Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

Have you seen this amazing workbook for Kindergarten Common Core Language and Math?
This book contains over 600 pages of activities and posters to teach all the skills in CCSS. The pictures are high quality and inviting to your students. Teachers are really talking about how this is the go to source for all the skills in the Kindergarten Common Core. I recently downloaded the sample from this workbook to see for myself. The pages are full of colorful posters and teaching materials. Lots of pages that students will find interesting while they are gaining the skills they need. I hope you will check it out. Leave me a coment and tell me what you think.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Happy Birthday Kinder Kraziness!!!

My good friend Laura is have a huge giveway. As of today she has been blogging for one year. She is an inspiration to me. I know she will inspire you as well, if she is not already. 

Have a great day Laura!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 1 Linky Party


I read this book once a few years ago. I loved it then, but things moved in a different direction, so I put this book on the shelf. I have picked it up several times since then, only to put it down over and over. So, needless to say, I was very excited to see this linky party covering such a wonderful book. 

After reading all of your responses, I see that my answers are not much different than your answers. We teach new behaviors and expectations early and often. We model and we practice and when needed, we revisit and reteach. We know that a successful year depends on what we do at the beginning of the year as well as throughout the year. We also know that the way our year ends depends on how well we teach behaviors and expectations all year long. I think that this is where we get our need to control every aspect of our classroom and why we find it so hard to turn over the classroom to our students. 
As I read this book the first time and as I re-read it again, I love the way the Sisters go from stressed out and over worked to teachers that seem relaxed and confident that their students have accomplished real learning. This alone is a good reason to dive into this book.
The Sisters understand that the kids in our rooms want and need to control their enviroment as well as we do. They use that desire to create a classroom of choice, motivation and responsibility. They want us to understand that this book is not necessarily a set way to conduct our classrooms, but a guide to how we need to think and guide our students so they can become "self winding" lifelong learners. This first chapter reminds me of two sayings that I hear repeatedly:
-first, work smarter not harder
The Sisters were looking for a change in how they did things in their classrooms. They were wanting to see more learning and better use of their time. 
-second, the best classroom management plan is a well planned instructional day.
The Sisters wanted to find ways to spend more time teaching and less time managing students and their materials or products.
From my first reading several years ago, I remember thinking how enlightening their ideas were.  I look forward to hearing your insights on the topics covered in the book. I look forward to seeing how and what you are planning on implementing in your classrooms next year.
See you next week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Math Stations - Things to Help

The presenter was wonderful. She was excellent with her presentation, but it was just not long enough. I know she has so much more she could have shared.

Here is the good stuff:

Math Word Wall: 

  1. Keep a stack of index cards handy.
  2. When a new term is introduced, write the term on the card in large print.
  3. Include a kid definition on the card. 
  4. Place them on the word wall. (If you do not have a space for another word wall, the suggestion was to place the word cards on a ring and review the terms often.)
  5. Refer to the wall often.
The key to the math word wall is that the cards are not pre-made or typed in cute fonts with clipart and decorations. They are made as the learning is taking place. This makes it real for the kids and they will be more likely to remember because they helped make it.

Soap Box Moment - Word Walls of all types should be added to as words are used in the class. Word walls that are up when the kids walk in will not mean anything to the kids. It is just another decoration. This is my opinion of course, but I feel very strongly about it, especially in the younger grades where the kids are learning to read.  Ok, I am done now. :)


How do you keep the stations exciting?

The presenter suggested changing the color of the cubes or the type of counters. Use themed paper or new markers or crayons.
Novelty is the key to success. 
Try to find a new way to continue practicing a skill that the students are still needing additional practice.
Remember to teach procedure anything you introduce new manipulatives.

What does a good anchor chart have?
  1. Title
  2. Many colors - use different color markers
  3. Kid Language
  4. Pictures and Drawings
  5. Border
Anchor Charts like Word Walls should be made with the kids not for the kids. They need to be involved it the charts are going to positively affect the students and have meaning to them.

Talk Cards:
We want the kids to talk while they are at math stations so they can internalize their learning of the skill. The presenter shared with us this idea.
In each tub, the teacher will include a "Talk Card" for that skill.
The "Talk Card" will be made with the kids and used during the whole group instruction.
Here is an example.
Number sense lesson.
Number cards are in the tub. Each child pulls a number.
The person that draws the high number gets to keep both the cards.
The one with the most at the end wins.
You have all played this game.
With the "Talk Card" the students will  lay their number on the talk card.

I have  ____.

I have  ____.

___ is more than ___.

Remember that you would have this talk card to use during instruction and then place it in the tub for practice. Students will use number cards to place on the talk card. Student 1 would put his number on the first line. Student 2 would put his on the second line. Then they would move their number to the last line. Then they read the sentence together to make sure it makes sense.

I have  9.

I have  16.

9 is more than 16.

When they read this one it should not make sense, so they should try again.

 I have  9.


I have  16.

16 is more than 9.

Now it makes sense.
The student that drew the number 16 would take both cards.
Using the "Talk Card" helps student have conservations that is related to the learning. It helps them to see if they are doing it correctly.


This is the end of the notes from the presentation on Debbie Dillers Math Work Stations book. I am waiting for my book to arrive. I am looking forward to reading your blog posts and learning how you will be implementing her ideas.


Math Stations -Where to Begin

  1. Math Station - How to begin
  2. How many students do you have? (20) Then divide by two. (10) - This number will tell you how many stations you need for students to work in partners.  I know what you are thinking that is a lot of stations. It is not a scary as you think. 
  3. At first you will have several stations with the exact same manipulatives in it. This will allow you to work on producers and rules until you begin teaching lessons. 
  4. The presenter suggested that you number tubs for math stations. This will keep your stations to a specific number and allow for easy transition of materials without upsetting the station management that you have in place.

 Week 1-  Introduce a manipulative that you have a lot of in your classroom. Divide the students into pairs.
  1. Teach the routines for using the manipulative. 
  2. Teach volume control. 
  3. Allow students 5 minutes to work with that partner and practice those routines. 
  4. Then bring the group back together. 
    • Discuss what was good and what needs to be improved. (3 Stars and a Wish. Three things that went right and one thing that needs to be improved.
    • Take pictures of what it should look like. 
    • Take pictures of what it should not look like and add an X or the "no symbol" to the picture.
    •  Post this for remembers.
    • Create Anchor Charts.  "I can..."
  5. Try to introduce a new activity or manipulative after a couple of days following the steps above. 
  6. Take a couple of the tubs that are duplicated, take those things out and put the newly introduced manipulatives or games in those tubs. 
  7. The teachers is walking around, monitoring, discussing and redirecting.

Week 2
  1. You should have the predetermined number of tubs (based on # in class divided into pairs) filled with manipulatives or games. the tubs should not all contain the same thing now because you have introduce at least one if not two other manipulatives.
  2. This week continue to introduce new things. Replace the materials in the buckets that are still duplicated. 
  3. Practice routines and procedures.
  4. Continue to pull together in large group and discuss stations.
  5. Make "I can ...." charts as new things are introduced.
  6. The teachers is walking around, monitoring, discussing and redirecting.
Weeks 3 and 4 - Don't Speed up Yet - Keep things slow. Model, Model and Model
  1. Time to introduce "Station Time" everyday. Some at their seats (like a small group) and everyone else at a station.
  2. Continue to reinforce procedures and routines. Refer to charts.
  3. This week we will introduce and practice rotating. We have not introduced the management system yet. 
  4. Continue to add replace stations that are duplicates with new things that you are using in your teaching.
  5. The teachers is walking around, monitoring, discussing and redirecting.
Weeks 5 and on ......
  1. Introduce Management System
  2. The teachers is walking around, monitoring, discussing and redirecting.
  3. It is at this point that the teacher should start removing herself from so much interacting with the kids while they are in their stations.
  4. The teacher can begin to pull small groups as she feels comfortable and as the kids are working independently. Slow and steady.
  5. Keep coming back to large groups to discuss the station time. This will keep them focused and help you see how things are going. It will also let you hear what the kids think about how stations are going and what they need.


    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Math Station with Debbie Diller and Associates

    I recently attended at professional development with my school system on Debbie Diller's new book. Debbie was not there, but one of her associates came and presented to us for a few hours. I left wishing it was longer. She was a great presenter. I thought I would share my notes. One thing that kept coming to mind is that everything presented was like stating the obvious. Like the old saying, "you can't see the forest for the trees." That is exactly how it went.

    First we discussed the difference between stations and centers. I keyed in on what stations include.
    1. Stations teach with materials that that you have used in instruction. (Not made just for stations)
    2. Stations change only when a new skill has been taught and the materials needed to practice that skill has been demonstrated. (Materials in stations should not be new to the kids. They should have seen them used in the method that you want them to use them.)
    3. Stations are for all students to use daily. ( Not just for the early finishers.)
    4. Stations have support built into them for all students. All students can be successful. (Different materials for different levels for reteach, practice, and enrichment.)
    5. Stations encourage kids to share in the development of the stations. (When station time is over, pull students together and ask them what things are going well and what things need to be changed or improved.) 
    6. Stations work best when kids are in pairs. (2 is company, 3 is a crowd and 4 is a party.)
    4 Principles of Math Work Stations:
    1. Deep not Wide - This will make for more quality stations. Again, pull stations from what you just taught.
    2. Less not More - If there is too much in a station the kids will spend too much time trying to decide what to do. They need fewer choices in activities and in materials to complete the activity. Also helps with clean up and disagreements.
    3. Slow Down to Speed Up - This is one of those keys to success that are applicable to all areas of teaching. Slow down at the beginning, teach routines and procedures. Key in on routines and procedures for the first 4 to 6 weeks. Model everything - Assume nothing.
    4. Just Ask - Collaboration is key.  Talk with other teachers to see what is working and not working for them. Visit their rooms and allow them to visit yours. Don't forget to talk with the students. They can tell you what is working and not working. (Be ready for this one. The kids will tell you like it is.)

      Thursday, June 2, 2011

      Math Station Questions

      I love reading all the information that the other teachers are sharing. It is so refreshing to hear teachers honestly access the job they are doing. Most importantly, they all share a spirit to find areas to improve so they can better teach their students. So here I go.
      1.  How do you (or will you) differentiate your math stations?
      At this time, I have not done much with Math Stations. I am attending several professional development sessions in my school system this summer. I will be attending a session this Friday that will be based on this book. I hope to bring lots of good information back to share.
      2.  How and where do you keep your math stations? 
      I am thinking that I will use a file system like Heidi from Swamp Frogs. She is a dear friend. I use a similar system for my teacher made literacy materials. I am also looking at the notebook system. Definitely, a work in its early stages. 
      3.  How do you keep your math materials organized?
      One thing that I have done is organize my math materials. They are sorted by materials like dice, pattern blocks and unifix cubes and some are topic specific like money, time, and measurement. Here is a picture of my math (and some literacy) materials. This is not the best picture. I have a metal mechanics shelf on wheels. It has 5 shelves.  All materials are in a clear bin with a lid and labeled. This shelf is also used as a literacy station. I hang a pocket chart on the front of it. I have used it with names, but it would be easy to switch out at math time for a math station.

      I am just beginning this journey. I can not wait to see what great things you all share.