Sunday, October 30, 2016

Review Game for the End of Your Units

We just finished up our big non-fiction unit on bats and we love ending our units with a big trivia game! Not only is it an awesome way to see all of the students new knowledge, but it is fun and promotes a ton of collaboration!
Throughout our unit, we keep track of our new knowledge on our KWL. Everything on our KWL is from the students--after I read a non-fiction book, students turn and talk and discuss their new knowledge.  When they are done, they raise their hand and share with me what they discussed.  I then add it onto the KWL.
Since I have all of their new knowledge right in front of me, I create questions right from my KWL. For instance, 'Name three places that bats may live.' or 'What do bulldog bats eat?'
I separate the class into teams.  Each team sits in a corner of our carpet.  Then, I give each team one of these amazing buzzers.
I pick one person on each team to be the 'buzzer presser' and we rotate throughout the game.  I also have them practice one time so I can hear which team has which buzzer sound!
Throughout the game we use our 'collaborative rules'.  These are rules that I use whenever we do a collaborative project.  For instance, you can't ring the buzzer until you have discussed the answer with your team and everyone has said that they agree.
Lots of amazing discussions take place!
When everyone on the team agrees, they are allowed to ring their buzzer.  I call on the first team to press their buzzer. If their answer is not correct, I move on to another team. 
If it is correct, then they earn a tally point!
My students love our behavior chart, so any team that works nicely together, gets to move their name up when the game is finished!
My students absolutely love playing this review game and ask to play it over and over again!
I included all of the questions used in this game in my All About Bats unit found on TpT or by clicking on the image below.
Next we will be learning all about Pilgrims and Native Americans. At the end of November we will do another collaborative activity comparing/contrasting children today to children of the past. You can read more about that HERE or see my November Unit HERE.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fire Safety in Kindergarten

We had so much fun during our fire safety week! ! This is always such an important week because I am always surprised by the amount of kids that don't know to call 9-1-1 in an emergency, that don't have a family meeting spot in case of a fire, and so much more! 
During word work this week we spelled some of our fire safety words with magnetic letters.  These word work cards come in handy for ALL themes and holidays!
We wrote some of our fire safety tips down at the writing center to hang up on our bulletin board. My kids have already made such amazing progress in writing!
 Not all of the kids can write like this! Most still need my help to sound out their words! I will say that my kids are sight word experts though.  When we are writing and get to a sight word that we've already learned, they can pretty much all spell it!
 They loved making these little flip books! I always know when they enjoyed a center because they ask me when they can take it home!
Every Friday I love to 'cook'.  These firetrucks were perfect this week!
Pretty easy for the kids and definitely yummy!
We were lucky enough to join another kindergarten class for a firefighter visit.  One of the students' has a firefighter dad who was nice enough to come talk to the kids!
He let them ALL try on his gear! They loved it!!
Just too precious!
After the firefighter left, we knew we had to make our own hats!
The hats came out adorable and the kids loved wearing them!
The fire safety activities can be found by clicking on the image below.  I would love to hear what you all did this week!


Monday, October 10, 2016

October Centers Are Up and Running! [All About Bats Unit and Lesson Plans]

I can't believe that it is already October...yet alone the second week of October! Time is flying by (as always)!
This month we are learning all about bats.  I always start our unit off with our Word Splash.  This is what we use to teach vocabulary during our non-fiction units.  The first day of our unit I read one vocabulary word out at a time, I let the students raise their hand to tell me what they *think* that word means, then I call a student up to 'splash' the word onto our Word Splash!  I don't tell the kids what any of the words mean.  As we read our non-fiction books throughout the unit, we will learn the meanings of each word. 
 If students hear a word as I am reading they will put their thumb up. Then, when I finish reading that page we will stop and discuss the word.  After we discuss the meaning, I move the word to the far left side of the Word Splash so that we can review it daily. 
After I finish reading a non-fiction bat book, we 'turn and talk' to our partners to discuss any new knowledge.  My kids are trained to ask each other, 'what did you learn today?' or 'do you have anything new to add to our KWL?'.  After they discuss, I gather their attention and we add all new info to our KWL.
We label a bat together. I laminate this anchor chart and use velcro to label the bat.  This way I can use this same anchor chart year after year!
We had a lot going on during centers last week! My students are moving on to CVC words now (I do have one group still on letter sounds).  These Batty CVC Words are from my October Word Work pack.  The students love them and they are always so engaged with magnetic letters.
The Batty CVC Words come with a 'helper card'.  This way if students are stuck on a letter sound, they can look at their 'helper card' for some assistance.  These cards help make this center totally independent so I can be running my reading group without any interruptions. 
In the writing center last week we had list writing.  We also worked on labeling. 
One of our pocket chart centers was building sentences.  We have been working on our sight words and color words since the second week of school.  My students love using the pointer and reading the sentences to each other when they are finished.  They love playing 'teacher'.
Instead of writing the room, we counted the room!
 They LOVE walking around the room with clipboards looking for their cards.  I must say, they are super quiet and focused too!
 Awesome work! One-to-one correspondence and writing numbers (these are two of the skills we are currently working on in our math series right now too).
I still have students that need to work on number formation.  So we played Brilliant Bat Numbers. Students rolled the die and traced the number rolled.  We worked on writing our numbers from top to bottom.
They have also been working on 'stretching out' words.  They did 'Batty Beginning Sounds' and when they were finished, flipped it over for 'Batty Ending Sounds' (using the same cards). 
Another beginning sound magnetic center...have you tried magnetic letters in your room yet?  Best center ever!
I leave these candy corn letter/letter sound cards out as an early finisher activity in October.  My students love them! 
A little bit of a harder skill still, but my students are getting it, is matching numbers with number words.  Some of my students had to use our number posters for help, which is totally fine!
 Another early finisher activity that I have out in October are these play-doh mats. My students love play-doh!
The activities in this post can be found from various packs on TpT. 

If you would like to try a math center activity, you can try one for free by clicking on the image below.
You can also see all of my lesson plans for this unit by clicking on the image below.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Halloween Party [Planning]

This year our Halloween party falls on a half day of school so we are going to start our party first thing in the morning with some pumpkin fruit cups and yummy monster donuts!
I ordered these cute pumpkin cups from Oriental Trading.  They are pretty big and can fit a good portion for each student.  We are going to fill them with assorted fruit, but they would be great for popcorn if you're doing an afternoon party!
LOVE these donuts! I have said I wanted to do these every year since seeing them on Pinterest.  Can't wait for the kids to see them!
Our school allows our room moms to ask for a $5 donation from each child for the Halloween party.  This is obviously optional, but with the money we are going to purchase a small pumpkin for each child.  Then, I ordered these cute pumpkin decorating kits from Oriental Trading for the students to use.  There are TONS of different options--faces, bats, witches, cats, etc.  They are all foam stickers so they are super easy to assemble and stick very well!
 While I was shopping on Oriental Trading I came across these cute pumpkin boxes.  The box comes with the foam stickers and directions. I am all for easy and fun at my parties so I thought this would be great! It's not messy and it is a cute keepsake for the kids to take home!
Some of the other centers that I have planned are:
-Painting Fall Suncatchers (from Oriental Trading)
-Making popcorn 'spooky hands'
-Make a Halloween foam picture frame (a class mom is going to take our picture in our costumes, get them developed for us that day, and we will add them into the frames-SO nice!)

Then, I had to order this pin the nose on the pumpkin game! My students had to much fun at the beginning of the year playing this at the end of our Monster Unit, that I just had to play it again with them! We will play this at the end of our party as a whole group so that my parent volunteers can start cleaning the centers up!

On a different note, did you know Oriental Trading had Halloween costumes?  I would have never thought of looking there, but I must say, their costumes are awesome!! They shipped unbelievably quickly and we have been playing with them ever since! Why wait till Halloween?
We have Flash and Shopkins Cupcake here!
 And I just had to order this Princess Lea costume for my niece who loves StarWars! She was actually going to see Disney on Ice a week or two ago and said she knew exactly what princess she would wear to Disney on Ice...Princess Lea! (not quite Disney, but we can go with it!)