Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome Bulletin Linky Party

Typically in kindergarten we do our door in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This year, a teacher had a great idea in which we each did a different book that we would read in kindergarten! I love the idea. This is my door/ Welcome Bulletin to our classroom!

a LONG day!

 I am always so excited about teaching... ALWAYS! This year, I think since it's a year with so many firsts that I am even more excited! One of my firsts is BLOGGING. I am so excited about the blog world. There are so many AMAZING ideas. One idea I found from aplacecalledkindergarten.blogspot.com was a magnifying glass that says "I spy readers." Yesterday we colored our magnifying glass and today we went on a scavenger hunt to find readers around our school. When we got back to the room I printed out pictures of the readers we saw. Then we made an anchor chart with reasons for reading and things you can read. It was a great way to talk about the importance of reading and to really help the kids see it's amazing purpose! Here is a picture of our chart and then just some really cute pictures I took of my little loves. 

This evening we had parent orientation. It was great to get to know my kiddos parents. I worked super hard on a powerpoint and then... technology failed me. My smartboard went out. Truth is, I don't know how to function anymore with out my smartboard. I do EVERYTHING on it. I hope it's working by tomorrow! Now, I'm going to sleep! Goodnight Moon!

Monday, August 29, 2011

My favorite thing about kindergarten...

My First Week of Kindergarten

I got this great idea from aplacecalledkindergarten.blogspot.com. Tomorrow night is parent orientation so I'm going to type up their favorite thing and take a picture of them doing their favorite thing and post it up outside the door so parents can look at it on their way in! 

Newsletter and Writing

 Here is a copy of my 1st newsletter that went home today! 

Today for writing workshop we talked about what to do when we think we're done as writers. We repeated the saying to ourselves, "When you think you're done, you've only just begun!" Then I went back to my first story that I wrote with the kids and added more to my pictures and more to my words. We made an anchor chart to make our saying more concrete! 


At my school we practice Conscious Discipline (www.consciousdiscipline.com) along with Boys Town (which is teaching social skills). Conscious Discipline is a self-regulation program that integrates social-emotional  learning and discipline. We teach children how to use their words to express their feelings and how to calm themselves down when they feel overloaded with emotions. We also teach how understand feelings along with expressing them. 

I believe that teaching children to understand their emotions and how to express them using words is a life long skill that will help children through out their entire lives. 

Here are some pictures of other things that I do regarding behavior in my classroom.

I forgot to take a picture of my safe place today but this is an example of one. A safe place is where a child can go to calm themselves down so they can quickly join back with the group!

Class Points: When we are all doing something well (lining up, working hard, etc) we get a class point. When we have gotten all 8, we get a prize!

Practice Make Perfect: When there is a time of day that a friend is not being safe or following directions then they have to move their picture and during an inopportune time of the day (social centers or recess) they will have to practice (following directions, being safe at lunch, having safe hands and feet, sitting on the rug, or safe in the hallway).  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This summer, I was trying to find the easiest classroom pet to take care of. I have had a hamster named Bear that passed away, a Guinea pig named Daisy that now lives with a fellow teammate, hermit crabs that both died, and fish (which I still have). Needless to say, I wanted something that would be the easiest to take care of. While conducting my "research," I came across a pet grant for teachers. You can find it www.petsintheclassroom.org. You can be awarded $150. I went to Petsmart with my friend Jacque, who also got the pet grant. We asked lots of questions and decided that aquatic turtles were what we had to have. I spent about $40 out of my own pocket, which is great considering I would have spent about $200 without the grant. I got a girl turtle who I named Tina. She has been a lot of fun to watch and EXTREMELY easy to take care of. She does not like to get out of the water to basque in the light when people are in the room, but the other day I came in and this is what I found.

I think she's pretty cute and the kids seem to really like her and be super interested in her. This week as one of my literacy stations I am going to have Tina as a station. That way the kids can check her out at an appropriate time. They can also look at turtle books and draw pictures of her if they'd like.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kids Work

I'm impressed with my kids work already! I had to share. After "thinking" about something to write about. This friend drew a picture of her house. 

This friend thought about riding in a rocket. 

I wrote a story about my dog Lola. This friend wrote about his cat. I did help him with the spelling of Rocky. 

This friend likes to play. He told me with what, but, I honestly forgot. 

 This friend thought about our King of the day so he drew a picture of him. 
 I have talented kids!


We have been writing since the first day of school! We have been practicing the procedures of writer's workshop. Today, we reviewed all of the procedures we have learned by making an anchor chart. I think the kids have done an awesome job! They were able to tell me the most important things that writers do for our anchor chart.

For reader's workshop this week we have been practicing our listening skills. We REALLY have to practice. :) Yesterday we made our "Good Listeners" anchor chart. 
It has been a GREAT visual reminder. 

Tuesday is our parent orientation when parents will come and learn about kindergarten! Today, my dear friend Caitlin, who was my student teacher and now is a colleague helped me mimic something that I found on http://kinder-pond.blogspot.com. She made an ABC's of  Room 503. 

Tuesday is our parent orientation when parents will come and learn about kindergarten! Today, my dear friend Caitlin, who was my student teacher and now is a colleague helped me mimic something that I found on http://kinder-pond.blogspot.com. She made an ABC's of  Room 503. The font is much cuter on my school computer but I'm having font problems at home! So excited about this! Thanks favorite Caitlin. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Really funny...

 So, something pretty funny happened today. I had to blog about it because it is just too cute to not. I have a  little friend that during rest time thought it would be a good idea to push himself in between the top and bottom of a bench in my classroom. When I asked the boys to put away their rest towels, he didn't budge. So, I asked why he hadn't followed directions, he replied, "because I'm stuck." At first I tried to tell him that his natural consequence would be to have to stay there. However, I quickly realized that he was seriously stuck. The image of the Full House episode when DJ is babysitting and the boy gets his head stuck in the stair railings popped in my head. I was worried we would have to call the fire department or something to saw it apart. Through all of this I was trying really hard to not laugh but was crying while holding back the hysterical laughing. My teacher friend told me to take the cushion off the bench and he was able to squeeze his way out. I doubt he'll do it again any time soon. Here is a shot of him getting "unstuck."

On a sad note, our air conditioning is now set at 74.5. It is miserably hot. Today, my air stopped working all together and it ended up being 79 degrees. By the time I left at 4... I was drenched in sweat and had a stomachache. But, we have a wonderful office staff who took care of putting in a work order. Several teachers have mentioned wearing their bathing suits to school. Maybe that would make them (the district) lower the temp for the teachers! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Professional Reading

 One thing I love most about the Ridge is that teachers are always reading professional books. It is such a great way to stretch yourself as a learner and teacher. These are a few of my favorite things:

Writer's Workshop
Units of study for Primary Writing by Lucy Calkins and Colleagues from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Growing Readers by Cathy Collins

Reading with Meaning By Debbie Miller

Literacy Stations
Literacy Work Stations by Debbie Diller

Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller

Developing Number Concepts 1&2 by Kathy Richardson

And I just picked this one up:
Small Groups
Making the Most of Small Groups by Debbie Diller

If you get the chance- you should check one or all of these books out. They are fantastic. 

The Motor Lab!

 My kindergarten colleague Miss Busa (who you can find at kristinskindergartenlearning.blogspot.com) wrote a grant last year for a motor lab. Let me preface by saying that our 6 kindergarten classrooms are all located off of our Kindergarten POD. The POD is just a large space that we use for pulling out groups with our kindergarten aide. Our aide typically pulled out groups during literacy stations so that we could have smaller numbers for guided reading groups. During literacy stations the children were also participating in literacy station in the POD. Now, they will be participating in our motor lab. The kiddos will be doing fine motor and gross motor activities. Today, I took some pictures of the activities we have going on this month. The kids stay at each station for 3 minutes. Kristin, myself and several other kindergarten teachers went to check out a motor lab at another elementary school in College Station. We really liked it and thought that it would be beneficial for all of our kindergarten kiddos as well as other children at our school. 
Gross Motor: Crawling through the tunnel. 

Gross Motor: Balance boards

Fine Motor: Sorting beads with tweezers. 

Gross motor: Jump-O-Lene 

Gross Motor: Hopscotch 

Gross Motor: Balance Beam

Fine Motor: Making circles and lines. 

Fine Motor: Using sand tools in sand. 

Fine motor: Pop Beads

Fine Motor: Cutting squiggle lines with curvy scissors. 

Gross Motor: Rolling on the mat to knock down the bowling pins. 

Gross Motor: Balance Board

There was another gross motor station that I didn't get a picture of but it is practicing yoga moves in the mirror. 

I am so thankful that Kristin wrote the grant for our Motor Lab. We were very fortunate for our PTO to fund this for us. We started on day 2 of school with a little hesitation. But it was PERFECT. The kids were so excited and our aide Miss. Klett did an amazing job with organization and behavior. 

My New Classroom

 This year I moved to a new classroom across the hall. I am sooo excited! I asked to move because I think this room is bigger and has 3 windows! My room last year only had 1. I can leave the lights off and have on a few lamps while the sun shines in the room. Soooo excited! Here are a few pictures.

Back of the room: Art easel, word wall (which is covered in environmental print right now), Tina Turner's Turtle Tank, and the fish tank. 

The door, cubbies, etc. 

Smart board, teacher table, rainbow rug, etc.

3 WINDOWS!!!!!!! Huge bean bag, reading center, home center and computer center. 

Reading Nook, Science area, 3 WINDOWS!!!!!!

More of the room. 

Calendar, writing center, books of the week, door.