2013 - Mrs. Jones's Kindergarten

Opinion Writing Ideas + Other Wintery Stuff

This week we forge ahead into our next writing unit... opinion writing! In Kindergarten we start with basic sight word sentences like the ones on my anchor chart, really focus in on what star writers do (spacing, correct capital usage, punctuation, etc.) and then begin to expand our writing using extra supporting details. I really love this unit because I feel like they begin to get it and feel success. Narrative is fun, but I think its so hard for them right at the beginning of the year to stretch their thinking and ideas across many pages. Anyhoo, opinion is where its at! We like to tell our friends how we feel about things ANYWAYS, so it seems more like "talking" which I think the kids relate to.

Last year I posted about my Question Jar and how I use it in our opinion writing unit. Click the photo to take you back to that post where you can get a free download of my opinion writing prompts and some other things!

In other news...
EEEK! For real. Like T-minus 21 days! 

Our directed reindeer drawing came from ARTventurous' blog! Adorbs, right!?
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Phonics goodies!

Hey ya'll! I want to share a little goody that has truly been a labor of love. Seriously, sometimes...when you are working on a unit there are times when your eyeballs feel like they are going to burn up and just can't look at it for one more second! This was NOT the case. I just LOVED making this ULTIMATE Printable Phonics Pack so much that the wheels are already spinning on a math printable pack. :)  It contains SO many print-and-use activities that are ready to go with no prep work required... and covers everything, beginning and ending sounds, syllables, rhyming words, short vowels, long vowels, CVC words, CVCe words, R/L/S blends, beginning and ending digraphs... shew! Over 80 interactive pages where all you need are some crayons, scissors and glue! Easy peasy!


Anywhoo... we are working really hard at recognizing beginning and ending sounds and stretching out words when we write. I even started using Stretchy Snake Words WAAAY sooner than I did last year... (so far with just short a words) and the kids are rockin' it! We are working on learning about all the different sounds that letters make... like the hard and soft c sounds this week!

Enjoy your week everyone! :)
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I Like (Class) Books! *Freebie!*

Do you like to make books with your class? We are rockin' and rollin' with our popcorn words and we love making books to practice them. This week we are learning to read and write the word *like* and we made this little booklet after reading our Big Book, "I Like Books" by Anthony Browne (warning, fuzzy camera shot ahead):
The kids each talked about what kinds of books they liked to read best, then they got a sentence prompt, "I like books about..."  They wrote in the kind of books they like best on the line, and then did a little "snip and say!" They snipped each word off of their sentence, while they said the word out loud. They scrambled the sentence up, then put it back in order.

We worked on some nice illustrations for our book (don't you love the claws?!)

And put them together in a nice, neat little package. 

You can grab a copy of this activity here!


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My First Interactive Math Notebook!

Happy weekend! I'm here to share a fun find and a new item that I am super excited about!

So let's all admit upfront that teachers are supply-aholics. Post-its, note pads, markers... I just about had a heart attack when we got a welcome back gift bag from our principal at the start of the school year with a box of beautiful black sharpies AND florescent colored post its!! Teacher LOVE!

Which leads me to this... where have these been all my life?
See through Post-Its? GENIUS people. Genius. I love them. And we are using them and re-using them all over the place. Here I quartered them and we used them to find letter B's on our poem from our A to Z Poetry Notebook.
But these are a million ways I can think of using these! Big Books! Centers! This may be old news to you though. If it is, feel free to pop my bubble and tell me about how you have been using them in super cool ways for the past 10 years. :)

If that was not exciting enough, I have my brand new My *first* Interactive Math Notebook to share... made exclusively for Kinders! I know you have heard about the latest rage in teaching... Interactive Notebooks. I saw quite a few that were SUPER awesome, but a little bitty too difficult for my kinders to start the year.  So, I decided to make one of my own with easy cuts, simple directions, quick to complete, and ready-to-use for teachers.


I decided that this would be a great tool to use as a quick intro or review to start our math lesson. I now have my kids start math at their tables, we complete our Math Notebook entry, then they come to the carpet for our whole group lesson, usually do some practice together on the smartboard, then I send them back to their seats for independent practice on our lesson of the day. Kindergarten teachers KNOW that with the itty bitty attention span and need for movement- breaking things up is key to their focus and involvement!

Here are a few peeks of the daily activities that we have been working on.:



Each entry comes with an "I can" statement that the kids glue at the top of the page. Within each notebook unit, there are enough entries to cover an entire month of school. My first unit, Numbers 1-5 is up and posted. You can check it out here!
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FINALLY! Classroom pics + Sneak Peek!

So, yeah. I'm crawling out from under the beginning-of-the-year-kindergarten-teacher-rock. Sorry! I realize its been WEEKS since I last posted but ...MY! The beginning of the year kicks your butt! Other K teachers can relate... I totally knew at the end of the year I was going to be giving up my little readers and writers for some brand new little sweeties that would need to start from the drawing board. But, is anyone else with me... you FORGET (or mental block maybe) how hard starting from scratch is! Phew! I think I may finally feel rested and back to my old self again if I can sleep for about 25 hours straight. That aint happenin' any time soon though, so I drink an extra cup of coffee and forge ahead.

So, I'll start with a few classroom pics for ya'll and some color commentary to tell you what its all about. I am super duper lucky to have a beautifully old classroom. Our school was built back in the 1920's and my classroom was actually once the library of the school. There is lots of beautiful woodwork and cupboards, even a fireplace mantle and 2 pews. It's such a neat little place to teach K in.

This is the view from the doorway. My desk is in the far back corner, and that doorway next to it is a HUGE and I mean HUGE walk in closet. It is full of shelves and storage. I *heart* it!

This is where we do our whole group Writer's and Reader's Workshop lessons. The door actually goes to my colleague's room, and its great for socializing during planning time we really don't use it much. Notice church pew #1, the kids love sitting there to read! (Ignore the empty birthday board... it is done now!)

Book Shelves:

Literacy Centers are in each of the 6 rainbow tubs:

This is the view from the back by my desk, and the large carpet is the morning meeting area and where I do my guided reading groups (on the floor). Church pew #2 is for my little friends that need a little alone time to get their work done :) And the mantle is covered up back there by the work box and math center shelves. 

...And my lovely word wall:

So that's where I spend my day! Now for another peek... *EEK!* guess what we are working on in Kindergarten?


Yup! My first interactive math notebook! I wasn't sure how it was going to fly... but the kids are LOVING it! I hope to have month 1 posted in my TpT store this weekend.

Have a great week peeps!
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A to Z Poetry Notebook

Like most kindergarten teachers, we begin our year teaching about letters, their sounds, and how they are put together to make words. In past years I connected each letter to our poem of the week, that was kept in our poetry composition books and used for one of our early literacy centers. It always needed something more, and one of my missions this summer was to think of more meaningful ways to incorporate poetry into our letter study.


Volia! Poetry A to Z was born.  In this pack, you will find 26 whimsical, original poems, that each focus on a letter of the alphabet. After a poem is introduced, students will be able to work on tasks related to the poem in their Poetry Notebook (or Binder). These will be perfectly perfect for center time. Each task sheet to go along with the poem has similar elements, so students can read and work and write in (semi-beginning of the year kinder)-independence.
The Poetry Notebooks of my past life were always kept right in each kinder's book box, and these will too.

Poems are also in full color for you to enlarge and/or laminate for introducing it whole group. I'm going to laminate these copies as we learn them, add them to a ring clip, and put them into a reading center with some fun pointers.

Want a binder version? That works too and is included:

I hope you love this as much as I do! You can find it here!
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Triple F! My randoms for the week!

Here are my 5 random photos and ramblings for the week:

1. I've had a couple of emails recently about sharing what I send home to students before the first day. I DO send home a note to parents introducing myself, as well as a little note to each new child. I DO hand write the notes to each little sweetie, just because, well, nobody writes letters anymore and its important to do. Here is my letter from this year (on the sweetest stationary that one of my lovely parents got for me last year):

2. ABC Hopscotch anyone?  My littles had fun with this outside today. The LMNOP part did trip our sweet daughter up though, and after a few passes she ended up just running through singing "lmnopppp". Way to make it work Reese!

3. Um... can I just say... 
Where have you been all my life?  Honestly, I NEVER HEARD such a thing as teachers having their own laminator until I began my online blogging life. A laminator? Like you have your own? WHY? ... and then... Hmm... How much are they? And after my first pass through, I seriously fell in love. It's so thick and shiny and sturdy! And while we have a lovely staff member that laminates for us at school, she only does it 2 days a week and sometimes, well, there are times when you just need something laminated NOW.  I can't wait to park this bad boy next to my desk. I need to name her. Any suggestions? 
(Sneak peek alert at my new product going up tomorrow!) 

4. Went to a tent sale the other day with my parents and spotted this. Picking it up today and am super excited! Where is it going? I don't know. I think our hallway. Or our bedroom. Or the living room? We will make room. 

5. I also got an email the other day from a lovely teacher who asked if she could find all my anchor charts and ideas in one place. Are you on Pinterest, I ask? You know, the black hole that sucks you in for hours? I pin all of my posts here, so you can scroll through and find what you need. See you there!
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Teacher Stool Makeover! (My first DIY)


Hey everyone! It's Tuesday! But wait-- its almost August! Eek! I don't know about you, but I've managed to not think about school for the month of July-- but when August rolls around, I know I only have 1 month of freedom left (sorry to all of you back in school already). So I'm starting small, with something I don't have to put too much brain power into-- my ugly, yellow, stained teacher stool that has been screaming for a makeover since last year.

So, when I was at Michael's the other day and saw this black and white chevron print, I knew I had to have it! I also picked up these awesomely large bins in sparkly rainbow fashion that I plan to use for literacy centers-- they fit clipboards and paper perfectly so no more folding and bending will be going on in my parts.



Then I got to work! Here's what I had to work with:


I started with my supplies (also you will need a staple gun, but I am afraid of those things so hubby had to handle that part):

Sanded a little bit (although the spray paint I got said this wasn't necessary, I did it anyway because I'm an overachiever like that).

Removed the gross yellow fabric:

Cut and trimmed the new, awesome fabric to fit (I did a double layer inside out so that when this one gets dirty I can just take it off and put the bottom layer on top-- so its cut and everything)

Folded the corners nice and tight!

 Stapled to secure

Sprayed about 10 coats (serious!) to make sure its all covered!

Attached the new cushion, and voila! 

What do you think? I have to say I'm pretty proud of my first DIY! 
Do you have any projects that you are working on?

P.S... I was SO, so lucky to be chosen as the featured teacher in the TpT Newsletter this week. Yay! You can check it out here.
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Top 10 Read Alouds for the first day of K


I know, I know... there are SO many amazing books to choose from! Which ones will help start your year off right? I am here to share my favorite read alouds for the first day, and hope you will share yours too! Without further ado...

1. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This is a must read for me. It's the first book we read every year. We always do a little hand print keepsake for parents to remember their babies' first day of school!

2. Mom, It's My First Day of Kindergarten! by Hyewon Yum
I love this book too. It's about all the "what if's" that kids and parents worry about. This year I read it to my Kinders on the very first day, and it was the very LAST read aloud we had on the last day of school. It was nice to talk about all that we did and learned during the year, and helped bring it full circle. :)

3. No David! by David Shannon
This is a fun read aloud to lead in to talking about the rules of your school and classroom. Another must read for me!

4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
A familiar classic that many kids know and can participate in reading. Make your own tree out of construction paper and use a magnetic board with letters to have your new friends help act it out. 

5. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
This is a sweet story that talks about acceptance and the importance of being proud of who you are... great for 1st grade and beyond. 

6. How Will I Get to School This Year? by Jerry Pallotta
I love to use this book to lead in to discuss how we get to and from school. Its fun to make a class graph or chart to go with it!

7. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
Show the kids how WE get ready for school!

8. The Wheels on the Bus by Raffi
A fun interactive read aloud that your kids will all know and love to help you read! Build up their confidence and participation from the get go. 

9. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.
Predictable and familiar! Well loved by all. 


10.
What is your favorite First Day Read Aloud?
 
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