Friday, September 6, 2013

Coloring owls

We color a lot in September. They are learning to join in and follow the routine. They are learning to work independently. They are building stamina and fine motor control for writing. Plus, kids know how to color. It can be soothing and comforting to have an assignment that they completely know how to do.

I am not making judgements here... but LOOK at the personalities of my students, as displayed in their coloring today!!

THE REALIST. I'm not going to need the other 62 crayons.
THE STUDENT. Following directions, and, "Can I get extra credit for the tail?"
!THE PERFECTIONIST. This is going to take a while, but I will get it right
THE ARTIST. I have my own way of doing things.
THE FREE SPIRIT. Turn over the paper, I can make my own owl.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Classroom library

Aggggghhhhh! The good news is that I have a lot of books. The bad news is that I have a LOT of books!!

At the beginning of summer, I knew I was leaving a very disorganized classroom library, and I had every intention of organizing everything before school starts. Well, here we are. I have just a few days left.

It was a messy process with stacks of books everywhere. I'm so happy to have all the books organized by holiday, topic, genre, or in one of the general piles for decodable books, read alouds, pattern books, or wordless and label books. This is going to pay off this year, right? And MAYBE it'll be easier to set up for next year??

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Owls in Kindergarten

I love putting together my owl themed classroom :)

Today, I get to meet the students and do some beginning assessments. They are identifying letters, writing their names, and counting. They are excited and hopeful. Just like the poem on the bulletin boards

Hoot Hoot
Hoot, hoot hooray!
We are in school today.
We'll read and run,
And have some fun.
Hoot, hoot hooray!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Happy School Year!

I'm setting up once again.
I love this time of year, with all the hope and anticipation, everyone looking forward to the Big Day. I love knowing that I get another chance, another set of little hearts to share this room with. I'm always filled with new ideas to try and new songs to sing.

And then there's the old. I realized as I finished a classroom bulletin board that I made this same tree about 15 years ago, when I started teaching. It has such great appeal to me because it is warm and happy... and free. Yeah, free is important to teachers.

As I move forward with my second year in kindergarten, there are many new things I want to try. But I also have many old things that I'm excited to reuse and recycle. It's going to be the best year yet.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What We Learned in Kindergarten

Wanna know why I love these kids? Well, I can't really explain that. Love is never easy to explain. But I can give you a little glimpse of how wonderful these kids are. Today, they each told me something that they learned this year. We are compiling these thoughts for a class memory book. Read their responses and you'll see a little bit of why I love this class.

 I learned that when you are nice, you can make a lot of friends. I learned how to add.

I learned how to make friends and how to hang up my coat and backpack. I also learned how to play with people. I learned not to throw puppets around.

I learned not to drag your backpack when there’s no wheels on it. I learned not to throw toys and I learned that you make friends when you play with them a lot and be nice to them. 

 I learned that if someone is hurt or their knee is scraped, you should help them and get them a band-aid. I also learned that you should be quiet in the line.

I learned that I like school. I learned that my brain is smart.

I learned how to read. I learned “Don’t throw your pencils on the floor.”

I learned how to  do math like subtraction. I learned that if you keep your pencil box clean it will look much nicer. I learned that you should share at centers.

I learned not to throw crayons at people. I learned to be respectful. I learned that a fire drill is a practice for keeping people safe. 

I learned not to wear mittens all day.  I learned to not run around too much. I learned to only paint on the paper.

I learned how to pack my backpack. I learned to walk quietly to line up.  I learned how to draw pictures.

I learned not to scribble on the words in a book with black. I learned “Don’t be mean.” I learned all kinds of dances.

I learned how to write and read paper books. I learned that swinging on the playground is fun.

I learned how to write the ABCs. I learned to bring boots to school. I learned that you should be nice to your friends. I learned how to be good and listen.

I learned how to count to 100. I learned to sing the Days of the Week song. I learned that it is easy to make friends.

I learned that you can’t fight outside because you will get in trouble. I learned how to read and how to be responsible.

I learned my teacher’s name. I learned that “We are nice” is the number one rule. I learned how to write stories.

I learned the ABCs. I learned that I can ask people to be my friend. I learned that I can get toys out and play with someone. I learned how to count to 100.

I learned that playing around with my friends is fun. I learned my ABCs. I learned that you have to give your lunch money to the lunch lady.

I learned that writing the ABCs makes you very smart. If you practice writing, you can write poetry. I learned how to play Bump in math.

I learned how to write poems. I learned that if the ball bounces over the fence, the teacher has to go get it. I learned how to build a robot.

I learned how to listen and be nice. I learned that if you crawl on the ground at recess, you will get dirty. I learned that if you make a mess you have to clean it up.

I learned how to write “How To” books and how to write poetry. I learned not to drag my backpack.

- - - -So there you have it. Makes me want to squeeze them and keep them in kindergarten. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

After School Clubs

In February and March our school has after-school enrichment activities for kids. 
This week,  I met with the Drama Club on Monday, helped out with the Running Club on Tuesday, and taught a pillow making class on Thursday. No after school club on Wednesday or Friday. I'm such a slacker.

The fleece pillows came prepackaged from Oriental Trading 
with the heart shape and fringe already precut. Hooray!

The nice thing about after-school clubs is that they all signed up because they want to be there. 
The kids were excited to get started on their pillows.

I was glad I had a nice mix of older kids and younger kids. Many of the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students finished their pillows pretty quickly and went to help a younger student.

Everyone was pretty happy with the results. A very cute, super soft Valentine pillow! Love!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Post Office

The kindergarteners are sending and receiving letters this week. :)
 I seriously love snail mail, and I'm happy to share this fun with my class by setting up a post office so they can write letters to each other and send them through our own postal service. Thanks again to my teaching partner for having these great dramatic play boxes set up for use every year!

Yeah, it's kind of a mess as they play with all the envelopes, stickers, scrap papers, and other VERY important papers. Parents sent in envelope and sticker donations to support our mail habit.

We're getting ready for Valentine's Day and sending great messages. 

(with invented spellings. love!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

100 Tally Marks

These kids are so lovable.

Today, we were rolling dice and counting the dots with tally marks. 
I mentioned that people might use tally marks in games or or keep track of how many times something happens. Then one of my cuties chimes in with: "Or in jail!" Where? "Jail! like, to make tally marks on the wall!"

Yes, dear. That's right. I'm teaching you a skill that might come in handy if you are locked in jail for an extended period. Awesome.

These kids continue to amaze me with their sponge-like brains that soak up anything around them. We are going to have a big focus on counting and using numbers to 100 for the next couple of weeks as we prepare for our big 100th day of school party. I wonder if they have 100th day of jail parties? Yeah, probably not.

Here's a link to the tally mark practice page we used: 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

More Sweater Monsters

The Sweater monsters in my classroom were such a hit that I now have a monster factory in my dining room. They've been for sale at craft fairs and local shops, and now I have listed my first sweater monster on Etsy. I'm so excited to send these guys to their new homes! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kids' Favorites

I asked my students to help me blog this week by taking pictures of some of their favorite stuff in our classroom. One of the things I love about working with these kids is the opportunity to see the world through their eyes. Here are some of the things they chose. Aren't these kids the best? 

ABC Magnets on cookie sheets. Really? THAT'S your favorite thing in the whole room? Awesome.

I have no idea what these things are called. Just a great garage sale find this summer! They are like big pipe-cleaner-thingies and they have faces and feet the kids can attach. We had them out in the writing area and kids gave their critters names and wrote little stories about them. So cute. 

Measuring stuff is great fun. Our carpet is 217 cubes long, but sometimes we measure again.
 Just to double check.

Computer lab. I love the lab, too. The kids are really independent and there are so many great
activities for them to do here. When students need help, they usually ask each other :)
45 minutes every Wednesday. 45 awesome minutes.

I'm so glad they like this game. Students practice sight words and letters by parking little Matchbox cars in the spot that their partner calls. A cute game board created by my teaching partner. 

I was shocked someone wanted to take a picture of this shape poster.
Really? That's the best part of the room? K.

Wikki Sticks. Such cool little waxy sticky strings.  :)
Truth is, they like these because I almost never get them out. Too much time is required to put them back in the baggies and clean them up for the next group. They are fun, maybe I should let them play with these more often. 
"I want to take a picture of the flag. I love that flag."
Me too, little buddy!

So, there you go. My students' favorite parts of the classroom.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Polar Express Christmas Party

What a crazy, busy, wonderful time of the year to be in kindergarten!

After weeks of wonderful, magical (everybody believes!) anticipation...
Our Christmas party finally arrived!

We watched the movie in shorter segments for the 4 days leading up to the party. 
Everyone wore their pajamas on party day!

The students left for their regular gym time in the afternoon. Parents arrived while they we gone to help me arrange the chairs in the classroom into a Polar Express train.

The train "stopped" 5 different times

Stop 1: Singing. We danced the 12 days of Christmas dance and sang for the parents.
Stop 2: I read them the story of the Christmas Gingerbread Mouse and then gave everyone a copy of the story to keep.
Stop 3: Okeefenokee. Yeah, my class loves when I tell stories of the Okeefenokee Swamp, so we decided to go their during the Christmas Party!
Stop 4: Snacks! We had Christmas cookies and Hot Chocolate. mmmm.
Stop 5: Gifts. Santa came and gave everyone a bell, I gave them a little bookmark I crocheted, and we all sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas and hopped off the train. 

Woohoo! We had fun, but it was a great relief when it was done!

Workers in our Santa Shop helped make Christmas special for  all the students.

We made reindeer food with a great label I found  online.
You can find out more here:

Our tree was decorated with ornaments they colored!
Merry, Merry!!