Thursday, June 28, 2012

Idea Help and Vacay!!

I am working on my activity pack for Miss Bindergarten Takes a Field Trip with Kindergarten and I am stuck. I want to include an activity for letter recognition (check), class book activity (check), classify and categorize (check), sight words, and initial sounds. I have not thought of an activity for the last two yet. So I am asking for help. What type of activities would you like to have in your kindergarten class for these two skills? What types of things do you do in small group to work on sight words and initial sounds? Help me out here!! I am stuck and I have been having free time in the afternoon to work!

Little tiny update on my vacation, we are into the second week of four and it finally feels like we are in Florida! Although back home in VA/TN it is MUCH MUCH HOTTER than it is here!! But we have sunshine!!! I spent some time floating in the pool today all by myself with no kids!! It was glorious. My dad will be down this weekend and we are planning a trip to Busch Gardens. They have a Sesame Street part of the park and in case you missed the Carter's 2nd Birthday Post, my son LOVES ELMO!!! So we are going and having lunch with the characters. I can't wait to see his face!!! I had wanted to go to Philly on spring break which was the week of his birthday, but the hubs couldn't get that week off. I had no idea Busch Gardens had this until last week! I am so excited!! I am thinking of doing a mid vacation post early next week, so I will have lots of pictures, including some of my dear departed (thank goodness) friend Debby the Tropical Storm!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I'm Pinning Wednesday!

I had been really looking forward to summer so I could link up with Laura over at KinderKraziness for her What I'm Pinning Wednesdays, but then I started this Daily 5 Book Study (so did she!) I went ahead and did my book post on Tuesday and I am hoping her linky will go up today, but I am posting about pinning anyway! I have been on vacation for a week and a half, and for 7 days we have been experiencing Debby so I have had lots of pinning time. So get ready!!!!

This is one thing I think I will definitely take away from the Daily 5, picking a Good Fit book.


I like this for Home/School communication. I did a binder when I taught 1st grade, but I have only used folders for the last two. I kind of miss the organization of the binder, but not the bulkiness. This may be the solution.

My sister and I rented a house for us and our kids for the summer. We are having a great time (even with Debby!). I have a dog and she has two, so we brought them along. I was thinking once the tropical storm passes and it gets hot we might make this for the doggies.

Source: via Markeeta on Pinterest

With all my free time I have started planning Erin's 1st birthday (in November!!!). I love this little outfit but I am thinking a Pink Sock Monkey theme. She has a sock monkey blanket and LOVES it so much!!! Lil' Man also gave her a pink sock monkey for Valentine's Day and she loved the stuffing out of it!!

Okay that is all the pins I will share this time. Hopefully the weather will improve and I can share the rest of the pins I did this week with you next, instead of adding a ton more to the list!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 3

Ok, still going on the D5 book study. I think I do some things in the book, just not the way they have it laid out. I am also a little unsure about Kindergarten and some of their suggestions. I am glad to see from this book study other K teachers are having the same feelings!

On to this weeks questions.

1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks. (Do you call your gathering place anything special?)
We have a large rug and I call it the rug! Real creative I know! I guess I just like to keep it simple and easy for me!

2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books (There are LOTS of examples of different good fit lessons in blogland AND Pinterest)
This is where I struggle with the D5. I have kids all over the board at the beginning of the year. Plus I have a large library and I have found even after lessons it is to overwhelming for them. Our librarian even has a "kindergarten" section pulled each week. The way I have always done book baskets is:
1 per table that rotates everyday
Range of book levels in each basket
The books are related to what we are studying, letter, topic, math skill
There is more than one good fit book in each basket for everyone in my class.
I like my system and I am not sure I am willing to change it just yet. I could change my mind later in the book but for now it is staying!!

3. Create anchor charts with students How will these be visual in the room? Where will you store them? What about small spaces?
I am not real artsy on paper but I am good on the computer. We usually make our anchor charts on SMART Notebook and then I print them poster size and hang them. I also keep them saved so we can add and reprint them. I hang them all over the room, but then bring them up on the SMART board when we need to review them. They are always available as reminders but I like being able to make them a focus in our "rug" area.

4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes (How are you going to keep track of stamina? What will you use for book boxes? What are you going to put in those book boxes on the 1st day of school?)
I have decided to keep up with stamina, because I do ask my kids to read on their own during certain parts of the day. I think I will keep up with it using a graph. See question 2 for my book boxes!!

5. Calm Signals and check in procedures (Do you already have a signal? How will you handle check ins?
I use different types of music for signals. Some of which is calm and so of which is NOT!!! It really just depends on what we are doing. I use classical music for calm signals. After centers we use a 1, ,2, 3 sign to share how we did. 1 means I could push myself a little harder tomorrow, 2 means I did everything I was suppose to and I did my best, 3 means I did everything I was suppose to plus some (either extra practice or helping a friend). If they show a 3 I usually ask them to share what they did so we can celebrate them!

6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors. (Will you keep track of inappropriate behaviors? If they are not doing what is expected, then they are calling out for attention...what other ways can you give them some extra attention so that they can be more independent during D5?)
I really feel like this depends on what they are doing. I do keep track of inappropriate behaviors. If I see a pattern then that student may have different choices from everyone else, or limited choice, or no choice. I try to never force a child to read because I don't want reading to be seen as a punishment. I may have them participate in all of my small groups so they get lots of extra practice plus extra attention from me.

Stop on over at Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten and join in the fun!! 

Live Love Laugh

Next week we are over at

Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business

Also head over to my TN blog buddy Greg's blog for his 100 follower giveaway! I am donating one item from my store along with 5 other people! Check it out!!
Smedley’s Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Checklist Update and a New Item

Okay so my summer checklist has hit a snag! I am at the beach for 30 days and can't really work on a few of the things. With that said Tropical Storm Debby has brought all sorts of rain my way so we can't go outside, so I worked on one of my intervention packs! I made some changes and added to the pack for Chrysanthemum and put it up for sale on my TpT this morning, I also added the zipped file of the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom stuff I put on here for free last week, don't worry it is still free!! You can get bits and pieces from the blog or head over to my store and grab the whole file!! While you are there check out my pack for Chrysanthemum. It has rhyming, syllables, letter recognition, and a class book ( I really want my kids to make a book a week) If you get either unit free or otherwise let me know what you think!!! I think my next rainy day project will be headers for my reading focus wall! Have a great Sunday!!

Oh yeah. I am at 80 followers, which is so exciting considering I have not been that great at updating! I am thinking about a giveaway if I hit 100!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What I wish I had been told...

My blog friend Heather from Mrs. Shelton's Kindergarten is hosting her first linky party. She is asking us to share what we wish we had been told when we started teaching Kindergarten. I you teach Kindergarten then you should join us and share! Check it out

I was very fortunate when I started in Kindergarten to have some great people giving me advice. So I don't know if there is anything I wish I had been told but there is one thing I am glad I was told. 

It will get better!

My coworker told me every year she wonders why she stayed in Kindergarten until about the end of September. Then the kids start to turn into real little students and she remembers. 
I remember thinking, seriously can it be that bad?!
I love teaching Kindergarten and I am not bothered enough by the beginning to think I should have changed grades, but it does get better as time goes.

One other thing, especially if you are coming from a higher grade, they can do it!!!

I know when I moved down I was worried I would be to hard on them because I expected so much from my older kids. I expected great behavior, I set high goals, and I pushed them because I wanted their best. I was afraid when I moved to K that they were to little to expect that much from. I was wrong. There are days I think I expect more from my Ks than I ever did my older kids. They will try anything you ask of them, and want to learn.

So go ahead expect a lot, THEY CAN DO IT!!!

Now your turn, link up!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 2

This is the second week of the Daily 5 linky parties! Head over to Kindergarten Smiles and join us.

1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way?
I do trust my students, but only because they work to earn it. I take lots of time to teach them the routines, rules, and consequences. I don't release them to do any type of center time until we have spent several weeks going over and practicing. Once they spend that time earning my trust they have it, until they do something to lose it. Then yes they can be independent throughout the day. 

2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just "posted" in the room?
The way I do centers every day is they have one must do center and two choices. They also have choice for indoor recess centers. I am looking into changing my math centers and that will allow them some choice there too. Our daily schedule is a part of our Morning Meeting. We talk about it everyday.

3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
The best way to do this will be to make them feel at home. I always ask kids to bring in family pictures for us to display in the room. I like for them to make it their own and know we are all one big family. During the first few weeks we talk about what family means and how we treat each other. That also means support in everything, encouragement for each other, and not letting anyone slide. We have a saying "We are a family, we don't fight with each other, we fight for each other."

4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?
I conference with my children every Friday to discuss their week and do an assessment. This year I am going to be trying data notebooks, where the students will keep up with their own progress. I will discuss it with them in our conference and then ask them to take it home and discuss it with their parents. I think this will help them take ownership, plus they will want to push harder to have great things to share each Friday with their parents and me.

5. Staminia? This one I am not sure about. Like I said with week one I like the way I do things so I don't know if I will be changing to this system. I guess I would like for my students to work a little more toward longer times sitting to read. I might use a timer and set a goal for the amount of time. We will see on this one! :)

Next week we are back over at 
Live Love Laugh

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

At The Beach

Well with two little littles and a Morkie it took us two days of driving but we finally made it. We are here for 30 days! It will be wonderful, if I can find a swing or Exersaucer to but little sister in! So far I either have to hold her or put her in the car seat which she HATES! Anyway I have some ideas to share with you over the next four weeks plus don't forget the Daily 5 book study every Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 1

Ok, so I really like the way I do centers and small groups in my classroom now, but when I read all this stuff about the Daily 5 it makes me curious. So I am going to join in the book study over at Live, Love, Laugh. Every Thursday one blogger will give you the chapter and questions for that week. Then on Wednesday that blogger will host a linky for you to share what you learn. So this is the first week with Chapter 1, join me and see if the book convinces me to change my ways!!

1. How do I teach behaviors?
Assume that they do not know how to act in school. Model, model, model. Then explain that we are kindergartens not monkeys in a zoo (that is one of my favorites!) Tell them some monkeys have escaped from the zoo and I think they might be hiding in our room, let's see if we can find them. Have two students come up, tell them which  behavior they will model then whisper in their ear either monkey or kindergartner. They have to act accordingly and the rest of the class guesses who the monkey is. Then we discuss the difference. We do this with all of the class rules and procedures until all the monkeys are caught and returned to the zoo. Then they have seen every behavior modeled by me, more than once, modeled by a friend the right way, and modeled by a "monkey" the wrong way.

2.  How do I teach expectations?
This is something that is taught over and over again. We review our expectations everyday, multiple times. Every time we go in the hall we review our hallway expectations. Before we go to the playground I ask them for one playground rule. Before we do work we go over that our name is the first thing we do, that we give our very best effort, ect. Kindergarten is THE year for learning how to be in school. Learning expectations is as big a part of our curriculum as anything else.

3. How do I monitor students behavior during whole group? small group? individual?
This really depends on the situation. During hole group, I snap. The kids know when I snap that someone is not following directions and whoever it is stops. No names, no embarrassment, but they know and the other kids know I am watching. In small group I keep a clipboard beside me and take notes on behaviors I notice that can wait to address and then I either talk to just those students or we review the expectations for that center (especially if I note this behavior from several students or groups in a week). We have a loft and the loft is a quiet area. If I can hear you your center time is over for the day. At the end of center time I look around the room to make sure everything is properly cleaned up and I ask them to give me a thumbs up, down, or middle for how they think they did that day. I may ask a few to tell us why (especially if I don't agree, they are usually harder on themselves!) I also keep an eye out for outstanding behavior and give out a purple apple or two at this time. See more on my behavior management here.

4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior?
I have the tree of choice, if you don't follow a rule you remove and apple. If you do a great outstanding job, you get a purple apple. At recess they have to tell me what they did and what they could do differently. When they can tell me those things they get to go play, whether that be immediately or takes a few minutes. I like my system and don't think I will be changing it! I use numbers not names, so yeah by the end of the year the other kids know each others number, but outsiders don't. It gives me something I can send home each day to parents to let them know how our day went. Also, it gives the kids a visual. I allow my students to earn apples back, so going to yellow does not mean they will end there, it gives them something to work for.

5. Whose classroom is it?
It is ours! That is a big one that we learn on the first day. If you mess it up, then you have messed it up for everyone. I want them to feel ownership, so they are invested. 

6. Locus of control?
This past year was the first year I have ever had a treasure box. Before that I expected kids to behave because it was the right thing to do. I have found with each year of teaching that gets harder to do, because they are being rewarded so much outside of school it is almost confusing why I would expect them to behave because it is a good thing! I make treasure box a once a week thing though and you have to stay on green all week long to get it. And some weeks I forget it and they don't care, but some weeks we just need it.  I struggle with this one because I want kids to have an internal sense of right and wrong, but I know that the external world does not always teach them that way.

7. Where are supplies stored?
This is my strong suit. I am an organization freak, and by the end of the year I have made 18 little organizational freaks!! I have no teacher desk, so everything is stored in the student area. We label everything, with pictures! The kids know where everything is and where to go get it. The only exception I have is the stapler. I keep it up on a shelf and kids have to ask to use it. We learn some other ways to "staple" papers, so they rarely need it. Staples scare me with kindergartners. 

Well that is it for Chapter 1. See you next Wednesday for Chapter 2! Go on get the book and join us!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer Checklist Update

I thought I would take Sunday as a day to reflect on what I have gotten done  toward my checklist so far!

1. I have discovered Fly Lady! Right now I am working on her babysteps towards keeping a clean home. I am hoping if I get into her routine then when school starts back I won't fall so far behind again. I am very clean and organized at school, I just struggle at home, but if you are not so good with organization and cleaning at school Fly Lady also has a teacher control journal for the classroom. You should check her out! (I have not affiliation with Fly Lady, I was not asked to write this in my post, I am simply just writing my opinion). 
So far I have been getting up every morning and getting completely dressed no laying around in pajamas; I have been keeping my bathroom and kitchen sinks shiny; and I have found my hot spots (places where everything gets dropped) and I am spending two minutes a day cleaning these. I have all of these things on post-its about my kitchen and bathroom sink. Once they become habit I can take them down, but they stay until then! Even my husband is on board.

3. I have PowerPoints for week one and week two finished!!! YAY!! Weeks 3, 4, 5 & 7 are stories we already do, so I just have to update them a little bit and they will be done. That just leaves weeks 6, 8, & 9 to do in the first nine weeks!! I would like to have these done before I go to Florida, or maybe the first week down there. I need to find two of the book though.

4. Same with the PowerPoints I have weeks one and two finished!!!! I don't have many small group packs done for the stories we already do so I have a bit more work to do on those. If I can get the PowerPoints out of the way that should be easy though!

That is really all I have worked on so far! It is slowly coming around. I will get it--I hope!!!