Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick picture of what I did yesterday with my kids. I'm thankful for the sweet 16 kindergarten I have! (even if they drive me crazy sometimes)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Counting on with magnets

A while ago, I found this on Pinterest:

They are great! I immediately printed them out and they have been a huge hit in the magnet center! I have a few sets of magnetic numbers (picked up from my local dollar store) that the kids use. It is really helping them with their counting. A huge part of math this year is being able to "count on". As in, start at 6 and count on- 6, 7, 8... My kids are doing so well with it! Here it is in practice:

I have some cookie sheets that I use in my magnet center. That way, the magnets stick AND they are contained in one spot. So much easier to clean up! If you click on the first image, it should take you to my Pinterest page and you can get your own copies. I recommend printing them on cardstock and laminating them, that way they can be used over and over again :)

Something different

I'm a big fan of doing things differently in my classroom. Anything that can get my kids moving (they have SO much energy!) but still learning, I am a fan of. So when one of my friends gave me a set of sidewalk chalk, I knew we had to use it at school.

We just went outside and I told them to practice writing letters, numbers, whatever they wanted. It was so much fun! (although very messy, sorry parents)
You can see in the bottom that some were doing a great job with forming numbers. Even for the kids that haven't gotten there yet, drawing with sidewalk chalk offers a lot of resistance that is great for developing all those muscles in our hands/forearms that we use while writing. If you haven't ever done this with your kids, I recommend it! My kids loved it and didn't even realize they were learning new things. They just thought I was a cool teacher because I let them be outside when it wasn't recess :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DIBELS practice

In my school district, all of the students are assessed using DIBELs. One of the biggest (and most important) test for Kindergarteners is the Letter Naming Fluency test (LNF for short- we're big on abbreviations in education). I'm not normally a huge fan of "teaching to the test"...HOWEVER, now part of my teacher evaluation is how my kids score on this test.

That being said, I decided we needed some practice. Less for the actual content and more for just getting my kids used to taking a "test." That is something they'll have to do for the next 12 years, so we might as well start now, right?

Here's what I came up with:
All they have to do is see how many letters they can correctly name in 1 minute. I figure I'll test the kids and then send the paper home, so parents can see how their child does and (hopefully) help them get better at home. If you want a copy, you can get it HERE.

Reward Store

At my school, we have a positive behavior system called Bear Bucks. When a kid does something good, they get a buck. There are a few parties during the year where they can go if they've earned enough money. But I needed something to serve as an incentive between parties. This, my Bear Buck store!

I got a shoe organizer from Walmart and put it on the back door to my closet. It's filled with little trinkets and various things the kids can "buy". Hopefully it will help them start working towards earning those bucks!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This is my first post on my new iPhone! So far I'm loving it.


So many Kindergarten teachers get to to do super cute themes all year long. Because my school is a themed magnet school, we're somewhat limited by what we can do. I have 4 themes that I have to follow- one for each quarter. They are very time consuming (and very fun!) but don't leave a lot of time for outside themes.

However, this year I'm determined to squeeze a mini Thanksgiving unit in there. I was searching on Pinterest and found some super cute activities:

I thought they could write (or me write for them) "I am thankful for _____" instead of the poem. That way this keepsake has their own writing on it.

We did the letter T a few weeks ago, but this one is just too cute! They could add the writing "T is for turkey." Maybe as a center activity or something?

I'm also planning on doing a writing lesson on writing the steps to something. Of course we'll have to do the popular "How to cook a turkey" writing activity. Once these are finished, I'll be sure to post pictures of how they turn out!

So thankful for my 16 wonderful, energetic, enthusiastic, loud, sweet, loving Kindergarteners :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Patch!

The week before Halloween, my class (and all the K classes at my school) made the traditional fall trip to our local pumpkin patch. We are learning about how plants, seasons, the weather, etc. move in cycles so this was perfect. This farm does a great job of really teaching the kids how the pumpkins start as seeds, then grow and then the seeds inside grow more pumpkins. They even learned why bees are important! Such a great trip. Can't wait for next year.

Here we all are. It's impossible to get 17 kids looking in the same direction, but this is the best shot. Check out little miss poser on the right :)

In the corn maze. They had places to do crayon rubbings of animal prints to see which animal had "stolen the pie". We never did figure out who done it, but I was just glad nobody got lost!!

In the pumpkin field, picking out their pumpkins.

And back in the classroom. It's hard to tell, but I'm weighing our class pumpkin. We also measured it to see how tall it was (7 inches) and made a "can, have, are" chart about pumpkins (sorry, no pic of that. but it turned out cute!)

And finally, carving the pumpkin and scooping the guts out! We started counting the seeds, but I cut them off at 100. Great moment to introduce the concept "more than." Our pumpkin has MORE THAN 100 seeds! It most likely 300-400.

I took the seeds home, washed them off and roasted them in the oven. The next day we did a little taste test. We made a graph and and analyzed our data. Turns out 12 kids like pumpkin seeds, 4 do not (1 was absent that day).

All in all, a great trip/series of lessons. There are so many fun things to do with pumpkins. Can't wait until next year!!

p.s. since I was roasting the pumpkin seeds, I figured I'd roast the pumpkin as well. Smash in the food processor for a while = homemade pumpkin puree! yum

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

stamp giveaway!

Hey everyone! Hadar over at Miss Kindergarten is hosting a giveaway for a free personalized stamp from Polka Dot Parlor. Check it out!

S is for...

SNAKE!!!How cute is this? A few weeks ago we studied the letter S and this was our "fun Friday" activity. (We did "M is for macaroni before this.) Look at the detail in this picture. The snake is eating a rat. Very realistic for a 5 year old.

Here's a group shot:
So proud of my sweet kinders! Can't wait to do more cute projects for our Letter of the Week.