Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Literacy Week!

Last week was Literacy Week and we had a ball celebrating here at ARS. 
On Monday, we had a very special visitor! Our own Mayor, Mr. Kutteh came and read us a story. He read Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes and the kids had a ball singing along!

If you aren't familiar with Pete the Cat, check out this video! The stories are great because Pete always has a great attitude and makes the best out of every situation. And the children LOVE the songs! Be warned...they will stick in your head ALL day!


On Tuesday, we took some time in class for the children to draw a picture of their favorite book and share it with the class. Children brought in special books from home each day for D.E.A.R time and we got to enjoy them throughout the week. I loved getting to read some of my favorites with them during this time as well as sharing their favorites with our class. They each illustrated a picture of their favorite book and then shared with the class. I LOVE their drawings!!!

On Wednesday we took a tour of our school's brand new Renaissance Learning Center. This is a new room in our school where we have computers that we can use to do fun reading activities as well as lots of books that we can enjoy. One of our very own parents, Mrs. Rufty, read us great stories and showed us where we could find some of our favorites! She also showed us the awards that books can earn- Caldecott and Newberry. She explained that there are lots of good books that don't necessarily win, but that these are always a good choice! I got so excited later in the day when a student came up to me at quiet reading time and said "LOOK!!!" and pointed to the award on one of our favorite books. 

On Thursday we had a VERY special visitor come to read to us! Ronald McDonald! He did lots of fun magic tricks and taught us how much fun a book can be when we read with feeling. The children had a blast learning about reading with Ronald. Not going to lie...so did the teachers! 

 On Friday, we had another special guest. Kaitlyn's grandmother came and shared one of her favorite stories with us. And she also shared another Pete the Cat favorite, Walking in My School Shoes.

She showed us how books can make us


On Friday, the children also got to dress up as their favorite book characters. 

We had dinosaurs, princesses, superheros, ninjas, and even Jack and the Beanstalk! The children all looked fabulous and it was certainly a fun way to finish out our week of learning to love books! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sight Word Stations

During our literacy time we have started working in sight word stations. Eventually this will evolve into Daily 5 time, but we aren't quite ready for that just yet. Instead, we take 20 minutes to work on sight words each day. I start by introducing a sight word reader that we read together and look for one or two sight words that we will be working on for the week. We read it several times throughout the week and the children practice the words during our stations after lunch. 

One station is play doh. The children can make their letters out of play doh to make words. If they finish their words, they can practice their names or other words they might know. 

Another station is magnets. The children can find the letters to make their sight words or just explore the different letters and combinations. 

Another station is stamp and write. The children find and stamp the letters to make their words and then write them as well. I think they like this one the best! Stamps are always a big hit!

The last station that we have been working on is Rainbow Writing. This is a fun activity where children practice writing their words with several different colors. The girls really like this one!

 We will be adding more ways to make words as the year goes on and eventually more stations. This is a great way for the children to practice their words and have a good time while doing it!

Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM!

Last week we read one of my favorite stories to start out the year in kindergarten. 

It is one of my favorites because I love how the letters play and have a good time together. We actually have a very cute version that we can watch on the smartboard that really brings them to life!

After we "read" the story, I gave the children lots of letters and had them make their very own coconut tree, finding letters in their name. It was really neat to hear them as they worked.

"Hey! Look there is a T!"
"I need an A!"
"Here's an S!"

This helps them begin to recognize letters and also learn which letters belong in their names. What a fun way to bring our letters to life!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shark Week

We're back at it for another great year at our school! Our first full week just ended and I think it has been just fantastic! I have loved getting to know a new group of children and families and I look forward to a great year with them!

Kindergarten is definitely a learning experience for all of us. New routines, new behavior, new teacher, new students.

One of the most important things that we can learn at the beginning of the year is how to behave and follow rules in school. I've done many things to help my children learn the rules, but when I read the book Clark the Shark for the first time I knew it was going to be my new back to school, learn the rules book!

Meet Clark. He's adorable and he loves school, but he is VERY excited and has a hard time controlling himself!

On our first day of school we read Clark the Shark and discussed his behavior at school and how we could relate that to our own classroom. Clark loves to scream so we talked about how to use our inside voices and when it is appropriate to use our excited or outside voice. Clark loves to play on the playground, but sometimes he plays too rough. We talked about the best way to treat each other on our playground. Clark has a hard time controlling anything because he is so excited. We talked about how we have to raise our hands and wait our turns in class and be respectful listeners.

On Thursday we read Clark the Shark Dares to Share. Clark struggles with how to share things with his friends and (again) control himself when a someone has something that he wants them to share. We talked about all of the different things that we share and how we should share things in our classroom.

After reading both stories, we discussed the different rules and I had the children each draw a picture and dictate a rule to me that will be important in our classroom for the upcoming year. I like to let the children decide what rules are important for our classroom. This way they can take ownership and be responsible for following them. To help really cement them in place, I found these great printables on pinterest and they were perfect.  The children did a great job remembering some of the important rules that Clark taught us. To help us remember, we made our very own sharks. I think they turned out pretty cute!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Magic Magnets

We have learned a little bit about magnets with Rocket Ryan this year and we've also learned a little bit about force and motion. Last week we learned how these two things go together. 

To get started, I put a whole bunch of different things on the tables for the children to explore. They had scissors, tuna cans, coins, batteries, erasers, crayons, paper, aluminum foil, paperclips, and staples. 

By the way, these 1$ seasonal chip and dip plates from Wal Mart are life savers! I use them for snacks, crafts, experiments, you name it! 

Before they could dig in to all of the fun stuff, they had to look at it or touch it and decide whether or not they thought that it would be magnetic. We talked about predicting again and that sometimes what we think might happen might not actually happen. I emphasized again that it's ok to predict something and not get it "right". To help them remember, we used pens this time! We talked about how when you don't predict the right thing you are learning about what really happens and making great observations. 
After we made our predictions, I let the kids just dig in and try out their stuff. They had to record whether or not the item was magnetic and whether or not their prediction was correct. 

After everyone had a chance to try everything out we discussed what we found. We talked about what surprised us. We learned that most of us (including me until Mrs. Smith taught me better!) thought that anything that was metal would be magnetic. The children shared that they thought that the coins would be magnetic and they were surprised when they weren't. They also didn't really expect the battery to be magnetic, but it was. I explained to them that even I thought that anything metal was magnetic for the longest time and that now I know the saying "Magnets inc." (Thank you Mrs. Smith!). Only items that have iron, nickel, or cobalt are actually magnetic. I loved having this conversation with them and showing them that even adults sometimes don't know everything and have misconceptions about the world around us! I also loved having them share the things they didn't understand so that we could learn why we weren't correct. 

Afterwards, we joined back up and group and learned how magnets can make an invisible force. We remember that a force is a push or a pull and while we were working some of the children noticed that magnets "pull" on magnetic objects and attract objects to themselves. 
I gave each partner pair magnets and had them try to put them together. When we put the different poles together we noticed that the magnets attracted or pulled toward one another. 
Then I had one child flip their magnet over and try again. That's when we realized that magnets can actually "push" as well! 


Here's a fun magnet trick! Magic Magnets! I showed the children how magnets with like poles will push away from each other like magic!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

As most of you know, I just love Dr. Seuss's birthday. What a fun excuse to have a good time reading!

To celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday we had a fun activity each day with a favorite Dr. Seuss book to go along with it. 

On Monday we read The Cat in the Hat Comes Back and all of the children got to wear their favorite hat to school. 

Tuesday we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck.. What is Oobleck you ask?? Well, it is a gooey, icky, sticky green substance that covers the whole kingdom!
Or a non-Newtonian substance that has both characteristics of solids and liquids. 
Whichever. :)

We read the story, which has a great moral. The king is not very nice and he is very prideful and can only save his kingdom by admitting his guilt in the situation and apologizing. 

Afterwards, we made our own Oobleck. 
Want to make some at home? Here's what you need!

First, add a few drops of green food coloring to your water if you want authentic Seuss Oobleck. You can use any color that you'd like. Then add one cup of cornstarch and one cup of water in a large mixing bowl. 

Next, stir and stir and stir and stir and stir. Adding cornstarch and water as necessary until it is almost impossible to stir anymore!

 Finally, dig in and enjoy playing with this crazy stuff!

After we made our Oobleck and experimented with it a little bit, we discussed whether or not it was a solid or a liquid. Many of the children seemed to think it was both. When I asked them why they explained that you can pour it like a liquid, but you can make it into a ball like a solid. It will mold to the shape of its container like a liquid, but then feels hard to the touch like a solid. What smart Oobleck scientists!

Wednesday's fun book was The Lorax. We read the story and then we talked about what the word "Unless" really means. We all wore green and talked about ways that we can help keep our Earth from meeting the same fate as the Truffula Trees. 

Then we made our own Truffula trees to help us remember. 

Thursday we read one of my absolute favorite Dr. Seuss stories, I Wish That I Had Duck Feet. The children were allowed to dress up in animal clothing of their choice. Don't they look adorable?!

We also did a fun writing activity. The children had to choose which animal body part they would like to have, what would be good or fun about it, and what would be the downside of having it. They modeled the style of the story and did a fantastic job writing about which animal parts they would like to have!

We ended up missing our PJ day on Friday because of snow, but when we got back on Monday we read 
I Am Not Getting Out of Bed Today

We had so much fun reading these fun stories and interacting with the text!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!