Friday, February 4, 2011
Week 21: Love is in the Air in February
As far as my “HeidiSongs Life” is concerned, I will be traveling to Oklahoma City very soon, for the SDE Oklahoma Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers Conference. If any of you live nearby, I would love to meet you there! So if you can get a day off to attend a fun conference that is directed specifically at YOUR grade level, that is the place to be! I just hope that the weather allows me to travel as planned!
1. Sweet Sight Word Surprise and Color By Sight Word Worksheet
http://heidisongs.blogspot.com/2010/09/whats-working-week-five.html) I posted an idea for something I called the “Secret Sight Word Surprise.” In this activity, you prepare the papers ahead of time by writing some different sight words on them with a white crayon. Then the children water color the paper, and as they do, the word becomes visible, since it is essentially a water color resist! Although my children have by now discovered the secret of how it works, I thought that they would enjoy another one, and we do need to work on identifying certain sight words that look similar, such as “they,” “that,” “this,” and “with.” So I made another one of these for you with a Valentine’s Day theme, and decided to call it the “Sweet Sight Word Surprise.” I have also discovered that the Roseart brand white crayons don’t show up as much on the white paper as the Crayola brand crayons do, so the Roseart crayons are better for writing the words on the paper ahead of time since that way the kids really can’t see the word until they start painting. The Crayola brand crayons are such a high quality that the white definitely shows up on the white paper. The high quality crayons are great- just not for this particular activity!
I decided to also turn it into a Color by Sight Word worksheet, and I have included this as a free download for you as well today! I hope that you enjoy using it.
You may also wish to take a look at another idea that I posted on my HeidiSongs Facebook page this week. We did some magnetic marble painting on some heart stencils that I punched out with the Ellison Die Cut machine that we have at school. The children LOVED this activity, and it is really different marble painting with magnetic marbles rather than regular marbles because the kids can control where the marble is going. I even posted a little video clip of one little girl as she paints. It’s pretty fascinating to watch the marble dance around; the paint really splatters in a different sort of way than it does when the marble is merely rolling around using gravity.
2. This Is What Happens When Your Students Have the DVD’s at Home (AKA: This is How You Can Get Free Stuff from HeidiSongs!)
I am blessed enough to be able to give each of my students a DVD to use at home at the beginning of the year. I know that this situation is unique to me, but the reason I am telling you this is so that you may not know what can happen when children have access to the CD’s or DVD’s at home.
At the beginning of the school year, I send home Sing and Spell DVD's with all of my students. Of course, I don't have any way of knowing how many of their parents let them watch them or not, but I know for sure that lots of them DO watch! I give them a combo pack on the first day of school. Some of the kids learned just about everything on there immediately, particularly those whose parents reported that they were "obsessing" over it, and watched it a couple of times a day. I also send home the Sing & Spell Vol. 4 DVD a month or two later, and the Sing & Spell Vol. 5 DVD for Christmas.
One little girl in my class came in knowing most (but not all) of the sounds and letters, but not yet reading. She was still four years old, and wouldn't turn five until October. Her mom said that she LOVED the DVD and would watch it several times a day. She even told me the other day that she gets up every morning at 6:00 AM, before everyone else in the house is even awake, and watches at least one DVD before school! This particular little girl was obviously very bright, but very shy. In small groups when I would ask the children what a word was, she always knew the answer. So after about three or four weeks of school, I pulled her aside and tried to test her on her sight words. At first, she said, "I don't know" to almost all of them, but by then I knew to wait a minute and give her some time. I showed her my testing page and said, "Are there any words here on the page that you know?" She pointed to the word "to" and said, "To, to!" while pulling a pretend train whistle with her hand. (This is one of the motions from the "To song!) Once I got her going, she identified TWENTY sight words for me, just like that- with barely any hesitation! I was thrilled, and went ahead and put her into my group of children that started Kindergarten already reading. I talked to her mom about it, and told her that since the other four children in that group were already way ahead, I would send home the guided reading books for her to preview and practice at home over the weekend so that she would be better able to keep up with the pace of the rest of the group. Also, since she was so shy, I wanted to build up her confidence as much as possible to allow her to participate as much as she could. After about a month of guided reading lessons and practicing at home, she was reading FLUENTLY. Her mom told me that she was practicing reading at home twice a day- once with mom, and once with dad. Neither parent is a teacher, but between the three of us and the DVD’s, this child has gone from non-reader to reader in a VERY short time!
If you would like to get your students some DVD’s to watch at home, there are a couple of ways you can go about this. One way would be to talk to your principal about creating a lending library of DVD’s. Make sure that you make a back-up copy of each DVD before you send it home, though! Another way would be to send a note with parents telling them what you recommend from my website and why. The third way to do this is to collect the orders yourself! All you have to do is create a note for your parents that tells them what products you recommend for your students, and collect the money. (If they write a check, have them make it out to you, and then you can write me one check for the total.) Then mail me your order, and include a note that says that this is an order from your classroom and that you are a HeidiSongs Blog reader. I will pay the sales tax and shipping for you so that you don’t have to worry about collecting that or how much it would be. For every 10 items that you order, you can choose one $15 HeidiSongs product for yourself as my thank you gift to you for your trouble! If you have any questions, you can email my husband at email@example.com, and he'll be happy to help you with any of the details.
3. Valentine’s Day Bug Art Project
But I wanted to go ahead and give you the patterns for this project with plenty of time for you to make them with your class for the holiday, so if you are interested, just look for some pics of how ours turned out on Facebook. And please post some of yours, too!
4. Sight Word Secret Code
Originally, I had created these worksheets using DJ Inker’s clip art, so I had to pull her copyrighted artwork out and put my artwork in it in order to share this idea with you today. I hope that you enjoy using them with your students!
5. We love the GET song!
For the Sing and Spell Vol. 5 CD and DVD, I wrote a song for the word, “get” because this is a word that pops up a lot in one of our supplemental reading series books. But I wanted it to also function as an “end of the day classroom management” type of song that I could play to signal the children to go and get their things. And I think that I accomplished this! The kids love it and respond to it very well! And though we don’t use it every single day, when we do use it, it is very effective in getting them to get their things as quickly as possible and sit down so that they are ready to go home ASAP.
In the song, there are three verses. So on the first verse, I send my last two rows of children to get their things, (rows four and five,) then on the second verse rows three and two go. Row one gets their things on the last verse. It’s fun! And if you do it right, you can get your entire class seated and ready to go in 60 seconds, because the song is only one minute long! But I do ALWAYS (at least try to) have everybody packed up with their binders and belongings stuffed into their backpacks well ahead of dismissal time, preferably before I release them for their inside playtime. No one can play until they are packed up and ready to go home. Otherwise, it can take us a good 15 minutes to get everyone packed up at the end of the day, since there is just no motivation for them to move quickly. It really is even better to pass their papers out to be tucked into their backpacks early in the day before lunch. If we have one center rotation that doesn’t quite fill the entire 20 minutes, then I have those children get their binders when they are done with that center and zip them into their backpacks. That way, there are only a few kids at the cubbies at a time trying to pack up. Packing up ahead of time when the children are motivated to move quickly is one of my best “tricks” for maximizing classroom time in Kindergarten.