October 5, 2011 by k. liz
(but first, just FYI . . .)
noun, plural -tus·es, -tus.
1. a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.
2. a good sounding name for a flower or fish
3. what I am taking this week from my Lifelong Learning series.
In our classroom:
1. Getting creative with playdough:
So, playdough has quickly become one of my best friends in my kindergarten classroom. Who knew that book time would take 10 minutes and playdough 45? Not me, but I am so glad! We’ve started getting more and more creative with playdough in my classroom so that playdough time is always fun and something different.
Every day I mix up what we do with the playdough. Sometimes, I give the kids blocks and have them try to make houses (that part only lasts about 5 minutes, but you’d never guess how fun it is to make grilled cheese toast out of playdough!) Other times I will give them buttons, sometimes only one or two, sometimes they can choose however many they want. Sometimes I give them little sticks that are used for counting games. I really like giving them googly eyes, they come up with such creative things with those! I also like to give them a background and challenge them to create a picture with the playdough. In these pictures you’ll see that I gave them a road and a sky, but I’ve also given them the outline of faces and had them make the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Here are some examples of my kids playdough creations:
2. Discipline Solutions:
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this or not, but I have 10 boys and 2 girls in my classroom. Almost every spare moment and every activity has something to do with Cars. I also may or may not have mentioned that my students have a lot of energy, not very much of which is channeled in listening to me or following my directions. So, we have implemented a new form of discipline in the classroom, and so far it has proven to be quite helpful. Each student has a car that starts out the day on green. If they are bad, they move to yellow which means they have to sit for 5 minutes during play time. If they are really bad, they move to red, which means that they cannot go to the playground. In my classroom, those are pretty high stakes, so the concept is working more or less. I still have a few students that don’t care all that much, or don’t fully understand. But, overall, green, yellow and red are far easier for my students to grasp than constantly repeating the rules to them. Also, if the kids do something good in the classroom, I may or may not move them back a color.
My school places a very high priority on brainstorming, but in a bilingual classroom, that can be really difficult. So, I have been trying to introduce the idea of brainstorming so that when we have more usable language, we will be able to easily complete brainstorming tasks. One such preparation activity that we did this week was sorting shapes. I know that this isn’t brainstorming per se, but being able to sort ideas and put things into categories is a good first step in my opinion.
I forget the website I found these on, but they have got to be the easiest puppets ever, and students can decorate them however they want, for any animal! All you need to do is take a piece of paper (the ones I used in class were probably about 5 inches by 4 inches or so, but below is a full A-4 sized paper.) Fold the paper into thirds lengthwise. Now you should have one long piece of paper. Next, fold the long piece of paper into a W shape. Now, you can insert your fingers in the openings, add eyes and anything else you want. We made frogs to go with the rhyme “I had a dog, I have a cat, I’ve got a frog inside my hat.” We also made classic Columbus hats and put the frogs inside to practice.
5. A Website for you: http://dreamenglish.com/videos/bodypartsong
There are a bunch of free songs and ideas on this website. This particular link will take you to the “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” song. My friend at school graciously found this for me, so I could save my voice the 200 rounds of this song that we sing a week!