Sunday, September 24, 2017


In math, we've been learning about 2D and 3D shapes - how to recognize them, how to describe their attributes, and how to use positional words to describe where we see them in our environment.

There's nothing better to review the shapes than the HarryKindergarten YouTube videos 2D Shapes I Know and 3D Shapes I Know.  We play these at the beginning of each math lesson on shapes. 

We play lots of games with shapes and make models of shapes out of kinetic sand, wikki stix, and marshmallows & toothpicks.  Above, you can see children playing "Race to the Shape." Students sit on the edge of the carpet and race the person across from them to find/grab the shape I describe or name.  (This works as a great quick assessment too, to easily see who needs help identifying which shapes.)

We play shape bingo!

And to combine our science unit on five senses, we use our sense of touch to play the same mystery bag game as before... but this time, it's full of 2D and 3D shapes.  Students have to reach in, feel whichever shape they've grabbed, and describe it to their group.

Several of our math stations have changed to activities involving shapes: building things out of shapes, identifying shapes around the room, sorting by shape, etc.  Most still focus on number sense and counting.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Self-Selected Books

The best ways to foster a love of reading in children:
-provide a lot of high-interest reading material
-model a love of reading

And, of course, let students self-select their own books. 

Let me tell you a secret. I used to hate reading. In school, I was always good at reading, I just didn't like it.  My teachers gave me books that I had to read.  And because I had to read the books they chose, I hated it.  I don't want to do that to my students.  I want them to have a wide variety of books on their reading level (and above) to choose from, and I want them to choose.

Friday was the first day for this group of kiddos to shop for books.  They were so excited!

Each Friday, students will self-select ten new books for reading at school and at home. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Community Helpers

Our current Social Studies unit is about Community Helpers and the jobs they do.  What better way to teach community helpers than by having some visit our school and present to the students? The coming week has more visitors, but so far we've had an EMT and a Karate instructor come present.  The kids loved it!

In Science, we're continuing our five senses exploration unit.  We felt lots of different textures and made texture rubbings to see the difference.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Otis vs. Tractor Mac

You guys know Otis is one of my most beloved children's book characters.  The Otis series is full of great stories that tug at your heartstrings and combine beautiful imagery with captivating adventures.

So today, Hunter walked in and handed me two books from the Tractor Mac series.  I said "Hey, what are these? They remind me of Otis!" To which he replied, "I know! I thought it was Otis at first. That's why I brought them."  I was excited about this for a number of reasons ... number one, what a great text-to-text connection he'd made.  Number two, I wanted to know more about Tractor Mac and what his adventures were like.  Number three, what a perfect example of a text to use for a compare/contrast lesson!

Turns out, there were a lot of similarities.  
But the kids and I agreed .... we both prefer Otis.

The look of Otis, the drawings, the way Loren Long makes you FEEL the way the characters are feeling... the stories are just so relatable and enjoyable.  And the chorus of putt, puff, puttedy, chuff...  

I don't know. I felt myself getting bored as I read the Tractor Mac stories.  (And you guys KNOW I LOVE children's books.)  Tractor Mac just didn't cut it for me. So should you find yourself in the bookstore trying to decide which tractor series to go for.... well, there you have it, friends. Buy Otis.