Sunday, April 14, 2013

Buggin' Out!

What do I like to do to procrastinate? Hmmm.... lots of things. I have recently rediscovered my love to draw. Now I'm not so good at people and faces. But I do love drawing animals and bugs and things like that. One of my blogging buddies put in a request for clipart of the praying mantis life cycle. I tried to deliver on that request. You can see my little bugs here. I think they are cute for being such creepy little things. If you want them, hop to my store and pick them up. These were hand drawing on my ipad and are in color and black and white. :) Now I have to go and work on all that other stuff that's not nearly as fun as drawing.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sunflower Life Cycle and Plant Parts and a Freebie!

Do you study life cycles? I do. I drew up some super cute clipart using my new favorite art app called "Art Set." It lets you draw much like painting. It even allows you to see the layered strokes and blend them together with a little virtual sponge. If you want to create your own worksheets or posters I'm offering this clipart set for sale. I also used these colorful images in my latest project - making a little Sunflower Life Cycle and Plant Parts Unit. I've created labeling activities, cut and glue worksheets and more! I'd love you to stop by my store and grab a set if that's something you teach. The way I teach my unit is very ELL friendly. I'll try to explain what I do.

First: I use GLAD (Guided Lanugage Acquisition Design) strategies which mean I use visual aides, drawings, explicit vocabulary teaching and lots of repetition and practice to front-load my students.

(prep work) I will enlarge an image of the stages of the sunflower life cycle on a large piece of butcher paper - something approx 3 feet by 4 feet. Then I project the image of the life cycle so it fills up the whole paper. Then using a pencil, I will lightly trace the images so they barely appear to the naked eye. 
(prep work) Do a google search to find and print real images of real sunflowers going through the growth cycle. Print them and laminate for durability. Also prep some rings of tape (roll painter's or masking tape inside out so it's a sticky ring).

Next, when your class is ready and it's time to teach - trace the pencil outline of the sunflower life cycle using a black marker. As you trace it, students are really engaged to find out what you're drawing. Speak to them about what you're drawing. This is an ELL strategy called modeled talk. Their brains are imprinting the drawing that you're making and it becomes more ingrained in their memories if you do it in front of them instead of having it all pre-drawn. Then as you do each stage (for example the germination stage) - you can hold up the real picture of a seed germinating. Then using a tape, stick the real picture next to or near/above the marked sketch of the same part of the life cycle. With marker make sure to label what you drew. Then add a paper label too. 

Once you finish this process for the whole poster it will probably be time to move on to something else, but the next day you can pull off all of the real pictures and labels. Pass pictures and labels out to your students (not everybody gets one this time). Then as you review the poster, have students come up and stick their pictures up on the part of the poster that you are talking about. This will increase their listening and provide opportunities for active engagement. 

Now, are you worried about taking that time to trace your poster? You will have to have your back turned to your students for a while. Well, solve that problem by using "scouts." Pick 2 students to be your scouts. They sit in chairs on the left and right of your group. They are in charge of periodically scanning the class to catch kids having great behavior (looking at you, turning and talking about their learning, and participating). When your class knows they can earn "Super Scientist" awards (little pictures copied on colorful paper) from a scout, the will work harder at listening. Now you have a little plan to assist you while you need to concentrate on drawing and labeling your chart in front of your kids. 

I hope this helps. It's just one little lesson on how I go about teaching science. I make sure to teach in little tidbits - stopping every 5 minutes or so to let children turn to a partner and process their new learning.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Classroom Helper Badges

Are you looking for ways to help manage your class during centers? 
Do you wish your students would clean up after themselves? 
Are you tired of reminding children where to get a pencil 
*Even after over 100 days of school!*
Well, I am! I love routines, structure, and I'm ready to share my solution with you.

Student Helper Badges

Print these badges, laminate them, and then string them on a piece of ribbon or yarn. You can assign jobs as needed to your class so that THEY are taking responsibility for cleaning up after themselves and becoming leaders. I know that some classes don't need such intensive help, but I have one table group of special friends that need this! Bad! They don't seem to notice that they make confetti with their cutting and that the floor is covered in scraps. I still *sigh* have friends that don't remember where we get sharpened pencils. I plan on training my kids on how to have specific "jobs" and hopefully they will become better leaders and manage the classroom during centers better.

If you like these badges you can grab them in my TPT store. They come in 2 cute designs! Black and white polka dots and hot-pink/black zebra. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

English Language Development - Comparing and Contrasting Characters

I have been working with my class, most of whom are ELL students, to learn how to use specific adjectives to describe nouns. 

Here's a couple of activities that I've done with them over the past week. 

First, I read aloud the book: Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. 

We made a chart that said:
         Title                                   Characters                                            Adjectives
     The Rainbow Fish                 Rainbow fish, blue fish, octopus          Mean, nice, lonely

The next day we read: Swimmy by Leo Lionni

We added to the chart:
    Title                                   Characters                                            Adjectives
    Swimmy                            Swimmy, big fish, red fish                    Lonely, sad, happy, smart

Then we compared the characters by talking with a partner using the sentence stem:
They both ___________. (They both felt lonely) (They both were fish in the ocean).

We contrasted the characters by talking with a partner using the sentence stem:
The two stories were different because _______________. (The two stories were different because only Swimmy's family got eaten). Etc.

After our read-alouds and discussion we did a character and setting reflection sheets. 

We continued this topic later on during the week using the stories:
Henny Penny by Vivian French and Chicken Little by Steven Kellogg.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Place Value 11-19 with Ladybugs

Today I finished my newest unit to use for teaching place value with numbers 11-19 as aligned to the CCSS. Most stuff that I look for online is too hard for my kindergarten kids so I decided to create a bunch of my own activities.

I also had fun putting together my first set of color and black and white clipart in a cute ladybug theme. I used the bugs in my new pack.

Check out my TPT store if you're looking to beef up your math time with both interactive games that could be used year after year and printable worksheets to give your kids independent practice.