What Are You Teaching? November 28th

LONG weekends are just what I need to catch up and feel human again! November has been a strange month indeed with all of the extra days off and messed up schedules. I am ready to get back at it with 3 "normal" weeks before we break for Christmas. I have a whole day to spend in my classroom tomorrow to make it happen!

It is a full schedule for sure! Here is a quick break down...

Morning Work:Unit 3 Week 4
This week we are discussing verbs now and in the future. We will focus on adding the word "will" to a verb to show it will happen in the future. We are getting a pretty good handle on verbs!

Our story for the week is Farfallina & Marcel, it's one of my favorites! We will also be doing centers from our All Set? You Bet! November set, Ultimate ABC Centers, Rainbow Words (to start work on sight words) and Fall Friends.

Our reading groups are coming right along. We have a few working on the Alphabet Recognition RTI lessons, some on Phoneme Segmentation, and the majority of the class is now on CVC words. We are reading sounds and blending away!

We are working on making better use of our WRITING RESOURCES.  These are available for FREE in my store. I introduced these a little while back and we are using them but not to the best of our abilities. I thought coming back from a little break would be a great time to discuss them further.

We are well into Unit 4 from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills. This week we are utilizing number lines to add and subtract.We will also be working in our MATH JOURNALS every day to tackle a little problem solving. Our routines are working out really well during this part of the day and this group impresses me with their reasoning and communication skills.

That's it! Remember this is half day so that's a whole lot of learning to crowd into two and a half hours. On top of all of this we are going to start working on a little Christmas play to perform later this month. This is super new for me but I am excited to give it a try! I got the Gingerbread Man play from HeidiSongs to try out. Here is the preview I saw last year during Christmas break that inspired me to give it a try this year!

We will start learning the songs during our morning meeting and transition times this week and the following week we will hand out assignments and get the play part together with the help (hopefully) from some of our room moms. I haven't asked them yet, but they are super helpful with everything in our room so I know they will love this! HERE is a link to the play in Heidi's store. You still have time to do it too! This post contains affiliate links.

One more BIG piece of news! Tomorrow is the annual CYBER sale at TPT! I have been busy filling my cart and I can hardly wait to enter the code CYBER2016 to get 28% off all of my purchases. Here are some links to my favorite December products that will all be on sale Monday and Tuesday. It is a great time to grab up bundles and save a BUNDLE!!

Using STEM Activities to encourage Problem Solving

Hello friends!  Today is all about STEM in the classroom! 

What is STEM?

The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  For me though the idea of STEM based lesson plans goes back to teaching across disciplines, integrating knowledge, and solving problems in a cooperative environment.  You know.....the way we were taught to teach! 

STEM based lesson plans and projects are inquiry based by nature.  Here are a few of the important skills students gain when exposed to inquiry in the early years. 
  • asking questions
  • explore materials, objects, and events and noticing what happens as changes are made
  • using all the senses to explore
  • making predictions
  • recording observations
  • working collaboratively

How do I start?

How do we integrate STEM activities in our classrooms?  Where do we start?  Here are a few tips to get you going in your room: 

1.  Starting a new unit in reading?  Here is an example of how I integrated a STEM activity with my Kindergarteners and the book Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.  It is part of our reading series so I "have to" read it (although I love this one so I'm not complaining!).  We spent the week comparing make believe stories with real stories and read a lot of non fiction books about bears.  To keep the investigation going we had our STEM center set up with these materials:

Sounds dangerous right?  I think that only added to the excitement!  My favorite solution from one of my kiddos was pretty simple. He suggested we leave the parents behind because the kids are lighter and it would be easier to build a raft to float them.  I guess he showed me!  I feel a little bad for his parents though when it comes to survival! The materials I used were from Lakeshore.  I love their STEM kits! 

2. If we don't have a reading book to go along with the center I simply call this our "Problem Solving" station.  It's a class favorite!  We have experimented with magnets, ramps, and things that roll.  To integrate Math and Technology we incorporate some of our apps on the iPads to our problem solving station but I have to admit, that's been the hardest part of STEM for me to include so far.

3. Rethink your favorite units!  Instead of a Halloween party or Halloween centers this year I went with an "All About Pumpkins" unit instead.  The kiddos loved experimenting, making predictions, and measuring our pumpkins.  In years past we would have made jack-o-lanterns, instead this year we cleaned out the pumpkins, dried out the seeds, and counted/compared the numbers of seeds to the size of the pumpkin.  It was so much fun! 
 So that's how I integrate STEM into our daily kindergarten routine.  How do you incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math into your science lessons?  I'd love to hear in the comments below!