Monday, July 7, 2014

Blocks, Books, and Hooks!

Hello!  Today I am linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  

I am so proud of the project today, mainly because I did it!  And it even involved hammers, nails, and a tape measure!  Woop!  Woop!  It's one of those projects that I have been meaning to do for a while.  For a long while.  Like for two years.  I decided that this link up was just the motivation needed to get it done!  

As a Kindergarten teacher, and a former early childhood teacher, I understand the importance of hands on learning.  Yes, there is a lot of paperwork in Kindergarten (not just for me!), but that doesn't have to be all Kindergarten is!  I work to make sure that my students have genuine, hands on experiences with a variety of materials.  I have found that these activities are the ones that students most enjoy and most remember.  And we know that when students enjoy and remember an activity - learning increases!  I also know that fine motor development is a big topic in Kindergarten.  There is more writing and a higher expectation to write well.  Students need well developed fine motor skills so we, as teachers, work to provide multiple opportunities for students to fine tune these skills.  Thinking of these two concepts (1) hands on learning and (2) fine motor practice, I wanted to create something where students can work on these concepts while still practicing and reviewing standards.  Here is what I made!

I began with using some leftover pieces of 2x4 that we had in the basement from a remodel.  I then picked up some hooks from Lowes (under $4) and some, a lot, a TON of tile samples (free!)  

I used a tape measure to make sure my line was straight, lined up the tile samples about where I would want them to be, and then marked where I would put my hooks with a Sharpie.

I used a hammer and nail to make a small hole in the wood where I would start my hook.

Then I screwed the hooks into the holes.  Easy peasy!


I made another one just like this with five hooks.  I then went to the computer (where I am much more comfortable!) and printed pictures, letters, numbers and symbols on Avery shipping labels (5263).  I printed the labels, cut them apart (I put more than one picture or letter on a label) and put them on the tile samples. 

Using the wood block with four hooks I could build CVC words.

Or match beginning sounds. 

Using the wood block with five hooks I could build CVCe words.

And practice simple addition and subtraction problems.

The possibilities are endless with these!  I'm thinking patterns, blends, word families....I may need to run to Lowes again! I couldn't be more excited to use these with my kiddos!

While my work today has been mainly focused on my Monday Made It, I don't want to leave out Michelle at Big Time Literacy's link up!  The topic is on one of my favorite subjects.  Books!  

Favorite books as a child or an adult to be exact.  I love this topic because I LOVE books.  If it was my choice, I would have a library at home and I would sit and read and drink coffee all day.....

Throughout my life there have been several books that really meant something to me and hold fond memories in my heart.  Here are two of my most favorite from my childhood days.  

The first is The Giver by: Lois Lowry.  My teacher read this aloud to our class in 4th grade in the afternoons before school let out.  I loved everything about that time of day.  Her voice when she read.  The quietness as we listened.  And the fact that it was the first real 'big' chapter book we had been trusted with to read, discuss and understand.  I felt so grown up while listening to that book and discussing the meaning behind it.  It will always be a favorite.

The second is a book that I love to read to my own children.  Love You Forever by: Robert Munsch.  While it was always a sweet book that I loved listening to as a child, the time I remember it most was senior year.  I attended school at a private school where the our graduating class was only 47 students.  We were all close and we knew our teachers well.  When we were in sixth grade, we had one of the best teachers Mrs. Geisler.  She was pretty, funny, nice, smart and made us feel loved.  After we left sixth grade she left our school.  We were the last class she taught at our school.  That made us a little special.  :)  Well, when we graduated, she surprised a week or so before the end of the year and stopped by to see us and send us off into the world.  She read to us Love You Forever and I remember crying throughout the whole thing (much like I am now).  She then gave us each a Saint Christopher medal (he is the patron saint of travelers) and wished us luck as we started the next, new exciting chapter of our lives.  It was one of those perfect moments.

There are so many special things about books.  The stories.  The way you can visit some place magical without leaving the room.  The way you can suddenly become someone new through a character.  But, my most favorite thing is the feeling you get.  The memories and emotions a book can ignite with just words on a page.  There is nothing like it.

If you want to check out what other teacher are working on, check out the Monday Made It picture at the top!  And if you want to know what other wonderful stories teachers are loving, check out the Blogging Challenge picture above!  Thanks for stopping by and making it through my looooong post today!  :)