Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year Put Together Sentences

Here's another freebie from my store that I just posted.  These sentences are great for morning work or a writing station.  Students read the sentence, write (or trace) it and then cut apart the words at the bottom and rearrange them in the correct order.  Finally, they draw a picture to illustrate it.  It comes with both the tracing version and the blank line version.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Compare Word Problems & the Matching Strategy

Once upon a time, a long time ago in my previous life in another school district, I participated in some research through ASU.  My team teacher and I (we were teaching 1st grade) had a professor from ASU who came in to watch us teach math, specifically, word problems.  He was looking at "children's mathematical thinking" and their "mathematical talk."  We would pose problems to the students, let them choose their tools for solving the word problems (manipulatives, pictures etc...) and then we would reconvene and share their thinking on the overhead projector (see- I told you it was a long time ago).  Well, as we were doing this, the students discovered the matching strategy.  I can't remember if it was during a Compare Difference Unknown word problem or if it just came up during something else.  Once that strategy was introduced, students started using it ALL the time.  They solved almost every word problem using the matching strategy.  It was crazy- they loved that strategy and used it for everything whether or not the problem was a compare type problem or not.

So, every year when I get ready to introduce K.CC.C.6 Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies- I worry that the students will overgeneralize with this strategy.

Usually I have nothing to worry about because the kinders usually struggle with compare word problems.  They forget the question and just want to join the two group together even after doing lots of hands-on activities where were are comparing tower sizes. Here are two things I am using to help teach this standard this year.  This game is in my Kindergarten Math Assessments but I gave it a new, winter twist.  In this game, students play in pairs and take a strip of snowmen.  Then they use a matching board to compare the snowmen.  The idea is that they match them up on the board and the "extras" are the "How many more?"  Here's the link to this freebie.

Then I also created some Compare Difference Unknown word problems using a format that is floating around our school (but modified for Kindergarten).  Hopefully, using this format the kinders will keep track of what they know and what they are trying to answer.  Here's the link to this freebie.

Happy Matching!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

January Math Stations

January's Math stations are finished!  Now I just need to copy, laminate and cut them out! Addition and subtraction is such a big focus when we go back in January- in fact, that's all we do the rest of the year.  So this month's stations focus heavily on addition and subtraction concepts.  Here's a fun freebie that's part of the product. It's called Spin and Count and once the students get used to it, it's lots of fun.  But you have to play it a lot in whole group/small group before it becomes an independent station.  Check out the pictures of it below and click the link to get the freebie.  Spin and Count FREEBIE  And click here to find the product at my TpT store.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

After Christmas Sale!

I'm having a sale on all Winter products at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Stop on by and look for January and Winter Products on sale December 26-28th.  KinderKarla's Store

Hope you find something you can use!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Math Journal Proficiency Scale

Since we use math journals for problem solving almost every day I decided to try out proficiency scales with our math journals.  When I created the original one, I asked the students to help me.  We talked about the things that I needed to see in their math journals to tell that they understood the math problem (the 3).  Then we talked about what it would look like if they almost understood (the 2) or didn't understand at all (the 1). Finally, I asked them what would be above and beyond- what could they do extra to show that they really understood (the 4).  This is what we've been using for 2nd Quarter.

It worked really well for 2nd quarter because we haven't introduced addition yet.  Students were just drawing pictures to solve the word problem and circling their answers.  But now that we can finally (I detest our district curriculum map waiting until 3rd quarter to introduce addition) introduce addition and an equation we had to change the proficiency scale to reflect that.  So, my team and I sat down at one of our PLC meetings and came up with this new scale.  It's not much different- written in more kid-friendly language, but it also introduces the idea of an equation that matches that action of the word problem.

And, I made a better anchor chart than the one I had before. I apologize for the pictures- camera was acting weird.

So, I made all of this into a freebie on TpT.  Click here for the link.
Hope it's something that can help your students assess their learning!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Who Owns the Learning?

Educational buzz words and phrases are wonderful, aren't they?  At the beginning of the year, our new administrator was overly fond of saying "We're building the plane as we're flying it" in reference to our school-wide implementation of common core.  Now, that they year is progressing (and we're flying a plane that's not quite built yet LOL) we've been asked to use proficiency scales in our classrooms.  "Who owns the learning?" is now the buzz phrase that is going around our school.  So much so that our school created a video to showcase this.  It's called, surprisingly enough, "Who owns the learning?"  Check out the youtube link here: Who Owns the Learning?  It actually showcases one of my students.  He's talking about math journals.  And the anchor charts that are shown in the video in the first two sections are from my classroom. 

More to come with proficiency scales- I've got a freebie to share and a new product coming soon to use with the proficiency scale.

Wishing you all a Happy Holidays and a wonderful winter break!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wow- I finally finished my November Math Stations!

At my school our Kindergarten team decided to do a book study on Debbie Diller's Math Stations book.  As a result of our early conversations, and because I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for on TpT I decided to venture into the world of creating math work stations- and, several weeks later I can say that I am finished with it.  Our idea was to create activities that can be used over and over again with different twists of skills and different themes.  The November math stations has LOTS of counting and number activities because that's what we're working on right now.  We will see how we like it, but here are some samples of what's included.  Check out the finished product here. Oh, did I mention that it's discounted in price (by $1) through the end of the week!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

DIBELS First Sound Fluency

Oh the DIBELS test!  So much to say about it... We finally got our results from the beginning of the year assessment just a couple of weeks ago.  Since they changed the benchmark scores my teammates and I have, on average 12 intensive kiddos, the rest strategic and just a handful of core students.  This means that we are supposed to progress monitor the intensive every week and the strategic every other week.  And the score they have to get to twice before they test out is 52!  This seems so high- especially since most of their scores on the first test were in the teens.  I have 17 out of 23 students that I need to test either weekly or every other week...  Seems a bit daunting, doesn't it?  And, on top of that, the test means nothing to anyone. Last year we used it as part of our SLO (Student learning objective) for our evaluation, but this year it has no significance to anyone.  Yet we are required to do it.  Anyway, off my DIBELS rant, and on to a freebie I made.  I made this First Sound Fluency game to help students practice beginning sounds.  It's quick and easy. 

Get it at my TpT store.  Here's the link: First Sound Fluency {FREEBIE}

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Can Statements

We have new administration this year.  If you've ever experienced two new administrators in the same year, you can imagine what we are going through.  They need to come in and make the school their own.  Things that are working they re-examine to make sure they are really working, and they implement new things to make the school their own.  One of our new things this year is our objectives written as I can statements.  Well, that's not really new but they want us to write the I can statement and then continue with a "by" portion telling how the students will show this knowledge.  And we write this all on the board so our students can "read" it.  We are supposed to refer to this statement multiple times in the lesson; if an administrator comes in he/she should be able to ask a child what they are learning and the student should be able to respond with their variation of the I can statement.  It's not really anything unusual but it has been a bit of a shift for many of us.  Then, they asked us to possibly write I can statements for all our literacy stations....  I really don't have a problem with writing the I can portion of the statement- it's the "by" part that presents difficulty, especially for a literacy station when they might be doing lots of different things over the course of the two week rotation.  Writing I can statements every 2 weeks for all 13 of my literacy stations and posting them at the stations seemed a bit much even for over-achiever Karla.  So, I decided to try to create generic statements that had the "by" portion that I could leave at the literacy stations.  Now, it's not exactly right because the students are supposed to read these statements and remember what to do at the station.  Two problems with that- 1- they can't read yet and 2- if it's generic enough it won't really tell them exactly what to do.  But if administration wants it, I will certainly give it a try.  So I came up with these. I went through most of my stations that I use during the year and created page sized posters with "I" statements.  Click here to get the set of station cards.  If you use I can statements to post your objectives, do you have to have the "by" portion as well? 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Close Reading

If you've been around long enough in education it seems that everything comes back eventually.  But it always comes back with a new little twist to it. Close reading reminds me of the work that we did when we read Mosaic of Thought and Strategies that Work.  When we learned about that back- what over 10 years ago- we went through the book looking for what skill we should use to teach that book.  Then we would post-it note our ideas and thoughts. Then when we were reading the book we would stop at our post-it notes and examine the text closely and talk about the skill or strategy we wanted to focus on that day.  Close reading reminds me a lot of that- but with a different common core twist.

 I've been hearing about Close Reading for a while now and our district finally decided we needed some training on it.  So they selected trainers, gave them some basic training and information on close reading and then presented the information district wide to us.  Well,  I still don't know how to really do close reading in Kindergarten, but we've been asked to implement it this month and then meet back at the end of September and share what we've done with it. So, like everything we're trained on and expected to implement, we go into it not really knowing what we're doing.  But, one of the trainers, who happens to be my teammate, suggested that we read this article. Reading Rocket's Read Aloud  It's a really easy read and it talks about reading a book aloud multiple times with a different focus each time.  So, I've begun using this model, or my variation of it, to do my close reading with my kindergarteners.  For my first session, I chose a book called Apple Trouble.
It's a cute little book about a hedgehog who's building a nest for the winter.  Unfortunately, an apple falls onto her back and she can't get into her nest.  So she asks for help from her animal friends.  Most of them don't help her, but a goat finally solves her problem.
So, I decided to read this book on three different occasions.  I went through it and put post-it notes on specific places that I wanted to ask questions, check for understanding, explain vocabulary or make predictions.  Then I gave students a little summary of the story- basically what I just wrote above about the goat.  I explained to them that stories have problems and the hedgehog certainly has her share.  I explained that sometimes the problem in the story gets worse, and I asked them to listen carefully for how the problem gets worse for hedgehog.  Then we read the story- stopping at my post-it notes to talk.  We pair shared a couple of things and stopped to talk about the word murky- making guesses about what it means.  Then when we finished the story we talked about goat and how he solved all of her problems.
As I was reading the book and putting on post-it notes, I noticed that there were lots of really good action words.  So I decided that my second reading would focus on action words.  I did the second reading the next day.  I introduced action words to the students by giving them examples and non-examples of action words.  Then I set their purpose for reading by writing the sentence stem "Hedgehog can" multiple times on chart paper.  I asked them to listen carefully for things in the story that hedgehog did.  We stopped every two pages or so and I asked student to find the action words.  We had to reread the page carefully to find an action word and I asked students to give me a thumbs-up when they found one.  Once we found an action word we wrote the rest of the sentence.  For example, we wrote "Hedgehog can roll on her back."  or "Hedgehog can dive in the water."  When we finished the book this time, I asked students to give me an idea of something that Hedgehog would do when she woke up from her winter nap.  We talked about the action words in their sentences they shared.
The third reading I decided to retell the story with the students.  So I made these Retell cards to help with the process.  I put Hedgehog on the board and we taped the items to her back as it happened in the story.  Some students received the animals cards and they were in charge of telling Hedgehog what she should do to get the items off her back.  I read the story, but stopped and asked student to tell what should happen.  They told me, we talked about if they were correct or not and then we read the story.
All in all, it was a very successful sequence of lessons.  I feel like the students were very engaged in the text and that they learned different things each time we read the story.  I don't think I really did close reading the way you are supposed to, but I guess that's what happens when you don't really get trained on how to do it at your grade level.  I really don't see my kinders right now making annotations on the text like we were taught in our training!  I feel like this was much more powerful for them.  But was it close reading?  I don't know...  If anyone has any thought on it or knows how to do close reading in Kindergarten, I would love to hear from you.

Next week our theme is "Family" and I am planning for close reading lessons using When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant and My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother by Patricia Polacco.  Great stories- and they should lend themselves well toward multiple close reads.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What a difference a year makes!

I've had some time this summer to look at some of my old products and revise them a little bit.  The one I've been working on lately is my Nursery Rhyme Unit.  Looking at it, it was the best I could do at the time with graphics available and my growing knowledge base- wow, what a learning curve it's been.  I shuddered as I opened it (it was created in MS Word) and scrolled through the graphics and pages.  The content is not the issue for me, it's the presentation.  Last year, I couldn't find a lot of nursery rhyme products out there so there wasn't much competition.  Now, I see tons of big sellers making Nursery Rhyme product.  I can't even begin to compete with that, so I deactivated the product, took the two strongest pieces out, revised the graphics and reposted them as stand alone products.  I updated the graphics (thank you Little Red, Graphics from the Pond, and Melonheadz) and now I am much happier with the results.  Here are some pictures of the Rhyming Activity Pack.

 It includes three games that my kinders really liked last year (even though it wasn't as cute last year).  Humpty Dumpty's rhyming wall where the students have to determine which bricks have rhyming pairs and then place those to fill the wall. 

 Then there is Old Mother Hubbard's Rhyming Cupboard where students have to sort the bones into rhyming pairs or not-rhyming pairs.  It's meant for the pocket chart.

 Finally, there's Jack and Jill's rhyming pails.  It's designed for a pocket chart as well.  Students place the pails on the pocket chart and try to match it up with a rhyming drop of water.

I also re-made my Read It, Trace It, Put the Sentence Together together pack for Nursery Rhymes.  It includes sentences for about 10 different nursery rhymes.  Here's some pictures.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We Go Together: A Back to School Activity

I am so impressed with the responses I get when I ask clip artist on TpT for help with different topics.  I have made a couple of requests lately and have to say these people are pretty amazing.  Not only are they incredibly talented, but they are so quick and so accommodating.  My requests have been kind of obscure and out of the ordinary.  The first one was for clipart of things that go together.  We are using the Engage NY math units that are out there now Module 1 and the beginning few lessons are all about sorting.  One of the lessons focuses on things that go together and I thought a pocket chart center would be a great ancillary activity to this.  So, I requested some clip art.  Michael Rawls came through for me quickly and with wonderful results.
As I am creating the pocket chart sort I realize that this would also be perfect for other grade levels.  It would make a great ice breaker activity for the first day of school.  Teachers can give every student a card; then students mingle and look for their partner.  Once they find the picture with their match, they can introduce each other and find one interesting fact about their partner.  Then they can introduce each other to the class.  Check out these cute cards and the recording sheets to go with the ice breaker AND the pocket chart activity.

Here's the link to my product at TpT.  Hope it's something you might consider checking out.
Coming Opposite Pocket Chart Activity using the fabulous clip art of PoppyDreamz!