Friday, October 28, 2011

Build a Potato- a Wonderful Word Wall Game

Last year I found an ADORABLE Easter Bunny Mr. Potato Head that I just had to buy! He was the inspiration for this game. When I found the Monster Mr. Potato Head at Target recently I had to share this game with everyone.

This game is very similar to Read My Mind and can be played with any Mr. Potato Head or Mrs. Potato Head. Each child has his or her own laminated game board. You can use dry erase markers (some are VERY hard to clean off) or a Vis A Vis (each child will need a baby wipe). If someone needs to erase they just use the baby wipe. I usually give them a Kleenex too so they can dry the game board off.

We start off trying to guess a 2 letter word. I draw the 2 blank lines on my board. If a child guesses "e", I will either write it in the blank or write it next to the blank as not being a letter in the word. If "e" is not one of the letters, then we know right away that the word could not be me, we, he or be and we talk about how we know this. As we are playing, I also share with them my thinking of what letter I might guess next and why. We continue until the 2 letter word is guessed. When the word is guessed correctly, the child who guessed the last letter that finishes the word gets to come add a piece to Mr. Potato Head. Then, we all spell the word together using several cheers. We continue playing until we have built our Mr. Potato Head. I have played this game in reading groups too. We played this today and my kiddos L-O-V-E-D it!!!!

Here is what my board might look like as we play.

Here is a child's game board.

Too cute!

I would LOVE a heart note letting me know what you think. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Words on the Bus

I am ALWAYS trying to think of ways to help my kiddos learn sight words. They try so hard when they come to them to "use" their strategies like "Eagle Eye"ing the picture, "Stretchy Snake"ing the sounds out, and "Lips the Fish"ing to get their mouth ready but for many of those words they just have to remember them. Here is yet one more way to learn them AND they will have fun singing too!

I copy the pages on tag and laminate them and the words. I put Velcro on the bus and the matching Velcro piece on the word card. I keep all of the 2 letter word buses in one bag, the 3 letter word buses in another bag and so on. As we introduce our word wall words for the week, we add and practice singing our new words on the buses.

Here are the 2 letter word buses. I started making this file and it is already over 100 slides and I haven't even finished all of the 4 letter words we will learn this year. Plus, I am slightly ADD when it comes to making things and I usually have about 4 different projects I am working on at one time!

Please let me know if you have any questions. I would also LOVE a heart note letting me know if you want me to share the other buses with you when I finish. Or maybe leave me a heart note and share what is THE BEST activity you do to help with sight words.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nouns and Verbs Oh My

Here is a quick little sort for a literacy center. We have been talking about nouns and verbs. I have several books and ideas that I use to introduce and talk about verbs that I will try and post very, very soon....but I am trying to use these cute October Tweets before the season changes....although, you still might see them in my room! =)

graphics by Scrapin Doodles

Happy sorting!  I would love a heart note if you might be using this in your room. If you are a blog stalker, please think about following me....or telling your friends to follow me. I have a great give away planned for some Conscious Discipline stuff and another awesome surprise *freebie*!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trick or Tweets-Spooky Antonyms

My kiddos and I have had so much fun learning about antonyms. On Thursday, we received a letter from the Tweets telling us to look for them around the school and to see what we noticed about the words on the pumpkins. They also left us some smarties to help our brains get ready to be good word detectives. As we moved around the school, we found the Tweets everywhere.

Here is our first letter from the Tweets with some Smarties...brain food!  :)

Here are some of the Tweets we found.

As we found the Tweets, we discussed the words. Many kiddos were starting to think the words might be rhyming words, verbs or antonyms. On Friday, we put all of the Tweet cards in the pocket chart and the kiddos quickly realized they were antonyms and we matched them. During lunch, I got all of the ingredients ready and put them in the cauldron with the recipe to make Tweet Treats and Boo Juice. The Tweets also left us another letter. All of these things were waiting for us inside our door when we returned from lunch and I was just as shocked as the kiddos to see them there!  :)

Here are all of the ingredients that were inside the cauldron.

As we added the ingredients, we discussed the antonym that described each ingredient. We added hard bones, soft mouse brains, hot lizard hearts, cold cat eyes, and chocolate covered ants for antonyms (hehehe-some of my kiddos did get the humor in that!). As we added the ingredients, we drew and labeled them on the recording sheet.

We stirred all of the ingredients and served. :)

After all of the kiddos had some Tweet Treat, we examined each ingredient and discussed adjectives that described how each ingredient looked, smelled, felt, sounded and tasted. I drew my charts on the SmartBoard since I am cute chart challenged!

Next, we made repeating and growing patterns with our ingredients.

Here is the recording sheet for the patterns.
graphics by Scrappin Doodles

Then, we made Boo Juice. These are the antonyms we discussed in the recipe: sour frog blood, sweet pumpkin juice, a few magic fizzy tabs and many shakes of ghost powder.

My kiddos L-O-V-E-D every activity we did and they learned so much! If you want to bring the Tweets to your classroom, please go check it out!

I would love a heart note letting me know what you think.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Measurement

Right now I am going completely BATTY because I have not been able to access my school email since Friday night! And since I can be a wee bit OCD, this means I am checking it WAY more than my usual 50 times a day waiting to see if it is back up!

Here is an easy but fun activity to put in your math work stations during the next few weeks. All you need are some candy pumpkins. (You could use pumpkin die-cuts if you don't want to use the candy ones).
Have your kiddos measure the different objects and record how many pumpkins long each object is. When kiddos finish, they cut out the objects and order them from the shortest to the longest.

I hope your kiddos enjoy this. I know my little ones will....and yes, we will count how many pumpkins are in the bag they will use AND talk about how many germs there will be on the pumpkins so no little darling will want to steal accidentally eat one!  =)

Please leave a heart note and let me know what you think....I have more spooky math stations to share!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Way to Go

There are so many things I LOVE about Conscious Discipline. I love the different jobs that help build Our School Family. One of my favorite jobs to sit back and watch after LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of training and modeling is the Cheerleader. We know little kiddos are very egocentric so this job helps them begin to recognize what others do and say. The first several weeks of school I am the Cheerleader. I wear a bubble necklace all day so I can celebrate the kiddos whenever I notice them being helpful and kind. Instead of saying, "I like the way Carla is standing in line." I will say, "Carla, I am going to celebrate you for standing still in your house so your friends can be safe. Way to go!" I then blow the bubbles on her. And let me tell you this: having bubbles blown on you ROCKS a first grader's world. They L-O-V-E it!!!!!

Conscious Discipline says to move away from the "I like" statements because those pass judgement on the kiddos and sends the message I like you because you are being good...and this was sooo hard for me to re-train my mouth to not say those words because that is what many of us learned in college. If you want to read more about moving away from the judgement statement of "I like" to "I notice" click here. Conscious Discipline also wants for you to relate everything you say to the kiddos to be about being helpful and keeping others safe.

So, those first few weeks of school I celebrate LOTS for the behaviors and words I want to instill in them like using good manners, being helpful cleaning up and lining up, and sharing and working together as a School Family. We brainstorm lists of things we can celebrate others for. When it is time for me to hand the job over, the cheerleader gets a celebration horn for the week. Whenever they notice a friend being helpful, kind or safe they can celebrate them....they even celebrate me. Here are some of the things we celebrate in our School Family:

* I am going to celebrate you for picking up that trash.
*I am going to celebrate you for taking Ms. Price's helpful reminder.
*I am going to celebrate you for remembering your manners.
*I am going to celebrate you for tying his shoe.
*I am going to celebrate you for sitting quietly and safely on the Learning Rug.

And the list could go on and on AND on....the kiddos will also find ways to celebrate each other in ways we would never think of. It is so sweet watching them do this. The child that is celebrated tells the person who is celebrating them, "Thank you for noticing that.". All of this helps build speaking in complete sentences too!

Here are some of the things we use to celebrate each other:

One of the other things I love about Conscious Discipline is the way the children learn to stand up for themselves and use their "big voice" to talk to someone. There is an entire set of books to read to your class that help teach different parts of Conscious Discipline and they would be a great start if you are interested in using more of CD in your classroom.  All of the books are about a character named Shubert and the different problems he has to solve in his School Family (The books are great!). Conscious Discipline is great about eliminataing tattling in your classroom. Yes, you read it correctly....Tattle may STOP! At first kiddos will still come to you and tell you things. For example, Carla comes to me and tells me someone hit her. I ask Carla "Did you like it?" and she will answer "No!" I then tell Carla to go tell Sarah "I don't like it when you hit me. Please stop." I could go on and on about how tattling can be stopped but then this post will be WAAAYYYY too long.

As much as CD helps end the tattling, you will probably still have one or two that will want to tell you EVERYTHING! Little children also have trouble knowing when it is okay to tell because that is really what tattling is about....a child sees something happening and they don't know how to handle it. After we read Shubert's Big Voice, we then read Tattle Tongue. This is a wonderful book because it teaches when it is okay to tell something to an adult.

We had to go a step further this year because one of my sweet, little kiddos is very aware of what EVERYONE is doing but somehow forgets to help himself....and I am sure none of you have a little one like this! :)

We decided we needed to work as a School Family to help stop the hurtful tattling. I bought a mini Mr. Potato Head at the dollar store. Each time I hear a hurtful tattle, he loses one of his parts. They CAN earn back a piece when I notice two kiddos taking care of the problem themselves. The goal is to keep him all put together. If he is all together at the end of the day, we do several fun songs or do a fun activity on the SmartBoard like carving a jack-o-lantern. If he is missing a few parts, we might play Magic Number or Magic Letter. This has REALLY helped my 2 repeat offenders. The other kiddos watch them like hawks and are intervening before they come to me and are then going with them to help them talk to whoever they need too! Hahaha is so funny!

I hope you have found something in this post that you can use in your room soon. Please leave me a heart note and let me know what you are going to try!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Everyday Heroes

We might all be able to think back to a teacher who made a difference in our lives and we can probably all recall a teacher who maybe hurt our feelings or was considered "mean". Even in college, there were favorite professors everyone tried to get. I think in education today we have so many more obstacles to face with higher testing standards and more children coming to us from broken homes or just struggling and often heartbreaking situations. I have to remind myself that God put me here in THIS classroom and these children in MY life and He is using ME to make a difference. Whether you realize it or not, you are a hero to many of the children in your class. Think about that as you get ready to start a new week. And remember that the children who are the hardest to love are the ones needing your love the most. They may not remember what you teach them but they will always remember how you made them feel

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

We have been learning about nouns and here is one of my kiddos favorite activities (and I love it when I have a sweet friend help me paint ALL of my kiddos hands!). This little poem I wrote helps them understand that nouns can be something they can touch like a PERSON, PLACE, THING, or ANIMAL. We hunt through magazines for pictures of nouns and glue 10 pictures on our 10 fingers. I usually have them find 3 people, 3 things, 2 animals, and 2 places but you can do what works best for you.

We have been switching School Family Jobs and adding new ones. EVERYONE has a job and we continue to talk about their first job is to help me keep everyone safe. Some jobs help out the School Family in a way that either contributes to helping us be safe or contributes by providing a service that builds the community of caring and helpful hearts. In the mornings, the Greeter helps us start the day off right and the Goodbye Wisher at the end of the helps send each kiddo off knowing they were valued for the day and that someone cares about them and wants to see them tomorrow. We start off by reading this book(click on the book to get your own copy).

After reading the book, we talk about the different goodbye wishes we can give a friend. I tell them the words that match the picture and then guide them on the gesture we will use for that animal. Here are the ways we wish each other goodbye:

alligator:  See you later alligator-extend your arms and open and close them like alligator jaws
ladybug:  Give a hug ladybug- hug
goldfish:  Blow a kiss goldfish: blow each other a kiss
butterfly:  Bye-Bye butterfly- butterfly handshake
parakeet: Be sweet parakeet: flap your arms up and down
raccoon:  See you soon raccoon:  make a mask around your eyes with your fingers

The Goodbye Wisher also takes the hearts out of the Safe Keeper's Box. He/She says, "I am glad you came to school today. I hope I see you tomorrow. How would you like to be wished goodbye?" After the child is wished goodbye he/she puts their heart in the bag where the hearts are stored until the next morning.

I know sometimes during our busy and hectic day I might not get some good one-on-one time with each kiddo. This job lets each and every one of the children know that someone is not only glad they came to school but they also WANT to see them tomorrow. It really is so powerful for our kiddos who go home to homes where there might not be a lot of love....and it is also soooo stinkin' cute watching them do this too!

We have been working with 10 frames and our 10 makers. Here is a quick easy game you can use to transition kiddos from one place to the next or even during your calendar time. My kiddos are crazy for these Hidden 10 Frames. They love for me to flash them the card so they can figure out how many frogs are hiding. We have done this with 10 frames and counters and also just marker boards where they have to draw or write the missing part.

It has been a lllllooooooonnnnnngggggg week. Please let me know if you have any questions or something doesn't make sense.

I would LOVE a heart note letting me know what you think. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. You really bless me in more ways than you will ever know!