Monday, October 31, 2011

In my room turkeys are beginning to appear ...

This is just a fun game veteran teachers have been using for years to build sight word knowledge. If you have ELL's change it out a bit and have them come up to the pocket chart and use a sentence such as, "The word is here." This is a quick and easy routine you can do daily and keep it fresh by changing out the graphic! I repeat sight words that I want them to practice with greater frequency.

Mentor Magic is Here

How cute are these pictures? None of these students even noticed me in the room. I gave the directions to my fifth grade helpers and they got right down to business. They did a quick letter and sight word assessment, filled out a double bubble map with their little buddy and finally worked on flash cards to review letters and words.
I made a notebook for each kinderkid and they L*O*V*E*D it! I put an apple on the front cover and eventually I want to put a photo of each student with his or her mentor.The notebook has fluency charts, flash cards and any activities I want them to work on. 

So Friday I assessed each student myself to see if they were coming along and fourteen of them got perfect scores! Woohoo, talk about progress! Is this working? You bet it is and the kids are so much more interested in school and participating in class. I even gave out certificates and sent emails to their parents. It was a happy day in Mrs. Kramer'sclassroom. Many of the students who did not get perfect scores only missed a few. Loving this progress... 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Turkey Day Is On the Way!

This is a mini unit you can start tomorrow. I have tons of activities that kinder kids should be practicing to meet the standards. Many of these can be done independently during workshop time and will be fun for your students. If this looks like something you could useclick here to go to my TpT store. I hope this makes life a little easier at such a busy time.

Gobble Gobble Fun

I have been working all weekend on a turkey mini packet for my classroom and to sell on TpT. It is a little bigger than I planned for but it is full of activities that I am hoping will help my students to grow academically. This is one of my favorite times of the year and my head is spinning with the projects that need to be done. So... I am busy coming up with things to keep your students engaged while you are getting ready for your festivities. Macaroni necklaces, patterned vests, placemats, turkey art... Okay I better finish this and move on so I will be ready too.

T is for Turkey has an emergent reader, syllable counting work, sight word games, maps to use, cvc activities,
beginning sounds work, alphabet matching, counting work, etc. It is almost finished!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Learning

New strategy in my room: Practice the text in the little books I make billions of times so students feel more confident when reading. Obviously the sight words I am working on are "we" and "see" but I am also talking about adding s to show more than one. We practice this as a routine every day for a week and by the time we get to the little book we know it really well!  They feel really successful and so does the teacher! The pumpkin cards are another way to practice the alphabet with a partner.

Mentor Magic Is Coming to Kindergarten

Okay I am getting ready for tomorrow and I even ran off questions so the mentors have something to guide their thinking. They can ask any kind of a question but these are suggestions in case they run out of ideas. I want to take pictures of each kinder student with his mentor to put on the front of their intervention notebooks. Now I need to come up with something fun for us to do after this... Suggestions?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Calling In Pete for Intervention

Help me understand the adoration my kids have for this cool blue cat. Honestly, using Pete on my bingo boards was inspirational. My kiddos are so motivated by this class icon. What I like best about this is they covered his red shoes and I could still see if their bingo chip was on the right word since it was not covered up. At the end of the game I put them in partners and they "read' their board for additional practice. Why is the word "the" such a challenge for some of my students? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Q tips Can Be Used for Other Things

We have been listening to lots of stories about the life cycle of a pumpkin so I made this quick little mini book for my students. It was so simple and then I decided to let them jazz up the cover by using a q tip dipped in orange and yellow paint. How much mess could this possibly make? Plenty. but they loved doing it so maybe I will try something bigger next time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Star Word Mastery Lights Up My World

Okay, no one warned me  how much work this intervention would be but once it is done we will be ready to rock and roll with our mentors. I got these rings in Office Depot for a dime a bag and I thought I was going to die of happiness because rings are costly. I have a friend that uses shower curtain rings that she finds at the dollar store and that is a brilliant idea! Teachers are sooooooo smart! Anyhow, once they master these ten words they will get a certificate and tons of applause for a job well done. Motivation and competition rule the world!

Just a little check up...

Okay I'm not sure how this will roll but I am going to give it a try. Here's the plan: I am going to have my mentors quickly review letters and sight words using flash cards and then give a quick five minute assessment
which will be stored in individual student notebooks. If any student gets 100% I will check for accuracy and give out a certificate the following week and we can all applaud these students. Will this work? I will get back to you on that!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds: Count Them and Eat Them

My grade level BFF's are already doing Pumpkin investigations and needed this book to finish out their activities. This is just like the book I have in the Applelicious Packet for sale at TpT. The kids had so much fun doing it and it was easy enough that many could do this pumpkin one independently... maybe. This week we are going to estimate the seeds in a small pumpkin by counting them in groups of ten. I also bought pumpkin seeds for them to taste too. We have been reading some great stories, focusing on the life cycle of a pumpkin. What activities are you doing? Grab it here and I hope you use it in your classroom.

Mentor Mapping: Week #2

So I had our mentors fill out questionnaires with the kinders and now they are going to put this information on a double bubble map. Why? They are going to figure out how they are alike and how they differ. When students look at text they often are expected to compare and contrast two characters and this is a great way for them to get started with this important skill. Photographs can go under each label or kids can draw themselves. The most meaningful part of this experience is buddies have an opportunity to get to know each other and share ideas.
I am looking for sentences such as "We both love dogs." Another possibility might be, I like to play soccer but Tomas likes to ride bikes."  The outside circles are colored one color and the ones the buddies share are another color. I hope this makes sense. I can't wait to see how these turn out. By the way I run these maps on 8 and1/2 by 14" paper for my little ones.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Attention... Here Come Our Mentors

The day was almost over and I told my students their mentors or buddies were coming to work with them. They were so excited. The fifth graders came in with clipboards, ready to meet their little friends and get down to business. They were just as excited! I asked them if they knew what a mentor was and laid some ground rules.I told them I was counting on them to help make our young friends scholars but I needed their help to do this.I modeled the activity I wanted them to do and provided a questionnaire so they could get to know the child they would be working with. I also provided an assessment so they could see what their skills were like. No one prepared me for how touching this would be. They took their job seriously and worked hard. I was close to tears just watching them imitate their own teacher or just go into "teacher mode." Many of them were past students of mine and to watch them in this role was really special for me. Wow, what an amazing experience for all of us. At the end I asked the 5th graders what they had really liked about this experience and they answered me with such honestly and passion. I asked them what else they would like to do with their buddies in the future and they suggested playing games and doing art projects with them. I am filled with hope that we will all get so much from this and I cannot wait to get started on this journey.
My hubby spent all night cutting out flash cards to build their "buddy learning bags." I made upper and lowercase letters on pumpkins and now I need numbers, sound cards, etc. Lots of work but well worth the effort.

What Are We Working On?

So if you are using Open Court Reading you will be able to relate to this post on Shadows. This is a topic that is hard to do with five year olds. Here are a few simple maps we made with the kids that were right at their level. The one on Bear Shadow is to help them understand different settings. A parent came in to do the silhouettes you see. The kids loved guessing who each student was and we filled our room and office with these. What a beautiful way to decorate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Help! Intervention Mentors to the Rescue

Boy am I being challenged this year. I have a massive number of children who do not know their alphabet, are unable to count, and are not too sure of the sight words that have been introduced. What's a teacher to do? Pull her hair out.  No, I am calling in the fifth graders to help me. Yup, you read that right! We are going to work with our mentors because learning with Mrs. Kramer is not that much fun. Maybe I will get better results this way. My head is spinning with ideas to change this up and make it work. So tonight I made 31 sets of cards with alphabet letters, a chart to build letter fluency, and a set of questions the mentors can ask my little ones to get to know them. Will it work? Stay posted. Does anyone else have a buddy program?
Ideas in the works:
Bingo Games
Beach Ball Toss with Sight Words on the ball
Writing letters outside with sidewalk chalk
Reading stories
Creating a double bubble map to compare the older buddy with his young friend

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Activities

My teaching partner is a genius at modifying activities so we can get them done fairly quickly, have some fun, and not have our kids covered in paint. Well, just not too many of them! This is adorable on the walls of our room and we taught the seasons of the year through this book. There are millions of versions of this activity on the internet but this is our take on how it can be accomplished. I have a little flower hole punch in case you are wondering how we got those little pink flowers. Cute huh? We made the apples using the back of a pencil dipped in red paint. So next year you might consider doing this.

Try this in your room with something related to Fall.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Science

At this time of the year my spinner games need to stay pretty simple so I created this one just for the little ones who are ELL's and need more language support. I love the idea of  tracing the words on the side too. I am going to make a variety of these for different concepts. When they spin the spinner and it lands on a picture I want them to use a sentence: " Here is a pumpkin." Gotta keep them talking and practicing! Some of this clipart is from DJInkers and is just adorable. If you want this little cutie just grab it from my TpT store .

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fran's Freebie For Fall

Here is the Fall Patterning Book I promised before I got sick. It is full of images you can manipulate to practice patterning with your little ones. Guess what? It's free again and who doesn't love free! Remember this is a strip book so you want to stack the pages, staple it 3 times on the side and cut them apart. Quick and easy makes me so happy. When you are assessing the children you might be able to have them work on this independently... okay, maybe not. Enjoy this and leave a comment if you want to. Grab this right here. Thanksgiving is coming up. 

Oh My Goodness I Have Lost Control: Applelicious Activities Is Ready!

Seriously friends, my kids have barely started school and now I have a frightening amount of testing to do for progress reports and report cards. In my opinion progress reports are district code for another report card or maybe I am just crazy. So... I made this packet so I would have things for them to do while I am working on individual assessments  that take me a billion hours, make me crazy, and test my patience beyond your wildest understanding. I love when the four year old little cutie comes up and just shrugs his shoulders when I check his alphabetic knowledge. I try to smile lovingly but in my head I am freaking out and asking myself if I need to find another job cause I am not exactly hitting a home run. 

I need stuff to keep the others busy and this can be really challenging when dealing with little people. So you do not want activities that are too difficult. You need things that can be done independently without children coming up to you every 4 seconds to ask a question. I am hoping this packet is the answer. What do you think? Can you use something like this? I did a mix of 
math and literacy activities with cut and paste work. Gotta go. You can it by clicking on TpT.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What Happened to My Kitchen Table... Stuff is Everywhere!

I am so busy like everyone else and on top of it all I have a cold. I have been to a big training on thinking maps that has rocked my world and I just did a kinder training too. It's time for assessments and in the middle of all this action I am trying to put together a packet of activities for you to use with the kids while you are testing to see what they know for progress reports or report cards. Maybe they can even have a little fun! So what do I have in here? I have emergent readers,counting activities, simple games, maps you will love, syllable work, beginning sounds,etc. Pete the Cat even jumped into this packet. I couldn't resist! I hope to have this up by the weekend. Guess what... I have no voice left  but I can still type.Boy am I a work in progress! You are the apple of my eye!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh My: Your Letters Are Upside Down

We are not quite there yet. We have been doing some letter sorting work and many of my students are gluing them upside down and backwards. Sound familiar? Many of the children in my class need a lot more practice with this activity. If you are feeling my pain grab a few sorts right here.What do you do to help them with this skill? We have a big hill to climb! Stay calm.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple Headbands Are Apple Pickin' Cute

Don't ya love it when you make something cute with your students and you hit about a million standards along with building cutting and pasting skills? This is a headband I have in the new apple packet I am creating for teachers who want some standards based fun for their kiddos. Hope this becomes the apple of your eye.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Brace Yourself for Learning!

Here is the next map I will be working on in my room. I plan to do a guided drawing activity which will allow my students to practice making the parts of an apple. This is a great map for them to practice in kindergarten since it is so concrete. I will post their work when I complete this. Labeling is part of this activity too. I love when they draw the parts of an apple and when they get to the whole they make it a different color. Really? Wow that's when I know I didn't get my point across at all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If It's Pete They Will Come...

I was pulling my hair out a few weeks ago since the little ones in my class were having so much trouble remembering what to do during their workshop time. Then my friends next door suggested a chart to anchor their thinking. I used Pete on my chart because my class is obsessed with him (okay maybe it's more about the teacher). Did this help? You betcha. If it has Pete on it everyone seems to focus a bit more... just sayin'. So here is Pete working and then Pete having some fun.

My tee shirts came in the mail from the artist of this book and I cannot wait to wear one on a casual day to school and watch the reaction in my class.. Pete with a coffee cup is so perfect for this teacher. Now do I need a piece of art? I'm thinking...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10 Apples Up On Top...We Cannot Stop

Okay there have been billions of these on the internet but this is our simple little version with an AB pattern.We work hard on teaching our children how to draw as part of our writing program and these are cute versions of their self portraits. Different groups did different patterns and the children had fun making these. I have seen so many clever, adorable versions of this idea that I hope I remember for next year. Our kids need cutting practice, number writing skills, and practice ordering numbers. So we got some serious bang for our buck! I'm thinking this might make a cute class book!

Thinking Maps Make Me Think

Often teachers find the Bubble Map difficult to use in kindergarten. If you work with English Language Learners this map can be even more challenging. This map is only used for adjectives and children sometimes have a hard time with this when they have such a limited vocabulary. What works best? We like to use food at the beginning since it allows a child to use all of his or her senses and is quite motivating.
 I found that  using a label for  is or has made far more sense to our little ones and as the year progresses they love to help write these words and add their own art. I can't take full credit for adding in this piece. My curriculum specialist is an expert at using these maps and has pushed me to make them kinder friendly in so many ways. Together we have really made them work for our youngest learners.
Tomorrow I am starting an intensive 3 day training to become a trainer of trainers and I will get all the new updates. Woohoo! I use these maps across my curriculum and the kids love them! I love watching them work on these adding their own art and writing. I can't wait to get some new ideas.
If you use our labeling idea gives us a shout-out cause we would love to hear from you.
Do you know the "thinking maps" song and motions? 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Awards Are So Rewarding

Many thanks to all of you who included me in your list. It fills my bucket.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What do you think?

I have seen so many wonderful themes created by talented teachers in the last few weeks that are based on Halloween. At my school I would never be allowed to use this kind of content in my classroom. Our district is expecting us to be rigorous and to reflect the state standards in our classrooms. I work at a fundamental school where holidays are not celebrated in any way. We have students who would not come to school if we had holiday parties or had images in our room that had a negative connotation to them.  We see no value in teaching about scarecrows, witches, elves, etc. or spending a great deal of time on topics that are not academic. Candy has become a huge issue in our district as well with strict restrictions from our administrators. Many of our students have severe dental decay and are overweight. Proper nutrition is being stressed with our children and and we are encouraged to teach about healthy food choices. So I am curious about what your district mandates. The California Kindergarten Association several years back focused on the diversity in our classrooms and being respectful of the wide range of cultures we often have. I would love to hear from you on this topic.

Apple Tasting Fun

My students have very limited English and they need lots of opportunities to practice linguistic patterns and
to speak to a partner in a full sentence. They are so young this year that I have to slow down and visit concepts in a variety of ways. Continuing simple patterns has gone pretty well but ABAB is the only one they really understand consistently. So I have made patterning a daily routine to build up their skills. The sight words I have introduced are challenging some and I will be thinking of every idea in the world to give them additional practice.
Sorting these words in a pocket chart has been a big hit since every child gets their own card. This was my teaching partner's idea to keep all students engaged! Go ahead and say it..."The woman is a genius."

During the week my students will work on this:
This is an oldie I made many years ago but I like it because the kids get to draw the apple seeds and it is a bit more interactive. We need more number practice and this might feel less painful to them!
Please do not sell these or give them away as your ideas. I am having so many problems with this lately and need your support. They will be offered in my TpT store soon. I just thought you might like to see them.