Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trees and seasons

Continued Spring Seasons
Throughout the year we have been doing a picture of a tree each season.  As we trace our arms and hands to make the trees we have been hearing the vocabulary of the tree parts.

So we can make our flip book to label the tree parts.  

As I look at this, I may have students put the name of each part on the inside of the flipped piece also.

More tree themed activities:
Practice writing sight words and color the trees to match.

Look at the shapes of trees.  Sort other pictures or objects or pictures of real trees to shape.  Learn the words of shapes, circle, oval, triangle. to describe the trees.

Count the tree rings. 
Some of my favorite tree books.


Hand-in-hand we grow!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Trees and Seasons go hand in hand

Make a 4 season tree book.
Summer Tree
Beginning at the bottom of the paper trace arm and hand with fingers close.  This is a challenging task for many early kindergarteners.  Color the hand as the tree top leaves and the arm as the trunk.  Color the green grass that grows around the tree.  (I feel a song coming on  "The green grass grew all around")  Use the vocabulary terms trunk and body parts wrist.
Save each season tree to put into a book in the spring.

Fall/Autumn Tree

For the Fall tree trace arm and hand with fingers spread for the larger branches.  Draw smaller branches and twigs (again using vocabulary terms, trunk, roots that you cannot see)  Show students how to tear a leaf by holding paper between thumb and finger on one hand and tear around. The part still held is the leaf.   I combine this with a counting to 10 informal assessment.  Glue some leaves on the branches and some 'falling.'    Technically most trees don't have the color variety of yellow, orange, brown and green leaves.  

For higher ability students they can write a complete sentence "I see a fall tree."

Winter Tree

Winter trees we discuss how the snow falls from the clouds in the sky down so snow sticks to the top of the branches. Too much snow will make the branches break.  Use a small paint brush (or Q-tip) to make snowflakes falling and on the tree.  Cover the ground with the white snow paint.  Some years there hasn't been a lot of snow for us so we still draw grass and paint a little snow over the grass. 

Spring Tree
Spring trees are just budding so we use our 'pinkie' and do little touch dots for the buds. 

Make a book

 Make a cover and staple all the saved tree pictures.  This is a conclusion to our seasons unit.  Little did the children realize, they have been learning about the seasons throughout the school year.



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Happy Birthday

There are birthday stickers, crowns, certificates and more all available for purchase.

I like to keep the celebration personal and simple.

I read Heartprints by H.A.Hallinan at the beginning of the year and retread it a few other times throughout the year.  It is a quick story about being kind to others.  I have the birthday student come to the front of the class.  I fill-in information to write a short story about them.
The story is:

Today is your birthday!  (Or future or past date if it was over a weekend or vacation. Though, you know, kids only have birthdays on weekends.  That is usually when their home party takes place.  Young children sometimes haven't figured out the dates yet.)
You are _____years old today! (You will be __years old !)
Your favorite color is ____.
Your favorite food is ___.
Your favorite thing to do in kindergarten is ____.
Hip hip hooray, today is your birthday!

On the backside of the paper, each classmate signs their name as a heartprint wish to celebrate the birthday.  Some classes can tell a word to describe birthday child such as  Kind, friendly, good helper, artist...we talk about what they like about the friend.  I try to stay away from "I like your shirt, hair...." but this is more difficult until the end of the year.

Then we sing a special birthday song and "move" their candle.  This is a big deal!
I have a line of candles for students whose age is 5 years old, 6 years old and 7 years old.

We count how many candles are on each line, how many are left and which row has more/fewer.  The candles are arranged by birthdate so the candle on the end will be next to be moved.

Our school announces birthdays each morning, and they get to walk to the office for a birthday pencil.

If the child brings a snack, they can choose a friend helper(s) to assist with passing it out.

Student can also:
-line leader
-special class helper (pass out papers, monitor, book holder, light helper, do an errand...)
-choose an extra story to be read,
-choose a class game, song, video

Birthdays don't need to be about what you can get, but a day to remember how special you are and how you can lead or help the class.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Five for Friday, September 2, 2016

What's wrong with me?  I am beginning to write and think 2017!

This is some of Five for Friday, September 2, 2016what we did this week in my class.

I have assessed all the children on their letter recognition and made a Capital (Uppercase) graph and a Lowercase graph.  I showed the children their 'line' and grouped them by their need.  I selected the alphabet arc that each would work with to practice matching.
 Some students were chosen to work with partners to take turns matching the letters and saying the letter name.

Some students wanted to make words and their name.


A few students were challenged to match the capital letters to the lowercase font.  (Actually I gave the wrong cup of letters to him but he went along with it.  Another student noticed that he had the wrong letters but it didn't bother him.  I acted as if I did it on purpose.  Even unconsciously I come up with activities. Haha, it worked.)

Another group needed back to basic, singing the abc song. We practiced following left to right and row by row singing the song and using milk bottle ring isolated each letter.  
This was a challenge in itself for one of my groups.  But...
The more we practiced (right),
the better they will get!

Ten Day

So we do things the 'ten way'.  
You can do this any time of the year for a variety of ways of ten fun.  Somethings are too difficult on just the tenth day of kindergarten.

The kids love this because we ham it up when we say "would you like to see?"

I have    (point fingers/hands toward chest)
ten little fingers   (spread all fingers wide)
And they all belong belong to me.  ( point fingers to self)
I can make them do things
Would you like to see?

I can shut them up tight.   (close up fingers tightly)
Or open them wide      (spread fingers wide)
 I can put them together   (fingers together and palms together under chin)
Or make them all hide.   (put hands behind back)...like where are they?

I can make them jump high. (wiggle fingers and hands up...make voice high pitched when saying the word high) 
 I can make them go low.  (wiggle fingers and hands down..make voice low pitched when saying the word low)
I can fold them so quietly.   (fold hands together)
And hold them just so.   (sit down while putting hands in lap, criss-cross legs)
 (can make voice at a whisper soft level for last line)

1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive.
6,7,8,9,10 then I let him go again.
Why did you let him go?
Because he bit my finger so.
Which finger did he bite?
This little finger on the right.

Finger Counting
Practice showing quantity of fingers 1,2,3...10.  This develops finger dexterity and control.

Then ask students to put hands behind their backs and say..
Show me....3 fingers and students show quickly.  

Plink counting  
You need a glass jar and some pennies.
Children should close their eyes and listen while you drop pennies into the jar.  Tell the children to open their eyes and ask a few how many pennies they think were put in the jar.
It is interesting that this is difficult for some children at first.  After a few students give their answer, say 'let's check it.'  With their eyes open now, take out the pennies and drop them in again while they count out loud.  
I do this ocassionally throughout the year, increasing the amount between 1-20. 

Counting stations
Set out items to count into groups of ten such as:
links to make a chain of 10
unifix cubes to make a stick of 10
1" wooden cubes to stack
lego blocks to stack
1" tiles
pennies to stack
cups to stack
beads on a string
And rotate the children to try counting  various manipulatives.  Clean up (take stacks apart) before moving to next counting station.

Art Centers
Using bingo dobbers, to make a picture or design using  only 10 dots.   Or make 10 dots and draw a picture around using the dots. 

Make 10 smooth balls.  Make 10 snakes or worms.  Make 10 small pancakes.

Give students 10 toothpicks and challenge them to make something.    (2-d, 3-d)

Make an AB, AAB, ABB pattern using bottle caps, colored cubes, shapes, etc.  Or challenge them to build a pattern and label it.  They must prove it is a pattern.  And they can only use up to the amount of 10 to show it. 

Songs of Ten
"Ten little Indians"  counting forward and backwards.
"Count Up Count down" song by Hap Palmer.

Game of counting in group.
Stand children in a circle or a long line and begin to count.  The child who says 10 has to sit down.  Continue until only one child is standing.

Ten Little Ladybugs 

Ten Black Dots 

Ten, Nine, Eight

Feast for 10

Challenge children to find a domino with 10 dots on it and record how many on each side that total 10.  
(4 and 6 make 10)

Using 1 die, roll and count dots.  Record how many dots from each roll.  Record number of dots with a different color until they reach 10.  Cannot go over 10 or they need to start over.  

Tug of Cubes
Students each count a stack of ten Unifix cubes.    
First player holds out their 10 stack and partner breaks stack and puts it behind their back.  First player has to figure out how many they took.  Count the number of cubes they have left.  (10 take away 3 left means that 7 were taken).  Partner shows the taken away stack and returns it.  Player two gets their turn.   Later in the year students can record their number sentence as 10-3 = 7.

Show and Tell 
Good old-fashion, show and tell.  Give the children a zip bag with instructions to put 10 things in it and bring it to school.  Are the items in the bag all the same?  What variety of collections of 10 did the children bring in?   Sort collections by color, edible or not, hard or soft, etc.

 The more they practice,
the better they get!