Sunday, December 16, 2012

Experimenting with ICE!


Changes in Matter

 We have been experimenting with sources of heat to see how matter can change. During this mini-activity, students described the steps of how a glue stick changes from a solid to a liquid when it is heated. They also discussed that the glue would turn back into a solid when cooled. As student got to see the liquid glue cooling into a solid as I wrote their initials on each card. This was a cute little way to see matter change! 

Gingerbread Measurement

During this project, the we wrapped up our math unit by measuring various aspects of our gingerbread houses. 

Students began by checking the capacity of their rectangular prism. We filled one with rice and discovered that it had a capacity of 2 cups. Then the students started covering their rectangular prisms in icing. After that, two parent volunteers and I went around and asked them to predict how many rectangular units (graham crackers) they thought it would take to cover the entire house. After they predicted, they applied the crackers to the house and saw if their estimate was right on, not enough or too many. 

In addition to area, the students measured the length of several pieces of candy on the house and chose a non-standard unit to measure the circumference of their plate and perimeter of the bottom of their house.  This was a great way to explore measurement! 

~ A BIG thanks to Ms. Julie and Mr. Oscar (Watch DOG) for helping out with this project! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Capacity Activity!

First, the students predicted which containers would hold the 
least ------> most using a Flow Map. 

Then, they measured the capacity of each container using  a 1 cup standard measuring cup. 

After they measured the capacity of each container, they ordered the containers from least ---> most and compared the data to their predictions.

Then, I asked them to take a silly picture, because we are "Crazy for Kinder"! 

Thanks for stopping by! 
~ Hayley 

Energy: Blocking the Light

We discussed various forms of energy such as light, heat and sound this week. The students experimented with making shadows. It was a fun way to see how the light reflects and does not reflect. 

Area Robots

We have been learning about how to measure using length, area and capacity. The students created "AREA ROBOTS" this week. We began with a brace map for the 6 parts of a robot. Then, I modeled how to make the robot and the students created their own. This activity was a wonderful way for students to be creative while measuring area. Each child's robot was unique...these Kinder kiddos continue to amaze me! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The students created these "Pumpkin Pie" circle maps to express everything that they were thankful for. 
Using the sentence starter "I am thankful for..." they rotated their pie cut out and drew/labeled things that they were thankful for. Students later took their ideas "off the map" by writing sentences about what they were thankful for. A big thanks to Sarah Haynes (my colleague) for sharing this wonderful November writing idea! 

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the student's "pies" before they left for Thanksgiving Break, so here is the example that I used to model my writing:

"Chalkboard" Writing

During this activity, I created a "chalkboard" on the student's tables using large pieces of black butcher paper. Then the students practiced handwriting letters and sight words. After the writing and spelling practice, we had 10 minutes of "creative draw time". Each child drew creative pictures and told me what they represented. This is a great way to have students experience chalk, practice ELA concepts, and most importantly express creativity. It also provides the teacher an opportunity to informally assess mastery of letter formation, spelling and their ability to create. 

Thanksgiving Story Bracelets

During this lesson, I read the story of Thanksgiving to my students while they created a Flow Map of the 8 main events within the story.  
After sequencing the story, the students created a story bracelet following the sequence of events. 

Native American Homes

During our Social Studies Unit about how the Pilgrims came to America, we discussed why many Pilgrims did not make it on the journey and through the cold winter. Throughout these discussions, shelter and clothing were identified as a basic human need. Here is one activity that the students completed within this unit of study. 

Lesson Objective: 
Compare and Contrast PRESENT DAY home with a Native American home from the PAST. 
Create a model to represent a Native American home that would provide adequate shelter for people. 

Two Outstanding iPad Apps!

Using iPads in the classroom provide many opportunities to integrate technology into instruction and assessment. My Kindergarten students have been using my personal first generation iPad to complete various activities and practice various concepts with educational Apps. Recently, Comal ISD purchased iPad 2's for all classroom teachers to utilize in the classroom. Now that I have 2 iPads, I am able to make iPads a station during math and reading small groups. 

Two specific Apps that I am currently utilizing are: 
Bugsy K Reading
Bugsy K Math

With these 2 Apps, I have created a profile for each student and set their curriculum based upon their current ability level. Each week, I get an e-mail update with each child's progress report that shows % of mastery and any concepts that they need to review. 

Bugsy K is engaging and authentic. The students LOVE to play Bugsy, because as they master concepts they are able to get "toys" for their Bugsy character to play with. 

Here are a few photos of my kinder kiddos in action:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

UPDATED: Marshmallow Measurement

UPDATE: 11-25-12

The students LOVED the marshmallow measurement activity! Thanks to my wonderful classroom parents, we had enough marshmallows to measure everything!

We began by "setting the table" and discussing how to go about having a sit down dinner. We reviewed how and why the Pilgrims and Native Americans had the first harvest feast. We talked about various traditions within each of our families and then began the marshmallow measurement. 

Throughout the measuring activity, I introduced students to vocabulary such as: perimeter, diameter and circumference. They also discussed why it took MORE mini-marshmallows to measure the length versus the large marshmallows.Overall, this cross-curricular lesson was a success! 

In two weeks, my Kindergarteners will be learning how to measure using non-standard units. We will wrap up this math unit by measuring various Thanksgiving themed items with mini-marshmallows and jumbo marshmallows while recording our data on the Tree Map below. 

After they have mastered non-standard units, I will introduce standard for enrichment. I will post student samples after we have completed this activity. 

Thanks for stopping by! 
~ Mrs. Wolff

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Using Paint Samples for Centers

Numbers 0-20 

I created this Candy Corn Number Matching center using tri-color paint samples from the hardware store. The possibilities are endless with these paint samples. 

Differentiating Map Making in Kindergarten

Our campus has been a Thinking Maps campus for several years. When I taught 2nd grade dual language, each child had enough background knowledge about the maps to be able to create them, and even my most struggling learner could manipulate the map in some way. However, at the Kinder level, each student comes in having no knowledge about the maps or how to create them prior to starting Kindergarten. During the introduction and development of each map, students will begin developing different levels of mastery. We strive to have each child creating their own maps as quickly as possible, but the reality is that some students will struggle with the map making. My objective is for them to commit the concept knowledge to long term memory, not get stressed out about the map. I have developed a system in my class that helps differentiate map making. Here is one example of a community helpers vocabulary circle map that I have planned for next week. After the students finished the lesson, I will post AFTER pics. 

After learning about community helpers in various ways throughout the week, I will have each child draw a community helper card out of a hat. The student will then be required to create a VOCABULARY CIRCLE MAP for their chosen community helper. (My example is of a GARBAGE COLLECTOR). 

The different colors of construction paper represent 4 different groups of students in my class. Each group has named themselves for the October month in small group. 
White: Ghosts
Brown: Cats
Orange: Pumpkins
Green: Trolls (it's what they wanted...)  

Prior to the lesson, I "prep their maps". The students in the ghost group still need the map outline, a line to write their words on, and will most likely need assistance when completing the assignment. The students in the cat group just need the outline. The students in the pumpkin group need the middle circle defined and then they will be able to create the rest and the students in the troll group only need blank sheet of paper. 

My ultimate goal is to phase out "prepping the maps" altogether. Eventually, the pumpkin group will not need the middle circle and the cat group will only need the middle circle....etc. 

What is a vocabulary circle map? 
This map combines a CIRCLE MAP with the FRAYER model.

CENTER: Community Helper card glued down

Top RIGHT:  Draw a picture of your community helper

Bottom RIGHT: Write about your community helper

Bottom LEFT: what would happen if we did NOT have that helper in our community

Top LEFT: draw/write about their job

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kindergarten Bucket Fillers!

With the help of Have You Filled A Bucket Today?No David! and David Goes To School, my students discovered how to be Bucket Fillers vs. Bucket Dippers. We compared the differences using two separate circle maps. Students defined characteristics of Bucket Fillers and Bucket Dippers and then created a self-portrait of themselves as a Bucket Filler. Later, we created our "class promise", in which we all promised to fill each other's buckets throughout our time as a class family. Great Kinder lesson to kick off the year! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kindergarten Focused Technology

As the school year approaches, I grow increasingly nervous about this new endeavor....TEACHING KINDERGARTEN. I am comfortable with the organization, curriculum and population of students; however, one thing that I came to realize this summer is that I know very little about how to utilize technology to the FULLEST with these little ones. Now, I recognize that I can fall back on good old Starfall and ABCya, but as a technology guru, I expect more from myself. Students in my 2nd grade classroom were experts at using technology, but I was lucky enough that they came to me with advanced knowledge. We have a widely diverse set of learners, but all of them had some level of expertise when they stepped through my door. I realize that young children today are born into a digitally native world; however, I also understand that the younger the child the less life (and technological) experience they will most likely have. So, I started to develop a plan and went out in research of kindergarten focused technology resources. Here are a few sites that I wanted to share:

An interesting site for beginners is These games tap into student's creativity and critical thinking skills! 

Image courtesy of Developer and Sponsor Copyrigth 2001-2006  

GameGoo is another great resource! This online resource was created by Houghton-Mifflin Company and it is perfect for teachers, kids and parents. 

Image courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Company Copyright 2001-2006

Here is a description of some of my favorite Kindergarten GameGoo games:

Images courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Company Copyright 2001-2006

Additional Resource:

** In addition to games that focus on manipulating the computer mouse, K-2 kids have a variety of ELA/Math integrated games to choose from. 

To be continued... 

Thanks for stopping by! ~ Mrs. Wolff 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dual Organization

This year has been a LEARNING experience for me as a new dual teacher. I know it seems like something so small, but classroom organization in a 50/50 dual classroom really is the KEY to SUCCESS. I have learned many lessons along the way. Along with the help of my student teacher and dual partner (listed below), I have developed 3 ideas that I will continue to use as a dual teacher.

* Our students travel back and forth from Spanish to English daily and many items go with them. After trying many other options, my dual partner (Lucy Cunningham) and I created these. At $0.50/bag it is an affordable and durable item for the students to use. We purchased them at Walmart and then decorated what we call our "travel bags"! 
* Up until recently, I had two different bags of sticks that the students decorated. Not only was this hard to constantly switch bags for a stick pick, but I ended up loosing one of the bags. By color coding the TOPS of the sticks, I am able to pull a stick from whichever color is in my room. It's the little things that count! 
* It is hard to imagine that something so meager can cost so much money and time. I created a different supply bucket at the beginning of the year...and after 5 months, it was apparent that it did not work. Students in my class have community supplies given our dual environment, so I developed a way to organize and keep track of the supplies in a quick and easy way with the help of my student teacher (Brittany Lindsay)! 
Each pencil, eraser, marker, scissors, highlighter etc is wrapped with electrical tape for that color group. Throughout the day/week we do random supply checks and students either get a positive consequence for all supplies being there or a negative consequence for missing supplies. After a few weeks, we have only lost 1 marker! Before this, I was paying TONS of money to replace supplies! 

I hope that these tidbits help! 
Ms. W