Sunday, August 26, 2012

On to the Learning Train!!

This week the kiddos have been working hard and learning lots!!! I have been teaching phonograms, parts of a book, stamina reading, reading books independently, sight words (we worked on a, I & my), writing nouns and numbers 1-5 in math.  Every kiddo in my class is constantly using their brain muscle and becoming stronger learners!!

As promised, my number of the day being implemented during calendar time: 
I always have the number filled in for the day.  We talk about what the number looks like in writing and the word.  Then the kiddos show me different ways to make that number on their fingers (using one hand or two).  We fill in the ten frame discussing how much of the frame is filled in and how much of it is empty.  The students are really successful at determining the numbers that come after the number of the day on the number line but really struggle to determine the ones that come before (we are working on using our number lines at our seats to have extra exposures with this process).  For the last part, "picture", the students all think in their head of a shape or shapes that show that number, then tell their neighbor it, and finally a random student is called upon to share and I will draw to show.  Very soon, I hope to move into the kiddos using the pen to fill in the parts. 

We also started working on finishing simple sentences by adding the noun.
We start by reading the sight word (A for this day) and then I read the nouns aloud.  Everyone thinks of the noun they would like to write about.  Then the kiddos go back to their seats and circle the noun they want to pick.  We then come back together and I randomly call on a student to tell me the noun they decided to pick.  Then I model writing just the noun in the first space followed by the whole sentence again below.  We then discuss in length how when writing our pictures should always match our sentences.  Since this one was "mom" I constantly ask, "What should I be drawing?".  The students answer.  Then I ask, "Are you sure I shouldn't be drawing a space ship?" and I call students to tell me why not.  I repeat a couple times and then the students are sent to independently finish their own sentences.
 As you can see some writing is a little shakier than others but everyone has been writing a simple sentence and drawing a corresponding picture to the best of their ability!!

One last thing: 
I just wanted to show my weekly letter I send home.  I really like to keep my parents in the loop of what is going on at school each week.  I tell them what we are learning, important upcoming events, and any notes they need to remember.  Some of my parents do not have email so I send a hard copy home every week on Monday with the kiddos homework packets.  
Parent involvement is key in a students learning so the more informed they are the better!!

Happy Teaching!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


The first week of school is over!!! And I still plan on going back tomorrow--yes!!! 

Monday started the week off a little rough! In our 3 regular ed Kinder classes we each had around 28 kiddos! Pure craziness!!! There were tears, some from the kiddos and some from us teachers, but we pushed though.  It was a lot of management and not so many procedures (though my 28 did somehow walk through the hallways like perfect little champs-- not so much straight but diffidently quiet!).  We had a meeting immediately after school and some teachers got switched around so we now have a 4th Kinder teacher- HOORAY!!!
(Here is my outside of the classroom bulletin board I forgot to take a picture of for last week.)

So on Tuesday, I got to started over again with 20 Kinders!! We did lots of procedures, procedures, procedures!!

I started out reading them the book, Bono Goes to School.  
It is about a monkey who goes to school but does not know the rules.  He makes lots of mistakes but learns his lesson and starts making good choices.  The kids love it because after the first time they can help read it.  We then went over our classroom rules and I started using my "whole-brain teaching" management system.
They loved getting "wow's" (they would respond "Ooh Yeah!") and seemed to really respond to changing their behavior when I had to say "Uh-Oh" (they would respond "Ooh No!").  Out of the four days I did this part of my management system they had 3 days of more "Wow's" than "Uh-oh's"! They are all really looking forward to reaching their goal of a Popsicle party. 

I had the kiddos practice multiple times procedures to scissors and glue!! We have the WORST glue bottles provided by my school so being super careful is key.  The kiddos did a fabulous job each time though.  They really enjoyed doing the dot pictures to help them practice "only a dot, not a lot"!

I also started teaching sequential processing.  (Sequential processing is teaching the kiddos the sounds letters make alone and together.)  I started out with "a" and "t".  Here is how I set up my board for the process:
I use the cards to begin the lesson.  I tell them the sound(s) the phonogram makes and they practice saying it.  Then I teach about how each phonogram has a capital/lower-case, how words can start with that phonogram, and then we practice on the SmartBoard writing the capital/lower-case of the phonogram before they practice individually.  Once that is accomplished the students come back to the carpet and practice writing the phonograms on white boards to review previously taught phonograms and the new one they learned for that day.   At the end of the lesson they make a craft to represent the new phonogram and then take it home so they have a tool to practice with.
I put the one I make above the letter in my alphabet to remind the kiddos letters are also phonograms.  
Look for the stencils SOON on She will have the whole 26 single phonogram stencils and pictures of what they look like.  

Here are few other things I made this week but have yet to put into action (SO MUCH TO DO--NOT ENOUGH TIME!!).
Sorry its sideways--but I put the labels on all of my kiddos math journals.  I found them FREE!! on this blog  I love them--Thank You Mrs. Wills!!

I also made my number of the day for my calendar.
I'm starting this tomorrow-starting with number 1.  I will put up pictures next week and let you know how it goes!

All in all, the first week was a success!! My kiddos have a long way to go (some could not find their name on their cubbies let alone copy it onto paper) but I know we will get there step by step.  I am always so excited to see them make huge gains in their own personal education!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

ToMoRrOw's the BiG dAy!!!

Saying good-bye to summer, tomorrow is the first official day of my school year.  (YIKES!!)

Here is some of the things I have been working on in my classroom:
(You will notice my star theme throughout the room.)

I took down most of my bulletin boards last year and redid them.  This one I use for all my calendar items so I like it extra large.  However, I do NOT like the line between the two pieces of butcher paper so I decided to try something new.  I saw on Pintrest ( how another teacher put scrunched up paper around there bulletin boards and I thought why not try to cover up the line in the same way.  All you do is cut strips, ball them up and them un-ball them into the shape you want to staple them to the wall.    
I LOVE how it turned out! I put all the the material I never move at the top of the bulletin board (colors & months of the year) and then all the materials I have the students manipulate during calendar at the bottom.  I still need to add my "number of the day" section to the very left (I just got done cutting out all the rest of my lamination today so it will be ready to put up in the morning).  

Next I re-did my student work wall.  I used clothes-pins with tacks on the back to hang my students work.

Also I painted the back of a bookshelf and added hooks.  The bags you see are what I use to put some of my center games in.  This way the students just have to grab the bag with the activity in it they are suppose to do and go to their designated spot.  I am going to use the side of the filing cabinet as a magnet board (more pictures to come on that center).
I also have these lovely new sharpened/unsharpened pencil labels.  Thanks again my Pintrest-teachers.  I found these at

 Here is my reading area--minus a rug. I still have not found one I love to replace my old one that my husband said was too germy after 3 years to salvage.  
On the far left is the rest of my calendar corner (I have the kiddos put the number of the month up each day and the day it was yesterday, today, and will be tomorrow).  The big blue bulletin board is my word-wall with a table underneath for my sight-word center.  
On the far left is where my kiddos hang there backpacks and all their cubbies are located.  I use my "super star" wall for stickers the kiddos can collect for positive behavior, turning in homework and/or other important papers they take home to get signed.  Every 5 stickers they earn the kiddos get to pick a treat from the treasure box.
Here is the sign I am going to use for my Whole-Brain Teaching "score-board".  When I see that they are all on tasks and following the rules I am going to say "Wow" and they are going to respond "Ooh Yeah!" and when they are not I will say "Uh-Oh" and they will respond "Ooh No!".  Every day they get more "wow's" then "uh-oh's" they will get the next letter in the saying they are trying to earn (I think the first one I am going to have them try for is "Wow, popsicles here we come" to earn a popsicle party). If you have not heard about Whole-Brain teaching google it or youtube it immediately.  I am excited to start this new teaching tool!   
This is the wall I am going to use for Anchor Charts.  I am a huge believer in anchor charts and will blog more about them as they start to go up.  At the table below I have my listening center and my computer center.  

I forgot to take a picture of my desk/small center table.  I'll try to get one up soon. 

Here is also what my tables looked like for "Meet the Teacher":
This is what was waiting for everyone when they walked in:
The parents signed in and told me how their kiddo was getting home on the first day of school and then they got to do a "treasure hunt" with their little one to find different places in the classroom. 
My fellow teacher Kristen ( got this lovely gem from  The kiddos LOVED it and it made the night more fun and smooth for everyone!!

Good luck everyone on your first day.  I am starting this year with high numbers (over 25-eek!).  Let you know soon how the first week goes!

Happy Teaching!

Special thanks to my amazing husband who helped me make all my bulletin boards perfectly straight. I could not have done them without you!!
He needed a nap by the end just like my kinders do at the end of their first day! ;)