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Friday, April 28, 2017

Owl Language and Math

The best thing about teaching is discovering new things with the learners! I loved the unit we did focusing on owls. The Owl Unit combined reading, writing, research, math, science, art and physical education. We also included the art teacher and created painted owls!
Hall display at end of lesson.
First, we read and discuss different fiction owl themed books.  One of my favorite books Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, was a student favorite. I was so surprised at how quiet and calm they were when I read it. The language and pictures are amazing!
They also loved Owl Babies. The video on YouTube is really cool!
 The we painted owls! It was messy but fun!
 After reading fiction books, we began our owl science study. We began with a schema chart.
The learners told me the facts they knew about owls, and I recorded their ideas on a pink post it note. I had to be very careful not to make faces at the wrong ideas so we could learn as we went. As we studied nonfiction owl books, we filled out a Can, Do, Have chart. Be sure to check out Epic for teachers for your research. It is a free resource, and I use it for fiction and nonfiction. When finished with the research, we moved our misconceptions and recorded new learning on yellow post it notes. This repetition is so important for learners.
Then we used kid writing to write 3 facts we remembered from our weeks of research. The students loved drawing an owl to go with the writing.
It was amazing to see the different things that were remembered.
During guided reading skill time, we blended cvc words on an owls nest then matched a colorful, cute owl picture.

We have really been focusing on letters and sounds so we matched capital and lower case letter to cute owl nests. It was so much fun to watch the students put the letters into alphabetical order. This easy game placed into a center at this time of the year needs minimal directions.
We even practiced number sequence writing.
Many more fun activities can be found it my Owl Unit. There is a physical education chase game that focuses on the owl food chain.
Hope you can check out this fun unit!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Playing Popsicle Game

Teachers need to remember that playing games is NOT a waste of time! It is an intelligent and purposeful use of class time! I can tell you so many things about a student's working memory, attention, and inhibitory control along with reading words in Popsicle Match!

 Match the Popsicle game told me so much about each student!
1. Read the CvC word.
2. Hop around the table to find the match.
3. Walk back to the line.
4. Wait patiently.
Waiting patiently is a difficult skill to practice. We practice belly breathing and self talk to calm down. Students say, "I can keep my hands and feet still. I can watch for my turn."

Students then must do a quiet activity.

1. Say the ABC's (go backwards for a challenge)
2. Listen for sounds.
3. Count 
We always tell what we are going to do before the game begins then reflect on what we did at the end; it is so important not to skip reflection time!

 Check out this fun video that shows how to blend the words, but the student reactions are even better!

 What fun games do you like to play in class?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Color the Jelly Bean Game

Math and working with numbers is one of my favorite parts to a day!  The hardest part is that is seems to take a lot of practice to keep numbers and quantities in the mind of a 5/6 year old!  SO how do we do it?!?

Play a lot of games!

Teachers need to remember that playing games is NOT a waste of time!  It is an intelligent and purposeful use of class time! We use the game Number Sense and Addition Math Games Jellybeans

Check out this fun game that is so easy!
1. Roll dice
2. Count dots on the dice
3. Find the number to represent the dots.

There are so many skills covered in this one game!  Numeration, one to one counting, numeral recognition, fine motor coloring, visual perception of line!

If you make it a game and students need to take turns, you add many other important skills!  Students work on attention skills because they have to watch and understand about taking turns.   Inhibitory control is practiced by waiting for a turn and not just grabbing the dice.  Working memory practice happens if you make them color a bean based on the color on the dice.

Students that master numbers 1-6 and understand the numeration, move to adding!  Two dice are thrown then must be added together to color the sum.
 Students must also try a number sentence before coloring! So they have to say,   "Six plus four equals ten." 

If we run out of time, the student that colored the most jelly beans wins so we are practicing more/less than!

What fun games can you play in the classroom to make learning magical?!?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Active Listening

Children need to develop strategies to effectively and efficiently remember auditory information to learn, especially in kindergarten.  Active listening needs to be taught so learners become responsible for success; it is not a passive experience.

Many times as teachers, we feel that students have difficulties "listening" and we spend so much time telling them to listen!  They may need to be taught how to do this important skill!
How do you teach students to listen?

1st-Establish "rules" for active listening!

  • body still (hug body)
  • voice quiet (pointer finger to lips)
  • eyes looking at the speaker (point to eyes)
  • ears listening to what is being said (not what you know about a topic) (cup ears)
  • ignore background noise and movement (use finger like binoculars around eyes)
  • don't interrupt speaker (pointer to lips then move finger out)
  • wait to ask questions (pointer finger "wait a minute" signal)

Be sure to discuss and review what each rule looks like and sounds like.  Practice by saying the rule and see if the students can do the motion.  Then do the motion and have the students tell the rule. Be sure to review and practice until it becomes habit!

2nd-Practice active listening

Tell a story and have the students tell it back making sure not to tell any extra information, only the information they heard from you.
 Dog story- I have a special dog.  It is a little, tiny dog.  It is all white with a black spot on its eye.  it loves to dig in the dirt and run around the house.  I give it food and water each day.  I walk my dog on a long leash.

Play Repeat Simon Says.
Play just like "Simon Say" but make the student repeat what you said before doing it.  Increase number of directions from 1, then 2, then three, as auditory memory gets better. 

3rd-Practice patience.

Be sure to provide times for students to focus on what they need to do to listen.
Students need to stand and wait some times! Check out how we Calm Down. Then we practice this skill as we wait in line for a turn.  It has to be practiced and discussed to help these skills occur naturally!

Here we are waiting to write on the board!  
Practicing active listening started with repeating the directions for the activity!
Ss-"Start at the top.  Say the letter and sound. Pass the chalk to the next person."

 We discussed ways to wait and to be patient.

  • Counting to 100
  • Saying the ABC's
  • Using self-talk "I can stand still.  I can wait my turn...)
Then we did the activity and put it all together!

Finally, we reflected on what we did!  Students shared what they did to wait patiently and what they could work on in the future!

What do you do to help learn about active listening?

Monday, April 3, 2017