Friday, May 31, 2013

Tomorrow, tomorrow!! I can't wait for tomorrow!!

YES, it's only a day away! I can't wait for.....

It begins tomorrow!

If you are signed up to post on a chapter.. I can't wait! I'm seriously wiggling in my seat I'm so excited to read what everyone else has. My post is already to go and will be up first thing tomorrow morning. You can post any time during the week for your chapter. I'll make sure to share it here as well and link up to your page. It's going to be awesome!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Work Station Wednesday: What is the difference between work station and literacy center?

So, I can just say that not even all the way into the first chapter of Debbie Diller's Literacy Work Station book and I'm already altering what I'm doing in the fall. I got to page 5 and had to jump on here to start this post!

What is a work station?

It is apparently NOT what I thought it was! My "work stations" are switched out each week and are new activities that I have as a theme around whatever it is that we're doing that week or month.... Gosh, was I off base or what?! A REAL work station is actually a station that use materials that have been used and taught over and over in class ( big books, computer, white boards, over head, etc.) and not new things each week. They are used all year and not changed out each week. They CAN be changed out to reflect new reading levels, topics being studied, or strategies being taught.

I am proud of the fact that I apparently was using my time effectively by meeting with guided reading groups like I was supposed to :) Yay!

In the past two years, I have melded my literacy centers.. which will now be renamed literacy work stations... and Daily 5. My work stations will look more like this:

- Read to Self                    
- Computer            
- Library
- Read to Someone
- Listening        

This was my chart this year. I think I will use a similar set up next year, just with the label 'work stations' so that the students understand they are to be working.. they aren't just at centers. I will definitely still keep the cards though. Love these!

I usually have two literacy work stations for each group to do each day. My goal is to choose other work stations that are not new sheets that have to be done each week. The fewer work sheets the better!


How do you make a kindergartener independent at something new? Model, practice, repeat. Model, practice, repeat. Then you slowly let the kids try on their own. Very much like Math Tubs, you can even have an I Can chart up for students to use.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Packing Up is Hard to Do...

The end of school is always bittersweet. I had a sweet class with a few challenges. They were all hard to say good bye to though. However, as soon as they were gone.... this is what I preceded to do:

I cleared out A LOT of stuff this year!!!! Definitely very proud of myself. By the time I was done, it looked like this:

All stacked up and cleaned up! Well, except for that carpet. G-R-O-S-S!!! How does it get that dirty during the year? Really? Some of those spots... I don't even remember there being something spilled there!

I am proud of the one huge project that I took on during post planning. I know that a lot of Kinder teachers have theme buckets at home. But I do not have the room in my one level ranch house to hold a box for every month. I had to find a different solution to my problem... so.....

I love, love the way that these turned out!!! The months are actually pre-done DJ Inker clip art. The borders were a freebie I found off of Pinterest. They look so great and organized! Let me know if y'all would be interested in these as a freebie. If so, I'll add it to my TPT store for y'all to grab!

Super Summer Reading Line Up

I am so, so very happy (and more than a bit excited) about my upcoming book study for Talking, Writing, Drawing!!! So far here is our plan:

Chapter 1: Storytelling (June 3- 9)
Chapter 2: The Drawing and Writing Book (June 10 - 16)
Chapter 3: Drawing (June 17 - 23)
Chapter 4: The Craft of Drawing (June 24 - 30 )
Chapter 5: Writing Words (July 1 - 7)
Chapter 6: Assessment (July 8 - 14)
Chapter 7: Introducing Booklets (July 15 - 21)
Chapter 8: Moving Writers Forward (July 22 - 28 )
Chapter 9: One Teacher, One Classroom  (July 29 - August 4)

We even have some awesome volunteers to post about some of the chapters. If you want to join in, just leave a comment! There are still several chapters not claimed and if one that is claimed, interests you more... I'm all for double posting! I'm also going to be posting a long and sharing some freebies. I will make sure to link to your page from here!

Chapter 1: Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade
Chapter 2: Sally at Elementary Matters
Chapter 3: Jessica at Fun in Pre-K
Chapter 4: Jessie at The Cornerstone Classroom
Chapter 5: Amanda at Mrs. Richardson's Class
Chapter 6: Nicole at Steele Teaching
Chapter 7: Mechele at Barrow's Hodge Podge
Chapter 8: Angela at The Daily Alphabet
Chapter 9: Cindy from Love Those Kinders

If you post, please post a button to link back here!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Work Station Wednesday

Hey there! Guess what? Today was it! My last day with students! Bring on the summer and all of it's relaxing glory!

Of course, I can't actually believe that I won't be doing something teacher-y this summer.... you guys know me well enough to know that that's true! One of my goals this summer is to read this awesome book:

It's an awesome book (or so I'm told) that many, many people out there have read. I mean, it's Debbie Diller. It's got to be good! I want to make sure that my work stations (literacy stations as I call them) are meaningful AND fun at the same time next year. I also want to reduce paper and grading as much as possible.

For this week, I just want to share with you some of my favorite work stations from this year:

Word work with magnets:

Computer with Pebble Go:

Big Books: (This one did not make it through the year though because students trashed the books.)

Listening Center: (L-O-V-E the wireless head phone system!!!

What is your favorite work station?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Happenings

With only 4 days left of school (EEEKKK!!!) I am completely in the 'think-ahead-to-what-I'm-doing-this-summer' mode. Are you? Well, here's what I'm thinking. I want to delve into two books this summer. I typically want to do some type of teacher learning (you know I'll be coming up with stuff all summer, who am I kidding?). I'm hoping that you might want to get in on the action too!

I am going to be delving into this super awesome book:

Talking, Drawing, Writing is an EXCELLENT book that the my grade level read the year before I joined the Kindergarten team. But we've been talking a lot since Common Core was implemented this year. This book will definitely help with creating purposeful and engaging lessons that focus on talking (or discussing as CC says), drawing, and writing. I am so excited! I'm planning on posting about each chapter and maybe even offering freebies all summer long. There are 9 chapters in the book which is perfect for the summer.

Would you like to post along with me? Sign up by leaving a comment! You can choose to do one chapter or all of the chapters. The more the merrier! I will be sure to link to your page each time I post at the beginning of the week.

Chapter 1: Storytelling (June 3- 9)
Chapter 2: The Drawing and Writing Book (June 10 - 16)
Chapter 3: Drawing (June 17 - 23)
Chapter 4: The Craft of Drawing (June 24 - 30 )
Chapter 5: Writing Words (July 1 - 7)
Chapter 6: Assessment (July 8 - 14)
Chapter 7: Introducing Booklets (July 15 - 21)
Chapter 8: Moving Writers Forward (July 22 - 28 )
Chapter 9: One Teacher, One Classroom  (July 29 - August 4)

I can't wait to see what everyone else's thoughts are!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Week in Pictures

It's been a crazy week for the past week (not just school week). I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day! We spent an awesome day with my in-laws. My own little kiddos were adorable. Still, a sad day for me since my own mom passed away in January. I'm excited to show you what else I've been up to lately though!

At the end of last week we spent some time working with non fiction. We've learned this year WHAT it is and HOW it looks. But this time they got to read it, experience it, discuss it, AND respond to it! They know so much about Bald Eagles now :) 

We read from a class set of National Geographics. Our school has an AH-MAZING science teacher who houses a whole bunch of these for all the teachers to pull from as resources. There are two different levels (essentially lower grades vs upper grades). 

My lap top decided to become a monster and refuse to work! Not a good thing since our grades are due today! I also have ESOL plans, GKIDS, and a ton of other technology based tasks to accomplish!

So, what have you been up to this week?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The results are in.... Chapter 7: Raising Citizens of Tomorrow

It is often forgotten that we are not teaching reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. We are teaching tiny humans. Cute littles. These littles will grow up to be people like us one day. People with jobs, families, littles of their own, and they will have to interact with others. What we are creating are CITIZENS. It's our job to help them learn how to do all of these things in order to be productive.

Mariah's last chapter of her book addresses this and I think it might just be the most important of her entire book. She has great suggestions for different books and activities:


Chrysanthemum is always a beginning of the year read for me. It addresses so many different lessons for the kids! Our counselor uses The Crayon Box that Talked as a lesson near the middle to end of the year so that the kids learn about the impact of their words. It's awesome!

Mariah Bruehl has her amazing Put Ups and Put Downs e-course going on right now that is P-E-R-F-E-C-T for this lesson! And I know of at least one very lucky lady who will get to see the goodies!

Congratulations Barbara from Grade ONEderful! I've sent you an e-mail so you can claim your prize!!! Y'all stop by and leave her some love!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! A gift to you from me :)

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! I hope you eat lots of yummy chips and salsa and drink down a couple of margaritas too! Summer is almost here! To celebrate... a gift from me to you!

That's right... my ENTIRE store is on sale for you! Click the picture to head over and check it out!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chapter 6: Growing Globally... Me on the Map Freebie!

Growing Globally.. definitely a hefty topic when you think about kindergartners who are developmentally the most egocentric of littles! I loved how Mariah suggested that you should provide them with a map that they can point out where they are, where they have been, or where they are going. I am definitely looking for a great map to have up permanently next year. We have one of the pull-down deals over our white board. I have been in my classroom two years and have never used it! Yikes, that's bad!

Anyways, we study Me on the Map as a unit for our Social Studies. The students have to learn about where they live, differences between city/county/state/country, and be able to discuss them. Veeeery difficult!

Since I looooove a good art project, I have used this great project over at Finally in First:

I also add a smaller circle for the kids to draw themselves:

Click the picture above to be linked to my resource page that I add to my stacks.

Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway from Playful Learning! I will be putting up my last blog post tomorrow and adding the winner!

Chapter 5: Art and Artists.. Don't forget the Giveaway!

Growing up, I thought that I would grow up to be an artist with Audrey Hepburn style... lots of long seesions painting in my black capris and boat necked sweaters.. Great image right?

Fast forward 15 years... well... we all know what I do now :) I still love art though. With two toddlers though, I tend to look at it on-line more than ever actually go to shows and what not. But one of my favorite things is to teach my kiddos about art and let them create!

Last summer I shared over at Teaching My 3 about this chapter. It's definitely still my perspective/opinion, even after rereading the chapter. I thought I would re-share my thoughts:


One of the images that grabbed me about Playful Learning was the front cover. I know we always say," Don't judge a book by it's cover." But, man, oh, man, what a cover!! It's actually one of my favorite things about this book. I love how it draws and invites you it. That's exactly what art should be to a student or child.

After reading this chapter, I have changed the way that I question my students and my own children. Instead of looking at a drawing and asking "What is it?" change it to "Can you tell me more about your drawing?"

Today was the first day of school, which is also why this post is a tad delayed (sorry!!!), but I found myself questioning my students with "What can you add to your ____?" One of my students (I really wish I had caught the process on film!) started with a big swirl of blue that was her swimming in the pool. Our conversation continued:

Me: Were you in the pool?
S: Yep (adds a stick figure person)
Me: Great! Is your pool inside or outside?
S: Outside
Me: Awesome! What can you add to your picture to let me know that?
S: I know! A sun, and a sky,and ground!

It was simple, two minutes but the effect that it had on my pumpkins paper was fantastic!

I wish I had an awesome freebie to give to everyone, but this one is a toughie which it really is more about how you get your students to discover art through exploration. This year I am adding an art center to my room so that I have an actual spot for the students to explore with stickers, stencils, scissors, glue, etc. Way more than what I did last year of simply putting out too little paper in a rush. Each year we improve for the better with our students!

How do you add in your art time with your class?

Don't forget about the great giveaway of two spots to Mariah Bruehl's Put Ups and Put Downs e-course. I'm love it!! Just leave a comment.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Chapter 4: Scientific Investigations.. Freebie!

When we think about science, we usually think about the experiments like this:

Mariah Bruehl breaks down scientific investigations into: theories, observation, and scientific process. Some of the best science that I have had with my kids this year has been through research though. My kiddos L-O-V-E-D learning about animals... so we integrated (love that word!) our science with our informational writing!

I brought in one of our schools' mobile lap top carts to research their choice of animal on Pebble Go. (Have you scene Pebble Go? You should totally get your schools to look into it! It's AH-mazing!)

My kids had a blast checking out their animals and using their learning to fill out their writing organizers. I have permission from my fellow coworker to share her awesome graphic organizer that we used for our entire informational writing unit!

I hope you enjoy! Remember to leave a comment on a post this week so that you are entered into our giveaway for two spots in an ecourse!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chapter 3: Mathematicians at Work... Giveaway Update!!

I love to teach math in Kindergarten. Most children seem to come in with some understanding of the basics: shapes, colors, and maybe some numbers. They are so excited to learn how to build on to that knowledge that they already have.

It still tickles me to no end to see how my kiddos play with each of the new math tools at the beginning of the year. They are always so creative with their free explore! Mariah Bruehl is all about breaking down a child's learning by levels. I completely agreed with her in this chapter. Throughout the stages they move from concrete thinkers (1:1 correspondence, shape sorting, etc.) to abstract thinkers (addition, subtraction, comparing numerals, etc.).

Math tools are a H-U-G-E part of children learning to move from concrete to abstract. So... since I love to see in other's rooms, I thought you might like to see into a corner of mine!

Now, since these are in use almost every day of the school year, it's not nearly as neat as it is at the beginning of the day. Now there are several things that I pointed out that we use ALL the time! The labels definitely help students but I can't claim credit since the teacher before me did ALL the labeling of math tools! Our math tubs are amazing! We use the Debbie Diller: Math Work Stations as a jumping pad for putting these into practice last year. So great!

I love using the blue and yellow box items. Those boxes contain everyday items that kids may or may not get to be allowed to touch: house keys, nuts and bolts, sea shells, etc. They are great for sorting textures, materials, counting, etc... the list doesn't stop! There is a huge spot on my shelf for activity mats... they are pretty impressive looking items... just not something that I use a lot of. The other teacher seemed to use them a TON.... me? Not so much. I need to be better about math small groups next year and can use them then. I tend to leave some items presorted for specific games and activities. 

How about a freebie? I have shared about my great math unit that aligned with The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

To give you a sneak peek, click below and grab a free measurement activity!

Make sure to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for a spot in Mariah's ecourse for you and one for a friend!

I'm linking up with Kindergarten Works! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oh my, oh my! I've been highlighted!

I promise to have another great post up this afternoon about Playful Learning but I just had to share! I've been highlighted over at Kindergarten Works!


I am so beyond tickled that she highlighted my science experiment from E day last week! It is definitely one of my favorites. Plus it's awesome to know that Leslie has even seen by blog. She's on my list of blog-royalty :)

Check out the post here and leave some love :) :