Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Graduation Day

Graduation Day.  A happy and sad day all at once. It's a happy day because the children have made such huge gains with us this year and sad because most of my students are transitioning to new schools.  I am very sad to see them go.   I hope that I have laid the foundation for a love of learning and given them a solid base with which to build future skills.  For the children that are staying, I am looking forward to continuing to build on what we have started this year.  I have my class list and have met all the children that will be in my class next year.  It looks like it is going to be exciting and challenging at the same time.  I also looks like I'm going to have a few adaptive computer users next year so I look forward to that challenge and to hopefully bring some information about adapting computers for students with severe challenges to teachers who have students with similar needs.

I have one more day tomorrow for administrative purposes and then I'm on summer break.  I'm hoping to be able to get more items posted in my TPT store throughout the summer now that I have a bit more time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Book Whisperer Chapter 1

Jennifer over at Rowdy in First Grade is co-hosting Chapter 1 of the Book Whisperer.  Here are the questions (and my answers) that she posed.  Head over to her blog for more discussions on the book.

1) What quotes stood out to you and why?

On page 12 she talks about the child who said "I am done with my work; may I read my book now?".  That was so me in school.  I remember reading through the things I HAD to in order to get to the books I WANTED to read.  I hated all the books we had to read for high school; anything Shakespeare, Wuthering Heights etc.  Boring.  For someone who can read a book a night (if it's a nice easy read), these books were just torture.   I hated having to pick apart every little detail and symbolism in the books.  For me, it ruined the purpose of the book.  Why was I reading it?  In school, because I HAD to.  Not because I enjoyed it or wanted to.  If I was not a reader already,  it sure would not have made me one.   It would have put me off books altogether.
2) What did you do in your classroom this past year to show enthusiasm for reading?

In my classroom I do a take-home book program.  The children get to CHOOSE a book (at their level) to read to me, then read to someone at home.  If it's too hard or they are just not into it, they pick another one.  Even with only seven children, this takes up an incredible amount of my time.  Lately I had been thinking that maybe I need to change this; somehow speed it up.  But after reading this book I got to thinking that maybe I'm on the right track.  That the time we spend READING is paying off in the long run.   I see a huge difference in the reading levels of the children whose parents follow through with the reading program at home.  Of my verbal children, 80% of them were reading at least 3 levels above the benchmark level.  The two that did not meet benchmark for kindergarten were only in junior kindergarten and still have another year to reach the benchmark

3) Is there something you want to try or want to change in order to get your students more excited about what being a reader can do for you?

With all of this being said, I think we still need to do more reading in class everyday.  I want the books to me more accessible and want designated times when everyone is reading.  I love reading stories to the class and I think I need to find way fit more books in.  I also need to instill this into my coop students so that if they see a child is not doing anything, they know they can grab a book and read to them.

I need to figure out a way to address my non-verbal students.  How do I get the same results when they can't "read".  They are still very young and we are working on literacy skills, but how do I address the "read-to-self" or "read-to-peer".  How do I ensure that they are following along the same path as their peers?

Only 2 days left of school.............

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Math Work Stations Chapter 6

Once again I just want to say that I am finding this book one of the best resources I have read in years. On Friday, I found myself looking our newly released booklet on professional development that is available over the summer and caught myself wondering whether it would be worth spending $100 on a 2 day course in Math when I have gotten such a wealth of information from this book study. 

I found chapter 6 a lot more difficult for me as a kindergarten teacher than the other chapters.  We do count to 100 days and have a big celebration but this chapter made me wonder if I'm doing enough.  I don't think I'm delving into the foundation they need to REALLY understand the concept of place value.

Here's  what I am doing.

During calendar time this is the pocket chart that I use to count the days.
Instead of using the base ten block cards above, I made number cards which we changed each day.

During our 100's day celebration, we had each child bring in 100 items.  Here are some of the items they brought. We had them count their items into groups of 10.

I am looking forward to hearing from other kindergarten teachers on how they address place value.

For more ideas, head over to Oceans of First Grade Fun for more idea and the linky party.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Whisperer Pre-linky Party

Mrs Lyons is hosting a pre-book question and answer quiz linky party for the "Book Whisperer". Only a few more days until we start the book study.


Here are my answers to the questions.
1) What is your favourite book (or series) from childhood?

Wow, I read so much as a kid I don't know if I have a favorite.  Probably something by Judy Blume.  By 6th grade I was going through about 3 Harlequin Romance books a week.

2) What is your favourite book (or series) now?

I love the Tunnel series from Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams.  Also anything by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

3) What is your opinion of e-readers?

I don't have one . I've only just seen one, once.  I don't know if I would like them or not.

4) Finish this sentence: "On Sundays I like to..."


5) Describe yourself in 5 words!

Hockey mum, wife, teacher, reader

6) Hardcover or paperback? Why?

Doesn't matter to me.  Paperback are cheaper but if I can't wait for a sequel then I will get hardback. I usually get hardcover from the library.

7) Coffee or Tea?
Neither. I'm a diet Pepsi gal.

Head over to Mrs Lyons blog to link up with your answers or to see other people answers.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Book Whisperer

My book finally arrived and I'm so excited to be participating in and hosting Chapter 4 of this book.
Have you got your book yet? There is still time.

We will be starting to read along on Monday, June 27th so make sure you have your book by then. We are planning to discuss the chapters together, host some contests and giveaways, and generally enjoy the experience of reading this book together as a teaching community. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule and details.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Humpty Dumpty - The final plunge

Our egg drop was a huge success.  The children had so much fun.  Some survived and some didn't.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Humpty Dumpty Part 2

Yesterday afternoon we packaged our class egg for the big drop and made predictions about whether or not each persons egg would break or not.  We wrote everyone down on a big chart and will be comparing our results this afternoon after the bid drop.

Here is our egg.  Do you think it will break or not break?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Humpty Dumpty

sat on a wall.  Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  What happens when Humpty is thrown from the roof of the school?  Is there any way he can survive?

Tomorrow we are having an egg drop.  The children were asked to bring in an egg that is packaged to survive a fall off the roof of our building.  Our caretaker has volunteered to throw them for us.  Here is a copy of the note that went home if anyone wants to try this.

Egg Drop Note

Most of the children brought in their eggs this morning.  Here is what a few of them looked like.

 I'm pretty sure this one will break.
We are going to be making some predictions and packaging our class egg this afternoon.  Can't wait to see if Humpty Dumpty lives.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chapter 5 Math Work Stations

This chapter is all about addition and subtraction and at first I thought that this chapter would not have much relevance to me as I teach kindergarten.  Usually I start touching on adding and subtracting later in the year and then only for my students that I think are ready for it.

Boy was I wrong.

After reading this chapter I can totally see how I should be starting to introduce addition and subtraction stories early in the year and that it is not just being able to say 1 + 1 = 2 but understanding the concept behind it and we can start working on that UNDERSTANDING right from the beginning.

Here are Debbie's key points for kindergarten:

1. understand that addition is putting together (parts to whole) and subtracting is taking apart (whole to part), as in "take away" and "find the missing part" situations.
2. add and subtract using concrete objects and real-world situations with number combinations up to 10 (using pictures, numbers, and words)
3. decompose (or take apart) numbers to 5 in two different ways (such as 2 and 3; 1 and 4)

Early in the school year I need to start with adding and subtraction stories using the children (their names) and situations they are involved in.  I am definitely going to add math stories into the units I am creating for the beginning of the year.

Here are some of the activities that my students this year were doing at the end of the year.

In my forest animal math unit, the children took turns rolling the die and put that number of pine cones on the left side of the animal.  On their second roll the put that number of pine cones on the right side and added them up.  The child with the highest score won.

 In my pirate math unit, children used the pirates to represent the equation.

Don't to forget to check out more links for chapter 5 at

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Giant What?

Giant marshmallows...

I found these giant marshmallows at Walmart the other day.  I was thinking that I could make s'mores with the children.  Or I could buy mini's and regular and we could sort them. Anyone else have any wonderful ideas that I could do with them?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Have you entered the mega contest yet?

There is still time to enter the mega contest at Teacher 2 Teacher.   Follow me here (the follow button is on the left side bar) and follow my TpT store for entries.  Then head over to Teacher 2 Teacher for more chances to enter.

Painted Ladies

This week our painted lady butterflies hatched. What a sight. The children loved them.  They even used the binoculars to see them better!

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