Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday with a Freebie Beginning the Year


Finally... it is Friday! It has been a long week.
Ooops. The freebie wasn't linked to the picture but that is fixed now - there is a pdf file with choices. This is just one. Click here.
1  Let's start with the Freebie. I wanted something for my kinders to practice numerals and cutting so I could observe their skills. This freebie has different versions. I decided to use the one with shapes. They cut out each shape, count the school supplies inside and trace the numeral. Then they put them in order on a sentence strip. When they are done, they read it to me and I pick one to have them count. I am making one with monkeys for a teammate who wants it to go with 5 Little Monkeys.
2 We started the week with 2 days of Conferences (and my own kids going to 1st and 3rd grade. oh my!) Then we had 3 staggered entrance day. They were back to back and with our larger class sizes, we used both days.
3 The students loved their Mystery Bags. Each day they shared something special they brought or if they forgot their bag from conferences, shared about something that is special to them. I'd like to incorporate this during the school year. As they grow, they can start writing clues to describe their object and even play 20 questions. I think it'd be fun to have them bring it from home so they can practice with their families. : ) Hopefully, connect to each other's cultures and customs.
We do a mystery bag for letters that way later on that becomes a literacy center. The students put an object from the letter tubs in the bag and give a partner clues to guess. Common Core listening and speaking & great Talent Development for critical thinking.
4. We did even more sharing on our staggered days. Last year, we did Free Write Fridays during breakfast for the second half of the year and the students LOVED it. I am not a big fan of drawing in black and white composition notebooks. I don't like drawing over lines. However, that is what comes in our supplies so we do. We take notes in them and solve Math problems as well. (I also make smaller books out of white paper for directed drawing on different topics so they go through the book process.) For our staggered day, they had to write their name and draw a picture of themselves doing something. This gave me great observations of their fine motor skills and writing stages as well as who is comfortable with it.
We took the time to sit in a circle and share! We did this to establish a positive climate and encourage risk-taking. It was okay if you weren't done. It was okay if you needed help to write your name or you didn't know how to draw clothes, or fill in the background or if you were already an established writer. Each one got a compliment and clapped for. We even learned silent clapping.  :)
5 Talk about beginning the year on the positive. We introduced PLAY or developmental centers with a tree map (where everyone learned that I can not draw...whooo glad that is out of the way). We started with 3 centers (kitchen, dollhouse and blocks). Did you know our dollhouse has the nicest dolls you will ever meet? Yep. They are kind and caring just like we want to be. I went over the materials and the students picked where they wanted to start. Then we cleaned up and met on the carpet. We made a map with our ideas. What good things did we see? What was hard to clean up and how can we change that? Then they picked a second choice, played and cleaned up. We revisited the thinking map. Then we tried two more centers (computer and playdoh). Every did these in two shifts and we used mats to form playdoh letters. We added them to the map. Finally, we needed to have frame because every thinking map has a frame. We talked about why it was important to know this information. I did not do full rotations on literacy centers yet. I started with developmental centers because they are more comfortable for most of my students to rotate freely.
What centers do you start with?

Freebie Fridays


  1. What a full blog with great ideas. I am your newest follower.
    Paula from Paula’s Place and iSURF Maths

    1. I planned to take pictures today (since we did basically the same thing on the 3 staggered days) and add to the post. However, the battery on the camera was blinking as the Kinders took pictures on our school tour and we just made it in time to get their photos for our class wall. So it does look a little wordy. : )