Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pics of My Classroom (Better Late Than Never)

Happy Saturday!

I realize that it has been a SUPER long time since I have posted to my blog.  (More than 2 months, actually.)  So I have decided that I am not very good at posting regularly, but I will forgive myself and post when I have time.

I haven't shared pictures of my classroom yet this school year.  So here are a few of my beginning of the year bulletin boards.

This is my favorite bulletin board.  As you can see, it is my job board.  Instead of having a list of jobs on the board with my students' names next to them, I just have one helper each day.  (His/her name is on a dog bone that is attached to Clifford's collar with velcro.)  That helper does whatever I need done.  They lead our "Manners Song" at snack time, push the lunch bin down to the gym at lunch time, take names off the attendance board, etc.  I have 16 students so they are able to have a turn every few weeks.  I just feel like this is a much easier way for me to handle jobs in my classroom.  (P.S. My student teacher did an awesome job of tracing a picture of Clifford for the board.)

This is a bulletin board I used to display our art activity from the first day of school.  I found the activity on Kindergarten Days blog.  Click here to see the idea.

My calendar wall.

I hope you have enjoyed a little peek at my classroom.  Thank you for stopping by my little blog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1st Day of School Lesson Plan

Happy August!

When did that happen?  I can't believe that it is August already.  Technically, I'm still on summer vacation, but it seems to be whizzing by me.  I report back to school officially on August 18th, but I've already been in to my classroom organize some things.  My students don't come back until September 2nd.  Since I know some of you have already started back, and others are beginning soon, I decided now would be a great time to share my 1st day of school plans with you.

Anyone who has taught kindergarten knows that the first day of school is CRAZY!!!!  So this isn't an exact science, its kind of more like a wish list for what I want the first day to look like.

Here is my (hopeful) plan:

7:30 - 7:45  My students arrive.  I have pattern blocks with pictures at each table for my students to use to explore. This gives me time to talk to the parents and collect paperwork.

7:45 - 7:55  Announcements.  Saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  This year I purchased the Pledge of Allegiance poster from the KindergartenWorks TpT store.  I'm going to use it to teach the Pledge to my kindergartners.

7:55 - 8:15  Go over our classroom rules with the story and poster in Monster Fun! Teaching Manners and Expectations by Growing Kinders.  It is a freebie in her TpT store.

8:15 - 8:30  Take a wiggle break.  Have the students sing some of our favorite songs, Dr. Jean's "McDonald's", "Five Little Monkeys", "Mother Gooney Bird", and the very favorite "Tooty-Ta".

8:30 - 8:45  Read a first day of school book.  My favorite is "The Kissing Hand".  Then discuss how each child felt on the first day of school.  (This is a great way to begin to get to know each child in the classroom.)

8:45 - 9:15  Explain to students how to use classroom tools (i.e. pencils, crayons, scissors, glue sticks).  Have students make First Day of School crowns. This is a freebie in My Heart Belongs in Kindergarten's store. 

9:15 - 9:45  Snack time.  (I teach the students our rules for snack time and our song.  We sing the song before anyone can eat his/her snack.)

9:45 - 10:15  Discuss rules for in the hallway.  Before we walk in the hall we say, "Peanut butter lips, marshmallow toes, hands down to your side and follow your nose".  I learned this little saying from Jack Hartmann when I saw him at a conference in Chicago.  Then I take the students outside for recess.  When we get outside, I discuss the playground rules with them.  After that, they have time to play.

10:15 - 10:30  Get drinks of water and go back into the classroom.  Discuss rules for centers.  Divide the students into 4 groups for centers.

10:30 - 11:30  The centers that I do on the first day of school allow my students to explore some of the things in our classroom and interact with each other.  This center time also allows me to walk around the room and get to know my students by taking time to talk to each of them, one-on-one.
Centers - #1  Blocks  #2  Puzzles  #3  Legos  #4  Playdough

11:30 - 11:40  Get ready for lunch.

11:40 - 12:10  Lunch

12:10 - 12:40  Recess

12:40 - 1:00  Quiet Time (I play quiet music while my students put their heads down and rest.)

1:00 - 1:20  Calendar Time - Teach the students the "Days of the Week" and "Months of the Year" song.  Discuss what month it is.  Count to the date.  Place #1 on the hundreds chart, where we count the days we have been in school.

1:20 - 1:45  Read "Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes".  Sing the song on the website.  Click here to go to the website.

1:45 - 2:15  Have students make a page for Pete the Cat Class Book.  There is a freebie from Stacia Seagroves that has this page.  It also has a student note you can print for the students to take home.

2:15 - 2:30  Explain the procedure for a fire drill.  Go outside for a fire drill.

2:30 - 2:45  Explain the procedures for going home.

2:45 - 3:00  Get ready to go home.

3:00 - 3:10  Dismissal.  

Take a deep breath.  Go to the school secretary for reassurance that yes you will be able to get through the school year and that this class isn't any more immature than your class last year.  

Get ready to do it again tomorrow.

I hope this helps with some ideas for your 1st day of school.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Beliefs About Education

Happy Sunday!

I have decided to link up with Amanda at The Primary Gal for her beliefs on education linky party.

I have been teaching for almost 20 years (the past 13 years in a kindergarten classroom) and my beliefs have changed over time, especially since I have been teaching kindergarten.

Here are my top five beliefs:

#1  I teach my students like I would like my own kids to be taught.  This means that I strive to be the best teacher I can be.  I don't teach the same things year after year after year. I try to improve the way I teach each year.

#2  I believe that my job as a teacher, especially a kindergarten teacher, is to teach my students to love learning and to love school. These little guys will be attending school for a long time.  I want to make it a fun experience for them, not something they dread doing.

#3  I believe that school should be more than taking tests.  I give my little ones the tests that I am required to, whether or not I agree with testing 5 year olds.  But the tests are not the focus of my classroom, learning is the focus.

#4  I believe that I should teach each of my students at the level he/she is at.  If I have a struggling student, I need to do what I can to help that child.  If I have a student who is excelling, I need to do what I can to challenge that student. 

#5    I believe that I should make my classroom a place of acceptance and where each child feels like he/she is welcome.  I do this by listening to my students and making each student feel important in my classroom.

Thank you for stopping by my little blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Reading Idea

First, I want to apologize for my TpT widget being at the top of the sidebar of my blog.  I finally figured out how to get it on my blog, and then I moved it down the page. BIG MISTAKE! It disappeared! So what did I do? I put it back on my page. There it was at the top and I moved it to the middle.  Guess what happened?  Exactly right! It disappeared again.  After doing this for 3 or 4 more times, I decided to leave it where it wanted to be.  It is a very stubborn widget.  So for now, it can stay where it wants to be.  Hopefully, I can find someone who can help me move it down my page soon.  If you have any ideas, please let me know.

I promised earlier this summer to blog more.  After finding out that I am presenting again at the IL ASCD PreK/K Conference, I thought this would be a perfect time to share some of the ideas that I show in my power point.

One of my ideas is to make my own puzzle cards.

Here is what they look like:

I use large index cards. On the top, I glue a picture and on the bottom I print the word.  You could also just put the beginning letter.  Then I cut them apart like a puzzle.  I use them when we work on a certain letter each week.

Scholastic has a book that has pictures that begin with certain letters that would be great to use to make this activity.  I was able to get this book as an ebook when they had their $1 sale.

Thank you for stopping by my little blog.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Freebie Friday - July 18th

Happy Middle of Summer!

This summer is just flying by.  Of course, it didn't help that I didn't actually begin my summer until almost the end of June.

Today, I am linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for a Freebie Friday.

Freebie Fridays
Click here to check out the other freebies.
This freebie began when I decided to take a trip to Target with my husband earlier this week.  Of course, I had to stop at the Dollar Spot.  While there, I found a very cute spinner.  I don't know about your kiddos, but mine love spinners. So I bought it and decided to create a freebie to go along with it.


It is adorable, isn't it?

The freebie that I created uses shapes.  The students spin the spinner and find the color or the shape on the picture.  I am going to use this to practice shapes with my small groups at the beginning of the school year.

Thank you for taking time to visit my little blog.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My First Sunday Smorgasboard

Can you believe it?  I'm joining two linky parties in less than a week.  That's pretty impressive for me.

I'm linking up with Fabulous in First's Sunday Smorgasboard.

First of all, my teenage daughter (aka my social media adviser) has informed me that I am lacking in Instagram followers.  So if you would like to help me and my self esteem (which any of you who has a teenage daughter understands howshe can lower your self esteem with just a tone), please follow A Rainbow of Teaching on Instagram.  I will be very grateful and so will my self esteem.

Next, I found out this week that a teacher friend and I will be presenting at the Illinois ASCD PreK/K Conference in March. I love presenting at the conference.  Last year, I got my picture taken with one of my teacher idols, Deanna Jump.

We presented 60 center ideas in 60 minutes last year.  Here is one of the ideas.

To help my students practice learning each others' names at the beginning of the year, I make play dough mats with each students' pictures and names.  I take a picture of each student on the first or second day of school.  Then I glue the picture to a piece of cardstock.  I print out bubble letters of each student's name and glue it under the picture of the student.  The students make long play dough snakes and use them to make each letter in a student's name.

Thank you for "listening" to my random thoughts.  Have a great week!

Friday, July 11, 2014

My First Five for Friday (and my first post in FOREVER)

Welcome Back!!!

This is my very first Five for Friday and my first blog post in a very loooonnngggg time.  I'm not sure what happened but I had a very difficult time finding time to blog during the school year last year.  I'm going to try to launch my blog one more time.  Hopefully, I can find more time to blog this year (especially this summer).  So, I'm on vacation on a beach in Indiana right now.  

Here goes my very first Five for Friday:

Click {here} to join the linky party.

My whole family and I are at a cottage on a beach on Lake Michigan.  Here is a picture of our wonderful view.

Pretty spectacular, huh?

While here, my family and I spent an afternoon at the local zoo.  Here is a picture of my youngest daughter feeding the goats.  I guess even at 17 years old, you aren't too old to still like to feed the animals.

While we are on vacation, my oldest turned 20.  It doesn't seem possible that he is not even a teenager anymore.

Of course, I couldn't just stop working while we are on vacation.  So here is a little peek at a new packet that I am working on.  The students need to find the letters that match the "spy kid's" shirt and mark it however you want them to, with a Bingo marker, a small eraser or by coloring it in.  I hope to have these done in both black and white and color.

I love to read, so for this trip, I brought along a book I have been trying to read all school year, "The Book Whisperer".  I am almost finished with it.  I love the concept of giving students free time to read during the school day.  I am just trying to figure out how this applies to my kindergarten classroom.  As I explore how to do it this school year, I hope to bring you along on my journey.  If you use this concept in your lower grade classroom please share your ideas.

Thanks for joining me on my first Five for Friday trip.  I promise to post again soon.