Counting and Cardinality Winter Edition

In my last post, I talked about how I pace the Common Core into "chunks" of comprehensible teaching and learning.  I provided this example of what the strand looks like over the course of the school year.

Math time usually consists of: calendar and math routines, whole group math lesson/workbook, and math work stations.

Today, I am going to share some math routines that I will use to teach this standard.  To begin with, students will practice writing their numbers daily using a dry erase board and marker; a nice transition after recess.  I like to use music whenever possible.  So, I plan to use this oldie but goodie as well as this hip-hop diddy to teach numbers to 20 during calendar.  Afterwards, we will continue to work on subitizing numbers using dot cards from this fabulous blog.  I will also introduce I Have. Who Has?  I love this book and used it a lot in when I taught first grade. Unfortunately, it is a little too difficult for my kindergarten students.

I created this I Have. Who Has? winter Edition card game to play with my students.
Graphics From the Pond and fonts from Kindergarten Works

I think my students will absolutely adore this.  I also like that I can control which cards I give students based on their strengths and weaknesses.  Most of my students can count to 10 and beyond but I have a few who need additional practice as well as some who need help with "oneteen" also known as eleven.  Get your copy here.

Looking for more freebies?  Even though, I don't go back until the 7th but I am starting my planning.  Are you?  Click below for more wonderful, teacher created freebies.

Freebie Fridays

Happy Teaching and Planning!    
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Pacing the Common Core

This year we are fully implementing the Common Core in kindergarten.  As with all new things, there has been a bit of a learning curve.  

I am a Whole-Part-Whole type of teacher and learner.  I like to see the big picture. I, then, like to chunk my teaching into comprehensible parts for my students and me.  I find that is is important for accountability, progress monitoring and creating benchmarks of learning.  For the last two years, we have used ESGI to help us with progress monitoring and assessments of learning.  

Currently, our school uses Curriculum Maps to guide our instruction and planning.  These Curriculum Maps are basically a scope and sequence of what chapter we are teaching of our required textbooks and which CA standard that it teaches.

What I have discovered is that I like to have the Common Core Standards mapped out as well. So that, at a glance, I can tell how the standard is taught.

I created these Pacing Guides to help me.    

Sample Math Pacing Guide

The Guide is paced for our three trimesters.  As a team, we decided on our expectations for each trimester. From there, we can create our lessons and assessments.  All of which are important because we will be using a Common Core report card for the remainder of the year.

What might this look like in January?
Our Math Work Stations  will be similar to last year since these all are Common Core aligned.

A new math routine will be to learn to count to 100 using this song from Mark D. Pencil and video by Harry Kindergarten.

We will work on writing numerals and counting in meaningful ways embedding the Base 10 system whenever possible.

We will collect objects and group them in tens so that students understand what is a ten.  I envision groups of 10s of snowflakes, hearts, shamrocks, etc.

My hope is that by pacing the Common Core standards, I am able to plan and teach accordingly. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

How has your school or district paced the Common Core?  Is this teacher driven?  Have you had training on the Common Core? Do you find the standards easy or difficult to interpret and assess?

Please share.

Happy Teaching!
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Common Core Math Kindergarten Style

Math Storage

Keeping math organized has been one of my goals this year.  To help me, I try to house all our math learning tools in one place.  Some items are kept on the shelf for easy access.  These are manipulatives which we use often.  The colored boxes; scrapbook containers, house manipulatives which I have a bulk of such as linker cubes and tangrams.  The numbered boxes are our Math Work Stations.  

A Peek into Our Learning

This year, my teaching of math has shifted towards the Common Core.  As a result, our work during math time differs greatly than in the past. 

The Santa Count and Scoop center works on counting teen numbers and learning about the Base Ten system.  In the past, we would still be working on counting from 0 to 10 at this time of the year.  

Another major shift is introducing addition and subtraction much earlier than before but with a greater emphasis on thinking about number and number relationships.  We have been working on number bonds for the past few months.  I love to use the red and yellow counters for this.  A simple game we play is "Shake and Count."  I give them a set number of counters and they just shake and count how many red and how many yellow.  We, then, record, the different ways to make the given number. In November, we worked on making 5 using turkey feathers.  

This month, we are using Christmas trees to show number bonds which we decorate with red and yellow ornaments.  Grab a copy here.   Santa's Sleigh Drop is from Mel at Frog Spot.  The center focuses on subtraction.  The kids select a card and then, problem solve using counters as presents.  They are doing great with this.  I have never taught subtraction this early but through hands-on learning they are learning about this concept using a timely subject matter which piques their interest. 

And, just in case you missed it, I posted this on my Facebook page.  
Our new book box.  Formally known as a Kleenex box.

Isn't this what teaching is all about?  
Finding meaning and purpose in all we do.

Happy Teaching!
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QR Codes Tutorial

Many of you wondered, how to create QR codes.  Today, I am going to share how I create them.  This post shares how I use them in my classroom.  

To follow along this tutorial, you will need a mobile device such as a smartphone or iPad with a QR app installed to scan the QR codes within the tutorial to "see" the difference.  If you are interested in creating QR codes, I use this website.

As you can see in Box 1, Data Type, QR codes can be embedded from many sources.
Scan to see what it looks like.
The above QR code was created by simply typing in Box 2, Content.   If you like, choose a color (Box 3).  Finally, click Download QR Code.  This is effective and easy to do.

Since, I am creating these for Word Work, I wanted to create a "fancier" image.  To do so, I created my document in Power Point.  Then, saved the file as a .jpg file which I uploaded it to Google docs.  I add the website address in Box 2, Content, and selected the URL shortener to create a "less busy" QR code.

Scan image.
Did you "see" the difference?  

I am going to use this next week during our Word Study.   I am sure the kids will love it.  You can grab a copy for free.  Yes, free!  I hope that you'll love it.  
Click image for your copy.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to give QR Codes a try.  If you do, let me know.  I think my next QR post will be on Tips and Tricks.  Anyone interested?  

Happy Teaching!
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Thanksgiving Retell

Click here for your copy. 

My students did such a great job learning about the first Thanksgiving.  They were able to retell the story to their families using their retell necklaces.  I was so proud of them.  To help, I made a simple text version of the Thanksgiving story.  I printed it out and glued onto colored scrapbook paper to match their retell bead.  The visual helped my students tremendously.

We also watched the classic Charlie Brown, The Mayflower Voyage.  You can find it on this DVD or access via YouTube here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

My little one and me
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded that I have so much to be thankful for this year; my health, loved ones, school family and for the collaboration and learning I have found via blogging.

From my classroom to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
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P.S. I hope to share more about QR codes this week.

QR Codes and Word Work

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to learn from fellow teachers about integrating technology into the classroom.  What I liked about this conference was that the teachers were "real" teachers who taught in "real" classrooms.  Best of all, they were kindergarten and first grade teachers!

One of the sessions I attended showed how to use QR codes in learning applications.  I must admit, I had seen QR codes before but really never knew why or how to use them.  Now, I do.

This week, I taught my students about QR codes and how to use them as part of our Word Work.  First, I showed some advertisements that I collected to show the real world application of their use.  Then, I modeled them how to scan the code using my iPhone. (Yes, I let them use my phone as we didn't have anything else to use.)  In my classroom, we used this app, although, there are many free ones.

I guided them through this activity.  It was a QR code scavenger hunt around the room.  We talked about how to safely handle my phone and camera as Mr. Parker would not be buying Mrs. Parker a new one anytime soon. :) Each child had a turn scanning the code and seeing what the code said.

Using our dry erase boards, we wrote the high frequency words.  As I worked with each group, I had a chance to observe which students knew the words and which needed additional practice. I plan on doing this activity more frequently as an engaging way to practice skills but add 21st learning to the skill.

Happy Teaching!


Our Week in Pictures

I saw these wonderful shape turkeys and wanted to try them.  Let's just say some of us still need to work on spatial relationships just a bit more. 

This week, we used QR codes to practice our sight words.  The kids were very excited to use the camera to scan the QR code.  This was a guided activity that I hope to incorporate into our Word Work study.  Of course, we spent some of the week discussing the election.  

Inspired by HeidiSongs directed drawings of Pilgrims, we made our own version.  I did get them started by providing them with a U shape for the face but all the other details they did on their own with my modeling.

In other news, my blog was featured in Carson-Dellosa's Facebook page.  Don't forget to enter my giveaway.  A lucky winner will be announced soon.


It's November!

November is finally upon us.

Here are a few books that I hope to read throughout the month.

Click here to read the original post.
I love to teach nutrition this month since Thanksgiving centers around food and family. We launched the unit by going to our local grocery store.  The kids toured the store, met many workers from various departments, and took home a bag of donated groceries.

Our team is planning a Thanksgiving feast.  We will sing It's November to our families.  I hope to teach my students the story of Thanksgiving using this retelling bracelet.  I did this a few years ago with my first graders.  That year, we feasted on more traditional foods of the first Thanksgiving.  

Some new additions, I hope to accomplish this November will center on the upcoming election and I hope to make Stone Soup and bake bread with my class.  I've been busy planning these ideas; well, at least virtually, pinning.  To see more, follow my Pinterest board

Many of these ideas were from earlier posts. Thus,

Happy Teaching.

Pumpkin Life Cycle

Our class has had a wonderful time learning about pumpkins!  I love how the bulletin board display came altogether.  I could have easily spent another week on this topic.  Here are a few ideas that I used last year.

This year, we focused on the Pumpkin Life Cycle.  I created two projects which my class completed that I am sharing with you.  First, we made a Pumpkin Life wheel similar to the one seen on our bulletin board display.  For the student version, they had an orange cover which when all put together looked like a pumpkin.

I also made an emergent reader for my students to read independently during Daily 5.    

Here are a few books that we've read so far.

Grab your Pumpkin Life Cycle goodies here.  If you like them, leave a comment, follow my blog or Facebook page.

Happy Teaching!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

Of all the books that relate to the Fall season and/or Halloween, this is my absolute favorite.  Why?  I love how children naturally begin to participate and read with me.  You can not help to get involved with the story.

Listen to my class from a few years ago reading the story.  :)

Last year, I shared how I love to use this book to teach prediction.

Towards, the end of the story, the Little Old Lady hears a knock at the door.  The narrator asks, "Should she answer it?  What do you think she saw?"  At this point, I stop and have the students make their predictions.

Click here for your copy.
The students draw their prediction using this template that I created.  Afterwards, we see if our predictions matched what actually happened in the text.  Many times, students will draw a few parts of the story but not the entire scarecrow.  The conversation is always lively.

This is a

Happy Reading!

Fall Is Here

Fall is my favorite time of year.  Inspired by this, we painted the trees using wine corks instead of q-tips as our medium.  The kids did great! Better yet, not one child went home wearing paint.

Today, we made sight word trees.

Each year, I begin the unit singing Leaves are Falling; a remake of a popular song.

Click here for your copy.

Later, we make a class book.
Each child will write their name and draw a picture of themselves.  

Happy Fall!

Our Treasured Words

This year, we are implementing a new reading program, California Treasures Reading.  It is a very comprehensive program that I am adjusting to after many years of another reading series.  Along the way, I am tweaking and adding components which I feel meet the needs of my students.  One of the things that I am adding are Rapid Automatic Naming Boards; which I call Fluency Boards.  I first read about them here and used them successfully with my students all last year.

Here is how it works in my classroom.  
I create the Fluency Boards for the skills (letter(s) or high frequency words) we are learning.  In class, I project the Fluency Board and we quickly read it as part of our daily morning routines. Some days, we go over more than one Fluency Board.  This depends on our needs and time.   I also send the Fluency Board for homework.   On Friday, I use the homework Fluency Board to quickly check if they can read the words or letters.  I send home a quick note to parents about which need additional practice.

Click image for link.
Using these Fluency Boards has helped to keep me and my students accountable to our learning.  Since we practice these often, most children are successful.  For those who are not, I can meet with them during small group instruction to help close the gap in learning.

I love them!  Would you like a copy?  I created two sets; a teacher and parent version.  That is 30 weeks of Fluency Boards organized by Unit and Week.  Free just for you.

Click image for link.
As a thank you, please leave a comment or better yet, Follow my blog or Like my Facebook page.

Freebie Fridays

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Creating Better Anchor Charts

Have you ever wondered if your anchor charts are meaningful learning tools? Well, I did.  When I saw this book, Smarter Charts,  I knew I had to read it. Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz guide you as to what to put on the chart, the language to use, how to get your students to use them, as well as, how to draw simple chart visuals.

An easy to read book, the first section begins with What Do I Put On My Charts?.  Sometimes, less is more, especially in creating Smarter Charts.  
Go here to see another comprehension chart.
When I made this chart, I knew that I needed to teach characters but wanted visuals to help trigger who can be a character.  It heavily relies on the visual literacy of my students as well as the reading schema that we had created together.  In planning this chart, I made the heading ahead of time and had selected the images prior to our lesson. Together, they recalled the character name as I wrote it for us.  This chart was frequently used in our room especially when I asked about who is the character in the story.  I always had a few kids turn their heads towards the chart.

The next section discusses how to help students use charts independently.  I have learned over the years, that manufactured or teacher made charts can be beautiful; at times, they can be visual clutter if they are not used.  This section teaches you how to teach children to use the chart instead of asking you for assistance.

This chart was created because I had many students coming up to me during Writer's Workshop stating, "I'm done!."  Our rule during Writer's Workshop is that you are never finished.  Apparently, I understood the rule but a few of my students did not.  This chart helped them know what to do next.  It contained icons (the pencil and coloring image) from other class made charts as visual reminders.

Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

Finding space to hang charts can be tricky.  But if we want kids to use them, they need to be displayed in ways that children can access them.  Dedicate a space for your charts.  I only hang a few but keep most stored on a clothes rack similar to this one. I've also have kept my charts all on the chart pad and students flip to the chart that they needed.  

When is is time to retire a chart?  That is one of many questions that is posed in the last section of the book.  I found this section to be the most thought provoking.  It had never occurred to me to revise a chart instead I've always just retired it, as in, throwing it away.   Leaving white space for revising or adding to the chart gives the chart a new life.  

My students' writing improved because of this chart.  I could have made it better had I included student examples written on large post its or an exemplar from a student who was doing this skill well. Instead, after a while, it was recycled because it became dingy and ugly.  I learned other constructive ways which would have allowed for this chart to "live on."

Now, that I've read Smarter Charts I know that I will be creating better anchor charts.    

Visit my Anchor Chart Pinterest Board for some anchor chart making inspiration.  Remember to tailor them to fit the needs of your students. Better yet, visit ChartChums the blog by Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz to see their charts in action. You'll love it!

This was a 
post because all of the images used were from previous posts.  To read more about the anchor charts click on the links provided with each image or go here.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

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