Monday, February 24, 2014

St. Patty's Day: The Naughty Leprechaun Story

Last year my students had a BLAST with The Naughty Leprechaun. If you've never heard of it, you can read my post from last year HERE.  
The Naughty Leprechaun is a cute book that comes with a gold coin (that all of your students will be obsessed with). The coin allows students to choose who will visit the classroom each night--Liam or Leyland. (It totally brings the fun back into the classroom that the students miss when the 'Elf on the Shelf' leaves).  One leprechaun leaves a small treasure as a reward for students doing their best.  However, the other leprechaun creates mischief and plays pranks!!
If students are good throughout the day then they get to choose which leprechaun will come to visit.  I know my kids very well and I know they are going to choose the leprechaun that leaves treasure! So I went to the store and bought some cute edible rainbows and clouds to make cookies or cupcakes for a reward.  I also bought some gold coins and treat bags that I can use for something!
Then, I made some cute Photo Booth props that I thought the leprechaun could bring one day as well! I could probably swing these as a mischief or a treasure depending on what the kids choose and depending on how I present it ;) But I am looking forward to other 'mischiefs' like dying the toilet water green or making a mess in the classroom!
The Naughty Leprechaun book explains the story behind the two brothers and at the end it explains how on the night before St. Patrick's Day both brothers will visit the classroom. They will even leave a small (hidden) prize! The kids love this! Overall, the story makes St. Patricks day a blast in the classroom, but it also provides a valuable lesson to use throughout the year.  It helps explain to children that all of their choices have consequences and nothing beats hard work!
You can read more about the Naughty Leprechaun Story HERE.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

America Unit: Week 1

The America unit is definitely one of my favorite units to teach! We learn about the American symbols for the entire month of February.  
I started the unit off this year with a KWL on America/American Flag. 
After a couple days of reading books on the American Flag we began to learn about the Liberty Bell. Since I love making our KWLs on the white board (even though I know it looks like a mess!), I had to erase the American Flag KWL to make room for our next one. So, I transferred all of my students knowledge onto an anchor chart that I will leave hanging for the remainder of the unit.
When we wrapped up learning about the American Flag, students added their new knowledge into their 'All About America' nonfiction books.
After reading America Louise Borden, we water colored the United States (just like the children in the book). 
They had a blast with this!  I think anytime I let them use paint they stay quiet and on task ;)
When they were finished drying, we cut the map out, glued it onto red paper, and added a title.  They are currently hanging on one of our bulletin boards and they look great!
In reading, I have really been focusing on sight words and CVC words with my beginning reader group.
They played I Love America, which is very similar to Bam! These games are their favorite!
We also made our very own American flags to display in class.
Each student had to cut 7 red stripes.
Then they added the blue canton.
And used their finger prints to make the stars! 
They are so proud of these flags. They keep asking me when they can take them home!
We also worked on listening for middle sounds.  These 'Monument Middle' cards had the wrong middle sound and students had to figure out which middle sound to change it to. They did great!
 In math we are currently working on numbers 11-20.  In this activity, Patriotic Ten Frames, students had to count the number of images on the card and record the number on their activity sheet. 
 Then, they had to fill in their ten frames correctly.  This will definitely be a center I continue.  I still have some students writing their numbers backwards ('61' for '16').
 In word work students matched up their beginning sound pictures to the correct letter to build the White House!  
Next week we are focusing on the Statue of Liberty and 
Bald Eagle! 
All of these activities can be found in my American Symbols Unit or February Word Work Unit on TPT.  The American Symbols Unit was just recently updated and I added over 50 pages.  If you already own this pack, make sure to download it again!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Class Supplies: Bright Ideas Blog Hop

At the beginning of the year I always start with table/group supplies. I have four tables in my classroom where students sit (usually 5 to a table) and each table has a caddy and a crayon bucket.
Inside the caddy we keep scissors, pencils, and glue. Then, in the purple container, that you can see in the image above, we keep crayons.  I love using table supplies at the beginning of the year. My kids all learn to share, they learn self help skills, etc.
However, in January when students return to school after winter break, all of the students receive their own pencil box! The pencil boxes were on their supply lists from the beginning of the year and I just decorated them with paint pens :)
All of my students were so excited to get their own supplies! For me it is great because they learned to share at the beginning of the year and now, as they get ready for first grade, they are going to start learning how to take care of their own supplies
Giving them something new like this half way through the year, not only brings excitement, but produces much nicer work! I know that may seem crazy, but it really does!! My students take such pride in 'their' crayons and they carry their pencil boxes with them to each center. They seem to take their time on all of their work, they color SO much nicer, and I am LOVING it!!
I am not sure if giving them their own pencil boxes at the beginning of the year would have the same effect? My thinking is that it wouldn't because it may get 'old' half way through the year! But, I am not sure, haha! How do you handle supplies in your room? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Head on over to Tiffani's blog at Time 4 Kindergarten, to read another 'Bright Idea' in the classroom!