Friday, May 1, 2015

Five for Friday - May 1, 2015

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Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party. This week has brought lots of new challenges. I teach in a large elementary school with about 800 students in grades pre-k through fifth so this week our upper grades (3rd-5th) have been taking the ACT Aspire which is the new state standardized test for SC. Because they need monitors in their classrooms, my TA has been pulled everyday for most of the day. This also meant that we had a shortened special area schedule which meant less planning time so I have had a very tiring week!


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Last week on Friday afternoon, we had some new visitors arrive to our classroom - 6 Painted Lady caterpillars! We recieved these caterpillars through a grant by our local International Paper mill! My kinders and I were both so excited about their arrival! They have been amazed at how much they have grown in just a few days. I can't wait to see their faces as they form chrysalises and grow into butterflies!


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This week we have studied plants. We talked about the life cycle of a plant and made this anchor chart (I am NOT an artist!). Then my kinders drew their own life cycles and wrote about it. This little guy did a great job on his writing!


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We made this flipbook from Kindergarten Crayons where they had to sort the plant pictures by the number of syllables. This was a great review for my kinders while I was assessing for interims.


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This was an idea one of the other kindergarten teachers saw on a blog. She made picture vocabulary cards of plants that either grow above or below the ground. Then my kinders helped me sort them to make this anchor chart. This was a great activity because they got to use the vocabulary they have learned all week.


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This afternoon our school did a balloon release to raise money for Relay for Life. Our school is a big supporter of Relay for Life in our community. This is the first time we have done this particular fundraiser but it turned out well. The kids were so excited!

Now head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching blog to see all the other photos from this week! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Break 2015 Recap

I am definitely late posting this, but I LOVED every minute of Spring Break 2015 which was the week after Easter for me! I spent it doing the thing I enjoy most - spending time with my family, especially my sweet baby girl Macy! Here is a photo dump of my Spring Break 2015! This will be a long post, but I hope you enjoy seeing how I spent my time off from school!

Easter 2015 was so much fun. Macy really understood the whole concept of the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts. She got a whole wheelbarrow full of goodies from the Easter Bunny! She is in love with Thomas the Train and got some Thomas DVD's to watch in the car. She also loves books and puzzles and got a bunch of Llama, Llama board books and two puzzles (one with her name!).




Macy really enjoyed our Easter egg hunt. She loved finding the eggs hidden all around our church!

We spent most of my spring break at the lake at my husband's company campground. This is a great perk of working where he does. Each employee can use a campsite for 2 weeks with their camper free of charge! It was sooooo relaxing. Macy got to dabble her feet in the water, although it was too cold for swimming! She thought it was so funny!


My husband took Macy and I for a couple of boat rides in the lake. This was Macy's first time in the boat at the lake but she loved it! As an added bonus, we got her a Puddle Jumpers life jacket and she liked it much better than the infant life jacket from last summer. We even went through the locks down into the river which is an awesome experience!


Macy loved how the campground has its own playground. She played on the swings and slides every day!


Now I am hanging on through these last busy days of school and getting so excited about spending my whole summer with my sweet girl! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five for Friday - April 24, 2015

For today's post, I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party.
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There has been lots going on this week both at home and school, but here is a quick peek at my week:


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We have been working on word families and CVC words so these booklets from the Moffatt girls fit in perfectly (CVC booklets). Each page has a different CVC word on it that goes with the word family. I have my kinders stretch out the word and write it in the boxes and on the lines. It also comes with letters they can cut apart to build the word. My kinders love working on them and they are great for practicing both skills. After they have completed their books, they come and read them to either my TA or me which is good practice for them too.


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My sweet Macy came to visit me at school this week. My mom had to leave her with me for a few minutes at the end of the day while she took my grandmother to a doctor's appointment so she got to play in centers with my kinders which they both loved! She is always excited when she gets to visit me at school.


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My kinders wrote these really cute spring acrostic poems this week. This is my kinders first attempt at writing this way but it was a fun challenge. We brainstormed words that are associated with spring for each letter before I sent them off to write these on their own. I thought they did a great job on them!

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I have been working with my kinders on addition and subtraction. This was a little kinder working on a subtraction practice page. He still needs the counters to find the correct answer but other kinders in my room have moved on to doing the basic facts in their heads.

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These two kinders are working to read my new emergent reader - In Spring. This is a fairly simple book that incorporates quite a few sight words, but also has the kids rely on their toolbox of ideas on how to read unfamiliar words. The pictures are there to help them but they also may need to sound out the word and see if it makes sense. I love how they are tracking the print (especially since these are struggling readers)! This emergent reader is available in my TpT store for $1.25 - In Spring emergent reader

Now head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching blog to see all the other random photos from this week! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Simply Sight Words!

I know that I am like most of you and have been teaching sight words since the very beginning of the school year, but I thought I would show you some of the things I have been doing in my classroom to help my kinders learn the sight words. I always love getting new ideas to add to my toolbox so here is a peek in my classroom and the things I use. 

I have shared with you before that I have created sight word units to go along with the units in the 2011 HM Journeys reading series. This is where we get the sight words our kinders are responsible for learning. There are 40 words total in the reading series but I also add more words by teaching them in addition to these since I think they are extremely important to my kinders (ex. - can, love, went, want). My kinders love doing the activities in these units and I love the activities too. My favorites are the pages where they have to fill in the missing sight word from the sentence and trace the other words. Then I have my kinders practice reading the sentences to themselves and they have to read them to me or my TA before they can put their work up. This gives them extra practice reading the sight word in the correct context.
These units are available as a bundle in my TpT store for $15.00. I am working on creating the unit 1, but once I do it will be added to the bundle for those who have purchased for free. 

Recently with my high flying kinders, I started having them play the Sight Word Seashell Game from Lakeshore in a small group during Daily 5. This game covers the first 100 sight words which makes it more of a challenge for them. This game is played by drawing out a shell and reading the sight word on it. If they read the word correctly, they get to keep it, but if they don't know the word it goes in a discard pile. If they draw a crab, they have put all their cards back in the box. I was lucky enough to receive this game through a Donors Choose grant.

For my struggling kinders, I have the Fishing for Sight Words game from Lakeshore. This game is better for my struggling kinders because it only focuses on the first 25 sight words. It is fun so they enjoy playing it too. Each child takes a turn with the fishing pole. When they "catch" a fish, they have to read the word. If they read it correctly, they get to keep it; if not, they throw it back in the pond. This is another game that I received through a Donors Choose grant. My TA played this game with a couple of my kinders during Daily 5.

I use flashcards that I have made to practice the sight words quickly every day with my kinders. I made these on circle shapes because research shows that your eyes are drawn to what is in the middle of a circle. I use these as flashcards as well as to make a word worm and review with my kinders. I have created these for the Journeys sight words as well as the pre-primer, primer, and 1st grade Dolch words. They are also available in my TpT store.
These are my kinders playing the Word Worm game with the Journeys 2011 sight words.

These are not all the ways I practice with my kinders, but I hope this gives you some new ideas for practicing sight words with your kiddos. If you have any other new ideas, I would love to hear them!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thank You Donors Choose for Our New iPad!!

I have recently had another Donors Choose project funded. This time my classroom received a new iPad 2 with a protective case. I already have two iPads for the classroom that I received through Donors Choose a year or so ago. My kinders love getting to use the iPad apps to "play" when they are actually learning at the same time. My iPads are also a part of my Daily 5 rotations for Listen to Reading because they are able to access TumbleBooks through our school subscription . They are also able to listen to leveled readers from our Journeys reading series online. My kinders also use the iPads for Word Work to practice their sight words. They just love using the iPads at anytime! 

Here are some of my kinders using the iPad during Daily 5 to do Word Work:


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lots of Lifecycles!

Heads up...this will be a long post, but I wanted to catch you up on what has been happening in my classroom for the past 3 weeks! 

For the past three weeks we have been learning about life cycles. First we learned about insects. We read The Grouchy Ladybug. Then we made a grouchy ladybug and wrote about when we feel grouchy.

My kinders loved learning about all of them but especially the butterflies. We learned all about the life cycle of a butterfly through books and made an anchor chart together.

They wrote a mini book about the lifecycle of the butterfly and did an excellent job. Here are some pictures of one of my kinders' book:



Each child's book was different because they all told what they thought was most important during each stage of the life cycle of a butterfly.

At the end of the first week, they wrote about their favorite insect. I was amazed at how many different insects were chosen, but here is one:

For week 2, we learned about reptiles and amphibians. This was a favorite of all my kinders but especially my boys. They loved learning all about them. We made charts with pictures of the animals and which family they belong to:


Then together as a class, we wrote about what reptiles and amphibians are, can, have:

These charts really helped my kinders with their writing in their science journals. 

For week 3, we learned about the life cycle of chickens. My kinders wrote about what chickens can, have, are. 


My kinders used these charts from their science journals to do their writing about chickens. 

At the end of week 3, we read the book Chickens Aren't The Only Ones and my kinders were able to fully grasp that many animals lay eggs. They loved the book and learning the word OVIPAROUS! This is their writing after reading the book:



The past 3 weeks have been so exciting for my kinders and for me. They have loved doing informational writing and reading informational books and I have been amazed at how much they have learned!
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