Monday, July 13, 2015

So much to do...Kindergarten Alphabet Notebook

I stopped by school today to start setting up my room!  School will be starting in a less than a month, and I have a lot that I want to do.  Right now, it's a pile of furniture and empty walls...a blank canvas!  I'm making some changes in my set-up this year, so I needed to just sit in the room and soak up the environment a little bit.  While I was soaking up that environment, my mind started wandering to those first few days of school. There is so much to do in kindergarten, so many things to learn those first few days!  

If you're like me, just one of the many things you do those first few weeks is spend time reviewing the alphabet, seeing who knows what and putting those all important letters in front of all your littles.  I use Reading Street in my classroom, so we spend the first few weeks zipping through all the letters before we delve deeper into phonics and learning how to READ!  To give my students a little extra practice while I reinforce those letters, I made this little alphabet notebook for my littles to use this year.  On each page, students read the letter, write the letter, find the letter, and then draw something that starts with the letter.  Each page has the same format, so after the first one, my littles can do these pages independently!  That, I LOVE!

The packet can be used as is...just staple the alphabet pages together and complete the page that corrpesponds to the letter you happen to be reviewing that day.  Simple!

But I like to find opportunities to have my littles use their fine motor skills.  Cutting apart the activities on each page and gluing them into a notebook allows them time to do that!  It also gives me the chance to reinforce early in the school year how to properly use scissors (thumb on top, point those scissors away from you!) and glue sticks (don't turn it up too high!) 

I also like to use the notebooks because they take just a little longer than simply writing/drawing on the page.  Yes, I do love to keep my littles busy, but what's really great is that they have that little bit of extra time to be thinking about the letter for that day, hopefully making it stick just that much more in their cute little brains!

And my favorite part about using a notebook:  my littles have a sturdy book that they can "read" again and agian throughout the year so that the letters stay fresh in their minds. The little flaps that they add over pictures that they draw make re-reading the notebook even more fun.

And totally not related to school, but here's a sweet picture that I took on my patio yesterday in some unepected sunshine.  It's been so rainy around here!    Hope you're enjoying your summer!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dreams about that new school year...

This is one of my favorite times of the school year!  I know, for most of us, it's not actually the school year, but I love it anyway.  I love the possibilities, the perfect classrooms and lessons I create in my mind, and the amazing things that I know I'm going to spend the school year doing.  I love to think of those littles who are going to spend the year in a magical classroom!  (You know that everything in a kindergarten classroom is full of magic!) I spend hours on Pinterest, pinning cute ideas for organizing and decorating my classroom or finding the perfect way to teach that one thing!  And I shop! After all, I have to have the supplies to pull off all of those perfect ideas that I've found...  :)

Here are a few of my most recent finds for my classroom.

On a recent trip to the Dollar Tree, I found these Lock-Top snack containers with lids.  They come in packs of three for, you guessed it, $1.00.  I bought a class supply, plus a few extra.  

I give credit for this idea to the wonderful kindergarten teacher across the hall from me in my building!  Mrs. F has her students keep their basic 8 crayons in these little tubs.  It seems like so many of our activities, especially math activities, need those basic 8 crayons all the time!  (Color the first bear blue....)  Keeping them in these little tubs keeps each child's needed crayons ready to go!

Among my purchases at the Target Dollar Spot include these great little gel cling signs.  My classroom has a small glass window in the door, and I love to change the "decor" in that window as often as I can.  I just can't have enough window clings!  :)  These two are great for the beginning of the school year.

Just a few days ago, I took my daughter to IKEA.  It's one of my favorite places.  We were officially shopping for items for a dorm room.  She is my oldest, and she's off for her first year of college in just a few weeks.  We were having a great time getting her ready, buying storage carts and desk lamps and pictures frames and mirrors and a rug... But I have to admit, my mind kept wandering back to my classroom.  If I could, I would completely furnish and decorate my classroom in IKEA items!  I have it all planned out in my mind! I restrained myself, though, and only purchased two tiny things for my classroom.  

I love these finger puppets.  I have the children put one on their pointer finger to use as a tracker when we are reading in our small reading group.  I have quite a collection already, but I didn't have these yet!

I also got this cart.  It's officially a shopping cart, but I've wanted it for years to haul all that STUFF back and forth from my classroom that I'm going to work on at home!  (And hopefully, when I haul it back, the stuff inside is finished!)  The handle looks short, but it pulls up like a handle on a rolling suitcase might. 

Teacher friends, what kinds of fun things have you found for your classroom this summer?  Tell me about your great finds!


Monday, March 30, 2015

I'm back!

It was so nice to be back at school today!  After several weeks off for surgery, I went back to school today and this is who greeted me!   Special thanks to Mya's Grandma and Grandpa, who helped make this happen today.  The little ones looked so sweet in their shirts!  A few asked if they could take them off.  Ummm, no, you look way too cute!  :)

The support from my school family has been overwhelming as I've found myself on this unplanned journey.   In case you missed these from earlier...
The fingerprints of every student in school (along with initials) make up this apple!  Special thanks to Mrs. F.

Love  my Nativity family!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Peek at Last Week

Saints, Science Buddies, and Soldiers

There was a lot going on in kindergarten this week!  We started Monday learning about Saints, and (because I can’t pass up a craft) we made our own saints! 

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Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, Saint Theodore Guerin, Saint Francis, and Saint Joseph now adorn our walls.

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We spent a little extra time in church this week, attending Eucharistic Adoration on Monday.


And as promised from last week…here are our haunted house patterns.  They’re so cute, so I’ll leave them in the hall for a few more days, but we’ll need to make room for some Thanksgiving writing soon.

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On Wednesday, we finally had our first science day with our 8th grade buddies. Each kindergartner had an 8th grader that guided them through the experiment.  On Wednesday, the class made lava lamps (and learned that oil and water don’t mix!)  Alka Seltzer tablets added some bubbles and lots of fun!

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On Friday, we supported our middle school service project by writing letters to veterans.  Mr. Wood will make sure these get delivered to deserving members of our military, just in time for Veteran’s Day!

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday!


We are back from fall break and back to business in kindergarten! Here are five quick highlights from our week.


One of our kindergarten math standards to be able to recognize, create, and extend a pattern.   Our calendar always has a pattern!  


We worked on a book of fall patterns.

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We made patterns at Center Time.

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As a culminating activity, the children made spooky haunted house patterns.  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  You’ll have to check back to see.  Here is the work in progress…


2.  Sorting

Another math standard is being able to sort objects by different attributes.  We sorted buttons by number of holes, size, and color.

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3.  Author’s chair

When we write in our journals, three children are chosen to be our authors for the day.  They read to us what they wrote, describe the illustration, and then answer questions from their classmates.

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4. Science buddies

We have 8th grade science buddies!  We will be getting together with our buddies in the science lab every other week to share in some fun experiments!  We started this week with just getting to know each other.

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5.  Halloween!

Here are a few pictures from our party.  I love that we are still allowed to celebrate!

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Mrs. Minton