Friday, February 8, 2013

Dental Health Week!

Boy did we have a fun week learning all about dental health! We read stories, Evan's mom came in to teach us about going to the dentist and how to take care of our teeth and much more!

One day we took a toothbrush, a brown tooth (on construction paper) and white paint and brushed the tooth clean! We imagined the tooth was dirty and needed to be cleaned. We used the technique of brushing in circles in order to take care of the tooth and to be gentle. By the end, our brown tooth was white and clean!

Another activity we completed this week was practicing flossing! It is important to floss your teeth at least every other day in order to get the food and gunk that gets caught in between each tooth. Even if we brush our teeth using the circle technique, we can possibly miss in between the teeth! To practice this, we took Lego Mega Blocks, Play-doh and string. The Play-doh was put in between the "teeth" on the blocks and after wrapping the string around our fingers, we used it to get all of the Play-doh out of the block! I had the class work in partners for this activity so one student could hold the block still while the other one flossed it! The entire class told me they were ready to floss their own teeth after practicing with the blocks today!

A third activity we completed this week was learning the difference between foods that are healthy and unhealthy for our teeth. After a good discussion on healthy vs unhealthy foods, the class drew pictures on two different teeth. One tooth was happy because it was getting fed healthy food, the other tooth was unhappy because it was getting fed unhealthy food.

Morning Message Technology Style!

For months we have completed our morning message on my dry erase easel in the calendar/carpet area. I have seen many teachers both on Twitter and various blogs who use their SmartBoard to create interactive morning messages. I have wanted to do this type of message ever since! A few of the other kindergarten and first grade teachers and I went to a workshop on how to use a program that came with our ENO PolyVision boards called EasiTeach Next Generation. I was so excited after messing around with the different options to try it with my class. The first day we did the message there were a few goof ups but the second day went much smoother! After filling in missing sight words, we will circle words, draw an arrow to parts of the letter, draw shapes and much more! One aspect of the program the students seem to enjoy is having the computer read part of the message to us and we read the parts where we filled in words/numbers. I love all of that plus being able to add pictures to the message and hope to learn even more options to add to the message!

Writing Workshop Choices

This week we have been working on new options for writing during our Writer's Workshop time in the day. Up until this point, the students have been working on sentence formation and writing in their journals. I felt the class needed a change of pace and were ready to become writers using multiple writing techniques. The choices the students have so far are to write a list, make a card where there is words AND pictures, respond to a picture, handwriting practice and writing a book review. Writing in their journals as a free write is also still an option. I am hoping to add even more options depending on how they do as a group with these five choices. For now, the class has done an excellent job practicing each choice independently after it was introduced that they should be ready to start choosing which writing they want to work on during Writer's Workshop!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reading Time & Snack Time!

This week I started having students get their book boxes during snack time to enjoy a little reading while filling up their tummies. I was thinking about how we have a lot of independent work time throughout the day, but the amount of time my students are actually just reading varies between 15-20 minutes a day. After realizing this I knew something had to be done! I looked at our daily schedule and wanted to optimize the most time and combined snack with a little extra independent reading time. We will do this on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and will watch an educational video or show from PBS on Tuesday and Thursdays as we have always done. I am even bringing a book of mine in from home and will take the 10-15 minutes of our normal snack and rest time to do a little reading myself! Maybe I'll bring in a snack too =).

Picture Response Writing

We introduced a third choice for our Writing Workshop time today, "respond to a picture". This choice is when the students take a picture from a stack of story starters and a blank piece of lined paper. I modeled and the students practiced first talking through what is happening in the picture and possible ideas to write about before beginning their writing. Each student then received both a paper and a picture to practice. I was incredibly excited to see how well they wrote when given a picture, most of which were pretty silly. Some students described in detail what was happening in the picture and others related the picture to their own lives. I am excited to continue seeing this option as a choice and hear the student's creative responses!

"They are digging for treasure. They are making a mess."