Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tell me something good 3

Classroom Mailboxes
If you're a new teacher setting up a new classroom, you need classroom mailboxes to aid in collecting papers to go home.  
Our new kindergarten teacher, Karlee, put together these quick and relatively inexpensive but sturdy mailboxes.  
 How about that?! Love it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Show and Tell and Giveaway

Have you ever felt like running away?  Kathleen from Kidpeopleclassroom has reviewed a book titled, The Day I Ran Away by Holly Niner and Isabella Ongaro.  
This is the book she is giving away this week.  Enter to win and maybe you can run away too!
Kathleen shares such wonderful ideas. 
She mentioned in last week's blog about how Indiana has passed legislation that allows "virtual reality" Preschool that children who spend 15 minutes a day will be ready for kindergarten.  It also is funded with One Million dollars from the four million budgeted for preschool in our state.
YES, I THINK I SHOULD RUN AWAY now.  As a kindergarten teacher for 37 years, I am embarrassed to say I live in Indiana.   
I have seen how our young learners are becoming so addicted to screens.  First it was television, now computers (phones, ipads, tablets).  By the time we see them in school, more need help in their social-emotional development.  They have difficulty with self-control and listening to adults.  They want to do what they want to do and have difficulty with patience.  It reminds me of the movie, "Wall-e" when humans have been stunted in their growth as they evolved through the generations.
When I began teaching, I was taught that children mature physically, mentally, emotionally and neurologically. Are we providing a full education to learn and grow?  Are we being mislead that technology will really get children READY for all the demands of kindergarten?    

Show and Tell - I include this every Friday so my students can practice speaking and listening and taking turns. We sit in a circle and all students take a turn to show something and/or just tell about something. 

They are practicing and learning:
  • Speaking -controlling volume to others can hear, using full sentences, staying on topic, enunciating words clearly
  • Listening - paying attention to speaker with eyes, body, ears, heart and listening all the way.
  • Taking and waiting turns
  • Self-confidence-  Some children may start off being hesitant but I insist EVERYONE takes a turn.  Students may need a topic starter at first.  I suggest to tell about what they like to do, what they like to eat or play.  They can tell about a pet or their family.  
Some children need help with being brief and stay on one topic.
After each child speaks, we clap as an acknowledgement that they are finished and a way to say thank you for their turn.
When everyone has had a turn, they have an 5 extra minutes that they can walk around to see something closer or ask a question.
We ask that they do not bring toys because they tend to just play with them instead of talking about it.  They can bring a picture or craft they've made, a book, a photo or something from a collection. 

Before we have our first show and tell, I read this book so the children may get an idea of what show and tell is.
You can't get this experience online!!

P.S.  One day I allowed the children to choose what to do during an inside recess.  I had a variety of blocks (legos, wood blocks, pattern blocks, parquetry blocks, tiles, etc), puzzles, coloring pages and chrome books.  SURPRISE (not) no one chose the technology!!
This made my heart sing! :)

                                           Hand-in-hand we grow!
                                 (keep it hands on)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tell me something good 2

Keep it simple.  Practice responsibility.

One part of my class opening routine, is to select their lunch choice for the day.  Each lunch choice has a specific color clip.  The red choice is the hot lunch choice that rotates on a four week cycle.  Preprinted cards have a velcro sticker to attach quickly to a wide craft stick on the basket.  The cards are organized in the rotating lunch order so we don't have to sort through the picture cards to find the daily lunch choice.  (makes it easier for us)
Students take the color clip out of the basket and clip it next to their name label on the front of their mailbox.  

Taking lunch count is quick and easy.  Just count how many of each color clip.  
At lunch time, students remove their lunch choice clip from their mailbox and put it on the front of their shirt.  
As they move through the lunch line, the cafeteria staff know exactly what they preordered.  
Too many times, students forget what they ordered or they attempt to change their order.  This eliminates the problem.

It's a good thing to tell about.

Hand-in-hand we grow!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Names, names, names '"

Names everywhere.
There are dozens of ways students can begin learning to recognize and how to write their names.  Here are the first 12+ activities I try.

It's the first week of kindergarten and besides procedures, we do name activities, games, songs to help us learn the students' names. 

1.  "The more we get together" song is my favorite to do as our first lesson.  The children don't realize it is a lesson but it is.  I always sing each child's name as I touch their shoulders.  This draws attention to the child so others can connect who the name belongs to.  It helps stretch my memory too.  AND it acknowledges that each student is important in our class.
The more we get together, together, together,
The more we get together, the happier we'll be.
There's Kathy, and Sam, and Lola and Nathan,
The more we get together, the happier we'll be.
continue singing until each child's name has been sung.
2.  "Whose name is this?"  chant/song.  
Whose name is this?  Who can it be?
Whose name is this?  Please look and see.
I hold up a name card and first see if the child can recognize the name before LOOKING at them and if they cannot read it, I will say "This says Micah."  Each day I do this, I expect the students to quickly recognize their name (or the names of their classmates) and say the name and "Here I am."  or "That's me!"
I also have the student come get their name card and place it on our large pocketchart.  This is how I take attendance the first two days.  

3.  Daily Attendance -  Once we've practiced with our name cards for two days, I have the name cards on the floor where they must find their name each day and put it on the pocketchart.  Each day this is our daily procedure kind of like checking in, old time cards. 

 4.  Name Hats -  We glue preprinted names on sentence strips (learning how to glue practice) or on sentence strip   with name written, students can decorate the rest of the strip.  Sometimes they draw pictures of their favorite things, sometimes they can draw shapes and make a repeating pattern.  These strips are then measured  around their heads for a Name Hat.  I keep these in a large gift bag so the students can wear them when a substitute guest teacher is in the class.

5.  Write names again and again. 
Use markers, pencils, paint, colored pencils, chalk, dryerase markers, crayons to write to learn form, shape and sequence. 

Rainbow write.  Names are written in a light marker or gray color font.  Student uses one color at a time to trace each letter (ideally, saying the name of the letter as they trace it), second color is traced the same way and a third color.

Bleeding/Fuzzy letters - Names written with a dark color watercolor  marker.  Students use a water wet brush and trace over letters. The color will bleed out.
6.  Play name games.  Here are two of my favorites.
  • Who stole the cookies? 
    Students sit criss
    cross in a circle.  Slap knees and hands in rhythm while saying:  
          Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
  Teacher calls out a student's name to begin game continuing the chant:
        Mason stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
Student says  "Who me?"
Class replies  "Yes you!"
Student responds  "It couldn't be."
Class says  "Then who?"  hands can face up in question.
Student chooses another student for next verse.  Next student could be child next to him.  If he doesn't know their name, this is a great way to practice asking "What is your name?" (opportunity for learning and practicing manners)

Names written on a paper cookie, could also be pulled from a cookie jar or turned over to select next player.

  • Doggie, Doggie, Where's your bone?
 Students sit in a circle.  One child sits on a chair in the center as the 'Doggie.'  An eraser or 'bone' is placed under the chair.  The Doggie closes his eyes AND covers them with their hands while the class says,
Doggie, Doggie, Where's your bone?  Somebody took it from your home.  Guess who?
While class is reciting, the teacher selects a student to quietly crawl over to get the bone and hide it behind him or in their lap.  
Doggie opens his eyes and gets 3 guesses asking "Nancy, Do you have my bone?"  This challenges the students to learn each others' names or learn by asking 'what is your name?'  It also is teaching the children game procedures and taking turns.
If Doggie guesses, he can get another turn or selects next dog.  If Doggie does not guess, the child with the bone is the new Doggie.

7.  Playdoh names.  Students learn how to roll playdoh into snakes and form letters of their name.

8.  Shaving Cream writing.  Just squirt the cream right on the table or on a tray.  This helps make the room smell fresh.  Students practice spreading out the foam to make a writing surface or to erase and start again.
9.  Building names with plastic letters/alphabet blocks/cut letters from cereal boxes.

10.  Matching classmates names.  Write the names of friends.
  • Take photos of students and put names on cards.  Students can match the picture to the name like a puzzle
  • Students can write classmates' names next to photocopied page of pictures. 

11.  Class helpers.  Students names are written on charts or displayed as class line leader, table helper, etc.
Mailboxes with names and photos help with name recognition.

12.  Cheer Names -This helps with all alphabet recognition. You can use pompoms if you want.
Teacher says:  Give me a "b"    Respond:  "b"
                        Give me a "r"                     "r" 
                         Give me an "a"                  "a"
                         Give me a  "d"                   "d"
     What does that spell?                           Brad
     What does that spell?                           Brad
     What does that spell?                            Brad !!!
The child whose name is being cheered can stand up or come to front of class.

13.  Throughout the year my class enjoys making lists of names using clipboards and dry erase boards.  They see the names everywhere.  
And 'the more they practice right, the better they get!'

 Hand-in-hand we grow!


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday August 15 Book Idea

Thank you Kathleen from Kidpeople Classroom for the opportunity to link and share.

Last week, I mentioned that I was reading for personal fun and escape:
The Horse Dancer a novel by Jojo Moyes.
Well, I finished it and need to say YOU SHOULD read this!  It is a fictional story about yes a 'dancing horse' and owner, Sarah. 
But it was so much more about the human spirit of determination.  There was a speech made by a teacher who was called to testify in a divorce.  If I may..

"...when a child goes quiet they are suffering...they don't trust us enough to tell us.  They don't tell teachers, and they don't tell parents because they can't trust them not to get cross when they say something they don't want to hear...they don't tell us because half the time nobody listens to them anyway....It's a betrayal... .... it's just life..." 

wow and she went on.  This was a side story apart from the main character but it touched me.  Many of our little kids act out in aggressive ways when under stress.  Some talk a lot and tell us more than we think we should know.

I hope this new year, we can take a little time and allow our children the chance to talk and work as little kids. Sadly, I know I have lost part of that these past few years in an effort to get through our curriculum requirements. 

My goal is to give a little more time to listen to our kids.  I have maintained weekly Show and Tell but I know I need to allow more time to listen and expose them to positive experiences. 

Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan is about telling others kind things and doing good deeds which leave 'heartprints'.  For students' birthdays, we fill in a simple story of what the birthday child's favorite color, food and what they like to do in kindergarten.  Some years I just have the students write their name next to a heart on the back, other years I ask for a word to describe the birthday child.  At first they use simple words, such as kind, nice, good and throughout the year they begin to use other describing words and good character descriptors, honest, friendly, uses good effort, etc.

I have enjoyed ideas from many other bloggers, Kathleen from Kidpeople Classroom, Carolyn Kisolski from Holding Hands and Sticking Together and Dr Jean Feldman.  The newest is Happies for Teachers by Carolyn and Dr Jean. Comment and share because...

Hand-in-hand we grow.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A great idea

A great idea

So I had this great idea to freshen up my privacy dividers.  Many years ago I purchased Science boards and cut them in half to make privacy boards to use for our 'test taking' times.  The children have drawn and poked them so I needed to clean them up.
I brought them home with me this summer to paint.  Last week, I finally took them outside to begin spray painting them a fresh calming blue.  I had one side of three boards completed and ran out of one can of spary paint.  So I trotted off to Walmart and bought another can, I thought I had the same color...well, it was close...then I added up how much it would cost me to do my 15 boards on both sides.  $$  and the spray paint was going to need a second coat to cover...
I went back to Walmart and bought a gallon of flat wall paint at around $10.  I laid my painters tarp on my garage floor and started again.  The paint covered nicely, even filled in many of the holes the kids poked.  (Notice the band-aid on the corner?  My assistant took to using a band-aid to cover larger holes, hoping that it would discourage the kids from hurting our boards. Haha) Well, I squeezed 12 boards on the tarp and painted one side while I listened to my music.  I was feeling happy!
The next day I decided to do the other side AND then it rained.  Water seeped under the garage door and the tarp soaked it up..... yes, my cardboards were wet too.  NOW they are ruined (well, the big kids at my house are going to use them for target practice!!)  
I have 3 boards I can still do and then when I go back to school, I will shell out more money again and buy new science boards....I'll paint these but will watch the weather!!

Yes, it was and is a good least these new ones will not have holes that I will need to fill.

Do you have a good idea to share?  Let me know.
One day a week, I want to send out a 'Tell me something good' quick post.  It will be my attempt to get back into blogging again but not be toooooo challenge.
It won't be long...just something good to share.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Let's Listen

Let's Listen.
Kathleen from Kidpeopleclassroom has a Teacher book talk on Tuesdays this summer.  Check it out!
Besides the book talk, Kathleen has many great ideas to share.  
Thank you, Kathleen for this link.

So Let's Listen:

 One of my favorite stories to read at the beginning of the year is, The Listening Walk by Paul Showers.
This is a story about a girl who takes walks with her father without talking so she can listen to the sounds around her.  As they walk through the city to their park they hear various levels of sounds loud to soft.
After reading the story, it is a wonderful experience to just take a walk with your class.  If you can go outside, listen to the crickets, the jets overhead and car sounds.  If you need to stay inside then walk the halls, listen for the hum of the lights, the sounds of footsteps and doors opening and closing.  Sometimes I stop during our walk and put my hand to my ear so the kids could focus on a sound....'We do not talk.'
When returning to the class, make a chart of all the sounds.  Then as a writing opportunity, the students can write/draw "I heard..."
Our children (and us) are exposed to too much noise most days.  It takes concentration to filter out sounds.  Many times because of technology (phones, tvs and toys), they have already learned to 'tune-out' but what we want them to be able to do it to 'sort out' and pay attention--peripheral hearing. 
This also could help when identifying the loud and soft sounds to connect it to their voice levels.  
We practice making our voices louder and softer.  I use my hand to demonstrate a loud voice with my horizontal hand over the top of my head and gradually bring it down to below my chin.  As we make our voices loud (my hand high), I point out the strain in our throats.  As I bring my hand at my chin level, I point out how much calmer and easier it is to talk and hear.  I tell them that this level is an inside voice level.  
Sometimes when the noise level is getting too much in the classroom, I have the children FREEZE and we change our volume control.  Give your ears and throats a rest, I say.

For my personal reading recommendation, escape reading, Have you read any Jojo Moyes books?
Before school begins, this Thursday I am finishing The Horse Dancer.
I get started on an author and read all that my public library has.  Thank you to my mentor kindergarten teacher and friend, Shey Kravas for getting me started this summer on this author.  I have sat on my front porch and escaped......

So until next time..