Monday, April 29, 2013

Math Station Mash Up

I wanted to stop by quickly and share our weekly math stations with you all.  Our stations are more about skills right now than about theme.  This being said, prepare yourself for a picture show of a little of this and a little of that.

This station works on our counting skills.  The owls had a a couple different choices with how they could work in this station.  They could grab a fishbowl, recognize the number, and then count out the matching number of goldfish.  They could roll a die, find the fishbowl with the same number, and then count goldfish.  They could roll the die in die, find the fishbowl with the same number, and count goldfish.  Number focus was 1-20.
This station works on our graphing skills.  The owls rolled a die in die, practiced a bit of addition, and then recorded the number rolled on the graph.  Smelly markers made this station a hit!
This station works on subtraction.  They work as a team to use the mustache foam stickers to find the total to the number sentence on the card.  Side note- we are still in the beginning stages of subtraction so the mustache stickers really helped the owls see what was happening.  The mustache cards came from Kindergarten Smorgasboard's Mustache Mania pack.
This last station works on addition. The owls pulled an addition card, which is shown with superheroes.  They counted the heroes and placed the numbers in the correct places on a recording page.  From there, they counted all of the heroes to find an answer.  In the bottom picture, I found some Buck Rogers ships at our local Science and Surplus store and knew they would work perfectly with this.  Superheroes and ships, what's not to love!  Those were put in for my owls that need to touch and move.  If you are interested in this, just click on either of the pictures to go to my TPT store.


(While you are there, don't forget to follow my store!  I have a few things in the works right now.  Just trying to find time to finish them up with end of the year craziness.  :))

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Informative Writing Lion Style!

Let me begin by telling you that when I put this informative writing into my lesson plans, it was only to last a week.  However with assemblies and MAP testing, one week magically turned into two.  Don't get me wrong, I am not upset that it took longer than anticipated, but we are getting down to the last weeks of school and somehow I feel like we have soooooooooooo much still to cover.  :(

I saw a post on The Inspired Apple about how she introduced and worked through informative writing and really loved how engaged the kiddos appeared.  I tweeked things to meet the needs of my little owls and POOF!  here is what we got.

We started the whole experience by coming up with questions that we would like answered.  I placed their questions on post it notes and as answers came up in readings, they were added to the post it.  It took a bit of prying to get questions coming but after a bit of "knee partner" sharing, the questions were overwhelming.

 We read a couple of books the next day and then drew a lion and labeled the parts.  Each owl turned this into a page in their lion books.

We read several more books and played around with searching for lion facts on the computer.  This was definitely a highlight to this process.  After we had answered all the questions and read a good amount of books, we created a lion tree map using what we had learned.

Each owl picked two interesting facts from the tree map to put into their own tree maps.  These tree maps were later used to make the two pages in their books that talked about lions.

Diagram of a lion was page 1.

 "Lions are big cats."

"Lions are carnivores."  Love the pig trapped in the middle of the two lions. 

I was extremely proud of all of their hard work during this writing.  If you are thinking of doing something similar, please remember that writing is a process and that it will take patience.  I will admit I was full of stress during a couple of these days, but when the end product was handed in and their smiles were so big, I couldn't have felt happier.  :)


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cha-ching! A Subtraction Wonder!

We have been hard at work the past days with subtraction.  Let me tell you, subtraction is a hit or miss kind of skill in our little owl filled room.  Yesterday, the skill was going in one ear and making a mad dash out the other.  Today, totally different story! 

I have a feeling the shift had something to do with my basket of plastic food that made its appearance during math.  I was making my weekly run to Wal-mart and came across this great basket of plastic food for $10 and knew it was going to come in handy.  I brought it home and right away began writing various prices on the food.  We were going to review money (pennies) and subtraction all in the same lesson.  Bonus points for me!   

Here is how the lesson went down today!  Each owl got a baggie with 10 pennies inside.  Side note the baggies became wallets for the boys and purses for the girls because we were shopping.  :)  Each also got a piggy bank mat for the counting of pennies step.  We took turns buying different foods, taking away pennies, and figuring out how much we still had left to spend.  After I felt the owls had a good handle on this, we broke into table groups and started working together in a smaller group setting.  I also included a recording page at this time. 
I have a feeling that if we had an hour to spare in the day, they would have shopped and subtracted until they dropped.  What a fun activity for them!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Greater than and less than=Hands on FUN!

My little owls are finally, and YES I SAY FINALLY, getting their heads around this more and less concept.  Now that there is more of a solid understanding, I challenged them further this week with the ideas of greater than and less than.  So far, so good!  If I had a victory dance, today would have been a good day to show off my moves!  :)

Now how did we tackle this, well that part was fun.  Awhile back I had read other blog posts about greater than and less than, but the post from Greg over at the Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergaten really got my wheels turning.  You can read more here

I borrowed the idea of making the sign using pocket folder strips and a brad.  This allowed the owls to move the sign with little to no frustration.  On Monday, we worked with rolling a die, counting the matching number of mini erasers out, and then placing the sign so that it was "eating the bigger number."  To make this a bit more kid friendly, we have decided to call this an alligator chomper.  :)  The owls were then asked to tell their partner a sentence about what they saw.  For example, the 1 eraser is less than the 4 erasers.

Today we revisited the skill, still using our alligator chompers but this time with playing cards.  I sorted out the 2 through 10 cards in various decks of cards.  Each group was given a baggie with these cards.  They took turns picking the top card off the pile and then placing the sign in the correct direction.  Like yesterday, they needed to say a sentence about what was done.  For an evidence of learning piece, I had each owl complete a recording page. 

Well that's all for now.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I will return by the end of the week with our lion books/informative writings.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Wonderful World of Writing!

As I watch the rain come down yet again, I'm really beginning to consider trading in my car for a boat.  Perhaps I will get a nice canoe, so I can get in a good workout while getting around the city.  :)

Ok, ok, ok, on to the blog post! 

This week in writing, also known as our ELA block, we are playing around with various kinds of writing.  We looked at signs and labels on Monday, cards and notes on Tuesday, and captions today.  My little owls are STRUGGLING with writing this year, so these kinds of writings are more comforting for my owls.  These writings are short and sweet, which keeps the owls engaged and allows more time for me to observe some real trying in writing. 

Sign says, "Watch out!"

Sign says, "Do not go in the lion cave."
We are learning more about lions in Science right now, so I put the two together.  We labeled the clipart lion and then drew a cave where a lion might be.  The owls had to create a sign to hang outside the cave opening and write a message on it. 

"The kitchen smells weird."

"The banana almost looks good to eat."

"The baby is playing."
For caption writing, I asked the owls to find a magazine picture that interested them.  From there they needed to create a caption that would explain the picture better. 
Overall, these writings went well.  I think for next year, I will introduce them earlier in the year and then revisit them later to see how word choice has changed.  Just a thought!
Another week almost done!  We are down to 39 days left!  We are in the thirties as the owls would say!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It is a cold, rainy day here in good ol' WI!  We have had rain every day this week and let me tell you-I AM OVER IT!  Now, I know I was saying the same thing about snow not that long ago, but snow doesn't make me tired and moody.  Rain, on the other hand, works wonders on my levels of motivation and my patience for anything moving/speaking.  :)

With this being said, I have managed to make it this far into the week and everyone and everything is still in one piece. 

This week has been jam packed with reviewing and some deeper thinking.  I'm really pushing the little owls out of their comfort zones and making them squirm a bit.  I want them to be problem solvers and to really know they can do this!

We are doing a couple of review (but with a new twist!) math stations this week.  The first one is a monster themed counting station.  I feel like my little owls can never count too much in a day.  This station helps them identify numbers between 1 and 12, count quantities to match, and write the number to match as well.  Can't go wrong with hitting three skills in one station!

For my little owls that grabbed ahold of these skills, I threw in a die or dice to let them roll first, find the monster with the matching number, feed the monster the matching number of Skittles, and write the number.
For the next station, I struck gold when I was at Wal-mart over the weekend.  I found Scentos glitter glue and knew right then and there I must have it.  The tricky part was how was I going to use it.  After the drive home from the store, I had a light bulb moment and from it came the following....
Here are a couple more pictures to show what the recording page looks like.

If you would like the recording page, follow the link!
Please leave me a comment if you snag the freebie and let me know how it works for your little ones!
Here's to one more day and then the weekend! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Animals and Living/Nonliving!

Here I am!  Second day in a row and ready to share some of the great things that went on during Science today.

We started our animal unit yesterday with a quick prediction as to what the little owls thought we might learn.  By their responses, I'm thinking the five senses was a big hit with this group!  :)  After each wrote down a prediction and then read it to me, I read the book Animal A-Z by Louisa Cornford.  This book was the lead in to our animal unit.  (If you have not heard of this book, I highly recommend looking into getting a coppy.  Great photographs and interesting facts to go with each animal.)  After reading the book, I had the little owls tell me if they had figured out what we were going to learn.  Lots of eager hands started waving at me.  We wrote animals onto our learning page and that was a wrap for day 1. 

Today was day 2 of our animal study and we focused on living and nonliving.  I found magazine picture examples prior to lesson and taped them onto chart paper.  I had the little owls look at the pictures and come up with what makes something living and somthing nonliving.  Here is what our charts looked like after we were finished discussing.  Super proud of how they turned out.  The little owls really grabbed onto this.

Once these charts were made, we did a little more discussion.  This time I wanted some more examples of living and nonliving things.  Again, I was very proud of their responses.  The evidence piece of this lesson was a simple magazine search.  Each little owl was responsible for finding a picture of a living thing and a nonliving thing.  They also needed to copy a simple sentence that I provided.  We are putting writing into everything at this point.  Here are a few examples of finished products.

Tomorrow's game plan is to review living and nonliving through a whole group sorting activity.  After all the pictures are sorted, each little owl will write about what was noticed during the activity.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Plastic Eggs and Plastic Bunny Hoppers, Oh My!

Oh my word!  Is anyone else as exhausted as I am today???  Today was our first day back after Spring Break and I don't remember ever feeling this drained.  I ended up making the fatal mistake of putting the recliner back after dinner and BAM!  I was out.  One power nap later, I am ready to tell you about some of today's happenings.

I had written about these activity a couple weeks back.  I am just now getting around to the picture of what it looks like.  I decided to keep some work stations the same, so we could focus on expectations the first few days back.  We are down to the last 46 days and I want the little owls to become as independent as possible and to really take their learing into their own hands.  If you would like to read more about this activity or to grab the freebie that goes with, head over here.  Just a slight side note, the little owls rocked this station.  I was blown away with their addition today!
This is my newest creation and my little owls had a blast with it today.  I ended up introducing it in my guided reading groups.  I wasn't brave enough to let 18 little hands have those bunny hoppers at the same time.  I had visions of bunnies flying by my face ever second.  :)  Since I used it with my guided reading groups, I pulled out the sight words that were in need of some extra loving and we had at it.  If you are interested in including this activity in your room, please stop by my TPT and download it for free!  I found the adorable bunny hoppes at Wal-mart before Easter.
I will be back tomorrow, unless I fall asleep right after school again, to share some of the things we are doing with our science unit on animals. 
Hope everyone had a great Monday!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's Official!

I just opened up my own TPT store.  I have a fun little freebie posted right now.  Please click the link and head on over.  While you are there, please follow me and rate the freebie.  I hope to have some more items posted soon and a few more things here as well.  I have been enjoying my Spring Break this week, hence the MIA status!  :)