Saturday, March 30, 2013

Five for Friday.. a day late!

Five for Friday! One of my favorite linkys.. and I have met some new wonderful bloggers through it, too! Thanks to Doodlebugs Teaching for creating such a fun weekly post!

1. It was my birthday on Tuesday! I turned 29... My little class spoiled me and kept singing to me at different times throughout the day. They were as excited as if it were their own birthday! Love them.

2. We love using Deedee Wills' fabulous math journal prompts every month! They've gotten so good at solving word problems thanks to her math journal products! You should really check them out! I love how this kiddo's drawing turned out.. and he added the number sentence at the bottom all on his own! I was a proud teacher.

3. The weather has been absolutely perfect in Arizona this week, so one afternoon during our math block we trekked outside to do a little sidewalk chalk subtraction! I would call out a number sentence and they solved it how they knew best: brain, pictures, or fingers! They were confused at first though... some were asking, "How do I erase it??" "You mean we leave it here forever??" Haha.

4. A kinder friend left this little note on her white board for me to find when I returned to my table on Friday. Kindergarten is the best grade ever when you want a little self-esteem or ego boost! Ha!

5. I am participating in the Spring Cleaning sale this weekend! My wishlist is packed and I'm going to use this chance to get some of it off of there and into my hot little hands! You can get 20% off everything in my store today and tomorrow! Click on the picture below to go straight to my store!

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Thanks to Krista Wallden for the super cute graphic!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What we're up to this week: Literacy Centers edition with a FREEBIE!

Woah, two updates in one week! This is unheard of! I am on a roll, let me tell you. :) I'm really trying to be more dedicated at updating when I have the time and I really want to start sharing more freebies with you all! I posted a farm-themed rhyming picture sort in my last post if you want to go download.

Today, I thought I'd share a little bit about the literacy centers my students are participating in this week.  My kids always love sentence stem activities, so I try and put some of those in my centers whenever I can. It's a great way for the kids to practice their fluency skills, sight words, and reading and tracking print. And since we always make a response sheet for these activities, they get a little writing in, too! Since we are working on our farm theme at the moment, the sentence stem for this week is "A ____________ lives on the farm." I put the sentence stem at the top of the pocket chart and then I included words and pictures of various farm animals. One student chooses a word, another student holds the pointer, and they all choral read together. After each sentence is made and read, they go back to their response sheet to fill out the sentence they created; then once everyone has completed that, they switch jobs and create a new sentence. Don't mind my awful illustrations... ha!

Example of the response sheet:

Our latest word family had words ending in -x, so I put together a little activity sheet called "X Marks the Spot". Using a bingo dobber, the students have to find all the words ending in X. The second half of the sheet, called "Read and Illustrate", has the students do just that! They have to read the second and draw a picture to show meaning. Of course each sentence has words ending in X as well!

Click the picture below to download this activity for FREE! {Note: This is made on 11x17 paper!}

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Our third station of the week is an ending sound picture sort. My kids can identify beginning sounds like the back of their hand, but sometimes get tripped up on identifying the ending sounds! I made this little picture sort to help them practice and they have done wonderfully so far! On my picture sorts, I always like to have them write the word to match the picture to work on their phonemic awareness and decoding skills. This friend is really strong in his "sound-it-out" skills. :)

The rest of my centers include a farm book craftivity (pictures to come when it is all complete) and two centers that remain the same EVERY week - computers and listening center.

This year, more than ever, my students seem to complete their work in record time and are constantly asking me, "What can I do now that I'm done?" To try and alleviate hearing it 1230275 times a day, I try to include some fast finisher activities that they can choose once they are done. The four fast finishers I'm using this week are:

1. Blast Off! Sight word dice game (Made by the wonderful Cara Carroll!)
2. Sight Word Sentence white board activities (From Lakeshore)
3. Scholastic "Let's Find Out!" Magazine (This week, a belated Dr. Seuss edition!)
4. "Sounds in the Clouds" CVC beginning and ending word building (Which can be found in my weather unit on TPT... click here to check it out: Oh the Weather Outside... {Weather Activities for Math, Literacy, and More!})

My students look forward to centers so much and literally cheer when I tell them it's time for them to begin! It's one of my favorite times of the day!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Farm activities, a FREEBIE, and a little plural noun fun!

We are closing up the final week of our farm theme and we've got tons of fun stuff going on! Whenever the final week of our reading theme rolls around (we use Houghton Mifflin), we usually use that time to read supplemental fiction and non-fiction stories that are not included in the reading series. Some of the stories we will be reading this week include Rosie's Walk, Click Clack Moo Cows That Type, and The Little Red Hen. I'll share more about the activities we'll be completing with those books later on in the week!

We began to create our farm book craftivity - a teacher on my team came up with this rhyming book as a way to describe things found on the farm! Here's a sneak peek of the front cover the kids made - I'll share the entire book when it's all complete! It always turns out so cute!

Today I re-introduced plural nouns (we had learned a bit about word endings earlier in the year). My kids love watching videos, singing songs, and dancing to their learning, so I showed this video from an amazing website,! It's completely free!

We followed it up with a little plural noun video from another favorite site, Brainpop Jr. We are lucky enough to have a subscription to that website and my kids love learning from Moby and Annie! After reviewing with the videos, we did a little activity where the kids had to change farm animal names from the singular to the plural version of the word. They were pointing out plural names for the rest of the day! Love when they apply their learning on their own!

Last week we were reviewing rhyming words, so I made up a little farm animal rhyming word picture sort. You can download it for FREE by clicking on the picture below!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Five for Friday March 22nd edition!

Quick update before I have to run off to meet some friends... I'm participating in this week's Five for Friday linky with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

1. I'm excited to say that I've created and posted a new decomposing numbers activity pack in my little store on TPT... it's called "How Many Ways?" and has activity sheets for decomposing numbers 3-9. It really helped my kinders understand the concept of building numbers in various ways! If you want to check it out, click on the link in the picture below -- it's on sale till midnight tonight!

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2. Conferences! This week was conference week so I was knee-deep in those... we do student led conferences in the spring and it is so fun to see the kids lead their parents on a tour of their learning... they get so excited to be the "teacher"!

3. Since St. Patrick's Day was on a Sunday this year, we've been catching up this week and doing some leprechaun-themed activities. My kids did a cute little leprechaun addition craftivity where they created a number sentence with gold coins and filled out the word problem to match! Sadly I didn't take a picture before I left school today, but rest assured it was adorable. ;)

4. I think I've talked about this my last few Five for Fridays... but I went to another spring training game today with some of my teacher buddies! We had a half day due to conferences and skedaddled out of there to catch a game right down the road! The weather was absolutely PERFECT for it, too... 80 degrees and breezy!

5. As for tonight, I'm off to the Phoenix Suns game with some friends, but we aren't really excited to see the Suns... we are more excited for the concert that is following the game with one of my favorite artists, Phil Wickham!

Till next time, friends! Here's to a restful weekend!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Decomposing Numbers & a new activity pack!

I don't know about y'all, but decomposing numbers has been a difficult concept for my students to grasp this year! They had been doing well with addition concepts, but when it came down for them to break down the numbers and tell me how many ways they could build it, they kept getting stuck. In hopes of helping my students master the concept, I created activity sheets called "How Many Ways?" for numbers under 10 to help them have both a visual, hands-on, and written representation of numbers. The first 2 days we did the activities with counters, it was a slow, slightly painstaking process. However, by the third day the lightbulb turned on, and my kids were able to complete the activities independently! After they had their big assessments, which included showing different ways to make a number, I flipped straight to that section of the test to find that they did AMAZING! Nearly every single one of my students got every one of those questions right. It was such a great feeling to know that an activity I created really helped them grasped the concept 100%! (Cause, as we all know, not everything we try in the classroom works, as much as we'd like that to be the case!)

Here it is in action:

To help my students keep track of the number sentences they had created and ensure that they didn't make the same one twice, I created checklists for each number. As they created each number sentence, they found it on the checklist and crossed it off.

Double-sided red/yellow counters worked wonderfully with this concept. To make it simpler for my kids, I had them start with the counters all on the same color to record the number sentence. To make the next one, they were only allowed to flip over one counter at a time. This also was helpful to keep them on track for decomposing the numbers in different ways.

I shared these activities with my kinder team and they told me that I just HAD to post in on TPT - so I created a new little activity pack with all of the sheets you see here, plus more! I have included printable red/yellow counters for you to create your own if you do not have the plastic ones seen here. I also made the activity sheets on legal sized paper so the kids had plenty of room to show their work. Here is a preview of the "How Many Ways?" pack available in my store:

To check out this product in my store, click on the picture below! It will be on sale (15% off!) until Friday!

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Five for Friday {a day late!}

I meant to post my Five for Friday last night... but I fell asleep! How lame is that? So, I'm participating a day late, cause it's just too much fun not to. :)

1. I've been on spring break this week, so I tried to cram in as much fun as I could! I met up with some dear friends earlier in the week to go see my Phoenix Coyotes play some hockey! And we won! Yeah! (Please excuse the fuzzy camera phone shot!)

2. I also saw the movie Oz The Great And Powerful! I thought it was good, but not great! I was expecting more from the acting, I think. Still enjoyable, though!

3. Of course, when you're a teacher with time off, it can't be all fun and games! I worked on putting together my sight word card rings for the new Star Wars themed activity I've been creating. I hope to get it up on TPT soon! The boys in my class are obsessed with Star Wars, so I thought I'd put together something for them to get excited about!

4. Being in Arizona, there is baseball aplenty this time of year! I went to a couple of Spring Training games with my friends this week, and of course the days we chose were the hottest days of the year! Why must it be 90+ degrees already?!

5. Last but not least, my kids have been working so hard on decomposing numbers; and finding different ways to make the number has been a difficult concept for them to master. I put together these little activity sheets in hopes that it would help them, and after 3 long days of practice, it DID! I love when an idea works well to help my kinder babies! This activity pack will be up on TPT tomorrow! Yay!

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend! I, for one, thought my spring break went by entirely too fast!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

When You Subtract With a Pirate....

Good afternoon! I wanted to take a moment to blog about my kiddos' current favorite video obsession at the moment - When You Subtract With a Pirate, by Harry Kindergarten! Does anyone else use his AMAZING videos in their classroom? My kids can't get over any of them, but this is the one they are begging me for at the moment:

This song is so fun, even my teaching neighbor and I were singing it practically every day for a week. It's a great little way to teach your students about subtraction! The song is pretty long and includes word problems. After we had learned and sung the song for a few days, I gave my kids some white boards and each time the video came to one of the word problems, I would pause it and the kids would write and solve the number sentence on their own. Then I'd continue playing the video so they could check their work and see if they were right!

I began to notice that it helped my kiddos start to solve their subtraction number sentences more quickly and more were able to solve it mentally without having to draw a picture when we got to our independent practice.

I really love using all of his videos in my kinder class! They are so fun and fantastical!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Currently and Yikes! MIA!

I was totally MIA for the entire month of February, practically, because it was honestly the busiest month ever and last week totally topped it all off with benchmark testing, two late night school events in a row, and other general teacher craziness! So here we are, I closed my eyes and February ended (thankfully), I made it out unscathed (barely) and now it's time for the March Currently link-up with Farley!

{Listening}: House of Heroes may be relatively unknown to most of you, but they are one of my favorite bands EVER. And this song is from one of the best albums I have ever heard, period - The End is Not the End. So good.

{Loving}: One of the best things about living in Arizona is we get Spring Training! The weather is absolutely perfect this time of year and sometimes there's nothing better than to spread your blanket out on the lawn and watch baseball for super cheap!

{Thinking}: I pretty much summed it up in my first paragraph. February was not kind to me - there were so many school events, every weekend was filled with things to attend in my personal life, and it got stressful! Glad the calendar turned!

{Wanting}: Some things just need to change for next year, some things are on the precipice and I really hope they all work out! Praying!

{Needing}: Spring Break! It's almost here! One week left to go. My kids need it more than I do, I think! They are all at each others throats lately! Tattling galore from my sweet little class... it will be nice to have some free time to relax and rejuvenate for the rest of the year!

{Like, Love, Hate}: My name is Caitlin, so I've got the letter C for this one. I like Coke a little too much and need to drink less of it! Easier said than done! Ha! I love the Coyotes.. I've been going to a ton of hockey games lately and I love cheering for my team! I'm going to another game tomorrow! I hate conflict, especially when it is totally unnecessary and could have been avoided.

I've been working with my kiddos a ton of decomposing numbers and creating number sentences for each one... I made up a little activity for my kids to do that was difficult at first, but after a little practice my kinder babies are getting the hang of it! I plan on posting about that more in my next post, which i PROMISE won't wait until next month! Ha! Till next time! Join up with Farley to add your own Currently post!