Friday, June 26, 2015

Five for Friday, June 26

Ahhh! This week has been the PERFECT combination of doing stuff and doing nothing!
I {HEART} summer break!!!!
Summer reading
I heard about these books on NPR and thought, "Asian billionaires...that sounds like a totally different world. Sure! Why not?" I never expected them to be so good! I'm talking, I have DEVOURED these books over the last week or so. 
Tip: Don't read the second book (China Rich Girlfriend) first. You won't be totally lost, but you'll wonder why the author doesn't stop to explain more of the characters. I may or may not know this from personal experiences (oops!)  =)
All people who live in or near Atlanta: YOU MUST GO TO THE HIGH MUSEUM!!!! They have a Mo Willems exhibit right now with all of his super lovable characters! I was in heaven.
My niece spent the night with me this week and we toiled at the pool. Obvious torture.
Look who's been married for 3 years?! My hubby and I celebrated at one of those super nice restaurant where you take a bite of food and have to resist the urge to close your eyes and moan because IT. IS. SO. GOOD!
 Next week is VBS week. We're going to Journey off the Map!
That's all for now. Hope you're all have a wonderful summer, too! Until next time!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Play in Kindergarten: We want our blocks back!!! (PLUS FREEBIES)

I have read a bunch of articles (like this one and this one) posted by wonderful kindergarten bloggers about the importance of bringing play back to kindergarten, and I want to say I whole-heartedly agree!

The funny thing about this whole controversy is I think everyone wants the same thing: kids who are independent problem solvers, persevering scholars, challenged and engaged learners, and kind human beings. Our jobs is to remind our lovely administrators and the powers-that-be that PLAY strengthens these characteristics, it doesn't diminish them.

So today, let's talk about blocks

Wooden blocks, Legos, pattern blocks...we have so many blocks in our classroom. How do blocks compliment rigor? do they not?!

  • Blocks help students learn spatial reasoning (Which block would be best to put in that spot? Why does it fit the best?) as well as hand-eye coordination.
  • Blocks bring out imaginative play where students tell their own stories using their block creations.
  • Blocks give students practice working together and sharing.
  • Blocks help students problem solve and figure out ways to make their creations bigger and better.
  • Blocks are fun! Students will be engaged and associate school with a place that they want to be.
Blocks also teach content. Here in Georgia we have scientific habits of mind as part of our science standards. Every one of these standards can be taught through the use of blocks:

And that's just science (and not even the content science)! How else can we use blocks in the classroom???

  • Building number sense (Show me 7 blocks. How many more do you need to get to 10?)
  • Composing simple shapes to form larger shapes (What happens if I put these two triangles together?)
  • Adding and subtracting (You have 4 blocks and I give you 3 more. How many do you have now?)
  • Not to mention the sorting and measuring already mentioned above!)

  • Building letters out of blocks (click {HERE} for printable lego letter cards)
  • Building a setting for a story (Where did this story take place? Let's build a model of it.)
  • Retelling a story or nursery rhyme (Let's build Humpty Dumpty's wall and reenact the story.)
  • Using vocabulary and oral language (Tell me about what you built.)
  • Writing about our block creations

SS/Science (content standard):
  • Building maps of towns and classrooms
  • Building places for community helpers to work
  • Showing gravity (Why does this block fall on the ground instead of floating to the ceiling? What will happen if we put this big block on top...why?)
  • Showing motion (What can I do so this car rolls faster down the block?)

Oh my goodness...I'm sure these ideas only scrape the iceberg of block ideas. With a little creativity, we can use blocks to teach almost anything! Here are some freebies from TPT to go in your block station.

Click {HERE}

Click {HERE}

Click {HERE}
Click {HERE}

I hope these help bring blocks back into your classroom!!
How do you use blocks in your class???