Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer book list for kindergarteners going into first grade!

I've had several parents ask me for a list of books that are "just right" for their kindergartener (who is now almost a first grader!). At our school, we use what are called Fountas and Pinnell reading levels, which are letters from A-Z that indicate how challenging the text is. This is the reading level that can be found on your child's report card from the end of the year.

It's often hard to find books from the library or bookstore that are easy for your kindergartener to read, since most children's literature is written so that adults can read it out loud to little ones. So after much delay, I've finally gotten around to posting several ways to find books for your kiddo that are appropriate for their reading level. Here they are!

1. Go to this teacher's blog and follow her directions on either using Scholastic's Book Wizard, or her awesome Just Right book list.

2. Go to this teacher's site or this one and click on the appropriate leveled book for a long list.

3. Have your child read some of these leveled books on your iPad or computer.

4. As their reading skills increase, challenge them with these higher leveled books.

I hope that helps! And of course, reading out loud to your child will also increase his/her reading skills immensely - and, even more importantly, will deepen their love of reading! Happy summer reading :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Some great whole-class photos

I haven't mentioned it yet on the blog but I am really going to miss this class! Each and every one of these kindergarteners grew so much this year, and I will miss all their bright, happy, smiling faces! Best of luck to each of you as you move onto first grade and beyond. Don't forget to stop by and visit your kindergarten teacher!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More sight words!

At the end of the school year, we tried to make a final push to learn all 40 sight words! Here we are with some of the most challenging words:

Ending the year with a bit more math

We did these math activities several weeks ago by now, but I thought they were worth posting just to see a bit of what we did during the last month of school!

Subtraction Action

First a little subtraction. This is often a hard concept for kindergarteners to grasp, since we spend so much of the year focusing on number sense and then adding together two numbers. But it's important to build a foundation for subtraction, or "taking away," as well.

To begin things we watched some subtraction videos that I found on another teaching blog, including this awesome one that the kids loved, called "When You Subtract with a Pirate."

Then we moved on to telling subtraction stories using dot stickers. I told a story using their names (for example, "Joshua had 10 cookies. His sister ate 6 of them. How many does he have left?") and we depicted it using dot stickers. The kids put actual stickers on their paper, while I drew circles on the SmartBoard. When we subtracted, we crossed off the dots and counted how many were left. Then we wrote and read the accompanying number sentence (in this example, "10 minus 6 equals 4").

We also played some subtraction games, including this fun one called Clear the Deck, which I got from another teacher blog. Each child fills their boat with red chips, then rolls two dice - a plus/minus dice and a number dice. If they get a "minus" and a 5, it means they take off 5 chips. A "plus" means they put more on. The first person to clear their deck wins!

The kids also made up their own subtraction stories to tell others. Here I modeled how to tell a story and draw pictures to help solve it. (Those extremely realistic turtles on a log were actual drawn by me, not a kindergartener.) Then the kids took turns making their own. The story on the bottom goes something like this: "Five flowers were in a field, then three of them got picked. How many were left? They are sad because their flower friends got picked."

Don't Forget about Addition...

We've been touching on addition for much of the year, as soon as most kindergarteners start to get comfortable naming, counting, and manipulating numbers. Here we are reading, writing, and drawing some addition stories (I found the story problems here). This exposed them to a number line, which they will use in math a lot as they get older!

And then Some Geometry

Last but not least, we made 3-D shapes out of marshmallows and toothpicks! Kindergarteners are expected to be familiar with both two- and three-dimensional shapes, including being able to describe and compare them - how many sides do they have? how many vertices ("corners")? how many edges? Building 3-D shapes from toothpicks and marshmallows is a fun and delicious way to study them in depth...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rainbow Day!

Our wonderful year of kindergarten is over, but I still have lots of photos to post! I'll try to post as many as I can over the next couple weeks. If families would like copies of any of them, please just email me!

Here are some pictures from Rainbow Day, which was our final celebration for filling our good-behavior marble jar. The kiddos could wear their favorite color, or try to wear as many colors as possible. We did a few fun rainbow-colors activities to go along with the theme, including eating rainbow-colored goldfish. We also decorated coffee filters with markers and then watched the colors spread as we misted them with water! After they dried, we laid out our rainbow coffee filters and did a "gallery walk," where the students walk around to each other's tables and see what everyone has created.

My favorite quote of the day came from one kiddo who said "But Ms. Woods, every day is Rainbow Day because every day we wear colors!"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Aldo Leopold Nature Center field trip

The rain held off yesterday, and we had a great time on our field trip to the Aldo Leopold Nature Center! We had a lot of fun hiking, exploring pond creatures, viewing an animal puppet show, and peeking in on some baby bluebirds! I took half the class and our wonderful parent chaperones took the other half of the class, so unfortunately these photos only represent the group that I was with. But both groups had lots of fun!

listening to the naturalist teaching us about Aldo Leopold

watching the animal puppet show

some baby geese!

looking at macroinvertebrates from the pond

peeking in on the baby bluebirds!

these kiddos could have hiked all day

sharing our favorite part of the nature center

one of our kiddos did not want to leave the naturalists!