Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fast Finishers and Meticulous Incompleters {Finished & Unfinished Trays}

Does it happen to you too? For the vast majority of your students you hit the nail on the head. They get it and they finish their work in the time you have allocated. You pat yourself on the back and you smile! Awesome lesson, you say to yourself. Well done! But wait, there are two sweeties over there working meticulously on their activity and they are just not going to finish before break. Then there is another who will have the same outcome, but for a whole different set of reasons! And don't forget the ever so eager one who completed the task as you finished explaining it. One of the most difficult things I have found when teaching a class filled with differing abilities and learning styles (which is every class you or I have ever taught), is managing the rate at which work is completed. What to do? Enter the finished/unfinished trays.

This is such a simple strategy! When the students finish their independent activity they simply place their work in the finished tray. They can do this as and when they finish the activity without interrupting me. They then work on their 'fast finishers' tasks. One of these tasks is to check the unfinished tray.

If any of the sweeties don't finish their independent activity in the time allocated, they simply place it in the unfinished tray. When a spare five minutes arises through the day, students can collect their work from the tray and continue the activity.

The great thing about this strategy is that all the sheets are in one place for marking! I can also see who is struggling (or taking extra care) with a particular concept at a glance. It has made a huge difference in managing this tricky classroom issue. If you would like a copy of the labels click HERE or on the images above.

If you are looking for more teacher tips, check out some Tried and True methods at The Teaching Tribune! I'm linking up with them today!

So what are your classroom management tips and tricks? I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sight Word Interactive Notebooks

Just in case you have been hiding under a rock for a year or so, let me tell you about a super fun way to engage your students in learning....Interactive Notebooks! Interactive Notebooks are great for introducing, practicing and revising concepts. Today I would like to walk you through my Sight Words Interactive Notebooks, which have been a wonderful help for students learning high frequency (and often tricky) words.

When the sight word is introduced, I like to have the students trace over the word with their finger. After this, the kiddies stick stickers or use bingo markers to dot the word. Any tactile activity works well here! Under this flap students then write the word in the box shapes and glue. Students then find the sight word in the next two practice examples. These activities are completed on the first day.

By now you will notice there is no getting around it. Interactive Notebooks involve lots of cutting, gluing and coloring. While practicing these skills in the elementary years is important for fine motor development, it can take away precious lesson time. That is why I find that working in small groups (with a parent/volunteer) is particularly helpful when introducing these activities. As students become familiar with the layout and better with their cutting skills, this can be done as a larger group or independent activity.

Students love making the picture! They read and write their sight words as they create the scene. They print, rainbow write and repeat the word. This activity is completed on the second day. Similar opportunities to practice are included with the 'cross' activity, where students trace, color, rainbow write and print the sight word on and under the flaps.

In the 'read and trace' sentence practice activity, students have the opportunity to see the word used in context. This page is completed on the third day.

At the beginning of the year, each word is introduced and practiced over a 3 day period. As students become more confident with the process and their cutting skills, this can be done over a 2 day period and the house picture can be used as an independent revision activity.

I love to use these notebooks when there is an extra 5 minutes to fill throughout the day. The kiddies simply take out their books and revise their sight words! They love it and so do I! Of course, not all activities must be used, or used as I have described. That's what I love about teaching - adapting activities to suit the learners in our care!

I have just listed my Sight Word List 4 Interactive Notebook Bundle and am offering it at half price today along with my best selling List 1 Bundle. Linking up with The Teaching Tribune's Two for Tuesday. Pop on over to grab some bargains at half off!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Itchy Insects with Worksheet Wednesday

A couple of my friends and I run a little home kindy. Our children rotate about our homes (no, they are not spinning around our kitchen - each week they visit the teacher for that week's home). We have planned our year around themes. Here are a few activities our kinder kiddies recently did during our Insect Study. 

Fun with Food:

Insect Hunt:

 Painting and Symmetry:

We also explored the wonderful world of books. Of course, we couldn't go past Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar! We read the book, watched the YouTube Clip of Eric reading the book and watched this animated version.  The children became very familiar with the story and loved retelling it with the sock puppets that they made.

Obviously we had to explore the letter i. We sang a little 'itchy insect' ditty and completed the following cut and paste letter i activity. You can grab it through google drive by clicking HERE, or the image below. Thanks to my beautiful sister-in-law of Kinka Art for the cute creepy crawly graphics!


Oh, and I just wanted to share with you this little tip. Even a small amount of kinders and scissors can create quite a paper pile (especially the spread out kind all over the floor)! One way to keep all those scraps together is to put a paper plate in the middle of the table and have the kiddies put their rubbish there. Once the activity is over, one helpful lovely can put it in the paper bin. Works great in the classroom too!

Linking up with The Teaching Tribune for their Worksheet Wednesday. Hop on over there to grab some more free worksheets!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kindergarten Graphing with Worksheet Wednesday

I'm not sure about you, but most of the kiddies I have met love sharing their favorites! Favorite food, favorite sport, favorite TV get the idea! It's a great way to get to know a little more about the kiddies in your class and of course, being teachers, we are going to throw a little data collection and graphing lesson into the mix!

To get started with any math concept, I love to begin with real-life examples. Because voting is quite a common practise in many classrooms, this is a pretty easy way to begin. After some pretty intense morning work, I like to call the kiddies together and tell them our bodies need some fresh air and exercise and our brains need a little rest. I tell them that I have 2 (sometimes 3) activities in mind to choose from, but we only have time for 1. Then I tell them the options and have them carefully think about their favorite activity. Children who like option 1 form a group in one corner of the room, and those who like the alternative gather on the opposite side of the room. We count the number of children in each group and play the game that the majority 'voted' for. Easy Peasy!

After our 'break' we debrief a little and chat about how we 'voted' for our favorite activity. Then we chat about some other favorites and together we create a graph. I love using sticker dots for this part. One dot, one vote. Favorite colors are a great visual!

Then we have a little mini-lesson on the graph we created together - Which color had the most votes? Which color was the least popular?

And here comes my freebie - once the kiddies are ready to do some independent graphing activities I throw a little love their way. Here's one from my Valentine pack. Yes, I know it's June, but What the World Need Now is Love, right? Click the image to grab it!

It's part of my larger Valentine Print and Go Pack that you can purchase at my TpT Store.

Linking up with The Teaching Tribune today for their Worksheet Wednesday. Head on over to grab some more great FREE worksheets!