Friday, October 21, 2011

Classroom Tested and Approved!

If you read my post about my friend Mrs. B, you will know that I was more than elated to 1)see my products being used in another kindergarten classroom but, more importantly 2) seeing them being used in ways I hadn't even thought of yet. That is what teaching is all about and that is why the educational blog world is so exciting (and addicting) to me!

I just wanted to share a couple of unique products I have found lately.  Both products are from fellow kindergarten, blogging teachers and products that I have used in my classroom (I like to call this "classroom-tested").  To me, a product is not worth the words that describe it until it has actually been put to use in a classroom by the age group it targets.

The first product is from Donna Glynn.  It is a jam packed Fall Pattern Unit.  Of course, it is absolutely adorable with all of the graphics she chose to use, but let me tell you a couple of other great points that I found with this kit.  I love that the pattern worksheets focus on ONE type of pattern.  These are fantastic to build that understanding of creating patterns with my "young" kinders.  My "older" kinders get patterns, no matter what fashion they are presented in and, in fact, benefit from completing varying patterns at the same time.  But, some of the children need this repetitive step in order to build a more solid foundation of what building patterns really means.  There are so many different complete the pattern sheets to choose from that it is very easy to differentiate and give students individual sheets according to their ability (which, if you are a regular reader of my blog, you all know I feel very strongly about differentiation and purposeful practices).
But, let me get to my absolute favorite section of Donna's Fall Unit:  The Write the Room Patterns.  I just started doing Write the Room centers specific to units or concepts I was teaching last year and they were a huge hit.  I also did do some Count the Room Activities, but I never thought of incorporating patterns into it!  It is such a fabulous idea and makes students name patterns (a typical kindergarten standard) and then record.  Ingenious! 

Since many of my students aren't quite ready to take the reigns and NAME patterns independently I used Empowering Little Learners awesome Four Corner game and incorporated Donna's pattern cards for a great review (and lots of information for me about my students' learning). 
This game is unlike any other I have in my repetoire of games to practice focus skills and/or concepts, yet it is very simple and quick to prepare.  The fact that the children are moving and learning is a huge bonus in my BUSY classroom.  (And, we all know that there is tons of brain research that tells us over and over the great correlation between higher learning and movement).  The students truly love this game and enjoy kindly requesting that their friends trade picture cards until the music stops. At this point, they have to go to the marked corner of the beginning sound they hear in the word.  We've played it several times and the children are really getting good at it and enjoy it. 

Like I mentioned, today I incorporated two of my latest favorite blog world findings into one!
I used Empowering Little Learner's structure of the 4 corners game with Donna's colorful pattern cards.  The students had to go to the corner of the room that "named" their pattern:  AB, ABC, AAB, or ABB.  Then, they were supposed to work together to make sure that everyone in their group had the same type of pattern.  This is the most difficult concept of our pattern unit (recognizing different patterns that represent the same type of pattern and comparing patterns), so this was great practice and getting them prepared for "Reading Patterns around the Room" next week and then, ultimately, Pattern Write the Room. 

I really enjoy "testing" new games, products, and ideas in my classroom:  most of all because it benefits my students, but also because I am always looking for ways to improve how I teach my kindergarten students!  You won't be disappointed by either one of the individual products I mentioned in this post, but you'll be super excited to incorporate the use of both items in your classroom.   

5 comments:

  1. Krissy,
    I love coming to your blog! I learn something new each time I visit. Thank you!

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  2. Thanks for the shout out!! I love to create a variety of activities so that you can pick and choose whether it is the graphics or the recording sheets. It was really nice of you to share. I am happy that you and your kids like them!!
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pam, That makes me so happy coming from a PRO K teacher! That is exactly why I do this, but it is nice to hear that my goal is being met somewhere out there! :)
    Donna, You are so welcome. I love the kit and think that others need to be exposed to it as well. I also like others to see that there are many ways to use the things we find on the web to fit the needs of our own classrooms. ;)

    ReplyDelete

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