Friday, November 7, 2014

50s Day

Today was 50s day. We had a great time.  A parent of a child in my class brought in his 1950s candy apple red truck. The kids loved getting their picture taken with it. They were  also amazed that it didn't have heat, AC or seatbelts. The manual windows were also a hit.

Today's agenda included:
Hoola hoops
Root beer floats
A sock hop
Board games and 
Bubble blowing

What a great time we had!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Listening to Reading

I was looking for a way to extend my "listening to reading" portion of the Daily 5. I searched the internet for listening response sheets that were free and best for my students at the time. I made Response Logs for each student by alternating 4 different response sheets.

Before I introduced the response logs, I exposed the class to each of the different response sheets. As a class, we listened to a story and completed the response sheet together for that story. Each of the next three days we followed the same process for another response sheet and story.

After all four different sheets were familiar, I split the class into Daily 5 groups. We again used all four response sheets, but this time we used a "jigsaw" approach.  Each group has a "helper" (It is a life saver during typical Daily 5 operations) and  was given several copies of one of the response sheets. After listening to a story with the whole class, the groups each completed their response logs individually asking questions of their helper or other group members if necessary. (Each child had a response sheet identical to his or her group members.)

After the forms were completed, the groups reviewed the response sheets of all of their group members. The groups voted on the one paper that best exemplified the expectations of that response sheet. The groups then presented the exemplar paper and told what was best about it without revealing the author.

     These peer evaluated exemplars were then hung in the classroom marked with the title "Ask an Expert". During our Daily 5 time then the class used these response logs. If at any time they could not read the sheet or did not remember what to do, the child could refer to the displayed papers.

The names of the helpers for each group were listed with the exemplar papers since all members of that group were somewhat "experts" on that response sheet.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Daily Math-Set up

      I recently paid a couple dollars for this mailbox structure. It had been listed on line from a district getting rid of many things.  I had not actually been able to see it before I bought it. I wanted to make it into a place to store game boards for Daily 5 Math. So here is what it looked like after I had removed some of the sticky debris. ( I forgot to take a true "before" picture.)

So I have begun to transition this into something that will compliment my classroom. Here is the progress. I am pleased so far......

Monday, July 21, 2014

Learning bottles-how to

Many people glue the lids on their learning (discovery) bottles. If I had very small children with which to use them, I would certainly glue them as well. But since my students use them during supervised times like during our Daily 5 block and Math centers, I do not glue the lids on. Instead I fasten the lids tightly. Cover the entire lid area with a circle of a pretty fabric and secure it with a pretty color zip tie. I make sure the zip tie is as tight as can be so the lid area is secure. (A note of caution about zip ties, they can be a bit sharp on the corners of a cut off part. For this reason, I snip off the tiny corners that stick out after cutting the zip tie to the desired length.)
Now, if I decide to change the contents of a bottle for some reason, I can do so fairly easily.
The zip ties can be covered with a ribbon or ponytail holder if you want. The bottle in the top picture that has the tens frame attached to it uses a ponytail holder to attach the tens frame to the bottle. That way the student can remove the frame and mark the items found with a dry erase marker to keep track. More on the specific bottles will be posted soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Learning bottles -use at home

Learning bottles are soooo much fun! You can ADR them to ANY level. This year for our "curriculum night,"  I wanted to allow parents to make something to be used at home to study various. Skills. I asked each family to bring a clean, dry plastic bottle with the label removed (for the easiest label removal, please see my post pertaining to that topic.)

I gave each parent a spreadsheet of various skills the child may need to practice throughout the school year. The spreadsheet included sight words, numerals, sets of numbers, letters of the alphabet, 
Short vowel cvc words, number words etc.
I also gave each a bag containing appt 2 cups of colored rice (for tips about coloring rice please see that post.) and a paper funnel.

Parents cut the skills they wanted to practiced first at home. They alternated adding rice and slips of paper. I reminded them that they could empty the bottle throughout the year and remove the papers to add slips of paper with a new skill to be practiced.

The activity went very quickly. The children whose parents had attended were thrilled to have this special bottle at home. They thought it was neat that their parent(s) made them with me without the child being there. 

If I did this again with parents, I would have them add 4-7 toothpicks into the jar as well. This variation in the flow inside the bottle helps to pull the small pieces of paper down into the colored rice as you turn the bottle over and over. Otherwise the paper tends to come to the top and stay there.

For other learning bottle ideas, please click on learning bottles on the archive list to the right of the posts. I am going to continue to add posts about various bottles I have made and used.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Learning Bottles - Removing the Labels

After much trial and tribulation, I have found a very easy way to remove labels cleanly from various plastic bottles. Here are the steps.

1. Choose the bottle that is the right size for your project:


2. Rinse the bottle and fill it with the hottest water you can get from your water faucet and replace the lid tightly.  (The hotter the water, the better.)

 3. Slit the label and remove it carefully in one piece.

4. Often rubbing the glue area will remove much of it. A paper towel may be just abrasive enough to remove the residue. If not, do not scrub, you may scratch the bottle.

5. Use margarine to cover the adhesive residue. Let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Use a paper towel to remove excess margarine and residue.  Rinse the bottle (still filled with hot water) under hot tap water and dry with a paper towel. (If any adhesive remains, add margarine once more and let sit a little longer).

It works for almost every kind of bottle. So far I have not figured out how to get the black numbers off of the side of the soda bottles, but it does not seem to bother my kiddos at all. 

Be sure to dry the bottle completely (for several days) before filling it with dry ingredients like rice or  beans. It seems to work best on a dry rack rather than on a towel or paper towel. The air can then get in and the droplets dry faster. I have also put a dry paper towel inside the bottle and shaken in a circular fashion to get most of the droplets. If you use the papertowel method, I would still let it air out upside down at least over night so your rice or other dry ingredients do not mildew.

See the next post for learning ideas for these bottles.

Great books

Here is another cute but simple new book I discovered at the library today. I love books by Audrey and Don Woods. And "Blue Sky" does not disappoint. It would be great for talking about adjectives, introducing how to brainstorm, or just using your imagination.

Great new books

I love to go to our local public library to look at books (I know this is no surprise to any of you who know me.) We have a wonderful children's librarian named Mary Anne. When the library gets a new children's book, there is a yellow sticker affixed to the corner to let us know it is new. It then gets a place of honor on top of the children's book shelves. It is great fun to find a comfy chair in which to sit and read these new treasures. Today I found these new gems.

In this story, the little girl wants a dog for a pet. Instead her mom gets her a cat. She soon falls in love with her new pet ... Until the messes begin. The tiny kitty is blamed for messes that get bigger and bigger and harrier and harrier. As it turns out, we as the reader know that it is not the kitten making the messes...

This would be a really cute book for a writing activity. Students could choose a zoo animal to live at their house and tell of the issues this would cause. They could also be challenged to think of one positive scenario to having this pet, as the book Naughty Kitty does at the end.

Poor Shoe Dog finally gets a forever home complete with belly scratches and kisses. But he cannot revisit the temptation new shoes bring. Despite his owners best attempt to hide the new shoes, Shoe Dog finds them and the chewing begins. This is a great story of love and forgiveness and living with differences. The title page is listed below because the cover does not have the author and illustrator listed on it.

This book addresses the meaning of  "zero" in a numerous, playful way. 

Monday, June 23, 2014


I am posting this to try out a new widget I installed on my blog. Let's see if it works.

Expanding my horizons

Please stop by my new professional Facebook page entitled KinderDawne.

Creative Cornerstones

Today I finished up my sessions at Creative Cornerstones. My half day sessions focused on Math instruction in Kindergarten and Preschool. I thoroughly enjoyed growing professionally as I shared ideas with others and gained new ideas from attendees as well. Today's session went really well. Thank you so much for your feedback and suggestions. Enjoy the rest of your week. Make the most of your time at Creative Cornerstones this year. Hopefully I will see you again soon.

Keep checking back as I continue to post more of the ideas that were shared this year. If you missed it, please consider joining us next year.

Original pattern block creations

This year my kids loved creating their own pattern block pictures. Each child was given one piece of paper upon which to build their creation. Using the ipad, we took pictures of their creations. They enjoyed copying each other's creations.

Next year we will make a book of their creations so they can recreate them even when the iPads are being used for other things.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Porridge graph

This year during a study of Fairy Tales, we tasted porridge. I used instant Cream of Wheat, sugar, water and a crock pot. I added very hot water to the crockpot according to the package directions.  I added the packages of instant cream of wheat and sugar. (I don't know how much,  but sugar not just a little bit. Yum! Yum!) I let is cook while we read a version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Probably 10-15 minutes. Then we tat tested. Here is our graph.

                                    Data from any graph can can be evaluated in Many ways. 
                                          This time, we totaled the number who like or do not
                                         porridge and used the greater than and less than symbol
                                                         To represent that.

Great books for Math concepts.

Technology has a mind of its own! Today at my session, the technology would not cooperate. I shared some favorite books that connect to math curriculum. I am listing pictures of many of them here in case you were unable to get the information dawn and or couldn't see well.

Gobble, gobble Crash a barnyard counting bash.

This is a great counting book. Chaos is instigated by the turkeys. When the ruckus continues to wake up the farmer . . . Look out!

Hugless Douglas has several books now. I love how the sheep stick to him.
It would be great to use with beginning addition and subtraction or counting. Look for a future post with a Math work mat of Hugless Douglas.

The concept of "one more".

This book calls into questions what kids think they know.  It is a wonderful conversation starter. 

This is a wonderful book in the Click Clack Moo series. In this book the animals are preparing to go somewhere together. There is a great twist at the end! I won't spoil it for you. You will have to read it yourself!!!!

Creative Cornerstones

     Today was a wonderful day! I was able to network with many kindergarten and pre-K teachers at the Creative Cornerstones through the Franciscan University of Steubenville. My presentation was only half day this year. Wow was that different! The participants were so incredible! I got wonderful feedback and learning suggestions or ideas.
The session was entitled "Not so common, Common Core Math".
What a wonderful way to share the ideas that work in my classroom!
It was a very rewarding day!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Creative Cornerstones 2014

Once again this year I am excited to be presenting at Creative Cornerstones near Cleveland, Ohio. I will be teaching on Sunday for half day. The session is:
Not So Common, Common Core Math. Pre-K and K
Join me there!!!
Registration opens in February.

Reading websites

This comes from the "Really Good Stuff" blog. 
(I would have provided a link, but it would not work. Sorry).

 I will have to check out these sites. We use Starfall and Tumble Books. One year I used "We Give Books", but the others are new to me. I will have to check them out. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas Presents for Students

This year I decided to make my kids dry erase boards out of melmac plates as their Christmas Present.

I had a great time dying the socks. I let them sit over night to get really colorful before cutting the rubber bands and  rinsing them.  Each sock is attached to the plate with ribbon and ties tight. 

Inside the sock is a dry erase marker. 

I used glitter bubble paint to write the names. Be sure to plan ahead for this project. The names take a few days to dry. 

Many kids returned from our long holiday break talking about the dry erase boards. I think they were a real hit!
One suggestion, be sure you are able to drill through the plates BEFORE you spend a lot of time on this project. Thick plates are very tricky!

Thanks Dad!!!!!!!!!

Daily 5

This is my first year using Daily 5 in my kindergarten classroom. This week I tried a new organization system for my Daily 5.  I felt like I needed my kiddos to be more involved in the transition to each daily. So I organized it in my pocket chart. Each of my groups is heterogenous. Each group has a helper (or two). This is the designated person for their questions or problems, so I am not interrupted during reading groups. It has been a very important part of my center structure in past years. This year I also am including helpers in my Daily 5 structure.

Here are a few pictures of Daily 5 in my room today.

Word work-water paints

Word work-The kids call this "packages". I cut letters in different fonts from various product boxes like cereal, boxed mixes or games. Students find the letters to make words they are learning. 

Read to Self

Listening to reading with Tag Readers

I will post more Daily 5 ideas as they progress.

50s Day

We had such a great time on 50s day this year! Of course we dressed to go to a sock hop. (I love to see what everyone comes up with for their kinder sweeties to wear to school.)

This year we made a Venn Diagram about bubble blowing. This year's class is able to look at data and really process it. It was a great way to cater the activity to fit my kiddos this year!


They had a blast teaching each other to blow bubbles. A friend in my class shared a cool way to flatten your gum against the roof of your mouth before blowing. It was the magic cure for some of them! It sure was a good time. Of course we all pretended not to see the gum wad that flew out of the mouth and was quickly fetched according to the 10 second rule. Ugh!!!!

Hoola hoop practicing with friends was also a hoot!