The Saturday Kindergarten Post

It’s that time again!  Time for another edition of the famous The Saturday Kindergarten Post!  It’s the weekly rundown on all the great learning that occurred at Monsters Inc!  This week we actually didn’t get to everything….shocker, right?!  We had a fire drill…a tornado drill…and a RIF volunteer!  All unexpected of course.  It’s a good thing teachers are flexible.    And guess what?  We had to work today.  It’s true.  Teachers.  Working.  Saturday.  If only the general public knew of this horror?!  This was a planning day.  And by planning the principal made us unpack the standards.  Again.  Kindergarten has done this for the past two summers.  So we needed it again.  Once we were able to meet as a time we got a lot done.  I am excited to share our ideas and how I bring them to life over the next 9 weeks.  It’s going to be a great time in our classroom!
And now….what you all look forward to every week.  And it’s not me in a funny hat!  It’s The Saturday Kindergarten Post!
Penguin hats!
We celebrated the letter P this week.  Celebrated.  We did not focus on P or the sound of P.  We did not do a letter of the week.  We celebrate the letter P while honoring the remaining letters and sounds.  We read Princess Pigtoria and the Pea and used the words in the book to practice our first sound fluency skills.  We read If You Give A Pig A Pancake and made a story map.   
This is our story map.  We do this for at least one story a week.  I found Post It Note ROLLS at Big Lots a few years ago.  Calm down.  Post It Note rolls?  I know.  Calm down.  I have seen them online too.  I am running low so I will be ordering more soon.  This week we also talked a lot about authors and illustrators.  I am very impressed that my students have mastered the parts of a book (front cover, back cover, spine, title page) and have a firm grasp on authors and illustrators.

We also read If You Give A Pig A Party and compared and contrasted that with If You Give A Pig A Pancake.  This is our first double bubble thinking map.  I was pleasantly surprised with how well my monsters did with this activity.  Usually comparing and contrasting is a challenge for us.  But we did well.  I am starting to think my monsters are higher than any one thought.  Including me.  Lesson learned:  Never judge a book by it’s cover.
We learned about labeling this week.  It’s one of my favorite activities.  Have you noticed I have a lot of favorite activities.  What can I say?  I plan such great lessons…I just love them all.  Anyways, enough talking about me.  We use large Post It Notes.  Post It Notes, how I love thee!  The children decide what they want to label.  They identify the first sound and I help them with the rest.  I will say the sound and use the movement from our Alphardy song to job their memory.  They always do such a great job of identifying the letters for the sounds.  It’s a great informal assessment too because you get an idea of how they’re doing with sounds.  One exception:  E and A.  Those are the two hardest sounds for my students to differentiate.  

I use these work mats in two ways.  First, we use them to practice counting.  I also use them with students to strengthen number recognition.  I start with this mat where the numbers are in order.  Each child has an index card with the numbers 1-10 programmed on it.  They ID the number and match it to the work mat.  After we practice, we time how fast we do it.  The game is to get faster each time.  Once we’ve gotten fast it naming and recognizing numbers, I give them a work mat with the numbers in random order.  And we repeat the process.  It’s such a simple and easy idea that really boosts our number recognition skills!
How many?  We worked very hard on counting to answer how many.  We started teh week off with a whole group activity from my teammate.  I placed one each of some school supplies:  glue stick, scissors, pencil, glue bottle, crayon and marker, in a bag.  The students took turn pulling one item out and we colored the graph.  We then counted how many times we pulled each school supply out.  Tuesday, we brought this activity to an independent level.  Students grabbed cubes, counted how many  and graphed the answer.  Wednesday was Fall Bump It!  It was a huge hit.  I will be making a lot more of these games after seeing how my class responded.  And they really did well.  I used my Smart Board spinner to spin a random number and they found the picture that matched the number.  After we matched all the numbers, I gave them numbers to cut and paste.  This turned our game into an assessment.  We also did a lot of small group work using the work mats I created my first year of Kindergarten.  Counting how many?  14/16 mastered all 3 assessments this week. Pretty good, don’t ya think?  And we started math journals this week!  Kids loved them.  Great lesson closure (which is so important since that is a key part of my evaluation.  I mean, everything I do is driven by my fair and grade level appropriate evaluation rubric….um, not.  Do you like my sarcastic reference to my evaluation?!)  

This is our “Monster-ific Work” board.  I take the best work from the day and staple it on the board.  On Friday I take it all down.  I keep adding all week until the board is completely full of work.  Talk about motivating.  My students want to be on the monster board.  Guess what that means??  We’re doing better work.  Give it a try.  And you can thank me later!

We also honored our nation and remember September 11th.  We made flags.  They turned out beautifully.  The process to get there was not beautiful.  Seriously, it was so so so so so so so stressful and frustrating but we didn’t give up.  I didn’t cry.  I might have stomped my feet a little.  And the end product was totally worth it.  
We live in Music City USA so of course we had to honor our nation with a music themed craftivity.  LOVE these guitars!  My kids were playing their pianos all day!  I can see my ADHD friend on stage in 15 years (American Idol?  The Voice?) singing about a girl breaking his heart and stealing his truck and taking the dog!  
Speaking of my ADHD friend…we’re having issues taking our meds.  The doctor said we could crush up the pills and put it in some juice. People, I am like a dealer in the back of my classroom smashing up a pill and pushing it on my monster.  “Drink your juice.  Drink it.  Drink it all.  DRINK IT.”  The second day of our routine, ADHD we had this conversation:
ADHD;  “Mr. Greg I didn’t take my medicine.”
Me:  “Yes you did.”
A:  “No me didn’t”
Me: “Yes you did.”
A: “Was it in the juice?”
Me: “No.”
A: “Did you make it in the Kool Aid?”
Me:  “nope.”
A:  “I didn’t take my medicine”  
Me: “Don’t worry dude, I took care of you.”
And he was satisified.
Here is the other “conversation” he had with me this week:
“I can’t speak to you until you raise your hand quietly.”
A:  “Gosh you’re so mean to me.  Why are you so mean to me?  I am so mad at you.  UGH.”  And he crosses his arms and pouts.  LOVE HIM!
During centers, my monster was writing the room and she decided she needed to create a Thinking Map for her words.  And tada:  she made a circle map.  Pretty awesome huh???  And she did it completely on her own!  Don’t you love these moments?  I wanted to run upstairs, drag  bring the principal downstairs and be like, “LOOK!  I’m not a disappointment.”  Anyways, love this moment.  I made the cute clipboard paper for them to use during Write The Room.  Lots of fun colors of clipboards and lots of fun colored paper.  

Letter stamping!  Finally broke out the stamps and ink.  We stamped letters…faces…clothes…tables…teachers.  I think even Pinky the Wonder Hamster had ink on her.  How int he world do they get the ink everywhere?!?!?!  Seriously…but now that we have learned how to use our stamps, we will be using these in our centers A LOT! 

If you read an my Twitterific Tuesday Post, you saw my iPad poster that I was super excited about.  As the children shared their learning for the day, I write it down or “tweet” it.  We get the typical responses.  And then one of my monsters makes me a proud teacher.  Read the last line.  Done!  Thank you!  Disappointment??  I think not. 

And we celebrate P…not focused on P…with P pretzels and popcorn.  I guess I took a popcorn popper for granted.  My kids were beyond amazed at this little device.  Just look at those faces!!!  The gasps, and oos and ahs were priceless.  I might have to break that thing out more often!  
Did you survive all that?  Shew, I had a lot to say.  Sorry about that! 
And this is our week!  What do you think?  Did you see something inspiring or intriguing?  I would love to hear what you think!

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