Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brag Tags

I have to stop and post for a minute about brag tags, and how much my kids love earning them! They were all over pinterest this summer, so I bit the bullet and bought a class set for things I wanted them to accomplish. 

I display them on a large corkboard. Each one hangs from a thumbtack with the students name on it. I feel as though I should warn you all that it is really important to write each kids name on the back of at least one tag on their necklace. 20 minutes after the above picture was taken, one of my kiddos slammed the bathroom door too hard and the whole board came tumbling down..... all the necklaces fell off, and I had no idea whose was whose. I had to start all over. 

Here are some of the milestones my kids have been reaching.....

They are really excited for 100th Day next week because they know there is a "I'm 100 days smarter tag" as well as an "I can count to 100" tag they can earn! 

* I was in no way compensated for this post. Pretty sure no one at Brag Tags knows who I am or about this blog. I just love them, and thought you might too! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Martin Luther King, Vocabulary, & Penguins

I know that's a mishmash title, but bear with me. This week we talked all about Martin Luther King Jr. There are a few really good videos on youtube if your district doesn't block it. We watched his "I have a dream speech", as well as a reading of the book "Martin's Big Words." 

Here's one of the activities we did from my MLK Mini - Unit. 

I also started thinking a lot about Vocabulary this week. When it comes to MLK there is a lot of new and challenging Vocabulary. There are also some challenging Common Core Standards regarding it. 
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4a Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4b Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.
So I started looking for ways I could make vocabulary more fun and manageable. This first idea is from Caitlyn at Kindergarten Smiles. It's a Word Splash where the kids splash up new vocabulary that will be discussed that week. 

We spend a lot of time discussing the words that were up there. I wanted to make sure though, that those words meant something to the kids. That they could explain them in a way that made sense, and not just parrot my definition that meant nothing to them. So I came up with this:

I asked the kids to explain each word to me and we wrote it down. Then I asked them what that might look like, and they gave examples that we drew. I felt that this made things a little more concrete and relatable to them. (I made a point to underline the words equal, free, and just within the words, so the children could connect the bigger words to the smaller ones and see how they relate) this activity is also in my MLK mini-unit.

Next week, we are starting Penguins and there is all kinds of fun vocabulary that go with that. I'm planning on starting with the word splash again, and perhaps having them act out some of the words (like waddle, rookery, regurgitate, etc.) Then, I saw Deanna Jump updated her unit to include a great vocabulary book where they write the definition and draw it, so I'll be re-downloading that as well. 

picture from Deanna's Blog :)

We'll be doing some of the fun activities from my Penguin Centers Pack at our word work Center, and my kids can't wait to get their new February readers in their book boxes during Daily 5. 

The pocket charts for February and March should be up this weekend as well. February has seriously snuck up on me... I can't believe our 100th Day is next week!!! And Groundhogs Day!! And a Field Trip!!

Do you have any inspiring ideas for Vocabulary? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Literacy Week

We had a great time celebrating Literacy Week here in Florida! 

On Monday, our office staff read to the class.

On Tuesday, we buddy read with friends from the Kindergarten class next door. 

On Wednesday, we heard each teacher's favorite story! In my room, students heard "Where the Wild Things Are" and wrote about when they feel wild, while listening to the Troggs song "Wild Thing" 

(Writing page and Art Project from Deanna Jump)

On Thursday, parent volunteers came in to read.

And on Friday we had our Book Character Festival! 

Next week we'll be learning all about MLK Jr. 

And later tonight Little Readers for February and March should be posted! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A little bit of Snow

And when I say a little bit of snow... I mean in my classroom. You know there is none outside in our.... 75 degree weather. Here are a few of the new snowmen activities we did this year. (I decided to not re-take pictures of the things we did that were the same as last year)  I saw Deanna posted a unit on Sneezy, and I happened to have the book in my classroom so I grabbed it and we did some Sneezy activities:

For a look at the Snowmen activities we've done that are not new, check out last year's posts HERE.
Snowmen 2012 {part1}
Snowmen 2012 {part 2}

We're going to be starting Penguins next week, and I just put up a new set of centers to go along with it!

I'm working hard to finish little books and Pocket Charts for February & March, as well as a MLK Jr. Mini Unit, be on the look out for those soon!