Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Zapping into Kindergarten

Have I mentioned that I'll be teaching Kindergarten next year?  No?  Must have slipped my mind with the mountains of boxes I was packing and unpacking.

Mountain?  Oh yeah, I failed to mention that we moved, huh?  Yeah, we moved to be closer to work, with me being at a new school and all.

New school?  I didn't mention that either?  Well jeez, I must have been really busy.

Yeah.  I have been.  Between moving my classroom and moving a household, this summer so far has not felt like summer at all.  But the new digs are cool, and the new school is pretty rad too.

Now, if you know me at all then you know that I like to give myself the month of June and the first half of the month of July to really relax and catch up on, well, sleep more than anything else.  Sleeping, socializing and reading are my big three.  I haven't really been able to catch up on most of those things (what with the moving and organizing and packing and driving and furniture shopping and teaching etc.)

Teaching?  Did I say teaching?  Yes, yes I did.  On top of the madness that has become my summer I am also teaching summer school.  But not just any summer school - DUAL IMMERSION summer school.  And while only having 4 weeks of summer school to teach my incoming kinders (most of whom are still 4) their letter sounds, numbers, colors and shapes is challenging and a bit of an educational whirlwind, I am enjoying it incredibly.  Kinders are a totally different beast - not only are they coming in not knowing the curriculum (an aspect that, generally, as a teacher I am expecting =] ) they also need to be taught socially.  Socialization is something that I am not used to teaching quite to this degree.  By the time my students came to me in first grade they were already "trained" how to be in school and how to interact with other kiddos.  In kinderland, most of them have no idea what is and is not appropriate.  So for as much as they are learning, I am learning (maybe x10).  And it is SUCH a rush!  I am loving it!

Considering that all of my materials are for first or second grade, I am back to making materials that I can use not only for summer school but also in kinder this year.  I was inspired by a game called "Zap It!" that I found somewhere on Pinterest (Here it is!)  The idea is the kids pull popsicle sticks and read the vowel that is on the stick.  If it is said correctly, the student gets to keep their stick.  If they say it incorrectly, they put the stick back in the container.  If they pick one that says "Zap!" they lose all of their popsicle sticks and have to start all over.

But popsicle sticks aren't as fun.  So I found die-cut stars at the dollar store ($1 for 36 stars) and wrote my vowels on the stars.  I made 25 stars (5 for each vowel) and 2 "Zap!" stars.

Being the OCD, decorative teacher that I am, I could not simply write "Zap!" on the star and leave it at that.  Oh no, I had to decorate each star with polka dots and dashes.  Have you ever done that on 27 stars????  Do you have any idea how MIND NUMBING that is?  Oye.

Here are all of my materials:
The stars, markers, Zap! bucket and laminator. And my cute
little birdies that sit on our table.

Then I laminated all the stars and cut them out.  7 sheets worth of lamination!  7!!  Stars are shockingly tricky to fit on an 8.5x11 sheet of lamination.  But I did it, for all 27 stars!

The finished project:
Here are the stars, all laminated and decorated and ready
to go!

You wouldn't believe how much the kiddos love to play this game!  And now that I have it all laminated, they won't ruin it as quickly.  I can't wait to share this with them tomorrow!

And now, if you aca-scuze me, I have some Pitch Perfect to watch!