Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chinese New Year Activities and Freebies

We are exploring Chinese culture this week as we learn about Chinese New Year.  Here are some of the activities we have done so far.  We listened to a fable about how the animals in the Chinese zodiac got their position (recording can be found here) and then we reviewed ordinal numbers while sequencing the story using these zodiac animals.  Students also practiced ordering in a pocket chart.  We also discussed the character traits of the animals in the story, and listed adjectives to describe the characters.

Here's the activity if you would like it.

Today we learned about Chinese characters, the significance of the color red, the dui lian, and the fu.  We started by painting a fu.  We talked about how painting the characters was different than coloring or painting we do in our classroom, and we practiced making single brush strokes for our characters.  This is the printable we used on red construction paper with black paint. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures!
After we practiced brushstrokes with a guide, we moved on to making our dui lians freehand (12x18 red construction paper cut in half lengthwise.)

Chinese calligraphy cards 

These are the character reference sheets that I gave them.  I found them HERE.
Here are the ones that I made on butcher paper to decorate our hall doorway.
We also read
We explored tangrams, practiced forming a square with our tangrams, and we attempted a fox, using the book as a guide.  This book and the tangrams will go into math stations tomorrow.
ignore the black paint still on the table :)
Speaking of math stations, here are a few of our math stations for the week.

Dragon Tally Marks - students draw a number card (printed on red cardstock), build the tally marks with craft sticks, and then write them on the recording sheet.

Lucky Money Envelopes - students will select a red envelope, count the coins inside, and write on recording sheet. This goes with the the book Sam and the Lucky Money, which is at our listening center this week.

Here are the envelope labels and the recording sheet.

We are also doing a measurement activity similar to this one by Mrs. Parker.

I have so much planned for the week that we may spill over into next week, but since Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days it's OK, right?  I'll try to post throughout the week! Pin It

Friday, January 20, 2012

Do you know JiJi? And Other Penguin Fun!

Do you know JiJi?  

If you know JiJi, then your kids do ST Math too.  Our district adopted the ST Math program for K-5 this year, and we began using it in late September.  I was intrigued after our training and excited to implement it in my classroom.  I have been amazed by the growth in my students using this program.  ST Math uses spatial temporal reasoning to teach mathematics and problem solving.  If you want more information on the program you can visit the Mind Institute's website.

This week one of my students competed the Kindergarten syllabus!  He has achieved mastery in 100% of the kindergarten skills!  He was the first student in our building to complete his grade level syllabus!  Well, since we were studying penguins this week, it was the perfect time to celebrate his accomplishment and our class progress!  

We did a little fishing and problem solving in our math journals!

Students dipped a pretzel stick in peanut butter (no peanut allergies here) and then dipped it in goldfish to see how many they could catch.  They recorded it in their math journals, went fishing again and recorded a number sentence with the total number of fish they caught.
After our fishing, we made JiJi hats...
so that we could do the penguin dance...
They loved the penguin dance, so we decided that it would become our new celebration song whenever someone hit a milestone in JiJi!

And finally we made a penguin snack.
(Oreo cookie, twisted apart, one side broken in half - mini chocolate chips for the eyes - orange gummy bear cut in half for the webbed feet - about 1/3 of a yellow gummy bear for the beak)

The kids had a great time celebrating our success with JiJi and it was the perfect conclusion to our week!

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pebble Go and other Digital Resources for Penguins

I absolutely love Pebble nonfiction books! They have fabulous nonfiction books that are perfect for K-1 readers.  They are available for many of the topics covered in the primary grades.  These are just a few that our school library has on penguins.  
Penguins (Polar Animals- Pebble)Penguins and Their Chicks (Pebble Plus)Baby Penguin Story (Pebble Plus: Baby Animals)
Pebble Go is a subscription service, but our district is considering purchasing a subscription so I have access to a trial login.  If you don't already have Pebble Go at your school, you should check with your local public library.  There are lots of public libraries that have subscriptions.  

In fact, public libraries can be an amazing resource for subscription services.  TumbleBooks is available through my public library.

We will be using several Pebble Go digital books on penguins in the coming weeks. 

Pebble Go is a subscription service, but our district is considering purchasing a subscription so I have access to a trial login.  If you don't already have Pebble Go at your school, you should check with your local library.  There are lots of public libraries that have subscriptions.  In fact, public libraries can be an amazing resource for subscription services.  TumbleBooks is available through my public library.

Here are some free digital resources on penguins:
Emperor Penguins on National Geographic Kids

Adelie Penguins on National Geographic Kids

A Penguin Chick's Life on Scholastic Let's Find Out

California Academy of Sciences Live Penguin Cam

Monterey Bay Aquarium Splash Zone Penguin Cam

Digital Book from We Give Books

And who doesn't love a little Harry Kindergarten?

These are subscription services, but you can sign up for a free trial if you are interested:

Penguins on Brain Pop (free trial is only 5 days,
 so don't sign up until your ready to use it!)

A Penguin Story on TumbleBooks (not sure how long the free trial lasts, 
but check with your public library to see if they have a subscription)

And of course there is a wealth of streaming resources on Discovery Education!
I hope you find something that you can use in your classroom!  I would love to hear what digital resources  you use in your classroom.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Joplin Teachers

Deedee Wills was contacted by a kindergarten teacher from Joplin, Missouri.  Here is the email she received:

I teach in Joplin, which made worldwide news last May when our town was cut in half by an F5 tornado.  Many of our elementary schools were destroyed or damaged, and as teachers, we have had a roller coaster year.  I came from a meeting yesterday where many are struggling with the weight of all we are dealing with.  My request is this:  would you be willing to donate a created pack of your choosing to give away at a drawing at our upcoming district Kindergarten grade level meeting?  The meeting is Monday and I am sorry for the short notice but I did not realize until the meeting how down everyone is feeling. 

My heart has been breaking thinking of how challenging life must be for Joplin teachers, students, and their community.  I was wanting to help, but I have yet to create a complete unit to send.  I woke up this morning still thinking about the Joplin teachers and stopped by Deedee's blog again.  The response has been amazing, and Deedee reminded us that we can send gift certificates to Teachers Pay Teachers!  So while I don't have a unit to send, I was still able to send some love to Joplin!  Deedee is checking into other options for us to help out the Joplin teachers with needs they may have.  I know she will keep us all posted!

So here's what you can do to help our fellow teachers in Joplin:
  1. Send a product you have created or send a Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate to Erica at  edoennig@joplin.k12.mo.us
  2. Link up with Deedee

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Correction and Winter Surveys (with a freebie)

First, a quick correction... earlier this week I posted a Medial Sound Mittens freebie. It just dawned on me today, at recess, that I forgot to credit
for the mitten clip art I used.  I have since corrected the cover page and uploaded a new one to Google Docs.  I'm used to creating things for my classroom, not necessary to post, so I am not in the habit of adding clip art credits.  I don't know why I didn't think of it before!  I have contacted Kirsten to apologize, and hope that no one else was offended by my oversight.  There...now that I have that off my chest... on to some surveys.

Every year my students love doing surveys and this year is no exception. I always start out with a simple survey with only 2 options. Our first survey was "Did you stay up until midnight on NewYear's?"  We do it several times as a whole group with students choosing 6 friends to survey and then they graph their results. After we have done it a few times in whole group then it goes into my math work stations.  There are 6 slots on the survey because my groups are never larger than 6 students.
Surveyed 6, recorded 6 responses, but graphed 7 total responses
6 friends surveyed, but 7 responses are recorded and graphed
Surveyed 6 friends, but forgot to record an answer - graph correctly reflects data collected

As the year progresses we add more choices, and they survey the entire class. This gets really exciting because then we can begin to make extrapolations based on our data. In the spring we always take a field trip to the zoo. After learning about many different animals, students complete a class survey with 5 different animals to choose from. It was amazing to watch them analyze their graphs. They would make statements like: "My data shows me that our class likes animals with four legs more than they like animals with less than four legs" or "Our class likes animals that are mammals the most." Gotta love those higher order thinking skills in action!

Anyway, at this point in the year we are working on simple surveys and graphs in work stations.  Here are the surveys that we will be using as we study all things snowy and wintery. (clip art courtesy of Microsoft)
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Medial Sound Mitten Sort

During the weeks before break one of my teammates and I used Christmas Write the Room with CVC Word Families from the fabulous Deedee Wills.  

Christmas  Write the Room with CVC Word Families-FREE
We both loved the activity, but I really wanted my kids to be focusing on the medial sound.  My teammate came up with a great solution.  I then took her idea and adapted it to have a winter theme.
Students will sort cards by medial sound and then write on the recording sheet.  There are two levels of cards to support varying levels of students.  It could also be used as a Write the Room, but I plan on putting it at a literacy station.

On my original post I forgot to credit KPM Doodles for the adorable mitten clip art I used in this freebie.  I have added a credit to the front page - here is the link to the corrected version with the credit to KPM Doodles. So sorry for any confusion this may have caused!

I have no idea where my camera has gone to.  One of my kinders saw me looking for my camera and rushed to the scene with our Fisher Price student camera.  Not the best quality, but not bad for a 5 year old with 1 megapixel,  rubberized camera :)

They really had to focus on the medial sounds and this was a great, quickie assessment for identifying the medial sound and short vowel sound discrimination.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

An Award!

Thank you to Michele from What I Learned in Kindergarten for honoring me!  If you aren't already a follower, then you should hop on over to her blog and check it out!

The purpose of this award is to highlight new bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules:

 1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
 2. Thank the giver and link back to them. 
 3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Drumroll, please...


All of these ladies have fabulous ideas and resources to share! 
Go check them out!
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