For the month of September 2011, we bring you two great lessons based on the Common Core State Standards!  The first is for geometry and the second works on helping children learn to write their name.
  1. Common Core State Standard for Geometry:  Identify and describe shapes (squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres), describe their positions as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to, and name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
  2. Common Core State Standard for Language: Know conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

<strong>Shapes Are Everywhere</strong>

Debra Weller, Capistrano USD, for Transitional and Traditional Kindergarten
Parquetry (attribute) blocks are a sure thing to help children learn about shapes. Debra presented this in two sections to show a differentiated lesson for Kindergarten and Transitional Kidnergarten. The components of the lesson would work well for either group. Adapt this lesson according to the unique needs of your students.
  • flat attribute blocks-squares. circles, triangles, squares and rectangles
  • word cards- on sentence strips write ‘triangle’, ‘circle’, ‘square’ and ‘rectangle’
  • clipboards
  • white paper
  • 9 X12 drawing paper
  • pencils
  • fine tip black permanent markers
  • watercolor set
  • paintbrushes
  • water containers
Literature Connections:
Shapes-Math Counts, Scholastic Press
The Shape of Things, Doyle Ann Dodds
Mouse Shapes, Ellen Stoll Walsh

Transitional Kindergarten Lesson

1. Before children enter the room, place 5 or 6 attribute blocks in the center of each table.
2. Prior Knowledge-Explain the objective for the lesson- “We are going to identify shapes in our classroom environment.” Point out an example of a circle, rectangle, square and triangle in classroom objects.  On whiteboard or chart paper write- What do we know about shapes?  Solicit and record each child’s response on the chart.
3. Input- Read a shape book. Hold up and identify the circle, square, rectangle, and triangle attribute blocks.
4. Active Learning- Direct children to the tables. Ask them to look at the attribute blocks. Advise them to talk about the shapes and to choose one shape and bring the shape to the carpet sitting area. Children join hands, sit on the floor, each child holds the chosen shape.
Show children the sentence strip word cards. Explain- “We are going to sort the shapes into groups of the same shapes.” Place word cards in columns on the floor.Invite each child to have a turn to identify the shape and place it in the correct column. Count the shapes in each column. Ask each child to retrieve his/her shape from the floor graph.
5.Informal Assessment- As children are excused to the tables, ask each child to identify the shape they are holding.
6. Pass out white 9 X12 drawing paper and permanent black markers. Model tracing a single shape. Show children how to overlap the shape as it is traced several times. Children repeat the process. Demonstrate how to watercolor the shapes.
7. Pass out watercolors, brushes and water containers. Children watercolor the shapes.
8. Assessment- while the children are painting, circulate with the four attribute blocks- circle, triangle, square and rectangle. Ask each child to identify the shapes and record responses.
9. Extension and Review- When the watercolors are dry, pass the art work back to each child. Have children sit on the floor in a circle. Each child holds up art work and says, “I painted (name the shape).” Place shape word cards on the floor. Invite each child to place their art work in the correct column. Count and compare the graph.
10. Mount the watercolor shapes as a display.

Kindergarten Lesson

Repeat steps 1-4.
Pass out clipboards which have white paper attached. Pass out pencils.
The teacher models tracing an attribute block on the white paper with a pencil.
The teacher models writing the words for each shape. Each child writes the word for the shape on the paper.
Say-“We are going on a shape hunt to find shapes in our environment.  Look around the classroom.  Every time you find the matching shape on an object in the classroom or on the playground, make a tally mark on your paper.”  Teacher models making a tally mark.
Give children 10 minutes inside and 10 minutes outside.
Children come inside with clipboards and sit in a circle.
Teacher says-“Count your tally marks and write the number on your paper.”
Each child takes a turn to orally share the name of the shape and the number of tally marks. Collect papers. Post a display.
Assessment– repeat TK assessment in number 8.
Extension-Children can write simple sentences- I saw _______ triangles on the shape hunt. For homework, develop a shape hunt sheet for the children to find shapes at home and in their neighborhood. Give the children magazines and have them cut out environmental shapes, make a shape book, label each page with the shape word.  This same lesson can be modified to include solid shapes.



<strong>Name Writing</strong>

Nori Nitschke, Sargeant School in Roseville, CA
Working on Name Writing?  Here are 10 sure fire activities that meet the name writing core standard and are playful yet purposeful.  As with all activities you want to successful with in your classroom – model- model – model the way you want the materials to be used.  Of course, a little play time before the work is always a good idea!
1. Wikki Stix -model first how to use and return to the tray to keep them neat and tidy – then have kids names in 2 inch tall letters. They build their small muscles and learn the correct way to write their names at the same time!
2. Colored Salt with Glitter – use flat trays (I got mine from Raft) color salt in a Ziploc – 2 cups salt and a few drops of food coloring to your liking – sprinkle in some glitter and shake it up. Poor into the tray and model how to take out, use and put away. Kids can pull names from the Name Wall, Pocket Chart or Magnet board – 5 at a time.
3. Overhead Projector – if you still have one great! If not – get one from the storage area at your district or sight or from Raft! Print overheads with children’s names on them – with or without lines and dotted lines/arrows showing which way to start. Model this in a small group and have all kids names in a folder at the Overhead Projector Center.
4. Finger paint – Using different textures; pudding, Jello, sugar, sand, paint, rice, ice cubes on a hot day, on the sidewalk, paint brushes and water
5. Magna Doodle– Let kids “play” for a few minutes before asking them to do the work – I have a set of six for use in small group that I got at Target – over time!
6. Blocks – Again – you must model in a small group – the extra bonus here is that the kids have to use other strategies to figure out which shape of blocks with make the letters they need.
7. Collage – This is another activity that seems so simple yet kids must be thinking on many different levels to create letters from junk of different sizes, quantities, and shapes.
8. Magnetic letters – I have on oil drip pan that I purchased at the auto parts store – it is 2’x3′.  I accidentally nailed it to the wall in my classroom under the white board (I apologized later!)  The tray of sorted letters in the Word Center, the class’ names are on Astro Brite sentence strip paper with magnets attached.  The kids pick a name – put it on the pan- and then build the name under it.  They must use upper and lower case letters to make the names correctly – again – modeled in small group.
9. Lite Brite – If you still have one-put in a sheet of black paper, have a stack of names and plug in!

10. Beans – Write the kids names on Astro Brite sentence strip paper, change the bean every week will you can’t find anything else to glue! Rice, garbanzos, lentils etc. The smaller the bean or grain, the better to build those small muscles in the fingers.  In March be sure to get out the teeny tiny quinoa and make tiny names with tweezers – the leprechauns will love it!!