Getting Back Up To Speed . . and a big Giveaway!

Even though we started back up to school January 2nd, it’s seems that it has been forever getting back up to speed.  In a span of one week, I lost one day with kiddos due to my own sick kids, one day to Diebels testing and another day to a snow (rain) day.  Regardless, my kinders jumped in feet first and started tackling new Cold Weather Math Stations and Centers.  I was able to snap a few pictures of the fun (and work . . . shhhhh they think it’s all play) happening in my little classroom.

(If there’s a link, you can click on the picture to follow it.)  Some of the stuff doesn’t have one.

Yes, this is a sand/water table and these children are playing . . . because we talk about fiction and non-fiction during our study of polar animals, I think they should have the opportunity to ‘play’ real and non-fiction make-believe scenarios in the sand/water table.

I know some of you struggle with having these kinds of activities in your class because some administrators feel that it is ‘fluff.’  However, sand and water tables appeal to your kinesthetic learner who enjoys the opportunity to move, the linguistic learner who enjoys the dialogue associated with this kind of learning, the interpersonal learner who is working with other children and even the spatial learner who is coming up with the visual scenario of their ‘story’ in their mind.  It’s differentiated instruction at its finest.  

When I stood next to these little honeys ‘working’ on this particular day, one student told me that he was making up a ‘fiction’ story with his animals because ‘in real life, penguins and polar bears aren’t even on the same continent Mrs. McGuire.’  Appealing to this kind of learning not only reflects differentiated instruction, it’s also developmentally appropriate for kindergarten.

You know how it is with those nonsense words.  I was pleasantly surprised at how great my kinders did with these on their testing this week.  All those games and fun (shhh….work) activities are paying off.

While I still have a few that are working on identifying beginning sounds, ending sounds or medial sounds, the majority of my kinders are working with CVC words and more than a handful are onto CVCC/CCVC and few onto CVCe.  I love write the room because I can have students all doing the same activity but I know that each student is being challenged at their own level of readiness, not just the majority of the class.

The same is true for self correcting, independent work stations.  
This little one is still trying to master all those beginning sounds. So that’s what he’s working on.

While this one is working on CCVC/CVCC words and she can work at that level and still be challenged by the same activity.

I love that they love to spread out, get comfortable and just read (or in this case listen to reading for Daily 5).

Of course there were new math stations as well this week.  My favorite time of the day.  While many of the activities are familiar . . . I’m introducing new skills with tally marks and tens and ones counting.

These friends are having to work a little harder to figure out their numbers on this zoop’ed up version of Roll, Say, Keep.

We’re always working at identifying greater than and less than numbers and this game lets those still master numbers to play but there are also tally mark and ten frame numbers to challenge other students.

Our latest number order (smallest to biggest) works the same way. This kinder is ordering numerals and tally marks.  

While others might only be using numerals for what numbers come before and after activities.

I’ve also started to introduce adding (and subtracting for some).  That standard of adding and subtracting to 5 is coming up quick and I want to give them plenty of practice.

This write the room is tiered to allow those students still mastering counting and number production to complete it as well as students who have moved on to addition to 5 and addition to 10.  

They’re rising to the challenge of I-Spy addition. (And I-Spy Dolch Words are a favorite now too.)

And can work independently at self correcting addition and subtraction stations too.

Some may need some extra scaffolding, a number line here or there or a handful of manipulatives.  But they know where to find those things when they need it, and I really feel like their finding their groove.  

These items are, of course, available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store or Teacher’s Notebook Store depending on your preference. You can just click the links above or the widgets on the right of my blog.  I do want to let you know though, Teacher’s Notebook is having a FABULOUS giveaway you need to check out if you haven’t already.

I hope your first days back from the holiday have your students finding their groove and getting back up to speed too.  Drop me a line and let me know how it’s going for you.  I’d love to hear from you.

Marsha Moffit McGuire

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