Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rainbow Lesson for Kindergarten

Rainbows are a natural for kindergarten.  Here's a resource to help you to differentiate a rainbow lesson:
Rainbow lesson for kindergarten. Level A Reader, leprechauns, shamrocks, umbrellas.
  In the days before our rainbow lesson, we read fiction and non-fiction books about rainbows.  We play a Rainbow Colors Song from about Mr. Rainbow, and we free-dance to it around the room.
For a full lesson, we review some rainbow facts, such as: to make a rainbow you need light and something to bend the light (like a droplet of rain or a prism).  Then you'll see the full rainbow spectrum.
We compare real and fiction rainbows using a T-chart.  The real rainbow has 7 colors, red is always on top of the curve, it's pale, and it's in a natural setting.  

The fiction rainbow has anywhere from 3 - 8 colors or more (sometimes out order), it's dark colored, and it's in a fairy land like Oz, with leprechauns running on top, and pots of gold below.

Kids will write facts and opinions about rainbows.  The advanced kids draw a rainbow free-style and label it like a diagram, or they draw it in a natural setting like an art piece.  I give them a choice.

ESL and RTI kids need a little more language support, as well as step-by-step direction.   We gather around my laptop, where I've opened up this page on the rainbow colors.  We read it chorally  using picture clues and the first letter sound of each color:
Then each child gets a matching one-page level A, emergent reader with the same text--but with cute leprechaun pictures.  We read together as they point to each word.  Then they color each shamrock to match the text.  They can reference my laptop image for support.
Some of them will be able to write a sentence at the bottom, such as: I love a rainbow!

Afterward, they can color the cute little leprechaun any way they like.  The shamrocks are perfect for a March lesson.  At any other time of the year, I might use the umbrella version:
While kids are writing, I let them pass around my geometrical glass prism and hold it up to the light, so they can see a real rainbow.  This will give them more to write about.  

After writing, we share what we learned, noticed and wrote down.

The lesson offers plenty of differentiation, multiple entry points, and choice based on students' needs--all to achieve the same learning target: I can tell about rainbows.

At centers later in the day, my advanced kids often beg to color the shamrock sheet.  It's just so darn adorable!  Some of them cut out the squares and staple it like a mini flip-book.

If you'd like this entire Rainbow Lesson Kit, with all the pages you see here, take a look.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Sale for Teacher Resources

Happy Easter!  And enjoy 20% off Teacher Resources for a one day egg-stravaganza.
Here are some goodies you might like to stuff in your basket:
An adorable Easter Basket with a passing resemblance to Zootopia's Judy Hopps, reigning queen of the big screen.
An Earth Day Medallion, plus enough task cards for a week of creative fun across the curriculum.
A poetry unit that will have all your kids--including ELLs and SWDs--writing and thinking like a beat poet--my personal favorite resource EVER!
A unit on How to Draw Animals Using Shapes You Know, which will delight your kids with their new-found skills.
And Feedback Comment tickets which will delight you with hours of time saved.

Please visit my store for many more fun and creative choices, and above all, have a very Happy Easter!

Thank you, Glitter Meets Glue Designs, for sharing your beautiful Easter Eggstravaganza Banner!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easter Basket Ideas

Easter Baskets make you melt inside.

Don't they?
It's not just the chocolate eggs; the crunchy fake grass and neon tissue flowers play a big role, too.
Oh, yeah!  The big-eyed chick in a shell will melt you all by himself.

I love it when kids learn a new skill, so I encourage them to color their Easter Baskets using a color pattern.  It's a bit of a challenge, but I have a photo tutorial to help them.

The advanced kids can make a more advanced pattern, with 3 or more colors.  They can also add letters or numbers before they color: ABAB..., 123123..., or even a sentence like "I love bunnies!" with one letter per box.

A fun challenge melts my heart!

If you'd like this easy Easter Basket template it's here.
If you'd like the chick in a shell, I'll tell you how I made it.

If you noticed that my bunny looks a little like Judy Hopps, the heroine of Zootopia, kudos!   You know that's gonna melt every kids' heart.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Leprechaun Creative Craft: Dancing Leprechaun

Here’s a creative leprechaun craft: a Dancing Leprechaun

I love it when kids get creative.  I love to see all the unexpected variations they bring to a project, and then pass along to their friends.

Creativity goes viral.  Next project, it’ll pop up somewhere else with a slightly new twist.

I show my kids how to design a leprechaun, step-by-step, and give them all the materials.  Then I set them free.

Add funny shoes, 3-fingered hands, or a unique shaped hat.

Add designs to the clothes; like stripes, rainbows, or shamrocks.
 Make it a girl leprechaun, even though traditionally leprechauns are little men.

We color, cut and glue.  We get a shamrock sparkle to glue anywhere we like (though I did have to tactfully intervene when one kid glued it—innocently, I thinkto the crotch!) 

Then I staple a pipe cleaner to the back to the body and bend it once.  Kids can gently bounce their leprechauns to make them dance.  Most adorable!

One teacher told me she taped each pipe cleaner to her kids’ desks, like a bobble-headed buddy—which I thought was brilliant.

Now, I realize that some teachers, and kids, prefer a quick and easy printable— a gorgeous and delightful one—of a leprechaun dancing at the end of a rainbow.  So I put this together:

Kids can make both if they like.

I added a trove of writing printables with creative writing prompts.  For instance:

·         What else would you put in your pot of gold?

·         Over the rainbow I see…

·         Goldilocks and the Three Leprechauns

…which will make beautiful displays. 

Kids will always remember wearing their leprechaun hats to enact The Little Leprechaun Story, and dancing the Irish Jig in the “moonlight” (Hat 'n Jig instructions included).

Yey, I’m sooo verrry wishin' you a Fun St. Patrick’s, with a pot o' gold memories, mee lit'l laddies!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

How-To Creative Writing

How-To Writing can be creative.
Why not?  Why not teach how-to writing so kids will love it?

Make it memorable, fun and full of fascinating details!

How-To writing can include a world filled with charismatic characters, each with their own voice, movements and attire...
In a setting rich with sensory specifics that linger in the mind.  And a sequence of events that's unexpected and emotional.

So, by all means, tell me how to catch a leprechaun.

Tell me step by step so we can call it a how-to, informational or procedural writing.

And make it good.  Make it funny, or silly, exciting or sad.
And write it on colored shamrock shaped paper so it makes a stunning display piece.  Won't you please tell me How to Catch a Leprechaun in a way I'll never forget? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Leprechaun Robots

Leprechaun Robots.  FULL STOP.   Do I need to say more?
Hello?  What's not to love?  

What happens when you combine St. Patrick's Day, math, literacy, and art?  You get a crazy-fun activity, and a gorgeous display--or a collection of holiday robots that kids can put together as a book.
These charts can be used again and again, to create unique robots for any holiday or simply for fun. 

Some kids will focus more on the number sense with their creative robot variations.  Others might concentrate on story-telling, and burn up a trail on the plain lined paper included.  And there's always the show-stopper who will groom, adorn and accessorize like it's a red-carpet event.  That's differentiation, folks.  

For centers, morning work, or a whole-class project, let's be honest now, it's hard to beat Leprechaun Robot Number Charts.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

How to Catch a Leprechaun and Then...

How to catch a leprechaun is only half the story.
Kids will tell you, step by step how to catch a leprechaun:
First I will...
  • think and plan
  • look
  • be quiet
  • tip toe up to him
  • walk softly
  • sneak up
  • hide

 Next I will...
  • be camouflaged.  I will carry a plant!
  • make a trap
  • dig a hole and put leaves on top
  • ride a bike
  • ride a motorcycle
  • ride a kangaroo
  • say, "Look over there!" then catch him in a net
  • tie him in a rope

Last I will...
  • tie him in a rope
  • catch him in a net
  • put him in a cage
  • hold on tight
  • never let him go
  • say, "Where is your gold?"
  • say, "Take me to the end of the rainbow right now!"

If you want to take it to the next level, for your advanced, TAG, upper grade, creative or willing kids...

You can have your kids describe their leprechaun.  Tell how he dresses, walks, speaks, and acts.

Also, add interesting characters to the story, and unexpected settings. 

Then answer thoughtful questions, such as: should you catch a leprechaun?  Should you share his gold with him?

And, of course, create a show-stopping display of your kids' work.

Got it!  Just one last question: how will you spend your gold?  On pretty shamrock-shaped paper and step-by-step lessons, lists, posters and task cards on How to Catch a Leprechaun, by any chance?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Green Eggs and Ham: Lessons and Activities

Green Eggs and Ham and fun, go together like...Green Eggs and Ham!
Sing and Dance to Green Eggs and Ham - Renee Dawn Teacher Ink
 Green Eggs and Ham has an animated video with a jazzy show tune, available on YouTube.  Kids love acting out the entire book and dancing to the music, along with Sam I Am.  It’s 8 ½ minutes of zany joy.   

You may have to convert the video into an MP4 file in order to play it on your SMARTboard, as some school computers block YouTube.    
You’ll have to use free online software, such as, a YouTube to MP4 converter.  This is best done at home.
Do you want to double the fun?  Try a second version of Green Eggs and Ham with on-screen text and cartoony music, and compare the two.

Of course, read the book.  And then, get kids thinking.  Here are some great questions to explore.  You can discuss them, write kids' answers on charts or on the SMARTboard, and have kids write about them for a creative display.

1)  What foods are really green?
2)  Which green food is your favorite?  Your least favorite?
3)  What food would you not like to eat?  It might be...
       *   An animal, like moose or alligator?
       *   An odd combination of foods, like chicken ice cream or pudding with ladybugs on top?
4)   Why don't you want to eat it?  Because it is...
       weird, yucky, disgusting, icky, odd, gross, strange?
5)    Could anything convince you to try it?
       *   Adding sugar?
       *   A sprinkle of salt and roasting it up till it's crunchy?
       *   Some "special sauce?"

You might have kids draw Sam-I-Am with a tray of this icky food.  And draw yourself with a talking bubble saying, "No!  I do not like it!"  Or some funnier refusal.

So, after all, was Sam-I-Am annoying or helpful?

Tell who you'd rather spend time with: Sam-I-Am or the Cat in the Hat!

Do you hope you might meet someone like this, or pray that you never do?