Monday, March 31, 2014

What's My Secret??? How to get kids to think the CCSS way.

That's What I Ask My Students:

First, I sort objects into two groups.  Then, I ask, "What's my secret?" or "How did I sort these?"
You can sort ANYTHING:  Shoes, photographs, even students!

Students take turns telling me about the attributes of each group and they usually come up with labels for my two groups that I didn't even think of!
He put all of the blue bags in one group.

How I Got Started:

I was cleaning out a closet at school and came across over twenty reusable grocery bags.  
I love to use these bags to send home projects to work on with parents, especially at the beginning of the year when I have a lot of things to prep., but twenty-something bags was just too many, so....

...I decided to give them away, but first we could use them to practice our higher level thinking skills.
The students seated were giving suggestions about where to move each bag to create new categories.

What We Did With The Bags:

I tossed each bag on the carpet in front of the students so they could get a look at each bag as it slowly descended to the carpet.  Then, I placed the bags in two circles.  (You can make two circles out of yarn.  These were made from thick Fun Foam.  I won them at a conference one year.)

I asked the students to tell me how I sorted the bags or, "What's my secret?  How did I sort these?"

At first, they came up with things like, "One group has big bags and the other has small bags."  And that was just what I was thinking, but then the magic happened and they started to come up with new ways that these bags were sorted!  

Even More Magic:

Then, they started to move a few bags from one group to the other to create even more categories.  One chid said, "If we move these bags here, then all of this group will have some blue on the bags."  Wow, the oral language development, the higher level thinking, the total group involvement, the FUN!
"And THAT'S  what COMMON CORE  is all about," Charlie Brown!  Getting kids to THINK!  :)

Where Do We Go From Here?

I left the Fun Foam sorting circles out and I plan to overlap them to create a Venn Diagram with a group in the center that has both attributes from each of the side groups.  And I plan to follow-up with our sorting worksheet so students can illustrate groups or glue in photos from magazines to create their own groups.  

Here is the template I use:  
Click the image to see the download.

They may use the colored shapes below or their own illustrations or pictures cut from magazines.

You can use these pieces to get them started with sorting by color or shape.

And my Sorting Template is on sale today!
Click any of the images or HERE to see the download.

See you all tomorrow!
Palma :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

American Symbols Never Looked So Cute!

Which Is Your Favorite American Symbol?

I asked my kindergarten and transitional kindergarten students that question after we finished our unit on American symbols.  CLICK HERE or on any image to grab this flag writing template.
Everyone expressed their opinion about which national symbol was their favorite. 

Opinion Writing:

We reviewed photographs of American symbols.

Illustrating where the stars would normally go.
Kindergarten students had to tell me which symbol was their favorite and why.  This was one of the opinion pieces we wrote.   They wrote the words "I like" and they copied the name of their favorite national symbol.
Copying from their dictation and my printing.

The bald eagle was a favorite for many of the boys.

Then, they dictated to me why they liked that symbol, I wrote it on lined paper, and they copied it on our special flag writing template and illustrated it where the stars would normally go on the flag template.  We were sure to add blue background to the illustrations and red stripes between the lines on writing so the pages look like American flags.
These are the T.K. papers before we mounted them on construction paper.
Kindergarten students added an additional sentence telling why they liked that symbol.

Opinion Discussion:

My Transitional Kindergarten kids also told me which American symbol was their favorite, they also wrote "I like" and copied the name of their favorite symbol.  Then, we discussed why each student liked the symbol they chose, but we didn't write why.  
The Statue of Liberty
Mount Rushmore

The Liberty Bell

They illustrated their favorite symbol the same way that the kindergarten students did.
The Capitol

The White House

The Lincoln Memorial
The Statue of Liberty

The bald eagle

The Washington Monument

Time to Display Our Work:

After we mounted each flag template to a piece of 9"X12" red, white, and blue construction paper, we put them up on our magnetic board with magnets.  They look so cute!  My favorite illustration is Mount Rushmore.
We have to use magnets to hold the work up on the magnetic white board.

Click the image to get this template.

Perfect For Memorial Day:

I usually do my National Symbol unit during February, but this is also a great project to do for Memorial Day.

You can find our American Flag Writing Template by clicking Here
Let me know how your kids liked it.  :)

See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Secret to Planting Beans In A Baggie

The Secret To Successful Sprouts:

Click the image to see the full post.
Check out this post from last March when I learned this simple secret for planting beans in a baggie without getting a lot of rotting beans.  I learned this secret from an amazing scientist who presented at the So CA Kindergarten Conference last year.  

"Where do I get that cute flowerpot frame?"  you ask:

Click right HERE and you will find 2 patterns for the cutest little flowerpot frames!  They are just the right size for a sandwich size Zip-Lock baggie.  They come with complete directions for success.  Enjoy.

See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Finally, The Egg Carton School Bus FREEBIE Is Here!!!

Grab Your FREEBIE And Have Fun:

This little craftivity is PERFECT to go along with your Earth Day unit since it's made from recycled cardboard egg cartons.  

It also goes with your transportation unit and will look so cute up for Open House.

Here is how it works:

Just start saving cardboard egg cartons.
Mix a little orange paint with yellow paint and have your kids start painting the cartons.

You will have to make a color copy of their tiny little school photos in rows of 6.  
Then, make 6 copies of the page of photos so each child gets one row.

Have your students cut out the bus pieces and glue them to the egg cartons.  
Use the photos to see where to place the bus pieces.
Glue individual photos into cartons with cutouts in the lids. 

Glue strips of 6 photos on egg cartons without cutouts in the lids.

Complete directions are in the FREE download which you can find by clicking HERE.

If you saw these cute buses at the So CA Kindergarten Conference in Pasadena, let me know.  :)

Have fun!
Be sure to leave feedback on TPT & follow our TPT store.
See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Cutest Healthy Snacks Ever!

Does Your School District Have A Wellness Policy?

Ours does, so I have made a huge effort to eliminate unhealthy food from my classroom and incorporate healthy alternatives.  Here are some of the new food ideas I have found:
My friend made these for her grandson's party.  Aren't they the cutest things you have ever seen?
We Plan To Use This One For Our Kindergarten Graduation Celebration instead of cookies and juice.  They will go perfectly with our ocean and beach theme.  

In August, we began the year by making organic orange juice:

Students got to use their 5 senses as we prepared the juice.

Each child got to squeeze one orange and drink the juice.
Now they know that OJ comes from real oranges and not just from a carton.  


 In September, we made organic applesauce:

The children peeled & cored apples.

They chopped the apples with plastic knives.

We cooked the chopped apples in an electric frying pan
with a little filtered water and cinnamon.  Yum!

October Party Treat:

One of our parents sent in these hollowed out oranges.  She cut the face out with a knife and filled them with fruit salad.  The kids LOVED them.  
The kids didn't get to make these, but they sure enjoyed them.

In November, we made a friendship salad, cornbread, & butter:

Cutting up organic fruit with plastic knives.

Shaking up organic cream to make pure, unsalted butter.

We mixed & baked cornbread in paper cups placed in an electric frying pan.
Just set it for 350 degrees, put the lid on, and it becomes an oven.
The cups don't burn if you get the ones with an airspace at the bottom.
 We wrote the kids' names on the bottoms of the cups.  

Our healthy Thanksgiving feast. 

Healthy Candy Canes:

We created an AB pattern with sliced organic strawberries and bananas.  
Plastic knives, paper plates, & fruit is all you need.

Our Valentine's Day Celebration:

Organic fruit & light cream.

They loved their Valentine treat.

Healthy Harvest Salad:

Each child got to plant within their own square foot of soil.

Enjoying some salad.  
We planted an organic garden in raised beds made from a grant I got from the Southern CA Kindergarten Conference.  You can get more information about their grants by clicking HERE.

When we harvested the veggies, we made a huge garden salad. 

This went perfectly with our Plant unit.  We will be planting our beans in ZipLock bags soon.
We will use these cute flowerpot templates and we will be sure to staple the bags so the beans don't sit in the water at the bottom of the bag.  Complete directions are included in the download HERE.
Click the image for the download.

Click the image for the download.

Share your healthy snack ideas by leaving a comment.  
See you all tomorrow.
Palma :)


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day Surprises & Our Nine SitSpot Winners

First, The Nine Lucky SitSpot Winners From Our Blog Hop:

Congratulations, Ladies.  Your email info has been sent to SitSpot.

You can still get in on the 25% off at SitSpots until March 31.  
Just use the coupon code CALIGALS14 during checkout. 
Just click HERE to get to their site.

And, if you missed the hop (with tons of ideas for using SitSpots), just click here, scroll down to the next blog link at the bottom of the post, and click on the next blog button to see more ideas.  There are 9 blogs in all, so pull up a chair and enjoy the hop.  You can start hopping by clicking HERE.

St. Patrick's Day In Room 1:

Here are a few of the things we did today.  

First:  We followed our cute little green SitSpot footprints and found a note left by the leprechaun.
The footprints led to this note...
This was the 1st note.

One note led to another and we found ourselves gathering by each note trying to discover where the leprechaun was hiding.  
We found a clue on the calendar.
  You can download the freebie Rainbow Treasure   Hunt that  we used by clicking RIGHT HERE.
We found a clue by the puzzles.  

We found a clue under the V.I.P. chair.
We finally found the last note and discovered a class set of green cards.  Each card had a little poem and a shiny new "wishing" penny for each child to take home and use whenever they want to make a wish.  

Then it was time to make our leprechaun hats, beards, and vests:

We fringed our beards and curled them around a fat pencil.

We ordered numbers and glued them to the back of
the vest just to give it a Common Core twist.

While students made their costumes at the tables, I met with small groups and we used our measurement and estimation skills to do Potato Math:

Students brought in a variety of potatoes today.

We measured our potatoes.

We held one ounce of cubes in one hand and tried to guess
how many ounces our potato weighed.

This potato was 29 ounces!  

 Last, we were treated to some Irish dancing:

And here's a wee video for ya: 


I hope you all had a GREAT St. Patrick's Day.
I'll see you all on the 19th for St. Joseph's Day.
Palma :)