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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Please Label Your Parts... A Lima Bean Pictorial and Cut and Paste Freebie!

As you move along during your Plant Unit your beans will begin to grow and once they start sprouting leaves I like to create a pictorial (GLAD strategy ) in front of my students so we can talk about the parts of the plant and what it needs to grow.Use large chart paper for this. Remember to just outline your picture in light pencil so you can draw it with marker or crayons while the students are watching and you are talking and confirming their knowledge of  each part. Add the details of the picture by asking questions such as, "What does our bean need so it will grow?" and you can even invite students up to add rain, sun, soil, etc. This will keep them more engaged as you are working on the pictorial. Some teachers allow students to color the pictorial later but often I just fill in the color with scrapbooking chalk which fills it with color quickly and effectively. I love the soft look of this. Be sure to label the parts to build academic vocabulary and review this daily, adding on as you see fit.
At this time I often hand out white boards and markers and do a guided drawing of this with the children. Sometimes I will do it the following day as a review.
The follow up to this is a cut and paste that the children do independently after we have gone over the parts of the lima bean plant numerous times. They have to follow the key on the right to color it properly and this is  ideal for reviewing color words. Have you "bean" growing lima beans in your room? I hope so! Would you like this little cut and paste? Click here but please remember to leave a comment and share your planting ideas. Thanks so much.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Are You Full of Beans In Kindergarten? Grab this freebie!

Now that California teachers are implementing the Common Core our perspective has shifted and we are making certain strategies a part of our daily teaching. Many kindergarten teachers love to grow lima beans in baggies or in soil but now we want our students to record their observations (through drawings, labels, and writing) and to document this on a daily basis. This is a flip book that is generic since the students write in the day on the front. In my classroom I might start them off with guided drawing and label the parts as a group but this would be easy to differentiate depending on the skills of your children. Some teachers choose to plant their bean in soil (just one) and the entire class observes the same plant. You have lots of choices with this but I thought this little log would be useful for you. It is 2 pages and you run it back to back so students know where to put their drawing each day.
I worked with a team of wonderful,primary teachers on a unit of study for our district that reflects the CCSS and created this log for our district teachers to use. I hope they find it useful. Click on the picture to grab this item for your classroom. Be sure to check out the Greenhouse freebie posted too! I love comments if you can spare the time. Have a great Sunday friends.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Bean There, Done That" Freebie You Will Love

Be sure to tape your baggie to the back of the greenhouse. It fits perfectly in the window opening that you have cut out. 

This was so much fun to do with our kindergarten students and they are having a blast watching these grow in their personal greenhouse. They look precious hanging up in the windows at our school. Be sure to soak your beans overnight to get fast germination and great results. Remember that 5 year olds have no patience to wait. We even looked at the baby inside of a bean after soaking it overnight and the children were fascinated with this science activity. I promise that you cannot kill these if you follow these directions and they get plenty of sun. Everyone has a green thumb in kindergarten! Now go try this. You can grab my little house here but please leave a comment and become a follower. What do you think of this?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What's Blooming In My Store?

I finally finished this packet but it was so huge that I split it up into two parts. Seriously. This has every trick in the book that I have learned to motivate students to work on blending cvc words.The theme is Spring even if it is still snowing where you live! April is here and this is when  I would go into panic mode over what my students couldn't do. Do you get crazy too? I am not interested in first grade teachers storming into my room wondering what I did all year. Right? You can relate to this. So I work on this skill with nutty intensity. It shows up all over the room, in the morning message, and even on the yard when the kids are "trying" to have some recess fun. I have been known to drag out sidewalk chalk to spell out words on the blacktop but the custodian ends up hating me! Oh well. A teacher has to do what it takes. 
These packets introduce just 25 CVC words and students practice using them through games, activities, and literacy stations. The second packet allows students to practice these words through cutting and pasting 
( hello- some have not mastered this even in April) and I even sneak in some letter writing practice known as handwriting. Can you imagine? Check these out if you are a desperate kindergarten teacher, an intervention teacher (aren't we all) or a Special Education teacher. It might help your students learn these important CCSS Foundational Skills and your principal will realize that you are truly  a super hero.
Click on each flower to plant those seeds of knowledge


Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Deal Breaker In Kindergarten: My Newest Packet

I was recently in a meeting with a district administrator and she asked me what I considered to be crucial skills  for students to have before moving on to first grade. For once, I paused and gave this some careful thought since I think all of us are faced with this issue as we approach the end of the year. First, I look at a child's social and emotional development and that truly guides my thinking. With that being said, I really am concerned if a child cannot blend sounds to make words. This is a real deal breaker in my head because students who struggle with this skill often become overwhelmed the following year. Our first grade program moves at a crazy speed and these kiddos are not ready for the pace or the demands being placed on them. Administrators fight us on this but kindergarten teachers get to know their students quite well and often have well thought out reasons for wanting a student to spend another year in their classroom. Retention has become a dirty word! Right? The child who only recognizes a few letters or only knows a few sounds will obviously have a difficult time but not being able to decode simple cvc words makes reading laborious and difficult. It makes building fluency almost impossible. What do you think?
At this time of year I use every trick in the book to teach my students how to blend sounds to make words and decode simple cvc words. This packet is filled with activities that I have had great success with. It is filled with books that students make, cut and paste work, cvc word searches, literacy stations that are taught in a small group setting, games and much more. I only work on these skills with 25 words, five from each vowel group (a, e, i, o, and u). This builds student confidence and has been highly effective in my classroom.
I am almost finished. My husband is my official editor but he is out playing softball so keep your eye on this and I will let you know when it is in my store. I hope this makes a difference for you. The theme is Growing Flowers. Let the games begin!

Monday, April 1, 2013

What Is Blooming In My Store For Springtime?

Spring is in full bloom in Southern California and I have some packets that might help you as you head for the end of the year. This is now the home stretch and it might help to have some Common Core work for your kids to use that reflect the skills they should be acquiring as the year closes. These are some of my favorites that might work for you.
1. Farm Fresh Fun (Math and Literacy Stations with a great emergent reader for position words)
2. What Is On A Farm?
3. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies (This has an emergent reader done in the form of riddles)
4. What Can I Do At The Beach? ( Students write sight words in this reader and sponge paint the sky) This also has a teacher version. I think this is adorable for the end of the year!
If you think these might make your life easier, click on each title to fly over to my TpT store. Happy Spring!