Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Fun...Writing, Groundhogs, Centers & More!

Old Man Winter is surely making his presence known this year!  With a snow day yesterday, a 2 hour delay already scheduled for tomorrow and the forecast of a winter wallop on Sunday, I am about ready to kiss this man goodbye!  BUT...winter also brings lots of opportunities for fun and interactive learning!

We finally finished our 'winter clothes' unit- which of course would not be complete without reading Jan Brett's The Mitten!  And no story is really complete in kindergarten without dramatization!  So we grabbed some character masks and climbed right in...to a HUGE life-size mitten!

Everyone had got a turn to choose the character they would want to be...even me!
 Normally I would not have chosen to be a mole, but since no one picked him, I couldn't let him feel left out!

Speaking of winter clothes...we took to interactive writing to make a HUGE list of all the things one might need in the snow.  We added to the list as we read different books.  The Jacket I Wear In The Snow by Shirley Neitzel helped make our list complete...and of course, 'long underwear' was a favorite by my boys!

Now to use all that winter vocabulary we made these winter clothes books!  Each page had a different color word and article of clothes.  There was a girl and boy version and they came out SUPER cute!

But the best part was the last page where my kiddos got to practice (and show off!) their stellar sound-spelling writing! 

And then we put our chart and books out in the hall for all to admire!   

We have also been working with CVC words!
This was an impromptu unplanned activity that would up turning out great!  My plans said to have the kids work with letter cards on their magnetic boards BUT the snow was up over the windows outside and all that was on their brains was snow, snow and more snow!
So, I drew a HUGE snowman on the Eno board and had them take turns coming up and writing the word on the board...

and back at their seats, they recorded the words on their own adorable snowman that they drew!

They came out so cute we ripped down the shining stars bulletin board we had up and plastered these 'snow'-tatic men full of CVC learning right up there!  Then during centers, I challenged my early finishers to 'read the board' and find words with the same beginning, middle or ending sounds!
Now to remember that for next year!

But what was around the corner, but GROUNDHOG day!  Our winter wonderland may come crashing down and signs of spring could be on the way!  We read all about that furry fella and charted our predictions, but my favorite was their 'shadow writing' pieces! 

Go to the farmer!

 Go back in my burrow!

 And another that runs to the burrow!

 Scream! (and with a speech bubble saying 'Ah!') I love it!

 Say Hello!  Hahaha!  A different take for sure!

BUT...that groundhog saw his shadow this past Sunday, so we are in for 6 more weeks of winter!
let's have some more winter fun!

One of our math centers this week was 'Snowball Station!'  The students selected a penguin number card (1-20) and then filled their '10 Frame' (egg carton) with that many snowballs!  The idea for the egg carton and the penguin number cards came from Differentiation Station!

When they got a number larger than 10 they had to show me where to put the 'extras' (start making a new row) and why it didn't fit in the egg carton (was a number bigger/greater than 10) and then I had them tell me what the number told them...for example '15' means 1 ten frame is filled with snowballs and I have 5 extras!

Another math center came from Teaching With Nancy's Winter Friends Pack!

I modified this a bit so that I didn't have to make dice for each worksheet.  I put clip art of dice on top of each row and gave them regular dice.  If they rolled a 1, they wrote the number in the '1' row (15) and so on.  They kept rolling and writing until all the rows were filled.

When they were all finished, they could grab some count and clip cards to work with.  I put a small dot on the back to indicate the correct answer.  They would clip it and then turn it over to see if their clip aligned with the dot.  If so, they un-clipped and tried another one.  If not, they turned it back over and tried again...
 Ooops...not right....let me try again...
Got it!

At another center students works with number ordering strips.  They used dry erase markers to write the numbers that came before and after the designated number. I gave them the option of using a number line for reference, the class number line we created or to try it on their own and then check it using the class number line. I was pleasantly pleased to find many choosing option 3!

Do you see our 'erasers?'  Baby socks that are outgrown!  Parents are more than willing to donate them!  Saves the earth and work great!  PLUS you can store the dry erase marker IN the sock as a 'grab and go'!

But the center that got the most 'WOW' this week was 'race to the medal!'
We are starting to talk about the 'big televised event' that opens this weekend!  Time to combine the excitement of the event with number learning and fun!

Students roll the dice (see the small container on the right- the dice is in there!  Keeps it from flying off the table!) and then 'read' what is in the box in that row.  If they get it correct, they dab the spot with a bingo dabber.  They continue rolling until one row reaches the finish line- which they mark 'yellow' (gold).  They continue for the 2nd row to finish (gray for silver) and the 3rd (brown/bronze).

And when they are all done, they record who was 1st, 2nd and 3rd place medal winners!
SO proud of my medal racers today!

But there is one last fun arctic activity to share!

For this center, students worked with numbered picture or sight word cards (walrus on left had CVC picture cards, walrus on the right had sight word cards).  Students selected a card, 'read' it and then either tapped it out to spell it (CVC version) or copied it onto the recording sheet and number that corresponded to the number on the card.  They continued to pull/read/write until all 12 cards/spaces were complete!  

It was easy to differentiate because the activity 'looked' the same but I knew each kid was practicing what s/he needed to work on.  Another variation would be to tape the cards around the room.  They can use clip boards to record what they found and then return to their seat to complete the walrus 'craft' part.  

I had printed my sets of cards front back (1 side had the CVC words and the other had the pictures) so that no matter which pack a child took they had what they needed- PLUS it conserved precious cardstock and laminate!

The walrus was super easy to make too!  You can find all the directions and printables here!

So Old Man Winter...I may be sick of the snow and winter winds you are blowing, but I thank you for the inspiration to make learning fun, interesting and interactive!

Until next post,
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  1. Oh my goodness! So many wonderful ideas here :) Thanks for giving me a shout out.
    I will say it again, I want to be in your class!!!

  2. Very interesting ideas. Thank you :)
    Greetings from Poland.


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