Wednesday, July 25, 2012

24 Hours and Counting...

I can get my room key on Friday (We start school on August 6th).  It's really late getting our key this year because the district is holding summer classes on our campus.  Even though my room is not being used, I can't get in until Friday at 12:30.  I spent yesterday working on some last minute projects that I needed to get done, but were very time consuming.  Here's what I was up to...

Sharing Bags:  For Meet the Teacher Night, I always have the kiddos go on a hunt around the room looking for important things- the bathroom, their cubbies, their nametag, etc...  One of the items they will find in their cubbies is a sharing bag.  Not a new idea by any means, but I thought I would share mine here.  Last year I made the mistake of not giving students a day to share these bags- it was whenever they brought it back.  So, one day we had 15 bags to share.  Well, you can't disappoint those eager faces ready to share their treasures, so I sat through way too many sharing bags in one day (spread out over several sessions of course because no one could sit still longer than 5 minutes LOL).  So this year, the tag on the bag says what day to bring the bag. Except, in this freebie I took out the date and just put in a line in case your start date isn't the same as mine.  Sharing Bag

Meet the teacher paperwork:  Like I said above, students go on a little hunt through the room with help from their parents.  I do it this way for a couple of reasons. 1)  It gives parents and kinders a focus.  It's not a free for all, let's take everything off the shelves and just play, although there will be at least one who does that. 2)  I am not bombarded all at once by parents and kinders.  Of course, I have a couple of things I need to tell them but I would rather do that at the end on their way out so we don't get bogged down in a parent conference type situation.  3)  It's fun for the kinders- searching for their name in 3 places, finding their cubby by themselves.  Of course, it doesn't always work.  There will be parents who skip the hunt and just come directly to me, but at least there is supposed to be a structure to the evening.  Meet the teacher

Common Core Standards/Objectives:  Does your district require that your daily or weekly standards/objectives are visible somewhere in the room?  Mine does and I hate it- but not because I don't want to be accountable for my instruction.  It's because it's so time consuming and a waste of valuable space.  I purchased Deanna Jump's Common Core Standards document Common Core Standards Posters for Kindergarten and I made the cute hanging thing she shows in that document.  However, my principal didn't really like it. She said it was too small.  So, I spent most of last year using an entire white board to write the weekly standards.  YUCK!  It was ugly, it took a lot of space AND a lot of time writing it each Monday morning (and I had lots of other things to do Monday morning besides that....)  So, this year I am trying it again, but in a different way.  This time I made headings for each subject and I am using Deanna Jump's standards.  I attached magnet tape to the back of everything and I am going to stick it on the board that way.  It will be more visible (I hope) and it gets me out of writing them each week.  I am still using a huge chunk of white board space, but it will be less than last year because I am not writing it. Hopefully it will work for my principal. Standards Headers

Common Core Questioning Jars:  To go along with the common core standards, I recently purchased Tara West's Common Core Questioning Jars for ELA and Math.  I LOVE THEM!  Common-Core-Questioning-ELA-Math-Jar-Kindergarten-Bundle  It's a great way to review skills we are learning.  But I had to find jars/containers that would work.  I couldn't find anything that I liked that wasn't glass at my local Target (and I didn't have time/energy to go searching for cute jars) until I was in the checkout line.  Then I saw these Ziploc storage containers-designer edition.  The cute thing about them is that they have a design on the top that has some of the same colors as the labels in her unit!  It was meant to be!  They are a little small, but hopefully it will work.  So, I spent a LOT of time printing these, cutting them out, folding them and putting them in the jars.

Whew!  It was a busy, busy day.  I wonder what fabulous things today will bring.  It's my last day with no school commitments!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy School Year! 
One of my favorite back to school books is a book called Happy School Year!  It's about the first day of school- the whole school celebrates with cupcakes and sings "Happy School Year to You!"  I created this page for my students to do that first day of school.  We talk about what we want to learn and do in Kindergarten and then I let them color the cupcake and candle, draw a picture of what it is they wish, and try to write what their wish is.  It's a great writing & drawing sample for the beginning of the school year. And, most of the time, I need to go back through with the students and have them tell me what they wrote and I will write it down underneath their attempt. It's also something that I can keep in a writing portfolio to show parents.Here's the link to my document.  Kindergarten Wish

Monday, July 23, 2012

This used to be a triangle, but now it is a...

One of the first math units we do is a geometry unit that focuses on basic shapes.  Here's a cute activity that you can use after learning about each shape.  I collect the student papers and make a class book, but if you did this for all the shapes, the students could have their own shape book at the end.  I am going to use die cuts of the shapes (I spent yesterday cutting shapes with my Cricut), but I included a sheets of the shapes in case you need them.  We always spend a lot of time brainstorming about some ideas of what the shape could turn into- for triangle, some of our ideas are always a slice of pizza, a birthday hat, a piece of pie etc...  Here's the link to this document:  This used to be a...Hope it's something you can add to your shape unit!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Position Words FREEBIE!

One of our first math standards we are teaching is Common Score Standard Geometry 1: Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes and describe the relative position of these objects uding terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind and next to.  So I made this activity to practice that standard.  I am picturing it in a small math group with the teacher reading the directions and the students placing objects in the correct locations on the board.  Hope it might be something you could use to practice that standard.  Position Word FREEBIE!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I've Been a Busy Girl!

Wow!  Have I been busy!  It's that time of year where I feel like my mind is going six-hundred miles an hour and I have so much to think about and so much to do- and, consequently, so much money that needs to be spent!

I got a new cartridge for my Cricut (Community) and it has a ton of really cute things!  Lots of stuff for fairy tales, some school stuff and, of course, community workers, buildings and vehicles.  I made a couple of cute things real quick with those.  The first goes with the nursery rhyme- "There was an old lady who lived in a shoe".  Did you know this is an AWFUL nursery rhyme?  Look up the words- but let's just say that if this old lady lived near me CPS would definitely be involved.  So, I had to change the words to the rhyme a little bit. The game is a counting game.  I made the shoe and children with my Cricut, but here's a FREEBIE to let you play the game too.  Old Lady in Shoe Counting Game

This is Belle, my inspiration for the game and Cricut helper!
Okay, here's more Cricut fun!  Pete the Cat- I know, I know, all the issues with TpT and Pete, but I think this Cricut created game should be safe from the Copyright Police.  It's a Literacy activity that connects with the story and colors. Students take a Pete game board and decide what color shoes they want Pete to wear.  They put the shoes on Pete and then take the word cards and arrange the sentence correctly- Pete likes the red shoes or Pete likes the green shoes.  Here's a link to the sentence just in case you can use it in some way. Pete likes the shoes.

I mentioned earlier that my classroom theme is Dr. Seuss. Target always has Seuss stuff in their Dollar section but the Target close to me hasn't had it yet!  Fortunately, I was around Arizona State University this week taking my son to Baseball Camp at Packard Stadium and had 3 hours each day to burn.  Well, after countless hours in Paradise Bakery and Einstein Bagels with laptop working on beginning of school stuff- I was a little tired thinking, so I decided to go shopping at Tempe Marketplace!  Who knew what wonders I would discover!!!  These are my Target and Michaels purchases.  The bags I think I am going to use as book bags- I have a ton of them from a previous year, but the ones I got were ones I didn't have.  The Lesson Plan book (which I think I will use to keep track of Literacy and Math Work Stations) also has a grade book part.  The containers I will use for game pieces and the cups are just really cute!  I love the games I found and I needed a new calendar so I am super excited about that!  Now if I could just get into my classroom!!!  But I can't until July 27th... school starts August 6th.

A Lesson Plan book, bags, sticker, cups, and containers

A Peek-Over thing that goes around a window or bulletin board, a calendar and a rule poster
More Stickers, number, shape and alphabet games!