Friday, April 19, 2013

Butterfly Math and MY NEW STORE!

Each year I tend to focus on growing as a professional and improving one area of my kindergarten curriculum. This year it's reading. Last year, math and writing. The year before, ELD. The trouble is, with only 3 hours a day with my kiddos (not to mention only 24 hours for myself) I've struggled this year to keep up with the improvements from previous years as I focus on reading this year.

Long story short, we're behind in math. Like a lot. So now it's April and I'm just now introducing addition (although if Monday's lesson was any indication, most of my students already have a pretty good idea of what they're doing without me!). We've been adding butterflies on the SMART board and using toys, so I created a cut-and-paste word problem activity for my substitute to do with my students today. It's not anything particularly unique or original (or even very challenging...) but it was faster for me to create my own than find the right one online, and it was a good introductory assessment to get started with. We'll see how they did when I get back on Monday! 

In addition to being a convenient sub activity, this worksheet was the perfect thing for my very first TeachersPayTeachers freebie! I got home early tonight and set up my TpT seller account and posted my first product! Hopefully this is the first of many. As a bilingual teacher I often feel like an island, working on my own and having to come up with almost everything we do from scratch (or at least taking everything my English kinder team has found or purchased and reproducing it in Spanish). I want to be a part of the growing community of bilingual teachers who are sharing quality, engaging, relevant materials online for other kinder teachers! 

So here it is--my very first freebie! Butterfly Addition Cut-and-Paste Word Problem in English AND Spanish! Click the image to go to my (new!) TpT store. If you download my product, please leave feedback so that I can build my rating. Thanks so much for your support!
Butterfly Addition Cut-and-Paste Word Problems

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ELPA Update

Everyone DID show up last week and we were able to finish up our ELPA (English Language Proficiency Assessment) testing last Friday. Last year it took me 9 days, so it was exciting to finish up in only 7 with some help from my building ELD coordinator.

Tuesday we sat outside in the sunshine and ate ice cream to celebrate! We won't get our results until after school gets out in June, but I am proud of how hard my students worked and of how many of them did their very best--regardless of how their score turns out!

Wednesday we moved on to our Food unit:  I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly!

Caterpillar Update: Moving Day

In our PM class cup we now have 3 chrysalises and one small caterpillar that hasn't moved in at least a day. We saw some wiggles a couple days ago and were hoping he would make it, but now I'm pretty sure he's gone. Surprisingly, the kids weren't the least bit upset. They made the appropriate sad, pouty faces when I showed them the dead one in the cup, but then they moved right on to wanting to take the lid off and smell the poop. They're so silly! Every single child made outrageous "EEEEWWWW!" sounds when for most of them the cup wasn't possibly close enough to their little noses as I walked by to even smell what was in it!

Chrysalises in a Cup

Now our chrysalises have a new home in their basket above our cubbies where we can't reach them and knock them down!

Chrysalises in a Net

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Today is my 6th day of ELPA testing with my kinders. ELPA stands for "English Language Proficiency Assessment," which is our state-mandated computer-based test that our English Language Learners take each year to assess their growth in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It sounds great, and I really do believe in assessment and accountability, but the test is not even remotely developmentally appropriate! I would guess that the majority of our native English speakers in first grade would have a really difficult time with this test!

With kinders I test them two or three at a time in the computer lab with microphone headsets while my assistant has my class on her own. She's very capable and great with the kids, but she has been exhausted at the end of the day each day! There's a reason I don't do it on my own. =)

I'm so ready to be done and get back into our regular routine! Most of the kids have enjoyed the testing (mostly because I told them it was a game), but some have been really frustrated and felt bad because they realized that they didn't know what to do. =( We've been focusing on doing our best, and how your best is sometimes guessing!

If everyone shows up I should be done tomorrow! Hooray!

Caterpillar Update: We Have a Chrysalis!

We came to school this morning to find our very first chrysalis!

We Have a Chrysalis!

Then later that afternoon...

We Have a Chrysalis!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Caterpillar Update: Messy, Messy

Yuck! It's no wonder they're all at the top of the cup--I wouldn't want to be crawling around in that mess, either!
Messy Messy

They're about full-size now and almost ready to start transforming! We have one hanging as a J and holding still, the others are just sort of dancing and playing around (which is one of my favorite stages to put up on the doc cam because the kids think the caterpillars are dancing to our Jack Hartmann music! Count to 100 Everyday!).

Messy Messy

Friday, April 5, 2013

Caterpillar Update: Look at all that Poop!

They're eating and eating and eating and growing and growing and growing! Or as my kinders wrote in our book: "Se comió y comió y comió hasta que ¡se puso gordo!"

One of my more thoughtful kinders asked today: "But where do they go to the bathroom?" After which we discovered that all those tiny little balls were caterpillar POOP! EEEEEWWWW!

We also learned about molting and joked about wouldn't it be neat if when our clothes got too small we could take the off and grow new ones under them? =)

Caterpillar Poop

Thursday, April 4, 2013

La oruga muy hambrienta

La oruga muy hambrienta by Eric Carle
On Wednesday we read one of my favorite books of all time: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Of course, as always, the kids LOVED it! I'm lucky enough to teach next door to a first grade teacher who has the big book version in Spanish, so everyone could see. As we read each page, we turned and talked to our partners, retelling what had just happened, or making predictions about what would happen next. The most surprising thing for me was how many kids guessed that the caterpillar would eat a leaf after the oranges. They were disappointed for a minute, but then they were excited when I turned the next page. They LOVED the part where the cocoon transformed into a butterfly!

Hungry Caterpillar Accordian BooksLater that day (with my assistant because I was ELPA testing--more on that later), the kids cut out all the different parts of the story, and glued them on the cutest caterpillar retelling books ever! I saw these (or something similar) as an original pin on Pinterest. I cut green construction paper in half long-ways to make a 6x18 rectangle. These my assistant and I accordion-folded into sixths. We cut red die-cut circles (about 4 inch diameter?) for the heads. The kids glued the head on (make sure to model how to put glue on HALF the circle because it's too big) and drew on a caterpillar face. I realized after the fact that I should have told my assistant to give them black markers, because light colored crayons and pencils didn't show up very well. They should also write their name below their face.

Next the kids glued one picture from the story in each section of the folded caterpillar--four on each side--in the correct sequence. We left them open for the glue to dry, and the next day folded them up. Today we re-read the story, using their little caterpillar books! They had so much fun retelling the story in the pattern, and now they get to take them home!

(I found the printable on Pinterest. It's from DLTK-Teach--I can always count on them for sequencing printables!)