Thursday, September 26, 2013

Apples, Apples, and Apples

When I imagined being an elementary school teacher way back in the 1990s (Yes I know.. not that old, but I feel old)... I always pictured APPLES everywhere. Well my dream has become reality this week in my classroom. I decided, yes content is important, but if I could move around things here and there... shuffle curriculum up and make it apple friendly then SUCCESS.

I feel as though my students have been the most engaged this week since we started school. I used a lot of ideas from Kindergarten Smiles's unit Apples. I will be honest I am obsessed with Caitlin's units. They fit right in with my students' needs this time of the year.

For Math my students did an Apple Roll race with numbers. Most of my students can identify their numbers, but writing them is good practice. (Also bringing in graphing skills was a little scary at first and then they got it!!!) Another reason to bring in this quick easy "game" with my students was to introduce them to these types of activities. I want to be able to do this "games" as my main source of teaching, but I need to be able to make sure my students understand the procedures.


I will say I was surprised that my students were nice and kind during this game. I have a couple of "leaders" in my room, but all were bucketfillers with taking turns!
For Math we also completed a Ten Frame Hunt... Who knew that my students would eat up this idea. THEY LOVED IT. It was even quietly done. I don't understand that with my loud crowd, but maybe we should go on some more hunts. My curriculum wanted to students to practice writing numbers and counting up to 5 this week. Well 10 frames are a little different, but a connected topic. Along with the Ten Frames I added the number card and number word. This was to reinforce what each number would look like and for my couple readers (YES, readers!) I wanted them to write the number word as well.

This was a great activity....
For Math tomorrow I have a lot planned. We are tasting apples and graphing our results. My favorite activity is to measure each of ourselves with APPLES! I hope we can stay on task and not eat our apples. Ha
Math must have been my favorite planning activity... We also read Ten Apples On Top by Dr. Seuss and created a "pattern" (I did not fix students who thought they created a pattern and hadn't) with 10 apples and placed them on top of our head! We then needed to place numbers 1-10 on our apples.

For Literacy we worked on an Apple Book along with a Johnny Appleseed craft! I forgot to take photos of our pages inside. I might add some on my next post with my Apple Celebration tomorrow. The pages went along with our graphic organizer: Apples Have, Apples Are, Apples Make. We also included a diagram of an Apple and our favorite fact about Johnny Appleseed. Now these books were heavily prompted on my part and most of the students copied what I wrote for display, but all that I wrote came from students and a couple students wrote their own ideas.  

Lastly... All of my centers this week were apple related. We had a fun time playing CRUNCH with letter identification and letter sound; very easy to differentiate.  Students grab an Apple Letter Card and if they know the sound or letter name they get to keep it, but when they get a crunch all their cards go back into the pile. Our writing center was an apple poem... we traced out our poem, we could read our poem to others, or we could build our poem with cards. Our other center was an Apple Sight Word match! (Listening and Read to Self could not be made into apple themes sadly)...

I have been one happy teacher this week.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Behavior Management: Individualized

I love Kindergarten. Everyday I find something new and exciting to support my thought that, "Kindergarten is for ME".

Yesterday was not one of those days. I slipped into old ways and was very discouraged (mostly with myself). My students were only reacting to my reacting; positivity went out the window. Positive reinforcement makes the world go round and smile! I had to review a couple ways in which I could positively encourage a few students of mine. I was never Great for individualized behavior plans... Because let's be honest, it takes a lot of extra planning, time, might over reward or students become jealous. I decided I was too exhausted to have another day like yesterday and went for it!!!! My plan was to relax after my two doctor's appointments after school, but I pushed through and Ta Da today was fabulous. 

Here is my first individualized plan... "I can walk with my class" badge. This is for a student that runs and hides every time we walk back from lunch, recess and specials. They have the chance to receive 6 WOW pieces a day... 

This was through half the day! The student did awesome... Some other problems I usually saw were extinguished too (crying for not first in line, pushing, talking and need to be by their best friend). 

My other friend is having a very hard time following directions, not in a defiant way but in a "I cannot understand or focus to remember" kind of way. This child received individualized Velcro strips that are changed to show what is expected at different points of the day. 

This worked pretty decently. At least I could point as a reminder rather than repeat and repeat and repeat. I am just concerned with this functionality everyday. We will see! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Five for Friday on Sunday

Time for my first five for Friday.. even though it is Sunday. This sure does explain how tired I still am after 2 weeks of teaching in my new grade Kindergarten!
Now for the sad part, I realized I do not take enough pictures of the happenings in my classroom. That is my goal for next week (even if we are testing all week long!).
I am starting with my end of the week... Pedicure.
My feet hurt so bad and this women was heaven. It might need to be a weekly tradition.
This week marked Grad School. I am on my last year (4 more classes!). I am very proud of myself for sticking with this and finishing a year after all my Grad School "friends". Wedding and Wedding saving got in the way of summer class, but I am almost there. Wish me luck on my Psychology class.
This was last week, but my picture of YELLOW is on my classroom picture. We have been learning how to spell and read our "color" words. It is so much fun. There are a lot of YouTube songs to sing for each color word and my school also has the Heidi Songs. Each color receives 2 school days and on the first day it is dress up time! I have loved how into this dressing up my students have gotten. Here is one of my favorite Orange day outfits...
This week also marked the time I put up my wedding pictures on Facebook. Now I know you must be thinking "I don't need to see all your wedding photos". BUT I must offer them up for all my family and family friends who do want to see them. It is also SO much easier to show people at work or at grad school (if they ask) when I can just pull up a Facebook album. Here is a favorite!
Lastly room 25 is hopefully getting a classroom pet.. Thanks to Pets In The Classroom for giving some relief on the financial side, but my husband went a little overboard on his care. Which I do think his care is important, so I guess it is in "Herald's" best interest.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend!