Dr. Jean.  I just saw Greg & Steve at the NAEYC conference, and I actually got to talk to them.  I told them that I've been using their music for at least 20 years now.  They signed my CD's and shook my hand; it was really nice.

I just created a new package of writing picture prompts with word banks on TPT.  A freebie is also available that just happens to be about a polar bear.  After Christmas, I'm going to look for some nonfiction books about bears and I'll let you all know what I find.

I will be going to Syracuse this year for Christmas to visit with family.  I hope all of you have a safe and happy holiday!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Numbers 1 to 20

It's hard to keep my mind focused on academics when I'm worried about Christmas shopping and how we're getting to Syracuse this year to see the family, but I think I came up with some really cute stuff.

First of all, I love starting off math lessons with great literature.  The carousel at the top of this post shows my favorite number 1 to 20 books.  Research does show that children pick up more vocabulary when they are read to than during any other method.  I also truly believe in making math as fun as possible by incorporating games and music.  I found these really cool dice at EAI Education.  They are just so useful and versatile.  I think they're one of those "must-have" items for making math fun.  I couldn't believe how long my children wanted to play the game More and Less.  It's really like the card game War, but with each child having a die.  They just decide ahead of time whether they win by rolling more or less.  I pulled them in a group of 8 while a second group was in centers and a third group was doing a number book, and seriously, the game played itself.  They were very cooperative and into rolling and identifying numbers.  I also had bear counters there in case they weren't sure who had more or less.

Here is a freebie of what the children were doing at their seats while I was playing the dice game with my group, as well as another book that I'll be using next week while I play 1 to 20 Bingo with kids.  I just remade this Bingo game to focus on numbers 0 to 20, to go with Common Core, instead of my old Bingo that was 1 to 31.  I like this new version better because I have snowflakes in ten frames along with the numeral, so that the children can count to find out what the number is if they don't know the numeral says.

11 to 20 Winter Number Books

Harry Kindergarten has some great songs for 1 to 20.  I wonder if he knows how much he's appreciated.

Count To 20

Numbers in the Teens

Also, I found this really adorable video by Kids Classroom.  The video shows number balls rolling into place in a very easy-to-understand, sequential manner.

Number Rhymes for Kids

I'm really getting into these videos because the kids can see it, hear it, and dance at the same time.

Carolyn Kisloski just gave me the idea for a number fishing game that I'm going to start making today.  If you haven't checked out Carolyn's blog, you're missing out on some fabulous ideas.  Thanks, Carolyn!  You're the best!

I would love to hear what number games you're playing with your kids.  Please leave a comment below.