KinderGals: July 2014

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Classroom Set Up

Can you believe that summer is over? Well, at least where we live it is. We started back to school last week and the kids will come this week! 
This was our starting point! We had covered everything that we could with sheets when we left school in May. We had already cleaned everything before we left and didn’t want to have to do it again!
So, what does it look like now? Over the next several days I am going to share a different part of the set up with you.
Here’s the post schedule:
Wednesday: Where are all the tables? Creating the Environment
Thursday: What’s on the Walls?
Friday: Teacher Organization Tips
Saturday: Setting Up Math Centers
Sunday: Setting Up Literacy Centers
Monday: Managing the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop Materials
Tuesday: How We Set Up and Manage the Large Group Area
Wednesday: What About Behavior?
Thursday: How It All Fits Together
So…Where are the Tables?
If you look at this picture, it doesn’t look like we have very many tables…and we don’t. Our kids work all over the room, not just at tables. The don’t have an assigned seat. What they are doing determines where they sit. I will tell you more about that during the literacy and math center posts.
Ask your kids where they want to work and I bet not many will pick the table!
Slide5What tables do you have?
We DO have tables. We have:
* two kidney tables, one for Megan and one for any “other” adult that might come to help out---resource teacher, parents, paraprofessionals, ME!, etc.
*a large rectangle table in our art area.
*a small table for the mail center.
*a small table that serves as the table in our home living area, but is used for other purposes when we aren’t in choice centers.
The only segment of the day when all the children need to have a “table” surface is during Writer’s Workshop. So, we fill up the tables with kids and then one groups gets to work on the floor with clip boards! They can’t wait until it is their turn to get on the floor.
Why does this work for us?
*Well, we do all of our large group teaching from the carpet. You will be able to read more about that next Tuesday.
*We want to have lots of “comfy” areas with sofas, fun chairs, rugs, and pillows.
We have:
*Baskets of “reading buddies”
*Small rugs and pillows
*Fun benches and chairs
Why do we cover our tables?
Well, to be honest, we originally covered our tables to make a good first impression to our parents at Open House. We love the way it makes the room look. It makes is so much calmer and “warmer”.
But, here’s what we found out once we actually used the covered tables…they clean so much easier than the table surface. We just spray with the school approved cleaner and wipe with a magic eraser. No scrubbing! The glue and markers come right off!
We also found that the noise level went down. No things banging on the tables! The table cloth muffles the sound.
To attach the table cloths to the rectangle tables we use the double sided carpet table. We just put a strip of the tape along the edges of two long sides. We hold the cloth and stand across from each other. We stretch the cloth as we lower it to the table. Sticks right to it!
To attach the table cloths to the kidney table, we cut and tape it underneath the table. We used strapping tape as it holds the best. Don’t use cheap tape! It will come right off!
Now, they do rip! The children will push a basket, hit it with scissors, or who knows what else and you will see a tear. No problem, we just put a piece of wide clear tape right over the rip.  We change the table cloths for each season, so they only have to last a few months.
Why do we make the room “cute”?
There is always lots of discussion about cute, over stimulation and the like. Not going to lie, we like cute! We enjoy going to work. We like the environment. It feels good to be there. So if we feel that way, how do the kids feel? There is a fine line between too much and too little. There is lots of brain research about too much stimulation, but there is also a lot of research about novelty and how it stimulates activity within the brain and increases potential to learn. Just be careful and mindful about what you have.
To end: Here’s a quick story as to why we want a great environment:
Last month I was at the nail salon getting my nails done when the lady beside me asked me if I was Mrs. Adsit. I told her yes. She told me that her kids went to the school where I taught before I retired. Then, she said, “your room was always so inviting. We all wanted to stop and look in just to see what was going on. The kids in your room were lucky. I know they loved it, too!”
Enough said…. Smile
See ya tomorrow!
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dollar Store “Must Haves” on Blog Hoppin'

Are you looking for cheap ideas for bookmaking, number lines, fives frames, read the room, retelling, combinations of 5, subtraction, one less and organization? Then read on, my friend, read on! I went to watch my son race (bicycle) this weekend in this REALLY small town in North Georgia. So after the race, we were looking for things to do and there wasn’t a whole lot of options. So how about a trip to The Dollar Store and Tractor Supply?! Got some cute tractors for the grandbabies from Tractor Supply to put up for Christmas (Shhhhh!) AND here’s what we picked up at the Dollar Store!
Love these little cars for segmenting words!
Next, we found these little cat toy mice to use with the story Mouse Count. I just painted a jar on a cookie sheet, put magnets on the back of the mice, and made a felt snake.  It is so important to have a conceptual way for children to see what is happening in the story. Books are pictorial, so children who do not have conservation of number have a really hard time grasping the concepts!Slide2
Next purchase, wrapping paper. This is the cheapest way to make scrapbooking paper.
*Just take the paper off of the roll.
*Fold and fold and fold.
*Then put it on the paper cutter and trim the sides.
*Fold the paper in half and add paper!
*You have a little book!
Saw a couple of good options for carpet bags. For more about that, check out this post:
The next purchase was this number line (the one on top). By the way, it went all the way to 50!
*To play the game, just select the section of the number line you want to use.
*Put a small trinket on each of the numerals.
*Start with a “game piece” at the left end of the number line.
*Roll a dice and move the game piece that many spaces on the number line.
*Remove the trinket on that numeral.
*The object of the game is to remove all of the trinkets.Slide5
Love, love, love bulletin board boarder. AND love it even more when I find it for $1! Here are a few ideas:
*Cut the boarder into sections. Have the children think of ways they can sort the animals, or the presents.
*Cut the boarder into sections. Invite the children to make patterns.
Here’s a fun game you can play:
*Glue two pieces together, end to end.
*Put a dot sticker in the center.
*Put a “game piece” on the dot. Sit the children at either end of the strip.
*The first child rolls the dice and moves the pieces toward them.
*The second child rolls the dice and moves the SAME game piece towards them.
*Who can get it off first?
*It is easy to change the standard by simply changing the dice!Slide3
We found these cute duck bath mitts to use for singing Five Little Ducks. This song works perfect for combinations of 5, subtraction, or the idea of one less.
Also found some fun light up wands and magnifying glasses for the read the room center.
Here’s an idea for the pill case.
*First remove the blue lettering with a cotton ball and finger nail polish remover.
*Use a saw and cut off F and S so that you only have 5 compartments.
*Put a 2 sided colored disk in each of the compartments.
*Glue shut with hot glue or E6000.
*Invite the children to “shake it up” and then lay it on the table.
*What combination of 5 do you have?
*Shake it again and again, each time ask them to record their combination.
Here are a few other posts from my Thrifty Thursdays! Look for those posts to start back up now that we are back to school!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

What do Dollar Stores, Writing and Science Have in Common?

UPDATE:  I FINALLY FINISHED THIS UNIT.  Here it is: 20% off through August 3, 2014!
You can see the unit here:

This packet contains the following 20 experiments/activities.  There are 17 Simple Experiment Cards with response printables, 3 recipes with follow up acitivities, 10 graphing activities for graphing the hypothesis.  The following titles name the 20 experiments/activities.

Shake It!

What’s in the Bag?

Making Music

Mouse Paint (with paint)

Mouse Paint (with gel frosting)

Rain Paint

Secret Messages

Ducks Like Rain

Float or Sink Pumpkins

Do Seeds Travel?


The Windy Day

Do Whales Get Cold?

Candle Races

What Can a Butterfly Eat?

Clean a Penny

Fossil Cookies

Rainbow Number Salad

Making Butter

Ice Cream in a Bag

Today I am in Albertville, AL at the NEAEC conference and here’s what is happening….I’m presenting on Writing Workshop (getting it started), Science, and Teaching Standards…Dollar Store Style. Here’s a few of the ideas from each of the sessions….Slide1
First session is all about integrating science with literature, cooking, math, and art. One idea I share is how to make this super easy shadow box. Slide2
*First, get a zerox box.
*On the bottom of the box draw a line 1/2 from all 4 sides.
*Cut out the square.
*Spray paint the box.
*Glue a piece of bulletin board paper to cover the hole.
Now to use the shadow box….
* Place an object inside of the box.
*The children are sitting on the other side of the box where they can only see the white paper--not what is inside.
*Shine a light on the object from the back.
*Now the children can see the shadow of the item in the box.
Here are some of the resources that I used to plan this session. They are 20% off today only. 
HEADS UP: I am almost finished with my Science Blasters Unit! It should be on tpt by next week. I used it for this session, but it’s not quite done yet!
Another session today is all about getting your writer’s workshop started. I love using anchor charts. So when I find an anchor chart that I can use all year…all the better!Slide6
This chart is perfect! It anchors the writing process --regardless as to the genre being taught! It tells the children exactly what to do:
*Think about what topic you are going to write.
*Plan out your piece. I show my kids how to plan out their piece on their hand.
*Thumb-Name your topic.
*3 Fingers-Give examples, reasons, steps, beginning-middle-end, etc. (depending on the genre)
*Last Finger- Name your topic again.
Check out these links for more anchor charts for Writer’s Workshop:
****Here are some of the resources that I used to plan this session. They are 20% off today.
The third session is super fun! In this session I show teachers great things they can get at the dollar store to teach almost any standard. I love this set of coasters that I picked up at the dollar spot in Target. They are great for teaching subitizing. Slide9
Here’s how you play:
*Make the game by taping the dice faces for 1-6 to the front of the coasters.
*Invite the children to roll a dice.
*The children select the part of the sandwich that show how many dots were on the dice.
*They keep rolling and collecting the ingredients to make the sandwich.
*The object of the game is to make the sandwich.
Here are a few more posts about ideas from the Dollar Store:
Here are the resources that I used to help plan this session. They are 20% off today.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ideas from the Alabama Kindergarten Conference in Ozark, AL

One of the sessions today…Words Mini Lessons. Slide68Slide69
In this session I talk about how to teach a sight word. Follow these 6 steps to be sure your children are looking at the “whole” word not just each letter individually.
Here are some of the resources that I used to plan this session. They are all on sale for 20% off today only. See the Christmas in July calendar at the bottom to see what else will be on sale in the next few days.
One of my newest session is on what to do with your small groups during math. So, how do you organize your math time. You can search this blog for Math Center Management to see more about that. Then, I share different small group activities and how to make them work with your intervention group, your on-target group and your challenge group.
Slide23So I group my children into “family groups.” These are the groups that they do all group work with, go to literacy and math centers with. They are all abilities, all personalities, and work well together. Then, once I get them working in their centers. I can pull out my groups: intervention, target, and challenge based on the assessments.
Here are some of the units that I referred to in this session. You can click on them to find them in my store for 20% off today only!
The last session for this conference is Mixing Up Some Math and Science Fun. 
In this session I show this fun little dog toilet paper roll. I give the kids a strip of animal clip art, all the same size. Then, they cut the animals out and glue them in order according to that size that animal is in real life. Roll it up and stick it inside of the dog for a cute little book. This idea is from my Science Blasters Unit. Here are the resources that I used to plan this session. They are 20% off today only.

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