Saturday, July 30, 2011

My new love: Pinterest!

I've been a little remiss the past couple days in posting. It finally hit me this week that I'm going back to school VERY SOON and need to suck the life out of every minute of the remainder of my summer. I've done so by watching ridiculous amounts of Netflix television, reading several complete novels, and basically transforming into a big couch potato (much to my personal trainier's chargin). However even my steadfast commitment to summer time bliss could keep me away from my new love: pinterest. It's a teacher's dream and nightmare all in one. This site is incredible! I'm completely blown away by all the amazing ideas that are that. I literally am kept up at night thinking of all the ideas I want to incorporate into my classroom, home, and recipe box. Next week I'm heading back to school to perfect my classroom but in the meantime I wanted to share some of my favorite pinterest finds that will be making an appearance in my classroom this year! (This is just a sampling: I have over 500 teaching pins! I'm a little obsessed! =) Enjoy and make sure to check out these lovely ladies blogs!
Back to School Secret Handshake inspired by the Parent Trap= best teamwork activity ever! From:
Listening center organization: I LOVE this! From:
Literacy Workstation Menu: I really like this idea and I'm thinking of making something similar for my kiddos to mix up their workstation period. From:
Daily 5 board: I really love the images on the bottom for reading behaviors! From:
Clipchart: I've seen this all over Pinterest. I'm a little hesitant to do this type of behavior chart but I do love that the kids have an opportunity to "clip up" as well as down. We'll see how it works once I meet my little ones! =) From:
Behavior Bees: So precious! I made these today! From:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Freebie: Book Bin Labels

 A little background: My first year teaching I taught 2nd grade and basically had my entire classroom lined with book bins. I loved this system, and I loved the fact that my kids had access to so many good books. However when I moved to kindergarten there was just so much other stuff filling my space that I just didn't quite know how to handle my massive collection of books. I also wasn't sure about trusting five year olds to handle putting books back in their proper places. So sadly for the first two years I taught kindergarten many of my books stayed on my teacher book shelf and only came out for read alouds.

So last summer I decided to bring my books back into the spotlight and give them the opportunity for much needed love they so badly deserved. I wanted a easy way for my students to access the books but also for them to keep them organized. I ended up sorting the books by categories and genres. I ended up with four main categories (fiction, non-fiction, favorite authors, favorite friends/characters) which were then divided into lots of other sub-categories.  Each of the big categories was assigned a bin color: red for non-fiction, blue for favorite friends (like Clifford, Spot, Curious George, etc), yellow for favorite authors, and blue for fiction. I labeled each box with a picture label and then each book within the box a small sticker. It was a lot of work but sooooo worth it! The kids did amazing at keeping the books in their designated bins (we called it the book's home).  Here's some pics from my classroom library (sorry if there's some repeats from my tour post!)

Update: I combined all the label documents into a single document and uploaded it to google documents. For some reason during the merging process an extra blank page was inserted between every page (boo!) was too frustrating to try and remove it so I just left it for my own sanity! Sorry! Hope you enjoy these labels and can put them to use in your own libraries!
Book Bin Labels in Google Docs

These are our favorite friends bins. They house our Clifford, Spot, Arthur, Franklin, Berenstein Bears, etc. collections.

These are the only bins that do not have sticker labels on the books or bins because the kids were able to match the characters really easier with their correct bins.

Our fiction section. These books are historical fiction, silly stories, animal characters, ABC books, etc.

The stickers on the upper right of the bin label are on each of the books in these bins. The kids loved matching the stickers to find the home of each book. I just used small reward stickers from the teacher supply store that I had lying around.

Non-Fiction Section: By far the most popular in my class. =)

Where ripped books go.

Another look at the non-fiction bins. See the sticker labels?

Favorite Authors Bins: Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Lois Ehlert, Jan Brett, Tedd Arnold....all live here.

So as a small token of thanks for all the wonderful ideas and printables I've "borrowed" from all the amazing teacher blogs out there I wanted to offer up my first (hopefully of many) printable to blog readers. I would love to hear your comments (or even better follow me!).  Not sure how these will post as pictures- let me know if you have trouble opening them!

Happy Organizing!


Dreaming of Next Year

I love New Years. Every January I prepare a long list of wishes and goals for the next year. It doesn't really matter that I rarely make it through March with these new resolutions- its just the idea that a new year is a fresh start. As a teacher I get another opportunity every August to make a fresh school start. For the past three summers I spent a good deal of time redecorating my classroom: painting book shelves, making posters, decorating bulletin boards, sewing table skirts. Now that I LOVE the way my classroom looks, my attention is turned to how we actually do things in my classroom. It should be no surprise that I change my schedule and center management every year as well. My first year in kindergarten I must of tried five different center strategies and the following year I went with something completely new. I haven't found a center management that I totally love...yet.

So all that to say I'm ready for a new beginning this year. I'm firmly committed to a hybrid Debbie Diller Work Station and The Sister Daily 5 style literacy work block. Basically having set workstations that I don't have to change every week. I also want to move to a guided math format for math instruction. I'm still a little fuzzy on how I'm going to make it all work but I'm excited. Here's a peek at what I've been playing around with on my schedule:

Daily Schedule

7:15-7:45 Arrival, Exploration Centers
7:45-8:00 Morning Meeting
·      Greeting
·      Phonics Game/Song
·      Shared Reading
·      Sight Words
·      Morning Message
8:00-10:00 Daily 5 Block
·      Read to Self (20 minutes)
·      Minilesson 1- Phonics Lesson (15 minutes)
·      Workstations (40 minutes)
o   Listening
§  Leap Pads
§  MP3 players
§  Computers (starfall and raz-kids)
§  Stereo
o   Work on Writing
o   Word Work
§  play dough
§  sand writing
§  letter tiles
§  stamps
§  magnetic letters
§  pipe cleaners
§  bonus center
o   Retelling
o   Read to a Partner
o   Work with a Teacher
·      Minilesson 2- Writing Lesson (15 min)
·      Writing Workshop (20 min)
·      Sharing Time (10 Minutes)
10:00-10:40 Snack and Recess
10:40- 11:30 Math Workshop
·      Monday- Whole Group Lesson/ Game/ Assessment
·      Tuesday- Thursday
o   Mini-Lesson (5 minutes)
o   Math Work Stations x2 (40 min)
o   Share Time (5 minutes)
·      Friday- Special Math Activity
11:30-12:15 Specials
12:15-12:50 Calendar, Read Aloud, Rest
12:50-1:20 Lunch
1:25- 2:00 Theme Study/ Pack Up

 What are you working on this summer?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The First Few Days

I LOVE the first few weeks of school! Everything is new and fresh,  and there is so much excitement in the air. As I was going through pictures from first days of years past- I can't help but smile. It's pretty special to look back at where they started and know how far they came in just a year. I can't wait to meet my new little kidlets and for the fun to start all over again!

Our first kindergarten crafts- scissors on the first day (whew!)

Reading books

Teddy Grahams graphs

We go on a scavenger hunt through our school's nature trail.

Shaving cream is an instant hit!

Learning to use whiteboards and our first learn to draw lesson.

Making new friends during free choice centers.

Last year I started Read to Self on the first day of school. I was so happy of the results.

For the first few weeks we do a lot of exploring math tools like the geo-boards, pattern blocks, tangrams, etc.

Making patterns with erasers from the dollar store.

More patterns!

In the beginning of the year I put Favorite Friends (popular book characters) books into the kids book boxes to read. Later on they are allowed to choose their own books from our classroom library.

We make tie-dyes the first week of school and wear them every 10th day.

I couldn't not add this one! These boys are telling the preying mantis "If you eat all your food you'll grow up big and strong like me!" Haha...LOVE kinders!

What do you do on your first days of school?

Welcome to G3!

I'm so excited to start this blog journey! I have high hopes that I will be able to keep up this little blog with all the happenings of my kindergarten classroom. We'll see how it goes! For now just wanted to say thanks for visiting and joining me in my first steps in the teacher blog world!

While I have some free time in the summer I thought I would take the time to up-load some pictures from my classroom to share. I hope you enjoy them!

The front of our classroom.
 We earn brownie points for compliments for hall behavior. We earn warm 
and fuzzies for our buckets by being kind to each other.
 These are our penny jars. The kids earn pennies for doing good work and completing classroom jobs. They use their money to buy items in the class store every other Friday. They can trade their pennies for nickels and dimes later in the year.
 Our Daily 5 board. I didn't do much with this last year. 
I'm hoping to make it a more usable board next year.
 We post "fancy" words we hear and read on this board.
 Whole group teaching area with CAFE board, calendar, 
SMART board, and teaching easel.
 Computer stations and display book cases 
(I change out the books according to our themes). The curtains will look familar if you are familiar with Mrs. Jump- she was my inspiration! THANK YOU MRS. JUMP!
 Special quiet reading area
 Calendar Space
 CAFE board pre-strategies
 Reading tree, teacher desks, and library
 The bench lids lift up and store our wooden blocks. I love this storage solution!
 I organized my classroom library by book type: Non-Fiction (red bins), Fiction (green bins), Favorite Authors (yellow bins), and Favorite Series (blue bins).
 The Book Hospital really cut down on students interrupting me to tell 
about a rip or page missing. Later on I had the kids put a post-it on 
the page so I could quickly repair and return the books to the library.
 Some of my teacher storage- still needs some work! =)
 Our favorite author bins and leveled readers in the black bins.

 Another view of our classroom. 
The blue cubbies hold all our math and art supplies.
 The students hung their book bags on their labeled hooks.

Thanks for visiting our classroom! Come back soon!