Friday, October 28, 2016

Five for Friday October 28, 2016
Thank you Kasey from Doodle Bugs for the link.

 This week our staff gathered Wednesday after school and decorated these cute pumpkins.  They are on display in our Media Center (library).  For a 'Fun'raiser, the students can bring in coins to add to the cans of their favorite pumpkin.  All proceeds will go to our school Relay for Life team!
 Even the fifth grade students had to prove they knew the Humpty Dumpty rhyme by reciting it to each other!
Go, Cubs, Go!  A tape was being played as each class viewed our creations.  So of course, the kindergarten children repeated that chant all day long!
Did I say .......Go, Cubs go!........? 

Our Kindergarten visited our local pumpkin farm, Coulters in Westville, Indiana.  Here we are on the wagon ride out to the field.
Shelby found her favorite.
I really need to keep them moving to keep their attention these days.  Making my list of attention grabbers.
  • Macarena months song helps to start our day.  Thank you, Dr. Jean.
  • Dr Jean's "Banana Song" youtube video has saved my patience :) when I need a brain break!
  •  I say, "Hands on top" They respond, "Everybody stop!"
  • "What does a flat tire sound like?"  "shhhhh"
  • "What do two flat tires sound like?"  " shhh, shhh"
  • "Tootsie roll, lollipop"   "We've been talking, now we'll stop."
  • "If you can hear my voice....(tell an action such as touch your ears, clap two times, snap your fingers....)
  • any kind of counting song, my favorite is by Discovery Toys, Barbara Milne's 'Counting to 30' and 'Counting by tens.'
  • Ringing chimes, attention bell and lights out are quick but not as effective every time.

Did you notice the candy corn guys over my tables?  Thanks to Doodle Bugs!  Love them.



Monday, October 24, 2016

Show and Tell

Show and Tell time is still an active weekly activity in my class.  In my early years teaching, I struggled how to organize this.
During sessions with C.L.A.S.S. (Connecting Learning Assures Successful Students, education-creating successful schools with collaboration skills, brain research and character education out of Carmel, Indiana), I learned during 'circle time' to allow the students to lead their talk without any adult comments. I rarely talk except to offer a topic idea or to move-it-along. I avoid judgement statements such as, 'that's nice'  or  even asking questions. 
There are many approaches to Show and Tell such as, setting a theme for the weekly focus, free choice, color, beginning sounds, etc.  I've tried them all. 

Image result for teddy bear
The first time we do a show and tell, the children are allowed to bring in a teddy bear for our Teddy Bear Fun Friday in early September.  The children can practice at home what they want to tell us about their bear.  Its name, where they got it, where do they keep him and so on.  I  have a tub of extra bear friends in case they don't have a bear or forgot.  The bear then gets to spend the day with the child during activities and specials. 
After that the rule is NO TOYS or stuffed animals.  I want to keep it away from, "Oh, I have that." and keep it focused on what the child wants to share to tell.
A few years, we tried changing the name of our time to "Sharing" but it was confused with bringing something for everyone to have (like a snack).
Back to Show and Tell.
Our class sits in a circle and each week a new child is designated as the one to go first.  

The child stands. If they brought something, they hold it in front of their tummy.  When they are finished, they turn left to right and we clap as they sit down.  Clapping is how we tell each speaker, thank you. Clapping also gives a movement break that some need to be an active listener again.   When it is not their turn, the item is kept behind their backs with their hands in their lap.
I insist on:
  • Active listening - hands in their laps and looking at the speaker
  • No talking unless it is your turn
  • EVERYONE has a turn to show and tell or just TELL
  •  When the speaker is finished they are to chose the next person, they tell the person next to them " __(name)__, it is your turn."  
  • If they don't know the person's name, they are to ask, "what is your name?" (it still amazes me that throughout the year some need to continue to ask)
  • There is NO PASSING.  I tried the opting out, but soon it became a habit and a few never took a turn.  So now EVERYONE has a turn.  
  • IF they don't bring something, they can TELL whatever they want.  For some children, I offer a few suggestions, to tell about what they did last night, their favorite food, color, pets, what they like to play...
  • We are patient to a point trying to move the time along.  I don't seem to have to wait too long anymore, they just get it.

When everyone has had their turn, I now allow the children 3-4 minutes (I set the timer) to mingle.  This is the time they can get a closer look at something, or to ask something more of the presenter.  This has become a favorite of mine to watch them sincerely show an interest and ask questions.  It is refreshing to see how they beam as they show still some more.
They are learning how to SOCIALIZE in an appropriate way.

 I send a note to the families explaining the who, what, when, where, how and why we do our Show and Tell.
It includes:

Purpose:  To use language speaking skills, to speak in full sentences, to speak clearly, to build self-confidence, to explain or describe an item or event.

PRACTICE: being able to answer questions about who, what, where, when, how and why.  Stand in front of a mirror to “show” the item brought.

Ideas for show and tell:
·        Photographs (limit 2)
·        Things collected from nature
·        Crafts
·        Pictures they drew or colored
·        Book (be able to tell the name of the book, and what it’s about briefly)
·        One or two items from a special “collection”
*Items must fit in their school bag and classroom mailbox.
Student will hold items to show.  They will not be passed around the class.  When finished all items will be returned to their mailbox to take home.
Be sure to wrap or bag any breakable items.  (Be responsible with breakable items)
NO toys or stuffed animals, weapons, live animals (a photo or drawing or book about a pet is appropriate)

It takes about 20 minutes (for 25 students) and is so worth it!  

Establishing a routine helps give the students  
After 4 weeks, my children can practically do it themselves.  

I say,  "Try it, you might like it!" 


Sunday, October 9, 2016

More on Syllables

In Kindergarten, the expectation for learning syllables is  verbal practice for understanding.  They will transfer this information when they begin to write and read.  These are all baby steps.
Here are a few more ideas to talk it out.
Nursery Rhymes that can be said in a rhythm for introducing syllables must be short with the majority having one syllable words.  Practice reciting the rhymes so they know them before using them for rhythm and syllable instructions.  I usually start with these:
  • Baa, Baa, Black Sheep - the words with 2-syllables:  a-ny, mas-ter, lit-tle
  • Humpty Dumpty -  2-syllables hump-ty, dump-ty, hor-ses, could-n't, a-gain                                    3-syllable word:  to-ge-ther
  • Little Miss Muffit - 
  • Twinkle, twinkle little star
  • Starlight, star bright                              
Say the rhymes by clapping thighs in left-right rhythm to emphasis the word parts.  Slow it down to stress the syllables.

Be sure to mention that alot of words (early sight words) have only 1-syllable.  Make a list of the sight words with the syllable count.  Many children tend to make 1-syllable words into 2-syllables.  So practice, practice, practice.

Ask the children to think of words with 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-syllables.  When the words come from them, they take ownership in this skill and prove their true understanding.

Sort pictures into groups of 1-, 2-, 3-syllables.
There are oodles of  games with picture sets I've made from Teachers Pay Teachers and Pintrest.  This is from   It has cute seasonal pictures.

Body movements help the children 'feel' their words.
Here's a mini poster I found on teacherspayteachers with a few ideas from Christine Fotia.

Change your voice while saying word parts.  Robot talking is one I like to use.

Names-  Say the children's names to practice syllables.

Earlier I mentioned about making a list of words.  This is my favorite book.  

I have had it for years (copyright 1979) and I have used it so much the pages are falling apart.  I saw an updated version on Amazon going for $177.00! (Believe me, I didn't pay that much.) Wow, it is that good!  It has wonderful lists of CVC words and words by number of phonemes, rhyming words and sentences, list of words by number of syllables, rhyming phrases, 3-word 4-/5-/6-word sentences.  Scrambled sentences, riddles, fairy tale characters, settings,  etc.  If you can ever get your hands on a copy, you'll use it often! 

we grow!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fire Prevention Week

Invite fire fighters into class to show their gear as "friendly fire fighter".

5 little fire fighters
Standing in a row
There they go!
Hop on the engine
With a shout!
Quicker than a wink
the fire is out.

Color, cut and sequence the five firefighters.


Clifford the Fire House Dog

 and many more....

Use pictures of hydrants, firemen hats, boots, to continue a given pattern or make your own.

Put coloring pages in a folded book as a matchbook, to learn about fire safety.  Write 911 on front cover for emergency reference.

Envelope games
Count the spots on the firehouse dogs and match them to their firefighter with his number.

Sequentially order by number the firehouse dogs to help Fireman Frank.

 Put the firehouse dogs in ABC order.

Directed drawing
Direct students to make a fire truck by drawing shapes.

Don't forget to check your smoke alarm batteries!

Monday, October 3, 2016


It occurred to me one night, that we tend to clap out syllables with our students.  However, some have difficulty understanding the 'word parts' when we begin our introduction and clap willy-nilly and some can't clap and count at the same time to remember how many sayllables.                    
I remembered an old camp clapping game called "Concentration."
We would begin with slapping our legs with the first syllable.
Con (slap thighs) -cen (clap hands together) -tra (snap fingers with right hand) -tion (snap fingers with left hand)
Then repeat the sequence as we said:
Keep in rhy-thm
All in rhy-thm
Now be-gins (ok, just hold both hands out palms up without snapping.)
 (If children can't snap yet, then just flick hand up )
Teacher says a word   
Students repeat word parts (syllables) beginning with slapping thighs, hands and right, left hands.  This will work with words up to 4 syllables.
Some how these different body movements helps students remember the 'how many' count easier. 
Once children get the hang of syllables and counting, then just clapping the word parts is ok.

Counting with fingers
Sometimes I have the students use their counting fingers to
tell how many syllables in selected word. 

Syllables verses phonemes 
I learned just don't do them at the same time.  Begin with syllables and practice, practice, practice.  There are oodles of  resources for pictures, envelope games and group activities available.  
Some children get confused when moving to word phoneme segmenting. So just make sure you've practiced the idea of syllables until they can do it.  
Explain that phoneme segmenting will be used for reading and writing big words from their word parts/syllables. 

Nursery Rhymes
Recite nursery rhymes by speaking in a rhythm can also help children with saying word parts.  I sway side-to-side while reciting a rhyme.  
You can put one elbow in the other hand in front of your body and move your hand as a metronome while repeating rhymes to emphasize the rhythm of syllables.

If you have a student who is rhythm challenged, try having them walk (stomp) to step count the syllables.  Making larger movements may help them.  
Walk on a numberline beginning off the numberline each time.  

 The more they practice (right),
the better they will get!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Five for Friday September 30
This has been a busy month.  Thank you Doodle Bugs for this linky party.

Our school remembers and honors First Responders through a celebration of Pinwheels for Peace.  This year on Monday, September 12, we met outside by our school flagpole.  

Local firefighters and police officers were invited to come as we honor those who help others.

 Each person colored the back of a wrapping paper square that was laminated and cut to make a pinwheel.  The pinwheels were attached to the eraser of a pencil and stuck in the ground.  They really do spin!  This year we were lucky to have good weather to leave them displayed for a few days.


 In preparation for Fire Prevention Week, our local fire fighters visit each school in our city.  In kindergarten, they come to each class to show their gear as friendly firefighter.  We also had a tour of their ladder and ambulance vehicles. 


In school field trip: Educational consultant from our local county soil and water conservation department, Michelle Benson, comes to our class to present a lesson about "Lots of Leaves".
We walk our school yard and find leaves with specific characteristics.  Thanks to our founding principal, Paul Swenson, who had the foresight to plant a wide variety of trees around our school to promote outdoor educational experiences.  The students walk and search while learning words to describe leaf edges, shape, smells, and textures.  They learn the purpose of leaves from the food source to promote growth of trees to composting.

My upcoming evaluation will be in early October.  I am planning to be introducing syllables.  I have begun to pull out my envelope activities and sort through pictures and  lists of words to gradually get the kids ready.  
I just wrote a post about playing the clapping game of "Concentration" to practice syllables.


 Fall is my favorite time to just continue being outside and go for a walk.  One special book to read is 

Image result    It is about a little girl who enjoys going for a walk with her father.  They don't talk.  They call it their listening walk.  As they walk through their neighborhood they hear different city sounds on their way to the park.  
Time to take your own listening walk.  Just close your eyes and listen.