Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Commotion in the Ocean!!

We recently spent two weeks learning about everything under the sea! Most units that I teach only last one week, but some, like ocean, space, zoo, dinosaurs, can go for two weeks,  There is just way too much to learn to try and squeeze it all into one week!! So, let me share with you what awesome activities we did.  I also added some of my math and literacy centers...just so you know we don't just "play" all day.

A Commotion in the Ocean!!!

 This is our library corner.  I borrowed this adorable fish tent from a co worker and it was a HIT!! I have found that if you want your kids to really be engaged in the library corner...add some kind of fun element.  A tent, stuffed animals, puppets, etc... make the center more inviting and peaks their interest to read!! Also, look at all those books! I always make sure I have at least one books per child for every unit I teach, which means I'm pulling from my personal books, school library and our local library downtown.  It just looks so cozy doesn't it!! They loved crawling inside this fish mouth to read a good book.
 Here's my favorite!! Dramatic play...YELLOW SUBMARINE! This sub was formerly my igloo during my penguin unit, I just laid it down and cut holes in the side for windows and a hole for the periscope and this is what I got! Nothing like a little recycling!! I covered it in yellow butcher paper...and yes, the entire time I was singing "We all live in a yellow submarine....".  For the windows I cut the holes and hot glued clear plastic plates for the glass inside the circle.  For the periscope I recycled some paper towel and tissue paper rolls, hot glued them together and painted it black.  Since this had to last two weeks there was one repair to the telescope, not too bad though, since 23 kiddos were playing with it! On the floor I have a vinyl tablecloth and some ocean animals that I purchased at Dollar Tree and on the wall I have some ocean life posters from an old calendar that I have laminated and hot glued to the wall.  I also had some life jackets inside the sub in case they went outside the sub to "swim " with the animals.

Math and Literacy Centers

I decided to show some of what we do during our math and literacy center time.  For this theme I pulled from 4 different units that I purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers.  At the bottom of this post you will see which ones were utilized.  They all had great activities that were hands on, meaningful and engaging! 
pattern blocks

roll and cover :addition
My handy/quiet dice cups! Simply shake the cup and add the dice! 

tally marks
count the room (write the room)

Magic sight word!! 
The math centers were a hit! They loved using the pattern blocks, unifix cubes, dice cups and clip boards for Count the Room.  Doing math this way is so much more fulfilling for these kids than sitting down and doing boring pencil/paper tasks.  Yes, they have to record their work for accountability sake, but it's not daunting or redundant.  They are manipulating math tools and moving around the room!  For Magic Sight Word you print a color sheet of your current theme.  Before you give it to them use a white crayon and write sight words on their paper.  Give them watercolors and as they paint the sight words "magically" reveal themselves!! This is a fun one because you can hear them telling their friends "I found THE"!! and "I found HERE!!" They are learning and reading and they aren't even aware of it...sneaky, eh!! It's ok to learn AND have fun!!!

Ok, so I told you earlier that I would share the units that I used for these 2 weeks.  I did several other math and literacy games from these units that I did not take pictures of.  I love all of these and would certainly suggest you try them out for yourself!! 

Ocean Animals - Math and Literacy Activities for the Common CoreUnder the Deep Blue Sea! Math Work Stations-Common Core

Pattern Block Math {Ocean Animal Edition}Dive In And Explore!  A Math & Literacy Creation!

The authors of these units are Kim Adsit, Deedee Wills, Christy Donnely and Greg Smedley-Warren.  

Thank you for stopping by and I will posting again soon with a special guest teacher!! My student teacher is beginning her to week STEM unit tomorrow and I am excited to see what she comes up with and share all of her awesome ideas!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I Just LOVE Workin' Those Fine Motors!!

Fine motor skills are so very important at this age!! Pencil grip is one of the first things I look at during that first week of school!! Scissor grip is another one that can be tricky!! Let me tell you...these littles can come up with some pretty creative ways to hold their pencils and scissors!!! Sometimes I think they are making it harder on themselves by holding writing utensils so caddywhompus!! They can really twist their little hands into pretzels and I think How on earth can you cut/write like that??? 

Something that I incorprate into my literacy centers every day is fine motor.  This can be with playdough, beads and pipecleaners, tweezers for transferring or legos.  However, since we are further into the year and we are working on our sight words I have created a center that uses fine motor skills and gets them reading as well.  Here are some of my favorite tools for fine motor.  Both pairs of blue tweezers are from Lakeshore Learning.  Very durable and easy to use! I also use items as simple as clothespins and tongs from my favorite store...Dollar Tree! 

Here is a sample of what we do with our sight word cards for literacy centers.  I provide them with different items to place on the cards.  You are only limited by your imagination! I have used beans, popcorn kernels, pom poms, glass gems, and holiday or themed beads.  I also use play dough with these cards.  They simply roll a long "snake" and use the play dough to build the word directly on the card.  

If you would like a copy of my All purpose Fine Motor cards click below and you will find it at my store at Teachers Pay Teachers!! 

I hope you find these products useful!! Until next time!!!