Thursday, June 30

Jungle Theme Goodies

I have been whiling away the hours making (and downloading) jungle themed items for next fall. I found these adorable daily 5 posters posted HERE by Little Priorities and I found nametags HERE from Little Kinder Warriors. Since my Daily 5 Workshop on Monday, I have been inspired to update my Daily 5/CAFE supplies. I loved the posters above, but wanted strategy cards for under each heading. Let me know what you think of these...(each animal print goes under a different CAFE heading: Comprehension-jaguar, Accuracy-zebra, Fluency-Tiger, Expand Vocabulary-giraffe)...these are kindergarten or transitional reader strategies from the CAFE program. I would be happy to create Emergent and traditional CAFE menu strategy cards. Please request your theme!
Kinder Jungle Strategy Menu

Emergent CAFE Strategies
Transition CAFE Strategies
Upper Elementary CAFE Strategies

Next I will begin working on my Pensieve, I-charts, choice forms, and my take-home folders. I think I will use the nametags from above as book box labels for students. Busy, busy, busy...
Angela :o)

Tuesday, June 28

Math Work Stations Chapter 6

Math Work Stations Chapter 6:
Place Value

A majority of what we worked on in kindergarten with regard to place value happened during calendar time. Counting the days of the year, practicing tally marks, counting/trading coins, working with the hundred chart...

We did make use of ten-frames and practiced looking at teens as "ten and ___ more" for a couple of weeks. I'm sure I didn't spend nearly enough time on this concept though. I remember how difficult place value was for my first and second graders when I began teaching. It really is important to lay a good foundation during kindergarten so that they can build on this concept later. Making place value as visual and "real" as possible helps to make the idea more concrete.

Here are a couple of activities to reinforce place value...
Place Value Matching
Count and Stack 30

Daily 5 and the Big I

I attended the sister's Daily 5 Kindergarten workshop yesterday in Tacoma, WA. I have read the book and given the Daily 5 structure my best girl scout try for three years now. Anyway, I have yet to achieve the level of independence that I doubt due to my missing the mark on some part of the ten steps to independence that the sisters preach about. So I figured it was time to "hear" it and listen to it explained to help me out. I enjoyed the workshop very much...not sure how much more I gleaned from it than I had from the book, but left feeling reassured that "I can do this!" Here are my goals...

1. Do not rush it! Take time to build plenty of stamina and do not add multiple choices at once until kinders show they "have" independent behavior for each one...the big I!
2. Model, Model, Model! Do not leave out the step of having a child model the "wrong" behavior and the immediate "oh my it's killing me...pleeeassse show everyone the right way now!" This is important for that particular student who is going to have trouble...gets the attention bit out of the way in a structured format and then helps build muscle memory for the desired behavior.
3. Whole group focus lessons must be only 5 minutes long!!!!!!! Sooooo, not easy....but sooooo important to keep their attention and not waste instruction when they are not absorbing anything you say anyway.
4. Small group lessons can also be shorter and followed by touching base with individual students for the remainder of the round.
5. Rounds will be shorter initially...if stamina is breaking down, time is up! Pull them back together for the next focus lesson.
6. Book boxes: I used boxes the first year, gallon ziplock bags the second year, and nothing last year. I'm going back to boxes, though I will invest in sturdier ones this time. Without boxes, there is no guarantee that the kids are reading good fit books and it takes them too long to pick books and get reading. Also, a good idea for "book shopping/browsing" time is to let them choose this once a week during one round of daily 5. They are less rushed and they are not all trying to look at the same time.
7. Danny books....I'll be look for these and starting to add them to my book collection. They can be purchased at
8. Along with my I-charts and posting a few photos of kids working on each daily 5 choice...I had a fun thought about creating a class book with a page for a picture of each child. I would make a book for each choice and use I-chart statements on each page with a photo of each kinder..."Shhh. See John read. He is in one spot. Shhh. See Mary read. She looks at the book. Shhh. See Matt read. He reads the whole time." What do you think?
9. Include Work on Bathroom Stamina on the I-Chart.
10. Teach the whole alphabet from the beginning...highest success for students who know all their letters and sounds by the end of October! I will go heavy on ZooPhonics (3-5 times a day) and give them the whole ReadWell chant from the beginning.  Down with the letter of the week!
11. I will rethink my routine design and seating...and remember to include plenty of cozy choices for readers and writers.
12. Word work has no content...Keep it Simple! Practice letters/sounds and sight words in different mediums.

That's it for now. I will be rereading the CAFE book next and rethinking that piece. It was definitely good to re-motivate myself and remind myself why the daily 5 structure is worth struggling to achieve. How do you Daily 5?

Saturday, June 25

Postcard Exchange and an Amazing Giveaway

Join the Postcard Exchange and enter an amazing giveway! 
I just did! 
Washington State is now participating!! :o)

Mrs. Saoud and Mrs. Mathes have joined forces to bring us a fabulous postcard exchange. They are looking for one classroom from every state.
Here are the states that still need to be filled:
Head on over to Mrs. Saoud's Blog, Primary Graffiti, to join!

Then go over to Mrs. Mathes' blog, The Techy Teacher, to enter a giveaway.  The wonderful Erica Bohrer has offered her amazing letter writing unit for a lucky winner!

Sunday, June 19

Math Work Stations Chapter 5

Math Work Stations Chapter 5: Addition and Subtraction Work Stations

This was another great chapter to read. I can see that this book is going to be my "bible" all next year as I work on setting up, modeling, managing, and adapting math stations for my kindergarteners! I am so excited about all of these ideas. It is gratifying to see some of what I have done in the book...math was not a complete loss this year. But, I can see so clearly how differently it is all going to go next year and how much better it is going to be!

I love the idea of using name cards (with pictures) on a ring in station boxes for making up addition and subtraction stories. My kids were forever running over to the lunch sign up board to see how to spell a friend's name. This will keep them in one spot, give them practice with names, keep them engaged telling stories that incorporate each other, and be so much fun. I also like the idea of using literature (which I have already done to some extent with math books) to bring number concepts to life and keep them interesting. What fun to tell math stories about the characters they've recently enjoyed during read aloud!

Scaffolding cards for helping students put together story problems was another "aha" moment. I was a little frustrated trying to get kinders to write number sentences to tell about their stories...they're just not all ready for this. The scaffold sets them up for success and exposes them to the concept so that they can build on that skill later. These have a dual purpose of supporting math talk at these stations. I have used mats for telling stories...which always go over well. One is below for you. But, check back later for more!
farm mat
The kinders love to use counters to tell stories, but my selection is not very big yet. So, I often make 2D counters with clip art to make up for that. I remember several weeks past a post (not sure who anymore) about animal masks found at Target and Michaels. These would be awesome for acting out story problems during whole group. I have yet to try to find them...but it is on my to do list! How about puppets and a puppet theater to tell math stories at a station? Fran Kramer also posted about using the animal paper plates for addition and subtraction. I have used these and I can tell you that they kinders LOVED this. They tended to argue over particular plates, but including them in a partner station rather than using them whole group would eliminate this problem. Did I mention how happy I am about this book??? Keep coming back to visit for more ideas as I get them ready! And thanks for stopping by today!

Math Stations Chapter 4

I am late posting my thoughts on chapter 4..."better late than never!" seems to be my calling card this year.  Gotta work on that... :oP

Chapter 4: Beginning Number Concepts
This was such an appropriate and inspiring chapter for a kindergarten teacher. Beginning Number Concepts are absolutely the foundation for our little ones to build on. Teaching number sense I have learned takes patience and each child will develop understanding at a different pace. So, having beginning number concepts math stations available throughout the year is important. We want our students to have a solid grasp of what numbers represent: being able to count, compare more or less, recognize and make patterns, write numerals, and match quantities to numbers. Without this foundation, they will have difficulty with the rest of the mathematical concepts we teach.

In the past I have provided manipulatives for students to explore number sense concepts with. However, I would demonstrate examples of the concept I wanted them to work on and then give them all manipulatives and let them work on their own. I would circulate and talk to each of them while they worked. What I was missing was the awesome talk they can come up if they work with a partner, math talk cards to guide them, "I Can" cards to keep them engaged, and a system to make sure they were on task and doing what I had asked of them while I checked in with others. I'm not sure I did very well differentiating concepts for all levels of learners either. So, I'm busily downloading the various math talk cards, I Can cards, and number concept stations that our blogging friends have been so graciously posting. I will slowly, but surely be adding some of my own soon as school lets out and I can focus my energies in that direction!

This year my students favorite number concepts activity was patterning. They loved all things patterns and would happily stack unifix cubes in patterns taller than they were, make patterns with sticker dots or any clip art I provided, and line up bears or dinosaurs in pattern parades. To mix in other concepts as I circulated, I would ask them not only to tell me about their pattern, but also how many of each color they had, which color they had more or less of, how many they had in all, how many more would make a particular number, which pattern was longest or shortest, and so forth. Again, this math talk was guided by me and not made kid-friendly for them to practice on their own...definitely what I want to fix for next year!

By the way, a great book to use when teaching patterns (and to include in a station) is Beep, Beep, Vroom, Vroom by Stephen Murphy. They loved it! Easy to act out with toy cars too. Of course kinders sometimes think a little out of the math box during discussions...when the sister had the cars mixed up and the brother was coming up the stairs to check on his cars, I asked "Oh no, brother's coming! The cars are out of order...what should she do?!" Hands popped up and the first answer was, "Hide!" :o)

Thank you to Fran Kramer for her excellent job hosting this chapter and for posting so many fabulous activity downloads! Click HERE to read her post as well as all of the other linked pages for the Math Work Stations Chapter 4 book study!
Kindergarten Crayons

Primary Graffiti Math Station Post and Giveaway

Mrs. Saoud of Primary Graffiti has posted the Math Work Stations: Chapter 5 book talk! Head over for a great read. Make sure you link up to share what you took away from the chapter and how you reinforce addition/subtraction concepts in your work stations (mine is coming soon). She is offering up many math stations downloads to get you started! While you're there make sure you enter her fabulous giveaway to win a Learning Resources Minute Math Electronic Flashcard!
Primary Graffiti       

Friday, June 17

Boxes, Bubbles, and Boys

Today was our last full day of school. A half day Monday and then I will be picking up stray broken crayons from a bare room. Today was high energy...they had all of it. I was under the weather and just praying to remain upright and in charge. Two of my teenage daughters came with me and spent the day packing up boxes of books, math tools, wall items, and so forth...a HUGE help. But I couldn't have gotten through the day without my magic bubbles and sidewalk chalk. The boys especially were extra rowdy and absolutely off-task. Their tempers were surging and I was sad to see their last full day go so poorly. All that aside, with plenty of refocus (i.e. my thumb on them all day) we accomplished our last readers' workshop, packed up student belongings, and scrubbed tables and chairs. The bubbles and chalk at recess put a smile on everyone's face and the sun did me loads of good. Tomorrow I will tackle the paperwork mountain and complete my report cards. With any luck, I will have some pep back in my step too!
I took home oodles of broken crayons to melt into large multicolor crayon shapes this weekend. I will also tie up their Penny & a Kiss treats with tulle and ribbon to hand out on Monday. Does anyone have a suggestion for a super last day of school picture book to read? We've done Miss Bindergarten and also The Last Day Blues already. I'd love to hear your ideas!
Angela :o)

Wednesday, June 15

Zoo, Bindergarten, and Two & a Half Days to go!

Today was our annual field trip to the zoo. It is always a stressful time for me prepping to go on a trip like this. This year I simplified my to do list and let it just come together. But, wouldn't you know I ended up one chaperone down (kinder with a fever). laid plans had to be tweaked and retweaked last minute. I ended up with a group of kiddos (not a big deal, but I felt less "at the ready" to fix emergencies, misbehaviors for chaperones, etc.). And of course I took Mr. ADHD, Mr. OuterSpace, and Mr. Oppositional Defiant so that the chaperones could have a better day. Me? Let's just say I'm in recovery with my pretty little glass of Syrah. The good's done and all had a good emergencies or anything!

So our last day of school is Monday...two and a half days to go. After we got back from the zoo today, we read two Miss Bindergarten books: Miss Bindergarten Takes a Field Trip with Kindergarten and Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the Last Day of Kindergarten. The kids enjoyed both (of course). So I decided to mimic the teacher gift and award pictured at the end of the last book. I will send home a penny and a kiss (hershey's) for each graduating kinder on Monday along with a celebratory certificate.
Penny and a Kiss
3 Cheers Blank
3 Cheers For

Saturday, June 11

My Favorite Things

Little Miss Kindergarten is hosting a linky party to share your favorite things. These are a really fun way to get to know each other, gain viewers or followers, and find hidden treasure blogs you never knew were there! But you have to link up first! Head over to visit Little Miss Kindergarten and share your favorite things!
These are the things that make ME happy (in the classroom & out)...
1. My NOOK (instant gratification!)
2. My MacBook (my world on the go!)
The MacBook Pro family
3. My HP Color LaserJet (my new tool!)

4. My Home Laminator (sturdy seal...done at home!)

5. My Hot Tub (soak those cares away!)
Beachcomber Hot Tubs
6. My Mini Keurig in the classroom (caffeine on demand!)
Keurig MINI Plus Brewing System
7. Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot...or Cabernet...or Syrah...or...
Single Vineyards
8. My Birds (always chipper and keeping me company while I blog!)

9. Sitting on the porch in the sun (bad for my skin, but oh so gratifying!)
10. Learning something new every day!

What are YOUR favorite things?

Little Literacy Learners Giveaway

Little Literacy Learners is hosting a giveaway. She has adorable kindergarten literacy downloads and posts that you will want to check out. The giveaway is for a gift card to your choice of Target, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. Click on the image to head over and enter!
Little Literacy Learners

Tuesday, June 7

Math Work Stations Chapter 3

What should your math work stations look like, sound like, and feel like?
This gave me some good things to ponder. I like things quiet…are they ever quiet in kindergarten? Um…no. So I guess the goal is for it not to be manic or raise-the-roof loud. Obviously kids working together learning are going to make some noise. I would like to do a better job training next year’s group on using quiet voices when working. I would like to look about the room and see them interacting and talking about what they are learning. In a perfect example, they would remain in their station area focused and engaged in their activity. The room would feel relaxed, with alive with the buzz (not roar) of learning, and remain tidy. Learning would be evident.

What does your management board look like?
No pics, but my goal is to create one very like Ms. Diller’s Work station board in the book. Without spending money, I could assign a current pocket chart for math stations. I love the idea of using kid’s pictures and names on cards and simplifying the naming of stations using numbers with dots as a numerical cue. Two students would be assigned per station and each pair assigned two stations per day. I am so grateful for so many wonderful pictures and examples to get my brain thinking. I am anxious to get started! I already use photo/name cards for my lunch signup board…I take their picture when they visit one-on-one with parents on the first day of school. Then I get cards ready for their first actual day with me. I would simply have to prepare another set…perhaps one for literacy too??? Hmmm…

How do you support math vocabulary  (math talk cards) in your stations?
This too will be new for me. I love the idea of including talking cards in each station workbox. Teaching kindergarten, each card will have to use many picture cues, large simple text, and be modeled repeatedly. I am thinking that I also want to set up a math corner and will post math concept pictures and vocabulary in this area. I am finding myself wishing I were able to get started setting up my new room RIGHT NOW…but I will have to settle for writing ideas down so I do not forget!

I will post pictures and downloads soon…the creative juices are starting to flow. I’m hoping to decide on definitive classroom theme asap and will go from there. For the time, I’m enjoying reading everyone else’s amazing ideas! Way to go! Be sure to link up at Learning with Mrs. Parker and join in on a fabulous discussion!
Learning With Mrs. Parker

Sunday, June 5

Summer is in Sight...Sight Words That Is

I need to give a few of my kiddos one last bit of practice to make sure they know all 18 of our kindergarten sight words. I'll be assessing this later this week for the last time. Most of them know all 18 and more (though many keep calling the word am the word me for some strange reason). But a small handful are still not confident with all of the words. And everyone loves to color. So, here is an activity they can do tomorrow while I have a guest teacher (another meeting) that will give them a last little bit of practice. Sight words in a beachy-summer font. They turned out pretty cute, so I'm sharing. Use them if you can. If you aren't following yet, I'd love to have you along! Thanks to all who do!
Summer Sight Words

Thursday, June 2

Math Work Stations Chapter 1&2

I have been looking forward to participating in this book study! Unfortunately, my book has yet to ship. Therefore I am really appreciative of the wonderful summarizations written up by so many bloggers. Math stations are an area that I really need to work on improving. Things have gotten a little better each year...with a long way to go to measure up. This year was actually the first year (of my three) that I actually tried having math stations. The organizational mess of manipulatives and the management mess of games and having students doing different activities scared me off for a while. As it turns out, management of math stations is easier than trying to manage students all doing the same activity at the same time and vying for your help. I've learned that much the hard way! I did three 15 minute rotations this year. I would meet with one group and give the other students the choice of a math game, practicing with manipulatives (sorting, counting, creating, etc.), or paper practice. My goal was to mimic the Daily 4 math idea. My biggest problem seemed to stem from not providing enough example and teaching of the procedures before setting them loose...can you say chaos? My knee-jerk reaction to chaos is to limit choices and implement controls. This is not how I want my class to operate though. Soooo...better pre-planning, modeling, and organization is in store for next year. I think I really did have too much to choose from to start. Next year things will go out slower and in smaller batches. I can't wait to dig my teeth into the Math Stations book for ideas! Thank you all so much for organizing this and sharing your own ideas! What a blessing!

Here are a few pics of how I am currently storing my math tubs. I started out with the Target-style open bin shelf (dowels and sides). This drove me nuts because my kinders couldn't put the boxes back on the dowels easily. So, the bins moved to a bookshelf this year. I love the idea posted about labeling the shelf and the bin identically to make it a breeze to put away exactly where it was found. That was an "oh, duh!" moment for me. Right now I spend way too much time fixing it after they leave every day. :o(

The materials I am not using are shoved into the cabinets at the back of my room...disaster.

And my teacher masters/games/recording sheets are generally a work in progress...ones I've saved are in a file cabinet that is hard to get into or on the shelves above my counter (eek!).

The rest are on the computer. Nothing is at my fingertips. So, I feel like I have been chasing my tail all year. No wonder math wears me out!  So my biggest summer plans include revamping this area of my teaching. I'm definitely excited for this book study! If you see the UPS man...tell him I'm waiting for that book!