After a quick week jam packed with activities, I'm finally sitting down and reflecting on everything we accomplished in Room 7. I always scramble around the week before winter break trying to create big, extravagant, winter displays and crafts for my students. Each year I realize that it's the moments during and in between all of my planned activities that create the memories with my kiddos. We had so much fun this past week and we bonded even more as a classroom family - and as a proud teacher, that's all I can ask for! Keep reading to see everything we did the last week before break!
Popsicle Stick Snowmen
I have a very diverse population of students and although most celebrate Christmas, not all do. I wanted to create something for families that would be holiday neutral, but could still be given as a Christmas present for those who celebrate. We spent a few days of the week on each step of the snowmen and students worked very hard knowing that their parents would be receiving them! I found a sweet poem to go with them that I got from Dee Dee Wills that I attached onto the scarves with twine.
Our snowmen watched us from the window to give us a little decoration since we haven't had any snow yet. At the end of the week students were able to take them home!
Guided Cut and Paste Reindeer
I'm always trying to find ways to get my students to strengthen their fine motor skills. An activity involving drawing, cutting and pasting is a great way to practice! I worked step by step with them creating a reindeer. I showed them how to draw each part, I demonstrated how to cut and glue it and then monitored their progress as they worked. We paired this with the book The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett. After reading, students got with a partner and did a turn and talk about what they might do if they met a reindeer. They could choose to do something that Teeka did in the book, or they could choose to create their own adventure!
If I Was a Snowman at Night...
Have you read the book Snowmen at Night? It's AMAZING! Such a cute story about why a snowman might look a little slumped in the morning. We watched a youtube reading of it because I couldn't find a copy at our nearest library. The kids got really into the idea of what snowmen might do at night. Here were some of the ideas:
- "If I was a snowman at night I would play football"
- "If I was a snowman at night I would play with my friends"
- "If I was a snowman at night I would look for reindeer"
- "If I was a snowman at night I would eat snowballs"
The kids had so much fun with this craft because they were allowed to rip up as much paper as they wanted to be able to create their snowman!
Christmas Cookies and Polar Express!
Before the students came to school, I transformed the front of our room to be the train in the Polar Express. There were blankets for them to cover up in and it was pajama day! The last day before break FLEW by! We made crock pot hot chocolate with marshmallows (my kinders measured, poured the ingredients and stirred by themselves), Christmas cookies and read the book Polar Express before watching the movie. Our afternoon was filled with our quarterly PBIS reward, Party with the Principal. Here are some pictures from our last day!
Before the end of the day party, we had time to do our daily rest time. The kids were EXHAUSTED and almost half the class actually slept! Usually I only have a few and the rest just lay quietly. Rest time is just about everyone's favorite time of the day and they all took advantage of it Friday!
Now we all have two weeks to recoup and ramp up for third quarter! Enjoy your break!!
To follow up on my week of fun post yesterday, I'm going to share my newest product with you that I created to add a little excitement to our math centers this week! My students are wiggly and losing focus in anticipation of winter break and holiday fun so I knew I needed to kick it into gear to get them excited about school this week! I revamped our centers so that they have a winter focus.
We work on 5-6 centers a day during math time and right now we're focusing on counting on, matching numbers to their value and representing numbers in different ways. We currently have 4 of my 10 center choices from my Winter Math Activities product out in our classroom (which leaves 6 new ones to come back to after break!). I added another hands-on measuring activity in place of one from my product as well.
1. Collect 10, 15 or 20 Together: In this activity, my students roll the dice and put that many mini marshmallows on their 10 frames. They then have to keep rolling the dice and count on until they reach their goal number. This game is a play off of Math Investigations, the curriculum we use. We're currently working on collecting 20 together.
2. Number Matching: In this center, students get to fill up their "hot coca" with as many marshmallows as the paper indicates. My kiddos LOVE this center because they often make the personal connection to their memories of drinking hot chocolate. Students also get to practice writing the numbers as well which they enjoy.
3. Match the 10 Frame: In this center, my minders have to match the 10 frame given on the top of the page and correctly count and identify the total number of snowflakes needed to make their own. I found these cute snowflakes at Michael's on sale!
4. Tally it, Make it: We have been working HARD on representing numbers in different ways, especially with tallies! It can be hard to remember that diagonal line for 5! Instead of having students just write the tallies, I decided to use small popsicle sticks so that they can easily manipulate them. My kinders also represent the value of the number by using craft snowflakes.
5. Measuring with marshmallows!!: This one isn't in my product, but it's pretty self explanatory. Anything my little ones can reach from the carpet, they can measure with large marshmallows! They took after their leaf measuring center and began to measure themselves today.
As we continue our week, we're working on a TON of winter crafts that I hope to get up by the end of the week. We're creating ornaments and completing writing prompts with art activities. I'm excited for you to see it! I hope you're enjoying your week before break with your kiddos!
Well everyone, my kinders have officially made it! They completed eight... EIGHT assessments in two weeks and survived! It was hard on all of us - my least favorite part of the year is the stress that those assessments put on these little ones. I know many of you experience this with your students too. But we powered through and thankfully we finished our unit early so we have the WHOLE week this week to do fun winter/holiday things!
Today we started off the week by reading Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows. For those of you who haven't read this book, it's a cute rhyming story about several different types of animals who hibernate and they use a log as their train to hibernation station! The kids love it because all of the animals are wearing the PJs which to any kindergartener is either adorable or hilarious. After reading the story, we did a little team building activity where the students had to clear the chairs from our tables and stack them neatly so that we could use our tables as caves and dens.
Students had to hibernate underneath the tables and for the first round, could only wake up when I gave them a pair of rhyming rounds. This worked perfectly with the book because it's a rhyming book! A few of my students are still struggling with syllables so we played a bonus round using certain numbers of syllables as the wake up call.
This was such a fun activity for the kids - they got to move, be animals AND they got to practice some academic skills. I wish you could all see the excitement on their faces when they "woke up" to the correct answers!
Finally - one more exciting part of my morning - my students work with magnetic letters each day and their main focus is to spell out words they know. This morning I walked over to the board and students (in multiple groups) were making complete sentences without any prompt! I could hardly contain my excitement, and neither could they! We're excited for a week full of fun, winter themed activities and NO tests!