Month: September 2011

Eye balls!

To help my kiddo’s learn to count by 5’s, I bought some creepy looking eyeballs at the dollar tree. They are 12 to a bag and just a dollar! They are just so cute and creepy and are the size of a ping pong ball! What I did was put 5 eyeballs into a ziploc bag. I am also using the eyeballs to count the number of days we have been in school. So today, we have 25 eyeballs! And I am just so funny-because I hung the bags up on my whiteboard (with magnets) and labeled it “Eye” can count by 5’s!

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Journals for young writers

Picture of a generic composition book, with a ...

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I have made some labels to help me encourage my students to write more. Each attached sheet below can be printed out and then cut apart to give each child one label. The label will help remind everyone what the child should have written or drawn about on that particular day.

I have already found some great labels online that I have printed and added onto either notebooks or bradded folders. I used whatever I had received for school supplies (composition books for Reading and Writing, spirals for Science, bradded folder filled with hold punched construction paper for Poetry and the same for Math).

These journals will be a great tool for tracking student progress and to also allow them to reflect on what they are learning about. This is the first year that I will be having my students use a journal for every subject area. What a great way to reduce the cost of copies and the use of those unappealing worksheets. Teachers, parents and children like to see what they can do on their own anyway!

Reading and Writing Journal Prompt Labels

Journal prompts for writing

Journal labels- Bb Words

Journal labels- Ll Words

Journal labels “Mm words”

Journal labels “T Words”

Math Journal Prompt Labels

Journal labels- Rectangles

Journal labels- Spheres

Journal labels- Squares

Journal labels- Triangles

Journal labels- Patterns

Science Notebook prompting Labels

Journal labels- Science Tools

Power Points and Word Walls just added!

I just added Power Points for almost every letter of the alphabet. Some were made by me, some by other amazing teachers! I also added some word wall words that go along with every letter too. Just click on the pages at the top of my blog to access the files. More things you can download: sight words for Kindergarten, colors and shapes Power Points, very short poems, GT items, centers and Science fun!

Chair Pockets to hold learning journals

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My mom made these beautiful chair pockets for my kindergartener’s chairs. I can’t wait to surprise my students with these on Monday! She bought the material from Hobby Lobby along with the gross grain ribbon in yellow, green and blue. I had an old and very worn chair pocket, given to me by a previous teacher. She used that as her pattern. My mom was amazed to see video’s on You Tube and instructions on Google-for free. How wonderful to live in the information age!

I am so excited that now my students will have a place to keep their reading, writing, math and science journals in.

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My mom came and unveiled the chair pockets, after school today. See the baskets in the middle of the table? All those journals and folders will be in the chair pockets tomorrow-yeah! Thank you Mom, for sewing these amazing chair pockets!

Amazing – five year old authors and illustrators!

Have you ever seen a five year old, of average intelligence, write her own little book out of folded construction paper? Last year was my first year teaching Kindergarten students how to be authors. I was inspired by the book Already Ready by Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover. I was skeptical at first, until I saw my daughter start writing her own mini-books. She was also a Kindergarten student at the time. I now have a collection of her original works as a five year old author, from August to May. This year, I launched my Writer’s Workshop again. Here is how I began.

First, I folded and cut one piece of white construction paper into 1/4th’s and then stapled it. I had one for each child made before the lesson. Next, I started a mini-lesson and read a “mentor text” -a simple Dr. Seuss book (“I Can Read With My Eyes Shut”). I showed how the author drew pictures and wrote words to match them. I explained how the author stayed on topic and wrote about reading, and not flowers. Next, I explained to my students that they are authors and illustrators too and that they would start making their own books. I showed them the little book and told them how I was going to write a book of my own about cats, because I like cats, a lot. So, I began writing simple sentences on each little page. Page 1- “I like cats.” Page 2- “I like orange cats.” Page 3- “I like striped cats.” Page 4- “I like black cats.” Page 5- “I like little cats.” “The end.”

I asked my students to think about what they like and what they would like to write about. Amazingly, it took only seconds for them to think and tell their buddy what they wanted to write about. I heard these ideas from my students: “race-cars!” “lipstick,” and “puppies!” Finally, I gave each child a little tiny book and they began writing. I reminded them to write their title first and their name, since they were the authors. I must say, I was so amazed by their cute and simple illustrations. Most students wrote no words yet, but that is ok, as Katie Wood Ray asserts in her books. Illustrations can tell a story and this is how we encourage students to begin reading-to look at the pictures and tell what is happening. So, this is how we encourage writing, by beginning with illustrations.

After about 5-7 minutes of writing, I told the students that we would have to stop for now and continue writing tomorrow, during our Writer’s Workshop. They begged for more time, but I showed them their brand new Writer’s Workshop folders (pocket folders) where they would put their little books. My student’s were so proud of their books. The next day, I had them begin on the rug with their books and “read” their books to a buddy. I paired up each student with a buddy, to make it less chaotic and to ensure that each child had someone to “read” to. After a minute of sharing, I instructed them to go back to their tables and write some more.

In my next postings about writing little books, I will address what to do with those students who just scribble or only write their name on each page, if even that. To read more about Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover’s books about writing, follow this link: http://www.heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources/E01073/RayAlreadyFlyer.pdf

Already Ready: Nurturing Writers in Preschool and KindergartenIn Pictures and In Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study

Writers workshop folder label

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The use of color inspired my little ones. We noticed how the illustrator chose to use black paper for her book and how it made the book for colorful and spooky! So, we decided to write our own spooky books! Many students wrote about monsters too!

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Title "Dragons, Alligators and Monsters"

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Jackson wrote: "I see a monster"

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"The alligator"

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"He has no mouth or nose"

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"The end"

Ryan’s book about “Camping With Dad.”

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Since it is the beginning of the year, Kindergarten students do not yet understand the cocept of "sounding out" words to write them. Many of them are at the phonetical or pre-phonetical stage of writing, which is actually developmentally appropriate. However, I help them to "sound out" titles for their books by making a running list. This is the list that we compiled before writing in the little black spooky books.

Spelling words glorified!

I made this at www.wordle.net By typing in my blog site, the words that I used the most in my entire site came up the largest. It kind of shows the priorities that I write about in my posts.

My son used the site with his spelling words. He typed them instead of writing them for his homework. This is another fun way to infuse paper-pencil homework with technology. When my daughter was in first grade, her teacher also allowed her to type her spelling words, instead of hand write them. Then, I helped her to email them to her teacher. She loved it and it made her feel so grown up!