Language Arts

Brown Bears and “The Bear Snores On”

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After teaching about Antarctica, Penguins and Polar Bears during January-I moved on to teaching about brown bears. My students were devastated to say good-bye to the penguins, so my classroom is a mis-match of brown bears, polar bears and penguins! However, they are beginning to love these adorable brown bears too! I showed an adorable video of brown bears in Finland, via YouTube. There were bears climbing out of their den to join their mom on top. We were able to count the babies on top and on bottom. It was a great Math lesson introduction. Next, as a whole group, the children took turns to act out the video.They placed some of the bears ON the den and some of the bears IN the den. Next, in Math Stations, each child was able to make their very own bear den, complete with die-cut trees (I pre-stapled these). This is a simple brown lunch sack with 3/4 of it cut off. I crumpled it and cut out the archway, then taped it to a foam plate. The bears are counters from the classroom. When I send home the den, I will send bear die-cuts instead.

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My Bear – “Look at this bear.” This sentence displays the sight words of the week that we focused on: LOOK, AT, THIS. Here, Dominic sounded out his own simple sentence next: “My bear.” I provided the shapes and each child made their own bear based on an example that I had already completed.

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Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so we made a bear Valentine’s bag (for our Valentine cards)!

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We viewed books and short YouTube video’s about brown bears. Then, using our sight words, each child was asked to verbalize what bears CAN do, LOOK like, and HAVE. During this activity, we also learned some new vocabulary words: fur and claws!

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Math Time – This is the Bear OFF/ON Game. You simply drop a given amount of bear counters down. Then, count how many land ON the bear and how many land OFF the bear. If you had 5 to begin with and 3 landed ON and 2 landed OFF, then you could say: 3+2=5. This is a great way to introduce addition. Children love this game!

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This is a Guided Reading Book, Emergent Reading Book and Sight Word Reader- all rolled into one!

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Here is a cute little BEAR poem that I wrote. This is great for a Poetry station where children can read the large poem, then circle the sight words.

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When we transitioned to the Forest and Brown Bears, this is one of the first activity comparisons we did- a Venn Diagram. We compared Animals and Objects in the Environment from the Forest to Antarctica. Suggestion: teach what the FOREST is before this lesson!

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I never got to this, but something I wanted to do was to make classroom bear caves. How? Place blankets on top of tables and have children climb inside their pretend dens. In the story “The Bear Snores On,” all the animals ate popcorn and listened to party music-so why not do that too, right?

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The ABC’s of Teaching Letters

The Importance of Letter Names and Sounds

What is the first step in teaching a child to read? Letters and sounds instruction is the key! In simple terms, for a child to learn to read independently and construct meaning from text – he needs to be able to identify words automatically. He can do this after he decodes unknown words. In order to reach this point, children have to first learn the 44 speech sounds of letters and more than 100 spellings that are made. So- first, identify letter names and then, produce letter sounds. Then, he will be prepared to read! The next step is to implement a carefully planned and systematic presentation of explicit letter/sound teaching.

Which Letters Should Be Taught First?

The hardest question for researchers and professionals to answer is – “What order should the letters be taught?” Although there is not one universal answer to this question, there is great data to give professionals guidance in creating and/or implementing the necessary systematic order of instruction.

When deciding the order to teach the letters, please keep in mind what research says.

What Does Research Say?

  • Some letters are harder to learn than others: U, Q, V
  • The following letters are most well-known by children, even if they have not been taught them: O, A, B
  • Children are most likely to learn the first letter of a their name more easily and quickly
  • Teach the letters in an order that allows a child to form many words with them (for example: C, M, A, T)
  • Begin with letters that make “simple sounds” that are easiest to stretch out and are easier to blend: M, S, F, R, N, L
  • Teach new sounds in small steps
  • Review previously taught letters and sounds
  • Introduce commonly encountered sounds before the infrequent sounds: For example, “A” occurs more commonly than “Q” or “V.”
  • Teach the letters that occur more frequently in most words. The most commonly occurring letters are: E, T, A, I, N, O, S, H, R, D, L, C
  • Introduce vowels early. A child must know the vowel sounds, in order to make and read words.
  • It is suggested to teach graphemes together, like C and H, C and K, T and H
  • Alphabetic order is not ideal because it does not address the needs listed above
  • Do not pair and teach together letters that are auditorily and/or visually similar: E, I and D, B
  • Introduce some continuous sounds early: M, S
  • One study suggests introducing lower case letters first, unless upper case letters are similar in shape: (Similar: S, s, U, u, W, w; Dissimilar: R, r, T, t, F, f) Note: I have always taught capital and lowercase at the same time: Ss, Rr, Tt, so I do not disagree with this study, I myself and just unfamiliar with its effectiveness
  • Do not teach similar looking letters together: b, d, p, q
  • Introducing letters in isolation may confuse some children about the purpose of letters in relation to words and reading
  • Some letters take longer to visually discriminate: t, a, e, o, s, i

The many resources below provides suggestions for the sequence of teaching letters and sounds.

Sources:

http://www.readingrockets.org/blog/53818/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Hootsuite&utm_campaign=RRSocialMedia

http://livingmontessorinow.com/2010/09/07/in-what-order-should-you-introduce-letters-to-your-preschooler/

http://www.righttrackreading.com/teachphonemiccode.html

http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/au/au_programs.php

http://www.ciera.org/library/presos/2001/2001nrc/01nrcstahl/01nrcsta.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/104134/chapters/phonics-and-word-study.aspx

The ABC’s of Teaching Letters

MP900439552

by: Andrea Howell Chouhan

The ABC’s of Teaching Letters

What is the first step in teaching a child to read? Letters and sounds instruction is the key! In simple terms, for a child to learn to read independently and construct meaning from text – he needs to be able to identify words automatically. He can do this after he decodes unknown words. In order to reach this point, children have to first learn the 44 speech sounds of letters and more than 100 spellings that are made.  Therefore, a child must first be able to identify letter names and then be able to produce letter sounds. Then, he will be ready to read! The next step is to implement a carefully planned and systematic presentation of explicit letter/sound teaching.

Which Letters Should Be Taught First?

The hardest question for researchers and professionals to answer is – “What order should the letters be taught?” Although there is not one universal answer to this question, there is great data to give professionals guidance in creating and/or implementing the necessary systematic order of instruction. Teachers everywhere successfully teach children to read. Children also learn differently. Quite honestly, there is no wrong order to teach letters. Many teachers follow the curriculum, which determines the letter order.

When deciding the order to teach the letters, please keep in mind what some research says.

What Does Research Say?

  • Some letters are harder to learn than others: U, Q, V
  • The following letters are most well-known by children, even if they have not been taught them: O, A, B
  • Children are most likely to learn the first letter of a their name more easily and quickly
  • Teach the letters in an order that allows a child to form many words with them (for example: C, M, A, T)
  • Begin with letters that make “simple sounds” that are easiest to stretch out and are easier to blend: M, S, F, R, N, L
  • Teach new sounds in small steps
  • Review previously taught letters and sounds
  • Introduce commonly encountered sounds before the infrequent sounds: For example, “A” occurs more commonly than “Q” or “V.”
  • Teach the letters that occur more frequently in most words. The most commonly occurring letters are: E, T, A, I, N, O, S, H, R, D, L, C
  • Introduce vowels early. A child must know the vowel sounds, in order to make and read words.
  • It is suggested to teach graphemes together, like C and H, C and K, T and H
  • Alphabetic order is not ideal because it does not address the needs listed above
  • Do not pair and teach together letters that are auditorily and/or visually similar: E, I and D, B
  • Introduce some continuous sounds early: M, S
  • One study suggests introducing lower case letters first, unless upper case letters are similar in shape: (Similar: S, s, U, u, W, w; Dissimilar: R, r, T, t, F, f) Note: I have always taught capital and lowercase at the same time: Ss, Rr, Tt, so I do not disagree with this study, I myself and just unfamiliar with its effectiveness
  • Do not teach similar looking letters together: b, d, p, q
  • Introducing letters in isolation may confuse some children about the purpose of letters in relation to words and reading
  • Some letters take longer to visually discriminate:  t, a, e, o, s, i

 Suggested Letter Order Instruction

 As a teacher, I always used the “letter order” sequence that was outlined by my school. I wondered what reasonings were behind teaching letters in a certain way. So, I set out and discovered that research proves that there are various effective methods for teaching letters in a systematic sequence. Below are the compilations of my finding. The last column is what I created based on the feedback that I received from other educators who used each of these systems.

Letter Order Suggestions

 

Public School in Houston

(No More Letter of the Week Method by P. Lusche)

 

Montessori Method (Montessori Matters by M. Carinato et.al)

Another

Montessori Method

(How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by T. Seldin)

 

Right Track Reading

(by M. Gagen)

Combined Curriculums (Montessori & No More Letter of the Week)

Letters Overview

s, m, t, a, p, f, c

c, m, a, t

c, m, a, t

Letters Overview and 1st letter of childs name

Letters Overview and 1st letter of childs name

r, b, l, I, g, n, d

s, r, i, p

 s, f, r. n

Capital to Lowercase comparisons

Pp, Aa

h, j, k, w, o, u, v

b, f, o, g

n, l, e, b

Mm, Aa, Tt, Ss, Cc

Bb, Ll

y, z, x, q, e

h, j, u, l

i, h, d, g

Rr, Ii, Pp, Ff, Bb

Ss, Hh

d, w, e, n

o, k, p, j

Ll, Oo, Gg, Nn, Dd

Nn, Ww

k, q, v, x, y, z

 q, u, x

Hh, Jj, Uu, Qq, Ee

Ee, Cc

v, w, y, z

Vv, Ww, Yy, Kk, Xx, Zz

Qq, Uu

Rr, Yy

Gg, Zz

Dd, Oo

Ii, Jj

Ff, Xx

Vv, Kk

 Note: The first column shows how my school in Houston taught the letters. “No More Letter of the Week” was one resource, however, the letter order above was created by my school district.

The many resources below provide a plethora of suggestions for the sequence of teaching letters and sounds. So, glean what you will and happy teaching!

Sources:

http://www.readingrockets.org/blog/53818/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Hootsuite&utm_campaign=RRSocialMedia

http://livingmontessorinow.com/2010/09/07/in-what-order-should-you-introduce-letters-to-your-preschooler/

http://www.righttrackreading.com/teachphonemiccode.html

http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/au/au_programs.php

http://www.ciera.org/library/presos/2001/2001nrc/01nrcstahl/01nrcsta.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/104134/chapters/phonics-and-word-study.aspx

Angry Birds Activities in the Classroom

Seriously- we can learn alot from angry birds. I call it “meet the children where they are at”! Those angry birds are cute, daring, imagninative and angry….just like some of our children. My four year old absolutely loves these birds, so I decided to search for inspiration and bring these fluffy balls into my classroom too! As Easter is fast approaching, I am sure to find a way to bring these birds and their eggs into the holiday theme somehow!

Art Activity – Painting plates (idea found at squidoo) After painting these plates, have the children match the bird to the color word.

Writing Activity with Stickers

Printables! An amazing and smart lady at 1+1+1 created these!

Math- Pig and bird sorting- Click below to print for free (yeah-I love free!)

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http://lh3.ggpht.com/-_fkRctcvEtE/Tps0nwSYZsI/AAAAAAAAhjI/H8K7Z_tpCvU/s1600-h/Slide9%25255B2%25255D.jpg

The printables above were found at: http://1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com/2011/10/angry-birds-kindergarten-printables.html

Angry Sight Words Sentence Mix-up and Re-build it Activity!

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Follow this link to print it for FREE! http://lh3.ggpht.com/-HaofO48k7z8/Tps0o3EwMgI/AAAAAAAAhjY/6MOWYsR80XY/s1600-h/Slide10%25255B2%25255D.jpg

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Click to print: http://lh4.ggpht.com/-sSxAUXUj6XY/Tps0suqivnI/AAAAAAAAhko/6jJHlVSWjSQ/s1600-h/Slide15%25255B2%25255D.jpg

Emergent Reader Sight Word Book

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Click to print page 1: http://lh4.ggpht.com/-SRUGWWAT0ME/Tps0qdvv_1I/AAAAAAAAhj4/RRhGI2gEdwI/s1600-h/Slide12%25255B2%25255D.jpg Click here to print page 2: http://lh6.ggpht.com/-rkf9k8F5OHQ/Tps0rPxWcAI/AAAAAAAAhkI/M0JhDKa6fUM/s1600-h/Slide13%25255B2%25255D.jpg

Block Center Idea! (from Digital Kindergarten)

Counting Angry Birds (created by: http://yhwhleads.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/angry-birds-printables/)

I found this link where you can print out faces for each angry bird. It is a balloon template, but I plan on using it to make party favor bags for my sons 4th birthday party. Here’s the link: http://www.thepartyanimal-blog.org/Downloads/Angry_Birds_Balloon_Templates.pdf

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Take Home Sight Word Book-Here the kids color the birds according to the color sight word on each page.

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Click here to print: Take Home Reader Book – I Like Angry Birds

Real Birds vs. Angry Birds Sorting Activity

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Printable! Click here: Angry Birds – Sort Real and Not Real Animals and birds

Comparing an Angry Bird to a Cardinal – Whole Group Activity: My class really enjoyed thinking about these birds and comparing them to each other.

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I have also created a Birds! Birds! Birds! WebQuest. Just click over to the WebQuest tab, to find it along with more information about WebQuests!

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Follow Me on Pinterest

Other Articles on Angry Birds in the Classroom: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/01/07/3768358/education-and-video-games-are.html

Anger Managament Lessons and Printables: http://thehometeacher.wikispaces.com/Angry+Birds

 

Penguins! Penguins! Penguins!

Emperors Penguins during the mating season (May).

Image via Wikipedia

Every Unit that I teach is usually based on a book. “The Emperor’s Egg” is my ultimate favorite penguin book, so this is how I “hook” the students into becoming excited about penguins!

See the emperor penguins in action!

Here is a cute video of a male penguin holding the baby on his feet, as well as feeding him! And then, the mommies arrive! [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7M686pXr6M]

A mommy penguin feeds her baby…

Penguin Craft:

from: momto2poshlildivas.blogspot.com

Penguin Can Craft

kids-party-paradise.com

Footprint Penguin

allkidsnetwork.com

Penguin WEBQUEST Project: http://visalia.k12.ca.us/teachers/dbronzan/penguinquest/

Penguin Sight Word Facts– After reading “The Emperor’s Egg” and then viewing a non-fiction book about penguins, my students helped to read the words “have,” “can,” and “like” and were able to decide where to put the penguin facts. (Items on sticky notes: 1. Penguins have: feathers, flippers, a beak, an egg 2. Penguins can: swim, dive, not fly, slide 3. Penguins like: fish, krill, milk, snow). I then gave students writing paper and they wrote: “Penguins” and then completed the sentence based on what they learned from our chart.

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“Penguin Love” Poem for the Poetry Station- I provide a peom for each child and they paste it into their poetry journal/notebook. Before placing the poem in the center, I write it large onto a big piece of chart paper and go over it with the students and let them find sight words in it. Then, I place the poem cut-outs and encourage the kids to illustrate thier poem, after gluing it. They do this by drawing what the poem is about-penguins! Then, I provide a penguin craft for them to complete when they are finished with their poem. Click the blue link for the Penguin Love POEM cut-outs to print.

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Penguin Sight Words – This is the first time that I introduced a “word” as the foundation to finding sight words. I provided the cut-out sight words for students to cut out and paste by initial letter-sound. I placed this in my Word Work Station. Click here on the blue link for Penguin WORD WORK writing and sight word sort activity to print.

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Recycled water-bottle Penguin Craft – I found this on Pinterest but no source was noted. So here’s to the awesome person who created this awesome penguin in a bottle!

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“Wow! Words” from “The Emperor’s Egg” http://www.thevirtualvine.com/images/trophies/Vocabulary%20Matching%20Cards%20for%20The%20Emperors%20Egg.pdf My kindergartners will be so smart saying words like: waddled, slippery, horizon and flippers! Thank you ladies at the virtual vine website for sharing! this free download!

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Sight Word Eating Penguin – I simply taped on this penguin to the front of a cereal box. Then, cut a slit under the beak. I passed out sight words that I wrote on clip-art fish. I called out the sight word and the student that had the word fed the penguin (we named him Bob, by the way!) As they fed Bob, I had them say a sight word sentence too. After this fun game, I put Bob into the Word Work station. Click on the link for the fish flash cards Fish flash cards (you write the sight words you are studying)

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Penguin craft – I drew a simple “U” shape on black and then white construction paper, an egg, flippers, a scarf, eyes and beak shape on construction paper and the students cut out the pieces and created their own penguin. (This is the craft that I placed in my Poetry Station for students to complete after gluing their penguin poem into their poetry notebook.

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Polar Bear Lesson Activities and Adorable Fluffly Video’s!

Ursus_maritimus_Polar_bear_with_cub.jpg, with ...
Image via Wikipedia

Cover of The Three Snow Bears

During the month of January we have been exploring Antarctica in our sweet Kindergarten classroom. Now, we are learning about Polar Bears and eskimoes. “The Three Snow Bears” by Jan Brett is a great foundation to teach about both. It is a beautiful story that reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but in the Arctic region and with polar bears. After hours of online research (while multi-tasking and cooking dinner, talking on the phone and watching the news) I have found so many great craft ideas and already made video’s from research that other smart people have made. I love being able to find exactly what I need on the internet. I have credited others ideas with thier website being posted below images. Enjoy! I hope you can find something useful here, for your classroom too!

Here is a video showing how real eskimoes build real igloos…

Can you saw “awwww!” Here are some beautiful bears in action

Polar Bear Fast facts:

* Polar Bears usually give birth to twin bear cubs.

* Moms give birth to their cubs in Winter.

* Polar bears like to swim and can swim up to 100 miles!

* An adult polar bear is between 7-8 feet long.

* Moms create dens to live in, which are under the snow.

* Their skin is black.

* They eat seals.

[fast facts from: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/polar-bear/] More facts, video’s and pictures of polar bears can be found at: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/polar-bear/

Polar Bear Craft 1

Step-by-step directions of how to make a bear using an old cd is at this next site. Instead of fake white fur, I will use ear cut-outs, cotton balls and wiggly eyes. I think using cd’s (if you have them on hand) is a great way to be “green.”

http://l.yimg.com/ck/services/swf/flowplayer.commercial-3.1.3.swf

Igloo Paper Craft

missjaymi.blogspot.com

Polar Bear Circle Craft – I drew out large and medium sized circles and the students cut them out and glued them together. This is the craft that I decided to place in the Poetry Station for students to create when finished with their poem.

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Peotry Workstation – I always like to place a craft that focuses on the poem and brings it to life. I think these type of fun crafts are more appropriate for Centers than they are for whole group instruction. Kindergarteners are very independent and when in Centers, with a partner, they can help one another if they forget the next step. I also include a little cut out of the poem for each student to place in thier poetry notebook/folder and explain for them to illustrate thier poem as well. Hanging an example/model of the polar bear is also a good idea! Poem words from www.mrs.jonesroom.com

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Student written poem inspired by the Poetry Station (My daughter in first grade, wrote this after school one day)

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Polar Bear Writing – Turn a regular rectangle writing paper into a bear!

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www.swimmingintosecond.blogspot.com

Related articles – PHOTOS: The World’s New Favorite Tiny Polar Bear Cub (huffingtonpost.com)

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