Sunday, September 20, 2015

Letterland! Letterland! There is no better land!

My students love Letterland! I'll post more activities later this week!

You know you hear a song and it plays over and over in your head? Well, that is how the theme song to Letterland is with me and my students. We hum it all the time!

When we first started with Letterland last year I have to say I had some issues with the program! First, the accents were all British and I had to teach little Ks the letter sounds in English! AND nine of my students were ELLs! 

I started using it and really got into the program and now I love it!  The characters are cute! They call the characters, Letterlanders! They live in another land of letters, sounds complicated if you are new to the program, but as you get into the program you can see it does work! Students learn the sounds and letters!

We had a Letterland Parade on the 31st. Students had a month to get their costumes ready. Red Robot on the left hand side was the cutest little guy! They all had fun and parents walked along with us as we went in every classroom in the school.

The only thing I can that I wish Letterland would change, would be the activities and 'center' work that they have available.
I made some up with just Annie Apple and Clever cat.  I'll try and upload them here, but will put them in my  TPT store as a free download.
Students cut out the pictures and sort them under the /a/ or /c/ sound.
The clip art all came from DJ Inkers and Whimsey Clips.

I wanted my students to identify the beginning sounds of /a/ and /c/ words. Of course, learning to write the letters correctly helps! The clip art all came from DJ Inkers and Whimsey Clips.

I made double copies of the picture cards that are in Annie Apple's center. My Kinders couldn't draw as well as some of the other classes I have had, so they put the picture of /a/ words under their paper and traced. They are getting a lot better now!

I love interactive emergent readers and this is printed back to front. I hope someone who is teaching using the Letterland program can use some of these supplemental centers. I have more centers, powerpoints and all that I have made up,  so please follow my blog and I will put these up as I go. 

This link is for the Annie Apple center:

This link is for the Clever Cat Center:

Let me know if these links work. I hope this helps someone. Also, I will be putting some freebies up on my TPT store. If you want to be notified, please go to my store and click Follow. I promise I don't out a lot of emails, just when I have a new Free Item.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Scrambled Squares - Math Puzzles - Have Fun Learning!

Drill and Practice! Oh how students groaned and moaned when they were handed a worksheet with problems to work out. They needed the practice though, Practice Makes Perfect! Right? I use Math Puzzles in my room and my students never, ever turn them down! They are aligned to the Common Core Standard that we are working on at the time. I can use them as an assessment or just as practice. I love color and cute, and these are both, but they are also a meaningful activity that incorporates some higher level thinking by having students think about the numbers and move the puzzle pieces around until they all fit together. 
Math Puzzles CCSS Aligned 4.NBT.4

First I took the regular Magic Squares that we have all used for years and “fixed” them up a bit. My Math Puzzles are designed for groups of 4, with each student getting a different Puzzle Sheet. No more having to cut the pieces out yourself and paper clip together for each student. Also, every 4 students will have a different puzzle and you will have the answer sheet for a quick check. This is how it works for me.

Math Puzzles 4.NBT.4 
In the picture you see a Teacher Answer Sheet #1 and a Scrambled Squares for Students # 1. The fonts match on the TA Sheet 1-4 and the Scrambled Student Sheet 1-4. I put the 4 TA sheets on a Clipboard to carry with me so I can monitor my students working out the problems.

Students working in journals using Math Puzzles 4.NBT.4

The picture above shows two different students' work. After cutting out their squares, they get to work. The math problems align with the common core standard 4.NBT.4. They are working the math problems out in their journals (showing their work.) I ask them to write the answers on the math puzzle pieces because it makes putting the puzzle together easier. 

Notice one Student pasted the I Can Statement at the top of her puzzle page. This is required and is included in the Math Puzzle 4.NBT.4 packet. ( I always include PAM somewhere in the  puzzle.) They love it!

This student went to another page where she had some extra room (to save her paper) and starting working her problems out. The journals are graded every 9 weeks and kept to show students growth.

You can see where this student has written her answers in with pencil.

The 4 different fonts keep the students from glancing over at what someone else is doing. All students have the same 31 problems that match 4.NBT.6 but they are scrambled up!

Some students work methodically. 

These are finished squares from 5th grade.

After finishing, I check their work by just looking at my 4 clipboard pages. Then they glue the squares and color. Some students never get to the coloring part because they might work slower than others. To differentiate by giving some students less problems to work with, just take off the bottom 4 squares from your Teacher Answer Sheet. When the student has cut all of his out, take those bottom pieces away. It gives the same practice but with fewer problems to do which would be helpful with some students who cannot process so many at one time.

Hope this helps with your classroom activities. Email me with any questions for comments! Next time I'll show of the work we are doing with task cards.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Higher Order Thinking?

New Post, New Year! I don't know about everyone else, but my school is pushing Rigor, with higher order thinking questioning.

This is what we were doing last year at this time. I thought my students were doing great. They were reading, writing, and finally could color! Got to have color.

Now I am rethinking what my students should be doing at this time of the year. They are mostly still 5 and 6 years old. They love school and learning - but am I pushing them to the higher level of learning. I am looking at the questions that go along with the Bloom's Task Wheel that everyone in my school has. 

I need to get to the top of the wheel (pyramid) more, but with little Ks who are just now beginning to APPLY the knowledge they have learned, it might be more difficult than someone looking in might think.

How do you get your Ks to climb to the top of the Bloom's chart? I would love some feedback on this.