Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's a K "tree-O" giveaway!

It's a fabulous thing when you celebrate 1000 followers (a huge milestone) but to be able to celebrate it with two other of my most favorite kinder bloggers makes it even sweeter.

Don't you love our button made by our buddy Tanja from Journey of a Substitute Teacher

It's true! Three kinder blogs are celebrating 1000 followers this week.  Mary from Sharing Kindergarten, Mary from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detective and myself.  We wanted to bring you some of our favorite fall treats for this giveaway.  So each of grabbed a fall theme and created some products that your can win. 

Mary from Sharing Kindergarten is hosting a scarecrow themed giveaway.
Mary from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives is hosting a fall leaves themed giveaway.
And I, A Differentiated Kindergarten, is hosting the Halloween themed giveaway.

There will be products for each theme that you can win on each bloggers site.  One winner from each site!
So here's the Halloween loot that you can win from my site.
I'm giving away my TrickyWrite The Room unit.

Mary from Sharing Kindergarten has donated this Halloween item for my giveaway:

And Mary L from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives has donated this one:

It's easy to enter.  So sign up. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My busy week . . . in pictures!

I'm gonna put it right out there . . . I'm too lazy to write a whole bunch of explanations for what you're gonna see here.  I'm beat, the sun is out and I need to get my household ready for the impending snowfall that is guaranteed to hit Michigan now that October is nearly here.  So take a look at my week in pictures.  I missed a couple of activities like the Apple Tens Frame Fun, but I'll be using these for the next week or so and can get more pics later.  I did link up most of the activities when possible so you can click on pictures as need be.  I'll be back later this week to tell you about our progress with Read To Self, Writers Workshop, Listening to Reading and Top Bananas, but until then, here it is in pictures.

I Spy Numbers Down on the Farm

Wormy Apples part of Apples Galore

Hidden Farm Letters

A magazine scavenger hunt

Counting On Apples Part of Apples Galore

Banana Splits part of Top Bananas

Listening to reading

Calendar Math

Writers Workshop

 What does it look like when it's all happening all at at the same time . . . something like this !!! (Don't judge my messy room.  I have 26 kinders and they somehow, find space to do everything.  They park themselves in little crooks and crannies of the room. Thank goodness for clipboards and small-ish bodies.

Ok that's it for now.  Make sure you check back with me tomorrow.  I have a FABULOUS giveaway I'm hosting with some pals.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shoe Sheriffs-Wrangling and Roping Shoes All Over Class!

Shoes make me crazy!!! Literally! I hate untied shoes and kinders are notorious for having them. My two oldest sons knew how to tie their shoes before they went to kindergarten. That doesn't always mean they took the time to do it, but at least I knew that if an adult said, 'tie your shoe' they could.

That also doesn't mean I'm advocate for velcro either. That sound can get to be like nails on a chalkboard. So, in any case, I needed to find a way to get those shoes tied in my class without me actually having to do it.So this is what I came up with

If you know anything about me and my teaching style, you know I love to celebrate successes. So this allows me to say 'Yippee' when a kinder masters the art of lassoing their tennis shoe laces.

Of course there is a certificate . . .

and then I have an 'on-duty' sheriff who has the honor (and responsibility) to tie shoes for that day (or week) depending of the number of deputies you have around waiting for their turn.

If you'd like to swear in some 'Shoe Sheriffs' in your classroom, you can download everything you need right here. I did the letters in two colors because I just couldn't decide between the red/blue and gold/blue.  Then I poked some holes in the picture of the tennis shoes and laced some shoelaces through them.  Ta-dah.  Now get out their and wrangle up some shoelaces little doggies.

I'll be back this later this weekend with some pictures of my week and plans for you to look over. Until then, check out this cute little Halloween-ish activity I came up.

Click on the pics to find out more.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Differentiated Math Stations for Apple-Farm Fun

I know I said I would have pictures of last week's word work stations.  It was my every intent, but, sorry guys, life kinda happened all over me this week.  My littlest guy was admitted to the hospital for respiratory troubles and I camped out with him a couple days.  When I did get back to school I helped out with Diebels testing and somewhere in there I welcomed another new students and four soccer games (and three of those with snack duties) later . . . well, it just didn't happen.   I hope you understand.  It is my intent, again, to get pictures up for you this week so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I have math stations to plan so I thought I'd give you a gander at what I'm thinking of:

If you click on the picture above it will take you to my document with all the hyperlinks included.  Here's a little run down though:

1.  Apple Ten Frames Fun.  Differentiated and Aligned.  You can use apple manipulatives (hi-ho cherry apples work too) or red bingo chips, red snap cubes or whatever you have laying around.  There are also little apples cards included if that makes it easier for you.

2.  Number Writing Practice.  This book (it's a freebie still I believe) is from Fran over at Kindergarten Crayons.  I love it for writing practice with my kinders.

3. Lego Numbers.  Thanks to one of great readers now have the link for making Lego numbers (you guys are awesome) . My kinders have always love doing these and it's great for fine motor and visual discrimination.  Click on the picture for the link.

4. Wormy Apples:  This game is for number recognition.  It is part of a packet that you can make five games from one called Apples Galore.  You can use a limited number of cards for those who are just beginning to recognize numbers and add for others who need more of a challenge.

5.  I-Spy Numbers Down on the Farm.  Differentiated and aligned to common core.  My kinders love a good I-spy. 

6. Krissy Miner's Pokey Pin Shapes.  I need to keep working those fine motor muscles and my kids love pokey pin activities so I'm using both the circles and triangle.  

7. Counting On Apples.  Part of Apples Galore again.  This one allows you kiddos to identify what comes after a number.  There are several color or black and white recording sheets to choose.  You can differentiate by number or by scaffolding by providing a number line (or not).

8.  Farm Numbers Write the Room-I was ease dropping on some teachers the other day (not from my school or district) but who were talking about how one had a Smartboard and one had a Nowboard and I had to boast . . . I have a CLIPBOARD. If only every teacher knew the power of the clipboard.  My kinders this year love to write the room.  This one is differentiated so check it out.

9.  Apple Links/Apple Memory.  Students can either link apple numbers in order with plastic links or play your traditional memory game with apple numbers. 

Ok that's it.  I still have learning centers and word work together for the week and a load of other things to catch up on.  Drop me a line and let me know how your math stations are going.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Differentiated Word Work Plan . . . and so it begins.

Ok, I've taken the last week or so to dive in and really get a grasp of what my kinders readiness levels look like in terms of literacy and I feel like I have a plan of action.  Constant and ongoing assessment will be key, but I know that I can't have my high fliers continue working on just their names and simple letter mastery when they are ready to move on to bigger and better things.  I will still work with them on fluency and speed but I have to give them a little more challenge.  Likewise, I need to really make sure the ones that are just getting their feet wet have the opportunity to find success and support that will not frustrate them.  So I'm diving in and tiering my 'word work' stations for the week.

These literacy stations will evolve into my 'word work' stations for Daily 5 so for the sake of keeping my kiddos from getting confused.  I just refer to them as Word Work Stations. 

Here is a gander at my over all plan.  Yes I have math stations and learning centers as well. But since they are still in the exploring and getting to know routines stage, I'm only going to focus on Word Work Stations this week.

If you click on the picture, it will take you to a google docs with the links to specific activities if you're interested in finding out more.

Station 1 is a sorting activity for letters that is part of my Top Bananas letter mastery systems.  I like it because it's very kinesthetic and my kinders love to move.  The clothes pins are especially good for their fine motor development.

Station 2:  Pokey Pins.  Another great fine motor activity that my kinders love.  I have a bunch of these lined up in my wall so they can take the top layer off and see their creations after the fact.  I'll be using the number ones for math this year as well since I have so many with fine motor needs.

Station 3:  I always have the option for students to work on some kind of an I-Spy activity. It's great visual discrimination exercise and the logical thinkers in my class love the whole 'puzzle' dimension of it.  They try to see how fast they can find the answers and even when they complete it, they want to do it again. This one is differentiated for early literacy learners.

Station 4:  Stamping Stations are always a favorite and it gives kinders another way to represent what they know without having to actually write the letter.  For those that still struggle with writing and fine motor mastery, they can show me what they know and not have to worry (this time) about writing it. Plus, who doesn't love stamps?

Station 5:  Letter Beads.  I love that my letter beads now have a purpose.  This will be a stable station in word work stations because my kinders love it, it's great fine motor exercise, and I will have activities for the year to keep them busy and challenged.  This starter series is free and it will give them a good start on how to use the materials and offers letter recognition activities.

Station 6: Magazine Hunt Activities.  Here is another great fine motor activity that I will be using throughout the year.  Man, they really need it, especially at this time of the year.  Krissy Miner has a year's worth of magazine hunts for your students and even some programmable pages that I will be using this week.  They better get their scissors warmed up. (Sorry, haven't used this activity yet but I promise to get you some pictures of it in action later this week when I check back.)

Station 7:  Write the Room Farm Yard Fun.  There's several different ways to tier this activity.  I love write the room activities and I use them for math and literacy so this is always a choice for my students.  Again, this is one that if they finish, they always want to go back and do it again.  It's amazing.  The logical and kinesthetic learners especially love the movement component to this activity and the challenge of finding out where all the cards are placed.  Be brave and give write the room a try.  Kindergarten should be active, there should be movement and it's ok . . . especially when they are engaged as they will be with write the room.

Station 8:  Letter Jenga- I can't believe in all my pictures of all the activities my class does, I do not have a picture of this but I don't!  I will get you one when I do my recap.  I think everyone has done this activity in their class.  I came across some little mini Jenga sets a few years back and was able to make an entire 11 sets for each of the 11 Dolch word lists so the letter one is really helpful in teaching my kiddos about the game and how it works.  Definitely a class favorite.

Station 9:  Cookie Sheet Activities- Julie Van Alst from Make Take Teach is one of the smartest people I know and just happens to be an RTI consultant for my school district.  She makes great products and her cookie sheet activities are perfect for my class because they are mobile, tierable (is that a word) and the kids love them.  This week I continue to use her ABC order set and will introduce her Beginning Sounds set to my students who are ready for that challenge. You'll be seeing these activities in many of my stations throughout the year.

In case you haven't seen my earlier posts on how I organize my word work stations, I use these containers that are numbered

and inside there are color coded (there are little colored dot stickers on them) poly envelopes.  I have laminated colored name cards, whichever color your name is written on is the color of poly envelope you use. Because the name cards are laminated, I can change them as anytime which is GREAT for ongoing assessment and flexible grouping needs. If you want more details on how I organize this you can see it in an older post HERE.

So that's it.  I'll be back later in the week to recap how they went and give you some updates on how my Daily 5 journey is going. 


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