Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tower Power number game

On the 100th day, my kids had so much fun stacking 100 cups. I knew I had to make a small group & workstation game with the same concept. But, of course, I would be "tricking them" into practicing a target skill.

That's the way things work around here. 

They think they're playing. I know they're working. Win-win.

At a district meeting, another kindergarten teacher recommended a game she called "Tower Power." It entailed writing letters/words on cups, putting the cups in an empty Pringles can, and stacking them up to make a tower. I knew my kids would love it.

I tweaked the idea to meet our needs -- no can (just a basket), labels are easier than writing, and I included a recording sheet. I have found that simple recording sheets really help increase the accountability while my students are at independent workstations. 

For the target skill, I used numbers over 100. All of my kids can identify numbers 100-109, but several of them were struggling with the numbers over 109 -- like 117, 125, etc. So, this was the perfect game to practice.

How to play:

1. Take a cup from the stack. Read the number/word/letter. [You can't see them, but I typed numbers 100-130 onto labels and stuck them on the cups.]

2. Add the cup to the growing tower. Be careful!

3. Write the number/word/letter on your recording sheet.

4. Repeat until the stack is gone. My kids relished in their "huge tower" using all the cups!

Click HERE or on the printable above for recording sheets (number, word, and letter version all included).

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Rounding up" a new batch of kinder babies

Today, we celebrated Kindergarten Round-Up. One of my favorite days of the year -- a day to "round-up" a new batch of kinder babies. 

... and that's exactly what they are at this point -- babies!

They were absolutely darling, wide-eyed, and excited. Every year, this day reminds me of how rewarding this job is... how this job gives me so much joy every single year.

However, this time of year is markedly harder for me. Although I love my class every year, this one will be especially difficult to part with. They are the most enthusiastic, eager-to-please group of students I've ever met. Everyday goes smoothly. Even my husband has noticed. One day, he said, "Ya know, everyday you come home this year and I ask you how your day was, you say 'Great!'"

My current kinders were very excited to hear about kindergarten round-up. To put it in their words, "The little kids are coming to practice kindergarten." (To which I think to myself, "Little kids? That was you 9 months ago!") But, of course, they have turned into "big kids" now. And it's almost time to usher in a group of little learners.

To help channel some of that excitement and enthusiasm, I had my current kinders make posters for kindergarten round-up. Not only was I able to show-off their darling "kinder spelling," but my students informed the incoming "newbies" exactly what they need to know about kindergarten. They turned out pretty stinkin' cute.

[Translation provided for those of you who do not read "kinder language."]

In kindergarten, you will learn...
to be nice, to read, it's never okay to disruptive, time, all about predators, Cat in the Hat, animals, everything forever (ha ha), art, colors of the rainbow, writing, science, math, patterns, about Dr. Seuss, how to do fire drills.

In kindergarten, you will need...
color words, a teacher, glue stick and crayon cup and water bottle, fun, math box, space stick, markers, books, play-doh, songs, a pencil, crayons, books to help you learn, jacket or coat.

In kindergarten, you will...
go on field trips, write, have fun, sing songs, count, see a gecko, have a cubby, have a pet, recess, have snack at 10:00 (ha ha!), do tornado drills, go outside, have science, feed Ecko, learn how to read.

Kindergarten is...
a place to learn, awesome, great, fun, learning, a place to have fun, big, clean, super fun, love-ful (my favorite word!), super, colorful, awesome to read books.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mailbox clean out

My mailbox has gotten a bit out of control lately. 
I thought I would clean it out this morning and share some "gems."

There's a picture of me, my hubby, and our dog. Adorable.

This one cracked me up! It was a picture from a little girl before she left for Spring Break.
That's me in the house on the left and her in the house on the right. We are very sad because, as our talk bubbles say, "I really miss her!" (See the road between us and sad hearts?! CUTE!)
The bottom says: "I love Mrs. A. She is the best teacher ever."
I might keep this little one for 1st grade, too. ;)

This little girl is quite the writer. She wrote me an acrostic poem of my name: Awesome, Nice, Dog lover, Extremely cool, Really pretty, Sharing, Outrageous, Nature lover. So sweet -- and amazing writing!!!

I love this next letter -- it even came in an addressed envelope: 

Dear Mrs. A -- Do you like cats? Do you like me? Do you like the sun? Do you like dots? Do you like stations? Do you like jumping?

Ha ha! Can you tell we just learned about questions?! :)

We love Dr. Seuss!

We do Dr. Seuss big in our classroom. For two weeks in March, we celebrate the world's favorite author. It's one of my favorite times of the year because the kids are more enthusiastic about books and reading than they've ever been before.

They literally fight over books. Glorious. I love every minute of it. :)

Here are a few highlights from our unit this year:

The kids always love There's a Wocket in my Pocket. It's silly and all the words rhyme. I love it because it is great practice with initial phoneme substitution. :)
This year, we made an adorable class book to go along with it.

First, each student drew their own little "monster" -- like the characters in the book.

Then, each student picked a place to "put" their monster, and I took a picture. 

After printing the pictures, the kids created their class book pages by first sounding out where it was (on the second line) and then replacing the first sound to "name" their monster (on the first line). Like this:

[There's a harpet on the carpet.]

[There's a zasket on the basket.]

[There's a toor on the door.]

Next, we did the world's cutest Dr. Seuss art project. I saw it somewhere on Pinterest (but I can't remember where!!!) 

Thing 1 and Thing 2 with handprints -- so fun and cute!

We also always do these cute Cat in the Hats. The kids love bringing them home.

Lastly, we set-up a "Dr. Seuss Station" in our classroom where students could bring any Dr. Seuss books, characters, etc. to share. They loved it -- we even made it a rotation during our literacy workstation time.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The golden boy

If you read my "Pure Gold", this is more about my little kinder friend. I think I will start calling him the Golden Boy on my blog. He seriously has the funniest, most innocent, honest things to say! Everytime he comments or asks a question, I am reminded of just how lucky I am to enjoy little minds everyday. 

He just has a way of thinking that is different. When I look at him when I'm reading a book or we're discussing a topic, I can literally see his "wheels turning." He is such a clever little guy -- and cracks me up everyday.

Well, here's a little snippet from today. Look for more Golden Boy quotes soon. :) 


Mrs. A (while were talking about the letter W): "You're right. Before I was married, I had a different last name and it started with W -- Weaver."

... Golden Boy's wheels start turning...

GB: "Mrs. A, where do grown-ups come from?"
Mrs. A: "Well, they grow-up from babies and kids... like you!"
GB: "Yeah, I know that. But, like, how are grown-ups alive?"
Mrs. A: "Well, hmmm. Like I was a kid like you, and then I grew-up..."
GB: "No, no, no. I know that. But, like, how did God make grown-ups?"
Mrs. A (still confused how to answer this): "Well, grown-ups have babies, and then those babies have grown-ups..."
GB: "Yeah, but like who were the first grown-ups? Who started it all? Like, who were the first two grown-ups?"

... by this time, about 7 kids' hands have shot up because they realize they know that answer! I, on the other hand, am rapidly trying to figure out how to change the subject.


Never a dull day with the Golden Boy.

Things that made me laugh this week

I don't know what it was about last week, but it was pretty hilarious. Had to share some of my favorites.


Mrs. A: "Boys and girls, we have been learning a lot about money in math. Why do we need money?"
Student 1: "So we don't die."
Mrs. A: "Okay... so we can buy things we need to live. Anyone want to add on to that?"
Student 2: "So we can buy a t.v. so we're not bored all the time."
Mrs. A: "Okay... so we can buy things that we want, too. Anyone else?"
Student 3: "This is pretty much gonna sum it all up. We need money so we don't get poor and lonely."


(I am cutting out lamination during rest time, and a student is watching me.)
Student: "Mrs. Anderson, are you magic?"
Mrs. A: "No, I'm not magic. What do I do that makes you think I'm magic?"
Student: "Everything!"


And lastly... a great little story a student wrote about an elephant. The second line says it all. :)

By the way... It's supposed to say "I love peanuts." :)