Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kansas Day & A Funny Joke

Today was Kansas Day!  :o)   We have been learning about our Kansas flag, our state name, our capital, and our state bird, reptile, amphibian, insect, tree, flower, and mammal.
We also learned many other interesting facts about Kansas.  Today we decorated the Principal's office with the "unofficial" Kansas bird - the Jayhawk.  For you K-State fans (like our principal), I did explain to the kids that it was an "unofficial Kansas symbol."  The term "jayhawk" was first used before the Civil War.
I do have his daughter in my class, so we thought it would be a funny joke to play on her daddy.  With the help from the office staff, the whole wall ended up being decorated!  

Happy Birthday Kansas!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Freebie: Our Favorite Season Classroom Graph

We officially started working on time this week.  Notice I said "officially!" We actually work on it  throughout the year, but it's time for the big unit.   :o)   We talk about days, weeks, months and year as part of our morning calendar time everyday, but I always like demonstrating with a flashlight and globe what is actually happening with the sun and the earth during the "day" and the "night."  This is also a great science integration activity, and the kids love being able to spin the globe!

Another one of my favorite parts of this unit is talking about the different seasons.  Of course I have a favorite - Summer!!  Yeah baby!  I could totally hang out on a beach and read a book all day.  So after we talk about each of the different seasons and discuss all the different things you can do during each season, we make a large classroom graph.  Summer totally won this year.  Last year winter did.  I think it was because we had more snow last year!! 

Each student gets his or her own maker card, so when I call out a season, they get to put the card up themselves.  My kids are always excited when we do our large classroom graphs because they feel like they are part of the graph.   After we finish collecting our data, we complete our data collection and analysis sheet.  Most of my kids can read these simple sentences by themselves, so it is so exciting for them when they can complete these totally on their own.  Go Kindergarten!!  

Click here to download this fun freebie, Our Favorite Season, classroom graph from TPT.

What is your favorite season???  What you would do in your free time??

"He is like a tree planed by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." Psalm 1:3

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

100th Day of School Fun

Tuesday was our 100th Day of School!  Yeah!  :o)  The kids were so excited, and I had lots of exciting things planned for us.

We started off the morning in math with a fun little roll to 100 activity from Lanier's Lions.  My kiddos just loved getting out our new foam dice.

Later in the day we worked on our 100th Day of School posters.  By counting and gathering objects in groups of 10, we made our way up to 100.  We used yarn, noodles, buttons, stamps, stickers, finger prints, our name, numbers 1-10, smiles, and my favorite 5 hugs and 5 kisses (XOs)!  I went around and gave them all 5 hugs and 5 kisses.  They loved it.

The day ended with my favorite activity.  Sorting and graphing 100 M&Ms.  Yummy!

"Jesus looked hard at them and said, "No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself.  Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it."  Matthew 19:26

Monday, January 14, 2013

Penguin Fun

Last week was a week of penguin fun!  We learned a lot, did an awesome science experiment to experience life as a penguin, played a great little game, and everyone loved Tacky.
We started the week off by meeting Tacky.   Yeah!  If you have not read any of the Tacky books, you have to check them out!   There are several books in the series, and Tacky will always give you a good laugh.  "Tacky is an odd bird, but a very nice bird to have around." 

After reading one of our non-fiction books about penguins, we completed a compare and contrast diagram with penguins and birds.  The kids did great with this.  They were coming up with so many things: swim, fly, beak, eat fish, webbed feet, wings, etc.   Then they told me, "Mrs. Rucker, I think you need to put more lines on the diagram for the kids next year."  lol  Way to go kindergarten! Click here to download this freebie diagram:  Compare and Contrast: Penguin & Bird

But, how can you understand what it's like to be a penguin, without trying it out.  So, we did! We belted pillows on our bellies (of course black and white) and put a little "egg" on our feet.   Then I had the kids waddle down around a cone and come back.  This was hilarious! When their egged rolled off,  they sure had a tough time getting it back on their feet with all that blubber in the way!  My para told me that she thought everyone should try this so they could experience life being pregnant!

To end the week, I wanted them to experience the "cold" life of a penguin. So, I posed a question:  "How are the penguins able to swim in that really cold water?"  Eeeeek!  We had to put on our "Serious Scientist Faces!"  After drawing our equipment and making predictions about why, we were ready to go.  This was incredible.  They could actually explain why:  the blubber, the feathers, the oil, and they could actually experience it.

We stared by feeling the water with the "icebergs"......just to make sure it was cold.  Then we talked about a penguin's blubber and feathers:  our green cotton glove.   Oh yes, our hands were warm, but what would happen if we put them in the water?????   BURRR - wet and cold!  

Then came the oil discussion:  our purple (latex-free) glove that we got from the nurse.  Would this help?  Yep, it did the job.  One hand was freezing and one hand was warm and dry!  This glove represented the oil on the penguin's feathers, and the kids totally got it!


What an incredible week!

"An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge."  Proverbs 18:15

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January Freebie Linky Party

I am linking up with Teaching First for a fun January Freebie Linky party.  Check it out! :0)

"Do for others just what you want them to do for you." Luke 6:31 (GNT)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Be the Word: A Literacy Game

My students just love it when we get to play our "Be the Word" game using our large letter/sound flashcards.  When we are in a large group working on the new words we can make with the new sound we have learned, I have the kids hold up the letter/sound flashcards to spell a word and the other students sound the word out.  This is so much fun because they are engaged and are excited as they wait for their turn to "Be the Word."

This is a great activity because it can work on so many things!   I love to use these flashcards when we are working on Phoneme Segmentation.   It really helps reinforce that some letters work together to make one sound!  They see 5 letters in short, but only hear 3 sounds, and they can visually see that with the flashcards.  We like to call those letters that work together "Best-Friends."

I also use these flashcards when I introduce a new letter/sound.  I show the kids the big stack at the beginning of the year, and I tell them that they will learn all of these letters and sounds.  "Wow, really Mrs. Rucker???"  Yep!  They love it when the stack gets smaller and smaller and smaller because we are putting them in our "Yep, I Know That" pile!  :0)

How do you work on building new words or sound segmenting in your classroom?  What tips or tricks can you share with us to put in our teaching backpack? :0)

These flashcards are available on TpT in the "Star" theme.  We are all Kindergarten Stars in my classroom!  If you would like to see them in another theme for your classroom, please let me know!
Large Letter/Sound Flashcards - Stars

"Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy."  Psalm 33:3

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winter Patterns & Back to School

Back to school I go!  I definitely enjoyed the break, and I got to spend some wonderful time with my family and friends.

I did miss my classroom kiddos, and I think they missed me too!  When they returned, they were excited to see that I had not taken down our Santa door decorations.  I said, "Of course not!  I want to talk about what Santa brought you, so I left him up there for us!"  Here is a picture of my finished door with our Santa decorations.  I though it turned out really cute this year!  Each of the kids colored and designed their own package to put in Santa's bag.

In Math today we reviewed patterns.  This group of kids just loves to paint, so why not have a little fun on our first day back.  We used one of the pattern pages from my Winter Pattern Perfect - Self Guided Pattern Activities pack.   The kids get so excited when I tell them, "Yes, you really do get to pick your own colors!"  

Today we also reviewed ordinal numbers and used a great little activity from Lanier's Lions, Snow Much Fun pack!  The kids loved it!  Thanks

The temperature here is very cold, so I thought it would be a great time for a little reminder......bring a coat, hat and gloves so you don't freeze at recess!  Eeeeek!  :0)  It was a great day, and I can't believe that we are almost to the 100th day of school!  Yeah!

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art....it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."  C.S. Lewis