Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentines Week & AM Stations

We have a lot going on this week at Cold Springs Elementary. Not only is it "I Love to Read Month", but it is also "I Love to Read Week".  In this week alone we started out with Valentines Day and a mini-celebration filled with the usual Valentine cards, treats, and crafts. Each day of the week sports a different theme. On Monday all the kids were dressed in red.  Tuesday was snuggle-up-with-a-good-book day where the kids brought in a favorite stuffed animal.Wednesday was sweats day, today is slipper day, and tomorrow - hat day.  Each morning at 9:45 we have "drop everything and read", otherwise known as D.E.A.R. The entire school literally drops everything and participates in 15 minutes of silent sustained reading. It's pretty cool if you ask me. The dragons are reading like crazy and are being rewarded for reading at home. We have a goal of reading a minimum of 400 books in  February - 20 books per student. When we reach our goal, a pizza and popcorn party is in order.

Our AM stations this week were centered around a valentines theme. AM stations is the part of the morning reading and writing block where students have independent learning activities. During this time, half of the class is at learning stations, while the other half is reading, writing books, or conferencing with me on the carpet or at their tables.  After about 20-30 minutes, the groups switch. We practice for quite a while to get this routine down, but done correctly it's a very powerful classroom management tool. The quiet buzz in the background is usually "learning in action". Here are a few of the AM stations we did this week.

At the math station - kids counted and placed conversation hearts on a number graph. When they were completed, I gave them a digital camera to take a picture of their work.  It's simple way to incorporate technology (learning to use a digital camera), and it gives me proof that they completed their activity.

At the arts & craft station - the kids worked on filling in a heart with crumpled tissue paper and dots of glue. This is an excellent fine motor skill activity, and keeps our hands very busy.
I hide conversation hearts in the rice table for the kids to find. Next they wrote the messages they found on the hearts on paper.  "Who doesn't love digging around in rice."
Ahh...the rice bottle.  I put  word tiles in a bottle filled with rice.  They shake and shimmy the bottle, just so, to get the tiles to show the words.  The task is complete when they have found and written all of the words on their record sheet and can read them back to me.  There is an exact number of words they must find to get a prize!


  1. Oh man! I love the idea of hiding conversation hearts in the sensory table and then writing the messages on them! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing :D


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  3. Way to go KF Dragons & Mr. Fines - awesome learning!!!

    - Margot (Alex's Mom)

  4. Sounds like a very fun week! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Jennifer (Carter's mom)