Friday, May 31, 2013

100 Word Challenge

Last year, the kindergarten teachers at my school started a 100 Word Challenge. The students have to read a list of 100 sight words fluently to complete the challenge. The teachers awarded each student who took the challenge with a trophy. I wanted to keep the tradition alive as I taught during my first year at TJ Elementary. I sent the list home with my class after the holidays. It was slow going. I didn't get too many students taking the challenge. Then I upped the ante.  After purchasing two trophies out of pocket, I decided to make a switch to rosette ribbons. They are much more cost effective- I could get five ribbons for the cost of one trophy!  I told the class I would order just one more trophy; the first three to complete the challenge would get trophies and ribbons, while the rest of the students would get a rosette ribbon. (I grew up in 4-H, so I truly appreciate a good rosette ribbon.) After that last trophy was awarded, there was less motivation until the kids noticed that the other class had more students completing the challenge than us! That really motivated them to study. I stopped sending homework packets home mid-May and asked families to work on reading the sight words instead. There are soooo many kids wanting to read the words to me and successfully completing the challenge! I had 6 kids do it this week! Their ribbons, trophies, and pictures are hanging in a display outside our room.
 The trophies are more like plaques. I put their picture inside. There is an engraved plate that reads:
I Know 100 Words!
Mrs. Redmond's Kindergarten Class 
 I took their picture holding their blue ribbon after completing the challenge.
 I love displaying the ribbons like this! I used 3M hooks and yarn to hang the ribbons. (I got this idea from my mom who loved to display our 4-H ribbons!)
The ribbons were ordered from Hodges Badge. I love that I could add custom wording on the center ribbon and I chose the star for the center button. They have so many options!

Congratulations to all my students for working hard and taking the 100 Word Challenge!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Out of This World Space Stations

I asked my class what they wanted to learn about after we finished the reading series. The majority voted for outer space. I made these literacy stations to use in my classroom during the final eight days of school.

It is available in my TPT store!

Field Trip

Last week we took a field trip to Sunset Hill Farm. The kids had a great time! They used their five senses to explore all the county park had to offer!  (Well, the animals got to use the sense of taste, not the kids!)
 We started the field trip visiting the animals. They got to brush, pet, and feed some goats.

 Next they peeked into the hen house. A chicken had just laid an egg!
 Then a chicken hopped in and started to lay an egg! She let us get really close to take a look!
 Mr. Tickles the mini horse was very friendly and loved our visit. The students each gave him a handful of hay.

 After visiting the farm animals, we took a hayride to the woods. We hiked for a while. The guide picked a piece of sassafras for us to smell. We learned that root beer comes from the sassafras tree!
 Last we sat on these fallen trees and listened to the sounds of nature. We heard lots of birds and the wind in the leaves. The tour guide asked what we had learned about and talked a lot about plants, seeds, and beetles. I appreciated that he related what we have learned in the classroom to the first hand experiences the children had while on the field trip!
We saw lots of very interesting things while at Sunset Hill Farm. It was a great field trip, and to make it even better, it was a free program! The students each paid fifty cents to cover the cost of transportation.  I am looking forward to taking more field trips next year. We have an awesome principal who really encourages taking at least two field trips each year! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day presents went home today. The kids are so proud of them! I wonder how many kids will wait until Sunday to give them to their moms.

We made these cute daffodils using egg cartons, poster board, and green construction paper. The kids painted the egg cartons and cut out the poster board. I used a brass brad to attach everything together.

For the past week and a half we worked on creating a book about our moms. Here are some of the pages:

They made covers for their books and we stapled everything together.
They made little cards for their moms, too!

The class learned an ADORABLE song in music class. Click HERE to view it! 

Sight Word Rainbows

We had a brief break from our Weather Unit to study dinosaurs, but we are back to weather this week!  The students are really enjoying the thematic Weather Unit by Kindergarten Smiles.

We made rainbows with sight words from our Cupcake Word Wall.
The students wrote their names on a cloud and added a strip of paper for each letter in their name. Then they had to choose a word from our word wall that started with each letter of their name. (We didn't have words for every letter of the alphabet, so the students came up with some that I added on index cards.)

It was a fun way for the students to practice reading and writing the sight words. Plus, it gave me a good idea of who pays attention and follows directions!  With 19 more days of school left to go, they have been struggling with paying attention and following the directions! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TPT Sale!

Visit my TPT store for 20% off everything!

Dinosaur Craftivity Freebie

Last week the kids made these cute dinosaurs to act as a cover for the books they wrote. Each day we brainstormed ideas for a writing prompt and they wrote a page for their book.  It was fun to listen to their ideas!

I'm very pleased with how their dinosaurs turned out. I made an example and let the kids decide what color they wanted. A substitute was in the classroom during this activity. (My poor little Chihuahua is in heart failure so I had to take him to see our vet before she went out of town. Dr. Brooke added a new medication to his daily regimen of pills and he is currently doing well!) I have a hard time giving up control to a substitute, but she was great and got everything done that was in my plans! 

Here is a close up of a dinosaur:
I love the eyelashes!

 They read Dinosaur Discoveries by Gail Gibbons and completed a KWL chart. The students recorded their favorite dino facts.

The class had a blast brainstorming what a hypothetical dinosaur would do!

 Take him for a walk and play the Wii. 

Go scuba diving. We would eat a hot dog. 

Create your own dinosaur books with my craftivity pages.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dinosaur Literacy Stations and a Freebie!

Last week our reading lessons revolved around dinosaurs. There are several kids in my class who absolutely LOVE dinosaurs. One student can read every dinosaur name! (I needed his help more than once this week pronouncing dinosaur names!) We read lots of books about dinosaurs:

If the Dinosaurs Came Back
was the trade book for the week from the reading series. The class really enjoyed this book!  We did some writing activities about what would happen if the dinosaurs came back. We even created a class book for our classroom library with their ideas.

This book by Gail Gibbons taught us so much about dinosaurs!

We read all the books from Jane Yolen's How Do Dinosaurs series. The kinders made a really cute craftivity in response to those books. Their dinosaurs weren't dry enough to hang in the hallway on Friday, so I will take pictures tomorrow and share them with you!

The kids really enjoyed practicing their literacy skills with the dinosaur themed literacy stations:

 They practiced using Ten Frames in this Decomposing Dinos game from Kinder Doodles.
 They practiced unscrambling cards to create a sentence. Visit my TPT store for your copy!

 They practiced short and long a vowel sounds during literacy stations.  Grab your freebie here and here.

We have been working hard on making our illustrations match our words.  I created this Write the Room activity for the students to write a sentence and illustrate it. I love this drawing!  (I snapped this picture before she got to color her illustration!) Visit my TPT store for this activity!

I am very pleased that most of my students will get Established marks on their report cards for clapping and counting syllables. I created this activity for them to have continued practice.