Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Halloween Writing Activity

It's Halloween week!  Today we went to the pumpkin patch and picked the perfect pumpkins!  The straw maze through us for a loop.  It was highly entertaining watching 5 year olds try to navigate their way through the maze!   Field trips are a blast but I'm BEAT!

Who wants/needs a fun, simple Halloween writing activity????   This is a perfect writing activity
for Halloween week and also works great as a time filler!   I could also see this as a great center or station for your Halloween party!  

It's simple.  What will my teacher be for Halloween?

I had a teammate snap a closeup picture of my face.  Printed copies for each of the 'staches.  We discussed what Mr. Greg might be for Halloween....and off they went.

A princess....these 'staches have me all figured out!

A chicken....

The Flash...

Frankenstein.  Interestingly I got several see the me as some big green monster?!  HMMM

We had a blast with this super fun and simple writing activity.  Your class will love getting to dress you up for Halloween!!!!  

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Of Jen Jones!

Hello Monday.  Mr. Greg is in need of some MAJOR glitter.  Monday definitely kicked my hiney today.  OMG!  The 'staches were bonkers.  Cutting clothes...rolling on the floor...tomorrow will be better...tomorrow will be better....but seriously, WHERE IS THE GLITTER?!?!  Anyone else??

OK...I've had my dramatic moment...we can move on.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Jen Jones (she's my friend because she stayed at my house and rode in my big green Jeep!)  visited my school and did a day long PD session. word:  GLITTERRIFIC!  And if you know me, that is the highest praise Smorgie can bestow on something.  But seriously...she was amazing.

Her PD was what all PD sessions should be:  USEFUL and RELEVANT.  And the best part:  we walked away with ideas that can be used TODAY!  And those ideas require little if any work on our part.  SERIOUSLY.

So there were several take aways for using pictures for close reading in kindergarten.  Zooming in on the pictures to discuss WHAT YOU SEE and WHAT YOU THINK YOU SEE!  HELLO!!!!  Brilliant!  (This will be a later blog post!)

But two things Jen discussed are in use in my classroom and I wanted to share those with you.

Think about this:  a child gives an opinion or answers a question and what do I say?  "WHY?"  Well, as Mrs. Jen Jones pointed out, that word has a negative feeling and when you say "WHY?" a child (and adults...hello super sensitive Mr. Greg....I'm very fragile...) almost immediatley THINKS they're wrong.   So how about a simple fix!  You ready....mind blowing stuff....seriously, mind blown....

There ya go.  Instead of asking WHY, use the word because.

Not only does it take away the negative...but it immediately moves our little scholars into higher level thinking. 

Here's how I've implemented this word:

I made a because poster and put it on the stage as a reminder for the 'staches and myself.  (Jen Jones said make a poster.  Almost 100% of the classrooms in our school now have a because poster.  If she says it, you make it.)

When discussing a story and someone gives an answer, I say "BECAUSE?" and they have to justify their answer.  CRITICAL THINKING!  And it's so easy because it's just a word.  


I've noticed a huge shift in just a couple of weeks of using the word.  The 'staches are more talkative when discussing books and are much more willing to justify their answers and give evidence!

EXAMPLE:  today a little girl told me she liked my sweater...BECAUSE it was pink and pink is her favorite.  It's becoming natural to them.

And if it's natural in will become natural in writing.

We also take one morning meeting share time a week and ask a question where they have to use BECAUSE to justify their response.  

For example:  would you rather eat apples or carrots all day?   

They answer in complete sentences and use because.

Isn't that mind blowing?  It definitely blew my little glittery brain.  

If you want the because sign, click HERE for your freebie!

Then she talked about vocabulary.  For my 'staches, this is a huge issue.  Our vocabulary is lacking

How about this simple fix:

How simple yet effective.  We did this after reading The Halloweiner and pulled out four vocabulary words.  I heard them using the words all day long.  Especially unusual.

We read the word, define it in kid friendly terms and draw a picture.  Eventually they can have their own word journal!  But for now it's a class chart.  When full we will laminate and post the chart in the room for reference!

Now you need to go visit Hello Literacy (Jen's blog) because she is brilliant.  BRILLIANT!

She also has amazing fonts and borders!!!!!    In fact, it's her font and borders that I used to create my because sign!

And TRICK OR TREAT!  All of my Halloween creations are 20% off this week!  Including my Halloween bundle!  

Click here to start saving!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Schedulin Sunday!

And he's BAAAACK!  Have you missed me?!   I spent last week in Boston visiting some amazing schools that are part of the TIME Collaborative which advocates longer school days which are structured differently to maximize learning.  My school is already an extended day so we are looking for ways to restructure our day.  I'm working on a blog post about the experience!  Boston was great (from what tiny bit I saw!) and the nor'easter almost blew me away.  No for real.  I was getting in our Uber car (first time ever using UBER!!!) and the wind blew so hard I almost went down!   
And now I'm back.  Ready to rock the 'staches minds for Halloween week!  

As always, here are my downloadable lesson plans:

This week our morning meeting greeting is:  greet your friend in a scary voice!!!!!!  So excited!

Here are the books we're reading this week:

We will read The Hallo-Weiner and do a flow map to re-tell and sequence the story.

We will read Go Away Big Green Monster and make a list of describing words.   We will do a predictable chart about monsters.  I see a _______ monster.  

We will read Skeleton Hiccups and discuss cause and effect.

And T-rex Trick or Treats is just for fun.

As we read these books we will be using a new vocabulary strategy that Jen Jones at Hello Literacy shared with us when she did PD at my school.  More to come!

This week is also the week that the 'staches get to be independent with their word study.  I am so excited to get this rolling!!!!  

In math, we are working on comparing numbers.  We will spend Monday using our Greater Than/Less Than signs to show if a group of real life objects is greater than or less than.  We will grab cubes, count the cubes and determine greater than and less than.  We will roll dice and write the number and determine greater/less than!  

We will also be doing measurement this week.   We will be doing HAUNTED MEASUREMENT!

Grab and count mats.  Students grab a handful of cubes and place them on each hand.  Then they write the number on their sheet and show < > =!  

Click the picture for your freebie!

For science, we are doing one of my favorites!

Anytime you can mix stuff up and make it erupt, I'm all in!  FOR REAL!

A little baking soda, vinegar and food coloring makes a huge mess and a lasting memory.  Last year when we did this the kids went bonkers.  They were just amazed!  I highly recommend it!
(Click the picture to get your freebie!)

We will paint our big colorful monster!

Here is another fun and simple art project for Halloween....seriously, we did this last week and OMG I love this so much I might have them make more this week!

Wednesday is our annual field trip to the pumpkin patch!  When we return from the farm, we get to clean out our pumpkins and plant a flower inside!

How about some freebies?!?!

This is a graphing freebie designed to be used with the differentiation cubes (CLICK HERE).  If you don't have these cubes in your class, you can put the monsters in a bag and students can grab one and graph!

Many of our activities this week come from these creations:



I put Franken-Core on sale for $3!  Happy Halloween!

Going-Batty is also on sale for $3!   Trick or treat!

And check out my latest research project creation!

Be sure to head to my Facebook page for a chance to win a copy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Schedulin Sunday: Halloween!

Happy Schedulin Sunday!  I am actually Schedulin for a 4 day sub this week.  YIKES!

My school is participating in the TIME Collaborative.  It's a process to find ways to make your school run more efficiently so you maximize your instructional time.  It's all about working smarter not harder.  So...they are sending our team to Boston to visit schools who have been through the process.  So I am off to Boston for four days!!!

But I wanted to share some Halloween ideas that you might use in your classroom!

Read Go Away Big Green Monster.  Give students a white piece of construction paper.  Squirt paint in the middle.  Squick.  Add eyes, nose and a mouth.  Students can write about their monster!

Paint 2 paper plates black.  Cut one plate in half to make wings.  Glue or staple on the wings.  Add eyes.

Give each student a pumpkin.  Allow them to clean out the pumpkin.  Fill with potting soil.  Add a flower!

Q-TIp Skeletons!
Feet painting!  Candy Corn and ghosts!
Some super fun science experiments!

Click here for your directions and recoding sheets!

Make predictions about what will happen when you put the egg in vinegar.  Place egg in vinegar on day one.  On day 2 examine the egg and place in food coloring.  Remove.  MONSTER EYES!

Click here for a fun math freebie!

And by request, here is another Smashing Pumpkins creation!  This one is for numbers and counting to 20!  Skills included:  tally marks, ten frames, counting and number recognition!

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