Friday, April 20, 2012

Okay, I confess, I always wanted the game, Hungry Hungry Hippos as a child.  I believed (and still do) that Hippos gobbling up marbles at high speeds is fun in a box.  I mean, who came up with this?!  So when I saw the game at a thrift store, all pieces intact, I was thrilled to bring it into the classroom.  The day I put it out one of my students came in and exclaimed, "I have always wanted to play that game!"  It is a hit!  I did find out why it was donated though, it is loud!  So, I have the kids play it on the carpet to cut down on the noise, and we have a "one hand on the hippo handle" rule to prevent over zealous play.  This game also helps with the concept of greater and fewer as the player whose hippo gobbles the greatest number of marbles wins.

Our neighborhoods

This week we celebrated Earth Week in Kindergarten.  I have some favorite books to read and one is The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.  We read about the little houses move from the country to the city and back again.

This year we tied this book into a geography lesson.  Each student created his/her own house and glued it to a huge piece of paper, along with table mates.  Then, created a yard and garden area.  I folded the neighborhoods in half and added them to our block area.  (They stand up when folded)  Now students can add buildings and roads to the neighborhoods and show each other where they "live".

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Let's talk, in an orderly manner

Research shows that students, especially EL's need to talk, orally communicate in order to comprehend and become fluent speakers. I've been using "think, pair, share" to accomplish this. However, I've run into difficulty getting the students to listen to each other. Mostly they yell on top of each other. Well, this problem was solved by using talking tokens. When we partner on the rug each pair gets 2 poker chips, 1 red and 1 blue. I say "Red chip talks, blue chip listens." Then they share. The pencils and bears I use at tables of 4 students. Each student picks a bear, or a pencil and I choose a color to speak first while the rest listen. As a follow up I'll ask someone to share something their group or partner said. No more yelling and listening gets rewarded!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The 3 Little Pigs

To retell the story The 3 Little Pigs, we made story props of the 3 houses and the characters. We used these props to practice telling the story to each other.
I used hay, sticks and styrofoam packing peanuts as bricks. Each child first drew the 3 houses on an 8.5 X11 sheet of paper. I put a plate of glue in between 2 students to share. They dipped the construction materials in the glue and stuck them onto the appropriate house.
This project take a lot of glue so I recommend using the plates instead of the bottles, which can be tricky for young learners to manipulate.
After retelling to a friend and listening to a retell, they brought their props home and told the story to their parents.