American Symbols

This month I will be teaching my students about American symbols.  I will be using many of the books listed in my February Book Picks.

Tomorrow, we will launch the unit.  We will begin with our flag.  I plan to read this book and this one.  Then, we will complete a tree map about our learning.  Would you like a copy of the tree map?
Click image.
I love teaching this unit to my kinders.  What are some things that you do to make this engaging for your students?  I am looking for new ideas.

Happy Teaching and Learning!
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February Book Picks

February is fast approaching. Do you know what you are reading? Here are a few of my favorite picks for the month. Link up and share yours too.

All About the America and More
February is the perfect month to learn about American symbols and what makes our country great.  







Love is in the air.
Many of these books will make an appearance at our listening center.  Kids always love them!
 




And they lived happily every after.
I will be using these books with my ELD students to teach them about describing people, places and things.  I hope to use lots of circle maps to teach this concept.




Now, it's your turn. I look forward to hearing from you about these books but most importantly, seeing your book picks.

Happy Reading!
 

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A Peek into Literacy Centers

I don't know about your students, but my kiddos seem to be really getting into the rhythm of school.  It is somewhat magical to see how independent they have become.

I have used Daily 5 as part of my literacy center program for several years.  Here are a few photos of what the kids are doing while I work with students during literacy centers.

Buddy Reading:  
This child is reading an enlarged version of our Phonics Library books.  Her buddy is listening waiting for her turn to use the pointer.  Reading is always better with a pointer.


Word Work:
This child is making words using stampers and Play-Doh.  I decided to try keeping the Play-Doh in the container to alleviate some of the mess that it makes.


This child has made CVC words with a and i using these dog bones to go with our shared reading story, This Old Man. 

Isn't it great when all the work you've put in about expectations and procedures finally start to pay off?

Happy Teaching and Learning!
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A Balancing Act: Working with Numbers

A few years ago, our school had a "math consultant" come and coach us in some "new" ways to teach math.  I must admit, that at first, I could not see the "value" in the work. My kids could count, add, etc. We were asked to incorporate some routines into our math time.  I kept it simple and added this.



What I found myself doing was talking about number in a different way.  I know longer told kids that twelve is a 1 and a 2.  I now say, it's one ten and 2 ones.  And guess what?! Many of the kids get it because of that little gem.  We visually see the number!


Well, this leads me to this week's math focus...addition.  In our math book, it is introduced as pictures stories. But, what I really find is that the kids just count the items.  So, I decided to try something different.


A few weeks ago, I read this blog post and it got me thinking. How do I teach this?  Well, I challenged myself to find out just what do my kids really know about number with this.


I set up the thinking by talking about balance.  I even modeled being imbalanced.  Then,  I told the kids that I wanted to challenge their thinking about what they know about number.

And, guess what!  They do know a lot!


We discovered that there are many ways to make both sides equal.



In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to use this but I will add numbers.  For now, I am happy that they are exploring how numbers work.  This will be one of our math work stations next week.

How do you teach beginning addition?  Do you have any great book picks? Please share.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

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Trees. Tree Maps, Everywhere!

Lettering Delights graphic

We have trees growing in our classroom. 

Well, not tress but Tree Maps!  

Tree maps have become a rich part of our learning experience.
Here are a few that we made this week.

First up, MLK.

We read several books which helped us learn about the life of MLK. I was inspired by many, such as this, and this wonderful resource. The kids loved the new word that they learned; equality.  

The ideas presented on this tree map are all student generated.  It came from their learning.

Here is our completed bulletin board.



Next. Penguins!
These arctic animals made an appearance during our English Language Development class.

I love this time because the students are a mixed group from every kindergarten class. I teach the highest level of English speakers. As a  result, my goal is to move them towards English fluency in all areas; listening, speaking, reading and writing.  


Here are some samples of the writing.


 
I am so proud of the writing that they produced with guidance and support from the use of the tree map.   

We can do it! Yes, we can! 


Happy Teaching and Learning!
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Math in Photos

Have you ever wondered what other classrooms look like during Math Work Stations.

Here is a look into my classroom during Math Work Stations this week.  Almost all of these activities were found via blogs and are free. These easy to prep math centers are perfect for our youngest learners.


1.  Scoop and Count
2.  Snow Cow
3.  Penguins Sequencing numbers 1-16
4.  Domino Parking Lot
5.  Counting Teen Numbers
6.  Roll Mr. Potato Head 

Happy Teaching and Learning!

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Soaring to New Heights - Learning Goals


As a teacher, we are probably by nature reflective types of individuals.  We tend to think about what went well, what could go better and what not to do the next time.  Many times, though, we may not share that reflection with others; especially the little ones we teach. I feel that it is important that my students begin to understand the importance of reflecting about their learning.



First, we analyzed our data results from ESGI.  

Basically, I explained that we wanted to fill up the pie with as much green as possible.  I had shared the results with the class prior to break and many students had seen their individual results during parent conferences. As you can see, there is room for improvement.  



Then, we talked about what it is like to set a goal. I gave them the analogy that many people want to loose weight.  What are some things to do to accomplish this goal?  My favorite answer; call 1-800-Get-Thin. I asked if eating at McDonald's would help meet the goal of loosing weight.  They all answered no.

My UP inspired door

Next, we read this gem.  As I read, I paused and stopped about the things Leo could do to meet his goal.  To help Leo learn to read, students said that Leo would need to practice or ask for help.  To become better at drawing, a child suggested that he trace over pictures from a book.  Towards the end, as Leo accomplished the goal, the kids began to smile and cheer for Leo.  They were so proud of him.  I couldn't help but to think how some of my students were like Leo; waiting for the right moment when they, too, will "bloom."



Finally, we discussed our learning goals.  I was amazed by their candor and honesty.  One student remarked how their learning goal was to write their name correctly.  This child was absolutely correct.  No more CAPITALS.  Another student said, "I need to practice my rhyming."  Ding. Ding. Ding.  Right again.  So, now, we begin our journey.  Together.  Working with one another to meet our goals.  Let's just hope that we all succeed.


By the way....just in case you were wondering. Here is my goal. 


Happy Teaching and Learning!

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy New Year!  

Chinese New Year is not for a few weeks 
but I thought I would share this simple math center idea.  


Did you know that noodles are traditionally eaten at the Chinese or Lunar New Year feast?  Why? Because noodles symbolize a long life.

This math center was created with that tradition in mind.  To create, I simply cut white yarn into various lengths and put them in a bowl.  Add chopsticks, measuring tools, a Math Talk card and you have an instant center in minutes! (If your kiddos have not used linker cubes as learning tools make sure you give them time to play with them first.)

Happy Teaching and Learning!

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