Friday, February 13, 2015

Five for Friday-Valentine's Week

Once again I'm happy to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday linky party!  

This week we did a 2-day interactive read-alound using Little Mouse's Big Valentine by Thacher Hurd.  It is a cute book about a mouse who makes a huge valentine card and then finds that none of his friends want it because of its size.  He goes on a bit of an adventure and then finds another mouse friend.  Together they cut the huge valentine into a bunch of smaller ones and give them away.  

I liked some of the vocabulary in the book, so we talked about it and made a chart.  I forgot to take a picture of the chart after we added the definitions, but here is the before picture!
We worked on beginning, middle and end with this book.  I sent each student to their table with a mini sticky note and they needed to draw a picture of what happened at the beginning (we discussed it as a whole group).  When they were finished their "quick draw" they came back to the carpet area and put their sticky note under the "Beginning" title.  We repeated the process for the middle and end.  The students *loved* this activity.  It was freeing for them because it was so quick and because there was no writing involved.  I think it's important to make sure to include activities like this without writing because most students are able to easily draw a picture, and they are practicing this comprehension strategy without being slowed down by the writing process.  It's all a balance.  I loved seeing how much fun the students had with it.  Sticky notes are always fun :)
I thought that I would share how I track my guided reading group meetings.  I cannot plan my groups "in stone" because I need flexibility for how I teach and for how certain students are doing each day.  But, I want to make sure to keep tabs on how frequently I meet with each group so that I don't accidentally neglect one group.  I quickly made up this chart so that I could code the date and see how many times I've met with them.  I also write the book we are working on in case of confusion!   You can see that I haven't met equally, but it's because some groups are getting extra time because of their needs. 
Of course it was Valentine's week!  We made these cute valentine people bags to collect our cards and treats in.  I love how unique they are and the kids had a blast making them.  
We do our morning message on the Smart Board.  On Friday we talked about what "love" is.  The students came up with: Love is hugs, love is family, love is friendship, love is caring, love is Daddy working and mommy doing the laundry, love is being nice, etc. Our Valentine's Day celebration included making a booklet about what love is, making a flip book about different things that the students love (like food, activities, books, etc.), some Valentine's math, and making Valentine cards for staff members. 
  In the afternoon we watched a movie and had lots of treats. One mother even prepared a platter that had EVERYTHING cut in heart shapes.  Cucumbers, carrots, cheese, cantaloupe, and watermelon!  
Earlier in the week we did this quick math actitivity where the students used a variety of heart shapes and then had to complete the writing "I used *number* to make a *animal*.  There were a lot of owls!  Pictured below we have two owls, a butterfly, and a kitten.  I put some of them up on the bulletin board, but they will all go into a class book.
I love having at least one super-simple math center going in my rotation.  I've found that just by adding in some seasonal or unique manipulatives, a straightforward dice game becomes new and fun!  Dollar stores (and the Dollar Spot at Target) almost always have something to use!  For this game, students simply rolled the oversized dice and added the numbers together.  The player with the largest sum got to take an eraser.  At the end, whoever had the most erasers won.  Easy peasy and NO PREP, not even paper. 
Have a wonderful weekend!  I plan to spend time with my family, take some maternity photos for a friend, and hopefully spend some time outside! 

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