Saturday, January 31, 2015

Five for Friday Random Resources

Here's a little behind the scenes peek at how writing a post sometimes pans out. This has been one of THOSE blog posts... the kind that I start, stop, rearrange, cut, paste, do over... you get the picture. And this Michigander is not ashamed to say that I've done it all with an eye on the weather forecast. There is snow coming and as the days slipped by this week, and the minutes slipped by today, it's looked more and more like we're heading for a snow day on Monday. SO if that ends up being the case I can post again, which is making me think and rethink THIS particular post. I hope I end up hitting the "Publish" button before the day is over!

I spent a morning this week giving in-service to district kindergarten teachers.  I told them I would share some of the ideas that we mentioned in an upcoming post, adding more detail than we had time for then.  Thanks to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.


Yes, of COURSE, underwear came up.  We wouldn't be teachers of five year olds if underwear and "nekkedness" didn't come up at least once in our discussion about kids.  Here is a funny meme I found and have been waiting to share. Ah, nothing like kindergarten humor... especially among adults.

2. Here is a snow experiment that I do after we read Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day... and omgosh, I didn't even get it off Pinterest :)  Make two snowballs and bring them into your classroom in the morning.  Place one in a bowl, place the other one in a wooly sock, and then place it in its own bowl, too. The sock simulates Peter's pocket, where he placed the snowball. Let the kids predict what they'll see, then watch the snowballs all day.

One snowball in a bowl. One in a sock, then in a bowl.
Which one will melt first?

Hours later the one in the sock is still in there
but the other has melted.

Yep, the one not in the sock melts faster. You can then talk about how a sock keeps your foot warm because your foot produces heat and the sock traps the heat inside. If you put a cold snowball in the sock, the sock keeps the cold inside, which then slows down the melting process of the snowball. Ask kids about what would have happened if Peter had brought his snowball in and just left it on the table, instead of leaving it in his pocket. 

3. How do you do shared reading? One way I do it is by putting a weekly poem in my pocket chart. In this photo you see the double sided easel that Jonathan made for me. I use a six-pocket chart, but if the poem has eight lines I can add a strip above and below using binder clips.

I like using a pocket chart for several reasons. First of all, it's easy to highlight by using cut-up see-thru folders designed to go in three ring binders.  They usually come five colors to a packet. When cut into rectangles you can put them in front of words to highlight sight words kids already know, words you are working on that week, rhyming words, contractions, words from a word family, punctuation, capital letters... use them for any concept you want to teach your kids.  You can then read just the yellow words, or just the green words or name the red punctuation, etc. Lots of reading options.

Also, you can turn it into a cloze activity by using index cards to cover up words before you read it the first time.

That's Ten-Ten Twenty, our math mascot, lounging up there.
You can read about him by clicking on the photo.

And another reason pocket charts are my choice is because you can rearrange the lines of the poem and let the students remix them into their proper order. Sometimes I let them come up and do it themselves, and sometimes I ask them to explain to me which line goes where while I do the rearranging. Asking them to explain what goes where really gives them opportunity to practice concepts such as out, in, on, above, below, under, first, next, last, etc. This reading activity takes on an extra language component good for my ELLs and the rest of the class, too. And they love being the one to tell me what to do... especially when I get it "wrong" and need extra help.

To do the rearrange activity I need to stop them from peeking, so I ask them to "double close" their eyes. To double close they have to find the "heel" of their hands– a new body label for some. Then, one,  they close their eyes, and two, place the heels of their hands on their closed eyes. And no, they shouldn't press too hard. This makes it much harder for them to cheat because I can easily see who is moving their hands away from their eyes, and there is no peeking through the heels like they can with fingers. It looks like this.

To keep their eyes closed while waiting for me, I sing this song.  Okay, so I'll never be paid to sing, but you need to hear this ditty I made up so you can make it work for you. Or just chant it if you are really not a singer. Either way, it's a useful little teacher tip whenever you need them to close their eyes for a minute.

4.  I took two free resources and turned them into something with double useful purpose for my kids. Owl Things First has a neat freebie– a set of punctuation posters. They show the punctuation mark, the meaning of the mark, and then the mark used in a sentence.  Click on the poster to go there. 

And I stumbled upon the YouTube video from Second Grade Glimpses demonstrating Whole Brain Teaching Air Punctuation.  With each mark and capital letter there is a motion and sound for the reader to make.  You can see them by clicking on the video below.

I combined these two freebies by writing the sound for each mark on the little posters from Owl Things First so that as we reviewed each mark, we learned the motion that goes with it. My kids have gone crazy using the punctuation motions and sounds in our shared reading.  I've even caught them using Air Punctuation as they read their own book baggie of books.  What a terrific and FUN way to teach grammar.

5. And to wrap up this rather random post I leave you with some words I found on Pinterest the other day.  It SO says where I was this week!

Hope to see you again on Monday and Tuesday. I already have those posts "just about" ready to go :)

Head on back to Doodle Bugs Teaching and see what's going on in other teacher worlds.


  1. I'm just loving your 5 for Friday posts! I've been doing poems on the Smart Board this year for many of the same reasons you mentioned. We use different colors and different kinds of lines for different features. I like the punctuation video. The capital letters part would get me mixed up though. I've always told my students an exclamation point is how you give your sentence a POW. We air punch for the POW, and it's very memorable for them, so I'm sure all these motions and sounds would be a great tool. Thank-you for sharing!
    Not very fancy

  2. Ah. A Smart Board. If only. Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

  3. Love your #5 quote! So true. I do the very same "highlighting" with the clear file folders when we do our poetry in our pocket cart. The kiddos always want to count up how many words they knew once we find them all. The were so proud of themselves this past week that they knew 19 words in our poem. Love your little song. We do a ton of singing in our class. I am going to give the mixing it up a try, so of course I'll have to use your song. I love Whole Brain Teaching. We do some of the air punctuation, capitals and ending punctuation marks and I think it really helps them remember it better. Thanks for always sharing such great ideas!

    Luv My Kinders

    1. I bet your kids will groove on rearranging. They love reading it out of order for extra silliness! Thanks for stopping by. Kathleen


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...