Thursday, February 25, 2016

The best kind of movement break in preschool:
Today was spent on individual reading groups.  It is so fun to watch these kids learn and master new sight words and phonics concepts.  We added to our writing journals and spent the rest of the time talking about Decimal Street.  Today I really focused on how when we look at a number we need to "see" the "units house" and the "tens" house.  We're tying to make the connection between the written number and the base ten blocks.  Think of the number 16.  You know that if you were to make the number with base 10 blocks you'd have 6 units and 1 stick of ten.  That is what we're aiming for - we're not there yet, but we'll keep working on it until we can build numbers to 99!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sight Words and Base Ten Practice

We had such a focused day today in preschool.  All the kids are working on their own set of sight words so I pulled out our iPads and set them up on TeachMe: Kindergarten.  I LOVE this app.  As the teacher or parent you can select what topics you want the kids to practice and how many correct answers they need to earn a reward.  I always choose 9 correct answers (the highest amount) and adjust the topic according to what we are working on.  Today I made it so they were only practicing the sight word list that was appropriate.  The kids LOVED having their turn practicing their sight words and it made it super easy for me to work with the reading groups.
We are still learning about tens and units and how they represent written numerals.  Today the goal was to play a matching game for the numbers 1-12.  It is so important to remember that different kids pick up ideas in different ways and at different speeds.  This game was fun for some but boring for others.  Some kids sped through it and others needed to take their time.  However, all were successful.  I was excited to find that three of our kids today were ready to work on the full set of numbers 1-20.  I sent home the cards to practice, but please send them back because we'll be working on them on Thursday!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I feel like we really hit a great groove today in school.  We have 3 reading groups now.  One is working on reading comprehension and long vowels, another is working on the second set of sight words and will start long vowels soon, and the third is mastering the first set of sight words.  It was so nice to have lessons that matched exactly for each student today.  Yay!  We spent time writing in our journals and then moved into math.  Today we only had one Decimal Street tornado before we built the numbers 1-20 one at a time on our Decimal Street pages.  It's still a very tricky concept to understand place value and how when you have ten units they can't all fit in the unit's "house" so they have to be traded in for a stick of ten.  We'll keep working through it and hopefully tens and units will make sense soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Decimal Street Tornadoes

Today was filled with mini assessments and finishing up past reading units and book sets that we've been working on for a while.  Now we're more organized and ready to start next Thursday with new reading goals that are appropriate for each child.  We had a fun birthday celebration and then moved on to working with tens and units.  I love how Math U See introduces tens and units in their Primer book (certainly a great curriculum for preschool and kinder homeschool kids).  We watched a short segment of the DVD from the curriculum and learned about Decimal Street.  On Decimal Street there are houses for each place value.  The house at the far right is for the units (or ones).  They are the little square blocks.  The house next to it (on the left) is for the tens (or rods or sticks).  We can add more houses later, but this is as far as we go for now.  Each child got their own print out of Decimal Street and a few Base 10 blocks (tens and units).  Then came the tornadoes.  We made tornado noises as we scrambled up all the blocks.  When the tornado ended we had to put everyone back into their correct houses.  It's such a fun way to start sorting through tens and units!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love celebrating friendships in correlation with Valentine's Day.  We started our preschool Valentine party with an art free for all.  With access to all the paper, scissors, glue, markers, crayons, and sticker hearts the kids made Valentines for family and friends.
 We read a fun Valentine book and then passed out Valentine's to all our friends.  I LOVE how much the parents really help at home by having the kids practice writing their own name and sometimes even writing the other kids names.  I also love that our classroom community leads to them being able to read each others names and pass out their items with relatively little help.  Plus, these parents are super creative!  Way to go guys!  I'm fairly certain the kids thought this was the best day ever.
We enjoyed some cupcakes for a special snack time and the nice upper 60 degree weather we're having for a bit today.  Then we headed back inside to work on our reading and writing.  We had such a fun day filled with art and smiles, giggles and reading.  Have a great Valentine's Weekend!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bronco Fever

The energy the kids brought today was awesome.  They were SO excited to share all about what they did during the "Bronco Video" (totally unsolicited by the way).  The Super Bowl was strong enough in their minds that many of them wrote about the game, how they ate food and played with the neighbors or family.  They wrote about players by name even and talked about the gold trophy.  I was happy that I set out writing first so they had the opportunity to share what was on their mind.  Not everyone was in the frenzy but they all had something to share!
 To help with our wiggles we were animals and danced to the Freeze Dance.  Then we got down to business working on our reading.  We were a bit sluggish and less likely to utilize strategies without first asking for an answer the easy way.  We worked through it and had a mini lesson on what strategies we can use when we get to a word we don't know.
This month we will be working on representing numerals with manipulatives.  Today was a free play with the base ten blocks so that we can dive into using them as a useful tool in future lessons.