Friday, 25 December 2015

North Pole Party

     Despite the forecasted green Christmas, we were able to bring a little of the "arctic chill" to our classroom with a North Pole Party.

Punches were give at each stop

The children visited four stations (Santa's Workshop, Mrs. Claus' Kitchen, Reindeer Games, and Winter Wonderland) where they participated in a fun-filled activity at each stop. “Elves” (parent helpers) were available to assist as needed at all stops along the way.  

Santa's Workshop

Ornament Making

Mrs. Claus' Kitchen

Cookie Decorating

Reindeer Games

Reindeer Ring Toss

Winter Wonderland

Creating Snowflakes with Loose Parts

Next year, I'd love for Santa to stop by for a surprise visit. Until then, I'll be looking for a Santa suit and a willing volunteer. 

Thanks for dropping by!


Saturday, 21 November 2015

Math Tubs

     If you are old enough to remember a program called Math Their Way, then you might remember “tubbing time.”  Last year, I created a set of math tubs for each module of our math program that was organized in a similar fashion to the tubs in that program. The advantage of this system is that the manipulatives for each of the tubs stays the same, but the task changes with the introduction of each new math unit.  So the children are using pattern blocks, snap cubes, geoboards and other manipulatives to explore number, geometry, measurement, etc.  This has simplified the storage of the centers since the bulky manipulatives stay in the tubs throughout the year and only the task cards need to be stored elsewhere when not in use.

Here's where the tubs are stored. I have two of these shelving units and they are secured back to back so kids can easily access them. Each tub has a number that correlates to a work space in our classroom.

     The children use these tubs at the beginning of our day after they complete their morning jobs.  In the first round, they are allowed to free explore the manipulatives. Currently, they are working with the number 1-10 tubs. They may work in these tubs for several rounds until I begin to slowly introduce the tasks for the next unit, which is geometry.  Here are some pictures of my students working with the number tubs.

Snap Cube Staircases
Source: First Grade Blue Skies

Birthday Cake Counting Mats
Source: Twinkl

Pattern Block Numbers
Source: Making Learning Fun

Magnetic Chip Numbers
Source: Tot School

Magnet Board Staircases

Play dough Numbers/Sets
Source: Homeschool Creations
Ipads- Line 'em Up App
Source: Classroom Focused Software 

Truck Counting Mats
Source: The Measured Mom

Geoboard Numbers
Source: Making Learning Fun

Pattern/Design Numbers
These were made using a font on the computer.

Treasure Box Numbers
Source: Unknown

     The kids really enjoy working at these tubs and it gives me a few minutes at the beginning of the day to pull students for assessments or interventions.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Five and Some More

     What I love about teaching is that there are always opportunities for learning something new.  In our math program, numbers 6-10 are taught as 6 is 5 and 1 more, 7 is 5 and 2 more, and so on up to 10.  For me, this was a new way of teaching these numbers and I could easily see the benefits in working with this base of 5 to teach subitizing, counting on, and addition. Here are some of the tools I used to teach the numbers 6-10 as 5 and some more.

felt board pieces in a ten-frame configuration

counting hands (or trees) with a color change after five
counting hand math mats
counting paths using manipulatives and white boards
 a rekenrek
a counting book 

How have you worked with “five and some more?”

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween Happenings

Here's what we did for Halloween this year. I added some Halloween-themed materials to a few of our centers for the children to enjoy during our party.

                   Spider Exploration in the Science Center  

                     Making Faces in the Play dough Center 

        Haunted House Building in the Construction Center

Pumpkin Painting in the Art Center

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Work Spaces

     A few years ago, It occurred to me that I was devoting a large portion of my classroom space to a small portion of my day. So, I began to use the discovery centers as work spaces for more than just Discovery Time. 
     Each day as the children arrive, they look at the chart below to see where they will be working for the day.  

our work spaces chart
Here are some of the ways the work spaces are used throughout the day:
     After completing their arrival jobs, the children do math tubs in their work space to explore number concepts. 

working with geoboards during math tubs

     During reading workshop, the centers become "book nooks" for reading. 
reading the pictures during reading workshop

     Math lessons are often taught using floor mats in their work spaces.

creating number staircases during math workshop

     While we currently are working at the tables for writing workshop, the work spaces are available for those who might prefer to work there. They also can be used for sharing our writing with partners.

drawing our stories during writing workshop

     Three times a year, I collect samples of their work such as word dictation, alphabet writing, or number writing to show their progress over time.  We also use the work spaces to complete these tasks. For these purposes, I need to separate them a bit within the space but I find this is easily done.
     The children do not go to their assigned work space during Discovery Time.  During this time, they get the opportunity to choose where they want to work and who they would like to work with. 

working with blocks during discovery time
    In each work space, the children are working in pairs. Their partner stays the same for 11 days, which is the number of work spaces that I use. Once they have been through one round, I change their partner. 
     The partners are also used for turn and talk in our meeting area.  When they come to the rug, they are asked to sit in close proximity to their partner, in case I want them to talk or share during a lesson.  We refer to these as our peanut butter and jelly partners and we use these to identify who talks first or gets to take the first turn in a game.   

talking with our pbj partners
     How do you use the spaces within your classroom?