Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Earth Day in K!

I love celebrating and teaching about Earth Day in kindergarten. I think it is so important to start teaching them the importance of taking care of our Earth at an early age! 
We decided to take Earth Day outside this year and have a painting and picnic party! 
Each child painted a flower pot.  We used acrylic paint that was fast drying and would be bright and colorful!
Then I gave the students the options of choosing which type of seeds that they wanted to plant.  After we planted the seeds they each made a little sign to add to their flower pot so we knew what was growing inside!
After our picnic, we headed inside to cool off and do some more, fun, painting! 
This idea is from Maria over at Kinder-Craze.
We played music while we painted and it was so relaxing!
Then it was time for a little treat! I quickly printed off some tree clip art and let the kids each color in one tree.  We taped our trees onto a spoon and then created the soil to 'plant' them! Worms and dirt is always a favorite!
I want to hear all about your kindergarten ideas!! To make that easier, I decided to start a Kindergarten Smiles Facebook Group! I would love for you to join and start collaborating! Just click HERE to request!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Baby Shower 'Ready to Pop' [and How to Make a Balloon Arch]

As some of you know, my little sister is a teacher blogger over at Little Lovely Leaders and she is 'ready to pop' with her first little girl!
For her baby shower, we took the 'ready to pop' theme and changed it up a tad.  Instead of popcorn we used 'pop'ems', little munchkin donuts! I ordered the little popcorn boxes from Oriental Trading (they have a ton of baby shower decor!)
 Filled them up with about 7 munchkins each, placed them in a clear party bag, and tied them up! They became the perfect party favor!
I also ordered a ton of balloons from Oriental Trading to make a balloon arch.  I was SO happy with how this turned out...especially since this was my first attempt at making one!
 I was thinking that these ballon arches can easily be made for classroom parties too--especially my end of the year awards celebration!
All you need to do is blow up a bunch of balloons.  I enlisted some help from my sisters and brother in law for this one!
Then, take fishing wire and a needle and start threading the fishing wire through each ballon tie.  
 As you thread, keep pulling the balloons down the wire.  You will see that they will start to gather around each other.
When you think you have enough balloons on the wire then you are ready to hang! I don't trust command strips on the wall.  I've never had a good experience taking them off so I refuse to use them now! (Am I the only one?) My sister also has 'knock down' walls so tape doesn't work either! Believe it or not, we only needed three tacks to hang this balloon arch.  
When the balloon arch was hung, we added in some paper lanterns from Oriental Trading to spruce it up a tad.  It would also look amazing with some flowers tucked in!
My sister revealed her precious baby room! If you look closely at the measuring ruler hanging, you can see that my sisters heights are engraved on there--once for every year on her birthday. My dad gifted us these for Christmas. We each have one with our heights and it is AMAZING to compare our heights with our children's heights. Such a great tradition and an awesome memory to have!
 LOVE these balloons to show off the babies name! This name hold a special meaning--those are the best kinds of names!
My sister also bought these little wooden blocks.  At the shower, every person painted one block.  Now when Flynn is older, she will have these special blocks to play with!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Math Centers in Kindergarten

Every year I said the same thing to myself, 'I am going to start math centers this year', and then I never did.  Every year I continued to use our county's curriculum, which has been 'Go Math' for awhile now.  I would still use math centers in my room but it would normally be A math center during my literacy block.  The more I researched math centers, the more I realized that I wasn't doing what was best for my students.  I needed to give them more hands on experiences and less time in the actual math book. 
Last year I finally made that change. It was the best math decision I had ever made!
Students here are playing 'One More' together.  They roll one die, add one, and cover that number.  They each use their own color manipulative so at the end of the game, whoever has the most colors on the board, wins! (If you roll the die, add one, and there are no more of that number on the board, you skip a turn!)
Do I still use my math curriculum from the county?
Yes, I still use Go Math; however, I am lucky enough to work for a school that allows me to use the math book as a resource instead of a must! I use the math book as a guide for the standards that I need to teach.  I also still use my math book for some of our whole group instruction.
What does my math block look like?
Your math block really depends on how much time you have allotted and what your school/county requires; however, I include math videos, a whole group mini lesson, guided math groups, and small group (or independent) rotations. 

1. Math Videos:
I LOVE youtube for math videos! I can pretty much find any skill that I need online and my students seem to learn best with songs! I'll have a math video post coming soon so you can see some of my favorites!

2. Whole Group Mini Lesson:
This is when I'll use my math book to drive my instruction.  I like to use the vocabulary and terms found in the book to ensure that my students are familiar with the terms that they will hear repeated throughout the school years with Go Math. We sit on the carpet in a huge circle with our math books in front of us.  We do a ton of 'math talk' and even practice some examples in the book. 

3. Guided Math Groups (15-20 minutes per group):
As my students are working in their math centers, I pull small groups up to my table to work on different skills.  Think of this as the same as your guided reading--different groups will be working on different skills based on their needs.  This allows me to differentiate the learning to meet the needs of that particular group. I may have a group working on number formation while another group is working on addition.

4. Small Group Rotations (15-20 minutes a rotation):
I have 8 math centers ready to go each Monday.  My students will only go to 2 centers a week, Monday-Thursday.  On Friday they have 'choice' and are not assigned centers.  I do not pull math groups on Fridays either (unless I have a student really struggling). 
Below you can see a ton of pictures to see what my centers look like.  Click HERE for another post to see more, easy prep, math centers.  A math center may also be on the computer, iPad, or even a center for students to just explore manipulatives. 
Above you can see a child 'counting the room' which is the same as 'write the room'.  Below you can see a 'spinner center' where students are spinning two spinners and comparing to practice greater than and less than.
In the two images below you can see children working on using manipulatives to count objects and graph them. When they are finished with their graph, they have to analyze their data.
In the two images below you can see students working on subtraction.
Below is an activity you can use as an 'add the room' activity or you can just leave it at a center.  Students have to add both sides of their cards to create an addition sentence.
These centers repeat month after month, just adding on to the skill or becoming a little bit more challenging.  This way not only do my students already know how to complete the center, but they are constantly working on all of their standards.  We don't just learn a standard in September and then never hit on that standard again.
Above, you can see a child working on 'what number comes next' to help them to count forward from any given number.  Below, you can see that we have started our 3D shape unit. This child is sorting shapes.

In this center students will spin the spinner and write the number.  Then they will create a number bond.  LOVE this!
Again, we are working on number bonds just in a different way.  This time, students will roll 2 dice and record the numbers. Then they will solve. 
At this pocket chart math center students are sorting their equations.
Here we are working on greater than/less than again (as seen earlier on in this post); however, we are working on the same skill in a different way, this time using dice.
What if I don't have time to meet with all of my groups/complete 4 rotations?
I don't either, so don't worry!! I only meet with 2 groups a day and my students only go to 2 rotations a day (even though there are 8 rotations introduced and going on in my classroom). This means that I meet with my students twice a week Monday-Thursday. (Fridays we do math tubs, but I let my students choose where they want to go).  So if I have 4 math groups, I meet with group A and B on Monday, group C and D on Tuesday, and then back to A and B on Wednesday. 

Try one of my math centers by clicking on the image below.
You can also see the entire BUNDLE below.
What are people saying about this math center bundle?
"This goes along exactly with the skills I teach month by month. It saves me so much work by not having to create it myself."
"This product was a HUGE time savor for math intervention groups and math centers. My K students loved them!"
"Every Kindergarten teacher needs this bundle! Thank you"
"This has made math centers in my room so much easier! Each month the centers are very similar and the students know what is expected. Love the I can cards. Thank you!!"
"One of my favorite purchases! This bundle is wonderful- thanks!!"
"This is such a wonderful product at a reasonable price! I love that it matches perfectly with the scope and sequence of my math series. I also like how I can pull centers from previous months for those who struggle or pull one from months we haven't gotten to yet for those who are more advanced. It's nice to have everything I need in one place!"
"In the past I have made many of my own math stations (what I call centers for math) to correspond with what I am teaching. This year I have no aide for the first time in twenty years of kindergarten. When I saw your packet, I dubbed you my "aide" (hahaha!!) and knew that I had to have this math bundle to help keep me sane this year. Thank you so much!! PS - I LOVE your products!! :)"
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Math Centers

During my junior year of college, I won't share the year, we made these amazing math centers that I am still using today!! All you need is posters, markers, and maybe a ruler! My students LOVE playing these and they make for a quick and easy center to set-up or an awesome basket for 'early finishers'.  Whenever I give these games as an option, my students literally cheer!
To make 'One More' just use a half sized poster board. Make a grid, as big as you want, with numbers two through seven. At this center you will need manipulatives and one die. If you look in the image below, there are 4 different color manipulatives being used, that is because I had 4 children playing at once.  Make sure each child has their own type of manipulative so you can add them up at the end! 

Standards addressed: K.CC.A.2, K.CC.B.4, K.OA.A.1

 To play: Students take turns rolling the die. They read the number rolled and then add 'one more'. That is the number that they will cover with one manipulative.  If they roll and add 'one more' and there are no more of that number on the board, they skip a turn! Continue playing until all of the spaces are covered.  Then, each student will count their manipulatives that are on the board and whoever has the most, wins!
*You can make and play this same game as 'one less'. Just make numbers zero to five on your board.

To make 'Cover Up' (seen in the images above and below) just use a half sized poster board. I used a sentence strip in the image above and just wrote my numbers two through twelve.  You can also just draw a long rectangle and add the numbers into the box as well. At this center you will need manipulatives and two dice. In this game, only two students will play at a time.  

Standards addressed: K.CC.B.4.a, K.CC.B.4.b, K.OA.A.1, K.OA.A.2

To play: Students take turns rolling the dice. They add up the dice to find what number they rolled. That is the number that they will cover with one manipulative.  If they roll and add the dice and there are no more of that number on the board, they skip a turn! Continue playing until all of the spaces are covered.  The first one to cover all of their spaces, wins! 
To make 'Hop to It' (seen in the image above) I used a full sized poster board. I made a windy 'road' all across the game board. The students each have a frog manipulative and they have to 'hop' back to the pond.  You can make this game with ANY theme, for instance, use cars to race to the finish line or even unicorns to race to the rainbow. Anything you want!

Standards addressedK.CC.A.1, K.CC.B.4.a, K.CC.B.4.b

To play: You can play with as many students as you want. Each student needs their own manipulative. You will also need one die to share. Students take turns rolling the die. They read the number that they rolled and move that may spaces on the game board. The first person to make it all the way to the end is the winner. 
*You can add your own rules to this. I make my students roll the EXACT number that they need to make it into the pond. For instance, if they are two away from the pond and they roll a four, they will skip their turn.  You can also add other challenges onto your board like 'roll again' or 'go back to start'. 
Another game my students play is 'Sneaky Snake'. This game is VERY similar to 'Cover Up'; but, you will use numbers one to twelve.  To make this game use a half sized poster board.  Make two snakes on the board, one for each player. 

Standards addressedK.CC.B.4.a, K.CC.B.4.b, K.OA.A.1, K.OA.A.2

To play: Students will have two dice; however, they can choose to roll one or both. They will roll their die (dice) and read the number that they rolled.  They will cover that number on their snake with a manipulative.  If they roll and add the dice and there are no more of that number on the board, they skip a turn! Continue playing until all of the spaces are covered.  The first one to cover all of their spaces, wins!

Your students will LOVE these games and they are SO easy to make! You can even ask a parent volunteer to help you create them! 

As always, let me know if you have any questions!

You can find my other math centers by clicking on the image below