Sunday, October 26, 2014

Two Quick Ideas

Lisa:  Hi Everyone.  Sorry we have been missing in action lately but it's been a busy few weeks for us. I had a fall break the first week of October and then Parent Conferences with reports cards too!  I feel like I need another break!  

Linda:  Although I'm retired, I seem to be more busy now than ever!  Not sure how I got so much done when I was teaching.  But I didn't have grandchildren and I wasn't quilting. My son says he has to make an appointment to see me!  

Lisa:  Here's what we worked on recently while we were learning our colors.  (Yes, we have to teach colors since most of our students enter school not knowing them!)  We read A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman and created this beautiful class rainbow.  Each day as we studied a color, the children wrote the color word on the appropriate construction paper strips (1" by 9") and joined them together to make another row in our rainbow.  Later in the year we'll learn to read the color words, but for this activity it was just an exercise in copying a word!  

Linda: Here's another idea that Lisa does with her children and I did every day too.  When the children entered our rooms, they had to find their names on their "check in" cards to learn to recognize their names.  (Yes, you guessed it - they couldn't do that either when they started school!)  We use the activity to introduce graphing to the students.  Each day there is a question for the children to answer with their check-in cards.  In the beginning of the year the question on a sentence strip is always "Do you have a ____ in your name?"  We insert a letter card with a paper clip, beginning with A.  We go through all the upper case letters and then the lower case so that gives us a graph for 52 days!  

These check-in cards are magnetic for a quick and easy way for the children to
 put their cards on the graph on our magnetic board. 

 Lisa:  Do you know what a "jackpot" is?  When there is a double letter within a word, it's a jackpot! (book, fell, Tommy, etc.)  That's our 53rd graph question - Do you have a jackpot in your name?  The concept of "jackpot" came from a good friend of ours, Barbara Rath, who taught in our district.  We teach the students all about jackpots in the very beginning of the year so that as we write class stories the children keep their eyes on the  writing because when they see us write a jackpot, they can scream out "Jackpot!"  

Linda: Just want to show you two projects I recently quilted.  One is a twisted Jack-O-Lantern that I have hanging on my wall in my home.  I also belong to a quilter's group that is making quilts for a new shelter close to us for homeless veterans.  The shelter is a section of a fort that was closed down by the government and now houses forty Vets.  We have made several trips to the shelter to donate the quilts to the Chaplain who is in charge and the Vets we have met are so appreciative to have their very own quilts.  Even when they leave the shelter, they will be able to take the quilt with them.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

High Frequency Words

Celebration Sales!

KinderLit has hit a milestone on Teachers Pay Teachers and to thank our customers we are holding sales on TpT and our own website.  Both sales run from Oct. 5 to Oct. 8 only.
On TpT: Our Holidays/Seasonal category is all on sale for 20% off.  
On KinderLit website: All our items are 20% off with a minimum purchase of $4.  Use the code October at checkout to receive the discount.  

Stock up on all your holiday items!

Books with Journals
We have been creating writing journals for many of our KinderLit books.  The latest three are the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin, My Thanksgiving Book, and Gingerbread Senses.  

If you purchased either one on TpT, sign into your account and click on My Purchases.  You can download the updated version. 

If you purchased it on our website, please contact us at and we will reset the downloads for you!

High Frequency Words
Introducing words with flash cards just wasn't doing the job for us and our children.  We wanted to put the words into context for them so we began making class books with the words in sentences.  Here's what we do: 

We have decided ahead of time what the sentence will be and then we print off the words for the children to arrange on a piece of paper.   In the beginning of the year the words are printed on different colored paper so they can all be successful. Later on in the year, the words are on white paper so they must read each one to arrange the words correctly.  

As a whole group, we write each child's sentence on a piece of chart paper and leave it where the children can see it as they work on their book page.   At a station, they select the words and place them along the bottom of a piece of construction paper.  No one can glue them on until they read the sentence to a teacher!  Then they glue one word down at a time so they don't get the words mixed up again.  

The illustrations can be drawings, paintings, collage, or even magazine pictures.  Here's a sample where the illustrations were marble painting: 
We had the children draw for the shape and the color in order to have all of them represented in the book.  If not, our books would have lots of "red circles" in it!  Here is a photo of our "feelie box" from a science kit that the children can reach into to grab a color and a shape from inside it. 

After a child has drawn the color and the shape, we write the sentence on the chart paper.  At a reading station, the child must select the words from a tray in the middle of the table and put them in correct order.  We like to put their photos at the bottom too which makes them more eager to read these class books! 
Here are the papers from Lisa's class lined up to dry!  They are overlapping so it may be a little difficult to realize that there are 5 papers here: 
 While these papers were drying, the children worked on the marble painting at another station.  We had cut large white shapes out of copy paper for them to use.  A fun way to keep painting in kindergarten!

We like to use watercolor paints to illustrate these pages.   After the children are finished creating their sentence, they use a permanent marker to outline a matching picture and then paint it with watercolors.  We talk about what "permanent" means and the children are very careful with these markers.  Only 5 - 6 children are working at the station at one time so it's easier to keep an eye on them!   Here are samples of another set of pages when we introduced the word "see" using watercolors.  
Once the pages are dry, we gather them up into a class book and create a cover with the high frequency word all over the cover!  We hear our children in the library corner saying, "I'm going to read the SEE book!"  

You can create your own words on a computer or you can check out our Build-A-Sentence set.  We've done all the work for you and have included 85 words and punctuation marks along with complete directions and more photos!  And it's on sale now til Oct. 8th on our website here: Build-A-Sentence

Fall Break
If you teach in a district or school that has a fall break, have a great one!  Take the time to re-energize for the holiday season!