Earth Day Activities for Kindergarten

I'm popping in to share some activities we did this week for Earth Day!

The FDK expectations we focused on were...

S3.2 describe what would happen if something in the local environment changed

S3.3 identify ways in which they can care for and show respect for the environment

We started by activating schema and figuring out our misconceptions...

Then we read some books and watched some videos to broaden and deepen our understanding of the ways we can care for the Earth and why we do it.

Here are the links to for the videos:

Going Green by Harry Kindergarten
Happy Earth Day by Betsy's Kindergarten Adventures
The Lorax (Original) by Dr. Seuss

We also did this writing + craft and put it up in the hall.
I got the idea from Michelle of Apples & ABC's.
You can see the original pictures here.

Here they are out in the hall!

On Earth Day we made these Earth day hats that the kids loved!

If you would like to download the template for the crown you can click here.

We also learned about composting as a way of reducing garbage.

I picked through our garbage can after snack (with plastic gloves on of course!) and showed them some of the things we can compost (I was lucky that they had lots of healthy snacks that day and we found cantaloupe rinds, orange peels and banana peels!) then we made our little compost critter! The kids are excited to see how the food scraps will change as it decomposes!

This compost critter activity is in Cara Carroll's Earthy Day pack "What a Wonderful World!"
You can find it on TpT here.

I hope you can use some of these ideas for next year!

What are your favourite Earth Day activities?

Liebster Award

I'm finally getting around to accepting and answering questions for the Liebster Award I recieved!

The Liebster Award is a way for newer bloggers (with less than 200 followers) who have great content, to link up, meet other bloggers and share a little about themselves! I was nominated by Laura from Luv My Kinders and Jayme from Teach.Talk.Inspire. Thank you Laura and Jayme! I am so flattered to be chosen by the two of you :)

Here are the answers to the 10 questions I recieved:

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?

I started in August 2014! I had been blog stalking my favourite bloggers for years so I decided to try it out! I thought, even if nobody read my blog I could use it as a way to document my teaching and have an online portfolio!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Sharing. It really makes me happy and I feel honoured when someone tells me they are able to use my products or ideas that I share on this blog in their classroom.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?

Nothing yet!

4. What is your favourite past time other than blogging?

Well that's a hard one... because I'm basically glued to my computer or phone all the time! I do like to shop and dine out :)

5. How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog?

It really depends on the week but usually an hour or two every other day and usually a little more on the weekends so maybe 6-8 hours on average?

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?

I really love practical ideas I can implement in my classroom! I love seeing hands-on lessons and ideas for centres! And since I teach FDK in Ontario, I love seeing and reading about what other Ontario FDK teachers are doing that align with the vision and curriculum in our province!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?

From my class! I always blog about things we are doing in class so all my ideas and products come from their needs and interests.

7. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?

I really loved teaching 3D figures this year so I have to say my post "Teaching 3D Figures in FDK".

8. Is there any post that you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?

My blog to-do list is always a mile long but I do want to share about my home reading program sometime soon!

9. What is your favourite aspect of blogging?

Being able to connect with other educators and learning new ideas.

10.  Which idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?   

Since Mother's day is coming up I am planning to try one of these two ideas!
Which do you like better? 
(Or maybe I should just do both?)

Personalized Notecards by Kindergarten Smiles

Mother's Day Craft from Food, Love & Life

My Nominations

1. Alexis from Mrs. Hudgens Hears a Who

2. Laura from TCHR888

3. Stacy from Made With Love

4. Melanie from A Trendy Teacher

5. Mrs. M from Color Me Kinder

6. Gabby from Gabby's Classrooms

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting: 

1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out." (Follow their blog if you haven't already!)  

2. Answer the 10 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).

3. Nominate 5-11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above. 

4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept. 

5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below).

Peek at My Week: April 6-10

I am joining Deedee at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek At My Week linky for the first time!

Basically you share your timetable and what you are going to teach.
Let me say Deedee is a superwoman for putting these up every single week!
I was able to do one because it's a long weekend but I don't think I could commit to every week...
They are a lot of work to put together!

Here are some things you need to know about my timetable...

I work with an amazing ECE who does a lot of the input for our inquiries.
I usually work with my LLI group during this time.
She is away on Friday so I will be skipping my LLI group that day and will be teaching a lesson on living things.

Also for the SMARTBoard Calendar we do a very short version.
I use the monthly calendars from this website.
At the beginning of the month we talk about special events of the month (holidays, birthdays etc.) and we write those in.

For every other day, we review the month, we add the date and then we add a day to the "How Many Days Have We Been in School?" slide.  I made this slide up by myself.  I will try to get a screenshot and share the file when I get access to my school computer!

*Please click on the picture and download the pdf for clickable links to all of the resources I use!

You can click here to read more about my Shared Reading and Independent Writing routines.

We have just wrapped up graphing and did a quick review on addition so I'm busy assessing this week to see where the kids need more practice! I will form more guided math groups based on the assessment data I gather this week.

I don't have enough pictures to share the language and math-based centres that I put out so I will try to get pictures this week and have that ready for next week's peek at my week! (I'm hoping to link up again next week!!)

Have a great week!


Shared Reading & Independent Writing


Today I wanted to share how I run my shared reading and independent writing block. Now I'm going to explain how I run it at this point in the year.  I don't add independent writing in usually until January.

We do Shared Reading period 2.
(To see my timetable click here for a peek at my week!)
We clean-up centres and meet at the carpet.
We introduce the special helper (we just go in attendance order) and the helper leads the class with the songs.  We sing two songs everyday "Do You Know Your Alphabet?" by Harry Kindergarten and "Do You Know These Letter Sounds?" by Barbra Milne.

You can click on the pictures below to view them on YouTube!

While the special helper leads the songs I pull the students who will be working on independent writing to a table.  This is a group of students who have already mastered letter names, letter sounds and most pre-primer sight words.  I pick this group based on their reading level and independent writing skills. This year I have 6 students working at this level.  

We have a routine we follow so that some of the writing is predictable and they can be as independent as possible.

It goes like this:

Monday: What did you do on the weekend?
Tuesday: A reading response from the week's close read.
Wednesday: A reading response from the week's close read.
Thursday: Comprehension check or  reading response from the week's close read.
Friday: Free Choice

I get my close reading texts and reading response questions from Deanna Jump and DeeDee Wills' Reader's Workshop units, "Guiding Readers". You can see the April version on TpT by clicking on the image below.

I quickly go over today's writing task with the group. I have them orally respond to the question so that I know they have an idea and help those who need it get started.

Usually by this time the songs are ending and I need to scoot back to the carpet to teach Shared Reading. We do a sight word poem a week. I get my poem from this resource:

The Kindergarten teacher I volunteered for my first year out of teacher's college used these poems and I have used them ever since! I have the digital version which I have converted into a SMARTNotebook file so that we can read and fill in the poem on the SMARTBoard.
This has saved me so much time because I don't have to write out the poems on chart paper every week!

We also have a schedule we follow with these poems.

Monday: Introduce the new poem/sight word.  Sing the sight word song. Learn the path of motion for the letters in the sight word.  Fill in the sight words in the poem.  Add the sight word to the word wall.

Tuesday: I read the poem pointing to each word.  Then I read a line and the students repeat.  We continue until the whole poem is read.  Then we read choral read the whole poem together.

Wednesday:  We choral read the poem again and focus on a phonics skill.

Thursday: We add actions to the words as a class and practice reading the poem with the actions.

Friday: We practice by reading girls only, boys only, JKs only, SKs only or voices like read it in your best sad voice, mad voice, happy voice, pirate voice, grandma/grandpa voice, silly voice, sleepy voice, robot voice, whisper voice, scared voice, underwater voice etc! I have cards that have these prompts and the special helper comes and picks 2 and we do those groups or voices :)

When Shared Reading is done I ask my friends working at the table to put their writing books away.  If they finish early they come and join us on the carpet for Shared Reading.  If they are not quite done they have the choice of finishing it at centre time or finishing it at independent writing time the next day.

And there you have it!
Lots of differentiated learning crammed into a short 25 minute block!

How do you teach "whole group" language?

Have a great week!


April Currently

I'm one day late.. I completely forgot about Farley's monthly Currently linky!
If I didn't see Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do's post about it on Instagram I would of missed it!
Thanks Jenn!

Here's my currently!

Listening: D left Sports Centre on and left for hockey and it was on when I first started typing up my currently but I've turned it off.. Some people like working with TV or music in the background but I just love the silence! 

Loving: I'm soooo excited about this 4 day weekend.. mostly because I have so much time to myself! The only plans we have are going out to dinner on Saturday night! Looking forward to getting lots of stuff checked off my school/blog/TpT to-do list!

Thinking: So we have been house hunting this last couple of weeks and it has been so hard to make dinners on the days we go see houses! We typically go to showings between 6 and 8 so by the time we get home we just want to go to bed! Having groceries bought and quick and easy dinners are the name of the game! We have dinner already planned for tomorrow and Saturday but I'm going to start planning for next week and get a grocery list ready to go for Sunday!

Here are two quick and easy dinners that D and I LOVE!
I hope you try them!

And if you have any quick and easy dinner please leave a link to the recipe in the comments! I would love to check them out!!

Wanting: Ok so I'm one of those people who love working on school stuff (I know other bloggers can relate!) D always says stop working and to take a break but if it wasn't for him I would sit in front of the computer/laminator/day book and work all day long! I brought a lot of work home but I am going to try to pace myself and not be a workaholic all weekend!

Needing: Thursdays are lesson plan days! Even though I have two extra days this weekend I want to get them done tonight so I can focus on other stuff for the rest of the weekend!

EGGS-plain your name: I guess I already explained it but I decided on "A Pinch of Kinder" because I thought it would explain my blog well, I'm sharing "a pinch" of my "kinder"garden life! I originally wanted "The Kinder Project" because I love "The Mindy Project" and it had a nice ring to it but it was already taken.. oh well! 

That's it!
Go link up with Farley to share your currently too!