Sunday, April 29, 2012

Today's Project

Since we are reading Charlotte's Web, I decided to make a surprise for my kids tomorrow. It turned out to be much more of a project than I had anticipated. Not nearly ready for Cupcake Wars-but I think they came out cute!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Some Students!

We are reading Charlotte's Web as our chapter book now and got to the part where Charlotte starts to execute her plan to save Wilbur. I asked the kids to recreate Charlotte's Web with a trait the spider could incorporate describing them.

Brilliant Girl

On the subject, I have seen teachers blogging recently about Cafepress tees for teaching. This is my favorite product that they sell in that line:

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon

This is one of my all-time, top 10 favorite stories to read to the kids! (My kids tell me I say that all the time :). But this one really is. It's about a little girl who may not have the best voice, who is fumble-fingered, who has buck teeth you can balance pennies on-but her grandmother tells her to still "stand tall"---and she does!

We discussed the word "flaw" and how some people's flaws were something others saw as strengths. I asked them to reflect on what their flaws were and how they would still "stand tall".

Her curly hair. I would have given anything for some curls when I was little. :)

Ironic, right?

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I've been focusing on this a lot this year. I know that in Kinder many of our regular formative assessments are one-on-one oral testing: letters/sounds, sight word recognition, how high they can count, and eventually reading fluency testing.

Because we take a standardized test in December where the kids have to bubble in answers, we also do weekly assessments that are review from the week but also double as test practice. Because I don't think multiple choice measures as much, I also try to throw in some open-ended questions. It amazes me sometimes how they come up with an answer that is correct, but I wouldn't have thought of to make a choice for them. Here are some examples:

This was a passage for listening comprehension about a little girl scared to go to the dentist. The passage didn't say why she was scared, so they kids had to infer the reason.

I know they are showing the oxygen it gives off.

This one made me laugh correcting it-you could ride animals, I suppose.

I wish I had thought of that excuse when we were little that was my chore.

Also made me laugh-how true.

Not what I would have thought of, but also true.

It takes longer to correct them and sometimes I have to put sticky notes on some because I will have to ask them the next day what it meant...but I think is definitely a more rigorous way to assess.

Also, I usually leave my art projects open-ended. I saw this wonderful idea for a Mother's Day project on another blog:
but I allowed my kids to create their own--anything they wanted. Some attempted animal print, another did her mom's sorority letters, some went a little crazy with the jewels, but that's ok--it's all their vision.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Comic Strip Critical Thinking

This is an idea I've kicked around for awhile now and finally decided to try with my kiddos. I know there aren't many people who actually read the comics anymore but I decided to use them to spice up our writing a little bit. I like Peanuts because it's kids talking and I like Marmaduke because I think it's fairly easy to make an inference about what the reaction to a probably at least 150-lb. dog would be. I took out the dialogue that was there and replaced it with blank bubbles. The kids were to look at the pictures and fill in the blanks with something that would make sense and hopefully also be a little funny.

I was really impressed by what they came up with:

This one is sooooo GT! He's imagining he's the doctor and the doctor has to be the patient.

"Look a cannonball!"

"There's a bad guy getting away!"

"Wow! Look at that certificate!"

"What it says. I can't read it!"

Our Haiku Poems

I was very pleasantly surprised at the number of students who could do this effectively. We read the book Dogku, if you are not familiar with it, the plot is about a dog who joins a new family but the twist is that each page is written in haiku format.

We've done syllables since the beginning of the year, so that wasn't my worry in giving them this task. It was the adjustment from writing in sentences to creating kind of limited phrases. Here's what they came up with :

"They blend in a snowstorm" is the middle line.

Fun activities, fun adventures in the class room, I always love it!