Wacky Wednesday: Families, Homes, and STEM

Wacky Wednesday was a super success today! We have been working through our Family Unit over the past couple of weeks and Wednesday is our day for the big projects. We call it Wacky Wednesday because our schedule is different because of an early release and everything is just a little bit....OFF. It is a perfect day to mix it up and throw in all the science and social studies we can manage!
Question of the Day: Where do families live?  
Question of the Day: Where do families live? We had some fun answers like treehouses, igloos, RV's, and of course houses. I forgot to take a picture of our updated anchor chart though! This question gave us a great jumping off point to talk about homes around the world. Then we introduced some fun STEM activities to build homes of our own.  
Students did so great with this! I used some new STEM bins from Brooke Brown at Teach Outside the Box. I saw a video on Sunday, fell in love, and put them together Monday afternoon. Our study of homes was perfect to break out the bins!

If you would like to check out our unit on families you can see it here. Just click on the picture! Next week we will be talking about what families ARE (loving, caring, supportive....)

What Are You Teaching? August 29

Short weekend! I feel like I worked for most of it but I will be glad that I did come Monday morning. I did a lot of organizing in my room today, some laminating, a bunch of cutting, and caught up on paperwork. I might actually be caught up soon.

Here are our plans for this week!
Morning Work: This week we are introducing the end of the alphabet and we have our second week of practice with the words the and little. If you would like to see my morning work you can see it HERE.

Centers: I am REALLY excited about centers this week. I spent a couple of hours getting organized in my classroom this morning (and of course I didn't take any pics!) I did however take pictures for my kiddos so they can see what is expected of them in each center. I am going to post these pictures in the bottom of each tub so they know what to do. Here is an example of some of the pictures: 
These pictures will go in the bottom of each tub so students know what they should be doing. I put a lot of things in ABC order today!! These are some of the things I leave out as choices for quite some time so I wanted to make sure they were clear. 

I am really excited about this new set. I put all of our favorites together in one big set. Today I printed out the spin and dab activities and clip a sound cards. I will add the rest in next week! 

Reading: We are reading Miss Bindergarten Goes on a Field Trip this week. Our reading focus is still building STAMINA but this week we will also discuss the fluency skill of reading common sight words. I love this activity and I blogged about it HERE. This was my observation lesson last year. 

Writing: I love our writing topic this week because we finally get to start talking about detailed illustrations. We have some messy pages that have been happening and they aren't getting better they are getting worse! So this week couldn't have come at a better time! 

Math: We are finishing up our first unit from Guiding Kinders. This week we venture into positional words and 3D shapes. 

That is our week! We are talking about homes for Wacky Wednesday as part of our Family Unit and I am going to try to turn this into a STEM activity. I haven't quite figured it out yet but I will let you know on Wednesday! Haha! This could be a huge flop or a total stroke of genius. We shall see :) 

FUN FRIDAY with Oriental Trading

Materials from Oriental Trading helped make our math and problem solving tables this week.
Fun Friday was extra special this week with some new products from Oriental Trading! They sent me these amazing items to try out in exchange for my a blog post reviewing the items. I was more than happy to help them out and these are my honest opinions about the products I received. 

If you have read my blog before you know I love Fun Friday. For me it is a day I get to assess my kiddos and for them it is a day they get to explore. I usually have a paint table, a math table, a problem solving table and a couple of technology stations. Our materials from Oriental Trading helped make our math and problem solving tables this week. 

First up: Jumbo Pipe Connectors
This was our problem solving station and the problem I gave them was that they need to start in a corner and try to reach their friend in another corner and make their pipes connect. They loved this center and I know it will get a lot of use throughout the year. There were enough materials to have 4 students working on this one at once. 
Materials from Oriental Trading helped make our math and problem solving tables this week.
This was one groups work. They were really trying to make BIG connections! 

Materials from Oriental Trading helped make our math and problem solving tables this week.
Some of us found other ways to explore with these materials! 

Next Up: Stack It High Pegs and Peg Boards
This was one of our math stations for the week. We have been working on patterns so I encouraged them to build patterns ACROSS and UP around the board. Some of them enjoyed building up as high as they could and others really enjoyed filling in the pattern and making it as complex as possible. A quick glance at this table and it was easy for me to see who already has an understanding of patterns and who needs more work! 
Materials from Oriental Trading helped make our math and problem solving tables this week.

And Finally: Simfit Sequencing Cards
These cards will actually stay in our math tubs for the next couple of weeks and then we will continue to use them during our FF Centers all year. Instead of creating their own pattern students were challenged to match up the patterns on the cards. I loved hearing the discussions coming from this center as they tried to figure out what went next. 
Materials from Oriental Trading helped make our math and problem solving tables this week.

I actually have one more item to review and they are the Read to Self Phones. We will be using those during our reading time this week. I have another set on my wish list because they are so cool I know my whole class is going to want to use them at the same time. This set comes with 12. 

Have you created a wish list? It's really easy and a great way to keep track of all the things you like. If you are like me you find something...wait to buy it...then are never able to find it again. Here is a link to my WISH LIST . Take a peek at some of the fun items I want to incorporate into my classroom. 

Thanks for stopping by today! We really enjoyed these activities and I can't wait to use them again. Want to save this post? Pin it for later here:  
Materials from Oriental Trading helped make our math and problem solving tables this week.

What Are You Teaching? August 22nd

3 and a half weeks.......that's the magic number. At the end of 3 and a half weeks we are well into our routines and maybe, finally, possibly, done crying.  Maybe....I've got until Friday to test my theory.

Here is what we are going to try this week!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. These are my honest opinions from my experience as an elementary school teacher.

Here is a break down subject by subject:

Morning Work: This week we are introducing the letters Oo, Pp, Qq, Rr, and Ss. We are also introducing the sight words "the" and "little".  Our morning work focuses on those skills all week long.

Centers: Our centers come from my weekly kindergarten centers Plaidypus Lost (our story for the week) and All Set? You Bet! We have successfully introduced ABC centers, Cut & Glue, the Listening Station, and this week we will try the Writing Station.

Our "break" between centers and reading is a little singing and dancing thanks to HeidiSongs. We will be singing the O,P,Q,R,and S song this week!

Reading: We are plugging along building STAMINA every day. We are up to about 7 or so minutes in each class. That's pretty impressive for kindergarten! I've been really happy with how both of my classes are doing building stamina.

Writing: We are introducing sharing this week. We will discuss sharing with the teacher and sharing with the class. I still focus most of my attention on walking around the room and being the "cheerleader" right now but I will stop in and start visiting soon. This will lead up to daily conferring that will happen in a couple of weeks. All of my mini lessons come from Jessica Meacham's site. I love the way she incorporates literature into every mini lesson. Here are the books I will use this week.


Math: 2D shapes with Guiding Kinders from Jump/Wills. Here is a pic from last year for a little sneak peek.
That is our week! I am ready to go and see how week #3 goes. The first couple of weeks can be challenging but I wouldn't change a thing! Happy teaching friends! 

Managing your Listening Station

There are always those little details that get in your way. You can ignore them or you can find a solution. For me this summer the problem was my listening station and the solution just came to me one afternoon when I should have been setting up my classroom. I got so excited about it I spent the next hour fixing my listening station. I am so glad I did! 
I have a mix of tapes and CD's (the tapes are all slowly but surely dying). I had them all organized but it never fails that I don't have time to put them away properly so they end up a hot mess not long after the year begins. While cleaning out my closet this summer it came to me! If I just tape the CD right in the front of the book I'll never be too lazy to put it away! This may be common knowledge for the average teacher but for me this was life changing.....in a super nerdy,  OCD, organization nut, kind of way. 

Here are my tips: 

Use gallon sized bags to store books that have a tape.

Tape the CD cover right in the front cover! Never lose another cover! 
Large collections? Rubber band them together so they stay TOGETHER.

This has saved me room in my closet and hopefully my sanity down the road. It has already paid off in the first few weeks of school! Thanks for stopping by today!