Wednesday, March 30

Case of the Missing X

So our kindergarten reading curriculum is ReadWell. We are excitedly coming up on our last letter of the week...letter X. The kids have been counting down for weeks now...only 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 letter to go! The title of next week's lesson is the "Case of the Missing X" and will have them in as much of a tizzy as the mischievous leprechaun did on St. Patty's day. It all begins with the letter X card going missing from the wall...which some of them will notice before even getting to the carpet Monday morning. The story in the anthology goes along with our mystery and by the end of the week the X will be recovered with the help of some clues (left by Captain X the pirate). Here are a few of the activities we will set sail with, maties!
How Many x Words

Case of the Missing X

You Know You Teach K if...

You know you teach Kindergarten if...

You start rhyming out of the blue like Dr. Suess because it grabs and holds their attention.

You can change the words to children's songs on the spot to fit any occasion ("Are you criss-cross, Are you criss-cross, Eyes on me? Eyes on me? Hands in your lap! Hands in your lap! Quietly...quietly.")

You have to start lining up ten minutes early to have time to unknot, tie, and sometimes relace 20-some shoelaces.

You watch your little darlings count their five fingers one by one (for the hundredth time) before adding how many fingers are up on the other hand... instead of remembering to say "five" and count on.

You sing classroom songs in the car on the way home.

You know the alphabet better than anyone...the standard version, the boogie woogie version, the sign language version, forwards, backwards, zoophonics style, sounds-only, awake, asleep...

You walk backwards like a pro...usually...

Your pockets in the morning are full of stickers, gummy bears, and kelso tickets because nothing works faster than a good primary reinforcer.

Your pockets in the afternoon are full of paperclips, stray math manipulatives, and glue stick lids minus the glue sticks.

You break out into your rendition of "Tomorrow" from Annie and "Yesterday" by John Lennon during calendar to shake up the monotony...and the kids just stare.

You've learned to keep an extra outfit at school...the hard way.

You've ever been told, "Mrs. _________, you are one silly woman!" (Of course I am sweetie...I teach kindergarten!)

Sunday, March 27

Spring Break Bliss

Spring break is finally here. I am looking forward to this gift of time to organize the teetering piles in my classroom and to lay out plans for the last ten weeks of school. Can there really be only ten weeks left this year? I know that there will be numerous days during that ten-week push that will make time feel like it is in slow motion...but in reality the end of the year is fast-approaching. There is much to be done before then. Time to chart it out and make sure it all gets covered. And then there is that little handful of kiddos that I can't help but worry about...are they going to meet those year-end benchmarks? The clock is running--time to get busy!

Friday, March 25

The Big Day!

Q and U have tied the knot! The kindergartners were thrilled and will hopefully remember that q never goes out without letter u! We performed a very nice ceremony (including the proper etiquette). They were a hoot singing the bridal march as Q and U walked down the "aisle" between them on the carpet. Afterwards, they made a "Just Married" poster and enjoyed a wedding snack on doilies. Quite the event!

Tuesday, March 22

Q & U

Well, Q and U are getting married this week. The kinders are very amused and cannot wait. I have painted and decorated a large Q and U in a wedding theme (I will post a picture tomorrow). Until the "big day" arrives, we are working on qu- words. Here is a word work activity I put together for tomorrow. I will post the words around the room and let the kids do a word hunt and record what they find on the matching log sheet. I am posting in both Google Docs and Scribd format while I figure this out!

QU Word Work
QU Log Sheet

qu write the room
QU Word Log

Monday, March 21

glub, glub, glub?

It was a bad day for goldfish. To back up just a little, we received our Foss science kit last Monday along with 10 goldfish and 15 guppies. Monday thru Friday all was well. This morning though, six goldfish were floating. Two hours later we lost two more. After the kiddos left, the one of the remaining two went as well. I am not much of a fish expert, thank goodness the very knowledgeable lady at Petsmart was both helpful and understanding. Apparently ten goldfish in the itty bitty plastic tanks provided was just too much and my water changes too little. Poor little guys didn't have a chance. The kids didn't seem to notice that the tank was short half its fish this morning, but two observant young girls informed me of the second loss. I couldn't let them arrive to an empty tank tomorrow morning though! So, three new fish are sitting next to me as I type ready to become classroom stars. Wish me better luck this time with less fish (and a small filter for good measure)!

Saturday, March 19

Leprechauns, Luck, and Lots of Tomfoolery

St. Patrick's Day in kindergarten has to be my favorite day of the year. It is very funny to see the students react to a bit of mischief taking place in their room. They are so eager to believe that wee leprechauns are really to blame. They were on the lookout all day! Here are some of the projects we worked on to commemorate the day. The leprechaun art was borrowed from The First Grade Parade and was a huge hit. I really love the imagination they showed in coming up with their leprechaun traps!

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My Moodle Page

Our district uses Moodle for creating school and teacher webpages. I like the platform for putting information out to parents and creating practice activities for students. Here is a sneak peek at how my moodle page finally looks...after three workshops and many, many hours of editing.

All About Lobsters

I had to share these adorable works of nonfiction art! The class actually completed these a little over a week ago, but the smilebox is finally finished. What a thrill to see all of them trying to write a sentence that tells something that they learned. I love the "Schema/New Learning" chart that was inspired by those I've seen on Deanna Jump's blog. The art project comes from our ReadWell curriculum. I think they turned out just darling!

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Friday, March 18

Community Supplies Reorganized

I have been back and forth with how to manage student supplies. My first year teaching, I let my students keep their own supplies in their pencil boxes and used individual desks. That was a mess. When I began teaching kindergarten, I knew I wanted tables in place of desks and heeded the advice of my kindergarten team and went to a community supply system. However, the containers I used never really fit the bill and I went through two different iterations looking for a neat, workable system. I felt badly that the pencil boxes were never used for anything and so this year I decided to give them another chance. The boxes fit nicely in my table tubs and allowed the students a sense of ownership. That soon turned into boxes that were empty and boxes that wouldn't close--depending on the organizational skills and the hoarder-tendencies of each child. So, when I came across these containers I impulsed and bought one for each table group. The pencil boxes now hold sight word cards, word family flip books, and sticker charts. The containers hold not only pencils and crayons, but leveled books as well. It is working great and the kids adjusted really well to the community supply system. If you like the look of these supply boxes, I found them at Party City (they are actually meant for holding napkins and utensils).

Wednesday, March 16

Sight Word Practice

During small group reading lessons, I put up a powerpoint sight word practice. The sound effects and animation keep even the most unwilling readers engaged. Our district only requires kindergarteners to master 18 words, but I have a second powerpoint that includes "challenge" words to keep my more advanced readers advancing.
Animated Sight Word Powerpoint
Challenge Words Powerpoint

Little Learners

I had an "oh my goodness" moment yesterday while the kindergarteners were rehearsing for their spring concert. The 5th and 6th grade choir came in and stood on the risers next to the kinders (as they are to sing a song with them). Oh much littler the kindergarteners suddenly looked. I realized just how big they had started to seem to me after being around them every day and watching them grow as learners. But, seeing them side-by-side with the "big kids" was a gentle reminder of just how much growing they still have ahead of them! I had to reflect on just how far they've come since the first day of school and how remarkable that is for how small they really are still. :o)

Friday, March 11

Home Sweet Blog!

I just love teaching...and I love blogs. I am excited to begin sharing my love of both!