For the second week of school, our unit was called "We Are So Proud". The book of the same title is about a class working together to create a float for a patriotic parade. The Amazing Words are: proud, cooperation, float, guide, preparation and creation. This unit just happened to fall on the week after Labor Day, and this year Remembrance Day (9/11) fell on the same week too. While I did not discuss Remembrance Day with my kindergarteners, I decided to take the opportunity to do a patriotic-themed week! Let me share with you a few of the things we did.
1. I found this great free math game on teacherspayteachers.com. It's a cube game, with a few variations. Since my kids haven't learned graphing yet, we did it together first, with each student taking a turn to roll the "dice", call it out, and color it in together. Once they mastered the concept, I felt comfortable putting it in the center.
Tip: To make the cube, I color-printed it, and cut it out. I wanted it to last (we all know how rough kids can be on anything made out of paper), but I also knew laminating would be too strong. So, I covered the paper in packing tape, and then used the tape also to seal the edges. It worked out very well!
2. For the Library, I always have a box labeled "Topic Books". I update and change that box weekly, and put books that have to do with our unit in there. When we have centers, the kids are supposed to read the books from that box. Here are a few of the books from this week.
I read the Keeping Quilt aloud to them. It's one of my all-time favorite books. I told them at the beginning that our Amazing Words weren't in the book, but the idea of many of them were in it. So we talked about how the ladies used "cooperation" to make a new "creation" out the things they already had. We also talked about how they were "proud" of their heritage, but also of their new home. (Also, one of the illustrations has the Statue of Liberty, which was one of the pictures in our cube game - so there! :))
3. At the beginning of the year, I uploaded all the audio for the reading curriculum (read-alouds, songs, etc.) into iTunes, and then onto an old iPod I have. I sorted it all by unit and then by week. During centers, I just play the file for the week in my listening center. It has been a HUGE success, and my kiddos always feel like they're getting away with something when they're in the listening center.
4. I found a couple free worksheets about Labor Day (what do you want to be when you grow up), and our flag which worked well for morning work or center work. One in particular was a flag coloring page, which I modified into a letter recognition coloring game. I wrote the key in the bottom (what color to use for which letter), and then wrote the letters in the coloring page. This was a great reinforcement for some of my weaker students!
5. One of my student's dad is an engineer in the Navy. So on Friday, I asked him to visit the class. The kids had a wonderful time! It was great! He talked about how he has to cooperate with his fellow sailors, how it's important to prepare for what he has to do each day (using our Amazing Words), he asked each student what they wanted to be when they grow up, we got to thank him for his service, and talk about how proud we are of the men and women in our armed forces. If there's anyway you could do something like this in your classroom, I highly recommend it! It was a wonderful experience for the kids, and really brought home the concepts we were learning about this week!
We all had great fun in Mrs. Blair's Kindergarten Class this week! Hope you enjoyed some of the little tid-bits from our "We Are So Proud" week. Join us next time for "Plaidypus Lost"!