Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day and There Was an Old Lady

Oh my goodness, it has been crazy! But so much fun. We started our There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves. I really love these books, they're so much fun and the kids really like them. Having Fun in Kinder makes some great units to go along with these books with Write the Room, Pocket Chart cards, Math games, and crafts. Here is a picture of the craft we made to go with the Leaves book.

Starting this week (hopefully) we are going to do There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat, and then for a little bit of Science we'll talk about bats. I love doing this little craft, it's a great following direction activity, and a nice way to start with writing.

For today we did a little Social Studies and talked about Christopher Columbus. I found some great FREE activities that were a little challenging but still good practice for math. We used Google Earth to show the kids where Spain was in comparison to North America. We weren't able to get to the Reader for Little Learners, but that is on their desk for tomorrow to color and then read as a group.

I just have to look through my schedule to make sure I can get everything in that I want to in the very little amount of time we have. So looking forward to next year when we will have full day Kinder.

Tomorrow we are going to work on Elizabeth Hall's Rhyming Dust Bunnies craft, which I'm really looking forward to and I think the kids will like it. I'll try to post about how the project goes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Center Time

Hi have been really behind in my posting. My husband and I just fixed my personal computer so I will be able to post a lot easier.

So we have finally started centers and these past few weeks my EA and I have not been pulling groups but instead have been roaming to help with where to go, what to get, and what to do at each center. I put the kids into pairs and my hope is that they can help each other out with where to go and what to do. This week I just changed up the pairs and put them into pairs based on their ability. The last two weeks I just paired them based on who I thought might get along and then once I paired them by ability, they have been working so much better in their pairs! I know a lot of people don't like to put their pairs by ability but for me this makes it much easier to pull for small groups. There are of course some pairs that is the "blind leading the blind" but I'm hoping that this will not continue to be the case once they get used to their new partners.

Here are some pictures of the centers that I do in my room.

 This is my Word Work center where they use magnets to match letters, spell CVC words, and match beginning sounds.

I also have Big Books that the students can pull out and look through. All of the ones that we read as part of our curriculum as in there so they can go back through them. As we learn more Sight Words, I will put in a worksheet for them to find the sight words in the books and then also words that are 3, 4, or 5 letters long.

This goes along with my Pocket Chart center, but these kids decided to make words on the floor instead of in the chart.

Here is another view of what they can work on. There are numbers for them to put in order and then also sentences to go with the Old Lady books that we love to read. I did also buy Deedee Wills Super Sentence center and for those I just need to print them off and get them in the center.

This is from my Write the Room center and I have some seasonal pictures but them also The Old Lady units that go along with the pocket chart and math center. (I linked the page that has a lot of the units that I've purchased that have great seasonal things to do that I put in my centers)
Leap Frog's are a HUGE part of my classroom centers. I LOVE them. I just received a grant from for more books so I know my students are going to be really excited about the new books. I love the games that are in the books and that it will sound out the words and read the page to them. It's like a listening and buddy reading center all in one. 

These are my math centers. I have Roll and Cover (which goes with our themes), number puzzles, and math boxes which I put different math games in as we learn them.

Here is one of the math box games. It's Bacon and Eggs that a previous kinder teacher left me. There are felt eggs and bacon and the kids pull out a math problem and first put the bacon on for the first number and then the eggs for the second number then count how much is on the plate to find the total.

These are my File Folder games. These are great but so much work to first put together. If you have parent volunteers or college volunteers, these are great projects to work on. There are games for rhyming, letter matching, number matching, beginning sound, ending sound, classification, etc. You can find the books on Amazon, but I don't recommend the colored file folder game books, those are almost more work than these, but if you like them then go for it. I just like these better.

The File Folder games that come in the boxes or the ones for "On the Go" are really nice. This is the kind of book you want to look for on Amazon. It's the color ones in the books that I've found to be too much work.

This is my Listening Center. I only have a few books right now, but I am looking at getting more so the kids will have more choices and to get some for themes.

            I do have computers that are very old, but they still work. They run some great OS 9 Classic games such as the Living Books. I love these games so I'll use them till the computers die. 

And last this is my ABC chart. I have this for my ABC center as well as a tub with letters in it along with little toys for the kids to sort by letter.

 This kiddo placed a "tiger" in the "T" pocket and then showed me the "T" in sign language. Such a smartie!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting into the Routine

Well, I think we're about into our routine. I'm still trying to figure out how to go through my calendar portion a little quicker since it seems that my kids get fairly bored by the time we get to the math part. They like the songs, but we're still figuring out all the math bits. :)

I'm also trying to figure out (as I have been for many of my years of teaching kinder) how to get slow workers to work just a little bit faster. Even if I make their assignment smaller, such as color 4 pictures that are black instead of all of the pictures on the page, they still can't get it done. This is my big frustration from only having them for 2 1/2 hours (well really about 2 hours if you take out recess, snack, and transitions) so I'm constantly "rushing" them through things so we can get everything done. We don't have a lot of time for writing, so I have to squeeze it into center time, but then not everyone gets to it each week. There are a lot of compromises I have to make in order to get what I want done and unfortunately miss out on either fun stuff or other important stuff like writing and science that we just don't have time to squeeze in.  Crossing fingers that we really will go to full day next year.

One thing that I am working on that I'm really excited about are a few name-game activities. First I'm working on a power point that will show kids pictures and at the top it says "Who am I?" and I'll take a few guesses from the class, then with a click the name will come across. Another thing that I'm making in a book that is the same idea, but students have to match the name to the picture (this could go with a pocket chart center as well which I'm contemplating doing instead). Last I'm making a SMART Notebook where students can drag the names to match the picture, draw lines to match the name and picture. I'm really hoping I can start the Name of the Day from Elizabeth Hall, I might be able to fit this in when I start Star of the Week (which I'll post about later). I think they will go together really well.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

First Week!

Oh my goodness what a crazy and fabulous week back at school! All last week was getting everything ready for my little ones and at our school it's all about getting things ready to label and then going all out on the Friday before school starts to label everything in time for the kids to come on Tuesday. Luckily I have an amazing assistant who helped me with everything and I probably would not have gotten everything done without her.
So we got everything set up; I got everything set up and ready about 5 minutes before families came for our meet and greet so I wasn't able to get pictures. But start the 2nd day I was able to get some pictures.
I have 5 tables all labeled with tub and signs from Brown Bear, Brown Bear that I got from Under The Alphabet Tree.  (for Free!)

 I replaced my original dismissal charts with this super cute, and more compact, dismissal chart from Simply Kinder. It's much easier to use right by the door and will be much easier to use each year. I have a lot of cement walls in my room so it's very hard to attach anything to them for long term and especially things that have pieces that get moved daily. So I LOVE this.
Here is just a wider shot of my room. I LOVE Dr. Seuss so it is a theme throughout. This morning their morning work was our First Day poem. Our actual first day was so short that we weren't able to do a lot of things that I really wanted to get to, so I just moved it to "our first week". The chair pockets are amazing. I have been using them for about 5 years now and will have to buy my own if I ever move schools. They keep things organized and the kids don't make as big of a mess in them as they would with a desk. I do have double desks and I just turned them around so the openings face each other.

My plans for this week completely changed and I realized that instead of planning certain things at certain times, I am just going to plan activities to do each day. Tomorrow we are going to be starting our social skills program We Have Skills and going over how Class Dojo works. I'm excited to start these programs and continue to build our classroom community. Next week we're starting our Kinder Readiness Assessment so we'll be working on colors and sorting numbers and letters. We can't start much curriculum because we want to see what students know when they come into Kinder.

And this will be me tomorrow:

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Year, New Plans!

I'm such a slacker when it comes to my teacher blog, sorry to any of those that have checked in and not seen anything new. But, I've been re-inspired by many other teacher blogs that I've found, and love to see what they are up to in their room. Mrs. Deedee Wills has been doing something called Peek at my Week and sharing her visual lesson plans. I have decided to try my hand at making visual plans. Here's what I've come up with for the first two weeks of school (which starts next week!)

 Week 2 - First full week with kids
I just had to take picture of them so there are no hyperlinks to connect to the things that I use. I have a Seuss theme in my room, so the background is from Mrs. Magee in her Classroom Forms and Substitute Information, which has been so helpful. Many of the things I use I purchased from Deedee Wills, Elizabeth Hall (Kickin' it in Kindergarten), Karen Jones, and Denna Jump. These ladies are amazing and have come up with really cute and fun stuff.
My There Was an Old Lady books unit is from Having Fun in Kinder and she has made great math and literacy packets for all of the old lady books. My kids just love each of them.
Another packet I use a lot of are Stef Swanson's Daily Math and Literacy. These have been such a life saver. Having just half-day kinder, it gets difficult to fit everything in that you want to and need to, so combining math and reading has really been great, plus it's Common Core!

In Oregon, where I teach, we now have to do a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment right off the bat, to see what kids know coming into Kinder. So we can't do a lot of teaching math and reading the first few weeks. We squeeze it in though with colors and name games. Those are also on my plans. Below is a link to Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten.

Time to get ready for the first staff day back!