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Beginner Writing Continuum

Communicating with three or four educators in the classroom can be tricky.

This past year, I used picture images to group my guided reading groups. I've decided to implement learning goals and success criteria for writing in the exact same way.

Students will print their own names on sticky notes and we will get them to identify where they are on the continuum after we have collected several diagnostic assessment pieces.

We will be dividing the different groups amongst our teaching team and this will be supported by our planning teacher who will be focusing on writing this year as well.

I love that we will be able to use this to guide and separate our groups which we will be working with. Documenting children's progress in small groups will simply be a photo taken throughout the year to show growth!

I am excited to have this visual posted in our classroom as it will represent student understanding of what they can achieve and will help with keeping expectations and communication consistent for all teachers without having to have any formal meetings.

I have included the above continuum in the product shown below as a bonus. Click on the image to check it out!

Our "Debug" Tool to Support Self-Regulation

Young children need easy ways to remember how to solve social problems.

We often make a fun reference to this and describe it to children that others may be "bugging" them and this helps them regulate their emotions when they are upset with their peers.

When we do this, we can discuss bugs and our feelings around them. They may bother us, but in reality, we live with them and to a certain degree need to get used to them!

Our problems with others are the same!

Students need to be able to feel safe learning how to solve problems and guided through how to do it. These strategies have been very effective with our students.

When someone is bugging you we can:
* Ignore
         We can ignore things that are not true or other people's problems.
* Talk Friendly
         Always talk in a kind manner, assuming others will listen!
* Talk Firmly
        To show we mean what we say we speak firmly but still with kind words.
* Move Away
        If our words do not work we can choose something else to do or someone else to play with.
* Get Adult Help
        When the other strategies don't work, or if someone is hurt we can always seek help from an adult!

I hope you find these strategies to be helpful with your students!

I use a visual prompt for the non-readers in the calming corner area of our classroom. After we have pre-taught and repeatedly modeled the different strategies, students will independently go to use the poster to help them remember how to solve problems.

The following poster gives picture cues that children can easily understand and help them solve their problems independently. If you want to check it out, it can be purchased by clicking on the following image below.

Walking Wednesday: Whole School Activity

Kids need exercise and walking is a great way to get it.
Families who walk to school help build relationships within their community as families get to know each other.

Exploring the outdoors, being in and around nature, helps ground kids and them supports their appreciation for the world around them.

A few years ago our staff put out a challenge to our community to make it a goal to walk to school every Wednesday. It was a pretty easy adjustment for our community as we already had done this during Earth Week to support our learning of taking care of the environment.

The community bought into this weekly activity and all the students enjoyed participating in it. This is a perfect year-round activity for eco-schools.

Older students wrote announcements to encourage student participation, younger grades graphed who came to school by walking, driving or on the bus

Class awards were given to the class with the most points per division and celebrated all student participation by collecting points for each child who participated (our school collects color house points to help build school spirit).

If you want to start something like this at your school it is pretty easy to do! If you click on the image above to find premade activities, templates, and awards for your whole school to use!

Patterning Videos on YouTube

Learning how to pattern at a young age is surprisingly easy for many children. 

I often use patterning songs as attention grabbers for whole group learning. Sometimes it is good to throw in a fun video for fun. Here are a few that I've found useful in the past! I hope you find these useful for supporting your students learning!

Number Sense: Principles of Counting

Developing Number Sense: Principles of Counting

This is a round up blog of various posts which I have blogged about over the past few months regarding principles of counting.

These concepts are extremely important for children to develop a fluency in number sense.

8 principles are covered below. Feel free to check them out by clicking on the image you are curious to learn more about and discover some activities to support students understanding of these basic math concepts.

These skills are especially important for students in kindergarten or with students in the primary division who do not have a solid understanding of numbers.

Number Sense: Unitizing Principle

Developing Number Sense: Principles of Counting

All concepts of number sense need to be actively taught.

The unitizing principle helps students develop the understanding of place value. This principle of counting is the last to be taught when all of the other principles are understood.

Unitizing Principle

When students have developed the understanding that our math system uses base ten units. Objects are grouped into ten once a number is bigger than 9. And then, into sets of 100 when the number is bigger than 99.

When this occurs, students are aware of the concept that a one appears in the tens column and a zero in the ones column.


Hands on manipulation of objects, especially base ten or snap cube manipulatives, help students learn this concept.

Have students play games together with manipulatives and have them build the numbers to represent their ideas. For instance,"I had 5, but now I have 5 more. What number do I have?" Playing number games like this help children see this principle concretely and helps them to understand it in a deeper way.

Weekly Round-Up: January 20th, 2018

Being back at school has been great!

Between writing report cards and focusing on some home renovations I haven't been able to keep up to date on posting every week. I finally have had some time to share a bit about a variety of different engaging activities we have been up to lately.

1. Letter & Sound Assessment

Upon coming back to school, my first priority for my literacy program was assessing students letter and sound ID. I created a google form to assess student knowledge.

It worked great!

The form automatically collects all the data I need to inform small group instruction and tells me exactly which letters students don't know. The way I designed it, I can label each child by ability groupings! I usually find these assessments to be tedious but I will admit, this was a quick assessment tool! Click on the image below if you want to check it out.

2. Healthy Foods

We have begun to explore the food groups in depth.

In order to expose our students to a variety of possible new fruits, we asked for parents to donate a fruit to make a fruit salad. A variety of donated fruit came in!

We learned about the importance of clean hands and that it is not safe to touch sharp objects - only adults can use them. Students helped wash, peel and place fruit into the bowl once it had been cut by an adult. Whoever wanted to join did, and as a result, they all had a keen interest in trying out our salad.

We didn't eat it immediately as we wanted to put everything in the fridge to make it all cold. The children loved it!

3. 2D Shapes

We have discovered that our students LOVE to play 4 Corners.

We used this set to play this game and every time we have whole group learning the class is begging to play! Students learn their shapes, we count back from ten to find a new shape for those who have not been removed from the game AND students learn to regulate as they MUST walk or they are out of the game.

Click on the photo below to see more about it.

4. Fine Motor

To complement our 2D shapes learning we pulled out some lacing activities. We have a specific time set aside every day where we get one period to work on social skills, focus students or build fine motor skills.

We have been purposefully using this time to focus on learning how to lace.

Can you believe this is done by a student who is one of the youngest JKs in our class!

5. Geometry

Geoboards are engaging ways for students to explore with shapes.

I pulled these out and the first thing an SK from my class last year said, "I love those! I played with those every single day you put those out last year! Thank you for bringing them back to our classroom."

What children enjoy often surprises me. If you look at the image below, these are the complex images and patterns students have been building with them with no prompting.

Shapes, patterning, fine motor and color exploration are all in one activity. I am always amazed at the learning that students demonstrate!

Check out my other Round-Ups here or  Follow me on Bloglovin' to see more ideas for learning activities in kindergarten!
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