Friday, September 28, 2012

More One-to-One Correspondence - and a Freebie!

I gave each student a "checker board" that I'd created and run off on colored tag (then laminated). Each table got their own set of math manipulatives: buttons, pom-poms, colored blocks, unifix cubes, and bears. All they had to do was put one object on each square. At first, they used all the colors, so I made them clear their boards, and do it again, but using only one color. (These pictures are from when they had done the activity a second time, using a single color.)

To extend the lesson, I ask them to put 2 items on each square. Then 3. I stop at 5 because the squares tend to get too crowded. For the blocks, I let them "build" a small tower on each square. (They love doing that.) The next time they do this lesson, I give each table a different set of manipulatives.

For your Freebie, I've uploaded a copy of the checker board, which you can download from here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Science + Math + Fall = Fun!

We're working on composing and decomposing numbers up to 5 in math. Since it was such a beautiful day, we went outside and collected leaves and acorns, and brought them inside. Next we took a sheet of plain manila drawing paper, and I asked them to draw 5 circles. Then they were to glue a leaf or acorn inside the circle. (This made the project a multi-step activity, which I could observe and grade.) Right off the bat, I could tell which students had one-to-one correspondence skills, and which didn't.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down!

Fall leaves, autumn leaves. Quick and easy. I gave each child a sheet of red, orange, yellow, brown, or green construction paper (this sheet is standard 9x12, but it looks larger because her arms and hands are so tiny.) With a crayon, they traced their hands, then cut them out on the outline. I hung the "leaves" in the room, and whenever the AC kicks on, they "flutter" nicely.

This activity also gave me the chance to check and grade their cutting skills. This early in the year, their use of scissors is very crude, but it does get better with practice.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fruit - Like You've Never Seen It Before

A raisin at 35x magnification.
A sun-dried tomato at 250x magnification.
A kiwi seed at 320x magnification.
A comparison between these images and the real thing makes for a great science lesson! (Click on the photos for much larger versions.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Right or Left Handed? Two Simple Tests to Establish Dominancy

I recently got a new child in my room who keeps switching her crayons from one hand to the other. Same for her pencil. And her cutting skills were nil. She could barely handle a pair of scissors. So I gave her a quick 2-part dominancy test to see which hand she should be using. I was telling another teacher about this, and she asked me, "What did you do to test her?"

Test #1 - Tell the student to put her hands in her lap. Place a pencil on the table directly in front (mid line) of the child. Tell her to pick up the pencil. Her dominant hand will reach for the pencil.

Test #2 - Have the student stand, feet together. Put a piece of paper on the floor directly in front of her. Tell her to stomp on the paper. Her dominant side will prevail.

How do you test for dominancy if a child hasn't settled for being left- or right-handed?

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Cut a Hole in a Piece of Paper Big Enough to Walk Through

This is a neat little trick, and makes for a great science experiment. You don't need to fold it as many times as the man does in the video. Just fold it "hot dog" style, then you can begin cutting. Also, the thinner the strips you cut, the larger the hole will become. Experiment, and have fun!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Neat New Teacher Tool! The Scissor Mouse!

I found this at Walgreens. It's called the Scissor Mouse by Westcott, and it comes in several colors. I often need to cut construction paper into strips, or the sign-in name pages into slips. Basically, you hold the paper down on the table with one hand, and sit the Scissor Mouse on the table next to the paper. With long, quick movements, I can cut what I want with very little effort, and it doesn't take much practice to get the hang of it. Darn thing is much better and faster than a pair of regular scissors.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How I'm Planning to Use Pinterest Pictures in the Classroom, Idea 6

Subject: Natural Science
Study Unit: Pets

What do you think is on the boy's back?
It's a type of walking stick. It's an insect. Can you see its 6 legs?
The boy doesn't seem afraid. Why do you think he's not afraid?
Do you think this boy keeps this insect as a pet?
Is this the kind of pet a lot of people would own?
Would you like this as a pet? Why or why not?
What would you feed this pet?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Homeschool Creations - Another Terrific Teacher Resource

A terrific teacher resource. Check out the PreK-K area, as well as the others. I've already added it to the sidebar of this blog.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Calendar Math and Behavior Chart

We do calendar math every day, just as all classes do. You know the drill: Today is...Tomorrow will be...Yesterday was...  But I also like to use the calendar as part of my behavior plan.

I print out copies of the calendar for every student. The children, with guidance, write the numbers in the blocks. The calender is then stapled to their take-home folders. Every day I put one simple symbol on each school day.

I put a copy of this Stoplight Behavior Chart in the folder. At the end of the school day, I simply draw one of the faces. The folders go home on Friday. Parents have to initial in the Saturday or Sunday block, and the folders have to come back on Monday. That way, the parents have an idea of how well, or how badly, their child is doing behavior-wise.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Quick update! The over-population has been resolved! Come Tuesday, I'll have 22 children.

It's going to be a great year! I already see lots of potential and possibilities for success.