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You are Cordially Invited to the Wedding of Q & U

This week we prepared for the wedding of the letters Q and U to make the "qu" sound. IMG_1048 Many arrangements were made. The vowels were invited and presents for the bride and groom were made. Girls wore veils and carried flowers and the boys wore top hats. The bridal party marched down the aisle to Cannon in D as the shushers held Quiet signs. The flower girl threw the paper letters and our principal conducted the ceremony.

IMG_1063We started having this ceremony last year to help remind our students that Q always needs U during spelling. The week leading IMG_1035 up to the ceremony, we did activities and read books that helped the students understand the concept. One of the activities is a word blend sorting. I made index   cards that have words begin with "qu", "th", "sh", and "ch" blends. I have the students sort the words and then type the words onto an alphasmart.

After the ceremony, we opened the gifts that the students made for Q and U. The students brought in quarters, Quaker oats, Q-tips, a quarterback, quills, a quilt, and a crown fit for a queen. The students had a blast during the ceremony. They enjoyed sharing their gifts with the class and they will always remember the wedding of Q and U!

100th Day of School Activities

It amazed me this week when my class celebrated our 100th day of school. Every year after the holidays, my mom always says "now the rest of the school year is going to fly by". She's right. I feel like we just had our winter break but instead, I'm looking for 100th day activities and searching for Valentine's Day activities.

For our 100th day celebration, I asked the students bring in 100 items from home. I asked the students to group the items by 10s and mount the items on a poster board. IMG_0864 Some of the items the students brought in were 100 pennies, 100 balloons, 100 buttons, and 100 green items. I allowed each student to briefly share their poster to the class. During math, I had the students count the items on each poster. We rotated around the classroom allowing each student to count each classmates items. I heard students counting by 1s, 5s, and 10s. I had the students rotate with a partner. I saw many groups working together IMG_0870 and helping each other count. The students loved counting their friends items. After the students had a chance with each poster, I laid all the posters on the floor and we counted by 100s to discover we had 1000 items. My class thought it was "very cool" that we had 1000 items in our classroom. I like to show them how much 1000 looks like.


At computer, the students created 100 items using Kidspix. Our computer lab teacher had a template for the students to use. The template had 10 boxes required the students to fill each box with 10 imagines from Kidspix. Here are some examples:

IMG_0872    IMG_0873

Writing Center

Img_0376 This year I started a writing center in my classroom and my students can't get enough of it. The writing center is a small circle table near the word wall. I placed the writing center near the word wall so the students can find words on it to use. On one of the first days of school, I had the students gather near the word wall and I shut all the lights off. I had been given a laser pointer and I used it to show the students how the word wall could be used. Now when the students are at the writing center they can use the word wall as an additional resource.

I organized a shelf near the table that is filled with greeting cards, envelopes, stationary, writing paper, blank paper, stickers, clip boards, stencils, and a mailbox. I had everyone I know saving the suppliesImg_0377  over the summer. I spent many hours in the beginning of the school year organizing this shelf. I have picture labeled baskets so the student know where everything belongs with it comes time to clean up. On the table I have a Lazy Susan that contains crayons, markers, pencils and colored pencils. I also have a small white board where I write words the students could use or hang up picture dictionary pages that go along with our theme.

During our afternoon centers, the students have a choice to visit the writing table. At first I told the students no more than four students at the center, but once the writing center became popular I allowed more students there. Some days I have eight students crowded around the table. It never becomes out of control because the students are so focused on their pictures or letters.When the students are visiting the writing center I always push for them to use their imagination. I encourage them to color the entire paper and add as much detail as possible. As the students finish their work, they put their work in an envelope and put it in our mailbox. I made the mailbox out of a shoe box and decorated it. I cut a hole on top of the shoe box for the students to slide their mail into the mail box.

Before the students go home at the end of the day I deliver the mail. The students sit on the carpet as I hand out the mail. The students sometimes bring the letters home to their parents or they give their friends gifts. The students enjoy time spent at the writing center. Lately, I have been having students bringing letters from home to put in our school mailbox!

Centers

Today, I started rotating reading centers with my class for the first time. My school requires a 90 minute reading block in our schedule. For 60 of those minutes, I do centers with my students. I group my students according to their level and provide centers focusing on reading. Throughout the year I change my centers constantly. I try not to let my students become bored with the 60 minutes.

Library

One center I never change is guided reading time with myself. During this time, I can read with a group (3-4 students) that are on the same reading level. This is one of my favorite times of the day. It allows me to focus on the needs of the student. I feel that reading with a small group is sometimes better than one-on-one time. The students learn from each other. I usually read a short book each day with each group. Some days, I switch it up and turn the guided reading time into reading games. Nothing sparks interest than a friendly competition.

Another center I have is seatwork. During this time, the students can work independently on a small assignment. Normally, I have the students work on class books or writing assignments (later in the school year). I provide each student with a picture dictionary that contains words they can use during this time. Each page has 8-10 words with a picture describing it. I put the dictionaries in binders that allow the students to add pages in throughout the year. At the end of the year, I allow the students to take home the dictionary pages to use at home during the summer.

Computers

One center that the students never become bored with is computers. I have three computers in my classroom. Some groups have four students. I simply have the students share one computer. This year I started the center on Starfall.com. For those of you who do not know about Starfall, I strongly suggest checking it out. I used this site with my students last year for the last six months of school. They never became bored! I know some adults who spend time playing on Starfall. One suggest for the computer center: earphones. If you have access to earphones, I would use them. The earphones help with the noise level in the classroom.

Abcgames

Another center I have is actually two centers in one. At this time, I split the group in half. Half goes to listening center and the other half goes to ABC games. I like using 2-3 students at listening because the students sometimes become cramped with four students crowded around a small table. I change the book weekly. The alphabet games are always changing. This week I have the students sorting upper case letters and lower case letters. One website that provides alphabet centers is Kelly's Kindergarten.

Alphasmarts

My last center is alphasmarts. In the beginning of the year, I only have my students type the alphabet or classmate's names. As the year goes on, the students type sight words, poems, or word families. Today, the rotating centers went smoothly. I only had the students spend ten minutes at each center. I allowed more time for transitions because I wanted the students to learn how to correctly go from center to center. I will use the rest of the week to go over center procedures and by next week we should be rotating smoothly.   

Read about other teachers' centers here!

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