Sunday, February 21, 2016

There is "snow-body" like me! {God made me unique!}

Isn't it amazing that no two snowflakes are exactly alike!?! (It's hard for me be to believe considering how much snow we get in a given winter!) Pretty crazy!

When I share this fact with my students I tell them that God, our wonderful creator, never says "Oops! Accidentally made those to snowflakes the same!"

He makes each one unique. Just like he creates each of us special. When I do this lesson, I spend time having students share how they are unique.

We also read The Tiny Snowflake by Arthur Ginolfi.  It's about a small snowflake named Lacy looking for what makes her special. Each snowflake she floats past has a special purpose - to make the snow fluffy, or slippery...

What makes her special?

 We make our own unique snowflakes out of folded coffee filters after reading this story.

My students LOVED cutting their own designs. They begged to do more than one. (Good thing coffee filters are cheep AND our classroom was scheduled to be vacuumed that day. It looked like it had snowed in our room.)

 The most ornate snowflakes were turned into an art project with Psalms 139:14:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I don't add glitter often...but how can you resist when the end result looks so pretty?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Time Saving Tip {Math Boxes}

Do you spend time every day passing out counters, dice, unifix cubes, or coins depending on the math lesson?

Do you always have to check and recheck to make sure you have the correct number of math manipulative for each student?

I did.

I did until a fellow teacher introduced me to the genius idea of Math Boxes. *angels singing Alleluiah chorus*

They are a HUGE time saver!

All of our most frequently used math supplies are stored in individual pencil boxes. Whenever we need manipulatives... each student grabs a box.

Need counters for ten frames or addition?

       Got 20 of them counted out - ready to go!

Need dice for (a million different) math games?


Cubes are for measuring, representing addition problems, patterning, and for playing one of our favorite math games - BUMP IT!

I love that I can say "Please bring a math box..." and we have everything we may need to start our math lesson.

I bought the small square containers at the dollar store - 10 for $1! They fit perfectly! One is for counters and the other for coins. At the beginning of the year the "coin purses" (or "wallets" for the boys) only have pennies. The other coins are added as we learn about them.

They stack nicely in the shelf where our math journals are stored. (Here they are pictured on top but they fit nicely in the shelf. I love how organized it looks now - compared to the random stuff I had stored in the shelf.)

I've thought about adding a laminated 100s chard and number line to the boxes as well.

Some ideas you try one year and think, "Probably won't do that again next year." Not these. I'm keeping these around.

How do you manage math manipulatives? I'd love to hear other ideas!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope all of you had a wonderful week! Thank you Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting the link up!


This last week in January feels like the lull before the storm...by lull I mean peaceful productivity. (February is jam packed with everything from the 100th day, our Moms Valentine Tea, School Spirit Week, conferences -  I'm just lucky to keep up with all of the events in February!)

We continued our space unit this week and used what we'd learned last week to set up a dramatic play Mission Control Center and space shuttle. It was so cute to overhear them "calling" back and forth about dodging meteors and explosions from the sun. 
Students used our solar system word wall to draw and label the planets to decorate our space station.

Two old keyboards with the cords cut off.

Nap mats, cardboard box, and tinfoil.. TA-DA! A spaceship!
And the pretend play doesn't stop there. When we go out for recess, we aren't putting on our snow gear. Oh, no - we are putting on our space suits! On the cold days we are obviously visiting Uranus or Neptune. (I think I may be teaching some future astronauts.)

We made our own constellations after reading  Seeing Stars by Dandi Daley Mackall.

I love how one student made a constellation of themselves. A whole new meaning to being "a star"!

We also started our All About Mom questionnaires that we display for our Wall of Fame at our Mothers Valentine Tea. (To see what our adorable Mothers Valentine Tea is all about check out my post here.)

Moms always have a good laugh over some of the responses.

This kiddo thinks their mom likes to "dust the floor". (Just because you see your mom dusting a lot doesn't mean she likes it a lot. Haha!)

In preparation for our Mothers Valentine Tea we made some heart decorations. The math challenge was to make their design symmetrical.

I think it's safe to say they have the concept of symmetry down.

The Kind of "ing" made an appearance this week. It's so funny how a crazy hat and a silly song will make  a word ending stick. (A teacher friend of mine bought this hat and poem duo at a local Kindergarten conference and was so kind to share.)

I always secretly hope no one drops in my room to see me being the crazy teacher - singing in a manly voice I am the king of "ing"... 

It's for the kids!

The King of "ing" made quite the impression as we were able to easily spot the "ing" word family during guided reading. Chunky Monkey helped us look for the work chunks we knew.

This part of the year is so rewarding. I live for the moments when my kinders eyes light up after they've surprised themselves by reading a challenging word using the strategies we've learned.

Here are two new addition games we've learned how to play. I'm slowly adding games each week until I have several choices students can choose from independently while I work with small groups.

Have a relaxing weekend heading into February... and be sure to join me in eating some pre-Valentine chocolate! (I bought a bag of the Truffle Hershey Kisses. You should too. Trust me on this one!)