Wednesday, January 30, 2013

D is for Dominoes - Let's Play MORE OR LESS!

I'm always looking for different ways to teach our essential elements. I especially like it if I can find a unique way to make it a game. This one hit me out of the blue, partly because we're currently studying the letter D.

MORE OR LESS with Dominoes

This works best with up to 4 children. I selected those who need help with their math skills, including one-to-one correspondence.

* Place the dominoes upside-down and shuffle. Start with yourself as the Leader.
* Leader turns over one domino. Everyone counts the number of dots.
* One at a time, each child turns over a domino, and counts the dots. The object of the game is to have the SAME or MORE than the Leader. If a student has LESS, he's out until the end of the game. The rest of the students who met or had more than the Leader put their dominoes back into the pile, and the Leader shuffles to draw again.
* The last person left to meet or have more than the Leader, wins, and she becomes the new Leader. Begin the next game.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Great Little Tool - Plastic Lacing Needles!

For so long, I've had to resort to bending paperclips in order for my students to be able to thread yarn through pasta, bells, beads, etc. That was until I found these neat plastic lacing needles. A bag of 32 ran me $4. The eyes are big enough so that the kiddos can thread it themselves, and the bendable needles will fit through the squirrliest macaroni!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Letter R Activities

Things we did to learn about the letter R included:

* jumping the letter on the floor and sounding it out every time we entered the room

* celebrating every student who has an R in their name

* making an R anchor chart

* performing the Dancing Raisins experiment, with Sprite and Raisins

* coloring the letter R like a Rainbow, and then tearing and gluing construction paper onto it (R template can be downloaded from here.)

* cutting and pasting shapes (rectangles, square, triangles) into the shape of a Robot (you can get my template here!)

* using food coloring to turn rice into rainbow colors (Note: Some recipes suggest using alcohol to make the food color stick to the rice. Alcohol helps to make the rice a more consistant color. But not using alcohol creates more verigated colors.) We then used the rice to fill in rainbows.

* using Rocks to practice math problems

* wearing Red on Fun Fun Friday, and eating Raisins for snacks

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Terrific Site for Alphabet Ideas

Need some additional quick tips? Try these Classroom Snapshots. I've added this to my sidebar, just in case you need to refer back.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Paper Clip Tip

Here's a tip regarding paper clipping your papers together before filing them.

Don't clip at the TOP of the stack. Clip on the SIDE. That way, when you file your papers in the folder, you can see exactly where each group of papers are located. Plus your papers won't jam or wrinkle inside themselves when you put them in the folder.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Letter M Activities

Our Letter M activities included:

* jumping on and sounding out the M on the floor every time we entered the room.

* recognizing everyone who had an M in their name.

* making an M anchor chart by cutting out pictures of objects which started with the letter M.

* covering our M with Marshmallows (you can get the worksheet here!).
* We googled our city, then our neighborhood, then our school on Maps (great Social Studies activity! Don't forget to use the satellite view option to actually see a "bird's eye view" of the building!) After printing off copies of that map, we took M stencils and traced the letter, and cut out the Ms.

* painted Macaroni, which we strung into necklaces.

* watched a Movie about Music (if you're not familiar with the ANIMUSIC series, these are DVDs you MUST get! Each computer animated segment is ten to fifteen minutes long, and the episodes are highly imaginative as well as enthralling!)
* For Fun Fun Friday, we all wore our Moustaches, and ate Muffins for snack time!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Letter Race (or Letter Hunt, Depending)

This is a quick and easy way to keep my students' minds sharp when it comes to letter recognition.

First, I took a simple word search (this one generously donated by a fifth grade teacher friend.) I cut the bottom half off and placed it on top so that a single sheet would give me two worksheets.

Next, I made a list of how many times a letter appeared on the word search. Sometimes I found only 3, sometimes over 20. And a couple had none. For those letters without any appearances, I looked for another word search that had some. Otherwise, THIS ONE WORD SEARCH will work for nearly the entire alphabet!

I called 4-5 students at a time over to the table. As I passed out the sheet UPSIDE DOWN, they each got a highlighter. If there were only a few of a certain letter, I would make the game a RACE. (Ex: There are just 3 Qs. First person to find them wins the sticker!) If there were many, I'd make it a HUNT. (Ex: You have one minute to find as many As as you can. Person who finds the most wins!) I'd then say go, and they'd turn their papers over and get going!

The neat thing about this game is, if there are students who are unsure and they look on someone else's paper, that's okay. They are reinforcing for themselves what the letter looks like.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Letter Q Activities

While studying the letter Q, our activities included:

* jumping the Q on the floor every time we entered the room

* recognizing the students with a Q in their name

* "Making Change" activity, where they cut and glued parts of a Quarter onto a form to make the coin (You can download my masters here!)

* made Quarter rubbings, where we used plastic coins and rubbed them into a capital Q

* took  wallpaper cut into squares and rectangles, and pasted them into blocks, which we made into a quilt

* went on a Q race hunt - like a word search, but for specific letters (more on this to follow in my Monday post)

* and for Fun Fun Friday, painted with Q-tips with our toes!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Puzzle Tip and Trick

I have some children who are challenged when it comes to simple board puzzles. So I'm passing along a little trick that I do to help these students feel successful.

First, you take the puzzle and dump the pieces so all you're left with is the plain inner board.

Then, you take one piece at a time, and as you place it back inside the puzzle, trace the piece with a permanent marker. Do this for the entire puzzle.

When you're finished, after you remove all the pieces, the back board now resembles the individual pieces and where they should go.

Monday, January 7, 2013

From a Child's Perpective

We should all be so blessed that our problems can be resolved with more magnets and zoos.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Letter H Activities

Here's what we did while studying the letter H:

* jumped and called out the letter on the floor every time we entered the room

* recognized those students with an H in their names

* gave out FREE HUGS all over the school

* since we were stuck indoors during recess most of the time, we learned to use (or tried to) the Hula Hoop

* made the letter H with our Hands

* played the Hamburger game (Each piece has a number. Roll the die. If you roll a number you don't have, add it to your hamburger. If you already have that number, you lose your turn. First one to complete their hamburger wins!) You can download the pattern here.

* made a House with the capital H

* and on Fun Fun Friday, we got our Hair spray-painted

* and for snack time, we got to eat Honey on Honey wheat bread (note the blue streak on his head)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My After-Christmas Haul

I went out of town last week to do some after-Christmas shopping. I was hoping to get some great bargains, but I ended up buying for my classroom instead of for myself or others. Isn't this the way of teachers?

From let to right, my goodies, which I got at steep discounts (some at 70%). ZINGO, a number bingo game, a huge jar of colored stones (I could write a whole blog post about ways to use these things), a little wooden school bus to add to my transportation unit, Phase 10 and Apples to Apples canned dice games (the kids won't be able to play them strictly according to directions right now, but I can adapt them to begin with).

Bottom row: foam snowflake shapes for a January art activity, two Wrap-Ups games (one featuring shapes and the other beginning sounds). And finally, my proudest acquisition, six children's chopsticks.

These chopsticks are fantastic at strengthening children's fine motor reflexes. You can have them picking up pom-poms, pebbles, small animals - the possibilities are endless. Best of all, you can change the game to match the season or holiday. I have a bunch of those tiny snowflake ornaments from Hobby Lobby that are used to decorate little desktop trees. We'll begin the new year picking them up.