Monday, March 23, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Recap

Last week we had a lot of St. Patrick's Day fun. It is amazing how a little leprechaun magic can engage a whole group. We read the book That's What Leprechaun's Do by Eve Bunting and my students just loved it. One of my favorite tools for comprehension is to ask and answer questions as we read the text. Here is a picture of the anchor chart we created:

This story was an instant gem. My students loved talking about the leprechaun's mischief in the story. The last page is all about the legend of the leprechaun. After reading the story, our leprechaun made mischief in the classroom. We tried with all of our might, but he was just too tricky to catch. My students were so bummed they didn't catch him. Luckily, he left them chocolate coins...and eating just one saved the day! Phew! Here is a picture of one of the leprechaun traps:

The kids had so many questions about rainbows we did a little research into how they are made. (Anytime the kids have a question like "how are rainbows made?", they ask me to ask Siri. It cracks me up. Do your students do that too? I try to show them other methods of research, but sometimes Siri is just what we need.)
We also did this little color mixing experiment:
I poured vinegar into three clear cups and added red, yellow, and blue food coloring. We made predictions on what would happen when we poured a little of the blue and yellow together and continued with different colors until we had all colors of the rainbow. If you had walked past my door on Wednesday afternoon, you would have thought I was performing a magic show with all of the excitement. Oh how I love kinders!

Once we made our rainbow, I gave each kiddo a bowl with baking soda in it and we made more predictions about what would happen when we added the colored vinegar. Then, we shared the droppers and made our own fizzy rainbows.

I couldn't resist pouring some extra baking soda in what was left of our green vinegar for some good old messy fun.

As we like to say in my room, "Sweeeeeet!"

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Recently I had an epiphany about my word wall. I wanted it to be more interactive for my students. I don't have a picture of my previous word wall, but it was pretty basic. I put the words on the wall...we practice them together...the end. My students used it for writing, but either had to go over to the wall with their papers to see the words or had to look at them from their tables. These are all fine options, but I wanted more. I wanted my students to be able to take the words back to their seat to help them with their writing and I wanted to model that during interactive writing. And that is how my new word wall was born:

My students love this new set up. We use the word wall everyday. My students sight words knowledge has increased. They are also using sight words in their writing in a meaningful way. This has also helped my struggling students increase their letter sound knowledge by matching beginning sounds to their letters/pictures on the word wall.
Click here to find this resource.

Happy Friday!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Dr. Seuss Week

I always tell new teachers, there will be a time in January, February, or March that will be the hardest time of your year. You are tired and are s-o ready for spring break. It is in those times, when you have to create some fun and remember why you became a teacher. For me this year, that feeling came around Dr. Seuss' birthday/ Read Across America week. It was time to get little wacky and have some fun!

Monday was Green Eggs and Ham day. We brought in pictures of foods we liked to eat and foods we did't like to eat and used them during writing. I also made these fun little treats for them to enjoy!

Tuesday was The Cat in the Hat. The kids wore some pretty sweet hats! I forgot to take a picture so this picture is actually from a couple of years ago on Halloween when I was pregnant with The Conductor.

Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday and oh, boy did we get wacky! We had mismatched socks, crazy hair, goofy clothes, pipe cleaners coming from glasses, and more! I pulled out some red butcher paper and we had a fashion show. Each kiddo drew and wrote a description of their outfit for me to read as they modeled. Here is my model (please excuse the messy handwriting, #teacherfail):

From one of my students:

(I am wearing a yellow shirt. I am wearing an orange shirt. I am wearing a polkadot skirt. I am wearing pajamas. I am wearing mismatched socks. I am wearing mismatched shoes)

Thursday we read Oh The Places You'll Go and brought in pictures from our favorite vacations. We also read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and made these fun treats for snack.

To end our week we brought in our favorite stuffed animals and read If I Ran the Zoo. We wrote about the animals we would have in our zoo.

Your never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child. ~ Dr. Seuss

Next up, St. Patrick's Day! I hope you had a fun week too! Jen

Monday, March 2, 2015

You Know Your A Teacher When...

Hi! I'm Jen and I am a teacher in a K-1 classroom at a small school in Indiana. I am a teacher, a wife, and a mother to our 22 month old son (a.k.a. The Conductor... he loves trains). Together we have four fur babies...two dogs and two cats. Our house is very busy :) I love sitting with friends and chatting over coffee, especially about teaching. I am excited to talk with you too!

I had to laugh as I prepared for Dr. Seuss week. Last Thursday, I had a cough that just wouldn't go away. All I wanted to do was come home after school, get in my pjs, and hang out. But, one of my parents comes over on Thursdays to watch The Conductor and we (my husband and I) go to the gym. You know your a teacher when you end up at the gym because it is around the corner from the library. And well, if you have a babysitter, and you need some books, you might as well go to the gym while your at it!

Happy Dr. Seuss Week!