Saturday, April 30

Ready to Learn Song

I had to share what we have been singing when we gather at carpet. I go through several iterations of chants and songs to get them settled and ready to learn. This one seems to be a fast favorite. They looked at me like I had lost my mind the first time I started singing it...but it sure grabbed their attention! Now they sing it like pros. And the best part? They actually quiet down and get ready to learn! Can't beat that!

video
The lyrics are:
"We're sitting criss-cross applesauce
Clap, Clap, Clap
We've got our eyes on the teacher
And our hands in our laps!
We're sitting cross-cross applesauce
Clap, Clap, Clap
We've got our eyes on the teacher
And our hands on our laps!
And We're ready to learn...We're ready to learn...We're ready to learn...(whispered)

Sunday, April 24

Ready for Mother's Day?

I am joining the Mother's Day Ideas Linky Party at K: Double Stuffed and The Teacher's Lounge. Head over there for more ideas and to share your own! Here are two Mother's Day projects I have done in the past. I love how the card turns out, but it takes some prep work to do with kindergarteners. For the card: Print on cardstock, pre-cut the outline of the butterfly wings (keep attached to body), fold wings forward. Print poem on the white side of a colorful print scrapbook paper cut to 8 1/2 by 11, glue colored side down inside of butterfly card so that the scrapbook color shows under the wings and the poem is face up inside of the card. Alternatively, you can print the poem on paper and have the kids cut around it and glue it in the card and then glue a 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 piece of scrapbook paper just behind the butterfly. Very cute! For the book: print either single or double-sided. The last page makes the cover. If printed double sided, insert the second page inside and staple. If printed single-sided, fold so the words are to the outside and insert pages into folded cover with the open edge on the staple line.
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Mothers Day Card
Mother's Day Book

Thursday, April 21

Easter Egg Math

Tomorrow is our K/1 egg hunt...talk about excited! Our school has each K/1 student bring in a dozen filled plastic eggs. Parents scatter them all over the grassy field outside...and is the field ever covered! The classes line up together around the egg area and wait for the word to go. The first time out they are to pick up 6 eggs and come back. Then we do this once more. Each kiddo should now have 12 eggs. The last round is the "free-for-all". It's a lot of fun and with this format the kids end up with a somewhat "more equal" amount of eggs.

We do this toward the end of the day, but there should be just enough time to squeeze in a little Easter Egg Math before they go home! This is what we will do (I will copy 2-sided):
Easter Egg Math

Wednesday, April 20

Queen of Fiveland

We are working steadily at composing and decomposing the number 5. We are also learning to use 5 to describe other numbers (four is one less than five). We will be playing my team teacher's game called "Queen of Fiveland" where every time they say a number they have to say it as it relates to the number five in order to please the queen. I also have the following two pages to let them practice and "see" some number sense patterns.
5 Ways to Make 5

Tuesday, April 19

Listening Center

I am joining the Listening Center Linky Party over at Primary Inspired. If you haven't seen it yet, head on over for links to see how others incorporate and manage their listening centers.

My own listening center is pending some cd player replacements, however, this is how I usually have them set up: I have been using simple (less expensive) portable cd players. I preload the cd's so the kids never have to touch them. They only have to push play and stop. The book is always ready for the next listener since they do not have to hit rewind. I try to keep six different books loaded on six separate players. I store the pre-loaded cd player, headphones, and book in a tote bag. When six players are functional...there are six totes ready to go for six kiddos to listen at a time. The totes are stored in a crate. When a student selects the listening center, they grab a tote and find a place to listen. I would change out the books every two weeks or so. Having six books to listen to allowed me more time between this task.

Unfortunately, not all of the players are functional at this time. Movement around the room leads to more droppage...and breakage. Sad...yes, but just another one of those things. Hopefully it can be up and running again soon! :)

Sunday, April 17

Social Story (under construction)

Please read and see what you think. I am nearly finished...just need to complete the graphics. I am hopeful that the class will relate (since it is written about them using some real classroom context). I want to encourage them to tow the line for the last weeks of school and stay motivated. If you have suggestions...they are always welcome! :o)
School Manners

Saturday, April 16

end of the year manners

The end of the year is approaching...albeit we have nine more weeks to go. The kinders are showing signs of summer fever already. I am watching them act more and more like siblings, bickering and tattling endlessly. Behaviors in general are going downhill...kids are taking things, bugging each other intentionally, disrupting, and appearing un-phased by the usual consequences. Is anybody else out there going through the same thing? Your suggestions on how to rev these guys back up for the last nine-week push would be hugely appreciated! I've been dancing around and singing my wee heart out, having heart-2-hearts with them, breaking out the primary reinforcers, you name it...please help! :o(

Thursday, April 14

Race Day Wrap Up

Well folks race day is at a close. The snail races are complete and the challengers are enjoying a much deserved rest and salad feast. It was quite the spectacle and the crowd went wild! Team leaders cheered and watched with baited breath as their snails battled to the finish. The clear motivator today was food...snails will race for lettuce and carrots! It was fun for all (with only one meltdown over race results). Check out the slideshow below for a picture-perfect wrap up of today's events!
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Wednesday, April 13

The Great Snail Race

Tomorrow is the big day...the day of the Great Snail Race! Those of you who have used FOSS Animals Two by Two know all about this. My camera is already packed for this one! Pics will post tomorrow evening for sure...here is the journal page and a writing prompt to go with:
Snail Races

Pond Snails

Well--truth be told--pond snails are pretty boring. They are just not nearly as active as our land snails and do not even peek out of their shells. The most entertainment we have had is watching their little mouth suckling the aquarium glass. So, not much to observe. But, today we drew what they looked like and filled in what we learned from our snail books. Here is the journal page I gave the class.
Pond Snails

Monday, April 11

More Snails

Just a couple more snail pages that we will add to our science journals this week.
Snail Parts

Snails Cloze

Saturday, April 9

Snails

The snails arrived this week and my oh my what a stir they have made in our classroom! The kinders were very excited to have new critters to check out. Picture me (squeamish but composed...) telling the kids, "Don't be afraid...it's okay...just hold out your hand...see what it feels like..." as I daintily pick up each snail by its shell with my fingertips and plop the slimy critter into their palm! Eww! The kids were awesome and so enthralled to get up close and personal...and only a little grossed out by the goo. Too cute for words! So, here is a quickie smilebox of them checking out the snails as well as a couple of pages I put together to put into our science journals.

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Snails

Wednesday, April 6

Whole Brain Teaching

We recently had a mini-training during a staff meeting on a couple of whole brain teaching strategies. I jotted down the website www.wholebrainteaching.com on my meeting folder and moved on with my day. I did test out the "Class-Yes" strategy with my kinders and was pleasantly surprised with how well they responded. Do they hush every time I use it??? Uh...no...but they do always answer. It will take some practice to get it working well, but it was a good start. Then I saw a link to the website on Ashley Nichol's blog- The Polka Dot Patch. So, I headed on over to www.wholebrainteaching.com and wow did I come away with some great tips and resources! We have been using the five class rules all week along with the K-4 scoreboard game. I wasn't sure how it would go with kinders (who love their primary reinforcers), but they have a blast with the "mighty oh yeah!" and the "mighty groan".  I have a couple of sweeties that are trying to buck the system...but I am certain they will join the fold soon. If you have not explored this awesome resource...pour yourself a cup of something nice and take some time to peruse!

http://wholebrainteaching.com/Whole-Brain-Teching/First-Steps.html

Monday, April 4

I'll love you forever...

Is there any better phrase than that? I caught that one on a fly-by in the hall today. One of last year's kinders ran up and hugged me and said, "I'll love you forever..." and ran away. Too sweet! He was one of my favorites (not that I keep favorites mind) despite challenging me regularly. That just made my day. I needed a boost like that today (first day back to work after spring break and all). I'm still smiling! :)

Friday, April 1

Having too much fun...

Is there such a thing as having too much fun? I am thinking not...at least not when it comes to playing with a new blog! I have been exploring and tinkering with the many design options. Sorry, but I have never been known for decisiveness...I'd much rather play around until I am happy. So, bare with me and my ever-changing moods looks. If you "Just Love Teaching" like I do, then you are in the right place...even if the colors are never the same twice! Help me out and let me know what you like best!

More Pirate Booty...

Here are some more pirate themed activities for next week. There is a writing prompt, treasure map activity, and a simple pirate glyph for practice following directions.
Pirate Treasure Prompt

Make a Treasure Map

Simple Pirate Glyph