ABC End of the Year countdown- take 2


So, last year the idea of a countdown to the end of the school year was a spur of the moment decision without much thought and planning put forth. This year I contemplated doing a countdown or not (I’m teaching with a new co-teacher so I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be stepping on toes if she already had something planned). In the end I decided to do the countdown in the ABC format, they’re kindergarten so it makes sense.

I made the punch out board a little different this year and I LOVE how it turned out so much more than the one I created last year. This year I went to Dollar Tree and purchased a tri-fold board, snack cups, and tissue paper in rainbow colors.

Next, I laid out the 26 snack cups on the tri-fold board to see how it would all go together. I traced around the inside lip of the snack cups so this way I could just slide the containers in and not have to worry about students punching the cup out of the board. Also, this allows me to reuse everything (except the tissue paper) each year. I used a box cutter to cut the circles out and then placed a slip of paper that read the daily letter and what it stands for. For example one paper says B is for Balloons and another would read G is for Games and Gum.

It is not the cutest board but it gets the job done. For next year I will probably decorate the board before we start the countdown to make it more visually appealing.

Here is the letter that I send home with families before we begin to let them know what we will be doing each day. Some days require bringing something from home. Click for end of year countdown 1. I will let you know it is not the prettiest of things but it gives you an idea of what we are doing in my classroom.

Mini Farm Animal Unit


A few years ago we as a kindergarten team we completed a whole non-fiction unit on farm animals. Fast forward a 2 years and we are using Lucy, so our writing looks quite a bit different than it used to. We did still talk about farm animals but it was mostly about teaching schema and adding to the file folders in our brain.

For my small groups I decided to keep going with the farm animals. We started it off with a little poem called Old McDonald. I know, it’s not a nonfiction text, but the kids love it and it got them thinking about different farm animals. Next, I had each group (except one of the groups due to time constraints) choose a different farm animal to learn about.

I then created little non-fiction all about books in a way that the students’ would be able to fill out our can/have/are chart on each animal. To create the anchor chart I cut up sentence strips and used sticky tack to attach them to the poster. This helped when we got to the independent writing stage so the students could just grab their idea off of the chart and use it as a modeled text.

Each student had to write three sentences: what _____ can do, what _______ have and what ______ are. After they wrote their sentences I had them practice reading it out loud and then I recorded them individually reading their writing. I turned these recordings into QR codes for each child and attached it to their writing page so that way people can read their writing and also hear the student reading their own writing.

We then made paper plate animals to put on the top half of their writing page and I hung them out in the hall for everyone to see.

UPDATED- One Word End of the Year gift

WOW!!! I have had a lot of interest on my end of year gift I make for my students each year. My first post generated a lot of questions so I decided to create this post to help answer some FAQ about them.  See the original post here.

I always try to start this project around the beginning to middle of April. This way it gives me a chance to get everything done without feeling super rushed at the end of the school year.

UPDATE: Tagul is now WORDART.COM

How do I keep track of what the students say?

To begin creating this I type all of the kids names into a word document like this:


Next, I circle the name of the student who will be saying something nice. I do this to make sure I don’t forget anyone, because I know myself and would somehow forget a student on the list. Especially since I’m the special education teacher and co-teach in one room  (I make all students in the room I co-teach in a gift) and pull students for resource from 2 other classrooms (I only make those student I pull out, not their whole class). I will talk more about how I make the students’ who are not in the co-teaching room without making one for the whole class later.

How do you get your students to only say one thing about each student?

To begin this project I begin by reading a mentor text, usually Have You Filled a Bucket Today? You can also begin with a similar story, I just always try to choose a story that teaches students about feelings and how what other people say/do can make or break your way of feeling.

Next, we talk about using nice words (adjectives) to describe something/someone and make an anchor chart. I forgot to take a picture of it. I will try to remember to take one this week.

I then tell them that over the next few days (weeks) I will be asking each student to say something nice about everyone in our class (and other kids too if they know them well).

How did you get the background color behind the shape to stay white but color the rest of the perimeter in?

Answer: What I do is save the Tagul image in Word. After I print it out on a word document (this is how I am able to size each Tagul project) I cut it out around the shape and glue it on a piece of scrapbook paper (the child’s favorite color).

In order to keep the background color white instead of the shaded blue you need to go to the color and animations tab and turn the shape transparency to 0.

What have you put on the bottom corner of each one?

Answer: I put a little blurb about how it was made. Something like one word from the kids in room ______.

Where did you get the frames and matting?

Answer: I buy document frames from Dollar Tree and 8 1/2 x 11 scrapbook paper in each students favorite color. I cut out the wordle that I printed on white card stock and glue it into the scrapbook paper.

How do you get the words in different colors?!

Answer: To the right of each name is a column for color. I put the student’s first name in their favorite color (also the background color). I put the school and grade in another color and the teachers in another color. After that I pick random colors I haven’t used and choose that color for about 4 words and then repeat with a different color for the next four word and so on until I have used a different color(or group of colors) for each word.

How did you get the picture to be printed as large. It is only showing me a half page star when I print:!

Answer: I copy and paste the image into Word and am able to resize there.

How did you print them?

Answer: I copied them and put them into a Word document. After they were all on the document I just printed on a color printer.

 

Exit Tickets- What does the letter say? A spin/tell/write exit ticket for Kindergarten

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I bought these spinners at Dollar Tree last year and used them during lessons for sight word recognition last year. This year I wanted to incorporate them into my lessons more often since the kids LOVED using them. Well, I figured out the perfect way to use it in my class this year. We use Jolly Phonics as our phonics program at the school I teach at. To connect student learning from the classroom to my resource room I created a four square and put one sound we have learned in each box (I switch them out each week). After our lesson is over we have a set routine to line up to go back to the regular classroom. First we do the letter/sight word on the bus and next we come over and spin the spinner and whatever letter the student lands on they have to tell me the sound it makes. Next to the four square I have a line where they also have to practice writing the letter. The kids love doing this and if I somehow forget since we ran out of time they won’t leave until they get a turn to spin the spinner. Once our letters and sounds are secure I will switch to sight words.

A closer look at Letter Characteristics

We started Go-Time this week as a kindergarten group. This is a time where we split up all the kindergarten students into groups and they literally just “go” to their new group. In these groups we focus on reading skills such as learning letters, reading left to right and eventually sight words and reading books. We try to give all the kids a different teacher than what they are used to during the school day. This gives them an opportunity to learn from another adult who may have a different way of teaching something to maximize potential learning.

letter-sorting

Most of the kids did a nice job sorting letters but a couple were having a little trouble figuring out how to sort the letters.  Since this was something we could still work on I decided to complete the Marcia Daft activity called Mr. Line and Mrs. Curvy. It is a little story about Mr. Line and the ways he can move (straight, laying down, and acting like a slide WHEE!). Mr. Line gets bored by himself and meets Mrs. Curvy and together they can make all the letters. We go through an order of letters and have the students make them with bands and sound tubes: They love it!

letter-sorting-1     letter-sorting-2        letter-sorting-3

 

Directed Drawings

Have you seen these awesome directed drawings from First Grade Blue Skies? They are amazing and you should check them out if you haven’t already!

This year I have been getting into Instagram (I haven’t posted much but I love looking at what other teachers are doing). One of the things I found through IG is directed drawings. Now, I am not an artist or an art teacher by any means but if I do say so myself these turned out really good! Even my co-teacher had to draw each picture at the same time as the kids.

The first one we tried was Dr. Seuss during Dr. Seuss week at the beginning of March.

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The next one we tried was a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day20160515-044218.jpg

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The last one we tried was a bunny for Easter time.

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I can’t wait to try more directed drawings in the classroom! It is so awesome to see everyone be able to draw (even the kids who struggle the most)

 

Earth day writing #2

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All is Calm Canvas- Craft Day #3

This is my favorite craft that I made and actually completed on craft day! All you do is buy a canvas (2 pack from Hobby Lobby) and paint your saying on and insert battery operated lights ($2 at Hobby Lobby).

Advice if you plan on making this: Print out how you want the words to look ahead of time or use a projector to get the words right. I free-handed the writing on this and I was fine with the outcome but if you aren’t that comfortable free-handing the wording that would be how I would do it.

To get the lights inserted I used an exacto knife to make a tiny hole in the canvas and then pushed the lights through. I then used packing tape to secure the wires from the lights to the canvas.

Here it is without the lights on:

This is where I got the idea, Thanks Love Grows Wild!

Ornament Wreath- Craft Day #2

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As previously mentioned in my last post, my friends and I had a craft day one afternoon and this is the second thing I started that day. It’s not the best picture but oh well.  This is the thing that comes into my mind when I think about this craft:

This was the main craft I wanted to make and the craft I spent the most time on that day. I worked on this until I ran out of ornaments and since it was a Sunday had to wait until Monday for Hobby Lobby to open. It ended up costing me more than I expected but at least I have something that I made hanging up in my house.

I bought a styrofoam wreath, big container of ornaments, hot glue sticks, medium ornaments, small ornaments and thick burlap ribbon for hanging all from Hobby Lobby.

Here is a good tutorial on how to make the wreath.

 

Spring door decoration

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Springtime has arrived! When trying to decide what our springtime door decoration would be we tried to think ahead to future units of study. We study the butterfly life cycle in the spring so we decided that would be a perfect fit. We had each kid color and write their name on at least one butterfly. We chose to make it in rainbow colors and then put them on the door in that color scheme. I think it looks pretty cute. Next time I think we will add some flowers, possibly sunflowers since we also study the sunflower life cycle in the spring as well.

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