Apple Unit

We are finishing up our farm animal unit which means.....moving on to apples next.  I am so excited to start our apple unit because it means one thing:  IT IS FALL!  I truly {heart} fall weather.  I just can't get enough of it.  Plus I love visiting the apple orchard and pumpkin patch every year with my family.  Heaven!!

I was prepping for my apple activities for the week and my daughter was trying to be ever so helpful so I let her create one of the apple projects from my unit, an apples on top headband.  You can see her modeling it below ;)

I am a little bummed though because the first two days of my apple unit I will be at a professional development workshop.  I love teaching the apple unit and I am a little jealous that my substitute will get to teach this to my little ones, but I am also looking forward to my training on Monday and Tuesday.  I guess I just wish there were two of me so I could be in both places at once!

About this darn apple unit.....boy oh boy did I spend a long time making this!  It is my first "big" unit I am selling on TPT!  I have included many literacy and math activities in this unit such as sorting, patterning, labeling, an apple poem, apples on top class book, and a decodable apple book with pages for students to write.

If you are interested in this unit please click on the image below to go to my TPT store.....happy apple picking!


Pinwheels for Peace

On Friday, September 21st we had Pinwheels for Peace day at our school (other schools in our district as participated).  It was ah-mazing!  And it was all thanks to our wonderful art teacher Theresa Gillespie (If you have a chance, you should check out her blog.....she is so creative!)  You can read more about this project here.

All of the students in our school created a pinwheel in our entire school created a pinwheel.  While making the pinwheels, the students learned about living peacefully and discussed what that means to them.  Our little kindergarten students just colored their pinwheels, but the upper grades put images and words on their pinwheels.  Here a few pictures of this amazing project!

It was so amazing to go outside and see all the pinwheels spinning with the breeze and every car that drove by slowed down to admire the pinwheels!  It was breathtaking!

High Five for Friday!

Wow!  This week just flew by........I can't believe it is Friday again!  I am once again linking up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk Blog for High Five for Friday.

1.  I took the kids to "Pirate School" at the library on Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  It was so much fun!  To top it off I got some cute ideas for my own pirate unit I do at the end of the school year :)

2.  My September birchbox came in the mail this week!  I am loving the products in this month's box especially the nail polish!

3.  Homemade Thai lettuce wraps for dinner Wednesday night....can you say YUM?

4.  It is finally starting to feel like fall.....I heart fall weather don't you?

5.  I know this hasn't happened yet, but I am super excited about it.  I get a little mommy break with a girl's night out tomorrow night with one of my best friends :)

What are your high five for Friday?


Update on Behavior System

Today I am linking up with What the Teacher Wants! Behavior Management linky party.

I have been using our new behavior system for about a week and a half now and I have to say I am LOVING it!  (You can read about my new system here.)  It is so nice to be able to visualize the rules the students are breaking or following.  The students already know which rule is which color.  I only say now move a talking stick and they automatically know it is a yellow stick.  Also, I have a lot less to do at the end of the day.  I updated my behavior chart with pocket chart strips at the top of each rule. {But do you think I can ever remember to take a new picture?  Of course not!}

I am finding that the things I thought were problems weren't.  I keep track of my data each night on this chart.

I use a colored pencil and put hash marks for each student.  For example, maybe today Johnny moved a blue stick (listening) and a yellow stick (talking).  He moved then have a blue mark and a yellow mark next to his name for that day.

If students move 3 or more sticks I send home a note that looks like this where I circle which rules were broken.

Our school counselor is going to analyze our data with us after next week.  She is then going to use the data to see if there are groups of students with the same behavior needs in classes that she can make some social skills groups with.  I feel this system is wonderful!  If you are looking for something to try in your classroom, then you might want to give this a try!


Farm Unit

We started our two week farm unit today.  This will be our first big thematic unit of the year.  I love teaching the farm unit.  It is amazing what the students can learn about farms and farm animals.

We learned about schema and made our first schema chart of the year.  (We started adding some new learning after I snapped a picture :)

Then we read Deanna Jump's "What Do You Do?" book from her Fun on the Farm Unit.  I asked the students about what animals were in the story and what other animals could be on a farm.  We made this circle map. (Please forgive my terrible circles)

The students played letter match memory from my farm unit on TPT.

Then we made a pocket chart story and "buttered" our popcorn words.

If you are interested in the activities I created, you can click on the image below for my farm unit in my TPT store.

Check back to see what other fun we have while learning about the farm!


Mission Statement & Goals

We use "Continuous Improvement" in our district.  One component of this is to have a classroom "Data Center".  Here is my data center.  It isn't anything super spectacular, but it serves the purpose well.  I like having mine on the chalkboard for three reasons: (1) I never that chalkboard in my room to write on, (2) It is a hard surface and easier for the kids to sign off on the goal they have accomplished, and (3) it is easier to change our the goals and the end of the quarter.

On my data center, I have a mission statement and SMART goals.  Here are some close up pictures of what I have made for my data center.  

Here are some of my "I can" signs and once the student accomplishes this goal they get to sign their name with a colored pencil on the poster.  As you know, that is a big deal to sign your name with a COLORED pencil in the color of your choice! ;)

If you are interested in having a set of these for your own data center, hop on over to my TPT store for this freebie!

Another component of "Continuous Improvement" is having student data folders.  These folders basically house all the student's individual data for the year.  They can be a folder or binder.  I am trying something new with mine this year and I will be posting more about this soon.

High Five for Friday

I am linking up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk Blog for High Five for Friday.  Here is my high five for Friday!

1.  Watching my little man at his first soccer game of the season.  He did a great job!

2.  Seeing my little girl start to get past her fear of falling.

3.  Da Bears opening game with the husband.  We won't talk about last night's game.

4.  Morning coffee..........LOVE!!!!

5.  School lets out early today for our high school's homecoming parade which means two things:  I will have two happy little ones who get to watch the parade and while at the game Ms. Claire will I'm sure be cheering on the cheerleaders and football players :)

Have a great weekend!

Classroom Rules Freebie!

I have finished my classroom rules posters/signs and I am super pumped to say that I am offering these for free on my new Teachers Pay Teachers store!  I made these rules to follow along our school's new behavior system.  If you want your own set of these rules please click on the image below to be directed to my TPT store.

Hope you enjoy the signs and check back at my TPT store soon as I will be posting some new items! :)

New Behavior System

Last week it was decided that our whole school would start using a new behavior system this week.  At first, I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of preparing myself and my 23 little kindergarten friends for this transition, but now I am very excited about it.

I had traditionally used a spotlight behavior chart where the students each had a stick with their number on it and they moved it first to green, then to yellow, then red.  It has worked out fine, but I felt like I was constantly writing in planners and sometimes it was hard to remember exactly why a particular student ended up on that color for the day.

(I got those number circles from A Cupcake for the Teacher)

Starting yesterday, this is what my behavior chart looks like.

Each student has a pocket with their number on it.  You can see at the bottom of the chart are cups with colored sticks.  Each stick represents one of our school-wide rules.  When a student breaks a rule, they will have to take a stick and put it in their pocket.  For example, if Johnny is talking out he will be told to move a talking stick (yellow).  If a student receives more than 3 sticks in their pocket, a note will be sent home in that child's planner.  The upper grades are having the students write which rules were broken.  In kindergarten I have made a note that lists all the rules and I will circle which rules were broken.

I also redid my rules so that each rule is surrounded by a particular color.  The color represents the rule and the stick that will be placed in the pocket should the student break that rule.  I cut them out right outside the border and placed the colored paper behind it.  I will post these later this week.  I need to fix a couple things first :)  I am also added a cut up pocket chart strip above each rules sign with just one word for the rule.  For example, above my yellow sign I will write the word "talking".  Just to help the kids remember which color is for which rule.

I really feel that this will be a positive change in our school.  It will help me as a teacher see which behaviors are the most problematic which will then guide some social skills lessons.  Stay tuned to see what happens!!

Fiction Stories & Chart

Another week has just flown by!  This week in my class we were finishing up our color unit.  Who better to learn about our colors with than Pete the Cat?  I just love those stories and so do my kindergarteners!!

One activity we did this week was learn about the term "fiction".  We discussed whether "Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes" could be a story that really happened.  Of course all my little friends said cats don't wear shoes, or play guitar, or drink coffee. :)  I then introduced the word fiction and gave them a brief definition.  We discussed things that would be fiction and then I gave each student a sticky note.  On their sticky note the student drew a picture of something fiction.

When they were finished, we came back to the carpet and this time I had them give me the definition of fiction and we created this chart:

The students came up one at a time and told the class about their picture and we decided whether or not it was fiction (they all were!).  It was wonderful to see the students take ownership of this class created fiction chart!

Today we will finish up our color unit with rainbow day.  We are making a Rainbow Hair book and Pete the Cat.  I will try to post about those this weekend!

Happy Friday!!

I made this!

I like to think of myself as a crafty person, but I don't know if I completely qualify.  I get all these wonderful ideas and will usually get the supplies for them, but I never seem to fully execute.

I saw a picture on pinterest and thought it was just so adorable and decided to make these for my mother and grandmother with pictures of their grandkids and great-grandkids for Mother's Day.  Guess What???  I did and they turned out so cute I decided I wanted to make one for myself.

This is what I made:

It is a terra cotta pot that I "mod podged" pictures from our family vacation on.  Then I hot glued some ribbon around the top.  I filled it with dry kidney beans and I now use it to hold all my pens, pencils, etc.  I just love the ease of it.  It is so much easier to find the right pen with this rather than a traditional pencil cup.

Have you made anything for your classroom that you just love?


I have tried many different things in the past to reward my students for good behavior or going out of their way.  Our school even has a program where students collect "coins" and then every two weeks the students use the "coins" to purchase something at the school store.  This program is wonderful, but for little five year olds it takes awhile to sink in.  Right now we have started collecting our "coins" but the store hasn't opened yet.

In my quest for something in the meantime, I decided treats would work wonderfully because they can immediately get it so they understand that in that moment they did something great and were rewarded. I am not saying I pass out treats all day long.....just for some important things.

This week we have been working on our stamina for working without talking.  I had some lofty goals, but with the heat this week all we were able to manage was about one minute of quiet working.  I was ok with this because they are still learning and it was terribly hard to focus in the heat!

Once we reached our one minute goal, the whole class received some "brain food" since our brains had just worked really hard.

"Brain Food" is just skittles. :)  Each student received 1 skittle for meeting our goal.  I know it doesn't sound like much, but it was a HUGE accomplishment for these kids and they were thrilled with 1 skittle.

I also have a "Sweet Treats" jar.  My "Sweet Treats" are just different flavored tootsie rolls.  I use this jar when we reach a goal for our data center or students return a really important paper like my back to school packet.

So far, the only reason I have given out these "Sweet Treats" is for returning their Kindergarten Survey and their Back to School Packet.  Our Kindergarten Survey is sent home for parents to fill out so we can get some important information about our students.  My Back to School Packet is all the information about our classroom from birthday treats to behavior to what we will learn.  I have a slip on the back where parents are to signed that they read and understand the packet.

What do you do for positive reinforcement in your classroom?  Do you do something big for your students when they reach certain goals?  I would love to hear!