Friday, February 3, 2012

Penguins, Penguins, Penguins!

After studying penguins this week we came up with a list of things we learned....
  • They swim in the ocean to find food.
  • They lay 1 or 2 eggs.
  • The Emperor Penguin is the biggest.
  • They find a mate and touch their heads.
  • They can dive.
  • They waddle.
  • They feed their babies.
  • They make noises, but can't speak our language.
  • They slide on their bellies.

I Have a Little Wagon

Weekly poem performance!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog's Day Predictions

The day before Groundhog's Day, we made predictions as to if we thought Phil the groundhog would see his shadow or not. After making our predictions, the next day we watched a news clip from ABC news and found out his forecast! If you would like to know if Phil saw his shadow or not, watch the video here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

100th Day of School Fun!

We officially celebrated our 100th day of school on January 25th!

To start off our day, we colored the number 100 and ate a snack after we created the number 100 out of two doughnuts and a Nutter Butter cookie!
Our morning message was about how proud I was that we have made it to day #100, only 80 more to go =)!
During our Daily 5 first mini-lesson, we listened to a story on tape about a how the classroom in the story celebrates their 100th day of school. We compared what the class in the story did to celebrate to what we had planned for our day! We found several similarities and differences.
Our second mini-lesson asked us to count the number of letters found in a poem. We wrote a few guesses before counting the number and found that there were exactly 100 letters in the poem!
During our math block, we created a 100's day hat by putting a series of school buses in order by counting by 10's up to 100.

Another activity during our math block was going on a Hershey Kiss hunt around our classroom. There were 100 Hershey Kisses hidden around the classroom, each with a number 1-100 written on the bottom. It was the student's job to find a Hershey Kiss, say the number and find where its match on the 100's chart. We were hoping to fill the entire chart up, but unfortunately we could not find #87 and #77. Luckily, in the following two days both pieces of chocolate were found!

To finish off our special day, the students shared the snack they brought in. They were to bring in 100 of something to share with the class. We had everything from 100 pieces of cereal, Skittles, M&M's, cookies, candy hearts and a salty snack. After sharing, each student took their bag and dumped it into the basket with the rest of the snacks.
In the afternoon on Friday, we played a 100 themed game of Would You Rather. Each of the strips of paper were turned upside down and two strips were drawn at a time. We went around a circle and had to choose one or the other and share why we made that choice. The class thought each round was quite silly, but were good sports in having to choose, even if their choice wasn't something they would really like to have. 100 snakes or 100 dirty socks? I sure hope not!

Polar Animals---Penguins!

To start off our study on polar animals this week, we read a Weekly Reader magazine all about penguins! Before reading, we accessed our prior knowledge of things we already knew about penguins. We were surprised to find out penguins can swim, but cannot fly! A bird that can't fly? We were quite confused until we read how their wings are used as flippers and not as typical bird wings. Interesting!

Strategy Group "Check for Understanding"

Three of my students and I worked on the strategy "Check for Understanding" today. We read a Clifford story and used a sticky note with a check mark on every page as we read. We first would read the pages with print and before turning the page to continue reading, we saw our sticky note with the check mark which reminded us to "Check for Understanding". We took turns asking a question about what was happening thus far in the book and/or on that particular page. After reading the story, I asked the group a few extra questions to test their comprehension. The students kept their sticky note to use with the books in their book box when reading to self and to someone.

Bringing a Little "Play" Back into Kindergarten!

With the focus on the Common Core Standards, our 90 minute reading block and our 60 minute math block leaves little room for traditional "play" that most think happens in a kindergarten classroom. The teachers I work with and I have talked about ways we can add an aspect of play, using imagination, exploring and socialization into our classrooms on a daily basis. One idea we have started with was to have our math tubs that are filled with various manipulatives on each table in the morning when the students arrive. After they have their morning routine complete, they are given the chance to "explore" as we call it in my classroom with the manipulatives at their table. I have found the students are eager to see which tub is at their desk and are positively interacting with their peers at their table in creating and using their imaginations. This activity will last anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the morning.

"My 100 Words Book"

To help celebrate our 100th day of school last week. We wrote 100 words inside our word book. There were 10 boxes on each page and 10 pages in the book. The students had time to write words they found around the room daily during Daily 5 Work on Writing and/or during our writing instruction block. I absolutely loved seeing the words the students were finding around the room and how excited they were to find them! Most of these words have been up around our room all year long and this one activity has opened their eyes to words they did not realize were hanging up. They found words on our walls, charts and in books. If they did not get it finished by Friday, they took their book home to find words around their house to fill up the rest of the book to bring their word count to 100!