Monday, November 7


Wow these last couple weeks have been flying by! I have lots of different centers to share that we have done in the past few weeks.

Alphabet Centers:
 Pasting split peas on the letter "Pp." The students did really well with this! I was pleasantly surprised by how carefully they placed the peas on their papers. (Go ahead and count all the "p" words I just used, haha!)
 Matching upper case and lower case letters to make acorns. Nice for a fall center and a good review of the alphabet.
The listening center includes a Language Master and two sets of headphones. The cards for the Language Master have the letters of the alphabet a picture and word to go with the letter. They hear my voice say the name of the letter, the sound it makes, and the word on the card. In the bin there are also sight word and sentence cards included, though you can only see the alphabet cards in this photo.

Sight Word Centers:
 Sight Word Graphing - Ms. Conyers found this idea on Pinterest and made her own. She shared it with the team and my class did this with me at my center in small groups so that I could make sure they understood how to color, count,  and graph properly.
 In this center the students chose a word card, then stamped the word and wrote the word twice. The idea of the tray was to contain the messy stamps but I suppose I didn't explain that very well, judging by this picture, haha.
 This one was a big hit and it was another idea I saw on Pinterest. The students had to search in the corn to find letter tiles to match their sight words which I had traced and written on the red paper.

Math Centers:
 I showed the students how to count and match up the numbers on the dominoes.

At this center, students rolled a number cube, wrote the number in a square and then placed that many stickers into the box. The students really love anything involving stickers!

Science Centers:
 The blue manipulatives have textures on the bottom. Students were told to feel the textures without looking and try to match them up. The wooden boxes with knobs make different sounds when you shake them, they listen and match the ones they think sound the same (they can check their answers by checking the colored dot on the bottom).
 At this center, students got to explore some seashells by using magnifying glasses and a scale. Many of them also held the shells up to their ears.
Most recently, we began to study day and night and the earth in space. At one center they cut and glued a sun (and also traced a sentence about the sun) and at another center that they did with me, they used cotton balls and white paint to make the moon, outlined it with glitter glue and used sticker stars around it. They also filled in some words in a sentence about the moon.

Last week we also did a fun activity to learn about the moon phases by using Oreo cookies. Check our classroom Shutterfly site for photos!

Sunday, November 6

Storybook Parade

On Halloween, the Kindergartners at our school do a Storybook Parade around campus. Each class chooses a different book and dresses up to match the characters or theme of the book. Then we form a long line and wind through all the classes in the school. See below to see the book our class chose - other classes included: The Wizard of Oz, Stripe, Splat the Cat, The Grouchy Ladybug, Go Dog Go, Elmer, Stellaluna, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Cowboy Bunnies.

This year, our class chose the book Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas. The book is a very cute and fun book about some dust bunnies that like to rhyme - and one dust bunny that is more concerned about the vacuum cleaner that's about to get them. I dressed as the blue (non-rhyming) dust bunny and the students got to choose between red, green and purple. They wore that color shirt and made a funny hat that matched. They also chose a set of rhyming words that I printed in matching color ink on label paper and stuck to their front and back.

Then we got in line with the other Kindergarten classes and walked around the school. They had a blast! And the teachers and students in the other grades seemed to enjoy watching us. The dust bunnies were a big hit!

There are lots more pictures on our classroom Shutterfly Share Site, be sure to take a look!

Friday, September 30

The Name Game

I have to thank my colleague, Ms. Conyers, once again for sharing a great idea.

On Thursday we started The Name Game. This is how it works. One student is chosen to be the Name Game student of the day. I have their name written on a sentence strip and I read the student's name. Then we cheer each letter in the student's name by saying "Give me a _____!" and at the end "What does that spell?!" Then I cut up the letters and have that student come up and unscramble them.
After that, I model how to draw the student, talking about what color to use for the student's hair, eyes and clothing and what shapes we can use to help us draw the person. All the students go back to their desk and draw their own picture of the student of the day and label it with the student's name. When complete, I take all the pictures and staple them together with a cute cover page and the student of the day gets to take home the little booklet.

The pictures are coming out really cute already and I know they will just continue to get better!

Thursday, September 29

A is for Apple

Since we were learning about the letter "Aa" this week, I thought it would be fun to do an apple tasting. We tried three different colored apples - red, yellow, and green. But, before we started, each child predicted which color apple they would like the best and we made a graph using a pocket chart. We counted how many of each color and talked about which color had the most and which the least. Most of the students predicted they would like green apples the best. Only two thought they would like yellow apples.
Then we sat at the tables and tried one piece of each apple at a time. We started with red and talked about how it tasted. We said that it tasted sweet, but also noticed that the skin tasted bitter. Then we tried the green apple. Many students were surprised at how sour the green apple tasted. Last, we tasted the yellow apple, which was a little sweeter than the red apple.
After we tasted, each student chose which color apple they enjoyed the most and wrote their name on a paper apple of the same color and we made another graph of the apples they liked the most. You can see a picture of the final apple graph below.
Turns out a lot of them did like yellow apples :)
Check out our Shutterfly Share site for pictures of the students during their taste testing!

Tuesday, September 27

Last Week's Centers

I thought I would share how we do centers in my classroom and some of the centers we worked on last week. Our centers are structured. Students are divided up and they spend a given amount of time (generally 15-20 minutes) at each center. We do centers Monday-Thursday and there are three center rotations a day. However, one center each day is always the Teacher Center with me (what they do at my center varies each day). By the end of the week, they have completed all 8 learning centers, plus four different teacher centers.

I use this handy dandy chart to keep track of which centers they are supposed to be at and when. I add sticky notes with the students names on them, written in pencil. Since their abilities change so often, it's nice to be able to easily switch things around when needed. Each column represents a rotation. The numbers correspond to numbered centers I keep written on the board. The red part turns each day. It seem complicated, but it's so easy to get the hang of it. I tell the students before each rotation where they will be going, but by the end of the year they can usually figure it out for themselves.

I always try to integrate a lot of different things into our centers - writing, ABC's, sight words, math, science/social studies.

Here are some of the centers we did this week.

For our letter center, we did a worksheet to practice recognizing upper and lowercase Mm's.

For the math center, students used pattern blocks. We incorporated letters into this center by having them make letters with the pattern blocks. I printed the templates from this site.

For an ABC center, I used a foam puzzle and put the missing letters in a bin of colored rice. They had to search in the rice, find the letter and put it in the puzzle. I found this idea on Pinterest.

Our sight word center involved stamping our sight words "we" and "can" into a sentence. Then they used the pictures to help them read the sentence to their partner and then to me.

We also did a science-related center about our five senses. Students had to sort pictures according to each sense.

Saturday, September 24

Songs and Videos

In our classroom songs with videos are very popular. They keep the students interested and engaged as they sing and many times don't even realize they are learning. The more we watch the videos, the more they learn the songs and the concepts taught by the song.
My colleague, Ms. Conyers, posted on her blog about some of the favorites that we use in class and I thought I would share them as well.

Harry Kindergarten has created TONS of videos that range from the alphabet and phonics, to math concepts, science ideas, social studies and even classroom transitions. Below is one of the videos we have been watching for math to help us learn some of our shapes.
See all of his videos, here.

Another favorite set of videos comes from Have Fun Teaching. They have songs for each of the letters, a full alphabet song and now even some sight word songs. Their songs have really catchy beats - some that you may even recognize. Below is the alphabet song the students just love.
To see more of their videos, click here.

We have been watching a series of videos made to go along with color word songs. The songs are to the tune of popular nursery rhymes and teach the students how to spell the color words. Below is a favorite for the color green.
To see more color song videos, click here.

Last, but not least, Jack Hartmann. He has an enormous collection of songs, CDs and DVDs. Sometimes we listen to his songs on CD and sometimes we watch the videos. His songs for children cover pretty much everything! We were actually lucky enough to have him come to the school last year and I look forward to seeing if we can have him come again. The students really enjoyed dancing and singing along. (Also, many of the Harry Kindergarten videos use songs by Jack Hartmann).
Below is a clip from one of the songs I have on DVD.
See more Jack Hartmann, here.


Sunday, August 28

First Week

Our first week of school was a lot of fun. During the staggered start days, we read the story of The Gingerbread Man and then we hunted for him all around the school. This helped the students learn where different places in the school were and what they were called as well as practicing walking in line and of course, having fun :) At the end of the hunt, we ate gingerbread man cookies and played on the playground for the first time.

We made the above gingerbread man glyph in small groups and also did a gingerbread man writing activity (now hanging in the hallway outside the classroom).

On Thursday and Friday we read the book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. We made our own raccoon out of paper hearts and learned how to graph pictures from the story that we spun on a spinner. The students also got to try out many of the puzzles and blocks and toys in the classroom while learning how to participate in centers.

I have many pictures from our gingerbread man hunt that I can't wait to upload to our classroom photo share site on Shutterfly. I am just waiting for a couple more Public Release Forms to be turned in before I can do so. Thanks to all of those that got them back to me already!

I am looking forward to next week. Look for some a homework project being sent home on Monday.

Sunday, August 21

Meet the Teacher Day

Meet the Teacher Day was Thursday morning and it went so well! It was so nice that so many students and parents were able to make it and I could tell already that the students were having fun and starting to get comfortable in the classroom.

I took some photos of the classroom when it was all set-up for Meet the Teacher. If you have any family members that couldn't make it and would like to see what the classroom looks like, just click on the link for Photos/Videos.

This page will also include a link to our classroom Shutterfly Share Site. Those of you that gave me your email addresses have already been added as members of the site. If you would still like to be added, just send me an email and let me know :)

Tomorrow begins the first day of staggered start. I am very excited about the first week of school and getting to know all my new students.

Wednesday, July 27

Ready for a new school year!

Welcome to my class!

I can't wait to meet everyone on August 18th at "Meet the Teacher." I am looking forward to seeing all the new little faces that will be a part of my classroom this year.

I have already started going in and organizing in the classroom a bit and I am very excited to create a really bright and positive learning environment for a new group of Kindergarten kids.

I have set up this blog to keep students, parents and other family members up-to-date on the happenings in the classroom. I have also set up a few pages (on the right hand side) with some general/useful information so that it is easily accessible to you.