Monday, September 22, 2014

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? Art and Writing

Your students are sure to dig these designer dinosaurs! If you're following the Journeys curriculum in Kindergarten, you know that How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? is the extended text in lesson two. This book is perfect for discussions about school rules and manners.

Here's how you can make your own designer dinosaurs. I found easy directions for how to draw a dinosaur in this book. Great can see the directions with this link. Just click the cover to go to the Scholastic store and you can look inside the book. It is on page 31.

We practiced drawing the dinosaurs on our white boards. 

Next we drew them on white construction paper with pencil.

Then we traced our pencil lines with black Sharpie markers.

We colored the dinos with artists chalks. 
However, you could use watercolor paint, oil pastels or just crayons.

I sprayed the dinosaurs with cheap hair spray.

I cut out the dinos and glued them to black construction paper.


Be sure to leave a comment if you try out this art project!
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bright Ideas: Floor Desks Replace Furniture!

A couple of years ago I had a beautifully decorated room and...28 KIDS! While complaining to my assistant principal that we didn't even have enough room for centers, she said to me, "Take out some furniture." SO I DID. Yes friends, the next Monday pieces of furniture—all of my tables—were in the hall. 

So here's my bright idea for this month: Floor desks!

Don't get the idea that just because we don't have desks that it's all wild and crazy up in room 301. No ma'am. We've got structure. Here's how it works.

We keep our boxes in our cubbies. Each box holds the child's crayon box, pencils, dry-erase marker, eraser, scissors and glue.

When it's time to work, a child gets her box and white board to use as her desktop. In some of the pictures you'll see smaller whiteboards. Lucky me, this year a mom bought a new class set of these 11 x 16 boards. She got them at a great price from The Markerboard People (

When we are ready to take a brain break, the kids just push their desks to the side.

Here's what my room looked like with all of the furniture and also how it looks this year. You can see we do still have some tables for centers. Does that make you feel better?

So if you and your kids are feeling crowded, my bright idea comes from my principal. "TAKE OUT THE FURNITURE!"

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Solid Shapes Center and Search-O-Rama Freebie

If you're "facing" the challenge of teaching your kiddos about solid shapes, try this simple discovery center. My center included a set of plastic solid shapes, black markers, crayons and paper. The children traced the faces of the 3D shapes to discover the 2D shapes.

 We displayed their work with this chart. 

Here's a quick freebie! I whipped this up to send home on Monday. Just click it to get it. Enjoy! 

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

THINKING about Shapes

We "rounded out" our flat shapes unit with double-bubble Thinking Maps. I'm sure you already know that the Common Core geometry standards ask children to analyze and compare shapes (K.G.B.4). As a class we compared the attributes of two flat shapes.

After making these maps together, I let the children try it on their own. Each child picked two shapes for her double-bubble map. Here is an example from a child that clearly understands the attributes of both shapes, can tell how the shapes are alike and different and even did his own writing. WOW.

From left to right: "6 sides, flat, 4 sides, 6 vertices, 2D, 4 vertices, sides the same."
This child also demonstrates an understanding of the attributes of shapes. Some conversation about his map helped me understand his writing.
From left to right: "3 vertices, sides, 4 vertices, 3 sides, vertices, 4 sides"

As you can see, this friend is not quite there yet. Her double-bubble map shows me we need to keep working!
"2 sides, round"

Next week, we will compare and contrast flat and solid shapes using the double-bubble maps.

I'm also including some pictures of a sorting activity. After several days of sorting together, I asked the children to choose and record their own sorts. This one is "shapes with four sides, shapes with more or less than four sides."

This sort is "small shapes, large shapes." This child is not ready to sort by the attributes of the shapes, but he did get a sort completed!

This sort is "curves, sides."

I hope these lessons give you some ideas for working with your own smart kinders!
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