Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I Made It Through!

I made it through my week of teaching kindergarten and got some great family time this weekend as a reward. Now I'm back to the daily grind with some pics on how our first couple of days have gone.

Daily 5: Read to Self
We have started Read to Self as a part of the Daily 5 and so far, so good. The kiddos look like reading experts focusing on their books. When I read stories now, the kids ask if I am going to read the pictures or the words.
Look at all of these readers. I love those little green chairs in my library. Just too cute! The cubbie in the background is what I am using for my book boxes this year. The kiddos just have to put them back by color when they put them away. I also love that they are tucked away and out of sight.
Writing Unit: my Pictures Tell a Story
I have been using Deanna Jump's and Deedee Wills's Writing Unit 1: My Pictures Tell a Story this week and let me tell you that I love it! You should most definitely check it out.

Here is what my first demo writing looked like.
I'm sure Miley would be appalled that I didn't spell her name correctly but we need to go with phonetic spelling to get these kiddos started. I really thought that I might lose some of my kids when I went into the details of the picture but they loved it. They wanted to know more about Miley and even had suggestions for what I should add to the picture. Ha!

Before I sent them to do their own writing, I had them do a check in with me to tell me what they were going to write about. I showed the card on the left to spring some ideas. Most kids choose to write about pets or the first day of school. I used the picture on the right to show what good listeners do when someone is sharing. Both these charts are in the first Writing Unit. I can't recommend it enough. I've really enjoyed using it so far.
 After they had writing time, I picked 3 to share out their writing! They were very sweet and detailed when describing their pictures and writing. 
I used just blank paper to start but starting this week we are using an actual writing page with a box for the picture and space for writing.
Exploring Math
I put out assorted math manipluatives and told the kiddos to explore. I do this every year because the kids are going to play with them the first time you give them to them regardless. It makes more sense to just give them the time at the beginning of the year and then talk about what a mathematician does with these tools later. I also think it is amazing to talk with the kids during this time. It helps you discover what they already know in math.
Pattern Blocks: Lots of kiddos were sorting, making patterns, and stacking the shapes as high as they could.
Unifix Cubes: Kids love seeing how long they can make a unifix cube tower. These cubes are also unique because kiddos can connect and build on all sides.

Dominoes: I had a bunch of kiddos make fences and stairs.

3D Shapes: I left out the spheres on purpose! Ha! The kids had a blast building towers.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Getting Ready for My First Day in K!

My first day teaching kindergarten is tomorrow! I am super nervous and super excited at the same time. I wanted to share with you a couple of pics on how I am getting ready for my big day. Wish me luck!
I have this on an easel by my door. It helps students and parents get started right away. I love getting to see how they write their names. It tells you so much about your kiddos' abilities.
I have all of my supply bins labeled on the back counter so parents and students can quickly drop off supplies. It is also nice to not have to worry about labeling each item with the students' names. In kindergarten, we are learning to share. Learning being the key word. :)

Here is the job my kiddos are going to do for me at their table. That caterpillar is just too stinking cute! My plan is to get kids comfortable and then gently help parents out of the room. I will offer hugs though if needed. The nametags I got from Amy Biddison. I love that there are numbers to 30, the alphabet, colors, and left and right on one nametag. Plus they are on sale right now. Be sure to check her out!

Here's a quick view of one tables caddies. I organized the materials with cups and each table has a different colored ribbon to mark their tables color. I have cute tags too but I am waiting for our school to get some more laminate in. Please note that there are no scissors or white glue in the caddies. I am holding off until I can teach proper procedures. Plus if a kiddo cuts their hair the first day, I'll just die.

I am so ready to hit the ground running with Daily 5. I will be doing day 1 tomorrow of Read to Self. I love using Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes to teach the 3 Ways to Read a book. Wish me luck...I'll share how it went tomorrow. :) 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a huge Back to School sale today and tomorrow. Most teachers have posted their items at 10% or 20% off and then you can use the BTS13 code during checkout and get an additional 8% off your purchases!
I have all of my items on sale for 20% off so be sure to stop by and use the code for an additional discount at checkout. Click on any of the pictures to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers page.
I just posted a new resource today. It is CAFE cards that are designed for the reference board for CAFE in kindergarten and first grade classrooms. It is Eric Carle inspired just like my Build Your Own Banner below.
Her are some more Build your Own Banners. Great for bulletin boards!
I use these sight word pages like crazy for Word Work. I love that they help kiddos not only identify the words quicker but they are also able to identify consonants and vowels, match capital and lowercase letters, and write the words in complete sentences.
I will so be using these Hi! I'm New Here headbands, wristbands, backpack, and shirt tags for the First Week of School!
These are some of the tools that I use to help me plan the year. I don't feel organized without them.

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Five for Friday: August 16th

I am linking up again with Doodle Bus for Five for Friday. I actually need to be saying Five for Fraturday! Our building had Back to School Night last night and after it was over, I just wanted to crawl into bed and snooze. Any hoo! Here are my Five for the week.

1. Remembering How Far You've Come
I found myself a little frustrated that my classroom still wasn't exactly the way I wanted it to be. I didn't have every decoration up or have all of my plans already printed, copied, and ready to go. I was starting to make copious list of what need to be done and then I said to myself, "Self, you need to calm down. Look how far you've come." I needed to remind myself that my room needs to be ready for kids but decorations do not have to be perfect for the first day. I thought I'd show a little bit of where I've come and where I am now.

My new room after my kiddos helped me move. Don't worry I got everything put away and I talk more about that organizing adventure here.
What my room looked liked when I came back in last week.
This is a view of my front boards. I still need to finish the calendar and add my schedule but I don't have a class until Thursday. Lots of time.
View of my kids working space and back counter. Very sterile currently but I am going to add some fun borders and a lantern hungry caterpillar is going to go above the cabinets.

View of my library, listening center, and sensory table. We are out of laminate right now so I have to wait to laminate my cute book basket labels and lots of other things. Oh well...just roll with it!
View from my kiddos backpack hooks. I have a rug on order! So excited.

2. Kindergarten Schedule
Our kindergarten schedule this year is a little different than it has been in years past. This year we are testing kiddos on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each family has a 20 minute block. This allows us time to test and then go over kindergarten expectations and answer any questions.

Then on Thursday, I have the top half of my class comes to school for the whole day and on Friday, have the bottom half of my class comes for a whole day. With this format you can really teach all of those important skills of how we use the bathroom and wash hands, how we get our lunch, and how we go home. Plus with the smaller groups, kiddos get to know you better and begin feel comfortable quicker.

On Monday, I will then have my whole class all together. This will be where the real fun begins.
3. Daily Schedule
Here is a look of what I am thinking about for my daily schedule once we get the ball rolling.
We are also going to adding music into our day once a week but I'm not sure where that will go.
4. Mike Wazkowski
I was recently able to go back to Idaho to visit some of my favorite people. While I was there, I couldn't help but stop and see what the landscapers at Community Park put up this year. Every year they make a character out of the flowers. They have done the Cat in the Hat, Shrek, and this year is Mike Wazkowski from Monsters Inc.
Super amazing! You can't tell by the picture but down the side of the garden is his name, Mike in flowers. Too clever!
5. Teachers Pay Teachers Sale
Teachers Pay Teachers is having a big sale on Monday and Tuesday so be sure to check in and get stocked up for the school year. I will have all of my items on sale as well so be sure to stop by!
Thanks for swinging by and be sure to check out all of the fabulous teachers linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!