Sunday, October 25, 2015

Snapshot Of Our Room

Hi there,
I have not really disappeared but I have been missing for a few weeks. The year started off with a bang and I have been really busy planning activities to keep an active and chatty group of children busy and engaged in learning. This is no easy job as many of you well know but I have given it my best shot. Here are some photos of what has been going on in September and October...

September was all about apples and exploring their understanding through both Science and Social Studies. We saw lots of  You Tube videos on Johnny Appleseed and the life cycle of an apple. I made several apple readers that they loved too.
 I am all over subitizing and practicing it with my students. This has really made a difference in their ability to recognize the number of dots on dice when playing games. I made a Power Point where I click through the dots at top speed and they love "racing" to tell me the answer. This has been so much fun and can be changed throughout the year depending on our theme. It is really building number sense quickly.

 I introduced a variety of sight words but used apple images to help to build their academic vocabulary. This game was a huge hit but I got tired of playing it (the kids were fine with it) so after about a week I had to change it or go nuts! Yup,it's all about me!
 I cut up a variety of apples and read stories about apple orchards so naturally we labeled a picture but mine is super simple to cut apart since not all children have mastered this skill yet. No one got a hair cut that day so I felt in control of the whole situation. They are so cute that I put them up around the room. We also did a guided drawing of an apple which they loved.
 Yup, Chef Kramer showed up with her crock pot and showed the children how to make applesauce from the apples our parents had sent in. I only added a little sugar and some cinnamon and it was a big hit. Most kids loved it but some would not even touch it which surprised me. How do you handle students who refuse to taste something. I try not to make a big deal of it. No one likes to be forced to eat something. Right?
Our school does not celebrate Halloween in any way. We don't read about witches, ghosts, zombies, or Frankenstein. However, I do a huge unit on Autumn and a lot of science around the life cycle of a pumpkin. Here a just a few pictures of what we did and I have many other activities that the kids loved. Many of them come from my activity packet that is in my TpT store: Click on the picture and it will take you there: It has lots of great activities but the best is a retelling bracelet with a matching little book for the life cycle of a pumpkin. My students wore that bracelet for an entire week! 
Parents sent in lots of pumpkins and we naturally did a Bubble Map to describe it both inside and outside and they loved it! I threw it together quickly just using graphics from Susanna at Whimsy Workshop because her clip art rocks! She has made me gorgeous graphics that my students adore.
 I also made a fluency chart with my Sparkle Reader called I See a Pumpkin that is also available in my TpT store. Click on the pictures to fly over there.
 We practiced important but basic skills with simple games I created that made learning more fun.
 On our Fall Activity Day the moms came in to help and the children made a pumpkin mosaic using beans and pumpkin seeds. They loved do this project.
There is so much more to post but now I need to work on other projects to get ready for the week ahead.  Look for more pumpkin fun later in the week.
Have a great week of teaching.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tips for Taking the Littles to the Lab

Our school has a computer lab where kindergarten students are expected to log in on their own with a a six digit student number. This is crazy since most of them cannot even read numbers and have never touched a mouse (the one used for technology) in their lives. What does a teacher do to hold on to her sanity, which is slowly slipping away?  Create a scaffold.
This works for me so don't go insane yet... there is hope.
First, I make a card for each student with their first and last name and their student ID#. I pop this up pretty big so they can see it with ease!  The number is placed in a grid so younger students have an easier time tracking it with their young eyes.  On the right side is the computer they are assigned to. Once they learn where to go you will love that they just come into the room and sit down quietly. Okay, that was a lie. This can all be done in Power Point or Publisher.
Notice that I have a boy or girl graph on the left side. I recommend changing that to a photo of each student to make this easier for buddies, (I am getting to that) the lab tech, and your poor sub who has to do this.
Are you with me so far? Once you have all your names listed in alphabetical order (by first name) with your student ID#s you are now ready to laminate. I prefer home lamination since it is thicker but do what works for you. Now cut all your cards apart and stack them. Mine even have a title card because that helps me know what I am grabbing. Here are a few extra cards I make. I also have a card with all my passwords needed for this lab! Old brain... 

Once you have all the cards you need and a few extras for new kiddos it is time to punch a hole in them and put them on a ring so you can find them! Right? I punch them in the upper left-hand corner and then use a ring to hole them all together. Does this make sense? 
Here are some pictures in "real life" of what they actually look like.

Why do you line them up by first name?
This is far easier to remember for you and your students! 
You can do this before you head for the lab.

Why do you assign them to a computer?
They know exactly where to go and it makes this process more systematic.

How do they learn how to log in with a million numbers to learn?
At the beginning I use 5th grade buddies who stand behind them and gently guide them.

Do you have them memorize their number?
Yes. I make this part of their HW and parents help them to learn this. It takes time for many children to achieve this. It is also their lunch number.

Here is a sample of what I send home:

I hope this has helped you organize your students for the computer lab. My students go there twice a week and  must also take certain assessments. This is a lot of screen time. Let me know if this helps you.

Do you want your own copy to use? Head for my FB page and grab my "fan freebie". You can edit this for your own class.