Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall crafts!

My class has been loving fall! For the last few weeks we've been immersed in everything apples, autumn, and pumpkins. Here are some of the crafts we've made.

The fall trees were very easy-just torn paper for the grass, tree trunk, branches, and leaves. Then students told me something they like to do in the fall and we added the typed sentence to the bottom of the paper. I like how each tree really has its own personality!
The apples are probably my favorite craft though! I don't ever want to take them down from our classroom windows-they look so pretty! Just put an apple outline on some clear contact paper, have the kids fill it with tissue paper squares, then cover with another piece of clear contact paper and cut it out. Pretty quick and easy projects! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Teaching About Elections & Voting

With election day coming up next month, I have been planning ways to teach my kindergarten students about voting and elections. I think this is a very important topic to teach about-and I hope my kindergarteners will encourage their parents to vote.

We will be holding an election at my school for the kids (we use the Kids Voting program) so my students will get the opportunity to vote just like mom and dad. We're keeping it simple for the kindergarteners though-we'll only be voting for president, governor, and senator.

So, how do you explain a topic as complex as voting to kindergarteners? I plan to start with some great read alouds. Here are some of the books I will be reading and discussing with my class (you can click on the books for more info on them).

My favorite book about elections is "Grace for President." It is about a little girl named Grace who runs for school president. It's neat for the kids to see how the candidates make campiagn promises on how they would change their school if elected-and it always leads to a discussion on what we might want to improve in our school. Sometimes I have my kids write about what they would do if they were our school's president.
I also love the book "Duck for President." It is by Doreen Cronin, the same author as "Click Clack Moo." The illustrations are great and it gives a funny take on the election process. In the end, duck learns that being president really isn't all that fun-it's a lot of work! I saw an idea (on Pinterest I think) where kids write about which storybook character they would nominate for president-I might do this activity as a follow up to this book.
Rosemary Wells always writes great books-so I had to get this book she wrote about voting. In the book "Otto Runs For President" a little dog named Otto runs for school president. You get to see how sometimes in a campaign, the different candidates are not very nice to each other, and try to show one another up with campaign promises.
The book "If I Ran for President" explains what it is like to run for president in a way kids can understand. It briefly touches on things like the primaries, conventions, debates, and campaigning. It's told from the perspective of a kid who is imagining what it would be like to run for president.
The book "If I Were President" is also told from the perspective of a kid imagining what it would be like to become president. It highlights some of the perks of being president, like: having your own personal chef, getting to travel to different countries, and being famous. It also describes some of the work of being president too, like: going to meetings, giving speeches to congress, and being in charge of the military. Very kid friendly book!
This is a cute story told from the perspective of a kid who thinks his teacher should be president. He lists lots of funny reasons that she would be perfect for the job! This would be a good book to start a discussion about what the requirements are to become president and what might be some qualities of a good president.
Are you planning on doing anything fun to teach your class about elections and voting? If so, I would love to hear your ideas-I could use some more ideas for kindergarten appropriate voting lessons, activities, books, and crafts!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alphabet & Sight Word Practice

I hope your October is off to a good start! I am still in a bit of shock that it is already October and time to start thinking about report cards! I'm not ready for that at all! September went by so quickly, that I still have tons of photos that I never got around to posting and blogging about-I will try to get to that this week!

My kinder kiddos have been working super hard to learn all of the letters in the alphabet, and they love playing different alphabet games during our center time. We have also started working on our kindergarten sight words-and I am thankful that I can take my time with our sight words and just focus on one per week (we only have 26 required words-and I know plenty of schools have more than that!).

Here are some of the alphabet and word work activities we did last week during center time.

That would be the front to my heater that the kiddos are making words on. I lucked out that the heater is metal so the magnetic letters stick on perfectly! I just used some tape to make a little grid.
My students this year LOVE wikki stix. They have been practicing making letters and words out of the wikki stix. I have a special dry erase board designated for wikki stix only since it makes the board so sticky!
I just adore this "Roll a Sight Word" game. It is so easy to play-just roll a dice and write down the corresponding word on the sheet. We play this all year long and the kids think it is a new game every time I switch which words are on the paper. To get this awesome freebie from Mrs. Parker, click here.
 My students are doing a great job practicing their sight words with these fun little cards. First they read the word at the top, then they build it with letter tiles, and finally they trace the word at the bottom and practicing writing it on the line. These sight word practice cards are a part of my Fall Fun: Literacy Games Pack.
This little sight word board game was a big hit last week with my students. So easy too-just roll the dice, move that many spaces, and say what word you landed on. This game (along with lots of other game boards) is also from my Fall Fun: Literacy Games Pack.
We're still practicing letters too-so the kids also had the option to play the same board game, but with letters instead of sight words.
Yes, I am a brave teacher-our stamping center is open for business! My students have been practicing stamping the alphabet with these wonderful free alphabet stamping pages from Shannon at Kindergarten Hoppenings. For my more advanced kiddos, I have been using Mrs. Wills' fantastic sight word stamping pages.
I'd love to hear what your students have been up to-and please share any fun alphabet or word work ideas that you have!