Monday, April 30, 2012

Common Core Standards

Out with the GPS (Georgia Performance Standards) and in with the CCGPS (Common Core Georgia Performance Standards). What are the educational pros and cons of changing the standards when teachers and parents alike had finally gotten the hang of the GPS's?


The new Common Core standards will lead to curriculum changes in Georgia schools this fall. Some examples:
In math:
  • Shapes introduced in kindergarten, not the first grade.
  • Factoring, prime numbers, composites and adding, subtracting and multiplying fractions introduced in the fourth grade, not the fifth grade.
  • Negative numbers introduced in the sixth grade, not the seventh grade.
  • Solving inequalities and basic probability introduced in the seventh grade, not the eighth grade.
  • Calculating the mean absolute deviation introduced in the sixth grade, not the ninth grade.
  • Determining the volume of a sphere introduced in the eighth grade, not the 10th grade.
  • Use of the Pythagorean theorem to find distances introduced in the eighth grade, not the ninth grade.

In English/language arts:
  • The function of adverbs introduced in the third grade, not the fourth grade.
  • Abstract nouns introduced in the third grade, not the sixth grade.
  • Specific verb tenses introduced in the third grade, not the fifth grade.
  • Pronoun-antecedent agreement introduced in the third grade, not the seventh grade.
  • Comparative and superlative adjectives introduced in the third grade, not the seventh grade.

Sweeping changes to hit schools  |

Presidential Race

Information found on The Washington Post
Article: Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich: Where they stand now on education 
Author: By Valerie Strauss
Rick Santorum: Opposes early childhood education in public schools. He was quoted in the Des Moines Register last August as saying:
“It is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children. It is not the government’s job. We have sort of lost focus here a little bit. Of course, the government wants their hands on your children as fast as they can. That is why I opposed all these early starts and pre-early starts, and early-early starts. They want your children from the womb so they can indoctrinate your children as to what they want them to be. I am against that.”
All I can say is wow... how mistaken is he.

Educational Quotes

He who opens a school door, closes a prison.  ~Victor Hugo
Do I need to say anymore ...
Read More >> Brainy Quote

Educational Quote of the Day

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't.
~ Anatole France

Read More >> Brainy Quote 

Peep and the Big Wide World

I am always looking for additional ways to incorporate cross curriculum ideas into the classroom. While I was searching I came across a wonderful sight called: Peep and the Big Wide World. The sight is founded by the WGBH Educational Foundation. The main objective of the sight is to foster scientific inquiry for Pre-K. There are videos of the series to watch online as well as activities related to the topic presented in the video.  Handouts to print with lesson ideas, ideas for the parents to reinforce the concept at home, and a community toolkit which could possibly be used at a parent meeting, fatherhood event, or open house.

Links >> Encouraging Science Learning  is a link to a short video aimed at showing parents there are ways to use everyday life to foster a child’s curiosity and help them develop math and science skills.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Resources

Since this week our class is using the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to review the letters of the alphabet. I have looked for ideas to incorporate into the lesson besides completing the alphabet pages for the students' own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book to take home. I have found quite a few activities and lesson plan ideas. Listed below are just a few of the resources available. I am currently working on designing a cross curriculum comprehensive Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Resource Book. Check back for updates!

~ Catherine

Lesson Plan Ideas >>

Buy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom from

I have created a lesson plan incorporating the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme throughout the content areas and interest areas. Feel free to download and use in your classroom. Not all of the ideas listed on the lesson plan are my own ideas. Some I have borrowed from co-workers and found on the internet.

Download >> Lanie's Little Learners Lesson Plan

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, lesson plan ideas for the pre-k classroom!  The lesson plan includes the Georgia Performance Standards for Pre-K, activities for all content areas, and center ideas. Here is an excerpt from the resource:

To introduce the book, wear khaki overalls and safety pin construction paper letters all over them. Wear a hat that resembles coconut tree fronds. Ask the students to guess what you are pretending to be. Tell the class you are a coconut tree. Read the book to the class and stop when the alphabet is up the tree at “oh no” and have them predict what will happen next. Record their responses on chart paper.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Lesson Plan: incorporates four activity cards, one for each of the categories they believe to be important in children's development of literacy the categories are listed below:
Language Development: with attention to vocabulary and syntactic structures. 
Acts of Writing: including letter-sound relationships, print concepts, and genre knowledge
Artist's Craft: with attention to the ways authors and illustrators have created their works
Lots of Links: including inter-textual connections, connections to other content areas, and connections to children's lives

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sight Word Cards

Sight Word Cards >> I have designed sight word cards to go along with the story. There are approximately six sight words used frequently throughout the story. There are several ways in which the sight word cards can be incorporated during the read aloud of the story or as a follow up activity. Some suggestions include: memory concentration game, the use of magnetic letters and have children match the letters on the card.

Comprehension Questions >> You should only tackle these comprehension questions after reading the book to your child, at the minimum, at least two times. Some of the questions are open-ended which can lead to valuable discussions. Take the time to listen and respect your child’s point of view. The comprehension questions are from Read It

Cross Curriculum Ideas >> Making Learning has several great pintables FREE to use with the CCBB story. Some of the ideas include:
For their entire list of CCBB Activities click here.

New Section >> Mathematical Reasoning

I didn't realize just how hard it was to organize and condense information. After what seemed like FOREVER I have added the section called Mathematical Reasoning. Of course the section does not contain all I want to add, but it is a good start. In the Mathematical Reasoning section you will find concepts, content standards, and useful links for educators, parents, and online math games geared toward Pre-K aged children. Check back often because this is a work in progress and I am sure I've left something really important out.

~ Catherine

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Here We Come!!!

As I write this post, the TV is on with a Harry Potter movie, Mississippi (my two year-old yellow lab) is curled up on the floor snoring and my fourteen year-old is stretched across my bed... also snoring. The two of them are making wonderful noises. Okay anyway, since it is the count down towards the end of the year my pre-k class will be reviewing alphabet letters with the use of the book Chick Chick Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., and John Archambault. I am a bit adventures because I want all of the students to have their very own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book that they create. On Monday they are going to design their cover using their arm as the tree trunk and their hands turned outward as the palm fronds. Students have the choice to use paint, crayons, and/or markers to color/paint their tree. Then they also have the choice as to which ten letters to use to decorate the cover of their book. I plan on reviewing print concepts such as what is the purpose of the title of the book, what is the author’s and illustrator’s job before the students begin their project.

Then each day the students will create two alphabet pages from now until the end of the year. The students have a choice of either drawing three pictures beginning with the letter, finding everyday objects that begin with the letter and then glue them on the page or cutting out pictures starting with the letter. Since the students will be working in small groups, each group will have all of the supplies gathered by the two letters they will be working with. For example, for the letter C, the supplies would include pictures beginning with the letter C for them to cut out, objects such as cotton balls or corn to glue on their page. The students will also write the letter several times in rainbow colors, and finally write one word starting with that letter.

Below is the alphabet page we are using. There are three pages in the PDF. One page contains the header, What begins with ________ ? and instructions. Simply write the target letter for the alphabet page in the header and in the directions. The second page is the same as the first, but without the header. The third page is the same as the first page but without the header and instructions. Alphabet Book Page Template >>

Stay tuned for updates on the progress of our monumental task. :-)