KinderGals: August 2013

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Look Inside of a School in Durant, OK


What a beautiful place! I couldn’t believe it when they told me that this year there were celebrating the schools 45th birthday! Here are some of the things that I saw there:


Loved the chart where the teacher wrote what they were going to learn about. How about that brick wall? The classroom was an added room to the existing building. What a unique feature. One teacher took advantage of her ceiling by using it for the place to put a word wall!


I love all of the personal touches in the classrooms. When I walk into a room and see them, it says to me “I love my job, my space, and I enjoy being here!” Slide5


And here are a few quick tip signs that I saw! Love things that save time and keep me organized! I have some more photos of things I saw…so look for another post with some more “beautifulness”!

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Classroom Organization to Maximize Teaching Time

Organization..need I say more. It's the one thing that we all want, but somewhere along the line we lose it!  Organization is important for one maximizes teaching time!  Even though we like things to look a certain way, organization helps us locate items quickly to use during instruction. When kids know where things are kept, it allows them to become much more independent!
Here are a few tips to keep you organized:
  • Use those plastic drawer organizers to organize everything from alphabet, to games, to art supplies, to letter stamps. We have lots of them!
  • Use rolling laundry baskets to organize big books. Megan’s dad cut her some pieces of Masonite board to put between the sections so that we could sort and label the big books. Labels are (here).
  • Use different colors of file folders for each kind of journal. We have one color for math, one color for phonics, etc.
  • Use portable file boxes and hanging file folders for writing folders. This makes it where you can move them to various locations for writing time and not have all of the kids going to the same place to get their writing folder. The hanging files are labeled with their names so that the child can find their name quickly and remove their writing folder that is inside of the hanging folder. It also makes it easy for them to put away!
  • Instead of having all of your books in one area in the room, spread them around the room in various locations. This way you won’t have all of your kids looking in the same spot.  Also, we sorted them by genres so that the children can easily find the kinds of books they are looking for. (Within the genres they are sorted by topic.) The one display type shelf is used to display books that relate to the current topic of study in science or social studies. To read more about this go (here).
  • Megan has the tall organizer by her “teacher table”. It contains all of the things that she might need to run her small groups.
  • The hippo sign is one of 5 different animal signs, one for each area of the room. They mark the center areas so that the kids know where to go each day. For more about this idea go (here).
  • The 3 drawer shelf is for math can do centers. There is one of these in each of the 5 areas so that when the kids finish up their math “have to” then they can look in the drawers to find other math manipulatives, books, games, etc to use until time is up. To see how we manage this go (here).
  • Megan and I both like to have lots of cozy places for learning. Our rooms are not filled with desks or tables leaving lots of room for benches, sofas, and pillows!
I know Megan did a post last week about her classroom, but I just had to share a few more photos…I’m sure you don’t mind, I know how we all like to look at photos of each others rooms. Megan shared this picture of her dad hard at work moving the furniture, but did you wonder where baby Matthew was? It’s kinda like where’s Waldo!
And here it is all set up! Yep 5 hours later….When I posted that on Facebook, people were like “What? How can that be?” Well, first of all there were 3 of us. Secondly, we didn’t replace any of the bulletin boards, wall d├ęcor, or fabric. It was all the same from last year. And lastly, I’m just a little bit bossy!
And, so now we have to come to end of my summer travels. I’m off next week to OK; but, then I am home for quite a while. Wonder what I will be doing? Well I need to revamp some of my sessions and spruce up some power point presentations, I have a Spanish translation project I’m working on, I have a few projects for tpt that I want to finish, but the main thing I will be doing is….
being a Gammy to one very sweet little boy! Hugs!
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dollar Store Deals

Nothing makes me happier than a trip to the Dollar Tree. When I find a group of teachers that want to make a trip…I’m all in. On one of the weekends when I was home, my family went to watch my son, Tyler, race. Between the races, Ginny (my daughter in law that teaches prek) and I found a dollar tree. Read this post to see what all we found!
The lower right picture is of my kids at Tyler’s race! I just love them! I never really knew how much I would enjoy them as adults. They are super fun to be with and I am so glad that we all live in the same town.
I use the lantern at my table when I am working with small groups. The kids know that if the light is on, don’t interrupt unless it is an emergency. Light off—I am available to help you.
The pumpkin magnets are going to be for the Five Little Pumpkins song.
Slide31Love dominoes and can never have too many sets. I made a pack for tpt that contains all of my domino games. You can get it (here).
I cut up the alphabet train to make a game like the one in the lower left hand corner. To play: place a chip at the end of each row. Roll a dice and move the first chip that many spaces. Repeat with rows two and three. Write your word. My kids love this game. So I made some other sets on the computer.
Pumpkin Roll a Word
Spring Roll a Word
Farm Roll a Word
Beach Roll a Word
Fly swatters for the swat games:
To make the games spread cards out on the floor that contain letters, numbers, words, etc. Give two children each a fly swatter. Call out what you want them to look for. When they find it, they swat it!
There is a freebee of this game in my store (Here).
Farmer Swat
Apple Swat
Leaf Swat
Snowman Swat
Not pictured is a back to school swat game (here).
I love to put one of the foamie puzzles on the table when I am playing hangman. That way the kids can see which letters have been guessed and which have not. I simply dump the puzzle and as they guess the letter we put the pieces back in the puzzle.
Snowman Hangman
Flower Hangman
Pig Hangman
Love the frog game for number combinations. Have the kids count out 5 frogs. Then have then “flip” the frogs into the bowl. Write the number combination for how many in the bowl and how many out of the bowl.
Love the cuts outs for making matching games and the vests for the dramatic play area.
Then Megan  and I made a trip to Target. We picked up a few new pocket charts for her room and the word strips and word cards for her writing center. We are going to use the name plates to glue their photos and write their names. Then we are going to bind them into a book for the writing center.
Finally, I just couldn’t resist these sandwich holders. Not really sure how I am going to use them; but, they are just too cute! I was thinking an odd/even sort or maybe a one more or two more game. What do you think?
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kindergarten Activities to Engage Your Learners

While I was traveling this summer, I would try to remember to take a quick photo and post it on facebook of something we were going to do that day. It is kind of a way to have the kindergals facebook followers feel like they are “there”! Be sure and follow us on Facebook!
Here are the ideas that I posted this summer:
The number books:
Group children into groups of 3, 4, 5 etc to 10 and take their photo. Use the photo for the cover of the number book. Inside have the children glue pictures of the children, that you photocopy in black and white, to show a number combination for the number of kids on the cover. For example, if there are 4 kids on the cover, they might glue 2 boys and 2 girls on the first page in their book,1 girl and 3 boys on the next page, etc.
The chick book:
Fold a piece of paper in half and staple at the top. Add eyes, beak and feet. Put Chicken Little on a string so that he can “travel” through the story. Staple a few pages together and have the children draw illustrations to retell the story. Now have them retell the story by moving Chicken Little through the pages.  This works great for any story where the character travel through the story to different places.
In Vegas, I saw:
Kim Jordano’s ABC art book super cute and an easy project.
Shari Sloane’s class books are super cute.
From Crystal Springs: Unifix trains 10’s Frames! I just had to have them!
Here are some photos that I took from my session on Interactive Writing.  I did a post about interactive writing (here) if you want more information on how I handle it!
And a few more ideas:
The Five Little Bugs book is a flip book for a song from my Frogs and Butterflies Pack. For the Common Core Academy Deanna and I made this cute paper bag frog puppet that could eat the flies as we sang the song. This is great practice for the concepts of: number combinations, fluency to 5, or the number that is one less.
The splatter guard puppets are part of my Social Studies session and they are for retelling The Lady With The Alligator Purse.
The Family of Words is a music book that I made to go with Jack’s song. You can get his song (here) and the music book (here). To go along with the song, I made a house with three windows. Then, I took the pictures of the children holding the different letters. The kids use the letters to make word families. I did make a little book where they could record their words using the photos that I copied in black and white.
The cute hippo is an idea that I saw in Kathleen Pederson’s session. She made it from a soap container---laundry or dish soap I can’t remember.
Hope this catches you up on the facebook posts on kindergals. I try to post there each day when I am presenting to give you a little taste of what we are doing. Check back tomorrow for Dollar Store Trips on the road….
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And the people we will meet…

The school in Ozark, AL is the host for the annual Southern Alabama Kindergarten Conference. I have been there quite a few times and I just love it! When you walk in the door it is a place where you know that kids are first!
Notice all the handprints? It was a fundraiser…one dollar…one handprint! There were handprints everywhere!!!
Megan and Ginny dropped me off at the airport and I flew to Baton Rouge where I drove to Livingston Parrish, LA. I was there for two days of common core training, one literacy and one math. The ladies that hosted this event are super nice. They made sure I was well taken care of and even pointed me in the direction a super, cute baby boutique! (Wonder what I bought there!?)
From there I headed back to TN, this time Murfeesboro! The district hosts a big back to school conference each year. I have been a few times and just love it! I was there for two days and did 5 sessions, 3 of which included a make and take!
I was able to meet one of my new Vegas friends, Elizabeth, for dinner! The next morning a few teachers arrived early to finish projects from the day before and they gave me a lesson in couponing…now just to find the time to do it! Teachers were great to participate in the activities. Here one teacher is being the model for the headbands game which is in my Yeehaw Wild About Number Pack.
From there I had a rental car and drove to Lawrence County where I presented for two days—one day to prek and k teachers and one day to first and second grade teachers. I managed to do a little shopping there, but this time for myself!Slide30
Home for the weekend and then onto Benton, AR! (Oh BTW, it is now August!) I was able to meet up with a team of teachers for dinner that I met last year in Vegas. They even picked me up at the airport, took me to the training, and then back to the airport!
Teachers do document their learning differently that we did even 10 years ago! Now teachers use their phone or ipad to take pictures! I always say you are welcomed to take pictures..why else would I sluff this stuff through the airport!
So what am I doing to that poor teacher? We were singing the Shel Silverstein poem, “I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor”.  My sweet husband made me the snake. For a kid sized version you could probably get away with using a king sized pillow case, although I made mine from fabric! They will love it!
From there I did go to New Hampshire for the Destination Common Core Seminar, but no pictures…I had dinner with my sweet friend Kendra, who works for SDE. I planned to leave there and go to Shawnee, OK, but due to mechanical problems with the plane, that didn’t happen. We were able to reschedule for February! And then last week I was back in Livingston Parrish working with their Pre K teachers on DI.
So that catches you up. I have this week off (I’m actually on a vacation floating somewhere in the Caribbean!). Next week, I’m back on the road again to Oklahoma!
I just love my job, getting to meet so many people, reconnecting with friends along with way, and most importantly sharing my life passion….teaching. I worried that when I retired from my classroom that I would lose that. But, it has only magnified. I am truly thankful for all the teachers who were so kind to me this summer, who shared their excitement, told me a story where they had used some idea that I shared, listened, photographed, and wrote lots of notes…I am truly thankful and my bucket is running over…Love you all….
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Oh the places we will go….

So, where did I go this summer? Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I have documented pictures from each location…although I did try!
I started my travels in Crossville, TN right after the 4th of July. It isn’t that far from where we live, so my hubby and I actually drove there together! Here we worked on Common Core Language Arts Standards and lots of ideas they could use to teach them!
From there I headed to Nebraska! I was able to meet up with a group of teachers I had met earlier in the year at a DI for the Little Guy Conference. AND…To make it even better, I was presenting with…Shari Sloane and Deedee Wills! I know how we all love a make and take. Well this day was spent with a mixture of make and take and presenting on Core Language Arts and Math! The teachers spread out and went to work! How fun….
One of the vendors at the conference had the best games! For the dice game, each child gets a set of 10 dice the same color. The teacher calls out a number. The children start rolling their dice all at the same time. Anytime that number shows up on one of their dice, they move it to the side and continue to roll the other dice. It’s a race to see who can roll all of their dice to that number first. The other game is called spot it. It is a fun game where you have to look for things on the cards. We had fun playing ourselves! The name of the vendor is CRToys!
From there I headed to Vegas! There are no words to describe this experience. Seeing all my teaching friends from all over the country (and Canada) as well as getting to meet some new friends was… I said no words! Since I only presented for two days, I was able to attend sessions the other two days! I saw so many great presenters. Of course at night we all had fun going out to eat, a little pool time and seeing the sights!
One of the highlights was the blogger meet up! It was a blast. This year tpt helped sponsor the event with drinks and snacks while SDE provided the location! Rachelle and her team of bloggers were able to collect up quite a collection of door prizes…I think everyone left with something!
The cute teacher, bottom middle picture, was one of the free conference registration winners from the giveaway that I hosted on my blog. It was great to meet her, she was so excited to be there.
The other winner is top middle! She was so excited, (I think her husband was too!) So how do you get to Vegas and cover the cost? Well, top left picture…he sold bottled water all year at school functions. Bottom left, the whole team sold pickles and tshirts! And finally apply to be a practitioner, like my sweet friend Kathleen, and your registration is covered if you are selected! BTW, I went to her session and she was fabulous!
From there I headed to Chicago for the Common Core Academy! It was a brand new conference format and super exciting.
The extraordinary educator conference was taking place at the same time so I was able to meet up with some presenters (Cara and Abby) from that conference. I was super excited to be in Chicago as one of my best friends, Kathleen Conn, lives there and she got to hang out with me and Kathy Griffin for the whole conference!
From there I went home for one night and them on to Ozark, AL! I picked up Megan, Ginny (my sweet daughter in law) and the cutest baby ever…Matthew and we all drove down together. Once there we once again met up with Deedee Wills! She was giving Megan a private lesson…on something…I can’t remember what!
So enough for one day? Check back tomorrow for some super cute pictures of the school in Ozark and see where I went from there….
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tips to Keep You Organized

This is how I keep my sight words organized. Each child has their own ring of words. I have baskets to keep up with how many words they missed. If a child misses one, it goes in the "1" basket and at the end of the day I will add a new word from their list. The same thing happens if they miss 0 or 2 words. If they miss 3 or more, we do it again the next day.
Here is how I keep organized during the day. If its something I need to make, it goes in the to make drawer. If it is something that is ready, it goes in the ready drawer. If its ready to be put away, it goes in the put away drawer.
Here is where I organize for Reader's and Writer's Workshop. The kids house their individual writing folders in the plastic filing bins. They keep their individual bags of books in the book bins.

This is where I house my math "can do: centers. Each draw holds a different activity for early finishers. I have 5 of these, one for each of my groups.  I love the paper inside the drawers. No mess!
I have a very tiny desk in my room. This is where I keep up with all of my paper work and student folders. It's the top of a cabinet. I use every surface during the day. No wasted space. This cabinet is right by the door. This makes it easy to collect things as they come in. I also keep things there that I want to be sure get sent home. That way, as we are leaving I can take a quick look to be sure nothing is there.
Almost every child in our school brings their lunch. The kids put their lunch inside this tub when they get to school. Lid goes on top! No messy lunch boxes all over the floor.  Also keeps all the "food" contained to one area I can easily clean at the end of each day to avoid unwanted visitors! :)
I keep our schedule posted right by my desk. This helps keep me on task and focused! 

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