Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Week Math Centers

My kinders are off to a great start with our math centers! We have mainly been working on number recognition, counting objects, and patterning so far.

They have time for two math centers a day, and over the course of the week they have a chance to do all nine of the math centers with their partner. They get about 10 minutes for each math center.

I've been impressed that in just 7 days of school, they almost all know how to read our centers workboard to see which centers I've assigned them for that day. I'll try to snap a photo of our math centers shelf and workboard this week, in case anyone is interested.

Center 1: Making patterns with different colored bears.
 Center 2: Making pictures with pattern blocks.

 Center 3: Making numbers out of play-doh. You can download these free play-doh mats here from Peace, Love & Learning. I love how they even include ten frames for the kids to represent the number using little play-doh balls. 

Center 4: Making numbers out of wikki stix.

 Center 5: Cookie jar counting game. Students roll the dice, and then color in a cookie with that number of chocolate chips. You can download this freebie here, from Happy Teacher, Happy Kids.
 Center 6: Number puzzles. (I've built up a collection of different number puzzles from Target and the Dollar Store over the years. The kids especially like this foam one.)

 Center 7: Race to Trace. Students roll the dice and then trace the number they rolled on their paper. It's a race to see who traces all of their numbers first. You can download this freebie here, from Shari Sloane's website (lots of other great math games on this site too). 
 Center 8: Number Match. Student spin the number spinner and then cover up the box on their game board that shows that many items. My kids were trying to get 3 in a row for bingo. This is one of my freebies, and you can download it here.
 Center 9: Making patterns with Duplo blocks. You can download the free patterns here, along with some other great math games. 
I'd love to know what kinds of math games you like to start the year with- I'm always looking for new games to try with my kinders!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Week of Kindergarten!

Well...I survived my first week of school...although to be fair, the kids were only there for 2 days (and 2 days was quite enough!).

We had lots of fun on the first day, going on our gingerbread hunt all over the school. Of course we were thrilled when we figured out the clues and finally found our gingerbread cookie snack! We also read lots of gingerbread books, like: The Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Girl, The Gingerbread Cowboy, and The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School.

We jumped right in day one and started to learn our routines for literacy centers and math centers. It was a bit scary and chaotic for me, but I think it is better in the long run to just go ahead and get started learning some of our daily routines. They only went to each center for about 5 minutes (thats all we could handle!) but it did give me a few minutes to pull kids to my table and begin some one-on-one assesments for letters, sight words, and numbers.

All 20 of my kinders this year are just as cute as can be, but wow did they tire me out! After teaching half-day last year, it was quite a challenge to make it through a full day with them. By the time we got to afternoon rest time, I wanted to take a nap! No such luck though, as I had to police rest time instead! I know I will be focusing big time on rules, routines, and behavior all this week!

Be sure to check back later this week for pictures of our beginning of the year math and literacy centers! Hope you all have gotten off to a good start with your students!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made It

I am so excited about my new sign! I had a picture frame that I used last year for the first day, but when I went to dig it out of my closet last week, some of the letters fell off from around the frame. So... I figured I better make something fresh for this year, and I thought a little sign would be even easier than a frame.

I plan to have each student hold the sign for a photo on the first day, and then I will give the photos to the parents at our curriculum night the second week of school.

Here are the supplies I used:

To make the sign, first I bought a wooden plaque (Hobby Lobby had them for only $2.99- Michaels was much more expensive). Then I spray painted primer onto the wooden plaque and let it dry (you might be able to skip this step, but I happened to already have a bottle of spray paint primer from some other projects I've done). Below is a picture of the plaques after they'd been sprayed with primer.

Then I painted the plaque with chalkboard paint, let it dry overnight, and then painted on a second coat of chalkboard paint in the morning. You could also buy chalkboard spray paint, but I just happened to buy a can of the chalkboard paint. Let the second coat dry really well for 3 days, then you have to rub a piece of white chalk all over the chalkboard to condition it and then you can wipe the board clean with a wet cloth and can begin to use it as a chalkboard (seemed strange, but the directions on the paint said to do this). I used some awesome chalk markers to write the message on my chalkboard.

After I wrote my message on the chalkboard with the chalk markers, I was pretty much done. Then the teacher part of me panicked that my students might accidentally rub some of the writing off the board when they held it for their photos, so I ended up spraying clear matte spray paint over the whole board to make the message permanent. This means it can no longer be used as a chalkboard I think I am going to make another one just like it to use as a little chalkboard in the classroom.

I can't wait to check out what everyone else has been busy making for their classrooms!You can check out the whole "Monday Made It" linky party over at 4th Grade Frolics.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Assessing Numbers 1-10

I can't believe the first day of school is almost here! I'm starting to get organized for the first day, and thought I'd share a quick number assessment freebie. This is pretty basic- just the numbers 1-10, but lots of my students don't even come in knowing all of the numbers to ten.

I plan to test each student on the first day to see if they can identify the numerals 1-10, and also if they can count objects 1-10 and match them up with the correct number. I'll use these number and picture cards to help me assess the students. I'll quickly show the kiddos the number cards in mixed up order to see if they can name the numbers. Then I'll give them the number and picture cards and ask them to count the objects on each picture card and match it to the correct number card.

Feel free to click the images below and grab the number cards or recording sheet if they'll help you!


I'd love to hear about your plans for assessing students on the first day. Even though I plan to test them all on letters and numbers, the first day can be hectic and it doesn't always get done!

Monday, July 15, 2013

What's New

Oh my goodness- it has been way too long since I have blogged! I have missed you all and have lots of news to share.

First, I am thrilled to be on summer break and even more excited that I am about to head to Las Vegas for the I Teach K Conference! I hope that I will meet some of you fellow kinder teachers at the meetup tomorrow night! For those of you that aren't able to go to the conference, I'll do my best to post lots of photos and write about all the neat new stuff I learn in the workshops!

My next bit of news is that I finally made a facebook page for my blog. Now, I have no idea what I am doing here, but I would love it if you would like my facebook page ( I promise I will get my act together soon and figure out how to post some fan freebies to that facebook page! I should probably figure out how to make a facebook button for my blog too-anyone know of any awesome facebook tutorials for bloggers?

And finally, I am very happy that next year I will be returning to teaching full-day K. Teaching two sections of half-day kinder last year was absolutely exhausting-and probably one of the main reasons I didn't update my blog as much as I would've liked to. I am relieved that this year I will have only 20 students instead of the 40 students I had last year!! As I get back into my classroom in the next few weeks I'll be sure to keep you all posted on what I have planned for my new group of kinders!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall crafts!

My class has been loving fall! For the last few weeks we've been immersed in everything apples, autumn, and pumpkins. Here are some of the crafts we've made.

The fall trees were very easy-just torn paper for the grass, tree trunk, branches, and leaves. Then students told me something they like to do in the fall and we added the typed sentence to the bottom of the paper. I like how each tree really has its own personality!
The apples are probably my favorite craft though! I don't ever want to take them down from our classroom windows-they look so pretty! Just put an apple outline on some clear contact paper, have the kids fill it with tissue paper squares, then cover with another piece of clear contact paper and cut it out. Pretty quick and easy projects! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Teaching About Elections & Voting

With election day coming up next month, I have been planning ways to teach my kindergarten students about voting and elections. I think this is a very important topic to teach about-and I hope my kindergarteners will encourage their parents to vote.

We will be holding an election at my school for the kids (we use the Kids Voting program) so my students will get the opportunity to vote just like mom and dad. We're keeping it simple for the kindergarteners though-we'll only be voting for president, governor, and senator.

So, how do you explain a topic as complex as voting to kindergarteners? I plan to start with some great read alouds. Here are some of the books I will be reading and discussing with my class (you can click on the books for more info on them).

My favorite book about elections is "Grace for President." It is about a little girl named Grace who runs for school president. It's neat for the kids to see how the candidates make campiagn promises on how they would change their school if elected-and it always leads to a discussion on what we might want to improve in our school. Sometimes I have my kids write about what they would do if they were our school's president.
I also love the book "Duck for President." It is by Doreen Cronin, the same author as "Click Clack Moo." The illustrations are great and it gives a funny take on the election process. In the end, duck learns that being president really isn't all that fun-it's a lot of work! I saw an idea (on Pinterest I think) where kids write about which storybook character they would nominate for president-I might do this activity as a follow up to this book.
Rosemary Wells always writes great books-so I had to get this book she wrote about voting. In the book "Otto Runs For President" a little dog named Otto runs for school president. You get to see how sometimes in a campaign, the different candidates are not very nice to each other, and try to show one another up with campaign promises.
The book "If I Ran for President" explains what it is like to run for president in a way kids can understand. It briefly touches on things like the primaries, conventions, debates, and campaigning. It's told from the perspective of a kid who is imagining what it would be like to run for president.
The book "If I Were President" is also told from the perspective of a kid imagining what it would be like to become president. It highlights some of the perks of being president, like: having your own personal chef, getting to travel to different countries, and being famous. It also describes some of the work of being president too, like: going to meetings, giving speeches to congress, and being in charge of the military. Very kid friendly book!
This is a cute story told from the perspective of a kid who thinks his teacher should be president. He lists lots of funny reasons that she would be perfect for the job! This would be a good book to start a discussion about what the requirements are to become president and what might be some qualities of a good president.
Are you planning on doing anything fun to teach your class about elections and voting? If so, I would love to hear your ideas-I could use some more ideas for kindergarten appropriate voting lessons, activities, books, and crafts!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alphabet & Sight Word Practice

I hope your October is off to a good start! I am still in a bit of shock that it is already October and time to start thinking about report cards! I'm not ready for that at all! September went by so quickly, that I still have tons of photos that I never got around to posting and blogging about-I will try to get to that this week!

My kinder kiddos have been working super hard to learn all of the letters in the alphabet, and they love playing different alphabet games during our center time. We have also started working on our kindergarten sight words-and I am thankful that I can take my time with our sight words and just focus on one per week (we only have 26 required words-and I know plenty of schools have more than that!).

Here are some of the alphabet and word work activities we did last week during center time.

That would be the front to my heater that the kiddos are making words on. I lucked out that the heater is metal so the magnetic letters stick on perfectly! I just used some tape to make a little grid.
My students this year LOVE wikki stix. They have been practicing making letters and words out of the wikki stix. I have a special dry erase board designated for wikki stix only since it makes the board so sticky!
I just adore this "Roll a Sight Word" game. It is so easy to play-just roll a dice and write down the corresponding word on the sheet. We play this all year long and the kids think it is a new game every time I switch which words are on the paper. To get this awesome freebie from Mrs. Parker, click here.
 My students are doing a great job practicing their sight words with these fun little cards. First they read the word at the top, then they build it with letter tiles, and finally they trace the word at the bottom and practicing writing it on the line. These sight word practice cards are a part of my Fall Fun: Literacy Games Pack.
This little sight word board game was a big hit last week with my students. So easy too-just roll the dice, move that many spaces, and say what word you landed on. This game (along with lots of other game boards) is also from my Fall Fun: Literacy Games Pack.
We're still practicing letters too-so the kids also had the option to play the same board game, but with letters instead of sight words.
Yes, I am a brave teacher-our stamping center is open for business! My students have been practicing stamping the alphabet with these wonderful free alphabet stamping pages from Shannon at Kindergarten Hoppenings. For my more advanced kiddos, I have been using Mrs. Wills' fantastic sight word stamping pages.
I'd love to hear what your students have been up to-and please share any fun alphabet or word work ideas that you have!