Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kindergarten Supply List

Our supply lists are scheduled to be mailed in less than two weeks!  I updated mine, to post on my classroom site before mailing.  Need some ideas?  Here you go....

K Supply List

Keith Urban=Summer Break!

You may be asking, "How does Keith Urban relate to teaching kindergarten?".  Well..... see #s 2, 3, 6, & 7!
(First, a shout out to my terrific husband, who humors my devotion to Mr. Urban!)  
Attending a Keith Urban concert reminds me that I 
  1. will always be 18 at heart
  2. still know how to have fun 
  3. see music as an excellent means of communication
  4. wish I knew how to play the guitar
  5. have a thing for Australian accents
  6. can sing outside the car
  7. can dance in the midst of thousands
  8. appreciate a good bicep
 What fun thing screams "It's summer!" for you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Procrastination-Bloggy Style

I hopped over to Tara's site 4th Grade Frolics and immediately fell in like with her template!  (AND her awesome teaching ideas!).  So I jumped to Shabby Blogs, an all-time favorite site, to see what kind of fabulous stuff was happening.  There, I learned how to add text to a header and upload a new background onto a template.

Hey--  I did it, kinda, sorta!  The Leelou template stayed in place, too, which centered my new header.  By the time you see this, I may have changed it all again.  Because, you know, it is the perfect way to avoid cleaning up after the grad party!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flying From the Nest

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending freshman orientation with my son.  The fact that I will be teaching my third day of kindergarten on the day he leaves for college had not hit me...until I walked the campus sidewalks, breathed the lecture hall air.  
Wow, he is really leaving.  He is really leaving!  

The photo above was taken on graduation day, just a few weeks ago.  The other picture is one of my favs--he was 5 weeks old and he owned my heart! (I took a picture of the photo, no scanner, thus the strange date!)

As we all prepare for a new year with young learners, I hope we will hold them in our hearts and realize that being part of their histories is a privilege.  Our students' parents/guardians are living life, fighting bedtime battles and snapping pics for the scrapbooks, hoping we will love their babies.

So, I have two things for you:  the first is a poem I wrote several years ago, which resonated with me today, and the second is a song for letting go.  {{}}

Making It Fit (written 9/08 by me)
The necessary, the ordinary bits cover parts of the hours  
and Sleep, mmmmm dreamy sleep, fills a certain space 
Then, the money-making stuff, mine  
is fun, busy, creative, passionate 
While Our children go and come  
throughout, stretching my heart 
as they grow wings
bits floating over 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oooh, I want to win this one!

Littlest Learners is having a contest at Clutter Free Classrooms! There is something on my wishlist at TpT from this amazing teacher!

CFClassroom post link

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lesson Plan Template

This year, I want to use a binder for my lesson plans and assessments.   
Here is a blank lesson plan that I created for my schedule.  I *think* it is compatible....if not, and you'd like a copy, just email me and I'll send it to you!

My Lesson Plan

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Daily Schedule~Kindergarten

Kathleen at Growing Kinders has asked us to share our schedules.
Here is mine!  
Writing Work:  Every morning, we begin with a page for our journals.  I like to tie the topic into the theme (social studies/science) for the week.  Over time, writing work includes focused practice in D'Nealian handwriting.

Morning Meeting:  We read the morning message, check daily jobs, review the schedule, practice the memory verse, say the pledge, discuss the weekly character trait and pray.

Phonics/Word Work/Literacy Stations/Reading:  Our school uses K5 Beginnings for phonics and reading instruction.  I believe a balanced approach is best and I supplement the workbook with components from The Daily Five, Growing Readers, Literacy Work Stations, and all of you!  "Reading" is dedicated to completing the thirty-two readers that are part of the K5 program, plus activities to foster comprehension.

Math:  We have a math workbook, but I am happy to say that I do many of the things in Math Work Stations!  I also plan math activities during theme work in the afternoons.

Lunch & Recess:  Lunch really begins closer to 11:00, but we need to wash hands, pray, and walk down the long hall!

Rest & Story:  No one sleeps--I don't expect them to!  Although this looks like a long stretch, gathering (and putting away) blankets/mats and books takes a bit of time.  The goal for quiet time is twenty minutes.  As the year progresses, this becomes a perfect slot for "reading to self" and "reading to someone".  The children are allowed to bring flashlights, too.  Fun!

Themes/Social Studies/Science:  I use themes to introduce these concepts, changing themes every week/two weeks.  On Friday afternoons during theme time, we have a 45-minute center time that we call Friday Fun.  The legos, blocks, play-do, and home-living things are brought out of the closet!  As a center, I usually do a more time-consuming, theme-related activity with a few children.

Oooh, talking about the daily schedule is making me miss the routine and the kiddos!!  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Freebie!~~ Math Labels

Happy Saturday!  The cicadas are serenading me through the walls of my very well-built home.
I've been sorting math work and decided to spiff up the folders.  The document does not follow the margins for proper label copying, but I'm going to cut and tape.  It's yours if you'd like to have it!

Math Labels

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Math Work Stations~ Ch. 1 & 2

The party for chapters 1 & 2 is hopping at Mrs. Wills' site!
I have a thirty-five minute block for math every morning.  (In the afternoons, during the social studies block, I often incorporate math activities into the theme.)  The children return to the class from recess, get a drink, and head straight to their spots on the rug.  I introduce the concept, play a game, provide guided practice, etc.  Then, they move into independent work, partner work or join me at the round table.  

Thoughts on Ch. 1:
  • I have a small class--the limit is 15--with a wild/wide variety of abilities.  Regarding differentiation, I'm able to do this fairly easily with a small number of students.  For example, this past year, a few of the children realized that addition is related to multiplication.  Although I didn't evaluate them on this concept, I provided materials that allowed them to explore their discoveries.  Next year, I hope to have more options in place for those who are struggling, as well as those who excel. 
  • I need to perfect the implementation of work stations, not centers.  Do any of you have a math workbook as part of your curriculum?  I do, and the concepts spiral on each page.  This can be challenging, when someone is rocking the number sequence concept, but coming up blank with clocks.  I do a lot of modeling during group learning on the rug and I tend to use the math pages as skill checks, following a few days of hands-on practice.
Thoughts on Ch. 2:
  • Organization.....Ahhhh.....I am drooling over everyone's photos of shelves, tool boxes, carts!  I spend 45 hours/week in a storybook room where all evidence of kindergarten must be removed for the church classes on Wed. evenings and weekend services.  This means that I have very, very, very few shelves.  The small boxes on the left represent a set that I have filled with small manipulatives.  We call them "counting boxes"; I keep them on a small white tower shelf that is turned to face the wall when I am reversing the room.  The baskets on the right are filled with any math materials that are currently in use.  They are covered with a festive tablecloth for church time.
  • I also have a three-drawer plastic rolling cart that holds dice, stamps, file games, pointers, etc.  This cart is constantly in danger of being removed from the room, but I refuse to allow that to happen!  I want to sort these materials in a more user-friendly manner (love Deedee's Crystal Light container idea!).  All other math materials are kept in a closet.  My last few days at school were spent cleaning this closet, in the hope that I won't spend the first week back on anything except lesson plans!  
  • My biggest challenge?  NO WALL SPACE.  I am not allowed to tack, tape, hang anything on the walls.  There are two bulletin boards (about 3' by 4' each) on the circle/rug-time side of the room.  One of these boards holds the calendar.   On the other side of the room, there are three large boards and two smaller boards.  I use a small board for the daily schedule and a large board for our job chart.  PLEASE, share any ideas you may have for keeping numbers and concepts in our line of sight!  I use sticky-tak to hang a hundred's chart and a number strip from the bottom of boards.  Also, I bought a clothes-line to string across the room for next year.  But, remember, everything I put up must come down--and go back up--twice a week.  This also means I must have a place to store all of these things.
Thank you, Deedee, for hosting the first two chapters!