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Five for Friday ~ May 31

I've been pretty absent lately.  We've wrapped up the end of the school year here in Hawaii a week ago.  I can't believe how fast the first week of summer has gone.  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to show you what we've been up to in sunny Hawaii.

1.  We spent Sunday at our favorite beach with our crazy dog and awesome neighbors.

2.  On Monday, we spent the day snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.  It's an awesome place and a must see if you visit Oahu.  You can check it out more by going {here}.

3.  By Monday night, I had a sick little girl running a fever and in a lot of stomach pain.

4.  We ended up in the ER on Tuesday.  The docs at the local ER were pretty sure it was appendicitis.  We had resolved ourselves to the fact that our little girl would need surgery as we were transferred to the Army hospital here.  Once we got admitted, they questioned the appendicitis diagnosis.  Turns out she just had a really bad stomach virus but we still spent the night in the hospital and she got lots of IV fluids.  It was pretty traumatic for everybody but at least we avoided surgery.

 5.  I was so happy to get my new Eric Condren Teacher Planner in the mail yesterday.  I LOVE this thing.  It was almost too pretty to write in!  I need to get some new fancy pens in different colors for sure.

Daily Math Routines

I know it's the end of the year, and we're all tired.  Or at least I am!  But I've been meaning to post about my daily math routine for my Kindergarten students for awhile and never got around to it.  So maybe it'll give some inspiration for next year or at least I can come look back at this and remember what I did!  ;)

Since I teach students with disabilities, I have learned (the hard way) that they often need constant review and repeated practice otherwise they seem to forget everything!  If I had a typical classroom, I would probably do a lot of math review during calendar, but I don't have that opportunity.  I spend about 20 minutes of math block doing review.  I know that's a big chunk of time, but it's soooo needed.

A few weeks ago, I stopped going over 2D and 3D shapes everyday, because I just KNEW my kids had it!  Sure enough, my kids forgot their shapes.  That cemented it for me that the daily review was essential.  If my students benefit from this type of review, maybe some of your struggling students will also benefit.

We always start with a quick review of 2D and 3D shapes.

Then we move onto identifying how many on 10 frames and how many more do we need to make 10.

We're still practicing identifying numbers up to 30.  This has been pretty tough for my kids.  Even though we practice this every day, many of my students till make mistakes identifying numbers in the teens and 20s.  We go through the cards and then play Number Zap! for 2 minutes.  You can read about the Sight Word Zap! game {here and get a freebie}.

My kids LOVE the Zap! game and never get tired of it.  Plus, I like that it requires my students to be able to identify the number correctly and quickly while playing.  At some point, I should probably make a cute Zap! game but these flash cards work just as well.

We practice counting to 100, counting by 5s, and counting by 10s with these AWESOME free Math Mats by F is for First Grade.  Look at this tracking!  Oh it makes my heart so happy.  Having a visual in front of my students as they count has REALLY improved their rote counting skills.

Everyday, we practice writing our numbers.  A few weeks ago, I came across a fabulous way to differentiate number writing for my students and get some daily practice.  These Number Writing Fluency Books  by Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business have been super helpful for my students.

I started using these booklets in April and started everyone on the writing to 10 book.  Out of my 5 students, I have 2 who are now working on the 50 book, 2 who are working on the 20 book, and 1 still on the 10 book.  I don't let them move to the next book until they can write the numbers on the blank page without any reversals or looking at the completed chart for help.

So that's it.  It's not really groundbreaking, but this has helped my students remember some of these rote memory skills and increased their learning.  

Do you have any tricks for getting daily review in?

Compare and Contrast Kindergarten Style

Common Core Standards state that Kindergarten students are to compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories (with prompting and support).  At our school, we assess this standard in the 4th quarter for our Kindergarten students.

I knew that my special ed Kindergarten students were going to need A LOT of support to (hopefully) compare and contrast two stories.  We started off with the traditional 3 Little Pigs story that my students have heard several times.

Since we're in Hawaii, we read The 3 Little Pua'a. Pua'a means pig in Hawaiian.  I will admit that this book has A LOT of Hawaiian language.  I obviously need to spend a lot more time listening to Surfin' Through Second's Hawaiian language blog post {click here} before I can read this one.  I had to pass the book off to my aide.  Thank goodness for her!

I knew that if my kids were going to have any success with comparing and contrasting I was going to have to give them visuals and really break it down.  So I made this chart and we went through each story step-by-step.

By putting the events side-by-side, we were able to discuss if things were same or different.  We then listed all of the things we could think of that were same and different on a separate chart.  For my students that a hard time coming up with ideas, I referred them back to the visual chart.  The visual cues helped some of them that were really struggling.

Afterwards, they had to complete their assessment.  I covered up my Compare and Contrast chart but left up the chart with the details and pictures for each story as a reference.  Normally, I would have had my students attempt to write their own sentences.  They're still developing their writing skills.  Since I was running short on time and have a ton of assessing left to do, I had the students respond orally and wrote their answers down.

Some of my students seemed to have a pretty good grasp on the similarities and differences in the stories.

Unfortunately, I had a couple that still struggled even with visuals and lots of prompting.  Maybe they're just not developmentally ready for this?

Do you have any helpful tips for teaching comparing and contrasting?  Some of my students need another strategy for sure.

Construction Zone - Building Short Vowel Words

One of my favorite small group activities is having my students build words.  I typically have them write a word on a dry erase board and then tell them to change one letter to make another word.  The only problem is that I have to come up with this on the super of the moment and I'm not always super quick on my feet.  

So I created this super cool Construction Zone - Building Short Vowel Words unit that I know my boys will LOVE!

There's 2 different mats for students to build words on depending on your preference.  You can print the colored mat off and use the letter tiles provided or whatever letter manipulatives you have on hand.  I always have a hard time finding enough letter manipulatives for each of my students to have enough letters.  That's why I've included letter tiles that can be printed off and cut out for each set of words you build.

 If you want to save ink, you can print the black and white version.  Students can write directly on the page or you could place it in a page protector and have students use a dry erase marker.

I've included directions for students to build words for all the short vowels, short vowel words that end in ck, and 4 sets of mixed review that contain all short vowels.

My students are going to love the construction theme and the hands-on fun of building words.  If you want to check out this unit more, please take a look at Construction Zone - Building Short Vowel Words.

Don't forget that there's an awesome TpT sale going on in my store right now.  Use code TAD13 at checkout to get 28% off everything in my store.

Fabulous Feedback Linky Party

I'm super excited to be linking up with Christina from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge for a really cool linky party!

I'm going to be showcasing some of the fabulous feedback I've received from my amazing followers and buyers on TpT.  In case you didn't know, bloggers LOVE reading feedback.  :) 

If any of these fabulous feedback comments are yours, please leave me a comment by midnight May 8th, and I'll send you a freebie of your choice!

 Making Smart Choices can be found {here}.

I Can Write About.... can be found {here}. 

Speed Racer - A Long ee and ea Game can be found {here}. 

Bright Colors Clip Chart can be found {here}.

Remember the Teacher Appreciation Sale is on May 7 - 8.

Making Smart Choices ~ Helping Students Deal with Frustration and Anger

I had mentioned on my Facebook page {follow me here} that last week was a ROUGH week for one of my behavior students.  There was hair pulling, climbing under desks, crying, hitting, scratching, and it wasn't even me doing it.  :/

My student's daily sticker chart that I send home looked like pretty rough this past Tuesday.  It was NOT a good day in my classroom.  The physically aggressive behaviors have been increasing a lot lately.  You can read about how I track behavior and provide positive reinforcement {here}.

We might only have 15 days of school left, but I knew I had to do something.  Often there are a lot of external factors that influence our students' behaviors that we can't control such as medications, problems at home, lack of sleep, etc.  But it's always best to be proactive.

Students that have behavior problems will often need to be explicitly taught how to handle their feelings of frustration and anger and what they can do instead of lashing out.

I created this Making Smart Choices unit for my student, so he can work on identifying his feelings before they get out of control.  This unit is meant to be a teaching tool to use before disruptive behaviors are happening.  You can click on the pictures to check them out in my TpT store.

We all know Teacher Appreciation Day is coming soon.  As a way to show our appreciation, there will be a big sale over at TpT on May 7th and 8th.

You'll be able to get up to 28% off everything in my store {here} if you use code TAD13.  This is a perfect time to clear our your wishlists and to stock up on things you'll need for the beginning of next school year.

Thanks to my friend at Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs for the awesome sale sign!

Five for Friday - May 3rd (or 4th)

Yay for Friday!!!  I'm currently at home and lounging on the couch.  It's glorious!  My husband wants to go watch Iron Man 3 tonight, but I really just want to sit right here.  So happy that it's Friday, and I can link up for Five for Friday.

1.  This is our crazy dog, Harley.  Lately, she's gotten a little moody.  Very upset with us to the point where she won't even look at us when we pet her and she's sulking all the time.  At the new house, the kids are outside playing ALL from the second they get home.  I think she feels left out.  Who knew dogs could be so moody???

2.  Let's just say that Tuesday SUCKED big time.  Wow, it was a rough, rough day.  This was a super long week.

3.  After Tuesday, I really had to reflect on what I could do differently so that these types of behavior could be prevented BEFORE they get to this point.  Although, I'm not really sure if anything would have helped on Tuesday.  I'm working on some new stuff to help deal with anger and frustration.  I used the thermometer chart today with my student, and he really was able to identify where he was on the thermometer.  I'll be back to let you know when it's all complete.

4.  Despite all the behavior problems, I've been "trying" to get some curriculum and assessing done this week.  We've worked on composing and decomposing numbers with this awesome pack by Kindergarten Smorgasboard that you can check out by clicking {here).

5.  We also started working on place value Friday afternoon.  I had over half of my students absent Monday - Thursday.  I was hoping to start working on this earlier in the week but had to keep pushing it back.  So Friday afternoon, I got to introduce place value during an observation at 1pm.  Seriously, observations on a Friday afternoon at 1pm?  That's just not fair.  To help us practice building numbers with tens and ones, I used this awesome Constructing Numbers unit by A Differentiated Kindergarten.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

May Currently

Yay!!!  It's May!!  That means I'm soooo close to summer break.  And it means that it's time to link up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly currently.

May also happens to be my favorite month, because it's the month of my birthday!  Woohooo!

I'm loving this Survivor season!  Does anyone else watch this season?

Now that we've moved into base housing, my kids can play for HOURS every day after school.  There's a TON of other kids their age here and a park at the end of our cul de sac.  It's seriously soooo nice.  This is what life is supposed to be about.  I do need to figure out a way to eat dinner before 7pm though!  I see a lot of sandwich nights in our future until  summer break starts.

Is anyone else EXHAUSTED?  I am seriously wore out.  Every day it's a huge effort to get out of bed and drag myself to work.  I am just wore out.

I cannot wait for summer.  My oldest daughter is graduating high school.  How in the world is that even impossible?  I'm so excited to spend my days at the beach, reading good books, and taking naps.  The best part is that my best friend is coming to visit us for 2 whole weeks in July!  So excited to show her Hawaii!

Only 17 more days left of this school year.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed they pass quickly with way less tantruming, hair pulling, scratching, and hiding under tables than I've had the last 2 days from one of my students.