2014 - Mrs. Jones's Kindergarten

Easy fall bulletin board

Hey everyone! It is FALL, people! :)

 Now that the back to school rush and excitement are a thing of the past, we are all immersed in the trenches of curriculum. That leaves little time for the "extras" we all know and {cough} love. 
Things like...oh, hallway bulletin boards.  
Ain't nobody got time for those! 
I'm here with a quick and easy fall bulletin board idea that can be adjusted for just about any grade level. 
Did I mention how quick and easy it is?
And best thing of all... you can put it up in October and it will last thru Thanksgiving!

Fall book recommendations!

1. I had my kids pull an image from Amazon of their book recommendation and paste it in to Powerpoint. 
(Primary friends could give you the name of their book and you could have a parent or aide help with this.)

2. They made a text box with their name and fancied up the font. 

3. Print. 

4. Glue or staple to a piece of construction paper. 

5. Add some leaves or raffia.


Here is what mine looked like up close:

Easy, right? 
And... we have gotten a lot of "interaction" with it-- kids stop all day long to look and I even saw a few writing some titles down! *Score!*

Have a great Sunday!


This & That

Hey everyone! 
Good news... we are in the second week of 5th grade.... and... 

I AM ALIVE!!! (!)

Actually, alive & IN LOVE!
 No, really. L.O.V.E.!!!

I am seriously having a moment.

It may be the honeymoon stage, or whatever, but 5th grade is seriously so. much. fun! 
The kids are big, yes.

But I can actually have CONVERSATIONS with them.
Yes, all my kindergarten teacher friends. 
REAL conversations. With the kids. 




The can do things INDEPENDENTLY. 
Seriously, I forgot kids can do that the first 5 months of school.

(one more thing)

I don't feel like I got run over by a semi when I get home from work!
Seriously, good stuff here, people!!

Okay, since we are being honest here, I have to list the cons.

None of the kids have told me how much they love me,
and I have only gotten like 2 hugs since the first day of school.

the year is still young. :)

Anywhoo, I am sorry that I don't have lots of great pictures to share...
 BUT, I did manage to snap a few as I was walking out the other day.

Random, yes.

But fun nonetheless! :)

 My welcome back Instagram door!
The kids drew selfies the first day of school.

Close Reading Anchor Chart. We are learning about Human Rights and doing LOTS of close reading.

Random side note: See that pencil sharpener? It's a School Smart Electric Sharpener.
Going on 3 years and STILL GOING STRONG. It's from Amazon and you can get it here.
Worth every penny!  

Have a great week!

Before + After Classroom Pics!

So we went back for meetings, meetings, meetings this week, but in between I put the finishing touches on my room and plans... and I am proud to say, I am READY! The kids come back on Tuesday!
 Just wanted to throw a few before and after pics up so you can see how it all came together. 

MY... it was HARD, people! I went from a HUGE Kindergarten room to a TINY big kid room!
I felt that I accomplished my goals of making my classroom into a bright, organized place where I could feel happy going for 9 hours, 5 days a week. ;)

The first picture shows as you walk in the door. I tried to keep everything they need in the morning in one spot with easy access. 

Here is the opposite side of the room-- teacher desk and a rocking chair hanging out.... which is now a small group table with a rug and easel. 

Here is another view of the same corner... now with a table in the middle and some organizational supplies on the front shelf. I wanted to paint that baby but never found the time. The Chalkboard Cursive letter cards I made to match everything. 
This is looking back at my desk area.

This bulletin board will be filled with anchor charts in the coming weeks. 
I tried to fit as much as I could into a tiny space-- our daily schedule, class jobs, lunch count, sign out, and morning routine reminders.  The heading poster I made, and a shot of the fantastic desk skirt my mom's friend Kathryn made for me. (She also did the curtains.)

The shelves were all sorts of ugly so I just covered the front part of each one with some neon washi tape. Much better!  The next picture shows their mailboxes and turn-in bins for each subject area.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed these photos!

It's going to be a BRIGHT year!

August 19th. It's crunch time here on the East Coast.  T-minus 2 weeks until school starts!

Teachers are busy prepping their rooms and planning for the new year. 
Some are just refining and sprucing up their old rooms--which is always fun because you know what works and what you'd like to change a little. All those doing that, raise your hand!

 Some teachers are moving rooms, moving grade levels... starting from scratch with a blank canvas for an exciting new year. 
All those in that boat, raise your hand. 
*hand raised*

Yep... I am not teaching Kindergarten this year!  In fact, I am not even CLOSE to teaching primary this year.  I'll give you a hint...

YEP!  I am teaching 5th grade this year!
...And I am super excited with a teensey side of nervous! Not nervous about teaching "big" kids...because I did teach in intermediate for 8 years before moving to K. Nervous because the curriculum is SO different from Kindergarten! My type-A does not do well with the "unknown" so I have been spending lots of time on my year-long plans and mapping everything out to wrap my head around it all. 
It will be good. No, it will be better than good. :)

So, one more thing.
Maybe you noticed the fab new fancy blog design. Maybe you noticed my header at the top went from "Mrs. Jones's Kindergarten" to "Mrs. Jones's Class"...
Well, I want to tell you that I will CONTINUE to blog about primary ideas for teachers (because you guys are all my loyal readers and I do NOT want to upset you)...
I will be sprinkling in some posts that will touch on stuff for older kids too. Because, well... I AM excited about this and I want to share cool things from my 5th grade classroom too!

I hope you will stick with me!

As a celebration of my new adventure, I made some cute tags to stick on highlighters for my incoming big kids. My primary friends could use them with glowsticks, finger lights, or sunglasses! 


Routines, Routines, Routines!

Woot woot!  This post was featured on the TpT blog! You can see it here

Never underestimate the importance of teaching routines. In every classroom and every grade level... but ESPECIALLY in Kindergaten. And in Kindergarten, we teach them, model them, practice them, talk about them for, oh... 180 days (give or take a few) and just when you think they have it..... BAM! Nope, back to the drawing board and you teach, model, and practice them again. 

A few years ago, I was moved to Kindergarten after teaching in intermediate for 8 years. And let me tell you, I TOTALLY did not prepare myself for teaching all of these things... I remember thinking, don't they know how to get A paper towel (i.e. not 500) when they wash their hands? NOPE. You've got to teach them! 

And so... I made this list of all of the routines and procedures that I teach my Kinders every year. 
This list could also work just fine for First Graders too (because we know they forget over that long summer break!)! 

routines and procedures for kindergarten, back to school kindergarten

I put the list on a clipboard, and highlight them as I go. 
I hope you find it useful in your Back to School Planning!

If you are looking for some more help for Back to School this year, you may want to check these babies out!

First Day of Kindergarten Lesson Plans... HELLO sanity saver! :)

I have used the Name Activities in my classroom for a few years now, and the Printable Pack is printed and ready to go as we speak! First few weeks are done! :)

Enjoy your summer, teachers!

GoNoodle!! Have ya heard?!

Okay ya'll, this is serious!! Have you HEARD of GoNoodle yet? If you are a brain-breaking classroom, then let me tell you, you are in for a serious treat. And I'm not even kidding. And if you are one of the lovely teachers that I work with, then you know that I am always emailing the staff with some annoying email about another fun brain break website that I found. BUT THIS ONE TAKES THE CAKE. (for real). SO DELETE ALL THOSE OTHER EMAILS AND SAVE THIS ONE.
Yes. This is me in my sweet GoNoodle t-shirt. All the cool kids have one. 
Which is really fun and all, except I made the mistake of wearing it to school
Now my kids are asking me every day "Mrs. Jonesssssss... why aren't you wearing your GoNoodle t-shirt??!" and "Can you tell my mom to get me a GoNoodle t-shirttttt
and all that. Sorry parents!

GoNoodle is like the brain-breaking mecca. It combines all sorts of get-up-and-move brain breaking fun with academics, motivation, and even calming and stretching built right in. Best of all... it is FREE and SIMPLE to use! Did you hear? FREE! All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a projector or white board.

Here is how it works:

Earn points to boost your champ to the next level by brain breaking. 
He morphs with each level change-- guaranteed to make your kids go BANANAS!

Here is our guy...
However just today, our good ole' champ Freckles was MAXXED OUT. Did you hear the screams coming from room 109? Thought so. That was Freckles reaching his highest level because, well, we are that good. And so, we voted on a new champ. Voting was serious. But it came down to the winner.... which I can't remember its name because I was really attached to Freckles and so it's going to take a while for this new one to grow on me. Moving on. 

So after you pick your champ... you just click and get to it! Any time your kids need to get some wiggles out... are dragging and feeling lethargic... need help focusing....transitions... a few extra minutes before dismissal... all perfect brain break times!

Here are some of my sweet little noodles in action.

If you need any more convincing, research shows that short bursts of classroom physical activity improve student performance. It's research people! Do it! Plus it is soooooo much funner than Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. 

If that is not enough to convince you to sign up for a free membership, my blogging buddies at the Primary Chalkboard are hosting a GoNoodle GIVEAWAY!

GoNoodle also offers an exclusive members only area of their site.
You can enter to win a membership here!

Playdoh + Geometry = Fun!

Hey peeps! I have been getting lots of great feedback about our Bright Ideas Link-up... so I joined in again this month to help spread some short and sweet, easy-to-implement teaching ideas that you can use RIGHT NOW!
This month's topic.... daaa daaaa duuhhhh!

GEOMETRY for Little People...using Playdoh and a butterknife!

Super simple and FUN!

Playdoh is perfect for teaching about shapes, sides, and vertices. 
Yes. You must give the "Butterknife Safety 101" course before beginning. 
Once you get that out of the way, pass out the Playdoh, the butterknives, and get into it!

Show the kids how to flatten the Playdoh.

Then carefully use the butterknife to cut straight sides. I showed the kids on my doc camera a how to cut a shape and had them copy me. After a while they were making shapes and having their friends tell them them name. Super fun, lots of smiles, and learning at the same time!

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Teachers Pay Teachers! :) 

Don't forget to visit the Link Up below for more Bright Ideas!


Earth Day for little people

Hey ya'll! I'm one of those "Earth Day every day" people. I am a stickler for reusing, recycling, and trying to live as green as I can. Needless to day, I {heart} Earth Day!

Are you interested in becoming a little more "green" too? It is really not that hard, and just a few little changes to your daily routine can help.

One bigger change I made last year was that I joined an organic CSA. A CSA is an acronym for Crop Sharing agriculture. Basically, we buy a "share" of a local organic farm. Ours is small and family owned. We pay a yearly fee and each week in the summer season (May-October) we get a big ole' box of organic produce that is grown and harvested right at our farm. We also visited a few times last year to pick. We are eating healthier, and feel good that we aren't contributing to unnecessary chemicals being added to our food and our earth. Here are some pictures of our weekly goods, as well as from our trips to the farm. What is better than pulling your own carrot from the ground, wiping it off, and eating it! :)
I would highly recommend googling "CSAs" in your area and looking in to it!

Back in the classroom, I like to show my kids how we can be green a little "greener" to help the Earth too!
I created this Earth Day mini-unit to show my little ones the importance of Earth Day, every day! 

Included is this super cute Mosaic Earth Day craftivity, which you can use some some of those scraps of construction paper up with. 

You can find it here in my TpT shop. 
Peace, love, and green!


Writing goals

In Kindergarten, we spend the first half of the year teaching about the basic mechanics of storytelling and writing.... that our pictures and ideas can tell a story!

Once we learn these basics, we start to hone our skills one skill at a time. We begin with correct capital usage, learn to use finger spaces, use sight words in our writing, about the different kinds of punctuation, and really practice stretching out our words.  After all of these skills are taught and practiced, I assess who needs to work on what and keep track of their goals on this chart:

I conference with a different table of 4-5 students each day. We talk about their goal, and I look back to previous days work to see if they are applying the skill independently. If so, we decide on a different goal. Nothing scientific, but it works and its easy for Kinders to understand! At the wrap-up of each lesson, I ask them to assess whether or not they met their goal on that given day. They give a quick thumbs up/thumbs down. The chart itself is super simple to make, and I just use post-its cut in half for their names. Easy peasy!

Building Reading Stamina in Kindergarten!

Building stamina takes lots of work in any grade level. In Kindergarten, our stamina goals change throughout the year... in September our goal might be to sit and listen at the carpet for 1 minute, by October it might be to work at a table task for 5 mintues... you Kinder teachers get me. BABY STEPS. Well, once we begin to for-real read, we start working on our reading stamina. Our district has a goal of 20 minutes of independent reading by the end of K. We are getting there, people!

I've had a few tricks over the years I've tried to help kids attend to print and keep pushing through. So far this year we've already used witch fingers, silly straws, princess wands, and swizzle sticks. If you haven't tried any of those, grab some at the Dollar Spot!

Next on deck are these *magic* reading wands! (Pros: Easy to make, cost pretty much nothing... Cons: The eyes fall off, so have extras ready.) Super easy to make and they remind kids to "Keep their eyes on the words". 

The latest craze though are these finger lights.  (Pros: HIGH engagement and focus, easy to use, relatively cheap on Amazon...CONS: Lights don't last forever so get extras because these will be VERY popular!)

We use them for lots of things... independent reading, reading groups, and when kids are finished with their center work they can grab a finger light to help them stretch out and read all of their words or sentences. Can we just say LOVE!  I even use them for pointing out words on my chart paper. Turn off the lights, grab a finger light for yourself and have your students practice reading whatever you point to.

Grab them with Prime shipping here:

And last but not least... who doesn't love a challenge?! Enter: The Reading Stamina Challenge. We started to track our stamina on this chart last week. We had the "team" talk, and about how everyone has to be doing their part during reading time to stay focused in order to fill in another bar on our chart. Now, this does make the kids get all crazy and want to get right to 20 on day one. But we talk about how stamina must be built and practiced, and that it's not just a one-time thing. We will get there and then have a big ole celebration when we do. :)


Drive-by Penguin Post! {DBPP}

Totally sorry for this DBP, but I am knee-deep in report cards, lesson planning, thinking about our wacky weekend ahead, and praying for a cold day tomorrow!

We began our penguin unit last week--and  it's a great topic to get the kids familiar with fiction and non-fiction books. The kids absolutely LOVE Tacky the Penguin!

Love how our bulletin board came out!
Annnnnnd that's it! Peace <3 p="">
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