Thursday, May 30, 2013

Once Upon A Time....Kinder Writing

Let me start this post by getting a little something off of my chest.  Today it was wonderfully humid, yes that is laced with sarcasm, and by the end of the day, that humidity got the best of me.  I hit that point where frustration and uncomfortable meet and I yelled at one of my little owls.  I am telling all you because I'm hoping that you can relate and to allow myself to admit that I made a mistake. 


To go along with our fairy tale readings, I added a little fairy tale into our writing (ELA) block.  I found this fabulous book on Amazon when I was searching for fairy tales.

(Click on the picture to check it out.)
We started this writing project last week on Friday by just brainstorming characters and villians.  I wanted to stick with a three little pigs feel, so we tossed around ideas like three little dragons and a big bad cat, three little sharks and a big bad starfish, and three little owls and big bad ghost.  The owls had some of the silliest ideas for characters.  We giggled a whole lot during our brainstorming.  Each owl picked a set of three littles and a villian and drew a picture of them.
Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, involved reading a few pages each day from the book above.  We did not use the whole book because I didn't want to overwhelm my owls.  Some are still hiding in their little writing shells, so I wanted to let them work at a level that was comfortable. 
Tuesday, we talked about characters again, creating a setting, and beginning a plot.  Wednesday, we added dialouge, a warning, and a bit of magic.  (The characters talking was the magic for them!)
Here are a few finished pieces. 
"Once upon a time there were 3 little kittens and a rabbit.  The rabbit said, "One day I'll get the kittens and eat them."
Watch out for the big bad rabbit!  "Ok," said the kitten.  The rabbit was next door.  He never got the kittens.
This owl is one of more advanced writers, so I let her go a little further with her story.
Once upon a time 3 little flowers lived in the garden.  Mom flower said, "Go get something to eat but watch out for the octopus."  :)
This little owl came to me knowing only 9 letters and no letter sounds.  I am beyond proud of his accomplishments this year.
We are down to our last 9 days!  I'm looking forward to this summer break more than ever right now.  :)


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Splattin' bugs is where it's at!

I'm back again today to give you yet another great sight word game that my owls go crazy over.  It has really helped build their confidence in reading these words and to help those that were having a hard time get ahold of some more words.  Plus, it is just down right fun to play!

I was at Target (I know big surprise, a teacher at Target :0) and I saw these great butterfly spatulas.  I fell in love immediately and knew that I would find some use for them in the classroom.  After a bit of brainstorming and looking over what my owls were still needing a boost in, the creation of ....

Included in this activity are all of the sight words used in the HMH Journeys series for Kinder at this time (first grade will be added soon!)  How I played this game with my owls is I laid out a handful of word cards at a time, divided the group into two teams, and handed a person from each team a butterfly spatula.  I called out a sight word and the first person to splat the word, won the word and a point for their team.  We have been playing this game every other day for over two weeks now and each time the giggles get louder.  I love when learning is fun!
Here are a few action pictures.
Click on the top cover picture, if you would like to pick this up at my TPT store.  It is definitely a fun way to end the year and to keep learning happening in your classroom or could be a great game to use through the entire year.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jack and the Beanstalk

I am officially done with the required literacy curriculum that we use and have decided to read, discuss, and just plain have some fun with fairy tales until the end of the year.  Last week we read several different versions of The Three Little Pigs (a list of the books read will come in a later post, I promise) and this week we are diving into Jack and the Beanstalk (a list of books read to be included with above said post.)

Here are a couple of the Jack and the Beanstalk activities we did today!
 I made this paper version of a beanstalk and programmed some of our newer sight words onto it.  The owls worked in groups, taking turns rolling a die and moving to different sight words.

If the sight word was read correctly, the owl needed to write the word onto this recording sheet.  After time was up during that rotation, the owls got in line and read through their words one more time with me just to hold them responsible. 
* FYI- My owls have never worked so hard on sight words.  Beanstalks really are magical!  :)
The following activity I did not get pictures of, sorry!  We made a graph that asked if we would climb the beanstalk.  Each owl got a beanstalk card where they got to write their name in MARKER (again, markers made the classroom an even cooler place to be) and then got to tape it to the correct column on the graph.  We analyzed the graph and learned that we have a lot of brave owls in the class! 
I hope this gives you a couple of ideas to hold on to for next year or even to wrap up this year with.  :)
(I will be back, hopefully, tomorrow with a post about an exciting sight word game that my owls go crazy over as well.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hundred Charts Magic!

I'm sure that all of you have seen or even use the following ideas with your littles, but I thought I would share in case you needed something easy yet engaging for the last days of the school year.

I have recently retested my owls on their rote couting to 100 and discovered that some just still were not getting there.  Please keep in mind, that we count daily to 100 during calendar time, so this was mind boggling to me.  With this new found mystery, I started brainstorming and sifting through notes and found the hundreds chart puzzles and race to 100 games.  These two have been lifesavers in the room this past week.  I mean the owls are beyond focused with these two activities and aren't even noticing the extra counting practice that I snuck in.  Sneaky teacher!  ;)

The polka dot charts came from here.  I printed three different colors and three copies of each.  The blue was the challenging puzzle, the purple (not shown) was the medium, and the red was the easy.  I simply cut out different sets of numbers to vary the level of difficulty.

These hunderds charts came from here.  Each set of partners were allowed to pick their own buttons to move along the chart and a die to roll.  My owls that needed a little challenge were give the amazing die in die.  They were told that they had to identify the number they ended up on each turn.  Point of the game is to get to 100 first. 

I hope that these two activities, new or old, to you can provide you with a little sanity and some hard work for these last remaining days.

Keep your eyes peeled for a post about our fairy tale fun and a fun game that get the owls excited to practice their sight words.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer Bucket List

So sorry for the absence lately!  :(  Bad blogger here! 

The name of the game for this teacher is SURVIVAL!  My little owls are definitely feeling the summer break quickly approaching and are getting more anxious each day.  The stinkin' WI weather needs to make up its mind though.  One day we are enjoying 80 degrees and the next we are barely pushing 50...can I get an ANNOYING!

I've noticed lots of these fun linky buttons popping up, so I figured I would share some of my summer musts.  Thanks to A Cupcake for the Teacher, Miss Kindergarten, and A Modern Teacher for hosting this great linky party.

* Click the picture to take a look at what others have on their lists and to link up!

1~ Get out and get my walk on!  Before I had my little man, I walked daily as a stress reliever.  I really need to get back into that habit.  This will also be my way of gearing up for number 2 on the list here.

2~ Vegas baby!  I will be going to the I Teach K! conference in Vegas again this summer.  I am looking forward to attending great sessions that will challenge my thinking and teach me more.

3~  Professional development!  Along with the above conference, I will be going to the PreK-1 Educators workshop in Chicago. 

4~ TPT creating!  I have been busy writing ideas into a compostion notebook just waiting for summer to start, so I can get moving on these ideas.

5~ Classroom revamp!  I share a classroom with another teacher and we do not team teach.  It is my mission to come up with a great floor plan for my half of the room that will optimize the space better.  Any ideas are appreciated!

6~ Sleep!  I'm putting this on my list but there is a certain two year old that lives in the house that finds 6 am a reasonable time to wake up every morning.  Here's to finger crossing!  :)

Those are the major ones for right now.  Hope everyone enjoys the weekend!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Five for Friday (Saturday Edition)

I'm jumping back on the Five for Friday linky wagon and posting my randoms from this week.  Click the button below to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to look at all the other wonderful blogs that have linked up.
1. PALS assessing- This was the third time my little owls had to take this test this year.  I am so proud of their scores!  Their scores showed just how hard they have been working this year and I could not be happier.
2. Stories- My owls have really been battling writing this year.  This pile of stories is evidence that all that struggling has made off.  The owls are writing stories and not just one or two sentence stories but one or two page stories.  I wish I could have bottled up their happiness when they handed these in!  :)
3. Plants- We started our plant unit this week.  Here is our bulletin board display of our plant part projects.  This idea came from here.  (Unfortunately, I could not find the original creator of this project.  It just bounced me from person to person who had pinned it.)
4. Mother's Day- We made these adorable handprints with sponged hearts inside for our moms.  We then added a little piece of writing.  The owls were so excited to take them home.
5. Spring program- I do not have any pictures to show of the program.  We made little frog silly hats to wear for our performace and the owls loved every second of singing in front of everyone.  It was the perfect way to end a week of hard work.



Monday, May 6, 2013

A Hodge Podge of Happenings!

To all of you out in blogging land, sorry for the lack of posts lately.  It is, FINALLY, starting to feel like Spring here in WI, so I have been outside enjoying the sunshine with my little man.  :)

This post is going to be a hodge podge of some of the fun things that have been happening from last week and today.  I'm beginning to sense a bit of a trend in this mix and match kind of posting lately.  Let's just chalk it up to the end of the year chaos! 

First up are our text to self connections we made when reading, The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper.  I had the owls write about a time when they couldn't do something but after trying and trying, they were able to do it.  The cute arm train idea came from Pinterest.  Silly me forgot to pin it so I would be able to link it.  I went back in to look for it and magically it has disappeared.  If you know of the source from which this adorable idea came, can you please link it in a comment.  Thanks!
"I can't do the monkey bars I tried and I tried and I could do it."  Love the spelling!
Next up, we made these cute clocks as an introduction to time.  All I wanted the owls to get out of this was the names of the two hands on an analog clock and what they do.  The hands were made from paint swatches.  Nice and sturdy!
Today we traced ourselves and labeled the body parts as a Health lesson and for evidence of learning.  The owls loved every minute of this.  We took over the hallway outside of our classroom for this.  Side note-I share a classroom with another teacher and we do NOT have room to do anything this large within it.
Last up, I am jumping on the bandwagon and have put my ONE produt on TPT on sale through Friday.  Although it is just one item, it is my best attempt at being able to show each one of you just how much I appreciate you reading my blog and allowing me to be inspired by all of you as well.  So thank you for everything you do!
Head over to Learning with Mrs. Leeby to check out all of the other amazing bloggers who are having a sale!