Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Classroom Library

Today, I thought I'd share some photos of my classroom library. It is in kind of sad shape because I was hired at my current position right before the start of the school year and never got a chance to organize everything ideally. Sooo, I would love to hear about any organizational tips/systems you use in your primary classroom.This my shelf for weekly thematic books plus big books that I allow the students to use during center time. The golden spoon on the top shelf is our trophy for good lunchroom behavior:) Didn't know where else to put it...

More thematic books as well as ABC and number books that stay throughout the year.
This is where I store different genres/categories/series of books that I have a lot of...magazines, nonfiction, board books, Dr. Seuss, Arthur, Bearenstein Bears, Clifford, ABC letter of the week books. Underneath, I have storytelling props stored in the crates.
THIS is the biggest problem/hodgepodge mess of all...my leveled reading shelf. The bins and most of the books were in the room when I got the job (awesome). However, the books are from 3+ different retired teachers, who all seemed to have their own system of leveling books. I did the best I could to sort through, but as you can see, it's still a mess. One major problem is that there are too many books in each bin and it's difficult for students to easily flip through and find a "good-fit" book.

Suggestions/ideas, please! How do you level? What bins do you use? How do you label?

Please go to my Thank You Giveaway post and see how you can win an entire set of ABC Rainbow writing worksheets!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Funday!

What did we do in our lovely classroom today? Glad you asked!
Morning Meeting
Here is a pic of my morning message (taken in the afternoon so a little worse for wear from the school day). We began learning about penguins today and the kids are sooo excited. They already knew quite a few penguin facts!
(The message had student names on it, so that's what's blocked out).
Reading is really beginning to click for most of my kiddos. Today we started practicing consonant blends by using some letter blocks to build words in our reading groups. We "stretched" each word out to really hear the sounds, built the words with cubes, and wrote them on kindergarten printing paper. My higher groups practice changing sounds and adding s to the end.

Penguin Theme
We made this chart after reading the story Antarctica by Joy Cowley. We will the penguin project I showed in a previous post tomorrow and read some more great penguin books!
Update: Here are the penguins we made! :) I love them SO much and have done this project every year, including student teaching! These chubby, funny penguins cheer me up on the most stressful of days!
We are also working on teen numbers in math and the Wood and Paper Foss Kit in Science (can't wait to be done with that puppy!).

Don't forget to pin something you like from my blog or mention my giveaway on your blog Leave me comment with your email on my last post to receive my entire alphabet set of rainbow writing sheets.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thank You Giveaway! Plus 100th Day

Yay! I am so excited to have 15 followers and more than 750 page views in my first few days of blogging. Thanks to everyone who has visited and commented so far. This blogging world is so full of positive energy and support! Awesome!

To celebrate, I am giving away a full alphabet set of Rainbow Writing Pages to you friends, if you are willing to help me out! Here is what you can do to receive the prize:

1. Post a link to this giveaway on your blog.
2. Pin something from my blog onto one of your Pinterest boards.
3. Leave me a comment with your email and the link to your pin or your post.

EVERYONE who does either one of the listed things will get a set of these fun sheets, as long as I have your email and the link. Oh, and the contest closes 1 week from today on Sunday, February 5th at 11:59 P.M., so hurry up and get in on the action:)

Here is a preview:

Also, I wanted to share what my kinder kiddos will be up to on the 100th day of school, which for us is not until Feb. 15 (okay, it's really Feb. 13th but we have a professional development thingy that day, and I'm not going to leave all of that fun stuff to a sub)!!! And for those of you who don't live in Minnesota, YES we do have to stay in school wayyyy into summer. June 8th I believe. YUCK! But, we don't start until after Labor Day.

The kiddos will come in wearing their 100 crowns that I'm sending home for them to decorate with 100 stickers or something similar.
This is a pic of my 100th day crown from last year. It just needs to be mounted on a sentence strip and ta-da! Instant crown!

My students will be tracing or writing their numbers (depending on ability) 1 to 100 for morning work.

We will be using Crayola stamper markers to make collections of 100...I have a cute sheet for this and will post it ASAP... it's not on my computer.

We will be doing the good old "What would you buy with 100?" writing sheet (I've seen it posted everywhere, so won't bother putting up my own).

Of course, we have to make 100th day trail mix (each student picks 10 of 10 kinds of snack and puts it in a baggy).

Annnd we will make these adorable "100 Year Old" people! This idea is similar to others I've seen around on blogs, but I use cotton balls for the hair instead of paper. The kids lovvvve stretching the cotton to form strands of hair.

I think that's it. Sigh! Time to fill in the plan book and get prepping for next week!

Hope you all have a marvelous MONDAY:) :) Can't wait to hear from you about my give-away!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What I've Been Up To and a Freebie!

Last week was busy, busy. We didn't have school Monday and I had a sub Tuesday while I attended an awesome workshop on Brain Based Learning. The presenter was Eric Jensen. If he is in your area, I would recommend going, especially if you in a high-poverty, high-needs school. Great workshop, but this cut the week down to three days and I wanted to fit all sorts of fun snow/snowmen/winter projects in, since I have been seriously lacking in art projects lately.

I am just beginning to remember to take photos of all of that my lovely class does. This past week, the kids wrote directions for "How to Build a Person." while I was away. This was good practice with writing a complete thought, which is one of the tougher MN kindergarten standards. I saw the original idea on Pinterest, but tweaked the sheet a little bit. I wish they would have turned out better, but the kids did okay, considering they were with a sub. Click below to get a google docs version of this sheet!

This week, we also read the story Snowmen at Night and painted our own snowmen at night using marshmallows as paint stampers. I had found that idea on Pinterest, but not sure of the source! Sorry! We will write about our snowmen next week.

We read some nonfiction books about snow this week, and learned that while there are over 1 billion snowflake design possibilities, not every one is actually unique. That was some new learning for me, too and a bit of a disappointment;)

Anyway, the kiddos learned to cut out their own snowflakes, which was a big ol' mess of teeny, tiny scrippy scraps (sorry, custodians). They taped them on a piece of blue construction paper. Then, they sponge painted around and on top of the snowflake, using it as a stencil. After the paint dried, we discussed exciting, interesting words that could describe a snowflake. This was a great "next step" in the writing process for some of my more advanced writers. We brainstormed the list of adjectives on chart paper. Then, all of the students used two words to describe their snowflake! I am still not sure about posting student work on this sort of a online medium, so here is my example.
Thanks to my old co-worker, Melissa, for that great idea!

I haven't forgotten about my 100th Day ideas either...just took some pics and am getting my thoughts together on that for tomorrow!

Organization Idea

Hi New Blogging Friends,

I don't know about some of you, but I'm getting a bit restless/bored with the layout of my room. It may be time for a little refresher. I have been SO good about not going into school on the weekends this year, but I think it might be time (I used to have a small problemo with compulsively going into my classroom every Sunday morning/afternoon).

What about you friends? How do you manage to get everything done during the week? Go in early, stay late or do some of you go in on the weekends like I used to? Leave me a comment!

Anyway, if you are feeling restless like me and want an organizational change, here is an idea that I've used in the past. Rods and cups from IKEA kitchen department. Lord knows I'm not the most organized of teachers, but this REALLY works excellently for table supplies-crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors, pencils--you name it. I had a very, very, very tiny classroom at my previous school and this system worked well because I had absolutely no table, shelf or counter space.
I will update tomorrow with some ideas for the 100th day of school (even though it may have passed for you already).


Valentine's Day is Coming!

Hello Friends,

Although I should be sleeping right now to get ready for the 10K I'm running at 9 tomorrow morning, I am posting a freebie Valentine's letter match sheet...good for preschool or to use with your kiddos who really need some help with letters and/or visual discrimination skills.

Just click here to get a Google Docs version. :)

Just a heads up...this is one of my first attempts at creating a cute "freebie" and linking it to Google docs so I hope it works out okay. If you have any pointers/tips for me that would be AWESOME. Especially for uploading MS Word docs to Google docs...printing to a PDF seems to mess up all the formatting for some reason. Does anyone else have that issue??

And one more thing... a sight word die toss sheet. Program a wooden cube with 6 sight words. Students roll, read and record the words on their sheet. Good for probability and graphing, too!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Very Own Give Away!

Help! I am the new kid in the cafeteria...or in this case the blogging world and I neeeeed some bloggy friends!!!!!!

The first three people who join my blog will receive a super cute classroom helpers document via email. Use to label a bulletin board or pocket chart. Simply join my blog and leave a comment with your email address. You can join and email me your address at kindergartenkel1 at gmail dot com. Here is a sneak peak:

Awesome Giveaway!

Hi Friends,

Just had to mention an awesome February/Valentine's giveaway opportunity over at Miss Kindergarten's adorable blog. Click on over to check it out!

Tomorrow is Friday!

Hey All,

Happy almost-Friday! Even though I had a report card day Monday and a conference on Tuesday, this week has been super tiring. Anyway, Thursday is often the day I get everything assembled and organized for the following week. Next week, our theme will be penguins. The kiddos are super excited.

Here is one of the fun penguin projects I am planning.
I made tracers for the black and white tummy and for the head. I give the students small rectangles of orange, black and white construction paper for the rest of the penguin's body part and have them cut out their own. At this point in the year, most are good with that and only a few still need assistance. After creating our penguins, I have the students write about their penguins by completing the sentence "My penguin is...". This goes along well with a lesson on adjectives. You could brainstorm a list of words that describe penguins and have each student pick 1-3 words to finish the sentence.

I also may give these word family cards to my on/below level students, but I'm still not sure. I like word family practice, but not sure if I like how random the penguin is. I think it would be good practice to play memory match to build working memory with a few of my struggling students. Anyway, if you would like the resource, they are available at the Virtual Vine.

For those of you who are still doing your winter/mitten theme, here is a cute idea that I found on Pinterest....symmetrical mittens! I just had the kiddos paint multicolored horizontal designs on one mitten, turn it over and stamp it on the other mittens. With a little touch up, most turned out super cute!
This friend is a loyal Minnesota Vikings fan, despite our dismal season.

Hope you have a fantastic Friday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hello There!

Hi Fellow Teachers!

Thanks for stopping by my brand new blog! I have to be honest and admit that I'm pretty impressed with myself for getting this far...I had always wondered how to make a blog look "cute"!

I am excited to start this blogging journey, and hope to fill my little space on the web with ideas, photos, freebies, questions, etc. relating to the wonderful world of Kindergarten!!

Here is my first QUESTION for all of you: How do you handle reading groups...Daily 5, Centers or Reader's Workshop??? Or a combo? Comment back!

I personally do a little combination of centers and Daily 5. My students have "read to self" and "write to self" but also do reading centers, since I like to meet with set groups every day.

Speaking of centers, here is a fun form I created for a Big Book Word Hunt activity. Hope your kiddos enjoy it as much as mine have. It would work perfectly with an alphabet book, however my students used it this past week with The Mitten by Jan Brett.

Have a great Thursday :)