Avoiding Chores

Sunday, October 19, 2014
I don't know if you are like me, but I find any excuse to avoid housework.  I usually am working on things for my classroom, but yesterday I branched out to something different.

My sister and I have been wanting to paint pictures of our dogs for a long time now.  We bought canvases and paint during the summer, but never managed to find time to get together to paint.  Summers can be surprisingly busy- I know that I put off doctor's appointments, dental work, and other things for my summer time so that I don't have to miss any days of school.  (I know most of my teacher friends do that as well.)  Then school started and we all know how busy and hectic that is!

Now that the dust has settled and the new school year is off and running successfully, I found that I had a Saturday afternoon open and so did my sister, so we FINALLY got together to paint.  We took our favorite photos of our dogs and went to work.  I used my docucam at school to help us sketch out the rough image and then we got inspired.  We scoured through art images of pet paintings to find our inspiration.  I was inspired by the BLUE DOG series, and my sister took a completely different route.

Here is one of my paintings...

Here are my sister's paintings... (she did all three in the time it took me to do just one).

The fun part is that our styles are so different.  We both liked our first paintings the best.  Hers was the bottom one and mine was the orange and white dog.  We think they really captured the personalities of our puppies.  I love all of hers and they look fantastic hanging on her bedroom wall.  I reworked my purple and blue dog until I just had to walk away.  It doesn't look at all like my sweet Angus, but I have more paint and can certainly try again.  After all, I tell my kids to PERSEVERE in all that they do, so I will do that as well until I get a painting of Angus that I feel captures his sweet essence.  No matter what, it was definitely better than cleaning the kitchen and doing the laundry (both of which are being done today BTW).

Making a Glyph

Saturday, October 18, 2014
I love making glyphs with my Kindergartners.  It combines math and art all in one great project. Why make a glyph?
math glyph definition

The glyph this month was a Jack-o-lantern.  I asked the kids different question and based on how they answered the questions, they build their Jack-o-lantern.

math and art fun with glyphs

I ask kids a question and then have them line up in the room based on their answer.  This gives them a good visual of and is a great concrete graphing lesson.  Then they head back to their seats and cut and glue the shapes depending on how they answered the question.  Some of my little guys want specific shapes and don't like being told what shape to use, but we talk a lot about how we are collecting data and if they use the shape they want and not the shape that represents their answer, then our data will be invalid.  This is tough for the little ones, but it reinforces listening skills and following directions.  I tell them that they can make another Jack-o-lantern for fun in the art center later in the week.

Our Jack-o-lanterns always turn out really cute.  I put them on the bulletin board and I place the glyph key along side the artwork.  This was our first glyph of the year so I made the key really big so that the parents could learn about glyphs as well.

We spend the rest of the month going over the data collected on the glyph.   We look at different parts of the glyph and collect and analyze the data during math time.  Here are two ways that we look at the data.
analyze pictorial data using glyphs

Tasting Mother Bear's Famous Porridge

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
After reading many different versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I make porridge for my kids to taste.  I use real Scottish porridge and cook it right in my crockpot in the classroom.  As the porridge is cooking and before we taste it, we discuss what porridge might be like.  I tell them that each bear likes their porridge in a different way- Papa Bear likes his with brown sugar, Mama Bear likes hers with honey, Baby Bear likes it extra sweet with both.  Then I ask, “Does Goldilocks like porridge?”  The kids decide that she does (after a bit of discussion-surprisingly) and that she likes it plain because she ate it all up without adding anything to it.  

Then I hand out the worksheet Mother Bear’s Famous Porridge and we make a prediction if we will like it or not. (Check the box).  Then we taste the porridge.  We use our five sense each step of the way.  What does it look like? smell like? feel like? sound like?  taste like?  This kids all laugh about the sound like question.  We all taste it plain at first, then I add a drop of honey to their porridge and they taste it that way.  Next I add a small bit of brown sugar and they taste it, finally I add both honey and brown sugar and they stir it up and taste that.  Some kids ask for seconds and I happily supply it.

collecting and recording data

After the taste test concludes, I pass out a small square of paper with a bowl on it and the kids color the porridge bowl and write their name on the square.  They add it to the graph under the category of how they preferred the porridge.  I always have a few kids who don’t like it at all so I have one section labeled YUK.  When all of the students have put their preference on the graph, we look at the results and complete the worksheet by adding the totals for each category.

We finish our day by writing about the activity.  I ask them to compare themselves to the characters.  Which way did you like your porridge and which character also liked it that way?  They enjoy writing about tasting the porridge and comparing themselves to the characters in the story.


Sunday, October 12, 2014
I work on rhyming all year long.  I assess my kids on rhyming at the beginning of the year and then we work on it all year long.  Did I say that we work on it all year long?  Yes, great.  Kids need to be able correctly hear and identify rhymes, but also to generate them on their own.  By the end of the year most of my kiddos can do just that (and are rhyming experts- if you ask them).

We read lots of rhyming books and we play lots of rhyming games as a whole group.  As the kids gain competency as rhymers I will read a book and pause to let the kids fill in the rhyme.  This is challenging and fun and keeps everyone engaged.

To practice and gain skill as "expert rhymers" I make sure to have a rhyming center available for kids to choose during Literacy Center or Word Work time each week.  I vary the activities but the skill is always the same- rhyming.

This rhyming center pictured below is a favorite of the kids.  They roll the big dice and if they get a rhyme then they complete the recording sheet.  I like to use dry erase markers and teddy bear counters or some other place marker so that we save paper resources.  It's more important for the kids to practice rhyming, than for me to have a worksheet to send home to parents showing what we worked on.  I talk to my parents about that very thing at Back To School Night.  I explain that kindergarten is very hands-on and that they might not see a lot of paper-pencil worksheets come home at the end of each week.  Even though their little one isn't bringing home a lot of worksheets, we are still VERY busy in the classroom learning in developmentally appropriate ways.  As the year progresses, they will see more and more evidence of this learning on paper, but in the beginning of the school year especially, the task is more important than a worksheet.

I have this fun Rhyming Center in my TpT store.  
See below if you are interested in taking a closer look.

How do you approach teaching rhyming in your classroom?  Are your kids self-expressed "rhyming experts" at the end of the year?

Bears, Bears, and more Bears

Saturday, October 4, 2014
Each year we have a Bear Week at my school- because our school mascot is a teddy bear.  We do things all week around bears, we taste foods that bears eat, we research real bears and compare the differences, we read lots and lots of books about bears, and we finish the week with a school-wide teddy bear picnic.  You can get the ideas that I use in my classroom in my Bear Week unit.

Each year I have my class paint bears to decorate our classroom.  This year we painted teddy bears and put them on the wall having a teddy bear picnic.  I thought they were so cute,  I would share them with you.  Enjoy!

Currently October

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Can you believe that it is October already?  Didn't school just start a few weeks ago?  I'm linking up with Farley again for her Currently party.  Here's what's currently happening with me.

Did you check out the treats in my Freebie section?  

Thanks for stopping by!
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