Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Donors Choose

Have you heard about Donors Choose? If not, you definitely need to check it out! It is the best site for teachers in need of materials for their students. All you need to do is fill out the entries for your project and shop! Yes shop... within their selected vendors but they have Lakeshore Learning... they usually have everything! Even if you don't want to get a project funded you could donate to other project.

I am working on one now so I will post the link soon. :)

I have gotten three projects funded through them so far and my kids love receiving things for the class. Our latest donors choose item... Play food for our play kitchen!

Kids enjoying the new play toys

Kids eating at the new diner :)

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Homework! It can be a touchy subject... So here I am asking... what does your homework look like? Do you give homework and how much? 

I started sending homework the third week of school. Definitely a little later than usual because of the new assessments we had to do at the beginning of the year. After the second day of homework I had a parent tell me that she thought the homework was too hard for her child and that she refused to make him do it.

Now I feel I should explain what my homework consists of so I will explain it a bit. I send homework on Monday for the week and it is due on Friday. So they get four days of homework.

The first page is just practice for writing their name. They are to write their name once a day by tracing the letters.
My second page depends on the letter of the week and they are to practice the writing the letter of the week and make a drawing of something that starts with that letter.
The third day they have a math piece that is usually counting and writing the numbers. Then they practice a high frequency word for the letter of the work.
The fourth day is something with colors... they circle things that go with the color or a sheet where they color a picture with a certain color.

I am personally not a fan of busy work so I try my best to send them something that can help with skills or content that we are learning. Of course at the beginning we are assessing and it's still a little hard to tell what they really know.

So my response to that parent? I don't expect the homework to be perfect, but I would like them to try to do it. This homework is sent to all the students and it's just to give them that a little more practice at home. This will also help them get into the routine of homework. They will have homework every week which will be tailored to their skills and content that is currently being taught.

She was not to happy and proceeded with telling me that she didn't think that's what he should be doing yet because he didn't know how to and it was too hard. That I need to understand that the kids are in kindergarten and that they don't know how to do this yet that's why I am here... to teach them how to do it all.

This response really upset me because I love my job and it's these moments that make it tough because I want all my students to succeed and without parent support it becomes really difficult especially if parents aren't on board with what is expected from the teacher.

Needless to say, the child never turned his homework in until after progress reports in October. He really needed that practice at home. Since then, the parents have started helping him with the homework and practicing skills at home. I think they noticed that it really is to help him and not to make it difficult. Thank goodness :)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Update... Practicum student

I am very behind on posts... I have no excuse! But here is my update!

This year I decided to accept a practicum student in my class. What is a practicum student you ask? Good question... A practicum student is a college student who is obtaining their teaching certificate and practicing their skills in the classroom. I personally think this is a wonderful idea! I wish I had something like that when I was in college. The downside is that a work schedule is pretty much out of the question unless you plan to work on the weekends. Oh the life of a college student!

Anyhow, her name is Daisy and she is wonderful! A very sweet & caring young women. I will be honest. I was hesitant because I have become that selfish teacher who wants her kiddos to herself. I have never had to share my kids except of course with their parents! Regardless, I am over that episode... it was short lived. Like I said she is fantastic and I hope to learn from her through this experience.

Have you ever had a practicum student in your class? How do you use them?

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere!

My Kinders at the Pumpkin Patch
Last week my class was fortunate enough to go the pumpkin patch! The kids were very excited ever since I mentioned it. I love to do fun stuff but I also think its important to do things for a reason. My kids had a lot of hands on experience with their pumpkins before and after the field trip. Before the field trip we learn about what we would be doing there at the pumpkin patch by reading books about pumpkins, trips to the patch and fall.

After the field trip the kids were asked to leave their pumpkins at school. Some family things came up so I had a sub and we didn't get to do the activities before the weekend and they were bummed. :-(

But... This is what we did the following week...

Described pumpkins...
We used adjectives that described the inside and outside of the pumpkin and wrote/learned some new descriptive words. I love when they read these charts during reading and they actually use the adjective!

Measure our pumpkins with cubes...
This served as another way to assess their counting from 1-10.

Counted the seeds in our class pumpkin. They learned to count to a very high number 490. They also counted by tens. This was a great group activity.

Painted pumpkins...
Many of my students do not get to carve their pumpkins at home so I wanted to make sure they had something ready to help them decorate their home with :-)

I will admit this was a fun week! Can you believe it's already Mid-Trimester!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My New Little Family!

At the beginning of the school year like every classroom does... We went over classroom procedures and rules.

After making our social contract (the rules the students made for our class), we made a visual contract to display in our classroom. No rules just our thumbs. :)  It represents our promise to follow our contract to the best of our ability each and every day!

This is also a Pinterest idea! I'm not sure if it's what it was used for in that specific pin but I loved the idea!

Our Family Tree

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Teaching the Alphabet with the Letter of the week

Every teacher has a different way to teach the alphabet. In my class I teach a letter each week. This does not mean that we do not review other letters. The focus of my literacy centers will usually have something to do with the letter of the week. For example...

Letter of the week: Ee

In writing I had a special project for a writing center and the students made an ear of corn. In Spanish it is called an "elote". They write the letter E (Capital) & the e (lowercase). This has helped my students remember the sound of the letter and at least one word that starts with that letter.

You can also see my short rhyme with the letter Ee.

In my Literacy Centers I do "Mi libro de la letra ____" (Translates to "My book of the letter ___"). The students have pictures of things and they are to collect the ones that start with the letter of the week and glue into the book. This also serves as a very helpful tool to help them remember the letter and build their vocabulary.

My other center has another book which ties in with my word of the week (yes it starts with the letter of the week). Each week they get a small book that has their high frequency word of the week. I love these books! By the end of the week they can read the book and then have another book to add to their "I can Read" collection.

We also do a poem of the week & song of the week which I use as my shared reading component and we read that EVERY day!

Ok so now that I have written a huge post... (Huge for me). How do you teach the alphabet?

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Name Recognition

At the beginning of the school year I like to do a lot with student names. From the beginning I have students practice writing their names (yes, even if they "don't" know how). We have been in school for 4 weeks and every one of my students but one knows how to write their name! Maybe not perfect but with practice they will soon all have beautiful little tails on their a’s, n's, u’s etc.

This particular project was with their name written with a sharpie then the kiddos added tissue paper on top with their eraser. This was helpful to show them how to use just a tad bit of glue and with their motor skills.

Phonics Lesson

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