Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Literacy Centers- Name work/ word work

Exploring words in a variety of ways will help children learn spelling and improve vocabulary.  I believe in a hands- on approach even when spelling words.  I plan on making word boxes using sight words I will show you as soon as they are finished.  I will be using the empty baby food containers and stickers and other letters.  Children will be able to put the words together using the outside word as an example.  I may also make a surprise word box when they start reading words a little better.  For now here are some really special ideas I would like to try this year.   

Name work- provides letters so children can practice their names without worrying about correct letter formation.  These activities easily fit on a tray to encourage individual work.
Word work- for older children
Milk caps or bottle tops make a simple name game.  You can make each child a set and put it in a baggies with a label or just provide plenty of letters for children to chose from.

Christmas ornaments on a string printable. adorable!

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Toddler approved, easy name puzzle


This would be fun to use to spell names.

And here is a great way to store them.  Kids could take them home.

crayon rubbings with word puzzles

Valentine's words and other great Valentine's printables

Digging up your name or letters in a word, you could use plastic letters too.
Color words with Brown Bear, Brown Bear downloads thanks to Doodle bugs teaching
She has a lot of neat printables to check out too.

color by number site words

word and picture cards in color

printable site word stuff.  I love 1+1+1=1 playdo mats.

label your home, I send home a game like this, but she makes them pretty.

Now tell me the boys wont want to do this

Great for site words

I love this using colored alphabet pasta, and lots of other great ideas too.

Here is another great color word printable

I like these spinny spellers
I've been hearing a lot of sylable work going on.

This is a cute way to do it.  You can purchase the monster unit from Mrs. Lee's kindergarten from tpt

Here is a free syllable or clapping out words center sheet.  I love all the centers at Kidscount1234.com.  You have to visit.  The Jenga game is neat learning fun.  I want the gumball machine game.

This is a great word family center.  You'll also find a word family stick game.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Will Post Soon

Sorry everyone if you were looking for Fingerplay Friday or any other fun posts.  I have been very busy this week.  I was given a classroom to set up in 2 days before kids came, and because of budget cuts, it was taken away.  So I am in the midst of cleaning up and back on the sub list again.  I am also preparing for a wedding my daughter and I will be attending, so I will try to get things back up and running soon.  Thanks for your support and all the wonderful comments.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stages of Writing

     I don't have a lot of experience with a specific writing curriculum, but I have acquired a lot of knowledge though observation, conferences, college classes, and reading.  I was very fortunate to have a really good language arts teacher in college.  She showed us how important real literature and writing go hand in hand to teach children to read and write.

     Before a child is ready to write, Handwriting Without Tears, has shown that children progress in markings in a certain order.  First, side to side, then up and down, then a cross, then a circle, then a square, then a triangle.  This just states that diagonal writing is the hardest for little hands to make.  So, don't start writing with letter A.  When children start to assign meaning to their marks, then starts the real writing.

I found this very neat worksheet somewhere and thought it was a good description for parents to look at.  I hang it up on my parent board, so they can see that their child isn't just scribbling.

My daughter has really been interested in writing lately so here are some of her writings.  She is almost 4 1/2 now, so keep that in mind.  Also all of these writings happened in the last 6 months.  Children can move quickly through stages if they are interested. 

Stage 1 
Simple pictures tell the story.  I believe she told me this was our family.  She is the biggest one, of course.

Stage 2
Do you remember scribbling the continuous mountains.  They do mean something in this stage.  This was a fish.

Stage 3
Various letters in random order on the page.

Stage 4
We are not quite here yet but close.  Children in this stage start to use the phonemic knowledge they have to apply it to the letters they write.  I think you will notice the next 3 stages blend together very easily, so it may seem a child is skipping around.

You will start to see her L(upside down) and the i in her name.  She also found out that an M starts with her dad's name, so when her scribbles started to look like M's she continued to make them.
Stage 5
Children use the initial letter of each word to write sentences.
"I L U"
Stage 6
More phonemic awareness and maybe some words they know.
"I LV M Mommy"

Stage 7
Vowels appear.

Stage 8
Syllables are represented
"My Fav or it clr is prple

Stage 9
Many words are spelled correctly and more sentences are used.

Remember all children are different and progress at different rates, so I do not put ages next to any of these stages. 

There are ways to help children progress through these stages.  If you are familiar with guided reading you will probably know that guided writing goes right along with it. 

Write for children.  You are the model.  At calendar time you could write the date.  While children are making pictures or art, you could have the child dictate what they want their picture to say.  Make sure to use correct spelling and grammar. 

Write with children.  Called Shared writing.  Here is where correct spelling and grammar does not need to be enforced.  We do not want to discourage children from trying.  But if the class or child notices, use "boo boo tape" (any tape you can cover a mistake that the child notices and write over.)  Some people do a morning message.  I prefer to write about meaningful things that have happened in or outside the classroom.  Go for a walk.  Write what you saw.  If someone visited write about that.  Allow them to share the pen, writing the letters or words they know.  This also works really well one on one with students.  If a child is making a book, walk over and ask if you can help.     

Provide opportunities for children to write alone.  Have a writing center.  Use daily journals.  I would recommend asking the child to dictate after they are finished with their work so not to disturb their work.  This is helpful for children to see what they say can be translated into words, and as a parent, it is nice to understand what the child is drawing.  Children need to experience writing in order to progress through the stages.  I will be sharing some ideas for writing centers in a later post.

Handwriting Without Tears does offer a lot of neat writing manipulatives that help the child form letters correctly, use the pencil grip, start writing at the top of the paper, and others.  The CD's are great.  The wooden sticks and curves are great manipulative for kids to form letters.

Many of these tools can be bought cheaply through other means.

Playdough is one of these tools.  You can find many recipes for playdough on my blog.
This magnetic writer is another tool.  I would recommend buying one of their versions because they come with wooden magnetic pieces that children use to form letters. (They are called sticks and curves.)  If you have used one of these you know how easily they are destroyed, so finding them cheap is great.  This one $1.  Walmart had them as part of their Easter stuff.
Do you use a specific writing curriculum?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wow! Eric Carle in Japan

Eric Carle exibit in Japan.  Neat!

Math Centers- Number work

Children get to explore numbers in a variety of forms. 

Numeral to set

These types of games are very simple to make.  Pick any theme.  Cut shapes or buy them already cut out.  Then find something that goes with the shape to use as counters.  I like using those shaped erasers you can buy at the dollar store.

Here are butterflies cut from the ellison machine. I put numbers 1-10 on the front and 11-20 on the back just so higher level thinkers can have a challenge.  I have snowmen, cars, Christmas trees, hearts, and flowers.  Any little manipulative piece can be paired with a shape to make a thematic game.

You can also buy store bought games and adapt them to your needs.  This game is cute but is too easy.  It is set up more like flash cards so that kids can count the number of M&M's on each card.  I use bowls or thought about making candy jars with the little M&M pieces.

great number work

This site has the cutest printable number games.

Fun and good for fine motor

This is cute, but I would use dots and numbers.

adorable file folder game

light table counting

Make Milk Carton Counting Houses
This would be neat while talking about families.  Kids could make their own family.

here are autumn number playdo mats and a number stamping chart and lots of other free printables.

Number Order

Here I made a puzzle out of an old calendar picture.  The picture helps the children put the numbers in order.

This would work well with stick puzzles too.

Here are some neat ideas for your math centers.  I like how she uses space to create a center.

Here is a cute game for working with odd and even numbers.

Here are neat number activity centers

Writing numbers
here are some cute writing sheets and number chants to help children remember how to make the numbers.

Adding &Taking away
Tired Need Sleep has some cute printable dice to give the children a physical activity to help the concept of adding and taking away.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fingerplay Friday- All About Me

Some how I post my Fingerplay Friday post on Monday so here are some more for Friday

I see my shadow and my shadow sees me.
I waved to my shadow and my shadow waves to me.
I run with my shadow and my shadow runs with me.
I love my shadow and my shadow loves me.

Ten, Two, and One
I have 10 fingers, I have 10 toes,
I have 2 ears and one little nose,
I have 2 eyes, one mouth, one chin,
I have one tongue that moves out and in.

Number Rhyme
1,2 How do you do?
1,2,3 Clap with me.
1,2,3,4 Jump on the floor.
1,2,3,4,5 See the bees in the hive.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fun attention getter

If you are interested in getting the kids attention try this.
I've seen it called catch a bubble also.

It does say it may stain, but I have not had any problems.  Parents are a little concerned when they see them in their hair, but they do wash out.

Just blow (i do not let the kids do it), count to 10, then catch.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fingerplay Friday- Friends and Family

I love fingerplays and songs where the tune is familiar but the words are new.  Here's one.

The Friendship Song (London Bridges)
A friend is someone who is kind, who is kind, who is kind.
A friend is someone who is kind, just like (child's name)
A friend is someone who can help, who can help, who can help.
A friend is someone who can help, just like (child's name)
A friend is someone who can share, who can share, who can share.
A friend is someone who can share, just like (child's name)
A friend is someone you can trust, you can trust, you can trust.
A friend is someone you can trust, just like (child's name)

Finger People
Finger people are such fun
We will meet them one by one.
First comes mother, (pointer finger)
Next comes father,
Ther is big brother,
Here is sister with her ball
Here is baby last of all
Now we'll count them just to see
How many in our family
                                                                    Activity- cut out ellison machine family people. let kids glue the
                                                                    members of their family on paper and count.

We say thank you, we say please,
 and excuse me when we sneeze.
That's the way we do what's right.
We have manners. We're polite.

Update on edible crayons

For those who saw my post on edible crayons and are planning to try it, here is a little more information.

I told you I was planning to use a large block of candy instead of the chips.  This is because I live in a small town and that was all that was available.  Well, I have never made my own candy before so I assumed you could use food coloring to add color to the candy once melted.  When you read the directions, it says to use oil based coloring.  What is that?  Also something not available in this small town.  Here is where I got it.  Do not use regular food coloring.  It will ruin your candy.  Good luck creating.

Wilton Candy

Primary Candy Colors Set

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finger play Friday

On Fridays, I will share with you the fingerplays and poems I have collected over the years.  Some I have used over and over.  Others I may use just for fun.  Others I have yet to use, but like them anyway.

The Name Game
Names are short (put your hands close together)
Names are long (put your hands far away)
Say your name and clap along
Child's name, Child's name (clap sylables in child's name)

Give a smile
Give a cheer
Let us know that you are here
Child's name.

The Name Clapping Game (BINGO)
words by Steven Traugh
I'll sing and clap with my new friend,
And child's name is her name, oh!
-----(say each letter in child's name_
----- (repeat)
----- (repeat)
And child's name is her name, Oh!

2 Little Hands (my favorite- I used it every day after we did calendar counting to get kids to sit down)
2 little hands go clap, clap, clap. (clap hands)
2 little feet go tap, tap, tap. (stomp feet)
2 little hands go thump, thump, thump. (thump fists together)
2 little feet go jump, jump, jump. (jump)
1 little body turns around. (turn all the way around)
1 littel child sits quietly down. (say it quietly with finger over mouth)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

For a substitute teacher

     This one is for all those teacher's out there preparing for your days with your students.  How have you prepared for when you can not be in the classroom?  I know teachers do all they can to come to work day after day, but if you sprang your ankle, your child is sick, or your car wont start, do you have everything ready for someone who has never met your students to teach them.  Down here you only need a GED to substitute teach, so you may get a substitute teacher with varying experience when it comes to teaching. 

     Since I have yet to find a job teaching, I will be returning to substitute teaching this year.  Since I have a lot of experience being a substitute teacher, I thought I would share with you what I would want to see in your classroom. 

1. Normalcy- The one thing I don't want to see is a day full of worksheets because you don't know if I can handle your class on a normal day.  Changing things around only makes kids anxious, and when they get anxious so do the subs. 

2.A class list that stays in the classroom.  The attendance that you send to the office isn't enough.  Name tags fall off, name plates on the tables rip off, and children think it's funny when they sit in someone else's seat.  Sometimes kids wont talk to someone they don't know, and being able to use their name will make them feel more comfortable.  And sometimes I have trouble understanding those little voices.

substitute folder list of students
Here is a great idea.

3.A schedule of your day with times attached.

4.A list of everyday songs with the words.  Routines are important, so if you sing a song everyday, I want to sing that song.  I take this one with me.
                               2 little hands go clap, clap, clap. 
                               2 little feet go tap, tap, tap.
                               2 little hands go thump, thump, thump.
                               2 little feet go jump, jump, jump.
                               1 little body turns around.
                               1 little child sits quietly down.

5.All materials necessary to complete the activities on your lesson plans.  Including books, supplies, papers, CD's.  I love it when teachers use post it notes on stacks that label each activity.  This way if the lesson plan is a little confusing, I can go to the stacks of stuff.  Now if this is an unexpected absent then it would be hard to have this planned out, but a list of where items are usually would be helpful.  If you need wipe off markers and can't find them, how can you use the wipe off board.

I would always have a simple activity planned that would only be used if a sub would come in.

I make a paper with dried tempera paint on it.  All you need is water and paint brush, and you have an instant art activity. 

Leave your classes favorite book for the sub to read
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

6.An explanation of how you do activities.  Many times I have started centers and the kids say "I did this one yesterday, you have to move them".  Well then they go on to tell you, "move the names up, no move them down, no I didn't do this one yesterday".  Yeah, lots of stress going on there.  Also, knowing what the children are suppose to do in each center would be helpful.   I know very well the students are not suppose to be throwing the magnetic letters on the board, but there were no instructions and I can't stand over those 2 kids the whole time and ask them to spell this word. 

How do you sharpen pencils?
How do you get kids' attention? clap, ring bell, sing song, say chant?
How do you chose jobs?
What do you do at calendar time?
Where do kids put their book bags, lunch boxes, homework?
How do you go to the bathroom?
How do you dismiss the kids?
What are the rules for going outside?  In Ohio going outside at 40 degrees is normal.  Down here, they don't
                           go outside if it is 40 degrees.
What do you do when you can't go outside?
What do kids do when a rule is broken?
Where do your kids sit at lunch or at dismissal?
What do you do when a child gets hurt?
Do kids need lunch tickets or passes to go to the office?
How do you use those electronic devices some of us have never seen?  I even had trouble finding the VCR
                          in one room, because it was in a cabinet.

Do not leave these answers up to the kids.  Every one will have a different answer.

If you want to make a substitute folder, go here.  You will find everything you need.

7.The names of those special students.  I know you don't want to label a child before a sub gets to know them, but when you know what you are dealing with ahead of time, you can deal with it.  If I know this child is ADD not just a trouble maker then I can deal with it.  If I know this child cries every time her mom leave, I can deal with it.  If I know this student will always tell me what should be going on, then I know who to turn to.  The day should not be a guessing game.  A substitute is only in your room for one day.  Why not make it easier.

8.Extras- extra books, extra paper, extra game, extra activities, extra music
Sometimes the day goes by a lot faster than expected.  Kids love to be read to.  Kids love to color.  Kids love to sing and dance.

9.The name and room number of the teacher that can best help with any problems.  Tell the teachers in the next classroom where you keep your sub folder, your lesson plans, your supplies.  I am going to ask for help when I need it.  I might as well go right to the best source.

10.What should I do before I leave?  Does the trash need to be taken out in the hallway, chairs on desks, papers taken to office?  I want to leave the room ready for you when you return.