Monday, April 25, 2016

Count to 20 for Kids

Counting to 20 is super fun.
Count to 20 Lesson and Printables for Kindergarten
Especially when you differentiate for kids' levels, needs, and interests.
First we count up to 19.  What comes next?  Ten-teen?  Oh, of course!  Twenty.

We look at a number chart and "draw" the numbers 1 - 20 in the air with our writing finger.

One kids comes up to the front and counts to ten on their fingers.  Then another kid (and the rest of us) continues to count on their fingers to twenty.  So, ten plus ten more is twenty.

We notice that we can fill two ten frames to make 20. 

Then I show my printables.  We do them together as a class quickly, then we break up into small groups according to ability, and do the printables individually.  That's differentiation, and everyone in the world is now saying it's a must-do.  So here goes:

RTI (Response to Intervention) kids will trace the numbers 1 -20 in ten frames and then color each box a different color, starting at the top left.  They may place counters in each box and count.  Use round counters, then teddy bear counters, linking cubes, etc.

ELL (English Language Learners) kids will draw 20 counters, one  in each box of a ten frame, starting at the top left.  They'll count them.  Then they'll turn each counter into a circular picture (such as a cookie) and name it.

Mid-level kids will write then numbers 1 - 20, one number per finger or fingernail, on a 4-hand template.  Then they'll color the hands.

Advanced kids will draw 20 objects free-style on a template.  They may draw objects with all the same color, shape, size or function.  And they may draw them in any array they'd like: a row, curved line or circle of 20, 4 groups of 5, 5 groups of 4, or any other configuration.

Then we share our counting to twenty work and display it.
I have to say, my kids couldn't take their hands off my "hands" template.  They wanted to do it again and again with different variations of colors, placement of numbers, and even with 5 little drawings on each hand.  So I set up a math center and let them have at it, day after day.  

I love it!  For me, as a teacher, that's the highest praise.
If you'd like my Count to 20 Kit, with a full lesson and display-ready printables, it's here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Earth Day Medallion

Earth is a cool jewel.
With fascinating facets and fabulous shapes that seem to belong together.
Like they floated apart from a close cluster of land masses long ago.  And in fact, those continents did float apart.  More awesome details to ponder.

Which is why I like to wear an Earth Medallion, and so do my kids.  It's easy to make with my photo tutorial--just add string.

The full Earth Day Kit includes action games like "Beach Ball Planet" and "NIMBY War," task cards in environmental science, geography and literacy, gorgeous writing paper, Earth Day art and slogans, and an Earth Day Song that's fun and easy to learn. It's sung as a round, which means it's guaranteed to be a hit at your Earth Day celebration.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Earth Day Art

Earth Day art is a natural.
After all, Earth is a work of art.  

I love to see kids study the land shapes on a map, then create art versions of Earth.  Each version is as unique as the Earth itself.

I created pretty paper to use for next year's crop of Earths:
And I have tons of ideas to fill the space beautifully.

And a long list of slogans to finish off an Earth Day poster, including:

  • The One and Only Earth!
  • I Love Earth!
  • Earth Loves You, Too!
  • Earth is Art!

But kids always surprise and delight me.  That's what it's all about, right?  One kid wrote:
  • I see the Moon!
Right--never would have thought of that one!

If you'd like the pretty Earth Day paper, slogans, and many days of Earth Day fun including task cards on geography, environmental themes and literacy; an Earth medallion and Earth Day action games like the unforgettable NIMBY it is--enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nursery Rhymes for Poetry Month

Nursery Rhymes are perfect for Poetry Month...
Nusery Rhymes with Creative Writing - Teacher Ink
...and they're often overlooked.  

You know I adore glamorous free-verse poetry.

But Nursery Rhymes are plenty creative, too.  Let's look closer.  You can talk about:
  • The classic poetic device, rhyming.  What is a rhyme?  (Two words with the same middle and end sounds)  Why do we enjoy rhyming?  (Rhymes fall "trippingly off the tongue")  What is a near-rhyme?  ("The clock struck one/The mouse ran down")
  • Sensory language.  What did the cat and the fiddle see, smell, taste, hear, and touch?  Was it a warm and sultry night, or was it crisp and cool when the cow jumped over the moon?
  • Fresh action words.  The mouse ran up the clock.  Or did it galumph, careen or sashay?

Which leads to my favorite question:  Why did the cow jump over the moon?  A poetic answer might be to see what's over the rainbow...or imagine who lives on the moon.

Would you like to kick-start your poetry month with nursery rhymes, done up creatively?  Nursery rhymes married to creative thinking and writing?   You don't have to jump over the moon for it.  It's right here.
The whole kit and caboodle: templates for Humpty Dumpty, the Cow and the Mouse...and all you need for many creative lessons on Nursery Rhymes, and dazzling bulletin board displays.  The clock, the wall, and the moon--everything but the kitchen sink.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Poetry Writing with Kids is Surprising

Poetry writing with kids is always surprising.
Poetry Writing for Kids - Teacher Ink
More than any other writing genre, poetry leaps off the page like a living creature.  It is a living creation.  And free-style creative poetry disrupts expectations more than any other poetry.  It is beat poetry, it’s off the beaten path.

And yet, it’s so accessible.  Even my 5-year-olds can write great stuff when I show them how, in little steps.   

Even my English Language Learners and my kids who struggle academically, can put a poem together—using word walls, picture dictionaries and simple poetic devices such as sensory detail, repetition, and simple rhymes.

Every kid can write a poem, and I love reading them--every one!
OK, this one needs subtitles but it's brilliant. 

Red/ Fire truck shiny honk/ Apple is/ a juiciest/ sweetest/ tastiest treat/ lipstick red it/ is sticky and shiny/ perfumed chemical!

I love the surprises that pop off the page—even the page, or the mind, of a a breath of fresh air.

If you'd like to try my 16-lesson poetry course for grades K - 5, it's here:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Earth Day Activities for Kids

Earth Day for kids should be full of activities.
Activities are how kids learn, right?

So after they learn the basics about recycle, replenish, and reuse...

Let them toss an Earth--play Beach Ball Planet.  Whoever catches the ball can tell an Earth Day fact, or elaborate on the fact, or tell how they use the fact in their own life.
And instead of telling kids that Earth is beautiful and that they should respect it...
Let them create an Earth Medallion.  It's geographically correct, and simply beautiful!  Kids can wear it like a cool jewel, a reminder that Earth is precious and should not be sullied.  I've assembled a how-to photo tutorial to make it easy for kids to make a perfect Earth medallion.
Kids can also create an art poster of the Earth, with an artistic vision of the planet.
I've provided samples in my Earth Activities kit.  They can write their own slogan around the circumference of the Earth Art, to make their art poster.  I have a long list of samples, like:

*   I Love Earth!
*   Earth Loves You, Too!
*   There's Only One Earth.  Treat it Right!
*   I Speak for the Trees (to quote the Lovable Lorax)

If you'd like an Earth Day Activities kit, with more action games, task cards, gorgeous Earth Day writing paper, and lists of Earth Day suggestions, it's here.  And please, enjoy your Earth Day--every day!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Poetry Writing for Kids

Poetry writing for kids is not rocket science.

In fact, kids are natural poets.  Just turn on the tap and voila!  Poetry pours out.

Kids think like beat poets, in small observations and spurts of thought.  That’s why I love to teach them free-style poetry writing.  It mirrors the way they naturally see the world.

Poetic devices help to polish it up.  If you teach kids one poetic device per day, and let them try it, kids catch on quickly.  If you use that poetic device often during the school day, it becomes a regular part of their language.

Then move on to the next device, step by step.  Show them the natural arc of a poetic structure; what might come first, next and last.

Set them loose, and kids will make perfect poems every time.  I’ve been creating these poems with kindergarteners for years, and I’ve never seen a bad poem—not even from my just-off-the-boat ESL or RTI kids.  Advanced kids produce jaw-dropping stuff, and older kids get doodle-framed paper with extra lines, to spin out verbal wonders till the cows come home.  

And the pride on their faces is—well, poetic!

If you’d like 16 full writer’s workshop Poetry Lessons, with detailed examples and charts to help your K – 5 kids write poems effortlessly, please stop by my place.  I’d be overjoyed to share my time-tested recipe.