Friday, October 20, 2017

Community Unit Part 1

My elementary school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. And we are part of the Primary Years Program (PYP) for IB. Each month we focus on a unit that fosters meta-cognition and global awareness. What does this mean at the Kindergarten level? 

Our first unit was a focus on self. What does it mean to be in school? This unit covered everything Kindergarten classes do at the beginning of the year: routines, rules, friendship, understanding, and patience. Our second unit is on Community.

We began our Community unit this week and are starting small. 
Our first question was: What is a community?  
We discussed our classroom community and tied it into our rules and routine. Then we made our self-portraits that now hang in the hall and remind us that we are a team and depend on each other.

 Our second lesson in community was on Neighborhoods. We learned that we have 3 neighborhoods that we could possibly be a part of: Rural, Suburban, and City. We are working through the unit by Karen Jones titled  Little Thinkers Social Studies Unit 4: Community

This unit it very well organized and takes students through meaningful lessons with PowerPoint presentations and activities that students love.
 We learned that many students in our class live in apartments.
We learned that some students live in a house. 
We also learned that some students live in a hotel as temporary housing. 

We celebrated every type of neighborhood and living arrangement as a way to understand that being part of the community it important, no matter where you live.

Next week we will learn about our neighbors and places in the community.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Handprint Calendar 2018

Every year I make a Handprint Calendar for my students to give their families during the holidays. It is a calendar for the entire year and is such a precious keepsake for parents. My new template is up on Teachers Pay Teachers and I wanted to share it with you because it is the perfect time to begin working on this project.

Each day I will pull students back (or have a volunteer do it!) and paint students' hands. Some days I can do 2 different pictures at once and saves me a lot of time. Each month gets its own hand print that matches a poem that is printed on the calendar. You will place the hand print on the back of the previous month so that when the calendar is flipped you will see the painting! Check it out here:
  • Print every month on a different color card stock.
  • Combine like colors when painting. For example, you can paint the pumpkin and the goldfish on the same day because the color is orange for both. 
  • Make sure you paint the hand print going the opposite direction from the previous month printed on the other side. You want the direction of the hand print to flip when parents change the month. 
  • DO NOT bind the calendar until after you have painted all of the hands. If you make a mistake, you can just change out one page instead of taking the whole book apart. 
  • Use markers and glitter glue to decorate your hand prints. The more elaborate you get, the better they look!
Feel free to ask me any questions regarding the calendar. I hope your families love it as much as mine!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Freebie Bump It Game~

Here is a FREEBIE Bump It Game I made as an assessment for my incoming Kinders. The game serves 3 purposes:

1. Teach the kiddos how to use dice trays
2. See how they work in partners
3. Assess their knowledge of numbers and quantities

Because I am doing this game with EVERY Kindergartener in school the first week (we are rotating classes), I want to make sure it is purposeful, as well as fun. Students love dice and will be using them a lot throughout the year. Why not let them experiment, while I give an informal assessment on their number sense?

I will print and laminate this board double sided, so that we can spend the first few minutes of the game matching dice patterns, and the rest of the game matching numbers to quantities.

How to Play:
Students will take turns rolling a dice. After they roll they will match their dice to one of the board, covering up that square. Then it is the next person's turn. They continue until there is no more places to put a given number, in which case they can "bump" the other person's dice. I use two colors of dice (white and blue) so they can tell which dice belongs to them.

I don't usually have a winner. But, if you choose to, just have them count who has the most dice on the board at the end of the game.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teaching New Part 3: Transferring a Credential

Welcome to the boring section of Teaching New! Well, it's boring, but it is the MOST IMPORTANT part of getting the new job! I got my credential in California. I got my masters in California. Yet, I have moved to Oregon. Luckily, a California is reciprocal in many states and it is in Oregon. BUT, I had to get an Oregon Reciprocal License BEFORE the start of the new school year. I put in my initial application early, which is great and an accident. I just thought I would go ahead and do it since I will be in Oregon for awhile.

So that ends the easy part! From there on out it was a definite adventure that was both frustrating, but rewarding. I knew that my job was contingent on getting my license. Ok, I was just waiting for it to go through. But, then I got an email saying I needed to turn in a laundry list of items to the TSPC (Oregon licensing), many of which I did not have. It was a crazy, angry, stressful race to get things in before the next day. I graduated in 2004, got my credential in 2005. It's not like I can just order my transcripts. They are ARCHIVED!! (I am that old...) Long story short, I had to pay a lot of money to get things overnighted to Salem, OR. But, I got them all in.

Within a week I had my license. FINALLY! It was the best feeling! Now I have to take a few tests and prove I have taken all the CSETs. I have a year to do it, though, so that's nice.

So, yeah, it's boring to read about, but stressful to get. I am very proud of myself because I accomplished the task. And now I am certified in 2 states!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Kindergarten Calendar: Number Writing Practice

I have just put up a new product on TpT. It is a quick and easy monthly calendar that gives students number writing practice. You can pull this out at the beginning of the month, practice increasingly challenging number writing activities, and talk about the month ahead. My Kindergarten Calendars are a fun way to practice number writing skills in a meaningful way.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Teaching New Part 2: Getting Settled

After my acceptance of the position as Kindergarten teacher, I met with the principal, who took me on a tour of the school. I come from California and am used to schools with outdoor hallways. Since I now live in the Pacific Northwest where rain is a constant thing, I am moving into an indoor school. (I actually think  that it's pretty cool. Reminds me of The Neverending Story, and I LOVE The Neverending Story!)

My building is called Kinder Village, since it is its own smaller building next to the main building. I think that name is pretty adorable.

After my tour, it is on to...

Step 2: Moving In

I have my keys! Yes, I can unlock the building, walk down the hallway, open the door, look inside. And when I look inside, guess what I find? A classroom full of stuff left by someone I have never met. Granted, it was very nice to have access to materials in case I didn't have any. There are a million books, lots of games, flashcards, toys, etc. The problem is that I have been teaching for 12 years and have all of MY stuff in a storage compartment somewhere, waiting to arrive. Where am I going to put it??

I have to make a game plan:
1. Go through curriculum and get rid of anything old.
2. Put all books into one area of the room.
3. Clean out and organize cabinets
4. Organize math pieces and flashcards as much as possible.
5. Move furniture around so that it looks like I did something!

So far I have completed these steps. Now, I just need to put everything in its place. I also need to be mindful of everything else I need to bring into the room. It's overwhelming, but I am making progress.

What is amazing is that I have found items that I LOVE and do not own. Also, I can get a good look at the curriculum I will be using and begin my planning process. My goal is to be done with the cleaning by the end of the week. Wish me luck!
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