Sunday, September 29, 2013

Color, Color, Color

We have been very busy learning in Kindergarten!

At the beginning of the school year, I asked the children what they wanted to learn or do this year.  Here are some of the responses, I got:

* I want to learn how to read.
* I want to learn how to hang pictures, drive a car, and share.
* I want to learn about Star Wars.
* I want to learn how to do things by myself.
* I want to be nice.
* I want to learn how to cook.
* I want to learn about blocks.
* I want to learn about the outside.
* I want to use playdough.
* I want to go to recess.
* I want to learn about colors.
* I want to learn to read and how to stay in the lines.
* I want to learn about kangaroos.
* I like animals.  I want to learn about them.
* I want to learn about plants and flowers.
* I want to learn about how flowers grow.  And how kids grow, too.
* I want to play games.
* That's a really good question!  I already know almost everything.
* I want to learn how to run fast.
* I want to learn how to count super high.
* I want to learn to eat healthy.
* I like cars.
* I want to learn about ice cream.  And eat it.
* I want to learn how to draw.
* I love colors and rainbows.
* I want to learn anything.  Maybe some science.
* I want to learn about cooking.
* I want to learn to read and about Dr. Seuss.
* I want to know about colors.
* I want to learn about plants and animals.

At the ECC, we believe in project based learning.  We work together with the children to create different kinds of projects and inquiry opportunities based on what the children would like to know.  Since many children said that they wanted to learn about colors, I decided that would be a good place to begin!

First, we learned about the rainbow and how the colors are always in the same order.  We used this order while making "rainbow" names!

Tearing all that paper was really hard work and good practice for our finger muscles!

We read the book Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh and decided to explore mixing colors.

We began with the primary colors of red, blue and green.  We mixed paint to make the secondary colors of green, purple, and orange.

Trial and error was part of our process!  We talked about how the purple was too dark and what could we add to make it lighter??  WHITE!  We talked about how the green was too dark and we needed to add more yellow.  Each grouped decided when they thought their colors were just right!

We explored different color wheels and made our own out of the shapes we painted.  We then labeled the colors.  We have been working on reading and spelling the color words so this was great practice for us.

We also learned about the tertiary colors like yellow-orange and blue-green.  We realized that we have lots of these colors in our crayon containers!  We have been observing the differences in these colors and reading the color words written on our crayons!

We are not finished yet!  We have lots of color word books that we will be reading in class and bringing home!  We also will be working together to make a giant color wheel for our classroom.  We want to include all the colors in it!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Station TIme!

We have been having a BLAST in Kindergarten!

This past week we started our Math and Literacy Stations!

Station work is a time during the day dedicated to work on either math or literacy skills.  The activities are fun, interactive, and engaging.  The children always look forward to this part of our day!

We do a 10 station rotation so the activities usually change every two weeks.  Some of the stations stay the same.  Some change slightly.  Others change totally!  The children work in small groups of either 2 or 3 children.

As teachers, we spend time working with these small groups in an almost one on one setting.  Once we get used to the mechanics of stations, I will be pulling a group of children to do a guided reading lesson.

Here are some of our current literacy stations!

This is one of our name stations.  Students are matching up a name and a picture.  The pictures have the names written on the back to help!  This is helping us focus on matching words and identifying first letters.  The children are also encouraged to sort the names by first letter when done matching the pictures.  

This is our library center!  This station is one that does not usually change.  We do, however, add things to this station to make our reading more focused!  Right now we are enjoying reading the books we have read in class!

This is our listening station.  This is another station that does not change.  We do add different response papers to the center to keep things interesting!  Right now, we are listening to the story Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis.

(You can find it here if you are interested.  I'm not affiliated with Amazon and get no commission or anything.  Just want to get you the info!)

This is another name station.  The children are using letter beads to match letters in the names of our classmates.  They are working on matching upper case letters to lower case letters, identifying letters, reading names and more!  Last names are also written on the back of the name cards for those who are ready to work on their last names!

This station is letter magnets.  The children are spelling their names, the names of friends, or words they know.  There are also alphabet cards that the students use to match up the magnet to the card.

 In this station, the children are working on name practice!  We are working on writing our names with a capital first letter followed by lower case letters.  Last names are also included for those ready to work on that skill!

This station is puzzles!  I found these puzzles years ago when my daughter was little.  Now that she is in second grade, I was allowed to take them to school!  They match letters, words, and an object that begins with letter.

Playdough is always a favorite station!  Right now, we are working on making the letters of the alphabet with play dough!

This is our poetry station!  Our poem is "Who Stole the Cookie"!  You can see in the picture one of our classmates putting a cookie onto the puzzle.  We have cookies with each person's name and picture on it.  We put the different names on the poem and then use a pointer to read!  We are working on one to one correspondence of words, reading left to right, return sweep, rhyming, becoming familiar with names and sight words, and more!

Stay tuned... pictures of our math stations are coming SOON!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Welcome to my class!

Let's take a tour!

This is the view from inside our "front door".

This is our chandelier!  I'm so excited to finally be able to light it up!  Last year's kiddos wanted a disco ball... so this was our compromise!  However, we had to wait to light it up until the electric was connected in the ceiling for our  new Promethean board!

Right inside our door is a bookshelf where we keep our family photos!  It's just waiting for photos from home from this year's class!

Next to our bookshelf is our temporary sign is station.  Each student has a fish and when they enter our room each morning, they make their daily lunch choice.  

We have 29 kinders in our class!  Our tables are pretty full.  We have either 6 or 8 children at each table.  Over the years, I have found this is just too many kids for each to have an individual supply box.  So... we share!  This is our supply holder!  After seeing another teacher using these in her room, I had to make them for us!  They are lazy susan spinners from Ikea.  I took small tomato paste cans (instead of saving up, I got impatient and just went to Walmart.  They were only 20 cents each!) and painted them to correspond with our crayon colors.  I added larger cans for glue and pencils.  In the middle is a bin for trash.  Again, with 29 kinders in our room we have to get creative!  Everyone going to the trash can at the same time just does not work!  The cans are attached to the spinner with velcro.  I also put modpodge all over everything to seal it!  They work really well and keep everything nicely organized!

This is our library area!  I change the books out quite often.  Coming soon are boxes with books sorted according to reading levels!  As we get started with guided reading, we will be able to find books that are perfect for us!

This is our station area where we keep all of our tubs of materials for literacy and math stations!  It's also where we keep extra papers, scrap paper, and pencils!

You can also kind of see my seashells on the window and my shell wind chine! Can you tell I like the beach?!?

This is our guided reading nook!  It's hard to see but the lamp is filled with shells (which the kids are always curious about HOW they got in there!) and there is a pretty, sheer curtain that helps hide the cinderblock walls!

Here are some pics of our word wall and our painting area!  The wall is eagerly awaiting our names and all the words we are going to be learning this year!  

 This is my desk area.  I really need to do something with that ugly filing cabinet!  I have lots of pictures of my family here.  I also have pics of past classes!  The kids love to see and ask questions about who all those people are!

This our behavior chart!  Every day we start on green because we are ready to learn!  If we make good choices throughout the day, we can move our clips up to blue, purple, and pink!  If we are above green at the end of the day, we get a sticker!  Once we earn five stickers, we can choose a reward.  More on that later!  If we are having trouble following directions, we have to move our clips down.  Yellow is a warning.  Orange says teacher choice and usually means missing out on some recess or free choice.  Red says parent contact or office and may mean a phone call home.  I really hope we don't have anyone on orange or red!  What I love about this system is that there is ALWAYS the ability to move up!  Even if you make a few mistakes, you can turn your day around by making good choices!

These are our chair pockets.  This is where we keep our papers and FISH folders!  This is something new for me and I'm really liking them so far!  The reason we are using them is this....

The wall of ick.  We were supposed to have gotten cubbies built into our classroom over the summer.  That did not happen.  We are still getting them.... we just don't have them yet.  Because of that, I have had to make it work the best I can with what I've got!  

We are using shelving units that I used to keep supplies in as makeshift cubbies.  That's where the kids put their bookbags right now.  All of my supplies that used to go in those shelving units... and will one day go into the storage above the cubbies... are sitting in those boxes.  UGH.  It's a mess.  I hate how it looks but we just don't have another option.  Good thing it's temporary!  Cubbies SHOULD arrive by the end of the month.  My fingers and toes are crossed!

In front of the boxes, we have white boards for the kids to use and a cute little organizer for our fabric cubes!  We will be keeping our reading folders and books in the the cubes.  They will be our "book boxes".  I'm excited to start using these really soon!  

These are just some pretty flowers that we had out as decoration!  I like to have real plants and flowers in the room for the children to explore.  Soon we will be able to add some "fall stuff"!

Environment is very important to me!  This is the place that the children and I will be spending the majority of our days together!  I try to create an environment that is calming and peaceful and lends itself to active learning.  I want our environment to help us learn... not hinder us!  I want it to be a place where the children feel safe and comfortable!

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  Please stop by and see us!