Friday, September 15, 2017

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Centers

Our first full week of kindergarten is in the books and we had SO much fun. We have been launching Daily Five, began math centers/ math workshop, and read one of my favorite books... Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! We read the story during our "inquiry" science/social studies blocks. By the end of the week, my friends were able to read the story with me!

After the story each day, my class split up into their inquiry groups and went to a center. By the end of the week, they had visited all four centers (we started on Tuesday)!

My small friends had a great time with their centers and learned a lot too! In addition to practicing letter recognition and letter sounds, they also worked on their independence. We do centers pretty much all day so this is really important in my room.

Here is a look at our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom centers!

At the Play Doh alphabet center, students worked with the play doh mats to form each letter. I use play doh a lot in my room, so I wanted to get them working with it right away. They did wonderfully! When we were learning our math centers, I had taught all of my friends to roll their play doh "into a snake" first. They all did it on their own at this center! The play doh mats are awesome and they are from Lakeshore. If you don't have them, you can grab another set that is included in my Chicka Chicka resource.

Bingo Center
Here is our bingo center! I had both upper/lowercase letter cards and beginning word pictures so that my friends could do something appropriate for their level. This isn't just a great center for letter recognition and beginning sounds-- it is also great for working in a group and learning about winning and losing.

Sensory Letter Center
At the sensory letter bin center, students chose letters out of the bin and found the matching letter on their mat. I included more mats then were needed at the center in case they finished early. If they were done with ALL of them, I let them practice making each others names with the letters. I was so proud of how well they worked independently.

Art Center
I love crafts. Any way I can incorporate them into centers, I do! At this center, the kids cut apart their names and glued it to their papers. They wrote their name and counted how many letters are in it. Then we made the top of the palm tree using green paint and handprints! I had taken pictures of them earlier in the week so we glued it on. At the end, they had their very own Chicka Chicka palm tree.

Chicka Chicka BOOM Cards!

In addition to our centers, we did the some Boom Cards! Boom Cards are digital, interactive, self-checking task cards. My kids will be using Boom Cards throughout the year during math centers (math through technology center), Daily Five, and inquiry centers. I have been introducing the cards and how they work this week on the ActivBoard as a whole group. We completed these sets of cards throughout the week and it was so much fun! I can't wait for my friends to start doing them on their own. Here is a video preview of the Chicka cards:

If you are looking to do Chicka Chicka Boom Boom centers with your own class, you can hop on over to my store and check out my resource by clicking the picture below. It includes all of the activities above and more!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Classroom Reveal

My classroom is *almost* ready for my new kindergarten friends! I say almost because for the next few days, i'm sure i'll come up with something else that needs to get done. To be honest with you, when I walked into my classroom last week for the first time since June, there really wasn't a LOT that needed to be done. We are lucky enough to be allowed to leave bulletin boards up, so I could have just organized and called it a day. But for some reason I feel like it's not really a new year if I don't change some things around in my room. So--I created way more work for myself then was ever needed, but at the end it was totally worth it and I love how it turned out.

Here is our guided reading and math table. Our crate seats got a makeover with bright pink polka dot fabric!
These crate seats are a life saver. They created so much extra storage for me! I have six crate seats at my reading table and another six as computer chairs. I store everything from folders to puzzles in them!
Our classroom library is ready to go!
My library is labeled by genre-- not level. I'm not a big believer in sorting books by level. I'd much rather my kids pick out what they're interested in reading. We start launching the Daily Five on the very first day of school, so I have preselected 3-4 books and put them in each child's book box.
This is my second guided reading/math table and the home to our yoga balls :) They are kept in place by pool noodles!
It's hard to tell from the picture... but in addition to names, children have a picture of a fruit tapes on their cubbies. I split my kids up into three groups: pineapples, watermelons, and apples. This is how we will pack up this year-- i'll call one fruit group at a time! :) They are scattered so that the kids aren't on top of one another while they pack up.
You can't tell from the picture, but the scrapbook paper is glitter!

Here is our break corner! :)
Clutter really bothers me-- behind the curtain are shelves where the construction paper and math manipulatives live. The kids will be able to access it, they'll just have to slide the curtain. :) 
Our word wall and kitchen/ play area.
When it's time to play, the kids can just slide the curtains out of the way. Everything is labeled! Woo!
A big goal of mine was creating an organized space where everything has a spot. I also wanted to minimize distractions. I have LOTS of toys in my room, but the shelves are open and it looked cluttered. I grabbed about 3 yards of polka dot fabric and a tension rod and made some curtains!

I also wanted my friends to feel like this classroom is theirs. I created a "you are loved" picture wall by hot gluing clothes pins onto small scrapbook paper. I am so excited to get pictures hung up!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to School with Oriental Trading

Is it really August already? Summer is flying by WAY too fast. Luckily for me, we don't officially go back to school until the first week in September so there are still plenty of beach days left. August is my "prep" month-- I try my best to get things done for my classroom here and there, that way i'm not stuck doing it all at once the week before the kiddos come in.

What's new for this year? Well, I got some pretty awesome stuff from Oriental Trading that is going to make this year even better. By the way, Oriental Trading has a new section of their website called Learn 365-- it's a one stop teacher shop and it is AWESOME! Here's what I grabbed from their store:

Magnetic Ten Frame Answer Boards: Ohhhhh when I saw them I HAD to have them. How perfect are these for math workshop!? There are so many things I can do with them-- numbers 1-20, addition, subtraction, etc. They come in a pack of four, which is the size that my math workshop groups usually are. They also include the double sided counters. I'm really excited to get going with these! I can't wait to share the different activities I am going to do with them. Grab them HERE!

All About Numbers Pocket Chart: Keeping with the math theme, I also grabbed the numbers pocket chart! We always have a "number of the day" that we discuss doing morning meeting and this chart has everything I could ever want. What a great way to teach your kids to see the same number in different ways! I will definitely be relying on this for the first half few months when we learn about the numbers 1-20! Grab it HERE!

Sensory Numbers: Learning to write the numbers 0-20 is something that we focus on throughout the year. As teachers, we know that students learn in all different ways. If we acknowledge this and give them a variety of tools to learn, they can be successful. These textured cards are perfect to help my little ones remember each number. I am planning on using these during math workshop, RTI, and may even put them out at my centers! Grab them HERE!

Sensory Letters: Well, if I was getting the numbers I HAD to get the letters too! Again, these textured letter cards are a great way for students to use their sense of touch to learn. I plan to use these cards during guided reading, RTI, and I will put them out at the word work station for addition practice. Grab them HERE!

Patchwork Owl Bulletin Board Cutouts: Each kindergarten at my school is named after a different animal. We are........ the owls! There are 4 dozen owls and I use them for LOTS of things-- my birthday wall, my classroom door, and labeling. They are so cute! Grab them HERE!

Oriental Trading truly has everything you need to make it a great school year! Head on over to Learn 365 to check it out!

Disclaimer: This post may contain sponsored content, affiliate links or review products. Regardless of this these are 100% my own opinion. 

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Google Classroom for Kindergarten

We've seen lot's of really cool digital resources for Google Classroom and Microsoft One Drive for the big kids. With so many school districts rolling out GAFE (google apps for education) or Microsoft for Classroom, teachers of the littlest learners have a great opportunity to start using it in their own classroom.

When we think "paperless, digital resources" it can be a bit scary. Lets be honest... littles are NOT the greatest typers out there! BUT There are so many awesome resources that aren't formatted for typing!. Your little ones can do "drag and drop" activities where they manipulate objects on the screen. Here's a video example of one of the ones I created for my own students:
If you want that resource, you can grab it HERE
  • Create (or have an IT person at your school create) a shortcut on the computer or iPad to take kids directly to the Google Classroom sign in page.
  • Laminate & give students a "Secret Code" badge with their username and password for Google Classroom. Grab it free at the end of this post :) 
  • Train a few "tech kids" in your room to help anyone having a problem, that way you won't be running over to a computer or iPad when you are working with other students.
  • KNOW your kids CAN do it!
  • Don't let your little ones get left out of Google Classroom or Microsoft One Drive! Encourage admins to make accounts for your kids!

Grab your free "secret code" editable badge's by clicking the picture below!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Oriental Trading and Valentines Day

Is it just me or is this school year totally flying by!? I can't believe we are already almost in February! The time after winter break went in the blink of an eye! Those of you who teach the littlest ones KNOW that prep for Valentine's Day starts super early. There are so many cute activities to do with the kiddo's for this holiday!

I am all about centers in my classroom-- it takes up the majority of our day. My little ones are used to working independently by this point in the year, and all I have to do is quickly explain and activity and send them off!

So... what am I doing for my Valentine's Day centers? I stopped by the Oriental Trading Valentine's Day page to grab some adorable crafts and games to leave at each center. I am loving everything Oriental Trading this year... the crafts and games are so cute and so easy for my Kinders to do on their own!

1.) Love Bug Headband Craft Kit (11.99) Okay so there was NO WAY I wasn't getting this. This is quite possibly the cutest thing I ever could have imagined for a headband craft! My kid's LOVE crowns-- we make them for lots of different things throughout the year, but this one is extra adorable and special! The headbands are easy to assemble and come with self-adhesive foam. I always love when Oriental Trading craft kits come pre-packaged-- SO much easier than having to sort out the pieces and leave a kit for each kid.

I wanted to do more than just have the kids make headbands at this center so I quickly made a "love bug" writing activity! We have been focusing a lot on being kind this year-- and I wanted my kids to write about how they can "spread the love" by being a "love bug!" We are going to brainstorm ideas and i'll make an anchor chart to leave at the center to help them write independently. You can grab a free copy of the "love bug"  writing page by clicking the image below!

2.) Owl You Need is Love Sign Kit (8.99)  This was another "must have" for me! All of our Kindergarten classes are named after an animal. We are... of course... the owls! I wanted the kids to be able to take home a cute gift for their parents, and this was just perfect. The kits include self-adhesive foam and are individually packaged which makes life a whole lot easier! I have gotten such great feedback this year from parents about the take-home gifts we've made from Oriental Trading-- so I figured this was a winner!

3.) Color Your Own Fuzzy Valentines Day Wreaths (7.49) If your class loves to color as much as mine does, than this is perfect! This activity is totally independent and oh-so-adorable. I wanted my kids to be able to take their wreaths home to decorate or give it as a gift. I know this one will be a big hit!

4.) Heart Ring Toss Game (15.99): Who doesn't love a good game!? This ring toss game is great for practicing gross motor skills and I also turned mine into a math game! Each time they get the ring around the heart, they earn one point! I am having them keep track with tally marks. The winner at the end of the center round gets a sticker!

Disclaimer: This post may contain sponsored content, affiliate links or review products. Regardless of this these are 100% my own opinion.