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Monday, December 26, 2011

Ho! Ho! Ho! There's till no snow (part 2)

Well, I don't know about all of you, but the last week has been crazy!  We had full days of school through Dec. 22!  The excitement of Christmas, coupled with the flu, led to quite an eventful (and messy!) last day of school!  At least the temperature is in the MID-40's! making recess duty (and now cleaning my garage) not as unbearable as it could be!

Last time I shared some of my math related holiday activities. This time I will follow up with some literacy (and whatever I forgot before!) activities! Hope you enjoy (and get some ideas for next year!).

Literacy Centers
I called this "candy cane words".  The kids use paper candy cane pieces to spell names and sight words.  It's really interesting to see how they form some of the trickier letters out of the random pieces.  To make the pieces, I just printed red/white striped paper (pick up your copy HERE) and either cut different length strips for the "straight pieces" and then cut out several "o"'s using the die cut machine which I chopped into various portions to create curved pieces.

After the kids made a word, they had to record it on the recoding sheet.

At another center I the kids had a bag full of sight words, along with some Christmas Pictures (I think I got these from Victoria Smith at kinderkorner.com) and they had to use the words and pictures to make sentences.  My rule was that all the sentences could NOT follow the same pattern (I like, I like, etc.)

One of their favorite activities every year is going "shopping" for Christmas presents.  I print out small booklets that have a present with a letter in it on each page.  (Get yours HERE). I am lucky enough to have a copier that shrinks and creates booklets from regular sized sheets of paper!  If you don't, and don't want to print 26 sheets per kid, here is a condensed version.  Anyways, the kids look through toy catalogs and sale papers, and cut out "presents" and glue them on the correct page, based on what letter they start with.

I found a Christmas tree glyph from Shari Sloane's site that I modified and turned into an art center project.  We sponge painted the trees, and then used a scrap-booking circle punch to cut out the ornaments.  I was amazed at what a fine motor activity the hole punching turned into!

We made our own "Rudolph Rudolph" books (I got this idea from little giraffes) and the kids just loved how Rudolph's nose kept changing color, it rhymed, and had lots of sight words in it!  You can get your own copy here.  I imported mine into a Promethean board flip chart so we could ALL see and do word work together as well.  (Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE my promethean board??)

We also made TLC type reindeer, which focuses on turning squares and rectangles into "art" while incorporating LOTS of math vocabulary (horizontal,  diagonal, center, etc).  I just love how every year there is that 1 reindeer facing the wrong way!

We made elves, along with an "Elf to do list" from an idea I got from Deanna Jump's website.  I just laugh when I look at how stressed out the one elf looks!  Kind of reminds me of myself around the holidays! :)

 Each month we make a "quilt" from different TLC type art activities.  This month's features the TLC Santa, and the Little Giraffe's Tree.  So Cute!

 Not to forget about Hannukkah, in order to try to broaden the students culturally (I work in a very NON-diverse area) some of the things we did was watch an Elmo Hannukah clip  and learned how to play the dreidle game.  The kids LOVED it.  Want a copy of the game, click HERE.  Not sure where I originally got the dreidles from... my ex-husaband is Jewish!

And... just because I love when kids surprise you...  We had pretzels for snack one day, and 1 of my students decided to eat them in the shape of the alphabet!  I you look carefully, and use a little imagination, you can actually make out each letter!

Well, I hope to get some school stuff done over break (like lesson plans for next week!) but also want to find some time to relax as well. Hope your holidays are enjoyable, relaxing and refreshing! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ho! Ho! Ho! There's still no snow!

It's officially the middle December is Wisconsin, and we still have not had any snow (other than the 5 minutes during writing time last week that inspired many young writers and caused quite the commotion!)  Nevertheless, we are continuing on with our Christmas activities!  Maybe by January when we do the bulk of our Winter unit there will be some on the ground to reference!  Anyways, here are some of the fun thing in math we have been doing this week!

Math Station Activities
Ornament Color: students use 3 different colored unifix cubes and see if they can find all the different ways to line them up.  There are 6 ways total.  I am always amazed at how well the kids do with this activity!  I have them re-order their cubes and put it next to each ornament to see if it is the "same" or if they found a "new way".  For more of a challenge, I give kids 4 unifix cubes and see how many of the 24 ways they can find!  (I just put four of theses sheets on 1 piece of paper, and have them color the hook as the 4th spot on the ornament.)
You can pick up a copy of this HERE

Christmas Pattern Block Pictures: I originally had a pattern block present activity that I had gotten out of the Mailbox magazine years ago, but since I "misplaced" about half of my Christmas file, it is missing so this is what I had to create for a similar activity. Can you spot the errors in this student's work? 

HERE's a copy to save you the trouble of re-creating it should you misplace your file :)

Help Santa Grow his Beard: To practice the concepts of adding and subtracting, we play this fun Santa game.  Students roll the +/- dice and add/subtract that many cotton balls from Santa's beard.  To help work on sharing and playing fairly/correctly, I have each student use their own Santa board, but they are to share the die.

Santa's Sleigh Drop: I really like how this activity is worded, color coded, and the concept, and the kids did MUCH better than I thought they would!  They put presents in Santa's sleigh (which just happens to be a 10 frame) and then - oh no!- Santa's drops some and they have to figure out how many are left!  I used erasers as "presents" because they fit in the squares so nicely!  I can't take credit for this activity at all though - I got it HERE for FREE!

Tannenbaum tallies: I got this from Deanna Jumps' and Julie Lee's Winter Packet and the kids ROCKED the tally marks!  I was so impressed that they remember that "number 5 goes across them all" and to leave spaces between their groups of 5!  Yeah!

Present Patterns: For some reason my class LOVES to color this year, so I have been letting them color patterns.  I have a sheet like this for just about every season/month, and the patterns get harder as we go along.  Here we are coloring and labeling a pattern.  I always include a "make your own" pattern on the back to see who truly understands the concept of creating a pattern that repeats..."no.... red, blue, yellow, blue, green,  is not a pattern...."  :)

Finally, I stumbled upon a new blog http://livelaughlovek.blogspot.com/ and got a few new centers from there as well!  We will be doing those next week (yes, we have school until the 23rd!) so I will post those, along with some of our literacy centers next week.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Batch of GIngerbread!

WoW!  It seems like Gingerbread is the thing to do in kindergarten this time of year! Not only are the kids LOVING this unit - so am I!  It so great to see that so many people from all over are doing similar types things in kindergarten, it reaffirms that I am on the right track and "on par" with the latest, greatest and best in kindergarten!  While I have been seeing (and adding!) all the other great gingerbread men ideas from various blogs to my unit, here are a few of my own I thought I'd share to add to the batch!

In addition to reading and charting several versions of the story (this chart and corresponding activity are from/based off the Deanna Jump's gingerbread packet) we did a lot other fun things too!  I'll try not to repeat some of the more common ideas :)  oops... the flip chart is saved on my school PC!  So... the chart picture will be coming soon!

As a 6 Traits "word choice" activity we brainstormed other words instead of "popped" to describe how the gingerbread man got out of the oven.

At centers we worked on spelling our first and last names with only 1 capital letter.  To this day I don't understand why they are always throwing random capitals in!    Anyways, we are lucky enough to have a die cut machine for the gingerbread men :)  Last year I tried this having kids fold paper and cut them out to resemble paper dolls, and that was a DISASTER!  The kids used letter stencils I picked up through Oriental Trading Company a few years ago to spell their names.  We have also been having issues with appropriate glue usage, so I thought making them use  just a small dot on the hand/foot to attach them together would help their fine motor skills too.

The kids were so intrigued  about whose name was the longest, how many vowels, etc.  That next year I will be adding this sheet for them to fill out as well.  Grab it for FREE here!

Of course we had to do the "Which part of the gingerbread man did you bite first?" graph.  I just love making the kids cut out a gingerbread and then cut the part they bit off!  The data analysis sheets are from Deanna Jumps' gingerbread unit.

For our family project this week, the kids decorated a paper gingerbread man using food.  Of course we discussed what kind of food to use that wouldn't rot.  Somebody asked if they could use tomatoes!  Uh-- let's use things like cereal, uncooked pasta, candy, etc.  I am always so amazed at how great and creative these turn out!  (Ignore the hideous fabric background - it looked cute in the store, but not on my wall!  It's going to be changed very soon!)

 We practiced color words on the Promethean board with this idea I got from Julie Lee.  The kids have to write the color word in that color, and then they use the "spill the paint" bucket to color the frosting to match.  We made the book on the board, and then the kids made their own individual books as well.
You can download the Promethean Board activity HERE.

We labeled the parts of the gingerbread man and then wrote two sentences about him.  I'm impressed at how well our writing is coming along this year!  I also love how this student added lipstick to her gingerbread man!  Too cute!  This activity, and a few of the others, can be found in my "Stirring up some fun with the gingerbread man" packet.

Here is in area estimation and count activity we did.  Students estimate (im marker so they can't cahnge it later) how many --- they think will fit inside the gingerbread man.  Then they fill it up, and practice counting (and removing it as they count) to see if there estimate was close!  Of course, several guess "100" for whatever the object is, and then are shocked they weren't close! :P

Now it's off to have "visions of gingerbread dance in my head".  Enjoy!