Tattling Troubles: Fostering Kindness in the Classroom

Do you have tattling troubles? No matter how many ways I have tried to cut down on tattling it always seems to creep it's way back into my classroom.  This year is no different.  I have decided to take a different approach this week and focus on KINDNESS.  Kindness is the key!

Let me give you a little background before I begin. 
(All names and situations have been changed of course) 
On Monday the very first thing I heard in line was from Johnny was "Mrs. Langley.....Sally......"  I stopped him right there.  We weren't even in the classroom yet.  I didn't want to start my week with a tattle so I stopped him and asked him to wait until we got into the classroom.  Phew....crisis averted....maybe he'll forget.....

We walk through the door of the classroom and he yelled, "Mrs. Langley!.....Sally....."   
No way.....not ready for it yet.  
We unpack, we get settled, I collect notes, I hear about lost teeth, I get 12 students ready to leave for a field trip, I take attendance.....all the while this child is breaking in with, "MRS. LANGLEY....SALLY..."  I made him wait.  
Not. Going. To. Hear. It.Yet......(insert me drinking coffee here)

OK....it's time.  I call Johnny over and Sally too because I'm pretty sure I need to tell her to stop cutting in line or something and I need to get the whole story.  Sally cut in line (was I surprised?) and he told her she needed to go to the back.  Instead of obeying him (still not surprised) she called him fat and cut in line anyway.  In shock I look at Sally and asked HER what happened because I like to hear both sides first.  She said she got out of line to get her backpack and he wouldn't let her back in and called her stupid.  She then proceeded to tell me, "I am sensitive...that's why I called him fat back".  

I took a couple of deep breaths because this was REALLY not how I wanted to start my Monday. Why can't they just be nice to each other?  When someone wants to get in line why can't they just let them?  If someone needs help why don't they just help instead of calling each other names and then tattling on each other???????  

Because they are 5.  That's why. 

So deep breaths are over and we did our regular routine of how we can fix this situation.  We talked it out and apologized.  We always use the "I am sorry for (the thing they did)" and "Next time I will (what they will do next time)" outline for making a heartfelt apology. Johnny said he was sorry for calling her stupid and for not letting her in line and next time he will just let her" (That's exactly how he said it!) and Sally apologized for being sensitive and said next time she would think about his feelings. 

This is what started my thinking about KINDNESS in the classroom.  I teach kindness, good manners, and respect all year long.  Why isn't it working? 

Well first off....it is.  I had to remember that I have 43 other kinders and none of them were tattling this morning.  They actually were all working quite nicely while I spent 10 minutes talking with these two so it is working.  I still came home and made a list of the books I want to read in the next few weeks to discuss kindness.  
Elmer by David McKee Elmer the elephant, a colorful character because of his patchwork hide and sense of humor, tries to blend in with the herd but soon realizes he's happiest just being himself.  I like to use this book to teach to teach caring, kindness, and empathy. 

Unique Monique by Maria Rousaki Monique is all about being different and transforms herself in this book wearing clothes from her mother's old trunk. It's a great one to teach about being an individual and finding that thing that makes you unique.  

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig This story shows how small acts of kindness can make someone feel included.  

The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill This classroom classic is a great one to read when you are dealing with bullying. I also really love to read Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell around the same time.  Molly Lou is my hero! 

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes This book is a great one to talk about feelings.  Everytime the kids make fun of her name Chrysanthemum "wilts". I love the play on words, but more importantly I love how it teaches people to think about others feelings.  

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson This character learns how to get rid of an enemy and figures out a lot about friendship in the process. Great to teach caring and kindness. 

That's what's in my tool box to teach about kindness.  What are your favorite books to help promote a caring community in your classroom?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!  

Five for Friday April 29th

It's Friday!  Hooray!  I for one am looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.  Spring time makes me so lazy!  
For now it's time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! 

Animal research papers are coming right along.  We will do our final drafts next week (I'm already behind schedule....arg).  They are doing a great job! 

 I had lots of extra helpers this week!  It's the end of the year so all the big kids are doing big projects.  Kinders are the first choice for sharing these projects with (or so it seems). :) 
The Interact Club did a recycling and planting unit and came in to plant with one of my classes.  The kiddos really loved it! 
 My class participated in a second week of water literacy field trips with our amazing guide Mrs. H2O.  They went to the water towers in town and the Waste Water Treatment plant.  They learned how they make the dirty water clean, how the micro-organisms help clean the water, and what NOT to flush down the toilet!  
 I loved that this kiddo was building CVC words as an additional word work activity.  I took this picture so I could have it as an example and then when I looked at it later I realized he had spelled out "cud" instead of "cub".....gotta love those b and d reversals and CVC words! 
Mrs. H2O not only took my whole class on field trips this week but she also brought me this amazing little flower.  It is a Passion Vine Flower and she told me it only blooms for 24 hours.....
Here is one at the end of the day.  I guess she was right!  It was really fun to watch this close all day long with the kiddos! 

That's my very simple Five for Friday.  We only have 3 more left in this school year.  CRAZY!! Have a great weekend friends! 

Now go link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching HERE!

Making the Most of Math Journals

I have one tip for math journals....
What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
The hardest part is keeping it going.  I won't lie.  I phase in and out myself but when I get a little jump start I always realize that it is the BEST part of my math instruction.  We are consistent with math journals if you look at our year long progress but day to day it varies. Today was a good day.  I went back to a simple addition problem to focus on 3 components.  #1 Draw a picture #2 Write an Equation #3 Write a sentence to answer the question.   Here are a few insights....

Here's the problem.  Hunter loves to play football with his brother Tanner.  Tanner threw the ball to Hunter 7 times on Monday. He threw the ball 2 times on Tuesday.  How many times did Tanner and Hunter practice throwing the ball this week? 

What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
 Ok. so this little one is all over the place but they have the picture.  We have been focusing on writing words to go with our pictures (can you tell?).  While the picture is great and they got to the answer we are going to focus in on clarity.  
What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
This student focused in on trying to write words but didn't write  a number sentence to go with it.  The picture is clear and they showed their strategy but we want to work on adding in an equation next time.  
What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
Ok, this kiddo only got around to a picture but I was so proud that they added in their strategy (counting the circles or "times they threw the ball").  We've talked a lot this year about being able to draw a picture and then show how we got to our final answer.  

Do you know what gets them even more motivated?  Walk around and take pictures of their work :)  Have you ever heard of the Seesaw app?  I started using it this week and it is pretty cool!  It's a great way to create a safe online portfolio for kiddos.  Just search Seesaw on your Apple or Android device! 

Thanks for stopping in today!  Need help getting started on math journals? I've outlined how I get started HERE

Research in Kindergarten

Research papers in Kindergarten?  No way....not gonna happen......they barely write their names right?  Well people I'm here to tell you that it does happen and they blew me away today on our very first independent practice! 

After our class research project last week all about beavers (you can see examples HERE) we are ready to do one on our own this week.  Today we picked books about animals we were interested in during our SHOP FOR BOOKS time.   Students had an opportunity to read these on their own and with a friend before Writer's Workshop.  When we came together at the rug we had so many cool things we had already learned about our animals.  We broke down our research into 3 categories: 
#1 Look at the pictures! 
We can learn a lot about an animal by looking at the pictures.  You can share what an animal looks like, where they live (water? dessert? forest?), and other facts from the picture.  
#2 What do you already KNOW about your animal? 
Maybe you've watched a video, have this animal as a pet, or you have viewed this animal at a zoo.  Sharing what we KNOW is a huge part of our animal research papers. 
#3 Ask Questions! 
Last week we asked a lot of questions about beavers and got our answers from someone else.  I shared information with the class last week about beavers (like why their teeth are orange) so I was a resource for them.  Asking a friend questions can get you even more information about your animal.  I asked them how they knew they could believe me when I gave them information (I was trying to hint at reliable sources) and one sweetie raised her hand and said, "Because we trust you". Swoon.  I'm glad to know I am a reliable resource in the classroom! 

Here are some of our very first attempts at sharing information about animals.  We used our regular writing journals for this project today and the paper I use is from Deedee Wills
Great example of looking at her pictures in her book.  Cheetahs have sharp claws and teeth.  
This kiddo added something she already knew, "And they can blend in with stuff" 
This student used her book to talk about where tigers live and what they look like. 
This kiddo shared a lot about bats!  They live in caves, they sleep in the day time, and they hang upside down.  Side note: this kiddo hardly ever writes a whole page!  He was inspired today!  

Of course we will dive even deeper into these research papers throughout the week and by Thursday each student will be well equipped to write their own book about their animal.  We will use some peer editing to work on things like capitals, punctuation, and adding to our pictures.  You can read more about how I manage PEER EDITING in kindergarten here.

Tomorrow each student will get another little book with some facts about their animal from my ALL ABOUT ANIMALS little books.  I made this product after doing this research project with my kiddos last year.  I'm excited to share these with them!
Here is a ALL ABOUT SHARKS freebie in the same format that I made for Shark Week last year!  It will give you an idea of what is included.  The main set has 26 animals A-Z.

All About Sharks freebie!  This set has a little book to teach about sharks, graphic organizer to write about sharks, and a book to publish your own!

Thanks for stopping by today.  I will be sharing more from this project later in the week. Stay tuned! 

What Are You Teaching?: April 25

Time to share our weekly plans and MAN OH MAN do we have a big week ahead of us!  4 days of field trips, animal research papers, DIBELS testing, student led conferences, AND I think it's going to be windy.  BRING IT ON! 

Morning Work: We ALWAYS start our day out this way.  I will have these on their desk until the very last day of school because it is our ROUTINE and it keeps us all SANE.  
This week we are focusing on sight words, the middle /u/ sound (and reviewing letter formation), reading CVC words, and writing sentences. 

Word Work Stations: At word work stations students will have a lot choices (as always!)  Our favorites are the Cut & Glue stations (sentences, -ut/-ug sort, and rhyming words), Listening Station, Word Search, and I Can Read Little Book.  All of these come from this week's set of centers for the story Alistair & Kip's Great Adventure.  I've also included our new CVC Write the Room pages.  They LOVE Write the Room! 

Reading: Reading mini lessons will be all about PLOT and focused on asking questions about the story.  We will practice this skill with a partner during Read to Someone.  We will also be working on these skills during our Guided Reading groups.   
Later in the week we will talk about accuracy (blending sounds and stretching the word) and practicing common sight words.  We have been working on the first 100 sight words on Fry's list through this RAINBOW WORDS set. I also have these available during word work so students can practice their own set differentiated to fit their needs. We will also have an opportunity to break out our HeidiSongs and practice our words on white boards.  You can read more about that HERE
Writer's Workshop: This is our wrap up activity for informative writing.  Last week we did a class research project all about beavers.  Now that we know what research looks like we are ready to try it on our own.  Students will pick an animal from this ALL ABOUT ANIMALS set that includes writing pages and mini books for their research.  
By the end of the week everyone will have their own research project to share with the rest of the class! 

Math: I'm super excited to start Unit 8 from Guiding Kinders. I didn't make it this far last year so all of the lessons are new for me this week too!  If you haven't heard of these units from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills you can check them out HERE.  I love them! 
We end each math lesson with Math Journals.  I'm really stepping this up this week to get them ready for 1st grade.  If you want to see how I run my math journal time you can read more about there HERE.  My MATH TUBS didn't change this week (that's the great thing about math tubs!).  They include easy prep centers from my April All Set? You Bet! centers. 

And now for more fun stuff!  Our kinders will participate in the second week of Water Literacy FIELD TRIPS with Ms.H2O to the Water Treatment Plant.  Last week's field trips to the river went great.  They are excited to head back out in the little white bus :). 

Wacky Wednesday we are starting our Materials and Motion kit from FOSS.  I'm really excited to start this one.  It's my favorite! Don't worry, I'll blog all about it :)   

We will also have Student Led Conferences on Tuesday this week.  This is an opportunity for families to come into the classroom and students get to show off all they have learned this year. Students share their portfolios with their parents and this year I have been playing with the Seesaw app to share some videos of them reading too.  I'm excited about this! 

Oh...and we are doing our end of year DIBELS testing.  No big deal....we got this! 

THAT is what I am teaching this week.  What are you teaching this week?  Have a great one!