Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap

How was your Thanksgiving?  Mine was relaxed and full of family and thanks.  Here is a little recap of our 2 days leading up to Thanksgiving break.  Warning: many pictures to follow!

A little pasta necklace action to wear for our school-wide feast. 

My kiddos loved this strategy game from Miss DeCarbo!  A few of them had no strategy, but no tears over losing.  A win in my book!  You can find it here.

They enjoyed this turkey color-by-middle-sound during literacy centers.  You can find it here.  It was a freebie!

We made the Mayflower out of a milk carton and Pilgrim & Indian puppets on popsicle sticks to retell the story of the first Thanksgiving.  The Mayflower was made by giving them two 4" thick pieces of brown paper to cut a curve in the top to resemble a boat.  I brought them duct tape to attach it to the milk carton.  The milk carton had one side cut out so they could put their puppets inside.  They created a sail from 1/8 a sheet of white printer paper and attached it to a straw then taped it to the brown paper.  We taped the brown paper together in the front and back to give the ship a point.  The Pilgrim & Indian puppets are just clipart from a clip art book that I shrunk on the copier.  They colored these, cut them out and glued them to popsicle sticks.
This was a favorite activity!
The next set of photos was inspired by Julie Lee's post on Pilgrim life.  During centers, students had a few jobs that would have be representative of what life was like in Pilgrim times.  They used Lincoln Logs to building Pilgrim houses, stuffed mattresses using plastic bags and pillow cases, snapped green beans and husked corn/removed kernels.  They all seemed to agree that being a Pilgrim was hard work!

I know Thanksgiving is over, but I hope this gives you some ideas for next year!  How did you prepare for Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Letters {November 23}

I'm linking up with Michelle from Big Time Literacy for Sunday Letters.

Thank-you for stopping by and your support of me and my little blog.  Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaching Mouse and Typing Skills

My district has told us that our students are weak in basic computer skills (keyboard and mouse skills).  I don't want my students' true academic abilities to not shine through because they don't have computer skills, so I set out to remedy this problem!

First up, a packet I read about on Kickin' It In Kindergarten.  I loved that the kids had to use the mouse to click in each box then used their typing skills to write (type) each word in the box. I asked students to name the picture for me to make sure they knew what each thing was called, then I let them loose to type each word.  The only downfall was that my student computers don't have and won't support Adobe.  My kiddos, on the other hand, find this to be fantastic because they get to use my laptop with a mouse plugged in.

My computer is on a tiny table, so my kiddos pulled over a Little Tykes chair from my Dramatic Play center.  Whatever works!

Their favorite thing after typing was being able to print it to take it home.  We don't let them print much, so this was a big deal.  You can find the packet here.

My personal favorite is "eggcorn".  When you listen to her say it, that is totally how she says it!  It seems to be cutting the tops of the letters off..."lef" actually ends in an "f".

Deedee Wills (Mrs. Wills Kindergarten) posted some free websites with typing practice recently as well.

For mouse skills, I found the following site: MiniMouse  My kiddos haven't used this one yet, but I played a couple of them, and I think they will really like them!

For basic mouse control, I found a game on ABCya.  I had a difficult time navigating this with my laptop touchpad, but I think it would be doable with an actual mouse.

Lastly, I found a Symbaloo page with various mouse skills on it.  This will be added to our bookmarks ASAP.

How do you practice these skills (typing and mouse skills) with your kiddos?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Our First Snowy Day 2014

Today was our first accumulating snowfall.  No snow day here though.  My students couldn't get enough of the snow as it snowed most of the day.  We got lucky in that it was pretty "warm" for a snowy day.

I decided to take my kiddos out for a little science/observation.  I gave each partnership a 1/4 piece of black construction paper and a magnifying glass.  The person with the paper was charged with collecting snowflakes (falling from the sky) for their partner, with the magnifying glass, to observe.  The observer was to look at the shape of the snowflake and see if they could identify how many sides the snowflake has.

After catching some snowflakes and doing some observation, partners switched jobs.

When we headed back in, students wrote about their experience.  It was fun seeing them stretch out "magnifying glass" to write it.  It is always nice to hear, "This is the best day ever".  The activity brought on that response today.

How do you keep your kiddos engaged when the snow wants their attention too?

Monday, November 10, 2014

What's On the Menu? Project

Our current theme is "What's On the Menu?".  Last week we learned about healthy foods and the different foods groups; this week we focus on where food comes from.  We worked on a bit of a project last week that I want to share with you.

I put my class in 5 different groups based on personality and grouping students with differing abilities together.  Each group was assigned a food group.  They were first given a recording sheet to fill in: food group, how many servings a day, why is the group important for your body, examples of foods in the group.

After completing the recording sheet, students were given grocery ads, and they had to complete a collage of food in their food group on construction paper.

The last step to our project was to create a  "Gami" using the app Tellagami on our iPads.  Groups chose a speaker and created an avatar on the app.  The "speaker" then recorded her (all groups picked a girl) voice telling important facts about their food group which were agreed upon by the group.  Using this new app was definitely a highlight of the project for them!  Here is an example of a "Gami" from our project.  Warning: This took a very long time to load on my internet connection!  This example is the grains group's piece.

Working together to create their avatar before recording.

The collages and the "gami's" were put together into a simple book using Book Creator.  You can download the book on your Apple device here.

My students loved this project and are able to share the important things about their food group.  How do you keep your kiddos engaged and excited about learning in your classroom?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bats, Spiders and Owls

When deciding what to teach the week of Halloween, I allowed my students to vote: bats, spiders or owls.  The vote in our room was close, and I struggled to not allow students to learn about the things they wanted to learn about.  I decided to allow each student to be in a group and learn about the animal of their choice.

2 groups learned about spiders and one group for each bats and owls.

Students started off filling in a graphic organizer using some easy readers and PebbleGo.  I also found a book about spiders on Reading A-Z.  Each group chose a note-taker and got to work.

After completing their research, students worked with me to create a book using the app Book Creator. They learned to find images on Google Images and crop them if necessary.  Students were able to type their own text and add the pictures chosen to the page.  After the book was completed, it was sent to Apple to be published in the iBookstore.  Our technology department also converted the book into a PDF file and a YouTube file.

Sharing the PDF version of their book with the class.

You check out our books using the links below.

Spider Book 1
You Tube:
Apple Bookstore: id935354828

Spider Book 2 
You Tube: HERE
Apple Bookstore: id935729503

Bat BookYou Tube:
Apple Bookstore: id934901206

Owl Book
You Tube:
Apple Bookstore: id935364253

My students were SO excited to see their work published.  This was a fun project, and students learned a lot!

I'll be back soon to share our next project on healthy eating.  We are well on our way, but that project is not finished yet.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {November 5}

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo for Wordless Wednesday.

My kiddos are loving their National Geographic Young Explorers magazines.  What materials do your students like to read?