Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Watermelon Week

We only have 8 more days of school left!! This week we are having fun learning about watermelon through literacy and math activities. Below is a picture of some of my students participating in a cooperative learning activity. I like to call it Circle of Friends, as I learned in my SIOP training. It is the same structure as Kagan's Inside-Outside Circle. I have my inside circle of students facing outwards with their math supplies: watermelon ten frame, black beans, and white beans. My outside circle faces the inside circle, and they are the ones who moved every 3 minutes. The one blond boy was looking at the timer (Kagan's Timer Tools)... something new that I was using.



Here is a closer view of what my students were doing. Partner A was telling an addition story problem to 10, while Partner B checked with the beans. Then both partners documented their work in their watermelon addition books. Then they reversed roles. They were told to do this until the timer rang. Then the outer circle had to rotate to a new partner. At first, they only had time for one math story to ten. The novelty of the timer was distracting! I haven't used it much. I plan to use it more in the new school year.


Afterwards, my students told me their results of how many ways they figured out to make ten. Here is a sample of my sloppy quick chart. I wish I thought ahead and made a pretty chart for this blog, but this is the real deal! The next time I think I will prepare my chart ahead of time and have my students draw the pictures to match the math sentences.


This is one of my literacy centers where students read and match numbers to numerals.


My students wrote personal connections to what watermelon reminded them of. I shared some personal connections and a Saveur magazine article on watermelon. Below are some samples of their watermelon craftivity. The writing is inside the flap of their watermelon.







We also had a watermelon seed spitting contest. Our class watermelon did not have many seeds. So I had my students use black beans instead. I printed out 14 large enormous seeds and placed them in a line. We watched to see where each seed landed. We placed them back where they first landed. After all the spitting, we compared how many times our seeds landed on certain enormous seeds.


Here is a worksheet I created to have my students keep track of their measuring observations. This particular child came to school already writing with lovely penmanship!


Here are two examples of my students' work on the back of their watermelon seed measurement.




Today, we played Kagan's Quiz-Quiz-Trade with changing a sound in a word to make a new word. Partner A was the taller person who went first. Then it was Partner B's turn. Afterwards they traded cards and high fived each other before finding a new partner.



Here is my poetry center with one of the watermelon poems. Below is a basket of my students' poetry folders. They read and illustrate the poem of the week during literacy centers.


These activities can be found on my TPT unit. Click on the picture to find out more about it.
Are you ready for the summer? I feel like I am not ready for all that end-of-the-year cleaning and reorganizing... but somehow I do manage every year! Have a great end of your school year!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

It has been a busy week at school, as we had our Mother's Day tea and poems and Teacher Appreciation Week. My families and students at school spoiled me. I am going to miss this group! We only have 12 more school days left!! It is going by too quickly. I still have so much to do before the end of the year: memory books, end of the year DVD, making homemade ice cream, Fancy Nancy party, class picnic, my dogs visiting, etc. It will be fun, and I hope to take the time to stop and enjoy the moment!!


Last Thursday, I found online a free TLC project for kindergarten graduation. I think this would make such a cute cover for our end of the year memory books. Here are some samples:





On the right side, I will glue each student's school picture on it. I was going to have these laminated and add a white tassel, but now I am thinking I will just have my students draw the tassels before laminating them.


I will be having some fun with my kinderkids this week learning about watermelon. I am also almost completed with my last week of school unit- Fancy Nancy!! I hope to post again to share some of my watermelon fun and my new Fancy Nancy unit!!


Have a great week!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Touch of Cooperative Learning

This past February, I went with my kindergarten team to a Kagan training. Dr. Kagan practiced what he preached, and I enjoyed the experience very much! Even though I had had previous cooperative learning training, it was a valuable and fun experience. With the end of the year coming, cooperative learning strategies makes teaching exciting... even with the summer fever present!


Today, my kindergarten students were working with their partners on place value from 0-20. Partner A wrote their numerals 0-9 in red. Partner B wrote their numerals 0-9 in green. I gave each pair of students a file folder placemat and 20 cubes. Partner A got to create a numeral using his numeral cards first. If they made a numeral higher than 20, Partner B was suppose to tell Partner A that amount is greater than 20. If they made a numeral between 0-20, then Partner B made it with the cubes. Partner A was suppose to check their work and count together. Then it was Partner B's turn to make a number. After about 5 minutes, I asked the students who had the red cards to collect their cards and stand up. They were to find a new partner with green cards, and work with that new partner. After about another 5 minutes, I had my students with green cards collect their numeral cards, and find a new partner with red cards. Changing partners helped my students stay engaged longer with this activity. Tomorrow we will do the same activity but with numerals and cubes to 50.

Here are two children sitting side by side facing the file folder place value chart.

Here is a close up of what they created. The file folder has 10 sticky dots on one side for the ones side. Below are the red numeral cards showing 17.

Here is another student making a number less than 10.