Dinosaur Dig Day!

We are finishing up our dinosaur unit this week, and what better way to celebrate than with a Dinosaur Dig Day?! I planned six activities for the students to enjoy, and I set up a special station in the library to showcase our dinosaur research presentations. Back in January when we first began our dinosaur unit, students chose a dinosaur the was unfamiliar to them. They researched their dinosaur’s habitat, body, food choice, and some interesting facts. Students recorded their information on paper and then using the app Shadow Puppet, put it all together in a fun multimedia presentation! I love how these came out!

 

Here’s a quick tour of the classroom and the stations before the dig officially began!

The dino dig stations included:

chocolate chip cookie fossil excavating

 

digging a dinosaur out of an egg

and then giving the dinosaur a bath 🙂

Sand art

and measuring dinosaur footprints. Additionally, there was a dinosaur pattern block activity.

Students also had the chance to show off their work from the past two months. I compiled it all into these folders and glued their adorable hatching eggs to the front cover!

What a fun morning! Next, we will dive deep into the ocean!

Happy 100th Day of School!

It is one of my favorite days of the school year: the 100th day! This day was jam-packed with activities and fun. First, students were invited to dress up like they might look when they are 100 years old.

 

When students entered the classroom, their first job was to try and find 100 chocolate kisses that I had hidden around the room and place them on a 100 grid.

By lunch, there were just four chocolate kisses that were left to be discovered!

  On top of the bulletin board

 Hidden in between some books.

Next up, students completed eight activities that explored the theme of one hundred days of school.

Students stacked 100 cups. Watch this fun time-lapse video.

Students created something using 100 LEGO bricks.

 

Students made a bead necklace using ten beads of ten different colors.

How many licks does it take to finish a lollipop? 100 (or more!) Students recorded each lick and then counted by tens.

 

Next, students linked number cards from one to 100 in order.

 

Students used 100 marshmallows to build a structure.

 

Here, students stamp 100 gumballs….ten gumballs in ten colors!

 

Finally, students read a decodable reader called “When I am 100…” and practiced spelling the high-frequency word when.

Students also were invited to create a collection of 100 items. Look at these fun collections!

Even the teachers got into the 100th-day spirit!

We ended the day with a parade around the classrooms to see all the different collections, and we enjoyed 100 cupcakes!

But the best part of the 100th day of school is celebrating the special friendships we have made this year!

See you tomorrow for day 101!

Heart Fillers

We have been working on being heart fillers! This activity, based on the book, How Full is Your Bucket, has the students writing compliments to the other students in the class.

I created a template to help the students write meaningful messages to each other. This template also gives students choice in what they write, while continuing to help them build their spelling and grammar skills. I love how they are turning out!

I made these adorable heart mailboxes to hold the messages.

During our Valentine’s Day party next week, students will open their heart mailboxes and read through these special messages with their parents. I am excited to see their sweet faces enjoying this special moment.

What If You Had T-Rex Teeth?

I read the best book aloud to the students earlier this week. What If You Had T-Rex Teeth (and Other Dinosaur Parts) is a hilarious book that looks at what would happen if people had certain dinosaur parts.

After I initially read this book, I immediately was inspired to use the book in conjunction with a creative writing activity. So, I created a writing template for the students to use. They would choose a dinosaur and the body part that is special to their chosen dinosaur and write what would happen if they had that dinosaur part. Students were encouraged to use their best guess spelling to write about this topic. I love what they came up with!

“If I had a Stegosaurus’ tail, I would roast s’mores.”

 

“If I had a T-Rex’s teeth, it would be easier to chew chicken.”

 

“If I had a T-Rex’s arms, I would catch a bunny.”

 

“If I had a Brachiosaurus’ neck, I would look at a beautiful view!”

 

“If I had a T-Rex’s teeth, I would chomp up my food in one bite.”

 

The students loved this activity as much as I did. I love when I can pair a fun piece of literature with an equally fun writing activity!

Long Vowel Magic E

We have been learning about the long vowel magic e spelling these past several weeks. (Think about words like bake, file, note, date, etc.) Students have engaged in many, many different activities to help them solidify this phonics rule.

Each student was given a magical wand with a special e attached. They loved using this fun tool! We read each word with the short vowel sound and then added the magic e to make the long vowel sound.

 

We played a game on the Smart Board where students read the words and sorted them according to short a and long a sounds.

 

Students dug for bones in our sensory table. Long vowel words were typed onto these bones in such a small font size that students used magnifying glasses to help them read the words! They then recorded what they read.

Picture/word puzzles were another exciting activity.

 

I also pulled out our Pocket Chart and had students sort words by either long vowel sounds or short vowel sounds.

 

Students used the Seesaw app to read and sort long vowel words into word families.

Watch how this activity works!

 

Students played OSMO words using a special word list created to only have long vowel magic e words. Watch how fun this is!

With hands-on activities that are high interest, students can’t help but have fun while learning!

Missing the Cookie…

We returned from our Winter Break, and the students were disappointed that the Kindness Cookie was nowhere to be found. “Will she be back?” they asked. Sadly, the Kindness Cookie has left our campus until next December, as we are jumping right in to our unit on dinosaurs. A student wondered aloud if perhaps a dinosaur would visit our classroom daily and share an interesting fact about dinosaurs. (A GIANT lightbulb flashed in my head!! I just happened to have a stuffed dinosaur stashed away in my supply closet.) Brilliant idea!! I got to work creating fact cards and packaging up Stella the Stegosaurus.

Shortly after Tecolote Tuesday, Mrs. McDavid delivered a very special package.

The students’ expressions were priceless!

Here is what the note said:

If anyone asks, I had NOTHING to do with Stella the Stegosaurus. Sometimes magical things just happen to appear in (or be delivered to) the kindergarten classroom! Tomorrow will be the first official “Stella Says” fact. Stay tuned!

Santa’s Workshop

With Winter Break just one day away, the goal in kindergarten is to keep the students busy and engaged! The students were greeted by an elf this morning (me!) who had cooked up quite a surprise. The classroom was transformed into “Santa’s Workshop.” A little elf hat eagerly awaited each of the students. Throughout the morning, the elves completed five different learning activities.

 

Station 1: Deck the Halls

Students found a stocking and read the CVC word that was tucked inside. They then found a picture of the word and recorded it.

  

 

Station 2: The Bakery

Students used gingerbread scented play dough to make “cookies” while working on number sense.

Station 3: Santa’s Workshop

Students assembled word puzzles to see the toys the elves are busy building.

 

Station 4: Measure It

Students used unifix cubes to measure the length of sparkly presents.

 

Station 5: Gift Wrapping

This was a special station! Students wrapped adorable gifts for their parents and strengthened their fine motor skills!

Oh, what fun we had today! Next year, I will have to make sure those elf hats stay on a little better!

Gingerbread Field Trip

Not only have the students been listening to different versions of the Gingerbread Man, but they have been studying architecture in Art Class. Students created their very own gingerbread house with the help of Mrs. Guay, our art instructor.

Mrs. Guay and I thought it would be incredible for the students to see a large-scale gingerbread house in person.  A special thank you to the Four Seasons Biltmore for making this happen for us! We hopped on the bus and headed over to see the magic.

The theme for the Biltmore’s gingerbread house this year was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The children were amazed at the amount of detail!

We even had a chance to speak with the head baker who designed the gingerbread house!

 

This is what was needed to create the gingerbread masterpiece!

Then, we went on a tour of the kitchen where all the baked goods for the hotel are made. The highlight of the kitchen tour was of course…

getting to go inside the freezer AND

the refrigerator!

Next, students were taken to the dining room and given hot chocolate and a giant chocolate chip cookie! Who could ask for anything more?!

I was very proud to hear lots of “pleases” and “thank you’s.”

The trip ended with each student choosing a Beanie Boo keychain. This was definitely a trip to remember. Thank you Four Seasons Biltmore for giving such a special holiday experience.

 

The Kindness Cookie

We are off and running with our new monthly thematic unit…Gingerbread! When students arrived at school on Monday morning, I had a new center set up and ready for them to explore. This center utilized gingerbread scented playdough, differentiated skill mats, and letter stampers.

This mat has students identifying beginning sounds in words and stamping their playdough cookie to match.

Students spell CVC words on this mat.

Students match letters on this mat.

 

The children LOVED making these “cookies!” After recess, we came back into the classroom and discovered that our gingerbread scented playdough had been taken, and I had received a suspicious email with this video attached:

Wow. Were we surprised …..and disappointed that our new playdough was gone. Minutes later, one of the students saw another surprise:

The Kindness Cookie was sitting on our SMART Board with a special message. We decided that this Kindness Cookie must have come to our classroom because we needed some extra kindness after our playdough was taken. So far we have completed two kindness missions.

Students were confused with this first mission. Why would cleaning up after yourself be kind? A student explained that if you clean up after yourself, then someone else doesn’t have to do it for you…and THAT is kind!

Our second mission has been very successful so far. Is it happening at home too?

I have a feeling this Kindness Cookie will be showing up with a new mission daily. As for the playdough? We made a new batch!

Where Did November Go?!

It has been a quick three weeks of November in Kindergarten! So much has happened! First, we have new Morning Exploring bins that the students have been loving. Here are the skills we are working on:

High-frequency word search: students use tongs to pick leaves out of the sensory bin. They read the high-frequency word that is on the leaf and match it to their tree.

Teen numbers: Students choose a card and build the teen number using sunflower seeds.

High-frequency words: Using links, students spell high-frequency words.

Before and after: Students choose a number card. They build that number using a ten frame and then write the number that comes before and after.

Missing addend: Using algebraic thinking, students solve equations with a missing addend while building fine motor skills!

Adding and counting: Students roll two dice and place the pompoms equalling the number rolled into their turkey. Whoever has the most pompoms at the end is the winner.

Counting numbers greater than 40: Students use stickers to trace the outline of an acorn. They then count the total amount of stickers needed to go all the way around the acorn.

Counting and writing numbers: Students choose a turkey cup and count how many glass beads are in the cup. They then record their answers. Cups contained between 10 and 25 beads.

We also have a new filler in the sensory table…birdseed and giant acorns! We even attracted some wild birds one day!

In math, we have been exploring the concept of addition, focusing on the many strategies that can be used to solve addition equations. These strategies range from using tally marks, counting on, using a ten frame, drawing pictures, using objects to count, and using a number line.

This poster covers many of the strategies that we have been using.

The students have been really enjoying the number line. I find them solving equations during passing periods or free time!

We have been practicing reading. Students are encouraged to touch each word as they read, so I bought these funny little googly eyes that attach to their fingers to help students remember to touch each word. Aren’t these the cutest ever?!

It’s hard to believe that the classroom will change over to reflect my gingerbread theme in a few short days!