Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pre-K Again

As this school year draws to a close, our principal has sent out our "most likely" assignments for next year.  She calls them "most likely" because, as we all know, things can change over the summer.  If the needs of our students change, then staff assignments sometimes have to change too.

My "most likely" assignment for next year is back with the pre-k special needs population.  I'm ready for a change again, but I LOVE my school, so I didn't want to change that!  One of our pre-k teachers retired this May, so an opening came up at our school.  I love the language development and developmental play aspects of pre-k, so I"m excited.

I've started culling through some of my old pre-k files and rediscovered a blog from a pre-k teacher, Christi Seward in Cobb County.

She hasn't posted in a few years, so perhaps her teaching assignment changed or something else in her life changed, but she has a WONDERFUL collection of picture books with essential vocabulary and comprehension questions that she discusses.  She also has created many power points to support her lessons.

One of the books she highlights is "Bear Wants More" by Karma Wilson.

In addition to Christi's resources, there is also a YouTube read aloud with the book, too.  (This version is really sweet.  A boy received this as a birthday present and his family recorded him reading it out loud for the person who gave him the book.)


This has been a busy year and I haven't completed too many posts, but hopefully that will change this next year coming up!

Interrupting Chicken: A Social Skills Lesson

Last week one of our social skills lessons started with a read aloud of "Interrupting Chicken" by David Ezra Stein.

This is a great book to help children learn about controlling those impulsive moments of wanting to interrupt or blurt out during our whole group time.

We completed our read aloud, had a class discussion and then also completed some activities similar to those found at Happy Teacher, Happy Kids.

I can also be a little bit goofy and I want our social skills lessons to be fun, so the kids can really practice the skills and enjoy the results of prosocial behaviors.  Not just dread one more lesson with a bunch of rules that are hard for them to follow.  So as a result of my Pinterest addiction, I found a link to "Chicken Names" from Tilly's Nest and thought it would be fun to pair with this book.

The rules of the activity were pretty simple.  We were going to practice NOT being interrupting chickens.  If we could work on that, we could make a list of everyone's chicken name.  (I'm Yolko Scrambledore, by the way.)  It was fun.  One of the little girls in my class has the same birthday month as my assistant so she dubbed my assistant as her "Chicken Cousin."

There is also a YouTube video that has a read aloud.  I like to use the videos in addition to my read aloud because it gives my students one more way to access the text.

With a simple Google search, you can find many, many online resources and ideas that support this book.  These were just a few of the ones we used.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Rainforest Riddles...So Fun!

My class has been working on a unit that revolved around a Rainforest theme.  I chose this particular theme at this time because:

a) Students are usually very interested in the Rainforest theme and can be easily encouraged to read and write.
b) We have an expository text on the Rainforest in our reading series and I am required to base lessons off of our core curriculum materials.  (So I would have to do this anyway.)
c) There are hundreds of free resources and extensions available online.
d) Our school was in the middle of FSA testing.  Although I don't have any students testing this year, the resource teacher next to me is testing every day which means my class needs to be close to silent for the entire morning block.  Brutal (for the kids and I held out the carrot....if we were super quiet in the morning then we could do some fun, noisy rainforest activities in the afternoon.)

One of my favorite things we did with the unit was to write our own Rainforest Riddles.  I found a free pdf from First Grade Hip Hip Hooray on Teachers Pay Teachers.  The set gives several rainforest riddles already written that the students have to solve.  It has a nice set of graphics for a simple read, then cut and paste activity.  Finally, it also includes graphic organizers to help students write their own riddles.

My class really loved writing their riddles "in secret" and creating their animal from pieces from our arts and crafts scraps/materials.  We then combined all of our animal creations to make a rainforest bulletin board.

Here's our bulletin board.  Sorry!  The picture is a bit fuzzy and I still need to add "forest floor" to our layers.

Below are some close up examples of the writing samples they did.  You can see the different levels within the writing samples, but this was an activity that all of my students could participate in.  I like these types of projects because it brings our class together as "a whole."