Kindergarten Teacher

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Interactive Notebook: Beginning of the Year

Last year I started the interactive notebook mid year and it was a big success! If you want to know more about the interactive notebook please read about it here. I wanted to share how I started the notebook this year. Here are examples of the first entries…

We talk about balance and stability in the class meaning that it is a safe and fun environment for learning.

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My class only one rule. We talk about expectations and being brave.

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What is our mission in Kindergarten. The kids came up with their ideas and we worked together to create this video.

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Learning about the pledge. They were asked to draw a symbol of our country.

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Hand Washing System. The icons were mixed up on their side and they had to put them in the correct order.

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School Leaders

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Labeling the parts of a flashlight

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“Needs and wants” lesson

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Magnetic or Non-magnetic

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Realistic drawings

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Oil, water and honey experiment.

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When should we call 911?

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Bus safety

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Wonder Journal: First Activity of the Day

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I started using a Wonder Journal each morning this year. When the kids walk into the room I have an image and a word written on the board (see below). They unpack and then grab their journal and start wondering. They can use words, pictures or both to document their thinking. After the tardy bell rings the kids leave their journal on the table and sit on the carpet for the school announcements. Then I let the kids share with me what they have been wondering. The questions/wonders they have been sharing are amazing and they lead to some great discussions. After sharing for a few minutes we then watch a video about the wonder. Most days the image and video comes from Wonderopolis. Each morning I check the Wonderopolis sight and use the “wonder of the day” or pick from this list of 50 great wonders. Wonderopolis even includes a wonder gallery of images for each one so I have everything I need in one place. I decided not to display the actual Wonderopolis website on the board when they walk in because I don’t want the kids limited in their wondering by reading the “wonder of the day.” Having only the image about the topic has worked best so far for me. After our discussion and watching the video the kids go back to their journal to wonder some more or document their learning. This also allows time for kids that don’t arrive before the bell to get something in their journal. I am very happy with this process so far. The kids are excited to walk in and see the wonder, unpack quickly to get started and are engaged and thinking first thing every morning.

Example of what I have on the screen as they arrive each day. This is from the polar bear wonder.

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This is the journal. It has 20 blank pages (completely blank) and paper binding. Anything simple would work for this

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Sample page from the Where is the fastest roller coaster wonder. His wonder was how do they go so fast. 

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Sample pages from “What is the Hottest Planet wonder…

“I wonder why the sun is so bright.” 

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“I wonder why this one has a red spot”

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Red arrow shows the “Wonder Gallery” where I find the images most days. 

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50 Great Wonders From Wonderopolis For Primary Grades

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I have written several posts (herehere, and here) about using Wonderopolis in my classroom so I decided to put together some of the top wonders for young children. They now have over 968 “wonders of the day” so I hope this “top 50” list will be a good start for you to use in your class. Special thanks to Jon Fines for helping to put together this list! If you ever have any questions about the site or how to incorporate it into your class he is a great person to contact! Happy Wondering!

Click the image above or This Link to see the wonders.

**If you have iPads you can easily make Wonderopolis an app icon (see here)

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Interactive Notebook: 16 Example Pages

My class finished their first interactive notebook so I thought I would share what those pages looked like. If you want to know more about the notebook itself please look HERE and HERE and HERE

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The last two pages this student was sick so I will explain the page. This page they were asked to cut out the butterfly life cycle images and glue them in order on their side (left) and label them with the ordinal words and numbers using the examples on the right side.

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Expected job was to write as many verbs as they could think of. Some made a list and others made a word web.

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Insects and the Interactive Notebook

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Here is another example of how I am using the interactive notebook (read more about it here). I am really in love with this new tool for showing learning in my class. We are discussing insects this week and the first thing we did is go outside and look for insects. We found crickets, pill bugs, ladybugs and a few crawly things but the highlight was the stink bug pictured above. I know we were lucky to find such a great insect but using a real example that the class found themselves really added to the excitement. Once we had them in the room we used those discoveries to begin to learn “what is an insect.” Through discussion and by sharing the “rules” to be an insect they learned that some of the things they had found were insect and some were not. To demonstrate their knowledge of the topic we used the interactive notebook. The image above was printed for each child and they glued it on the teacher side of their journal. I also printed a set of images for them to organize on their side of the journal… some were insects and some were not (printable below). My instructions to the kids were show me what is and insect and what is not. A few examples are below. Since I didn’t give specific directions on HOW to show their thinking you can see that the kids had several ideas that all are creative yet show they have an understanding of the topic. We used the Skitch app to label the image above and the insects are spending some time in our living center so we can observe them more.

Download Insect/Not Insect Printable Here and Download Teacher Side Image Here 

One of my favorite examples, the student first made a Venn diagram and then realized he didn’t need the middle part so marked it out. Learning through mistakes and practice.

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The image below the student wrote 6 and “not 6” by making an x through the 6. Love the thinking!

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Kindergarten Tweets with Weather Experts

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My class had a unique and fun experience on twitter recently when they were able to tweet with two local weather experts. It all started when I tweeted to several news stations asking if they would be interested in tweeting with my Kindergarten class. I think reaching out to these experts on twitter is much more effective than email because the people you are looking for need to be familiar with the tool anyway. Thankfully I got a response from two news stations and I worked with them to set up the tweeting. Twitter is a great way to connect with experts because it is not time sensitive allowing them to respond whenever they have a chance. I told them my class was used to waiting for responses on twitter and that as long as they would respond within around 48 hours it would work for us. Mr. Delkus from Channel 8 in Dallas agreed and we sent him several tweets that he responded to the next day and he even responded to a follow-up question they had. Ms. Shade from NBC Channel 5 in Dallas also agreed to tweet but was willing to do a live tweet session with my class. We spent about 20 minutes sending tweets back and forth with her on twitter. You can see some of the tweets below.

After tweeting we wrote in our interactive journals and also the kids made books about weather on the iPad

The highlights for me…

* The look on the girls face when they realized one of our weather experts was a girl!

* Showing my class that you can connect with experts

* Introducing my class to people passionate about science

* My class seeing some of the technology used by weather experts

* Tracking the weather forecast Mr. Delkus gave us

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