Friday, March 30, 2012

Sony's Sound Forge Audio - Record Those Books They Can't Yet Read by Themselves for Accelerated Reader

I have several students who want to take the Accelerated Reader (AR) tests, but can't quite read the books by themselves yet. I bought Sony's Sound Forge Audio Studio (download online $65, or you can try out the demo for free!), and I read aloud one book at a time, saving each book as a separate file.

When I'm done recording, I put a piece of colored tape at the bottom corner of the book.

Once I have enough books to fill up a CD, I burn the MP3 sound files onto the disk, noting what titles are on it.

Then I put the number of that book onto the piece of tape so that when a student is ready to read/listen to the book, and the book is number 5, they can forward on the CD player to #5 and listen with headphones in the listening center as they follow along to my reading.

When they're finished listening, they know how to log on to AR, along with their name and password, as well as enter the book code (listed by the library on the book) to get the right title.

Of course, I have to read the questions and all possible answers to them, but I give them no clue as to the correct response. When they're done, we log our correct answers, which is on a poster on the wall.

I have a tremendous response in the number of students who participate in AR because they can pick and choose, and listen for themselves!

(P.S. - I've found many ways to get my money's worth out of this software! More to come!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Please. Keep All Harmful Liquids and Solids Under Lock and Key, or Completely Out of Reach

If you're like me, you keep materials like liquids and stuff to use for science experiments inside your classroom, perhaps in a closet or cabinet. Please, make sure anything that could possibly harm a child is safely and securely locked up, or kept out of their reach. That includes thermometers with mercury. You never know when it could save a life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

ABC Patterning (and Freebie!)

To review (and get a grade for patterning), I came up with this little game.

Click this link to download the free PDF of the game pieces. I used colored rocks I got from the dollar store, and an empty tissue box was just perfect for them to pull out their pattern strips without looking at them first.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's a Spring Thing Linky Party

I love linky parties for two reasons. This blog gets more exposures. But more importantly, I find blogs with ideas that I can use in my own classroom.

If you have a blog and want to join, go here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Backpack Check for Parents of Preschool, Kindergarten, or Elementary School

Check out this blog post from Kindergarten and Preschool for Teachers and Parents. There is a lot of very important information and noteworthy advice that needs to be read.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Linky Party Update!

Thanks to Jeannie and her Kindergarten Lifestyles blog with her linky party, plus linkies from Pinterest, I've added over a dozen new blogs to my sidebar! In addition, I've also added several ways to follow my blog if you wish. :D
One more side note. I've had to change my icon for my blog replies. I have a second "part time" job as a romance novel writer, and I figured having a romantic icon just wouldn't work on a Kinder-related blog. *rolls eyes, does palm to forehead* So my apologies to those of you who wondered what "that blue icon" was all about.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Link Up! Discover a Whole New Slew of Kinder Blogs!

If you teach Kinder through Second Grade, it's time to link up! If you're a parent or looking for some great teaching ideas, here's your chance to discover some wonderful new blogs! The party is going on right now over at Kindergarten Lifestyle. Check it out and join in!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kideos - Videos for Kids

Neat little website with videos for all children, including infants up to age 10. You can like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and there's an iPhone app you can download to use when you're on the go.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another Set of Texas Activities

Remember that flag from my post of March 5th? I put that flag on tagboard, then each child had to tear red, white, and blue strips into "finger tip size pieces" and glue them to the template. This "mosaic" idea has always been among the best ideas for strengthening fine motor skills. To finish, we wrote the state pledge on the back.

Additional activities included:
* playing Texas bingo
* watching a short video about the Battle of the Alamo
* learning to dance the Cotton-Eyed Joe and Chicken Dance

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

More Texas Activities

To continue with our Texas activities during Texas Public Schools Week...

I made up 5 baggies of the word BLUEBONNETS, cut into letter squares. I had each table first assemble the letters into the word of our state flower. Then I gave them 5 minutes to make as many words as possible using the letters. (Words had to be spelled correctly, too. I got "bel" and "bul", among other words, and had to eliminate them, but it was a perfect teachable moment to give them the correct spellings.)

Next, for our state flower we got to use our watercolor paints. But this time I made them use Q-tips. One end for blue, the other end for green. It made for quite an interesting experience. (There's also the "popcorn" method, where they glue popped popcorn where the petals are, then paint the popcorn.)

Finally, for our math activity, I found a map graphic on the internet, and printed it off. Next I added the "Where is Texas?" question. We labeled our state. Then, using a wall map as a guide, we began to number all 50 states. We did this as a group activity. It was fun!

Monday, March 5, 2012

March is TEXAS Month! (Freebie Twofer!)

March is an important month for Texans. For one thing, March 2nd is Independence Day (where we split from Mexico), and March 6th is when the Alamo fell in the little village of San Antonio in 1836. Also included in our celebrations is a Livestock Show and Rodeo (week-long events).

To help kick off the month, we learn Texas songs, like the ever-popular "Deep in the Heart of Texas". For fun, I give each table a song sheet with the words on it, and a baggie of the words. When I say, "Go!", each table races to see who can put their words in the same order as the song.

You can download the words and song sheet here.

The bottom of the song sheet has the state flag on it. On other days everyone will get their own copy of the words, which they can cut out and glue to the back of their flags.  Then they can color the flag (white stripe on top, red stripe on bottom, white star on royal blue background.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

March Cheer Poem

I use this month to work on and emphasize recognizing LEFT from RIGHT. When it's calendar time, everyone gets to their feet, and we start MARCHING.
Left, right, left

Left, right, left

(Later in the month as they get accustomed to the rhythm and stepping in place, I add hand movements, like placing them on their heads, on shoulders, on tummies, on hips, etc.)