Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cyber Monday! And Tuesday!
Save on my TeachersPayTeachers store December 1st and 2nd. 

20% off everything!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


We have been having some fun with Monsters this week. Kids love monsters.....right? They do if they are funny looking and let the kids act super silly. Here are some activities we did this week:
Aren't they cute? The kids LOVED making these. And they were so easy. I ran off the Monster Mask template (here) onto colored cardstock. I chose cardstock because I knew that they would get played with and needed to stand up to wear and tear. The kids cut them out. I cut out the mouth once they cut out the head (I just folded it in half slightly and made a happy smile). The kids cut out their eyes. I let them choose 1, 2, or 3 eyes and they got to create. I had a bunch of spot stickers hanging around so I gave each kids a sticker sheet and they went to town. Needless to say, my class was ROARING loud after these were done. It may be loud, but it was fun! (Not to mention the added bonus of working on those fine-motor skills....shhhhh....)
 This is a cute painting activity. Student got to watercolor their monster however they wanted and then wrote of the color words down on their writing sheet to match their picture. (Trust me, some kids wanted to write red even though their monster was blue). We talked about what words would make sense to match our pictures. I got the monster coloring pages from The Education Center, but any monster would do. Click here to grab the writing page. 

Purple People Eater Hat!

 The one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater!
This is a fun hat we made after singing the song and watching the video on KidSongs 
Cut the band from tagboard or butcher paper. I ran all of the pieces on purple cardstock, except for the eye. The kids glued the eye and horn and I stapled the wings on. They are super cute!

Have fun with your little monsters!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Literacy Centers Week 1

Week 1 of my literacy centers went well. Due to the Labor Day holiday and the absolutely insane Tuesday following, I was lucky to get any centers in at all! Here is a look at the four  literacy centers I rotated last week.
 For this center students had an ABC chart and ABC beads. I chose to give them only capital letter beads because our goal is to be able to name all of the capital letters by the end of September. The chart can be used for just about anything, including dry erase writing. Just print it out on paper and stick it in a sheet protector. Easy enough. My students really enjoyed this center and were even upset if they didn't have enough time to finish their chart. Grab the chart here.

 Dry Erase Letter Trace
 These are tracing sheet from the Moffatt Girls. I put these in sheet protectors and ringed 3 sheets together so that students could go on to another page when they were done.

Clothespin Capital and Lowercase Match
 I found these cute ABC matching cards on Pinterest for free from teaching Mama. You can see them on Pinterest here.

ABC Lacing Cards
My class this year really needs a lot of extra support in fine motor skills. I am using lacing cards to build up those fine motor skills. This is a cute set by Melissa and Doug that I found on a camping trip by Hearst Castle. The kids like it, and the cards are made of strong wood so they wont rip or bend.

Pencil Boxes
You are probably seeing my students' pencil boxes in these photos. Their pencil boxes have their name-tag on it and their group picture. This month (September) we are apple groups. I have four groups (red, yellow, green and blue apples.......yes, blue one said it had to be real). My students carry their pencil boxes around the room so that they always have what they need. Their pencil boxes have lids that close. And they always remember what group they are in by looking at their picture. Each month I change the theme. October will be nocturnal animals.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Challenge

Welcome back to all you exhausted teachers out there. Labor Day is officially over and we are now in a place where the real teaching can begin. And when I say "we are in a place" I mean my class has finally calmed down enough that I can start to get down to the real nitty-gritty: The ABCs!

I expect all of my Kinders to be able to name all capital letters by the end of September. Can this happen? For the high, medium high and medium student, yes. And for my high students, it already has happened. Now it is time to get to the ones who need constant ABC exposure. All morning, over and over until they know that "M" and "N" are actually two different letters....go figure!

I am challenging myself this year by trying really, really hard to master the art of:

Usually I am not too fond of literacy centers because I like complete control at all times. But, after the SDE I Teach K! National Conference, I feel like I am ready to loosen the grip on my control and give it a try. I will be documenting my progress on these centers each week, updating you on my success (or complete failure). I feel that I can master this challenge with a lot of practice and good ideas. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

First Week Back!

Hi everyone! We are back to school here in California. I am done with my first week of Kindergarten. Only one more week to go until my students are somewhat independent. I don't know about you, but it seems like the first two weeks just get harder every year! Once the first two weeks are over I can get down to some real teaching.

I have started using the DeeDee Wills and Deanna Jump Guided Math units. I LOVE them! I mean it. I LOVE them. If you have time, check out what they are on TpT. They are an excellent supplement to any Kindergarten math program. My students love them too. Math time is their favorite part of the day (except for dress-up.....)!

Here are somethings we did this week, along with some pics of my classroom this year. I like to change it up every year. Keeps it fresh for me.
Capital letter name page

 This our capital letter name page. Each child gets their own personal capital letter. I don't know about you, but I have many students coming to Kindergarten writing their names in all caps. It drives me crazy, so I try and emphasize that we have 1 capital letter in our name (most of the time anyway).  This year I had students put small stickers inside their letter. I had a million left over from last year and I thought it would be a nice way to use them. You could also have them glue tissue paper in the letter, small objects like sequins or beads. I wasn't ready to break out the white glue, so we used stickers.
Big Head Self-Portraits
Aren't these adorable? These are self-portraits! Yep, this is how they see themselves. Amazing every time! Each child made one and practiced writing their name. I like to use a highlighter and have them trace it. In the beginning it is hard to trace on dotted lines. I also like to attach name writing practice to bigger activities. I think it makes it more meaningful. You can grab this cute template here so your students can make their own self-portraits.

Below are some pictures of my classroom this year. I thought I would share.
Rug area

As seen from the back of the room.

Objectives Board

My math board. I hang the cards from the Wills and Jump Guided Math units so I have them handy. I always lose things right as I need them. This way I have everything at my fingertips.

My reading board. The left has my Focus Board. This is for letter fluency. We read the letters (left to right, top to bottom) as quickly and correctly as we can. I have our alphafriend and how to write the letter of the week. The red rectangle will hold our weekly sight words. 

That is some of the classroom. I also have a writing wall (It has nothing on it yet) and an "Amazing Artists" wall (also, nothing on it yet). I will post pics of those soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Color Poems

Every year, at the beginning of Kindergarten we begin learning the color words. If you are like me you own the color word CDs and sing them over and over until you can't stop. Then you sing them at home, in the shower, in your head all the time! The good news is: They work! Kids learn how to spell their color words very easily when they learn it in song. (Funny, that actually works for almost anything.)

I was growing tired of my old color word poem charts in my classroom and decided to make new ones. I thought I would share. Enjoy! They are a FREEBIE!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Make the Letter

There is a big difference between the fine motor skills of a Transitional Kindergarten student and a Kindergarten student. Many TK lack the pre-writing skills needed to benefit from tracing on a dotted line. I had one little girl in my class last year who just couldn't do, no matter how hard she tried. What she could do what trace on a highlighted letter. (I hope you have all tried using a highlighter for tracing, because it is AMAZING for the kids who need extra support in fine motor skills!) And she could stay with in the lines of a letter outline.

I could not print out a highlighted paper without a crazy scary ink bill, but I could prepare letter outlines for my TK students in advance. This mini packet here is called Make the Letter and it is all about staying inside the letter outline to get the fingers and brain working together. Check it out.
These are half sheets because many students just aren't ready for a whole sheet of paper. I also don't want to waste a whole sheet of paper. Students can trace inside the letter outline and write the letter on their own. They can color the super cute pics from Pink Cat Studio (amazing, again!) and get the extra practice in that they need. You could also laminate these or put them into sheet protectors to have students use with dry erase markers. I have mine in sheet protectors with dry erase markers in a binder. This is something they can do at "Choice Time". These will also work with Pre-K students.

Happy Writing!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Our Class Rules

I am having to replace a lot of things I have gathered throughout the years. They don't last forever! One thing I am having to replace (and improve) is my rules poster. I use this rules poster as a reference that all students can "read". Just because Kinders can't read words, doesn't mean they can't read pictures. This chart reminds them of what they should be doing in class with a picture and two words they will have memorized by the end of the week. I enlarge this to poster size in my classroom so that if a student is having a hard time with one of our rules I can ask them to read the rules about eyes, or ears, etc. It comes in handy every single day!
If you would like to use this in your classroom, daycare or homeschool please feel free to download it here. It is a freebie!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Science Journal: Pond Animals

My Science Journal: Pond Animals is here! Take a look at TpT and at these wonderful activities to do with your preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten or homeschool kids!

Some books I recommend are.

The Dark, Dark Night by M. Christina Butler

Pond Babies by  Cathryn Falwell

Growing Frogs by Vivian French

I hope you and your students enjoy learning all about the pond! It is a fascinating place for kids.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Classroom Rules

Managing a Kindergarten classroom takes a lot of discipline. Making sure your students learn the rules at the beginning of the year is time consuming, but so important. Here are three posters I place around the room for my students to have a visual reminder of their expectations throughout the day.
I keep these posters in the areas I need them the most. Table Rules go on the white board, so that if I am teaching whole group I can remind those who are not doing a good job how to do better. I place the Rug Rules next to the rug area, within arms reach of reminding students how to sit and listen. I place the Line-Up Rules on or next to the door so I can remind students how their line should look before we exit the room.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Behavior Calendars 2014-2015

Behavior Calendars 2014-2015

Here are the 2014-2015 Behavior Calendars. I use these as my way to communicate to parents how their child is behaving in class each day. This pack includes August 2014 - July 2015. There are two versions of these calendars. One is a Happy Face/Sad Face form and the other is the Green/Yellow/Red Color form. You can choose which works for you in your classroom. I use the happy face form because it is easier for me to draw happy faces than color in squares. But, some teachers at my school have students color in the squares (this happens in 1st grade). Also included in this pack is my strategy for dealing with exceptionally difficult behavior with my "Star Sheets" and letters to go home explaining the child's behavior for the day. There are letters for sad faces, uh-oh faces and even for happy faces!

I want students to be rewarded for doing a good job. This does not mean I need to let them win a prize or even get a sticker. Just knowing that I appreciate their good day and their parents will see how great (or not so great) their day was can be reward enough. It definitely keeps my students aware of their actions. No one wants to go home with an uh-oh face. 

If you think you could use this in your classroom (and who can't?) go check it out in my TpT store.

Thanks! And I hope your classroom behavior is great! (Or at least better than before!)

DonorsChoose: Organize My Kindergarten!

I have a DonorsChoose item up! If anyone is able to donate, I am asking for chair pockets for my Kindergarten class. I would like to be able to have my students keep all of these Common Core materials they will need for the coming school year ready and available at all times. I know it will help me save time when it comes to passing things out and teach my students personal responsibility. Take a look at my project!

Thank you to all who support education. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kindergarten Shapes

I have a new shape unit for this coming school year. This unit can be used in both Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten! Every year I am frustrated with the type of activities I have for teaching flat and solid shapes. I never have everything I want to teach all on one page. So, I made some! Each shape study page has a sentence, a tracing element, a picture element and a writing element. It is my hope that by using all of these elements together in one lesson the information will sink in faster and make more sense in comparison with solid shapes.

Each shape has it's own shape study page. There are also several bonus activities throughout the unit. There are posters for each flat and solid shape and a fun shape cracker mini booklet at the end. Yum!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Journal Assembly

Bug journals are assembled and ready for kids! I took a couple of pics because I thought it might give my amazing audience a better understanding of what I mean by "journal."


1. My Science Journal - copied and ready. (Remember, you can use any of the animals in the journal...or all of them.)

2. 12x18 construction paper

3. Stapler

4. White Glue
Gather your stuff 

Folder 12x18 construction paper in half.
Insert journal pages
Staple 3 times along the edge
Use the white glue to adhere the cover. (Make sure you really get the edges.)


Friday, April 18, 2014

Ocean Classroom

Well, we are almost done with our ocean unit. We are going on a field trip to the Aquarium on Wednesday and finally get to see the animals we have learned about. Here are some pictures of the classroom:

 This what our classroom looks like from the outside. There is blue cellophane on the window, but it is kind of hard to see. It makes the whole room look blue on the inside, which is kind of fun and oddly calming for the kids. A lot of our animals are "swimming" in the window.

 Here are the seashells I put out for observation during this unit. These are my shells and I tell the kids that they are special to me and that I need them to take care of them. They can use the magnifying glasses to get a closer look. This is something they look at during free time.

 Our ocean animal word wall.

Here is a poster that shows the zones of the ocean. the kids are fascinated by how dark and weird it gets the deeper you go down. The clams on the top come from 

The Deep, Deep. Deeper activity in the word wall picture also comes from their site.

We have had a great time studying the ocean. Can't wait to actually take them there!
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