Monday, September 26, 2011


I found this great freebie while blog surfing tonight from Homeschool Creations

There are tons of things for fall both literacy and math printables. I know I'll be using some in my centers.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kindergarten Gems

In science we have been studying living and nonliving things.

After a lesson about things that grow and change a fellow K teacher got an...interesting entry...(when you have 27 students you've got to keep your sanity)

She said later it was a person and a hippo.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The funnest game ever! - Graphing

We started our graphing unit this week. Here we are collecting data.

 Here is the graph we then made.

Later in the week, we played Shake and Spill ("The funnest game ever!" according to one of my students). I put 5 two color counters in a cup. They cover and shake it 3 times (The best part) and then spill onto a math mat. Their partner sort the counters by color and the cup holder asks "Which has more and which has fewer" after answering they put the counters back in the cup and the other person shakes and spills.I wish I had snapped some pictures of them playing, but we still need a lot of practice working with others and I was just too busy. (We play this game a lot and I try to make it a math center so hopefully I can get some pics then)

The next day we played again only this time they sorted onto a graph page that was in a sheet protector.

After playing on their own for a while they each got a graph page and their own counters to shake, spill, and record so I could assess some skills. I took some dictation to see where they were with the concept of more and fewer and as expected there are still a few that need practice with drawing graphs and many of my level 1 ELL students need more practice with the vocabulary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kindergarten Gems

Student: I need a God Bless You
Teacher: Huh?
Student: (points to the tissues) A God Bless You.

This came from another kindergarten teacher in my building but it made me laugh so I thought I'd share. Can you tell we work with ELL students?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shoes Glorious Shoes

10 bagillion points to anyone that understands that reference to a musical.

So we started our sorting unit today and what better manipulatives then something the kids are intimately familiar with...their shoes!

I can't take the credit for this one because Mrs. Lochel over at Keeping Up with the Kindergarteners (awesome blog name) had it first.

Can you guess how they sorted them here? (The colors might be a little off but it's shoes with pink on the left and others on the right)

The kids thought the whole thing was hilarious! Can't wait to do more sorting tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tired of More Work and Less Pay

This is going to be a bit of a dump so I apologize in advance.

Is it like this for anyone else? More work for less pay?

My district has not given pay increases in 5 years and continues to take more out of my paycheck every year between furloughs and increases to the pension system.

On top of that we now have to have 2 grades per week per subject area in the computer for FIVE YEAR OLDS!!! Up from one a week last year. I mean come on we are still working on walking down the hall in a line and quite a few of my students still can't write their name even with a model.

Everytime I turn around there is another paper that has to be sent home and returned with information, which then I have to track down because my kids are horrible about sending things back in especially if it is only sent home in English.

Then who gets stuck with the morning Technology time (DURING MY READING BLOCK!) that would be me. Great. I'm suppose to run reading groups with 25 (And still counting) kids and we're just gonna throw that routine to the side for that day.

I know I should be thankful that I have a job and that things could always be worse, it's just been a rough day. Here's to hoping that tomorrow is better.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Alphabet Soup

One thing I mentioned in this post about letters was alphabet soup. This is a fun game I play each day to introduce the letters and is something that will transfer to my ABC center.

I use a pot from my housekeeping center and have the bag of letters ready to go. I scoop out the letter and the letter of the day goes on the left and any others go on the right. This is just a cookies sheet from the Dollar Tree with a piece of masking tape down the middle. I am thinking about adding a small yes and happy face to the left and an x with no on the right.

After we finish sorting we count the capital letters and lowercase and then how many together. We may also go over the letters on the other side.

Morning Meeting Time

I love the morning meeting time. There are so many skills that can be reviewed within these routines and we all know how much kinders love routines.

I use equity sticks and do not have an assigned "calendar helper" or "weather helper" etc. I find that it keeps my students more engaged if they don't know exactly when they will be called on to help or ask a question. Once I get all the routines up and running I can run through the entire class at least once and sometimes twice.

I'm listing the routines I start with at the beginning of the school year.  I usually try to add or change some of them each month so I'll update with those as I make those changes.

- Month - What month is it? What is the first letter? What is the last letter? How many letters are in the word? I will sometimes sing a song about the months of the year (I like the Dr. Jean Macarena Months)

- Today's Date - A student will count starting at 1 and stop at the Red Sign that says "Today is" If it is early in the month before we count I might ask What do you think the number will be today? How do you know? After counting if it is a two digit number I will ask what will the number like and I make a big deal about them saying the number in the correct order (i.e. 1 and 2 for 12 and not 2 and 1). We will also create a pattern (I always start with AB) So I can ask What shape and color should we put in today? Why? What will we put in tomorrow?

- Day of the Week - We sing a song about the days of the week. (I have a few I use because I can't sing the same thing all school year) What day of the week is it today? What was yesterday? (We also review the number) What will tomorrow be? I have students put in the red tabs.

*September Addition*
10 Frame Date - I start this at the beginning of the month since there are already so many routines to teach the first week or so of school.  Each day we decide how many dots we need to add to make the number (This is always fun to ask on a Monday after the weekend) After another student fixes the number at the bottom a student will use a pointer to count the dots. After counting one way I'll ask Can we can count another way (by 5s of 10s)? How many dots until we have 10? 20?

- Weather - This is pretty straight forward. I have students pick from a chart with velcro although with my ELL students it is fun to stop and discuss the weather on days when it is foggy or there is frost on the ground. I always have a student "read" the weather with a pointer practicing the one to one correspondence.

- Counting the Days of School - I have a student put one more straw into the pocket chart and then two student count all the straws. Then I have students help me figure out how we need to change the numbers and how we need to change the straws. Do we need to make a group of 10?

Then as something new this year (that I read in a Mailbox magazine) was to get a 100 piece puzzle and put a piece on every day. I put it together, wrote numbers 1 to 100 on the back and then each day we add a piece to the puzzle. My students are having so much fun trying to guess what the puzzle will be. (Edit: I just glue the pieces on with regular liquid glue)

- Letter of the Day - Our reading curriculum begins with reviewing the alphabet so right now I ask What letter do you think it will be today? and What sound does this letter make?
I usually take a break to stretch here since they've been sitting a while and they need to move.

- Morning Message - This is one of my favorite parts of the morning meeting. I write mine out on chart paper and each day my star student (who also is my line leader and paper passer for the day) gets to pick the color. I write the same message everyday. I forgot to get a picture but here is what I say...

Dear Class,
Today is (Day of the Week) (Month) (Day), (Year). We can see ____ girls and ____ boys at school. We will go to (special of the day).

(My Name) and _______

My star student counts the boys and the girls and fills in those numbers. I use this time to review sight words and letters and sounds. Then we use our pointing fingers to read our morning message together.

And then we continue on with the morning. Right now it takes FOREVER to get through this while I train the students how to stand so they aren't blocking everything when using a pointer and where to put the different cards and things. Some of it is getting faster and the students are getting better about understanding that they can't call out all the answer and that they will each get a turn.

Rockin like a hurricane

So the beginning of the school year hit with full force!

This was my neighbor's house. To say its been a rough start to the school year is an understatement. We've had two days off so far and we are only 8 days in! Plus my class has grown from 23 to 25 with another possible next week. The late registration is a killer when you are trying to establish routines.

I'm ready to settle into this school year and although I didn't have Internet for most of last week I did start to write up a post about my morning meeting time which I'm hoping to get up with pictures either tonight or tomorrow.