Still working on character description this week! Last week students had a pretty tricky time with the whale and with other characters in the book. This week we created a character - my cat at home. As you can see from all the dashes coming off of him, my students are getting much better at describing! They had a lot of fun with this because we compared it to a real picture of Sammy so that they could do a comparison before describing. I'm so proud of how quickly they're progressing!
Following suit with more ReadyGen activities, we're still working on Little Pip. Students have been a little antsy about the length of time we're spending on the book, so I decided to add some fun background information and nonfiction activities. This week we watched the live penguin cam at the Sea World. The kiddos were fascinated! We were able to pick apart their features, watch them swim in shallow (and deep) water and we also spent some time counting how many we could find in each area of their habitat. My students were so engaged during the lesson, they actually begged to watch the penguins swim during their free choice one afternoon!
Have you seen all of the AMAZING tape options out there right now? I have an entire BIN of just decorative (and, of course, sensible) tape stored in my classroom. Scotch Expressions is my favorite brand right now. Also, I found this great (and shockingly usable) whiteboard tape at Michael's sometime before the school year. I've used it in a couple of places around my classroom. If you haven't seen these - I definitely suggest investing!
I've put my Name Activities product to use this week! It has been working really well so far! I've only put out three of the activities in the writing center so far and students have caught on really quickly and have had little to no trouble understanding what they need to do. I love how the activities allow my kiddos to be so independent! For more on this, check out yesterday's post.
Here's a snapshot of my Kindergarten Portfolio product that we've started working on this week. We're not quite finished, but it's fun to see the progress students make from month to month! They love seeing how they're growing academically and they like to point out what they've learned so far. The writing prompt is still mostly drawing at this point, but one month (hopefully soon) there will be some words written by them on those lines at the top!
It was a three day weekend and it was much needed! I celebrated Labor Day by watching the WEBN fireworks display from my back porch. Cincinnati always puts on a great show every year and I'm lucky enough to have the perfect view from my house! The school year gets so busy - I was grateful for the extra day this weekend to spend time doing something I love - creating activities! I was busy working to create my newest Teachers Pay Teachers product for classroom newsletters for most of the day Monday. While I was working from the comfort of my couch in PJs, my view was of my napping animals all day! I just love when Sammy lays with his paws in the air like that!
It's tough to come back ready to go after a three day weekend for some kinders - but mine have really handled this week like champs! We're knee deep into our schedule and we've almost got our routines established. We've introduced 2 out of the 5 reading center choices and this is their second week on tablets. These two boys were working hard on a phonics game - they decided to play the same game so that they could help each other through the tough parts. Building community and working together takes a lot of work and it can be really hard! My kiddos are finally settling in and figuring out how to not only be around each other all day, but work cohesively as well. It makes all those chaotic and tear-filled days worth it to see them come together!
We have introduced Read to Self this week - I would say this is one of the toughest centers for my little ones, especially at the beginning of the year! In my classroom, instead of using book boxes this year, I'm using book-in-a-bags to save space. The students really like to have their own bag to carry with them anywhere in the classroom. To encourage students to be excited about this center, I let them lie down, get comfortable and use pillows during this time. Stamina is our key word for the first 6 weeks and all the kiddos know it! I hear them telling each other "even though this is hard and I'm BORED I'm NOT giving up!" So exciting to see them intrinsically motivated this early!
Our district adopted the ReadyGen program this year and my team is figuring out a way to make it work for our kindergarteners. We're starting the year out with the book Where Is Home Little Pip? It's a sweet book that captures the importance of home to all living things. It has really opened my students' eyes up to the world around them - they couldn't believe there was a place on the bottom of the Earth that's cold all year round! We worked on describing words this week and we decided to describe the whale in the book. It was tough at first - adjective are a difficult concept at this age! But by today they were able to create a short list of adjectives as a class.
Last year, we created these self assessment posters for our students and I rarely got around to using them. I was determined to pull them out this year and make them meaningful! One of my personal goals this year is to work on helping my students with their metacognitive skills and to really get them thinking about their thinking. In the middle of the week I had students think about whether or not it was easy to describe something. We did the whale activity and afterwards, I had them write their names on post-its and we introduced these charts. I told them about the importance of being honest because it helps me to know when they need help and when something is too easy. I expected everyone to put their names on green, but was happily surprised to see that many were honest about how well they thought they were doing with describing! Hopefully I'll find more use for these throughout the year and that they will be accurate and effective for my kinders.
We spent last weekend at my family's lake house with friends. We spent most of the time outside in the sun and on the boat. We had a great time until... Caddy got SKUNKED! That's right, my seven year old, already sore from swimming 13 hours a day lab found his way over to the smelliest animal on the planet and proceeded to get sprayed. The rest of our Saturday night entailed trying several home remedies, using almost all the shampoo in the house, airing out the inside and washing everything in sight! It makes for a funny memory, but it wasn't so funny for this dog mom when I was in the shower with my stinky boy for almost an hour! Needless to say, Caddy slept for the remainder of the weekend and was a little embarrassed about his new scent (that he's still faintly carrying around today).
A few of my many packages came from Amazon for my new school year purchases! Among these packages came this book. I'm excited to add it to my other beginning of the year books!
Did you see my post earlier this week about creating this attendance/lunch choice chart out of a cookie sheet? I finally got a chance to hang it up in my room this week and it looks great!
Yesterday was a very rainy day in Cincinnati. So what better use of my time than to craft for my classroom all day? I got a few things done, but I'm by far the MOST excited about my first day of school frame! Stay tuned for a blog post coming soon about it!
You can't tell (because I'm always more interested in taking pictures of animals than an actual project - the dog next to Caddy is our sweet neighbor dog Indy), but the blue board to the left is going to be a painting of the globe! My principal asked my dad, who happens to be an artist, to help our school out with the global theme we're starting this year. As you can see I've been lots of help! Today, we're finishing it up, driving it over to the school and doing some more painting!