Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cutting Paper Not Hair Or Clothing!

Do you have those students in your classroom that I refer to as "scissor happy"? I do. They love to cut anything in sight and I need to pay attention or disaster is right around the corner. When my students get tired of cutting out pictures, they start making confetti. That means they are not on the lines I have for them to follow and they just want to get the project over with! Who is on my page? So when I decided to make them a Letters and Sounds book I really tried to keep it simple but effective. Here is what I can up with:
 This is quick and easy but I think it will still be effective. We have been using Open Court for about 12 years and I am amazed that this never dawned on me before. I want to keep this in the classroom as a resource that kids can use when writing or doing other related activities. That is what Common Core is suggesting we do and it makes sense to me!
When we are working on letters and sounds I can pick and choose which pages I want to do. I am running these off 2 at a time and will save so much paper this way. I think this might be more fun for a little kinder person that writing and gluing a whole page. I will let you know if it is effective or not.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Passion for Pumpkins

Our school does not celebrate Halloween. We are a fundamental school that has many students who do not celebrate this holiday. So I always need to come up with activities that are still lots of fun challenge them academically, but no witches and goblins can come into our rooms. I also want them to reflect the Common Core. That can be a tall order at this time of the year! 

I worked on a variety of activities today and have not moved away from my computer. I really had to think about what to use to build letter naming fluency and would not be "more of the same thing" for my struggling readers. Yup, you read that right. We are already talking about progress monitoring this little ones but that is a whole, other post. 

Students just roll the cube with a partner (collaborative model) and fill in this little recording sheet after telling their partner the name of the letter. I am giving them crayons that are fall colors to spice it up and make it more fun. I can have them focus on the letters they need to work on since I am the boss of the cards! Easy and fun.

If you have been following my blog you know all about this game. Now I made it with a pumpkin graphic. These are the words I want my kids to know fluently so I have repeated them several times. One card has pumpkin seeds hidden behind it and when the student pulls the card and finds this they win this round. Here is what we like to chant once a student has been picked... "Pumpkin, pumpkin on a vine, we love your seeds. They taste so fine."
This is a very simple ten frame activity that I am introducing during guided math. I want students to understand that when a 10 frame is filled you don't even need need to count the candy! For students with a limited understanding of this I will give them easier cards and have them put counters right on top of the candy corn to make these concepts more concrete.
Here is a simple cut and paste activity that I will provide for students who are ready for more abstract learning. I will use it for my top students. It might make a great homework activity, once students clearly understand these concepts. 
Students need lots of practice counting and this is just another activity using pumpkins and seeds.
I'm going to make a recording sheet that allows students to draw their own seeds. They will love doing that. I like the idea of showing 10 on one pumpkin and putting more seeds on another to count all the seeds together. Here is where subitizing work will really pay off. Your higher students will not always need to count each and every seed!

I love this little activity the best! What do you think?
My students have been having a blast will all the fishing games I have mad but seriously you don't fish for a pumpkin! So I had this big, clear spoon in my kitchen that I glued a magnet to. I covered the inside with a pumpkin. So students will play with a partner and dig for pumpkins. Each card has a magnet on the back.Once they identify the letter, the partner will place them on the vine with lowercase letters on the bottom and uppercase letters on top. I hope my little farmers like this activity. 

These gorgeous graphics all belong to Whimsy Workshop. I recommend purchasing them if you want to make some of your own centers. Aren't they adorable? Please check out her products. I love all of them! Her blog is right here.