Guided Drawing Lesson of The Cat in the Hat

Enjoy Read Across American by doing a guided drawing lesson!

1. Make a dot in the middle of the page.
2. Starting at the dot make an oval below. it.
3. Make a cat nose in the center of the face.
4. Make a fat cheek on the side of the face and bring it around to be the smile.
5. Make eyes out of a 9 and a 6.
6. Add pupils, eyebrows and whiskers.
7. Draw a cat ear.
8. Draw a brim going beyond the head.
9. Draw the back of the hat by shading below the brim, stopping at the head.
10. Draw a tall and crooked hat.
11. Draw a neck.
12 Draw a large or small bow.
13. Give him some fur on the side of his face and neck.
14. Color his hat anything but Red and White!
15. Sign your masterpiece.
16. Have an art show.

Giants, Ogres and Trolls, Oh My!

Today we made our cooperative giants. Each group of three students were to work together to construct a giant, ogre or a troll. Then I took a picture of each student looking terrified and printed them as 8X10's. Each student then cut their picture out as a paper doll and placed them around the creatures. The kids loved placing themselves on the collage as they became part of the art.

Tomorrow we are going to make a full class joint construct of Abiyoyo. We will see how it goes.

Our mural in the works!

Posing for the "Terrified" picture.

Be sure to check out our unit on Folk Tales that include Giants, Ogres and Trolls at our online stores!
Always one of my students favorite units!!

Letter Paddles

Looking for another way to read words? Check out these letter paddles Kathleen just purchased for her classroom from Lakeshore (Don't you wish all teachers owned stock in that company?). There are 26 paddles in a sturdy storage box - the uppercase letter is on one side and the lowercase letter is on the other. The paddles can be used to make CVC and CVCe words as well as words with blends and digraphs. 

The letter paddles generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm! Two students held the rime of the word while six other students took turns holding different beginning consonants. The students were eager to hold the paddles; more importantly, even struggling students enthusiastically volunteered to read the words formed when their classmates held the paddles.

Building Brain Power By Hand

During our exploration of insects, I challenged the students (during rotation time) to build a bug city at the Construction Center. It's amazing to me to watch what the students come up with when given a task like this because it's a clear demonstration of their level of critical thinking. For example, these pictures show what one of the groups was able to construct:

Notice how they have built up from the table, how they have made nooks for individual bugs, even how they have sorted the bugs by type to let bugs of the same family "live" together. 

It is of great importance to have activities such as this available in my classroom; because our hands are so important to our brains. By using our hands to build, to touch, to explore, we form connections that help us not only to understand the world around us, but to think about the world around us.

Here are some other skills the children are developing by working at the Construction Center:
--Respecting the work of others
--Making choices and decisions
--Negotiating ideas
--Using creative, divergent thinking
--Dialoguing and problem solving
--Determining how real objects fit together
--Experimenting with the properties of physical objects, such as gravity, weight, stability, and balance

Amazing Water

Water is amazing! It covers over 70 percent of the earth and makes up over 70 percent of the human body. Beyond it’s importance in our lives, water is fun! 

Water can be studied at almost any time of the year. Water lessons easily fit into ocean, winter, weather, and spring units. Learning about evaporation, the states of matter, water tension, water flow, sink or float, etc. gives students opportunities to experiment and use scientific process skills.

Water bottles are a favorite water activity for most kindergartners. Wave, pearl swirl, fountain, and tornado bottles help students learn about water currents, flow, and movement.  Check out Steve Spangler for Pearl Swirl Concentrate and both tornado and fountain connectors. The bottle connectors can also be purchased from Amazon. Directions for the wave bottle can be found in our Ocean unit, and our Weather unit features many water lessons. Water is amazing!

100th Day

Kathleen's class in Idaho just celebrated their 100th day of kindergarten. It was a day full of 100 activities - counting objects, reading 100 Day books, writing numbers, and stringing Fruit Loop necklaces. 

Whether your 100th Day is long past or yet to come, counting to 100 has relevance in your classroom. According to the Math Common Core Standards, kindergartners should be able to count to 100 by ones and by tens. While some students begin the year counting to 100, most kindergarten kids need to count and count and count some more to achieve that goal. 

To develop and reinforce counting skills, I provide a variety of activities throughout the year. We play number and counting games during centers. We count various objects including pencils, crayons, pennies, marbles, and bears during opening activities. We count as we pick up or transition to a new activity, alternating between counting by ones and by tens. We also trace and write numbers on a regular basis to reinforce the count sequence.

Counting to 100 can easily be incorporated into your school day. If you’re looking for some games and activities to reinforce counting to 100, check out our 100 Day unit. Even though it is organized as a specific unit, most of the lessons can be used at any time of the year. Happy counting!

How Do They Do It?

The world of fabulous creative blogs and adoring pins are inspirational and frustrating just the same. They make me strive to be a better teacher, mother, wife, grandma, author, citizen, and on and on. 

These technological wonders do offer great ideas and moments of motivations, but they also add to the ever present notions, "I should do more!", "Why can't I get it all done?" or "Why can they do everything so perfectly?"

 Well, it is driving me crazy trying, so here is a great reminder for myself, and anyone else who is asking too much of themselves! Let's be a little kinder.... to ourselves. 

Arr! Pirates at Kindergarten

We have been enjoying the exciting activities that are found in our Pirate Unit.
Check it out to bring tons of Pirate fun into your classroom!

Pirate Thematic Unit and a Freebie: Linked to Common Core Standards

Arr! Check out our latest thematic unit. And as usual, all lessons are strategically linked to common core standards.

Confidently teach the common core standards!
This 94 page Pirate Unit is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, worksheets,, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading. The activities are clearly written, easy to use, and need limited amounts of preparation. The lessons (games or activities) included are scripted. They are written in a format that can be easily taught by the teacher or readily handed off to a parent volunteer or a classroom aide with complete confidence that objectives of the lesson will be reached. 
Table of Contents:
Scripted Literacy Lessons With Independent Options:
Treasure Chest Words: Writing CVC Words
Dangerous Waters: Naming Alphabet Letter Sounds Fluently
Alphabet Explosion: Fluently Recognizing Various Alphabet Fonts
Pirate Plunder: Fluently Naming Alphabet Letters
Pirate Cove: Alphabet Letter Name & Sound Fluency
Master of the Ship: Reading Sight Words
Independent Activities: 
Pirate Words: Writing CVC Words
Spyglass Sights: Writing CVC Words
Scripted Math Lessons With Independent Options:
Treasure Math: Writing Addition Problems
Jewel Grab: Comparing Number Quantity
The Missing Treasure Chest: Ordering Numbers
Treasure Coordinates: Combining Numbers to 10
Independent Activities: 
Pirate Ships
Treasure Hunt: Identifying and Writing Numbers
Pirate Word Wall
Ahoy Matey
If I had a Pet Parrot
Art Projects
Pirate Hat & Spyglass
Shape Pirate
Parrot Pet
Pirate Ship
Pirate Captain 
Guided Reading Books
The Pirates
The Little Pirates
I Am a Pirate
Twenty Four Pirates

To compliment the unit and to add to guided reading fun, check out our emergent reads.

Arr! Spice up your guided readings with these great pirate themed books!
Book Titles and Levels
I Like Pirates-- Level C
X Marks The Spot-- Level E
The Pirates -- Level C
The Treasure -- Level D

And, here is the freebie, ENJOY!

Chinese New Year

The Day of the Dragon
 Kathleen's Kindergarten Classroom  -- Blackfoot, Idaho

We are in the final days of The Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese calendar, so we had a day of dragon-based centers today.  

To build literacy skills we read If You Meet a Dragon by Joy Cowley (Wright Group), completed a dragon consonant substitution activity, and played a dragon segmenting game. 

To reinforce greater than/less than as well as review teen numbers, we played Dragon Squeeze. 

Students also designed Chinese dragons.

The Year of the Snake begins on February 10. In the next few days we will make Chinese hats and lanterns and play learning games from the Chinese New Year unit. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

We have a great packet featuring Chinese Themed Activities. Be sure to check it out! 
Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Segmenting Words

        Segmentation is the flip side of oral blending. Like blending, segmenting or breaking words apart helps develop better readers and writers.

Although blending comes first in the continuum of reading skills, segmenting quickly follows; in the case of syllables the two are often presented simultaneously. Students should begin clapping out syllables at an early stage of literacy development.

After each level of blending is introduced, segmenting should be presented before going on to the next level of blending. You can wait until the students have some comfort with blending before adding segmentation, and you can provide additional assistance with the segmenting, but don’t ignore or skip this skill.

Kicking Karate

If students struggle with segmenting, have them identify the initial consonant. Next ask if they hear any other sounds....the final or the medial sound. Finally, demonstrate a cross-body tap method to underscore the sounds in the word. For the word dog say /d/ and touch or tap your opposite shoulder with your hand. Next say the middle sound and touch the bend of your arm. Finally, say the final sound and tap the opposite hand, then slide your hand down the opposite arm from top to bottom as you say the word normally. Have the students copy you both in the cross body tapping and in saying the sounds.

Most blending lessons can be turned into segmenting lessons. After a student blends sounds into a word, have the entire group say the sounds for the word together. As students are able, they can practice segmenting three-sound words independently. Some games that feature blending and/or segmenting include Valentine Sounds (Valentine unit), Ocean Sounds (Ocean), Glacier Bay (Arctic Freeze) and Kicking Karate (Chinese New Year Unit).

Laser Pointers at Guided Reading

I love using these laser beams at guided reading! Students who have been struggling with word to word correspondence seem to perfect the skill when they are able to use these fun, inexpensive beams. 

I purchased mine on Amazon, but I am sure they are available elsewhere.