Procedures & Routines

I have officially survived my first FULL week of school and it was a HOT one!  I am so excited with how well my little kinders are doing.  They are starting to get down routines and procedures.  I focus a lot on routine and procedures the first two weeks of school which means not a lot of curriculum is taught.  I figure it this way though the better they are at routines and procedures in our classroom then the more I will get to teach throughout the year!

We learned all about our morning procedures (except our lunch count magnets which we will start on Monday) and I will be taking pictures of the students doing procedure in the morning and create a flow chart to hang in our classroom.  I will post about this later in the week.

We have been working super hard on being good listeners.  Boy are they trying hard!  We made these charts about being good listeners.

Then we talked about whole body listening and I added two charts from Erica Bohrer in between my charts.  

Lastly we worked on our stamina.  It is so hard for these little kinders to work quietly.  So we started with just one minute they had to work on a paper where they were drawing their family for one whole minute without anyone talking.  It took three tries, but we finally did it!  We celebrate with a cheer and everyone got a skittle :)  Hoping by the end of next week we can be up to two minutes!

High Five for Friday

It's FRIDAY!  I am linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog for High Five for Friday.

Here are my top five for the week:

1.  I survived a FULL week of school in the heat!

2.  I finally have Microsoft Office again......I haven't had Office at home for a few years.  Now I will be able to work on documents at home and at school.  This is pretty exciting for me!

3.  I think I have an AWESOME group of little kindergarten friends this year.

4.  My daughter is in kindergarten this year and she found out that she got the teacher she wanted :)

5.  Friday afternoon art......need I say more?

What is your high five for Friday?

We are Peacemakers!

Is it just me or did this weekend seem to fly by?  I was very busy and today has been the first day since Friday I have had the chance to sit at my computer for more than five minutes.  Which is fortunate since I have a lot of work to do tonight. ;)

On Friday, my little kindergarten friends made their very own Davids from the stories "No David" and "David goes to School" by David Shannon.  I used Julie Lee's I am a Peacemaker unit for this activity.    As I was hanging the Davids in the hallway today I was so impressed by how well this group did especially considering it was the second day of school.  Take a look.

Today we reviewed again what it means to be a peacemaker and a peacebreaker.  I made posters using Julie Lee's unit as well.  The only thing I did differently was I added smiley faces next to the Peacemaker heading and sad faces next to the Peacebreaker heading.  The students were getting confused and as soon as I added those faces it was easier for them.  I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of my signs today (I blame "beginning of year" brain.......which means my brain is mush most days!).

Now we will be concentrating on names for the rest of the week.  Next week we start our color unit!

Back 2 School Purchases

I am happy to share with you my purchases from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I got a lot of good stuff I am excited to use this year!

I bought this Peacemaker activity from Julie Lee which I used today in class.  The students loved making their own David and all decided they wanted to be Peacemakers. :)

I also purchased these three units from Julie Lee for the beginning of the year.  It is always nice to have some things ready for the start of the year!

The first month of school would not be complete without a "Brown Bear" unit.  
This was created by Jamie Mayas.

What did you buy from the Teachers Pay Teachers back to school sale?


Environmental Print

I got this wonderful idea from a very good friend!  This "We Can Read" bulletin board will be used for environmental print throughout the year.  I will collect ads, bags, boxes, etc. with environmental print that the students will be able to read.  This will be an easy spot for students to go to while reading the room and have words they can read.

When students can read, it makes them more confident.  I want all my students to feel confident!  I can't wait to see this in action.  Check back for updates to this little spot in my room :)

First Day

Wow!  I don't know what else I can say about the first day except......Wow!  I always seem to forget how it is the first day of kindergarten.  Of course this year was a little more hectic because it was rainy in the morning which threw off our whole first day procedure.  But, I am happy to say that I survived!

Now on to Day 2.  Tomorrow we will be reading some David Shannon books and doing the "I am a peacemaker" activity by Julie Lee.

How did your first day of the school year go?

Kissing Hand

Today was the teacher's first day back to school.  We then had "Unpack the Backpack" night tonight.  So I am EXHAUSTED!!  Tomorrow is our first day with the students so I thought I would share the activities we usually do on the first day.

Each year I always read "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn on the first day of kindergarten.  I just love that book!  A few years ago my mentor teacher gave me this pattern and we use it to make Chester the Raccoon puppets out of large paper bags.  I am not sure where this pattern originated, but if you do please let me know so I may give the proper credit.

The students get to take these home and share the story with their family.  We also teach them how to say "I love you" in sign language.  Last year I had one student and parent who everyday as we went inside would give each other that cute!

Another activity we are doing this year with "The Kissing Hand" is on a poem tracing the students' hand and putting a heart sticker in the palm.

What activities do you do with "The Kissing Hand"?

*****I have had many people ask about the pattern for this puppet.  It is from a retired teacher and because of copyright issues I can not share it on my blog.  I am sorry, but thank you for understanding.

Directions pictures

The first year I taught kindergarten I had a wonderful teacher as my partner and mentor.  She was gracious enough to share these little gems with me.

I LOVE to use these whenever I am giving my students directions.  I just put them on the board in the order of the steps.  I am not sure where she got these from except I know she colored them in, laminated them, and put magnets on the back.  Using these saves the students from asking what they do next!

What do you do for giving students directions on independent work?

Organizing my Classroom

Am I the only one who has to change things up a bit in my classroom each year?  I get bored or something and feel like I should rearrange or just do something to switch thing up.  At the end of last school year I decided I need to do some rearranging.  Here are some pictures of what my classroom looked like when I came in the first time after the custodians had finished waxing the floor.

This is a view from my front door.  That HUGE bookshelf was at one time against that back wall, but the shelf was just too big for the space so it has now found a new home elsewhere in the building.  The shelf is sitting on top of my student tables.  In the back corner by the purple bulletin board is my computer and desk.  I am seriously contemplating getting rid of my desk this year.  I hardly ever sit at it!

This is my computer and desk area.  It is obviously a complete mess at the time this picture was taken :)

Here is what will be my carpet/calendar area.  I am standing right next to my guided reading table when I took this picture.  The student tables are to my right.

And now let's take a look at my classroom after a few weeks of hard work :)

Here is my new carpet/calendar area.  It is a chalkboard behind the blue paper so I just put magnets on the back of everything.  I LOVE my carpet because it gives each student their own space.  This is one of the first things I teach them!

My desk area which I have organized to the best of my ability.  I have contemplated getting rid of my desk and moving my guided reading table here.  That would give me a little bit more space by the back of my carpet.  Let's be honest how much time do we kindergarten teachers spend at our desk???  Not much!

My new word wall is separated into boxes.  The stars list both the uppercase and lowercase letter for each box.  I will add the students' names and sight words as we learn them throughout the year.  The table in front of the word wall will be my writing station.  I don't put out the materials for stations until I have explained them.

Last but not least, here are my student cubbies.  On that blue bulletin board I will put each student's picture with a little index card sized sign with their name on it.  I haven't completely decided what will be stored in the cubbies, but at the moment this is what I am thinking:  crayon boxes, journals, and coloring book.  I plan on putting pencil cups on each table so the students won't need to get there crayon boxes just to get out a pencil.

Hope you enjoyed my tour.  Tomorrow I will be posting about one of my favorite management tips!

Starting a New School Year!

In just a few short days it will be back to school.  We start back on Wednesday and the students will start back on Thursday.  This is our first year (since I have been teaching) that our first day with the students is a FULL day.  That's right folks I will have my little 5 year olds from 7:55 - 2:40.  I think it will be a long day for all of us.

In our school the kindergarten students are not assigned a teacher until we have assessed them all.  For the first few days of the school year we keep all the kindergarten students together.  Once assessed we split the students into two classes.  It works well, but it makes the first few days exhausting!

Now we are just trying to make sure we have enough planned for the first day.  Here is what my teaching partner and I are thinking of doing that day (in no particular order):

  • Read "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn
  • Make Chester the raccoon puppets from paper bags (this includes coloring, cutting, and gluing so we will probably just do a step at a time throughout the day)
  • Read "Miss Bindergarten gets ready for Kindergarten" by Joesph Slate and Ashley Wolff
  • Discuss rules & procedures for being at the carpet
  • Discuss rules & procedures for hallways and bathroom
  • School Tour
  • Play a "getting to know you" game in the gym
  • Recess
  • Maybe watch "Letter Factory" by Leap Frog
  • We might also have a specialist that day like library
How about you?  What do you do on the first day of school?  I would love to have some ideas!