Sunday, 7 September 2014

September Transitions Games

A colleague asked me today what are my favourite transition games to play with Kindergarten or Grade One students. You know those longer transitions when you gather up your kids for a mini lesson or read aloud and your students need a focus while they wait for the rest of the group to join you at the carpet. 

A good transition game enables students to join in as they finish their task. Three of my September favourites are 

1. Chants

Who Took The Cookies From the Cookie Jar?

I love this chant because it can be done in line up, on a field trip waiting for a late bus or speaker or during circle time. Once taught the children love it! Check our my Pinterest category Transition Games for the frame, some teaching tips like pace, and the words including a youtube video. This great game is also featured in  at least 3 excellent picture books found at this link
2. Guess My Number?

Once you teach the framework for this circle game  you can differentiate it for your learners, use it either as a gathering or dismissal game.

In Kindergarten I begin in September with numbers 0 to 5, later as their numeracy grows the number line also expands until by June we are using 0 thru 100 and asking more complex questions. Grade One would begin with where the learners numeracy is perhaps 0 to 10 or 15. Whatever range you choose make sure they know the numbers and use a large number line or if they are seated at a table while you use a smart board or elmo have a number grid they can cross off with a dry erase pen.

Ask questions like:
one more than 5
one less than  4
two more/two less
between 3 and 5  ...

3. Counting Circle

Once you have taught the framework for this game then you can change the counting strategy to provide practice. For example you can count by ones, twos, fives, tens. You can count up to 10, 20, 30, ... 100. When the learners are ready you can ask the first student to join the circle which (already practiced many times) strategy we should use today, ask the next student what number we should start at and ask the third student what number we should stop at.

It goes like this. Pull a name from the fair turns jar. Ask that learner to pick a starting person. Count by ? until you reach the goal, lets say by 1's to 10. Everyone choral chants to 10. Student number ten stands up. Keep going beginning again at 1 and stopping at 10 until one person is left sitting. That person wins. I like to use a sing-song chant and as soon as the kids have sufficient numeracy go backwards. 1-10 then reverse directions and go 10-1(in this game 1 would sit down). To make it playful use different voices, gender groups, age groups or loud/soft voices.

Hope that helps your September transitions. Let us know what are your top 3 transition activities or songs.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Kindergarten Calendar Wall

It's that time of year when teachers are thinking about their new batch of students, what they loved about last year's program and where they want to make changes. This summer my professional reading was all about math. I wanted to revisit my calendar block to ensure that it is lively, purposeful and hands on as I want most of the activities to be math based. This year my class will spend most mornings outdoors so our class time must be very well planned.

This year I plan on beginning with just seven activities and then will make slight changes to the board each month. Calendar will follow our class meeting then open exploration time.

  1. 10 frame count with oversize pom pom
  2. Calendar with coloured number cards to create patterns
  3. Math Game
  4. Estimation Jar 
  5. Number Line (ongoing adding tape)
  6. Unifix Pattern
  7. ABC Game using Frieze
The next three will be added by the end of the first month.
  1. Guess My Number 
  2. News Clues Schedule
  3. Jolly Phonics
I don't have pictures because we are currently locked out of our room but will add them as soon as work resumes. 

Here are two links to very different calendar walls. The first, Renee at Share2learn shares how she changes her interactive wall each month, while the second teacher, Michele at New Adventures in First Grade does calendar binders with her students.

I like the simplicity of Renee's wall.  Look how easy it is to see the pattern, names of months and days of the week. When you visit her site she provides a month by month look at the changes to her calendar wall which reflect the ever-changing needs of her learners.

Sorry but I couldn't seem to capture a photo of Michele's calendar wall for you but the link above will take you there.

What do you do during your calendar block?


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Daily Schedule Cards

Picture Schedule Cards

Printable daily picture schedule cards for preschool and kinder via

This week I have been working alongside our oldest daughter to set up her grade one classroom. These picture schedule cards are just what she needed to help her new Kiddos transition into grade one.
I found these wonderful picture schedule cards last year when I was looking to improve my schedule so that my youngest students could follow the schedule independently. I use a pocket chart like she recommends but my daughter laminated them and is using velcro buttons to keep her small calendar wall simple. Vanessa has created a large set of cards which should cover all of your schedule needs. They sell very inexpensively for 
$3.00. She also writes about how to use them and why they are a valuable tool in a primary classroom.

Here is the link in case you have been searching for resources for your primary classroom.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Book Tub Labels

I have been super busy helping our daughter set up her new grade one classroom. When it came time to do the classroom library I went searching at all my favourite blogs for labels and discovered a terrific and free collection shared by Jonelle at A Place Called Kindergarten. They are very well done!!

 Here is the link...

Hope this saves you a little bit of time.