Saturday, July 30, 2011

Trucks, Books, and Ice Pops

This past week a group of faculty and staff members from my school gathered to load up two trucks with buckets full of new books and a cooler full of ice pops.  Our mission was to spread the gift of literacy to the small town where we teach and live.  It was so much fun to fellowship together and to see some of our students and parents in their neighborhoods.  You can imagine the looks of surprise we encountered.  Usually our students see us only at school or perhaps in the grocery store or at church.  It was a wonderful way to spend a summer evening and we look forward to doing it again.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Feedback Please!.....Ideas for Classroom Circle Time Seating

During the past 8 years I have tried many different types of seating set ups in my circle time area.  When I taught Prek, my classroom was provided with a beautiful and colorful rug purchased from a classroom supply company.  Since then the two KG classrooms I have taught in have not included rugs.  So I became very creative.  Here is what I have used so far....

Individual carpet squares donated from a local flooring store.
Price:   Free!
+:  Each child has a clear boundary of where they need to sit.
-:   It takes a few minutes for students to get a carpet square from a stack, put it on the floor, and actually sit on it.
Two indoor/outdoor carpet pieces taped together with colorful duct tape.  I even used spray paint to add numbers (1-24) to the rugs. 
Price:  $50
+:  Provides the same use as expensive rugs purchased from classroom supply companies.
-:  These carpets last about one school year before they are worn out.

No carpet at all
Price:  Free!
+:  Students have the freedom to sit where they want to in the circle time area and there is no need to worry about keeping the carpet clean.
-: Students have no boundaries of where to sit during circle time.  This works great for a class of students who are more mature and have great awareness of personal space.  Not so much for a class of "younger" KG students.

......So what do I do this year?   What have you used in your classroom?  Help!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top Picks for New Classroom Resources

For the past month, I have been receiving a steady stream of classroom supply catalogs in the mail.  I love to go through the catalogs....much like I did Christmas catalogs when I was a little girl.  Here are the items that are at the top on my wish list for the upcoming school year.  I have included links to their online catalog descriptions in case you want to check them out.  Just click on 'em.

From Lakeshore Learning

Numbers, Letters and Beginning Picture Words Rubbing Plates

Story Wands

Alphabet Pointers

Magnifier Discovery Board

Find the Number Counting Kit

Sight Word Sentence Builder Kit

From Carson-Dellosa Publishing

Good Work Holders

CenterSOLUTIONS Thinking Kids Math

CenterSOLUTIONS Thematic Words for Young Writers

From Really Good Stuff

What Comes Next? Sequencing Pocket Chart Kit

I Have, Who Has?  Language Arts Book

Slide and Learn Interactive Number Lines

Geometric Shapes Outline Stampers

Unfortunately, like many of you, my supply funds are limited.  So now I just need to figure out how many of these I can create myself.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

100+ Reasons to Smile Today

I finally topped 100 followers!  Thank you to everyone who has checked out my blog during the past year.  I started this adventure as a way to journal my experiences as a Kindergarten teacher.  What I didn't expect was to receive two blog awards, positive feedback from teachers all over the country, and to gain countless resources and daily motivation from fellow bloggers.  The possibilities for networking are endless and I look forward to more blogging fun....So stay tuned!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Word Builder Slides....Easy Peasy!

I love a good idea.  A good idea that is free...well that's even better. I found one over at The Snail's Trail blog.

Check out these word builder slides. All it took to make them were some paint sample cards and a permanent marker.  The nice folks at my neighborhood Wal Mart gave me the paint sample cards.  I needed about 35 (2 3/4 x 5 1/2) single colored cards and 15 (2 x 9) multi colored cards.

I wrote word families on the large cards and beginning phonemes and diagraphs on the multi colored cards.  It took about 15 minutes to make. Easy peasy!

for posting this idea!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lose 'em, Tie 'em and Celebrate 'em

When I first began teaching Kindergarten, I discovered two developmental milestones that were MUCHO important to my young students.  Losing a tooth and tieing a shoe.  So important that I felt that they needed to be truly celebrated, almost as much as having a birthday.

I implemented two recognition "clubs" that are easy to manage and the kids absolutely love them.  It was a simple thing to do.  I purchased two kits from Really Good Stuff (I do love this company) that included posters, matching stickers, certificates, and "tooth" necklaces.  I hung the posters in a special place in my classroom. I introduced the "clubs" during the first week of school.  We also read books about what it's like when either of the two happen.

The clubs manage themselves.  Lots of independent practice takes place.  Wiggling loose teeth and looping strings.  The kids ALWAYS remind me when they are ready to be members (and their friends do too).  We write their names on the posters.  Stickers, certificates and tooth necklaces are presented to them.  And most importantly, we take a few precious moments to marvel at the space that a missing tooth left or watch in awe as shoes are carefully tied.

Yep....these are milestones definitely worth celebrating again and again all through the school year.