Monday, October 28, 2013

Math Monday: Pete the Cat and His 4 Groovy Buttons

I'm back again this week with another math Monday. I know I'm impressed I'm making it two weeks in a row with a feature. Hopefully I can keep it up. My kids love Pete the Cat. It could be because their teacher loves Pete the Cat. I've made it my mission to introduce Pete to all the kids in my life. (I have 2 nieces but several adopted nieces and nephews.) We read a couple of Pete books to start the year off and when the number 4 came up in our math series, I knew it was the perfect time to introduce the kids to Pete and his 4 groovy buttons. We read the story and acted out the story a couple of times the day before. I cut out some buttons and the kids helped me show how they popped off.

We used words like whole and part. The kids that were the buttons that popped off went over to one side of me so the kids could see the two parts.
The next day we read the book again and acted it out. Then I passed the kids out a button sheet to record the different ways to make 4. I had kids come up act out the story as we recorded our problems on a sheet.

I used the document sleeve I received from to record the different ways to make 4. I used red and orange to color the buttons and show the different parts. Then recorded the parts with numbers.  I had this displayed on my board using my document camera and the students followed along. You can click here to get your own copy of the sheet. 
I love using literature to teach math. What are some of your favorite books to use when teaching math? Leave me a comment with your favorite books. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Visual Plans: PUmpkins and Halloween fun

This week we'll be finishing up learning about pumpkins and doing a little celebrating of Halloween. We'll also be learning about the letter c, the popcorn word a and numbers 1-20. I'm linking up with DeeDee to show my plans for the week.
Be sure to click on this link to download my plans from google docs. That's the only way to see the clickable links. 

My centers are the same this week as they were last week. I usually keep my centers for 2 weeks or a little longer. These might be a little longer. 
Be sure to head over to Mrs. Wills' Blog and see what everyone else is doing.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Workstation Wednesday:Sensory Table

I'm trying to be more consistent with my blogging. So I've planned out some posts and some broad topics I want to blog about. Like Math Monday. And now Workstation Wednesday. These are things I'm working on improving in my classroom. Blogging about things helps me to think through things I'm doing. So this week I'm going to share about my sensory table. This is a new endeavor for me. I was inspired by my friend Marsha at Differentiated Kindergarten to use my sensory table. I've had this table since I started teaching kindergarten but it was full of sand which kind of grossed me out. It is a really nice table and had a really nice lid. So I just kept the lid on it the past few years. This summer I emptied the sand out and replaced it with colored rice. (You can read all about how to make your own colored rice and find a freebie by clicking here)
Here are a few things that I've been doing with my sensory table so far this year.

Here are the links for activities I mention above:
Julie Lee's Fall-Tastic Fun Math and Literacy Centers
Marsha McGuire's Back to School Math Workstations Galore
DeeDee Wills's All Sorts of Sorts

Those are some great resources that I've been using in my other workstations as well. So that's where I'm at right now with the sensory table. I'll leave the corn in through November. Then in December I'll be trying to find something new to put in it. I would love to hear what suggestions you have. Do you have a sensory table? What do you put in it?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Math Monday: 10 Piranhas

Welcome to a new feature on my blog. Math Mondays. (We'll see how long it lasts) I have been trying to do some fun stuff with math this year using literature. I love books and love all opportunities to bring in books with every subject area. One of the major components of the common core math is for students to decompose and compose numbers. So as we've been working on numbers I've tried to provide students with opportunities to do just that. I found the book 10 Sly Piranhas at the library and knew I had to check it out.
I read the book and used goldfish to act the story out using my part/part whole mat. After I read the story, I sent the kids back to their tables with a part/part whole mat and 10 goldfish. They then helped me to act the story out and I recorded the equations on the board. Then my lesson went a little haywire. I gave each student a half sheet of paper and wanted them to show me a way to make 10 by drawing fish with 2 different colored crayons. It was a little crazy but did give me an idea of who knew what we were doing. Here a few pictures of their work:

The first two pictures were pretty good. The first picture the student really came up with his own combination for 10 and the second one used the example I had on the board. Then the last one was one of my ELL students. He doesn't always get what we are doing when I am so open ended. I think if I had done a little advanced planning I could have come up with a worksheet for them to use that would have enabled them all to be more successful. So I've got a sheet to share with you so you can do this lesson in your class and be more successful.
Click here to get the freebie. 
If you download the freebie, I would love to hear how the lesson goes in your room. What books do you use when teaching math? Leave me a comment with your favorite ones.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Peek at My Week

It has been a busy but good weekend. Yesterday I spent some time with my mom, sister and niece. It was a great fall day and we decorated some Halloween cookies. Today was spent with some high school girls from church. We've started a girls group for our youth girls. Today was our second monthly meeting and it was a lot of fun. We made scarves out of t-shirts which was a pretty neat craft. Now I'm sitting on the couch listening to the Broncos/Colts game. I'm a sucker for Peyton Manning. I got a little teary eyed when they were playing his press conference after the Colts let him go. I'm a Tennessee girl so Peyton is my man. Anyway, this coming week is going to be busy busy as usual. We're going to be learning all about the letter t, sight word we, characters in stories and numbers 11-20. We're also going to be doing some pumpkin activities. I use to always do pumpkins the week we do the letter p but our letter order is different and I don't want to be rushed the week of Halloween. I'm pretty excited about doing some pumpkin activities from Deanna Jump's Pumpkin Palooza Pack.
I'm linking up with DeeDee Wills for a Peek at My Week.
Remember to see the links you need to download the pdf from google docs here. Visual Plans for October 21st. 

We're starting new centers this week. My centers in theory last 2 weeks. Students go to one center a day and there are 10 centers. But we had some testing and fire prevention activities so this past round lasted about 3 weeks. It seems to be going better to have my math centers during literacy center time. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a math workshop going in the next few weeks. We're moving on to numbers 11-20 and I still have a few students who don't have 1-10. Be sure to head over to DeeDee's blog and check out what other people are doing in their class this week.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fourth Grade Reading Buddies

I have this idea in my head of my perfect school. I'm sure I"m not the only teacher out there who has this perfect school planned out. A place where the ideals and values I hold dear are expressed. One of my ideas is to have older kids mentoring younger kids. I love the school I teach at now. It is the school I went to in 7th and 8th grade and it's where I want my kids to go to school. We have a lot of history and it's a unique place. One of the unique things about it is it's a k-8 school. I enjoy getting to see my kids that I've had in class grow up. My first loop is in 6th grade now and it has been great to see them mature. One of the downsides to the k-8 school is that eighth graders don't always pay attention to the younger students. They don't set the example I think they should. I think mentoring could help that. Well, one of my best friends teaches fourth grade. (We might or might not be planning to take over the world by teaching reading.) She and I worked on the summer reading program. As school started, we started talking about pairing our students up for a buddy program. And about 3 weeks ago we got this buddy program going. We met before hand and talked about what our goals were and worked on pairing up the students apropriately. It worked out well, because her class was part of a loop I had a few years ago. So I knew quite a few of the kids already and their backgrounds. We worked too on pairing up our ELL students so they could learn from each other and be supported with language.
Our first meeting, we had the kids interview each other. They asked questions about reading and learning preferences. We came up with 4 or 5 questions and the fourth graders recorded the answers. Then they read a few books together.

This was one of our favorite pairings. They were so cute together and it was beneficial to both students.
The next week we read books all about fall and fall things like spiders and bats. There was a mix of fiction and non fiction. Together they worked on coming up with facts and the fourth graders recorded them on paper. Then we gave them an apple and they picked one fact to write on the apple. My intention was to put up a tree on a bulletin board and then add the apple facts. But it hasn't happened yet. I wish I had taken some pictures because they were really engaged. My kids were asking when their partners were coming all day and were so excited.
This past week we had each student bring a couple of favorite books. The fourth graders picked out characters and books they enjoyed to share with the kindergartners and then my students picked a couple of books they have been reading to read. My friend and I walk around the room while they are reading and listen in on the reading. It is so neat to see the fourth graders teaching the kindergartners. There was one fourth grader asking the kinder to predict what was going to happen. Here are a couple of pictures from this past week:

We've started making some plans for upcoming meetings. One of our ideas is to celebrate fall and Halloween together. We are no longer allowed to have parties to celebrate Halloween so we thought we'd meet on Halloween and do a fun activity together. I have seen a couple of good ideas on pinterest. One that I like is making pumpkins and then describing the pumpkins with adjectives. We've been working on sensory words and I think this would be a neat activity. Another idea we've been working on is a reading scavenger hunt through the school. I have a students who claims he doesn't want to learn to read. (That's a first for me) We're hoping we can show him that he needs reading in his life. We've also been discussing doing a visualizing activity. The fourth graders have been working on this skill. 
This week our reading skill is character. While in Kindergarten we are only trying to identify the characters and starting to describe them. In fourth grade the skill involves describing and using text evidence. I'm trying to come up with an activity for us to do using this skill.
So do you do anything like this? I would love to hear about it if you do and what kinds of activities you do. I'm really excited for the potential this type of relationship has. 
I'm hoping to be back to regular blogging soon. I've been working on some ideas and scheduling some posts. Things have been crazy the past few weeks and I think they are finally calming down some. I'll be back tomorrow for a peek at my upcoming week. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This and That

I think I have been in a blogging funk lately because I feel like I need something really specific to blog about. Instead of just blogging about what it is going on in my class and my life. So I'm trying to just sit down and do some blogging with no worries about making it be all about one thing.
First up, I was so excited when I got home today and had a package waiting for me. This is what was in the package.

I pre-ordered the books this past summer. Like as soon as I saw that they were coming out. I can't wait to introduce them to my class. They are going to love them. I'm thinking about wrapping up the Pete and the Magic Sunglasses book and having it delivered to the classroom sometime next week. I want it to be a big deal.
This week has been kind of crazy already and it's only Tuesday. We had some standardized testing today and will again tomorrow. Kindergarteners and bubble test don't really go well together. Then Thursday we are suppose to go on a field trip. It's one of my favorite trips we take. Our school has a special relationship with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we take 3 field trips a year. Well since the government is shut down it means no field trip. We have to get ready like we normally would since we won't know what will happen. The whole National Park being closed is really not a good thing for our community. It is one of the most visited parks in the country and a large part of our economy relies on tourism. No park means no visitors. October is one of our busiest months of the year. So hopefully this will all get settled soon.
I'm always looking for new ways to spice up math. I am not the biggest fan of our math series so I need more activities all the time. This week we're working on numbers 6-10. I made a fall like 10 frame (You can get the freebie here. ) and today we used Halloween erasers I found at Target to practice showing different numbers.

So that's a little bit of what is going on in my class. My hubby is at some class tonight so I think I'm going to work on my pet pack I've been trying to get done. Or maybe I'll just veg out. I still have more testing, conferences, and report cards this week. Happy Tuesday!