Snow is so beautiful and fun and COLD, I am not a fan of cold, thus the reason I live in central Cali, where we have no snow. Don't get me wrong, I love to look out at it, I just don't want to have to shovel my driveway to leave my house. But...snow in the classroom is lots of fun! I am linking up a little late with Kacy from Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday on Saturday!
I am going to share just a few of the activities we did this week involving snowmen.
I must have a dozen books about snow and or snowmen, but one of my favorites is Snowmen at Night. Each day we reread the story and do a different literacy activity. This week we sorted details from the text. We completed this whole group in our pocket chart deciding if the card had a detail that was or was NOT in the text. After our whole group activity each student completed it on their own.
They cut out their picture squares, glued them on the correct side of their recording sheet and then colored the pictures.
We also did an opinion writing activity. Each student wrote whether they liked hot cocoa or chocolate milk better and why. We did a partner/group discussion first then each student wrote on their own.
These were two of my favorites. "I like hot cocoa because when I am cold I drink hot cocoa." "I like hot cocoa because when I watch a movie it is good." I am just so proud of how my kinders are using our word wall and stretching out their sounds in their writing. These activities are all from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills Guiding Readers January pack. They are one of my favorite resources!
Another component of the Guiding Readers resource is a weekly art activity that goes with the literature that is being studied. This week we painted Snowmen at Night. My kiddos did a fantastic job and they look so cute hanging in our room. It is helping it look more like winter now.
I usually go all in with my themes, so of course our poem this week was about snowmen as well. This is from Deedee Wills January poetry. Using these poems every week has really made a huge difference in the language development of my kiddos. My class is 99% ELL and these are fantastic for learning word patterns, rhyming, phonics and so much more.
We say our poem each day and then do a different quick word activity each day. The blue spots, are plastic file dividers that I cut and we use to highlight our sight words, usually on Tuesdays. They were so excited that we knew 24 sight words this week. Deedee also has a song for each poem and we love to sing anything! It is so cute, I usually hear them singing our poems out on the playground too!
My writing center is always one of the most popular activities in our room. Each month I have new word cards. This month they are all about snow, winter and January holidays. I use mini clothespin clips to hold my cards, so it is a breeze to change them out the first of each month. These are also from Deedee Wills, she is just fantastic!
At the writing center they get to choose which kind of writing activity they want to do. They can do a label or list activity.
They can write a story or make a book. Once they have their writing done they get to use any of the tools to finish their project. I have 2 different kinds of markers, colored pencils and crayons. I think being able to use all of these is part of the reason it is so popular.
I love it because, it encourages independence in their writing, allows each child to go at their own pace and it is amazing to see how much progress each student makes during the year.
Something else we did this week, well really every week is use ESGI. It is sooo fantastic. If you teach PK, K or 1st you need to use this. It makes it possible for me to do quick assessments on my kiddos without any paper mess, and often times with no prep. Time is a precious commodity these days. For the Guiding Readers units I talked about above there is an assessment already loaded into the program. On Friday I can quickly see how each kiddo is doing on comprehension.
Another preloaded assessment is for Ball Words. It is a sight word program from Marsha McGuire from A Differentiated Kindergarten. I have used this system for a few years and my kiddos love it. The Dolch sight word list is divided into 11 lists each on a different ball. I have these hanging in my room, see the pic below, and the kiddos have access to practice at all times. They also have their list in their homework folder. I test every Friday, and I would have to be sure I had all the lists and highlighters ready to go. This year Martha joined forces with ESGI and now it is easier than ever to assess my kiddos. The word lists are preloaded, I just pull up their name, click on the list and away we go. The kiddos are asking me all week, when are you going to test me! What a time saver.
The other great thing is that the data is now right at my finger tips the moment I finish giving the test. I can view an individual student, a small group or even the whole class. It makes it great for small group planning. I just pull up the group and I can see what words or skill we need to focus on. I can choose how I want those results displayed as well. Genius I tell you!
It also makes it easy to see what students need RTI and on what specific skills. I can do individual printouts and even letters for parents, in English or Spanish, to keep parents updated on their child.
I am off to enjoy the rest of my 3 day weekend! Have a great one! Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in Doodle Bugs link up!