Working on the Three Little Pigs

Working on the Three Little Pigs

Hello and happy Saturday. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably already planning your lessons for after the break, and looking for cool ideas of things you can do in your classroom. Personally, I’m a sucker for themes, so I like to pick one and work around it for some time, whether it’s a week or a month or something in between. Recently with my Kinder babes we worked on The Three Little Pigs, and I want to share what we did with you. Let’s get started, shall we?

We started out with a math activity, so I played the song Ten Little Piggies and we practiced counting from one to ten and then backwards. I then told my boys to draw ten pigs (I gave them each a sheet of pink paper), and they glued them to a large piece of paper, so we had all of our piggies in the same poster.

I told my students the story of the Three Little Pigs, and using the pictures, we arranged

 

the events of the story in chronological order. I took the images from this blog. I did it as a retelling activity, so I showed my boys each picture, asked them what was going on and then had them tell me where they’d locate it. We came up with this poster.

I placed both posters on our English board, as well as these images of the pigs, and the material each used to build their house. That way we practiced vocabulary. I don’t know where I got the images from, but you can get a finger puppet worksheet at Education.com.

 

 

 

 

 

I also added a section with the three pigs and the wolf, and this would come in handy later on, you’ll see why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On another class, we worked on characters, so I made teams of four, and each student had to decorate either a pig or the wolf. Then, each group made a mini poster with their characters. You can get those finger puppets here.

 

 

 

The class when we did the Hidden Object activity was probably my boys’ favorite. I gave each this worksheet by Tim van de Vall, and I also displayed it on the smart TV. I had one of those hand pointers, so I encouraged the boys to use it to indicate where each object was. They then looked in their own page and circled each object.

 

 

 

If you know me, you know I’m a lover of centers, so of course they were part of our unit.

I teamed up my boys, and gave each team one type of material for them to “build” a house. Team one had cards.

 

 

 

 

Team two had sticks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And team 3 had building blocks.

Each team had ten minutes to try and build their house before they had to switch.

That was it for the Three Little Pigs, at least for now. What are other activities on this topic that could work with K? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our “Pete the Cat Day”

Our “Pete the Cat Day”

Hello and happy Saturday. Let me tell you about the time, not too long ago, when I planned a whole week of classes around a set of Pete the Cat books.

I’m usually super organized when lesson planning. I actually made a yearly plan so that I only have to read it and based on it plan each week. I’m a teacher, however, and that means that every once in a while I’ll get an idea that has me pausing all my previous planning and working on something entirely different. That’s completely understandable, no?

So when my dad sent me a message saying that while grocery shopping he’d seen a set of six Pete the Cat books for about twelve bucks, I decided the following week would be “Pete the Cat week” with my kinder boys. Now I’m not that crazy, and I actually have to work on some specific topics with my students that are not related to the James Dean books, so I decided that I’d indeed work on the books, but not spend entire lessons on them.

I ended up bargaining with my crazy-teacher self and finally agreed that, given that we had six books, I could read one each day as an opener to our class. Monday, our sixth day, was “Pete the Cat Day.”

After reading the last of the books, we did a directed drawing exercise. I thought I’d taken pictures of our crafts, but didn’t, sorry. The boys drew and colored Pete using crayons and markers, following the directions from the video by Art for Kids Hub, which is a channel we love.

I have twelve kids in my Kinder class, which is perfect because that means I could pair them up and give each team a book.

I placed a book on each table (which are shared), and then made a list of the books.

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My boys can’t read in English yet, so my purpose in giving them the books was for them to look at the pictures and try to retell the story either by what they saw or what they remembered.

They had around four minutes to read each book, before I announced they had to go to another table.

It was a fun experience, and I think they enjoyed it as much as I did!

If you have any other idea for next year’s “Pete the Cat Day,” or maybe another theme I can use in my classes, please let me know in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

A Monstrous Way of Teaching Body Parts

A Monstrous Way of Teaching Body Parts

Hello and happy Saturday. A while ago I shared this post with you in which I shared how I taught body parts to my Kindergarten boys. This new school year I decided that I could teach some of the vocabulary to my Pre-K boys while reinforcing vocabulary on attributes of shape, size, and color. In today’s post, I’ll share what I put together. Let’s get started, shall we?

Okay, so I feel like I first need to clarify that I am an ESL teacher, so that’s why I teach vocabulary to my students in such an explicit way, though I’m pretty sure this activities will work just fine for native English speakers.

I introduced the main body parts using songs, so obviously Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes was a total must. The reason why I like using this song is that it also focuses on parts of the face, which is a topic we explored later on in the week.

Midway through our mini-unit, I decided to do a Hokey Pokey contest, though it was different from the one I’d previously done with my Kindergarten boys. In this one, the places were arranged in a circle, and I called each boy to the center to dance and sing a part of the song, moving a specific body part.

Before we move on to the actual core of this post and the mini-unit, I want to introduce you to Open Shut Them, a song about opposites that I played to my students as a warm up on Monday and they absolutely adored and started to spontaneously singing while doing other stuff. It’s not really about body parts, but it’s a cool warm-up song.

To focus on the parts of the face, review attributes of color, shape, and size, I introduced my pre-k boys to Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. If you have the book, read it to your students, but if you don’t, you can display the video. I displayed the video on the classroom’s TV, and paused each time a new part of the face was introduced. I also progressively drew my own monster on the board as different parts and colors were mentioned.

This was probably the first time I formally talked about colors with my boys, but they easily learned the names of most of the ones in the book.

I gave each student a handout to color the monster’s face, which you can find at Ed

Emberley’s page. We did some directed coloring, using the video as a guide. This also was a good complement to a following-instructions lesson I’d done the previous week.

 

 

 

Here are the finished monsters. Luckily, all the boys followed instructions in terms of what color to use for each part (except for some red teeth, but I let it slide).

I cut each monster and glued it to a colored paper. I used yellow and red so that I could differentiate between my two pre-k classes.

Now, this is an idea I’ve worked on for a few weeks, but I’ll finally be able to implement it. I wanted to show it to you in action, but that would’ve meant waiting a full week to write this post.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve already seen this post of me working on the Build-a-Monster centers you can find at  Somewhat Simple  while watching a vlog from Pocketful of Primary.

 

I thought, what a better way to review body parts and integrate our monsters theme than having the boys build their own monsters?

I divided them by body parts so that you could see them in the picture, and made some labels to use at the moment of the class.

My idea is to do a whole-group activity first, having each boy draw a part from a bag and sort it into different cups (which will have the yellow labels I made), and then once the parts are sort them, have the cups on my table for students to pick parts and create their monster, in pairs or small groups.

What are other monster-theme activities I could do with my pre-k boys? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

Super Hero Day in Pre-K

Super Hero Day in Pre-K

Hello and happy Saturday. As promised earlier, I’m going to share with you what I did for my last class with the Pre-K boys and how I assembled their gift bags.

I’d sent parents a note the previous week to please send candy for the gift bags, and also to have the boys take mask or super heroes accessories to school for our class. The accessories helped set the mood.

Our first activity was decorating these masks I found over at the stuck-on-glue blog.

 

 

We then had a little singing session, in which I taught the boys the theme songs for Batman and Spiderman.

Before I gave the boys their gift bags, we did a little directed drawing. I drew on the board and the boys had their own paper and markers.

For this activity, I used a video from Art for Kids Hub.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my boys told me “Cami, your Batman looks funny.” What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end, it was time for the gift bags. I’d asked parents for candy to fill them. I then put the bags inside a huge Amazon box I’d gotten and decorated it with stickers.

I also gave each kid a super hero tag. Each tag has the boy’s name on top, and the font is called SuperDie; you can find it at DaFont.com, and says “Thank you for a super year! Love, Cami.”

On the back of each tag I glued the symbol of a super hero. I chose Batman, Captain America, Superman, Green Lantern, and Flash. I laminated the tags with Contact paper and cut the edges for them to look like badges. I put these inside the boys’ agendas.

So, yes, that’s what I did for my last class with pre-k. What did you do? Let me know!

Happy teaching and happy summer!

Love,

Miss Camila

 

Pre-K’s Pets Week

Pre-K’s Pets Week

Hello and happy Saturday. Also, welcome to Summertime Madness, a month in which I’ll be blogging every day. That’s right, every day of the month of July you’ll get a new post. I’ll stick to the regular topics on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, but on the other days I’ll post about more personal stuff so that we get to know each other a little better. Now, how about I’ll tell you what I did with my Pre-K boys for pets week? Let’s get started!

We absolutely adore directed drawing, and I believe I blogged about it in my other blog. Directed drawing is fantastic, especially for those days when I don’t want to “lead” the class because I use the videos from Art for Kids Hub and the talking I do is minimal. Each boy is equipped with a white sheet of paper, which they fold in four, and a black marker. I use the white board to model in case they can’t catch something in the TV.

Directed drawing keeps kids focused and helps them exercise their listening skills. For young kids it’s also great because it helps them develop their eye-hand coordination. It is also pretty great when they discover that they can all draw only by following a set of simple instructions. We drew Chloe, Gidget, and Max from The Secret Life of Pets.

On our following class we focused more on grammar structures and talking, so I wrote the question Have you got a pet? on the board and had each student answer with Yes, I have ______(number) ________________ (animal) or No, I don’t have a pet. I helped them out by answering the question first. I asked the question based on the song Have You Got a Pet? 

I then showed the boys a video with songs and activities related to pets, so it was that what guided the next part of our class. We discussed where animals lived and worked on reviewing some high frequency words. 

 

 

 

 

 

As a closure activity, we sang and danced to Wag Your Tail, a song that helps review animals, actions and body parts. It also reinforces the concepts of fast and slow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The last topic we worked with during that class was differentiating between animals that were pets and those that weren’t.

 

 

 

 

 

The following day we worked on Match centers with these pets Pattern Block Mats I got from Prekinders.com . You can get the plastic shapes by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished pets week with some coloring by numbers because who doesn’t love it? We reviewed colors, numbers, and exercised the fine motor skills. Besides, I let the boys use markers for coloring. Yay! I got this worksheet at Education.com .

And that was our pets week, the last official week of classes in Pre-K. I have yet to have my last class in which I’ll surprise the boys with a Super Heroes Day, and of course, I’ll share everything we do with you, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, let me know what your end of the year projects were.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Transportation Means for Kindergarten

Transportation Means for Kindergarten

Hello and happy Saturday. Here’s another week-in-review kinda post. Today, I’m going to share with you how we worked with transportation in Kindergarten.

Now, Pinterest is my happy place, so the ideas you’re going to see today were all inspired by pins I found while planning.

Monday started with me teaching my students The Transportation Song, from Mrs. Kelly’s Klass. I used a karaoke version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as background music.

This song gave me a lot to work with because obviously it includes many vocabulary words related to transportation. It also has the concepts near and far, which we explored with the help of some flash cards from Flash Card Fox I’d brought. Basically, I explained my boys that near means within city limits, while far means out of the city, the country, or even the planet in the case of a rocket.

I showed the boys each of the cards and they had to tell me whether each vehicle traveled near or far.

These cards also worked for the exercise I did next, which I did based on the Transportation Song as well.

You see, it is quite repetitive in the take a… part, so I tool the take a rocket to the moon bit and worked around it.

I wrote the formula I take a _________ to go to __________ and gave each boy a flash card. They have to complete the sentence using the means of transportation they got and a place. This also helped as a review exercise of the different city and neighborhood buildings.

At the end of the class we did a following instructions activity to review colors and basic vocabulary related to transportation.

I was inspired by this picture  to decorate the English whiteboard. Each boy colored a flash card from The Measured Mom, and then I cut them and made them look nice and pretty. The reason why I included “railway” as a subdivision of the land section is that, after the whole-class explanation, each boy individually developed a sorting worksheet by Preschool Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we worked on Math centers using the transportation pattern block mats by Prekinders.com you can get the plastic shapes by clicking here.

What are some other cool things you do when teaching this topic? Let me know!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Have you joined my bookish giveaway? Click here to check it out!

How I Teach Body Parts & Grammar

How I Teach Body Parts & Grammar

Hello and happy Saturday. Today I’ll be telling you all about how I taught body parts to my Kinder boys. Now, they know the basics (everything included in the head, shoulders, knees, and toes song), so my challenge was to introduce them to vocabulary related to other body parts, and try to combine that with simple, everyday grammar structures.

On Monday I have two classes with Kindergarten, so I wrote the agenda on the board. The activities I’m going to show and describe were intended for those two hours of class. Instead, we spent the whole week working on them (which meant less planning for me).

We started with hokey pokey, and through that song we were also able to review position words such as in and out. We sang and danced to it once, and then I made a contest in which every time a new body part was introduced, the boys had to point to it. Those who were right got a happy point. This activity took me the whole first class, but it was a great way to get them started on the vocabulary and also to introduce left and right.

During the next class we also played a game using a practice video. I played it once, and again I stopped every time a body part was named and had children point at their own bodies. Then I wrote on the board IS THIS YOUR…? Yes, it is. and No, it’s not. 

The idea of the game was to have students call one of their classmates, ask them a question, following the video’s pattern, throw them a foam ball and then have the recipient of the ball answer using the formula I wrote on the board.

On Tuesday, we worked on yet another grammar structure, using the song Body Parts by Brendan Parker. We obviously sang and danced to the song repeatedly, and the boys loved it and learned it by heart. Then I wrote on the board: I have; I have one; I have two; and I have ten. The boys named body parts according to each variation. I’m not sure if you can see clearly but by this point they were able to name more specific body parts like eyelashes or eyebrows.

On our following class we worked on drawing the parts of the body. I first explained to them the terms front and back. We used this Body Parts Song ; so I basically paused when a new part was named and added it to the drawing I was making on the board. We were each drawing ourselves, so first we drew the front and then the back, labeling each part.

As you can see, I use a lot of videos and model everything on the board because my boys are beginning to read and write in English. Is there anything you do in your classroom when teaching this topic? Let me know!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Have you joined my bookish giveaway? Click here to check it out!

Teachers on a Trip

Teachers on a Trip

Hello and happy Saturday. No, I’m not talking about *that* kind of trip; I’m straightedge, remember? I’m talking about a trip I went on with my older students a few weeks ago. I was directly in charge of a group of eight kinder boys, along with another teacher who’s actually homeroom teacher, and I had a great time for the first twenty minutes. After that, I wanted to run home and sleep for a week straight.

You know I’m not a mom and I don’t think I’ll be one for a long while, but I kept thinking “wow, these kids are six years old, they’re too young to be away from home for three whole days,” but really I don’t know if I’d forbid my kids to go on this kind of trip if it were a school activity. I would probably get their teacher a huge basket full of goodies as a thank you or maybe set up a spa day afterwards because man, caring for those kids was exhausting.

As a teacher I obviously have a huge responsibility in the classroom, but when we were away I had to be a mom and a teacher. We had to help the boys get their clothes ready and we had to supervise them while they got ready, telling them to wash their heads and helping them apply sunscreen; and that, of course, after we were ready. I managed to wake up (before six a.m!), get ready, read, and put makeup on, which I consider an accomplishment.

I think that first stage of the morning, and the night rituals (the nights themselves) were the most exhausting, at least for me they were, because it was in those moments when I had to stop acting like a teacher and be in charge of stuff I’m not used to. If you’re a mom, these things come naturally, but if you’re not, you have to learn, and boy, did I get a crash course.

I’m one of those teachers who say yes to everything, even if internally I’m rolling my eyes and wondering why me, so I’m sure I’ll go on a school trip next year or any year I’m asked. I only hope that on the following trips I can be with older kids who are more independent and can do more things by themselves.

Have you gone on a school trip with your students? Tell me about it!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

Our “Animal Week” in 1st Grade

Our “Animal Week” in 1st Grade

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Hello and happy Saturday. I know I haven’t been the happiest of teachers lately and I know that I haven’t posted about actual stuff I’ve done in class with my boys, and though I’m not going to apologize for either, I want to make it up to you by telling you about what I recently did with my oldest boys.

I have to work with the Journeys books by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and I absolutely despise them, so I often make adaptations and basically do my own thing to keep my students (and myself) motivated and engaged. We work with the Kindergarten books, and are (thankfully) almost through with them. Our “animals week” started with me reading Pet Show! by Ezra Jack Keats. Now that book was great. The pictures and the story were absolutely fantastic and my boys adored it.

While reading the book I got a ton of ideas to continue with the pets and animals topic, so after class I went ahead and pretty much changed all the planning I’d done for the week. Thank you, for the inspiration, Mr. Keats.

Because the book revolves around this boy who takes his “pet germ” to a pet show after not finding his cat, the pet he was supposed to take in the first place, I instantly thought about “My Pet Germs,” a poem by Kenn Nesbitt. During our second class of animal week (on the first one we read the book), I got the boys to read the poem out loud and then recite it paying attention to pronunciation and intonation. Each boy glued the poem to his notebook and make a drawing about it.

My second idea, which we executed on day three (man, time flies when you have fun!) was actually inspired by I Love 2 Teach. We sort of moved on from the pets thing (we went back, just you wait) and talked about animals in general. Based on the format I Love 2 Teach created, I made this worksheet because my students aren’t in that point of making extensive written productions. It was a fill-in-the-blanks sort of thing for them to complete with information from the animal they created. To get them inspired, I created a Power Point presentation that illustrated everything they were asked: I provided examples of animal names, species, habitats, and even the four basic needs of animals. This class was really a combination of English and science. At the end, each boy drew their animal.

For our fourth and final class of the week, we had a pet show! No pet was actually brought to school, thank goodness. I had previously sent parents the guidelines for this show and tell, which included a format of what they could say, the timing of the presentation and the visual aids permitted. This activity was amazing because the boys could talk about their pets, and those who didn’t have any talked about their stuffed animals or pretended they had a pet and talked about it. That was also an opportunity for me to assess their progress in speaking, now that the year is almost over. At the end, every boy was given a ribbon, just like in the story!

I love when my lessons have themes or units, even if the textbooks don’t explicitly have them, and that week with my students reminded me of why I’m a teacher and why I decided to take on the challenge and work with preschool students (the equivalent of first grade in Colombia is actually a part of preschool).

What is a lesson or a unit you love teaching and why?

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila