Sunday, February 23, 2014

SO MANY Snow Days

While I realize it's been two full weeks since the last post, you have to acknowledge that out of 10 would-be school days, we were only at school for 8 of them, only had full days for 6 of them, and of those 6 days, two mornings were taken up by other things going on... we had the SCOPE screening one day and the awards assembly another!

I had to wait a little while to post until I had enough fun activities to write about! Between all that missed instructional time, the kids have mostly just been at stations and reading group in the morning.  Nothing new there!  I am ready for the snow to clear out and spring to arrive!  More importantly, I am desperate for a routine.  5- and 6-year-olds always have difficulty adjusting back to the rules and procedures after winter break, but we haven't had a solid week since break! Not one!  You can tell by how many owls are out of our tree each day that the kids need a routine, too.

We finally got to wrap up our unit on shadows... although we haven't had the opportunity to go outside and trace shadows with sidewalk chalk, so we may interrupt our presidents unit this week to do that if we have some sun.  Students made "shadows" by spraying white paint over their hand.  The white paint was supposed to represent light so that students could see how shadows result from something blocking a light source.  I love the way they turned out! It took a little while to find a spray bottle that actually worked with the consistency of the paint...

In math, students learned about ordinal numbers.  They worked with a partner to call out which order they should line up unifix cubes.  I thought it was funny to hear them say "get the orange one, then the white one.." and I had to interrupt and say, "Whoooaaaaa. If you want your partner to get the right cube, you need to give the right directions. You need to say, Put the orange one first. Put the white one second."  It took us a little bit, but they eventually got used to using ordinals in their directions.  Most students understood them when the line went from top to bottom or left to right, but a couple of them got confused when the line started at the bottom and went to the top or started on the right side and went to the left.  The standard says they have to know ordinals in any direction, so make sure you practice at home!

Since we missed Valentine's Day, we had to pass out our valentines on Monday and do my favorite intro to subtraction this week... chocolate box subtraction! Students got a paper heart and cut as many chocolates as they wanted to.  Then they traced each of their chocolates to make a space for them in the box and "ate" some.  

Students counted how many chocolates there were in the beginning, how many they removed and how many remained to write their subtraction sentence.  Tracing the chocolates helped students clearly see what was missing.

This week will be a combination of addition and subtraction, though not on the same day. (Well, not yet!)

Differentiating Assignments
The kindergarten team is trying hard to tailor assignments to students' needs this year.  Yes, this is something we've always done in small group and at stations... but this year, we're making sure that the seatwork is differentiated as well.  Here's an example of three morning assignments from the same day:

Students needing work with letter identification work on letter formation and a font sort.

Students beginning to apply letter sounds make a queen and label the parts of the picture.

Students confident in their letter sound correspondence make a queen and use letter sounds to phonetically spell words in a "story."

If you assign these activities to students appropriately, they will take students an equal amount of time despite being a varied amount of work.

Another example:

All students complete the picture and cut-up sentence puzzles.

Some students work on letter formation by copying a sentence.

Other students use phonetically spelled words to write their own sentence. (Haha, embarassing: I accidentally wrote 'which' when I meant to write 'witch.' Even teachers make mistakes!!)

Only two more days until the 100th Day of School! But more importantly, DR. SEUSS WEEK is only one week away! MY FAVORITE WEEK OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!

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