| | |

A Peek at My Differentiated Week

Another Snow Day . . . Last year we ended up with a total of 11 days before it was all said and done.  This year, we are at a mere 4.  I actually think the rest of the country has faired far worse than those of us in Northern Michigan.  We’ve been fortunate, but today was a no-brainer.  The winds are crazy with whiteout conditions, and it’s bitterly cold.  So the boys and I are hunkered down in our PJs for a day of forts, picnics, cake for them (I’m on a dreaded, although necessary, “30 Days to Fit” challenge so none for me), hot wheel races, a stuff animal circus and lots and lots of snuggles and books.  While they steal a nap, I decided to break out my camera to see what I actually took pictures of this week and give you a peek.  It seems like a lot of math for some reason, but that must have been when I had a quick moment to grab a photo.  I have to admit, with all the Dibelassessing, Comprehensive Needs Analysis reports, MLPPs (my Michigan friends know what those are) and report cards, the week was kind of a blur. It doesn’t help that I was out of my room for a day and a half, but at least it will give you some glimpses.
Each week we focus on a different poem in class, and this week’s is The Three Little Kittens.  I love this poem, because it reminds me of my own three little kittens at home who continually are losing their ‘mittens’ and other items.  I always always always have a dramatic play station with three kittens, mittens, a clothes line and a wash board (you can kind of see them in the background).  Any administrator that believes that Dramatic Play does not have a place in a kindergarten classroom needs to come see how my kinders retell this poem over and over at this station.  (Hmmm retell?  Isn’t that one of our Common Core Standards?  Why yes it is!) We, as teachers, HAVE to offer these opportunities for our students who are linguistic and musical learners.  Differentiating means meeting the needs of your students by responding to their interests, their level of readiness and their learning profile.  
Cold weather math stations were in high gear this week with some high-intensity bump games going on.   
You never know when you’re opponent will BUMP you off your number.  This game allowed me to give my students practice in ten frames, numerals or tally marks depending of their level of readiness.
My kinesthetic learners always know that I have a write the room going during math and word work stations.  Kinders need to move and this gives them a reason to do it.  This picture is a prime example of how one write the room activity is tiered.  The blue bordered cards are for students still trying to master number recognition, one-to-one counting and before and after numbers.  The purple bordered cards are for beginning addition students and the green cards are for students who are working on addition to ten.  
Students know which card they are working on because their response sheet matches.  For 90% of my math stations, I use laminate and dry erase markers for recording answers if necessary.  I don’t like any more paper work than I have to give, and I can quickly assess what they are doing and see if they are ‘getting it.’  (Most of my math stations do offer black/white response sheets for those of you that are required to have some form of evidence of mastery other than observation. I totally get that there are those of you that need it, so I included it.)  
I LOVE stations that are independent and self-correcting, and here is one for addition. There are actually cards for 0-5 addition and another set for subtraction and 0-10 for addition and a set for subtraction.  It gives me a ton of options for differentiating based on where they are at in mastering these skills.
We also played some Spin It to Win It Cold Weather style.  These are differentiated and include tally mark cards, ten frames and numerals.  Students work on determining bigger and smaller numbers (or you can challenge them with even/odd number recognition).  
If you want any additional information on any of the activities above, you know you can just click on a picture to get more information.  If you would like to see my blog post that outlines all the activities from my Cold Weather Math Stations including a planning sheet.  Just click on the picture below.  It has all the was you can differentiate along with hyper links to the activities.
Keep warm friends and enjoy these days of cold weather any way you can.  I’m off to build another fort with the boys.


Marsha Moffit McGuire

Short little bio goes here. Short, sweet, and lets visitors know about your experience, expertise, etc.