Friday, March 1, 2013

100th Day of School, v2.0

One of my favorite school celebrations is the 100th day of school!  In years past, I set up 10 stations which kids rotated through every 10 minutes for a total guessed it, 100 minutes!!!  In 1st Grade, it worked well enough.  And while many of the kids being the flexible, lovely children they were, could care less that they weren't always able to finish one of the stations before being shuffled along to the next, it was always a personal point of frustration/disappointment.  Enter the disastrous 100th Day of my first year as a Kindergarten teacher.  Am I being a little dramatic about the disaster that this 100th day was?  Maybe...but that's a moot point because I am NEVER, EVER doing stations again with my kinders!  Did my kids enjoy themselves?  They sure did!  Did I?  Absolutely NOT!!  What fun is the 100th Day if I can't enjoy the festivities with my kinders?!

So I decided to upgrade the day to ensure a good time for ALL.  And I am happy to report that the day was a success!  On the 99th day of school, we read, The Night Before the 100th Day of School.  Everyone was excited to bring in their 100th day projects to share with the class the next day. 

On the 100th day of school, students proudly marched their projects into the classroom and we created a museum display that spilled out into the hallway.  We spent some time doing a "museum walk," to see all of the creative 100th day projects in the Kindergarten hall.  Among them were Fancy Nancy with 100 bows (painted bow-tie pasta), a robot with 100 buttons, an igloo crafted using 100 marshmallows, and candy rainbows made from rainbow colored Twizzlers.

Later that morning, we did a science experiment that my best friend, Archana, shared with me.  First, we made predictions about how full a cup with 100 drops of water would be.  Then, we got to work in small groups to test our predictions.  We were surprised to find that the cup was mostly different from our predictions. 

 After lunch, we read 100th Day of my favorite 100th day of school stories!!! 

Next, we made gumball machines with 100 gumballs (fingerprints).  I set up 10 tables around the room with different colored ink pads.  At each table I placed a number from 1-10 to help students figure out where to go next.  They were instructed to add 10 gumballs at each table.  I was really impressed with how well my students followed directions for rotating around the room (especially in figuring out that from table 10, they moved on to table 1).     


We had practiced counting to 10 many times before, so it was an easy task to help them figure out the total number of gumballs they would have in their 100th day gumball machines (10 gumballs at each of 10 tables, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100!!). 


All in all, the 100th day of school was a hit!  Replacing the stations with a selection of fun 100th day activities allowed me to strike a balance between fun, organization, and control and actually enjoy the day with my students.  The 100th Day of School, version 2.0, was a small victory...but I'll take it!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Channukah, The Festival of Lights

Every winter in Kindergarten, we learn about different holidays people celebrate during winter.  One of those holidays is Channukah.  In my quest to find a cute Channukah center, I discovered that there weren't many blogs featuring fun Channukah ideas.  I decided to blog about some of the creative ways to teach young children about Channukah.  In addition to fun craft projects, I like to cook latkes (potato pancakes) with my students...this always goes over well!  What's not to like about a pancake made from shredded potatoes?!? 
In Social Studies we learned about symbols of our country, so in the winter when we are learning about different holidays, we identify symbols of those holidays.  When we learn about Channukah, we discuss symbols such as the menorah, latkes, candles, dreidel, and Channukah gelt (aka chocolate coins).  After reading a book about how people celebrate Channukah, we made a menorah using construction and tissue papers.
Then, we learned about a special game people play during Channukah.  We played a game of dreidel and used math objects (unifix cubes or two-sided counters) instead of gelt (money).  I always give students a piece of chocolate gelt (a chocolate gold coin) after they play the game. 
After we have learned how to play the game, we follow directions to make a dreidel (a spinning top)...that we can eat!!  The best part?  The flavor combination of milk chocolate and fluffy marshmallow with the crunch of a pretzel stick is the PERFECT union of sweet and salty!  Start by getting 1 chocolate kiss, 1 marshmallow, 1 pretzel stick, and some chocolate frosting.  To assemble, "glue" the chocolate kiss to the marshmallow with a small dab of chocolate frosting.  Then, poke a pretzel stick into the top of the marshmallow.  Finally (and believe won't have to tell them twice), eat and enjoy!
In writer's workshop, we did shared writing to list the steps to make a candy dreidel. Then, students write independently to describe how to make a candy dreidel. Their favorite part?? Eating it, of course! 
In literacy centers, students made 3-dimensional dreidels.  They traced and cut out four paper dreidels.  After decorating them, we folded them in half, glued them together and attached a piece of yarn on the top.  Older students would likely be able to assemble the dreidels independently.  Although, if I had done this in my years as a first grade teacher, I likely would have helped most/all of them with the assembly. 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

I love days when math lessons start with a question or problem for children to solve and figure out.  I wish more days were like that...something to work towards in the new year.  On this particular day, I handed each student a bag of green paper strips and told them that their math job was to put them in order from shortest to longest.  Shortly after my math detectives set off to do their math job, the silence broke and a wave of excitement and discovery took over.  "It's a Christmas tree!!!" one little girl exclaimed. 
After the discovery was made, I introduced materials that they could use to transform the paper strips into a beautiful Christmas tree.  The children adorned their trees with sparkling sequins and a star on the top.
After all of the Christmas trees were assembled and decorated, we left them to dry at our tables while we engaged in "math talk" to discuss the different ways students solved the problem.  This was, dare I say it...FUN! 
My students were so engaged and facilitating a discussion about how they solved the problem was almost effortless. I am always looking for creative, hands-on experiences that allow students to build their enthusiasm for math. What great math ideas have you tried out lately?

Friday, February 1, 2013

The end of my sabbatical from blogging

After a lengthy, unintentional blogging sabbatical, I am back to have a go at journaling about my adventures in Kindergarten.  I have set small personal fitness goals for myself in the New Year and am ready to take on a few creative goals as well...starting with this blog.  I'm hoping the momentum will continue with an update to my food blog, Paper Cup Confections

And while I am not-so-secretly upset that the Redskins aren't playing in the Superbowl this weekend, I am excited for my friends who are big Ravens fans.  Whether I agree to wear purple in support of said friends on Superbowl Sunday has yet to be determined.  :-)  In celebration of Superbowl Sunday, I am throwing a sale over at Teachers Pay Teachers...20% off of everything in my TPT store!  And if you enter SUPER at checkout, you can save an additional 10%.  I am excited to check out the sales and grab some goodies for my Kindergarteners!

I hope that everyone has a fabulous weekend!!!



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Lorax: How Many Ways Can We Make 15 cents?

I have decided that on Friday, my kinders and I will be celebrating Earth Day with a "birthday party" of sorts for Mother Earth.  After reading The Lorax in the morning, we will be doing some Lorax math in the afternoon. 

We have been learning about money in math, so on Friday, we are going to practice different ways of making 15 cents (the price you'll pay if you want to speak with the Once-ler!).  After making 15 cents using real money, I'm going to have my students make (and decorate) the Once-ler's pail and glue paper coins to show how they made 15 cents.  It will look a little something like this:

Then, I'll create a display of the different ways to make 15 cents on the board outside our classroom!  I've put together a kit of the materials needed to give this is a go in your classroom.  It's currently FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers, so please check it out and leave me some feedback (here and/or on Teachers Pay Teachers)!  I'll update with more pictures once my kinder mathematicians have created their pails with 15 cents. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Caps for Sale!

 In my last post, I mentioned that we had just started our money unit last week.  Near the week's end, we read Caps for Sale. It is one of my favorites! I adore watching my students revisit the story as they read independently and retell the story with such expression (especially when the monkeys imitate the peddler...makes me smile every time!). After reading, we practiced counting sets of dimes.

I asked every child to design a cap to sell. We used dimes to count out 50 cents and then modeled it using paper dimes (using a strip of paper dimes I gave each child).  The printables are available on Teachers Pay Teachers.


Who wouldn't spend 50 cents to buy one of these colorful caps?! My kinders were so engaged in the design of their caps! If I were to do this again, I think I would have them make a paper cap to wear. Perhaps we would take photos of the kinder "peddlers" wearing their caps and create a class display in the hallway that reads, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!" and display 5 giant dimes below the pictures. I might even make a class book that reads, "(Colton)'s cap costs 50 cents instead of 1 cap costs 50 cents.

A Dollar for Penny

Last week in kindergarten, we started our money unit in math. Every child brought in a bag of coins so that we could practice counting sets of money using real money! We sent home a letter to families specifying the number of each coin to include in the set. I gave families about one week's notice and several lovely families sent in extra bags for children who didn't bring in one of their own. 

The first money book we read was A Dollar for Penny, by Dr. Julie Glass.  The illustrations are lovely and we really enjoyed the simple rhyming text. 

Every child used 5 of their pennies to purchase some lemonade and treats.  Each item was labeled with a price and children had to decide how to spend their 5 cents.  After placing pennies on the items we wanted to purchase, we placed our orders by gluing desired items on a paper mat. 

I gave every child a strip of paper pennies to be used to show 5 cents in pennies.  Finally, we enjoyed a refreshing glass of lemonade.  What a sweet ending to our math lesson!