Growth Mindset Bookmarks

I am always looking to inspire my students in all aspects of their life. I find students often need visual reminders to inspire them.

You too?

I have discovered that growth mindset bookmarks are a quick, cheap and easy way to encourage students throughout the school year to persist, not give up and support their development of having a growth mindset!

I have been told by other colleagues that they love using these as a beginning of the year student gift. I love that these ones are already set up for me to give away! Click here or on the photo below to check them out.

A primary version is available too!

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Weekly Round-Up: October 27, 2017

Hey friends!

How has your week been? I hope not too crazy!

This post includes  a variety of different activities from language, science, fine motor develoment and more! I hope it can inspire some learning in your classroom!


1. Literacy 

This week I have been focusing on media and starting to assess my students on their reading levels. We have been exploring various books and videos of the Five Little Pumpkins and have made comparisons of them.

Students have been so fascinated with it that many of them have been writing their own books to retell the story and have been dramatizing the song as they sing it.

We voted on our favourite version of the book. These are the versions, from Amazon, that we used in our class this week!

2. Fine Motor Development

We placed out a few Halloween play dough cutters for our students to play with. We have been focusing this week on reading Five Little Pumpkins and many of the children have been representing their ideas by creating their own pumpkins!


3. Sensory & Fine Motor Development

Add some marbels and golf tees to the sand table! Can you stand the marbels up and keep them standing?


4. Paint

We placed out four colors for our students to see what they would do after reading Five Little Pumpkins. Many students dramatized the story as they painted their own representation of it!


5. STEM

Can you build a gate that will support Five Little Pumpkins? This has been a very popular center this week!


6. Gross Motor

During outdoor learning, we introduced t-ball! It has been a huge hit with many of our students. Several play baseball already and have been teaching and showing their friends how to play!



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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Number Sense: Stable Order Principle



I am beyond excited to be starting a new blog series in math.

This the first of nine blog posts that I have written about the basic concepts of number sense which I will be posted soon!

Follow me on bloglovin' to know when the new posts will be coming out!

Developing Number Sense: Principles of Counting

All concepts of number sense need to be actively taught. Stable order principle is one of the first concepts of counting that children learn! Children will often be able to understand stable order before they actually have an understanding of what numbers mean or what they represent.

Stable Order Principle

This principle is one of the most basic principles of numbers and parents often think that this is one of the only concepts children need to know. 

It is the simple concept that the sequence for how we count always stays the same. 

For example, it is always 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. as are displayed in the images above.

NOT 1, 2, 5, 3, 6, 8!

Once students have firmly grasped this concept they have developed the first concept of number sense!

Practice

Reading counting books, singing simple number songs, repetitive counting and consistent modelling help students develop this concept of number sense and correct errors that may come.

We practice fluency with numbers in number lines by using various representations of numbers. This allows students to easily understand that any number is not just a number but that it can be represented in many different ways and I love how this activity supports the development of stable order!

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Inspiring Book Writing in Kindergarten

Book writing has become the biggest attraction in my classroom this year.

My students are truly inspired to write books on a daily basis.

Our writing table is usually always open and if it isn't students search for someplace in the classroom to write.

Book Options

I precut paper into halves and distribute pages in a book format as needed. Students can choose either 3, 4 or 5 pages per book and must choose if it is to be a tall or wide book before I staple the pages together for them. Simply because all books have a title page and should at least have two pages inside, otherwise it is just a drawing or a journal.

I have very few rules to start the year. Just that each page must have something on it.

As the year has progressed, we have introduced title pages, who authors are and that a book is related to the title page. Now that we are almost two months into school, the first page always has to have a title page and we are encouraging our students to write about the topic on their first page.

Printing is developmental. I only expect students to write what they can.

We teach using mini-lessons as we go with small group instruction and then let our students write. For those who know their sounds, we start with labeling their pictures and move on to sentence writing. Our beginning writers are still scribbling at this point and we don't insist that it is a story. We truly are trying to encourage a love of writing.

Writing Utensils

Choice and flexibility in writing materials have inspired my students. Markers, pencil crayons, crayons, fancy pencils and high lighters are all available to be used.

For years I limited the use of markers for writing but have realized that children really are drawn to writing if they can use markers. For extra special occasions, we may pull out our smelly markers!

I personally love using metal tins in my classroom to store the writing tools as they are not easily broken, unlike plastic bins or baskets. I found these containers at Ikea and I am quite pleased with how well they are used and easily spread out on our tables for students to reach them! I really liked that each container was under a dollar!

Feedback

On the back of each book, I tried to praise each book for something the child has been working on or acknowledge their hard work. I also provide a next step.

Writing these on feedback points sticky notes allows parents to see the feedback we are giving students, on a regular basis, and honors their book writing because I haven't marked their book in any way.

Writing Prompts

Often my students do not need writing prompts. I do find that at times they are beneficial and that certain students are drawn to them.

I personally love the word bank that is in my classroom. The pages can easily be removed for different students to use and I love that it has a wide variety of 58 different topics with kid friendly images included.

Topics include animals, food, holidays, general themes and even some personalized pages I use for specific students.

If you're interested in checking it out, click here or on the image below!


Sharing

Before students send their books home, students are able to share them with the class. If they have multiple books they can pick one to share. 

After they read the story we read to them the feedback from our sticky note (which we have already shared with them prior to this) so that the whole class can hear the feedback. Students learn best from each other and find inspiration from each other. This has been a huge part of the success of the writing program in our class.


What is the biggest writing hook that you have in your classroom? I'd love to hear from you! Please feel free to share in the comments below.
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Weekly Round-Up: October 22, 2017

Hey friends!

This is the first round-up that I am going to post about weekly learning centers available in my classroom.

I'm hoping to post on a regular basis but at this time I don't know if it will be weekly or bi-weekly yet. Posts will include a mixture of a variety of different activities from language, math, science and more! I hope it can inspire some learning in your classroom!


1. Alphabet Provocation

This week we opened up the water table for the first time. We added foam letters, numbers and fishing nets for the kids to go fishing.

Our laminated alphabet chart is a great addition for students to match the letters they catch and sort them!


2. Math: Spatial Sense Game

Our school boards mandate is to focus on spatial sense. We put out an designer and builder game. The designer hid their idea in the box and gave directions to the builders.

It was fascinating to discover who knew positional words already!


 3. Building Blocks Routine

This week has been our first week we have had to rotate blocks during different learning center times. We allow all blocks during our longest times and then limit it one set during the other shorter times.

This amazing bridge was built quite quickly by 4 Year 1 (JK) students and they loved driving their vehicles across the top of it for the rest of the learning block! Amazing creativity, problem-solving, cooperation and collaboration to build it together!


4. Outdoor Learning: Core Muscle Development

 We have a bouncy ball with a handle on it for during outdoor learning. Students are allowed to bounce on it if they stay on the turf as it is soft. This has been great for students developing core muscles and balance.

Our school does not have a structure for kids to climb this has been a great addition to our learning and students who need deep pressure stimulation.


5. Book Writing

Book writing has become the most favorite activity in our classroom for all of our students. Often we have 8-15 kids wanting to write a book at a time. I'll be writing a blog post soon about how we set it up and the routines about this in our class. 

Students are able to write about any topic that they want. Some students find our classroom word bank to be a helpful tool to give them ideas or to stay focused on one topic.


You can grab a printable of my word bank that I use with  my students by clicking here or on the image below:
If you're interested in knowing which word bank I use, here is a link to it:

6. Fine Motor Development

One of my students brought in this awesome fine motor provocation!  Simply glue matching color strips to clothes pins and let students find the matching pieces! Color recognition and fine motor all in one great activity!


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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All About Peace: A Compilation of Videos

This is a compilation of videos of songs and poems about peace. I hope that this can help you out.

Save your time!

I have watched many of these over the years to help make our Remembrance Day assembly special! We usually rotate videos over the years so it isn't always the same one every year.
Light A Candle For Peace
This song is great for any primary classroom. We have used it in our assembly and had Kindergarten students perform it. One of our primary teachers was able to figure out the piano and accompanied the class. It was quite lovely. (1 min 23 sec)

I've Got Peace In My Fingers
This is a simple repetitive song for young children to help them understand the basic concept of peace. Great for a Kindergarten class or primary grades! (1 min 44 sec)

Hug O War
This is a poem that is set to some gentle music. It has a woman reading the poem (there is some chatter going on in the background) and there is a rotation of multiple slides of children. There are more poems found on youtube but they are much shorter than this particular link. (1 min 11 sec)

Highway of Heroes - The Trews - Remembrance Day
This is an engaging video for older students. It is a video by the band, The Trews, and has snapshots of real life situations of peace. (4 min 34 sec)

Heal The World
This song is by Michael Jackson and has a great message of healing the world around the world. Children join in together to help and support each other through a variety of "situations." It does have some graphic images of poverty, war, struggles that many people face all around the world. It would be very appropriate for junior and intermediate students. (6 min 22 sec)

Shawn Hlookoff - Soldier
This song has a really nice piano accompaniment which helps students reflect upon why soldiers fight for us. It has a Remembrance Day focus, but could easily be used in a lesson to help students understand peace. It consists of a slideshow of a variety of videos and images which interchange between Shawn singing this song. It really is quite impactful and would be great for a wide range of students. (4 min 32 sec)

A Wish For Peace
This sounds like a school choir singing with accompaniment music. The words are scrolled throughout for students to read. Younger children could easily listen and learn from the words and older students would find it engaging to read. (2 min 24 sec)

Jim Papoulis has a collection of many songs on videos which are posted online that are sung by various children's choirs. They are quite engaging and you may find them to be useful. Some of the videos have a descriptive explanation of the song by the choir director. You may find these beneficial to listen to, or skip over depending upon your classes needs.

Stand Together (4  min 19 sec)
We Will (4 min 19 sec)
Give Us Hope (3 min 21 sec)
Oye (Listen) (3 min 52 sec)
Can You Hear (4 min 35 sec)
Feel The World Dancing (4 min 26 sec)
Sounds of a Better World (32 min 42 sec)
When I Close My Eyes (3 min 55 sec)
Kusimama (Stand Tall) (3 min 15 sec)
Juntos (Together) (3 min 33 sec)

Looking for a similar post for Remembrance Day? Click here or on the image below to see my blog post on it:


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Never-Ending Cone Hunt: A Twist on Hide and Seek


Never-ending one hunt is one of my favorite never ending games to play outside with primary students. It is simply a game of hide and seek with balls and cones.

What you need?

More cones than you have students playing.
Enough tennis balls to hide underneath half of the cones.

Setup

Set up your cones on a field sporadically placed all over the place. Hide the balls underneath several of the cones.

How to Play

Students all start searching together to look under the cones to find a ball. They can only look under one cone at a time. If they find a ball they have to remove it and hide it under a different cone to hide it from their friends. So, they need to look under other ones to see if they are empty or they need to remember which ones they have recently checked that were empty in order to know where they can place the found ball. I usually stop at first after five minutes and then extend the time based upon the ability of the students to keep running.
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Chicken Tag



Chicken tag is a hilarious game for children to play during outside learning or during gym class.

It is a never ending game of tag.

Never ending games are always my favorite to quickly burn as they burn a lot of energy and have fun at the same time!

What you need:

2 flexible plastic chickens and 2 noodles for 20-3- students. Add more of each item to keep a similar ratio. This is perfect for inside or a warm day. If the chickens get cold they can hurt depending upon which brand you have.

How to play:

Pre teach how to tag with a noodle. Gently, below the shoulder and higher than the waist. Students with the chicken tag. Students with the noodle untag.

If a child is tagged with a chicken they must freeze and pretend to be a chicken by squawking and making their arms go up and down like a chicken flying. In order to be unfrozen the student with the noodle needs to gently tag the student! The kids think this is hilarious and it keeps the game fun! Change up the players frequently to keep interest as the taggers and those who untag will be tired quickly!

Have fun playing!
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