I created a beast!

So I work in a district that has a VERY strict food policy.  No food, no parties, nothing!  Well okay that isn't exactly true.  I can use food in my room but I have to fill out a form and explain how this food is educational, how does it apply to the curriculum.

This is sometimes a good thing but it makes birthdays, well a little challenge.  I remember the good ol' days when I would give a kid a cookie and we'd all have cookies for snack and have a little birthday celebration together.

So, this year I've decided to make birthday special by having each child make a birthday story.  So I model what I might "give" my friend and draw it on the paper.

Each students makes one page, then I bind them together and present them with a special birthday book.  Ahhh it sounds so sweet doesn't it?  It is, really, it turns out so cute.  BUT... this past week we had 3 birthdays!  That is a lot of time (which I can barely spare) for this project.

I've created a beast!  Of course, I have to keep doing it.  If I didn't all the kids would wonder where their special book is?

Seriously, how can your resist a smile like that?

How do I manage this?  I could use some serious advice!


Our School Tradition

Each year the 3rd grade students make crowns for all the new people who come to our school.  Then we have what we call an All School Morning Meeting, where we spend the first meeting welcoming all the new kids to school.  Of course that is ALL the kindergarten students.  So we were crowned today!  It was so cute!

The older kids make a bridge and they student tunnel through when they hear their name announced.

We even do all the older kids in other grades!  And staff people too!
Here is our school's permanent sub, Miss Pierce.  She hangs out with K when she doesn't have other assignments!
So, that is the happenings at my school.  The kids LOVED their crowns and totally felt special!  It was a very good day!


Let's talk centers

Finding the right way to have students move to centers without too much commotion is a little tricky.  Here is how I make this crazy situation work for me:

Each station has a basket.  This is how I am organizing them:

Each of these centers has an activity inside.  For example:  The monkey is literacy, the ladybug is math, the elephant is games, etc.

Every 5 days I put a new activity in the basket.  I always have them play the games in the same spots too.  The math always plays on the carpet, the literacy always in the middle of the room.  This way they always know where to go.

Here is how they know where to go:

So the students names are at the top.  I rotate who they are with from time to time.  I try to group them by ability.  But sometimes I heterogeneously group them, like they are now.

The art center goes to the art section of my room and does the project of the week.  When they get done, the can do drawing.
The math center does everything in the ladybug basket and then moves to the games in the elephant basket.
The dramatic play area is the kitchen area in my room, but there is almost aways some play activity for the week, like this week I have legos for them to work with.
The literacy center does everything in the monkey basket, then when done, they can move to the fine motor center, lion basket.

Finally, the listening center goes to the listening center, does some type of story response, then can move to the computers.

Right now, it is working great for me.  I need to add one more center, Writing.  But I am not ready for them to have that center just yet!

I hope this helps you see what I do to help make center time a little less crazy for me.


Hip Hip Hooray for the 10th Day!

So, we finally reached day 10!  BUT of course we had a meeting all morning!  (why don't principals think of these things?)

But we happily celebrated the 10th day with SUPER HERO ZERO!

The kids thought he was rather funny!  But he came flying in and helped us move our 10 cubes to the tens column.  So now we have ONE long.  Honestly, I don't think they really understood. But our class helper (which I call the Busy Bee) got to wear the Super Hero cape and march us around the room chanting:  Hip Hip Hooray, for the 10th day!  It was rather cute!

Then I had the students draw 10 things, then anythings.  Here is a sample of what I got:
 Then Super Hero Zero Went good bye and said he would be back in 10 days.

I bought Counting by 10's with Zero the Hero by Growing Kinders: Zero The Hero 
We attempted to do it with all the other hoopla but I just couldn't fit it in!  Next 10 we will have more time!

Over all, I think it was a good day!  The kids liked it.  It certainly would have been better with out the meeting to interrupt.  BUT... that is school right.

I would love to here what you do for Super Hero Zero!


Aren't kids just a little funny?

So on day three I really didn't think this was going to work.  My afternoon class was so squiggly and squirmy.  Although they made me giggle, they were also making me tired.  So we discussed rules (see previous post) and BAM, like magic I am seeing a HUGE difference.  My PM class will keep me on my toes but I guess that is why they pay me so much!

So my question for you is this:  I love recognizing the good, trying not to focus on the bad.  BUT, when some kids are so awesome all the time, how do you not over praise them?  I always struggle with this??  I would love your advice!


Let's Talk Behavior

So yesterday was a rough day in the ol' kindergarten corral.  Well, it was more my PM class.  They just had a hard time listening!  So I realized I need to jump right into our rules!

So, I started by reading David Goes To School by David Shannon.  Now, we've all read this book before.  But before I read, I started it by saying, David may seem bad, but really, he is making poor choices.  Let's read to find out what choices David is making. 

As I read the book, I stopped at each infraction and discussed why this was a poor choice.  Why we need to keep our hands to ourselves, why we need to raise our hand. 

Finally I introduced our Green, Yellow, Red, PURPLE system.

We've all heard of this system before as well.  Everyone is on Green, when they make a poor choice they get a warning, then move to yellow, then move to red... etc.

I've added PURPLE.  Purple is when those kids do something AMAZING!  They continue to use good manners, they sit nicely at circle, they raise their hands, they are a good friend. 

When someone goes to purple we stop what we are doing and give them a HIP HIP HOORAY!  We all clap for that person and they get to take home a special award!  Believe it or not, it really works.

Last year I decided to put them into little cups.  Every student's picture is in the cup.  They all live in the green cup.  When they make poor choices, they move their picture to the other cups.  If they move to purple they move to PURPLE too!

It really works for me.  As the year goes on I use a sticker book/punch card system.  When students fill up their sticker book, they get to move to purple!  This helps me because they work very hard to earn stickers/punches and it is SUPER CHEAP!

I hope this helps you in your classroom!


Hip Hip Hooray for the Very First Day

Whew, I am tired.  But we had a pretty good first day!  We didn't get to have the Meet the Teacher, so I hadn't met many students prior to today.  So I was pretty sure I would have tons of tears.  BUT NOT ONE!

Today I read the Kissing Hand.  It is funny how this story goes.  Some really really listen and some could care less.  I guess some really miss home and some don't!

Afterward we made these cute puppets:

This lets me know right away who is scissor ready or not.  As well as they can follow directions.  Their homework tonight was to tell their parents about the story! 

We also did one page from Deanna Jumps Back to School Unit, which was to draw your self and write your name.  It went pretty well!

So, today was pretty successful!  I am glad there wasn't more mayhem!

OH, I also wanted to share something ALL kindergarten teachers should have.  It is a bubbleope.  We call it the UNDISTRUCTABLE folder.  They are kinda expensive, but our school will buy them for us.  They are the PERFECT take home folder for the year.  Seriously, they could spill a whole water bottle and it would be safe.

I hope you found this helpful!


Tomorrow is the Big Start

I am ready, well, I think I am.  It is easy to think about school starting from the summer point of view.  I have copies made, plans thought out, pencils sharpened.  But come tomorrow at 9:01 I am sure my classroom will not be as organized as it is right this very minute.

A new year brings a place of hope, and expectation.  Kindergarten, well it is just a BEAST until about October.  Will have the stamina?  Will I be able to make it?

Of course... I may ahead a few tears along the way be I am optimistic that this year to be will be a great one!  Well, I know it will.  I've "borrowed" about a thought new ideas from the many many many blogs I've hopped all summer.  (thank you by the way!)

I look forward to sharing my day tomorrow!


One of my favorite things in my classroom is this:

It is really a milk crate file folder thing.  But I have it in my art center for kids to dry their artwork. I have one for AM and PM.  It was cheap and easy and it holds just the right amount of artwork!

This is my TIP of the DAY!


My bulletin board 

The look from the door.

My smart board and calendar area.

The rug, which is a love hate relationship.  Do they sit on it, around it?  I never know?

I did organize my books this year by monthly themes.

These are covered paper boxes.  I put my decorations for the month inside.  I change the curtains and cubby names each month to jazz up my room.

Computer area and word wall.

Art center area. 
Full view of my bulletin board.  I just love it!


Hurricane Irene

Well the hurricane wasn't all that bad, but it has become a DISASTER with all the trees over the power lines.  School was suppose to start today, and it isn't.  We aren't starting until Tuesday.  Which also means we do not get a day of prep before the kids walk in the door!  Good thing I am a crazy teacher and go in a few hours throughout August to organize!

So, I am a little panicked that I won't know how to get my students home and they will cry the first day since we won't have the usual Meet and Greet before.  So, I have made this How Will You Get Home paper. How Will You Get Home?

I can't wait to share my classroom, once I get inside!