Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Lil' Bit of President's Day with some Valentine's on the Side

So the past week has been CRAZY with weather - snow and ice...mainly ICE.

 Last week was one of those weeks that you just survive. 

We were out on Monday for President's Day, out on Tuesday for weather (ice), school on Wednesday, delayed start (ice) AND in-house professional development on Thursday, and early dismissal (ice with a TINY bit of snow) on Friday.

Needless to say, all of the fun activities that I had planned for President's Day didn't happen. :(

We did, however, find the time on Wednesday to read the book Duck for President and talk about what we would do if we were President. (I intended to copy all of their ideas down onto a cute anchor chart to display, but time was not on my side!) Time did allow for a little flag craft and discussion!

We first examined the flag in our classroom and counted the stripes and stars.

Then, we made our own!

We added a little writing activity (of course!) to our flag and then displayed them in the hallway.
(I think he has the right idea!) 

So that is all that we accomplished for President's Day. 

Before I go, let me share some of our Valentine's Day boxes. I got the idea from Simply Kinder! You can check it out {here}. 

I have to say I was VERY surprised at how well these turned out! This was the first year that I have done anything like this. We usually just decorate white paper bags and call it a day. :)

All of them were WONDERFUL! You can tell that a lot of thought and time went into making them.

 Here are a few of my favorites:

I will DEFINITELY be doing this again! Thanks Jennifer from Simply Kinder!

One more thing....

can't leave out our BEE-utiful bees from Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies!

I hope everyone has a Happy Monday! I will be enjoying yet another Snow (ICE) Day!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Out with the OLD and in with the NEW......PRINTER!

So, my fellow blogging friends, it finally happened. My faithful printer that I have had for six years DIED. 

I felt as though I has lost my right arm. Seriously....I use my printer way more than most people (I think). You see, my classroom is way down in the basement, FAR AWAY from the school's copy machine. All of my printables that I use (from TPT of course!) are on my computer, so it is just so easy and convenient to simply print my 15 copies off the printer. Until, it was GONE! Then, I had to depend on the teacher across the hall to print off the essentials (weekly homework that you can find {here}) until I could find a replacement laser printer. 

Luckily, I still had my instructional money left to spend, so the search for a new printer began! I started off by asking the advice of my fellow teaching/blogging buddy Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies. She shared with me her post about her new printer that she bought (which you can read {HERE}). 
LOVED the printer, but unfortunately Amazon doesn't carry that particular printer anymore. :( 

My next step was to check out the recommendations from Amazon on printers similar to Jennifer's and,  
lo and behold, I found my new printer!

Canon imageCLASS LBP6670dn Laser Printer

I LOVE this printer! It is super fast, pretty quiet, and has an AWESOME two-sided print option. I couldn't ask for a better printer and what was even better about choosing this printer is that I found it on a day that it was ON SALE! That's right, I bought my new awesome printer for $99.99!!! 
And the (off-brand) printer cartridges are just $30! 

Check it out for yourself by clicking {HERE}. Like I said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this printer! I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a laser printer. Best purchase that I could have made for my classroom! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Polar Bears and Weather

Just had to share what we have been up to the past couple of weeks!

We used Jennifer's (from First Grade Blue Skies) Polar Bear Close Read and "Bear" Facts FREEBIE packs to learn about Polar Bears.

We began a unit on weather by asking and answering the question 
"What is Weather?".
We learned what a meteorologist is and does using this darling anchor chart from
And we were able to listen to a presentation by the MAIN WEATHER MAN,

And of course, you can't have a weather week without GRAPHING!
We used activities from this pack from Education to the Core.

That's what we have been doing....what have you been up to? 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

This week was all about snowmen. We began the week by introducing this poem from Tara West.
My kinders loved acting out this poem. It really helped to get the wiggles out during carpet time. 

We read the book Snowmen At Night {click here to purchase} and worked on a story map for the story.
We talked about the different story elements and worked together to complete the story map together during whole group.

My kinders then completed their own story maps, which we displayed on the bulletin board in the entryway of our classroom.

Don't you just love my snowman displaying the story elements?
I just love how Creative Clips can add to any bulletin board display!

After we read the book and I saw how much my kinders enjoyed talking about the snowmen, I decided that I wanted a fun way to conclude our "Snowman Week". After seeing several fellow teachers blogging about making snow in their classroom, I decided to give it a try! I got on Pinterest and found this recipe for homemade snow.

The recipe called for 2 cups of baking soda and 1/2 cup of conditioner. I doubled the recipe for each of my groups and it was more than enough for each student to have enough snow to build a snowman.
I ended up using six boxes of baking soda and one large bottle of conditioner for my 15 students.

I wanted to surprise my kinders with the "snow", so I didn't tell them about it until right before we made it. I did, however, give them a small hint. Our question of the day was "Do you want to build a snowman?"
Would you believe that I had one say "no"? 
He changed his mind though when I brought out the snow. :)

They LOVED playing with the snow! I was very pleased with how well it stuck together and how easy it was to clean up! A little sweeping and wiping down with wet wipes and Viola! a clean room again. 

After we played in the snow, we did a writing activity (had to keep it educational!) that you can snag for free by clicking here. 

Do you wanna build a snowman?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Counting In the Primary Classroom Post #1: How to Support Counting in the Classroom

Counting is something that is so simple, yet so important for primary learners! Most people (who are not teachers) don't get why counting is such an important part of math for young children, especially kindergarten. Just think about it! An entire domain is dedicated to counting and cardinality in kindergarten and both first and second grade have a standard that is dedicated to counting. 

Kindergarten Counting and Cardinality Domain

First Grade Standard

Second Grade Standard

Why is counting so important you may ask?

Let's think....

When you add, what are you doing? Putting two or more groups together to get a total. Well, if you can't count, how will you know how many are in each group?

When you subtract, what are you doing? Taking some away from a group. If you can't count, how will you know how many to take away and how many are left?

And that is just the beginning! Multiplying and dividing also depend on the ability to count. 

So if counting is this important, the question is....

How can we (teachers) support it in our classroom? I would like to share some pictures and ideas of how I support counting in my classroom. Hopefully, you will find something that you can use!

Every morning we count how many days that we have been in school. We count by both ones and tens, but you could also count by 2's or 5's.

To go along with our "how many days?" discussion, we also have Math Meeting. I began doing Math Meeting when I noticed that my students were struggling with the before and after, as well as, the counting on from a number other than one. I modeled my Math Meeting board after the PNOA (Primary Numbers Operation Assessment), which is the assessment used with OGAP (click {here} to learn more). 
**Since I took this picture, I have changed how I do the tally marks sections. Instead of tally marks for the days we have been in school, I just choose a random number for the students to tally.**

Daily Math is a quick five minute assessment that I use to see how well my students understand numbers. 
I write the number for the day on the Daily Math board and my students fill out the page below. This lets me see who is able to write both the number and number word correctly, as well as tally and represent the number in two ways (ten frame and by drawing a picture). You can grab a copy of this recording page by clicking {here}.

I also have a counting jar that will eventually be added to our daily math by the students having to count the objects in the jar to find the number of the day. Right now, they just count the objects and record the amount on a post-it as one of their station activities.

We created these anchor charts together as each number was introduced. Anchor charts for number 6 - 10 will be coming soon!

We looked at all the different ways that we can represent the numbers using Tara West's Number Sense Pack. My students also use this bulletin to help them with writing the number word for Daily Math.

I had these number anchor charts (I can't remember where I found them at the moment!) that I just loved but didn't know what to do with, so I put them on the side of my file cabinet. Throughout the day, I catch students walking by and counting the dots on the ten frames and finger tracing the numbers and number words. 

Here are the number lines that you can find in my classroom! I see students using these throughout the day to help with number writing, counting, and before & after. Number lines are such an important aspect of ANY classroom, not just primary ones. To learn about how to make a bead number line, check out my post {here}

We are constantly counting in my classroom! From counting the days in school to how many students are there for the day to people who brought lunchboxes that day, counting is a very important part of the daily routine in my classroom. I hope that you were able to take something away from this (long) blog post! I would love to hear about how you support counting in your classroom! Please comment and share so that we can all get even more great ideas!