Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fire Safety

Wow!  It seems like forever since I've blogged.  You know when you start a home improvement project that you think will take a day, and it turns into three weekends?  Yeah... that's my life right now.  I'm trying to keep my eye on the prize and be thankful I have a home to improve.  I'm a planner, and I don't like when things don't go as planned.  Oh well, I'm taking a few minutes to share what we've been up to in my classroom.

Last week, we had a short week because we had two teacher work days.  For the first time in my career, I didn't spend the days chatting it up with the other teachers.  I actually stuck to my grand plans and organized my library (partially).  Anyway, our social studies topic was fire safety and community helpers.

We used my fire safety/firefighter unit for our writing.

We always start with a non-fiction book (or two) about our topic.  Then, we illustrate the "little books" that are included in each of my writing units.  There is one sentence per page, and the kids illustrate each page with pictures that give them clues to read the sentence on the page.  The books are formatted to copy on two pages back to back.  You add two staples and then cut them in half.  The kids LOVE them!  Then, we read those books each day to work on our reading skills.  In this file, there are two book: All About Fire Safety and All About Firefighters.

Usually, we would use the circle map/tree map page to brainstorm and organize our ideas about firefighters.  The kids would then help me make sentences from the tree map.

They would copy their sentences on the paper that says "Completed in Class" and then take that paper home.  The next day, they would make the tree map with me, and then write the sentences on their own.  The third day, they would write the sentences on their own, after being reminded of the verbs (are, have, can).

We had a big conversation about sounding words in order to figure out spelling.  I showed them how to spell words phonetically, and how "vjktyuk" does not say "firefighter".  After that big pep talk and lesson, I only had two that sat there looking lost.  So, I'll work with those two a bit more in order for them to be successful in writing.

We had a firefighter come to all of the kindergarten classrooms to talk about fire safety.  Firefighter Lanna is super cool.  She is the parent at the school, and she is so good with kids.  She talked to us about fire escape plans, and the usual fire rules.  It was so much fun!

In order to thank Firefighter Lanna, we wrote a friendly letter to her.  This was the first friendly letter we wrote, so we talked about the format, when we would write a friendly letter, etc.  So, that is my freebie this week.  I am giving you some fire safety paper.  One page is formatted like a friendly letter and the other page is just lined.

Freebie Fridays

This week, we are studying pumpkins and we're continuing our unit on community helpers.  Expect a neat freebie next week.  :)

Happy teaching, and have a great week!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Love Fall Break!

I just love fall break!  It gives me some time to catch up on my "to do" list, go on vacation, and spend some time with my family.  Since we are on a modified year round schedule, we have two weeks for break.  I know... I'm lucky.

I'm in a fantastic mood, so I have decided to have some fun.  Right now, all items in my Teachers Pay Teachers store are 20% off in honor of my daughter's birthday.

And, while I'm at it, I am going to give a chance to win a product from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  All you need to do is pin a product from my TpT store.  Come back to this page, and paste the URL into the appropriate box in the giveaway below.  SO easy!!!

I hope you are having an amazing day as well!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

13 Different Types of Addition and Subtraction Word Problems?!

If you follow my blog, you know that I teach at a school with an accelerated curriculum.  This provides me with the challenge to cover kindergarten and first grade math standards in kindergarten.  Wowza!  It is tough to squeeze in so much math in one short year; every minute matters during the math block.

As I was looking through the first grade math standards, I noticed the math program we use (Saxon Math) does not quite cover all of the different types of word problems the kids must learn in kinder and first grade math.  So, I have been beating my head against the wall trying to finish an activity where my students could work through all thirteen different types of problems, while ensuring the learning would be meaningful and worthwhile.

Now, I am VERY lucky in the fact that my students LOVE to participate in class this year.  When I ask a question in class, most of the time about half the class has a hand in the air.  They are willing to take chances, and aren't discouraged when they don't have the correct answer.  Like I said, I am lucky.  Even though I have an amazing class, I wanted them to be able to write down their thinking, and I wanted to show parents the amazing skills they were learning in math (because I didn't learn this stuff in kindergarten).

I formatted the file so the kids would have a journal sheet to show their work and their thinking.  I also made the file so the pages could be printed two to a page in order to save paper.  That way, if you wanted to complete one problem per day, you could make one copy per week (Monday through Thursday... because, let's face it, we don't always get to everything we plan for each day).

There is a page to post on your calendar wall (if you choose to work on it that way).

The same problem is on the journal page.  Note the same border for a particular type of word problem.  So, since there are 13 different types of word problems, there are 13 different borders.  That way, you can see what type of word problem it is just by looking at the border.

If you are interested in taking a look, check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Also, it's my youngest daughter's birthday, so I all of the items in my Teachers Pay Teachers store are 20% off from 10/5/2013 through 10/7/2013.  You don't want to miss out!

Have a great weekend.  I'll eat a piece of cake for you.  :)