Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Squirrel Sorting

It is finally officially fall, despite what it may look like out my window (fall temps don't actually appear in Southern Utah until late October and some years even into late November, in fact last year I was still mowing the lawn the week before Christmas!).  Despite the sunny hot days I love fall!  So in honor of FALL!  I thought I would share a lesson plan I created this summer during CORE Academy.  Our focus this summer was the new Math Common Core, this lesson aligns with the Kindergarten Math Common Core Standards. It all began with this:
After watching the video I just KNEW that my kiddos would love watching that tricky squirrel find and hide nuts and I could build on that interest to create a lesson of sorting, sorting into groups, groups to make 5... you see how the cogs started turning and well once my group of teachers (who are some of the MOST amazing and incredible kindergarten teacher EVER) got to working together and talking things through we came up with this lesson plan (click to download the lesson plan).

Here is the sorting sheet to go along with it: (click on the image below to download your FREE copy from my Google Doc's)

I hope a little squirrel fun in your classroom will make you think fall!  It is by far my favorite season!!! I can't wait for cool nights, warm sweaters, and bowls of yummy soup (even if I have to wait until December).  Enjoy!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Love to Sort!

Math centers this week focused on sorting.  The kiddos LOVED it!  We had 4 sorting centers this week:

M&M (sort and graph)
Parking Lot (sorting vehicles by type/color)
Ice Cube Tray Color Sort
Farm Animal Sort

Since we had such a great time sorting I thought that I would share the love!

My Friday Freebie is a copy of our Farm Animal Sort recording sheet. 
 (click on the link to go to my google docs to get your own copy)

Freebie Fridays

We also had our 20th day of school this week!  It is hard to believe we are already 20 days in!!!

I love how hard these kiddos are working on their Zero the Hero books!   This unit is by far one of my favorite units all year.  I love counting our way through the year!

On a personal note this is what we were up to this weekend...

 Little Man brought home Happy the Hippo from pre-school for the weekend and it was our job to take him out and show him a good time.  My little guy decided that he needed to go out to breakfast and on a four wheeler ride with Grandma and Grandpa!  I think that Happy had a good visit and I adore my little guy, isn't he too adorable in those glasses!  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Little Somethin'

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this linky party!  Let's focus on all the good and amazing things that happen every day!  Woot woot!  So thanks Rowdy in First for helping ups focus on the positive!

At School:
We are building our stamina, we are learning our procedures, and 16 days in I am feeling pretty great!

Look at how they are rocking the pair share above (or as they know it "knee partners").

I love my little kinder kidlets!

At Home:
This little sweetie just turned 6!!!  
She is my 9-11 baby!  My little bright spot while the rest of the nation is remembering tragedy.  It was actually my due date, which my doctor said meant nothing and I would more than likely NOT have a baby on September 11th, it was just an estimate...   She doesn't let tragedy slow her down though.  This girl is hilarious and full of spunk.  She had the hardest time deciding between a Ballerina Barbie Cake or a Spiderman Cake.  The lady at the bakery replied that it was the first time she had seen such a dillema... haha.  

This year on her birthday our town experienced major flooding... despite the flood we still had her birthday party, the dike broke just an hour before her party so we didn't even know the extent of the damage yet, we had a lot of fun and a surprisingly good turnout (minus a few friends who were busy clearing mud and water out of their homes)! We partied at Michaels, which I highly recommend, crafting and no clean-up, marvelous.  There was plenty of cleaning up to be done over in the flood zone.     .

So I know that flooding doesn't necessarily sound like something good to throw into my positive post but here is the deal... the way this community has pulled together, the volunteer hours, donated food, supplies, etc. etc. etc.  It is AMAZING!  I love the families here in this community.  60 homes were flooded, many of them within our school boundaries and insurance doesn't cover it... federal funding won't cover it... nothing.  So what happens friends and neighbors join together and raise money, hold bake sales, and help however they can.  I love my community.

So my friends link up, share something good.  After the tragedy that we have been going through here in Southern Utah I needed to focus on a few happy moments.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

What Do You See?

M&M Sorting Mats

Playdough Color Mats

Color Word Tiles

Brown Bear Book
We had Brown Bear Centers on Friday to wrap up our color review days.  It was a lot to fit into our short day and I felt like I was trying to rush them a bit too quickly! Kinder kiddos at the beginning of the year do not do anything quickly... whew! Days later I am still exhausted thinking about it.  The kids had a great time though and with all the amazing Brown Bear units out there on TpT I had to dedicate an entire day to this great book.  (If we didn't have a million and one other things to cover I could have dedicated an entire week to it).  Thanks to all of you who created such amazing resources for us to use (because I did not create a single one!). 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Rainbow of Color

It was Favorite Color Day in kindergarten today.  We celebrated ALL DAY LONG.  We had center rotations and got a lot done.  Here's a peek...

 We graphed our favorite colors. 

 Mixed up some colors on the color wheel (my amazing team introduced me to the idea of mixing colors with playdough instead of paint... BRILLIANT it is less messy and good fine motor practice for those fingers to squish, squish, squish).

 One of my incredible parents brought in these delicious snacks.  How fun for the kiddos to eat the rainbow (not the skittle version either).  They gobbled up these fruit kabobs.

 Color Monsters.  This is a favorite every year.  These little kidlets LOVE making their own color monsters and I love how creative they are.

Rainbow Hair by the amazing Mrs.Jump.  LOVE this unit.  I found it last year AFTER favorite color day and I was super bummed.  I have anticipated it all year and it lived up to my expectations.  My kiddos had so much fun creating their books and art projects and they turned out so cute.

Tomorrow is Brown Bear Day.  We will wrap up our color and alphabet review and Monday we get real.  Review is over.  I hope they are ready!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Run, run , run as fast as you can....

Open House Week

Since I have already taken you on the tour of my classroom I thought for my open house today I would give you a little peak at our day.

Today was our Gingerbread Hunt, it is one of my favorite days of the year!  We are able to go around the school meeting important people and places such as the cafeteria, the lunch ladies, the office and the amazing secretaries, the library and our infamous Mrs. Lefler, the first/second grade hall, the custodians, and the third/fourth/fifth grade hall.  We chase that silly Gingerbread Man all over the school only to have that sneaky little guy end up back in our classroom ready to eat!  (He was delish BTW)

This unit covers it all peeps!  On top of getting to know important places and staff members.  The story is a read aloud (no pictures just listening on the kiddos part) so we can talk about creating pictures in our minds, we also get to make predictions and the kids can join in on the repetitive text (interactive).  After the story we then make our own GIANT Gingerbread Man (making a connection to the story) where we introduce our 5 senses.  We smell the gingerbread, listen to the sounds while making the gingerbread, see the gingerbread, feel the gingerbread, and finally taste the gingerbread (this is getting us ready for our upcoming science units where we will need to use those senses).  Finally, this is on BROWN day (during our first 3 weeks of color review) so we add in a little color song and simple take home book to teach concepts of print, great integration.  Whew!

Then to make the day even more exciting it just happened to be our TENTH day of school today and our good friend Mr. Zero the Hero came for a visit.  We counted to 100 with the talented Dr. Jean, completed the first page in our Zero the Hero book, and even heard a little tale about what makes our good friend Zero such an impressive and heroic guy!

Throw in a little library and computers and that was our day!  We had a lot of fun!  I sent them home ate lunch and did it all again.  Tomorrow is Black and White Day, Thursday is Favorite Color Day, and Friday is all about Brown Bear, Brown Bear!  Then our review days are done and we are getting down to business, speaking of business click HERE for a little freebie.  I am introducing my listening center this week and thought I would post my response sheet I use.  Enjoy.

On a personal note, this little sweetie had his very first day of pre-school today.  Isn't he so handsome! (and a little bit silly)  I am dying that TWO of my THREE are now in school a pre-schooler and a kindergartner.  They will be graduating before I know it! Eeek.  His pre-school teacher is a RoCkStAr and picks him up from me at my school right before school starts.  Then I go get him at lunchtime and drive him out to Grandma's for the afternoon.  I am one lucky Momma to have a pre-school teacher like that!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Getting Started

We are working our way through our alphabet review.  Curriculum is really minimal these first few weeks as we mostly focus on class rules, school rules, manners, expectations, how to move from place to place, what to do at each center (we learn one new center each day), where our supplies go, how to ask for help, etc. etc. etc.  It is a lot for these little kiddos to take in.  It is so important though. These first few days, weeks set the tone for our entire year and so far we are doing GREAT!  We finally busted out some playdough today and they were so careful.  I think I am feeling gutsy enough to teach the sand table center next week.  We have to have some serious procedures in place before we lift off that lid... otherwise I will find 100 pounds of sand in our carpet, the custodians kinda frown at that.  Last year during Teacher Appreciation Week we had our hallways filled with mom's and their kiddos as they decorated doors and the hallways after school to show their love for us!  I was in a team meeting with my other kinder teachers and when I went back to my classroom I discovered just that, all of my sand on my carpet!  A few pre-schoolers had wandered into my room and discovered sand... mom was distracted and so they just started to play... my room was a sandy MESS!  For the next 2 months my custodians lovingly called me 'Sandy' every time they saw me!  I have a bit of a sand phobia now.  That is also why I had to replace all of my sand over the summer.

What else will I be introducing next week?   ABCmouse.com  I love it!  It is FREE for classroom teachers to create an account!  My students love it, it is often their first choice at the computer center.  I will be spending part of my weekend getting my new class all loaded up so we are ready to log on next week and begin learning and exploring.  One more week of review and getting started and then we get down to business.
Have a great long weekend!