Holidays Around the World

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Can I just say that I love Teachers Pay Teachers!  I purchased a "Holidays Around the World" unit from a fabulous teacher across the country.  Her blog is whattheteacherwants.  My kids are having so much fun learning about the holiday traditions in different countries.  We are busy comparing and contrasting our traditions to those in other countries.  We are making a craft to go with each country's tradition and putting it all into our "suitcase."  The back of the suitcase has a map of the world so the kids can see where each country is located.  We also have passports that get stamped as we visit each country.  December has never been so fun!

Buddy Readers

Friday, December 7, 2012
I work at an all kindergarten school so we don't get many opportunities to have older kids come to our class to read.  But once a month our district has minimum days at the other elementary sites and I have taken full advantage of that.  I invite former students and current student's siblings to come to my class to read to my kinders.  It is such a great experience for my budding readers to have other kids read to them.  I love seeing my former students and take such joy in their growth as readers.  It is hard to believe that this little one was in my class just last year and now she has the confidence to read to a group of students.

Gingerbread Men

Thursday, December 6, 2012
We read many different versions of The Gingerbread Man during the month of December.  We then made our own gingerbread cookies and baked them in the cafeteria's ovens.

The kids were really creative this year.  We had gingerbread ninjas, gingerbread cowboys, gingerbread hula dancers, gingerbread angels, gingerbread pirates, and of course the classic gingerbread boys and girls.

When the kids had found out that "somebody" peeked in the oven before the cookies were finished cooking and the cookies all ran away, they were concerned but thrilled at the same time.  They decided to make wanted posters and canvas the school looking for our run away cookies.  They were so happy when the cookies were located and returned to the classroom!

You can visit my TpT store to download the Wanted Poster!  Enjoy!

Alphabet Party!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

To celebrate the fact that we learned all of the letters in the alphabet, we had a two day ALPHABET PARTY!  We did many activities revolving around letters.  We played Letter UNO, we made ABC books and then shared them.  We constructed each letter in small groups.  But the most exciting thing we did was our SECRET LETTER BALLOON POP!

I was so excited for the balloon popping activity and I thought that the kids would remember this for years...well, I was right, but not exactly in the way I had envisioned.  Who knew that I would have so many kids that are intensely afraid of popping balloons!  WHAT????  All the kids were excited when they were given a balloon with a secret letter rolled up inside.  The kids were all smiles until they learned that we would be popping the balloons to find their secret letter.  About a third of the kids burst into tears.  Ok, I can handle this.  We took those kids outside to wait until all the ruckus inside was finished.  My teacher buddy calmed those guys down while the rest of us happily popped away.

So many smiles and giggles and happy kids (finally).  Great fun!  But what?  More tears??  Now I had kids who didn't want to pop their balloons- they wanted to keep them forever!  "But honey, you need to pop it to find out your secret letter."  After lots of coaxing and negotiating on my part all the balloons were popped, the outdoor kids were returned to the group, and all of the kids had a letter in their hand.  The next step was to find their letter match.  Kids had to circulate around and match the capital to the lower case letter.  We had planned to have the pairs put themselves into alphabetical order as the next step, but we ran out of time.  Did I learn anything from the experience?  You bet I did!  Would I change things for next year?  Of course!  Was I exhausted at the end?  Completely!

Valuable Learning Experiences

Friday, October 5, 2012
We are very busy in kindergarten.  Every moment is filled with teaching the core standards, but I have managed to incorporate developmentally appropriate activities into my afternoon rotations.  Every afternoon the kids rotate through 5 areas.  They meet with me for reading/writing/math/science or social studies activities (1), they work with a parent on a project relating to our unit of study (2), they work at their desk completing an activity to reinforce the day's lesson (3), they work on the iPods (4), and lastly, they go to a center (5).  These children chose to work with blocks to build a race track.  They collaborated and came up with a very intricate design then raced cars through the tunnel.  I was very impressed and wanted to share the creativity and cooperation that these kids exhibited.  I feel that activities like this are just as important as all of the other things we have going on in the classroom.

Teddy Bear Picnic

Saturday, September 29, 2012

We had a Teddy Bear Picnic at Creekside.  We had lots of fun eating with our teddy bears.  Our superintendent even stopped by with his bear and joined us for lunch!

Bear Week

Bear Week was a lot of fun.  
We did so many things that were memorable, but the kids  really loved baking bear biscuits.  YUM!

Life is good!

Saturday, September 8, 2012
I have 29 wonderful and unique little kinders.  That's a lot of little bodies in one classroom, but the new and improved room layout works great!  There is good flow from one activity to the next (and you know how often kinders need to transition to something new).

Our first week was great!  We are getting to know each other as we learn the school and classroom rules.  We are off to a great start!

Room for 30

Friday, August 31, 2012

Well, I'm pleased with my room.  I squeezed in another table so I can accommodate 30 kids.  I also have a table for parents to work with a group and a horseshoe table for me to work with a small group.  We have a large rug area, a housekeeping center, an extensive classroom library, blocks, puzzles, and all the things a busy kindergartner needs to learn and grow.  Despite being packed to the rafters, the room feels open and spacious (or maybe I'm just getting used to cramped quarters).

A Peek at Last Year's Room

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Last year my class size increased from 24 to 27 kids.  You would think that 3 kids wouldn't make a huge impact in my room set up, but it did.  I had to convert my parent volunteer table (used daily for group work) to student desks.  This meant that I had to give my parent volunteers my horseshoe table and I moved myself to the floor during rotations.  You might be wondering why I didn't just put the parents on the floor working with groups, well, I count on parent volunteers to help me keep my group sizes small, so I wanted them to have a comfortable place to work to make sure that they would keep coming back.  This put me on the floor (not a comfortable place for my creaky old bones).  I decided that this year I need to find the space for another student table (each table seats six kids) so I'm rearranging my room once again.  Here is a look at some areas of my room last year.  I'm scouring blogs looking for inspiration.  I'll post pictures of my new room set up later.
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