La rentrée 2015

A peek at my first week of 2015 en maternelle! Lots of great ideas that you can implement right now!

We are over halfway through our first full week, and it has been SUCH A GOOD ONE! I must admit, I was feeling a little discouraged last Friday after school because Kindergarten is hard in September. I missed my old students who knew the routine and were so well trained, it had been hot and extremely humid for days (aka humidex of 30+C and no AC), and the sillies were out in full force on Friday (probably mostly due to sheer exhaustion on the part of my sweet 4 & 5 year olds). I somehow always forget just how hard September in Kindergarten really is... #realtalk

But, come on, let's hang in there! At the risk of jinxing myself, this week has been simply amazing! We are really settling into our routine, and I feel like I have actually been teaching! Hallelujah! Granted, teaching things like "how to take a book out of your book basket without damaging it," "how to sit at the tapis,: and "how to properly turn the pages in a book," but, hey, it's teaching all the same :)

Check out all the things we have been working on this week!

1. Writer's Workshop
I use Deedee Wills & Deanna Jump's Writer's Workshop units and I LOVE them. We started on the second day of school, and it was rough going haha. I think our stamina the first day was about 3 minutes. Today, we worked on our stories for 11 whole minutes! ELEVEN! One sweet pea even wrote me a real "sentence"!

LEF1DG = Le chien fait un dégat, in case you didn't know ;)

We also had a super successful share time for the first time. Apparently practice really does make perfect, haha.

Two choices of paper are available now - blank white paper, and paper with a couple of lines if they are feeling brave!

I let my students choose where they work, and so far, so good! Sometimes a few friends need to be moved to a new spot to help them remember not to distract their neighbours, but overall we are making good choices and staying focused! They are honestly blowing my mind with the creative, imaginative stories they are sharing. At this point of course, their stories are essentially drawings with maybe a couple of letters here and there, gut they can ALL use their drawings and their voices to share their stories (instead of just naming/labeling the parts!) and I am just so proud!

2. Reader's Workshop
We started our Reader's Workshop this week. Monday was our first day, and it was where we learned how to sit and listen to the mini lesson.

We learned how to be Book Lovers instead of Book Bullies, by correctly and carefully choosing books from our book bins, holding books, and properly turning the pages. We are also building our Read-to-Self stamina!

We have also practiced finding a quiet space to read - my students also choose where they would like to sit for reading. Bath mats are popular! :)

I use Blasting Off With Reader's Workshop during this part of our day.

3. Reading Comprehension
We have also been diving into our reading comprehension strategies! This is an area that many people struggle with at our school - many of our students can decode like no one's business, but have trouble understanding what they are reading. I decided this year that I will be more heavily concentrating on these strategies during whole-group time by doing close reads and activities linked to comprehension.

This week, our book is Gédéon va à l'école, by Laura Wall. So far, we have made predictions, practiced retelling the story, and made connections. I am actually blown away by what they were able to do on their very first times! At this point in the year, their responses are very much communicated through their drawings, but we do a shared writing exercise before their individual one, and as the year progresses, they will be adding more words and details.

I have created the resources used in the following photos and you can CLICK HERE for the Gédéon va à l'école comprehension activities.

We learned about making predictions on Monday...

She thought that Gédéon would poop on the floor... that's why we can't have animals at school. Ha!!!
We practiced putting key events in order and then retelling the story on Tuesday...

After we discussed the events together, we glued the pictures in order in our journals individually. Then each student retold the story to a partner.

Today, we learned about making connections and thought about a time that we had fun playing with a pet (or friend).

Just look at that goose! :)

Their goose drawings get me every time haha

Tomorrow we will be talking about the problem and solution, and then on Friday we will write our opinions.

4. Alphabet
We have been working hard on our letters and sounds! We have learned and practiced six letters so far. We learn an action for each one, make a circle map of things that start with that letter (I forgot to take pictures!), and play a sorting game to practice listening for and hearing sounds. After we play as a class, students do an individual sort in their notebooks. For our first round of the alphabet, they are doing pretty well! Some of them are getting REALLY good at saying words and listening for beginning sounds.

You can CLICK HERE to grab the Alphabet Sorts!

We have also been working on our directed drawings! These are my FAVOURITE! I just love seeing their drawing skills take off. On the back side of these sheets is a tracing sheet for the letter we learned that day.

My favourite is the jardin... the day before we had learned to draw vaches for Vv, and that little sweetie put a vache in his garden! My directed drawing unit is up in my store - you can grab it by clicking on either picture above, or right HERE.

5. Math
Our math workshop is in full swing! I also use Deedee & Deanna's math workshop units and translate the worksheets for my students. They are seriously amazing! Tuesday, we did our very first math journal entries. We have been using prompts from my September Daily Math Journal pack for Maternelle. They did great! Math journals are my favourite way to start off our math block (they only take 7-10 minutes, if that). You can read all about my love affair with math journals and why I think they are so important HERE. I also have a September pack for Grade 1, which you can find HERE.

Day 1
Day 2 - already improving! Although we still need to work on numeral formation haha
I love how some kids wrote how many all together... some kids filled their page with numbers and math symbols haha (I did not teach him those!), and some just drew, depending on what they already knew about math!

Can we please all just take a minute to appreciate the moustaches this little sweetie drew?! Seriously, I LOVE Kindergarden!

We have of course also been playing lots, and having a great time with Mme. Angel's book Rouge, rouge, qu'est-ce qui est rouge?.

What have you and your little munchkins been up to? Let me know what you are most proud of in the comments!

I just love this age because they show sooo much progress so quickly, and there is ALWAYS something to celebrate and be proud of!

Thanks for reading! :)

PS - Are you a member of my FREE French Resource Library yet?? If not, just enter your name & email below and hit the button. I'll send you the exclusive password and instructions for getting your hands on every freebie I have ever made - and will ever make!

On ne partage pas les microbes!

Aujourd'hui, nous avons fait une expérience scientifique! C'était au sujet des microbes et comment le savon est si important lorsqu'on se lave les mains.

Je veux partager ce que nous avons fait avec vous, as cas où que vous avez des petits qui oublient souvent le savon, aussi ;)

Kindergarten students are definitely known for their germs! Teach your students to wash their hands with SOAP with this fun, unforgettable science experiment! | Enseigner aux élèves de se laver les mains avec du savon avec cette activité amusante et inoubliable!

La démarche est TRÈS simple et il vous faut seulement trois choses:

- une bassine
- des "microbes" (du poivre - j'ai couvert le contenant avec du ruban pour cacher l'étiquette)
- de la liquide vaisselle (Sunlight)

Si vous avez déjà le livre On ne partage pas les microbes, il donne une introduction parfaite à l'expérience! Nous avons lu le livre avant de faire l'expérience.

1. Remplissez la bassine avec de l'eau

2. Faites vos élèves s'asseoir en cercle et mettez la bassine au milieu. Saupoudrez beaucoup de "microbes" dans l'eau. Discutez du fait que les microbes n'ont pas peur de l'eau - ils se reposent, ils se baignent, ils aiment cela!

3. Ajoutez une goutte de liquide vaisselle dans l'eau, au milieu de la bassine. Assurez-vous que vos élèves tous regardent - ça se passe vite et on ne peut pas le refaire! Tous les microbes vont essayer vite de s'échapper et de se cacher du savon dans les coins de la bassine. Ils ont peur!!!

Et mes amis, ça c'est pourquoi il faut du savon... les microbes n'ont pas peur de l'eau toute seule ;)

D'habitude, je termine cette activité avec une "pratique" de bien se laver les mains et une feuille de coloriage. Si vos élèves sont plus âgés, ils pourraient écrire au sujet de ce qui est arrivé. Je fais cette activité tôt dans l'année, pour promouvoir l'usage du savon!

Si jamais vous essayez cette expérience scientifique, laissez-moi savoir! :)

PS - Are you a member of my FREE French Resource Library yet?? If not, just enter your name & email below and hit the button. I'll send you the exclusive password and instructions for getting your hands on every freebie I have ever made - and will ever make!

Our first day in photos & a new game for conscience phonologique!

Wow, back-to-school kicked my butt this week! I haven't been to bed later than 9:15 since school started on Thursday. I am finally feeling (mostly) rested and recovered now, after a couple of nights of 10-12 hours of sleep! :)

I also have what is shaping up to be a really great group of kinders again this year, which is making my transition from a K/1 split just a tiny bit easier (I was sooo spoiled in September of last year, when my grade ones just guided my new kinders along wonderfully!), although this year I have FOUR kids who don't speak a word of French. Eek! As we are a francophone school, I teach only in French and our outcomes are based on the assumption that all students can already speak and understand French. We will definitely have some work to do to get those four up to speed as soon as possible!

Here are a couple of pictures from our first day. My group is really excited about school and keen to learn. And guess what?!?!?! I had ZERO CRIERS on the first day! ZERO!!! I don't think that has ever happened for me before haha.

We started our day by colouring our first day crowns. I had a crown too, but forgot to get a picture! They were seriously Dead. Silent. while colouring. I was almost worried about them! I also provided stickers and... no one used them. How weird is that?! haha

You can download the first day crowns HERE. They are free and 100% editable!

We read "David va à l'école" and made our very own silly Davids! I used THIS free download for our templates.
Ours didn't look quite the same, but we had fun ;)

By the way, if you are not using glue sponges in your classroom yet, YOU HAVE TO!!!! Go look it up on Pinterest as soon as you finish reading this post! This is the first time I have used them and they are surpassing all of my expectations! I have never had such wonderful gluing experiences so early in the year haha.

We also coloured our birthday cupcakes! I always make a super huge deal out of these and tell them that they HAVE to colour them their very best so that I know when their birthdays are, so that we can all sing to them and I can give them a little surprise. Gets 'em every time ;)

I also informed them that in primary, they are now able to choose where they would like to get their work done, to help them stay focused and comfortable. Not always working at the table was definitely a mind-blowing idea for some of them!

We hung them up on the wall when we were done (fire code be damned!) so that we can see whose birthdays are coming up. I got my cupcakes from Art With Créations Claudia Loubier and my month headers free from Mme Émilie French Resources.  Not everyone had time to finish, but that's okay!

Next summer's project... paint over where the paint has peeled haha
We also had lots of time for free play! On the first day we didn't do anything too crazy, but on Friday I let them bust out the costumes. I will definitely have to get some pictures of that next week, because they were ADORABLE! Thanks to Reddit gifts for teachers, this is the first year I have been able to have paint actually in our easel. It has been a huuuuuuuuge hit and I am so, so grateful to my Santa!!!

Since I spent all day yesterday resting and recovering, I spent this morning putting the finishing touches on a new game in my store!

I have realized very quickly that I have a huge range in abilities again this year. One of my little sweeties is already trying to sound out new words, and one had trouble recognizing her own name. I want to start pulling small groups asap so that I can make sure everyone is practicing the skills that they need to work on. Roule et couvre is a super simple, low-prep game that I plan to use in my guided reading groups. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I think that learning through play is suuuuuper important, and a very effective way to get our kinders learning and practicing new skills. This collection includes 16 different game boards and corresponding dice, to help students work on associating upper and lowercase letters, identifying beginning and ending sounds in words, identifying "sons composés" and vowel sounds, and also counting syllables in words. By having all of the games printed and ready, I can be sure that when I start pulling my small groups, I have a skill to practice for EVERYBODY.

My dice all ready to go!
The game is super simple. Students play in partners, and need a game board, the corresponding die, and 10 counters each. The first student rolls the die, and finds a corresponding image on the game board (for example, quelle image commence par la lettre T? Tracteur!). Sometimes there is more than one right answer, and students can choose which they cover. Sometimes, there is only one right answer. If a student rolls a sound or a letter they have already covered, too bad! They have to wait until their next turn to try and cover another image. The game ends when one partner covers all 10 images.

This game is pretty straightforward and you could definitely use it as a literacy centre. However, I didn't laminate my dice, and I don't quite have enough confidence quite yet in my students' abilities or vocabulary to run it as an independent centre, and will be only be using it during guided reading, at least for the first half of the year. I am excited to use it to both work on phonological awareness and as a vocabulary builder - there is a pretty big variety of images that they will have to say out loud a lot of times!

If you are interested in giving Roule et couvre a go in your classroom, you can click HERE or on any of the above images to find it in my store! :)

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend!

PS - Are you a member of my FREE French Resource Library yet?? If not, just enter your name & email below and hit the button. I'll send you the exclusive password and instructions for getting your hands on every freebie I have ever made - and will ever make!