Friday, January 25, 2013

New this week...

Worcester County Food Bank Project

If you are able to, please support the Community Service Learning Project organized by Mrs. Joanne MacLaughlin. She is challenging every Kindergarten class at Beal to collect 100 cans of nonperishable food, in celebration of the 100th day of school on Feb. 8th.  We have done an awesome job in our first week.  The Zakar's have collected close to 60 cans so far.  Let's try to beat our goal of 100 cans by the 100th day of school on February 8th. I think we can do it!  The kids seem really excited about being able to help those who are less fortunate.

PE Family Adventure: Yoga Night 

This is for Parents and Children and will be held TONIGHT, Friday evening,  Jan. 25th. Thanks to Beal parent (and founder of FitStudio28 in Westborough) Cindy Evangelous for volunteering to help our PE Teacher Chris D’Aniello with this sure to be fun-filled evening. Families with last names A to M are asked to attend the 6 pm session, and N-Z the 7 pm session. Please bring along a yoga mat or thick beach towel if you can. We often do Yoga in our classroom, so I am sure the children would love to show you all they know!

In math this week, we have been concentrating on Addition and Subtraction number stories.  We have used the strategy of drawing a picture to help us solve the problem.  We have also talked about the difference between addition and subtraction.  We noticed that addition number stories use the language; "How many altogether", and subtraction number stories use the language; "How many are left".  We have made "Room 8's Addition Number Stories" and "Room 8's Subtraction Number Stories".  I will be posting pictures next week to show you their hard work.  Here is a picture of the pages we completed.  

We also have really enjoyed watching the Harry Kindergarten Song from Youtube.  Here is the video for you to watch with your child. 

During reading groups this week, the children got to use a fun new reading tool.  They each were able to use finger lasers (lights) to help highlight their words as they were reading.  They loved these and it proved to be a great tool for keeping their place while they are reading.  This week we really concentrated on "getting our mouths ready" when we come to a word we do not know.  

We have also started to talk about using questions to help us better understand a story.  The children are working on using and answering questions about a text.  We started to read "Brave Irene", and the children had many questions including, "Why is she so brave?", "I wonder if she will get the dress to the ball?"  We also talked about what some of the vocabulary meant in the book.  When you are reading with your children, be sure to stop and ask questions to help guide their understanding.  Also, let the children know it is great if they have questions about the story.  This is what helps them to better understand the story.

I will end this post with some pictures of the kids doing their very best work during Daily 5 and Morning Meeting.  You will see the kids reading the morning message and participating in yoga.  Finally, I posted some pictures that show you how I organize the RazKids and EDMonline passwords. The kids have become so independent using this structure.


Have a wonderful weekend and check my Freebies Page for some great at home math practice.  I will also start to put up some word work practice you could print out.  Take Care!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tricky Teen Mnemonics

Those "teen" numbers sure are tricky.   They don't follow any of our rules that we know about numbers.  Remembering their names can be such a hard concept for children.  About a month ago, I asked the special education teacher, Mrs. K., to do an introductory lesson on the "tricky teens".  She had come up with some mnemonics that would help the children remember those tricky names.  After the lesson, I loved them so much that i decided to work on creating those pictures on the computer.  Well, after much tweaking, we finally have a finished product.  These picture and rhyme clues have been so helpful to my friends who are still getting tricked by those "tricky teens".  This is how they came out.

All the teens start with a 1.  We decided to make the 1 into a "teenager".  We talked about what a teenager was and decided that a boy or a girl who was between the age of 11-19 was considered a teenager.  Some of the teen numbers have a rhyme with them because they don't follow any rule. the other teens use the "backwards rule".  This means that we say the number in the ones place first followed by "teen".  The teens that use the backwards rule have lips on the number in the ones place.  This is to remind the kids that we start with that number.  Take a look and you will get s better idea of what we mean.  Although I made the pictures, all the credit goes to Karen K., who was the creator of the mnemonic.  Thanks KK!

11-  Kevin and Devin Eleven
12-  Elve Twelve
13-  Prrrrr ..teen thirteen
14-  (backwards rule)- four teen
15-  jiff..teen fifteen
16-  (backwards rule) six teen
17-  (backwards rule) seven teen
18-  (backwards rule) eight teen
19-  (backwards rule) nine teen

Here are the tricky teens in black and white!

Curious Teens

Here is a new tricky teens practice page.  I use a tricky teen spinner, but you could use cards, 20 frames, or any other manipulative.  They must state the number they get and then color it in on the recording sheet.

Click the picture for a free copy! Enjoy!

These are the spinners they use for this!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A peek inside the Zakar's room.... What have we been up to?

Can you believe it is already the middle of January?  Oh how time flies!  Here is what has been happening lately.  We have been really working hard with our popcorn words and our lively letter friends.  Please feel free to practice letter sounds and popcorn words with your children when you can.  Any kind of practice will help in the long run.  So far we have been introduced to 11 popcorn words!  Can you believe it?  I will put it out there again as a challenge to go on a popcorn word hunt at home, in the supermarket, while driving...  If you are able to get a picture of your child pointing to a popcorn word, send in the picture and it will go on our Popcorn Word Hall of Fame.  Here are a list of the popcorn words I have introduced.

Be sure to see if your child is able to read these previously taught words.  If they are having trouble, practicing at home would be a great idea.  Here are some multi-sensory ways your children can practice their sight words. Try using any of these materials to practice spelling the sight words

  • salt
  • shaving cream
  • play dough 
  • markers
  • smelly markers
  • sand
  • oil pastels
  • letter stamps or tiles
  • chalk
  • dry erase markers
Here are some other ways children can practice their words. 
  • Try having them write a sentence with a popcorn word in it.
  • Have them finger spell the popcorn word
  • Have them "air-write" their word
  • Have them go on a popcorn word hunt in books
  • Have them tally each popcorn word they see
  • Have them write a story using as many popcorn words as they can.
  • Write the popcorn words on flashcards and see how many they can read in a minute.
I hope everyone will take advantage of these ideas during the week.

In other news, we have been moving and grooving with our Lively Letters.  Recently I have introduced the "h brother" /sh/.  We also have met /s/, /z/, /r/, and /l/.  Ask your child what sounds each of those letters make.  We are concentrating on blending and segmenting CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words.  For example;  I may say a word and ask them to tell me all the sounds they hear.  I would say, "Tell me all the sounds you hear in the word "fun".  There response should be /f/  /u/  /n/.  This is a great oral activity to do while driving in the car or in a waiting room at the doctors.  We have also been working really hard to blend CVC words together.  We often talk about the importance of vowels and how every word needs a vowel (superstar as I like to call them) to be considered a word.  So far we have learned short vowel sound /a/, /o/. /u/. and /i/.  I will put three letters up on the board (p a t).  The kids must tap each sound out and then blend it together.  They have even noticed that some words they make are nonsense words (or alien words as we like to call them in Kindergarten).  I have seen so much progress in these skills even over the last couple of weeks.  

Reading groups have been going strong for quite a while now.  I have sent the guided reading folders home once or twice prior to Winter Break, but starting this week you will see their folders come home more frequently.  The books that they are taking home are books that we have used in reading group and books that the kids are able to read independently.  On the folder it does say to send the folder back to school each day, but if you would like to take a couple days to practice, feel free to do so.  I won't send another book out until I receive the last one.  Don't forget that the definition of "reading" is not just the ability to read the words.  Children must understand what they are reading, read in a fluent manor, and use strategies to decode words they do not know.  Although some books may seem easy for your child, know that we are working on many different strategies that good readers use.  

In math, we continue to strengthen our number sense skills through many different games in the classroom.  Each child has a math binder.  In that binder there are many different number, fact, and strategy games.  The children also love the paper and pencil activities.  Most of these deal with rolling two dice, counting on, and finding that corresponding number.  If you look on my freebies page on my blog, you will see I have posted all these sheets for you to download for practice if you so desire.  Also, if you are more interested in the math binders, there is a search box on my blog.  If you search for Daily 5 Math, you will be able to see better explanations and pictures of the kids binders.  Today we talked about addition number stories.  We learned that "plus" means to add all together.  We even learned that the + is a symbol that represents plus.  We decided that drawing a picture is a great way to solve number stories.  Tomorrow we will be creating our own number story book.  I can't wait to hear all the creative stories they have to share.  

Writing Workshop has been running very smoothly.  Last week, each child began to write a story about something they know a lot about.  Something that has happened to them.  First, I told them a story about the time I flushed my keys down the toilet.  They thought that was pretty funny.  Next, the children were able to turn to a partner and talk about something that they wanted to write about.  We just started with one piece of paper and we concentrated on getting one complete though down on paper before trying to start the next.  We also talked about space between our words.  Starting next week, each child will be picking a specific writing "goal" that they would like to work on.  Some examples of "goals" are finger spacing, using lowercase letters, staying on topic, adding details, using punctuation, telling more, and hearing the sounds in words.  I will be also sending home a brown paper bag for the kids to put a couple pictures or small items that will remind them of some of the things they have done over the years.  This bag will be available during writing workshop to help them think of ideas for their stories!  

Last week we read "Snowmen at Night".  This was a super fun story and really got the children to make some predictions about what snowmen do at night.  Then, they got to choose what their snowman would do at night when they were all tucked in bed and sleeping.  The kids absolutely loved this activity.  I even saw that two snowmen were doing "Gangnam Style" at night.  I thought this was hilarious.  After they drew their picture, they wrote a sentence to go with it!  Here are some great pics of there finished work.

I will leave you with a bunch of pictures of some of the new activities going on in the classroom.  You should be very proud of your children because they are doing such a wonderful job!  I think you will agree that you have seen quite a bit of progress made since the beginning of the year!  
That's all for now...