Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanks for Thanksgiving

      We just got the call that we have a 3 hour delay tomorrow because of expected ice in the morning.  
The kids have been excited this week -- kind of like the day before Christmas or the day after Halloween --  and personally I am ready for a break.  So, a short day tomorrow is good news.  Luckily we kind of expected the bad weather, so we did most of our Thanksgiving activities already.

     I love the little Pilgrim hats!

         Then on Friday we made turkeys with Oreos and candy corn.  A little messy, but yummy.

      Today we made turkey hats.  I saw these on Pinterest -- I love Pinterest -- and they turned out so cute! 

         At the end of the day -- out of time and trying to do too much at once -- I asked them to write "I am thankful for my mom -- or grandma -- or family --".  After the children were all gone and the room was quiet, look what I found stuck on the board!  (I think "tich" means teacher.)  Aww -- how sweet!
And he even started with a capital and ended with a big fat period!  

   I am thankful for all the hugs I get from this class, all the progress they have made -- and especially for enough energy to keep up with them.  And, thank you, God, that the Pilgrims had that feast in November so we can have a break before we jump in to the Christmas season!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lemons? Make Lemonade!

  Our school participates in a Fruit and Vegetable program, and the children get a nutritious snack 3 days a week. Some have been a big hit -- like grapes and watermelon. Some have been a little strange -- jicama was a mystery to all of us. And the pomegranate was the biggest mess I have ever seen.  We had purple stickiness EVERYWHERE!  But today was the craziest.  They gave us a bag of lemon halves to feed the children. Lemons.  Who eats a lemon for a snack? So, not one to waste food -- I made a quick trip to Wal-mart and bought a container of sugar.  I gave them a cup and half a lemon, and they squeezed out the juice. Then I gave them a spoonful of sugar to stir in before filling the  cup with water. It was great fun--and pretty messy -- and they enjoyed drinking the lemonade. Most thought lemonade came from a powder, so fresh-squeezed lemonade was a new experience.

                                                            NEEDS MORE SUGAR!

                              THUMBS UP FOR FRESH SQUEEZED LEMONADE!

  We started a new writing unit today -- "How-to Writng" by Deanna Jump.  It wasn't in the lesson plans, but we will be writing about how to make lemonade tomorrow.  So, the crazy snack I was complaining about turned out to be a great topic for writing.  I hope I will always try to make lemonade when life gives me lemons!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sight Words. Part 2

   Last week I wrote about putting all my sight words on pocket charts after school on Friday.  On Monday morning, this is the scene when the kids came in the room.

     Five little boys, gathered around the pocket chart, finding their own current list and reading the words!  This is even better than I hoped -- they were drawn to it like a magnet.  Quite a few passed another list this week.  One of my boys is on the last set, and 2 more are competing to be the next to master all those words.  They were both on the same list, and when the first one passed his list on 
Friday, he did the happy dance around the room, singing, "I am ahead of you!"  The celebration didn't last too long, because the second boy passed, too, and he was singing and dancing around, too. We sang the "Teach Me How to Read" chant and I thought again how blessed I am to have the opportunity to teach kids how to read.

     We read "Owl Babies,"one of my favorite books last week and Mrs. "Awesome", my assistant helped the kids paint these owls and put up a new bulletin board -- so cute!

      We learned about Veterans Day on Friday with a visit from my own veteran, Mr. Spencer.  He was in the Army for 25 years and he was glad to come to our class.  I forgot to take a picture, but I think the children will remember now that we need to honor the brave men and women who have served our country in the military services.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sight words

   In our county, kindergarteners are only required to know 30 sight words by the end of the year.  But every year I have children who learn well over 100 -- even 200 words. And the more words they know instantly, without trying to "sound out," the more fluently they will be reading . So this year I made sets of words on pretty cards and they learn the Yellow Words then the Green Words and so on. Today I had an idea -- I put the cards in rows on my pocket charts. Then I put name cards at the top of each row so I can see at a glance who is working on each list.  It will be a quicker way for me to assess their progress, but it will also be a way for them to see who they can ask to help them practice their words. The other advantage to this display is that they can easily see the words on their list to practice Word Work for Daily 5. They can use stamps or tiles or Wikki Stix or any of our Word Work supplies to practice spelling out their own words. I can also zip through them for a review with the whole group.

    Some of my boys are especially motivated to master each new list.  One comes in every morning saying, "Can I say my words?"  Another child has a sibling in a higher grade, and they are both working on the same words. I asked him if his brother knew the words. He shook his head no, and said,
" He gets yelled at, but I get candy."  No wonder he is motivated, but I feel sorry for the one who is having trouble keeping up. In our class we celebrate every time a child masters a new list. They get a certificate to take home and admiration from the teacher and class. I am eager to see how this moveable word wall will work.  I think it will be great for making sentences, too -- and easy to see where the cards go when it is time to replace them. 
      I'm expecting some really good readers this year!