Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Doesn't Belong?

Every year when we do sorting, my kids love to play the "What Doesn't Belong?" game.  I use the picture cards, below, cut lengthwise into four-picture strips. I love this game because it brings so many skills into the lesson, while still being fun. It develops vocabulary, encourages logical thinking and also pulls critical thinking all into one fun lesson.
First we name all of the pictures on the strip. Students then decide what doesn't belong in the group of four pictures. Almost all of them know, right away, which one doesn't belong. THE TRICK, however, and the most important part of this lesson, is that they have to tell me WHY that item doesn't belong. For example, "The "pool" doesn't belong because it's not something you eat." Many times, there can be more than one correct answer. For example, in this group of pictures:  cake, pool, pizza, carrot a student might say that the "carrot" doesn't belong because it's not round. Both of these answers are correct. Students LOVE it when they think of a reason that one doesn't belong that even I didn't think of! I love this game because it is a means of differentiation just by letting the students think and talk. Hope you can use it, too. Click on the picture to download three pages of card strips.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Let's Go Bowling!

Great fun from Dollar Tree! Found this mini bowling set that we'll use when we talk about making sets of 10 (addition) and when doing subtraction.
Below are the sheets to go with this center. Click on them to view or download. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Other ideas??

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Another exciting find at Dollar Tree! I found these door-sized (6 ft. tall!) palm tree door covers! They will be GREAT to put on a door and use magnetic letters to tell the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom story!

Mrs. Larremore has a great "edible" Chicka tree. The Teacher Wife has some great ideas for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Check them out!

Everybody Sort!

Love these! They are "tiki" ice cube trays, but they have officially been renamed as "sorting" trays. Buttons, beads, teeny tiny animals. And they're soft, so they'll be much quieter than hard plastic. Check them out at Dollar Tree!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cheap Peeps!

My husband is always on the lookout for a bargain. Recently, just after Easter, he came home with a bag full of these:
Now don't get me wrong: I think they are cute, too. But that's just what we DON'T need in our house: more candy! Each of these adorable chicks had three small peanut butter cups in them. And he had purchased about 18 of them!
"But they were only 9 cents apiece!" he cried. "The candy alone is worth that!" Hmmmmm....not so sure I agree there.....but I was pretty sure I could find a good use for the eggs!

After removing the candy from the eggs, I put the eggs back in the "holder" he had brought them home in.
And they instantly became: "math peeps!" The game is played like "memory" or concentration. Player one turns over two "peeps." If they match, he leaves them upside down and both players write the number sentence and the sum on a pair of peeps (download the sheet below.) If they do not match, the peeps are turned upright and player two has a turn. Play is completed when all of the peeps are matched.
Lot's of fun--for 9 cents a peep. You can download the "Peep Matching" sheet by clicking on the image below.
I hope to use these other ways, too, especially since they open easily and stay closed tightly. Anyone have any other good ideas for their use?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Being Proactive: Transportation Tags

I think the biggest concern I hear from parents at the beginning of the year is "who will make sure my child goes home the right way?" While it's a huge concern of most parents, it's also a concern for teachers: we ALL want to be sure our little charges get home safely. Our district is very cautious with student transportation---and it is a pet peeve of our principal. And rightly so.

Our kindergarten teachers use the tags below to assist in making sure our students get home the correct way. Parents fill out a form at Kindergarten Orientation telling how the child will go home. The teachers then fill out the transportation tag, which has already been laminated, hole punched and had a "grommet" put in for durability, and attach it to the child's backpack with a "zip tie." This way, any staff member who comes across the child can easily tell where this student belongs, whether it's in the morning as he comes from parent drop-off or in the afternoon as he is getting on a bus. This has worked well for us and has helped our parents, as well as our principal, feel more secure about student transportation.

Click on the picture to download!

Thinking Ahead to Orientation.....

I've been "creeping," as my oldest daughter calls it, on different blogs looking for "beginning of the year" ideas. I'm not finding much, yet. This is probably due to the fact that many of the schools aren't even out for the year yet. My school system in Florida is one of the "counties of distinction," meaning we have had test scores in the top 10 counties for a number of years. Such schools are allowed to start school anytime after the second week of August. (Other schools have to wait until no more than two weeks before Labor Day.) So while we are beginning our second week of summer vacation, many schools haven't even started the countdown. Good for us now, but once August comes......

Our kindergarten team uses the following form to find out about our students and families. It has worked well for us, with some updating, for many years. I am wondering, though, if there are others out there that are better? If you find a good one, please leave a comment. And feel free to borrow ours.
Click on the picture to download.

My Friends Are Addicts

Teacher BLOG addicts, that is! Today five of us met, only one week after school got out, to talk about next year----and print and laminate activities we have gleaned off of our favorite blogs! There are six of us on our kindergarten team----and four of us are now teacher blog addicts. Check out this blog that one of our teachers started: teacherblogstalker 

The problem is, though, that not only are we spending WAAYYYY too much time perusing other teacher blogs, but there is NO WAY we can ever do all of the activities and ideas that we have downloaded or saved. Somehow we will have to purge and delete----but not yet. We'll save that for later. Afterall, we have the whole summer ahead of us.........