Skeleton Science in Kindergarten

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Lyndsey has put up her Skeletons and the excitement level in her classroom is out the roof? Why? Because the best thing you can do for your students is to bring science into the classroom. Kindergarten students are natural scientists! And with the engagement of a science-based theme, such as skeletons, you are able to teach all cross-curricular academic skills with high engagement!

Because we have seen this science engagement positively effect academics, we have built many of our thematic units in such a manner. Here is what one parent said when receiving a preview of the new science center.

These bones were purchased throughout the years from the neighborhood butcher. Some have been gifted from parents who live on farms, or have simply found bones along their paths.

These bones were purchased throughout the years from the neighborhood butcher. Some have been gifted from parents who live on farms, or have simply found bones along their paths.

"I showed this to _____ and after looking at it for 5 minutes she said "Mom, I'm so excited!! I can't stop looking at it!!" 💀.

That is exactly what we as early educators want, totally engaged students who can't wait to get to our classroom each day.

To get my students ready for our study of the human skeleton, we sing the song, The Skeleton Inside of You. This great song by Joan Sowards is offered free for classroom use here.


This song gets everyone excited, especially at Halloween time. "What?" "We're a skeleton?"

 


After the song use this free lesson to set the stage for your unit.

Amazing Bones!

Objectives: Children will learn about bones and the skeleton.

Materials: Skeleton model (you can usually find full size paper or plastic skeletons at any discount store), X-Rays (really, hospitals or vet offices will give you some, or you can purchase at stores such as Lakeshore), Sheets of paper, paper plate, counters, animal bones (including one that is broken). *Bones can be purchased from any butcher. In fact, they usually give them to your for free.

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I see (number of children) skeletons. (I like to pause with dramatic effect). Guess what! You are the skeletons that I see.

Bones and muscles give our body its shape. Did you know that we have more than 200 bones inside our very own body? The whole set of bones in our body is called a skeleton.

(Show students a real bone). Bones are hard on the outside but soft on the inside. Bones protect the inside of our bodies, the skull protects the brain, and the ribcage protects the heart and other organs. Drinking milk makes our bones strong. Can you feel your bones under your skin? Instruct the children to feel their hand, arm, and rib bones.

Show the children a basket of X-Rays. An X-Ray is a picture of the inside of a persons body. Hold up each X-Ray, one at a time, against the white board. Instruct the children to compare the X-Ray to the skeleton model. Where is the bone shown in the X-Ray on your body?

Show the children the basket of real animal bones. Look at this broken bone! Point out that the bone is porous and hollow.

Roll up a sheet of paper about one inch wide into a cylinder, then place a paper plate on top of the hollow “bone”. Ask a child to add bear counters to the plate one at a time as they are counted. Let's count how many bears the plate can hold before it collapses the “bone”.

Roll up another sheet of paper as tightly as you can so that there is no hollow section. Stand up this “bone” on the table before placing the same plate on top. Add bear counters to the plate until the “bone” collapses. Ask the children Which bone was able to hold more weight? The hollow center gave the bone a better design and made it stronger. The large bones in our body are also hollow, which makes them strong so they can support more weight, but also light and easy to move.


After this lesson, I follow up throughout the week with many great activities that are science, literacy, math, music, and writing based. (See the unit description below for activity specifics).

I also sing lots of skeleton themed songs like the one below, which I sing to the tune of Ghost Riders In The Sky. A tribute to Calvin my father-in-law who taught me about this song.

This song is really fun to sing because it is easy to add a lot of dramatic effects. The title above links to an instrumental track for you to sing along to. Below, I sing the song for you so that you can see how I have adapted the song to the tune. To print the song, simply click and drag to your desktop and print as you would any jpg.

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Also, my skeleton unit wouldn't be the same without a few great videos.


Enter the code BONES when purchasing this fun-engaging unit to receive 50%.

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Also available at TPT

Activities include:

Literacy Activities:

Bones is His Name: Metacognition

Six Swinging Skeletons: Naming and Generating Beginning Sounds

Skeleton Town: Uppercase Alphabetical Order

Skeleton Dance: Matching Letters

Black & White Party: Opposites

Skeleton March: Graphophonemic knowledge

Math Activities:

Skeleton Match-Up: Matching Quantity With Numbers

The Bone Yard: Counting Backwards

Skeleton Squeeze: Greater & Less Than

Collecting Bones: Counting & Cardinality

Skeleton Family: Writing Numbers

Songs

The Skeleton March

The Ghost of John

Art Projects

Skeleton Construct

Science

Q-Tip Skeletons: Following directions to make a skeleton.

The Human Skeleton: Magnet Skeletons

Guided Reading Books

Skeleton

The Skeleton

Writing Prompts

What I Know About Skeletons

Skeleton Word Wall Words

Label-It Skeleton

Teaching Math Through Play Unit 2: Geometry

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Introducing Unit Two of our "Math Through Play" series.

This math unit is developmentally appropriate and *classroom-tested for early learners. The lessons are geared for a typical Kindergarten classroom and can be easily adapted for Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, or any Homeschool setting.

As a bonus, many of the lessons are scripted to allow for easy lesson delivery without a lot of preparation, and also, it can be easily handed to a teaching assistant or a parent volunteer with confidence that the lesson objective and content will be delivered!

* The table of contents are clearly outlined to make lesson preparation a breeze.
* The unit includes extras such as delivering number talks, number songs, adding play to the math curriculum, as well as ideas of how to use the calendar and manipulatives in your math routine.
* Each week includes four or five lessons to build knowledge and experience in mathematical knowledge.

Each lesson is linked to Common Core standards!

These lessons can be delivered to the whole group, or easily used as small group lessons.

Contents:

Guided Reader: Shapes

Music: Shape Song

Number Talks: Shapes

Playful Math Across the Day: Spread these throughout the unit and beyond

Dramatic Play:
3 Bear’s Cottage
Dinosaur Museum
The Bakery
Artistic Play:
Triangle Duck
Rectangle Giraffe
Block Play:
Tower Delivery


Week 1 Day 1: Shapes Around The Room
Week 1 Day 2: Bug a Boo
Week 1 Day 3: Spider Shapes
Week 1 Day 4: Under the Haystack

Week 2 Day 1: The Scarecrow
Week 2 Day 2: Shape Walk
Week 2 Day 3: Shape Bingo
Week 2 Day 4: Shape Memory
Week 2 Day 5: 3d Match Up

Week 3 Day 1: Shape Graph
Week 3 Day 2: Touch a Shape
Week 3 Day 3: My Shape Me
Week 3 Day 4: Hiss
Week 3 Day 5: Shape Puzzles

Geometry Workpages:
X The Shape:
Drawing Shapes

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Teaching Kindergartners to Rhyme

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For those children that enjoy the 1000 plus hours of lap-time recommended to ensure kindergarten readiness by the National Institute for Children’s Health and Development, the skill of rhyming is usually learned unconsciously and effortlessly. However, for those students who enter kindergarten without that skill under their belt, learning how to rhyme can be a laborious task, indeed!

So, why do children need to learn the skill of rhyming anyway? Does it really matter if they know that Jill rhymes with hill? Yes! Rhyming paves the wave to future reading success.

Rhyming impacts many components of the reading spectrum. It teaches children about patterns and structures in both spoken and written words. It helps children to read with inflection and animation which leads to increased fluency and comprehension. Rhyming is a crucial skill that will lead to enhanced decoding skills, especially when reading multi-syllabic content words. It helps children be more aware of the commonalities in letter sequences which will make them better writers and spellers.


As with any new skill, teaching a student to rhyme takes practice. A typical student will master any new skills with 25 opportunities to practice. But for a children with lack of exposure, speech and/or language difficulties, and for second language learners, this practice may equal 25 times 25! But, it will be worth the practice because learning to rhyme will increase awareness in the phonology and graphology of English, which are imperative to reading, writing, and oral communication.


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If you are looking for games to fill those 25X25 times, most of our thematic units include rhyming activities as well as other important kindergarten skills.

If you are looking for 19 great rhyming activities, look no further! This reading unit is packed with good stuff!

My class needs extra practice and this is a fun packet!
helpful for my intervention kids
Great interactive and varied activities for my little rhymers!
I love the variety of activities that are included, just as wonderful as your syllables unit! Thank you!
 

This packet includes activities to help your students understand the concept of rhyming. The lessons vary in style and format. Some lessons are scripted, others are designed for independent practice. Some lessons can be used with small groups while others can be completed with a large group. All lessons can be adapted to support struggling students or to challenge high-achieving students. 

The unit is organized into 19 lessons to be spread out during 7 weeks. Many of the Teach Me To Read Units are meant to be taught in tandem, following the learning to read timeline.

Here is the link for the syllable unit: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teach-Me-To-Read-Syllables-833730

Table of Contents Week 1 Day 1: Nursery Rhyme Time
Week 1 Day 2: The Hungry Duck
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Week 2 Day 1: Buggy Rhymes
Week 2 Day 2: Apple Tree Rhymes
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Week 3 Day 1: Web Treasures
Week 3 Day 2: Roll and Rhyme Halloween (or any season)
Week 3 Day 3: Halloween Rhyme Time
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Week 4 Day 1: Picture Pairs
Week 4 Day 2: Rhyming Flags
Week 4 Day 3: Turkey Lurkey Rhymes
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Week 5 Day 1: Rhyme Me a River
Week 5 Day 2: Le Revelillon
Week 5 Day 3: To The North Pole
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Week 6 Day 1: The Lost Mitten
Week 6 Day 2: Planes Trains and Everything Else
Week 6 Day 3: Match a Rhyme
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Week 7 Day 1: Rhyming Sunglasses
Week 7 Day 2: Home Tweet Home
Week 7 Day 3: T-Shirt Twins

Check out more rhyming tips on our podcast!

Nursery rhymes are a very important tool for teaching the pre-reading skill of rhyming. In this episode we discuss how parents can use nursery rhymes, as well as the steps teachers can use to provide remediation for students who are having trouble rhyming.

Thank you everyone for listening, and thank you to bensound.com for our theme music. If you enjoy the podcast and can review us on iTunes that would be awesome of you!

Kindergarten Kiosk is a proud member of the Education Podcast Network, a network of podcasts for educators by educators.

Teaching The Alphabet

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The alphabet must be strategically taught with purposeful, thorough planning.       


Young children need to know alphabet letters and sounds; in fact, knowledge of the Alphabetic Principal is crucial for a young child to become a successful reader. The Alphabetic Principal is simply the idea that a letter or groups of letters represent a spoken sound. Once young children understand the letters and their predictable sound(s), they are able to apply that knowledge to the decoding of words.

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The best way to teach the alphabet is to teach letters (upper & lowercase) and sounds together, but have the emphasis of accountability on the uppercase letter. I like to introduce my letter using my focus wall above. I introduce everything I can about the letter including the name, the sound, mouth positioning using Lindamood LIPS picture cards (I know there are cards available on TPT).  I like to use the signing cards from signingtime.com, but there are many free cards available if you google it!

I use the pocket chart that is made by Really Good Stuff that is available on Amazon for $29. (I actually bought 2 sets so that I could keep all of my letters in a bag as this set copies A-M on one side of the card and N-Z on the other. This drove me crazy because I am an organized filer that wants everything ready to go. 

One of the resources that I could live without is the alphabet tubs from Lakeshore (also available on Amazon. I use these tubs not only with my focus wall, but with many beginning sound games. I know they are a little pricey, but I started by trying to find my own objects at dollar stores and more and it was adding up really fast so I decided to use some of my budget and just bite the bullet. I do not regret it, because I have now had them for 20 years and they still look as good as new!

The sticks of course are from Handwriting Without Tears, The little letter books are from Rigby Books, and Hameray Publishing. The Alphabet Zoo program is mine that I have used for 25 years. It has evolved throughout the years and I now own a beanie for each letter (thanks to ebay). The letter chart above the focus chart is how I practice the letters and sounds before the new letter introduction. Now, I am doing and A-Z uppercase anchor and so the letters are in order. When I begin my letter focus weeks, I will turn the letters to lowercase and place them in the introduced order. That way, the letters will be ready for me to arrange as we learn to decode words.

Our podcast, The Alphabetic Principal offers more insights on how I use my focus wall to teach the alphabet.

In the podcast I speak of some great books that talk about the Alphabetic Principal, the anchor of uppercase letters, and suggestions of how to set a solid foundation with your students for future reading success. 

This book is the one that was developed by the government to end the so-called "Reading Wars" of the '90s. The other one is the Consortium on Reading or CORE. The older version (the much cheaper one) is the one I love! Actually I have not looked at the updated version.

                                      


All of thematic units contain great alphabet games. Here are a few products, specific to alphabet that you will enjoy. The Falling Leaves Game is FREE!

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Are You Missing Out?

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Seriously! If you are not using ESGI, you are missing out! I began using this great program about 5 years ago. Within the first week, I was hooked! Gone was the need for my stacks of testing paper, gone was my home-made "Red, Yellow, Green" spreadsheet!

My assessments had now taken a new digital form. Instead of testing on paper, transferring those scores to my spreadsheet, and cutting and pasting names to allow the data to sort from a high to low range, VIOLA! I was now testing on my ipad or computer with immediate results! All sorts of data configurations were now available to me with little effort on my part at all!

And now, if the amazing assessment tool wasn't enough, ESGI has rolled out a Classroom Management Tool that makes those time-consuming teacher tasks a SNAP! Check out this 1 minute overview presented by the ESGI creator, himself!

If you are not yet convinced you are missing out, simply try it yourself for FREE! Sign up for a full version trial using code B7227 today. 

If you sign up for your free 60-Day trial before September 30, 2017, you will have immediate entry into a raffle for one of ten $50 Amazon gift cards.

If you are a current subscriber, WAIT there is something for you too! The Classroom Management Tool is yours to use free until December 31, 2017, so be sure to check it out.


Be sure to check out my "Best Selling" assessments that are already preloaded to ESGI!


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Clapping Syllables

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I have spend the last few days clapping syllables to the extent that I have even found myself breaking up words into parts at home! So why all the clapping? Syllables, or being able to hear the parts of words and the rhythm that makes up our oral and written language is a crucial beginning step in the learning to read process. I love using our easy to prepare lessons from our Learning to Read: Syllables Unit; I think you will love it to! We have recently updated and added to the product making it a complete syllable curriculum of four lessons for four weeks.

Week 1
Clapping Names
Syllable Objects
The Syllable Walk
Syllable Count


Week 2
Color Walk
Off To See The Wizard
Family Fun
Syllable Sale


Week 3
Animal Sort
The Country Store
Squirrel Sort
Race Up the Ladder

Week 4
Counting Syllables
I Can Syllables
Pumpkin Patch
Haunted House Syllables

Jack Hartmann has a great syllable song video on youtube. I would recommend adding this song to the lessons above to get everyone in your room clapping!


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Building a Community of Learners Through Music

If you have not heard of Heidi Songs, you will LOVE what using her music will do for your early learning classroom. The Hexagon one is my favorites! This song is generally stuck in my brain at all times!

We are lucky to have Heidi as a guest on our Podcast to give us some history of the development of her business. She developed her business just as we have developed Kindergarten Kiosk, selling only what we have tried and found to be successful with our very own students. That makes her product authentic in every way!


Listen to this great podcast here and learn some great tips on how to use music in your classroom.

Then visit Heidi's Songs to grab some of her great productions! 


Math Unit 1: Counting And Cardinality

We've been working hard on our new Math Series, Math Through Play, and Unit 1: Counting and Cardinality is now available!

This math unit is developmentally appropriate and *classroom-tested for early learners (*We ONLY sell what we use successfully in our three kindergarten classrooms)!.

The lessons are geared for a typical Kindergarten classroom and can be easily adapted for Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, or any Homeschool setting.

As a bonus, many of the lessons are scripted to allow for easy lesson delivery without a lot of preparation, and also, it can be easily handed to a teaching assistant or a parent volunteer with confidence that the lesson objective and content will be delivered!

The table of contents are clearly outlined to make lesson preparation a breeze.

The unit includes extras such as delivering number talks, number songs, adding play to the math curriculum, as well as ideas of how to use the calendar and manipulatives in your math routine.

Each week includes four or five lessons to build knowledge and experience in mathematical knowledge.

Each lesson is linked to Common Core standards!

These lessons can be delivered to the whole group, or easily used as small group lessons.


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Table of Contents: 

Number Talks (These are to be spread throughout the unit and beyond).
Playful Math Across The Day (These are to be spread throughout the unit and beyond).
Post Office
Weather Man
Block Play
Sinking Ships

Calendar and Manipulatives
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Week 1
Counting Calisthenics
Counting Crayons
Bears and Buttons
Chrysanthemum’s Numbers

Week 2
Road Rally
Visual Numbers
Barnyard Nibbles
Basketball Bounce
Stamp Board

Week 3
Shape Count
Object Count
Willy The Wandering Worm
Apple Memory
Bobbing For Apples

Week 4
Which Has More
Dump It Out
Button Match Up
Potato Bingo

Back To School Thematic Bundle

Are you looking for a great start to your school year?

These great cross-curricular thematic units are PACKED with activities. All of the lessons are scripted for easy lesson delivery! 238 pages of quality early childhood learning, and for the first time -- bundled for great savings!

Back to School Thematic Bundle
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Save Big with this Back to School Thematic Unit Bundle. Includes our Best Selling, Names, Color Theme, Chrysanthemum, and Mother Goose. Please click on the links for the preview of each included unit. For this price you will be amazed with all that is included!

Mother Goose: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mother-Goose-Nursery-Rhymes-Thematic-Unit-269880

Table of Contents:

Shared Reading Activities
Mother Goose Rhymes: Saying or Singing Nursery Rhymes
Nursery Rhymes: Sequencing Nursery Rhymes
Hey Diddle Diddle Pocket Chart Activity

Literacy Activities
Mother Goose Mix-up: Building Working Memory
Humpty Dumpty Rhymes: Matching Rhymes
Blind Mice Chase: Identifying Letters
Mary Goes To School: Using Preposition Words
Mary's Letters: Tracing Letters A-Z
Little Lost Lambs: Hunting For Alphabet Letters

Math Activities
Little Bo Peep's Sheep: Counting Objects to Match Numbers
Under The Haystack: Identifying Shapes
Nursery Rhyme Patterns: Naming and Creating Patterns
Hey Diddle Diddle Numbers: Identifying Number Names
Nursery Rhyme Puzzles: Developing Spatial Reasoning Skills
Fetch The Pail: Counting & Writing Numbers


Songs/Fingerplays
Humpty Dumpty
Jack Be Nimble
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Little Bo Peep
Little Boy Blue
Jack and Jill
Little Miss Muffet
The Fly and The Bumblebee

Art Projects
Mary's Schoolhouse: Construction Project
Mary's School Portfolio Sample
Humpty Dumpty on a Wall


Writing
Hey Diddle Diddle Prewriting Practice
My Favorite Nursery Rhyme


Science
Insects & Spiders: Making Comparisons

Guided Reading Books
Mother Goose Land
Class Made Books
Mother Goose Rhymes


Chrysanthemum: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chrysanthemum-Thematic-Unit-2703281

Table of Contents

Math Activities

Measuring Names: Comparing and Contrasting the length of names
The Numbers in my Name: Worksheet
Chrysanthemum’s Numbers: Identifying and Naming Numbers

Literacy Activities

Chrysanthemum's Alphabet: Alphabet Bingo
Name Traders: Reading and Matching the Names of Self and Others.
Character Study: Elements of a Character

Original Songs

Names
Clapping Names

Social Studies

Words Hurt: Compassion and Caring
Rules Poster: Classroom Rules
Portfolio Sample: A Wrinkled Heart
Portfolio Sample: All About Me


Guided Reading

The Mouse Family

Writing

Chrysanthemum word wall card
All About My Name
Name “Entrance” Tickets

Art Projects

Making Chrysanthemum
Guided Drawing: Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum Puppet


Color My World: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-Thematic-Unit-298357

Table of Contents

Literacy Lessons With Independent Options:
Rainbow Road: Matching Alphabet Letters
Tossing Colors:Reading Color Words
Color Walk: Clapping Syllables
Color Bear: Naming Colors

Shared Reading: Whole Group Activity
Brown Bear: Substituting Words In a Sentence

Independent Activities:
Color Words: Naming Colors
Crayons: Matching Colors


Math Lessons With Independent Options:
Crayon Patterns: Creating & Extending Patterns
Crayon Counting: Counting Objects
Dress A Bear: Building a Working Memory

Independent Activities:
Crayon Boxes: Writing Numbers
Crayon Sort: Sorting Objects
Rainbow Roll: Probability

Art Projects

Color Mobile
Abstract Plates: Using Color to Create an Abstract
Stain Glass Window: Tearing Paper
Color Mini Book: Illustrating a Book

Songs/Fingerplays
The Color Song
Stand up For Colors
Colors

Writing
Color Word Wall Cards
My Favorite Color
Colors
Class Made Book: Color My World

Science Projects
Color Chase: Mixing Colors


Guided Reading Books
The Color Zoo

Classroom Dispays
Color Word Full Sheet Posters


Writing Names: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Names-Learning-To-Sequence-and-Write-Names-of-Self-and-Others-156363

Table of Contents:

Water Cap Names: Ordering letters in names and transferring knowledge. 
Name Puzzles: Building familiarity with alphabet letters and their function when spelling one's own name.
Name Cheer: (A variation of Name Puzzles): Identifying and sequencing the letters in names. 
Shave a Name: Using correct handwriting technique to write names.
Rainbow Names: Spelling and writing names.
The "Nameapillar": Ordering letters in names.
Trace A Name: Tracing names using correct letter formation. 
Name Fishing: Reading the names of classmates, then sorting according to beginning capital letter.
Name Dictionary: Alphabetizing classmates' names.
Names: A Guided Reading Book
Name Fun: Ten Additional Name Conquering Ideas
Name Game: Studying names of classmates
Name Chart: Studying names in a Morning Meeting routine
Mosaic Names: Spelling and writing names
Name Necklace: Spelling name
Spell-a-Name: Spelling own name and names of others.

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Are You Using Your Counting Straws Wrong?

What I've been using counting straws wrong?

Do you have a set of these small counting straws in your classroom calendar area? Do you dutifully add a straw to the pocket chart every day counting the days of school? Do you immediately bundle the straws into groups of ten on every tenth day and then a group of one hunderd on the hundredth day of school? That's what these straws are for isn't it?

Well... not really.

The problem is that using the counting straws in this way is pretty meaningless for your students. It doesn't help them gain an understanding of the place value behind our number system and if you asked a student why the straws are bundled they would probably answer, "I don't know. That's just what we do."

But there's an easy way to fix the way you use these straws that will develop your student's number sense much more effectively...

Don't bundle the straws.

I mean it. Don't do it. Tell the students that you will be using these straws to count how many days you have been in school and then begin counting. 

Let the pile of straws become unmanageable. Let it take a long time to count. Loose count sometimes. And then one day, in front of the students, let yourself get fed up with those stupid, stupid straws. Tell your students, "I'm tired of counting these straws. It takes too long and I loose count and then have to start over! There must be an easier way to count these straws!" Then let your students come up with a better way of counting. If they tell you to count by twos, wrap up bundles of twos and try it. How much faster could you count? Is there a faster way? Sooner or later your students are going to tell you, "Let's put them in a group of ten and count by tens!" This will provide much more meaning to this activity and give students ownership of it. Then, when someone asks them why they put the straws into bundles of ten they will know exactly why!


Here are some fun math activities that students love!

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Uppercase Handwriting Worksheets: Sticks and Curves

If you are looking for a quality product for early learners, you will love this Uppercase Letter Formation product! There are two versions included in the purchase, the one page version where everything is included on a single page,  and a 2 page version that may be easier for little hands to manipulate. The letter is on a full page and the sticks and curves are on an additional half page.

The worksheets can also be stapled together to make a great handwriting workbook.

Developmentally Appropriate

Developmentally appropriate practices are especially important when it comes to the teaching of letter formation. These worksheets will fill that bill. Each worksheet is interactive and is completed in five steps.

1. Student cuts along dotted line.

2. Student cuts out sticks and curves.

3. Student glues the white pieces on the black letter.

4. Student traces and then writes the letter practicing the stick and curves.

5. To complete the page, the student can color the pictures that begins with the letter sound.

As with all of our products! Classroom tested and Developmentally Appropriate for Early Learners.


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I love all the amazing product that Kindergarten Kiosk creates! Your product always right on to what my kids need. This has been a great resource for my centers.
Love these! They are perfect to go with our handwriting without tears curriculum!
Also available at TPT

Also available at TPT

 

 

Teach About Colors

I love to begin the school year teaching about colors! All children have some experience and level of understanding about color so it serves as a great anchor for young learners!

 
color-thematic-unit
 

Another reason I love to start the year teaching about colors is because there are so many great books about colors and so many opportunities for building literacy using color knowledge as a scaffold! Here are some of my favorites (with affiliate links) and a couple of my favorite free-to-watch youtube videos.


I started working on these color units last year, but life got in the way and I didn't finish them. Well, I was determined to have them done so I could use them this year! Whew, I'm glad they are done now, 11 units for 11 different colors is a lot of work! Luckily, you can get them for your own use bundled for a limited time with a 50% off savings! Why? Because I want you to have a fun start to the school year too! And $11.00 for 11 colors makes it a sweet deal of $1.00 per color!


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Kindergarten Homework: Yay or Nay

As the trend as-of -late is to offer less homework to increase family time, I agree with the Duke University study that concludes that although students shouldn't be doing hours of nightly homework, they should be doing homework. Dr. Cooper, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience states that homework should be thought of as dietary supplement. If you do not take it you won't have any dietary advantage. If you take too much, it will have ill effects. 

Another reason that I believe quality, flexible, homework should be provided is that it is the only time a parent truly can have a glimpse at what skills are being learned in the classroom, and more importantly how their child is coping with those skills. 

 

Quality Homework

"Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks...."

That is the goal we used to create our homework packets: to provide quality parent friendly homework that doesn't interrupt family life, but rather enriches it! When we created these packets, we began with the Core Standards, added the timeline for skill practice, and then made each activity fun and engaging.

Teachers, parents, and students alike love the flexibility and ease of these great homework packets. They are easy to prepare, easy to send home, and easy to fit into busy family life. Our goal is to enrich family life, strengthen student skills, and give teachers more "home-time." 


Our homework comes in three levels: Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade. They can also be used as Below Benchmark, At Benchmark, or Above Benchmark for any of the above named grade levels.


These homework packets (as with all of our products), are available at Teacher's Pay Teacher's, or here at our Kiosk store.


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Save 50% by purchasing the entire kindergarten level bundle. This also includes three additional RTI homework packets to use at home, or at school.

I bought and used the preschool set this year - which my kids and parents loved.
Going to K next year, had to buy these
This is incredible!! I love how you’ve incorporated all the subject areas as well as fine motor skills. This will save me a ton of time.
This packet has made my time AFTER school so much less. Thank you, now I can spend time with my own children, and still provide my students with quality homework.

Oral Blending

Oral blending is a precursor to decoding or sounding out words. Developing a strong foundation in blending will help students make a faster and smoother transition when reading words.

Blending should begin well before the phoneme stage. Most students can easily blend the two parts of a compound word together. From that point, present words in smaller and smaller units. Provide opportunities for blending multi-syllable words together, then onsets and rimes. 

After multiple experiences successfully blending the initial or final consonant with the rest of the word, it is time to blend two and three sounds together. For your first phoneme blending experiences, put the sounds in the context of a sentence or story.

My puppy likes to /b/ /ar/ /k/.

He likes it when I /p/ /e/ /t/ him.

He likes to chew on a /b/ /o/ /n/.

He likes to chase the /c/ /a/ /t/.

Another support for oral blending is to provide picture clues. Place a set of three-sound picture cards (or objects) in front of your students. Name the three sounds of one of the pictures and have the students find the correct picture (can you find the /c/ /a/ /t/)? Limit the number of pictures for students who struggle with blending. 

After playing games with pictures or objects, the students are ready to try blending sounds without any clues. A blending game my students always enjoy is Build a Snowman. This game can be played with or without picture cards, so it can be used with students working at different levels. For each correct answer, the students  add another piece to the snowman; “building” a snowman made the game a little more fun for the students and kept them engaged throughout this guided lesson! This game can be found in our Snowman Thematic Unit. It can easily be adapted to any theme. Students can build a flag, build a turkey, Build a Leprechaun, on and on. *Many of our thematic units contain lessons on blending and segmenting.

We have a great podcast on the topic of blending and segmenting, be sure to check it out to get more tips and ideas to teach your students to blend.


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All of our products can also be found at TPT.

All of our products can also be found at TPT.

Working With Word Families

Teaching a child to rhyme is phonological awareness. Teaching a child to connect auditory rhymes to the written word is phonics. Both are essential skills when teaching a young child to read and both can be taught through word families!

Rhyming is an important literacy skill. Children become familiar with rhymes through songs and rhyming books. As students begin to match, generate, and produce rhymes, they are able to focus more on the sounds within words.

While most students develop the ability to rhyme through games, songs, and books, some students struggle with rhyming. Approaching rhymes through word families can be beneficial for those students. Teaching word families can also get struggling readers on-track quickly as they become familiar with patterns that are within similar words. Sounding out each word provides decoding practice. Furthermore, when students recognize the pattern of a phonogram, the number of words they can read increases significantly.

Whether you use a commercial product, purchased games, or just write a word family list on the board, you can reinforces the skill of word families. Have your students read or decode each word individually, then read through the entire list quickly. Help students notice not only that the middle and end sounds are the same, but also that the letters for those sounds are the same.

Word families are a simple way to reinforce rhyming and practice decoding. Pick a different word family every day and have some reading fun! I love to use these adorable anchor charts as the jumping point for a word family introduction followed by making the interactive little book. The next day, I will practice that same word family with a worksheet or an interactive writing activity using whiteboards. 

These pages can be stapled together to make a cute interactive little book for kids to read again and again.

These pages can be stapled together to make a cute interactive little book for kids to read again and again.

These anchor charts can be made to any size that fits your needs. I have found the students use them regularly.

These anchor charts can be made to any size that fits your needs. I have found the students use them regularly.

 
 

Want to learn more? Click here to listen to our podcast episode all about rhyming!


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All of Kindergarten Kiosk's products can also be found at Teachers Pay Teachers.

All of Kindergarten Kiosk's products can also be found at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Helping Early Learners Conquer Those Pesky Vowels

When young children have mastered the alphabet letter names and know more than half of the letter sounds, hooray! But with that sigh of relief comes the reteaching and reteaching of those pesky vowels!

Vowels are most easily mastered if the reteaching is thorough and strategic. To begin this strategic teaching, review the alphabet letter that represents the vowel and the sound-card that you are using in your classroom or homeschool setting. If you don’t have defined sound-card you can check out ours in the product section below.

There are many great videos that are great and kids love them. Heidi's Songs is one of my favorites! She has been remastering all of her videos so if you think you know them, be sure to look again!


When revisiting the vowels, I recommend spending at least two days on each vowel for review. Because this is a review and all sounds have been previously introduced, be sure to talk about both the long and short sounds of the vowel.

Provide a visual and auditory (sound song) link for A E I O and U. There are many available, my favorite is Have Fun Teaching, my students LOVE it!

I also love the Talking Words Factory, kids really get the "glue" concept that is presented in this video.

 

Be sure to add further supports. Using hand cues to teach short vowel sounds adds a kinesthetic link. Teach your students these signs as each vowel is reviewed, then continue to use this cues as vowels are continually reviewed (I love how these signs actually match the mouth formation we will discuss below). 

Teach children the linguistic characteristics of these vowels. I found that even though I was scared to take linguistics as an undergrad, and then terrified of advanced linguistics as part of my masters program, I loved these courses! I found the knowledge I gained to be crucial in regards to the effective teaching of reading. Here are the characteristics that one must know to better teach those pesky vowels.


The /a/ sound /æ/

The vowel is a jaw vowel made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The /e/ sound /ɛ/

This vowel is a tongue vowel (it rises ever so slightly) made with the voice on. (Have students feel their mouth widen and tongue lift as they feel the sound made in their throat).

*The /a/ and /e/ are often confused by young children. Calling attention to tongue placement helps demonstrate differences.

 

 

The /i/ sound /ɪ/

This vowel is a tongue vowel (it rises ever so slightly) made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat and feel the tongue placement).

 

 

 

 

 

The /o/ sound /ɔ/

This vowel sound is a jaw vowel made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat and place hand under chin to feel the jaw drop).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The u sound /ʌ/

This vowel sound is a jaw vowel made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat, call attention to the differences between the o and u jaw placements).

 

 

 

 

 


Using mouth cards and hand signals as mentioned above help children learn the correct mouth placement as they practice and practice voicing vowel sounds. The differences become clear as students feel the changes that happen within their own mouth. Make sure to pass out mirrors so students will be able to visually see the differences. 

Be patient. It takes a lot of listening and voicing practice to conquer these separate and distinct (pesky) vowel sounds. And remember that with all phonemic awareness practice, English Language Learners will get it, don't give up on them! But it will take added patience and practice as some of these sounds are not even made in their native tongue. Your patience and continued practice will pay off. As with all pre-reading skills, if added emphasis is placed on oral-phonemic practice until mastered, the transference to the written word will be very easy.

As you spend a week or two reviewing vowel sounds, you might want to check out our new vowel practice early learning essential. This packet also contains the sign language hand cards, mouth placement cards, vowel sound cards, and a vowel song poster and pocket chart cards. With the great low price of $4.00, you will be on your way to vowel sound victory.


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All Kindergarten Kiosk Products are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers!

All Kindergarten Kiosk Products are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Here are some of our other great vowel practice products:

The Perfect Kindergarten and Preschool Assessments

Are you Looking for the Perfect Assessments?

I use the assessments below in my classroom. I have used and perfected these assessments for over 15 years, and I truly believe them to be the perfect kindergarten and Pre-K assessment packets. And yes, they are strategically linked to Core Standards.

A few years ago I found ESGI and it completely transformed the administration and data collection of these assessments. Before ESGI, I ran a copy of the assessments for each student, had an organized assessment binder for both math and reading, and then spent hours transferring the data to a spreadsheet that automatically color-coded the students to red, yellow and green. This took me HOURS of time! But ESGI has changed all of that, it is literally Click Click Done!

Now, I test my students on the iPad or my computer using my tried and true authentic assessments, have immediate data results and all of the tools necessary to utilize this data to improve student learning. I can even access built-in RTI and SLO data at the touch of a button.

I have partnered with ESGI and my perfect assessments are available both traditional paper or with ESGI, digitally with no extra cost to you. If you want to try ESGI using a free 60 day trial. Remember to enter the promo code B7227. You will find all of the paper assessments below already loaded on ESGI.

All of these assessments are also available on TPT.


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Bringing Color into the Life of a Child

School must be so much more than worksheets and assessments, it must be an opportunity for students to flourish and grow in many areas. A place to become empowered to take risks, fail often, and try again. 

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Education has become a race of sorts. We watch children closely to see who will read first, who will solve the most complicated sum, or who will write the most perfectly punctuated story. But, as we early childhood educators know, it's like assessing children for their first word or their first step. These things happen when the particular child is developmentally ready, and comparing children to each other in their milestones only puts stress on children and the adults who love them. All children have different interests, have different needs, and excel at different things. Children learn at their own pace and develop at their own levels. It is up to us as teachers and parents to provide a rich amount of experiences and opportunities.

Honestly, when the signups come for summer workbooks from the office, I quickly throw them away. I don't want to be part of the worksheet problem. Rather, I spend the year advancing the arts and sciences in my classroom as a tool for exploration and learning. One of my favorite end of the year activities to launch my students into summer is reading Bridget's Beret. This beautiful story encourages creativity and is a great way to encourage children to spend summer free time in creative pursuits, rather than worksheets. 

 
 

The video below is a great reminder to encourage children to be the highly creative, beautiful, soulful beings they were born to become.  

My hope is that all classrooms will be thought of as think-tanks. A place for joyful consideration where everyone is celebrated for their own accomplishments. A place where standardized assessment scores are not the driving force for academic placement. Where academic excellence is obtained by a high level of thematic and cross-curricular teaching.


I have found that by teaching thematically I can allow learners to explore, create, and discover at their own levels. I can integrate across subjects, meeting academic goals for the year in a fun and personalized way for children. If you would like to try teaching thematically, we have a few units to help you get started.

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