All About Advent!

This Sunday marks the start of Advent!
Can you believe that Christmas is just over 4 weeks away!?!?
I love this time of year - it's probably my favourite teaching in a Catholic school.

Here's how we are preparing for the birth of Jesus!

I taught the students this Advent poem this week and printed it for our Pocket Chart Centre so students can rebuild the poem.
You can find this in my TpT store.

This year I wanted to have the students make their own Advent wreath.
I cut out a circle from the middle of a paper plate and had students paint the plate white.  We attached a ribbon and glued 4 candles out of construction paper (3 purple and 1 pink).  I've been teaching the students the song Candle, Candle (which the Grade 1 students sing at our Advent mass).
This weekend I'll be sending home the lyrics to the first part of this song along with a small light for candle #1.  Students can glue the light to the first candle with their families on Sunday.

Click on the picture below to download your copy of this song.

Each week leading up to Christmas we continue to sing the song and I'll be sending home the next part with a light for the candle.
You can also send home the entire poem this week and encourage students to light the candles each Sunday with their families.

Another fun song is Take a Walk to Christmas.  We sing this song all December long!

I print these props and have students walk around the circle holding each one up when we sing it.

You can download this for FREE from my TpT store!  Click on the picture above to download!


Weekly Wrap-Up -> Week 12

This week we explore letters, set out a STREAM (or STEM/STEAM) activity, and worked on our fine motor skills!
I can't believe it's almost the end of November!  This month flew by.
Check back soon as we get ready for the holidays!

I do this activity several times throughout the year, changing the stamping worksheet each time.  This week I left out both upper and lower case letters for students to stamp.

You can click HERE to download the stamping worksheet (it's from a post last year).

I have done this cup challenge in so many ways over the past few years and the students just love it!  I set up a bunch of different sized cups and had students create!

This is a fun game to play (I left ours out at the light table) as students are working on subitizing.  Roll the dot die and pick up the corresponding piece.  Use it to build your snake.  The person with the longest snake (or you can play with the one who builds a complete snake first) wins!
You can find this activity in my Fun with Dice pack on TpT.

We sent out postcards to our 10 pen pals around the world last month.  I joined a group of preschool/K teachers on Facebook back in the summer and we decided to send postcards to each other's class!  It has been so much fun receiving letters over the past few weeks that I set up this display to show everyone where the postcards come from.
 At the Science and Discovery Centre, I left out a large globe and paper, inviting the students to think about where we live and where they are interested in learning about.

I created this activity to help with fine motor.  I added a tray of paint and Q-tips and had students decorate the tree.  There are 2 versions of the tree.  

If you'd like to download this activity for FREE, click the picture below.


Weekly Wrap-Up -> Week 11

Funny story this week...
So it's still technically the season on fall as far as dates go.  But here in Toronto (Canada) the weather has taken a turn this past week and it feels like January!

I set up this fun provocation thinking my students will love creating their own fall picture, right?  I mean, we have been learning about seasonal changes, examining trees, collecting leaves and even jumping in them!
Then Monday morning hit....and we had snow, snow and more snow!
So needless to say I had wished I had set this up a few weeks before, but the students still enjoyed it!

I have known about Wikki Stix ever since I was a kid - they are plastic coated sticks that bend easily and stick to different surfaces.  I set out plastic placemats and invited the students to create pictures or even letters of the alphabet with them!

 These are my Letter Formation cards from my TpT store.

For our weekly STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math) challenge, I had students set the timer and see how high they could stack their tower.  The group I have this year absolutely love these challenges, particularly stacking and building ones!
The small wooden cubes are from Dollarama.

At our Drama Centre, we set up a Sandwich Shop where you can order and build your own custom sandwich!

You can find this in my Sandwich Shop Dramatic Play set on TpT.

Measurement in Kindergarten - Length and Height

Teaching measurement to a kindergarten class is hard!!!  I think it's one of the most challenging units, mainly because there's so much to measurement (length, height, weight, temperature, capacity) and some concepts (such as where to start measuring and where to end!) can be difficult for students to fully understand.

I created my Measurement in Kindergarten unit keeping these things in mind.  All of the activities are hands-on and have students learning through play.

When I start planning for this unit, I think about breaking it up into different sections.  I take the first week and focus on length and height.

I start by writing each student's name on grid paper.  I hand them out to the students and tell them that we will be finding out who has the longest name and who has the shortest name.  They are usually really good at quickly figuring this out but we arrange the names on the carpet for all to see.  I show them how we can line them up properly so it's easier to compare!

Then we have a discussion about what measurement means and I show them the "Measurement" poster and we discuss the different ways we can measure things (i.e., length, height, capacity, temperature, weight).  The poster has lots of graphics on it so I use those to explain the new words.

I place a variety of non-standard measuring tools in baskets (i.e., Unifix cubes, linking chains, bear counters, Popsicle sticks, etc.) and we discuss the "Length/Height" poster.
Students always love this poster because they quickly ask to measure a friend or even themselves!
I have a couple of objects in front of me (i.e., a book) and show students how I can use my hands to show where to start and stop measuring!  They quickly catch on to using their hands to guide them!
Then we discuss other rules:  choosing only one measuring tool, staying in a straight line, and leaving no spaces.  I let them come up and show the class each rule.  We co-create a "rules" poster and leave it up all week.


The next day we start by reviewing our "rules" poster.
I set up a variety of small plastic animals in a basket along with my non-standard measuring tools I introduced yesterday.  I choose an animal and, using the 4 rules, show students how we can measure them!
As a follow up, I sit with a small group of students and we use the Unifix cubes strips to practice measuring animals.   This is a great activity when you are first getting started with measurement as I've realized the students aren't very familiar with how the rules actually work! HA!
 So I made the animal cards have start and ending lines and the Unifix cube strips fit exactly so that they can easily find the answer.

I also like this activity to help students that may find the above activity a bit challenging.  Everything is measured for them, but students must count how many objects tall or long it is.

The next day I introduce the concept of how long something is in more detail.  We review the rules poster and then discuss how some things are shorter and others are longer.  I pre-cut strips of paper in various lengths (they are 'snakes') and hand them out to each student.  We arrange them from shortest to longest.  It's very similar to the name activity but it's much more challenging as the lengths are much different and some may even be the same!

We also measure our feet!  I have students take off their shoe and we trace around it.  They show me where to start and stop measuring with their hands and I draw lines on their paper to help them.  They choose a non-standard measuring tool and measure their foot!

This is a cute video of Sid the Science Kid to show the students that helps explain measurement!

I have a basket of crayons of various sizes (they are just crayons I collect from the baskets around the room!).  I call a student to come to the front of the class and choose 3 crayons without looking.  That student has to put them in order from shortest to longest.  We play this simple game again and again!

Students get to walk around the room and find objects to measure!  I guide them with this worksheet - and print different ones so they aren't all using the same non-standard measurement too.  So some worksheets may have them measuring with Unifix cubes, others with linking chains, etc.

DAY 5 (picture coming soon!)
We discuss the idea of height and I introduce this by choosing 2 students to come to the front and stand back to back.  We talk about who is taller and who is shorter.  I also explain that to measure each other using a non-standard measuring tool, it's often difficult to do so when the person is standing (I demonstrate this using linking chains).  So I show them how we can lie down and use the tools to measure.
Then I partner students up and have them practice showing where to start and end measuring each other.

I give them a "Find It!" worksheet and ask them to search the room, finding objects that are shorter and longer than themselves and draw it on their paper.

At my Math Centre, I leave out a variety of non-standard measuring tools in baskets for students to explore.
I also encourage students to measure each other using apples!  Yes, I pre-cut a basket full of clip art apples and they get such a kick out of using these!

You can find all of these activities (and lesson plans, games and centres for Capacity, Weight, and Temperature) in my Measurement in Kindergarten pack on TpT.

Here are my plans for teaching length and height for the week.

You can download these lesson plans for FREE by clicking below.


Weekly Wrap-Up -> Week 10

With Remembrance Day around the corner, we started talking about what it means, the symbols, and how we can show acts of peace.

Each year our students are asked to create a poppy craft to present at the Remembrance Day service.  This year we tried making our own poppies out of tissue paper.  I prepped them ahead of time (see picture below) and helped students individually take the tissue paper apart and fluff them into flowers. 
They came out beautiful!

Each year I set out this invitation asking students to create a poppy using loose parts.  They created such beautiful ones!

This coming week we will start exploring measurement (length and height) but I wanted to expose students to capacity as we will be covering that soon too.  I coloured small tube pasta and filled the sensory bin.  Then I added measuring cups and spoons, bowls, and ladles and listened as their conversations were rich, discussing which bowl held more and which tool to use to fill it.

I discovered this letter construction set this past summer online and knew it would be fun to use in our class!  Students built letters and even their names!  
Students used my Letter Formation Cards to help them build a letter.

You can find this magnetic letter construction set on Amazon.

I didn't realize last week when I showed students the experiment of mixing baking soda and vinegar that it was going to be such a hit!  They kept asking to do it over!
So I set out this large bin and filled it daily with a variety of materials for the students to explore:  vinegar and baking soda, shaving cream, spoons, cups, and a turkey baster.
Yes, it was a bit messy but oh, what fun!

During our math block this past week, I introduced the coding board (which is just a sand box lid with a grid made from tape).  I printed these arrow cards from You Clever Monkey and we had a rich discussion about directionality.
 Then I gave students leftover Halloween stickers and had them use the stickers as "obstacles" to create their own code.
You can download a variety of these coding worksheets for FREE from my older blog post HERE.

I just created this game during the week to fit the season.  To play "Find It!" you print the cards (there are a variety included: numerals, tally marks, dice, editable sight words and more!), print the "leaf" card and hide it behind a word.  Students say the word and remove it.  If they find the leaf they win!
I marked this new game down to only $1 for the next few days on my TpT store.

I also set out this write the room activity.  My students love anything where they get to walk around with a clipboard and write!  So I choose the matching worksheet from this pack and had them search and write specific words so that they could read the sentence.
You can find this activity HERE if you are interested.