Monday, January 27, 2014

Tens and Ones

One of the adjustments for me in teaching kindergarten instead of Pre-K has been working with a consumable math textbook.  While there are suggestions for using manipulatives with the textbook, I am looking for more ways to reach some of my students.

At this point in the year, the students are supposed to be able recognize numbers up to thirty-one by looking at sets of ten and extra units. A few of the kids have struggled with this concept.  This magnetic dry erase board (from Wal-mart) has been wonderful.  I printed tables with ten cubes (on colored paper) and attached them to pieces of magnetic adhesive strip. I also made some individual unit squares.  I can quickly ask "how many tens?" and write the number with a dry erase marker, "how many extras?" and write that number with a dry erase marker, and get them to read the two digits as the total number.

We have also begun estimating numbers as "about 10," "about 20," or "about 30."  I wanted some plastic jars with a wide opening to use in introducing this with manipulatives.  I now have lots of scented Epsom salt from Dollar Tree....
I used them in a lesson modeling "guess and check," then I added them to the math center.

Totally unrelated but...
Since today was the first day of Catholic Schools Week, we had a crazy sock day (in addition to free dress day).  Here are my crazy alphabet socks.

I hope you are having a wonderful week!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Little Science

I have always wanted to have a science center located near a window AND with room for a fish. Drum Roll Please.... Here it is...

The kids had already grown beans (and studied plants) in the fall with the previous teacher.  I was a little bummed.  My blog is named Growing in PreK and K because I LOVE to do all the plant stuff... so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try a rooting a sweet potato in the science center.  No real roots yet.  I'll keep you posted.  Beta (original huh?) is doing just fine. He actually swims around a lot more than I expected from a beta fish.  He likes to hide under his bridge sometimes (wonder why?...)

The rest of the items are my go to PreK items:  discovery bottles, winter science books, items to look through, and some found nature items.  I look forward to adding more as my students learn how to handle these materials.

Our science lesson last week covered three types of clouds.  I wanted to make it more hands-on, so I had the children "make" the cloud types out of cotton balls, write "clouds," and add labels.

Hope you're having a good week!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Peek into my New Classroom (and a FREEBIE)

I've been in my new classroom for two weeks now.  At the end of last week, our math program jumped into the numbers twenty to thirty.  Many of my students speak English as a second language and were not grasping the idea of ten unit cubes being equal to one ten rod, etc.  I LOVE math games, but couldn't find one to help us through this.  So, I came up with this one:  Race to 30.

The kids loved trading in ten unit cubes for one ten rod.  The goal of the dice game is to be the first player to  accumulate three ten rods.  It is free to print at both my Teachers Notebook and TeachersPayTeachers shops.  I'd love to hear if you find it useful.

I am working on lots of fun math songs and activities.  I hope to have them available at both shops soon.

I have also been very busy nesting in my new classroom.  It looked pretty sad when the last teacher moved out and the Christmas bulletin board was down...

There were boxes of wonderful manipulatives, but.... they had all been dumped in together!

After some organizing...

It is coming together :)

The Math Center

The ABC/Word Work Center

The New Word Wall

Colorful Storage in the Cubbies (This is the area above the part the students use)

Many of the printables are from Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten.  I was inspired to add the cloth boxes from Target after drooling over Kinder-Craze.  I have lots more to share, but that's it for now.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014 Valentine Exchange

It's almost time for the annual Pre-K/Kindergarten Valentine Exchange!

If you wish for your class to participate, please email the following information to me at by Friday, January 31st.  Sorry - this is a firm date - no exceptions.  Please do not comment here to sign up or send the email to any other email address you have for me.  Comments are very welcome - just not for signing up!  These exchanges have gotten very large and the only hope I have of keeping everything organized is by having a separate email address for the project:

PLEASE email your school name, your name, and school address to me EXACTLY as it would appear on an envelope addressed to you.  (If you prefer to use your home address, please do likewise.)  
          Sweetheart School
          Attn:  Mrs. Heart's Pre-K Class
          123 Lover's Lane
          Lace, TX 77777

I want to be able to copy and paste your information directly from your email to my list. Also, please send the email from the email address that you want to be contacted at, so I can simply "reply" to your email.  Please send one email per teacher/class participating.
I am going to put everyone on one giant list with the directions that your class should send one homemade paper valentine to the twelve classes that follow you on the address list.  (If you fall towards the end of the list, you would include addresses at the top of the list until you reach twelve.)  Your class will receive valentines from the twelve classes that were above yours on the list.

I will try to spread different states around the list, but I don't want to turn down classes just because I already have too many participants from a certain we'll just have to work with what we have.  (Teachers tend to be experts at that!)

If you want to send and receive 24 valentines, please clearly state in your email that you want to be put on the list twice.  You can also sign up two classes (MWF and T-Th; AM and PM) but please make it very clear on your mailing address.

I will email the rough draft list to everyone by February 3rd .  The final list (with any corrections) will go out February 4th.  Please send out your Valentines by February 6th. This should have all the valentines arriving by February 14th.  They should be "kid creations" and not include food or candy.  You can choose whether to include a photo of your class; whether to include some information about your school, city, or state; whether to have your students sign it; and all those details. 

Also, I would love for you to become a follower of this blog!  I am currently getting up to speed with my new kindergarten class, but one of these days I hope to be back to sharing what is going on in our classroom!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wow and Valentines Update

Wow - today was my first day with my new kindergarten class.  I would have to say it is love at first sight.  The kids are delightful.  I have been busy making the room "mine."  I will post pictures of my classroom this weekend.

And... I am feeling extra blessed.  I entered a giveaway on one of my favorite blogs, Kinder Craze, for a huge bundle of cvc printables by A Differentiated Kindergarten.  And... yes... I won.  That kind of thing just doesn't happen to me!  I am a happy camper.

Finally, some of you have been asking about the Valentine's Exchange.  Yes... it is going to happen.  I will post the details here on January 15th.  Basically, you will need to email your mailing address to the special email address by January 29th. The exchange is open to all preschool, Pre-K and kindergarten classes. I will provide the email address on January 15th. Participating classes will mail one paper valentine to each of the twelve classes that follow them on the mailing list.

These exchanges have gotten very large and the only way I can come close to organizing them is to use a special email address for each one.  (That means please do not email me at any other address about signing up for this year's Valentine Exchange.)  The paper valentines should be mailed out to the twelve classes that follow yours on the mailing list starting Feb. 4th.  Once again, I will offer teachers who want to send and receive 24 Valentines the opportunity to be on the list twice.  Please follow this blog or "like" the GrowinginPreK Facebook page so you won't miss updates about the Valentine Exchange.

That's all for now.