Monday, February 25, 2013

Family Math Night

Last Thursday, our class had a family math night. While attendance was not as good as I had hoped, those who attended seemed to have a great time and learn a lot!

Students and their families played 6 different math games then created their own "copy" of the game to take home and continue to play.  Many of the games were modeled after the Everyday Math games we play throughout the year.  We practiced: addition, subtraction, coin identification and values, trading for 5s and 10s, number order and number identification 0-20.  I created a packet on TpT with directions on how to create the materials and directions to play the games.

Materials such as dice, cubes, paper, and counters were purchased through a project on  We LOVE in our classroom!

Below are a few pictures from the night.  Thanks to my buddy, Helen (and her daughter), and my student teacher for their help!

This is the "toolkit" my students received.  It included: Legos (for addition/subtraction), 3 "dice in dice", 2 regular dice, 25 counters.

Students also received a "white board" (SOLO plate), a dry erase marker and an "eraser" (felt square).  They thought it was the jackpot!

Coloring game pieces for "Super Number".

Playing "Caterpillar to Butterfly" addition and subtraction game.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five For Friday Linky Party {2/22}

I am linking up again with Kasey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five For Friday link up.  I am looking forward to seeing all the different things going on in the classrooms that link up each week.  Below are some of the highlights from our week!

This week we began using "Word Jail".  I saw this in a magazine (probably Mailbox) back when I taught third grade, which was 7 years ago.  I never used the idea in third grade, but tucked it in the back of my mind.  My kiddos L-O-V-E "Word Jail"!  The sign at the top says "A place for words that don't follow the spelling rules".  Throughout the day they will say, "That word belongs in word jail!".  It makes me laugh.  They use word jail just like a word wall.

We began our study of 3-D (solid) shapes.  My students seem to be grasping the "fat not flat" concept.  We have been listing items that are of each shape.  This weekend, students are taking homework home where they will find various items around the house of each shape and either write or draw the objects. Today we read my emergent reader about 3-D shapes.  Both of these activities can be found in my Spotlight on Solid Shapes packet.  Below you will see one of my students using an iPad to make a book about solid shapes using pictures she took at Family Math Night last night (see below).

We are learning about Community Helpers.  Our puppet theater is up and running with career puppets.

Last night we had a Family Math Night for my students and their families.  My friend and coworker, Mrs. Reich and my student teacher helped out for the evening.  The kiddos and their families each visited 6 different stations where they played a math game then created their own copy of the game to take home and play.  It was a hit!  I modified (mostly by changing the name and types of materials) many of the games we already play to create interest.  Thanks to, I was able to provide all the dice, counters and other game pieces students would need.  I am working to get the events of the evening put together in a future post.

With our read aloud today, we were to practice sequencing and summarizing.  My student teacher split the students into groups of 4 and assigned each student a part of the book to draw a picture about (just as the manual said).  While they were working, I remembered that I had purchased some magnetic strips at Target on clearance back in the fall.  I had a 'I know what I can do with that purchase' moment and dug them out.  Students then attached their pictures in order with magnets and shared their summary with their classmates.

Next week will bring more Community Helpers studies to our room, and we will also be discussing safety at home, at school and around our community.  What is on the horizon for you next week?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

We celebrated Valentine's Day on February 14 with some Sweetheart Math and had our low-key party on February 15.

We measured objects using candy hearts.

Using the different color combinations of candy hearts, students practice writing addition problems and solving them.

I was looking for a way to have students work on vowels.  Some are still struggling to remember which letters are vowels.  My kiddos looked at the messages printed on the hearts and tallied the vowels. There is one box for each vowel on the paper.  This was their favorite activity!

At our Valentine's Day party, we used crazy heart straws to transfer marshmallows from a plate to a cup.  Most students did a great job with this and were thrilled to do it many times.  A few poked the straw into the marshmallow rather than sucking air into the straw to pick it up :).

You can never have too much icing or sprinkles on your party cookie!

Foam hearts from the Target Dollar Bin decorated with foam letters and hearts.

Towers were made from conversation hearts.  A lot of focus and concentration was involved here!

Valentine's Day kept us busy!  We did a brief lesson on President's Day at the end of the day.  My student teacher takes over Tuesday when we begin our unit on Community Helpers.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five for Friday Linky Party {February 15}

I'm linking up again with Kasey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five For Friday Linky Party.  I've been looking forward to this each week!

We had the opportunity to meet Cecil Shorts III, wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Yes, we live in Ohio, but he went to the University of Mount Union, which is in our town.  He signed autographs for the all the kids.  One of my students said she didn't like his team because only "likes the Aviators" (our school mascot).  We tried to explain that it was 2 different kinds of teams, but only the Aviators would do for her.  :)

We used my Sweetheart Math Freebie on Thursday for our math time. My students were so engaged and thrilled by their 11 little candy hearts.  They couldn't get enough of it.  I love that they practiced math skills and were more excited than I thought they'd be!

We had this little Love Bug for breakfast on Valentine's Day.  Our party wasn't until today (Friday), so we needed a little bit of festivity on Valentine's Day itself.  It is made from: a slice of white bread cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, a strawberry marshmallow, mini chocolate chips, cheerios and raspberry jam.  The kiddos gave their stamp of approval!

I got this puzzle as a gift for Valentine's Day.  It was found on clearance at our local WalMart.  There is a butterfly life cycle puzzle as well as a solar system puzzle.  I love the facts shown around the puzzle.

We had a great time at our Valentine's Day party today.  A favorite activity was stacking conversation hearts into "towers".  Our classroom record was 11 hearts.

We are off Monday and will be beginning a new unit on Community Helpers on Tuesday.  What are you planning next week?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Little Blog!

Thanks to My Cute Graphics!

A year ago today I started "A Very Curious Class" thanks to the inspiration of some great bloggers out there and my students who each had their own active blogs at that point.  It has been an adventure, and I have learned a lot!  I'm looking forward to another exciting year.

In celebration, I'd like to give away an item of your choosing from my store.  Please comment below with your product choice and an e-mail address.  I will choose a winner Saturday morning.

Check back tomorrow for some Valentine's Day happenings.  Our party isn't until tomorrow.  Here is a little preview.

We had this little "Love Bug" for breakfast.  Thank you left over 100th Day Cheerios and mini chocolate chips!  The head is a strawberry marshmallow.  The body is white bread cut with a cookie cutter in the shape of a heart then raspberry jam spread over it. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Techy Teacher Tuesday {2/12}

I'm linking up with Queen of the First Grade Jungle for Techy Teacher Tuesday. Today I wanted to share a few of our favorite apps.

This app is created by Lakeshore Learning.  It is 99 cents.  If you have any of their software games, this is actually the same as the software by the same name.  Children sort pictures by beginning sound in this game.  My students love this one, and I think part of it is the sound effects.

Bugs and Buttons is worth every cent of the $2.99 I paid for it!  I also own Bugs and Bubbles.  It not only has "fun" and "academic", but also includes some good fine motor practice. 

Sock Puppets is a fun one.  I have used this to have students discuss social problems.  Students "talked" to each other using Sock Puppets to explain the steps to introducing one another and the characteristics they would look for in a good friend.  I use the free version.

I like Show Me for its versatility.  Last year, I used this for an assessment where students had to draw a picture of their family and tell a story about it.  Using Show Me, you can draw a picture and then record voice.  So, students drew their picture then hit record and told me about the picture.  You can also choose to record as you are drawing.  I have used this feature as students worked through an addition story problem.   This app is also free!

I get updates from Smart Apps for Kids with limited time free apps and other app reviews.  This been very valuable for getting many apps for free and sharing freebies with parents.

What apps do you recommend?

Thursday is the one year birthday of my little blog.  Be sure to check back Thursday, or simply follow me for an easy update, for my "blog birthday".

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sweetheart Math

I created a new little math packet using heart candy.  The colors included are those found the SweeTarts brand hearts bag.  I plan to use the activities this week with my kiddos, so pictures of the activities in action to come at the end of the week.  It is a freebie that you can get here.  Pictures of the activities are below.

Use candy hearts to measure the 3 objects on this sheet.

Graph candy hearts by color.  Indicate which has the most/least.

Complete addition problems based on the number of hearts you have of each color.

Tally the number of vowels in words found on your hearts.  My students are struggling to remember which letters are vowels, so I thought this might be some good practice.

It would be "sweet" of you to leave a comment if you decide to download these activities.  What do you have planned for Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kindergarten Writing Makes Me Smile

We have been working on writing in response to books we have read.  This week we learned about different types of communication, and on Friday, we focused on writing.  More specifically, we focused on letters.  Our writing center has had stationary and envelopes all week to write letters, but I wanted to do something that would really get the kids excited about letter writing.  On Fridays, we are able to choose our own read aloud, so I chose The Jolly Postman.

My kiddos LOVED this book!  It was fun to see their excitement in recognizing the nursery rhymes and fairy tales.  My favorite was one student saying "Are there 2 big bad wolves?  There was one in the 3 Little Pigs and on in Little Red Riding Hood.  Is it the same wolf?"  Good question!

During writing time, students were then given the task to write about a letter that the postman brought to someone they know. A student then called out, "Don't forget the details Miss Hennon!"  I asked her what we could use for details in our sentence and she said, "Well, you should probably write who the letter is from too."  Such a smart cookie!

"The postman gave my dad a "lebote" (envelope). "
This one made me smile because he was determined to use our vocabulary word, envelope, that we had discussed early in the week.  

"The post girl gave me a letter. It was from my sister."

I'm sorry these next two are turned sideways.  They are upright in iPhoto.  No cooperation from Blogger here! :) 
"My friend gave me a note.  The post girl gave my mom mail.  The post boy gave my dad mail."  She is working through different vowel sounds.  She knows that /ee/ makes a long e sound, so she is associating that with all vowels (like in "noot" = "note").  

"The postman gave my mom a letter.  It had a picture and a flower in it. "  Earlier this week, we read Dear Juno and in the story, Juno got a picture and a flower in the mail from his grandmother. 

I'm proud of all their hard work and the progress they have made in writing!

I'm curious to know what you use for writing paper.  This year, I have been using monthly journals (notice we still have room in our January journals that we are trying to fill in before going on) with just a single line for students to write on.  I have used commerically available journals in the past from Lakeshore, plain paper, lined paper and folded paper books.  I'm debating where to go next with the type of paper my students write on.  What do you use in your classroom?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Five For Friday Linky Party (Feb. 8)

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for "Five For Friday Linky Party" today to share 5 things from my classroom this week.  It has been a busy week learning about different types of communication.

We are watching You Tube videos on the iPad using the QR codes I created.  (See this post for more on QR codes in my classroom).  This guy is watching the sign language alphabet and trying to make the letters on his own.  We are also learning to say hello in different languages on You Tube.

We are sorting valentines by vowel sounds.  I circled characters on some extra valentines and students are sorting them into Target dollar bin mailboxes.  You can see a post about this activity here.

We cut out symmetrical hearts at the dramatic play lab.  Students then "addressed" and "stamped" them and had the opportunity to be the mailman and deliver them to their friends' mailboxes.  The mailboxes are just paper bags with students' names and pictures on them.  They will take these home at the end of our 2 week unit.  The postal vest is from JoAnn Fabrics.

We are using the Zoob Car Designer kit to build vehicles at the block lab.  Students have built everything from cars to lawn mowers. I thought the lawn mower was pretty creative!  They are loving this center.  He is looking at directions on how to build a car, but students were encouraged to try their own creations too.

"The mailman brought a letter for my mom and my dad.  my sister got one too."
We are working on writing in response to a story.  Today we read "The Jolly Postman" and wrote about what the postman might bring to someone we know.  I plan to write a post with more writing examples this weekend, so check back later this weekend!

What was on your agenda this week?  What are you looking forward to next week?  I'd love to hear your plans!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Techy Teacher Tuesday Linky Party

I'm linking up with Katie at Queen of the First Grade Jungle for her Techy Teacher Tuesday linky party.

Our current unit is entitled "Words and Roads Take Us Places".  You would think this would be about transportation (well, that was our assumption anyway), but week one is about communication and week two is about different types of transportation.

I found some YouTube videos for my students showing sign language and a little song teaching them to say "hello" in different languages.  I then went to and created QR codes for each video I wanted my students to have access to.  They use our classroom iPads to scan the QR codes and watch the videos during center time.  I have been impressed, so far, that they have stuck to the videos I have asked them to watch.  They are excited to watch them multiple times.

Below are the QR codes I created for my classroom.  You can download them by clicking here.  The 2 alphabet codes and the animals code are sign language, and the "hello" code is learning to say hello in different languages.  This time I printed them just as they are and mounted them on a full sheet of construction paper.  See my previous post about using QR codes in my classroom to see them mounted to our closet door.

Have you used QR codes in your classroom?  What have you done to incorporate them?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine's Day Mailboxes

Last week, Heidi from HeidiSongs, posted a question on her Facebook page asking for suggestions to use the small mailboxes found in the Target Dollar Bin.  I read many great ideas there and came up with this.

I purchased 5 mailboxes at Target.  Each mailbox flag is labeled with a vowel.  Students are looking at valentines and sorting the pictures by the middle sound (vowel sound).  This was a huge hit today!  Where did I get the valentines you ask?  Our local Walmart donated many boxes (100s) of Valentines after Valentine's Day last year.  Prior to giving them to students, I pulled out one set of each kind.  You could also ask students to donate unused valentines.  My students are LOVING sorting things like the Disney princesses, Spongebob and sports equipment.  To make it clear to students what they need to sort, I circled the picture I wanted them to sort with a black Sharpie.  I then laminated the valentines so they would last.

Do you have other ideas for using extra valentines in your classroom?