Weekly Wrap-Up -> Week 8

It's nearly Halloween!  Our classroom had lots of activities and centres this week to reflect fall and Halloween!

I found these large web bowls at Dollarama a couple of years back.  I tied string around them and placed a handful of plastic spiders inside.  Students used the tweezers and tried to pick up as many spiders as they could in 1 minute!

I added quirt bottles, plastic bowls, coloured water and I found these fun Halloween syringes (which are great for fine motor) and placed them in the sensory bin.  I changed it each day - adding different coloured water, sparkles, jewels, etc.  The kids loved it!

One of my favourite books this time of year is The Fox and the Falling Leaves.  I left out a variety of loose parts and had students retell the story or create their own!

On our light table I added these cut outs of pumpkin faces for students to create their own.
I found the free printable faces HERE and just added a pumpkin clip art.  I printed all of these in colour on transparencies and cut them out.

Last week we learned the poem I'm a Little Pumpkin.  The students enjoyed singing it very much so I cut up the word cards and had them build the poem on our pocket chart.
You can find this activity in my TpT store if you are interested.

We go outside on a regular basis - in fact my students ask to go all the time!  Their favourite place to visit is the "magical forest" in the back of the school - which is really just a group of tall trees!
We always collect things of interest and I left out paint for students to draw and paint their findings.

We added pictures from our outdoor exploration time as well as art made by the students on our classroom door.
We made these shaving cream leaves to add to our door - super easy and adorable!  The amazing ECE, Mrs. Caruso, who works in the K classroom down the hall gave me this idea.  I printed these leaves and followed these steps:

1)  Have students cut out a leaf
 2)  Spray shaving cream all around a cookie sheet.  Add food colouring (we used fall colours - red, yellow, and green).  Mix with craft stick.
 3)  Dip leaf into shaving cream mix and press down.
 4)  Scrap shaving cream off with a ruler or large craft stick.  Set aside to dry (doesn't take long!)

Click the picture below to download these leaf templates and make your own fall art!


Weekly Wrap-Up -> Week 7

With the cooler temperature here this week, the students and I took a walk to collect some leaves and other seasonal items we found outside.  

I laid them all out at our Science and Discovery Centre and invited the students to paint or draw their findings (note: I added the pumpkin).

Some of my students are working on holding a pencil properly, pressing down to make marks and drawing.  In my Fine Motor small group this week, we practiced making marks (which is the beginning of pre-writing skills).  I took a small wooden cube (from Michaels) and drew different lines.  Students rolled their cube and tried to draw the lines on their white board.
*I originally got this idea years ago from Pinterest but don't know who the original author is!  If you do, please let me know so I can go back and give proper credit.*

I introduced a new STEM (or STEAM/STREAM) activity this week - using the iPad to scan QR codes around the room!  Once students scan the QR code, a picture comes up with the word on the bottom, and they can check it off their list.  Students are to check off the beginning sound of that picture.  There are 26 QR codes hidden around the room.

You can find this in my Alphabet Mystery QR Codes on TpT.

The book Look What I Did With a Leaf! is a great read for this time of year!  We read the book, went outside on a nature walk and collected leaves.  I left those leaves out at our Science and Discovery Centre (see above) as they were crumbling a little, but added these plastic leaves to this provocation.

I've been setting up this same provocation for a few years now and each time it is a hit!  Students use Lego to create a maze for the marble to travel through.

I wanted to set up a fun activity to get students to begin to write.  My students are all at different levels of writing - some are learning to make lines, others can listen for beginning sounds and label, and many of my SK (Year 2) students are able to listen and write all the sounds they hear in a word (see below).
I made these large Halloween picture cards and chose a few to show students how we can stretch and sound out words, writing what we hear.
Then I offered Halloween stickers and this Label the Sticker page for students to try it on their own.
This was a hit!  I think anytime you add stickers to an activity it's going to be a sure win!

*The "Label the Sticker" page is from my "Get Your Students to Write" pack on TpT.*

Click on the link below to download these Halloween writing card freebies. 


Weekly Wrap-Up -> Week 6

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada and I finally had a chance to post all about the fun activities we did last week!

Using loose parts, students were encouraged to build a letter in the picture frame.  I took pictures of each letter and will post them when the alphabet is complete!

I recently posted how we wrapped up our sorting unit in math.  I left these translucent buttons and sorting mats at the light table for students to use.  I have a whole bunch of button sorting mats that you can download for FREE by clicking on this posthttp://mrsalbanesesclass.blogspot.com/2017/10/why-we-love-our-light-tablefreebie.html

I tend to put this provocation out each year as it's a class favourite.  I kept the materials simple - cork, large Popsicle sticks and 5 pumpkins (I found these a few year back from Dollarama).
You can add all kinds of loose parts!  Use whatever you may have in your class to set up this fun and easy provocation just in time for Halloween.

I wish I had posted this last week so that you could have used it for Thanksgiving!  My apologies!  But you can always save it for next year (or use it if you live in the USA!).  The cards were so easy to make - print, fold and mount on construction paper.  Have students use their fingerprints to add fall leaves to the tree and write "Happy Thanksgiving" on the inside.
*I found this idea years back on Pinterest.  I don't know who the original creator is but if you do please let me know and I will be happy to give proper credit.*


Sorting in Kindergarten

One of the first big math units we teach at the beginning of the year is Sorting.  I find that students naturally gravitate to sorting all kinds of things in the classroom on a daily basis anyways!  For instance, they sort toys when cleaning up, place crayons by colour in the basket, blocks are sorted by size, etc.

Whenever I teach sorting, I like to provide opportunities for students to tell me how they think we can form groups of similar things rather than just give them a sorting rule.
Since I want to find ways to grab their attention, we start by sorting things hands-on!
I scatter a variety of "beautiful junk" in the  middle of our circle -> buttons, feathers, plastic animals, cork, whatever you have!!!  I also place a variety of baskets and muffin tins to use to sort.
I ask students to think of ways we can group the items...and I listen to their response.

I made a large QR codes poster that I display near my computer/iPad centre which has links to lots of fun, free online games for students to play all about sorting!
You can also use these online games as a while group lesson to reinforce a sorting rule!

Then we sort ourselves!  I lay out 2-3 mats and have students move to a spot based on their answer.  For instance: girls/boys, JK/SK (Pre-K/K), brown hair/blonde hair/red hair/black hair, shoes with Velcro/laces/slip on, etc.

If you don't already own this book, it's a MUST for teaching sorting!  A little mouse finds many ways to sort his beautiful junk and I love how students can chime in on each page and figure out how he does it!

As I introduce a sorting rule, I show students the corresponding poster.  I like to leave these up on my easel (or Math Wall) and refer back to them often during our unit.

We start by introducing (formally) the sorting rule "I Can Sort by Colour".
I like to use these sorting mats along with Unifix cubes, coloured teddy bear counters, or anything else you may have!

I scatter a variety of attribute blocks on the floor along with 2-3 hula hoops.  As I place a shape inside the hula hoop, I ask students if they can figure out how I sorted.  I invite students to come up and continue to sort the shapes.
In small groups, I use the sorting mats to reinforce the rule.
Sometimes I find it very overwhelming for students to see a variety of shapes in front of them so I narrow it down to only 2-3 shapes and ask them to sort those out.

When we focus on sorting by size, I like to pull out my plastic animals.  I bought a bunch over the years from Dollarama which tend to by a bit larger, as well as Toobs from Michaels, which are smaller.  
(If you don't have plastic animals, I have included a variety of cards to print and use.)
Again, I start by asking students how they think we can sort - and you will get a bunch of answers! - then I begin sorting, without talking, by size and see if anyone can figure out my rule.

I love using real buttons to sort!  They offer such a variety of ways to sort for students (i.e., holes, colour, shape, size, shiny/not shiny, patterns/no patterns, etc.).  
I scatter a bunch of buttons in the middle of my carpet.

After we do this activity, I read the story The Button Box.  A boy discusses the many different buttons his grandmother has given him and finds different ways to sort them out.  
*The reason I read the book after the lesson is because I want students to think of ways they can sort without the book giving them away.  I also love to hear students say, "Oh, that's the same way I sorted the buttons!" as we read.
We practice using these button sorting mats in small groups.

After we practice sorting by colour, shape, size and button holes, I like to play this interactive game on the Bright Links Board:
You can click on the picture above to play or here: https://www.abcya.com/games/counting_sorting_comparing

Now we are ready to learn more challenging ways to sort:  animals (land/water/sky), living/non-living, letters/numbers, uppercase/lowercase, etc.
Students love these because I make a big deal saying these are what Grade 1 students do!

We use these cards to match the sorting rule with the picture.

I discovered these attribute apples last year from the Scholastic Classroom Essentials catalogue.  They are a perfect tool for hands-on practice!

The apples come in 3 colours, different sizes, and some with a worm or leaf on them!
Sorting in so many ways!!!
 I scatter them around the table in my small group lesson and listen as to how students sort them.
You can also find them on Amazon.

All of our documentation goes up onto our Math Wall:

Another favourite online game to play is "This and That Shop" on TVOkids.
Click on the above picture or here to play:

You can find all of these activities (and so much more!) in my Sorting in Kindergarten pack on TpT.

Here are my 2 weeks of lesson plans for teaching sorting.
Feel free to click below to download your copy for free!!!