Monday, February 7, 2011

D is for Dog

As I sit at my desk last Friday trying to think of a new and exciting way to introduce the letter "Dd," I thought of a book I received last year as an end of the year teacher gift.  I remembered reading the book to last year's sprouts, and how funny they thought it was.  So I begin to wonder how I could incorporate it in to my lesson by doing more than just reading it to them.  I always introduce the letter of the week with what my fellow kindergarten teachers and I call the "feelie" bag.  Today insteatd of introducing "Dd" with only the "feelie" bag, I told my sprouts that I wanted to read a funny book to them.  I also told them that I wanted them to listen very closely because they might be able to figure out our new letter for the week. They were to give me a thumbs up if/when they figured out what our new letter might be. As I read, I watched their faces for reaction, all the while wondering if they understood what I was wanting from them.  They laughed, the listened, and slowly thumbs started to lift!  I was excited and could hardly wait until I was finished reading.  They were getting it!  As I finished the story, I could tell it was all they could do to NOT blurt their answer out.  I called on a few with their thumbs up; they all said that they thought our new letter was "Dd!"  Before telling them they were correct, I passed the "feelie" bag around so all could feel.  Then as I slowly pulled my "Dd" items from the bag they all began to clap!  They were so excited that they had guessed correctly after listening to me read DOGGONE DOGS, written by Karen Beaumont.  In closing, I guess I have to say, I am glad I added a new element to my weekly letter introduction, but now the heat is on to find books for each new letter I introduce!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Friendship Box

After Monday night’s Twitter topic with my #kinderchat PLN on bullying, I started thinking about ways I as a classroom teacher help my students learn the life skill of being a friend.  Wondering and questioning myself "Do I do enough to help develop this skill with my students?"
A few years ago when I made the move from teaching 1st grade to teaching Kindergarten, I attended a Kindergarten conference hoping to gain a few ideas to use in my new adventure.  I walked away with many great ideas.  The Friendship Box being among one of my favorites.  I do not know the presenter’s name that shared this idea, but I am glad she/he did!  I use The Friendship Box daily during the first quarter of school.  After that I use it on Mondays during our morning meeting time (calendar) to start the week off on a positive note.  
The Friendship Box: Words and Deeds to Make Friends
·        Wrap a small box like a present, making sure the lid can come off. 
·        Attach a tag to the box that says “A friend is a present you give to yourself.”
·        Fill the box with laminated cards that have the following written on them.

Examples of things I write on the cards.  I am sure there are many more ideas to add to the box.
Ways to make a friend
·        Help a friend clean up.
·        Share a book, crayon, scissors, pencil, etc. with a friend.
·        Help a friend when they get hurt.
·        Help a friend find something.
·        Cheer up a sad friend.
·        Smile when you look at a friend.
·        Ask a friend to play with you at recess.
·        Help a friend with their back backpack.
Things to say to make a friend
·        Are you O.K.?
·        I like to sit by you.
·        Will you please be my partner?
·        I like what you made.
·        I like what you built.
·        I think you are really good at __________.
I have the Leader of the Day pull out a card.  I then read the card and role play what the card says with the leader. Then we discuss why this would be a good way to make a friend or be a friend.
I also have a friendship necklace that I let students wear when I see or someone tells me they have seen someone being a good friend.  We always try to make it a big deal when someone is being a good friend. 
One website that I have also found to have some great book selections and friendship poems is:
Learning to be a student at the age of 5 is not an easy job.  In my opinion, it is my job to make sure I do all I can to help each student develop the life skill of not only making new friends, but being a good friend as well.
Friends at school
Are big and small.
Friends at school
Are best of all!