Sunday, November 29, 2015

Would You Rather - Opinion Writing in K-1

We always start our day the same way in Kindergarten. My students come in and unpack their binders, then they grab their name tag and they are off to the Would You Rather display. They love seeing what the topic is for the day.
It is displayed in a pocket chart, and each day I tape the two voting cards to the top. My class uses the pictures as clues for what each topic is - it is a nice way to encourage them to use a combination of beginning sounds and pictures to solve new words.
After they vote they grab an opinion slip. They write down their choice and at least one reason why. We use the quarter sheets but eventually they will move on to the bigger sized templates when they can come up with more reasons.

In the beginning it was hard for them to simply choose between the two choices, but now they are much more confident in their opinions. It is really helping them to feel more successful during our opinion writing unit!
During morning meeting we use the chart to compare numbers visually. This has made a huge improvement in how well my students understand numbers. Being able to visually see 15 versus 6 has really helped them to understand greater than, less than and equal too!
Starting this week they will also be completing their own comparing numbers exit slip. On this quarter sheet they will write the number on each side, circle the correct symbol and write it in the box.

There are 200 cards organized into 10 different categories.

I included editable name plates and display signs as well!

Most day they beg to know what the topic will be before they leave for the day! They love the pictures so much they all want to keep it. We had to start using stick pick to raffle the cards off, just to keep things fair.

Do you use would you rather with your class? Let me know how in the comments below!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Visual Hundreds Chart

Before I became a Kindergarten teacher, I spent 7 years working as a Certified Instructor in grades K-5. Over those years, one thing really stood out to me - how little understanding many students had of the hundreds chart. 

No matter the age I worked with, numerous students struggled with understanding the patterns, skip counting and knowing what numbers came before and after. 

I knew that I wanted to really stress the importance of truly comprehending the hundreds charts with my Kindergarten students. 

Last year I made a game that really helped my students master the chart - they loved it so much they would beg to play it each day during math! 

We all gather in a circle at the rug. At the beginning of the year we begin with just 1-25, which gives everyone one card. Our goal is to build, using a pocket chart, up to 25  as quickly as we can without giving answers away to each other.

The first few times it takes awhile to get this completed! After we have finished, I give them time to turn and talk to their neighbors about what they notice. I never have to tell them about what the colors mean, they are always able to see the patterns on their own.
Once they are comfortable with 1-25 (usually after we can complete it in less than 3 minutes) we will begin building 1-50. This time everyone will get 2 cards, and this really does keep them focused.

They have to be aware of both the cards they hold and where they will need to be inserted into the grid. This will allow you to really see who has a firm grasp of their numbers!

As the year moves along, we increase the difficulty. We are usually working with 1-75 by January and then 1-100 by March. Then it just becomes a weekly challenge to see how quickly (and quietly) we can get this done!
My class is already begging for 1-50 and tomorrow it is game on!  :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Editable Calendars

Finding the right behavior plan for a class can be tricky. I tend to change mine with each new school year. When I taught 5th grade I used ClassDojo. Then when I moved back to Kindergarten, I used a card system: green for good, yellow for warning, pink for note home and blue for a role model.

This year we decided to make our colors consistent across the school. It is a lot easier for parents to keep track that way! We still have 4 colors: green for good, yellow for warning, red for parent note and blue for role models.

In order to keep parents informed we are using behavior calendars. This was something I was a bit apprehensive about. Managing 22 calendars in a K classroom can be a lot of work! I decided not to implement my calendars until October. Instead, we spent the first month of school talking about owning our behavior. I explained how even adults make mistakes, and would end up on yellow and red too!
I talked a lot about why it was important to tell their families about their day and the choices they made. Overall, most of my students were very forthcoming with their parents about the colors they were on in the first month.
We rolled the calendars out a few weeks ago. As expected, it made our end of the day routine a bit more hectic! However, it is nice to see who is really taking ownership over their behaviors and the decisions they make. As the month has continued on, I have noticed they are looking more closely at the overall colors they have each week.
I created an editable calendar, so I can add in any important information my families need to know about each month.  This also allows you to customize it for your schools behavior plans. Click on the pictures for more a closer look!

These calendars are also a great way to track homework or even for team planning!
What kind of behavior management do you use in your school?

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