Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reindeer games!

It's the last week before Christmas!!! My survival strategy this week is to focus on REINDEER. I started with a schema chart on this AMAZING reindeer that my hubby made me.

Isn't he just so fat and cute?!

I read about schema charts {HERE} and loved the idea! The basic concept is that you have a place for students' schemas (what they think they know about a topic). As you research the topic, you add new learning. If something a child thought turns out to be wrong, you move it under misconceptions. This helps kids see that learning is an ever-evolving process of adding to and changing what we know. For reindeer, I added a special section of things only Santa's reindeer can do  =)  By the way, we worked on this chart all week, so it's definitely more than a 1 day kind of thing.

There aren't a lot of reindeer non-fiction books, but I did find some good websites. I compiled the websites into this powerpoint...feel free to use, change it, or ignore it!

Click {HERE} for the PPT

I also found this video. HILARIOUS!!!!!! If you do nothing else with this blog, WATCH THIS VIDEO!!!! You will NOT regret it!

To add a fiction-twist to this, we are reading one of my ALL-TIME favorite chapter books this week: Reindeer DO Wear Striped Underwear. The kids are hooked from the title, and I use this book to predict what's going to happen based on the chapter titles.

Another favorite fiction book about reindeer is Who'll Pull Santa's Sleigh Tonight? It's similar to Reindeer DO Wear Striped Underwear so we'll compare and contrast the 2 books.

Finally, I'm going to try my first directed drawing this week! I've been seeing this idea pop up on different blogs, and this one about reindeers is too perfect not to try! Isn't this guy a cutie?

Click {HERE} to learn more!

Oh, I can't forget the reindeer pokey!

You put your antlers in
You take you antlers out
You put your antlers in
And you shake them all about!
You do the reindeer pokey and you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

Repeat with hooves, red nose, fluffy tail (that always gets kids laughing), and reindeer body.

So those are our reindeer games and the key to my Christmas sanity!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fa La La La Link Up: Holiday Freebies!

Teaching in December is NOT for the faint of heart! However, Primary Powers is making the week before the holidays a little easier with this FABULOUS freebie swap! Check it out if you need some activities to get you through the next week.

It's time to sequence!!! We've been reading holiday stories and putting them in order. Here are my favorite holiday books to sequence:

Here's our response to There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bell
And here's the TPT freebie for the above craft
I also made a Christmas freebie to help my kids with ten frames. It focuses on numbers in the teens.

Click {HERE} to grab this freebie

In un-Freebie news...

My awesome team has been keeping our kids focused by doing a unit on holidays around the world. Each teacher picked a country with a special holiday tradition. The kindergarten classes rotate to a different teacher each morning and learn about that country. They fill out an informational book and make a craft.

They made a suit case to take with them on their trip...
...and they fill it with these cute crafts that they make for each country!
Then they practice their map skills by finding the country on the map.
Here's the TPT pack we used
Not a freebie, but super cute!
And finally...
My kids won the canned food drive! We replenished local food banks AND won an ice-cream sundae party (Let's not get too nit-picky over which one of those reasons was the main motivator...). Yippee!!
They even made us a banner!
Happy Holidays!!!!  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Christmas Conversation Linky

The Inspired Apple has a fun new linky all about Christmas traditions!! This is just the de-stresser I need while getting ready for Christmas. That, and the birthday cake milkshake that my wonderful hubby is bringing me from Zaxby's. Mmm...what a perfect combination for a perfect evening  =)


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fun with More or Less

It's time for fun with more, less, and equal!
We started with a handy dandy anchor chart. I confess. I'm not cute-cutesy and neither are my anchor charts, but they work. We started with the part at the top to introduce the math vocab and added the bottom part with the signs after my kids showed that they were awesome and clearly ready for a challenge!

To practice more and less, WE PLAYED THE MOST FUN GAME EVER!!!! WITH TRASH!!!!

Ok, let me back up...
Every kid balled up 2 sheets of scrap paper.
They threw them on the carpet.
(Needless to say, they were hooked) 
2 kids had 5 seconds to pick up as many trash balls as they could.
We counted each kid's trash and compared the numbers.
Who wouldn't love that??

In small groups, we used mats to show groups that are more, less, and equal to a given number.

We also counted and compared groups and numbers on these cards...Thanksgiving style! These cards emphasized that you compare numbers left to right instead of just saying the number that's more (which kids seem to instinctively want to do).

If you're interested, you can find these cards in my Thanksgiving pack on TPT
Or get it today as a fan freebie on my Facebook page

Need another fun game? We played War with playing cards. Take the face cards out and the kids go to town laying down cards and deciding which is bigger. So fun!

WAR! What is it good for?!
Absolutely nothing...but teaching more and less!
Since the majority of my kids were doing so well with more and less, we introduced the greater than and less than sign. They caught on SO FAST! Here are a couple of youtube videos that helped us introduce the signs. The first one is my favorite. HILARIOUS!!!!

The second one is pretty good, too!

I then gave my students number cards and popsicle sticks and they practiced making the sign and saying their comparison sentence.

When it came time to draw the signs, I used this trick. Draw 2 dots next to the big number and 1 dot next to the small number. Then connect the dots side to side.


If the numbers are the same, draw 2 dots next to each number and connect the dots.

Survey question: I've heard math people say not to teach the greater than and less than sign by calling them alligators. Something about how kids never learn which sign is which. However, the alligator mouth comparison always helped me, so I teach it.

To use alligator mouths or not to use alligator mouths. That is the question. Thoughts?

Five for Friday...errr...Saturday, Nov. 14

Happy weekend!! I'm Five for Fridaying the way I do everything: LATE! God bless my hubby for putting up with my punctuality issues. :)
So...don't tell anyone...but my class is harboring fugitives. 
We disguised our feathery friends so no one would know they were (turkeys). No turkeys here! Just princesses, pirates, football players, and cyborgs. :)
I'm so excited about college football today! As a UGA fan, here's what I need to happen:
Texas A&M beats Mizz
UGA beats Auburn
Miss St beats Alabama
That most likely makes the SEC championship a battle of the bulldogs (UGA vs Miss St) and makes it an interesting rivalry between me and my real-life BFF Melissa over at Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late (who roots for Miss St). 
If those things happen tonight, expect a celebration sale in my TPT store tomorrow!
Back to things related to school. We have been working on retelling the last few weeks. Last week we retold fiction stories with this handy dandy anchor chart.

This week we retold non-fiction books by making a circle map. We wrote details from the book around the circle and then wrote the main idea in the middle. 

We followed up with this journal activity where students picked 3 details to draw (after a lot of modeling).

Higher students wrote about their pictures, too. 

It's still a concept that's a little fuzzy, but we're getting there. Thanks Deanna Jump for these great interactive journal activities! 
Oh! I almost forgot that we made Thanksgiving retelling bracelets thanks to this Dr. Jean activity. The kids LOVED it and it really helped them retell the story of the 1st Thanksgiving. Click {HERE} for the details!
Last Sunday was my grandmother's 93 birthday! The family got together, so we started taking some family pictures. Here's such a nice picture of me and the hubby!

And here's a...well...typical picture of me and my brother. Even after 30 years, some things never change...
Look what came in the mail! It's my handy, dandy new pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies!

Several of my teacher friends have been talking about these pencil sharpeners, so I HAD to try it out!!!
It's advertised as the quietest pencil sharpener, and that's no lie! It's sooooooo quiet, so it doesn't disturb the whole class. Hallelujah! I also like it because it stands up on it's own, so I can move it all around the classroom and use it anywhere. This is a reasonably priced product, so please check it out!

It even comes in pink now!  :)
Have a great weekend!!!!!