This is the assessment we will use to gauge our students' learning at the end of the year. We like it because it's teacher-friendly and easy to share with parents. Feel free to grab yourself a copy by clicking the link below.
TK assessment version is here!
Our fluency passages measure a combination of cvc blending and sight words. The passage is also the perfect length for this age group. We use the results of the fluency passage as one component of the student reading grade at the end of the school year.
We are making our "All Vowel" passage available to our Kinder League followers as a free download! Our experience has been that kindergarten students should be able to read this passage by the end of the school year with minimal errors. Most of our students are able to read it in less than one minute. Simply click the link below. We'd love to hear your feedback and how you use them with your students.
The ladybugs have moved into kindergarten! It's that time of year to head on over to your local nursery and pick up a container of these adorable little beetles. Kids love them! Our Treasures Unit introduces this insect and we run with it!!!
Now that we are at the end of the school year, students are really digging into their Tree Maps. After giving the students an opportunity to observe the bugs in bug boxes and watching the episode of The Magic School Bus: Insects, they are ready to describe the cute beetle. This Tree Map is composed in a whole group discussion. Utilizing the different colors is important in helping students separate their ideas and finding their way around the Tree Map during their independent practice.
The next step after creating the Tree Map whole group is to have students select a detail from each branch (have, can, are). They "pair share" their ideas with their neighbor using complete sentences. This is a helpful activity for our ELD students. "Pair share" also decreases student anxiety by supplying modeling and validating their ideas. Teacher scaffolding may include direct modeling, restating the sentence in correct form, or utilizing sentence frames (using the appropriate color). You will also notice that this Tree Map does not include pictures next to the words. This class does not need pictures anymore.
Dr. Jean's Insect Song is a must when kindergarteners are learning about insects. This cute pattern song teaches students about the head, thorax, abdomen, six legs, etc.
Finally, it's time to create the ladybug cover. Wax paper is used for the soft wings and construction paper for the rest. Super easy and super cute!
So what did you learn in school today?
"We just looked at ladybugs and wrote about them. The Tree Map helped organize my ideas. Oh yea, we also learned a song about insects. That's it, not much!"
I begin by giving everyone a chunk of clay. This is not their first experience with clay, so they know how to form a sphere. Next they stick their thumb into the middle of their sphere, about halfway through. Students spend the remainder of the time pinching their way around using their fore finger and thumb, being careful not to pinch the walls too thin. This is a slow process, not meant to be rushed. I really try not to get involved in the formation of their pot. A few students will continue to doubt themselves and continuously ask for assistance. Some children are so used to having someone do things for them, that overcoming this self doubt is a lesson in itself.
Our school does not have a kiln, so I don't bake these. I will let them sit for about two days before I have the children paint them with acrylic paints.
Our pinch pots turned out super cute! Happy Mother's Day!!!
SUNFLOWER SEED ADDITION FREEBIE:
The Entire Sunflower Packet is available on tpt.
Our 5 kindergarten/Tk classes take one field trip each school year. We have been going to Underwood Family Farms for the past 10 years. It's a wonderful farm that grows the most delicious strawberries! This year the strawberries were especially sweet. Yum!! The trip begins with a visit to the farmer's classroom to learn about fruits and vegetables. This is followed by a tractor ride to the strawberry fields for some strawberry picking. Each person is given a plastic container to fill and take home (this includes teachers and parent volunteers!).
Picking fruit is hard work so lunch comes next. We eat at one of the reserved picnic areas. We wrap up our trip with a visit to the animal pens and play areas. It always surprises me to learn the number of students are have never been up close to animals before. The traffic out to Moorpark was pretty bad this year. Traffic during field trips is always nerve wracking for teachers. You wish you could just slip your ear buds in and close your eyes,.... if only for the ride home.
Thank you Underwood Family Farms for another successful field trip!
Want to know how to get parents involved in your teaching? Show parents how you teach in class and explain the theories behind your approaches. This can be done during parent workshops. Parent workshops are a big deal at our school. We call them PTPs (Parent Teacher Partnership). Every grade level holds four workshops per year. Our Kindergarten workshop schedule is as follows:
Workshop #1: Alphabetic Principal- October
Workshop #2: Mathematics in Kinder- February
Workshop #3: Writing in Kinder- March
Workshop #4: Learn About 1st Grade! (given by the first grade teachers)
We recently held our math parent workshop. Here are some highlights from the Powerpoint we presented:
We urge you to give parent workshops a try!
They are a sure way to empower your parents to get involved.
Running past some Los Angeles landmarks... Super cool!
We all crossed the finish line at different times and in different conditions. Me, I was suffering from a dead leg and chills and went straight to the first aid tent. Because of the strict security measures, we all met up with our families at different locations and missed our opportunity for a group picture. I would say this made for an anti-climatic finish.
Our wonderful colleagues threw us a Runner's Party when we returned to work.
We finally got a chance to take our group picture (medal and all)!
We did it! We ran the Los Angeles Marathon and crossed the finish line!!!!
See you next year...
I love to do this science lesson as a unit opener to our Weather Unit. I begin by asking students to bring in a plastic bag. It is important that the bag not have any holes. I don't tell the students how we will use the bags. All they know is that we will be using it in science.
Yes, it would be easier for me to bring in a bag for everyone ahead of time. But I believe in giving the students ownership of their learning. By asking them to bring in their own bag I am fostering responsibility and memory skills. Some students even think about others and bring in an extra bag. It never surprises when I see which students do this. It's very endearing.
I begin the lesson by asking the students: How can I catch some wind and bring it into the classroom? The conversation quickly turns into predictions about what would happen if we all captured some wind and brought it indoors. By this time they are all convinced that we will create a hurricane in class! They believe that papers, books, and classroom supplies will go flying everywhere! It's hilarious. Together we plan and discuss the best ways to catch the wind using the plastic bags. We even plan on closing all of the doors behind us quickly so the wind does not escape! I have gotten these types of predictions/reactions every single year for the past 20 years. And I get a kick out of it every year!
In the photo above, students are listening to some ground rules. To ensure that students don't get overly excited and started running into one another screaming at the top of their lungs, I set some important boundaries.
Once it looks like most students have full bags, I ring the bell, gather the group, and quickly return them to class. Once inside the classroom, I dramatically close all doors and windows. The students are besides themselves! It's great! Then, at the count to 3 we all open up our bags! Of course, nothing happens and they are SO surprised. Some are even disappointed. We then discuss why our experiment did not work. I do not give them the answer. Instead, I guide their discovery to: We did not catch wind. We only caught air.
We finish up our science experiment with a group write in our science journals.
Here We Come to Save the Day!
We are three energetic kindergarten teachers who want to share our kinder experience with you!