Thursday, May 31, 2012

Literature-Based Activity

Thought today I'd share an activity I did with my three 2 yr old classes and two 3 yr old classes. Those ages are not quite right at this point in the school year. My older 3s all turned 4 by March, and my oldest 2s were all 3 by March as well. But the school I teach at we call the kids by their age groups in September...not what age they currently are. Make sense? Okay...on my way to work each morning I pass by the most beautiful field of red flowers. They look like the poppy flower the veterans give out when you make a donation. I can't get a close enough picture of them to show here. I may drive by over the weekend and see if I can pull over to take a picture.

This past week some yellow flowers have started blooming as well. These flowers inspired me to bring out one of my favorite books :

After reading the story, we sang a cute song that I heard on an episode of Barney when my own kids were small. It's called "Five Little Butterflies." I made a flannel board set of butterflies and flowers for them to fly around.

The kids LOVE counting backwards for me as I "pick" the flowers off the board at the end of the song.

Our activity for the lesson was picking carrots from my carrot garden. I have a carrot pattern, probably came from a Mailbox Magazine at some point, that I copied on orange construction paper. I then wrote a numeral from 0 to 15 on each carrot & laminated them. Added cute little green toppers and instant carrot garden. I asked the kids to sit on the outside of the circle time rug, and scattered the carrots upside down in the "garden." Each child got a turn to pick a carrot, tell the class what numeral is on the carrot, then they replanted it. They had so much fun!!! Even my youngest students, who are all mid 2yo now, had fun picking carrots. If a student did not know the numeral, they were able to ask their class for help.

My oldest class had 15 students in attendance that day, so they each kept their carrot instead of replanting. They then lined them selves up in number order! I held the extra carrot to fill in the spot.

Edit: I tried to go this weekend and get a picture of the beautiful field but there was no where to pull over to get the shot. We decided to go into the public area and walk along the trails. I was hoping to find a way over to the fields but storms prevented us from getting that far. Only got a tiny bit wet on the way to the car! But I was able to find one lonely red flower along the way - I am sure this flower is what is making my drive such a beautiful one!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Breaking" 5

Tuesday the Pre-K classes did a one-day lesson on "breaking" numbers. AKA decomposing numbers.  The same person who I got the "making" number post-it idea inspired this lesson as well.

Before the lesson, I prepped the chart.

The first class is the younger of the two, so I wrote the facts up.  The second, older class has one without the facts.

Six students were chosen to place a post-it in each square, each student completing a row.  To get more involved, two additional students were chosen to "break" the row of 5.  The squares are pre-drawn so they can "see" what is missing.  Similar to putting an "X" on the ones we are breaking off in the original lesson I read.  One student broke off a piece of the row, and another fills in "how many are left." (The older class wrote the whole fact.)

Just as an introduction, I showed them how we can reverse the addition and subtraction sentences to make them "family." Using the language that will be oh so important in Kindergarten!!

Their hands-on activity was using cube trains to break apart the numbers.  The older class wrote on individual white boards while the younger class just used the manipulatives.  I was able to get a picture of the chart, then the battery on my camera died.  But you get the idea!

Kindergarten Workstations

I am very excited. I had 4 pages views a couple days ago!! If you are stopping by please leave me a comment and say hi!!!

Here is a snippet of my kindergarten math workstations for Tuesday.  I only see them once this week since we were off on Monday.

This is the chart they work off of.  Our mini lesson (cute pic of a teacher reading to the kids) was a review on how to use the chart.  We have a couple new students that joined us from the after school program next door that closed last week.  So I wanted to make sure they could follow along with us.

The students had 3 "MUST DO" activities: it is up to them to make sure they visit all 3 color coded tables in the time allotted.  Most days they do really well with this, others need a bit of reminding (like the girls when there is a cool art-type activity, some can stay the whole time at the one without realizing it.)

Yellow was a review of base 10. 

The students had to find the base 10 card that matched the number on the recording sheet.  They had to figure out what the number was, record it, then find the match to check if they were correct.

Activity from: Anna at Crazy for First Grade

Green was a cute ladybug game. 

This was a quick activity.  There is a 3 on the green chart card, showing the students that only 3 may be there at one time.

Activity from somewhere in the blog world.  The author did not put her name on the pages. :( If I see it again I will link back!

Blue was a review of positional words. 

This is an old activity from Mailbox Magazine.  The students had to cut and collate the books, then used red stamper to put thumbprint ladybugs where the words on each page told them to.

They also get two "May Dos," activities that are only to be done if they complete all their "Must Dos" or if all the must dos are full.  One is play oriented, building with blocks.  The other is for my hanging pocket chart.  I have a spot on the wall that I can attach ziplocs with velcro.   I switch up what is in the bag, and it only gets put out when the kindergarteners come.  Otherwise my 2s will destroy it. :)  No more than two students may work here at the same time.  Hence the "2" on the red packet chart.

Here are two students working together to put pictures in order from 1 to 100.

If you get through ALL of the above, what can I do then Ms. Kathy?  The chart tells them.  Most often it is to get a book from the Reading Center.  I keep a large selection of Lego magazines & catalogs so the boys love to get through their work to get the chance to look at them.

Then we gather together again at the end to talk about our time together.  This system works really well for my students.  I can use it for all workstations OR I can use it for teaching.  There is a picture of ME when they have to come to me for their small group lesson.  I have them split into groups so I call the group names or use a timer/bell to facilitate the change. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Making" Numbers

Okay, trying to figure out how to do this!!

Last week I conducted a two day lesson on "joining" numbers for my 2 Pre-K classes.  We discovered different ways to make 3, 4 & 5.  I started with the fabulous chart I found somewhere in the blog world:

I cannot for the life of me find the original source. I had this window open for so long...and now as I go thru my history for the weekend it is no where to be found. If ANYONE knows where it came from PLEASE tell me so I can give credit where it is due.  Thanks!!

Our group lesson was first: observation of me making 4s.  I then handed out 2 sets of 5 cube trains (different colors) and we worked to make 5s.  I demonstrated while they did. 

Here is the 5 chart. I had tons of post-it's at home that my own kids never used (that the teachers always ask for in their lists but always come home unopened??)

Since this was a new experience for my students, I did all the demonstrating. Next week when we get to "breaking" numbers, I am going to have them participate by placing & removing the post-its.

Then, using the wonderful worksheets created by Maria at Kinder-Craze we got a chance to work on our fine-motor skills by making 3s.

Making Numbers!

Day 2 we worked in small groups to complete one of these fabulous babies from Nicole at Rowdy in Room 300:

Composing Number Booklets

I pre-folded the books for the kids, as I thought it would get a bit too confusing for my younger, more challenged students.  I am going to have them cut the strips, then flip the book over to make them.

I asked the students to choose two colors to draw circles with.  They did a really awesome job with this activity.  The original activity had the students draw all of one color first, then go back and fill in the required number of color 2. We did each strip at a time instead, and they really got it!  A couple of the younger ones wanted to go to the next strip with the second color at first, but with assistance figured it out pretty quickly.

Friday we conduct review lessons in all day centers.  For the math center we played the following game:

Using the Blooming Addition worksheet I found from Fran at Kindergarten Crayons  I created a game.

The student rolled my large die until they got a 4, 5 or 6.  They recorded their number in the "last box" on their sheet.  This is the number we will make.  The first group I asked to write the number 2 in the "first box" then draw two flowers in the pot above it.  Each student had to figure out how many more flowers they needed to draw to "make" their number.  I thought this would help me keep control over the different numbers if we all had to count on from the same number.  My groups consist of 2-4 students, for varying reasons.

The second group wanted to roll the die some more, so we decided to roll for our first number too!  They rolled until they got a 1, 2 or 3 (if they were making 6) and that made the game a lot more fun.  Here is a completed page by Jilly:

Next week, we will do a one-day lesson on "breaking" numbers.  I can't wait!!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've been spending a lot of time this week cleaning out my classroom.  I did a fun lesson with my pre-k classes on "making" numbers, and next week we will "break" them.  I have been trying to take pictures to post with the lesson.  I decided to wait until the entire lesson was done, which in my world is 3 classes but in real time is 2 weeks, cause of the holiday weekend.  I want to post the entire lesson from beginning to end.  Hopefully someone will come by and visit me by the time I get that up, so I can get some feedback!!

I have sooooo much to go thru, and now that I decided I am going to spend some of my summer blogging and hopefully creating for TpT, I am not leaving as much as I had originally planned.  My thoughts were to not come back at all...and try something different in September.  If I can make a good go at this online stuff...I may not need to do that.  So now I really need to make sure I bring home everything I will need. Oy!!

We started our progress reports today too, which is a very labor intensive thing.  I have 5 classes to complete about 30 lines of progress for, plus a personal comment for each one.  We're talking 100 kids or so.  But those are due June 8th so I can get back to my classroom cleaning after that.  I'm doing the easy stuff now, like cabinets, posters. books, file cabinet will be the toughest one.

Oh to make the pesto cream cheese dip for tomorrow's staff birthday lunch.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Well..have not posted for a couple days.  Been taking some pictures of my classroom and activities the kids have been doing.  Had to go visit the ENT tonight for a follow up visit.  Had sinus surgery a year ago and when I went in for my follow-up the doc said I have a brand new polyp and sinus infection. Whoopie!  No wonder why I have had a headache for the last two days.

So I see I have had no visitors yet to my blog.  Gotta figure out how to get someone to come by.  Hmmm...will think more tomorrow. Tonite I head to sleep, since I was up till 12:15am helping my 14 year old finish a project.  Pics of some activities to come tomorrow!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Reading the summer bucket lists is starting to inspire me!

1. Paint my bathroom. I have been putting it off for 3 years and boy does it need it!
2. Learn how to make pretty printables to share!
3. Spend time blogging & lesson planning.
4. Organize my many many many files of lesson plans, activities & worksheets.
5. Learn to play the piano with BOTH hands.

It's a start, right???

Read another bucket list here!

My First Entry

Oh My Goodness. What am I doing?  I would never have thought myself as a blogger.  I love spending my free time reading what other teachers do in their classrooms, but me? Who would be interested in what I do every day?  According to my director and co-workers, a lot of people.  So here I go.

Welcome to my blog!! Very unimaginative title, maybe I'll change that later.  It's early on a Sunday morning, and as I sip my coffee reading thru the various Kindergarten blogs I enjoy.  In New Jersey, our school year runs from September to June, so as I read I can't help but be jealous of all my fellow teachers who are finishing up their school year.  I have 22 more school days left, not that I am counting or anything.  *smiles*

Why am I here?  Why am I doing this?  I have been teaching science and math in an academic preschool for seven years.  The preschool also functions as a daycare, so we have some kids at the school from 7am to 6pm. Yikes.  I am a "teaching specialist" which means I teach only.  There are other staff members who "care for" the students.  We are unique in that the classes rotate thru eight different subject classrooms throughout the week.  I am also responsible for a homeroom class that comes back to me for lunch and rest time.

When I first started teaching, it was fun and easy.  Now it has become less fun and not-so-easy.  While I am told I am an excellent teacher, this past year was so rough I did not feel like it at all.  I decided I needed a sabbatical to gather my thoughts and decide if this is truly what I want to do until I retire.  I'm sure many of you have felt the same way at some time or another.

This is a second career for me.  After doing my part in the business world, I decided to be a stay-at-home-mom when my kids were born.  I started working part-time for a play & music program, mainly to get out of the house, and decided that I wanted to learn more about early education.  I loved teaching my own children, as well as the kids in my classes, so it seemed a perfect fit.  After enrolling in an early childhood ed program at the local community college I decided that *cough too many* years ago I should have stayed in the teaching program at college but instead of dropping out of becoming a high school spanish teacher I should have switched to elementary ed.  At this point, the local school districts were all starting their layoffs due to budget cuts, teachers were in surplus, so early childhood here I come!!

This year has been a very difficult one, and I just don't know that I want to do what I have been doing anymore.  So I decided to take a sabbatical from the classroom, and spend the next year doing what I do best.  Writing curriculum.  I have been reading a LOT into the Common Core Standards, and find that most of my lessons are a perfect fit to help other teachers out there.  My director, who is an award-winning teacher, has been encouraging me since my first year to write and publish curriculum.  So this summer I am putting my first effort into that.  Bear with me as I figure out how to do that, but this blog will serve not only as an emotional outlet for me but to share my knowledge with other teachers, in hopes it will help you in your classrooms when school starts up next year.  My intention is to focus this blog on Preschool Math & Science, taking the Kindergarten Common Care Standards and bring them down to the preschool level, so that your students are fully prepared and ready to take on Kindergarten!!  So, welcome again and wish me luck!!!