Friday, July 29, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Ideas From the Week....

10) This idea came from Shannon Keller. Instead of having just a writing center or a writing table.... have a Writing Bar in your classroom. Use that large teacher desk that you don't know what to do anything with for the bar and instead of putting chairs around it, use short wooden stools. Use magnetic hooks to hang portable word wall rings and writing tips around the sides. Stock the top with all kids of writing materials and add a fun sign to advertise it. What a great way to add novelty to the writing center!!

9)This idea came from Deanna Jump. This is called "Don't Sink the Ship." You will need a cookie sheet and 4 pirate ship cutouts (printed on cardstock) with magnets attached to the back. When you are teaching a lesson or reading a story and a child is talking while you are talking or causing some type of disruption, quietly remove one ship without saying a word. If someone complains out loud to the person who cost the class the ship, quietly take another ship off. When you are finished with the lesson, if at least one ship is left, sing a fun Dr. Jean song or do a fun chant.

8)This idea also came from Deanna Jump. Have carpet bags for your students when they go to the carpet for a lesson. Use the extra large zip-loc bags or a similar type bag. Suggested items for the bag include a marker, a pencil, a wipe board, and a journal or spiral notebook. When you are completing a graphic organizer or chart, have your students do it with you to help keep them engaged when its not their turn.

Another item you might add to the bag are clipboards. An easy way to make cheap clipboards is to use a piece of heavy cardboard and a chip clip. Just attach the chip clip to the top of the cardboard.

7)This idea came from Lisa Maddox-Vinson. Bring water, reading, and retelling into your classroom. After reading frog and/or pond stories, put this water reading area together. Use a round blue vinyl tablecloth for the water. Add some frog hats for retelling props. Place several copies of books about frogs and/or other pond animals. Add stuffed animals or additional hats for story retelling.

Here are a few of my own ideas....

You can find the instructions for making these simple frog baseball hats from Crafts By Amanda.

a few of my favorite frog and pond books....

Check out these cute frog masks at Amy's Gifts

I found this felt retelling set on Etsy.

Here is a list of frog read alouds you can download. More frog ideas here.

6)This idea came from Dr. Juanita Coply. When we teach young children to estimate, we should teach them to do so in a range. As adults, we do not usually estimate things to an exact number and we should consider this when teaching young children to estimate. Here is an example:

Estimation - All About Ten (PreK and Kindergarten)

1. Select a bag of “junk.”
2. Work with a partner.
3. Predict if your partner will grab MORE than 10 items in one handful.. FEWER than 10 items in one handful…. Or EXACTLY 10 items in one handful.
4. Grab the objects. Count the number and check your predictions.

Estimation – What’s in the Bag? (Kindergarten)

1. Predict if there are MORE than 20 items, FEWER than 20 items or EXACTLY 20 items in the bag.
2. Use two ten frames to check your work.

Estimation – What’s in the Bags? (1st grade)

1. Predict if there are MORE than 50 items or FEWER than 50 items in the bag.
2. Use two ten frames to check your work.
3. Predict if there are MORE than 100 items or FEWER than 100 items in the second group of bags.
4. Use a 100 chart to check your answer OR make groups of ten.

5)This idea came from Deanna Jump. When creating schema charts with your class, make sure that every student realizes their thinking is valuable. First, give students a strong model. Except all of their ideas and write them on post-it notes to add to the chart. As new learning occurs, move ideas that were incorrect to the misconceptions box. For more information about schema charts, read Debbie Miller's Reading with Meaning and Teaching With Intention.

4)This idea came from Tom Glynn. Use Animoto to create slide shows of your students. Go to Animoto to get started. It's free and easy!!

I put this video together of pictures I took over the week. It is just a quick example for you to look at.

Create your own video slideshow at

3)This idea came from Dr. Nicole Andrews. Research has shown that having more advanced spatial skills is linked to better mathematics achievement, especially for females. A recent longitudinal study found that spatial skills in kindergarten were stronger predictors of ninth grade math school achievement than fourth grade math scores. Spatial ability includes mental rotation, spatial visualization, and spatial perception. Meaning....students need to engage in lots of activities that help them to see what something would look like if it was rotated, see something and then replicate it, and read maps and be able to navigate space (hide something, give them a map, and see if they can find it).

Block play is STILL IMPORTANT!! You need the block center and lots of activities that involve building things, making maps, and experimenting with perspective in your classroom.

I have lots more to share on this, but I am saving it for a post on its own. In the post, I will share specific lessons for increasing a child's spatial abilities.

2)These ideas came from Brooke Perry. Check out Brooke's CAMT post. She has a download of her presentation "Making Every Minute Count Using Literature to Teach Math". You will find TONS of great math connections to literature in Brooke's download.

1)This idea came from Donna Glynn. Donna has TONS of great math activities for teaching number sense, addition, subtraction, odd and even, etc. Here are a few pictures I took from Donna's session, but she has so many more games and activities than what I have pictures of. You can find all of these activities and many more from her TPT store.

A few that I really liked were Building Numbers, Bump, Clear the Board, Cookie Jar Greater Than Less Than, Double Dice, Find the Sums, High and Low, Odd and Even, Roll and Record, Show the Value, Tally to 100, and Yatzee.

It was a GREAT week!! I have LOTS of FUN ideas and lessons to share with teachers and students now!! I can't wait!!

The true highlight of my week though.... was finally getting to meet Deanna!!


Alessia Albanese said...

Thanks for sharing, April. Love the idea of the carpet bag - I may try that this year!

ΡΌ Alessia
Mrs. Albanese’s Kindergarten Class

Tammi said...

Oh my, who needs pinterest when you found so many wonderful ideas for this blog post! The pond retelling idea makes me want to teach about frogs in the fall and move apples back to the spring, ha!

Having Fun K-1


Miss Michele said...

This was perfect timing! I am teaching summer school right now and we are doing a frog/pond theme. These ideas are great! I actually found some similar frog masks at Michael's in their toy section. I posted a frog counting smartboard activity on my blog if anyone is interested:) Thanks again for the ideas!

Shannon Keller said...

Thanks for the shout out on your top ten favorites for the week! There were so many wonderful ideas shared at Splash! Thanks for including mine as one of your favorites! It was a real treat meeting you! Oodles of Blessings!

Karla said...

Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful ideas!

Ke'Andra said...

For Deanna's "Don't Sink the Ship" cards, are they part of her Pirate unit that you have to purchase?

Mrs. Larremore said...


I am so excited you started a blog!! I have already added it to my blog roll!!

Mrs. Larremore said...


Let me check on the ships for you with Deanna. :) I will let you know.

Mrs. Larremore said...


Thanks for sharing those frog ideas!! Love them!!

Mrs. Larremore said...


Email me and I will send you the ships. Deanna said she did not mind sharing them. :-)

Mrs. Warwick said...

I am wondering if you have more information on Dr. Nicole Andrew's research. I would like to read more about it!

Mrs. Larremore said...

I spoke with Dr. Andrews after her session about her research and she said she would send me some of it. I emailed her when I got back home to remind her but have not ever heard back :( If I am able to get a hold of anything, I will post it.